...::::The sacred and blessed month of Ramadwaan::::... The sacred month of Ramadwaan, 9th month of the Islamic calendar is regarded as the most sacred of all the months of the Islamic calendar. It is during this month full with blessings that Allah ta'ala (The Almighty) revealed the Holy Coran (Al-Quraan), his last message, considered as the best of all the sacred books, to his last and most supreme of all the prophets, Hazrat Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم by the means of the head of all the angels, Hazrat Jibraïl ( Alaihis Salaam ) (archangel Gabriel). In regard and respect to these values, Allah ta'ala imposed the fast during this sacred month to us. Of course, the fast is compulsory for all those who are physically fit, i.e. having a state of health which allows it to them.
"You have a month which is approaching, a month which is of a certain value, a month of blessing, a month which contains one night better than a thousand months": These remarks are the extracts of a speech which the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم
held towards the end of the month of Sha'baan. This hadith is brought back by Hazrat Salmaan Faarsî ( (Rahmatullahi Allaih)). In another hadith, Hazrat Obaadah bin Saamit ( (Rahmatullahi Allaih)) reports that the holy Prophet said one day, when Ramadwaan was very close:
"Ramadwaan, the month of blessings is coming to you, during this month Allah turns to you, covers you his special grace, forgives the sins, accepts supplications (du’as), admires your competition for the best and praises you to the angels. So show your efforts of virtues towards Allah".
We can see that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم took the care to make these speeches with an aim of warning against inactivity during this month. It is wise to recall that he addressed himself to Sahaabas ( (Rahmatullahi Allaih)) who were true practitioners. By that it should be understood that this teaching is conveyed to the people (ummah) in entirety till the last day, so that the ummah devotes more to the worship of Allah (ibaadats) during Ramadwaan because it is a very special month really. Ramadwaan is a month of such an importance that at the beginning of the year, the Paradise is subject to many ornaments and decorations.
Hazrat Ibne 'Abbaas ( (Rahmatullahi Allaih)) reports that he heard the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said:
"From the beginning to the end of the year, the Paradise is decorated and scented in the honour of Ramadwaan. Then, at the first night of Ramadwaan Mubaarak (blessed), a wind called Masseerah blows from the lower part of the throne of Allah ta’ala, and the doors quake, the leaves of the trees of the paradise are agitated and shivery and produce a melodious sound which was never heard before. And the houris (hoors) with large black eyes, leave their residences and come to the balconies of the Paradise and ask: "Is there somebody who requests to Allah one among us as wife? "Then they ask Ridwaan, the gatekeeper of the Paradise: "What is this night?". The latter replies: Labbaik! this is the first night of Ramadwaan, where the doors of the paradise are open for the fasters of the ummat of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ".
Further the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم adds: "During each night of Ramadwaan, Allah recommends to an angel to launch this call: Is there somebody who repent himself so that I can accept his repentance? Is there somebody who is sorry so that I can forgive him? Is there somebody who wants to lend money to a rich person, and a rich person who will refund all to him?
All these make us understand that Ramadwaan is a very blessed month. We will try to see its various aspects together.
Month of fast (roza)
Ramadwaan is first of all the month of fast. The principle of fasting is to abstain from eating, from drinking and from having sexual intercourse with ones wife during the day throughout the whole month of Ramadwaan. Allah ta'ala says to us in the Quraan: "It is during the month of the Ramadwan that Quraan was brought down, as a guide for mankind like a descent from the Lord, as an understanding. Whoever amongst you will see (live during) this month (the entire month), will fast". [Surah 2, verse 185].
With the exception for children, patients and travellers, it is compulsory upon any Muslim man and woman to observe the fasts of Ramadwaan. It is told in a hadith: "Whoever voluntarily neglects even one single fast of Ramadwaan without any major cause and without being sick, will never be able to replace it even if he fasts all his life".
One can fast during all his life with an aim of replacing only one fast missed voluntarily during Ramadwaan, but one will never be able to have the blessing which a fast observed during this blessed month contains. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم wanted to show that a fast observed during Ramadwaan is irreplaceable compared to the blessing which it contains during this sacred month. In another hadith it is said: "Whoever observes the fast of Ramadaan with faith and hope of reward will obtain the forgiveness of his/her preceding sins".
Allah ta'ala likes so much the one who observes the fast that the odour coming out from the mouth of the faster is more pleasant to Allah than the soft perfume of musk. In addition, the faster will receive his reward in a completely special way. Indeed in a hadith-qudsi, Allah ta'ala says: "The fast belongs to Me and it is ME personally who will give its reward". Is there greater honour for a mu'minn (believer) to receive his reward from his Creator personally?
Allah Soubhaanahû wa ta'ala never rejects the du’as of a faster. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم says: "The du’a of three categories of people is not rejected; that of a righteous king, that of a faster until he breaks the fast (iftwaar) and that of the oppressed"
It is especially recommended to do many du’as when the time of Iftwaar approaches, because the moments which precede the time of Iftwaar are favourable to the acceptance of the du’as by Allah ta'ala. But unfortunately, one often does not benefit the maximum of this favourable hour, because one is at that time, too busy preparing food. It even happens that one forgets the du’a of Iftwaar.
It is also sad to notice that one has consumption with no reserve during this month and this often at the costs of the rest the community which is affected concerning the satisfaction of its most immediate needs. Such behaviour is against the spirit of fast and the teachings of Islam, which do not cease to exhort believers to slow down their selfishness. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم , humble and modest, refused the luxury to eat several kinds of dates, bread and meat in the same meal. Unfortunately one cannot say so nowadays. For many Muslims, Ramadwaan has become the month where they eat more and especially the best dishes. One must understand very clearly that Ramadwaan is not a month where one fills up the stomach with rich and tasty food. It is the month when one tests, while abstaining from food and sex, to blur one’s animal instinct and to find a certain balance.
Month of reciprocity (mutual aid)
Ramadwaan recalls to the fasters the pain of those who do not have anything to eat and thus the fasters must show kindness and generosity to the poor. Consequently, they feel interdependent and close to each other. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: "It is a month of reciprocity. The food of the mu'minn (believer) is increased during this month. Whoever will give the Iftwaar to a faster will have the forgiveness of his sins, the protection from the burning hell and furthermore will have thawaabs equal to the faster because of this act".
This is why it is advised, to those who have the means, to give to the poor part of what they have prepared for the Iftwaar and the Sehri.
The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said that those who give to a faster something halaal for the Iftwaar will have in the nights of Ramadwaan the blessing of the angels and, in the night of Al-Qadr, the visit of Hazrat Jibraaïl ( Alaihis Salaam ). As signs of that visit they will feel their hearts tenderized and their eyes filled with tears. It is also said, in another hadith, that the one who will give to a faster a few water to drink, Allah ta’ala will make him drink from his sacred hawz (blessed well) and then he will not be thirsty anymore and this, until he enters the paradise.
Month of swabar (patience)
Ramadwaan is also a month of swabar. It teaches the fasters patience to face their difficulties. If they come across some difficulties, caused mainly by the fast or some other thing, they must accept them and support them without dispute, but in fact with satisfaction and joy. One should not be carried away by impatience and anger, and complain in period of heat (summer), especially one did not take anything for the Sehri. Moreover, for the Taraaweeh, if one is a little bit tired, one should not react as if it was a burden to him. Whoever seeks quarrel, it must be said to him that fast is being observed. If he insists and obstinate to importune us, we should not, at any moment, get into the trap of Satan and get carried away. One must say to oneself: "I am fasting and I abstain from letting myself carried away by anger".
End of the Part 1.