By Ismail Kamdar — Slowly but surely, the world of Islam is moving forward with the mission it has been assigned by Almighty Allah. The mission is to invite the humanity to the path of truth (i.e. monotheism) by repudiating all material objects and desires as the source of worship and enjoining all that is good (Amar bil Maruf wa nahi al Munkar — enjoining good and forbidding evil).
The month of Ramadhan plays a key role in advancing this mission. Unlike in the past, we no longer think about Ramadhan as limited just to taraweh, suhur and iftar. Those days are gone when Muslims used to spend the day sleeping or watching television to “pass the time” and many rushed to complete as many Qurans as possible.
Now Muslims, for the most part, are highly aware and awakened people. The awakening is spreading fast about the need to read the Glorious Quran with understanding and to explore ways and means of advancing the mission assigned to the Muslim Ummah — i.e. inviting people to good and forbidding evil by way of their good moral behaviour and knowledge and wisdom.
In some quarters efforts are being made to tarnish the image of the Ummah and to block its onward movement in the fulfilment of its mission outlined in the Glorious Quran which asks Muslims to be righteous and assume the role of leadership in inviting the world to monotheism.
Many of us use the free time for reflection. Ramadhan is supposed to be the time of the year in which we recharge our faith in the promises of Allah Almighty and prepare for the challenges facing the Muslim Ummah over the next 11 months. This cannot be done unless we stop to contemplate our own shortcomings and reflect upon the solutions during this important month.
A question arises though as to what should we reflect on during Ramadhan and the following is a list of what I feel we all should reflect on, of course every individual will have specific issues that need more attention:
1) Your relationship with Allah, the Most Exalted and Glorfied: Is your life pleasing to Allah? Are you close to Allah? Do you understand His Book the Glorious Quran? Do you recite it outside of Ramadhan? Do you refer to it every now and then?
2) Your relationship with your family: Does your family love you? Are you a burden or blessing to those around you? Will you be missed if you die today? Are you fulfilling the rights of your family? Are you a role model Muslim to your family?
3) Your relationship with people: Have you contributed to society? Do you have a legacy? Does your presence help others love Islam or does it chase them away from it? Be polite to all, but also remember that politeness is good for those who deserve it.
4) The creation around us: Pondering over the beauty of Allah's creation helps one increase in piety and closeness to Allah.
5) The problems in society and what you can do to solve any of them. If you see oppression and injustice to Muslims or any other community, you must raise your voice against it in ways it is possible for you. According to Islamic teachings a government and leadership based on Kufr (denial of God) can be sustainable to some extent but a government or leadership based on injustice and oppression (Zulm) will never be sustainable.
Al hamdulilah (praise be to Allah), today Muslims are aware and awakened people. They hold seminars, conferences and dialogues to explore the issues facing the world of Islam. In fact, there is no community on the earth that has a conference five times per day in the form of five obligatory prayers in mosques. This allows Muslims to build bonds of love and affection and to discuss problems facing each other and the Ummah (world Muslim community) at large and to explore solutions. It is because of these five conference per day that we see today a big irresistible way of awakening in most Arab and Muslim countries.
Muslim women also attend these conferences and because of this and because of the month of Ramadhan the world today sees the fast spread of Islam all around and the flourishing of its Islamic banking, Hijab and
other practices. Some people are accepting Islam piecemeal but in due course of time Islam will no longer be a misunderstood way of life.
(The author is Teacher of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University