In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
There is no other god beside GOD
Ramadan And Thanksgiving
Ramadan is the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims (Submitters) all over the world fast each day of this month from dawn to the sunset. During fasting, the Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking and sexual encounter. This is God’s law and stated in the Quran:
…You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the masjid (during the last ten days of Ramadan). These are God’s laws; you shall not transgress them. God thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation. (2:187)
Contrary to what many people believe, Muhammad is not the founder of Islam (Submission). He was a follower of Abraham to whom God taught the religious duties Submitters practice today (2:128). Muhammad’s role was to deliver the Quran to mankind, and purify the message and the practices of religion distorted by the idol worshippers.
God revealed the Quran into Muhammad’s memory during Ramadan in the Night of Power (17:1, 44:3, 97:1-5). It was then gradually released from his memory in accordance with God’s will and written down by him with the help of Gabriel over a period of 23 years.
Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify God for guiding you, and to express your appreciation. (2:185)
The religious practices instituted by God are blessings from God. If we can practice our religious duties as we are supposed to, we draw many benefits. Furthermore, these practices allow us to be more conscious of God in our lives. They essentially constitute the nourishment required for the growth and development of our souls to make it to Heaven. They are for our own good. God is in no need of any of our prayers and worship.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the obligatory duties for the Submitters. Since Ramadan is a lunar month and the lunar calendar moves through our Gregorian calendar, it makes Ramadan move through the seasons. Fasting allows us to learn self-discipline and restraint. It allows our soul to control our body and not our physical appetites and desires to control us. Fasting is therefore important for our salvation:
O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation. (2:183)
God tells us to fast in order to glorify God and to express our appreciation to Him for guiding us.
The Quran gives us specific examples of what happens to the communities when they fail to remain appreciative of God’s blessings.
GOD cites the example of a community that used to be secure and prosperous, with provisions coming to it from everywhere. But then, it turned unappreciative of GOD's blessings. Consequently, GOD caused them to taste the hardships of starvation and insecurity. Such is the requital for what they did. (16:112)
Furthermore, God gives us the example of Sheba's homeland. When they became unappreciative, God turned their beautiful, productive gardens into gardens with thorny plants and skimpy harvest (34:15-17).
With Thanksgiving Day falling during Ramadan this year (2002), let us remember that we need to be appreciative and thankful every single day.
Your Lord has decreed: "The more you thank Me, the more I give you." But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe. (14:7)
The original version of the article appeared in Submitters Perspective, November 2002.
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