1. The Ramadan month is here again. This is the time where the Muslims undergo disciplinary training of abstinence from food, drinks, lust and management of emotions for the love of Allah.
2. The month is also filled with nightly ritual prayer of terawih, a special prayer which is much longer than the normal five times per day prayers.
3. Correctly practiced, the Ramadan month is capable of being a month that transforms the caterpillar into a butterfly, change of bad habits into good ones. It can cause the Hijrah or migration of a person from a lower state into a higher state, a poor character into an examplary one.
4. Whether Ramadan serves the purpose of transforming a person into a better human being or it only serves as a mere religious ritual depends on many factors, primarily how the individual Muslim sees it.
5. On the one hand, Ramadan also witnesses many hypocritical, commercial and purely selfish behaviour. The business entities, especially the food industry seems to ironically have a boost in sales! Corporate and political personalities also use this period to network for commercial and political purposes.
6. The most basic and fundamental teachings of Islam comes from the Quran. If the Muslim takes the trouble to allocate a mere one hour a day in the month of Ramadan to study the Quran, he may emerge more knowledgeable about true Islam as contained in the Quran at the end of the Ramadan month.
7. With the knowledge gained from the Quran,he may then use it as a criterion to evaluate his life, the life in the society he lives in, the values and the events that he has witnessed in his society - and decide whether it reflects the mercy, blessings, and teachings that benefit human kind as contained in the Quran.
8. It will be sad and futile if the Ramadan month is turned into pure ritualistic exercise for the sake of a tradition or religion without the spirit. Then there will be no migration or Hijrah of the person's character and perspectives.
9. Salam Ramadan to all and may you each be blessed with what you sow.