“This month is the month of self-restraint. A month wherein we restrain our normal appetites for the things of life fur Allah’s sake alone. In Quran Allah, the Most High says “that fasting is for Me”. So we have to restrain our appetites. Even those appetites that are lawful. We have to restrain them for Allah’s pleasure. Because even the permissible things can get us in trouble sometimes. In fact they will get us in trouble if we don’t recognize that everything is by the grace of God. And Allah has made it possible for us and we should always live a life of conscious obedience to Allah. He has given us the physical body and everything, all our mental faculties and everything. He has given us the love we feel in our hearts for our loved ones. He has given us the heart, the nature to have that love. He has given us the desire for progress and growth in our life and all of this that we understand it as Muslims was not possible except that we have the grace of God. Except that Allah has bestowed those upon us, granted that to us. So we should discipline the entire life for Allah’s pleasure.
The month comes in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and that month is called Ramadan. That’s the month that we are fasting in now. Ramadan, and it is the hottest month by name. The name suggests that it is the hottest month. But we know that the Islamic months rotate through the seasons. Months are calculated by the moon. And because they are calculated by the moon and not by the sun or by the season these months rotate through all the seasons. So we will have Ramadan in hot, extreme hot heat of summer and we will have it in the extreme cold of winter one day. It’s going to rotate. In fact I believe some of us have had the fast in cooler months. And finally it brought us into the hot months and we will be in the hot months for a while and it will go back to the cool months. But the month itself, the name suggests “hot, heat”, Ramadan.
Some persons have also summarized, i.e., guessed that Ramadan may have another hint, the plant called “Ramad, Ramad”, fruit This plant is red as you know. It’s the pomegranate. We used to call them Indian apples as kids. That fruit is red with little seeds, and filled with red juice. It has been associated in myth, poetry, symbolic language with passions of man. With the human passions. If you noticed in the seeds of that fruit there’s a little white spot. So it is red without and it is red within, but in the core, in the seed is a little white spot. Now if we look at that kind of symbolism then we understand from that that man is full of passion, but he is also a. creature of moral conscience, a creature of moral conscience. He has that seed of moral fear or moral consciousness in him.
If we look at it now in the terms for this month Ramadan, the Islamic terms for the month Ramadan, it has been said by those who have studied the meaning of this Arabic word Ramadan, that it does not only refer to heat so much, the extreme heat, but to the protection against the heat. It says that the people in that part of the world, the Middle East, they wrapped the feet of the animals sometimes when they were going across the hot sands. The wrapping of the feet of the animals to protect the animal’s feet from the heat of the burning sands is Ramadan. It is also called Ramadan. So we *re not sine whether the word Ramadan means the protection against the heat or whether it means the heat itself because there are different discussions and different conclusions have been drawn. But we do know that the fast is a test for our restraint.
It tests our ability to restrain ourselves, to restrain ourselves under temptation. There’s a natural temptation to drink cool water when we are thirsty. The natural temptation to eat the food when we are hungry. And there’s a natural temptation to respond to our wives when that appetite is present. But in the daylight hours we restrain from responding to our wives and they restrain from responding to us and we restrain from food and drink. And we also restrain from the wildness of our temper. We don’t let our temper take us topsy turvy. We control our temper all for the sake of Allah. In fact it is a total discipline of the whole person for the pleasure of Allah. We know that the passion have often been associated with heat; heat, passion with heat. Desire with heat -you’ve heard the common expression ‘burning desire’. So we know that passion and desire have been associated with heat. We also know that the ‘hell is a heat. But in our religion hell is not only heat, hell is extremities. Hell is the terrible extremes, extremities. Because in Quran Allah says there will be extreme heat and extreme cold. Extreme heat and extreme cold, so it is a protection from God against the extremes.”
(Imam W. Deen Mohammed)