"And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers."
(Al-Quran 51:55)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Ramadan - Part One

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

When and what is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the 9th month of Islamic calendar. This year it begins approximately 9th July – 9th August. Ramadan, as with any Islamic month, begins with the sighting of the crescent moon. Its name comes from the Arabic word Ar-Ramad which means, “the heat of the stones arising from the intense heat of the sun”. It was named Ramadan because when the Arabs changed the names of the months from the ancient language, they named them according to the seasons in which they happened to fall. The month which they named Ramadan, used to be called Natiq, and it fell in the summer which was the time of extreme heat.

Virtues of Ramadan

Ramadan is a great favour for us from Allah. But it will only be considered as a favour if we take it as such. Otherwise Ramadan will come and go without us gaining anything from it.

The Prophet (saw) said, “If my Ummah realise what Ramadan really is, they would wish that the whole year should just be Ramadan”.

Salman (ra) reports, “On the last day of Shaban, the Prophet (saw) addressed us and said, “O people, there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day, and has made sunnah the taraweeh at night.
Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh (compulsory) act in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh action, shall be blessed with the reward of 70 faraaidh in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward of true patience is Paradise. It is the month of sympathy for one’s fellowmen. It is a month where the sustenance of a true believer is increased.
Whoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the Fire of Hell, and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who fasted, without that persons reward being decreased in the least.
Some of the companions said, “O messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means  where we can give a fasting person to break his fast.” The Prophet (saw) replied, “Allah grants the same reward to one who gives a fasting person to break his fast a date, a drink of water or a sip of milk.”
This is a month, the first of which brings Allah’s mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness, and the last of which brings emancipation from the Fire of Hell.
Whoever lessens the burden of his servants in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the Fire of Hell.
And in this month, there are 4 things which you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do.
Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should:
1.       in great quantity recite the Kalima Tayyibah – (saying that Allah is one)
2.      do a lot of Istighfar (asking forgiveness from Allah)
And as for those which you cannot do without:
1.       beg Allah to grant you Paradise
2.      ask of Him to give you refuge from Hell
whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from My fountain, such a drink where that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Paradise”.

The Prophet (saw) said when Ramadan had drawn near, “Ramadan, the month of blessing has come to you, where Allah turns towards you and sends down to you His special mercy, forgives faults, accepts prayers .. boasts to His angels about you. So, show to Allah your righteousness from yourselves. For verily the most pitiable and unfortunate one is the one who is deprived of Allah’s mercy in this month.”

What do Muslims do in Ramadan?

Adult Muslims refrain from food, drink and intercourse between sunrise and sunset.
When we fast, we must also observe the various etiquettes of fasting e.g. not sinning.

 A hadith of Bukhari reads, “Allah has no necessity for a person to leave eating and drinking when he does not abstain from false speech and sinful deeds”.

So fasting is not only staying away from food, drink and intercourse but it is staying away from anything sinful. For example, we should stay away from arguing and indecent speech because in a hadith, the Prophet (saw) said, “When any one of you is fasting, he should not speak indecently, nor be rowdy. If another person swears at him, or wants to involve him in a dispute, he should just say, I am fasting meaning I do not wish to dispute”.

In another Hadith, the Prophet (saw) said, “There are many fasting persons who because they indulge in backbiting, illicit acts and haraam deeds, achieve nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst”.

Ramadan is a Muslim “invention”. Pre-Islamic Arabs used to fast here and there but never for one straight month.

When did Allah command us to fast in Ramadan?

Verse in Quran commanding observance of Ramadan – Surah Baqarah verse 183.
O you who believe! Fasting has been ordained for you just as it was ordained for those before you, so that you may attain piety.
This verse announces the obligation to fast.

Why do we fast?

The answer is in the Quran!

So that you may attain piety – the verse explains that fasting has been made obligatory so that we attain taqwa. Taqwa means to stay away from all types of sins, whether they’re major, minor, hidden or apparent.

When we fast, we experience a degree of difficulty to our nafs – carnal desires. Fasting is a form of worship which curbs these inclinations -  so we don’t do what we want, and therefore decreases the capacity to commit sins.
If a person fasts in accordance with the laws and etiquettes described in the Ahadith, then a person’s soul can truly be purified, and he will be closer to Allah.

The causes of most sins committed by people is through their tongue and private parts. A hadith of Tirmidhi says, that the Prophet (saw) was asked what will be the greatest cause for people entering the Hell Fire? He replied, “the tongue and the private parts”.  When we fast, the tongue and private parts are restricted, and therefore less able to commit sins. This is why the Prophet (saw) said “Fasting is a shield” It offers protection against sins and the Hell fire.

May Allah give us all the ability to make the most of this blessed month - Ameen.


No comments:

Post a Comment