and Obligation in Ramadan
Al-Jumuah Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 9
Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vansh into the night,
leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on fasting,
its wisdom and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of the
Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between the reality
and our obligations. Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah
blessed His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase
their piety (Taqwa). Allah said: "O you who believe! Fasting
is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you,
that you may become pious." (Al-Baqarah 2:183). This article
is an attempt to present the essential causes of this gap, and to
some remedies. primary reason for the gap is ignorance about the
goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many Muslims ignore the
purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely to conform
to the social environmet without contemplation. If one is not aware
of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world and
in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.
is one of the most important wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on
Taqwa as it lessens the desire of the stomach and mutes the sexual
appetite. Whoever fasts frequently would overcome these two desires
more easily. This deter against committing abominations and sins
and assist in controlling life leading to Taqwa.
willpower and acquiring patience: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe
wa sallam called Ramadhan the month of patience as it increases
one's will power to control his desire and the selfishness of his
soul. This training allows him to be strong in following Allah's
commands. The most important being to carry the Message and propel
it forward. The person trains himself to be patient in obeying Allah
by stopping at the limits set by Allah both by way of action and
abstention. Allah said: "These are the limits set by Allah,
so approach them not." (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Fasting is pure
worship: The fact that he is abstaining from food and drink both
in public and in secret shows his honest faith and strong love of
Allah, and his knowledge and feeling that Allah is all-knowing of
everything. For this reason Allah has made the reward for fasting
greater than for any other type of worship. Allah said in the hadith
Qudsi: "Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied [in
rewards], the good deed by ten of its like, up to seven hundreds,
up to whatever Allah wills, except fasting, it is for Me and I will
reward it. He abandons his desire and his food for My sake.."
(Related by Muslim) lbn al-Qayyim said: "...And people may
see that a person is not eating in front of them, but the fact that
he is really abandoning his food and his desire for the sake of
God is a thing that nobody can find out about, and that is the essence
of fasting." (Zaad al-Ma'ad 2/29).
from life's distractions: Eating, drinking, and socializing all
distract a person and weaken ties with Allah. It is by the Mercy
of Allah that Muslims are ordered to fast so as not to be bothered
by the intrusion of these activities. Nor by the thought about them
nor the anticipation for them when devoting themselves to the all
types of worship Either reading the Qur'an, offering additional
prayer or making I'tikaf. For this reason the Prophet sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam said: "Fasting is a shield, and a secure fortress
against Hell fire" (Related by Ahmad).
Allah's Blessings: A person experiences the hardship of the poor.
He should then be thankful to Allah Who has blessed him with His
bounty while others are deprived. This should make him more sympathetic
and willing to share this bounty. The poor rediscovers that fasting
helps a person be more devoted to worship. More able to concentrate
and meditate. He should then be able of this devotion all year long,
a blessing he should thank Allah for.
and endurance:It has been discovered that depriving the body of
food for a period of time helps its defense and endurance mechanism.
This in turn this protects the body from certain diseases.
fasting is not only dependent on abstentions: Many believe that
fasting consist only of certain abstentions, forgetting that Allah
established certain acts of worship with fasting. Among which are:
The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Whoever performed
the night prayer during Ramadhan out of belief and anticipating
God's rewards, will be forgiven his previous sins."(Related
by Muslim).Performing Umrah: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam
said: "An Umrah during Ramadhan is like a Hajj with me."
(Related by al-Hakim).
(meal) to those who fasted. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam
said: "Whoever feeds a fasting person has the same reward as
him, except that the reward of the fasting person will not be diminished."
(Related by Ahmad).
completing the Qur'an: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said:
"Fasting and [reading] Qur'an will intercede for the person:
fasting will say: O Lord I forbade him eating and drinking so let
me intercede for him, and the Qur'an will say: I deprived him from
his night sleep so let me intercede for him," he then said:
"So they will intercede." (Related by Ahmad). The Prophet
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to recite the whole Qur'an to Angel
Jibreel each Ramadhan.
Giving in charity:
Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: "The Prophet sallallahu alayhe
wa sallam was the most generous among people, and he was more generous
during the month of Ramadhan." (Related by Muslim).
is to confine oneself in the masjid for prayer and invocation leaving
the worldly activities. Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: "The
Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to perforrn I'tikaf during
the last ten days of Ramadhan." (Related by Muslim). It is
surprising that many people have abandoned I'tikaf though the Prophet
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam never abandoned it from the time he
arrived to Madinah until he died.
In the verses dealing with fasting, Allah said: "And when My
slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then answer them, I am
indeed near to them. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant
when he calls on Me." (Al-Baqarah 2: 186). This is an encouragement
for the fasting person to increase his invocation. The Prophet sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam said: "Three invocations will be answered:
The invocation of the fasting person, the invocation of the oppressed,
and the invocation of the traveler." (Related by Muslim).
Ramadhan is the time of repentance and return to Allah, for it is
a time when the devils are chained, and when many people are saved
from hell fire every night by the grace of Allah.
in all good deeds in the last ten days of Ramadhan: Aysha radhiallabu
anha said: "When the last ten days come, he sallallahu alayhe
wa sallam would pray most of the night and wake his family, and
apply himself, and tighten up his loincloth.", and she also
said: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used
to strive in the last days of Ramadhan more than he did during the
other days." (Related by Muslim).
vain talk: Sins decrease the reward of fasting although they do
not annul it. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Fasting
is not [only] abstaining from eating and drinking, but abstaining
from vain and obscene talk, so if someone insulted you or wronged
you say: I am fasting." (Related by al-Hakim) and he also said:
'Whoever does not abandon lying, then Allah does not need him to
abandon his food and drink." (Related by al-Bukhari).
made during Ramadhan
Ramadhan should be a time to avoid being wasteful, and learning
to be prepared in facing harder times by distinguishing the needs
from the luxuries. Unfortunately, many people go beyond their limits
to spend during Ramadhan. Whether in the varieties of food that
they savor each night, or by the other types of spending.
during the night and sleeping during the day: Some people sleep
during most of the day when they are fasting. Ramadhan is not a
time of being lazy, and this do not allow the full benefit from
the experience of fasting. It is as if they have only inverted their
nights into days and vice versa. In addition, some may spend a great
portion of the night indulging in eating and drinking and socializing
time in socializing: Because people invite each other more often
during Ramadhan they do tend to spend more time socializing with
friends, and relatives. While it is a good deed to feed the fasting
person, this should not result in precious time lost in vain talk.
Use the occasion for remembering Allah and offering additional prayers,
and for the Da'wah to Allah.
performing a certain number of Rakaas during the Tarawih (night)
prayer to the point of not praying behind the Imam and thus forfeiting
the benefit of congregational prayer. This might also bring hatred
and disagreement between the Muslims of one community.
too fast: Some insist on finishing the whole Qur'an once or more,
even if they have to read very fast. Although reading the Qur'an
many times is desirable, this should not be done hastily, especially
during the Tarawih prayer without pondering upon its meaning. Allah
ta'ala said: "This is a Book which We have sent down to you,
full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses," (Saad
38:29), and the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Those
who read the Qur'an in less than three days do not grasp [its meaning]"
in l'tikaf: Many people are eager to do I'tikaf but some confine
themselves in the masjid not to pray and worship Allah but to talk
The ways of
doing good are numerous in Ramadhan Many people try to perform more
than they are able to. By going beyond their capabilities, they
end up not performing any deed in the desired way.
Dai'ahs should assume a more prominent role in educating the people
- both by talking to them and by giving the best example in their
behavior which should comply to the Shariah and following the Sunnah.
The Muslim should
realize that his priorities dictate that he does what benefits him
in the Hereafter and should not put worldly interests first.
The Muslim should
apply himself to deepen his sense of following the Sunnah of the
Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, in every aspect of his life,
at all times and especially during the month of Ramadhan. This necessitates
seeking more knowledge about the Fiqh of fasting and its etiquette,
assimilating the wisdom and goals of fasting, and facilitating the
means that allow all the Muslims to benefit from their fasting.