Hazim Arafeh –
I express my heartiest Ramadan Mubarak to the Muslim community in New Zealand on the onset of the Holy Month.
We thank and praise Almighty Allah for offering us yet another opportunity to fast in this blessed month, perform pious duties and to receive His Mercy and Bounty.
May Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala accept our fasting and all our good deeds.
For Muslims the world over, the Holy Month of Ramadan is of very special importance.
It is observed throughout the world with all sanctity and reverence that it demands. It is a time for worship and reflection and brotherhood.
It is a month that should encourage us to have care and compassion with our fellow Muslims and Non-Muslims. It inculcates patience, perseverance and everything good.
As our beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “The Holy Month belongs to Almighty Allah.” Ramadan is the time when Muslims – even as we continue with our daily routines – strive to become even better by strengthening our faith, carrying out more deeds of social responsibility and expressing gratitude to the Almighty for every blessing that we have received.
About fasting, our Glorious Holy Quran says: “God wills that you have ease; and does not
will you to suffer hardship” (Chapter 2: Verses 183-188). Therefore, abstaining from food and other worldly pleasures is not meant to be a burden upon Muslims.
Beyond that, we should concentrate our attention to other dimensions of human development. During this month, Muslims celebrate life with intense supplication so that they may rejoice in this world and the hereafter.
The Holy month of Ramadan is also about doing good work for society.
Helping the Poor
Muslims are enjoined to do good to others.
In fact, the Holy Quran specifically mentioned that people, Muslims or otherwise, should compete in doing good work. Helping the poor and indigent, bringing relief to the needy and orphans, providing safety for the weak members of society are but few examples of good work.
The Holy Quran states that those who do more good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan, will receive more rewards than usual. Almighty Allah has also promised His mercy, forgiveness and the saving from hellfire to all Muslims as a reward for fasting in Ramadhan. Our Beloved Prophet has also been quoted in a Hadith as saying “He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadhan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven” (Bukhari and Muslim).
As the end of the Holy Month, the first day of Shawaal is celebrated as Eid Al Fitr, which is one of the two main festivals of Islam. The other is Eid Al Adha (celebrated at the end of Hajj Season).
These two festivals are celebrated by all Muslims throughout the world.
The significance of Eid Al Fitr is that it is a day of ‘Thanksgiving’ to Almighty Allah for the opportunity given to Muslims to serve Him and the society. It is celebrated as the culmination of a month of devotion, sacrifice and sharing with others in the hope that Ramadan has inscribed principles that will strengthen our efforts to the end.
Let us seek Allah’s guidance to lead us on the right path, the path of peace and brotherhood. Let us once again pray that during the Holy Month of Ramadan, a sincere effort will be made by all Muslims to come closer together and closer to God through fasting, prayers, Zakat and charity.
Hazim Arafeh is President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.