Well the short of it is that if it wasn’t for Ramadhan, we would not have the Arabic language today! Sound drastic? Not really, if you remember back to the post the preservation of the Arabic language both part I and revisited, we affirmed that because of the revelation of the Qur’an the Arabic language was preserved, and by extension without the Qur’an there is no Arabic.
Ramadhan is a month of fasting for the Muslims, a month in which Muslims give undistracted attention to improving their spirituality. Muslims refrain from food and drink from dawn until dusk, and this has three benefits: that the one fasting has obeyed God (Allah), the fasting person is taught patience and restraint (because they cannot eat when they like), and finally it makes the one fasting grateful because they have a glimpse of how hungry people might feel. There are medicinal benefits such as the cleansing and detoxing of the digestive system ….there are more but it is not the topic here. People who fast, whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian or otherwise, interestingly enough do not feel so hungry because they have higher aims in their act of fasting- to attain the pleasure and reward from god.
So how does Ramadhan connect to the Qur’an? Well, Muslims believe that God (Allah) chose to reveal the final revelation (‘final’ because Muslims believe that God also sent down the Bible and Psalms to Jesus and David respectively, and that the Qur’an came to complete God’s message to mankind) the Qur’an to Muhammad in the month of Ramadhan.
Allah says in the Qur’an (in chapter 2, verse 185): “The month of Ramadan 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”
The above verse mentions that the Qur’an was revealed in Ramadhan and also clearly states the function and perhaps reason of why the Qur’an was revealed.
This revelation took place in the Islamic month of Ramadhan (the 9th month, there are 12 months altogether) where Jibreel (the archangel Gabriel- who in the Islamic faith is the angel entrusted with bringing revelation to the prophets) came and brought the first ever portion of the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammad. Jibreel would come to bring the revelation gradually for the next 23 years until the whole Qur’an, as we know it today, was complete (there is a branch of study on how the Qur’an was revealed, recorded, written down, and why the Qur’an was revealed gradually as opposed to all at once- known as The Sciences of the Qur’an- perhaps a topic for another post). Jibreel would come to the prophet Muhammad in different ways, forms and different times; he would read the Qur’an to the prophet who would in turn teach his companions (equivalent to Jesus’ disciples) who would then teach their students and so on and so on until today. This is how the traditional Islamic education system began, through a system we call the Ijaza (certification) mode in which one is certified in their branch of knowledge on the premise that he has been taught not through books, though these were used, but through his teacher who has a direct chain of study back to the founder/earliest person to have taught the subject through his teacher, his teacher his teacher- you get the idea. For a people who had brilliant memories, the rote system of study was as reliable, if not more reliable, than our current knowledge storage mechanisms, which is why as I mentioned in previous posts, Arabic language was preserved along with the meanings of all the words.
Soon I will post on what the Qur’an is and how especially in Ramadhan it holds a very special meaning for Muslims. We are still waiting to see if the 1st day of fasting is tomorrow or Thursday- this depends on the moon sighting since Muslims use the lunar calendar to calculate the beginning and end of the months, will let you know.
I am putting 2 short videos up of Ramadhan here- more to follow:
This second one has a Christian and Jewish view/comments on fasting- it is about American families in Ramadhan: