The Holiest of Months
All the Greatness and Virtues of Ramadan
Allah (SWT) says: “The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was sent down, as guidance for mankind and clear signs for guidance and the distinction (between right and wrong)…” [2:286]
A person once asked Ibn `Abbas (RA) about the meaning of the above verse and the verses “Verily, We sent it down on a blessed night,” [44:3], and “Verily, We sent it down on the Night of Power,” [97:1], since various verses of the Qur’an were revealed in various months, Ibn `Abbas (RA) replied, “It was sent down all at once to the lowest heaven during the month of Ramadan on the Night of Power, ‘a blessed night’. Then it was revealed like the setting of the stars little by little over months and days…” [Ibn Kathir]. So it was in this great month that the Book of Allah was sent down from the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz) to the lowest heaven, to then be revealed as required upon the Messenger of Allah (SAW).
Ramadan is a month when many people experience a notable change in themselves and those around them. Goodness seems to be more prevalent, evil more shunned. Hearts are more inclined towards righteousness as the passions are subdued by the sobriety of fasting and the soul stirred by the spiritual aura of this month. The Prophet (SAW) said, “When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Jahannum are shut, and the devils are bound by shackles” [al-Bukhari, Muslim].
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and hope for reward [from Allah] will be forgiven all his past sins and whoever stands [in worship] with faith and hope for reward [from Allah] during the Night of Power will be forgiven all his past sins” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
‘And perform in this month four things in great abundance, two through which you shall please your Lord, and two without which you cannot make do. As for the two through which you shall please your Lord, they are that you should (repeat) the Shahadah (testimony) that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (SWT) and that you should beg forgiveness of Allah (SWT). And as for those without which you cannot make do, they are that you should ask of Allah Paradise and seek refuge in Him from the Fire.’
The month of Ramadan is so valuable in the sight of Allah (SWT) that those who observe it properly have been promised forgiveness for past sins. The Prophet (SAW) has said, “Verily, Allah (SWT), blessed and exalted is He, has made the fasting of Ramadan obligatory on you, and I have made its standing [in prayer] a Sunnah for you; therefore, whoever fasts Ramadan and stands [in worship] in it with faith and hope for reward [from Allah (SAW)] he shall be as cleansed of his sins as [he was] the day his mother gave birth to him” [Narrated by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i].
Jabir (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “In every day and night during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah (SWT) grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which will be granted” [Narrated by Al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah].
It is reported in authentic hadiths that the Archangel Jibril said, “Woe betide him who finds Ramadan and yet is not forgiven!” Allah’s Rasul (SAW) responded simply with: “Amin” [Narrated by Al-Hakim, Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban].
Missing a single fast among the fasts of Ramadan without a valid reason is such a grave sin that nothing can compensate for that colossal loss. The Rasul (SAW) once said, “He who does not fast for a day of Ramadan without an excuse or sickness, fasting forever more would not atone for it even if he were to do so” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Al-Tirmidhi]. While such a missed fast must be made up for, this hadith tells us that the reward of fasting in Ramadan cannot be equalled by any amount of fasting outside it.
By: Shaykh Shafi Choudhury