Ganiyah Kareem: Ramadan is Here!

 With Rajab gone, Shaban followed and now it’s here! Knock! Knock! Knock! Who is it? Hiya! It’s lunar month of Ramadan. What do you want? I’m here to observe As-saum (fasting) which is the fourth pillars of Islam, to give you glad tidings of Allah's blessings. In it is a special night, the night the Holy Qur'an was revealed, the Night of Majesty when bad destiny can be changed to good if supplicants meet the target. Who is Ramadan? Ramadan, a lunar month of fasting made compulsory for all believers. What is fasting? Fasting is the total abstinence from food, drinks and sexual desires from dawn till dusk. Why are you here? I’m here to train you on the qualities such as patience, self -control, and abstinence from carnal desires. Qur'an 2:183-184 “O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it is prescribed for those before you so you can become pious for certain number of days”. Al-Qur'an; a guidance, clear proofs for Mankind and a criterion between good and bad. I could remember when I was younger, the coming of Ramadan thrills me more and not because of the piety but because of the packages that goes to people fasting in my house. On a normal day we shared meat but during Ramadan you took a whole piece. Food and drinks were in abundance at home. Dad and mum never complained of lack of money for once. The fridge flowed with goodies throughout those 30 days and everyone is happy. So much for food! Ramadan period is the best. Another good news again is that no scolding or lashing from teachers and parents. I can even afford to take a nap in the class without disturbances. Gone were those days when you look for a corner to sip water or eat some quick biscuits and wipe your mouth off the crunches, or gulp some water while performing ablution.The most wonderful of all these is the Eid celebrations. You get to wear new clothes, shoes and accessories. I was always the first to wake up on that day. I lived for the show off. All grown now, I understood that fasting is a shield that protects the honour and dignity of human beings from never-ending urges of carnal desires. It helps the performers to gain resolute, perseverance, contentment, determination and patience. Fasting is the most effective medicine in setting aside antisocial negativity such as grudge, jealousy and envy. Fasting restrains people from drinking alcohols, visiting pubs and fighting. Fasting is not to torture the body or put it under undue burden so it is recommended by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to wake up to eat food at sahur and terminate the fast early at iftar. I don’t know about other peoples’ tradition but yonder in the village during sahur. Male and female, children, youths and adults go about drumming and dancing from house to house to wake people up for sahur. I guess that was the idea before the invention of clock. They are referred to as ‘Ajiwere’ in Yoruba land. There are exceptions made to travelers, people who are ill, menstruating and breast feeding women, they can make up for lost fast after Ramadan. The aged who cannot fast are enjoined to feed a poor person every day. Qur'an 2:185 explains that "...whoever of you sights the crescent on the first night, should observe saum". The real goal of fasting is to fulfill a duty of being a worshiper of Allah which involves taming carnal desire, achieve piety, encourage discipline and to unite as one ummah. Morhaba bikum Yah-Ramadan. Ganiyah Kareem is a scientist and a staff writer at

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