Ramadān, also this year the “best of months” has come. Thirty days of fasting, prayer, recitation of the Sublime Qurʼān, introspection and inner self-assessment for all Muslims, everywhere in the world. “Am I on the Straight Path to Allāh?”, this is the question they are called to answer, knowing that He, the Almighty, “knows best what is hidden in the heart” (Sūrah “Al ‘Imrān”, 3:119). One can lie to oneself and to others, as do the “hypocrites” (Sūrah “Al Munāfiqūn”, 63), but not to Allāh (swt), “the Best of judges” (Sūrah “Al-An’ām”, 6:57; Sūrah “Al A’rāf”, 7:87) to whom every man will have to give an account of his deeds.
In the midst of ordinary life, Ramadān thus serves to expand that space of direct interconnection with Allāh (swt), where one can measure one’s faith in His presence and in all sincerity, in order to understand the stage of spiritual perfection that has actually reached, identifying the areas in which it is necessary to make a greater “effort” (Jihād) to be worthy of Him and of the “salvation” to be attained.
In the battle “against one’s soul and against one’s passions along the path of Allāh the Most High”, as stated in one of the most significant Hadīths, the celebration of Ramadān − the fourth pillar of Islām − therefore plays a central role. A role that it is sanctioned by the very Sublime Qurʼān, since it is closely related to the moment of the “revelation” of the Holy Book to Prophet Muhammad (saw) through the Angel Gabriel, in a cave of Mount Jabal An-Nūr named Hirāʾ: “It is in the month of Ramadān that the Qurʼān was revealed, as a guidance for humanity, and a proof of the right direction and criteria” (Sūrah “Al Baqara”, 2:185).
The advent of the Sublime Qurʼān took place during a “blessed night” (Sūrah “Ad-Dukhān”, 44:3), the “Night of destiny […] better than a thousand months”. During this holy “Night”, “the angels and the Spirit, with the permission of their Lord, [descended] to ordain all matters (Sūrah “Al Qadr”, 97:3-4), thus initiating the prophetic task of Muhammad (saw).
During Ramadān, Muslims must then confront themselves with the Divine Word more than in other times of the year, with a look backward − at what has been done up to that moment to conform to the “revelation” of Islām, the “Religion of Truth” (Sūrah “At-Tawba”, 9:33), including his witness − and a look to the future − to what must be done to exercise all the “virtues” required by the Sublime Qurʼān, in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (saw), the “seal” (Sūrah “Al Ahzāb”, 33:40) of the messengers sent by Allāh (swt).
However, Ramadān goes beyond the deepening of the individual dimension of the relationship with Allāh (swt), as it encompasses also the collective and social dimension of faith, which completes the individual one. In this month of celebrations, which the Prophet (saw) termed as “that of my community”, the Ummah is called to strengthen its bonds of brotherhood and union, starting from the closest relationships with relatives and beloved ones. The convivial meetings of the Iftār and Īd Al Fitr fulfil this function, which must be accompanied by “charity” toward the poor, the third pillar of Islām (zakāt), particularly recommended in this period of the year, as indicated by Prophet Muhammad (saw) in one of his teachings: “The best of alms is the one done in the month of Ramadān“.
The emphasis on “charity” is closely linked to the “revelation” of the Sublime Qurʼān, a manifestation of Allāh’s (swt) “mercy” to humanity, who in turn has the duty to be “merciful” toward one’s neighbor and not only in terms of generosity, but also of willingness to help and forgive. “The month of Ramadān has come to you; it is a month of blessings in which Allāh (swt) envelops you with His ‘mercy’, forgives your sins, and meet your requests”, Prophet Muhammad (saw) explained, and Muslims are asked to act accordingly, always, of course, but even more so during Ramadān.
The beauty, the feelings of love and brotherhood, the joy of reconciliation and renewed harmony with Allāh (swt) and with the world, which are typical of Ramadān, could not fail to arouse the envy and resentment of Iblīs and his shayātīn, the hidden puppet masters of extremism. Unsurprisingly, the “diversion” of Ramadān still remains a priority objective for ISIS.
The alleged caliph, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, declared the birth of the “caliphate of terror” on the first day of Ramadān in the year 1435 (June 2014). And every year, ISIS celebrates the anniversary by intensifying the attacks, in a special campaign that lasts an entire month and is accompanied by videos and propaganda messages, for the use and consumption of militants and sympathizers. The previous Ramadān witnessed 260 terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS in Iraq alone, with a total of 420 dead and wounded. What will the toll be by the end of the ongoing Ramadān?
As opposed to the “Religion of Truth” (Sūrah “At-Tawba”, 9:33) revealed by Allāh (swt), Iblīs and the shayātīn endorse the “religion of falsehood” embodied by ISIS, which aims to lead Muslims on the “wrong path” of hatred and violence in order to prevent their “salvation”. By announcing the “caliphate” at the beginning of Ramadān, Al Baghdadi thus openly profaned both the “revelation” of Islām and the prophetic task of Muhammad (saw), giving birth to a blasphemous “anti-Ummah” destined to damnation.
With the psychological and ego manipulations underlying the deception of radicalization, ISIS, Al Qāʿida and the other multiform manifestations of extremism, aim to incorporate all Muslims in the ranks of the “mujahedin” of terror who fight against Allāh (swt) and his plan of “salvation” for humanity. Convinced that they are “submitted” to Allāh (swt), they are instead at the service of Iblīs and the shayātīn, who operate through Al Baghdadi, Osama Bin Laden, and the likes.
Do you want us to mention those whose deeds are most useless, those whose effort in this life has led them astray, while they believed they were doing good? (Sūrah “Al Kahf”, 18:103-104).
May the “mercy” of Allāh (swt) the Almighty, the Compassionate, descend on the militants and sympathizers of ISIS, who today are not celebrating the Ramadān of the Sublime Qurʼān, but the long and dark night of evil on earth. They “traded the Right Guidance for perdition” (Sūrah “Al Baqara”, 2:16) and Allāh (swt) has already established their fate, since “he does not love those who do evil” (Sūrah”Ash-Shūrā“, 42:40): “I will fill Hell with all of you, with you [Iblīs] and with those who have followed you” (Sūrah “Al A’rāf”, 7:18). At the same time, Allāh (swt), who can do everything, “directs whomever He wills to the Straight Path” (Sūrah “An-Nūr”, 24:46), and Muslims are called to offer special prayers to Him over the month of Ramadān, so that He may pour out “His blessings” on the “misguided” (Sūrah “Al Fātiha”, 1:7) of extremism, making them return “from darkness to light” (Sūrah “Al Baqara”, 2:257).
Further, may the pleas of Muslims go up to Allāh (swt) so that He can keep them steadfast in following the Divine Word before the challenges of the world, especially those challenges that engage their faith, along with the Islamic religious and cultural identity, more directly.
The servants of the Compassionate are those who walk the earth with humility and when the ignorant turn to them, they answer: “Peace!” (Sūrah “Al Furqān”, 25:63).
The “revelation” of the Sublime Qurʼān to Prophet Muhammad (saw) renews itself every year to remind us that the “Right Guidance” (Sūrah “Al Baqara”, 2:16) is always with Muslims, and will never leave them. So let’s celebrate: Ramadān Mubārak!