Ramadan is the month of the lunar year when Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual relations with their spouses from dawn until sunset. Eid al-Fitr is the day after Ramadan in which Muslims celebrate the completion of this great worship and get closer to the Creator. In this article, I will talk about seven benefits of Ramadan and the Eid by reflecting on their meanings.
1- Piety, being mindful of God
The main wisdom behind Ramadan is that the acts of worship Muslims do in it from fasting to reading the Quran, giving charity and praying in the night get us closer to the Creator and more conscious of Him. So, this inherits us piety and we become mindful of Him through the variety of deeds we do in the month, and so it reflects on the rest of the year and our deeds in it.
2- Realizing one’s capability when he seeks aid from his Creator and celebrating it
One of the great benefits that a Muslim gets from Ramadan is that he gets confident in his capability and knows that, no matter how hard it may seem, it’s easy when we resort to God’s aid. Muslims deprive themselves of all the basic human needs for a whole month without a day off. Doing so makes one realize his capabilities and become confident even if there was any bad habit he can’t break because it wouldn’t be harder than fasting. All that is needed is seeking the aid of the Creator so that any matter would become easy.
3- A kick start at the beginning of the year
Although the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and Ramadan is counted as the ninth month of the twelve, it is mentioned in the prophetic tradition (1) that the deeds are lifted up to the sky each year at the month before Ramadan.
So, from that perspective, the year of deeds begins with Ramadan giving it a kick start at its beginning with a whole month of various deeds that gets one closer to his Creator. The main deed is fasting of course which reconstructs the self-confidence making one realize that he can accomplish things and that he’s already done a huge accomplishment at the very beginning of the deeds-year, which is rewarding.
4- Two joys for fasting
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that Allah (the Creator of Heavens and Earth) said:
There are two joys for the one fasting: the joy when he breaks his fast, and the joy of when he meets his Lord” [Sahih al-Bukhari].
The first joy is the joy one gets when he remains fasting all day, and at the end of the day he eats and drinks. This joy includes the joy of Eid Al-Fitr as well, as it is named after “breaking the fast” and celebrating it having joy that one has accomplished fasting to the end of each day and to the end of the month. That’s the first joy that Muslims experience in this life. The second joy is when the Creator, who created us in this life, revives us again and brings us back to be accounted for our deeds, the good and the bad. At that time, fasting sincerely for His sake and being accounted for that deed becomes a real joy for the one who did it.
5- Looking at the day before and the day after Ramadan
Looking at both the day before and the day after Ramadan, makes one remember the truth of time in this world. As it starts, Ramadan seems so long and that it would be really hard to fast. Many think that they wouldn’t be able to do it, but time passes quickly and before realizing it, we are suddenly celebrating the Eid thinking that Ramadan passed fast and fasting the month was an easy task. Now that it is a thing in the past it seems easy. This reminds us of the reality of this world and time in it. Achieving something might seem hard when you are looking at it from the outside, but when you start to take steps in it, you find it easily done. In the end, the hard work, whatever it may be, will end as all this life will. However, the reward of the deed will remain.
6- Empathy for others
Being in someone else’s shoes makes one feel and relate to how they feel. Many in this world may abstain from food or water… not by choice, but due to poverty or not being able to find food or water. Fasting humbles Muslims and puts them in the shoes of others so they can have empathy, realize what they are going through and help them. Before the Eid, there is an obligatory charity. Every Muslim, old or young, has to feed the needy.
7- Submitting to God’s orders
Islam, in general, means submitting to the Creator’s will and orders. This is found in various acts of worship in Islam, as it’s the essence and the main principle of Islam. This is found clearly in fasting itself. Submission is also shown in Ramadan and at the Eid.
In general, fasting some days of the year is a good deed but not an obligation. In Ramadan, it is an obligation. On the day of the Eid, however, it’s forbidden. This shows the submission to God’s orders and whatever He declares we follow, as it’s the essence of Islam.