Ramadan can be a major power for transforming you spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically—that’s if you really grasp the message and the purpose of this month.
Some of us enter into Ramadan and come out of it while nothing have changed in us, whereas Allah Almighty made this period a period of purification, elevation and rearrangement of one’s life to the better.
Allah (subhanau wa ta’ala) says in the Noble Qur’an (as translated into English):
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may [gain taqwa]”
(Qur’an 2: 183)
We all read this verse in Surat Al Baqarah and we know it by heart even. But we hardly contemplate on the meaning of taqwa…
So, what is taqwa?
Taqwa in a nutshell is to be so conscious of Allah that you follow His commands and refrain from His prohibitions out of love and fear and consciousness of Him.
Think about it… in Ramadan, you might wake up in the morning alone at home and walk into your kitchen and see all the dishes that you like, but you won’t touch them! You might be hungry and thirsty and what you want is right in front of you and nobody sees you, but you won’t actually touch anything or break your fast because you know Allah sees you. So this consciousness of Allah determined your actions. This consciousness of Allah is what made you stop from doing something that is halal only because Allah prohibited it for a certain period, and this consciousness of Allah that we should develop and practice in Ramadan should last us the rest of the year to stop us also from doing what’s haram because Allah prohibited it.
We elevate when we beat our desires and become stronger than our desires, control them and use them in the right time and place. Allah doesn’t want to prevent us from food and drink and other physical desires. He created them and He wants us to enjoy them, but not to be enslaved by them. We are spiritual and intellectual beings, we’re not just physical beings, and we’re not animals that act on their desires instantly.
Training ourselves to restrain our desires for a period of time for the pleasure of Allah and the purifications of our soul, help us attain taqwa. While fasting, we control the basic physical desires (food, drink, sexual intercourse) to gain spiritual strength. We weaken the physical being to strengthen the spiritual being. We do that by always thinking about Allah (i.e. being God-conscious). Whenever we see certain things that are prohibited during the fast we remember Allah and refrain from transgressing or breaking the commitment of fasting… this helps us become mutaqeen (become people of taqwa, i.e. God consciousness). So, controlling our desires instead of following them blindly or being enslaved by them is something that is elevated and rewarded by the Creator Allah Almighty.
When we do that we become guided because guidance is to follow what is right and leave what is wrong for the sake of Allah and for His Pleasure and pursuit of His Closeness.
Only those who have taqwa are going to be the guided ones, as Allah Almighty says:
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah [Al Mutaqeen] – Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.”
(Qur’an 2: 2-5)
So, taqwa is something in the heart and mind that also result in actions, it determines your action and when your actions are determined by what Allah says and what He wants not what your own self desires, then this is guidance.
In Ramadan, we’re fasting and controlling the physical body, BUT we’re empowering the intellectual being and spiritual being by reading and contemplating on the Book of Allah that was revealed from above Seven Heavens. This Book explains us and explains reality and the nature of this life and tells us what is success and what is failure and what is happiness and what is misery and why we’re here and how we can get the best in this life and the next… This strong reminder then changes our perspective and leads us to righteous actions…. And this is guidance.
You’ll find that Allah Almighty says regarding the fasting and Ramadan:
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
(Qur’an 2: 185)
So, subhanAllah, this is a period of reflection and self-purification and improvement based on what Allah instructs, Him being the All Knowing, All Wise, Knower of the Seen and Unseen, Owner of the Day of Judgment, when we better ourselves based on His teachings, we become guided to The Truth and to what He intended for this life He created for us.
Beautifully also Allah says
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.”
(Qur’an 2: 186)
We all make dua (supplications asking Allah to respond to our needs), and Allah responds in His beautiful wise ways. In this verse, Allah reminds us that He also calls us to obedience, righteousness, taqwa and He sends us many signs… and we need to respond to His calls if we want to be guided.
Truly beautiful and deep experience between the Creator and the human beings He created. We call upon Him and He hears us, and He calls us to guide us and purify us and elevate us and grant us the eternal rewards He has prepared for those who actualize their purpose in life.
Throughout the Qur’an, Allah Almighty shows us the rewards of taqwa, for example:
“Indeed, Allah loves al-mutaqeen.”
(Qur’an 3: 76)
“Indeed, al-mutaqeen will be in a secure place.”
(Qur’an 44: 51)
“Indeed, al-mutaqeen will be among gardens and springs.”
(Qur’an 51: 15)
“Indeed, al-mutaqeen will be among gardens and rivers.”
(Qur’an 54: 54)
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for [al mutaqeen]”
(Qur’an 3: 133)
“Indeed, the [mutaqeen] will be among shades and springs. And fruits from whatever they desire, [Being told], “Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you used to do.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.
(Qur’an 77: 41-44)
“Unquestionably, [for] the allies of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and were [mutaqoon]. For them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. No change is there in the words of Allah. That is what is the great attainment.”
(Qur’an 10: 62-64)
“And whoever fears Allah (have tawa) – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.”
(Qur’an 65: 2-3)
“…and whoever fears Allah (have taqwa) – He will remove for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward.”
(Qur’an 65: 5)
“Indeed, he who [has taqwa] and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.”
(Qur’an 12: 90)
“That home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for [al mutaqeen].”
(Qur’an 28: 83)
“Gardens of perpetual residence, which they will enter, beneath which rivers flow. They will have therein whatever they wish. Thus does Allah reward [al mutaqeen]”
(Qur’an 16: 31)
So, we ask Allah to grant us taqwa and make us among al mutaqeen!
This Ramadan, make sure you come out of it transformed as a person. Increase in taqwa, fulfill the commands of Allah, and refrain from what’s harmful. Make a list of things that you know are not pleasing to Him, and start working on them and leave what is wrong and harmful for the sake of Allah, and when you do, Ramdan will really be a rich experience and a turning point in your life.