By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

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Ten Special Features of Ramadan

 

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ {البقرة 185}

It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. Allah wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Ramadan for us Muslims is not just the month of fasting; it is the month of virtues, values, happiness and blessings. It is the only month that is mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The Prophet –peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- called this ‘a blessed and a great month.’ Ramadan has many features: spiritual, moral as well as historical and cultural. Books have been written on various aspects of Ramadan and for centuries Muslim poets have sung the songs in its joys and blessings. I want to mention here 10 special features of Ramadan:

  • Month of the Qur’an: The most important feature of Ramadan is that it is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed. Its revelation came in the Night of Qadr, a night that is better than one thousand months (Surah al-Qadr 97). The Night of Qadr did not occur only fifteen hundred years ago; every year this Night also comes in Ramadan and brings the honor and blessings from Allah. The Qur’an is the Kalam Allah, the speech of Allah, the most beautiful and most powerful speech. It is the most authentic and most comprehensive manual to reform and improve the life of human beings, whether individuals, families or nations. It addresses all human beings and can help every person in any land, any time and in any situation. We should increase our link with the Qur’an read it every day. In this month specially we should read it from cover to cover at least once. We should also reflect on its meaning and message.
  • Month of Patience: Fasting is patience and it teaches patience. The purpose of fasting is to learn Taqwa, self-discipline and self-restraint. This is the highest virtue in Islam and it is the key for moral and spiritual growth and development. Fasting is to learn how to control one’s appetites as well as one’s desires. The fasting person does not learn only how to control his stomach; it is also to control one’s tongue, ears, eyes, hands and feet. Fasting person has to focus his/her heart and mind towards Allah. We call the sick people patients, but patience is not only for the sick and weak; the healthy and strong people also should be patient.
  • Month of Prayers and Remembrance of Allah : Salat and Dhikr are the special features of this month. Fasting makes the heart humble and it is the humble people who pray. We should pray our five daily prayers on time. We are also supposed to spend some time in Qiyam al-layl, the night prayer. Every person should spend time doing extra prayers and the Dhikr of Allah.
  • Month of Repentance and seeking Allah’s Forgiveness : The gates of Allah’s heaven are open in this month; the gates of Hell are closed and rebellious devils are put in chain. Allah stretches His blessed hands to receive every repentant person. Every day and every night the angels of Allah call those who seek goodness to come forward and leave anything that is bad and evil. Ramadan is the best time to turn to Allah and seek His forgiveness. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said, ‘He is a loser who finds Ramadan and does not receive forgiveness.’
  • Month of Charity and Generosity : This is the month of giving and helping those who are in need. This is the month of doing more charitable works. The Prophet was the most generous person all the time, but in Ramadan his generosity had no limits. He was as charitable as the morning breeze. Muslims give their Zakat, Sadaqatul-Fitr and other charities (sadaqat) during this month. Every good deed done in this month brings hundreds and thousands times more blessings.
  • Month of Kindness and Good Relations : Ramadan is a great time for building good relations within the family, among relatives, neighbors and co-workers. We should apologize and ask for forgiveness if we have done wrong to anyone. We should forgive those who have done wrong to us. We should not get involved in fights and disputes at this time. We should go out of our ways to reconcile any differences.
  • Month of Brotherhood and Sisterhood : In Ramadan we fast together. Fasting builds a special bond among us. Our happiness is in the happiness of other Muslims and our pain is in the pain of others. This is the time we should be more concerned about the situation and condition of our Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world. We should pay more attention to their situations, their difficulties and pains. We should help the needy and stand for justice for those who are deprived of justice.
  • Month of Great Victories : Ramadan reminds us of the victories of Muslims over their enemies. The events of Badr, the Victory of Makkah and many other glorious events took place during this month. Ramadan is the month of peace but it is also the month when Muslims defended themselves and stood firm against the forces of evil and oppression. Allah gave victories to the believers at the most difficult times because they followed the path of justice and righteousness. Their victories were not for material gains and personal or national glory, but they were for the truth, justice and righteousness.
  • Month of Du’a : After mentioning fasting and the significance of the month of Ramadan, Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ {البقرة 186}

When My servants ask you (Prophet) about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided. (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Fasting brings a person very close to Allah and it is the best time to pray and ask Allah for His blessings and mercy. All our prayers, especially in the state of fasting, are very effective. The prayer indicates one’s sincerity, devotion and humbleness to Allah. It brings its results here in this world or its reward will be given in the Hereafter.

  • Month of joy and happiness : The month of Ramadan brings special joy to believers. The Prophet –peace be upon him- said,

... وللصائم فرحتان يفرحهما: إذا أفطر فرح بفطره، وإذا لقي ربه فرح بصومه ( رواه أحمد ومسلم والنسائي)

The person who fasts has two joys: when he makes iftar he feels happy and when he shall meet his Lord he shall be happy with his fast . (Ahmad, Muslim and Nasa’i)

Those who fast they feel happy when they complete their day’s fast at sunset. They appreciate the food and drink that Allah has provided for them. They thank him and recognize His blessings and bounties. Those who fast will also have a special happiness when they shall meet their Lord. He shall greet them with greetings of peace and grant them special honor and grace them with His mercy and kindness.

May Allah help us to take full advantage of this month and make this a month of joy and happiness for us and for others through us. Ameen.

(Khutbah at ISOC – Ramadan 4, 1434/ July 12, 2013)

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