Finding Focus: The Holy Month of Ramadan

The Islamic month of Ramadan, the month of Allah, stands as a sanctuary of focus and spiritual renewal amid the yearlong hustle and bustle of our modern lives, where distractions abound from every direction. A sacred month of worship, self-reflection, helping and giving, it offers an opportunity to re-centre ourselves, to detach from the diversions of the material world, and to reflect on our purpose as Dawoodi Bohras, as Muslims, and as human beings. As Fatimi philosophy teaches, the month of Ramadan serves as a holistic reset for the mind, body, and soul.

Throughout the year, we are busy with worldly pursuits, such as work, school and domestic life, with electronic devices and screens claiming an increasingly large part of our time and attention. In the face of the overwhelming daily onslaught of information, news, and hyper-connectivity, Ramadan offers a reprieve—a sacred space where we can reconnect with our innermost selves, as well as with our family and community members. It motivates us to reclaim our time and attention and redirect them towards pursuits that sustain our souls and deepen our relationship with Allah, such as fasting, prayer, giving and helping others.

Despite still assiduously attending work and school, despite sacrificing sleep and food, and despite our continued, if not heightened, awareness of the world around us, the holy month grants us the strength to somehow balance it all—blessing us with the miracle of focus. Neuroscientific research demonstrates how different motivational stimuli drive various behaviours and shape focus and attentiveness, as seen with the beneficial effect of monetary reward on efficiency and attentional performance. In the month of Ramadan, the promise of multifold spiritual reward and the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional benefits of prayer, fasting, giving and other good deeds are potent motivational stimuli that shape our perception, our focus, and our attention. 

The Prophet Mohammed, right before the start of the month, recounted its manifold spiritual bounties—performing one obligatory act of worship in Ramadan, he proclaimed, is akin to performing 70 in any other month. It is a month of forbearance, he stated further, the reward for which is Heaven. Providing someone with iftar (food to break their fast with after sundown) brings about the forgiveness of one’s sins and protects them from Hellfire.

Through the sacred rituals of fasting, prayer, and charity, Ramadan is a profound opportunity for personal growth, allowing us to transcend material distractions, address moral shortcomings and connect with the spiritual essence at the heart of our faith. Fasting, the hallmark of the month, cultivates gratitude, strength of will, and moderation. Prayers and reciting the Holy Quran generate mindfulness and humility, while visiting the masjid generates community solidarity and love for our spiritual family. Giving and helping others, likewise, gives rise to compassion, empathy and generosity.

Reflection on the deep meanings and benefits of the prayers, Quranic verses, and supplications we recite and the deeds we perform, provides us with the clarity, peace of mind, and solace we so often seek; it reminds us of who we are and what our purpose is. Through introspection and repentance, we strive to purify our intentions and realign ourselves with our quest for moral excellence in all aspects of our lives.

The transformative power of this month inspires us to make an effort to habituate these acts all year long, focusing on our purpose amidst all the distractions of daily life. Guided by the teachings of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, we strive to adhere to prayer times, recite and memorise the Quran, and attend the masjid, especially during important spiritual occasions. The practice of giving and uplifting others—an intrinsic part of Ramadan—is, now more than ever, a year-round priority for the community. From delivering daily meals to all community members through the FMB community kitchen initiative to providing food and assistance to those in need in their regions and societies, it revitalises our sense of interconnectedness with humanity as the family of Allah— and, as the Prophet has taught, “the most beloved of Creation to Allah is the one who benefits His family the most”.

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Last Updated
March 25, 2024
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