Danuska Da Gama
Ramzan in Arabic translates to ‘extreme dryness and intolerable heat’. While the idea of fasting is to practice self restraint, a period of introspection, communal prayer (salat), charity and reading the Quran are symbolic during this time that begins and ends with appearance of the new moon.
Muslims during this month fast from the time of sunrise till the sunset. They refrain from consuming food, liquid, smoking and getting physically intimate. They also have to refrain themselves from sinful acts, such as false speech, insulting, cursing, lying, and fighting, that may negate the reward of fasting. As per Islamic beliefs, Allah forgives the past sins of those who pray and fasts with faithful intentions. It is an act of spiritual purification of the mind and the body.
Significance of Roza
“Roza is very important during Ramzan. It is invisible and is known only by Allah and the person who is fasting. The indulgence one gets for observing Roza is infinite, unlike as specified for other deeds. Allah rewards all good deeds done. This is written in the Quran,” Maulana Aslam Khan, imam at Sunni Muhammadiya Masjid Taleigao explains.
Besides following the religious practices and earning indulgences, Roza impacts the lives of observers in more than one way and that includes health benefits and in renewing one’s life and making people more conscious and humane.
“Through fasting and staying away from earthly desires one becomes a good human being,” says Khan. Aslam also says that through Roza one gets immense joy while breaking fast and sharing Iftar and then finally when one meets Allah as “Allah has asked for Roza to be observed and that it is an act in reverence of him,” Khan explains.
“When one is content with life and has everything he needs, his desires and wants multiply and this sometimes lead to evil ideas and deeds. But, when you are hungry and have nothing, that is when your hunger dies and worldly and materialistic desires end and one can distinguish between good and bad and live a content and peaceful life,” he explains stating how one can be an ideal human being.
The benefits of observing Roza are numerous- including for the body. Khan says that is it is written in the scriptures, that by keep fast during Ramzan one remains healthy. “If a person even observes fast for a day to keep Allah happy, Allah blesses him with good health and he is rewarded,” he explains. The main benefit in terms of health is that it allows the body to give rest to the digestive system and revitalise it. It has proven results of how enlarged liver related problems have been resolved.
Besides, the other benefits of keeping Roza during Ramazan include passing through Al Rayyan- one of Islam’s heaven on the Day of Resurrection. The fulfilment of one’s obligations during the month is rewarded by 70 times.
Speaking about how one shouldn’t come up with excuses to keep fast, Khan tells us that majority of the Muslims keep Roza and do everything, go to work, etc. “If your intention is good, you don’t think about food and you can easily do everything,” he says. However, “it is not necessary that if one is very sick or his/her life is in danger that Roza should be kept. In such situations the person can be relieved from keeping Roza”.
Speaking about praying during Ramzan and otherwise, Khan tells us that praying five times a day is compulsory, at all times. “But during Ramzan if you do good deeds, and if you recite the Namaz, you get rewarded in plenty. And similarly if one does not perform prayers during Ramzan their punishment is also that big. Also, otherwise, if one does not pray it is a sin and the person will get punished according to Islam. And if Allah wishes he can be forgiven too,” he says.
Importance of Namaz
Prayers offered through Namaz during the day are no different from those offered otherwise. However, at night there is a special prayer called ‘Taraaweeh’ which involves performing 20 rak’ah. Rak’ah is a single unit of prayer that involves movements as well as recitals. Here, through this Taraahweeh Rak’ah a Muslim is able to complete reciting the Quran by the end of Ramzan.
Another important aspect that is to be followed is of giving Zakat, a form of alms that is followed as a religious obligation or tax, which, by Quranic ranking, is next after prayer in importance. “Here a person who earns over `25,000 to `30,000 should give 2.5 per cent of his wealth (inclusive of the value of gold and items used for business) to the poor. People follow this and uplift the poor and needy by either giving money, items of use, clothes, food, etc,” he explains, before adding that Muslims generally prefer giving Zakat during Ramzan because they are rewarded doubly by Allah.
However, Maulana Khan points out that simply performing all that has been asked for by Allah and not practising what the religion teaches is not correct. “Muslims are not allowed to fight, use foul language, rob, etc. Those who do all these are not aware about the mannerism preached in Islam,” he says before appealing to Muslims to follow Islam with due diligence.
He also acknowledges the fact that there are several people who do not follow the Quran and don’t observe Ramzan. He says that they haven’t understood the meaning of Islam and that they should turn to Allah or seek advice, as Islam is a religion that advocates how one should be a good human being and everything written has practical meaning and appropriate significance in life.