I say New Life because, as given to mankind, the Ramadan should be a lifeline for the salvation of a humanity rapidly sinking into spiritual perdition. That is, it is well recognize, well understood and the help it brings well applied in daily relationships. But just in this, many adherents appear ignorant and fail. For the fast on its own does not confer any spiritual value or benefit or bring any blessing from On High upon the dutiful adherent who observes it as a matter of routine.
What brings blessings is the value of the change which the change Ramadan experience wrought in the adherent who observes it.
To understand this, it is important to appreciate life in Arabia before the advent of Prophet Mohammed, who was called and sent on a Spiritual mission to that region, from which the message he brought was to spread to people in other regions who may need it.
In Arabia before the prophet, earthly existence was brutish, hellish and short. A father could have his daughter murdered in sacrifice to a guest just to prove to the visitor that he was well valued. Distrust, like mischief and treachery, was rife. Robberies were well organized and on large scale. From the book TALES FROM ARABIAN NIGHTS, those days of yore can still be gleaned in stories of Abdul and the Angel, and Alli Baba and the forty thieves. The trade routes were menaced by gangs of thieves Evil filled the land which the Darkness had embraced suffocatingly. Yet it was in this land that hope for the spiritual salvation of mankind was anchored long, long before the prophet.
A pure tribe, like an oasis in the desert, separated itself well enough from this morass to become what we may call a “chosen race”. I am not speaking about the children of Israel. What we know of them and the anchorage of Jesus the Lord in their midst, happened long after the anchorage of an equally high one among them in the beginning of a monumental spiritual world event. Definitions are important keys for unlocking a code or laying bare of concepts. The world is a concept which, spiritually speaking refers not to this earth. Man, in his obtuseness, dragged down the concept to mean the earth. The World refers not just to our gigantic universe but to all the seven which comprise the material areas of Creation. Of them, the Bible speaks of “the seven churches of Asia”. Asia is the spiritual name of this World. And each “church” is each of the sevens in our universes. In our own universe; Ephesus is the spiritual name of earth our host.
The Lord Jesus would speak of “my Father’s House” in which there are many “many mansions” How else may one fathom, many mansions in one house except through spiritual understanding of the concept which encapsulates the information?
As I said, a world event was unfolding long ago in Arabian land in which, later, prophet Mohammed would be privileged to participate, having made himself worthy of the call of his Maker, Allah, to serve Him in Arabia. Unknown to many people, including some adherents of Islam, it was not only in the bringing of Islam to Arabia that prophet Mohammed had been involved in Allah’s service.
Not to digress, that pure tribe, an oasis in the hellish Arabian before the prophet, was no more by the time of Prophet Mohammed. It had fulfilled its mission, its ruins buried deep in the Arabian desert, to preserved and to be unveiled in the fullness of time, like all things else, as the cycles of events spurn a long time ago close, alongside the closing of all great cycles of World Events in the Final Judgment.
s the World inches its way towards this end –time, help was sent to man in different parts of the earth to prepare them for this inevitability.
Thus, Prophet Mohammed received instruction which he passed on, and in what it today, we know as Islam. We must appreciate nevertheless to the capacity of some of the followers to distort these pure teachings for their selfish pursuit in the search for power and influence over men. Accordingly, we must approach these teachings spiritually and meticulously fish out grains of truth from the hay stack of their distortions.
Islam, as the great prophet Mohammed taught, comprises Seven Pillars. Ramadan is one of these pillars. Ramadan is a month in the Islamic Calendar set aside for dawn to dusk fast. Some Islamic teachers have tried to locate social deficiencies which the Ramadan is meant to correct. Some scholars believe some Arabians of those days lived in Opulence while a majority lived in abject poverty with little or nothing to eat. The Ramadan, say these scholars, was to teach self deprivation and sharing. I believe, like some other Islamic Scholars that the Ramadan has far deeper origins in the spiritual destiny of those people it was addressed to. And this falls in two dimensions, namely: (1) support for the radiant health of man’s physical body. Without this body, he cannot exist on earth; without this body being in perfect, radiant health, he cannot use it as a tool for achieving the purpose of his existence, especially on earth. As stated, this purpose is self-development, from unconscious to self conscious life, recognition of God, recognition of creation, other species of creation and various worlds they inhabit. Understanding and unconditional fulfillment of His adamantine or unchanging Will in His Creation. But just this Lucifer opposes and ever seeks to prevent. When a man is calm and his body is healthy, he is able to ask such helpful questions as (1) who am I? (2) Where am I From? (3) Why am I here? (4) Where do I go from here? What become of me after earthly sojourn? Only a healthy and calm man asks these questions. But suffering and the imminence of death may also help. To make the body unhealthy and unable to support the spirit in this quest, Lucifer’s minions gave to man ideas for the nurture of his physical body which oppose the plan of Mother Nature, through whose activities God speaks to His creations, including man. Thus, cigarette smoking damages the lungs and the respiratory system, apart from inhibiting the immune system, and above all pollutes the gift of fresh air not only for the smoker,, but also of other inhabitants of the earth.
Alcohol suppresses the brain, damages the liver and supports prostate enlargement. Refined sugar, hydrogenated fats and fried foods cause digestive disorders, obesity and degenerative diseases such as Diabetes, hypertension, strokes and even cancer.
Drinking water is polluted. So is the air. Pesticides poison food crops, while fertilizer devitalize and denature foods. So do carbonated drinks and sodium.
A fast such as the Ramadan fast helps to free the body from the burden of food and digestion and releases energy for the detoxification of poisons it has accumulated from food, air and water over many months or years.
The effects can be noticed on the tongue and the skin, when the fast begins, some tongues exhibit coatings of all sort of colours, indicating the biochemistry going on within. Some people may develop a rash on the skin if the toxin discharge from the cells is so much that the liver and the kidneys cannot cope with it and the skin, ask for a helping hand, is irritated and reacting accordingly. It is unhelpful to suppress such a rash with creams. Like water disturbed in it course, the toxins will find another exit. Or, rather, the body will find another exit route for them. If this is through the respiratory system, another eliminating outlet, the bombardment may cause, say, asthma in the future.
Spiritually, the aim of the Ramadan is to prevent full-scale plunge into materialism, which gives man little or no time for matters of the spirit, his being, and so life beyond this earth, in the vast world beyond senses of the earth body. When the body rests from food and the stress of work pursuits every day, its currents becomes finer and it is able to loosen its almost suffocating embrace on the Spirit, the tenant within, without dis-engaging from their union. Thus freed, the spirit for a while, is able to soar homewards. Already, the five daily prayers and the ablution have prepared some grounds for this. When one has to think of Allah five times in one day in prayer sessions during which the forehead is made to touch the earth in “submission” to Him, one should have little or no time for evil thoughts or actions. The ablution reinforces this. Before each of these five prayers, the adherent of Islam must wash hands, feet and mouth. Externally, this symbolizes cleanliness before Allah is approached. It also signifies that, while the “outside” Is clean, the “inside”, too, should be.
One of the reinforcements of the injunction is the admonition that no annoyance or guile survive beyond sunset in the heart (soul). Contravention is rewarded with denial of Divine blessing. These, and more, are great life lines for spiritual development and ascent which, through the Prophet Mohammed has been afforded a true adherent of Islam, as indeed any human being who follows the injunctions. For the Koran makes no distinction among men in this regard. It says in two references to this fact that only three conditions are necessary for salvation. (1) Belief in one God (2) Belief in the hereafter and (3) A righteous life.
he Koran says any Christian, convert (moslem) or Jew (unbeliever) who fulfils these conditions would be admitted to Paradise. But, alas, today many Islamic scholars lead the adherents on the easy broadway where they teach that, by merely fasting, they please God. This has the tendency to make the Ramadan become a routine, a habit, and not a festival which it should be, when all the rags of the soul are shred and, burned, and the ash buried, and new enabling nature takes root in the soul. It is this inward change which characterizes being born again, not empty, verbal proclamations even among Christians who are quick to utter these words.
During the Ramadan and any organized fast such as the Christian Lent, I strive to observe the season inwardly, that is, in spirit. And I know joy when, at the end of it all, I discover I have taken something good away for the improvement of my earth life. Currently, I have been sharing ideas with one of my sons on the human world. There are no accidents in Creation. There cannot be any in God’s work. And it isn’t accidental that only the human specie form words and speak them the way we do. When I remember the opening words of the Bible, the significance of the human word for the fate or wellbeing of the speaker strikes me powerfully. It says “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and God is the Word. “of course, we know the Word is the Law, and it was the Divine words LET THERE BE LIGHT which brought creation into being under the pressure of the Law. In other words, those words had a creative effect. In other words, the Human word as a gift has a forming effect. When we alter a word, that word exerts pressure on the environment. We are, with the spoken word, like posters forming objects with clay.
Nature beings impress our words on enteric substance, thereby forming them into forms which correspond to the nature of our thoughts or the words we express from them, good or ill, noble or ignoble. These then forms attach themselves to us as their authors, drawing into themselves similar forms. One day, this huge army will cause the nature of their being to manifest in our environment and around our persons. The human word, spoken, derives its origin from thought. And as the forms of those words spoken must bring to us the fate which corresponds to their nature, no- one will ever rise beyond his thoughts and the words he utters asked my son and henceforth watch people around him carefully, and see if their lives and well being are different from the nature of words they utter. He is reminded that this is why, while he was growing up, he was forbidden to say certain words. Today, these words fill the music of young people and the vocabulary of many people. Any wonder, then, that everything is more upside down today than the parents of the people of my generation said our days as young people were dis-arranged? 2015