By Qari Muhammad Asim (Senior Editor)
Senior Imam – Makkah Mosque, Leeds
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar. Muslims practice fasting for the entire month of Ramadan. Muslims are obliged to abstain from all food, drink, use of tobacco, and conjugal relations from dawn till sunset. However, that is merely the physical component of the fast; the spiritual aspects of the fast include refraining from gossiping, lying, slandering and all traits of bad character. A fasting person’s aim is to attain purity of thought and action. The act of fasting redirects the hearts away from worldly mundane activities, towards Allah – the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.
The month of Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer, recitation of the Qur’an, doing Zikr, endurance and self-discipline. It is a month of training – training the soul and body- to be able to exercise self-restraint. The fasting Muslim is continuously tied with rules and regulations for an entire month and then released for 11 months to see whether the training has been adequate and effective. During this month the personality of a Muslim develops so that during the rest of the year, the trained Muslim does not commit wrong under unrestricted conditions. Ramadan is a month to purify ourselves. Fasting helps to overcome bad habits either gradually for some of us or immediately for those with a stronger will power.
The Qur’an commands: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you attain taqwa (self-restraint)” (2:183).
The Holy Quran says: “Ramadan is the month in which we sent down the Holy Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear Signs for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong).” (2:185)
THE HADITH ON FASTING
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).
Abu Huraira related that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarrelling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.”
On the Day of Judgement, “Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan]
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: He who gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh].
Abu Huraira related that Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness (Darimi).
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone omits his fast even for one day in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he were to fast for the rest of his life he could not make up for it (Bukhari).
Ramadan has another deeper significance for Muslims. Ramadan’s greatness is manifest in the fact that Allah Almighty chose it for the revelation of His Scriptures from time to time. In every Ramadan the Muslims celebrate the spiritual significance of that divine fact the eternal abiding permanence of the Holy Quran.
During this Holy month therefore, Muslims recite the Holy Quran more than in any other month. Throughout this holy month, therefore, from every Muslim home is heard, during the day and night, the pleasant and beautiful cadences of Quranic recitation. The Holy Qur’an states “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace” (13: 28.) Peace of mind and contentment of the heart can only be attained by sincere and continuous remembrance of Allah.
Note: The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect that of ImamsOnline.