This is one of the most important lessons to be learned from this month. If we look at the reality of Muslims today, many of us will say that it is difficult to change this negative reality. The streets are full of evil: newspapers, magazines, television and satellite channels air vice day and night. How can we change the people’s conditions? Most people would say this is difficult and can only be corrected at the hands of a revivalist scholar. Some people hold this notion.
However, there is the best example for us in Ramadan. How?
First: If we look at the Masjids before Ramadan, especially in Fajr prayer, we will find them empty except for a few Muslims. When this month comes, the Masjids are filled with Muslims bowing and prostrating to Allah the Almighty and the condition of people changes for the better.
Second: Changing deeply rooted practices and habits easily. On ordinary days, you may find someone smoking and when you forbid him from it, he comes up with excuses. Nevertheless, when Ramadan comes, he patiently refrains from smoking most of the day and endures going without it. It is the weakness of the soul, passion, domination of Satan and his friends that encourage him to smoke again.
These examples give us hope to change the unfortunate reality to a better one, and that we should not despair of changing people’s conditions or our conditions for the better.
I ask you a question, “When was the last time you read the Qur’an completely?” The answer may be, “Last Ramadan!” When Ramadan comes, how many times do you read the Qur’an completely? Look at your morals before Ramadan and during it. Notice how you are keen to join the first row in congregation in the mosque and so on. Thus, there is a possibility for change for the better and for quitting the bad habits and deeds.
You only need to strive and have a strong will, and Allah promised to help and guide. Allah the Almighty says:
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Al-`Ankabut 29:69)
Ramadan is indeed an opportunity for change, but who persists in having such a will even in Ramadan?
The fasting person should not do anything that breaks this will after breaking his fast, and thus destroy in the night what he built in the day in terms of the strong will and ability to change.
The Muslim who is not spiritually affected by the words of Allah the Almighty, and whose character and behavior do not change for the better upon performing the pillars of Islam and acts of worship, has not gain any benefit from the obligatory acts of worship – except discharging his obligations. In this case, they would be merely movements that he performs perfunctorily, and he moves on to another thing when they come to an end.
Did Allah the Almighty order us to pray only for the mere movements that Prayer entails, that bring about no effect on our lives? Did Allah ordain Hajj and other acts of worship only for the sake of bodily movements and rituals? Or did He ordain them for greater benefits?
Muslims have not failed in their duties; it is simply that their hearts have hardened after suffering the political and cultural onslaught of their enemies, to the extent that they are no longer affected by the words, deeds and beliefs of the pillars of Islam and the rituals that they perform repeatedly. If they were affected by what they say and do, it would have ignited the flames of protective zeal for the sake of Allah the Almighty in their heart and the desire to support His religion. Regretfully, the acts of worship of Muslims today have become mere images without a soul, mere rituals and movements, having no effect on their behavior.
Therefore, Ramadan is an opportunity for change. Many people are captivated by things they are used to, and whenever they try to give up these things, they stumble. Some of them achieve success in overcoming their bad habits for a certain period of time and then suffer a setback.
Ramadan is a great opportunity for lasting change. Fasting is an effective remedy for many of these common harmful habits and an opportunity to get rid of their stranglehold over us. It reminds man that these habits are not necessary or unavoidable; they are either self-imposed or are imposed by the circumstances of his life, and that one can give them up by determination and resolution.
Source: A Booklet Prepared by Islamweb.com