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who provides the food and water and allows us to experience a tiny bit of deprivation and hardship that we may turn to God and rejoice.
[10:107] If GOD touches you with a hardship, none can relieve it except He. And when He blesses you, no force can prevent His grace. He bestows it upon whomever He chooses from among His servants. He is the Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[7:168] We scattered them among many communities throughout the land. Some of them were righteous, and some were less than righteous. We tested them with prosperity and hardship, that they may return.
It may be difficult for the next few years for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but the rewards are huge. Ramadan is a time of immense spiritual growth and development, a time to appreciate God and all the blessings He has bestowed upon us, a month-long celebration of God’s power and His mercy. May each of us find peace and joy from God in this wonderful month of Ramadan.
[2:183] O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.
[2:184] Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.
[2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes
for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.
[2:186] When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.
[2:187] Permitted for you is sexual intercourse with your wives during the nights of fasting. They are the keepers of your secrets, and you are the keepers of their secrets. GOD knew that you used to betray your souls, and He has redeemed you, and has pardoned you. Henceforth, you may have intercourse with them, seeking what GOD has permitted for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the masjid (during the last ten days of Ramadan). These are GOD's laws; you shall not transgress them. GOD thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation.
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Focus on Growing our Souls this Ramadan
My brothers and sisters, every year we prepare for Ramadan. A whole month to fast from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During the fast, we don’t eat or drink, nor have sex during the day time hours. We refrain from bad habits and bad thoughts. And this is the point I would like to make. This Ramadan—work on: no bad habits, no bad thoughts.
[17:38] All bad behavior is condemned by your Lord.
Brothers and sisters, I know we all do our best at these things. But
I’m asking all of us this Ramadan, let’s focus more on getting rid of bad habits and bad thoughts. We are all pretty much aware of the physical aspect of what it does for our body, such as cleansing of body, giving organs a rest, rebuilding of cells and tissue and so on. God does excuse us from fasting if one physically can’t do it (2:184).
So this Ramadan, let’s focus more on spiritual growth, like being God conscious as a goal throughout the month, reading through the whole Quran maybe more than once this month, more charity and good deeds, responding with good words, breaking bad habits like smoking, losing your temper, yelling at spouses, children and friends. Tone it down. Just anything that’s not healthy to our soul, let’s give it up. Find good thoughts. Let’s focus on perfect, one hundred percent (I know we can’t be perfect, but let’s try) good behavior. More reverence of God, more meditation. Let’s really reach for the heaven, past the stars and moon. Our souls can grow by leaps and bounds, so let’s really focus on growing our souls. Let’s try to be perfect this Ramadan. The physical body will submit. This is a gift of remembrance.
God-consciousness is our goal this Ramadan.
[3:102] O you who believe, you shall observe GOD as He should be observed, and do not die except as Submitters.
[2:152] You shall remember Me, that I may remember you, and be thankful to Me; do not be unappreciative.
Sura 97 Destiny
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful [97:1-5] We revealed it in the Night of Destiny. How awesome is the Night of Destiny! The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord's leave, to carry out every command. Peaceful it is until the advent of the dawn.