The higher purpose of Ramadan

June 29, 2014 5:57 PM

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Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, has just begun. Although it is celebrated by Muslims across the globe as a month of fasting, its significance goes beyond the 30-day obligatory abnegation of food and drink (sawm). This is because the Koranic instructions concerning Ramadan that form part of a discussion in a cluster of six verses (2: 183-188) are both ritualistic and metaphorical in meaning.

The word Ramadan is derived from ramaz, or “intense heat”, and sawm refers to the act of stopping or, abstaining from an activity. Hence, when the Koran talks of its guidance being revealed in Ramadan and asks people to perform sawm during this month it is, apart from an instruction to fast, an invi...

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