1. Eat, drink, and be moderate
Almost all of us do it – once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it’s hard to move afterward. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we’re supposed to learn self-control, not self-indulgence. Let’s try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third of food, one-third water, and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
2. Give a dollar a day in charity…or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let’s open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it’s the intention that counts.
3. Memorize 4 new Surahs
Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you’ve started, you’ll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.
4. Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in the congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan’s blessings. Don’t miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least one week.
5. Attend the Tarawih prayer in which the recitation of the Quran will be finished
Call the local mosque and find out which day the Imam will be finishing the recitation of the Quran in prayer. Attend to not only hear part of the Quran’s recitation in prayer but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.
6. Stop swearing and/or backbiting with a special box
It’s hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone’s upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn’t the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we’ve got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.
Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.
At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you’ve backbitten the most against.
7. Call/email your relatives
You’d think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we’d keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life’s “busyness.”
Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
8. Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
9. Read 5 minutes of the Quran a day…just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you’ve got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
10. Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still, got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it’s also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah’s forgiveness, shouldn’t we lesser beings forgive too?
If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
It’s celebration time when Muslims around the world anxiously wait for the first moon of the ninth Lunar month to appear in the sky. Traditionally, families used to gather in their backyards, or get on the nearest hillock or climb on the top of their homes and wait for the pencil-thin moon to appear on the horizon. These days, however, most of us find out whether the moon has been sighted or not from the Internet or TV channels. Here are some Ramadan traditions that are still going strong:
1. The Ramadan Cannon is something that a lot of countries still have. It was historically implemented as a tool to announce the official daily sunset for the people too far away to hear the Adhaan Al Maghreb announce the breaking of the fast. The tradition of using artillery to announce sunset has its roots in Egypt when it was governed by the Ottoman Khosh Qadam, more than two centuries ago. The story goes that Qadam had been given a cannon as a gift, which he was testing during the Iftar of the first day of Ramadan. When he fired it, the whole of Cairo reverberated with its sound and inhabitants thought that this was a new method of announcing sunset.
2. We live in the age of digital alarm clocks. However, this was not always so and the time was when this role was performed by a man going around from house to house in a particular community or area well before Suhoor time in the morning so that people could prepare themselves for the fast and the Fajr prayer. This man, known as the Musaharati, used to dutifully wake people every night in the month of Ramadan so that they could have their Suhoor and still exists in cities like Sidon (in Lebanon), Jerusalem and Cairo.
3. Incense burners are many sought-after items in Ramadan as the burning of incense within homes is considered a form of celebration in Ramadan. The scent, mixed with other concentrated Arabic perfumes, results in a fresh yet intimate smell that can only be associated with festivities and moments of joy. For the month of Ramadan and the three-day Eid that follows, burning incense is an aromatic way to celebrate the purity of the month.
4. On the culinary side, Ramadan is a feast! Ramadan cuisine is a type in itself and Iftar, in particular, has traditionally become a community event, involving family, friends, and neighbors. A variety of dishes are prepared according to the culinary traditions of each country though dates and a dessert made of vermicelli, milk, honey, and nuts is fast becoming a universal delicacy. Also popular across the world are fried goodies, fruit salads, dairy products, and popular local desserts.
5. In many Muslim and non-Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume Iftar. These markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours.
During this Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vanish into the night, leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on fasting, its wisdom, and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of the Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between reality and our obligations.
Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah blessed His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase their piety (Taqwa). Allah said: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (Al-Baqarah 2:183).
This article is an attempt to present the essential causes of this gap and to some remedies. the primary reason for the gap is ignorance about the goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many Muslims ignore the purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely to conform to the social environment without contemplation. If one is not aware of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world and in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.
Goals of Fasting
Achieving Taqwa: is one of the most important wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on Taqwa as it lessens the desire of the stomach and mutes the sexual appetite. Whoever fasts frequently would overcome these two desires more easily. This deters against committing abominations and sins and assist in controlling life leading to Taqwa.
Strengthening willpower and acquiring patience: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam called Ramadhan
the month of patience as it increases one’s will power to control his desire and the selfishness of his soul. This training allows him to be strong in following Allah’s commands. The most important being to carry the Message and propel it forward. The person trains himself to be patient in obeying Allah by stopping at the limits set by Allah both by way of action and abstention. Allah said: “These are the limits set by Allah, so approach them not.” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Fasting is pure worship: The fact that he is abstaining from food and drink both in public and in secret shows his honest faith and strong love of Allah, and his knowledge and feeling that Allah is all-knowing of everything. For this reason, Allah has made the reward for fasting greater than for any other type of worship.
Allah said in the hadith Qudsi: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied [in rewards], the good deed by ten of its like, up to seven hundred, up to whatever Allah wills, except fasting, it is for Me and I will reward it. He abandons his desire and his food for My sake..”
(Related by Muslim)
ibn al-Qayyim said: “…And people may see that a person is not eating in front of them, but the fact that he is really abandoning his food and his desire for the sake of God is a thing that nobody can find out about, and that is the essence of fasting.” (Zaad al-Ma’ad 2/29).
Relieving Muslims from life’s distractions: Eating, drinking and socializing all distract a person and weaken ties with Allah. It is by the Mercy of Allah that Muslims are ordered to fast so as not to be bothered by the intrusion of these activities. Nor by the thought about them nor the anticipation for them when devoting themselves to all types of worship Either reading the Qur’an, offering additional prayer, or making I’tikaf. For this reason, the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said: “Fasting is a shield and a secure fortress against Hellfire”
(Related by Ahmad).
Discovering Allah’s Blessings: A person experiences the hardship of the poor. He should then be thankful to Allah Who has blessed him with His bounty while others are deprived. This should make him more sympathetic and willing to share this bounty. The poor rediscovers that fasting helps a person be more devoted to worship. More able to concentrate and meditate. He should then be able of this devotion all year long, a blessing he should thank Allah for.
Acquiring strength and endurance: It has been discovered that depriving the body of food for a period of time helps its defense and endurance mechanism. This in turn this protects the body from certain diseases.
Ibn Abbas narrated, Once I was in a state of i’tikaf in the Prophet’s Mosque (Medina). A certain person came to me and sat down. I said to him, ‘O so and so, you look sad’. He said, ‘Yes of course, o fraternal brother of the Prophet. So-and-so has his due on me, and by the one who lies in eternal peace in the grave (i.e. Prophet Muhammad), I am not able to pay the debt’ I said, ‘Should I not talk to him about your debt?’ He said, ‘You can do so if you like’ Thereupon I put my shoes on and went out of the mosque. The person asked him, ‘Have you forgotten the state you were in (i.e. i’tikaf)?’ I replied, ‘Not at all, but I have heard from the one who lies in eternal peace in the grave [saying this his eyes became filled with tears], said:
“One who moves to fulfill any need of his brother, and makes effort for it, will find it better than itikaaf of ten years; and one who performs i’tikaf for one day for the pleasure of Allah, he will create a distance of three ditches between him and the hell – and each ditch has a width which lies between East and West, or between the heaven and earth.”
Source: Al Targhib Vol II p 272.
By the blessings of Allah, we are approaching another Ramadan. For most of us, we feel a little taste of hunger during this month only. But there are billions for whom it is a matter of daily life. Let us get immense rewards by helping our needy brothers and sisters around the world during this month of generosity.
There are certain times Dua is more likely to be accepted by Allah as mentioned by The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Some of these times are as follows:-
1/ The last third of the night.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:- “When it is the last third of the night, Allah the Blessed, the Superior, descends every night to the heaven of the world and says, “Is there anyone (demand anything from Me), that I may respond to his invocation: Is there anyone who asks Me for something that I may give (it to) him? Is there anyone who asks My forgiveness that I may forgive him?”
Bukhari V8 book 75 no.:333
2/ An Hour On Friday.
a) The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:- “On Friday there is a particular time. If a Muslim happens to be praying and invoking Allah for something good during that time, Allah will surely fulfill his request.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) pointed out with his hand. We thought that he wanted to illustrate how short that time was” *
b) The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:- “Seek the time in which hope is placed on Friday from after the afternoon prayer till sunset” *
Bukhari V8 book 75, no:409 &Tirmidi Hadith 1360
3/ The Night Of Qadr (Decree)
This night in Ramadan is the greatest night of the year. The Almighty Allah said about it. “The night of Al-Qadar is better than a thousand months” Quran 97:3.
4/ The Dua Of A Muslim For is Muslim Brother Or Sister.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:- “He who supplicates for his brother behind his back (in his absence), the angel commissioned (for carrying dua to his Lord) says: ‘ Ameen, and it is for you also”.
Muslim book 035 no:6589.
5/ Dua During The Month Of Ramadan.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:- “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of mercy are opened and gates of Hell are locked and devils are chained”
Muslim book 6 no2361.
6./ A Traveller’s And Parent’s Dua.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said: – three ( 3 ) duas are answered, there is no doubt about them:-
that of a father,
that of a traveler.
and that of one who has been wronged!
Abu Dawud book 8, # 1531.
Itikaf means seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of worshipping and becoming closer to Allah. Every Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would retreat himself in Itikaf for the last 10 days. The year he died, he observed Itikaf for twenty days. (Bukhari)
As the month of blessings and mercy is coming to the end, similarly, the recitation of the complete Qur’an is also coming to the Khatam which would be on the 27th night of Ramadan. The last ten nights are very important nights. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to exert himself in night prayer especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “Allah’s Messenger used to practice Itikaf in the last ten nights and say: ‘Seek out Lailat-ul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree) is the greatest night of the year. It is a night about which Allah revealed a full Surah, Surah Al-Qadr, and verses 3-6 of Surah Al-Dukhan. Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an, “Verily, We have sent it (his Qur’an) 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. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibril (Gabril)] 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.” (Qur’an, 97:1-5)
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…there is a night (during this month) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived (of something great). (Ahmad, an-Nisai and al-Bayhaqi).
Spend more time with the Qur’an. Read the Qur’an every day. Try to recite the whole Qur’an at least once during this month. Pray on time. Men should try to observe all the prayers with the congregation at mosques. Do not ignore the Taraweeh. Make more extra and voluntary prayers.
Do as much worship as you can. Do more Dhikr (remembering Allah) and Du’a (supplication) for yourself and for others. Repent and seek forgiveness for yourself and for others as much as you can. This is the best time for devotion and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Seek the Night of Qadr by special devotion during the last 10 nights of this month.
The month of blessing and forgiveness is passing away very quickly. Do not miss the remaining last ten days and nights. Let us clear our sins. Let us seek the Night of Qadr!
1. Actions that are to be Avoided While Fasting
Know that the fasting person is one whose limbs withhold from sins, his tongue from lies, foul speech and falsehood, his stomach from food and drink, and his private parts from sexual intercourse. So if he speaks he says that which will not harm his fast, and if he acts he does actions which will not spoil his fast – so his speech is good and his actions righteous.
This is the fasting that is prescribed; not merely withholding from food, drink, and desires. Just as food and drink render it invalid, similarly sins cut off its reward, spoil its fruit and make him the same as a person who has not fasted.
The prophet (peace be upon him) urged the fasting Muslim to display noble manners; to be far from foul speech and evil actions, and abstain from the rude and obscene talk. The Muslim is commanded to be far from these evil characteristics all the time, the forbiddance being even stronger whilst he is performing the obligation of fasting. So the Muslim who is fasting must avoid those actions which harm his fast, so that he can attain benefit from his fasting and attain Taqwaa which Allah mentioned: “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).”
Talq ibn Habeeb (a Taabiee – a student of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)) was asked to define Taqwaa, so he said, “Taqwaa is acting in obedience to Allah, hoping for His Mercy upon light from Him, and Taqwaa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah, out of Fear of Him, upon light from Him.”
Fasting is a means of attaining Taqwaa, since it prevents one from many sins that a person is prone to, Aboo Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “Fasting is a shield.”
Narrated Aboo Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.” The meaning of “no need” being that such as fast is not acceptable to Allaah.
Telling false statements and doing evil deeds are prohibited and must be avoided. The fasting person must refrain from telling lies and engaging in vain arguments. For example, a shopkeeper tries to tell lies to his customers or trap them by cheating and deceiving them. Unfortunately, most shopkeepers have such habits. Such behavior is always forbidden (even more during the fast). How astonishing and incredible it is that people commit such grave sins and deceitful deeds while fasting! This is a dangerous sign of their heedlessness and irresponsible behavior. Warning those people, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “How many fasting people will perhaps get nothing from their fast but hunger, and how many who get up for night prayer will get nothing from their standing except sleeplessness.”
The reason for this is that one who does these things does not understand the reality of fasting that Allah has made obligatory upon us, so Allah punishes him by refusing him the reward. Because of this our Pious Predecessors (as – Salafus – Saalih) make a distinction between the forbiddance that is due to something directly related to the worship – which render it futile, and those things not related to it directly, which do no render it futile.
1.2 Ignorant and Indecent Speech
Narrated Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said, “Fasting is not just (abstaining from) eating and drinking, but fasting is also (refraining) from vain speech (Laghw) and foul (or obscene) language (Rafath). If one of you is being verbally abused or annoyed, he should say, ‘I am Fasting.’”
Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have Mercy on him) said, “The one who is abused should say this (i.e. ‘I am Fasting) out loud, thereby clarifying the reason for his lack of response (to the abuse) and it will become a rebukement in itself for the one who started the trouble.”
Laghw refers to anything that is irrational and unrealistic. Including (but not limited to) wasting time by listening and viewing Radio and TV programs. Playing card games and chess etc., romance novels and stories of sexual passion, magic, and dramas, etc., useless talking and conversations with friends; backbiting and slander; nonsensical jokes, mockeries and similar kinds of behavior. These all must be shunned.
Rafath implies every action and word expressing sexual desire or its connotations.
Both Laghw and Rafath are prohibited for the fasting person. Therefore, everyone must refrain from all of the above-mentioned deeds. Similarly, whoever attempts to quarrel, dispute, utter obscenities and foul words, or is harshly abusive, then a fasting person must show perseverance and patience towards such an evildoer. A fasting person must abstain from arguments, disputes and hostilities, and face those situations with a polite and moderate composure.
Among the things that can destroy one’s hasanaat (good deeds) and bring sayi’aat (bad deeds) is allowing oneself to be distracted by quiz-shows, soap operas, movies and sports matches, idle gatherings, hanging about in the streets with evil people and time-wasters, driving around for no purpose, and crowding the streets and sidewalks, so that the months of tahajjud, dhikr, and worship, for many people, becomes the month of sleeping in the day so as to avoid feeling hungry, thus missing their prayers and the opportunity to pray them in congregation, then spending their nights in entertainment and indulging their desires.
Some people even greet the month with feelings of annoyance, thinking only of the pleasures they will miss out on. In Ramadan, some people travel to Kaaffir lands to enjoy a holiday! Even the mosques are not free from such evils as the appearance of women wearing makeup and perfume, and even the Sacred House of Allah is not free of these ills. Some people make the month a season for begging, even though they are not in need. Some of them entertain themselves with dangerous fireworks and the like, and some of them waste their time in the markets, wandering around the shops, or sewing and following fashions. Some of them put new products and new styles in their stores during the last ten days of the month, to keep people away from earning rewards and hasanaat.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It may be that a person attains nothing but hunger and thirst from his fasting.”
And It is Only Allaah Who grants success. May Allah Exalt the mention of His slave and Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), and render him, his household and companion safe from Evil.
‘Fasting In Ramadaan’, by Sheikh Saleem al – Hilaalee and ‘Alee ‘Abdul Hameed, al – Hidaayah Publishers, 1999
‘Ramadaan: Rules and Related Issues’, by Hafiz Salah – ud – Din Yusuf, Darussalam publishers, 199
‘The Month of Ramadaan: Problems related to Fasting’, by Abu Eesa Niamatullah http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?id=941&category=7
‘Matters Related to Fasting’, by Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al – Munajjid, IIPH publishers, 1999
 ‘Fasting in Ramadaan’, p. 43 – 45
 ‘Ramadaan: Rules and Related Issues’, p. 15 – 17
 The Noble Qur’an, Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:183
 Ibn Abee Shaybah, Kitaabul – Eemaan, Number 99; Declared Saheeh by Sheikh al – Albaanee; as quoted in Fasting in Ramadaan’, p. 43
 Saheeh Muslim, Book 006, Number 2565
 Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127
 As occurs in Fathul – Baaree, 4/117 and Faidul – Qadeer, 6/223 – 224.
 Ad – Darimee; Classed Hasan by Sheikh al – Albaanee in Mishkat, Vol. 1, p. 626; as quoted in ‘Ramadaan: Rules and Related Issues’, p. 17
 E.g. eating and drinking
 E.g. Falsehood
 Refer to Jaami’ ul – ‘Uloom was – Hikam, p. 58, of Ibn Rajab; as quoted in Fasting in Ramadaan’, p. 45
 Sunan al – Bayhaqi; Sahih ibn Khuzaymah; al-Hakim; Classed Saheeh by Sheikh al – Albaanee in Saheeh al – Jami’ As – Saghir, Number 5376; as quoted in ‘Ramadaan: Rules and Related Issues’, p. 16
 ‘The Month of Ramadaan: Problems related to Fasting’, by Abu Eesa Niamatullah http://www.islaam.net/main/display.php?id=941&category=7
 Matters Related to Fasting, p. 16 – 17
 Sunan Ibn Maajah, 1/539; ad – Daarimee, 2/211; Musnad Ahmad, 2/441; Sunan al – Bayhaqee, 4/270; Its Isnaad is Saheeh, as quoted in ‘Fasting in Ramadaan’, p. 45