Orland Park Prayer Center

The Prayer Center of Orland Park

During Ramadan we move constantly for one month between fast and feast. It is a methodical program aiming at rejuvenating our will to control our desires, emotions, and behavior. Quran refers to this form of control as “taqwa” (تَقْوى). Taqwa is the ability to consciously say “no” to anything that diverts us from Allah (ﷻ) as our Ultimate Goal or Qibla:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-control.” [2:183]

Fasting promotes in us the ability to see Allah (ﷻ) greater that anything in this existence:

“And to glorify Him for what He has guided you.” [2:185]

Thus ego, wealth, property, desires, social status, and professional degrees are not elevated above the high values that all emanate from the Beautiful Names of Allah. “Allah Akbar”, we say once we reach a mountain top, is the driving force to seek another higher mountain top.

Fasting the month of Ramadan makes us more grateful for all the favors and surplus of goodness bestowed on us by Allah (ﷻ):

“And that you may be grateful.” [2:185]

 Gratitude or “shukr”(شُكْر) is a powerful tool to free ourselves from every state to reach another that is higher and closer to Allah  (ﷻ):

“Nay, but worship Allah while you are in the state of those who are thankful.” [39:66]

Worship or Ibadaعِبَادَة  and gratitude are co-concomitant. Imam Ali (R) said: “To worship Allah out of gratitude is the worship of the free.”

During the month of Ramadan, we pray more and ask Allah (ﷻ) more for His Mercy, Forgiveness, generosity, and other favors. In return, He promises us quick response:

“When my worshippers ask you about Me, I am indeed close: I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me.”

Even the word “say,” Allah (ﷻ) does not want it to delay His response. The spirit of the practice of supplication creates in us the feeling and the belief that Allah (ﷻ) is enough for us :

“Is not Allah enough for His worshipper?” [39:36]

Supplication reminds us that Allah (ﷻ) is the Truth that must always be our target and objective that adjusts our course:

“Ask them to listen to my call, and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” [2:186]

Taqwa تَقْوى, Taqbeer تَكْبِير , Shukr شُكْر, and Rushd رُشْد  are the major milestones that you will work hard to attain during Ramadan to finely-tune your hearts and become better human beings. This fine-tuning is your endeavor and your accomplishment and hence, you deserve to celebrate it at the end of Ramadan as your Eid.

Fine tuning is not a strange concept to you. You have seen in it in the vast Universe around you:

“And the heaven He raised high and has set up the balance.” [55:7]

“And the earth We have spread out, set thereon the mountains firm, and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.” [15:19]

The universe is so finely tuned by its Author, Allah (ﷻ), to guide our actions. It is not random that in the section of Sura Al-Baqara talking about fasting, Quran alluded to the new moons as signs to help the people mark the beginning of each lunar month:

“They ask about the new moons, say: they are but signs for people to mark fixed periods of time and for pilgrimage.” [2:189]

If it were not for the fine tuning, the moon could not inform the accurate timing of our social and spiritual events like Ramadan, Al-Hajj, and Eid.

The fine tuning is also observed in Quran which was revealed in the month of Ramadan:

“Ramadan is the month in which Quran was sent down as a guide for mankind.” [2:185]

Quran and the balance were concomitantly sent down:

“It is Allah who has sent down the BOOK in Truth, and the balance.” [42:17]

Allah (ﷻ), the Author of Quran, took on Himself to collate the verses and constructs of Quran, and structure them in the highest degree of coherence and tuning so that Quran conveys its meaning in the highest degree of clarity:

“It is on Us to collect it in the most coherent structure. But when We read it, follow its structure. More than that, it is on Us to make it clear.” [75:17-19]

Ramadan is an important annual station for the fine tuning of our hearts. It puts us back in harmony with the finely tuned Universe to guide our actions, and with finely tuned Quran to guide the direction of our actions.

By Dr. Walid Khayr


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