“The month of Ramadhan in which the Quran was revealed, is guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the Criterion (between right and wrong).” 
So here we are again. A year has passed and we are entering the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar. The holy month of peace, mercy, and blessings. Welcome to the month of Ramadhan, the month of glory.
As we almost all know, in the month of Ramadhan, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. This is pretty much basic and common knowledge about this holy month. However, Ramadhan is much more than wandering around hungry during the day.
As some of you might know, Islam is not the only religion that preaches fasting. So does Christianity and Judaism. In fact, when Moses(as) got the revelation of the Ten Commandments at the Sinai mountain, he maintained fasting in forty days(Exodus 24:18). Furthermore, we see Jews fasting on the Day of Atonement, in special ceremonies, in mourning-time, and when in danger. We also see some Christians fast in Lent, a period of forty days before Easter, whenever they feel the need to be close to God the Almighty, or whenever they wish to get some more self discipline which is meant to lead them to become more spiritual oriented towards God and his creations. In short, these three mentioned religions all have fasting in common.
This month is not only about refraining from what the stomach desires. It is about restraining from material pleasures by going against natural instincts, and taking time to become closer to God the Almighty. It is the month of obedience and humility, and furthermore, it teaches us the art of slavery. Fasting in this glorious month is meant to strengthen a person’s soul and here are some benefits that explain why we fast:
- To develop self-control, discipline and patience.
- To increase our compassion for the underprivileged and to learn to take care of others.
- To act consequently to our compassion of the deprived – for instance, by giving charity.
- To lessen our desires for materialistic and worldly things.
- To cleanse our bodies, souls and minds.
- To demonstrate complete devotion to the Creator.
- To obey what God has ordered us to do.
- To make a pledge and promise God that we want to change to the better.
- To refrain from sins, and earn great reward.
- To seek forgiveness.
- To seek closeness to God Almighty (by fasting, praying, reading duaas and the Holy Quran, having an honest intention of doing good, etc.)
- To focus on avoid lying, gossiping, and backbiting
If we look at the points, they really are not that difficult to keep. One must be determined and decide to keep these points as best as possible. Remember: “Allah doesn’t burden any soul with more than it can bear. Each soul receives the reward for the good it has earned and is punished for the evil it has done”.
The month of Ramadan is surely a blessing for the faithful children of Adam. If only everyone knew its importance, they would appreciate it much more and thank God every day for the fact that He has let them live another year where they are able to meet with this holy month again.
Nonetheless, the main problem I find concerning the month of Ramadhan is the fact that many Muslims most likely view it as a cultural and traditional matter rather than religious and spiritual. They love the fact that their families gather around, sitting together watching TV-shows that have not even the smallest clue of what Islam is about. They tend to waste their time watching shallow movies and TV-shows, and when it comes to breaking the fast, they have completely misunderstood the concept of fasting. They cook ten meals and shovel food into their mouths like never before. After quickly have eaten and their five minutes of eating have passed they are so full that they can hardly stand up and pray the evening prayers properly. Not to talk about sitting in remembrance of God after the breaking of fast. No, no, no. Then it’s time to chat with the family of how hard the day was, and afterwards it’s time for yet another series.
In all fairness, there are at the same time many families that do not waste their month watching series and forgetting God. There are of course those who try their best to seek nearness to God. However, many of us again tend to misunderstand this holy month. We have a bad habit of thinking that this is the only month of the entire year where we should be in God’s remembrance, read duaas and the Holy Quran, and help the poor. We should rather see this blessed month as a preparation for a whole new year until the next month of Ramadhan. We are not supposed to be “good Muslims” only during one month! This month is supposed to motivate us for the entire year. What good does it when we seek God’s pardon these 30 days, and when they are over, we simply do whatever we feel like doing and forget all about or vows to God? Isn’t that embarrassing?
“Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, Peace! until the appearance of dawn” 
Finally, we have some beautiful ahadith about the month of Ramadhan.
Imam Ali(as) on the holy month:
“Do not say Ramadhan rather say month of Ramadhan, for surely you know not what (really) Ramadhan is” 
“Say not, “This is Ramadhan” and “Ramadhan has departed” and “Ramadhan has arrived” for surely, Ramadhan is one of the names of Allah, The Mighty the Glorious, who neither arrives nor departs. Surely, arrives and departs that, which is ephemeral. Instead say: “The month of Ramadhan”.” 
“For everything there is a (period of) spring and the spring of Qur’an is the month of Ramadhan.” 
“One, who recites one verse from the Book of Allah, The Mighty The Glorious, in the month of Ramadhan, is like one, who has recited the entire Qur’an in the other months.” 
Just imagine how great this month is!
I hope and pray that we all shall realize how blessed we are to even be alive for this glorious month, and I pray that God Almighty enlightens our souls and shows us the right path in life. Shahr Ramadhan kareem.
 [Quran: 2:185]
 Quran: 2:286]
 [Quran: 97:1-5]
 Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 69
 Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 70
 Wasail aI-Shia’h, vol. 10, p. 302
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 344