Ramadan Document

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Dr. Norlain bint Muhammad Dindang

he fourth pillar of Islam is sawm of Ramadan (fasting in the month of Ramadan). Sawm requires every able Muslim to completely abstain from foods, drinks, sexual intimate relations, oral medications; and also refrain from forbidden deeds (including smoking, behaving foolishly and impudently, backbiting and the like) from fajr (the break of the dawn) until maghrib (sunset) for the sake of Allah. All these are intended to train Muslims to attain taqwa (self-restraint). Allah the Almighty says:

''O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.'' (Qur'an Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:183)

''Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spent it in fasting and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful.'' (Qur'an Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185)

Furthermore, Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informs us of the many importance of sawm as shown in the following Ahadeeth:

Fasting as a shield from the Hell-fire:

''Sawm (fasting) is a shield (or a screen or a shelter from the Hell-fire). So, the person observing sawm (fast) should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should say to him twice, ''I am observing sawm (fast).'' The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) added, ''By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a person observing sawm (fast) is better with Allah than the smell of musk.'' (Allah says about the fasting person,) ''He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The sawm (fast) is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.'' (Reported by Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadeeth 118)

Fasting is a great deed done for Allah, which deserves Allah's rewards:

''Allah the Almighty says: ''All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except sawm (fasting) which is for Me, and I will give reward for it. There are two pleasures for the person observing sawm (fast), one at the time of iftar [breaking his sawm (fast)], and the other at the time when he will meet his Creator; then he will be pleased because of his sawm (fasting)'' (Reported by Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadeeth 128)

Fasting as a source for attaining felicity:

''One night in this month (Ramadan) which has commenced is (from the point of dignity and honor) superior to one thousand months. Whoever deprives himself from attaining its auspiciousness is deprived of every felicity. He further stated: Only an unfortunate being is deprived of its felicity.'' (Reprted by Ibn Maja)

Other tremendous benefits of fasting:

Fasting in Islam (sawm) teaches us sincere love, devotion, and closeness to Allah the Most Merciful because one primary requirement of fasting is the purification of our intention. We fast solely for the sake of Allah to gain His pleasure; and not for anybody else, for any reason. When we meet this requirement we develop our piety and faith in our Creator; thereby, establishing close relationship with Him.

Moreover, sawm inculcates in us the balance between our physical as well as material needs and our spiritual as well as moral aspirations in life. It disciplines our desires and cravings for too much physical and material need. It regulates our body to be healthy and subsequently develops our sound mind since light body makes us active. For many smokers, fasting disciplines them from smoking until they stop the bad habit which is dangerous to everybody's health. Smoking causes cancer, tuberculosis, asthma, and other heart diseases that kill so many people from all walks of life. If we smoke, we do not only cause dangers to ourselves but also cause harms to those around us since those who inhale smokes are also exposed to its hazards. In short, smoking is a killer! This sets the reason why Muslim religious scholars considered the consumption of cigarettes as haram (forbidden). In Islam, anything that harms life is haram. Allah forbids us from killing ourselves (Qur'an Surah An-Nisa', 4:29) and contributing into our own destruction (Qur'an Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:195). Therefore, smoking cigarettes (just like taking drugs and drinking wine and other intoxicants) is haram. Aside from refraining from smoking, during fasting we refrain from doing other evil deeds (like gambling, fighting, slandering, backbiting, lying and other forbidden conducts). The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) warns:

''Whoever does not give up false words and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.'' (Reported by Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadeeth 127)

Moreover, fasting develops in us kindness and concern to the poor and the needy. We feel hunger which the economically depressed members of the society normally feel for most of their lives. The experience of being hungry makes us conscious of the need to show sympathy to the poor and subsequently offer our material help. This is in addition to the fact that it is the Prophet's Sunnah to be more generous to the poor during Ramadan:

''The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous among the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan.'' (Reprted by Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadeeth 126)

Fasting also trains us endurance, patience and discipline. When we fast we learn to endure the pains of deprivation and, at the same time, bear patiently. We have to discipline ourselves hoping that Allah the Most Merciful will reward us for it. It makes us realize that, indeed, this world is full of sufferings for the Muslims but the pains are nothing but only temporary as life in this world is temporary. What matters is our eternal world in the hereafter so we have to work for it. One way to attain success is through fasting as Allah promises eternal peace and prosperity for those who fast for His sake. In other words, fasting also inculcates in us hope for the best life in the eternal world to come.

Above all, fasting enables us to establish close link with Allah the Almighty. It inculcates us to be conscious of our duty to Allah to remember, praise, glorify and worship Him and to ask for His forgiveness. During the whole month of Ramadan we are expected to spend much of our time reading the Glorious Qur'an and praying voluntary prayers like the salaah at-taraaweeh (prayers after the isah or evening prayer) and salaatul qiyam (midnight (prayers before the fajr or dawn prayer). We believe that when we sincerely pray to Allah for His forgiveness during Ramadan, Allah will forgive us. Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) says:

''Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, all his previous sins will be forgiven.'' (Reported by Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadeeth 227)

Source: Understanding Prophet Muhammad's Life


EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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