بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So I came across another article that told us why Muslims fast in Ramadan.
The only problem was that it – like most of the articles before it – failed to mention the MAIN reason that fasting was enjoined.
No, it’s not to feel empathy with the poor. [I heard that so many times when I was younger!]
What did Allah say?
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the 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]
So, this is the reason that fasting was prescribed: to increase us in taqwa (piety).
What is fasting, after all? It’s staying away from three HALAL (lawful) things (food, drink and sexual intercourse with one’s spouse) from dawn to dusk during Ramadan.
Why? Well, just because Allah said so.
So, this begs the question: If we can give up the halal from dawn to dusk for 30 days, just because Allah said so, why can’t we give up the haram (unlawful) outside of Ramadan just because Allah said so?
I read or heard (can’t remember) a shaikh say something very interesting. He pointed out that many people fast but do not pray (and such a fast is invalid by the way) which did not make any sense (how could a person who wanted to increase in piety leave the prayer??).
Apart from the fact that prayer is the greater pillar, fasting was tougher than prayer! You had to do it for a whole day whereas a simple prayer could be done in 5-10 minutes.
He pointed out that these people do the more difficult act of worship and leave the easier one.
Does that make sense? Obviously not.
So, we need to make sure that we know the purpose of fasting, because if we don’t, we won’t get the benefit of performing this great act of worship.
Project “Recover Ramadan”(or “Restore Righteousness”) – Step 1: Realise that your iman is in shambles
Yes, it’s me again. And I just got another idea.
Now, you might be thinking: “What’s the difference between this project and the Remember Ramadan series (which we have yet to see) and the Post-Ramadan Teensie-Weensie Tips (we’re still waiting for the Learning Arabic post!)?”
[Er..I am planning on restarting both series, insha-Allah.]
Well, firstly, there’s a difference because I say that there’s a difference. Simple.
Secondly, the difference is as follows:
1) Remember Ramadan Series (first part is coming soon, insha-Allah): That’s for us to remember what makes Ramadan…Ramadan. See?
It’s to enable us to compare Ramadan and the other months from a variety of different angles. Or at least, that was the plan.
2) The Post-Ramadan Teensie-Weensie Tips was to maintain whatever we got from Ramadan and also some ways in which we can be ready for next Ramadan, insha-Allah.
3) The Project Recover Ramadan is as the name says. Unlike the above two, this will be a step-by-step guide to help us reach the level of Ramadan (or close to it). [The first two series will support this one.]
Look, ultimately the point is not to have a good Ramadan, it’s to have a good death. We don’t know if we’ll reach Ramadan again. What we do know is that we’ll all die. It could be before Ramadan or after Ramadan. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we strive to be obedient slaves of Allah in our lives so that we attain His Pleasure and so get Paradise.
I can do one of two things:
1) Alternate between the above three and the other posts (which may contain post-Ramadan lectures/articles, resources, etc.)
2) Alternate between the first two and the other posts (which may contain post-Ramadan lectures/articles, resources, etc.) and have the Recover Ramadan on a daily basis. It will be short (seriously) and to the point (insha-Allah), with baby steps that we can take to improve ourselves.
So, what do you think? Comments please. Do you want the first option or the second option? Is there anything that you’d like discussed?
[It’s strange. I keep asking all of you but 99% of the time, I get zero response.]
The first step towards solving any problem is to accept that one has a problem and to want to change. And that acceptance is the biggest step that one can take towards solving the problem.
Now, you might say “My iman is really high! It’s not in shambles.” If so, that’s excellent, alhamdulillah. Just two questions though: 1) Is it as high as it was in Ramadan? and 2) Do all your actions reflect this?
I’ve seen many people who don’t seem to care that they were much more religious in Ramadan. It doesn’t seem to bother them that they’ve dropped off.
That, my friends, is a catastrophe.
So, my question to you is: If your iman has dipped after Ramadan, have you noticed? Does it bother you? Do you even want to recover what you lost? Do you want to be as righteous as you were in Ramadan?
If your answer is “yes”, then you might benefit from this series, insha-Allah.
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.
“Sprinting”, you say?
Yes, of course. “Winding down” = after Ramadan.
I’m in the process of listening to this lecture. Sounds good so far.
[I love blunt lectures. I wonder why?]
[Note: He says that some scholars say that the very first Laylatul Qadr was when Jibreel (alaihissalam) came to the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
Perhaps this is the minority view because what I’ve read is that Laylatul Qadr was when the Quran was sent down from the Al-Lawh Al-Mahfoudh (the Preserved Tablet) down to the lowest heaven as Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) said. And this is supported by the Arabic (it says “anzala” which means sent down at one time). Allah knows Better.]
[The audio quality isn’t great but please don’t let that stop you from listening to it.]
Sprinting in the Last Ten Days of Ramadan by Ahmad Jibril
Some people may ask: “Maintain one’s fast in the face of sins? What do sins have to do with fasting? Fasting is about not eating or drinking.”
And this is why you will find many Muslims fasting the whole of Ramadan, only to find that they are the SAME people in Shawwal as they were in Shaban. Why? Because they thought fasting = not eating or drinking.
Here’s an article about this issue that we should all read:
[Here’s a very interesting excerpt:
“Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
As for the thing from one which must abstain when fasting, perhaps you will be surprised if I tell you that the thing from one which must abstain when fasting is sin. A person must abstain from sin when fasting because this is the primary aim of fasting, because Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
Here’s another Ramadan video to spice up your day (or night).
I haven’t listened to it yet. I have read some of Brother Muhammad’s books though. Quite simple and nice.
Sincerity and Devotion in Ramadan by Muhammad Al-Jibaly
Q and A Session
Still struggling to ramp up your iman in Ramadan? Sadly, you’re not alone.
Here’s a short article by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzan. He talks about how we need to train our souls to be obedient to Allah and in the process, he gives eye-opening explanations of many ayaat in the Quran.
So please take some time out to read it and ponder over it: Joy because of the Coming of Ramadan by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzan.
Another day, another lecture.
Here’s another series. It’s by a British brother (in case you prefer that accent).
I haven’t listened to it yet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to soon, insha-Allah. Here’s a list of the topics that it covers.
[Note: I’d advise you to continue to listen to all these lectures even during Ramadan, not just before it. We need to be constantly reminded.]
The Month of Mercy by Brother Abu Abdissalam
Part 1 (Download)
Part 2 (Download)
Part 3 (Download)
Part 4 (Download)
Part 5 (Download)
Part 6 (Download)
Part 7 (Download)