Your guide to Ramadan
Allah (SWT) says: “The month of Ramadhan 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 Ramadhan 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 )
Ramadhan 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 Ramadhan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Jahannum are shut, and the devils are bound by shackles” [al-Bukhari, Muslim].
Salman (RA) reports, “On the last day of Sha`ban, the Messenger of Allah (swt) addressed us and said, ‘O people, there has come upon you a great month, a blessed month, a month in which there is a night better [in virtue] than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting in it compulsory and standing [in prayer] in its nights an extra act of devotion. Whosoever draws near to Him by performing a virtuous deed, he will be [in reward] like the one who had performed a compulsory act [of worship] at any other time. And whoever performs a compulsory act [of worship] in it shall be [in reward] like the one who had performed seventy compulsory acts [of worship] at any other time.’
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan 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” [al-Bukhari, 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 and that you should beg forgiveness of Allah. 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 Ramadhan is so valuable in the sight of Allah that those who observe it properly have been promised forgiveness for past sins. The Prophet (SAW) has said, “Verily, Allah, blessed and exalted is He, has made the fasting of Ramadhan obligatory on you, and I have made its standing [in prayer] a Sunnah for you; therefore, whoever fasts Ramadhan and stands [in worship] in it with faith and hope for reward [from Allah] he shall be as cleansed of his sins as [he was] the day his mother gave birth to him” [Ahmad, an-Nasa’i].
Jabir (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “In every day and night during the month of Ramadhan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which will be granted” [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah].
It is reported in authentic hadiths that the Archangel Jibril said, “Woe betide him who finds Ramadhan and yet is not forgiven!” Allah’s Rasul (SAW) responded simply with: “Amin” [al-Hakim, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban].
Missing a single fast among the fasts of Ramadhan 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 Ramadhan without an excuse or sickness, fasting forever more would not atone for it even if he were to do so” [al-Bukhari, at-Tirmidhi]. While such a missed fast must be made up for, this hadith tells us that the reward of fasting in Ramadhan cannot be equalled by any amount of fasting outside it.
By: Shaykh Shafi Choudury