Yesterday, Muslims celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr festival. Also known as the "Lesser Eid" or "Festival of Breaking the Fast," it commemorates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
It is an occasion for special prayers, family visits, feasting, gift-giving and charity. It is said that the religious festival begins on the evening of the day Ramadan ends, meaning that in Ghana, for example, the festival began on Wednesday evening.
Also, Muslims can continue the jubilations beyond the day the main celebration of the festival is held.
The Ghanaian Times is happy that Muslims in the country in particular and others elsewhere have been able to go through the month of Ramadan amid both the physical and spiritual challenges they had to endure.
Therefore, the paper wishes to congratulate Muslims on ending the Ramadan journey.
Ramadan or the Muslim month-long fast, known as sawm, is very important as the fourth pillar of Islam. It has both physical and spiritual benefits.
Physically and health-wise, it, for instance, boosts cognitive performance; protects people from obesity and associated chronic diseases; reduces inflammation; improves overall fitness; supports weight loss; and decreases the risk of metabolic diseases.
Spiritually, sawm is to develop the quality of righteousness (taqwa) of the faithful by abstaining from sinful deeds and training themselves to control bad harmful desires.
The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to Allah and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. Ramadan is a time to detach self from worldly pleasures and focus on one's inner self.
It is also important to study the Qur'an along with a translation, as Allah has ordered.
It's seen as a way to physically and spiritually purify the self, refraining from unproductive habits.
While once again congratulating Muslims on enduring the fast and now jubilating by way of celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, the Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to all Muslims to continuously remember the benefits of sawm and harness such benefits for self-improvement and national development.
Most often, religious adherents, not only Muslims but also others like Christians, dedicate themselves to observing certain practices and rites at their appropriate times but abandon the related responsibilities some of which come as benefits at the time of the observance of the rites or practices.
One, and, of course, the greatest spiritual benefit of sawm or fast is to develop the quality of righteousness (taqwa) of the faithful by abstaining from sinful deeds and training themselves to control bad harmful desires.
This should be viewed as an enjoinment because it is not something we adhere to for just a month and do our own thing for eleven months after which another Ramadan would come.
Therefore, the Ghanaian Times expects spiritual growth among Muslims, especially the youth, which should prompt them to avoid violent acts and all manner of indiscipline and lawlessness, which, unfortunately, are associated with them. The paper encourages these youth to uphold peace and calm.
Ghana can really develop in an environment of peace, tranquility, and law and order, and Muslims and all other religious adherents must play a key role to achieve the desired level of development of our dear nation.
Barka da Salla to all Muslims on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr!!