By New Age Islam Edit Desk
16 June 2014
The glorious month of Ramadhan is round the corner. Muslims all over the world look forward to welcoming this blessed month eagerly every year. This month has great significance according to the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh). In this month, Allah showers his blessings on the Muslims and makes special arrangements for ensuring that he makes the most of the opportunities provided by Him in the month. Rewards for good deeds are increased manifold, the paradise is decorated for those who fast and Satan is chained and confined so that he cannot misguide and lead the Muslims and lead the Muslims astray.
Fasting was mandated to the followers of all the Abrahamic religions as the Quran mentions.
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before You, so that you may guard (against evil". (Al Baquarah:185).
Fasting is the means to burn all the sins, lustful desires animal instinct and to draw closer to God through self-restraint and submission to Him. And all the Abrahamic religions observed fasting in one or the other way. So, when Prophet (pbuh) was honoured with prophethood, he too wished that his Ummah had got the opportunity and blessings to fast. Before, fasting was made mandatory to the Muslims, the people of Makkah used to fast on the tenth of Ashura. So Hadhrat Muhammad (pbuh) also advised Muslims to fast on that day.
“Narrated Salama bin Al Akwa, Once the Prophet pbuh ordered a person on Ashura to announce, “Whoever has eaten, should not eat anything more but fast and who has not eaten should not eat but complete his fast till the end of the day.”(Sahih Bukhari: 147)
Another Hadith of reported by Hadhrat Ayesha Radiallahu Anha is as follows:
“The tribe of Quraish used to fast on the day of Ashura in the Pre-Islamic period and then Allah’s apostle pbuh ordered (Muslims) to fast on it till the fasting in the month of Ramadhan was prescribed, whereupon the Prophet pbuh said, “He who wants to fast (on Ashura) may fast and he who does not want to fast may not fast.”(Sahih Bukhari: 117)
So, after that, fasting on the tenth of Ashura was made optional.
Let’s us first discuss the significance of this month according to the Quran. There are various verses that mention the holy month of Ramadhan and its special status among the months.
Revelation of the Holy Quran in This Month
The holy Quran was first revealed on the 27th Ramadhan to the holy prophet of Islam Hadhrat Muhammad (pbuh). Surah Baquarah (185) says:
“Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment (so that mankind will distinguish from right and wrong)..”
Another verse also states that it was revealed on the Night of Quadr (power), the 27th night.
“Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what the night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibraeel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) “Peace” (continuously) tills the rise of Morning!”
The month was so sacred to God that he chose to reveal the holy Quran in this month, that too on the 27th night, Lailatul Quadr. During the entire life of the Prophet (pbuh), the angel Gibreel used to visit Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) every night and he used to recite the Quran to him. That’s why the whole Quran is recited throughout the month by the Muslims both individually and in the prayer of Tarawih collectively. Because of this, the month of Ramadhan is also called the month of the Quran.
Satan Is Chained
Allah wants the Muslims to spend the entire month of Ramadhan in offering Farz and Nafil Namaz, refrain from lustful pursuits, do good deeds and fast for the entire month. Since Satan tries to misguide and mislead Momineen through various means, Allah chains Satan for the entire month to save Momineen from sins. There is a Hadith which says:
“Allah’s Apostle said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Bukhari)
For the Muslims who fast during the month of Ramadhan, there will be a special gate through which only the fasters will enter Paradise. The gate is called Rayyan.
“Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam said: “There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Lailatul Quadr (Night of Decree)
In one of the odd nights of the last ten days (Ashura) of Ramadhan falls the most valued and blessed night which is called the Night of Decree (Lailatul Quadr). About the significance and greatness of this night, the Quran has an entire Surah, Al Quadr. In the Surah, Allah says that this night is better than a thousand months. Prayers offered and supplications made in this night are granted readily. Angels and Spirit descend on earth with the permission of Allah and shower blessings on those who stand or prostrate in this night and ask for forgiveness. That’s why Muslims should look for Lailatul Quadr in all the odd nights of Ramadhan from the 21st to 29th. The Hadith about the rewards for the prayers offered in this night is as follows:
Hadhrat Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet pbuh said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Quadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadhan our fo sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari:125)
Redemption from Fire of Hell
One of the greatest gifts of this month from Allah to the Muslims who fast, pray and recite the holy Quran sincerely for the entire month is redemption from the fire of Hell. Allah says that since the Muslims fast for Him, so He will forgive all their sins and ensure Paradise for them. To win Allah’s favours and his blessings, the Muslims refrain from bad deeds, from quarrels and from minor and major sins. They refrain from speaking ill of anyone, backbiting or hurting him verbally or physically. They give alms to the poor, serve Iftar to the needy and give charity. They obey their parents; treat their neighbours with love and affection. All these good deeds are a shield for them against the fire of Hell. Prophet Muhammad pbuh says as narrated by Hadhrat Abu Hurairah:
“Allah’s apostle said, “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting’. The Prophet pbuh added, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person) He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me, so I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” (Sahih Bukhari: 118)
Thus, the glorious month of Ramadhan is a great and wonderful opportunity granted by Allah the most merciful to the righteous and God-fearing Muslims to get rid of all sins of the past and get a new life free of sins. The month instils among the Muslims a sense of closeness to God who everyone has to return. The fasting person will meet God in a state that He will be pleased with him.
Therefore, Muslims should not lose and waste this golden opportunity to seek redemption and salvation in the Hereafter and a successful and respectable life in the world because God says that those who offer prayers believe in the Day of Judgment and do righteous deeds will get a good life both in this world and in the Hereafter. May Allah give us the strength and will to observe the month of Ramadhan in a spirit prescribed by Allah and the holy Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (pbuh). Ameen.