Ghana Academy Of Muslim Professionals 2018 Ramadan Lectures Kicks Off
A change of name from Ghana Muslim Academy to Ghana Academy of Muslim Professionals. A change in venue from the Ghana National Association of Teachers Hall to the Cantonments Police Mosque. And a change in the outlook of the topics from technical issues germane to the development of Islam in the contemporary world to a specific topic ‘ Ramadan’ could not entirely menace the first lecture of the 20TH M. A Mujahid Annual Ghana Academy of Muslim Professionals Ramadan Lectures. These factors were logically expected to deliver a big blow to participation in this year’s edition.
However, the patience of participants, the rich discussions after the speech that is best described as novel, the depth of delivery and the towering intellect of the speaker eclipsed and predominated the above-mentioned factors. The lecture was absolutely great and revealing especially when the speaker for the day was not the usual big sheikh, white-bearded cleric with an Islamic studies academic background from Azhar or any other renowned Arabic university.
The speaker was Brother Abubakar Alhassan (known as Sheikh Buba), the Assistant Human Resource and Administration Manager of Japan Motors Trading Company Limited. A very humble young man who superintends over Ain Shams, an Islamic school in Accra New-town. Under the theme ‘The Life of a Muslim before, during and after Ramadan, he delivered his lecture on the topic ‘The Impact of Ramadan on the life of a Muslim.’
Under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Arimeyaw Shuaib, the speaker began his lecture by touching on the Universal Conception of Ramadan and laid out the organization of his lecture. After that he zoomed straight into the speech that was dedicated to our departed Muslims more specifically the late Hajj Shuaib and Sheikh Musah Abdul Qadir.
He began with the etymology of Ramadan and linked it up with its essence.
He stated “the holy month of Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Hijri calendar. Linguistically, the word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root word RAMIDA OR RAMAD, which means scorching heat or dryness. It also means that intensely or vehemently heated by the sun. The Arabs used to say about the sheep that they were burned (ramidat) while they were grazing under the scorching heat of the sun to the extent that their livers became damaged by the intense heat of the sun. Ramadan is named as such because it burns the sins of the believers who increase their good works in the month.” He hinted that Imam Zamaksherie believed that when the Arabs changed the names of the months from the ancient language, they named them according to the seasons in which they fell, and this month fell in the days of the intense heat and that is why it was named Ramadan. Imam Qurtubi also stated that it was named Ramadan because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds.”
The lecture became more engaging as the speaker kept it more interesting with his structured presentation. He took the participants through the virtues of Ramadan, those who are obliged to fast or not and delved into the spirit of Ramadan. This is it as he captured.
“Fasting then seeks to free the soul from these shackles by suppressing the lower self of desire and rising Allah’s consciousness whiles allowing the soul to naturally aspire towards good. By depriving the soul of life’s basic necessities for some hours, one is able to teach the soul self-restraint and self –control from such evils as anger, revenge, lying, stealing, and sexual immorality and so on. This is why prophet Muhammad SA was reported to have said that; when anyone of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone insults him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say; I am fasting.’’ The prophet also warned Muslims not to make fasting an uneventful ritual that has no effect on the character and habits of a person: “if anyone does not refrain from lies and false conduct, God has no need for him to abstain from his food and drink” this means there should be a positive change from fasting. Fasting therefore should be seen as a function of growth and the general development of the soul and body of the Muslim. This is the impact we are talking about Mr. Chairman.”
He lamented the fact many Muslims leave the month of Ramadan without getting refined in character; a phenomenon that shows Muslims do not make the most from the month. During Ramadan, a Muslim must increase certain essential virtues in his life. Virtues like patience, Integrity, open-heartedness, humility, speaking well of people, forgiveness, generosity, encouraging good deeds, personal hygiene, showing mercy, prayers, seeking for forgiveness from Allah and a host of many other virtues; the most important of them being the internalization of the Quran in our bodies and souls.
He also exhorted the avoidance of lies, cheating, deception, jealousy, arrogance, false accusations, bad suppositions, harboring grudges unnecessary arguments, forbiddance of wrong deeds etc.
The crux of his presentation was about the essence of Ramadan in Islam. The verse that stipulated fasting in that month said it is to attain Taqwa (piety). He quoted extensively from the Quran to buttress his analysis of Taqwa. He explained that Taqwa is an opening, a distinguisher, leads to the expiation of sin, brings one very close to Allah, gives glad tidings, sustains your generation and finally grants one success in the hereafter.
After a period of massive intellectual engagement, spicing it up with a survey he conducted for generic views of people on the impact of Ramadan, the speaker ended his speech with a powerful advice. He ended “let’s all fasten our belt, lace our boot to accumulate the spiritual muscle enough to take us through all year long filled with act of worship and good deed. Now Ramadan is before you. Make it count. Make it last!”
Just when we all thought we were saturated with the information shared, the discussions opened up an avalanche of thoughtful comments and messages. Sheikh Zagoon lamented the fact there is always a seemingly absence of the trace of effects of Ramadan on Muslims in this country. We are best described as going back to restore factory settings after every Ramadan.
The Chairman summed it all up with some powerful statements and questions that I believe will linger in mind of everyone present.
“Why is it that we are fasting and our life is not transformed? In Ramadan, fasting is not for good health. It may be a peripheral benefit. Fasting in Ramadan is to make you God-conscious.” “In Ramadan, I am supposed to eat less. Why do politicians chase me with food?” “Ramadan is not about the food you take. It is about how do you come out very virtuous? He summed it all up with the fact that a Muslim is not supposed to hurt his neighbor with his actions, words and much more significantly not to make the environment unfavorable. He therefore concluded “I can’t understand a Muslim who is less conscious about environmental tidiness.”