Make the Best Use of Ramadan

Date: 19th June 2015, 1st Ramzan 1436

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The month of Ramadan runs through the society of the Muslim Ummah all over the world. This is the month of Rahmat, Maghfirat and Nazat. Hadith states:

Narrated by Salman al Farsi (Radi Allahu Anhu) that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) mentioned: It (Ramadān) is such a month, the first ten days are the days of mercy, the middle ten days are the days of forgiveness and the last ten days are the days in which many are emancipated from the fire of Jahannam.

Reference: Bayhaqi, Mishkaat. Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s sermon at the end of the Month of Shaban. This Hadith has been graded da’ef by some scholars.

The Rahmat of Allah has already started and His blessings entwine us even if we don’t possess the hearts to understand it. The blessings are bestowed upon those who do good so we all need to do Ibadahs more as this is the time of the year when we can truly earn our closeness to our Lord. One Hadith tells us:

A’ishah (Radi Allahu ‘anha) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year; and he would devote himself more (in the worship of Allah) in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he did in earlier part of the month.

Reference: Sahih Muslim

For us to earn the fulfillment of this blissful month, we need to do justice to all the people around us and also to all the other creations of Allah. Only then we can receive the mercy for the Almighty.

A man once told the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) that he had many children but did not kiss any of them. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied: “Verily, Allah will only show mercy to those of His servants who do good to others.”

Reference: Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullah Allaih)’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners

For every Ibadah, there is a Sahih technique and for that we need to look into the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s Sunnahs.

Firstly, we need to understand the reason behind this holy month of Ramadan. Allah says in the Quran:

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous –

Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 183 (2:183) Translation: Sahih International

Allah has given us the month of Ramadan so that we can achieve Taqwa- abstaining ourselves from sinning. One month of abstinence will get us accustomed to lead a life without sinning.

We need to understand the reasons behind why people sin. Sins are caused by two broad reasons:

  • Desire of relinquishing huger
  • Desire of fulfilling sexual need

In the month of Ramadan, both of these desires are literally being quarantined so that we can achieve the Taqwa which Allah demands of us. Ramadan also teaches us to stay away from sinning in the long run by making us practice from it for one whole month. By fasting we are growing humble and we are expected keep all our body parts from sinning. Through minor sins we don’t lose our fast but the blessing of the fasting becomes weak. One Hadith says:

Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is fasting he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice in anger. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: ‘I am fasting!’”

Reference: Sahih Muslim

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) referred to fasting as a “shield” for the Mumins as it protects us from sinning. However, one needs to make sure the shield is not damaged in any way. Otherwise it will not be effective in doing its job. The actions that damage this shield and render it useless are sins like Backbiting, Lying, Evil Glance, Swearing, Nonsensical Conversation, Arguments, Slander, Haram Sustenance, and every other evil.

Allah never intended to make us suffer as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)r ecommended us to take the Sehri as late as possible and to take the Iftar as quickly as possible. Hadiths narrate:

Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) as saying: Take meal a little (Sehri) before dawn, for there is a blessing in taking meal at that time.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Book 6, Hadith 2412

Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The Deen will be uppermost/manifest as long as the people hasten to break their fast because the Jews and the Christians delay (it).”

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood & Ibn Hibban

Also Allah does not expect us to fast all yearlong so as get more blessings. This Hadith proves that:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (Radi Allahu Anhu): The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said to me, “You fast daily all the year and pray every night all the night?” I replied in the affirmative. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “If you keep on doing this, your eyes will become weak and your body will get tired. He who fasts all the year is as he who did not fast at all. The fasting of three days (a month) will be equal to the fasting of the whole year.” I replied, “I have the power for more than this.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Then fast like the fasting of Dawood who used to fast on alternate days and would never flee from the battle field, on meeting the enemy.

References: Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Hadith Number 200

If Allah wanted to make us suffer then he would have asked us take our Sehri quickly, delay our Iftar and fast for the whole year. So those who think that Allah intends to make our Deen difficult for us should indeed change their thoughts.

Ramadan is the time when we should be steadfast- restraining our tongue, gaze, hearing and touching. It is sad to see people arguing and fighting even when they fast and forget the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). One amazing Hadith perfectly illustrates consequence of sinning during Ramadan.

‘Ubayda, the freed slave of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) reported that someone came and showed the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) two women who were fasting and said that they were dying of thirst. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) turned away silently refusing to give permission for them to break their fast. So the man begged him again mentioning that the women were on the verge of death. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said, “Bring them to me and bring along a bowl.” When they came to him, he turned to one and told her to vomit in the bowl. She complied spitting up a mixture of vomit, blood and pieces of flesh which half-filled the bowl. He then turned to the other woman and had her do the same. After the bowl was filled, he said, “Verily, these two have fasted from what Allah has made Halal for them and broke fast from what Allah has made Haram. They spent their fast eating the flesh of other.”

References: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih), Sunan Bayhaqi

Allah is in no of our fasting. It is us, who needs the fasting, for our own good.

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

If we manage to forgo our bad habits and sinfulness, In Shaa Allah, we will be forgiven and our fasting will also be accepted by Allah.

For fasting to be accepted, the income or rizq should be lawful. This can be interpreted from this Hadith:

Abd Allah ibn Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Allah does not accept any prayer without purity; neither does he accept charity from what was stolen from booty (ghulul).

References: Sahih Muslim, Jami at-Tirmidhi  Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan an-Nasaa’i & Sunan Ibn Majah

For any deed to get accepted by Allah, the food, clothing and income need to be lawful.

In case if the source of income is fully haram and the month of Ramadan is approaching, the only option left for the person is to take a loan from another person. The loan itself must come from an honest source, otherwise it will be invalid. After Ramadan has passed, the person can pay off the loan by his haram income. This may sound absurd but Islam views the stanza of paying off debts very seriously.

Dr. ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-‘Imraani was asked about a man who lent someone some money, and he wants to ask for it back now, but the person who borrowed it is going to pay it back with haram wealth. He replied: The borrower has to pay back what he owes of debts with whatever he earns in a permissible manner. The lender has the right to ask the borrower to repay the debt without asking about how he acquired the money.

If the borrower gives the lender money that is haram in the way in which he acquired it, it is permissible for the lender because the way he is acquiring it is different, and the sin is on the borrower.

This may be understood from the Hadith of Buraira (Radi Allahu Anha), when she received some meat as charity, and she gave it as a gift to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), who did not accept charity, but he accepted it because it came to him as a gift.

Narrated Anas bin Malik (Radi Allahu Anhu): Some meat was brought to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and it was said that the meat had been given in charity to Buraira. He said, “It was Sadaqa for Buraira but a gift for us.”

References: Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 1495 & Sahih Muslim Hadith 1074

Once the debt has been paid, the person needs to repent and find other means of earning money in the Halal way.

If the income is partially haram, then the person needs to cease earning from that source for the month of Ramadan if he wants to get his fastings granted by Allah. Later on he needs to dispose that haram source as soon as possible. A person who makes amends towards his haram rizq, Allah will surely make a way out of his havoc and will surely forgive him. In the Quran it is mentioned:

And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out

And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.

Surah At-Talaq, Ayahs 2-3 (65:2-3) Translation: Sahih International

We need to find ways of enriching our relationship with Allah in this blissful month. Allah has commanded two ways to come closer to Him- one is the fasting and the other one is the Tarawi.

Ramadan is the month when the Quran was revealed at the time of Shab-e-Qadr and by praying the 20 rakahs of Tarawi, we are ensuring 40 Sujoods and for which we are getting limitless blessings because a servant is said to be the closest to his Lord in moments of prostration. Also praying the Tarawi will get our sins forgiven.

Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyaam during Ramadan. He used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyaam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.”

Reference: Sahih Muslim

The Quran is recited fully during Tarawi and the listener receives the same amount of blessing as the reciter. Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Allaih)’s students reported that he used to finish the Quran once during the day and again at night everyday in Ramadan. And he would finish the Quran one time completely during Tarawi. That is a total of 61 times just in this month!

We must allocate time for our Quran recitation. The Mumin’s life should be well organized and every regular deed should be well synchronized. If Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Allaih) could allocate time for his Quran recitation, so can us being the Ummah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).

Another regular Ibadah we can do is to pray the Tahajjud. We already wake up at the middle of the night for Sehri and it won’t harm us in any way by praying just two rakahs of Tahajjud. We should also donate more during this month since the rewarding effects of good deeds are well multiplied. Hadith narrates the donating nature of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam):

Narrated by Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu): “Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)   was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) met him. Jibril (Alayhi As-Salām) used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the fair winds.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari

If we donate one unit of currency to the poor during this month of Ramadan, it will give at least a blessing of 70 times more than any time of the year.

Doing dhikr is a must for us. Dhikr is the easiest of all amals and it does not require us much of a strength to do it. In one Hadith it is mentioned:

Abdullah ibn Busr (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “A man came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and said, ‘Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the laws of Islam have become too many for us, so [give us] a means of access to which we can cling which is comprehensive.’ He said, ‘Let not your tongue cease to be moist with the remembrance of Allah, mighty is He and majestic.’

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahamad (Rahmatullah Allaih), Jami At-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih, narrated it in the same sense. However, at-Tirmidhi said, “Good but unusual [in that there is a single narrator at some point in the chain of transmission].” All of them narrated it in the version of ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Kindi from ‘Abdullah ibn Busr. {Ahmad in the Musnad (4:188), at-Tirmidhi (3435)}

Feeding a fasting brother also accumulates a lot of blessing. Hadiths states

Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, he will have the reward equal to his (the fasting person), without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.”

References: Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3/171 & Sahih al-Targhib, Hadith 1/451

Anas (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) came to visit Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah (Radi Allahu Anhu) who presented bread and olive oil to him. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ate it and said, “The observers of fast have broken their fast with you (this is the literal translation, but the meaning is: ‘May Allah reward you for providing a fasting people with food to break their fast’); the pious people have eaten your food and the angels invoked blessings on you.”

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood

When we feed a fasting brother, not only we get the reward from his fasting but also angels invoke blessings on us; not forgetting that our personal fasts can save us from the Hell-fire. Hadith states:

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (Radi Allahu Anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s sake, Allah will keep his face away from the Hellfire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim

Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Bountiful. He never gets tired from showing us with His blessings. But it is our task to earn these blessings. The month of Ramadan is the perfect time. So let us make the most this time while it still last for this year.

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