Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Significance of Ramadan
Shaykh Abdool Rahman
Resident Scholar – Islamic Foundation, Villa Park
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an 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 anyone 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 you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful.(2/185)
There are many aspirations and hopes for Ramadhan: but we can only achieve nearness to Allah SWT when we sacrifice the physical needs in order to grow spiritually. Fasting no doubt is the topmost manifestation of this fact amongst the Ibaadaat (Acts of worship). If we examine the Pillars of Islam we come to realize what it takes to attain its peak.
· Shahaadah is life itself. No wonder why we say that so and so got Shahaadah when they die in The Path of Allah SWT.
· We sacrifice our time for Salaah. Praying five times daily requires that we are conscious of our time so as to serve Allah SWT, The Most High.
· We sacrifice wealth as we give our Zakaah. This is when we willingly take out that portion of our wealth and give it to the poor and needy and the other recipients and expenditures of Zakaah.
· Then comes Fasting wherein we sacrifice our pleasures and appetites from the break of dawn till up to sunset.
· As for Hajj we sacrifice time and wealth to perform this once in a lifetime Ibaadah.
Of all the sacrifices that we perform on a daily basis one may conclude that Fasting is indeed the most challenging and for this in a Hadith of Abu Hurairah who reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Allah said: 'Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.' Allah SWT says: "
In another Hadith Rasoolullah (SAS) said: Every good deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed is receiving a tenfold to seven hundred fold reward. Allah SWT has said: “With the exception of fasting for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it. Indeed the fasting person abandons his passions and food for My sake.”
This is what makes The Month of Ramadhan is so special. We sacrifice the inner self to attain a higher goal in life; Taqwa.
The virtues of Ramadhan are numerous but let us just remind ourselves of a few as we fast this Ramadhan.
Fasting a Shield:
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him he should say, 'I am fasting,' twice.
The Breath of a Fasting person in the Sight of Allah SWT is better than Musk
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk.
Happy moments for a Fasting person
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted."
Fasting will intercede for its doer on The Day of Judgment
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: "The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted."
Fasting is amongst those deeds that lead to Paradise
Abu Umamah reported:: "I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting."
Fasting removes its doer from Hell Fire
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face."
Only a Fasting person enters the Gate of Rayyaan on The Day of Judgment
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: "There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyaan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: 'Where are those who fasted?' When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked."
Sins are forgiven
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and seeks Allah's pleasure and reward will have his previous sins forgiven."
Special bounties of Ramadhan
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: “ Five bounties have been given to me in the month of Ramadhan that were never given to any of the Prophets before me.
As for the first one: When the first night of Ramadhan comes Allah SWT looks at His servants and whoever Allah looks at He will never punish.
The second: The smell of a fasting person’s breath is sweeter in the sight of Allah SWT than the smell of musk.
As for the third: Angels ask for forgiveness for the fasting persons every day and night.
The fourth: Allah SWT commands His Paradise saying: Prepare yourself and beautify yourself for My servants, so that they can rest from the tiredness of this world and enter My generosity.
And finally, When the last night of Ramadhan comes Allah SWT forgives all the sins of His servants. On hearing this a man asked: “ Is it the Night of Power? The Prophet peace be upon him replied: “No, Don’t you see people who work they receive their payment when they have completed their job?”
The Dua of a Fasting person is answered:
Rasoolullah (SAS) said: "There are three people whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks the fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed".
Dear readers, these are only some of the many virtues of Fasting in The Month of Ramadhan. It brings so much good and the seeker of good tries to make full use of it.
In addition to these benefits we can also enjoy some social benefits:
q The togetherness of this Ummah in the obedience of Allah SWT.
q Hope for the togetherness in breaking the fast with members of the community and members of the family. We are told in a Hadith: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven and he will be saved from Hell Fire and he shall have the same rewards as the fasting person without his reward being diminished.”
q The coming together: Allah SWT Hand is on the Jamaa’ah.
q Spending time with our brothers in I’tikaaf
q Praying Salaatu Taraweeh in congregation.
Rasoolullah (SAS) said:
Whoever stands up for prayers in Ramadhan out of faith and hoping for a reward from Allah SWT he will have his previous sins forgiven.
q We do hope for the strengthening and building of good social conduct;
The Prophet said, "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink."
q No fighting or harming each other.
q Generosity during this month.
q Training the little ones to fast.
We can hope for economic benefit:
¨ For the poor and needy they hope for enrichment during Ramadhan.
¨ For the rich a purification of their wealth.
We can go on and on with the many benefits but the greatest achievement for Ramadhan is the spiritual benefit. It is the development of Taqwa .
¨ Fearing Allah SWT
¨ Developing the consciousness that Allah SWT is watching over you.
¨ Practicing the Revelations of Allah SWT
¨ Preparing for the Akhirah
¨ Protection from evil actions and evil deeds fearing the consequences.
Let us ensure that by the time we finish our Fasting in The Month of Ramadhan we would have developed the following:
¨ Love because when we observe fast we do it out of love for The Rabbul Aalameen. Only when we love our Lord then we know what true love is.
¨ Optimistic we hope to please Allah SWT and for the reward from Allah SWT
¨ Genuine devotion, sincerity and closeness to Allah SWT because when we fast these are the virtues that we try to cultivate. The secrecy of our Ibaadah.
¨ Selflessness and sacrifice
¨ Willpower and self control how do we use our tongues.
I would like to conclude with a beautiful poem about Fasting in The Month of Ramadhan.
يا ذا الذي ما كفاه الذنب في رجب ... حتى عصى ربه في شهر شعبان
لقد أظلك شهر الصوم بعدهما ... فلا تصيره أيضا شهر عصيان
و اتل القرآن و سبح فيه مجتهدا ... فإنه شهر تسبيح و قرآن
فاحمل على جسد ترجو النجاة له ... فسوف تضرم أجساد بنيران
كم كنت تعرف ممن صام في سلف ... من بين أهل و جيران و إخوان
أفناهم الموت و استبقاك بعدهم ... حيا فما أقرب القاصي من الداني
و معجب بثياب العيد يقطعها ... فأصبحت في غد أثواب أكفان
حتى يعمر الإنسان مسكنه ... مصير مسكنه قبر لإنسان
O you who had not sinned enough in Rajab. And has continued to sin in Sha’ban.The month of fasting will shelter you after them, so do not transform it also into a month of sinning and corruption.Recite the Qur’an and glorify Allah with all effort. For indeed! It is a month for glorification and the Qur’an.Deny your bodily appetites, seeking its salvation. Eventually, the earth will consume your carcass and skeleton.How many deceased people have you known who fasted amongst your neighbors, brothers and relation?Death took them away, leaving you behind. So get serious, for the living are quite close to those beyond!You take delight in the ‘Eid clothes as they are cut. But tomorrow your burial shroud will be put on .How long will the person build his worldly home? Knowing that his real home is the grave and beyond.
May Allah SWT make this our best Ramadhan.