How to enjoy Ramadan – Part 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Ramadan is here. And it’s the most amazing month of the year.

However, very few people seem to actually ENJOY this month despite its greatness. Yes, many people know about how blessed Ramadan is and they know about is importance but how many people actually have fun during this month? Answer: Not that many people, unfortunately.

When I say “have fun”, I’m not referring to those dreadful iftar parties during Ramadan, because I know all of you have loads of fun during those. What I’m referring to is actually having fun worshipping Allah in this month and enjoying fasting, praying, etc.

One may ask, wait a minute, are these things supposed to be “fun”? Well, they are not fun in the sense of play, but fun in the sense that we enjoy doing them and feel happy to be doing them, and not tortured, which is unfortunately what many people feel like (judging by their body language). For them, acts of worship are just automated habits that need to be gotten over with. Not good at all.

So, why do many people not enjoy the acts of worship? Well, there are a few reasons. Some of the most prominent ones according to my observations are:

1. Not understanding the purpose of Ramadan

Before one understands the purpose of Ramadan, one needs to understand the purpose of life. If we don’t understand that, there is no way we will understand why Ramadan is what it is.

Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone). [Surah Adh-Dhaariyat (51) : 56]

According to the Lord of the Worlds Himself, the purpose of life is to worship Him alone. Now, many people misunderstand this concept and think that we only need to affirm that Allah has created us.

Okay, listen, even the disbelievers of the past did that:

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ ۚ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُ‌هُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

And if you ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth,” they will certainly say: “Allah.” Say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” But most of them know not. [Surah Luqman (31) : 25]

قُلْ مَن يَرْ‌زُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ‌ وَمَن يُخْرِ‌جُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِ‌جُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ‌ الْأَمْرَ‌ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّـهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

Say: “Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?” They will say: “Allah.” Say: ‘Will you not then fear Him?’ [Surah Yunus (10) : 31]

Even Iblees, the devil himself, affirmed that Allah created him!

قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْ‌تُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ‌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ‌ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

(Allah) said: “What prevented you that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?” Iblees said: ‘I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.’[Surah Al-Araaf (7) : 12]

So, the purpose of life is not just to affirm that Allah created us nor does the Shahaadah (testimony of faith) mean that “There is no creator except Allah”. Yes, of course, that is part of it but it is not limited to that. Had it been enough to affirm that Allah was the Creator, then Iblis and the pagans of the past would be considered believers!

[Just a note here: Just because the pagan Arabs affirmed Allah was the Creator, it does not mean that they had a perfect understanding of Allah’s Lordship, because they did not. For instance, they denied the resurrection.]

The reason that the pagan Arabs were not believers was because they did not single Allah out in worship. They used to have a multitude of other mini-gods that they asked through and made intercessors between them and Allah.

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّ‌هُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّـهِ ۚ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّـهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

And they worship besides Allah things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say: “Do you inform Allah of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?” Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him! [Surah Yunus (10) : 18]

وَإِلَىٰ عَادٍ أَخَاهُمْ هُودًا ۗ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُ‌هُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

قَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا مِن قَوْمِهِ إِنَّا لَنَرَ‌اكَ فِي سَفَاهَةٍ وَإِنَّا لَنَظُنُّكَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ

قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لَيْسَ بِي سَفَاهَةٌ وَلَـٰكِنِّي رَ‌سُولٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

أُبَلِّغُكُمْ رِ‌سَالَاتِ رَ‌بِّي وَأَنَا لَكُمْ نَاصِحٌ أَمِينٌ

أَوَعَجِبْتُمْ أَن جَاءَكُمْ ذِكْرٌ‌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّكُمْ عَلَىٰ رَ‌جُلٍ مِّنكُمْ لِيُنذِرَ‌كُمْ ۚ وَاذْكُرُ‌وا إِذْ جَعَلَكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ مِن بَعْدِ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَزَادَكُمْ فِي الْخَلْقِ بَسْطَةً ۖ فَاذْكُرُ‌وا آلَاءَ اللَّـهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

قَالُوا أَجِئْتَنَا لِنَعْبُدَ اللَّـهَ وَحْدَهُ وَنَذَرَ‌ مَا كَانَ يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا ۖ فَأْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ

“And to Aad (We sent) their brother Hud. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah but Him. Will you not fear (Allah)?” The leaders of those who disbelieved among his people said: “Verily, we see you in foolishness, and verily, we think you are one of the liars.” (Hud) said: “O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)! I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser for you. Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder from your Lord through a man from amongst you that he may warn you? And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nuh, and increased you amply in stature. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, so that you may be successful.“ They said: ‘You have come to us that we should worship Allah Alone and forsake that which our fathers used to worship. So bring us that wherewith you have threatened us if you are of the truthful.’” [Surah Al-Araaf (7) : 65-70]

أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ

“Has he made the aaliha (gods) into One Ilah (God). Verily, this is a curious thing!” [Surah Saad (38) : 5]

So, as we can see, the disbelievers of the past understood the meaning of the Shahaadah very well (that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone) –  which is why they refused to say it. They knew that it would mean giving up their entire troop of mini-gods and worshipping Allah alone.

So, the purpose of life is to worship Allah alone. This is known as tawheed and it’s something that every Muslim should take out time to learn about because his or her hereafter depends on it. The one who dies upon tawheed gets to be in Paradise forever, may Allah grant us that, and the one dies upon other than it will be in Hell fire forever, may Allah protect us from that.

عَنْ جَابِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ لَقِيَ اللَّهَ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَنْ لَقِيَهُ يُشْرِكُ بِهِ دَخَلَ النَّارِ ‏”

It is narrated on the authority of Jabir ibn Abdullah (radiallahu anhu): I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying: “He who met Allah without associating anything with Allah entered Paradise and he who met Him associating (anything) with Him entered Fire.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 169]

عَنْ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى لأَهْوَنِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَوْ أَنَّ لَكَ مَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِنْ شَىْءٍ أَكُنْتَ تَفْتَدِي بِهِ فَيَقُولُ نَعَمْ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ أَرَدْتُ مِنْكَ أَهْوَنَ مِنْ هَذَا وَأَنْتَ فِي صُلْبِ آدَمَ أَنْ لاَ تُشْرِكَ بِي شَيْئًا فَأَبَيْتَ إِلاَّ أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي ‏”

Narrated Anas bin Malik (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Allah will say to the person who will have the minimum punishment in the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, ‘If you had things equal to whatever is on the earth, would you ransom yourself (from the punishment) with it?’ He will reply, Yes. Allah will say, ‘I asked you a much easier thing than this while you were in the backbone of Adam, that is, not to worship others besides Me, but you refused and insisted on worshipping others besides Me.”‘ [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadeeth No. 562]

Once we understand this concept, we can understand that our whole lives should be devoted to Allah.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّـهِ رَ‌بِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say: “Verily, my salaah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists). [Surah Al-Anaam (6) : 162]

The purpose of fasting, the main deed by which Ramadan is distinguished from the other months, is to increase our connection to Allah and to increase us in servitude.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“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]

So, this is essentially the purpose of Ramadan: to enable us to come closer to Allah, and then build upon that for the rest of the year. Those who do not understand this, only remember Allah in Ramadan, and are thus enable to continue with that devotion outside of Ramadan.

Just a point to mention: Many people think that devoting one’s life to Allah means praying the whole day and fasting every day! No, this is not what it means. Of course, it means praying and fasting and doing all the other acts of worship. However, it also means staying away from what Allah has prohibited and also doing daily transactions for His pleasure. For example, visiting family members, chatting with neighbours, going for a walk in the park, getting married, studying, going for work, eating, etc are all daily life transactions. However, if done for the sake of Allah and in a halal (permitted) manner, all of them become acts of worship, thus enabling a person to live a life of worship.

2. Lacking gratitude to Allah

Gratitude to Allah is a very important part of every Muslim’s life.

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَ‌بُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْ‌تُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْ‌تُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” [Surah Ibrahim (14) : 7]

عَنْ صُهَيْبٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ عَجَبًا لأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لأَحَدٍ إِلاَّ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ ‏”

Suhaib (radiallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 7138]

In Ramadan, many Muslims go around looking like they are being tortured.

“Oh, I feel so tired.”

“Oh, I’m so thirsty.”

“I didn’t sleep AT ALL.”

“I dozed off during taraweeh yesterday.”

“With fasting and prayers, I have no time to do any of my work!”

Allah has granted us a great blessing by allowing us to have a month like Ramadan. Should we really spend time complaining? And how will we enjoy Ramadan if we complain throughout it?

If we complain, we end up being ungrateful and then we end up losing all those rewards that we could have attained by being grateful. So being grateful is something all of us need to work on.

3. Having bad thoughts about Allah and assuming Islam to be very difficult

Having bad thoughts about Allah is a characteristic of the disbelievers.

وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْمُشْرِ‌كِينَ وَالْمُشْرِ‌كَاتِ الظَّانِّينَ بِاللَّـهِ ظَنَّ السَّوْءِ ۚ عَلَيْهِمْ دَائِرَ‌ةُ السَّوْءِ ۖ وَغَضِبَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَنَهُمْ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرً‌ا

And that He may punish the Munafiqoon (hypocrites), men and women, and also the Mushrikoon men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment, and the Anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them, and worst indeed is that destination. [Surah Al-Fath (48) : 6]

Allah tells us that He is as we think He is:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ قَالَ اللَّهُ أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي ‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Allah said, ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him).'” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Hadeeth No. 596]

It is imperative for us to have good thoughts about Allah. Unfortunately, many Muslims are tricked by Shaytaan (the devil) into having bad thoughts about Allah. One of those bad thoughts is assuming that Islam and Ramadan are very difficult, which is contrary to what Allah has mentioned to us in the Quran and the Sunnah.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ، وَلَنْ يُشَادَّ الدِّينَ أَحَدٌ إِلاَّ غَلَبَهُ، فَسَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا، وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالْغَدْوَةِ وَالرَّوْحَةِ وَشَىْءٍ مِنَ الدُّلْجَةِ ‏”

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Hadeeth No. 38]

[Please note the wording in this hadeeth. Many people think that trying to follow Islam properly is extremism. It is not. Extremism is of two kinds: 1) Being too lenient with practicing the religion 2) Try to do more than what the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did.]

Islam being easy doesn’t mean that we need to be lazy, rather we need to practice as much as we can.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْ‌كَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا وَاعْبُدُوا رَ‌بَّكُمْ وَافْعَلُوا الْخَيْرَ‌ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّـهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَ‌جٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَ‌اهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَـٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّ‌سُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّـهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ‌

O you who believe! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful. And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive. He has chosen you, and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Quran), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform salah, give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper! [Surah Al-Hajj (22) : 77-78]

Allah is so Merciful that even doing just the basics of Islam offers us a great reward.

عن عمرو بن مرة الجهني قال :جاء رجلٌ إلى النَّبيِّ صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلَّم فقال: يا رسولَ اللهِ أرأَيْتَ إنْ شهِدْتُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلَّا اللهُ وأنَّك رسولُ اللهِ وصلَّيْتُ الصَّلواتِ الخمسَ وأدَّيْتُ الزَّكاةَ وصُمْتُ رمضانَ وقُمْتُه فمِمَّن أنا ؟ قال: ( مِن الصِّدِّيقينَ والشُّهداءِ )

ِAmr ibn Muraah Al-Juhani said: A man came to the Prophet (sallallau alaihi wasallam) and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what if I testify that none has the right to worshipped but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay the zakah, and I fast and stand in prayer in Ramadhan, then amongst whom shall I be?” He said: “Amongst the siddiqeen (steadfast affirmers of the truth) and shuhadaa (martyrs).” [Sahih ibn Hibban, Hadeeth No. 3438. Shuaib Al-Arnaut said that its isnaad (chain) was sahih (authentic) upon the conditions of the two Shaikhs (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim).]

The siddiqeen and the shuhadaa are the two levels right below the Prophets (alaihimissalam).

َمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَالرَّ‌سُولَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَ‌فِيقًا

And whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqeen (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As­-Siddiq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 69]

Imagine, just doing the obligatory acts consistently can give us such a high status!

That’s not all. Sticking to the obligatory acts can get us into Paradise as well.

عَنْ مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ، قَالَ كُنْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي سَفَرٍ فَأَصْبَحْتُ يَوْمًا قَرِيبًا مِنْهُ وَنَحْنُ نَسِيرُ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَخْبِرْنِي بِعَمَلٍ يُدْخِلُنِي الْجَنَّةَ وَيُبَاعِدُنِي مِنَ النَّارِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ لَقَدْ سَأَلْتَنِي عَنْ عَظِيمٍ وَإِنَّهُ لَيَسِيرٌ عَلَى مَنْ يَسَّرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ تَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلاَةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ وَتَصُومُ رَمَضَانَ وَتَحُجُّ الْبَيْتَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ أَدُلُّكَ عَلَى أَبْوَابِ الْخَيْرِ الصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ وَالصَّدَقَةُ تُطْفِئُ الْخَطِيئَةَ كَمَا يُطْفِئُ الْمَاءُ النَّارَ وَصَلاَةُ الرَّجُلِ مِنْ جَوْفِ اللَّيْلِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ ثُمَّ تَلاََ‏ (تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ ‏)‏ حَتَّى بَلَغَ‏:‏ ‏(‏يَعْمَلُونَ‏)‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ أُخْبِرُكَ بِرَأْسِ الأَمْرِ كُلِّهِ وَعَمُودِهِ وَذِرْوَةِ سَنَامِهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ بَلَى يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ رَأْسُ الأَمْرِ الإِسْلاَمُ وَعَمُودُهُ الصَّلاَةُ وَذِرْوَةُ سَنَامِهِ الْجِهَادُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَلاَ أُخْبِرُكَ بِمَلاَكِ ذَلِكَ كُلِّهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ بَلَى يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ قَالَ فَأَخَذَ بِلِسَانِهِ قَالَ ‏”‏ كُفَّ عَلَيْكَ هَذَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّا لَمُؤَاخَذُونَ بِمَا نَتَكَلَّمُ بِهِ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ يَا مُعَاذُ وَهَلْ يَكُبُّ النَّاسَ فِي النَّارِ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِمْ أَوْ عَلَى مَنَاخِرِهِمْ إِلاَّ حَصَائِدُ أَلْسِنَتِهِمْ ‏”

Narrated Muadh ibn Jabal (radiallahu anhu): “I accompanied the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) on a journey. One day I was near him while we were moving so I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Inform me about an action by which I will be admitted into Paradise, and which will keep me far from the Fire.’ He said: ‘You have asked me about something great, but it is easy for whomever Allah makes it easy: Worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him, establish the salah, give the zakah, fast in Ramadan and perform Hajj to the House.’ Then he said: ‘Shall I not guide you to the doors of good? Fasting is a shield, and charity extinguishes sins like water extinguishes fire – and a man’s praying in depths of the night.'” He said: “Then he recited:

تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ

‘Their sides forsake their beds to call upon their Lord.’

Until he reached:

يَعْمَلُونَ

‘What they used to do.’ [Surah As-Sajdah (32): 16-17]

Then he said: ‘Shall I not inform you about the head of the entire matter, and its pillar, and its peak?’ I said: ‘Of course O Messenger of Allah! He said: ‘The head of the matter is Islam, and its pillar is the salah, and its peak is Jihad.’ Then he said: ‘Shall I not inform you about what governs all of that?’ I said: ‘Of course O Messenger of Allah!'” He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “So he grabbed his tongue. He said ‘Restrain this.’ I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Will we be taken to account for what we say?’ He said: ‘May your mother grieve your loss O Muadh! Are the people tossed into the Fire upon their faces, or upon their noses, except because of what their tongues have wrought?” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2616. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ، وَصَامَ رَمَضَانَ، كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ هَاجَرَ، فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، أَوْ جَلَسَ فِي أَرْضِهِ الَّتِي وُلِدَ فِيهَا ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَفَلاَ نُنَبِّئُ النَّاسَ بِذَلِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ أَعَدَّهَا اللَّهُ لِلْمُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ، كُلُّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ، فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ، فَإِنَّهُ أَوْسَطُ الْجَنَّةِ وَأَعْلَى الْجَنَّةِ، وَفَوْقَهُ عَرْشُ الرَّحْمَنِ، وَمِنْهُ تَفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into Paradise, whether he emigrates for Allah’s cause or stays in the land where he was born.” They (the companions of the Prophet) said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Should we not inform the people of that?” He said, “There are one hundred degrees in Paradise which Allah has prepared for those who carry on jihad in His Cause. The distance between every two degrees is like the distance between the sky and the earth, so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for Al-Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Hadeeth No. 519]

عَنْ جَابِرٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، سَأَلَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذَا صَلَّيْتُ الصَّلَوَاتِ الْمَكْتُوبَاتِ وَصُمْتُ رَمَضَانَ وَأَحْلَلْتُ الْحَلاَلَ وَحَرَّمْتُ الْحَرَامَ وَلَمْ أَزِدْ عَلَى ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا أَأَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ قَالَ ‏ “‏ نَعَمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَاللَّهِ لاَ أَزِيدُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا

It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that a man once said to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): Shall I enter Paradise in case I say the obligatory prayers, observe the (fasts) of Ramadan and treat that as lawful which has been made permissible (by the Shariah) and deny myself that what is forbidden, and make no addition to it? He (the Prophet) said “Yes”. He (the inquirer) said: By Allah, I would add nothing to it. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 17]

By “I would add nothing to it”, he meant not adding voluntary deeds. It’s permissible to just do only the obligatory acts and stay away from all the prohibited acts. However, the ones who want to be very close to Allah should do the voluntary acts as well.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَالَ مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ عَبْدِي بِشَىْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَىَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَىَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطُشُ بِهَا وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَإِنْ سَأَلَنِي لأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنِ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لأُعِيذَنَّهُ، وَمَا تَرَدَّدْتُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ أَنَا فَاعِلُهُ تَرَدُّدِي عَنْ نَفْسِ الْمُؤْمِنِ، يَكْرَهُ الْمَوْتَ وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ مَسَاءَتَهُ ‏”

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadeeth No. 509]

4. Not remembering the virtues of Ramadan and the various acts performed during this month

Another reason that most people don’t enjoy Ramadan, is that they don’t remember the virtues of Ramadan or the various acts performed during this month like fasting, the night prayer, etc. Remembering their virtues is a great way to feel motivated whilst doing them.

And that’s actually what this article is all about – to remember all the virtues associated with Ramadan and the various associated acts.

Interestingly enough, after I compiled the four points above, I found all of them mentioned in the same ayah (verse) –  the one that mentions Ramadan!

شَهْرُ‌ رَ‌مَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْ‌آنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْ‌قَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ‌ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِ‌يضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ‌ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ ۗ يُرِ‌يدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ‌ وَلَا يُرِ‌يدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ‌ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُ‌ونَ

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]

The purpose of Ramadan (i.e. tawheed) is mentioned: “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” 

Gratitude is mentioned: “ so that you may be grateful to Him.

Islam’s ease is mentioned: “Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.

And finally, one of Ramadan’s virtues is mentioned and it is the one that preceded it being the month of fasting: “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).”

And that just had to be one of the most magnificent coincidences of my life, alhamdulillah.

Remembering the Virtues of Ramadan

The first virtue of Ramadan was that it was when the Quran was revealed. Another virtue is that fasting in this month is one of the five pillars of Islam.

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسَةٍ عَلَى أَنْ يُوَحَّدَ اللَّهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ وَالْحَجِّ ‏”‏

It is narrated on the authority of (Abdullah) the son of Umar (radiallahu anhuma) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the tawheed of Allah, the establishment of prayer, payment of zakaah, the fast of Ramadan, and the Hajj.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 18]

[Please note that fasting is not a pillar nor is Ramadan a pillar, rather it is fasting in Ramadan that is a pillar.]

As if that wasn’t enough, Ramadan has even more virtues.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا دَخَلَ رَمَضَانُ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ جَهَنَّمَ، وَسُلْسِلَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ ‏”‏‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 497]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم :‏ أَتَاكُمْ رَمَضَانُ شَهْرٌ مُبَارَكٌ فَرَضَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَلَيْكُمْ صِيَامَهُ تُفْتَحُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَتُغْلَقُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ الْجَحِيمِ وَتُغَلُّ فِيهِ مَرَدَةُ الشَّيَاطِينِ لِلَّهِ فِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَ خَيْرَهَا فَقَدْ حُرِمَ ‏

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.”‘ [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2108. Graded  “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

[Note: In the two ahadeeth above, there is a difference in wording. The first one says that the gates of Paradise are opened and the second says that the gates of the heavens are opened. Whilst the words Paradise and Heaven are used interchangeably in the English language, they do not have the same meaning when used in the translations of the Quran and Ahadeeth (plural of hadeeth). Heaven (Arabic: samaa), in this case, means the skies. There are seven heavens and the lowest heaven is our sky. So the opening of the heavens (i.e. skies) means that duas (supplications) are accepted. And Allah knows Better.]

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ دَخَلَ رَمَضَانُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏”‏ إِنَّ هَذَا الشَّهْرَ قَدْ حَضَرَكُمْ وَفِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَهَا فَقَدْ حُرِمَ الْخَيْرَ كُلَّهُ وَلاَ يُحْرَمُ خَيْرَهَا إِلاَّ مَحْرُومٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Anas bin Malik (radiallahu anhu) said: “Ramadan began, and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘This month has come to you, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all goodness, and no one is deprived of its goodness except one who is truly deprived.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1644. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا كَانَ أَوَّلُ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ صُفِّدَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ وَمَرَدَةُ الْجِنِّ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ فَلَمْ يُفْتَحْ مِنْهَا بَابٌ. وَفُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ فَلَمْ يُغْلَقْ مِنْهَا بَابٌ وَيُنَادِي مُنَادٍ يَا بَاغِيَ الْخَيْرِ أَقْبِلْ وَيَا بَاغِيَ الشَّرِّ أَقْصِرْ وَلِلَّهِ عُتَقَاءُ مِنَ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ ‏”

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Shayateen (devils) are shackled, the jinns are restrained, the gates of the Fires are shut such that no gate among them would be opened. The gates of Paradise are opened such that no gate among them would be closed, and a caller calls: ‘O seeker of the good; come near!’ and ‘O seeker of evil; stop! For there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire.’ And that is every night.[Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 682. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

And if all the above virtues weren’t enough to get you excited, just remember that just one Ramadan can make a difference to your level in the hereafter.

عَنْ طَلْحَةَ بْنِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّ رَجُلَيْنِ، مِنْ بَلِيٍّ قَدِمَا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ وَكَانَ إِسْلاَمُهُمَا جَمِيعًا فَكَانَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَشَدَّ اجْتِهَادًا مِنَ الآخَرِ فَغَزَا الْمُجْتَهِدُ مِنْهُمَا فَاسْتُشْهِدَ ثُمَّ مَكَثَ الآخَرُ بَعْدَهُ سَنَةً ثُمَّ تُوُفِّيَ ‏.‏ قَالَ طَلْحَةُ فَرَأَيْتُ فِي الْمَنَامِ بَيْنَا أَنَا عِنْدَ بَابِ الْجَنَّةِ إِذَا أَنَا بِهِمَا فَخَرَجَ خَارِجٌ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَأَذِنَ لِلَّذِي تُوُفِّيَ الآخِرَ مِنْهُمَا ثُمَّ خَرَجَ فَأَذِنَ لِلَّذِي اسْتُشْهِدَ ثُمَّ رَجَعَ إِلَىَّ فَقَالَ ارْجِعْ فَإِنَّكَ لَمْ يَأْنِ لَكَ بَعْدُ ‏.‏ فَأَصْبَحَ طَلْحَةُ يُحَدِّثُ بِهِ النَّاسَ فَعَجِبُوا لِذَلِكَ فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏.‏ وَحَدَّثُوهُ الْحَدِيثَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مِنْ أَىِّ ذَلِكَ تَعْجَبُونَ ‏”‏ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا كَانَ أَشَدَّ الرَّجُلَيْنِ اجْتِهَادًا ثُمَّ اسْتُشْهِدَ وَدَخَلَ هَذَا الآخِرُ الْجَنَّةَ قَبْلَهُ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏”‏ أَلَيْسَ قَدْ مَكَثَ هَذَا بَعْدَهُ سَنَةً ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا بَلَى ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ وَأَدْرَكَ رَمَضَانَ فَصَامَهُ وَصَلَّى كَذَا وَكَذَا مِنْ سَجْدَةٍ فِي السَّنَةِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا بَلَى قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏”‏ فَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا أَبْعَدُ مِمَّا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ ‏”‏ ‏

It was narrated from Talhah ibn Ubaidillah (radiallahu anhu) that two men from Bali came to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). They had become Muslim together, but one of them used to strive harder than the other. The one who used to strive harder went out to fight and was martyred. The other one stayed for a year longer, then he passed away. Talhah said: “I saw in a dream that I was at the gate of Paradise and I saw them (those two men). Someone came out of Paradise and admitted the one who had died last, then he came out and admitted the one who had been martyred. Then he came back to me and said: ‘Go back, for your time has not yet come.’” The next morning, Talhah told the people of that and they were amazed. News of that reached the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and they told him the story. He said: “Why are you so amazed at that?” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, the first one was the one who strove harder, then he was martyred, but the other one was admitted to Paradise before him. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Did he not stay behind for a year?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “And did not Ramadan come and he fasted, and he offered such and such prayers during that year?” They said: “Yes.” The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The difference between them is greater than the difference between heaven and earth.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 3925. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Letting such a glorious month go to waste is a disaster.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ رَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ ذُكِرْتُ عِنْدَهُ فَلَمْ يُصَلِّ عَلَىَّ وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَمَضَانُ ثُمَّ انْسَلَخَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لَهُ وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ أَدْرَكَ عِنْدَهُ أَبَوَاهُ الْكِبَرَ فَلَمْ يُدْخِلاَهُ الْجَنَّةَ ‏”‏ ‏

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “May the man before whom I am mentioned – and he does not send salaah (prayers) upon me – be humiliated. And may a man upon whom Ramadan enters and then passes, before he is forgiven, be humiliated. And may a man whose parents reached old age in his presence, and they were not a cause for his entrance to Paradise, be humiliated.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3545. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عن كعب بن عجرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم :احضُروا المنبرَ . فحضَرْنا ، فلما ارتقى درجةً قال : آمين فلما ارتقى الدرجةَ الثانيةَ قال : ” آمينْ ” . فلما ارتقى الدرجةَ الثالثةَ قال : ” آمينْ ” . فلما نزل قلنا : يا رسولَ اللهِ ! لقد سمعْنا منك اليومَ شيئًا ما كنا نسمعُه . قال : إنَّ جبريلَ عَرض لي فقال : بَعُدَ من أدرك رمضانَ فلم يُغْفَرْ له . قلتُ : ( آمين ) ، فلما رَقيتُ الثانيةَ قال : بَعُدَ مَن ذُكِرْتَ عندَه فلم يُصلِّ عليك . فقلتُ : ( آمينْ ) ، فلما رقيتُ الثالثةَ قال : بَعُدَ من أدرك أبوَيه الكبرُ عندَه أو أحدَهما فلم يُدخِلاه الجنَّةَ . قلتُ : ( آمين )

Kaab bn Ujrah (radiallahu anhu) relates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasalam) said: “Come near to the minbar”, and we came near the minbar. When he climbed the first step of the minbar, he said “Ameen”, When he ascended the second step, he said “Ameen”, When he climbed the third step, he said “Ameen”. When he came down, We said: “O Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam), we have heard from you today something which we never heard before.” He said: “When I climbed the first step, Jibreel appeared before me and said: “Destruction to him who found Ramadhan and did not get forgiven”, upon that I said ‘Ameen’. When I climbed the second step, he said: “Destruction to him before whom your name is taken and then he does not invoke prayers on you”, I replied ‘Ameen’. When I climbed the third step, he said:“Destruction unto him in whose lifetime his parents or either one of them reaches old age, and (through failure to serve them) he is not allowed to enter parents”., I said ‘Ameen’.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 995]

Let us remember these virtues and use them to make this Ramadan a more fulfilling experience.

A Fresh Start

Before I mention all the virtues of the various acts performed during Ramadan, I would like to point out that this month should be a fresh start for all of us. A fresh start means that we should repent from our sins. This isn’t just specific to Ramadan, rather it is something Allah has ordered us to do at all times.

وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّـهَ يَجِدِ اللَّـهَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s Forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah An-Nisaa (4) : 110]

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُ‌ونَ

Say: “O Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.” [Surah Az-Zumar (39) : 53 -54]

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّـهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

أُولَـٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَجَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ

And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqoon (the pious). Those who spend [in Allah’s Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good­doers).And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know. For such, the reward is Forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (who do righteous deeds according to Allah’s Orders). [Surah Aal-Imraan (3) : 133-136]

However, as mentioned earlier, the gates of Paradise are opened at this time of year and the gates of Hell are closed.Why? It’s to give us a chance to improve and have all our sins forgiven so that we can enter Paradise. So repentance is much easier in Ramadan.

Every night, we get a chance to exit the fire.

عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ فِطْرٍ عُتَقَاءَ وَذَلِكَ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ ‏”

It was narrated from Jaabir (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “At every breaking of the fast, Allah has people whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every night.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1643. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عَنْ أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إنَّ للهِ تبارك و تعالى عُتقاءَ في كلِّ يومٍ و ليلةٍ ( يعني في رمضانَ ) . و إنَّ لكلِّ مسلمٍ في كلِّ يومٍ وليلةٍ دعوةٌ مُستجابةٌ

Abu Saeed said (radiallahu anhu): The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Allah has people whom He redeems every day and night – meaning in Ramadaan – and every Muslim every day and night has a supplication that is answered.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 1002]

Ramadan is a GREAT opportunity to wipe away sins.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّرَاتٌ مَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الْكَبَائِرَ” ‏

Abu Hurairah reported (radiallahu anhu): Verily the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 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.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 450]

Fasting and praying at night, especially on Laylatul Qadr, cause sins to be forgiven.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ، وَمَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu 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 3, Hadeeth No. 125]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ‏”‏‏.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Hadeeth No. 36]

So, as you can see, this is a fantastic time to get saved from the Hell fire. Interestingly enough, I was listening to a lecture which pointed out that we have all sorts of objectives in Ramadan, for example finishing the Quran, etc. He pointed out that our biggest objective in this month should be to be saved  from the Hell fire, and this is true.

Apart from the above ways of getting our sins forgiven, there is a way which many people forget – doing good deeds.

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ ۚ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

And perform salah at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory salah (prayers)]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful (those who accept advice). [Surah Hud (11) : 114]

عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ، قَالَ قَالَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ حَيْثُمَا كُنْتَ وَأَتْبِعِ السَّيِّئَةَ الْحَسَنَةَ تَمْحُهَا وَخَالِقِ النَّاسَ بِخُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ ‏”

Abu Dharr said:”The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said to me: ‘Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you are, and follow an evil deed with a good one to wipe it out, and treat the people with good behavior.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 1987. Graded “hasan” (good) by Al-Albani.]

I should point out that good deeds wipe out the minor sins, not the major sins, as those require repentance. However, one of my teachers did point out that some scholars said that major sins can be wiped out with an equivalent good deed, i.e. a big one like Hajj. And Allah knows Better.

Either way, all of these ayaat (verses) and ahadeeth should be an encouragement to repent and perform more good deeds during Ramadan.

[Question for all the smarty pants out there: There is another hadeeth about forgiveness that has been hinted at in this section. Which one is it and what was the hint?]

The Early Part of the Day

Now, let’s go through a day of fasting to see how we can enjoy each act.

The first thing that we usually do after waking up is eat suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) (although many people may also pray tahajjud before it). For some strange reason, many people don’t have this meal although it is highly recommended AND it will just make fasting a whole lot easier!

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has encouraged us to have suhoor.

عَنْ جَابِرٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَصُومَ فَلْيَتَسَحَّرْ بِشَيْءٍ

It was narrated from Jaabir (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever wants to fast, let him eat something for suhoor.”  [Sahih Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 6005]

عن أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السَّحُورِ بَرَكَةً ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Anas bin Malik (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Have suhoor for verily is a blessing in it.”  [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadeeth No. 146]

عَنِ الْمِقْدَامِ بْنِ مَعْدِيكَرِبَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ عَلَيْكُمْ بِغَدَاءِ السُّحُورِ فَإِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَدَاءُ الْمُبَارَكُ ‏”‏

It was narrated from Al-Miqdam bin Madikarib (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “You should take suhoor for it is the blessed breakfast.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2166. Graded “Sahih Al-Isnaad” (its chain of narrators is authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عَنِ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ الْحَارِثِ، يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ رَجُلٍ، مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ دَخَلْتُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ يَتَسَحَّرُ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّهَا بَرَكَةٌ أَعْطَاكُمُ اللَّهُ إِيَّاهَا فَلاَ تَدَعُوهُ ‏”‏

Abdullah ibn Al-Harith narrated that a man from among the Companions of the Prophet said:”I entered upon the Prophet when he was having suhoor. He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “It is a blessing that Allah has given to you, so do not neglect it.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2164. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Suhoor is one of three things in which there is a blessing.

عن سلمان رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: البرَكَةُ في ثلاثةٍ: في الجماعةِ ، والثَّريدِ ، والسَّحورِ

Salman (radiallahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Blessing is in three things: in the congregation, thareed (bread dipped in meat broth) and suhoor”. [Sahih At-Targheeb Wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 1065]

Suhoor is also one of the things that differentiates us from the People of the Book.

عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم :إِنَّ فَصْلَ مَا بَيْنَ صِيَامِنَا وَصِيَامِ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أَكْلَةُ السَّحَرِ ‏

Amr ibn  Al-Aas (radiallahu anhu) narrated the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “The difference between our fasting and that of the People of the Book is eating shortly before dawn.” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth. 2343. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

It is so highly encouraged that you should have suhoor even if it is only a sip of water because Allah and His angels will send blessings on you!

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ :السُّحُورُكلةٌ بَرَكَةٌ فَلا تَدَعُوهُ وَلَوْ أَنْ يَجْرَعَ أَحَدُكُمْ جَرْعَةً مِنْ مَاءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عز وجل وَمَلائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى الْمُتَسَحِّرِينَ

It was narrated that Abu Saeed al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Suhoor, all of it is blessed, so do not omit it, even if one of you only takes a sip of water, for Allah and His angels send blessings on those who eat suhoor.” [Sahih At-Targheeb Wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 1070]

Dried dates are the best option for suhoor.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: ‏ “‏ نِعْمَ سَحُورُ الْمُؤْمِنِ التَّمْرُ ‏”‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “How good is the believers meal of dried dates shortly before dawn.” [Sunan Abee Dawood, Hadeeth No. 2345. Graded “sahih” (auuthentic) by Al-Albani.]

[Please note that the hadeeth says “tamr” which means dried dates. Many times, the translations of this hadeeth simply state “dates” but that’s not accurate. Tamr (dried dates) are preferable in suhoor whereas as rutab (fresh dates) are preferable in iftar.]

It’s better to delay it as close to the adhan of Fajr as possible. [And no, there is no such thing as “imsak”.]

عَنْ أَنس، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: بَكِّرُوا بالإِفطارِ ، و أخِّرُوا في السُّحورِ

Narrated Anas (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:“Expedite the iftaar and delay the suhoor” [Sahih Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 2835]

عَنْ أَبِي الدرداء، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: ثلاثٌ من أخلاقِ النُّبوةِ : تَعجيلُ الإفطارِ ، وتأخيرُ السُّحورَ ، ووضْعُ اليمينِ على الشِّمالِ في الصلاةِ

Abu Ad-Dardaa (radiallahu anhu) narrated: The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Three things are from the mannerisms of prophethood: expediting iftaar, delaying suhoor and placing the right hand over the left in prayer.” [Sahih Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 3038]

[Please note that the above two ahadeeth do have some weakness in their chains. However, their overall meaning is correct as proven in other narrations.]

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to have his suhoor a short while before Fajr.

عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ ثَابِتٍ، – رضى الله عنه – قَالَ تَسَحَّرْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ قُمْنَا إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ ‏.‏ قُلْتُ كَمْ كَانَ قَدْرُ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا قَالَ خَمْسِينَ آيَةً ‏.‏

Zaid ibn Thabit (radiallahu anhu) said: We had suhoor before dawn along with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). We then stood up for prayer. I said: How much span of time was there between the two (i. e. eating suhoor and observing of prayer)? He said (a span of reciting) fifty verses. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 2415]

Now, while you’re munching, don’t forget that there are two other acts that can also be done at this time: dua (supplication) and istighfar (seeking forgiveness).

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يَتَنَزَّلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ، مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ، وَمَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ؟”‏‏‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, descends every night to the heaven of the world and says, ‘Is there anyone who invokes Me (demand anything from Me), that I may respond to his invocation; Is there anyone who asks Me for something that I may give (it to) him; Is there anyone who asks My forgiveness that I may forgive him?’ “ [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadeeth No. 333]

[Note: The last third of the night can be found by counting the number of hours between the adhan of maghrib until the adhan of Fajr and dividing it by three. So, if the number was 3, for instance, this means that the last third of the night are the three hours preceding the adhan of Fajr.]

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

آخِذِينَ مَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَبْلَ ذَٰلِكَ مُحْسِنِينَ

كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ

وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

Verily, the Muttaqoon (pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise). Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (good-doers). They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].  And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness. [Surah Adh-Dhaariyat (51) : 15-18]

So, you can just do: Munch. Dua. Istighfar. Munch some more. Easy, isn’t it?

One last point that I’d like to mention (in this section anyway) is the topic of the intention. For a fard (obligatory) fast, one needs to have the intention from the night before.

عَنْ حَفْصَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: ‏ مَنْ لَمْ يُبَيِّتِ الصِّيَامَ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَلاَ صِيَامَ لَهُ ‏

It was narrated from Hafsah (radiallahu anha) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting from the night before, then there is no fast for him.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2336. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

“From the night before” means before the break of dawn (i.e. the adhan of Fajr) of the day that one is fasting as proven in the following hadeeth:

عَنْ حَفْصَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ لَمْ يُبَيِّتِ الصِّيَامَ قَبْلَ الْفَجْرِ فَلاَ صِيَامَ لَهُ ‏”

It was narrated from Hafsah (radiallahu anha) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before dawn, then there is no fast for him.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2333. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

The intention is in the heart. So when you wake up for suhoor so that you can fast, that IS the intention. Simple, isn’t it?

The Virtues of Fasting

So, the adhan of Fajr is called and the fast begins. Why are we fasting to begin with though? Well, because Allah has ordered us to do so.

شَهْرُ‌ رَ‌مَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْ‌آنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْ‌قَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ‌ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ

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. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]

As mentioned earlier, fasting in Ramadan is also one of the pillars of Islam.

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسَةٍ عَلَى أَنْ يُوَحَّدَ اللَّهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ وَالْحَجِّ ‏”‏

It is narrated on the authority of (Abdullah) the son of Umar (radiallahu anhuma) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the tawheed of Allah, the establishment of prayer, payment of zakaah, the fast of Ramadan, and the Hajj.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 18]

The person who does not fast in Ramadan without a valid excuse (e.g. illness, old age, etc) has a horrible punishment waiting for them in the hereafter.

 عن أبي أُمامةَ البَاهِليُّ قال: سمعتُ رسولَ اللَّهِ يقولُ : بينا أنا نائمٌ إذ أَتَاني رَجُلانِ فأَخَذَا بضَبْعَيَّ فأَتَيا بي جَبَلا وَعْراً، فقالا لي: اصعَدْ حتى إذا كنتُ في سَواءِ الجَبَلِ فإذا أنا بِصَوْتٍ شَديدٍ، فقلتُ: ما هذهِ الأصواتُ؟ قالَ: هذا عُواءُ أهلِ النارِ، ثُمَّ انطَلَقَ بي، فإذا أنا بَقُومٍ مُعَلَّقِينَ بَعَراقيبِهم مُشَقَّقَةٍ أشداقُهمْ تَسِيلُ أشداقُهمْ دَماً، فقلتُ: مَنْ هؤلاءِ؟ فقيلَ: هؤلاءِ الذينَ يُفْطِرُونَ قَبْلَ تَحِلَّةِ صَوْمهِمْ، ثُمَّ انطلقَ بي فإذا بقَوْمٍ أشدِّ شيءٍ انتفاخاً، وأنتنِه ريحاً، وأْسْوَئِه مَنْظَراً فقُلْتُ: مَنْ هؤلاءِ؟ قيلَ: الزَّانونَ والزَّواني، ثُمَّ انطَلَقَ بي فإذا بِنِساءٍ تَنْهَشُ ثَدْيَهُنَّ الحَيَّاتُ، قلتُ: ما بالُ هؤلاءِ؟ قيلَ: هؤلاءِ اللاتي يَمْنَعْنَ أَوْلادَهُنَّ ألبانَهُنَّ، ثُمَّ انطَلَقَ بي، فإذا أنا بغِلمانٍ يَلْعَبُونَ بينَ نَهْرَيْنِ، فقُلْتُ: مَنْ هؤلاءِ؟ فقيلَ هؤلاءِ ذَراري المُؤْمنينَ، ثُمَّ شرفَ بي شرفاً فإذا أنا بثلاثةٍ يَشْرَبُونَ مِنْ خَمْرٍ لَهُمْ فقلتُ: مَنْ هؤلاءِ؟ قالوا: هذا إبراهيمُ وموسى وعيسى وهُمْ يَنْتَظِرُونَكَ

Abu Umaamah Al-Baahilee (radiallahu anhu) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) say: While I was sleeping two men came to me and took me by the arm and brought me to a steep mountain and said to me: “Climb!” I said, “I don’t have the ability to do so.” They said “Indeed we will make it easy for you”  so I began to climb. I climbed until I came to the summit of the mountain where I heard terrible cries. I said, “What are these voices?” They replied, “That is the howling of the people of the Fire.” Then they took me further on until I came to a people who were strung by their hamstrings, with their jawbones torn and flowing with blood. I said, “Who are these individuals?” They said, “These are the people who break their fast before the time at which they may do so.” Then they continued on with me, we came to people who had the most severe swelling, most repugnant stench, and worst appearance. I said, “Who are these people?”  It was said, “These are the males and females who committed zina (fornication or adultery)”. Then they took me  and we came across some women whose breasts were being bitten by snakes. I said, ” What is the situation of these women? It was said, “These are the women who prevent their children from their (breast) milk.” Then they took me and I came across some children playing between two rivers. I said, “Who are these children?” It was said, “These are the offspring of the believers.” Then I was given an honor, I was with three individuals who where drinking some (pure) wine of theirs. I said, “Who are these individuals?” They said, “This is Ibrahim, Musa and Isa and they are waiting for you.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban, Hadeeth No. 7491. Shuaib Al-Arnaut said that its isnaad (chain) was “sahih” (authentic).]

I read an interesting comment by Shaikh Al-Albani (rahimahullah) here. He said:

“This is the punishment of those who fasted then broke the fast deliberately before the time for breaking the fast came, so how about those who do not fast at all? We ask Allah to keep us safe and sound in this world and in the Hereafter. “

Sadly, there are many people who don’t fast or don’t want to fast. How can I be sure of that? Well, one of the most popular articles on my older blog (The Greatest Month) is entitled “The Punishment for not fasting during Ramadan (without a valid excuse).” It’s just sad really, especially considering the fact that Allah says:

وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ‌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“And that you fast is better for you if only you knew.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) :184]

There are many people who don’t fast because they think it will cause difficulties with their jobs or studies, but they don’t realise that fasting is better for them. Had they fasted, Allah would have blessed them in all their other (permitted) activities and made it easy for them.

Now, for those people who DO fast, you may have wondered what was so special about fasting. Well, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“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]

This ayah (verses) explains to us as to why fasting was ordained to us to begin with: to make us pious. This is something that many people would have experienced – that they become better Muslims whilst fasting. This is because fasting itself makes us more pious.

Unfortunately, not everyone attains that piety.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ رُبَّ صَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ صِيَامِهِ إِلاَّ الْجُوعُ وَرُبَّ قَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ قِيَامِهِ إِلاَّ السَّهَرُ ‏”

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu 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” (authentic) by Al-Albani]

Think about yourself for an instance: Did your fasting improve you in any way? If so, then allow yourself some happiness. If not, then try to think about the reasons for the lack of change and correct them. Perhaps the reason that fasting might not have affected someone is because they were unaware of the great virtues of fasting. One of them is the forgiveness of (minor) sins.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ، وَمَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith (i.e. belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven .” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadeeth No. 231]

Remember: In order to get our previous (minor) sins forgiven, we need to fast with iman (faith) AND also hope for the reward from Allah.

I’ve already mentioned the other virtues of fasting in Ramadan earlier on in this article, so let’s take a look at some of the virtues of fasting in particular, whether in Ramadan or outside of it.

Firstly, fasting is a shield.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، – رضى الله عنه – قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ ‏”

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “Fasting is a shield.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 2565]

A shield against what, you ask? The Fire, of course.

عن مُطَرِّفًا، مِنْ بَنِي عَامِرِ بْنِ صَعْصَعَةَ:أَنَّ عُثْمَانَ بْنَ أَبِي الْعَاصِ الثَّقَفِيَّ دَعَا لَهُ بِلَبَنٍ يَسْقِيهِ فَقَالَ مُطَرِّفٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عُثْمَانُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ كَجُنَّةِ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنَ الْقِتَالِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Mutarrif, from the tribe of Banu Amir ibn Sasaah narrated that Uthman ibn Abul-Aas Ath-Thaqafi (radiallahu anhu) invited him to drink some milk that he poured for him. Mutarrif said: “I am fasting.” Uthman said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) say: ‘Fasting is a shield against the Fire just like the shield of anyone of you against fighting.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 1639. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عن نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم  قال: الصِّيامُ جُنَّةٌ وحصنٌ حصينٌ من النَّارِ

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Fasting is a protection and a strong fortress against the Fire.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 980]

عَنْ جابر رضي الله عنه عن نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم  قال: الصِّيامُ جُنَّةٌ يَستجِنُّ بها العبدُ من النَّارِ

Jaabir (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:“Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 981]

عَنْ كَعْبِ بْنِ عُجْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ أُعِيذُكَ بِاللَّهِ يَا كَعْبُ بْنَ عُجْرَةَ مِنْ أُمَرَاءَ يَكُونُونَ مِنْ بَعْدِي فَمَنْ غَشِيَ أَبْوَابَهُمْ فَصَدَّقَهُمْ فِي كَذِبِهِمْ وَأَعَانَهُمْ عَلَى ظُلْمِهِمْ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَلَسْتُ مِنْهُ وَلاَ يَرِدُ عَلَىَّ الْحَوْضَ وَمَنْ غَشِيَ أَبْوَابَهُمْ أَوْ لَمْ يَغْشَ فَلَمْ يُصَدِّقْهُمْ فِي كَذِبِهِمْ وَلَمْ يُعِنْهُمْ عَلَى ظُلْمِهِمْ فَهُوَ مِنِّي وَأَنَا مِنْهُ وَسَيَرِدُ عَلَىَّ الْحَوْضَ يَا كَعْبُ بْنَ عُجْرَةَ الصَّلاَةُ بُرْهَانٌ وَالصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ حَصِينَةٌ وَالصَّدَقَةُ تُطْفِئُ الْخَطِيئَةَ كَمَا يُطْفِئُ الْمَاءُ النَّارَ ‏.‏ يَا كَعْبُ بْنَ عُجْرَةَ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَرْبُو لَحْمٌ نَبَتَ مِنْ سُحْتٍ إِلاَّ كَانَتِ النَّارُ أَوْلَى بِهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ مِنْ هَذَا الْوَجْهِ لاَ نَعْرِفُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مُوسَى ‏.‏ وَأَيُّوبُ بْنُ عَائِذٍ الطَّائِيُّ يُضَعَّفُ وَيُقَالُ كَانَ يَرَى رَأْىَ الإِرْجَاءِ ‏.‏ وَسَأَلْتُ مُحَمَّدًا عَنْ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ فَلَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مُوسَى وَاسْتَغْرَبَهُ جِدًّا ‏.‏

Kab ibn Ujrah (radiallahu anhu) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said to me: ‘I seek refuge in Allah for you O Kab ibn Ujrah from leader that will be after me. Whoever comes to their doors to approve of their lies and supports them in their oppression, then he is not of me and I am not of him, and he will not meet me at the Hawd (cistern). And whoever comes to their doors, or he does not come, and he does not approve of their lies and he does not support them in their oppression, then he is from me and I am from him, and he will meet me at the Hawd. Kab ibn Ujrah! Salah (prayer) is a clear proof, and Sawm (fasting) is an impregnable shield, and aadaqah (charity) extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire. O Kab ibn Ujrah! There is no flesh raised that sprouts from the unlawful except that the Fire is more appropriate for it.'” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No.614. Graded “sahih ” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Fasting is also a protection for those who aren’t able to get married.

عَنْ  عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ: كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم شَبَابًا لاَ نَجِدُ شَيْئًا فَقَالَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ، وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abdullah (radiallahu anhu): We were with the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, for it will be a restraint (wija) for him.”‘ [Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadeeth No. 4]

[I recently heard a bit of an Arabic lecture where the Shaikh mentioned that many young men say that they tried fasting but it didn’t help them diminish their sexual desires. He then pointed out it was because after they broke their fast, they watched naked women on television so obviously fasting did not work! And sadly, this is the truth.]

There’s a special gate in Paradise called “Ar-Rayyan” that only the people who fast will be able to go through.

عَنْ سَهْلٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ بَابًا يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ، يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ فَيَقُومُونَ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ، فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ، فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Sahl (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayyaan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadeeth No. 120]

عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لِلصَّائِمِينَ بَابٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ لاَ يَدْخُلُ فِيهِ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ فَإِذَا دَخَلَ آخِرُهُمْ أُغْلِقَ مَنْ دَخَلَ فِيهِ شَرِبَ وَمَنْ شَرِبَ لَمْ يَظْمَأْ أَبَدًا ‏”‏

It was narrated from Sahl ibn Saad (radiallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “For those who fast there is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayyan, through which no one but they will enter. When the last of them has entered it, it will be closed. Whoever enters through it will drink, and whoever drinks will never get thirsty again.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2238. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

This gate is so special that it is the only one that seems to have a name!

عَنِ أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏”‏ مَنْ أَنْفَقَ زَوْجَيْنِ مِنْ شَىْءٍ مِنَ الأَشْيَاءِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ دُعِيَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِ ـ يَعْنِي الْجَنَّةَ ـ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ هَذَا خَيْرٌ، فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصَّلاَةِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الصَّلاَةِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجِهَادِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الْجِهَادِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصَّدَقَةِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الصَّدَقَةِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصِّيَامِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الصِّيَامِ، وَبَابِ الرَّيَّانِ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ مَا عَلَى هَذَا الَّذِي يُدْعَى مِنْ تِلْكَ الأَبْوَابِ مِنْ ضَرُورَةٍ، وَقَالَ هَلْ يُدْعَى مِنْهَا كُلِّهَا أَحَدٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ، وَأَرْجُو أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنْهُمْ يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): I heard Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Anybody who spends a pair of something in Allah’s Cause will be called from all the gates of Paradise, “O Allah’s slave! This is good.’ He who is amongst those who pray will be called from the gate of the prayer (in Paradise) and he who is from the people of Jihad will be called from the gate of Jihad, and he who is from those who give in charity (i.e. zakah) will be called from the gate of charity, and he who is amongst those who observe fast will be called from the gate of fasting, the gate of Ar-Rayyaan.” Abu Bakr said, “He who is called from all those gates will need nothing,” He added, “Will anyone be called from all those gates, O Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)?” He said, “Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Hadeeth No. 18]

Still not excited about fasting? Well, you should because the reward for it is HUGE.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ الصَّوْمُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَأَكْلَهُ وَشُرْبَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، وَالصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ، وَلِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ فَرْحَةٌ حِينَ يُفْطِرُ وَفَرْحَةٌ حِينَ يَلْقَى رَبَّهُ، وَلَخَلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ ‏”‏‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Allah said: The fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight than the smell of musk.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 9, Hadeeth No. 584]

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، – رضى الله عنه – قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ يُضَاعَفُ الْحَسَنَةُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلاَّ الصَّوْمَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ فَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ فِطْرِهِ وَفَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ لِقَاءِ رَبِّهِ ‏.‏ وَلَخُلُوفُ فِيهِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ ‏”

Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for one abandons his passion and food for My sake. There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, joy when he breaks it, and joy when he meets his Lord, and the breath (of an observer of fast) is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 2567]

So, all the other good deeds are multiplied between 10 to 700 times, whereas fasting isn’t specified meaning it can be MORE than that. Imagine. One deed multiplied more THAN 700 times? On top of that, it brings joy in both this world and the hereafter.

Now, one may ask: Why does fasting have this kind of huge reward?

Well, one of the reasons that the people of knowledge gave is that fasting is a type of patience. Patience has three levels:

  • The highest level is patience upon doing good
  • The level below that is patience upon refraining from evil
  • The lowest level is patience in times of hardships.

Fasting covers all three types of patience. The fasting itself is patience upon good, whereas keeping away from what breaks the fast is patience upon refraining from evil. The hunger and thirst that a person feels when fasting is patience in times of hardship.

In fact, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) referred the Ramadan as the month of patience.

عَنْ أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ شَهْرُ الصَّبْرِ وَثَلاَثَةُ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) say: “The month of patience and the three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2410. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Patience is something that Allah loves.

وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ

“And Allah loves As-Saabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 146]

It is one of two states that the Muslim is always in (the other being gratitude).

عَنْ صُهَيْبٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ عَجَبًا لأَمْرِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَلَيْسَ ذَاكَ لأَحَدٍ إِلاَّ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ ‏”

Suhaib (radiallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 7138]

And the patient person’s reward is unspecified, meaning that it is huge.

إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning.” [Surah Az-Zumar (39) : 10]

So this is why the reward for fasting is unspecified – because it is a type of patience, and the reward for patience is unspecified, meaning it is huge.

As of all that wasn’t enough, fasting in Ramadan and a few months of the year remove the impurities of the heart.

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صوم شهر الصبر وثلاثة أيام من كل شهر يذهبن وحر الصدر

Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhuma) said: The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Fasting the month of patience (i.e. Ramadan) and three days of each month removes the impurities of the heart.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 1032]

Oh, and it’s also like fasting a lifetime.

عَنْ أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ شَهْرُ الصَّبْرِ وَثَلاَثَةُ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) say: “The month of patience and the three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2410. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Why is it like fasting a lifetime? Well, the answer is quite interesting.

عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَنْ صَامَ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَذَلِكَ صِيَامُ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ تَصْدِيقَ ذَلِكَ فِي كِتَابِهِ ‏:‏ ‏(‏مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا ‏)‏ ‏.‏ الْيَوْمُ بِعَشَرَةِ أَيَّامٍ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ ‏.‏ وَقَدْ رَوَى شُعْبَةُ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ أَبِي شِمْرٍ وَأَبِي التَّيَّاحِ عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم

Abu Dharr (radiallahu anhu) narrated:”The Messenger of Allah  (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Whoever fasts three days in every month, then that is (similar to) fasting every day.’ Then Allah Mighty and Sublime is He, attested to that in His Book, by revealing:

مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا

Whoever brings a good deed, shall have ten times the like thereof. [Surah Al-Anaam (6) : 160]

So a day is like ten.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 762. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

So, if a day is like ten, then fasting three days a month is like fasting the whole month and doing this every month is basically like fasting all the time.

This concept also explains the following hadeeth.

عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ الأَنْصَارِيِّ، – رضى الله عنه – أَنَّهُ حَدَّثَهُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ ‏”

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 2614.]

So, 30 days of Ramadan and 6 days of Shawwal total 36 days. Multiplying that by ten gives us 360 days which is almost a year. Amazing, isn’t it?

Before I move on to even more virtues of fasting, I’d like to remove a misconception that many people have. They think that fasting three days in a month means fasting ayyaam al-beed (the white days) i.e. the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar month.

No. Fasting three days in a month means ANY three days in a month, the BEST of which is ayyaam al-beed.

عَنْ مُعَاذَةُ الْعَدَوِيَّةُ سَأَلَتْ عَائِشَةَ زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ قَالَتْ نَعَمْ ‏.‏ فَقُلْتُ لَهَا مِنْ أَىِّ أَيَّامِ الشَّهْرِ كَانَ يَصُومُ قَالَتْ لَمْ يَكُنْ يُبَالِي مِنْ أَىِّ أَيَّامِ الشَّهْرِ يَصُومُ ‏.

Muadha Al-Adawiyyah reported that she asked Aishah (radiallahu anha), the wife of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), whether the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) observed fasts for three days during every month. She said: “Yes.” I said to her: “Which were (the particular) days of the month on which he observed fast?” She said: “He was not particular about the days of the month on which to observe fast.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 2600]

عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسَ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْجُمُعَةِ وَالاِثْنَيْنِ مِنَ الْمُقْبِلَةِ ‏.‏

It was narrated that Umm Salamah (radialalhu anha) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to fast three days of every month: the Monday and Thursday of the first week and the Monday of the following week.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2367. Graded “hasan” (good) by Al-Albani.]

However, as I mentioned above, the best three days to fast are the middle three.

عَنْ أَبَي ذَرٍّ، يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِذَا صُمْتَ مِنَ الشَّهْرِ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَصُمْ ثَلاَثَ عَشْرَةَ وَأَرْبَعَ عَشْرَةَ وَخَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ ‏”‏

Abu Dharr (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “O Abu Dharr! When you fast three days out of a month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 761. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

[Note: The scholars pointed out that if the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performed an action in different ways, then we should also do it in those different ways. So, this means one should not only fast ayyaam al-beed but rather change it up every so often and do it on the other days that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) did it on. THAT would be following the sunnah.]

Let’s return to the virtues of fasting. Fasting just one day in the way of Allah moves one away from the Hell fire.

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بَعَّدَ اللَّهُ وَجْهَهُ عَنِ النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Saeed (radiallahu anhu): I heard the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 93]

عَنْ عُقْبَةَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بَاعَدَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ جَهَنَّمَ مَسِيرَةَ مِائَةِ عَامٍ ‏”

It was narrated from Uqbah ibn Amir (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:”Whoever fasts one day in the cause of Allah, the mighty and sublime, Allah will separate him the distance of one hundred years from the fire.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2256. Graded “hasan” (good) by Al-Albani.]

عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ الْبَاهِلِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ النَّارِ خَنْدَقًا كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ هَذَا حَدِيثٌ غَرِيبٌ مِنْ حَدِيثِ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ

Narrated Abu Umamah Al-Baahili (radiallahu anhu): That the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever fasts a day in the cause of Allah, Allah shall put between him and the Fire a trench whose distance is like that between the heavens and the earth.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 1624. Graded “hasan sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Fasting is also a way to expiate one’s sins.

  عن شَقِيقٌ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ حُذَيْفَةَ، قَالَ كُنَّا جُلُوسًا عِنْدَ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ فَقَالَ أَيُّكُمْ يَحْفَظُ قَوْلَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الْفِتْنَةِ قُلْتُ أَنَا، كَمَا قَالَهُ‏.‏ قَالَ إِنَّكَ عَلَيْهِ ـ أَوْ عَلَيْهَا ـ لَجَرِيءٌ‏.‏ قُلْتُ ‏ “‏ فِتْنَةُ الرَّجُلِ فِي أَهْلِهِ وَمَالِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَجَارِهِ تُكَفِّرُهَا الصَّلاَةُ وَالصَّوْمُ وَالصَّدَقَةُ وَالأَمْرُ وَالنَّهْىُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ لَيْسَ هَذَا أُرِيدُ، وَلَكِنِ الْفِتْنَةُ الَّتِي تَمُوجُ كَمَا يَمُوجُ الْبَحْرُ‏.‏ قَالَ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكَ مِنْهَا بَأْسٌ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، إِنَّ بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهَا بَابًا مُغْلَقًا‏.‏ قَالَ أَيُكْسَرُ أَمْ يُفْتَحُ قَالَ يُكْسَرُ‏.‏ قَالَ إِذًا لاَ يُغْلَقَ أَبَدًا‏.‏ قُلْنَا أَكَانَ عُمَرُ يَعْلَمُ الْبَابَ قَالَ نَعَمْ، كَمَا أَنَّ دُونَ الْغَدِ اللَّيْلَةَ، إِنِّي حَدَّثْتُهُ بِحَدِيثٍ لَيْسَ بِالأَغَالِيطِ‏.‏ فَهِبْنَا أَنْ نَسْأَلَ حُذَيْفَةَ، فَأَمَرْنَا مَسْرُوقًا فَسَأَلَهُ فَقَالَ الْبَابُ عُمَرُ‏.‏

Narrated Shaqeeq that he had heard Hudhaifah (radiallahu anhu) saying, “Once I was sitting with Umar and he said, ‘Who amongst you remembers the statement of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) about the afflictions?’ I said, ‘I know it as the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had said it.’ Umar said, ‘No doubt you are bold.’ I said, ‘The afflictions caused for a man by his wife, money, children and neighbor are expiated by his prayers, fasting, charity and by enjoining (what is good) and forbidding (what is evil).’ Umar said, ‘I did not mean that but I asked about that affliction which will spread like the waves of the sea.’ I (Hudhaifah) said, ‘O leader of the faithful believers! You need not be afraid of it as there is a closed door between you and it.’ Umar asked: Will the door be broken or opened?’ I replied, ‘It will be broken.’ Umar said, ‘Then it will never be closed again.’ I was asked whether Umar knew that door. I replied that he knew it as one knows that there will be night before the tomorrow morning. I narrated a hadith that was free from any misstatement” The sub-narrator added that they deputized Masruq to ask Hudhaifah (about the door). Hudhaifa said, “The door was Umar himself.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Hadeeth No. 503]

If fasting is one’s last deed (meaning that he died whilst fasting or at the end of a day of fasting), he or she will enter Paradise.

عن حذيفة رضي الله عنه قال: أسندتُ النبيَّ صلَّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ إلى صدري فقال: من قال: لا إلهَ إلا اللهُ خُتم له بها دخل الجنَّةَ، ومن صام يومًا ابتغاءَ وجهِ اللهِ خُتم له به دخل الجنَّةَ، ومن تصدَّق بصدقةٍ ابتغاءَ وجهِ اللهِ خُتم له بها دخل الجنَّةَ.

Hudhaifah (radiallahu anhu) said, “I made theProphet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) lean on my chest and he said, ‘Whoever says La Ilaha illa Allah (No one is worthy of worship except Allah), and that is the last of his deeds, will enter Paradise. And whoever fasts one day thereby seeking the Faceof Allah, and that is the last of his deeds, will enter Paradise. Whoever gives charity thereby seeking the Face of Allah, and that is the last of his deeds will enter Paradise.’” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 985]

Fasting is also something that will intercede for us on the Day of Judgement.

عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: الصِّيامُ والقرآنُ يشفعان للعبدِ يومَ القيامةِ يقولُ الصِّيامُ أيْ ربِّ منعتُه الطَّعامَ والشَّهوةَ فشفِّعني فيه ويقولُ القرآنُ منعتُه النَّومَ باللَّيلِ فشفِّعني فيه قال فيشفعان

Abdullah ibn Amr (radiallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Quran will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” [Sahih At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, Hadeeth No. 984]

Quite simply, there is nothing like fasting.

عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ أَنَّهُ سَأَلَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَىُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ ‏ “‏ عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ عِدْلَ لَهُ ‏”‏

It was narrated from Abu Umaamah (radiallahu anhu) that he asked the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “Which deed is best?” he said: “Take to fasting, for there is nothing equal to it.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2224. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ، قَالَ أَتَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقُلْتُ مُرْنِي بِأَمْرٍ آخُذُهُ عَنْكَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ “‏عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ مِثْلَ لَهُ ‏”

Abu Umaamah (radiallahu anhu) said: ‘I came to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and said: Tell me of something that I may take (learn) from you. He said: “Take to fasting, for there is nothing like it.”‘ ‘ [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2222. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

So, those were all the (many) virtues of fasting. In the next part, in shaa Allah, I’ll mention some of the things that we can do during the day (in Ramadan) as well whilst breaking the fast, and also discuss the last ten days.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this wonderful advice from one of the Prophets of Allah (alaihissalam). And yes, he mentions fasting as well.

عَنْ الْحَارِثَ الأَشْعَرِيَّ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَ يَحْيَى بْنَ زَكَرِيَّا بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ أَنْ يَعْمَلَ بِهَا وَيَأْمُرَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنْ يَعْمَلُوا بِهَا وَإِنَّهُ كَادَ أَنْ يُبْطِئَ بِهَا فَقَالَ عِيسَى إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَكَ بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ لِتَعْمَلَ بِهَا وَتَأْمُرَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنْ يَعْمَلُوا بِهَا فَإِمَّا أَنْ تَأْمُرَهُمْ وَإِمَّا أَنَا آمُرُهُمْ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ يَحْيَى أَخْشَى إِنْ سَبَقْتَنِي بِهَا أَنْ يُخْسَفَ بِي أَوْ أُعَذَّبَ فَجَمَعَ النَّاسَ فِي بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ فَامْتَلأَ الْمَسْجِدُ وَقَعَدُوا عَلَى الشُّرَفِ فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي بِخَمْسِ كَلِمَاتٍ أَنْ أَعْمَلَ بِهِنَّ وَآمُرَكُمْ أَنْ تَعْمَلُوا بِهِنَّ أَوَّلُهُنَّ أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَإِنَّ مَثَلَ مَنْ أَشْرَكَ بِاللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ اشْتَرَى عَبْدًا مِنْ خَالِصِ مَالِهِ بِذَهَبٍ أَوْ وَرِقٍ فَقَالَ هَذِهِ دَارِي وَهَذَا عَمَلِي فَاعْمَلْ وَأَدِّ إِلَىَّ فَكَانَ يَعْمَلُ وَيُؤَدِّي إِلَى غَيْرِ سَيِّدِهِ فَأَيُّكُمْ يَرْضَى أَنْ يَكُونَ عَبْدُهُ كَذَلِكَ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَكُمْ بِالصَّلاَةِ فَإِذَا صَلَّيْتُمْ فَلاَ تَلْتَفِتُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَنْصِبُ وَجْهَهُ لِوَجْهِ عَبْدِهِ فِي صَلاَتِهِ مَا لَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ وَآمُرُكُمْ بِالصِّيَامِ فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذَلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ فِي عِصَابَةٍ مَعَهُ صُرَّةٌ فِيهَا مِسْكٌ فَكُلُّهُمْ يَعْجَبُ أَوْ يُعْجِبُهُ رِيحُهَا وَإِنَّ رِيحَ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ وَآمُرُكُمْ بِالصَّدَقَةِ فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذَلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ أَسَرَهُ الْعَدُوُّ فَأَوْثَقُوا يَدَهُ إِلَى عُنُقِهِ وَقَدَّمُوهُ لِيَضْرِبُوا عُنُقَهُ فَقَالَ أَنَا أَفْدِيهِ مِنْكُمْ بِالْقَلِيلِ وَالْكَثِيرِ ‏.‏ فَفَدَى نَفْسَهُ مِنْهُمْ وَآمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تَذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فَإِنَّ مَثَلَ ذَلِكَ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ خَرَجَ الْعَدُوُّ فِي أَثَرِهِ سِرَاعًا حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَى عَلَى حِصْنٍ حَصِينٍ فَأَحْرَزَ نَفْسَهُ مِنْهُمْ كَذَلِكَ الْعَبْدُ لاَ يُحْرِزُ نَفْسَهُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِلاَّ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ وَأَنَا آمُرُكُمْ بِخَمْسٍ اللَّهُ أَمَرَنِي بِهِنَّ السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ وَالْجِهَادُ وَالْهِجْرَةُ وَالْجَمَاعَةُ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ فَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ قِيدَ شِبْرٍ فَقَدْ خَلَعَ رِبْقَةَ الإِسْلاَمِ مِنْ عُنُقِهِ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ وَمَنِ ادَّعَى دَعْوَى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْ جُثَا جَهَنَّمَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنْ صَلَّى وَصَامَ قَالَ ‏”‏ وَإِنْ صَلَّى وَصَامَ فَادْعُوا بِدَعْوَى اللَّهِ الَّذِي سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ ‏‏

Narrated Al-Harith Al-Ashari (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Indeed Allah commanded Yahya ibn Zakariyyah with five commandments to abide by, and to command the Children of Israil to abide by them. But he was slow in doing so. So Isa said: ‘Indeed Allah commanded you with five commandments to abide by and to command the Children of Israil to abide by. Either you command them, or I shall command them.’ So Yahya said: ‘I fear that if you precede me in this, then the earth may swallow me, or I shall be punished.’ So he gathered the people in Jerusalem, and they filled [the Masjid] and sat upon its balconies. So he said: ‘Indeed Allah has commanded me with five commandments to abide by, and to command you to abide by. The first of them is that you worship Allah and not associate anything with him. The parable of the one who associates others with Allah is that of a man who buys a servant with his own gold or silver, then he says to him: “This is my home and this is my business so take care of it and give me the profits.” So he takes care of it and gives the profits to someone other than his master. Which of you would live to have a servant like that? And Allah commands you to perform salah (prayer), and when you perform salah then do not turn away, for Allah is facing the face of His worshipers as long as he does not turn away. And He commands you with fasting. For indeed the parable of fasting, is that of a man in a group with a sachet containing musk. All of them enjoy its fragrance. Indeed the breath of the fasting person is more pleasant to Allah than the scent of musk. And He commands you to give charity. The parable of that, is a man captured by his enemies, tying his hands to his neck, and they come to him to beat his neck. Then he said: “I can ransom myself from you with a little or a lot” so he ransoms himself from them. And He commands you to remember Allah. For indeed the parable of that, is a man whose enemy quickly tracks him until he reaches an impermeable fortress in which he protects himself from them. This is how the worshiper is; he does not protect himself from Shaytaan (the devil) except by the remembrance of Allah.'” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “And I command you with five that Allah commanded me: Listening and obeying, jihad, hijrah (migrating for the sake of Allah, and the jamaah (the Muslim community). For indeed whoever parts from the jamaah the measure of a hand-span, then he has cast off the yoke of Islam from his neck, unless he returns. And whoever calls with the call of jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamoc era) then he is from the coals of Hell.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allah! Even if he performs salahand fasts?” So he (ﷺ) said: “Even if he performs salah and fasts. So call with the call that Allah named you with: Muslims, believers, worshipers of Allah.” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2863. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

Here’s Part 2.

Please do share this with others, baarakallahu feek.Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Share Your Thoughts