27 June 2014

Gambia: The Ramadan


Muslims in The Gambia will this weekend join billions around the world to commence the month-long divine task in fulfillment of one of the most revered pillars of the Islamic religion - Fasting . Like the other pillars, is fundamental in ensuring one's success in the Hereafter.

Given the enormous challenges posed by this material-dominated world of ours, in which temptations abound, the task of fasting comes with extreme difficulties. This is more so because the demands of fasting transcend praying and merely depriving oneself of food.

It requires total abstinence from food water and carnal pleasures from dawn to dusk. Backbiting, cheating and all other vices, including those that have to do with personal relationships, are strictly forbidden by the religion, but emphasis is laid on these vices even more during the fasting period. These are sinful acts that blemish the worshipers' record in the eyes of their Creator.

But there is more to Ramadan than this issue of self-deprivation or supplication to the Creator. Ramadan encourages sharing and caring among the Muslim Ummah. It provides room for the rich to get a taste of how the hungry feel, thus the practice of giving alms is commonplace during this month.

Unfortunately, however, because of the heightened demand for basic foodstuff, prices of these commodities tend to skyrocket during this sacred month. This makes the whole scenario ironical; and it sets a big question mark on the genuineness of our faith as Muslims.

Therefore, as we embrace this very important and sacred month, it is important that we, as Muslims, reflect on these points and endeavour to refrain from all dubious acts, at least until the end of the month. This is not to rule out the ideal thing, which is to continue the good deeds even after the fasting period.

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