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May 21, 2018

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Ramazan: blessings and obligations Part - I

The blessed month of Ramazan has come. Those with meagre or no resources will once again face the daunting task of increased prices and struggle to put food on the table for iftar and sehri.

For those with adequate resources, such problems will not be as acute. Many businesses will once again indulge in profiteering and hoarding. The Almighty has declared Ramazan to be a month of blessing, happiness, obligatory fasting, and sharing with the poor. Unfortunately, many shopkeepers use this month to increase their incomes.

It is a blessing from the Almighty that he created us as Muslims and made Islam our religion. It is rather unfortunate that even though we are the so-called followers of the best religion, we are the worst practitioners of it. We indulge in every form of immoral behaviour imaginable.

We must not forget what the first and foremost divine oath is and what the many instructions that we have received are. “We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Ismael, Ishaq, Yaqub and the tribes, and in the Books given to Moosa, Isa and other prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them and to Allah do we bow our will in Islam.” (3:84) “Oh you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious, clean.” (2:183)

“Observe the fast for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number should be made later from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (eg, sick, old age, etc), they have a choice either to fast or feed a poor, needy person for every day missed. But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you, only if you know it.” (2:184)

“The month of Ramazan in which the Quran [was revealed], a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion, between right and wrong. So whoever of you sights the crescent (new-born moon) on the first night of Ramazan and is present at home, he must observe fast that month and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number of days which he did not observe fast, must be made up from other days. Allah intends for your ease and He does not want to make things difficult for you. He wants that you must complete the same number of days and that you must magnify Allah (saying Allaho Akbar) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” (2:185)

In 2:187, the Almighty has given instructions regarding sexual relations during Ramazan. Now a few verses about namaz and zakat: “(They are momin) who are steadfast in prayers and spend out of what we have provided for them.” (2:3) “Seek help with patience, perseverance and prayer.” (2:153) “Guard strictly your habit of prayers, especially the middle (Asr) prayer, and stand before Allah in a devout frame of mind.” (2:238)

“Those who believe and do good deeds and establish regular prayers and regular charity (zakat) will have their reward with the Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (2:277) “They are momin who establish regular prayers and charity and bow down humbly.” (5:55) “The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by [those who] believe in Allah and the Last Day, and establish regular prayers, and practice regular charity, and fear none but Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.” (9:18)

“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day (Fajr and Maghrib) and approaches of the night (Isha).” (11:114) “Those who patiently persevere, seeking the countenance of their Lord, establish regular prayers, spend out secretly or openly of the gifts We have bestowed for their sustenance, thus exchanging evil with good. For such there is the final attainment of the eternal home (Jannah).” (13:22) “Speak to my servants who have believed that they establish regular prayers, and spend secretly or openly in charity out of the sustenance we have given them, before [the] coming of a Day (qayamat) in which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending.” (14:31)

These verses clearly illustrate the divine instructions about fasting, zakat and good behaviour. Traders will not get rich quickly if they follow these teachings. But if they do, they will not receive exemplary, severe punishment. Their greed has made it difficult for people to afford food for iftar and sehri.

In Surah Ar-Ra’ad, Ayats 25 and 31, the Almighty warns: “Those who break the covenants of Allah... and cut asunder those things which Allah has commanded to be joined, and create mischief in the land, on them is the curse – for them is Jahannam.” “For the unbelievers, never will disaster cease to seize them for their wrong deeds…verily Allah will not fail in His promise.”

We are all aware of the dismal conditions in providing health facilities to the poor in our country. With this in mind, a few friends and philanthropists – with Shaukat Virk as executive director – decided to set up a welfare hospital on Ahmad Ali Road (opposite Minar-e-Pakistan). Since the construction of the 300-bed facility will take some time, a well-equipped OPD was set up three years ago, which has provided free medical care to more than 300,000 patients. Around six months ago, we set up a dialysis centre with 15 beds and have been providing free treatment since then. All this has only been possible with the wholehearted support of philanthropists and their zakat contributions. We, the management, thank you on behalf of all poor patients who will benefit from these donations.

To be continued

Email: [email protected]

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