Ramadan Mubarak All - As the holy month begins know about the five pillars that shape every Muslim's life

Namaaz: Muslim boy praying.


Call it a science or religious obligation, fasting is part of many religions as a thanksgiving or penance for the gift almighty has bestowed upon them and Islam is no different. Muslims worldwide await the glimpse of new moon to mark the beginning of holy month of Ramadan when they begin their fast from dusk till dawn. If I remember well the words of Imam, a Muslim priest I met during my early days in Goa when I used to visit a nearby mosque with mum regularly, Muslims believe that the Koran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. To mark this sacred occasion, they go without food and liquids, smoking and having sex during daylight hours for a month. It all made little sense then for I was a kid who believed life was for fun and games, and they required you to feed your tummy well! But with time I do have understood the importance of fasting in our life. From detoxification to its deeper religious meanings to laws of coexistence, each one you met holding profound knowledge will suffice in teaching new meanings and gains of fasting.  

Mine was a different childhood altogether far from the typical which goes inside four walls of own houses. Born in a goan locality whose USP lied in diverse cultural reminiscences where lived families of all hues from Brahmin, other Hindu sects to Muslims to Christians (only a single family although). There was this little kid of my age in the Muslim family that lived near our home back in Goa and we grew up in a kind of way they call together! May be thanks to this diverse society that I was born into, I hardly succeed nowadays in finding differences between these religions. For me they all square to one except that the Muslims who lived there spoke Urdu which then I scarcely understood but rest we all spoke the same Goan tongue, the juicy and infinitely stretchable Konkani! 

I sometimes forget what I was up to with my own story; sorry readers. Here I return. 

My mum was the first 'secular' I met for she never reprimanded me for asking questions repeatedly on such matters. I don't know from where she acquired the same knowledge but she did knew it all, at least all that I asked from her then. Later on my curiosity to discover why and how has taken me to places and from all of the same what I could summarize is, Muslims have certain practices which are same geographically unlike ours' which change from location to location, which they at times refer to as pillars of Islam. Five in number, they are Shahadah meaning full faith in Allah the only god that they believe in and Muhammad his messenger, Salat which translates to performing ritual prayers five times a day, Zakat is the word laying importance to charity that benefits the poor and needy, Sawm as mentioned earlier is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and last but the most important is Hajj, pilgrimage to their holy city of Mecca. No, I didn't remembered all the italicized words myself which different people happened to mention me at different points of life but did only knew that there existed five words for five obligations they consider important for every Muslim. In fact I had to call a friend in the wee hours of morning to get hold on the five!  

If you ask any Muslim they will tell you the gross importance of fasting or carrying out these obligations for it provides the framework of a Muslim's life, and weaves their everyday activities and their beliefs into a single cloth of religious devotion. No matter how sincerely a person may believe, Islam regards it as pointless to live life without putting that faith into action and practice. Carrying out the Five Pillars demonstrates that the Muslim is putting their faith first, and not just trying to fit it in around their secular lives. Life of any person who if believes in religion, any religion be it, it revolves around one word called faith. It's the belief in unseen, faith in the work they do and fruits one knows he will reap when time is ripe that inspires him to live on.  

Although I'm a firm believer in the wisdom of eating to live and not living to eat, I rarely would starve my stomach for anything but if the reward is much awaited kheer (sweet dish made on most of Muslim festivities) at the end of the holy month then I'm game for the same! I don't know if I will ever think that almighty will want his creation to starve to please him but I'm no outsider to the knowledge that every religion holds certain obligations which are hard for acceptance as topic of debate but are fables of supreme faith we place in the unseen, the power that rules this universe and makes things happen which at times science fails to answer! All I wish is people take care of their health, pray for the larger good, and practice after thorough thought what their religion preaches them. Let the spirit of Ramadan spread all around. Let all who keep fast succeed in their obligations. Let poor and needy be fed regularly and not just in holy months. Let peace and harmony prevail. 

Meanwhile, all I hope is aroma and taste of sweet kheer of Eid-ul-Fitar reaches me as it does every year from hands I rarely expect it from! 

Happy Ramadan to you all!

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