As Ramadan approaches, we’ll begin to hear the famous ayah about Ramadan more often in khutbahs, lectures, and discussions.
It begins like this:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ …
“The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance to the people with Clear Signs of the true guidance and as the Criterion. So those of you who live to see that month should fast it…”
A lot of times, though, we don’t pay much attention to the rest of the ayah, which contains some beautiful and hidden treasures.
Near the end of the ayah, after prescribing fasting on the believers, Allah says:
يُرِيدُ اللهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
This ayah is commonly translated as:
“God desires ease for you and does not desire hardship.”
This translation, however, ignores some details in the language. يُرِيدُ اللهُ لكُمُ الْيُسْرَ, with the word لكُمُ instead of بِكُمُ, would have literally translated as so.
However, the word بِكُمُ means “with” or “through,” as opposed to simply “for”.
So while the common translation may be valid, another beautiful meaning is contained in this notable choice of words.
“Allah desires through you ease,” can mean that Allah wants us, the believers, to be a source of ease and aid for humanity. He desires us to be a means of relief for those who are struggling. Another way to put it is that through us, he wants ease to be bestowed upon humanity.
Practically, this means that Muslims should always be looking for ways to benefit and lessen the burden on those around them, being a mercy in any way they can. This service takes self sacrifice, which is what fasting instills.
The discipline imparted into the believers by a regimented month of fasting is expected to bear the fruit of a community of believers willing to serve and help those around them, even if it may be at the cost of their own desires.
We ask Allah to make us a means of ease for others and to ease for us our path to him. Ameen.