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|How does one attain credit for fasting a lifetime with Allah? |
Imagine that reward! We have not had a truly impactful Month of Ramadan devotion unless we yearn for what we gained during its observation. We must strive to keep the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan throughout the year.
As we reflect on the Holy Month of Ramadan, we hope that we can say we have observed the month of fasting (Siyam) from food during long daylight hours this summer, the last 10 days of Night Devotion and prayer (Tarawih), the Festival of Renewal celebrations and prayers (‘Id al Fitr), the restraint of our passions, special attention to our prayers, and daily readings of the Holy Qur’an.
In the Month of Ramadan, the Revelation of the Holy Qur’an is commemorated to show our thanks for Divine Revelation from Allah (God). Throughout our lives we must honor this spirit through our actions and maintain study of this beautiful Revelation, a Mercy to all of humanity.
In this month of Shawwal (10th Month of the Islamic Lunar calendar), we may extend that spirit by fasting an additional 6 days to earn great spiritual and devotional reward. We may also fast any days we may have missed during Ramadan in this month or any like number of days missed before the return of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”
The month of Shawwal is an opportunity to facilitate the continuation of the Ramadan spirit by being one of the best times in which missed days in Ramadan are made up, and encompassing the 6 days of heightened reward. You can fast the 6 days consecutively or you may spread the days over the month. After Ramadan, Believers miss the joyful brotherhood and sisterhood, the fulfillment of feeding the poor, inspiration of seeking to fulfill our human destiny, and learning to build new kinds of relationships around righteousness. ‘Id celebrations should be strong memories that we are yearning to recreate by establishing a spirit of thanks and giving as part of our life activities. That’s heaven, peace of mind and contentment. That’s immortal life.
This is the space we are making to establish the New World in which we will exist. By seizing the Mission of Muhammad (PBUH), we are fulfilling that vision and we thank Allah for His Guidance, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for the life-giving teachings that are raising us in the West.
We reflect on where we are in our self-development of God-consciousness (Taqwa). As the Holy Day of Atonement approaches, we reflect on the principle of forgiveness and the lessons learned during the Holy Month of Ramadan in controlling our anger by pardoning those who may have offended us-as we seek God’s forgiveness.
Additionally, we remember the importance of establishing an economic foundation for our communities and our need to build the society that we have been promised, ‘The Kingdom of God.’ We reflect on the feeding of the poor to combat the injustice of hunger. The spirit of fasting urges us to rebuild our wasted cities in the establishment of Freedom, Justice and Equality.
Through the taste of hunger, we find ourselves closer to the experience of our brothers and sisters suffering from the injustice of poverty, economic marginalization, dehumanization and denial of a quality of life that all are afforded under the rule of Allah, God.
Ramadan is the month we actualize the 5 principle disciplines of our faith- seeking excellence in their practice -and cultivate God-consciousness to carry throughout our lives.
Seize the benefit of the 6 day fast of Shawwal, Sunrise to Sunset, and do not allow Ramadan to become something we pick up when the month is here, and drop off when the month is gone.
Your servant and Brother,
Sultan Rahman Muhammad Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam | NOI.org/Prayer