بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Need a quick refresher on what fasting and Ramadan are all about?
Well, here’s an extremely nice article which mentions many of the virtues of fasting and Ramadan: Fasting in Ramadan
Oh and they even have a version for kiddies. [The differences aren’t immediately obvious but they are definitely there.]
“Oh, my kids are too young for that.”
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Month of Righteous Deeds (which are done to earn Allah’s Pleasure)
رب صائم ليس له من صيامه إلا الجوع ورب قائم ليس له من قيامه إلا السهر
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1690. Graded “hasan sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1690.]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Part 1.]
The Month of Istighfar (Seeking Forgiveness), Prayer, Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) and Dawah (inviting to Islam)
إذا دخل رمضان فتحت أبواب الجنة وغلقت أبواب جهنم ، وسلسلت الشياطين
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 123]
[Here’s an explanation of how the devils are chained up.]
الصلوات الخمس . والجمعة إلى الجمعة . ورمضان إلى رمضان . مكفرات ما بينهن . إذا اجتنب الكبائر
Abu Hurairah reported (radiallahu anhu): Verily the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins.” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 450]
[Want to know more about major sins? I’ve provided two resources here.]
كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا دخل العشر شد مئزره ، وأحيا ليله ، وأيقظ أهله
Narrated Aishah (radiallahu anha): “With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 241]
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول لرمضان : من قامه إيمانا واحتسابا ، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): I heard Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 226]
من قام ليلة القدر إيمانا واحتسابا ، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه ، ومن صام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever established prayers on Laylatul 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 Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 125]
“We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed night (i.e. the night of Qadr). Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].” [Surah Ad-Dukhan (44) : 3]
An entire surah (chapter) was revealed concerning this great night:
“Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) “
“And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?”
“The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, (i.e. 83 years and 4 months).”
“Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees.”
“Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.”
[Surah Al-Qadr (97) : 1-5]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) fasted most of Shabaan, as is well-known.
Well, one of the wisdoms behind this is that the body gets prepared for fasting.
If we were to start fasting on the first day of Ramadan, we would waste quite a few days whilst our bodies adjusted to the situation.
One of the other reasons for fasting is to increase in ibaadah (worship) before Ramadan.
You know, it’s strange. When many of us think of ways to increase our iman (faith), we generally think of praying, reciting the Quran, seeking knowledge, etc but I’ve rarely heard many people mention fasting.
Why not? Isn’t it one of the greatest acts of worship?
You know, we wonder why Ramadan is… Ramadan. One of the reasons is the fasting.
[Haven’t you ever felt that Ramadan feeling whilst fasting outside of Ramadan?]
It’s strange. We’re always talking about those who just pray during Ramadan and not outside of it.
Perhaps someone should dedicate an article to those who just fast in Ramadan and not outside of it……?
Now someone might say, “Hey, prayer is an obligation the whole year round but fasting isn’t!”
No, it isn’t but it is still great act of worship. It doesn’t matter if it is not an obligation.
Besides, paying the zakaah is obligatory only once a year but many people still give charity at the other times.
Also, Hajj can only be done once a year but many people still do Umrah at the other times of year.
So, why don’t many of us fast outside Ramadan?
Now, someone might say: “Well, we fast on Arafah and Ashoorah!”
Well, yes we do, but what about Mondays and Thursdays? What about 3 days every month?
What abut the best of all fasts: fasting every other day?
So, why don’t we all start fasting (if we haven’t started already)?
– The heat, you say? Well, it’s going to be hot in Ramadan as well, isn’t it?
An important point: If you have fasts to make up, then do those first. Don’t do any voluntary fasts if you have obligatory ones to make up.
We have less than three weeks to go before Ramadan. Let’s try to fast as much as possible, insha-Allah.
[If you’re wondering why I never talk much about fasting on this blog, it’s because I have difficulty fasting due to a variety of ailments so I don’t advertise what I don’t practice.
However, I think I should take a fresh approach to fasting and just try as much as I can outside Ramadan, insha-Allah.]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I thought that it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of the virtues of Ramadan from the Quran and the Sunnah.
[Yes, many of us might know these but we all need reminders now and then.]
The Month of Fasting
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183]
“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 184]
The Month of the Quran, Guidance, Gratitude and Generosity
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, 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 Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) 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 [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن ، فلرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة
Narrated Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel* met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 5]
[*For those new to Islam, Jibreel = Gabriel (the angel).]
The Month of Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) and Dua (supplication)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 186]
To be continued…
Hmmm….you’ve heard this tip before, you say?
Of course, you have. Right here.
What was the whole point of Ramadan? To make us more conscious of Allah.
And why did Allah prescribe fasting……?
So, in order to continue with our increased consciousness of Allah, we need to fast.
You’ll notice that I mentioned two things:
1) Start fasting
As soon as possible.
Otherwise, you’ll get lazy.
Note: If you have missed fasts, make those up first. Then, you can do the Shawwal fasts.
2) Continue fasting
Yes, because fasting was not just prescribed for Ramadan and Shawwal. It’s a deed that can (and should) be done throughout the year e.g. Mondays, Thursdays, Arafah, Ashoorah, etc.
Insha-Allah, I’ll explain the above points in more detail in our first Remember Ramadan post.
Last bit of advice: Brothers and Sisters, I would also advise you to encourage your children to fast as well.
Yes, yes, I know. You might think that they’ll get tired with all the fasting.
Erm…you know, children and teens are not like us oldies. They can starve all day and still have energy at night.
I remember my days in uni. I wouldn’t eat anything until 5pm (because I was too busy). Yet, I had energy to do all my work.
And no, I’m not asking you to do this! [It’s terrible for one’s health.] I’m just pointing out that Shaytan (the devil) might stop you from encouraging your children from fasting under the guide of “parental concern”.
So, don’t worry about them getting tired because they won’t, insha-Allah.
Yes, the first of many post-Ramadan reminders.
You know, Ramadan ended just over 2 days ago, so why does it feel like a lifetime already?
Is is because we all went back to being normal abnormal?
Just ask yourself three questions:
1) How did you feel in the last few nights of Ramadan and how do you feel now?
2) If there is a big difference, then what is it that you were doing on those last few days that made a difference?
3) If these acts made you so contented, then WHY aren’t you still doing them? WHAT is stopping you?
Insha-Allah, I’ll talk more about this in future posts.
[Note: I’ll be doing one post a day. If you want more (e.g. 2 per day – one in the morning and one in the evening), make some noise (that means leave a comment.) Don’t worry, I’ll try to make my future posts more positive. Right now, I’m still very sad that Ramadan is over.]
For now, here’s a nice article: Remaining Steadfast After Ramadan by Shaikh Abdullah Al-Fawzan.
Still struggling to explain Ramadan to your kiddies?
Try the following lecture:
Ramadan for the Youth by Abu Taubah