O you who believe! Observing al-sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious). (Qur’an al-Baqarah 2:183)
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim calender. The month of Ramadan is to pure ourselves physically and spiritually. Fasting is obligatory upon all Muslims who have reached the age of maturity. Ramadan is a holy month, which is full of divine blessings and mercy. This month is a gift from Allah (the creater of all creatures) to the followers of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Therefore, we should value this gift that comes along once a year. We Muslims should show more gratitude and gratefullness to Allah s.w.t in this month.
Physically, we are encouraged to fast the VOLUNTARY fast in the months of Rejab and Syaaban. Allah has given us the opportunity to the highest degree reward if we fast during the months of Rejab and Syaaban two months before Ramadan. It has been reported that Rasulullah s.a.w had fasted for the whole month of Rejab, Syaaban and Ramadan, three consecutive months. If we are not able to fast during the months of Rejab and Syaaban, there are those who fast three days each month and fast the whole month of Ramdan. In fact, by fasting in the months of Rejab and Syaaban we are training ourselves to fast before going through the fasting month of Ramadan; we are actually preparing our physical self to face the one month fast of Ramadan.
In the month of Ramdan we cleanse our soul and our heart from every bad intention. In addition, in this holy month we Muslims correct our perception so that we can follow with the teachings of Islam. It is our heart that Allah s.w.t looks at, not our expensive clothing or our physical beauty. The heart is where our Iman (faith) lies. If our heart is pure, our faith will shine over us. If our heart is impure, it may be difficult for us to receive guidance and accept Islamic teachings.
To purify our heart and to prepare ourselves to face the month of Ramadan with complete faith and hope in Allah (swt), we have to improve our behavior by not acting arrogant, stingy, proud, and by feeling that we are better that others, etc. These inappropriate characters are the one that can impure our heart.
Inaddition, we have to avoid all forms of immorality, doesn’t matter if it is minor or major immoral behavior. Alhamdulillah, we have been prevented by Allah (swt) from performing major immoral behaviors like stealing, killing, drinking alcohol, gambling and others. On the other hand, we have to avoid committing minor sins. These are the few minor sins that we commit involuntarily. Immorality of the ears includes listening to backbiting, gossips, and disparageing others, music that is forbidden and songs that use bad language will make you forget your concentration. Have we taken care of our mouth and tongue from immorality? Mostly human beings commit sins by there tongue. This includes talking about others, backbiting, slandering, and lying with the intention of making the story more interesting to others, criticizing, cursing and so forth. We have to try to prevent ourselves from doing all this. Among all the major sins committed, it is the sin by eyes where one looks at their opposite sex with a desire. For example when men look at women who are not mehram is comitting a sin. Rasulullah s.a.w has reminded his followers that among the causes of people being thrown into hell fire is, because they do not take care of their sight. We need to lower our gaze and not steal glances, looking at women that are being exposed around us. Allah s.w.t has stated in surah An-Nur, verse 30: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and to protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer from them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.”