Once more Ramadhan is coming to us with all its blessings. Blessed are those who could welcome this holy month. Last year there were many with us to welcome and to bid farewell. But now they are under the earth. And can we take a share in the next Ramadhan? Allah knows best.
A Muslim does not doubt in that the best of all months is Ramadhan and the virtues of Ramadhan are out of limitation. But where he fails is in exploiting the moments in Ramadhan as they deserve. May Allah help us in utilizing the blessed moments of the month in all kinds of virtues by which we can escape in the hereafter.
What is Ramadhan?
Ramadhan is the ninth month of Hijra Calendar. There are many opinions as to the origin of the name Ramadhan. According to some of the linguists, the word Ramadhan means that which is setting ablaze. This literal meaning is very near to the technical sense. Ramadhan is the month which burns the sins of the believers. Ibnu Asakir (in his Tareekh) has reported a Hadeeth from Sayyida Aisha. She asked to the messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam “Why Ramadhan is named so?” He told “In the month of Ramadhan Allah will forgive and burn the sins of the believers”
Some scholars opine that it is Karaaha (undesirable) to use the word Ramadhan without using Shahr (month), that is to say the month of Ramadhan.
According to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani the five letters in the word Ramadhan (Ra-Ma-Dh-A-N) are indication to five ideas
1- Ra (Ridhwanullah) – The Pleasure of Allah
2- Ma (Mahabbatullah) – The love of Allah
3- Dha (Dhamanullah) - The protection of Allah
4- A (Ilfullah) – The nearness of Allah
5- N (Noorullah) The light of Allah
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the 'pillars' of the Islamic faith. No proof is required to establish its being obligatory (wajib) and one denying it goes out of the fold of Islam, because it is obvious, like Salat, to the learned and the unlettered, the elderly and the young. It was declared an obligatory duty (fardh ) in the second year of the Hijra upon each and every Mukallaf (one capable of carrying out religious duties, i.e. a sane adult).
In the month of Ramadhan the reward for the virtues will be doubled into ten to seven thousand times. Why was Ramadhan distinguished from other months of a year by this great position?
Ramadhan is the month of the revelation of The Holy Quraan
شَہۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِۚ فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُۖ وَمَن ڪَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُڪۡمِلُواْ ٱلۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُڪَبِّرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَٮٰكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ (١٨٥)
Ramadhan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. Allah wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify Allah for guiding you, and to express your appreciation. (Al Baqara:185)
From the above evidence we can understand that the prime reason for the greatness of the Ramadhan is the revelation of the Quraan in it. And it is known to everyone that the Time is honoured by the great events that take place. So really the month of Ramadhan is the anniversary of the revelation of The Holy Quraan which is the main guide for the humanity.
The door of Heaven is opened
Imam Ahmad and Imam Nasa’i reported a Hadeeth from Aboo Huraira Radhiyallahu anhu. He told: The messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam would give glad tidings to his companions at the coming of the Month of Ramdhan. He would tell them:
”جاءكم شهر رمضان شهر مبارك كتب الله عليكم صيامه فيه تفتح أبواب الجنة وتغلق فيه أبواب الجحيم وتغل فيه الشياطين وفيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر من حرم خيرها فقد حرم"
The blessed month of Ramadhan came to you. Allah has prescribed to you the fasting of that month in which the doors of heaven will be opened and the doors of Hell will be closed and the Satans will be shackled. And in the month there is a night which is better than a thousand months. If one is prevented its virtue, he is prevented (all virtues).
And in another Hadeeth we can read this:
"لو يعلم الناس ما في رمضان لتمنت أمتي أن يكون رمضان السنة كلها"
“If the people know what is in Ramadhan my Ummah will wish all the year to be Ramadhan”
The special door of Al-Rayyan
Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari reported: The messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam told:
" إن في الجنة بابا يقال له الريان يدخل منه الصائمون لا يدخل منه غيرهم "
“There is a door in Heaven told Al Rayyan. Only the Saa’imeen (those who take fast) will enter through it. No one else will enter through that door”
The multiplication of the reward
In the Month of Ramadhan the reward of the virtues will be multiplied into many times, as it is described by The messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam. He told that the (reward of) the virtue will be multiplied into ten to seventy thousand times.
Another feature of The Ramadhan is that it is honoured with a night which is more blessed than a thousand months. It is clearly stated in Sura al Qadr:
إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ فِى لَيۡلَةِ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ (١) وَمَآ أَدۡرَٮٰكَ مَا لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ (٢) لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَلۡفِ شَہۡرٍ۬ (٣) تَنَزَّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيہَا بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّہِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمۡرٍ۬ (٤) سَلَـٰمٌ هِىَ حَتَّىٰ مَطۡلَعِ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ (٥)
We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand: Peace!...This until the rise of morn!
There is a special prayer in the Ramadhan known as Salat Taraweeh which is done after the Isha prayer till the time of Subh. Taraweeh is done in twenty Rak’as with ten Salaams as it was done by the Salaf as Saliheen and is the custom even now in the two Harams (Masjid al Haram and the Haram in Madeenah). There came a lot of Hadeeth in the virtue of this supererogatory Salat. The messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam told:
من قام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
Who ever stands (praying) in Ramadhan with belief and expecting the reward, his past sins will be forgiven.
Different Adkars in Three TENS of Ramadhan
The first ten of Ramadhan is for seeking the mercy of Allah. The second ten is the month of the forgiveness and the last ten is for seeking the protection from the Hell and entrance to the heaven. The Dikr
أشهد أن لا اله الا الله أستغفر الله وأسألك الجنة وأعوذ بك من النار
is general for whole Ramadhan. And there are special Adkar for each ten of Ramadhan.
The Dikr specially prescribed for the first Ten is
اللهم ارحمني يا أرحم الراحمين
And for the second ten
اللهم اغفر لي ذنوبي يا رب العالمين
And for the last ten
اللهم اعتقني من النار وأدخلني الجنة يا رب العالمين
اللهم انك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني
New moon of Ramadan
The fasting of Ramadan will be obligatory with the sight of new moon at the last of Sha’aban or with the completion of 30th of Sha’aban. The Messenger of Allah told: You take fast for the sight of it (new moon of Ramadan) and avoid fast for the sight of it (new moon of Shawwal). If it (sky) is clouded you complete the 30th of Sha’aban. (Saheehul Bukhari)
Then the fast will be obligatory on an individual if he personally sees the new moon and with the sight of one whom he trusts. And the fasting will be obligatory on all the people of the area by the confirmation of the sight of new moon near the Judge (Qadhi) by one witness. Likewise is the case with the successive news about the sight of the new moon.
If the sight of the new moon is confirmed in a place the Hukm will be generalized to the near places (not remote places). If one travels from the place of sight to a place where the new moon was not confirmed, then he has to join with them in the last of the month (i.e., he has to take fast though he completed thirty) and should contradict them in the first of the month (i.e., he should not cut fasting, but has to continue his fasting).
If the people did not see the new moon of Shawwal after the completion of 30th of Ramadan they have cut the fast (and celebrate Eid), if they began fasting by any evidence of the Sharee’a (i.e., by the sight of a just man or by the completion of 30th of Sha’aban). But if they began fasting by the word of unjust (but they trusted him) they should not cut fasting.
The basis of the confirmation of the new moon is depended upon the sight, and not on the existence of moon on the horizon. So there is no consideration for the opinion of the astronomer or mathematician. And no one should follow them in this regard. So, everyone is expected to try to get the sight of new moon at the last of the month. At the sight of the new moon it is recommended to say
الله أكبر اللهم أهله علينا بالأمن والايمان والسلامة والاسلام ربي وربك الله هلال رشد وخير
What is Saum/Fasting?
According to Imam Razi the literal meaning of Saum is to keep abstinent from a thing..
The technical meaning given by Imam Navavi to Saum is the avoidance of a person the particular things in particular ways in particular times (Sharh al-Muhadhab)
The fasting is not a particular worship to the Ummat of the messenger Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam as it is clearly stated in the Holy Quraan (2:183)
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint
On whom the fasting is obligatory
The fasting of Ramadhan is obligatory on all the Muslims who are mature and pure (from the impurities) and able to fast. So the fasting is not obligatory on the unbeliever (originally) and the child and the insane and the disabled. But the apostate should regain the fasting after returning to Islam. And it is obligatory on the guardians to command the child to take fast if he reaches seven and should beat on the avoidance if he reaches 10 years.
The disabled is one who suffers great difficulty if he takes fast by the reason of old age or illness which is not expected to be cured. Then he has to pay one Mudd (around 800 ML/650gm) of local food item for each day of avoidance. And the Haaidh (one who is in menstrual period) and Nufsa’a (on who is with the blood after delivery) are forbidden to take fast and if they take it will not be valid and they have to regain it later.,_.___
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