is the month of heightened Allah-consciousness, of attaining taqwa (piety), of
training ourselves to be the best we can be; a month to initiate improvement of
reputation, character and for the cultivation of good habits.
People who try their best
to live by the highest values are surely people of integrity and indeed people
of moral conscience. What is morality though?
Morality describes the
principles that govern our behavior and relates to our behavior at three levels...
we as individuals ensure that we are honest, just and compassionate.
we interact with and contribute to society, as asset or liability.
conscious we are of our accountability to our Creator.
in an amoral world
a world, increasingly amoral, perception is considered reality. How one appears
to the world has overtaken the substance of who we really are. Impressions,
whether real or fake, are given more credence than it deserves.
name, image and reputation are what we perceive of people; character is the
essence of the "real self". Taqwa is in reality character development coupled
is not only the face in the mirror, but the real person behind the face.
Character evolves from conscience; is sustained by conscience and is developed;
piece by piece, with every thought, with every choice, and maintained with
consistency and determination. The pursuance of piety begins by making our
reputation a reflection of our character. In many people, reputation precedes
character and there is a distinction to be made...
is what you lead others to believe you are, character is what you really are
may be reflected in the combination of your name and your image, character
is the essence of your being.
is the wrapping, character the content -
is the outer reflection, character the inner reality -
is made in a moment, character is built in a life time -
may be reflected in what people write about you on your tombstone, character
is what angels report about you to Allah -
renowned philosopher, Aristotle, once said; " You are what you repeatedly do ".
Habits are conditioned responses, formed through repetition, until the actions
or reactions become second nature; they end up as unconscious behavior,
automatic reactions in a particular situation; (e.g. The way you sign your name,
the reprehensible habit of cigarette smoking after a meal...)
was the English writer, Shakespeare, who said; " First we make our habits, then
our habits make us ". Thinking in a particular pattern creates a mental path,
the mental path affects our attitude and our behavior, and these reflect our
personality and character. In other words, our thoughts affect our attitude
which affect our actions which determine our habits which reflects our character
which could determines our destiny. The Roman poet Naso Ovid rightly said, "
habits eventually become character ".
to Islam, habits are classified as virtues or vices, as repeated actions that
are in conformity with or contrary to the rules of morality. Virtuous character
emanates from good habits and good habits emanate from resisting negative
temptations. Good habits, unfortunately, seem so much easier to give up than bad
habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into but difficult to get out.
The chain of bad habits are generally too light to be felt until they are too
strong to be broken. Remember though, that every habit; whether good or bad, is
acquired and can be developed or disowned. Habits decrease or disappear by
abstaining from exercising them and then replacing them. In the words of Roman
orator, Cicero, " consuetudo consuetudine vincitur = habit is overcome/
conquered by habit. Ramadan is an ideal training period for filtering out bad
habits, developing virtuous character and is thus referred to by Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) as a shield against evil and wrongfulness. We are obligated to
nurture our noble qualities; control our passions, our anger and emotions. We
are instructed to be considerate, generous and compassionate.
improvement and spiritual rejuvenation
Muhammad (pbuh) referred to Ramadan as a blessed month in which Allah has made
fasting obligatory on those who are able; whosoever denies himself of the
benefits of that month denies himself many virtues. As we undertake the physical
duty and spiritual responsibility of fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan, we
reflect on the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who said that the
practice of faith will not be correct unless actions are correct and actions will not be considered correct unless the
heart is correct.