Virtues of Ramadan

By Mawlana Ismail bin Ebrahim Desai

Every well awaited thing is valued and appreciated. By nature, man does not appreciate and value divine favours, because it comes his way without any effort from his side. First and foremost, we should turn our gaze and ask Allah to grant us the opportunity to witness the great and auspicious month of Ramadān. Secondly, we should make a firm intention to reform our lives and make this Ramadān a turning point in our lives.

Preparation for Ramadān

The month of Sha’bān is a stepping stone to Ramadān. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) should not fast in any other month besides Ramadān as much as he should fast during Sha’bān. In order for us to prosper spiritually, we need to remove the evil element of sin totally from our lives. If there is a hole at the bottom of a bucket, it will never get filled. Similarly, if we do not abandon sins from our lives, we will never reach the heights of spiritual success irrespective of the amount of good we do.

The Holy Qur’an

The Qur’an was revealed during the month of Ramadān, hence, there is a special connection between Ramadān and the Holy Qur’an. We should remove our Qur’ans from the shelf and start reciting the Qur’an. In this way, we will connect ourselves with Allah and develop the habit of reciting the Qur’an. For every letter of the Qur’an a person recites, Allah will grant him ten rewards. Imagine the reward he will receive for reciting a complete surah (chapter) or a juz (part) of the Qur’an. If we can start reciting Qur’an now, it will not be difficult for us to find time to recite Qur’an in Ramadān, in fact we will be able to increase the amount we were reciting before Ramadān.

Sighting the Moon

Ramadān commences after the crescent of Ramadān is sighted. The dua to recite when looking at the crescent is:

اللَّهُمَّ أَهِلَّهُ عَلَيْنَا بِاليُمْنِ وَالإِيمَانِ ، وَالسَّلاَمَةِ وَالإِسْلاَمِ ، وَالتَّوْفِيقِ لِمَا تُحِبّ وتَرْضَى ،رَبِّي وربُّك الله

O Allah! Let this new moon appear to us with prosperity, faith, safety, and Islām and with hope of success to do deeds which you would like and approve of. My lord and your lord (O moon) is Allah.

(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2:183)

Dua at the approach of Ramadān

‘Ubādah bin Sāmit (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to teach the Sahābah (Allah be pleased with them) the following dua at the approach of the blessed moth of Ramadān:

اللّهُمّ سَلِّمْنِي لِرَمَضَانَ وَسَلِّمْ رَمَضَانَ لِي وَسَلِّمْهُ لِي مُتَقَبَّلاً

O Allah! Protect me for observing (the fast of) Ramadān, make the month of Ramadān clear for me and protect me from sins so that my acts of worship are accepted.

(Kanz al-’Ummal, 8:584)

Fasting (Saum)

Fasting refers to abstention from eating, drinking, and conjugal rights whilst having made the intention to fast that day. The fasting day commences at Subh al- Sādiq (True Dawn, which is approximately 90 minutes before sunrise) and ends at sunset.

Fasting during the month of Ramadān is compulsory upon every Muslim who is sane, mature, healthy and a resident (not a traveller).

Purpose of Fasting

Almighty Allah says:

“O you who believe, Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you practice self-restraint” (2:183).

The very essence of fasting is to inculcate the quality of taqwa (piety) and to suppress our desires. If we are able to abstain from lawful things whilst fasting, all the more easy it will be to abstain from unlawful things during and after Ramadān. Care should be taken to protect one’s eyes, ears and speech from all types of harām and unlawful things.

Virtues of fasting

The Prophet of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Every good deed of the child of Adam is increased (in reward) from ten to 700 times”. And Almighty Allah says: “Except fasting, for verily it is for me and I will reward it. The fasting person abstains from desire and food for my sake” (Sunan Ibn Mājah, 119)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned:

“Whoever fasts in Ramadān with imān (faith) and hoping for reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven” (Mishkāt, 1:173)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned:

“There are two occasions of joy for a fasting person, a) pleasure at the time of breaking the fast and b) at the time when he will meet his Sustainer.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, 1:159)

Virtues of Ramadān

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned:

“Whoever does any good in Ramadān, he will get the reward of doing a fardh act out of the month of Ramadān and whoever does a fardh act in Ramadān, he will get the reward of doing 70 fardh acts. (Mishkāt, 1:173)

This is a privilege exclusive to the month of Ramadān. We should firstly fulfil all our fardhduties and do as many voluntary acts as possible and draw maximum from the month of Ramadān.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned:

“and it (Ramadān) is such a month, the first ten days are the days of mercy, the middle ten days are the days of forgiveness and the last ten days are the days in which many are emancipated from the fire of Jahannam (hellfire). (Mishkāt, 1:173)

Tarāwih Salāh

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned:

“Whoever stands in Ramadān (i.e. Tarāwih) with imān and hoping for reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven”. (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, 1:167)

It is sunnah muakkadah (emphasized sunnah) for males and females to perform 20rak’āh of tarāwih salāh. A person will be sinful for omitting it.

Laylat al-Qadr

Salmān (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that during the last day of Sha’bān, Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) addressed the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them): “O people, an auspicious month has dawned over you. A month in which there is one night which is more superior than a thousand months i.e. ibādat(worship) in this night is superior to the ibādah rendered in a thousand months”. (Mishkāt, 1:173)

It is the wisdom of Allah, that the exact night of Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power) is unknown. In this manner we will spend many more nights in ibādah  searching for this auspicious night. If the exact night was known, we would only spend one night Ibādah and there will be no hope for those who missed that night.

I’tikāf

Ali bin Husain (Allah have mercy on him) narrates from his father that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“He who observes the ten days of I’tikāf during Ramadān will attain the reward of two Hajj and two ‘Umrah”. (Tabrāni)

Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Whoever for Allah’s sake sat for one day in I’tikāf, Allah will keep him away fromJahannam by trenches”. (Sunan al-Baihaqi)

A person who intends sitting for sunnah I’tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadān should enter the musjid before sunset on the 20th of Ramadān and only leave after the moon for Eid has been sighted. During I’tikāf, a person may only exit the musjid to answer to the call of nature, fardh ghusal and to make wudhu. If he leaves the musjidboundaries without a valid reason, his sunnah I’tikāf will terminate and he will have to make qadha of one days I’tikāf (24 hours) in the state of fasting (during the day) in or after Ramadān.

How to terminate the month of Ramadān

Indeed the value of Ramadān only comes to the fore once the month has terminated or will only be realized on the day of Qiyāmah. We should beg Allah to accept the littleIbādah we have done in Ramadān, for that act which is accepted by Allah holds lots of merit and significance.

Abu Umāmah (Allah be pleased with him) reports that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Whosoever observes the two nights of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adhā with worship and devotion, his heart will be alive on the day of Qiyāmah”. (Sunan Ibn Mājah, 128)

Sadaqat al-Fitr

Sadaqat al-Fitr is wājib on the following persons:

  1. that person upon whom zakāt is compulsory,
  2. that person upon whom zakāt is not wājib but has wealth equal to the nisāb ofzakāt over and above his basic needs. This is irrespective whether the wealth is for the purpose of trade or not and irrespective whether he had it in his possession for a complete year or not. This sadaqah has to be paid on or before the day of Eid. If he does not discharge his Sadaqat al-Fitr, it will remain as a debt on him and will have to be discharged.

Ibn ‘Abbās (Allah be pleased with him) reports that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) decreed the Sadaqat al-Fitr to purify the fasts of vain talk and as a provision for the needy. Whoever discharges it before the Eid salāh, it will be accepted and whoever discharges it after the Eid salāh, it will be regarded as general charity. (Sunan Abi Dawud, 1:227)

Sixth Fast of Shawwal

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reports that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Anyone who has kept the fasts of Ramadān and follows them up with six (optional) fast of Shawwal then (he will get the reward for the fast of a whole year, but if he does that always) it is as if he fasted all his life. (Sunan Abi Dawud, 1:330)

Thaubān (Allah be pleased with him) reportes that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Joining six days of the fasts of Shawwal is equal to the fast of the whole year. Each good act is equal to ten such acts”. (Sunan Ibn Mājah, 124)

The reward of each good deed is multiplied at least ten times. Therefore, thirty days of fast in Ramadān equals three hundred days and the six fast of Shawwal equal sixty. Thus, totalling to three hundred and sixty days, which is the total amount of days in a lunar year.

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