Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

The Month of Ramadan: The Month of Spiritual Renaissance

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Introduction

Allah Almighty said: “And that man can have nothing but what he strives for * And that his effort is going to be seen * Then he will be rewarded with the fullest reward.”[1]

Islam urges humans to make the most of their lifetime and seize the opportunities provided by Allah Almighty, encouraging relentless pursuit of excellence and self-improvement. Indeed, the Holy Quran points out that stagnation and inaction are regressions, as clarified in Surah Al-Asr: “Indeed, mankind is in loss,”[2] “except for those who believe, do righteous deeds, and advise each other to truth and patience.” The noble Hadith reinforces this, stating: “He who finds his two days equal (in productivity) is at a loss.”[3]

Islam motivates us to continue advancing and evolving, constantly striving for positive change toward the better, the best, and completeness. The Holy Quran considers the journey of self-improvement intrinsic to human nature, requiring effort, toil, and perseverance until one meets Allah Almighty:

“O human, indeed you are laboring towards your Lord with [great] labor and will meet Him.”[4]

Humans must understand that their completion is bound to diligence, effort, and avoiding laziness, weakness, and negligence. Their journey towards perfection and elevation should align with the divine objectives, roles, and functions set by God’s care, benefiting themselves in this world and the hereafter, where they will receive the fullest reward.

Among the opportunities provided by Allah Almighty for humans to accelerate their journey towards perfection and elevation is the month of Ramadan, ordained by divine care to be a season during which humans receive a celestial boost, significantly magnifying the effects of their efforts and actions, propelling them from the depths to the peaks of human perfection.

Obstacles in the Path of Self-Improvement

Especially for the believer, it is crucial to recognize that despite the assistance provided by Allah in the month of Ramadan to prepare us for the hereafter with salvation and bring us closer to Him, despite the shackling of devils and their restraint from whispering into hearts, reality bears witness that obstacles still block the path to the sought-after perfection, hindering progress and development, even obstructing and possibly paralyzing movement. It is evident that we need significant effort and reflection to see this in our reality and life.

What are the most debilitating diseases to our resolve, hindering our steps, and how can they be treated?

Briefly, we present some of these obstacles as follows:

1- Succumbing to Despair

Meaning a person loses hope in the possibility of change and improvement, feeling defeated by the weakness of their will, personal flaws, and the obstacles and hardships encountered on the path to self-improvement. Naturally, given the human condition in the worldly life, struggling against one’s self, desires, and the whispers of devils, despair becomes the devil’s most effective weapon against the possibility of succeeding in self-purification. His tools are the soul’s inclination towards comfort and its contentment with familiarity, as well as the pains and difficulties faced on the path of self-improvement, which Allah has informed us about by saying: “O human, indeed you are laboring towards your Lord with [great] labor and will meet Him.”[5]

This serves as psychological preparation for humans, informing them about the difficulty of initiating change, while also mentioning other aids like the shackling of devils during the holy month, in addition to the encouragement, especially in Ramadan, by multiplying the reward, “Indeed, the month of Ramadan is a great month in which Allah doubles the good deeds, erases the bad deeds, and elevates the ranks.”[6]

And secondly: By easing the hardships of worship, especially fasting during Ramadan, where it is described as: “a [limited] number of days.”[7] This serves as a reminder to those who perceive hardship and difficulty in the worship of this noble month that they should compare these hardships and difficulties with the short duration on one hand and the significant impact and rewards on the other. Recognizing this comparison eases the hardships and difficulties and creates a motivation for action, not to mention that multiplying the effects of actions and their outcomes pulls a person out of despair regarding the possibility of making up for shortcomings and addressing what has been neglected or committed of sins, making the month a gateway through which a person obtains a certificate of safety from the consequences of past sins, as it is the month of repentance, and a training in strengthening willpower. Ramadan provides the feeling of the possibility of change and sharpens the resolve to act, so one does not retreat in the face of obstacles and hardships on the path of progress and development.

2- Self-deception

A person might be lagging behind, remaining in that state for a long time, engulfed in heedlessness that blinds their insight and disables their rational faculties from seeing the reality of their situation. They might even consider themselves on the right path without thinking of correcting their life’s direction. Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib has highlighted some of these afflictions and diseases by saying, “The drunkenness of heedlessness and self-deception is harder to recover from than the drunkenness of wine.”[8]

The self-deceived person remains stagnant in their current state and reality, not seeking to reform if they are wrong, nor to enhance if they are on the right path. Therefore, they are truly and realistically poor and needy, as Imam Al-Sadiq has said, “The self-deceived in this world are needy.”[9]

Self-deception is a severe disease that paralyzes a person’s capacities, justifies their stagnation and backwardness, and closes the windows of insight into the horizons of development, progress, and change, killing the sense of need for improvement and evolution.

Thus, Islam urges to seize the opportunity of the noble month as it imposes behaviors that deviate from what one is accustomed to in other months. It also encourages that this change should not be limited to abstaining from food and drink, but

The Prophet’s sermon came to tell Muslims that they should plan and map out a program to benefit from Ramadan, outlining many steps and stages of this program, in worship, social, and knowledge aspects.

Conclusion

Beware of Negative Change: One of the diseases we find in our present time is this systematic deviation in dealing with the month of revelation, the month of Laylat al-Qadr, and the spring of worship, turning it into a month of laziness, sleep, series, and parties of music and dance… and negative mixing… and not least of which is being for some a month of indulgence in varieties of food and drink and more than what these pages can contain.

Instead of being a month of uprising and revolution against the deviant reality, it becomes a month of revolution against positive change, a month where one walks against the path of self-improvement and elevation. Islam wants Ramadan to be a month where one triumphs in their celestial and spiritual aspect, while some turn it into a month of indulging in the pits of animalistic, materialistic tendencies. Perhaps for this reason, Allah highlighted the occasion of fasting by saying: “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which the Quran was revealed.”[10]

Narrations have mentioned that the other heavenly books were also revealed in it, aiming to draw people’s and especially Muslims’ attention to its suitability for the spiritual dimension, as an appropriate period for humans to care for their spiritual side after being engrossed in their animalistic dimension for eleven months. It is a month chosen by Allah to bestow His mercy, making it a spring of worship and a season for drawing closer to Him, a month for soulful journeys on the steed of the body in the fields of divine proximity.


[1] Surah An-Najm, verses: 39-41.Top of Form

[2] Surah Al-Asr, verse: 3.

[3] A’yan al-Shi’a.

[4] Surah Al-Inshiqaq, verse: 6.

Top of Form

[5] Surah An-Najm, verses: 39-41.

[6] Al-Amali, p. 109.

[7] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 184.

[8] Mizan al-Hikmah by Rayshahri, Vol. 2, p. 1222.

[9] Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 69, p. 319.

[10] Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 185.

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