Protected Pearls

Your Way To Find The Truth

What Is Ramadan?

1. What is the linguestic meaning of the word "Ramadan"?

Ramdan is the ninth month according to Islamic Lunar calendar. Ramdan (written as Ramadan رمضان) is derived from the Arabic root word 'ramida' رميضاء or 'arramad' الرمضاء that means intense scorching heat and dryness, especially of the ground. Ramadan is so called to indicate the heating sensation in the stomach as a result of thirst. Others said it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins as it burns the ground. Some said it is so called because the hearts and souls are more readily receptive to the admonition and remembrance of Allah during Ramadan, as the sand and stones are receptive to the sun's heat.

 

2. When Does Ramadan Begin?

Ramadan begins after the month of Shaban, after the new moon has been sighted. In case new moon is not sighted then after 30 days of Shaban, Ramadan begins. The month of Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. If the moon is sighted on the night of 29th fast then the month of Shawwal begins from tomorrow and Ramadan is over. The 1st of Shawwal is the Eid also know as Eid-ul-fitr to distinguish it from Eid-ul-adha (Bakri Eid).

Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed. The Quran clearly says "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and rightousness" [Al Baqarah, 2:183]. Fasting is to be done by all able bodied men and women and children who have reached puberty. If a person is sick or has some medical reason or if a women is pregnant then they are waived from fasting.

 

3. How Should We Fast In Ramadan?

During Ramadan the people who fast are not allowed to eat or drink anything (including water) from dawn to after sunset. Also one has to restrain other body parts, which may render the fast worthless despite the main factor of hunger and thirst; so the tongue, for instance, must avoid backbiting, slander, and lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things considered by the Lawgiver as unlawful; the ears must stop from listening to conversation, words, songs, and lyrics that spoil the spirit of fasting; and finally restraining of the heart, and mind from indulging, themselves in other things besides thikr or Allah (remembrance of Allah).

 

4. Who Has To Fast In Ramadan?

Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed. The Quran clearly says "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and rightousness" [Al Baqarah, 2:183]. Fasting is to be done by all able bodied men and women and children who have reached puberty. If a person is sick or has some medical reason or if a women is pregnant then they are waived from fasting.

Fasting is mandatory on every Muslim who is sane, adult, able and resident. The following exceptions apply:

  1. Children who are not adolescent yet
  2. The insane
  3. The ill and the travellers can also defer their fasting.
  4. Pregnant women and nursing may postpone the fasting at a later time
  5. Women during the period of menstruation or of post childbirth confinement. Fasting during these periods is forbidden and should be made up later, a day for a day.
  6. The elderly and chronically ill for whom fasting is unreasonably strenuous; Such persons are required to feed at least one poor person every day in Ramadan for which he or she has missed fasting.

 Allah says in the Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara: 'But if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period should be made up by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties.' [Al Baqarah 2:185]

 

5. Some Benefits Of Fasting Ramadan

Also when one is fasting and feels hunger and thirst he has to remember other people in the world who do not have food and water. Charity is one of the extremely recommended acts during fasting. Muslims are required to give minimum of 2.5% of their annual savings as charity to poor and needy people. Also there are various sayings of the prophet (peace be upon him) where he has said that any charity made in Ramadan is multiplied upto 70 times. If some people are poor and cannot afford to give money then even a smile is an act of charity.

 

A. Medical Benefits Of Fasting

In recent years lot of research has been done about the medical benifits of Ramadan. The physiological effect of fasting includes lower of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity and essential hypertension. There are psychological effects of fasting as well. There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. Muslims take advice from the Prophet who said, "If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting.'"

This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes.

 

B. Medical Benefits Of Night Prayer

There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in output. There are 10 extra calories output for each rikat of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory. There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in output. There are 10 extra calories output for each rikat of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory.


Some people think that one month of fasting is too much while others feel that its only one month where they can get their sins forgiven and get their rewards increased. May Allah bless us all and forgive all our sins and make us good Muslims and good human beings.
  

Source with some modifications

Back to the list

Why Do Muslims Fast Ramadan?

Dr. Bilal Philips 

Most of us who are fighting the battle of the bulge have experimented with some form of fasting, like an all fruit fast, a water fast or an sugar-free fast, you name it.  But what many may find rather strange and intriguing is a whole nation of people; be it man or woman, old or young, rich or poor; going completely without food and drink from dawn to dusk for a whole month - Ramadan.  What is the significance of Ramadan beyond shortened work hours?  Is it not a very harsh practice?  Is it merely a time when Muslims sleep and fast and hardly work all day; and eat, drink, enjoy and stay awake all night?  What really is the spirit of Ramadan?

 

Fasting Prescribed in All Religions

In English “fasting” means to abstain from food or from certain kinds of food voluntarily, as an observance of a holy day or as a token of grief, sorrow, or repentance.[1]  This practice can be found in most of the major religions of the world.  For example, in Hinduism, fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa.  Devout Hindus observe fasting on special occasions as a mark of respect to their personal gods or as a part of their penance.  Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals.  On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food.[2]  For Jews, the day Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) is the last of the Ten Days of Repentance observed on the 10th of Tishri.  It is forbidden on that day to eat, drink, wash, wear leather, or have sexual relations.  In addition, prohibitions on labor similar to those on the Sabbath are in force.[3]  It should also be noted that Moses (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Torah to have fasted.

“And he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights, he neither ate bread not drank water.” (Exodus 34:28)

For Catholics among Christians, Lent is the major season of fasting, imitative of the forty-day fast of Jesus (peace be upon him).  In the fourth century it was observed as six weeks of fasting before Easter or before Holy Week.  It was adjusted to forty days of actual fasting in most places in the seventh century.[4]  Jesus (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Gospels to have fasted like Moses.

“And he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and afterward he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:2 & Luke 4:2)

It is in this context that God states in the Quran:

“O believers!  Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God.” (Quran 2:183)

 

Among the Best Righteous Deeds

Although in most religions, fasting is for expiation of sin or atonement for sin, in Islam it is primarily to bring one closer to God, as stated in the above-mentioned verse.  Since, God-consciousness is the prerequisite for righteousness, great stress is placed on fasting in Islam.  Thus, it is not surprising to find that when Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was asked:

“Which is the best deed?”  He replied, “Fasting, for there is nothing equal to it.” (Al-Nasa’i)

There are as many levels of fasting as there are facets to being human.  Proper fasting should encompass all dimensions of human existence for it to have the divinely intended effect.  The following are some of the major levels of fasting:

What Is After Ramadan ?

On the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted, a special celebration is made, called Id al-Fitr.  A quantity of staple food is donated to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr), everyone has bathed and put on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, p. 665.

[2] Saranam.com/Hindu Encyclopedia.

[3] Dictionary of World Religions, p. 817.

[4] Dictionary of World Religions, p. 425.

 

Taken From "Why Do Muslims Fast? By Dr. Bilal Philips with slight modifications

Back to the list

Levels of Fasting

There are as many levels of fasting as there are facets to being human.  Proper fasting should encompass all dimensions of human existence for it to have the divinely intended effect.  The following are some of the major levels of fasting: 

A. The Ritual Level

This level of fasting requires that the basic rules for fasting be fulfilled, which are avoiding food, drink and sexual intercourse between dawn and sunset for 29 or 30 days each year.  On this level, one is basically following the letter of the laws regarding fasting without particular consideration for the spirit of fasting.  It is the entrance level which must be fulfilled for the fast to be Islamicly correct, but the other levels must be added for the fast to have any real impact on the fasting person.  Fasting on this level alone will not benefit one spiritually, except from the perspective of submission to divine instructions, if one chooses to follow the ritual consciously and not merely according to tradition.  Thus, by itself, the ritual level will not purify one of sin or atone for sin.

 

B. The Physical Level

Fasting on the “physical” level causes the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst when the prophetic (Sunnah) way of fasting is observed.  Prophet Muhammad used to consume a very light meal before the dawn (suhoor) and moderate meal (iftaar) to break the fast at sunset, while scrupulously avoiding filling his stomach.  He is reported to have said:

“The worst container a human being can fill is his stomach.  A few morsels of food to keep a person’s back straight are sufficient.  However, if his desire overcomes him, then let him eat a third, drink a third and leave a third for breathing.” (Ibn Majah)

The Prophet used to break his fast with a few fresh or dried dates and a glass of water just before beginning the sunset prayer [Abu Dawud].  This level allows the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst and thereby develops sympathy in him or her for those starving and dying of thirst in other parts of the world.

 

Medical Benefits

On the physical level, some chemicals in the brain that transmit messages and create feelings, called neurotransmitters, are affected by fasting.  Fasting encourages the endorphin neurotransmitter system, related to the feeling of well being and euphoria, to produce more endorphins and, in fact, makes us “feel” better.  This is similar to the effect of exercise (but without the physical work).It has also been noted by medical experts that fasting improves the physical health in numerous ways.  For example, during the fast the body uses up stored cholesterol (fat) that is often deposited in the blood system, as well as in other fatty areas of the body.  Thus, it helps to keep the body firm and minimizes the danger of heart attacks.  The difference between the ritual level 1 and the physical level 2 is that a person dong only ritual fasting may eat large meals prior to beginning the fast and immediately upon ending the fast, and thus not feel any hunger or thirst throughout the whole month.  However, like level one, if the fasting person does not incorporate the other levels of fasting, the fast will only be physically exhausting.  The Prophet said:

“Perhaps a fasting person will gain nothing but hunger and thirst from fasting.”(Ibn Majah)

 

C. The Libidinal Level

The sexual instinct and drives (libido) are harnessed on this level of fasting.  In these times where the media continually plays on sexual desires to promote and sell products, the ability to control these powerful desires is a plus.  Fasting physically reduces sexual desires and the fact that the fasting person has to avoid anything which could stimulate him psychologically helps to further lower the libido.  Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“O youths, whoever among you is able to marry let him do so, for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts.  He who is unable to marry should fast, because it is a shield.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

By restraining oneself from sexual acts which are permissible, the fasting person makes it easier for himself to restrain himself from forbidden sexual acts when he is not fasting.

 

D. The Emotional Level

Fasting on this level involves controlling the many negative emotions which simmer in the human mind and soul.  For example, among the most destructive emotions is anger.  Fasting helps to bring this emotion under control.  Prophet Muhammad, said:

“When one of you is fasting, he should abstain from indecent acts and unnecessary talk, and if someone begins an obscene conversation or tries to pick an argument, he should simply tell him, ‘I am fasting.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Thus, on this level, whatever negative emotions challenge the fasting person must be avoided.  One must abstain from lewd conversation and heated arguments.  Even when one is in the right, it is better to let that right go and keep one’s emotional fast intact.  Likewise, the negative emotion of jealousy is reduced, as every fasting person is reduced to the common denominator of abstinence; no one is externally superior to another in this regard.

 

E. The Psychological Level

This level helps the fasting person psychologically to control evil thoughts and trains him or her, to some degree, how to overcome stinginess and greed.  The Prophet was reported to have said:

“Allaah has no need for the hunger and the thirst of the person who does not restrain himself from telling lies and acting on them even while observing the fast.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

In this age of immediate gratification, when the things of the world are used to fulfill human needs and desires almost as soon as they have them the ability to delay gratification is an important skill.  What is between immediate gratification and delayed gratification is patience.  During the fast, the believers learn patience and the benefits of it.

From a psychological perspective, it is good to be somewhat detached from the things of the world.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good and full life - in fact, one can and should expect that.  However, it is important that people are able to detach ourselves from material things so that they do not become the most important part of their lives.  Fasting gives one the opportunity to overcome the many addictions which have become a major part of modern life.  Food, for many people, provides comfort and joy, and the ability to separate oneself from it gives the fasting people the psychological benefit of knowing that they do have some degree of control over what they do and what they do not do.

 

F. The Spiritual Level

In order to establish this, the highest and most important level of fasting, the level of God-consciousness, Prophet Muhammad made the renewal of the intention for fasting a requirement before every day of fasting.  He was reported to have said:

“Whoever does not intend to fast before Fajr (the dawn) will have no fast.” (Abu Dawud)

The daily renewal of intention helps to establish a spiritual foundation of sincerity essential for the spiritual cleansing effects of fasting to operate.  Sincere fasting purifies and atones for sin, as the Prophet said:

 “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking his reward from God, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

He was also reported to have said, “From one Ramadaan to the next is atonement for the sins between them.”  

Sincere fasting brings one closer to Allaah and earns a special reward.  The Prophet informed that there is a gate in paradise called Rayyaan reserved for those who fast and he also said:

“When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are open.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Fasting is primarily between the person and God, as no one can be sure that any person is actually fasting.  Because of this intimate aspect of fasting, Allaah was quoted by the Prophet as saying:

“Every act of Aadam’s descendants is for themselves, except fasting.  It is meant for Me alone, and I alone will give the reward for it.” (Saheeh Muslim)

When combined with the previous levels of fasting, this level transforms a person from within.  It restores, revives and regenerates the fasting person’s spirituality and radically modifies his or her personality and character.  These are the precious products of a heightened state of God-consciousness.

 

Taken From "Why Do Muslims Fast? By Dr. Bilal Philips with slight modifications

The Wisdom Behind Fasting


From the wisdom of fasting is that: It is an act of worship done for Allaah, in which the ‘abd (servant) draws closer to His Lord by abandoning the things that he loves and desires, such as food, drink and sexual intercourse. So because of this, the truthfulness of his Faith and the completeness of his servitude to Allaah become apparent, as well as his love for Allaah and his longing for what Allaah has prepared for him (of good). This is since the one who fasts does not abandon something that is beloved to him except for that which is greater to him than it (which is Allaah). When the believer knows that Allaah’s contentment lies in the fasting - which is abandoning those desires that he naturally loves - he will give his Lord’s contentment precedence over his desires. So he abandons his desires no matter how much he longs and yearns for them, because his delight and the tranquility of his soul lies in his abandoning all that for the sake of Allaah.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it is a means of attaining Taqwaa, as Allaah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you gain Taqwaa." This is since a person who is fasting is commanded to do the obligatory duties and to avoid sinful acts. The Prophet (saws) said: "Whoever does not abandon false speech, acting upon that (false speech) and (acts of) ignorance (i.e. sins), then Allaah has no need of him abandoning his food and drink." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree] So when a person is fasting, every time he desires to do a sinful act, he will remember that he is fasting and thus withhold himself from that. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the person who is fasting, when cursed at and abused, to say: "I am fasting", cautioning him (the reviler) that a person fasting is commanded to refrain from cursing and reviling, and reminding himself that he is fasting and cannot react with cursing.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the heart opens to contemplation and remembrance (of Allaah). This is since fulfilling one’s desires leads to heedlessness and perhaps the heart becomes hardened and blinded from the truth. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised us to eat and drink little, where he said: "The Son of Aadam does not fill a vessel worse than his stomach." [Reported by Ahmad, An-Nasaa’ee and Ibn Maajah]

And in Saheeh Muslim, Handhala Al-Usaidee (May Allah be pleased with him), who was one of the scribes of Allaah’s Messenger, said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): "Handhala has become a hypocrite." So Allaah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Why is that?" He said: "O Messenger of Allaah, when we are with you, you remind us of the Hellfire and Paradise, as if we see them with our own eyes. But when we depart from you, we meet our wives and our children and our homes and we forget much (of what we heard from you)." In the last part of the hadeeth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: "But O Handhala, there is a time for this and a time for that (three times)." Abu Sulaymaan Ad-Daraanee said: "Indeed, when the soul hungers and thirsts, the heart softens and becomes pure. And when it is fed, the heart becomes blinded."

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the person who has wealth is caused to realize the blessing of wealth that Allaah has bestowed on him, such that Allaah blessed him with food, drink and sexual intercourse. Many people are deprived of these things, so he should praise Allaah for these blessings and thank Him for granting him them. And he should remember his brother who is poor and who probably goes through the day starved and hungry. So he should be generous to him and give him charity so that he can clothe his barrenness and satisfy his hunger.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it trains one to curb the soul, and it gives one strength to withhold his soul by its bridle, such that one can govern it and lead it towards that which is good for it and what will make it prosper. This is because the soul commands one to do evil, except for those souls that my Lord has mercy on. So when a person undoes and lets go of his (soul’s) bridle, the soul lands him into many dangers. But when he controls it and curbs it, he is able to lead it to the highest of levels and the greatest of goals.

And from the wisdom of fasting is that the soul is broken down and restricted from having pride, to the point that it humbles itself to the truth and softens itself before the creation. This is because eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse with women - all of these things bring about insolence, arrogance, vanity and pride over people and over the truth. The soul preoccupies itself with trying to obtain these things because of its need for them. So when it obtains these things, the soul feels like it has conquered what it desired and so it falls into the happiness and proudness that is condemned. And this is a cause for its destruction. Only those whom Allaah protects are saved from this.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the passageways of blood (in the body) become narrow due to hunger and thirst, so therefore the passageways of the Devil in the human body also become narrower. This is since the Devil flows through the son of Adam like the flowing of blood, as is authentically recorded in the two Saheeh collections. So by fasting, the whisperings of the Devil are subdued and the strength of one’s desires and anger are subjugated. This is why the Prophet (saws) said: "O young men! Whoever amongst you can afford it, should get married, for it is the best means for lowering one’s gaze and the best way of keeping (one’s) private parts chaste. But whoever is not able to marry, then let him fast, for it has protection."

And from the wisdom behind fasting are the health benefits that come as a result of it, which are attained by in-taking little food, allowing the digestive system to rest for a specified time, which lets excess wastes and excrements that are harmful to the body be discharged.

So how great and profound is the wisdom of Allaah, and how beneficial are His commandments to His creatures!

O Allaah, give us comprehension of Your Religion and allow us to understand the inner secrets of Your commandments. Rectify for us the affairs of our Religion and our worldly life. And forgive us and our parents and all the Muslims, by Your mercy, O Most Merciful. And may the peace and blessings of Allaah be on Muhammad (peace be upon him) and on his family and all his Companions.

 

 

Source: Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan [pgs. 41-43] Abridged - Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-'Uthaimeen

Back to the list

Who is obliged to fast?

Fasting is an obligation on every adult, sane, settled [i.e., not travelling] Muslim who is able to fast and has nothing such as hayd [menstruation] or nifaas [post-natal bleeding] to prevent him or her from doing so.

A person is deemed to have reached adulthood when any one of the following three things occur: emission of semen, whether in a wet dream or otherwise; growth of coarse pubic hair around the private parts; attainment of fifteen years of age. In the case of females, there is a fourth, namely menstruation; when a girl reaches menarche (starts her periods), she is obliged to fast even if she has not yet reached the age of ten.

Children should be instructed to fast at the age of seven, if they are able to, and some scholars said that a child may be smacked at the age of ten if he does not fast (without an excuse , i.e: illness), just as in the case of salaah. (See al-Mughni, 3/90). The child will be rewarded for fasting, and the parents will be rewarded for bringing him up properly and guiding him to do good. Al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwidh (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, speaking about Ramadaan when it was made obligatory: “We used to make our children fast, and we would make them a toy made out of wool. If any one of them started to cry for food, we would give them that toy to play with until it was time to break the fast.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1960).

Some people do not think it is important to tell their children to fast; indeed, a child may be enthusiastic about fasting and may be capable of doing it, but his father or mother may tell him not to fast, out of so-called “pity” for him. They do not realize that true pity and compassion consist of making him get used to fasting. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded.” [al-Tahreem 66:6]. Extra attention must be paid to the matter of a girl’s fasting when she has just reached maturity, because she may fast when she has her period, out of shyness, and then not make up the fast later.

 

Other rulings on fasting

If a kaafir (unbeliever) becomes Muslim, or a child reaches puberty, or an insane person comes to his senses during the day, they should refrain from eating for the rest of the day, because they are now among those who are obliged to fast, but they do not have to make up for the days of Ramadaan that they have missed, because at that time they were not among those who are obliged to fast.

The insane are not responsible for their deeds (their deeds are not being recorded), but if a person is insane at times and sane at other times, he must fast during his periods of sanity, and is excused during his periods of insanity. If he becomes insane during the day, this does not invalidate his fast, just as is the case if someone becomes unconscious because of illness or some other reason, because he had the intention of fasting when he was sane. (Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.28). A similar case is the ruling governing epileptics.

If someone dies during Ramadaan, there is no “debt” on him or his heirs with regard to the remaining days of the month.

If someone does not know that it is fard (obligatory) to fast Ramadaan, or that it is haraam to eat or have sexual intercourse during the day in this month, then according to the majority of scholars, this excuse is acceptable, as is also the case for a new convert to Islam, a Muslim living in Daar al-Harb (non-Muslim lands) and a Muslim who grew up among the kuffaar. But a person who grew up among the Muslims and was able to ask questions and find out, has no excuse.

 

Quoted from "Matters Related to Fasting" By Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid with slight modifications

* The book can be found here

Etiquette and Sunnah of fasting

Some aspects are obligatory (waajib) and others are recommended (mustahabb).

We should make sure that we eat and drink something at suhoor (the last meal before the sunrise), and that we delay it until just before the adhaan of Fajr. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing (barakah).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 4/139). “Suhoor is blessed food, and it involves being different from the people of the Book. What a good suhoor for the believer is dates.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2345; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/448).

Not delaying iftaar, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The people will be fine so long as they do not delay iftaar.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 4/198).

Breaking one's fast in the manner described in the hadeeth narrated by Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him): “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/79 and others. He said it is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth. Classed as saheeh in al-Irwa’, no. 922).

After iftaar, reciting the words reported in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), when he broke his fast, would say: “Dhahaba al-zama’, wa’btallat al-‘urooq, wa thabat al-ajru in sha Allaah (Thirst is gone, veins are flowing again, and the reward is certain, in sha Allaah).” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 2/765; its isnaad was classed as hasan by al-Daaraqutni, 2/185).

Keeping away from sin, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any of you is fasting, let him not commit sin…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1904). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1903). The person who is fasting should avoid all kinds of haraam actions, such as backbiting, obscenity and lies, otherwise his reward may all be lost. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 1/539; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/453).

Among the things that can destroy one’s hasanaat (good deeds) and bring sayi’aat (bad deeds) is allowing oneself to be distracted by quiz-shows, soap operas, movies and sports matches, idle gatherings, hanging about in the streets with evil people and time-wasters, driving around for no purpose, and crowding the streets and sidewalks, so that the months of tahajjud, dhikr and worship, for many people, becomes the month of sleeping in the day so as to avoid feeling hungry, thus missing their prayers and the opportunity to pray them in congregation, then spending their nights in entertainment and indulging their desires. Some people even greet the month with feelings of annoyance, thinking only of the pleasures they will miss out on. In Ramadaan, some people travel to kaafir lands to enjoy a holiday! Even the mosques are not free from such evils as the appearance of women wearing makeup and perfume, and even the Sacred House of Allaah is not free of these ills. Some people make the month a season for begging, even though they are not in need. Some of them entertain themselves with dangerous fireworks and the like, and some of them waste their time in the markets, wandering around the shops, or sewing and following fashions. Some of them put new products and new styles in their stores during the last ten days of the month, to keep people away from earning rewards and hasanaat.

Not allowing oneself to be provoked, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and others. Al-Fath, no. 1894) One reason for this is to remind himself, and another reason is to remind his adversary. But anyone who looks at the conduct of many of those who fast will see something quite different. It is essential to exercise self-control and be calm, but we see the opposite among crazy drivers who speed up when they hear the adhaan for Maghrib.

Not eating too much, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The son of Adam fills no worse vessel than his stomach.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 2380; he said, this is a hasan saheeh hadeeth). The wise person wants to eat to live, not live to eat. The best type of food is that which is there to be used, not that which is there to be served. But people indulge in making all kinds of food (during Ramadaan) and treating food preparation as a virtual art form, so that housewives and servants spend all their time on making food, and this keeps them away from worship, and people spend far more on food during Ramadaan than they do ordinarily. Thus the month becomes the month of indigestion, fatness and gastric illness, where people eat like gluttons and drink like thirsty camels, and when they get up to pray Taraaweeh, they do so reluctantly, and some of them leave after the first two rak’ahs.

Being generous by sharing knowledge, giving money, using one’s position of authority or physical strength to help others, and having a good attitude. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the most generous of people [in doing good], and he was most generous of all in Ramadaan when Jibreel met with him, and he used to meet him every night in Ramadaan and teach him the Qur’aan. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was more generous in doing good than a blowing wind.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 6). How can people exchange generosity for stinginess and action for laziness, to the extent that they do not do their work properly and do not treat one another properly, and they use fasting as an excuse for all this.

Combining fasting with feeding the poor is one of the means of reaching Paradise, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside and the inside can be seen from the outside. Allaah has prepared them for those who feed the poor, who are gentle in speech, who fast regularly and who pray at night when people are asleep.” (Reported by Ahmad 5/343; Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 2137. Al-Albaani said in his footnote, its isnaad is hasan because of other corroborating reports). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/171; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/451). Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “What is meant is that he should feed him until he is satisfied.” (Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 109).

A number of the Salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) preferred the poor over themselves when feeding them at the time of iftaar. Among these were ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar, Maalik ibn Deenaar, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar would not break his fast unless there were orphans and poor people with him.

 

 

Quoted from "Matters Related to Fasting" By Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid with slight modifications

* The book can be found here

Back to the list

A Way To Repentance

Season of repentance and forgiveness 

Perhaps the greatest benefit that accrues to the Muslim in the blessed month of Ramadan is turning in repentance to Almighty Allah, self-evaluation, and evaluation of one’s personal history. In Ramadan, the door of repentance is wide open, the grace of our Lord is guaranteed and His favors are bestowed abundantly. Yet, where are those who repent and seek their Lord's forgiveness? In the Qur'an, Almighty Allah advises:
(Say, "O my servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether and surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.") (Az-Zumar 39:53)

This month, Ramadan, is the season of repentance and forgiveness. It is the month of tolerance and clemency. Indeed, it is the most precious and cherished of all times. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: "Allah stretches out His hand during the night so that the people may repent for the faults that were committed from dawn until dusk. He stretches out His hand during the day so that the people may repent for the faults that were committed from dusk to dawn. He would continue to accept repentance until the sun rises in the west (i.e. on the Day of Resurrection)." (Muslim) 

Surely our sins are many, yet Allah's compassion is even more; our misdeeds are great, but His mercy is greater; the mistakes we commit are huge, yet His forgiveness is huger. Glory be to the One Who continues to give us while we always do wrong and forgive us when we repent. Out of His sublime generosity and mercy, He does not withhold His favors no matter how many errors His servants commit. Allah says in the Qur'an:
(And those who, when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults, and who forgives the faults but Allah? And who do not knowingly persist in what they have done.)
(Aal `Imran 3:135)


True believers do not ever persist in wrongdoing.
They commit sins and mistakes, yet they subsequently acknowledge their errors and seek forgiveness. Having repented sincerely, their sins are pardoned by the Most Merciful Lord. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reportedly said, "What a loss it would be for the one who witnesses Ramadan and does not attain forgiveness!" (Al-Bazzar). Verily, it is a rare opportunity, and we should strive for achieving the benefits of it.

Should they avoid major sins, the believers will have all the sins, shortcomings, and faults that they have committed throughout the year forgiven and rectified during this noble month. In a hadith qudsi (Divine Hadith), Almighty Allah was quoted by the Prophet as saying, "O My servants, you sin night and day and I forgive all sins, so seek My forgiveness and I will forgive you" (Muslim).

Of course, it is natural for human beings to err. However, some of us do not repent, do not turn to Allah and seek His forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are some of us who persist in doing wrong. Those are the ones who are forsaken and denied guidance. Thus, Allah proclaims in a hadith qudsi, "O son of Adam, if you call upon Me and ask Me, I shall forgive you and I do not care (about the enormity of what you have done)" (At-Tirmidhi).

And in the Qur'an, Almighty Allah says:
(It is He Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons bad deeds and knows whatever you do.) (Ash-Shura 42:25)

Opportunity From the All-Merciful

O fasting people, this month is our opportunity for sincere repentance. These days are our best chance which we should accept and benefit from. Take the initiative with sincere repentance before your high spirit becomes lower. Do not take lightly any sin, for you, certainly, shall be accounted for all what you have done, and your final deeds shall be of crucial importance in deciding your judgment. Many people observed fast with us last year and passed away to their Lord, to Whom belongs all authority and Who is the Swiftest of Reckoners. They all have gone along with their deeds and left behind their traces.

Additionally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, "By Him in Whose hand is my life, if you were not to commit sins, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace you by people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah, so that He may pardon their sins." (Muslim)

When will we truly repent and return to our Lord if we fail to do so in Ramadan?
There are some Muslims who fast in Ramadan, rectify their lives and attain peace of mind, yet as soon as this blessed month is finished and the fasting is over, they return to their old ways and undermine what was repaired in Ramadan. They breach the covenants that they took during Ramadan. Their entire lives are thus spent in building and destroying and pledging and betraying. In a Qur'anic verse, Almighty Allah warns:

(And be not like her who breaks and completely untwists the yarn that she [herself] has spun and made strong.) (An-Nahl 16:92)

Many of our righteous predecessors used to cry for the elapse of Ramadan when it ended. They would feel sorry for and regret its departure. Given the great progress they could achieve during these precious times, purifying their hearts and illuminating their souls, they would be sad when that great season came to an end.

O Allah, guide us to the straight path and grant us what you have granted our righteous predecessors! 
 

Taken from "Thirty Lessons for Those Who Fast" By A'id Al-Qarni with slight modifications.

*The book can be found here 

Back to the list

The Virtue Of The Last Ten Days Of Ramadaan And Laylat Al-Qadr

How did the prophet (peace be upon him) worship in the last ten days of Ramadan?

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadaan in a way that he did not strive at any other times. (Muslim, 1175, from ‘Aa’ishah).

Among the things he did were secluding himself in I’tikaaf and seeking Laylat al-Qadr during this time. (Al-Bukhaari, 1913; Muslim, 1169). In al-Saheehayn it is reported from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and gird his loins. (al-Bukhaari, 1920; Muslim, 1174). Muslim added: he strove hard and girded his loins.

Her phrase “girded his loins” is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of “rolling up one's sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort).

It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.

The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc. It was reported in another hadeeth that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recite the entire Qur’aan in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadaan.” (Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1641).

The words “stay up at night” may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Ishaa and Suhoor, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.

The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives to pray qiyaam. It is known that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyaam. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up one night and said, “Subhaan Allaah! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter.” (al-Bukhaari, 1074).

It was also reported (in Saheeh al-Bukhaari) that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) when he wanted to pray Witr. (al-Bukhaari, 952). But when he woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, this was more persistent than at other times of the year.

The fact that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this indicates the importance he attached to worshipping his Lord and making the most of this special time.

The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he is the best example, and he should strive hard in worshipping Allaah. He should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.

Among the unique virtues of these special nights is that Laylat al-Qadr is among them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Haa-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.] By the manifest Book (this Qur’aan) that makes things clear. We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al-Qadr) in the month of Ramadaan]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments. As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers), (As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [al-Dukhaan 44:1-6]

Allaah sent down the Qur’aan on this night which the Lord of the Worlds has described as blessed. It was reported from a group of the Salaf – including Ibn ‘Abbaas, Qutaadah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah, Mujaahid and others – that the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down was Laylat al-Qadr.

The phrase Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments means, on that night the destiny of all creatures for the coming year is decreed. On that night it is written who will live, who will die, who will be saved, who will be doomed, who will be destined for Paradise, who will be destined for Hell, who will be granted honour, who will be humiliated, where drought and famine will occur, and everything else that Allaah wills in that year.

What is meant by the idea that the destiny of all creatures is written on Laylat al-Qadr is – and Allaah knows best – that on Laylat al-Qadr they are transferred from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “You may see a man furnishing his home or plowing his field, and he is one of those who are going to die,” i.e., it has been decreed on Laylat al-Qadr that he is one of those who are going to die (in the coming year). And it was said that on this night, the destiny of people is shown to the angels.

The meaning of “Qadr” is veneration or honour, i.e. it is a night that is venerated because of its special characteristics, and because the one who stays up during this night becomes a man of honour. And it was said that Qadr means constriction, in the sense that the knowledge of precisely when this night is, is hidden. Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad said: it was called Laylat al-Qadr because the earth is constricted by the great numbers of angels on that night, and Qadr means constriction. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life [fa qadara ‘alayhi rizqahu]…” [al-Fajr 89:16], i.e., by constricting or reducing his provision.

So Allaah has called it Laylat al-Qadr, because of its great value and high status with Allaah, and because so many sins are forgiven and so many faults are concealed during this night. For it is the night of forgiveness, as it was reported in al-Saheehayn from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (al-Bukhaari, 1910; Muslim, 760).

It is mustahabb to seek it during Ramadaan, especially in the last ten nights of the month. It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did I’tikaaf during the first ten days of Ramadaan, then he did I’tikaaf during the middle ten days in a Turkish tent [the word qubbah, translated here as “tent”, refers to a tent or any circular structure] in which a mat was placed. He said: so he took the mat in his hand and put it at the side of the tent, then he raised his head to speak to the people, so they came closer to him. He said: “I did I’tikaaf during the first ten days, seeking this night, then I did I’tikaaf during the middle ten days. Then someone came to me and told me that it is in the last ten days, so whoever among you wants to do I’tikaaf, let him do so.” So the people did I’tikaaf with him. He said: “I was shown an odd-numbered night, in the morning of which I was prostrating in mud and water”. Then in the morning of the twenty-first, he got up to pray Subh and it was raining; the roof of the mosque leaked, and there was mud and water. He came out when he had finished praying, and there was mud and water on his forehead and nose. That was the morning of the twenty-first, one of the last ten days. (Saheeh Muslim, 1167).

In a report, Abu Sa’eed said: “It rained on the night of the twenty-first, and the roof of the mosque leaked over the place where the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was praying. I looked at him, when he had finished praying Salaat al-Subh, and his face was wet with mud and water.”(Agreed upon).

Muslim narrated a hadeeth from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Unays (may Allaah be pleased with him) that was similar to the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed, except that he said, “it rained on the night of the twenty-third.” According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadaan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/260).

 

Quoted from Here with some modification

Back to the list

Laylat Al-Qadr (The Night of Power)

Allâh, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make du’aa’. Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadhân — especially on the Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power.

 

Why This Night Hold Such Importance?

On this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded as, after the Glorious Qur'ân was preserved in the Protected Tablet, Jibril descended with the blessed book to reveal it, upon Allâh’s command, to His Messenger (peace be upon him). Accentuating its significance, Allâh says "and how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr" [97:2]

"Allâh's Messenger (peace be upon him) used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights." [Muslim]

So valuable is this Night of Qadr that the Qur'ân devotes a special Sûrah to it “Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees, (All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allaah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.” [al-Qadr 97:1-5] This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights.

And it was said that Qadr means Qadar, i.e., that on this night the decrees for the coming year are ordained, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:4] and because Allaah’s decrees are decided and written down on this night.

 

Allaah has given this night special characteristics which make it unique:

1. It is the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down, as we have stated above. Ibn ‘Abbaas and others said: “Allaah sent down the Qur’aan at one time from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz to Bayt al-‘Izzah in the first heaven, then it was revealed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in stages according to events over twenty-three years.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/529)

2. Allaah described it as being better than a thousand months, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “The night of al-Qadr is better than a thousand months” [al-Qadr 97:3].

3. Allaah described it as being blessed, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night” [al-Dukhaan 44:3].

4. On this night, the angels and the Spirit [al-Rooh] descend, “i.e., many angels descend of this night because it is so blessed, and the angels come down when Allaah’s blessing and mercy come down, just as they come down when Qur’aan is recited, and they surround the circles of dhikr (gatherings where Allaah is remembered), and they beat their wings for the one who sincerely seeks knowledge, out of respect for him.”(See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531). The Spirit [al-Rooh] is Jibreel (peace be upon him), who is specifically mentioned in this manner as a sign of respect for him.

5. This night is described as peace, i.e., it is safe, for the Shaytaan cannot do any evil or cause any harm on this night, as Mujaahid said. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531).

6. On this night, many people are saved from punishment because of what they do to worship Allaah, may He be glorified.

7. “Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:4]
, i.e., the affairs of that year are dispatched from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz (Preserved Tablet) to the angels who record the decrees: who will live, who will die, what provision people will be given, what will happen until the end of that year, every matter of ordainments is decreed, and it cannot be altered or changed. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/137, 138). All of this is already known to Allaah before it is even written down, but He makes known to the angels what is to happen, and commands them to do whatever they are enjoined to do. (Sharh Saheeh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 8/57).

8. Allaah forgives the previous sins of the one who stays up and prays during this night out of faith and in hope of earning the reward from Him. It was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadaan out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Agreed upon). The phrase “out of faith and in the hope of earning reward” means, believing in Allaah’s promise of reward for this, and seeking the reward, with no other aim or purpose, such as showing off etc.”
(Fath al-Baari, 4/251).
 

 

What Is The Exact Day Of Laylat Al-Qadar?

The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, odd numbered nights of Ramadhân. The fact that the exact night is unknown reflects Allâh’s will in keeping it hidden. Indeed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was prevented from telling us its precise time. One day, he came out to tell the companions the exact night. On the way he saw two men arguing with each other. By the will of Allâh,  he (peace be upon him) forgot and subsequently remembered it. Afterwards the Prophet (peace be upon him) was instructed not to divulge this information. “Had I been allowed,” he (peace be upon him) remarked once, “I would have told you (of its exact time).” [Ahmad]

The Almighty in His wisdom kept this hidden from us for many reasons (peace be upon him). Perhaps He wants us to strive hard in our worship during the last ten days of Ramadhân so that we don’t become lazy, worshipping hard on just that one night and denying ourselves the benefit of doing the same on the other nights. “Had people not left their salah except for that (one) night, I would have informed you (of  its exact date).” [Al-Tabarani] The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadhân. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allâh for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, he remembers the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like “seek”, “pursue”, “search”, and “look hard” for Lailatul Qadr (see tomorrows Post).  Moreover, Allâh and His Prophet (peace be upon him) provided us some signs of its occurrence.

 

 

The Signs Of Laylat Al-Qadar

Allâh subhanahu wa ta'ala describes the night as “..peace until the rise of the morn.” [97:5] In various sayings, the Prophet (peace be upon him) described the night as the following:

  1. Serene, tranquil, and peaceful night.
  2. The sun at sunrise would appear reddish and without its normal blazing and sharp rays.
    • It was reported in Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) announced that one of its signs was that when the sun rose on the following morning, it had no (visible) rays.
  3. A pleasant night neither cold nor hot
    • It was reported from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah, and by al-Tayaalisi in his Musnad, with a saheeh isnaad, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Laylat al-Qadr is a pleasant night, neither hot nor cold, and the following day the sun rises red and weak.”
  4. Bright night
    • It was reported by al-Tabaraani with a hasan isnaad from the hadeeth of Waathilah ibn al-Asqa’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is a bright night, neither hot nor cold, in which no meteors are seen.

Ubayy (May Allah be pleased with him) said : "On the morning of the night of Qadr the sun would rise without any beams; (it is like) a wash basin until it raises." [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said : "We mentioned the night of Qadr to the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and he said: "Which of you remembers when the moon rises and it is like half a bowl." [Muslim]

Ibn Abbaas (May Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said : "The night of Qadr is a night of generosity and happiness, it is not hot and neither is it cold. The sun comes up in its morning weak, reddish." [Tabaranee, Ibn Khuzaimah and Bazzaar]

It is not essential for the one who “catches” Laylat al-Qadr to know that he has “caught” it. The point is to strive hard and to be sincere in worship, whether or not one knows that one has “caught” it. It may be that some of those who do not know that may be better with Allaah and higher in status than those who did know which night it was, because the former strove hard. We ask Allaah to accept our fasting our prayer at night, and to help us to remember Him and to thank Him and to worship Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.  

The Prophet (peace be upon him) added that “the angel of earth on that night of Qadr will be more numerous than all the pebbles of the earth.”

 

What We Have To Do In Such A Blessed Night?

What should one do during the last ten days in pursuit of Lailatul Qadr? The devoted servant of Allâh makes these nights alive with prayer, reading and reflecting on Qur'ân. The long qiyaam prayer has been particularly recommended during the nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many hadeeths, such as the following:

Abu Tharr (May Allah be pleased with him) relates: "We fasted with Allâh's Messenger (peace be upon him) in Ramadhân. He did not lead us (in qiyaam) at all until there were seven (nights of Ramadhân) left. Then he stood with us (that night - in prayer) until one third of the night had passed. He did not pray with us on the sixth. On the fifth night, he prayed with us until half of the night had passed. So we said, 'Allâh's Messenger! Wouldn't you pray with us the whole night?' He replied:

'Whoever stands in prayer with the imaam until he (the imaam) concludes the prayer, it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.'…" [Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi (who authenticated it), an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi (in Sharhu Ma`an il-Athar, Ibn Nasr, al-Faryabi, and al-Bayhaqi. Their isnad is authentic.]

Abu Dawud mentioned: "I heard Ahmad being asked, 'Do you like for a man to pray with the people or by himself during Ramadhân?' He replied, 'Pray with the people' I also heard him say, 'I would prefer for one to pray (qiyaam) with the imaam and to pray witr with him as well, for the Prophet(peace be upon him) said: "When a man prays with the imaam until he concludes, it is recorded that he prayed the rest of that night." [Masaa'il]]

Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylat ul-Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allâh's reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven." [Al-Bukhârî and Muslim; the addition "and it is facilitated for him" is recorded by Ahmad from the report of `Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.

He makes du’aa’ to Allâh, penitently beseeching Him for His forgiveness. He is inspired by the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) words “Our Lord, most Exalted, Most high comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of each night and announces (reassuringly): Whoever makes du’aa’, I shall answer it. Whoever asks (for something halal) I shall grant it; and whoever seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him.” [Bukhârî] The believer, conscious of Allâh and their sins, will continue to beseech Allâh, in and out of prayer, during his prostration.

`A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported that she asked Allâh's Messenger (peace be upon him), "O Messenger of Allâh! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say:

"Allâhumma innaka `afuwwun tuh, ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allâh! You are forgiving, and youlove forgiveness. So forgive me." [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi]

Aa'isha (May Allah be pleased with him) said:  "When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer), and wake up his family." [Bukhaaree and Muslim] For a time, the only concern will be cleansing oneself of the forgetfulness that this life propagates in one’s heart, the sins that accumulate, darkening the heart, making it insensitive to disobeying Allâh. He begs Allâh to keep him away from misfortunes in this world, the punishment of the grave, and the torment of Hell. He asks Allâh to make him patient and steadfast in struggling to maintain his Islam in this world and asks Him to overlook his shortcomings, periods of laziness and neglect. Sincere devotion on that night will render the believer forgetful of the time, until he is surprised by the Adhan of Fajr. After Fajr, as the sun creeps above the horizon, reddish and weak in its appearance, without any rays, the effort at night will have been worthwhile. The believer rejoices, knowing that this was quite possibly Lailatul Qadr and  “Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allâh) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allâh’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allâh alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” [Bukhârî, Muslim]

It is narrated from Aa'isha (May Allah be pleased with her) that she said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allaah, if I know what night is the Night of Qadr what should I say?." He said: "Say: O Allaah you are pardoning and you love to pardon so pardon me. " [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhee]

It is also the Night when all ordainments for the year are decreed. Allâh ta'ala said, which means:

{By the manifest Book (the Qur'ân) that makes thing clear. We sent it (this Qur'ân) down on a Blessed Night (i.e. the Night of Qadr) in the month of Ramadhân. Verily We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torments will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of Worship]. Therein (that night) is decreed every matter (amran) of ordainment} [The Smoke 44:2-5]

A greater virtue is attached to I’tikaaf on this night than on any other night of the year. I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah, may He be exalted. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to spend these ten days in I’tikaaf, as stated in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above. He spent the first ten days in I’tikaaf, then the middle ten days, then he told them that he had been seeking Laylat al-Qadr, and that he had been shown that it was in the last ten days, and he said: “Whoever was doing I’tikaaf with me, let him do I’tikaaf for the last ten days.” It was reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan until he passed away, then his wives did I’tikaaf after him.(Agreed upon). There is also a similar report narrated from Ibn ‘Umar. 

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to do I’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr, then enter the place where he was to do I’tikaaf, as was stated in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah.

The four imaams and others (may Allaah have mercy on them) said that he entered it before the sun set, and they interpreted the hadeeth as meaning that he entered his place of I’tikaaf and kept away from people after Salaat al-Subh, not that this was the time when he started his I’tikaaf.(See Sharh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 8/68, 69; Fath al-Baari, 4/277).

It is Sunnah for the person in I’tikaaf to keep himself busy with worship, and it is forbidden for him to have intercourse or to do anything that leads to it, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187].

And he should not go out of the mosque except in the case of a pressing need.


Finally, It is not essential for the one who “catches” Laylat al-Qadr to know that he has “caught” it. The point is to strive hard and to be sincere in worship, whether or not one knows that one has “caught” it. It may be that some of those who do not know that may be better with Allaah and higher in status than those who did know which night it was, because the former strove hard. We ask Allaah to accept our fasting our prayer at night, and to help us to remember Him and to thank Him and to worship Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad. 

 

Quoted from Here with some modification

Back to the list

Do Muslims Only Fast In Ramadan?

There are other fast days throughout the year.  Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan, Mondays and Thursdays, and the ninth and tenth, or tenth and eleventh of Muharram, the first month of the year.  The tenth day, called Ashurah, is also a fast day for the Jews (Yom Kippur), and Allah commanded the Muslims to fast two days to distinguish themselves from the People of the Book.

While fasting per se is encouraged, constant fasting, as well as monasticism, celibacy, and otherwise retreating from the real world, are condemned in Islam.  Fasting on the two festival days, Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha, the feast of the Hajj, is strictly forbidden. 

 

Source

Back to the list