Ramadan, a time to detox our souls

Categories: Ramadan

photo of sheikh zayed grand mosque center during daytime

By Zaynab Dawood

Muslims eagerly anticipate the coming of this special month with the supplication: “Oh Allah, allow us to reach the month of Ramadan.” This short prayer acknowledges our vulnerability as humans, as none of us know for certain if we will live to see, or hear of, the new moon of Ramadan and if we will savour the moments of fasting for Allah’s sake and no other.

A time to reaffirm our faith

To prepare for the month Muslims ready themselves, so that they can benefit from this unique period in the whole year. This preparation includes reaffirming our faith that Allah has bestowed upon us a particular spiritual and physical duty: “Oh you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you, as it was prescribed upon those before you, that you may attain God-consciousness.” (2:183) This reaffirmation is a mental one which is deeply rooted in our spiritual consciousness and Muslims who fast every year will know what this means and will yearn for it again and again. For revert Muslims, this may be an exciting time to be engaged in a global phenomenon, as millions of Muslims fast around the world. For revert Muslims it may also be daunting as though Ramadan feels like soft sunlight on our souls, it is also a heavy, immersive and ego abnegating process which affects every Muslim, even the very seasoned. It is a serious month- not a month of relaxing in a spiritual spa. It is month in which we must bring to the forefront of our consciousness and conscience everything it means to be a human, to be a believer, and take a good look at our inner self: our monotheism, our intentions, our moral integrity, our behaviour and conduct towards others and the world (Ihsan).

A time to realign our minds and bodies:

Many people consider the purpose of Ramadan to centre around the abstention of food, drink and intimate relations. This is true but there is a world of spiritual cleansing that is going on inside each and every one of us that the fasting from food, drink and intimate relations, enables, an enabling to really benefit the true purpose of Ramadan: to realign ourselves with the Words of Allah, through His Holy Book, the Quran.

Revealed during this blessed month, Allah has allowed us to be reconnected with His Words through extra recitation and the additional Taraweeh prayers. Many Muslims find it difficult to engage in the long prayers but prefer to persevere and we all should be mindful that some Muslims, especially those discovering Islam, may find they need to pace themselves. As long as we are all engaged in the effort and try to realign ourselves with what is expected from us, we can be hopeful of reward and the fortitude to strive for more challenging goals in Ramadan.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the pinnacle of human excellence and taught us the real value of fasting and that Allah has no need of a fast from someone who does not abstain from obscene behaviour and speech. For many, the real fasting comes from not having negative thoughts about others, sealing our lips when we feel the need to chide, coax, scold or tease others. The emphasis on fixing our behaviour includes not only protecting ourselves from the satiation of food, drink and intimacy, but protecting all our human faculties, including hearing and seeing, from anything that can poison our spiritual well being and impede the blessings and mercy Allah has prepared for His believers in this month. We need to detox the rubbish from ourselves so we can deliver our hearts, minds and bodies in the best night, the Night of Power, during the final third of this month.

A month of difference:

Ramadan is a time when we seem to be suspended between the spiritual world and physical world, away from the busy commercial malaise of the modern world. When the guest of Ramadan has opened its soothing light onto the planet and Allah lightens the way to Him… When the devils are incarcerated and our daily lives are informed by the daily signposts of Suhr, salah, Iftar, taraweeh and tilawah of the Quran. Days that are numbered, for a “fixed number of days” (2:184) and Muslims experience mentally, emotionally and physically, the difference during this month. Many Muslims are astounded at their own ability to fast and avoid that first cup of coffee early in the morning, that caffeine boost replaced with an internal mastery over the body for the seeking of Allah’s Pleasure. Or the reduced number of hours sleeping because we can feel the closeness to Allah as we step onto our prayer mats in the silent hours of the night and we tip open our hearts and let our sins pour away under the humbling melody of Astagfirullah (O Allah forgive me.) A month when the dirt of our sins is washed away, when the tendrils of egoism are removed and when the teasing of self-doubt is erased and replaced with a living testimony of our Shahadah and a living re-enactment of what our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) did during the month of Ramadan. This binds us to our Prophet (peace be upon him) and his legacy and this is so important in today’s world where people seek to validate their worth by comparing themselves to social media influencers. Ramadan allows us to detox from the heedless hedonism of this world and realign ourselves with the trajectory that our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set out for us.

Detox ourselves from the fashionable filters of falsehood:

Ultimately, Ramadan teaches us the reality of our existence, the truth behind our reflections, the truth amidst the billions of people living in the world and the truth beyond the sky that seals all human stupidity and barbarity to this world, to this earth that will eventually cease to be. It is the constant influx of filters that toxifies our understanding of the world and the annual time of Ramadan removes these false filters and reminds Muslims to hinge ourselves, our hopes, our aspirations, onto higher elevated ideas based on truth. He is Al Haq, the Truth.

Ramadan reminds us that absence of eating, drinking, intimate relations and improper behaviour (trademarks of being human) and a focus on praying, reading the Holy Quran and giving charity, detoxes us and readies us for the meeting with our Lord and prepares us for His Shade. In sha Allah, God willing.

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About the author:

I’m Zaynab Dawood from Lancashire, England. I’m a busy mum of four, a teacher and author. For me there are three delights in life: Ibadah, spending time with family and friends, and reading good literature!

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