by W. D. Muhammad (W. Deen Mohammed)
Bilalian News (Muslim Journal), September 3, 1976
185. Ramadhan is the (month)
In which was sent down
The Quran, as a guide
To mankind, also clear (Signs)
For guidance and judgment
(Between right and wrong).
So every one of you
Who is present (at his home)
During that month
Should spend it in fasting,
But if any one is ill,
Or on a journey,
The prescribed period
(Should be made up)
By days later.
God intends every facility
For you ; He does not want
To put you to difficulties
(He wants you) to complete
The prescribed period,
And to glorify Him
In that He has guided you;
And perchance ye shall be grateful.
Holy Quran Translation by Yusuf Ali; Sura 2: Verse 185
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; Peace and Blessings upon His Servant and His Messenger, Muhammad, forever. Amen.
There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We ask Allah’s joyous blessings upon His Servant and Messenger, Muhammad, to whom He revealed the Holy Quran. In this month, Muslims fast because this is the month (Ramadan) in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is a guidance, an evidence, and a criterion for all people. In Islam, a great beauty is that moral development is equally possible for women as it is for men. There is no distinction between the male and the female in the way of piety — spiritual development, moral development.
The Hidden And The Apparent
In this article, we want to look at the meaning of the fast for Muslims and we
also want to look at the problems encountered by those who do not understand the meaning of “fast.” Muslims are not spiritualists, we are human beings. Spiritualists seek to develop the spiritual nature or the spiritual form, but they forget about the human development and material development. We are not trying to “see” something that is not already seen when we fast. The heavens and the earth have already been revealed. We see stars in the sky, we see the sun, we see ourselves, and we see many of the manifestations of Almighty Allah. The Holy Quran says that Allah is both the apparent and the hidden. We do not have to worry about the hidden things in creation, we believe in the apparent things. We trust that Allah will reveal whatever is necessary for mankind and we trust that He will also give us what He has promised us. That promise is life in this world and life in the Hereafter.
The Pursuit Of Mysteries
Muslims are not people who are overly concerned about the mysteries of things. There are many individuals and many communities that love the mysterious things of life and who spend their valuable lives looking for something that does not exist. Some of them think that they should be able to put God in a test tube or under a microscope on a slide. They think that God is something that is inferior that can be examined like we examine matter (common creation).But God is a superior being and it is not within the power of any human being nor is it within the power of creation itself to contain Him. Because God Himself contains everything, it is not in our power to grasp Him in His entirety. The Holy Quran says that God is Al-Akbar, meaning that He is the bigger or the greater. How can that which is smaller contain that which is larger? It is impossible. Once a man grasps a thing in its entirety, he has become the master of that thing. If we are going to become the master of our God, then our God will no longer be the God — we will be “God” over our God.
So we Muslims are not people who mystify ourselves or who engage in the pursuit of mysteries. There are many people all over the world who have mystified themselves by engaging in the pursuit of mysteries. They have gone out of the real world as hermits, monks, and nuns, leaving the development of the society to others. Today the world needs saving, but what do they have to offer to save the world? They can offer nothing but spiritual exercises that are of no real consequence or significance when it comes to running the world.
God’s Ruler In The Earth
Muslims are people who have been called the caliph of God. A caliph is the man (mind) or human being who is God’s custodian or God’s ruler in the earth. He is put here to tend to the matters in the physical world. If man becomes too “spiritual” or too mysterious, he neglects his number one job which is to be a custodian in the world. But if he pursues the light that has been given to us by the prophets and that has been made pure, perfect and complete by Prophet Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with Him) in the Holy Quran, he will not be led to extremes. The true light of God will lead us down the even path, the middle way. We follow that light which will lead us to more perfection, more development, and a greater abundance of all the goods that God has provided for us. His goods are not limited to just spiritual goodness, but He has opened up the channels of material goodness, spiritual goodness, and many other blessings.
The Holy Quran says that Allah’s blessings are without number. He blesses us and we cannot count His blessings no matter how much we desire to count them. The Muslim life is a full life, a balanced life, and a life that accepts the challenge that God has given to us. That challenge is to live “in” this world and not to live outside of the world. When we fast, remember that we are not trying to discover a mystery, but we are trying to better deal with the things that are already revealed. If we do this, we will be successful.
The Fiery World Of Desire
The meaning of Ramadan according to the Arabic religious dictionary is “great beat.” In the Arabian desert, it gets so hot in the middle of the day with the sun beating the desert that the feet of the animals have to be wrapped in order to protect them from the burning heat of the desert. The month of fast takes its name from the great beat of the desert. The spiritual meaning of the word Ramadan is this: we live in a world that is adverse to us (pulling against us). It is a world that tries to excite our weaknesses and to build up the fires of destruction within us. So we live in a world that is a fiery world of desire for those things that lead to extremes and destruction. We call them “the flames of passion,” in the words of the poet. These are flames that excite the person to extremes, that make him spiritually drunk, that make him morally drunk, and that make him mentally drunk.
Because we have to have some kind of protection against the flames of passion of the flesh, God has naturally equipped us with a protection. Man is to blame for his sins and for the wrongs he inflicts upon himself. God has created the world naturally. If we look at the natural truth that plainly exists before us, if we follow it, and if we nee our good senses — we will not get in so much trouble.
Mercy Instead Of Justice
2. These are Verses
Of the Wise Book, –
3. A Guide and a Mercy
To the doers of Good,-
Holy Quran Translation by Yusuf Ali; Sura 31: Verses 1 – 3
Because we lose our senses, God comes to us with mercy instead of with justice. It is a mercy that He revealed religion to us because He has already been good to us without blessing us with revealed religion. He has established the order of justice, the order of sanity (balance), in His creation. Even without a revelation from a prophet, any creature can come into this world and live a good life, but when we go off on the wrong track and” ignore the rules that God established in His natural creation, then He comes with mercy. The Holy Quran says that it is revealed as a mercy to the people. Prophet Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with him) is not a justice to the people nor is he something due to the people, he is a mercy to the people. At the beginning, there was no necessity for God to reveal His truth to us because His way has always been right. When the way of God is corrupted by man, there is a need for some one to come and correct it. When God sends his Messengers or His prophets to correct the way, it is a mercy to the rebellious, ignorant, and greedy people.
“Appetites Unchecked By Knowledge.”
Muslims have the Ramadan fast as a protection for us. During this month, we learn to control the destructive, fiery passions of the biological nature. The biological nature needs a horseman over it, riding it and keeping it in check. If intelligence does not keep it in check, we begin to act like animals that can only follow their instincts. Even though animals do not have the power to reason with intelligence, there is no problem of obesity among them because they follow their instincts. The human being does not follow instinct, his intelligence is supposed to guide him. The Holy Quran cautions us against being misled by our “appetites unchecked by knowledge.”
When there is much food available to eat, the man who is weak in will power and knowledge will gorge himself because he is not checked by instinct. God has given him intelligence with which he must check himself. Islam is a religion that awakes our full form and our full being, and it shows us what we should do (the proper thing to do). Islam teaches us to use our intelligence and to check the wild flames of passion. When you blow on a flame and give it more air, it rises up higher. When the winds of emotion and the winds of false spirituality blow on the desires in our flesh, they blow them out of proportion (out of form). Pretty soon, they have become wild fires that take over our whole body. After awhile, they take over our house and our community. The winds of desire and the winds of emotionalism blow against the fires and make great flames that set us afire and that burn up the good which Allah has created for us.
The Fire That Does Not Consume
We want the fire that bums, but that does not consume. It is the fire that consumes gross matter, but that leaves the purity in the human being. The purifying fire does not burn up that which is good, it only burns up that which is no good. As it burns out the falsehood and gross matter, it sends out polluted smoke from the body and leaves nothing but a clean, healthy person. That is the fire of Allah, a fire in which the believers love to bathe. It does not harm the righteous, but it burns up the devil. He screams in pain when he is burned by this fire because his life is in filth and falsehood. The true believer, however, relaxes and bathes in the fire of Allah because he knows that it is the fire that will purify him in his human form.
May Allah bless all the Muslims with a successful Ramadan fast.
Your brother, W.D. Muhammad