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Ramdhan and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
Ramdhan and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
1. What the Prophet (SAW) said about the Magnanimity of Ramadhan
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is reported to have told his followers that `Allah, Subahanahu wa Ta'ala says, `Fasting is for me!' He (SWT) said this because other worships are seen by other human beings when the servant is carrying them out, but with regard to fasting only the servant [that particular individual] and his God know exactly if a person is fasting or not. This also means that the reward for other worships is known, but the reward of Fasting is up to Allah (SWT). Still other scholars say that reward for other worships is known or Jannat, but the reward of Fasting is Allah (SWT)—His liqaa—on the Day of Judgement and His pleasure. [Radiallahu anhum wa radhoo anhu] will apply to them.
The Messenger of Allah is also reported to have said, Allah says, "He (the believer) leaves his desires and his food and drink for My sake. Fasting is for Me and I reward it. Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind, up to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for Me, and I reward it."
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is also reported to have said that `Fast is a shield of protection for you, so when you are fasting, don't behave obscenely or foolishly, and if anyone argues with you or abuses you, say twice, `I am fasting, I am fasting.'"
In one of the sermons towards the end of Sha'abaan, the Prophet, peace be upon him, is reported to have said: "Oh mankind, upon you is about to arrive a magnificent month [shahrun 'adheem],
a month the beginning of which is mercy [shahrun awwaluhu rahma(tun)],
and the middle of which is forgiveness [wa awsaTuhu maghfira(tun)],
and the last part of it is protection against fire [wa aakhiruhu 'atiqun min-naar].
(And further he said, This is) a month in which there is a night which is better (in worship) than one thousand months. In nearness to Allah (SWT), in it a good deed out of considerate habit is better than an obligatory deed in other months; and performing of an obligatory deed in this night is better than performing seventy obligatory deeds in other nights.
And (the Prophet, peace be upon him said) this month is the month of Patience and Perseverance [wa huwa shahruS-Sabr]. And the reward of Sabr is Jannah.
And this is a month of equity and equality;
and this is a month in which the provision of the believer is increased.
Whoever breaks [completes] his fast after fasting, his sins are forgiven for him; and the reward for him is such that it is awarded to him without any reductions or cutbacks.
With regard to feeding the needy and the poor [Miskeen] in the month of Ramadhan, people in the audience said, "Oh Messenger of Allah, not all of us can find something which can be given to a fasting person to break his fast?" He, peace be upon him, said, "Allah will award you for that also. Whoever provides a fasting person for breaking his fast with a sip of milk, a date, or a drink of water; and whoever satiates a fasting person, Allah will have him drink from the Hawdhi [Kawthar] a drink after which he will never be thirsty until he enters Jannah.
And whoever lightens (the work-load) of his slave or servant [mamlook], Allah will forgive his sins and protect him against the fire of hell."
2. ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF ACCEPTABLE FASTS
All kinds of Muslim Fasts involve not only abstaining from permissible and lawful things like food, drink, and legitimate sex, but a willingness to abstain from everything that is illegal and prohibited, disciplining the entire body: ears, tongues, eyes, heart, mind, legs, hands, and feet to be led on the right path.
wa laa taqfu maa laisa laka bihee 'ilmu;innas-sam'a, wal-basara, wal-fu-aada; kullu ulaika kaana anhu mas'uoolaa.
Do not stand firmly on that about which you have no knowledge: Indeed the hearing, and the sight, and the heart --Each of them shall be questioned ((Bani-Israel: 17:36)
Fast also requires the fast of ears so one who fasts does not hear anything unbecoming or false. What is unlawful to speak is also unlawful to hear. That is why God almighty equates the eavesdropper with the profiteer, in His words, Exalted is He: Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gains. (5:42)
A fast is the fast of eyes so they do not see anything evil or prohibited. The Prophet Muhammad, on him be peace, said, "A furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart."
Fast also means the fast of heart so it does not feel and harbour anything improper. It should look to God with fear and hope. Furthermore, Fast requires a charitable and God-fearing heart which delights in giving away generously in the way of Allah, taking care of the needy, the orphan, the widow, the poor among neighbours, relatives, and the wayfarers. Above all, the fast requires a heart that exults in remembering God in prayers. Anything short of this is merely starvation-- and Allah doesn't care a bit if people want to keep themselves hungry and thirsty for their own pleasure-- as the Messenger of Allah is reported to have said.
Fasts also require the fast of mind so it does not think any evil thoughts.
On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet testify against them as to what they used to do, On that day will Allah pay them their just due, and they will know that Allah, He is the Manifest Truth. (24: 24-25)
Fasts also require the fast of tongue so one who fasts does not speak anything indecent and unlawful: lying, backbiting, scandal-mongering, perjury and a lustful gaze are the five things that Jabir reports from the Messenger, peace be upon him, to be responsible for breaking (destroying) the fast.
Fast also requires the fast of feet so they do not take one to any evil places.
It is also the fast of hands so they do not perform any evil deeds.
As regards eating and drinking after the fast is broken, the fast of the stomach requires that it does not devour ill-gotten food and drink, and it should not devour what Allah has made `haram'. Why should a man hunger and thirst for the whole day abstaining himself the whole day from something Allah has made `lawful' or Halal for him, only to break it with something that Allah has made haram, prohibited for him? One who fasts should not indulge in eating too much at the time of breaking the fast, Iftaar, to make up for the loss during the fast. What a person eats should be Halal and Tayyab, lawful, pure, and clean, and should be consumed with moderation.
Fasting is Not for a show-off: In Islam, fasts shall not be accompanied by dismal looks enforced by sackclothes and ashes--as it happened in the previous nations. Muslims shall not give up their daily work only because they were fasting.
3. TEN PRACTICAL RULES REGARDING FASTS
There are ten rules that need to be followed while observing the Ordained fasts during the month of Ramadhan: five of these rules are Obligatory ([faradh], prescribed by God), and five of them are Traditional [sunnah], following the practice of the Prophet, peace be upon him.)
The Five Obligatory Rules:
Seeking Ramadhan is obligatory (sighting the moon of Ramadhan and Shawal)
Expression of Intention is Obligatory:
Preventing any External thing from entering the interior [baaTin]:
Sexual activity of any kind is prohibited
Intentional vomiting is prohibited
The Five Rules According To The Sunnah (the Way) of the Prophet
6. Delaying Sahoor, the end of eating time in the morning;
7. Hastening in breaking the fast [iftaar];
8. Breaking the fast with dates or water;
9. Ceasing to brush teeth or gurgle from the afternoon to sunset.
10. Exceeding in good deeds: giving charity [sadaqah], reading of Quraan in plenty with love and understanding, sitting in the Mosque in I'itikaaf, and performing sunnat prayers [taraveeh], which is about 20 rak'at every night.
Expression of Intention (of keeping and breaking the fast) is Obligatory:
1. Every night before the end of Sahoor, intention of fasting needs to be expressed in words. The words to express intention could be in any language, but their meaning should be similar to this:
Nawaytu Sawma Ghadan 'an adaain fardhi Ramadhaana (haadhi-hi-s-sinati) li-llahi ta'aalaa
`I express my intention to fast for (the entire duration of the day following this night) (by way of performing) timely the Obligatory Fast of the month of Ramadhan (of this year) for the sake of Allah Ta'aala.
2. It is also important to express the intention of breaking one's fast at the sunset. Again the intention can be expressed in any language so long as he says something similar to what our prophet, peace be upon him, has taught us to say, and that is:
Allahumma Laka Sumtu Wa bika amantu Wa 'alaika tawak-kaltu Wa 'ala rizqika aftartu
Oh our God for You did I fast and in You did I believe and on You did I trust and with Your provision did I break my fast
4. THE FOUR ENDEARING AND WORTHY HABITS OF A FASTING PERSON
"Therefore," went on the Prophet, peace be upon him, "increase in it four practising habits:
Two of them are such that they will endear you to your Lord: saying shahadah and Istaghfaar:
Ashahadu an-lailaaha illallah …and
Astaghfirullahil-adheem al-ladhee lailaaha illa Huwal Hayyul Qayoom wa atoob ilaihi
b. And two of them are such that you should never be [ghani] independent, oblivious, careless) of them:
Asking Allah for Jannah (say): Allahuma asa'aluka ridha wal jannah (Oh my Lord, I ask for your pleasure (state of Your being pleased with me) and Paradise.),
and asking Allah (SWT) for protection against the fire (of hell) (say): Allahuma/rabbana ajirna min-naar (Oh my Lord, Protect me from the fire of hell.)