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The Devils are Chained Up in Ramadan

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Mufti Taqi Usmani

The Holy Qur'an has expressly told us that the basic objective for which man is created by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is that he "worships" Him:

''And I did not create Jinn and human beings except that they should worship Me.'' [Surah Adh-Dhariyat: 56]

The word used by the Holy Qur'an for the worship is "ibadah" which has a much wider sense than "worship." In English, the word "worship" normally indicates to some specific acts or rituals meant exclusively to show one's reverence to his Creator. But the word "ibadah" is not restricted to such acts or rituals; rather, it embodies any act done in submission to Allah's commands and to seek His pleasures. Therefore, many acts which seem to be mundane in nature are included in the word of "ibadah" like earning one's livelihood through halal (permissible) means and in order to fulfill one's obligations towards his dependents.

However, 'ibadah is of two kinds. At the first place there are acts meant exclusively to worship Allah, having no worldly objective, like salah, fasting, etc. These are direct acts of 'ibadah while the other kind of 'ibadah includes the acts which are primarily mundane, but they are converted into an 'ibadah when they are performed in full conformity with Shari'ah and with an intention to discharge one's obligations. Therefore, these acts are treated as 'ibadah in an indirect manner. It is obvious that the direct acts of 'ibadah should be superior to the indirect ones.

Now, while prescribing very few acts of direct 'ibadah in one's daily life, like the salah which is performed five times a day, Islam has left its followers mostly with the indirect acts of 'ibadah like eating, drinking, earning the livelihood and association with one's wife, children, parents, relatives, friends and other human beings. But the primary nature of these acts being mundane, one becomes so absorbed in their worldly pleasures that their material aspects prevail on their spiritual aspect. Therefore, these acts have less spiritual strength than the direct acts of worship.

Since the direct acts of 'ibadah are very few in one's daily life as compared to the indirect ones, his spiritual progress becomes slow visa vis his material progress. The month of Ramadan has been designed to maintain a balance between material and spiritual aspects of the human life. This month is meant to maximize the direct acts of 'ibadah and to minimize the pure mundane activities, so that one may accelerate his spiritual progress to make up the distance and to repair the spiritual loss one may have suffered through his deep involvement in the mundane activities during the year. The days of Ramadan are designed ot keep fast which is an act of 'ibadah for the whole day, and depriving oneself from any material food for many hours, it lessens the bad spiritual effects, if any, of the material pleasures. The nights of Ramadan, on the other hand, are spent in offering Tarawih and waking up for tahajjud and suhur, reducing the time of one's sleep much less than in the normal days. Moreover, apart from the prescribed acts of worship, one is supposed to offer as much optional (nafil) 'ibadah in this month as he can. In this way the level of one's spiritual activities in this month is raised up much higher than in other days of the year.

This philosophy of the month of Ramadan makes it clear that this month should be devoted to the direct acts of worship as far as possible. That is why the reward of the virtuous acts in this month has been multiplied. This is to encourage the Muslims to the maximum possible acts of 'ibadah.


Source: The Month of Ramadan
 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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