Translated by Qaseem Ali
In old times, it was a tradition that students would go to live at the homes of their teachers in order to get education and learn their lessons. The ones who learnt their lessons well, were free to go home on leave after some time while those who failed to do so, had their leave suspended. Inspired by this, an Urdu poet wrote the following verse:
مکتب عشق کا دستور نرالا دیکھا
اس کو چھٹی نہ ملی جس کو سبق یاد ہوا
“I observed a unique tradition at the school of love
The one who learnt the lesson well was never given respite”
This observation, true or not for the school of love, is definitely true for the school that opens for Muslims in the form of fasting during the month of Ramadhan. By asking the believers to endure the hardship of Fasting during the month of Ramadhan, they are taught the lesson that they have the capability of going to any extreme in obeying the Almighty. By enduring thirst in extremely warm weather and bearing hunger during the long days of summer in Ramadhan, they appreciate their potential and power of being able to suffer anything for the sake of God. Sadly, despite enduring the physical hardships for a whole month, most people do not appreciate and remember the actual point afterwards. Hence, as soon as Ramadhan ends, they feel that they have been freed from all restrictions. They boldly indulge in vulgarity and other immoral practices again.
However, those people who learn the actual lesson of fasting i.e. obedience under all circumstances, do not get respite afterwards. They remain obedient even after fasting ends. They avoid sins and endeavour for good deeds. The only reason they do so is because this is decreed by their Lord. However, it’s not the case that such people will never get respite. A day will come soon when they will be freed from all restrictions. The day of Eid in fact, represents that very day.