Competing in (and for) Good Deeds in Ramadan

Competing in (and for) Good Deeds in Ramadan
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The blessed Month of Ramadan we are experiencing is a holy month in which the beauty of Islamic moral values is observed by the society in general, the hearts are mellowed, and believers’ efforts in this regard are redoubled. In the Qur’an, the Month of Ramadan is defined to be “better than a thousand months.” (Surah al-Qadr, 3). Muslims should make the best of this wonderful opportunity and take the right decisions with regards to this world and the Hereafter towards overcoming their flaws, compensating for their shortcomings, reinforcing their faith and further elevate their morals.
One of the most prominent characteristics of believers is their willingness and effort to lead all people by example in good moral values, as stated in this verse of the Qur’an, “…make us a good example for those who guard against evil…” (Surah al-Furqan, 74)
Fulfilling this responsibility, however, requires making great sacrifices in a lot of matters. For example, individuals are expected to prioritize taking care of the problems and needs of others over their own and to exert all their means to that end. They are expected to face up to any hardship when necessary and exercise patience and conviction in the face of adversity without losing heart.
The Qur’an tells about how all prophets and believers throughout history mightily strove towards spreading good moral values. Despite encountering myriad challenges to do so, these venerable people kept on teaching good moral values to all with exceptional enthusiasm and dedication. They expended such effort to gain the approval and affection of God alone, without expecting anything in return. The only recompense Muslims expect for their self-sacrifice is only that of God. Many verses of the Qur’an tell about the sincere behaviors of prophets that set an example for all mankind. For example, the following verses depict the Prophet Noah’s selfless effort to convey the good moral values without seeking any compensation other than the approval of God:
When their brother Noah said to them, ‘Will you not guard against evil?’
‘I am a faithful Messenger to you.’
‘So have fear of God and obey me.’
I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of no one but the Lord of all the worlds.’ (Surah ash-Shu’ara’, 106-109)
My people! I do not ask you for any wealth for it. My wage is the responsibility of God alone. (Surah Hud, 29)
Most people refused to heed this call that would help them attain salvation both in this world and the Hereafter and ensure them happy and pleasant lives and resisted the message that was conveyed to them. Prophets and other believers who preached good moral values endured this hardship as well, exhibiting a superior morality by saying “the best of words.” Without demanding any gain for themselves, they spared no effort just to deliver people from a painful punishment in the Hereafter. Patiently reiterating the truth to those who insist on not hearing it and seeking out rationalistic methods to help them see the truth is a moral behavior particular only to conscientious people. His endeavor to spread the religion to his tribe is an indisputable testament of Prophet Noah’s sincerity, altruism and patience in this regard.
Just like Prophet Noah, all prophets and believers encountered similar incidents in their respective communities. But , they did not let any of these dishearten them and dissuade them from their resolve to practice their faith and good moral values.
The blessed Ramadan is an opportunity for the believers to reflect the self-control they exercise in observing fast, for earning God’s approval to all other prayers as well, which, in turn, brings them closer to God. This awareness may lead people observing fast to thoroughly practice the morality favored by God, adjust their behavior to suit the teachings of the Qur’an, and flawlessly carry out the commandments of God. Our Lord grants countless means to His subjects, for He is All-Merciful and All-Forgiving.
Through Our Lord’s mercy, this Month of Ramadan we are about to welcome, too, will lead to many good things for all people. It will prove an opportunity for the Muslims throughout the world to acquire a deeper sense of faith, prayer and good moral values as well as to compete in piety and good deeds.

—The author, a Turkish writer, blogs at: www.harunyahya.com