She was called Helena-Salome, the mistress to Simon Zelotes
Over the ages, the name Mary Magdalene has been loved and loathed in equal measure. Apostles such as Simon Peter and Paul hated her like the plague. For a long time, the Catholic Church had her designated a whore. Then in 1969, the Church reversed full cycle when it declared her a saint. Yet over the centuries, she has been one of the most positively depicted of all classical figures. There are numerous portrayals of her at the tomb and at the crucifixion.
She was a most special woman but both the early Church and Catholic Church vilified her. Why? Because she represented a major threat to their theological dogma. Having declared Jesus as God, they didn’t want it to be openly known that actually he was a mere mortal who even had a wife and children. Religion, as the great Karl Marx said, is the opium of the masses.
Be that as it may, the assertion that Mary Magdalene was a whore was not exactly far-fetched. It did have a near-credulous foundation only this foundation was somewhat askew. The ascription of harlotry to Mary Magdalene had to do more with her mother than she herself. For her mother was Helena-Salome, the consort of Simon Zelotes, Jesus’s foremost disciple. This fact we learn directly from extra-biblical sources and indirectly from the gospels themselves.
The fact that Helena-Salome was Mary Magadalene’s mother makes Simon Zelotes a father-in-law to Jesus. It is small wonder then that Simon Zelotes was the closest of Jesus’s so-called disciples – or rather his closest associate – whereas Mary Magdalene was his closest female associate. All these three – Simon Zelotes, Helena-Salome, and Mary Magdalene feature prominently in the New Testament, the first two under various guises most Christians and most pastors are not aware of.
Simon Zelotes is the same person as Simon the Zealot; Simon the Canaanite; Simon the leper; Simon the tanner; Simon of Cyrene; Zebedee; Lazarus; Ananias; “the great power of God”; Demetrius the silversmith; Beelzebub; and Beast 666. He also has symbolic names such as “Lightning” and the titular name at some stage of “Father” or “Pope”. Outside the Bible, he was best known as Simon Magus, that is, Simon the Magician.
In the Bible, Helena-Salome appears under the names "daughter" of Herodias; Syrophoenician woman; woman of Samaria; mother of the sons of Zebedee; sister of Mother Mary; Martha; Joanna; Salome; Sapphira; and Jezebel. She was also characterised as “Wisdom of God”. Outside the Bible, she also features under the names Justa; Luna; and Paulina.
THE GENTILE MOTHER
Helena-Salome is an enigmatic figure. Her real name is not known for certain. The name Helena was given to her by Simon Zelotes, who believed she was the reincarnation of Helen of Troy – Inana, the most famous daughter of the god Zeus, who was actually the Anunnaki god Nannar-Sin. Simon Zelotes thought she was the divine “Thought of God” because of her surpassing wisdom. She could also have been called Helena because she was the spiritual advisor of Queen Helena of Adiabene (located in parts of modern-day Iraq, Kurdistan, and Armenia), when she converted to Judaism in about 30 AD.
The name Salome has two possible explanations. The first one has to do with her status in the Essene community. She was the female head of the order of Asher, whose members were gentile converts to Judaism. The order of Asher was founded by Queen Salome Alexandra, the last woman to rule over Judea and one of only two females to have ever done so, in the first century BC. “Salome” thus became the title of every woman head of the order of Asher. The second explanation derives from her being the chaperone of Herodias, the wife of Herod Antipas, and godmother to Herodias’s daughter Salome.
Helena-Salome was a Canaanite from Phoenicia, a narrow coastal territory corresponding to much of today’s Lebanon. Phoenicia meant “land of purple” in Greek as the territory was famed for its purple dyes, which were made from shell fish. Phoenicia was organised into city states, the most eminent of which were Tyre and Sidon. In 64 BC, Phoenicia was annexed to the Roman province of Syria and henceforth became known as Syro-Phoenicia. It therefore makes sense that the Syro-Phoenician woman we encounter in MARK 7:25-30 and the Canaanite woman we encounter in MATTHEW 15:21-28 was Helena-Salome and not simply a chance woman.
Whilst a Temple Virgin at the Temple of Artemis (Innana-Ishtar) at Ephesus, the voluptuously beautiful Helena-Salome was tricked into having sex with a man who disguised himself as a “god” (He may as well have been the Anunnaki god Utu-Shamash – known to Greeks as Apollo – who was a twin brother to Innana). The result was a pregnancy leading to the birth of a daughter.
The daughter would in future come to be known as Mary Magdalene. Helena-Salome, however, strongly believed that she indeed had slept with a god and therefore vowed that she would never desecrate herself by ever sleeping with an ordinary mortal. She was to abstain from sexual activity for the rest of her life.
DIVORCE FROM JAIRUS
Since Helena-Salome had decided to live a chaste life forever, she bought two boys to adopt as sons. According to the Clementine literature (that is, the Clementine Homilies and Clementine Recognitions), the two boys were illegitimate sons of Julia the Elder, the only natural child of Augustus Caesar. Julia had sold them to slave traders but had at the same time asked Helena to buy them off and promised to help her with the finances needed for their upkeep. In the process, Helena became a very affluent lady. The two boys were given the Jewish names Niceta and Aquila but they were to be best known as James and John respectively, the gospels’ sons of Zebedee who were among Jesus’s inner circle of 12 associates.
Because of her ethereal beauty and glittering intelligence, Helena easily caught the eye of men. One of these was Syro the Jairus, a chief priest of some synagogues in Syria and Galilee and a descendent of Ira the Jairite, who was an ancillary priest to King David of Judea. Jairus proposed and soon the two had tied the knot. Of course Helena was not his first wife.
The marriage did not last as Helena was adamant that she was not going to be intimate with anybody ever again. Resultantly, Syro sent her packing but her daughter had already gained a reputation as Jairus’s daughter, perhaps because of her staggering beauty (more so if she had Anunnaki blood in her). Helena moved to Tyre where she set up her own temple that was dubbed a brothel. This, of course, was a vilification.
Helena’s temple was far from a brothel. Helena had been a Temple Virgin at the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Temple virgins were known as Sacred Priestesses. They were also referred to as Scarlet Women. The reason they were so-called was because they were a specially designated source of menstruum, from which a number of medicinal products were made.
This practice was called ritu, meaning “redness” because of the blood element of the ceremony. Ritu is the origin of the term “ritual”. Most people are not aware that menstruum has a whole host of medicinal uses which Illuminati doctors are aware of but which they do not share to the wider world. In ancient times, the Earth-based Anunnaki used menstrual extracts to lengthen their lives! This “elixir of life” was called Star Fire and was taken only from Temple Virgins.
In Greek, Temple Virgins were known as hierodulai, that is, Sacred Woman. In medieval French and English, hierodulai became “harlot”. In the early Germanic tongue, Temple Virgins were known as “hores” (meaning “beloved ones” because of their highly venerated role), a term which was to transform to the now despicable “whores”. The temple that Helena founded in Tyre was meant to groom Temple Virgins for purposes of ritu but her detractors deliberately twisted this to a brothel temple.
It was at her Tyre temple that Simon Zelotes met Helena and decided to hitch her up. However, Helena was to be only his consort and not his wife as she was unflinching in her volition to abstain from sexual relations. Simon Zelotes, who was smitten by her resounding wisdom and her resoluteness of purpose, raised no objections. Indeed, throughout all extra-biblical literature, Helena is always referred to as the consort (partner) of Simon and never his wife.
Among the Essene community, she was often referred to as a “rich widow”, widow in this context meaning divorcee. Remember, Essenes had their own lexicon, such that words which on surface had familiar meanings actually had special underlying meanings. This coded language was called Pesher.
Simon Zelotes adopted Mary Magdalene and the boys James and John. Since Simon’s other name was Zebedee, meaning “My Gift”, the two boys were typically referred to as the sons of Zebedee. Later in their adulthood, they would switch their political loyalties in the Jesus party from the “Lightning” faction headed by Simon Zelotes, to the “Thunder” faction headed by Simon’s main rival, Nathaniel. They were therefore now addressed as the “Sons of Thunder”.
While Nathaniel was Pope/Father (successor to John the Baptist), Helena spiritedly promoted her two boys to Jesus so that they would be his deputies in his capacity as Priest-King in an independent Israel (MARK 10:35-45/MATTHEW 20:20-28). A politically correct Jesus stoutly refused to commit to that and instead referred her to Nathaniel. This was because as things presently stood, Nathaniel was the future High Priest of an independent Israel and it was up to him to choose his two deputies.
HONOURABLE, NOT PROSTITUTE
In the Essene community in the 20s AD and onward, Helena-Salome was the most highly regarded woman alongside Mary the mother of Jesus. She actually fancied herself as the Essene priestess and called herself Justa, meaning “crown princess” or “future queen”. This was at the time when Simon Zelotes was Pope and therefore the highest ranking Essene – a king to her own mind. Because of her high social standing, she was entrusted headship of the Essene’s female order of Asher, which alongside with the order of Dan, had strictly Gentile membership.
The order of Asher was headquartered in Tyre, the capital of Phoenicia, because Phoenicia had been the territory of the Israel tribe of Asher. The title of the female head of the order of Asher was Sarah-Salome. She would in due course assume another title, that of Martha. Her daughter Mary Magdalene, however, belonged to the order of Dan.
Whereas members of the order of Dan were not allowed to own private property, those of Asher could. This allowed Helena to be a very “rich widow” as she had plenty of property courtesy of the lavish material support she had been receiving from the wealthy Julia the Elder, the real mother of John and James. Mary Magdalene would have been in line to inherit this wealth but when she became a Mary at her engagement to Jesus, she had to join the order of Dan, whose female members were not allowed to own property whatsoever: whatever personal assets they had was forfeited to the Essene community as a collective.
Since she was so strikingly intellectual, Helena was the only woman disciple of John the Baptist. John had a total of 30 disciples to correspond with the number of days in the month and Helena was designated as the 29th, to accord with a lunar month in a leap year. Her other name therefore was Luna. For the most part though, Helena, just like her consort Simon Zelotes, was regarded as too ambitious and a schemer who knew no limits. Her male contemporaries therefore went out of their way to tarnish her name, often unjustifiably. Her putative involvement in the death of John the Baptist may just have been one such smear.
The church father Eusebius also joined in the chorus of slurs. In his Church History, he wrote thus of Helena: “And there went around with him (Simon Magus) at that time a certain Helena who had formerly been a prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia.”
Clearly, Eusebius too misunderstood the purpose of the Virgin Temple she opened up in Tyre (she later shut it down anyway). Her own adopted son James and John never once impugned her. This is what James reported according to the Clementine literature: “They (the slave traders) sold us to a certain widow, a very honourable woman named Justa. She having bought us treated us as sons, so that she carefully educated us in Greek literature and liberal arts.”
John the Baptist was a puritan who never compromised his principles. There simply was no way a prostitute would have been part of his apostolic band and taken pride of place. The commonplace claims therefore that Helena-Salome was a harlot belong to the dustbin. Sadly, this character assassination stuck and unduly rubbed off on her only natural child – Mary Magdalene.
NEXT WEEK: HELENA HITCHES HER GORGEOUS DAUGHTER TO JESUS
In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device). Â But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration.Â Consider these examples:
Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs.Â Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, theÂ business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over ÂŁ18,000 (around P Âź m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.
Another recent SMB hacking story whichÂ appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didnât even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the companyâs payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli. Â As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.
And in May 2019, the city of Baltimoreâs computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.
Of course, hackers target governments or business giants Â but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches.Â Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.
This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employeesâ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability.Â A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.
Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge.Â Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email.Â Out of the physical workplace, your employeesâ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.
Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employeesâ productivity. Â Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi,Â sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clientsâ addresses and phone numbers.
BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps.Â Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a systemâs data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore.Â Ransomware attacks are on the increase, Â predicted toÂ occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.
Lastly there is phishing â the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise – Â wherebyÂ cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data âusernames, passwords, credit card details âusually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.
Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt,Â consult your IT security consultants.Â You canât put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!
About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.
As he trudged the woods, Williams Â had a sudden premonition that pointed to Dianaâs imminent fate as per Christopher Andersenâs book The Day Diana Died. âWhen the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,â Williams was later to reminisce. âIn the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.â
Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. âI have never seen him so upset,â Mary recounted. âHe felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.â
The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. HeÂ took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch InvestigativeÂ Unit.
The report read as follows:
âOn 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.â
Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.
Meanwhile, General, Â even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: âIn The Independent Diana was described as âa woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anythingâ. She was âsuffering from a form of arrested developmentâ. âIsnât it time she started using her head?â asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled âA Story of Loveâ; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: âWilliam canât help it, he just doesnât like the man.â William was reportedly âhorrifiedâ and âdoesnât think Mr Fayed is good for his motherâ â or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatristâs chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana âOn the Couchâ, asking why she was so âdepressedâ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications â about Prince Philipâs hostility to the relationship, Dianaâs prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.â
DIANA AND DODI AT THE RITZ
Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodiâs bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. âWell, eventually we will be going out to a restaurantâ, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleaguesâ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal.Â Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.
At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet. Â The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates. Â Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.
Rita, General, Â was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him Â in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. âBut Diana, remember what I told Dodi,â Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, âYes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.â Well, Â she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.
As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, âI have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.â
Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.
THEâTELL ME YESâ RING IS DELIVERED
Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the âTell Me Yesâ engagement ringÂ Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome. Â It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.
The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law, Â had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco Â and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrativeÂ Dodi transaction. Â Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the oneÂ he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but DodiÂ was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ployÂ on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree.Â With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi Â did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.
Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana.Â There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It Â may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious Â choice for her.
The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodiâs apartment after the crash, Â has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.
Dodi was also shown Repossiâs sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.
DIANA AND DODI GUSH OVER IMMINENT NUPTIALS
At about 7 pm, Â Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodiâs apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.
As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene DelormÂ and showed himÂ the engagement ring. âDodi came into my kitchen,â Delorm relates. âHe looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldnât hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box âŚ He said, âRene, Iâm going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinnerâ.â Rene described the ring as âa spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet boxâ.
Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz Â that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.
Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodiâs dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. âThey called me and said weâre coming backÂ (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are
Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).
âThe month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’anÂ (2 : 185)
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of oneâs belief in Allahâs oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.
Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a âfull serviceâ. This âserviceâ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ârestâ through fasting.
Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allahâs commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.
The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: âAll actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.â We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.
Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a âproperâ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of oneâs feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: âOn a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: âI am fasting!ââ
This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.
Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one yearâs end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich oneâs conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.
Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allahâs pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.
The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a âseason of worship.â Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qurâan more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.