Blessed Month of Ramadhan
Welcome to the 26th episode of the series “Blessed Month of Ramadhan”.
God grants peace of mind and tranquility of heart to the faithful. This peace of mind and tranquility of heart can be achieved via grant of service to others and resolute faith. The person, who attains these qualities via reliance upon God, becomes extremely generous and forgiving in his behaviour.
We start today’s discussion with a review of the life of the wise and prudent figure of antiquity, Loqman the Sage, who has been mentioned by God Almighty in the holy Qur’an and the 31st surah is named in his honour. He was a dark-skinned person from Yemen of probably African origin. At an early age he was kidnapped by miscreants and unjustly sold into slavery. Yet, despite the oppression he went through, he maintained a pure heart, a tranquil soul, a thoughtful mind, and a strong faith. He became well-known for his ingenuity, integrity, and intelligence. He grew into a perceptive man, always watching the animals and plants of his surroundings, and endeavoured to understand the world based on what he saw. God Almighty sent an angel to him, asking him what he preferred – kingship or wisdom. Luqman chose wisdom and was granted sagacity of a high order. Part of his life coincided with that of Prophet David. He was trustworthy and never insulted others. He spent most of his time in silence and learned lessons from the developments and events that took place. His success, wisdom and respect in society, never made him proud, and neither than any setback in life made him despaired. His excellent character and honesty made his supposed master free him.
As a divine tribulation, mishap again occurred in Luqman’s life, when a group of bandits seized him, and took him to a distant city, where no one knew him personally or by appearance, although they had heard of his proverbial wisdom. The bandits sold Loqman to a wealthy person, who forced him to carry out hard jobs. Luqman, however, never complained and even worked better than others. The wealthy person soon realized Luqman’s diligence and kindness, and started to treat him with respect, though he still did not recognize him. One day, some of Luqman’s fellow citizens happened to visit that city, immediately recognized him and informed the wealthy person about his identity. The wealthy person, who had heard of Luqman, was ashamed, apologized to him and offered a huge chunk of his wealth. He then asked Luqman why he had not introduced himself. Luqman responded that he knew well his hard work would be honored sooner or later, and if he worked hard, his hard efforts made it possible for him to realize the value of blessings, to better treat subordinates in his city, and to assist the poor and needy. Luqman pointed out: “It was hard work but I learned lessons. I entered your city, while no one knew me. Now, I have friends among you and you wealthy individual benefitted from my work, getting to know me as I was. If I had introduced myself from day one, these benefits would have never been achieved. I am grateful to God and return to my homeland with a sense of honor and dignity.”
The wealthy individual hailed Luqman and noted that his remarks were similar to the remarks of the prophets and prominent figures.
In an advice to his son, Loqman pointed out: “My dear son, the world is like a deep sea, in which many have drowned. So build your ship in this sea out of faith in God, resort to God and maintain piety. If you are saved from this sea, it is due to divine blessings, and if you sink, it is because of your sins.”
Ayah 4 Surat-al-Fath of the Holy Qur’an reads:
“It is He who sent down composure into the hearts of the faithful that they might enhance their faith. To Allah belongs the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
This ayah refers to the peace of mind, which God instill in the faithful in order to enhance their faith, clearing any doubt and fear from their hearts and souls, and enabling them to be steadfast against stormy incidents. In Qur’anic teachings, the peace of mind granted by God is a special type of blessing which is only bestowed upon the pious and devout individuals, reinforcing their faith in God.
Surah Fath and the Manifest Victory mentioned by God in this surah refers to the Treaty Hudaibiya that was inked around 7 AH by Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) when along with Muslims he headed toward Mecca to perform pilgrimage the holy Ka’ba, the symbolic House of God, but at a place called Hudaibiya he was stopped by the pagan Arabs, and obstructed from entry into Mecca. The Prophet, upon seeing the inclination of the Arabs to cause a confrontation with Muslims, proposed a truce. Some of the Muslims, who had hoped to enter Mecca, from which they had been earlier expelled, started casting doubts on the correctness of the Prophet’s decision. The Prophet, in order to strengthen the spirits of Muslims, gathered them underneath a tree and took oath of allegiance from them. The faithful complied with the Prophet’s instruction. Thereafter, God granted them peace of mind, so that the faith in God would grow stronger, because everything in the universe belongs to God. The One and Only Creator is capable of establishment of calm at the hearts and souls of the faithful and to enhance their faith in God.
Every day of the blessed month of Ramadhan is memorable for us. All of us in the company of our parents and siblings gather for Iftar and Sahari. The sound of father’s prayers, the hard efforts of mother to prepare a meal, and the scent of fresh bread grants an especially lively atmosphere. Meanwhile, keeping each other’s company in these days is more important than anything else. Years pass by, and our hearts are still warm because of these gatherings.
Physiologically, eating a meal in each other’s company has proven to be beneficial. Those, who eat a meal on their own, maintain a lesser appetite and do not consume yoghurt and salad or spices next to their meal. They are in a rush to eat so that they would be able to get back to work. This in turn lowers their output, given that they have not appropriately rested and they have not enjoyed their meal. However, eating a meal in the company of others boosts the appetite, and leads to secretion of hormones and enzymes, better digesting and absorbing the food we consume. The researches of two Canadian universities found out that the mental health of teenagers, who regularly eat dinner in the company of their family members, is better than their peers. In the Islamic culture, each one of us should share our blessings with our family members, and keep the company of our family in eating meals. Eating meals with family members, on a regular basis, reinforces familial bonds and establishes and maintains appropriate ties among family members. The Prophet of God pointed out that one of the signs of modesty of the man of the family is eating meals with family members, reminding that presence of a man next to his family is better than seclusion in a mosque for the sake of worship of God, in the view of the One and Only Creator of the universe. Whenever we eat a meal in the company of others, we chew the food slowly leading us to being full, if we control the amount of food we consume. In this case, we rest and are re-energized for carrying out our activities. Speaking when we are eating a meal causes indigestion. Nonetheless, amicable talks are pleasing and can be harmless, if we do not go into extremes. According to experts, it is better to eat a light meal, so that you would have time to chat with family members, thereafter.