Stories from our Pious Predecessors
Where better to look for Ramadan inspiration than at the great
companions of the Prophet, the early generations and scholars?
‘Umar (RA) after performing his ‘Ishaa’ salaah used to return home and then remain in salaah throughout the night until the azaan was heard for fajr.
Uthmaan (RA) would fast the whole day (almost throughout the year) and used to spend the whole night in salaah, apart from having a little sleep during part of the first third of the early night. It is well known about him that he used to recite the whole Qur’aan during one Rak’ah.
Sa’eed ibn Musayyab (RA), considered the most virtuous of the tabi’un, performed ‘Isha and fajr with the same wudhu for fifty years. In the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Deen of Imaam al-Ghazzaali, Abu Taalib Makki is narrated to have made mention of about forty men from among the tabi’un, who used to perform Fajr salaah with the same wudhu with which they had performed their ‘Ishaa salaah.
Shaddad (RA) was one of the sahabah who used to lie awake throughout the night turning from side to side until Fajr. Then he used to say, “O Allah, the fear of the fire of Jahannam has driven away sleep from my eyes”.
Aswad ibn Yazeed (RA), a famous tabi’i, used to fast perpetually and stay up at night in worship. He used to complete the Qur’an every two nights in Ramadhan and would sleep between Maghrib and ‘Isha. Outside of Ramadhan he would complete the Qur’an every six nights.
Sila bin Ashyam (RA) was once seen, while out on an army expedition, spending a whole night in Allah’s worship, then at the break of day, he said, “O Allah, I ask you that you save me from the Fire; how can the likes of me dare to ask you for Jannah?”.
His wife Mu’adhah, a scholar, said, ‘Abus Sahbah (Sila) would pray until he could only crawl to bed.’
Qataadah (RA) was a man who used to finish the recitation of the Qur’an every three nights of Ramadhan but during the latter ten nights he used to complete the whole Qur’an every night.
Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) while reciting the Qur’an used to cry so much that his neighbours used to feel pity for him. Once he wept the whole night, crying while reciting the following verse time and again:
“Nay the Hour (of Judgement) is the time promised for them (for their recompense) and that hour will be most grievous and bitter” (Suratul Qamar: 46).
And the Salaf – may Allah be Pleased with them – would calculate Ramadhan by the minute. They were praying behind Ubayy bin Ka’b – and ‘Umar bin al-Khatt?b was praying Tarawih behind him – and they would require sticks to support themselves because of his long standing in the prayer, and the Companions would say: ‘We fear that we will miss the suhur praying behind Ubayy, and we fear that the Fajr time will come, causing us to miss the Blessed Meal [suhur] so, let our children rush to prepare the meal’.
Mu’adh bin Jabal expressed regret on his deathbed that he would no longer experience the mid-day thirst, as did other early Muslims.
‘Umar advised his son ‘Abdullah on his deathbed: “Try to obtain the characteristics of faith,” and the first one he mentioned was fasting in the intense summer heat.
Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that ‘A’ishah (ra) would fast in the intense heat. He was asked: “What drove her to do this?” He replied: “She would take advantage of the days before death.” She perpetually fasted, even during travel.
Abu Musa would search out the days that were so hot that one would feel one was being cooked, and he would fast those days.
May Allah (swt) grant us some semblance of the devotion of the salaf.
By: Sadique Ahmed