I had the privilege of sitting down with Shaykh Bahdon to discuss what Ramadan gives to us as Muslims. Shaykh Bahdon is the Imam at Pillars of Guidance; he has grown up in Australia and provides an empathetic wisdom that is able to reach the hearts of both young and old alike.
JR: During Ramadan we get this amazing amount of willpower and iman that motivates us to engage more in our religion, where does this come from?
Shaykh Bahdon: First, I would love to say it comes from the mercy of God, from Allah SWT. That he has given us this blessed month of Ramadan, where we have been instructed to fast. The purpose of fasting is to gain consciousness of Allah SWT, Taqwa in Arabic. So what happens is that as humans being involved in our day to day life we sometimes get caught up, get busy , we turn away from the ultimate objective, chasing our short term or long term goals. Now all mighty Allah SWT being all wise, all knowing, knows what’s good for his creation, has legislated for us a month which is somewhat a training, a crash course, it is a time for us to reconnect spiritually. When we look at the anatomy of a human being, when we look at the essence we find everyone is made up of 3 fundamental components. The first being our intellect; the faculty of reasoning which we have been blessed with which distinguishes us from animals. The second is our physical body, the third is our soul.
We need to have balance in these three but unfortunately more emphasis is given to our physical body and our intellect over our spirit. Because of this, we have imbalances which affect our life. Now from these three, the soul is the most important, our enjoyment, our happiness, our contentment is connected to our ruh (soul). So the month of Ramadan it is that time where we reconnect with our Ruh, and how do we do that? That is by fasting, we get spiritual strength by good deeds. We get physical strength by food, now we feed our stomach’s, but we are not feeding our souls. So, what happens is that it is the mercy of Allah SWT that he has legislated this month where otherwise maybe we wouldn’t feed our soul. Maybe we wouldn’t by ourselves choose that path, so he has given us a month where we can spiritually reconnect so we can gain that important and imperative quality of Taqwa.
So based on that there is a couple of things I would like to mention, in Ramadan, Allah SWT has opened the doors of paradise, it comes in an authentic narration that when the month of Ramadan commences the doors of Jannah are opened and the doors of hell fire are closed and the devils are locked up and chained. What we learn from that, is that the opportunity for goodness has increased, there is a vibe, there is an atmosphere of goodness in Ramadan. We have one month of a spiritually uplifting means of worship and that is fasting , an act that can quickly connect us to Allah SWT. And we have another unique characteristic of Ramadan and that is the Taraweeh prayer.
We have in the month of Ramadan the opportunity of feeding others . We take lessons from the voluntary hunger we experience in the month of Ramadan. The hunger that the large population of human’s experience in poverty. When we go through this fasting we feel what they experience which softens our heart.
So in summary all of these good deeds that we engage in is what builds our will power. When willpower is built our consciousness of Allah SWT is increased, when this is observed we obey his commands, we don’t fall into a state of heedlessness or negligence. That consciousness is what is called in Arabic Taqwa, it gives us a spiritual capability to be able to differentiate from right and wrong, this is called Al-Furqan , this is special divine gift given to the God Conscious slaves who have Taqwa, this Furqan gives us the ability to differentiate between what is right and wrong, the truth and falsehood and what is beneficial and what is non beneficial. So in conclusion in eleven months of the year we are feeding our physical bodies and in the month of Ramadan we are feeding our spiritual body, that’s what gives us the will power.
JR: In Ramadan we are taught to get closer to the Qur’an, can you explain why this is?
Shaykh Bahdon: The Qur’an is the spring of the heart, Qur’an is what revives the heart, because it is the ultimate remembrance of Allah SWT. In an authentic narration by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari RA reported: The Prophet PBUH said: “The example of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like the example of a living and a dead person.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. So the remembrance of AllahSWT, the scholars explain, the Qur’an is the highest form. So when a person remembers Allah SWT they are conscious of Allah SWT when a person does not they are not conscious of Allah SWT, being instead in a state of heedlessness. The Qur’an has a very strong connection with the month of Ramadan, because Allah SWT has introduced the month of Ramadan he has said the month of Ramadan is the month which the Qur’an was revealed. The first thing that is mentioned about Ramadan is the Qur’an then fasting. In the month of Ramadan we get that extra dose of Qur’an which is the Taraweeh prayers and the Qiyam Al Layl. So now the connection with the Qur’an is what revives the heart, is what brings freshness to the heart, it’s what removes the burdens, the burdens we have placed on our back because of our sins. Those burdens are so heavy because we physically and spiritually feel that. The Qur’an is the spring of the heart and because the Quran is connected to Ramadan therefore Ramadan is the spring of the heart.
JR: The month of Ramadan is such a beautiful gift from Allah SWT. As Shaykh Bahdon explained, it is a month where our soul is fed, where we are reconnected to the Qur’an and given the opportunity to pray Taraweeh. This conversation with Shaykh Bahdon certainly gave my Imaan a boost to continue these last blessed nights of Ramadan. Whatever your situation in Ramadan , whether you started it strong or whether you found yourself wanting to improve, these last nights are such a blessing in which we can, as the Shaykh explains, feed our souls, reinvigorate our hearts , get closer to the Qur’an , connect with Allah SWT and to come alive in this month which is the spring of our hearts.
May Allah SWT bless our Ramadan, accept our fasts and good deeds and allow our hearts to remain alive with remembrance of him.
Asalaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah