As the end of Ramadan draws near and Eid approaches, it is my privilege to wish that this blessed time and the upcoming year bring my Muslim brethren and all the citizens of Pakistan love, joy and enlightenment in every sphere of life.
I say this with the full realisation that this past year has been a difficult one for many Pakistanis and the recent political upheaval in Pakistan has made this past month especially problematic. Nonetheless, I hope that what Ramazan means and our practices during it have provided the opportunity for solace and stability even during these most trying of times.
As you all know, Ramazan is a month of fasting devoted to remembering the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. Ramazan is frequently referred to as the “best of times.” That’s not because we Muslims enjoy fasting but because of the central importance of the Quran to our religion.
This month is a deeply spiritual time of reflection and recommitment and a special time for giving. This is our chance not only to be grateful for all of the blessings we have been allotted but an opportunity to assist those who are poor, those who are hungry and the less fortunate.
Ramazan is derived from Arabic word ‘Ramad’a’ which means the rain just before autumn and after a long summer, removing all the dust from the atmosphere to purify it completely. This is the essence of the blessed month of Ramazan – to purify one’s heart and intentions. This purification is two-pronged: working internally for personal spiritual and emotional healing, and working externally to help heal all of God’s creations through giving.
I know and am humbled by the fact that Pakistanis are a giving people. This is attested to by a report titled ‘Pakistan Giving Index-2021’ which states:
“It is encouraging to note that despite challenges of poverty, social inequality and unemployment in the country, a culture of giving remains pervasive in our vibrant society. Although there are indications of remaining passive in time-volunteering and giving to institutions, it is positive to note that more than two-third of the selected respondents choose to help the poor and the needy.”
I also know that we as Muslims are a contemplative people. Recognizing this, let me share what being a Muslim has taught me.
Being a Muslim has taught me many things. The most important thing, however, is that the whole purpose of religion is to provide justice and a path to justice for us all.
That includes animals and nature itself.
I have learned as a Muslim to believe in the unity of all creation and that everything and everyone is a reflection of God on Earth. Because of that I have also learned that there are just people and that just people do just things.
I treasure my faith. My faith firmly believes in equality, dignity, compassion, respect, tolerance, justice and peace for other faiths.
My faith keeps me calm and provides me with a sense of optimism that gives me peace. With my personal peace, I can work with others of different faiths and different creeds for peace and to build stronger communities.
Those are my reflections during this month of Ramazan and shortly before Eid. I share them now because this is the time for all of us regardless of who we are or where we are in the world for sharing, caring and giving.
This blessed month engages us in a 30-day period for reflection and renewal. That reflection and renewal can move us forward and bring us together collectively. It is a time for new beginnings based upon remembering what we have learned from the past.
In 2022, it is a time to recall the year just past, and to do all we can in unity to make the year to come one of peace, love and understanding In Pakistan, the U.S. and around the world.
Those are my thoughts for this Ramazan, Eid and the upcoming year. Thank you for letting me share them with you. Happiness and joy to you and your families!