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Practising self-restraint

columns Updated: Aug 09, 2013 02:14 IST
Hasan Khurshid

The celebration of Eid ul-Fitr culminates a month of fasting. It falls on the first day of Shawwal, the month which follows Ramzan in the Islamic calendar. It is the time to give charity to the needy, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy.

During the last few days of Ramzan, each Muslim family gives donations to the poor. It could be food that ensures that the needy can have meal and participate in the celebration.

Mahatma Gandhi had said, “There are limits of self-indulgence, none to self-restraint”. In Islam, the holy month of Ramzan has been prescribed for an exercise of creating ‘self-restraint’ among the faithful, so that they live a peaceful, dignified life by developing the excellence of behaviour.

The philosophy behind this month-long exercise is to attain ‘righteousness’, through introspection and all-round behavioural control.In the Quran, Allah dictates, “And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourself to perdition with your own hands."

He makes it clear, “He loves those who purify themselves.”

Apparently, it is presumed that the month of Ramzan is marked for fasting during the day and feasting in the night. It is not that. During the fast, one is bound to observe all precautions and guard against the evil.

Gandhi used to recite the hymn, “Vaishnav jan tou tey nai kahiye jo peerh paraiye jaane rai.”

The spirit of Ramzan is, therefore, to promote fellow-feeling and peaceful living through the medium of restraint. Allah in Quran, warns, “So, he who has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it; and he who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it (on the day of judgement).

Someone asked Hazrat Ali, “How do we know that God accepted our prayer during Ramzan?”

Hazrat Ali replied, “If between the sighting of moon of Ramzan and the sighting of moon of Eid, you have noticed change in yourself, your prayers were accepted.”