TAKE a pencil and draw a triangle by placing the holy month of Ramadan, Quran and Taqwa (God-consciousness) in the three ends and if you decide to fast, recite the Quran, become aware of Allah's diktat in all spheres of your life – according to the triangle - then you are most likely to gain an immense spiritual bliss. Fasting was indeed prescribed during the holy month, but the underlying purpose behind it is often overlooked. The purpose, if explained in the light of Sura Al-Baqara's 183rd verse – “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may become righteous” -- is God-consciousness.
The verse clearly states the importance of fasting in Ramadan with the aim of developing God- consciousness. But what we do during the month usually consists of fasting, supplicating, reciting the Quran (with and without knowing its meaning), arranging and participating in sumptuous Iftar parties, and literally wearing out after saying the Tarawi prayers for the first ten nights. So the month for countless many is somehow squandered without acquiring spiritual bliss. Most of us fail to act as per the correlation of the triangle.
Note that Taqwa is an elevated level of consciousness of the Creator. You don't only fear or love him but put your entire trust in his decree while surrendering yourself. And the one who thrives to achieve Taqwa is called a Muttaqi, actually how much we strive during the holy month to become a Muttaqi is the question here.
One is not likely to work in the line of attaining Taqwa unless the three are interwoven together. So, the one who is interested in achieving Taqwa may ask him/her self: “Can anyone achieve this without the Quran?” The answer is a clear 'no.' The next question is: “What if someone follows the Quran, can't he achieve Taqwa without fasting?” The answer is 'no' again. And obviously the best time to fast is in the month of Ramadan. And reciting the Quran and fasting without developing any Taqwa means that, as a Muslim, you have merely followed a set of rituals for personal gains.
Through Sura Al-Baqara's 187th verse Allah says: “Thus, does Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn Taqwa.” Ramadan is not limited to abstaining from food, praying, charity and supplicating only, but to develop God-consciousness to impact your spiritual health. For developing this attribute what could be a more fitting time than the holy month of Ramadan?
Nevertheless, to cut a long story short, attempt the triangle and the bliss will surely follow.
The writer is Current Affairs Analyst, The Daily Star.