Ramadan: A Month for Reflection and Character Building

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: (2:183) [Asad]

How to attain Taqwa? By adhering to commands of Allah in our daily lives and in our dealings with others. These are simple commands but are hard to practice. Being humans, we succumb to different kinds of temptations that weaken our resolve to practice these commands. We all know the harmful effects of loose tongue, jealousy, envy, self-promotion, self-interests, and rat-race. How to avoid these? How to build our character and strengthen our spiritual self? What could be a better way than to make a sincere effort to reflect upon and practice Allah’s commands? What could be a better month than Ramadan for achieving this?  Let us resolve with all our hearts to imbibe these values in our lives. Why wait for tomorrow that may never come? Here are some of the important commands that we should focus on:

فَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ الْهَوَى

So follow not the lusts (of your hearts). (4:135) [Hilali & Khan]

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب

And do not spy upon one another, and neither allow your­selves to speak ill of one another behind your backs. (49:12) [Asad]

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَوْفُواْ بِالْعُقُودِ

O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. (5:1) [Hilali & Khan]

وَلاَ تَكْتُمُواْ الشَّهَادَةَ

And conceal not evidence. (2:283) [Yusuf Ali]

وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا

And speak words straight to the point (33:70) [Picthall]

وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّورِ

And shun every word that is untrue. (22:30) [Asad]

وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُواْ

Whenever ye speak, speak justly. (6:152) [Yusuf Ali]

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ

And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom. (28:55) [Yusuf Ali]

وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ

And do not commit any shameful deeds, be they open or secret. (6:151) [Asad]

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who have attained to faith! Why do you say one thing and do another? (61:2) [Asad]

وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ

And neither shall you defame one another, nor insult one another by [opprobrious] epithets. (49:11) [Asad]

أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ


O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible). (49:12) [Yusuf Ali]

وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِّمَّا عَمِلُوا

And for all there will be ranks from what they do. (46:19) [Picthall]

أَلَّا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى

That no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden. (53:38) [Asad]

وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاخْتَلَفُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment. (3:105) [Hilali & Khan]

تِلْكَ أُمَّةٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبْتُمْ وَلاَ تُسْأَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which ye earn. And ye will not be asked of what they used to do. (2:134) [Picthall]

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئاً وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ

When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah hath revealed:" They say: "Nay! We shall follow the ways of our fathers." What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance? (2:170) [Yusuf Ali]

وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِين مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُون  َAnd be not of Al-Mushrikun. Of those who split up their religion and became sects, each sect rejoicing in that which is with it. (30:31-32) [Hilali & Khan]

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُواْ دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُواْ شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ

As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you (O Muhammad) have no part in them in the least. (6:159) [Yusuf Ali]

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ

And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and be not divided among yourselves. (3:103) [Hilali & Khan]

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ

Now, indeed, We have conferred dignity on the children of Adam (17:70) [Asad]

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (49:13) [Picthall]

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. (3:110) [Picthall]

If we honestly search our hearts, we are left with no choice but to admit that we are far away from being a cohesive community anywhere on the planet, let alone the best community for mankind. The first prerequisite for becoming a good community is to practice the above commands that will provide the glue to bind us together. Just as the physical gravity maintains the unity and balance of the Universe, the spiritual gravity provided by Allah’s commands in the Qur’an will maintain our unity and balance. This is the only way we can become the best community raised up for mankind.

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