Look at the mercy a mother has for her baby she feeds. Can we imagine her ever harming the child? Look at the the elephant, a creature that weighs more than a ton, has so much mercy for its offspring.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah divided Mercy into one-hundred parts and He kept its ninety-nine parts with Him and sent down its one part on the earth, and because of that, its one single part, His creations are Merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it.” (Bukhari)
We should have maximum mercy on each other in this month. This is the month of forgiveness so let us forgive and take maximum benefit from what Allah has promised us.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands.” (Bukhari)
Taking Ramadhan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual ( Stereotyped behavior) than a form of Ibadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie (living dead) just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to make Dua, forget to beseech Allah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that’s about all ?
Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salah, Quran and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD so much so that they turn the month of ‘fasting’ into the month of ‘feasting’.
Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quran. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Iman!
Food represents one of the most common activities in human life. It is essential for survival. People go to great lengths to ensure that they and their families have enough food. Moreover, eating is associated with social activities. People invite relatives, friends and neighbors to a meal. They are keen to offer them the best they can have. Moreover, eating together becomes a social function in which certain manners and practices are observed. People often speak of table manners, indicating that those who observe them are refined people, well brought up and deserve respect and friendship. On the other hand, people who lack table manners are considered as vulgar and uncouth.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has taught us the best of manners in every situation. His teachings were often by example. However, he added instructions to ensure that people observed the right manners. For example, people in high position of authority were used to have a rich variety of foods spread before them. They would recline and eat at leisure. This used to be the mark of affluence and power. The Prophet made clear that he would have nothing of that. He is quoted to have said : “I do not recline and eat.” (Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.) Ubayy ibn Kaab, a close companion of the Prophet famous for his fine recitation of the Qur’an, reports: “The Prophet used to sit on his knees when he ate. He never reclined when eating.” (Related by Abu Al-Shaykh)
For most of his life, the Prophet lived in poverty. He never complained. Prior to his marriage to lady Khadeejah, he lived in his uncle’s home, Abu Talib, who was poor. However, there always seemed to be enough food to go round. Khadeejah was rich and the Prophet worked in conducting her business. He was living comfortably. After her death and for most of the time until his death, he was poor. Sometimes, he might not find food for his family’s needs. He would be patient until God’s help was forthcoming. Thus the Prophet experienced all the problems of poverty. Therefore, when he had plenty, he did not forget the times of need, and he always remained kind to the poor.
IMAGINE for a minute that you are in the Makkah of pagan times, over 1400 years ago. The Ka’ba is full of idols, revered by people to such a degree that they are willing to kill anyone who dares to question their authority, or suggest that their help can neither bring benefit nor harm. Only one man in the history of Makkah has had the ‘temerity’ to do so: He claims that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that he is His Messenger and receives revelation from the Heavens above.
One morning, Abu Jahl, a pagan leader and sworn enemy of the Messenger of Allah, spots him sitting in the shade of the Ka’ba, deep in thought. ‘’So, what’s the latest news from heaven?’’ he inquires sarcastically.
To his astonishment, the Prophet (peace be upon him) – fresh from a miraculous journey where he was taken from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (The Inviolable Mosque) in Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa (The Farthest Mosque) in Jerusalem in the space of a night – starts narrating an account of the wondrous signs he was shown in the Heavens and Earth.
Abu Jahl listens incredulously for a while, and thinks this is his chance to prove what the pagans have been claiming all along: that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is mentally unsound (Allah’s refuge is sought). He asks the Prophet: “Will you repeat what you just told me to others?” When the Prophet agrees, a huge crowd gathers around him, jeering and shaking their heads in disbelief at such an impossible claim.
Within minutes, word gets around and all of Makkah reverberates with the story of the Messenger’s claim of going to Jerusalem, ascending to Heaven and returning within a night. When the story reaches Abdullah Bin Abi Quhafah, his first reaction is to think that the pagans have concocted another lie against the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, when the person who brought him the news insisted that the Prophet himself has said this, he said: “If he has said this, then it must be true.”
The holy month of Ramadan is yet another chance for all Muslims to seek Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. The divine precept of fasting that is binding on all able adult Muslims.
The holy month inspires Muslims with the noble meanings of compassion, mercy and kindness. It also renews the higher values which our religion advocates and calls for. It is the month when the doors of the heaven open for the good deeds and worshiping Allah.
We have learned great lessons from this great month, which inspire us, and we ponder over them and see how a person cares for his brother, how the rich feel the sufferings of the poor and how Muslims compete among themselves to win Allah’ s contentment.
Islam is a religion of love, compassion and tolerance, and that its message has been revealed as a mercy for the entire mankind. It is a way of guidance and welfare and it is a method that advocates dialogue and coherence. It also calls for effective participation to build mankind’s civilization.
We have a duty and responsibility to defend and protect this religion, serve Muslims’ interests and renew and revive their dialogue with the world’s cultures, societies and others’ religions with the objective of building a civilized and coherent world that finds its roots in the principles of peace and justice.
Ramadan is one of the twelve Arabic months. It is a month which is venerated in the Islamic religion, and it is distinguished from the other months by a number of characteristics and virtues, including the following:
1 – Allah has made fasting this month the fourth pillar of Islam, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month…”
It was narrated in al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhaari, 8; Muslim, 16) from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; establishing prayer; paying zakaah; fasting Ramadan; and Hajj to the House (the Ka’bah).”
2 – Allah revealed the Qur’aan in this month, as He says in the verse quoted above (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)…”
And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).”
3 – Allah has made Laylat al-Qadr in this month, which is better than a thousand months, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).
And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?
The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshiping Allah in that night is better than worshiping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).
Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel (Gabriel)] by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, (All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn”
Hadith: “The Sawm (fast) is a shield (against all sins).” (Nasai and Tirmidhi)
It is mentioned in Hadith that fasting is a shield and a strong fortress in order to save oneself from hell. In other words, just as a person seeks refuge in a strong fortress or by means of a shield from an enemy, in the same way, one gets salvation from hell by fasting. By fasting, a person’s power of committing sins gets weak, and his power to do good gets stronger. When a person fasts in the proper manner and implements all the etiquette of fasting, he will free himself of sins and gain salvation from hell.
It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield as long as it is not destroyed by lies and backbiting. In other words, fasting works as a shield as explained above. But this is on the condition that the person abstains from sinning. If a person fasts and still speaks lies, backbites, and commits other sins, then although he will be absolved of the fard of fasting, he will be committing a major sin. Furthermore, he will be deprived of the barakah of fasting.
As fasting is a shield. The person who awakens in the morning in a state of fasting should not commit any act of ignorance. If a person approaches him in an ignorant way, he should not reply him in the same ignorant manner nor should he address him disrespectfully. Instead, he should inform him that he is fasting.
FASTING during Ramadan was ordained during the second year of Hijra. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then?
The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required peace and security that was offered by Madinah.
Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab — two full months before Ramadan — the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to supplicate thus : “O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health).”
During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. If we combine all the blessings of the other 11 months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan. It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.
“Any one who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven,” said Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He further said: “Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.” As other Ahadith tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan.
Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy.