Kifah Mustapha

 

Blessed Ramadan - the Fasting Month

by Sh. Kifah Mustapha

Introduction:

Ramadan is the ninth month in our lunar calendar. The origin of this word is (Ra-ma-doo رَمَضُ) which means in the Arabic language: “intense or extreme heat.”[1] “When the names of months were copied from the old language, it coincided that Ramadan was in times of extreme heat, and that is why it was named (the month) Ramadan.”[2] It is also related that: (the term “Ramadan” is because the month of fasting burns the sins away with good deeds.)[3]

Fasting in Arabic means: “to abstain.” Allah used this term in the Quran: {and if you should see any human being, then say [only]: Indeed, I have vowed a fast to the All-Merciful. Thus, I shall not speak today to any human being} 19:26.  The term “fasting” in the Islamic meaning is: “the intention to fast and to abstain from everything that will void fasting, from dawn till sunset.”[4]

Fasting during Ramadan was ordained on Muslims during the month of Shaaban in the second year after the prophet’s migration (PBUH) from Makkah to Madinah.


Importance of Fasting

Fasting is a Pillar of Islam:

As we all know, Islam stands on five pillars that summarize what Islam is all about. These pillars represent the core basics, from theology to rituals to social responsibility. Fasting is the fourth pillar which promotes a great aspect of spiritual uplift and a pure relationship with Allah (SW). The prophet (PBUH) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars.) (To) witness there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing prayer, giving charity, pilgrimage and fasting Ramadan.”[5]

Fasting is an Order from Allah:

When someone fasts, he or she would be engaging in one of the most honorable things in life; answering the call of Allah. We owe God to be obedient, and when we fast we are demonstrating this submission to His might. Allah (SW) said: {O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those [who have believed] before you, so that you may be [ever] God-fearing} 2:183. Allah (SW) said: {so whoever among you bears witness to the month shall then fast it} 2:185.

Fasting is an act of worship:

Fasting is also seen as an act of worship that feeds into the purpose of our life and existence on earth. Allah (SW) said: {and [know that] I have not created [either] Jinn or human beings [for any other end] but to [know and] worship Me [alone]} 51:56. Worshiping God gives us the meaning that there is no one worthy of our worship but Him (SW), God, the One Whom we owe our existence and all our survival depends on Him.

Fasting erases our sins:

We all recognize that humans are made to make mistakes and fall into sin, which is part of our creation as mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet (SAAW). Fasting is a major tool to give us the means to wash ourselves clean from these sins. The prophet (PBUH) said: “For whoever fasts Ramadan in faith and (hoping) for rewards, all of his sins shall be forgiven.”[6] The prophet (PBUH) said about the month of Ramadan that its beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is freedom from fire.”[7]

Abdullah, the son of Abbas (RAA) said: “While the prophet (PBUH) was on the pulpit, he said: ‘Ameen’ three times! When asked about it, he said: ‘Gabriel (PBUH) came and said: ‘whoever [you Mohammad] mentioned to him and did not pray [for you], Allah [from righteousness] shall distance him; say Ameen.’ ‘I said: Ameen.’ And he said: ‘whoever reached the time when one or both of his parents reached old age and died without [benefiting] forgiveness, Allah [from righteousness] shall distance him; say Ameen.’ ‘I said: Ameen.’ He said: ‘whoever reached Ramadan without [benefiting] forgiveness, Allah [from righteousness] shall distance him; say Ameen.’ ‘I said: Ameen.’”[8]

Fasting is a door for rewards:

Good deeds are earned in many ways, and fasting is meant to bring lots of good deeds because it is a secret act of worship between the servant and His Lord that no one else knows about. It is also a proof against being a hypocrite for no one will fast but a believer insha Allah. The prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will distance fire away from his face for seventy autumns (years.)” Hadith narrated by Bukhari Al Jamea’a Al Sahih. The prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah (SW) said [in the Hadith Qudusi]: ‘Each and every deed for the son of Adam is [meant] for him but fasting, it is for Me and I shall [be the one] to reward for it.’” Hadith narrated by Bukhari in Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.

Fasting teaches patience:

The true meaning of Sabr or patience really prevails in fasting because every person will be abstaining from food and water for such a long time, and that is all about Sabr. The prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah (SW) said [in the Hadith Qudusi]: ‘He [the son of Adam] leaves [control] his desire, food and drinking [water] for My sake.’” Hadith narrated by Bukhari Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.

The prophet (PBUH) said: “Fasting is a shield and if it was the day of fasting for [each of] you, [he] should not speak foul [words] or speak loud [in quarrel or fighting] and if someone cursed [at him] and [spoke bad] words [at him] he should say: ‘I am fasting.’” Hadith narrated by Bukhari Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.

Rewards of Fasting:

  1. Heaven: The prophet (PBUH) said: “There is a door in Heaven called Al Rayyan, fasting [people] will enter from it on the Day of Judgment, and no one else enters but them. They [fasting people] will stand and no one else enters from it but them and if they entered, it will be closed so no one else can enter.” Hadith narrated by Bukhari in Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.
  2. Intercession: The prophet (PBUH) said: “Fasting and Quran are intercessors for the servant [of Allah] at the Day of judgment. Fasting will say: ‘O my Lord, I prevented him food and pleasures during the day, so let me be an intercessor for him’. And the Quran will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping during the night so let me be an intercessor for him.’ [They will be prompted] intercession.” Hadith narrated by Ahmad in Al Musnad.
  3. Joy and Happiness: The prophet (PBUH) said: “For the fasting person is two joys, one when he breaks his fast and the second when he meets his Lord.” Hadith narrated by Muslim in Al Musnad Al Sahih.

What to do in Ramadan: 

Upgrade fasting: Imam Al Ghazali spoke about three levels of fasting. The first level is the general level in which people are fasting from food, water and intercourse from dawn to sunset. The second level is the specific level in which all your senses and body parts fast with you. The eye, ear, tongue, leg, hand etc. The third level is the most special of the specific level in which your heart is fasting from anything else but Allah. (Illustrated from the book of: ‘Reviving the science of religion.’
 

Repentance:

  1. This is the month to repent from all your sins. Every day is a good day for repenting, but during Ramadan devils are chained, and this should give you a chance to win the battle against the whispers of evil, insha Allah.
  2. Conditions of Tawbah: As Imam Al Nawawi spoke of the conditions of Tawbah or repentance, he mentioned: to quit the Haram, to regret what you have done, and to intend not to come back to it. He added one more condition is which is to return things if taken from people back to them. (Illustrated from the book of Riyad Al Saliheen.)
  3. Beware of delaying repentance for sins can grow until your heart is completely covered with no righteousness left in it. Beware from the whispers of Satan that discourages you from repentance from fear of falling back into sin. Repentance is power, insha Allah, and the more sincere you are the more help you will get from Allah to hold on. Beware from assuming Allah only forgives. It is true, He is the All Forgiving but He is also the One who can punish severely.

Generosity: Remember to pay your Zakat, Zakat Al Fitr, and donate as much as you can. The prophet (PBUH) was the most generous, and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan.
 

Reading Quran: Muslims remember the honor that came in this month that the Quran was revealed in it. The prophet (PBUH) would review the Quran with Gabriel every Ramadan. You should try to read the whole Quran.
 

Praying Taraweeh: The prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever stands [praying] Ramadan in faith and (hoping) for rewards, forgiven shall be all which have passed of his sins.” Hadith narrated by Bukhari in Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.
 

Itikaf: Staying in the Masjid for worship: Abu Hurayrah (RAA) said: “The prophet (PBUH) used to do Itikaf ten days in each Ramadan. And in the year he died, he did Itikaf twenty days.” Hadith narrated by Bukhari in Al jamea’a Al Sahih.
 

Performing Umrah: The prophet (PBUH) said: “An Umrah in Ramadan is a [one] Hajj.” Hadith narrated by Bukhari in Al Jamea’a Al Sahih.
 

Feeding fasting people: The prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever (fed) a fasting person, breaking their fast, he has like his rewards without the fasting person missing any of his rewards.” Hadith narrated by Tirmizi.

 

Sh. Kifah Mustapha


[1] Lisan Al-Arab by Ibn Manthour

[2] Ibn Duraid

[3] Jamea Al-Ahkam by Al-Qurtubi

[4] Al-Qurtubi

[5] Hadith narrated by Bukhari

[6] Hadith narrated by Bukhari

[7] Hadith narrated by Ibn Hajar

[8] Hadith narrated by Haithami