Ramadan - The Blessed Month
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the month during which the Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Muslims spend Ramadan fasting, offering voluntary prayers apart from the mandatory 5 times prayer each day, giving charity (Zakah) and reciting the Qur'an.
It is a month of self discipline and a time for refinement of the soul to enable us to be better human beings.
The Holy month of Ramadan
Allah chose the month of Ramadan to send down the Glorious Qur’an to bring mankind out of darkness and oppression into light and guidance. It is a month in which the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, the Shaytaan is chained, the rewards of good deeds are multiplied, people rise to higher levels in Jannah (paradise), and evil deeds and sins are forgiven.
Muslims are required to fast during the day making sure that they avoid the things which would invalidate it- from vain talk and idle play to backbiting, spreading tales, and lying. Muslims are required to bring life to the nights of Ramadan through prayer and reciting Qur'an. In this month, extra care should be taken of the poor and needy by giving charity and showing them other forms of righteousness. They are required to strive against their own selves by increasing deeds of obedience and avoiding all sinful acts.
Allah says : "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil)".
The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 183
Allah says in the Qur'an
"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe sawm (fasting) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe sawm (fasting) must be made up) from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him".
[ The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 185 ]
The Virtue of the Qur’an
Allah said: "…a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)".
Here Allah praised the Qur’an, which He revealed as guidance for the hearts of those who believe in it and adhere to its commands. Allah said: and clear proofs meaning, as clear and unambiguous signs and unequivocal proof for those who understand them. These proofs testify to the truth of the Qur’an, its guidance, the opposite of misguidance, and how it guides to the straight path, the opposite of the wrong path, and the distinction between the truth and falsehood, and the permissible and the prohibited.
The Obligation of Fasting during Ramadan
Allah said: "So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasting) that month".
This verse requires the healthy persons who witness the beginning of the month, while residing in their land, to fast the month. When Allah ordered fasting, He again mentioned the permission for the ill person and the traveler to break the fast and to fast other days instead as compensation.
Allah said: "…and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe sawm (fasting) must be made up) from other days".
This verse indicates that ill persons who are unable to fast or fear harm by fasting, and the traveler, are all allowed to break the fast. When one does not fast in this case, he is obliged to fast other days instead.
Allah said: "Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you".
This verse indicates that Allah allowed such persons, out of His mercy and to make matters easy for them, to break the fast when they are ill or traveling, while the fast is still obligatory on the healthy persons who are not traveling.
Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship
Allah’s statement: "....and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you"
means: So that you remember Allah upon performing the act of worship.
This is similar to Allah’s statement: "So when you have accomplished your Manasik (rituals) remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2, Verse 200
and: "and glorify the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. And during a part of the night, glorify His praises, and after the prayers. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 50, Verse(s) 39-40
Similarly, several scholars have stated that reciting Takbir(i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) during ‘Id-ul-Fitr was specified by the verse that states: "(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you..."
Allah’s statement: "so that you may be grateful to Him". means: If you adhere to what Allah commanded you, obeying Him by performing the obligations, abandoning the prohibitions and abiding by the set limits, then perhaps you will be among the grateful.
Most certainly, it is We( God Almighty) who have Created you all
From a single (pair) Of a male and a female,
And it is We (God almighty) who have made you into Nations and tribes,
That ye may recognise each other (Not the ye may despise each other.)
Verily the noblest of you In the sight of Allah Is (he who is) the most Righteous of you."
[The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 49, Verse 13 ]
A couple of days are left till the blessed month of Ramadan begins. Ramadan is a month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is important to go over the importance and blessings of this month. I hope this piece does motivate the Muslims to give maximum time to worship and abstinence while to the non-Muslims it serves as a quick guide regarding the holy month of Ramadan.
"Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful". – [Quran 2:185]
As Muslims it is compulsory for us to submit to Allah(swt), the Lord and Creator of the heaven and earth. In Ramadan we only follow His command and fast all day till sunset keeping away from food, water and other temptations that a man might be exposed to. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and it if farz i.e. compulsory for all Muslims to observe fast:
Narated by Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle (s) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.
2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3. To pay Zakat. (i.e. obligatory charity)
4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
[Sahih Bukhari, Vol.1, Book 2, #007]
Fasts were also observed by the other prophets of Allah(swt) like David(as) who would fast on alternate days (Sahih Bukhari). We are informed in the Quran that fasting was also prescribed for those before us:
"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint",- – [Quran 2:183]
Fasting serves as a shield and prevent us from indulging into activities with which Allah(swt) is not pleased. We are to refrain from any fights or verbal abuse:
Narated By Abu Huraira: The Prophet (s) said, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)" – [Sahih Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 31, #127]
This month brings us a chance to be forgiven for all the sins that we have committed, hence Muslims should completely devote their time to fast, worship Allah and ask for forgiveness. If a man fasts in the month of Ramadan, all his sins would be forgiven although fasting does not mean that one only starves himself till sunset while sitting in an air-conditioned room all day long thinking that all his sins will be forgiven. A Muslim’s day in Ramadan is no different than any other day where he continues to work and interact with people whether it is a hot scorching day in summer or a cold chilly day of the winters. Moreover it is of vital importance that a Muslim does not pray or fast to show off. Such an intention would render his actions fruitless.
Narated By Abu Huraira: The Prophet (s) said, "Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." –
[Sahih Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 31, #125]
Ramadan enables us to learn how to abstain from the wrongdoings. Moreover we also get to undergo the experience of hunger and thus sympathy develops for the poor. As a result it increases our capacity to help the needy. With countless blessings in the month of Ramadan, we should try our best to spend time worshipping Allah(swt) and asking for forgiveness. This month comes once a year so let’s not be lazy with Salaat or Fast.