Surah Al Baqarah 2:185 of the Holy Quran reads:
It is the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance for mankind with clear teachings showing the Right Way and a criterion of truth and falsehood. Therefore, anyone of you who witnesses that month should fast therein.
Ramadan is a very special time of the year for Muslims because it was during this month that Allah (SWT) revealed the message of the Holy Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Holy Quran, as described in the above verse, is a guidance for mankind. Not only does it distinguish between that which is right and wrong, providing moral and ethical standards for Muslims, but it confirms the scriptures that came before it in the Torah and the Gospel, it demonstrates the importance of listening to the messages of the prior prophets (SAW), and it reveals scientific facts about human existence, the earth, the universe, plants and animals.
On a personal level, it was reading the Holy Quran translation in English that spurred me to convert to Islam. When reflecting upon Ramadan and all that it has come to mean to me, I realized that the messages contained within the Holy Quran provide the essence of why I cherish this month so closely. Despite the fact that I do not speak Arabic, the language in which the Holy Quran was originally revealed, every time that I read the Quran I understand more and feel more inspired, enlightened and purified by it.
There are numerous verses of the Holy Quran that clearly state the importance of this book. In Surah Al Baqarah 2:1 it reads:
This is the Book in which there is no doubt. It is a guide for those who are God-conscious, who believe in the Unseen, who establish prayer and spend in charity.
And again in Surah Al Imran 3:1:
He has revealed to you this Book with the Truth, confirming the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel before this as a guidance for mankind.
And then again in Surah Al Hijr 15:1:
These are the verses of the Divine Book, the Glorious Quran which makes things clear.
The observance of Ramadan is much more than restraining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. It is a time for remembering Allah (SWT) and reflecting upon His message to mankind. It is a time for practicing patience, generosity, steadfastness and self-restraint. It is a time of purification and a time for expressing gratitude to Allah (SWT) for all of the many blessings and mercies that have been bestowed upon us while recommitting to the trust that Allah (SWT) has established with mankind.
I have kept a Ramadan Journal for most of the years since accepting Islam in 1998 and being able to re-read previous entries, re-live previous struggles, rejoice over previous triumphs makes me deeply thankful for the guidance of the Holy Quran. In a journal entry from 2011, Ramadan 7, I wrote, “No matter how many times I read Al Quran, it is beautiful to me, and although I cannot speak Arabic, when I hear it recited – so clearly, so beautifully in its original form – my eyes well with tears and I know again, I am reminded, of the Sovereignty, of the Mercy of Our Lord, Allah.”
There are numerous free resources for online reading of the Holy Quran. My favorite resource is www.quranexplorer.com, and there are hard copies of translations available in most bookstores and public libraries. In addition, there are several organizations that provide free hard copies. The Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) is one such organization and requests can be submitted online here or by contacting ISGH directly at 3110 Eastside Dr, Houston, TX, 77098.
With all of the wars, conflicts, oppression, injustice and violence prevalent in the world today, I find solace, encouragement and strength in the Holy Quran. I hope that you will too.