Executive Director’s Ramadan Message
Assalamu alaikum Dear Community Members,
I begin by wishing you and your family and community a blessed Ramadan.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, said that Allah (SWT) said, “Every deed of an offspring of Adam’s is for themself, except for fasting – it is for Me and I give the reward for it.”
This saying of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, is an invitation to reflect on what may be unique in the worship of fasting that makes it stand out from all other worship and deeds. As we prepare for a month of Ramadan that is unique in living memory, I wanted to share with you some thoughts in this vein. I pray, amidst the challenges of the pandemic we are facing, this month of Ramadan will serve as a month of transformation and ground us to overcome this difficult time with resilience through worship, inshaAllah.
Our spiritual transformation begins with the saying of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, that whoever fasts in Ramadan out of faith and expectation of God’s reward, then God forgives their sins. Our emotional transformation is in every act of recitation remembrance with which we fill our days and nights in the month of Quran.
Our intellectual transformation is in reflecting upon the meaning of the fast and its importance. Our hunger and thirst should be reminders of the plight of the less fortunate. It is not accurate to say that we feel what the poor feel: those of us blessed by Allah (SWT) with fortune and comfort know that we have a breakfast meal to look forward to and a meal to break the fast at the time of maghrib. The needy who go hungry every day have no expectation of when the next meal is coming from; their hunger is not a matter of choice and there is no way for us to feel as they do. But we can be reminded of their need and we can be reminded of God’s blessings. And we can intend to use the blessings we’ve been given to help those who were given less.
The habitual transformation is perhaps the most important. If we understand the sayings of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, with which we started these reflections, then we should view Ramadan as a time to transform our lives. It is a time to critically examine every habit and every routine and to establish a pattern of living that is intended to continue through the year. Having a “Ramadan routine” is a good thing insofar as it reflects our commitment to this act of worship and our celebration of God’s blessing on us that He gave us this special month. But the perfection of this act of worship is when the routine is no longer limited to Ramadan but is rather a training and inculcation of practices for life. This is not limited to the ritual aspects of prayer and recitation. We should be developing habits of moderation in food and drink, habits of truthfulness and courage, habits of moral action, habits of gentle dealing with all creation, and habits that inculcate a Quranic character in every aspect of life. This might sound daunting. But Ramadan helps us break this down: We should leave each Ramadan that we experience better in some way than when we started.
For the people who fulfill the true purpose of Ramadan, the month of physical limitations becomes a month of development and habit transformation, and leads to a lifetime of dedication. A true fast is a comprehensive dedication to God unlike any other individual act of worship. It is a fast that targets not only our food and drink, but targets every part of ourselves, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, habitual, and physical.
Finally, I want to invite all of you to engage in our virtual Ramadan programs this year. It is our hope that these programs will be of benefit to every member of our community. Our theme this Ramadan is In the Shade of the Qur’an. This Ramadan, let us, as a community, focus on the source of truth and guidance – the Qur’an. By definition, shade is the coolness, shelter and comfort sought from the discomfort, heat and difficulty of being in the extreme sunlight. Therefore, our focus on the Quran is meant to be ways of finding shade within it. We invite you and your family to join us as we provide holistic programming coast to coast across the country that will inspire you spiritually and intrigue you intellectually. Lastly, I invite you to donate if you can.. At this time, many members of our community are struggling and it is my hope that we, as a community can come together to support one another through this period, inshaAllah.
Wa Salamu alaikum
Executive Director, Muslim Association of Canada