The First Ten Days of Ramadan

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is divided into three parts. The first part, or ten days, of Ramadan are for seeking God’s Mercy, and sharing that mercy with others.

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is divided into three parts. The first part, or ten days, of Ramadan are for seeking God’s Mercy, and sharing that mercy with others.

During the first ten days of Ramadan mercy is sought by Muslims who are participating in Ramadan, or those who are fasting. The Mercy that is sought during the month of Ramadan by Muslims can be divided into four important areas of erudition:

•Defining mercy
•Receiving mercy from God
•Being merciful
•Having mercy towards one’s self

Understanding Mercy in Islam
Mercy in Islam begins with the words Rahman and Rahim. These two words mentioned at the beginning of every Muslims prayer come from the root word RHM.

RHM has the meaning of “to love, have tenderness …pity, forgiveness, show goodness …” (Omar 205). Therefore learning mercy in Islam is to learn how to become a beneficent being by spreading goodwill (in all its forms) throughout the world.

Understanding Mercy from God in Islam
Mercy from God during the first ten days of Ramadan is believed to come in abundance from God who is the first teacher in beneficence from His own actions. God knows that this is a trying time for the Muslim as she/he embarks upon a journey of fasting that takes place once a year.

As such, the Muslim who sets forth to fast will find that the first ten days of Ramadan are the most difficult. The desire to eat, drink, and smoke has a tendency to impact a person’s resolve to fast more than anything. Hunger pains and a dry throat from thirst are enough to test one’s patience and self control. Add to it the craving for nicotine plus that annoying caffeine headache and the ingredients for failure become pronounced. If not for the mercy from God, surely failure would be imminent.

God’s mercy shows itself not in a supernatural way; it shows itself in the most natural of ways with the internal resolve and ability for inner strength inherent in all people.

Understanding Mercy Towards Others In Islam
During Ramadan the Muslim is required to be merciful to those around her/him. As such, having tenderness and understanding towards family members is of primary importance. Those who are in the home become tired and irritable throughout the day. This is a time for those in the home to share loving kindness and tenderness to help alleviate some of the hardship involved with the fast.

At work, among variant attitudes and personalities, the Muslim refrains from creating an atmosphere that will spark negative emotions and confrontational situations. The Muslim creates and environment through the act of sharing and helping whenever the need arises.

Before the nightly meal and the breaking of the fast, Muslim homes are filled with men and women working together to prepare the late dinner. The food is then taken to the local mosque and shared with all. Non-Muslims are invited to partake in the banquet, and in the vein of true mercy no proselytizing is enacted; only a sharing of good food and good company.

Mercy Toward One’s Self in Islam
The most important mercy for a Muslim to develop is mercy towards oneself. Forgiving oneself for the harm one has caused to others is a tremendous psychological boundary for a person to overcome. Failure to overcome such negativity can cause an individual to make mistakes and bad decisions in life. In the Islamic concept of mercy towards ones self, it is best to forgive oneself of the harm caused, but one should not forget the harm done. In this way a person can move forward in their spiritual development without feeling the need to be held back by one’s own shame. Asking forgiveness from those who were harmed and making amends to those who have been injured are part of mercy toward one’s self.

Understanding Rahman and Rahim during the month of Ramadan is a precious commodity that can shape the remainder of the 30 days of fasting for the Muslim. Properly implemented, it has the potential of shaping the society in which the Muslim lives, creating a wholesome, nurturing community.


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