The observance of fasting for Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam along with faith, prayercharity, and Hajj – the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. Ramadan is the month in which the Glorious Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and as such is a time of deep devotion and reverence for Muslim brothers and sisters. As we observe the Holy Month, the fast begins each day from dawn and ends at dusk, wherein we seek a cleansing of our minds and spirits through abstinence from the permissible.
Fasting in Islam is not solely refraining from eating and drinking but it extends to abstaining from selfish desires and committing harm to others. The spiritual fast is the inner fast and the physical fast is simply a representation of this. It not only fosters discipline in our devotion to the Almighty, but teaches us to value what we have and to help and empathise with those who are less fortunate.
I encourage my Muslim brothers and sisters to read the Holy Quran during this month and impart the teachings of Islam to the younger generations, that they may come to know the five pillars, and the feeling of warmth, togetherness and belonging that comes from breaking the fast as one, and reciting the Tawareeh prayer at night. May your blessings be multiplied seventy-fold during this period.
And I welcome all citizens, especially the younger generations of our beautiful country, to participate in the sentiment behind the holy month of Ramadan and share in the lessons of this blessed time. Allah states in His Glorious Quran "O you who believe fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed to those before you in order that you may attain taqwa."
Taqwa is the goal of every practicing Muslim as we seek to focus on our spiritual growth and show forgiveness, compassion and charity to our fellow man, which is a universal message of goodwill that can be appreciated by all.
The ability to ignore the physical attractions of our earthly lives for a higher purpose is an important lesson for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. For as our world becomes increasingly materialistic we must never forget that our human dignity and shared future is determined not by technology nor material wealth, but by our humanity.