RAMADAN is a month of discipline, self-control, patience, and good behavior. In Ramadan, Muslims are expected to gain the fruits of fasting, namely, piety and consciousness of Allah. In this context, Allah, Most High, says in the Glorious Qur’an : “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Also, He says: “And He it is Who has put the night and the day in succession, for such who desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.” (Al-Furqan 25:62)
Life and death and the succession of nights and days have a purpose and that is to test us and to give us an opportunity to express our thanks and gratitude to our Creator and Sustainer. The month of Ramadan comes and goes. We must examine ourselves now and see what we have learned and achieved during this month. The test of success of this month lies in the effects it has left upon us as follows:
We learn in this month how to discipline ourselves for the sake of Allah. We follow a strict schedule of eating and drinking. We are constantly aware that even in our such mundane activities as eating and drinking, we must follow divine injunctions. We change our habits in our daily routines because we learn that we are not the servants and slaves to our habits, but always the servants of Allah. Then after Ramadan, we have to keep this spirit of discipline in other modes of our life and must continue with our submission to the commands of Allah.
Renewal of devotional life
Ramadan renews our enthusiasm for worship and devotion to Allah. In this month we are more careful of our daily prayers and have special prayers at night. There is no religion without prayer and Muslims learn in this month how to strengthen and deepen their religious life.
Renewal of contact with the Qur’an
Ramadan and the Qur’an are linked together from the beginning. It was in this month that this divine message was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We are told that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was fasting when he received the first revelation. Fasting prepares the believers’ hearts to learn the Word of Allah. It is the most suitable condition for our spiritual and mental communication with the Qur’an. The Muslim Ummah pays more attention to the Qur’an in this month. This renewed contact with the Qur’an must help us in following its message.
Renewal of identity with the Ummah
Ramadan is not an individual experience only, but it is an experience in community. The whole Muslim Ummah fasts together in one and the same month. We identify with one another in our obedience to Allah. This gives us a new sense of togetherness and association. Ramadan teaches us that the Muslim Ummah is the community of piety and devotion to Allah and its members derive their strength from each other in deeds of piety and virtue. The bonds that are based on piety and virtue are the strongest and these bonds prove good for mankind. The strength of the Muslim community lies in its commitment to the values of goodness, morality and piety. Ramadan leaves an imprint of all these values upon the Muslim Ummah.
A fresh sense of care and sympathy
Fasting in the month of Ramadan helps us to understand the suffering and the pains of the poor and needy. By our voluntary hunger and thirst we realize what it means to be deprived of basic necessities of life. Ramadan is called the month of charity and sympathy. We learn how to be more kind and generous in this month. Many Muslims also pay their Zakah in the month of Ramadan.
Jihad or struggle
Fasting in Ramadan and Jihad both of them were prescribed in the same year, that is, the second year of Hijra in Madina. Fasting prepares for hardships and sacrifices. These are two important things without which Jihad is not possible. Muslims learn in Ramadan how to struggle against the forces of evil in their own selves, in the society around them, and in the world at large.
To summarize all the moral and spiritual gifts of Ramadan, we can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of Taqwa (piety). Taqwa is the sum total of Islamic life. It is the highest of all virtues in the Islamic scheme of things. It means, God-consciousness, piety, fear and awe of Allah and it signifies submission to Allah and total commitment to all that is good and rejection of all that is evil and bad.
Talha Bin Ubaidullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported about two men who came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and accepted Islam at the same time.
One of them would part take in Jihad more than the other. He was martyred in one of the battles he fought. The other man lived for another year, and then he too passed away.
Talha said, “I saw in my dream that I was at the door of Paradise when behold, I was with both of them (the two men). Someone came out of Paradise and allowed the man who passed away later to enter first.
Then he came out again and allowed the martyred one to enter. Then he returned and said to me, ‘Go back, for your time has not come yet.’ “
Talha woke up and began to inform others about this and they were all surprised. When they informed the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about it, he said, “What are you surprised about?” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! Out of them both, this one strove harder (in Jihad) then he was martyred, but the other one was entered into Paradise before him.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Did he not remain behind him for one year?” They said, “Yes (he did).”
He said, “Did he not reach Ramadan, fast and pray with such and such number of prostrations in the year?” They said, “Yes.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “So the difference between them is greater than what is between the heavens and the earth.” (Ibn Majah, 2/345-346, authenticated by Al-Albani)
[ALLAH’S Quran – 31:14 ] “And (Allah says), “We have enjoined on every human being concerning his parents (to be good to them). His mother is worn and wasted in bearing him and it takes her two years to wean him. And give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me shall be the (ultimate) return (of you all).”
The Prophet (pbuh) has said:
[Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #1] “Narrated Al-Walid bin ‘Aizar: I heard Abi Amr ‘Ash-Shaibani saying, “The owner of this house.” he pointed to ‘Abdullah’s house, “said, ‘I asked the Prophet ‘Which deed is loved most by Allah?” He replied, ‘To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times.’ ” ‘Abdullah asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” The Prophet said, “To be good and dutiful to one’s parents,” ‘Abdullah asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” The Prophet said, To participate in Jihad for Allah’s Cause.” ‘Abdullah added, “The Prophet narrated to me these three things, and if I had asked more, he would have told me more.”
[Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0151] “It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud that he observed. I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) which deed was the best. He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Prayer at its appointed hour. I (again) said: Then what? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Kindness to the parents. I (again) said: Then what? He replied: Earnest endeavour (Jihad) in the cause of Allah. And I would have not ceased asking more questions but out of regard (for his feelings).”
[Muslim, Book #001, Hadith#0158] “It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahman b. Abu Bakra that his father said: We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) that he observed: Should I not inform you about the most grievous of the grave sins? (The Holy Prophet) repeated it three times, and then said: Associating anyone with Allah, disobedience to parents, false testimony or false utterance. The Holy Prophet was reclining, then he sat up, and he repeated it so many times that we wished that he should become silent.”
[Bukhari, Book #83, Hadith #9] “Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet said, “Al-Kaba’ir (the biggest sins) are: To join others (as partners) in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one’s parents,” or said, “to take a false oath.” (The sub-narrator, Shu’ba is not sure) Mu’adh said: Shu’ba said, “Al-kaba’ir (the biggest sins) are: (1) Joining others as partners in worship with Allah, (2) to take a false oath (3) and to be undutiful to one’s parents,” or said, “to murder (someone unlawfully).”
[Sunan Abudawud, Book #8, Hadith #1448] “Narrated Mu’adh al-Juhani: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If anyone recites the Qur’an and acts according to its contents, on the Day of Judgment his parents will be given to wear a crown whose light is better than the light of the sun in the dwellings of this world if it were among you. So what do you think of him who acts according to his.”
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book #41, Hadith #5123] “Narrated AbuUsayd Malik ibn Rabi’ah as-Sa’idi: While we were with the Apostle of Allah! (peace_be_upon_him) a man of Banu Salmah came to Him and said: Apostle of Allah is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death? He replied: Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honor their friends.”