Sep 16, 2009, 6:48 AM
As we begin the holy month of Ramadan today, we wish all Muslims a happy Ramadan and good health.
Islam teaches that the month of Ramadan is holy, and that it is a month of repentance, forgiveness, kindness and charity.
It is against this backdrop that one would expect to see Muslims show kindness to one another, to see the rich assist the poor and the predominantly Muslim traders keep the price of essential commodities like rice, oil and other condiments reasonable and affordable to the average Gambian.
At the core of the Ramadan is the need for spiritual rebirth. It is a period of taking stock of our deeds and resolving not to slide back into bad ways.
Ramadan is a sacred month in the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims are obliged to exercise self-restraint in their desires.
It is also a period of spiritual retreat during which Muslims are to reflect on their spiritual state, and make amends.
That is why all sorts of self-indulgences are forbidden in the holy month of Ramadan.
Fasting, which typifies the Ramadan, is a manifestation of the self-restraint Muslims are expected to show in their daily lives.
The lessons learnt during the Ramadan should not be discarded, once the fasting period ends.
We should try to make the best use of the holy month of Ramadan to strengthen our relations with each other.
As Muslims, we should try and resolve our individual differences, problems and work together in unison for human development.
A cardinal aspect of this spiritual rebirth is forgiveness. If we ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt, we should also be prepared to forgive those who offend us.
Once again, we emphasize that at the national level, there is a need to forgive those who might have hurt us in one way or the other; hence when we forgive, we grow bigger in spirit and mind.
The Qur’an describes the believers (Muslims) as those who avoid gross sins and vices, and when angered they forgive.
“He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh”.