The month of Ramadan is highly honored by Allah, His Prophet as well as Muslims throughout generations.
In the Qur’an, Allah mentions Ramadan by name and refers to it in different verses. Allah says:
The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and (He desires) that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure you may be
thankful. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)
2-What Is Fasting?
Fasting is called sawm in the Qur’an. The word sawm literally means ‘to abstain’. In Surat Maryam, Allah tells us about Mary, the mother of Jesus, that she said:
I have vowed a fast (sawm) for the sake of the Merciful, so today I shall not speak to anyone. (Maryam 19:26)
The meaning is ‘I have vowed to abstain from speaking to anyone today’. According to Shari`ah, the word sawm means to abstain from all things that are forbidden during fasting from the break of dawn to the sunset, and to do this with the intention of fasting.
3-Why Do Muslims Fast?
The Qur’an says:
O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwah (God consciousness). (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Taqwa is a very important spiritual and ethical term mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an. It is the sum total of all Islamic spirituality and ethics. It is a quality in a believer’s life that keeps him/her God fearing all the time.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that fasting is a shield. It protects a person from sin and lustful desires.
4-Is It Just about Enduring Hunger, Thirst?
The purpose of fasting is not physical training to endure hunger, thirst and exhaustion; rather, it is disciplining the ego to relinquish the loved for the sake of the beloved. The loved are the desires of
eating, drinking, sexual activities etc, while the beloved is Allah, the Exalted.
The Beginning and End of Ramadan
5-How to Confirm Them?
There are many hadiths concerning the timing of Ramadan. It has been authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Start fasting upon seeing it (i.e. the moon) and end fasting upon seeing it. If it is cloudy or hazy, then complete the month of Sha`ban as thirty”.
Scholars maintained that the legal means to confirm the beginning and the end of the month in the Islamic Shari`ah is either by sighting the new moon or completing the previous month as 30 days.
6- Muslims in Non-Muslim Countries:
Muslims who live in such countries must try their best to sight the new moon in their areas. There are many Muslim organizations in those countries that provide services to the Muslim .
communities regarding the sighting the new moon. If they could not sight the new moon for one reason or another, in that case, they should follow the sighting of a Muslim country. Or, according to another scholarly opinion, they should follow the sighting of the closest Muslim country to them.
7-How to Get Ready for Ramadan?
Every Muslim should prepare himself to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan by strengthening his relationship with the Qur’an and recharging his spiritual battery to prepare himself to make the whole blessed month of Ramadan a real occasion of sincere obedience.
Ramadan is an event that occurs in the life of the faithful, as individuals and as an Ummah, once a year. Allah made it to help us taqwa and thus prepare us for the great mission of realizing His will on earth.
It is said that:
‘Rajab is the month of planting seeds, Sha`ban is the month of watering the seeds, and Ramadan is the harvest season’.
Therefore, think of what you want to harvest in Ramadan and start planting it and taking care of it in Rajab and Sha`ban. Here’s a famous du`a’ of Prophet Muhammad: “Oh Allah give us the blessings of the month of Rajab and Sha`ban and allow us to reach Ramadan.” (Ahmad).
8-The Blessings of Ramadan
Ramadan is a great month. This is the month of the Qur’an, and in this month is the Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Power), which is better than one thousand months. Allah chose this month and a particular night in this month to grace humanity with His final testament, His last message, the Qur’an. In this month we have a greater urge and desire to do good deeds because this month is full of virtues and blessings. The Prophet said about this month:
“When Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious jinns are put in chains and the doors of hell are closed, none of them remains open. The doors of heaven are open and none of them remains closed. And a caller calls, ‘O seeker of goodness, come forward, and O seeker of evil, desist. And Allah has many (in this month) who will be freed from Hell’. This announcement is made every night.” (Al-Tirmidhi).
9- a few tips in Ramadan
– Praise Allah so much for he has guided you to Islam and prolonged your life to witness that Ramadan.
– Make your intention at the beginning of Ramadan to fast for the month for the sake of Allah, seeking His forgiveness.
– Busy your time with different acts of worship, including remembrance of Allah, reciting the Qur’an, offering obligatory and voluntarily Prayers and pay charity for the sake of Allah.
– Be keen to attend Muslims gatherings in Prayer congregations and lectures.
– You may experience strong weariness in the first days because of remaining a long time without eating and drinking, but always have in mind that you do so seeking Allah’s Pleasure and Paradise.
– Try to make `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) in Ramadan for it entails a lot of reward.
– Let Ramadan be a good opportunity to reflect on the Qur’an, understanding its meaning, discovering its treasures and learning its values.
– The purpose of fasting is to purify the self, so try to make use of this benefit.
10- Final Tips
Ramadan is meant for our moral and spiritual training and for the purification of our bodies, minds and souls. This is an annual training program for all believers. It is a special time to get closer to Allah and to seek His blessings and bounties.
It is a time to learn taqwa (God-fearing), piety, self-discipline and patience. It is a time to give more charity and become more generous. It is a time to seek Allah’s forgiveness and to forgive each other. It is a time to be thankful to Allah for His gifts and bounties and especially His gift of iman.