Ramadan & Fasting
With the advent of another Ramadhaan, a mixture of feelings overwhelm the hearts of Muslims all over the world. The hearts are full of hope, based on truthful promises and great tidings, given by Allah and His Messenger (S), of great bounties and endless bliss.
*We have been promised that the past sins will be forgiven for those whose fast is based on belief (Eemaan), sincerity and on truly expecting the reward from Allah (Ihtisaab).
*We also have been promised that the past sins will be forgiven for those who offer night prayers (Qiyaam) during the whole month, and who do that with the same two conditions of Eemaan and Ihtisaab.
*We have further been told that there is one night in this month which is better (in rewards) than a thousand months of worship, and that all the past sins will be forgiven for those who spend it offering Qiyaam with both Eemaan and Ihtisaab.
*We have been told that the devils will be chained down, that the gates of Hell will all be shut and that the gates of Paradise will all be open throughout this month.
*We have been told that Allah will free (from punishment) some of his 'ibaad (worshipers) on every single night of Ramadan.
*We have been told that Allah answers the du'aa of the fasting person at his iftaar (fast-breaking).
*We have been told that Allah multiplies the rewards of fasting beyond limits or imagination.
*We have been told that the fasting person will be joyous and happy when he meets his Lord.
*We all hope to be among those who offer the fast in the right way, in order to cultivate its glorious fruits.
*We hope to be granted forgiveness of our previous sins, to be able to do much more good and to overcome all our weaknesses.
*We hope to be among those who receive the gifts from the Jannah, whose gates are open.
*We hope to humiliate our enemy (Satan), who is chained down, by rejecting any of his deceitful advice.
*We hope to be among those who shall be granted full atonement of their sins by the end of this month, and among those who will be most happy with their fast when they meet their Lord.
*We hope that all of us, Muslims, will be pleasing to Allah in order to deserve His Mercy and victory.
Together with hope, we have some concerns in our hearts. There are conditions for the fasting to be acceptable and to give its desired results: Eemaan and Ihtisaab. Are we going to perform our fast with the true belief and the full surrender to Allah, or is it going to be just a hard exercise for us in order to lose some weight? Are we going to fast because Allah imposed it on us or just because we have been used to it from our childhood? Is our intention to please Him or to please our friends and family?
And even when we feel that we do satisfy the conditions for an acceptable fast, we are still concerned that our deeds may not be accepted from us for some deficiency on our side that we may have overlooked. This is the way of the Sahaabah (R) and their true followers, some of whom were reported to have said: "I will not feel quite safe even if I see that one of my feet is already in Jannah - not until both of them are in there.
Successful indeed are those who, during this Ramadan, will fast during the day and pray at night. Those who did not will regret it, and regret it strongly ...
Ramadan comes only once a year, therefore, we should host it in the best possible way. However, unlike many of us think and behave, its (Ramadan) treatment is not the tables full of dishes and the useless parties and gatherings but rather the reading of Qur'an, the remembrance of Allah, the prayer at night behind the Imam (the Taraweeh prayer), the Suhour, the du`a at the Iftar, the charity ...
My Very Dear Muslim Sister after reading all this I hope that we all are are going to prepare ourselves to fast as perfectly as possible this coming month of Ramadan by purifying our intention to Allah and following the footsteps of the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, and his companions.
We ask Allah to make fasting easy on us, to help us perform it in the perfect way that pleases Him, to reward us with all the bounties that he promised to the fasting people, to grant victory, and supremacy to the Islamic Ummah, and to make our most pleasant and happy day the Day that we shall meet with Him.
We pray to Allah SWT that He makes us among His `utaqaa' [freed people from Hell] in this month and that He prevents our bodies, our skins, our flesh and our bones from Hell Fire. He is the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent, the Oft-Forgiving.
We pray to Allah to help us fast this Ramadan in the way it pleases Him the most so that we enter Paradise from ar-Rayyan gate.
Let us not miss this opportunity of Ramadan to be in the hereafter in Paradise in the company of our beloved Prophet Mohammad, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, and all the Prophets, and Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali and in the company of the martyrs Hamzah, Mus`ab, Ja`far, Zayd ibn al-Harithah, and with our mothers Khadija, `Aishah, Ummu Salamah, Safiyyah, Hafsah and the others...
O Allah, we ask you by Your Beautiful Names and Attributes of higher rank, and by all the sincere deeds we have done, do not deprive us from their company, and do not deprive us from looking at you in Paradise. Aameen
Suhaib radhiya Allahu `anh relates that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When the inmates of the Paradise will have entered the Paradise, Allah, the Master of Honor and Glory, will ask them: Do you want anything more that I should give you? They will submit: (O Allah)! Have you not made our faces shining? Have you not admitted us to the Paradise and saved us from the Hell? (What else is left to be desired?) Thereupon, the veil will be withdrawn, and the inmates of the Paradise will not have known anything dearer to them than looking at their Lord. [Muslim].
Allah the Exalted said [in the meaning of]:
Those who believe and do good works, their Lord guideth them by their faith. Rivers will flow beneath them in the Gardens of Delight. Their Prayer therein will be: Subhanaka Allahumma (Glory be to Allah) Their greeting therein will be Salam (peace). And the conclusion of their prayer will be al-Hamdu liLlahi Rabbi-l-`alameen (Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds).[Yunus, 10:10-11].
All praise is due to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would not have been guided, had Allah not guided us.
wa salla Allahu `ala Nabiyyina Mohammad wa `ala 'aalihi wa sahbih (and may Prayer and Peace be upon the our Prophet Mohammad, his family and his companions).
(1) passages from the book "Fasting in Ramadan as observed by the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam" by Shaikh Ali al-Halabi and Shaikh Salim al-Hilali. This book is one of the best books written so far on the topic especially that it contains all ayaat and authentic ahadith relevant to fasting and to Ramadan. Al-hamdu liLLAH it has been translated to English [it is available from al-Hidaya in UK, and from al-Qur'an was-Sunnah Society of North America].