A week after Eid al-Fitr, on 25 July, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind organised an Eid Get-Together Programme at its headquarters in New Delhi. Besides important dignitaries and representatives of Muslim organisations, some leaders of Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism and Jainism were present in the programme. Some foreign diplomats also made their presence therein. The English translation of the lecture delivered by Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Omari, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, is being presented here:
On this festive occasion, I congratulate the Muslim brethren from the core of my heart as well as on my behalf as well as on behalf of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind on their being able, with the Grace of Allah the Exalted, to fast in the month of Ramadhan and get benefited with its blessings as much as feasible. I pray to Allah that they get this opportunity in the future as well. I also extend my thanks to all my countrymen, diplomats of different countries and renowned personalities who have joined us on this occasion. Hope we will get such occasions in the future too. I hope it would make our relationships better.
Nowadays there is political zeal everywhere. It also gets pre-eminence in Eid Get-Togethers and Iftar parties. Quite contrary to it, I want to present something on Ramadhan and Fasting. Ramadhan is the month of Islamic training. If we get this training in the proper manner, its effects will remain intact at least until the next Ramadhan. If one ponders over the schedule of Ramadhan and Fasting, he can understand to a great extent the teachings of Islam, its system of Tarbiyah and its spirit, and most of his misapprehensions about Islam can vanish into thin air.
The Qur’ān says about Fasting that Allah enjoined all His Prophets about it and it was practised in their respective Shariahs. It brings its significance into limelight. The purpose of Fasting, most likely, is to create a sense of Taqwa (piety).
Taqwa means to act upon the commandments of Allah and to keep from His disobedience. Thereby man will earn the pleasure of Allah and will be spared from His wrath. Taqwa is the spirit of entire Deen; it strengthens one’s relationship with Allah. It creates passion for acting upon the Deen of Allah and enables man to lead a better life in the world. It is hoped that he will deserve salvation in the Hereafter as well. In this regard, the activities performed in Ramadhan are as follows:
- To create Taqwa and strengthen one’s relationship with Allah, efforts are made to perform Ibadah more and more. Besides the Fard (obligatory) prayers, Nafl (supererogatory) prayers are offered. With this purpose, special arrangements are made to offer Taraweeh. Therein one seeks forgiveness for his misdoings and pledges to lead a better life.
- The Qur’ān was revealed in Ramadhan; so it is recited more and more in this month and efforts are made to understand it. One feels the urge to act upon the Sirat al-Mustaqueem (the Straight Path) that it has shown. One gets acquainted with the guidance it has provided in Ibadah, in manners, in social norms, in economy and in law and politics. It has declared it as the responsibility of Muslim Ummah to make the world aware of it and strive one’s best for it.
- During fast, the period from dawn to the sunset covers a long span of time. During this period, it is forbidden to eat, drink and fulfil one’s sexual urge. It is ordained that even halal (permissible) things should be used only when they are allowed to and one should keep from using it when it is forbidden. If one exercises control thus over hunger and thirst as per the guidance of Allah the Exalted, it effects control over economy and the spirit of following the commandments of Allah is created, and the urge to earn money by foul means and spend it as per one’s wish gets weakened and the entire economy starts running in the right direction.
Likewise, if one gets control over sexual urge, many social ills can be tackled. Excesses against women, rising incidents of rape, abortion, illicit relationships, and the killing spree in our country and in the entire world can be contained. But for, even the idea of a pious society is difficult.
While fasting, one is enjoined to keep from many other ethical weaknesses and to promote high standard of manners. In a hadīth the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) says: When it is a day of fast for some of you, you should not indulge in dirty talks and in hustle and bustle; and if someone picks fight with you, you should say that you are fasting.
If one keeps in view that while fasting he has to stay away from hustle and bustle, shouting, calling names, fighting; and if someone provokes him to fight, even then he has to avoid. Think coolly, if such a situation is created in the entire society, how different it would be from the meaningless rush and competition and conflict of today and how much peace the world will enjoy. A hadīth says that if this quality is not developed, fasting is rendered meaningless: “(If) one who does not give up telling lies and acting thereupon, Allah does not require him to abandon food and drink.
- While fasting, one bears the pang of hunger and thirst from dawn to the sunset. It makes him feel the sufferings of the poor and the hapless, who stand in need of bread and have to go from door to door for two meals a day. It has been enjoined specifically to help them. This promotes the trend of giving out charity and extending helping hands to the poor and the needy.
That fact remains that it is the responsibility of a welfare state to fulfil the basic needs of every person and make arrangements for his/ her food, clothes, housing, health care and education. Islam has given the concept of such a welfare state. It provides for the fulfilment of these needs. It says that in an Islamic state no one will have to ask others for fulfilment of needs. Besides, it wants every well-to-do person to play his/ her role therein. This is so because only then the concept of a welfare state will be successful. To achieve this end, believers have been encouraged to make charity, and ordained to give out Sadaqatul Fitr; and Zakat too is usually paid in this very month. The Qur’ān declares that there is fixed share of the beggar and the deprived in your wealth.
This is such a comprehensive programme of developing relationship with Allah, of acting upon His commandments and of improving etiquette and manners so much so that many people would like that every person should undergo such a training. But there is such scenario of bias, hatred and enmity against Islam in the entire world that any sincere attempt to understand it hardly seen. In our country too this scenario is prevailing. I have to make only two points here: one, it is said that Islam teaches terrorism and undue killing and that the followers of Islam especially youth act upon it. This is a kind of allegation against Islam. We strongly deny it because there is no argument for it. This does not conform to the entire gamut of its training system.
The other is that it is said religion talks of etiquette and manner and it does not provide any solution for the problems of people. This cannot be said at least with regard to Islam. One who studies its entire system, a glimpse of which is seen in Ramadhan, will declare it wrong and accept openheartedly that Islam solves man’s material as well as spiritual problems.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind wants that efforts should be made to understand Islam; it should not be taken as a rival religion and religion of enemies; whatsoever misapprehensions are there in minds should be removed. Various religions are found in this country; there should be an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation among them, not of conflict and opposition. We should try to understand each other in an open atmosphere. The trend of keeping religion from collective life should come to an end; for it will cause harm to the nation. Violence, coercion, un-Constitutional and wrong methods should not be adopted in the name of religion. The Jamaat is making concerted efforts in this regard. We hope it will get your cooperation.