you who believe! Observing al-sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for
you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become
al-muttaqoon (the pious).
As the beautiful month of Ramadan approaches this year, there are
several things Muslim women can do to prepare themselves spiritually
and physically for the month-long period of fasting which is obligatory
upon all able-bodied Muslims who have reached the age of maturity.
thought to the unique concerns that Muslim women face during this
month can help us prepare for them and make the month a more successful
one. This is especially true for new converts to Islam (because
Ramadan is such a new experience) and for married women in general
because of the extra responsibility they typically have to make
sure that the iftar (the fast-breaking meal served at sunset each
day) is ready on time for their families and any guests in addition
to continuing to take care of the home, children and other obligations
as usual. It is crucial, then, that women take the time to plan
for their sleep, health and other concerns before the month even
It is recommended
for Muslims to eat a pre-dawn meal (called sahoor in Arabic) each
day before the fast begins. The Prophet, may the peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him, is reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased
with him) to have said,
pre-dawn meal for there are blessings in it." (Bukhari and
report the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying,
eat [the] pre-dawn meal for it is a blessed nourishment" (an-Nasa'i),
meal is blessed so do not neglect it even if you only take a sip
of water. Verily, Allah and His angels pray for those who have pre-dawn
meal provides energy and other benefits to the fasting Muslim during
the day so it makes good sense to plan on getting up early to have
sahoor. Of course this is better accomplished if you also sleep
early so try to think about how you will arrange your schedule once
Ramadan begins. If you typically have trouble waking up for the
fajr (dawn) prayer, a new schedule in Ramadan may be the motivation
you need to change your habits for the better even after Ramadan
has ended. Ramadan is a great opportunity that comes once a year
to renew your relationship and commitment to Allah
If you are accustomed to drinking tea or coffee in the morning or
during the day, be aware that caffeine withdrawal can cause severe
headaches while you are fasting. Take some time before Ramadan to
wean yourself from caffeine (perhaps gradually) and decide whether
it will be necessary to have any caffeine during the non-fasting
hours in Ramadan. It may seem like a funny thing to worry about
compared to the greatness of this Holy Month but many Muslims have
experienced the phenomena of caffeine withdrawal and know to prepare
themselves ahead of time to ensure they do not get sick from it.
also know the times that they are prohibited from fasting, such
as when they are menstruating or bleeding after childbirth.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have special permission not to
fast during Ramadan if they feel that they or their babies will
be harmed by it, but they are not prohibited from fasting if they
feel they can handle it. This is something best discussed with a
doctor and depends on each woman's unique circumstances. However,
it is very important that pregnant and breastfeeding women take
care to eat properly during non-fasting hours if they choose to
fast. It is also important that women do not feel any shame or guilt
in breaking the fast if they feel they must; no one has the right
to put pressure on the pregnant or breastfeeding woman to exceed
her body's limits. In fact this allowance not to fast should be
considered a mercy from Allah and not a punishment.
should not fast just because they do not want to have to make their
fasts up later: health should be the prime consideration in deciding
whether or not to fast. Take the fast one day at a time: it is not
a competition with others but an act of worship for the sake of
Allah Most High.
Of course women
who are ill or must take medications during the day need to consult
their doctors in order to see if it will be possible for them to
fast and to change the schedule of their medications. Discuss the
issue with a sheikh if you are not sure about your situation.
Whether a woman misses days of fasting due to menstruation, childbirth,
pregnancy, breastfeeding or illness, these missed days should be
made up before the next Ramadan comes. InshaAllah. Depending
on her circumstances and on different schools of thought, making
up the fast may be as simple as fasting one day for each day missed
during Ramadan, or it may require that she feeds one poor person
each day either in addition to, or in place of, fasting herself.
Women should consult reliable books or scholars to understand their
obligations in this regard. Fiqh us-Sunnah by As-Sayyid Sabiq is
an excellent source of reliable information on how to make up missed
days of fasting.
Understanding and respecting your body's physical needs and limits
during Ramadan will help you to have more energy for taking care
of your home, family and other responsibilities
is also something that needs to be done before Ramadan comes around
it might seem silly really when you consider we should be
spiritually in tune 12 months a year. We all seem to
get caught up with our hectic schedules and all of a sudden you
hear Muslims say: oh no Ramadan is in 2 weeks and its
panic time! Some women busy themselves with spring-cleaning
their homes but often we forget to warm up and fine-tune our selves
in readiness for this mighty month
- Whenever a guest comes, we prepare in advance for his arrival
by vacuuming the carpet, dusting the shelves, and scrubbing the
sinks. We should do this for our guest called Ramadan. But the scrubbing
should not just be of our physical surroundings; it should include
the scrubbing of our sins.
Listen to the
words of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), speaking about
those people that don't want to clean up for Ramadan,
doesn't desist from speaking falsehood and acting upon it, Allah
has no need that he desist from his food and drink." (Bukhari)
Fasting in Sha'baan
(this Month that we are now in) - The biggest downfall of many Muslims
is that they are not properly warmed up for Fasting, some people
only do it once a year making their bodies very foreign to going
without food and drink.
From here we
see the following Sunnah: Umm Al-Mu'mineen Aisha (may Allah be pleased
with her)- observes, "Allah's Messenger never fasted an entire
month other than Ramadan and I haven't seen him fast more than he
did in Sha'baan."
This is a good
way to prepare for Ramadan by fasting in the moth before. The Prophet
(saws) also fasted Monday and Thursdays every week. We should make
fasting something we do all year round not just in Ramadan so it
becomes second nature to us.
As for the Prophet
(peace be upon him), he used to give glad tidings to his Companions
of the coming of Ramadan, like what is narrated from Imam Ahmad
and An-Nisaai from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased
with them), who said: Allahs Messenger (peace be upon
him) said to his Companions,
of Ramadan is coming, the blessed month wherein Allah has made fasting
binding on you. In it, the gates of Paradise are opened, and in
it, the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are enchained.
In it is the beneficent night of a thousand months (i.e. Laylat
ul-Qadr). Whoever denies goodness in it has indeed been deprived.
al-Fadhl said about the Salaf (the pious predecessors): They
used to call upon Allah for six months until Ramadan reached them,
then they would call on Him the other six months that Allah may
accept it from them. And Yahya Ibn Abee Katheer said, Their
supplication used to be,
keep me safe until Ramadan, and make Ramadan faultless for me, and
secure it for me as an accepted (month of virtue).
The early generations
of the Ummah used to make Du'a 6 months after Ramadan that Allah
accept their deeds in Ramadan. And for the next 6 months, they would
make du'a to Allah to grant them the blessing of being alive in
the coming Ramadan.
Some of the
many important lessons we learn from Ramadan are:
been legislated in order that we may gain taqwa, as Allah
the Most High said:
who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed
upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwa."
[Quran al-Baqarah 2:183]
(peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Fasting is a shield
with which the servant protects himself from the Fire." (Hasan:
Ahmad, authenticated by al-Albani in Saheeh ut-Targheeb)
So we should
ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this fasting made
us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing
ourselves from sins and disobedience?
v Seeking Nearness
reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have his sins forgiven,
and so enters the fire, then may Allah distance him." (Ahmad
What is meant
by the month of Patience is the month of Ramadan
is called patience because it restrains the soul from eating drinking,
conjugal relations and sexual desires." (At-Tamheed of Al Haafidh
ibn Abdul Barr)
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
Whoever amongst you is able to marry, then let him do so; for it
restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. But whoever is
unable, then let him fast, because it will be a shield for him."
(At-Tamheed of Al Haafidh ibn Abdul Barr)
So fasting is
a means of learning self-restraint and patience. With patience we
are able to strengthen our resolve to worship Allah alone, with
sincerity, and also cope with lifes ups and downs. So
for example with patience we are able to perform our Prayers
calmly and correctly, without being hasty, and without merely pecking
the ground several times!
we are able to restrain our souls from greed and stinginess and
thus give part of our surplus wealth in Zakaah (obligatory charity).
With patience we are able to subdue the souls ill temperament,
and thus endure the ordeal and hardships of Hajj, without losing
tempers and behaving badly. Likewise, with patience we are able
to stand firm and fight Jihad against the disbelievers, hypocrites
and heretics withstanding their constant onslaught, without
wavering and buckling, without despairing or being complacent, and
without becoming hasty and impatient at the first sings of hardship.
Allah the Most High said:
urge the Believers to fight
So if there are one hundred who
are patient, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be one
thousand, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of
Allah. And Allah is with the patient ones." [Quran al-Anfaal
knowledge and patience, nothing remains, except zeal and uncontrolled
emotions, shouts and hollow slogans, speech that does not strengthen,
but rather weakness, and actions that do not build, but rather destroy!
So in this month, we should strive to develop a firm resolve for
doing acts of obedience, and to adorn ourselves with patience
having certainty in the saying of our Messenger sallallahu `alayhi
wa sallam: "And know that victory comes with patience, relief
with affliction, and ease with hardship." ( Saheeh: Ahmad,
at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer, authenticated by al-Hilaalee in as-Sabrul
Fasting is not
merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining
from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses or behaves
ignorantly with you, then say: I am fasting, I am fasting."
(Saheeh: Ibn Khuzaymah and al-Haakim, who authenticated it.
v Sensing Muslim
As Muslims from all around the world commence Ramadan we realise
that we are part of a community our hearts and actions united in
pursuing Allahs pleasure. There are many ahadith mentioning
the blessings of breaking the fast together and there is also much
reward in feeding a fasting person. So let us unite in this month
it is that light in the souls of the righteous and the truthful,
and in the hearts of the devout and sincere it gives happiness;
for it is the month of obedience, and in it there are beautiful
reflections for us all. Indeed, it grants victory to the soul over
the body and flesh and gives us a wonderful opportunity to straighten
ourselves up with our Lord.
During this month of Shabaan we should find out more about
the traditions of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) related
to Ramadan and make a sincere effort to implement them this year.
We should also try to purify our hearts and intentions before the
commencement of Ramadan to make this fast successful for our families
and ourselves. InshaAllah
Ramadan is also
an opportunity to renew relationships that may have been broken
during the year and we should try and clear up any disputes or bad
feelings with other Muslims so we may start this month a fresh.
So we ask Allah
to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better, during
this blessed month, and not to be of those who are prevented from
His Mercy and Forgiveness. Indeed He is the One who Hears and He
is the One to Respond.