The blessed month of Ramadan is round the corner. We will be reciting Qur’an more and more in this month. Some of us will read a big portion of it on a daily basis and will “finish” the Qur’an many times over. When, however, I hear someone saying that he “finished” one Qur’an or two in Ramadan, for instance, I wonder what he did. If we had finished only one juz’ (understood and implemented according to the spirit of the Qur’an and the age) – not in a month but in a few decades – we would not have been where we currently are. If only few among us had truly memorized it we would be ahead of the rest of the nations.
Again we will discuss the things that break the fast (and of course we should know them). Again we will debate whether eight or twenty rak‘aat of Taraaweeh. I wonder if we can do it a bit differently this time. If we could take this Ramadan as a time for self-assessment. Could we also try to find out how much have the Muslims positively contributed to the development of the world and to the total fund of knowledge and human experiences during this whole year? Let us see how many proposals we have come up with for starting a new University during this entire one year.
We may try finding out what should we expect from the fasting apart from the fact that we need to realize how the hungry and the thirsty feel? I am sure that fasting will remain obligatory even if a time comes that there are no hungry and no thirsty! Also, we get the taste of hunger and thirst in just one day. It does not require a whole month. But the need for self-disciplining and God-consciousness (taqwaa) will always be there. And the self-disciplining requires longer duration.
How much we have understood the implications of taqwaa – the avowed objective of fasting (2: 183)? How much we have understood these concepts in the understandable, relatable and applicable terms? What does taqwaa mean for the teachers and students of Strategic Management and Data Communications, just as an example? What does taqwaa mean for a scientist and the CEO of a company?
How much we have become time conscious – learning it from the month of Ramadan wherein we count the minutes and observe given schedules – strictly? Have our functions and classes begun and ended on time in this entire one year after the last Ramadan? Have we set a good example in observation of timings for the rest of the nations and the peoples? If we haven’t, are there any people more observant of timings than we are? Can we learn something from them? How are they managing it which we are not able to (and for which we come up with numberless excuses) – in this time and age?
Have we become a bit more tolerant in the past one year or there isn’t much difference? Have we responded more rationally and less emotionally to various incidents – locally and internationally? If we have responded more emotionally and less rationally then the self-discipline which Ramadan sought to teach has not been truly learnt. Let us make a chart of our achievements. Let us see the graph in a comparative manner – year after year. Let us do that at least once in a year – as different from doing so more frequently.
How was the Prophet’s (pbuh) Ramadan? Was it matter-of-factly as it is ours or between one Ramadan and another there was a significant difference in the society? We do not go back to the methodology of the Prophet (pbuh) with a view to learn from him. No matter how many times we invoke his name we still remain where we have been. While we are continuing with the words the meanings are lost. We are continuing with the commands and the spirit is missing.
There is a need to analyze the situation and to take this analysis to the logical conclusions. In my humble view if we analyze the situation we will find that there is a problem with the exposition of Islam and its ideals. Our atomistic thinking as opposed to the holistic approach is the problem. We do not worry to see the full picture. And anything less than the full picture is a distortion. Farther from truth.
We are obligated for “stocktaking”. Without this stocktaking of ourselves the reckoning will be excruciating. The signs are already visible. Look at the reckoning (read screening) at the airports. Our friends know it better and more.