Ramadhan is the long-awaited holy month for Muslims all around the world. It is the time for which each Muslim goes through the obligatory fast, abstaining themselves from drinking, eating, immoral acts and even anger during the daily period from dawn to dusk. It is also, the time for which acts of good deeds are encouraged and the time where Muslims would seek out more religious activities for blessings from the beloved Almighty.
But, the question still remains. Why is this month so special in the Islamic context?
“The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.”
[Quran 2:185] Being one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting is a must during the month of Ramadhan. It becomes a means to build empathy and the sense of compassion towards those in need or the underprivileged. The Holy book, the Quran, was revealed in this month as well. For Muslims, reading the Holy book during the month is highly recommended as the ‘Pahala’ (reward from God) obtained during this period is increased tremendously.
“Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.”
– Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah
The above hadith mentioned that whoever performs an act of worship or good deed during the month of Ramadhan will be rewarded as if that person has done seventy of those deeds in other times. It is not a wonder for Muslims to be eager in doing good deeds in this holy month.
Another unique feature that makes Ramadhan so special is the pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and breaking of the fast (iftar) or commonly known as sungkai in Brunei. During these times, Muslims can be seen together in their homes or masjid, eating their meal alongside other fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. This creates a sense of togetherness that is quite unique for this month.
Something which is only done during this month is the nightly prayer called Taraweeh. Taraweeh are special 8 or 23 raka’at prayers performed during the night for the whole Ramadhan period. This can be performed at home or better yet, at the mosques.
In Brunei, Ramadhan is a month of holiness and compassion. While daily work continues, Muslims all over the Sultanate fasts to fulfill their obligation to Allah S.W.T. Suhoor and sungkai meals are a feast with family members and friends while still needing to remind ourselves to avoid food wastage. Taraweeh forms close connections to all attendees of the masjid and ought to be performed daily, even when just doing the minimum. Every Muslim should do more acts of good and not to waste this opportunity given as we may not know if we will get the chance again the following year.