Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
1 May 2020M / 8 Ramadan 1441H
Ramadan: The Month of Self Refinement
Blessed brothers in faith,
Let us continue to have taqwa in Allah s.w.t. by striving to obey all His commands and avoid all His prohibitions. It has been a week since we welcomed the holy month of Ramadan. It has been a week of having to undergo an unprecedented experience – namely having to conduct our ritual acts of Ramadan only at home with our families. Nonetheless, I hope that this does not lessen the value of our worship and prevent us from striving to perform it to the best of our abilities in this blessed month.
The blessings that Allah s.w.t. has bestowed upon us remain infinite and innumerable, and we should continuously express our gratitude to Him. Devoting ourselves to the One God is a sign of our gratefulness. It is not that Allah s.w.t. is in need of our gratitude; nor will He become weak, or at a loss, or become poor if we do not submit to Him. His power and wealth are sublime. He does not need us. Rather, it is we, fragile human beings who are in need of Allah’s mercy and benevolence.
Therefore, my brothers, devote yourselves in worship sincerely and with utmost effort to Allah s.w.t. as a sign of our gratitude to all His blessings. This expression of gratitude is for our own needs and good. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah Luqman, verse 12:
Meaning: “And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], "Be grateful to Allah." And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favour] - then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.”
Allah has chosen Ramadan to be a month of blessings and virtue, and for us to spend our time in the many forms of worship. In Islam, there are two forms of worship. The first is a worship that is specific in nature, which conditions, times and methods of performing it have been ordained. This type of worship includes prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, zakat and so on. The other type of worship is general in nature, whereby any action we take in our daily lives is to be aligned with what He wants and permits. This is so that Allah s.w.t. will be pleased with us. This includes working, trading, seeking knowledge, getting married, taking care of our families, protecting the public well-being, being good to neighbours, helping the less fortunate, preserving ties of kinship, exercising good hygiene and health habits and others. All these acts form part of our worship to Him, if we perform them sincerely and according to the rules set by Allah s.w.t.
My brothers, it is therefore of utmost importance for us to realise that while we are fasting in Ramadan, we should not assume that our worship is only about refraining from eating and drinking, or solely about performing tarawih and witr prayers, or waking up for sahur and breaking our fast, or it is only about attending Quranic recitation groups or praying the night prayers. Rather, the whole month of Ramadan is a platform for us to perform the many acts of worship. Our days and nights, us waking up and sleeping, our speech and quietude, our hunger and satiety – all of these should form part of our worship. We must abide by all of Allah’s laws, which as mentioned earlier, are not limited only to specific acts of worship.
And we can achieve this if we want to nurture our souls to be purified from sin. Let us not allow our souls to be hardened with the sins committed as a result of our indifference to them. So let us seize this opportunity in this month of forgiveness, to repent to Allah s.w.t. and continuously ask Him to forgive us. Let us not allow our souls to drown in greed and self-centredness. Let us adorn this month of mercy by offering our services to those in need. And let us not despair from Allah’s love. Instead, take this chance to continue to think good of Him, to increase in our supplications to Him with the full conviction that He will not leave us without His provision and protection. Let us take this opportunity of Ramadan, the month of al-Quran, by being close to the book of Allah, reading its verses and contemplating their meanings.
It is very fortunate if we are able to perform these acts that will purify and refine our souls throughout this Ramadan. Listen to this verse in Surah As-Shams, verses 7-10:
Meaning: “And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness. He has succeeded who purifies it. And he has failed who instils it [with corruption].”
Come, brothers! Let us liven our Ramadan with this awareness and sincere reflections as intended by Allah, the One who gifted us with this blessed month. We are still left with many more days for us to adorn the month with our acts of worship. May Allah s.w.t. grant us His taufiq so that we may taste the sweetness of our faith and gratitude and experience the pleasure of worshipping Allah this Ramadan. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.