Muslims across the globe yesterday observed the first day of fast (sawm) in the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar in which Muslims fast for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the crescent.
The first day of fast is observed upon sighting of the crescent.
Fasting is prescribed to Muslims of sane mind and sound body and it is meant to reform the fasting Muslims and cleanse them of their past sins.
It is a soul purification exercise that offers believers the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with Allah and chart the path of righteousness.
The Qur’an states that only Allah (God) knows the reward of fasting. And that the month of Ramadan is better in the sight of Allah than other months.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to give out alms (sadaqa) even if it is a piece of date.
The night of power also known as (Lailatul Qadar) is observed during the last 10 days of fasting.
In the last 10 days, Muslims keep vigil at homes and in the mosque (masjid).
The Qur’an states that whoever succeeds on that night, it is considered as though they have worshipped Allah for more than 80 years.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food from dawn to sunset, thus from 4: 30am to 6:20pm.
Importantly, Allah has cautioned that he is pleased with those who abstain from that which does not concern them and will reward them accordingly.
Muslims do not only abstain from eating and drinking, but most importantly, they are cautioned to stay away from fleeting pleasures of flesh- gossiping, slandering, backstabbing, backbiting, sexual intercourse and many other sinful acts.
These acts incur the wrath of Allah and can vitiate, annul, or invalidate one’s fast.
Needless to say, Muslims are admonished at all times to stay away from moral decadence, lest they are called to account on the day of recompense.
It is for these reasons that Prophet Muhammad encouraged Muslims to observe the obligatory Monday and Thursday fasting to rekindle their faith with Allah.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA