VIRTUES OF FASTING
- The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said : “The fragrance of the mouth of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah ﷻ than the smell of musk.”
- Sahl bin Saad reported that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “In Paradiset there are eight doors of which there is a door named Rayyaan. None but those that fast will enter it.
- Abu Hurairah رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ reported that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Whoever breaks a fast on one day of Ramadhan without excuse or illness, his fasting of his whole age (life) will not compensate it.”
- Abu Hurairah رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ reported that the Messenger of Allah said “Whoever fasts during Ramadhan with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stands up in salaah with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stands up in salaah during the blessed night with faith and is hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.”
GENERAL SUNAN DURING RAMADHAN
- Partake of Suhur or predawn meals.
- To end fast immediately after sunset.
- To read Tarawih salaah at night.
- To feed the poor and hungry.
- To increase the reading of the Holy Qur’an.
- To observe I’tikaf within the Masjid during the last ten days of Ramadhan.
FASTING TEACHES SYMPATHY FOR THE HUNGRY
Fasting is the only method whereby the pangs of hunger, the ever present companion of the poor, are experienced by the rich. Thus this experience kindles a spirit of kindness to the poor and distressed. It also gives rise to the thought of how people will fare on the day of resurrection, when the greatest urge of hunger and thirst will be felt.
FASTING OF CHILDREN
- When young children become capable of fasting (normally, 7+ years) they should be ‘encouraged’ with love and affection to fast. Remember that there is no Qadha if the child breaks the fast.
- By the age of ten, children should be ordered to fast. This is the normal rule; parents should use their discretion taking into account the child’s health & strength.
MAKE A TIMETABLE FOR RAMADHAN
In order to maximize our time and perform our Ibadah with ease, we should try to follow a set routine or timetable.
- We must wake up for Suhur, as it is a Sunnah of our beloved prophet ﷺ . He has informed us that the food of Suhur is full of Barakah: “Eat Suhur, because in it lie great blessings”. We should arrange our time for suhur in such a way that we are also able to perform at least 4-8 rak’at of tahajjud with du’a for about 15 minutes or more Rasulullah ﷺ has said that the du’a in the darkness of the night (after tahajjud) is readily accepted by Allah ﷻ.
- The ideal way is to wake up early and perform tahajjud and make du’a before Suhur. Everyone in the house should wake up and engage in Ibadah in the darkness and isolation of their own rooms. Shed tears and ask Allah ﷻ for your needs just as a small child cries and gets his needs fulfilled. Rasulullah ﷺ has encouraged his followers to cry when making du’a.
NOTE: Crying and weeping attracts mercy. Just as a mother who upon seeing her child crying for a sweet, will succumb to the child’s crying and treat him with mercy, similarly when one sheds tears whilst beseeching his Lord, the Mercy of Allah ﷻ will enshroud him.
- After Tahajjud and Suhur, we must pray our Fajr salaah with the congregation. Ladies should also perform their obligatory salaah.
- After Fajr, remain engaged in ‘Ibadah until 15-20 minutes after sunrise and perform 4 rak’aat Ishraq.
- Before Zawaal, perform Salaatud-Dhuha. Rasulullah ﷺ said, “There is charity to give on each joint of all of you in the morning. To say Subhanallah once is charity, to say Alhamdulillah is also charity, to say La ilaha illallah is also charity, to command good and forbid evil is also charity, and two rak’aat at the time of Dhuha (chaasht) is sufficient for all these charities.”
- Perform Zuhr with congregation. If possible, engage in ibadah for a while, then have a short rest with the intention of Qaylulah (siesta) a Sunnah of our beloved Nabi ﷺ.
- Perform ‘Asr. The time between ‘Asr and Maghrib is very valuable especially for du’a. We make the effort to perform our ‘Asr with congregation and then remain in the masjid until Maghrib. Unfortunately, one Nafs was deceived us such that many of us cannot do without food in the masjid at the time of Iftar. We should try to change our habits and keep the Akhirah in our minds. One Nafs will take us home for some food; which in reality should only take a few minutes and, will not let us come to the masjid until just before Maghrib. This is the best part of the day, which we do not value, only because of our desire for food Rasulullah ﷺ said, “There are three groups of people whose du’a is not rejected; the fasting person until he breaks his fast…” When Allah ﷻ has made a promise through His Nabi ﷺ there is no doubt in the acceptance of these supplications. In spite of this, we find some people whose prayers are not answered. This does not mean their prayers have been rejected. It is Allah’s ﷻ favour upon us that, should He consider the granting of a request to be in our interest, he grants, otherwise withholds.
Another point to remember is that there are certain conditions in the absence of which they may be rejected. Among these is halal food and the making of du’a with attention and concentration. If our hearts and minds are not in the du’a, then they may not be answered. We must make the habit of bringing a few dates with us at time of ‘Asr and thereafter engage in dhikr, Tilawah, tasbih, etc. until just 15-20 minutes before Maghrib when we should raise our hands in du’a until Azan. In this way, everyone will be engrossed in their own ibadah and if some individuals are crying, others will also derive inclination to do so. This time between ‘Asr and Maghrib must be valued and do not waste it worrying about food. The saintly people are such that never mind food, not even gold, silver, or money, will distract them. Their concentration in their du’a is not affected, whereas, we would not even be able to concentrate if even a small morsel were to be placed in front of us. Sisters should try not to spend all their time between ‘Asr and Maghrib in the kitchen.
- After performing Maghrib, we should perform 4 raka’at of Awwabin after the two raka’at sunnah and two raka’at nafl of Maghrib. However, those who do not feel inclined to do this, some Ulama state that the two raka’at sunnah and two raka’at n a f l of Maghrib may also become part of 4 raka’at Awwabin. Hence, performing only two raka’at after the sunnah and nafl of Maghrib will suffice.
- There is plenty of time between Maghrib and Isha. After food, we should sit with the household together and read from reliable books;
- Thereafter return to the Masjid and engage yourself in Ibadah. Take great care not to get involved in any worldly talk. It is very upsetting and disheartening to see people wasting their time in futile talk in the masjid even during this blessed month of Ramadhan. Try to restrain yourself from futile talks and remain engaged in Ibadah until Isha. Our sisters should note that 20 rak’at tarawih is SunnatMu’akkadah for them too. They must perform tarawih after Isha.
- After tarawih, go straight home. Do not loiter around outside the masjid wasting time. At home, remain in ‘Ibadah until you go to sleep. Sleep with intention of waking up for tahajjud and suhur.
ALLAH’S BLESSINGS, MERCY AND FORGIVENESS
From a Hadith, we deduce that in this blessed month of Ramadhan, Allah ﷻ makes the acquiring of Jannah and deliverance from the fire of Jahannam easy. This is the month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness.
Each minute and second of Ramadhan sees mercies and blessings from Allah ﷻ descending upon us; hundreds and thousands of people are forgiven and are honoured with freedom from Jahannam.
We can thus conclude that to gain Allah’s ﷻ Pleasure, save oneself from Jahannam and gain entry into Jannah (which should be the desire, ambition and objective of every Muslim), there is no better time than the month of Ramadhan.
All that is required to reap the fruits of this month is to create in our hearts the desire, ambition, devotion, zeal, eagerness; and that we exert effort to acquire the pleasure of Allah ﷻ .
SPENDING TIME IN DEVOTION
We should value this month and keep away from all things which incur the displeasure of Allah ﷻ . After saving ourselves from disobedience we should try to spend as much time as possible in Ibadah i.e. dhikr, tasbih, nafl salaah, tilawah, etc. If you have any Qadha salaah, then spend your time completing them. Make intention of I’tikaf every time you enter the masjid. We need to spend our time in good deeds. Therefore, whilst saving ourselves from sins we must make every possible effort to devote every precious second of Ramadhan in devotion to Allah ﷻ.
With a combination of all these qualities within us: we should come to the Court of our Lord and Creator with intention of acquiring His Pleasure and placing ourselves in prostration; shed tears and ask for forgiveness. Insha-Allah, we have complete faith that we will be honoured with forgiveness very quickly.
With this in mind, and through noble teachings of the pious in the light of the Qur’an and Hadith, there are certain guidelines which, if followed correctly, will make this month of Ramadhan fruitful for us. All these precious moments will benefit us in both this world and the next.
DECEPTION OF NAFS
For example, a person might have spent his day performing all his Fardh salaah, Fasting and Tilawah of the Quran, but at the same time he involves himself in backbiting, looking at non-mahram women and various other sins. At the end of the day, when he reflects on his day, he will consider his day successful because he will only see the virtuous acts. His Nafs will make sure he overlooks sins he has committed. This is how Nafs deceives us. It lets us perform a few good deeds but at the same time involve us in committing various other sins. We are misled into being satisfied with performance of the few good deeds while we forget the sins.
We must take utmost care not to commit a single sin – major or minor – under any circumstances during the month of Ramadhan. Our greed Nafs are our arch enemies who work to mislead us. A critical look at our lives will uncover that we are normally only aware of the good deeds which we have performed; we tend to conveniently overlook the bad deeds and not so good acts.
If a person was to sit down at the end of the day to evaluate whether he has spent his day doing good or bad deeds, generally he will only dwell upon the good acts performed such as Salaah, Tilawah, Tasbih etc… In other words, he will only consider the deeds that he was expected to perform and see whether he has performed them. This in turn will decide if his day has been spent in disobedience to Allah ﷻ. The same person will never ponder over the deeds that he was supposed to refrain from, such as watching TV, backbiting, looking at non-mahram persons, etc. Such things that he is expected to avoid are never taken into account.
CONSEQUENCE OF SINNING
Sadly, this is often our state in the month of Ramadhan too. It is deduced from a Hadith of Rasulullah ﷺ that when one spends the day or night in Ibadah but also commits sins during this time, then these devotions will go unrewarded. Rasulullah ﷺ had said, “Many of those who fast, obtain nothing through such fasting except hunger, and many perform salaah by night but obtains nothing by it, except the discomfort of staying awake.”
From this Hadith we can deduce that although we may fast all day; we gain nothing because we do not stay away from evil and sin whilst in this state. Similarly is the result, if one spends the night in Ibadah but fails to refrain from sins (such as lying, backbiting, missing Fajr salaah, etc.)
TELEVISION, MOVIES, INTERNET ETC…
In Ramadhan, if we look around us we find many homes in which TV’s and videos continue to be switched on. We are all aware of the harmful effects of TV and yet in the blessed month of Ramadhan; when the Mercy of Allah ﷻ descends upon earth like heavy rain, this evil television remains switched on!
During heavy rain, a person will get soaked wet even if he only walks for a few yards in the open. Similarly, the Mercy of Allah ﷻ descends upon us, if we but take a few steps towards acquiring this Mercy.
However, anyone who views TV in his home is depriving his household of this limitless Mercy. TV and video act as barriers preventing the Rahmah (mercy) of Allah ﷻ cascading upon our homes and inhabitants. Our humble plea is for you to make a firm decision to remove TV and video from your homes totally.