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  2. 2. TOPIC: THE ROLE OF THE FASTING MONTH IN THEFORMATION OF OUR GOOD CHARACTERINTRODUCTION:First of all, Ramadan is a month of obligatory daily fasting in Islam is the ninth month in the Islamic lunarcalendar. Daily fasts begin at dawn and end with sunset. and it’s has a great implication’s in ones life,building good character in the light of Ramadan is consistent for a Muslim, Islamic character is divinecharacter. It is to treat others with the same generosity and charity as the Almighty Allah shows to man.Islam has set the norms in this pattern by saying "If you are merciful, forgiving and magnanimous, God isthe forgiving, the merciful. That is to say that we are supposed to adopt a posture similar to Gods in ourdealings with others. Allah forgives people their mistakes and does not deprive them of His merciesbecause of their errors.Objective of Fasting or role of fasting in the formation of one’s character:Most of the time multiple questions are asked like:Is fasting just about having sins forgiven and getting rewards multiplied in the Hereafter? What aboutthe problems of life here in this world? Is fasting just a ritual or does it have some other significance?Modern Islamic scholars draw attention to the physical and spiritual benefits of fasting. But sincephysical and medical benefits of fasting accrue to anyone who fasts, regardless of ones faith in God,it is obvious that the physical and medical benefits are not the primary purpose of fasting in Islam.What about spiritual benefits? Since different religions have different concepts of spirituality, whatdoes spirituality mean in Islam and how can it be developed through fasting? The proponents of otherreligions, including many Muslims, claim that spirituality is an individual and subjective experience.How then can one know that ones spiritual development is taking place due to fasting? In addition,would a Hindus or a Buddhists spiritual development, due to fasting, be as significant as aMuslims? In fact, Buddhist monks and Hindu saints go through much more rigorous rituals thanMuslims. Does this mean that their spiritual development is of a higher level? Obviously, no Islamicscholar would be prepared to accept this.According to the Quran, every Muslim (who can) must fast in the month of Ramadan 2:183-185.And fasting has to be done collectively at the community level. Unlike a Buddhist monk or a Hindusaint, a Muslim does not have to go to a mountain or a forest retreat to develop their spiritualitythrough fasting and prayer. Moreover, it is not necessary for this type of retreat-based, solitaryspiritual development to be done in Ramadan. That can be done in any month. This shows that aMuslim cannot advocate a spirituality that is based on individual and subjective experience.Therefore, in Islam, individual and subjective spiritual development is not the purpose of fasting inthe month of Ramadan.Since the Quran prescribed fasting specifically in the month of Ramadan, it is important to know the
  3. 3. significance of this special time. A special feature of the Quran is that whenever it gives a commandfor action, it also provides the wisdom behind it. It tells what the final result of that action will be inthis world, if it is successfully carried out. In this way the Quran provides a pragmatic test for peopleto see whether or not they are moving toward that desired result. Regarding fasting, the Quran says:O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may(learn) self-restraint . [al-Baqarah 2:183] Translation: Yusuf AliRamadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear(Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present(at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, theprescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does notwant to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Himin that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. [al-Baqarah 2:185] Translation: YusufAliIn the above verses, three results of fasting in Ramadan have been mentioned:1) Taqwaa : learning self-restraint2) Takbir : glorifying Allah Almighty because of being guided3) Shukra : being grateful .The highest standard of Islamic character entails helpfulness and benevolence towards others. The veryexistence of a believer is beneficial to others since Islam teaches the lowest branch of belief is removingthe disturbance from the way. So the believer passing through a way is useful to others. His words areuseful to every one. Because Islam has taught "whoever believe in Allah and the life here after, let himtell good things to keep quiet." Patience is another ingredient which makes the believers charactercommendable and appreciable. It has been taught that patience is one half of faith. Marvellous examplesof patience on various occasions can be drawn from the life of the Prophet (pbuh). Islamic ethics andmoral as stated in the Holy Quran and Sunnah embrace the consideration of all those moral excellenciesknown to the world, such as sincerity, honesty, humility, justice, patience, straightforwardness, keepingpromise, charity, meekness, politeness, forgiveness, goodness, courage, veracity, sympathy, tolerance,decency, cooperation and other ethical instruments and rules of conduct recommended and upheld byIslam. A luminous feature of Islamic system of life is that it teaches comprehensive manners to allmankind with mercy, sympathy and consideration. The first among the deeds which tops the list of goodmanners is to speak the truth and be steadfast in it regardless of its consequences. The Prophet teaches:"The best of crusades is to speak the truth before a tyrant ruler. Speak the truth no matter how bitter itmay be. Keep away from ill thinking because ill thinking is the greatest falsehood.Muslim today aremostly influenced by the media,all the media does was to destroy the real image of islam and to corrupt
  4. 4. people’s mind,and a good muslim with has good character should have these qualities or infact acquirethem.these are:1. Truthfulness:"O you who believe! keep your duty to Allah and speak straight, true words." (Holy Quran 33:70)"O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful people." (9:119)"Be maintainers of justice and bearers of true witness for Allah, even if it (the truth) goes against yourown selves or parents or relatives or someone who is rich or poor." (4:135)2. Sincerity:A good muslim has to be sincere ,like it was stated in the holy quran in the following verses"Serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience." (39:2)"It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you do not do." (61:3)"Woe to those who pray but are unmindful of their prayers, who do good to be seen." (107:4-6)3. Unselfishness:Most muslims today are selfish,they think only about themselves and forget about others but in islam asit’s stated in the following verses:"You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend (in charity) out of those things which you love."(3:91)"They (the true believers) give food, out of love for Allah, to the poor, the orphan and the slave, saying:We feed you only for Allahs pleasure - we desire from you neither reward nor thanks." (76:8-9)"Do no favour seeking gain." (74:6)And many more , By prohibiting jealous, backbiting, falsehood, wickedness and all other harmful thingsIslam arrange the ground steady for emulating divine principles of Islamic character which provide apeaceful living in this world and the hereafter. The major criterion in Islamic living is the eternal words ofThe Prophet (pbuh) that Actions always rest on motives. Good Manners mean the commission of thosevirtuous deeds by which human perfection is achieved which entitles a human being, in its true senses tobe referred to as the best of creation. The effect of adopting these manners, propounded by Islam is thatmankind receives tranquility, peace, harmony, happiness, love, affection, justice, equality and whatever ahuman being desire for a healthy and peaceful living. It is remarkable here to state that all these teachingsare formed considering the responsibility entrusted upon human beings. It is clearly mentioned that Man
  5. 5. has a dual responsibility to perform. One is in relation to himself and his obligations to the Creator, theother one is in relation to his external world and commitments to the creatures and fellow beings. Theformer has to express in a process of self-development, physical, intellectual and spiritual. In other words,mans responsibility is to invite to God, so to say, exercise His right to dwell in the individual and urgehim to use properly the balance set in his nature. The idea is in conformity with the Quranic exhortation."O you who believed if you help (the cause of) God, He will help you and set your feet firm" (Al-Quran 47:7).The other responsibility lies in developing social consciousness and in caring for the welfare of others.The two terms may as well be styled as "Obligations to ones self" and "obligations to society." The twotypes of responsibilities are not to be regarded as exclusive. They are merely two faces of one and thesame attitude towards life, of the same activity proceeding from it and signify the character of the mindone has to develop. It is this mind which matters in determining responsibility for every human action.CONCLUSION: Fasting is a means to becoming Muttaqi. No doubt, fasting has health and spiritualbenefits, but we must never lose sight of the main goal of fasting. Ramadan provides an environment forour collective training and development of character. Muslims are required to emulate and display, yearlong, the qualities laid down by the above verses as a result of fasting in the month of Ramadan. Sincecharacter building is a hard, long, continuous process, Ramadan is repeated every year as a reminder andre-enforcer. We must judge our accomplishments by the standards laid down by the Quran.Reference: SAHIH AL-BUKHARI, RAMDAN BAB SAYID QUTUB HIS BOOK “THIS IS RELIGION”