O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will, it is better for him and it is better for you that you fast, if you only knew. Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill or on a journey, the prescribed period, (should be made up) by days later. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful.
(The Qur'an, Surah 2; Aayaat 183-185)
Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
Praise be to Allah that he has facilitated so many of us to observe the fasting of Ramadan this year, and now to rejoice its end by offering the short Prayer of Eid ul Fitr. On this happy day, Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) has commanded that alms of the breaking of the Fast (Zakat ul Fitr) must be given to help the poor and the distressed. Those of us who have been prevented from fasting due to illness or journeying should not fail to fulfill their obligations to this sacred tradition when they are in favourable conditions. We should take note of the following pronouncement,
“Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you.”
Indeed, as things are in this world, the temporary and the transitory ease brings difficulty at the end; whereas the temporary and surface difficulties bring enduring ease and comfort. In this world of matter we have, of necessity, to handle physical things, but it is only to realize certain moral faculties that lie dormant in us. Our life’s goal, indeed, is to realize moral truths in the midst of, and through contact with physical things. The material world is, therefore, a means towards the end of life; and yet we are so apt to lose the end in the midst of means. As a matter of fact, at the present moment, the whole ‘civilized’ world seems to have done so. The economic theory of life, which forms the foundation of practically all ‘civilized’ Governments of today, indicates that very clearly. If you reflect on that theory it will resolve itself into this: that we live first and last, for the satisfaction of physical needs and the enjoyment of physical comforts, and that if we observe any moral restrictions, it’s for the realization of those other objects. This is the attitude towards life which is termed ‘materialism’. The difference between this theory and the religious theory of life is this: that whereas this latter regards moral values at the end, and the satisfaction of our physical needs as the means to that end; the former places them in the reverse order. At the heart of religion lies the phenomenon, known as Revelation.
We commemorate through this fasting the incident of the first Revelation of the Qurán. The Qurán, as you are aware, was revealed piecemeal over a period of twenty three years of the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) ministry; but the first revelation came to him one day in the month of Ramadan, when he was fasting, and at devotion in the cave of Hira, near Makkah. In commemorating this incident we are, in fact, affirming our unflinching faith in a great principle i.e. that of Revealed Guidance. Many a non-Muslim community shares this principle with us in theory, but nearly all of them, for all practical purposes, have gone astray from it. One of the reasons for this aberration is that man is inclined to consider the light of intellect sufficiently strong to penetrate the mysteries of the socio-moral life, and to fell, in his ignorance, as if man has outgrown the age of revealed guidance. Although as a community we have never fallen victim to this folly, yet we must confess that we had, of late, been a little nervous about the wisdom of our way of life, owing to the clamours and the false intellectual flourish of a materially powerful community.
Let us with redoubled faith and confidence; hasten back to the guidance of Revelation, viz., the Qurán, the only Scripture, which the ravages of times have not been able to damage. Just as we cannot see the whole of our physical body with the help of our physical eyes, not even our own face, unless it be with the help of some external apparatus, such as a mirror, etc., so we cannot mentally comprehend all the component parts of our own nature, unless it be through Revelation. Indeed, it is Revelation, and Revelation alone, that can reflect the full stature of human personality and harmonize all its facts and angles into one composite constitution. In absence of this, a dynamic cultural force will merely release forces of antagonism and conflict- examples of which are before our very eyes today. Let other nations, taking heed, make the best of their own respective Scriptures, and let us, on our part, hasten back to our Qurán. Let us no longer try to examine the Qurán in the light of modern theories, which, by their very nature, must be one-sided, but, rather, let us examine these same theories in the light of the Qurán.
May it so please Allah that the Intellectuals of Islam should wake up and make their contribution to the life of humanity at this critical juncture. Humanity will be thankful to them, and Allah, the Revealer of the Qurán and of all previous Revelations, will be pleased with the- will reward them here and in the hereafter.
May His light dispel all darkness of misgiving in our hearts, and may He employ us as vehicles of His High and Sacred Will at this thrilling turning-point in the History of humanity. We feel like crying out in spiritual passion:
Allah (God) is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is none worthy to be worshipped except Allah. Allah is the Greatest and to Allah is due all praise.