Ramadan Rejuvenates the Faithful


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We are thankful to Allah (swt) the Almighty for we are fasting in- yet another holy month of Ramadan.

Keeping fast since dawn till evening, sitting with our brothers at overflowing tables during Iftar, performing Taraweeh prayers in congregation, and rising at pre-dawn for Sahoor are some of the characteristics of the month.

But, Ramadan is more than that. It was the month in which the Holy Quran was sent down as a guide to mankind, and to distinguish good from evil.

By reflecting on hunger and thirst, we can better understand the plight of the poor, and the importance of helping them; and we strive to do good works, acquire Taqwa for the hereafter, and earn the approval of our Lord. Our lower selves are curbed, our moral values are improved, and the light of our eyes responsible for all these benefits- continues to illuminate our hearts.

With the month of Ramadan that Muslims spend in a festive air, the acts of observance that believers perform throughout this month bestow very much on their souls in spiritual terms. Their sincerity and religious awareness also grow in direct proportion.

In addition, believers who control their lower selves, and rein in their desires, are careful to avoid such behaviour as lying, backbiting, speaking evil, offending others, anger and lack of submission; but instead, always seek to exhibit proper moral virtues.

Certainly, one of the finest characteristics of this virtuous month furnished with such goodness and felicity- is the reinforcement of the bonds of love, and brotherhood among believers.

Our Prophet (sa) says this about this holy month, when feelings of mutual love, respect and compassion, fortitude and mutual aid come to the fore: “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah (swt) has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased.” (Ibn Khuzaymah)

Another of the countless blessings of Ramadan, in which we receive material and spiritual favours from Allah (swt), and for which we long with a deep spirituality deriving from the joy of religious observance, prayer, the giving of alms, and Iftar and Sahoor each year, is that we become aware of the blessings we possess.

Someone who opens his eyes to the world so immaculately created by our Lord, and who gradually becomes used to the perfection in the functioning of its systems; and who becomes familiar with the marvels all around, may fail to appreciate the blessings bestowed.

This veil of heedlessness is removed from his eyes in the month of Ramadan. He becomes more aware of the blessings ordained for him by Allah (swt), and starts to better comprehend His might and greatness.

When he sees the blessings set out at the Iftar table, the many different fruits and vegetables with their delightful aromas and flavours that emerge from the soil; and the different products obtained from animals- his amazement in the fact of the artistry of Allah (swt) grows.

He better understands what a miracle it is that bright yellow melons, red apples or strawberries, whose aroma still cannot be fully replicated by modern technology, should emerge from the odourless soil.

When he sits down to break his fast after a period, albeit a short one, of deprivation of these blessings, he better grasps the value of the blessings in front of him.

With the month of Ramadan, he once again remembers that Allah (swt) could have created only a single form of sustenance for us- if He so desired; and that, it could have been bitter, tasteless and dull in colour- much like the soil that produced it- but that because of Allah’s (swt) compassion and love for His servants, all foods possess their own incomparable tastes and esthetic appearances.

In this way, his submission and humility in the face of the manifestation of the titles of Allah (swt) as the All-Merciful and Most Merciful also grow.

As we again experience this great joy of the month of Ramadan, a month that increases our powers of reflection, and enables us to acquire many spiritual delights; and that allows us to enhance our closeness to Allah (swt) and to show, in a determined manner, the love and passion we feel for Him in our hearts. We also remember our brothers in faith who are being oppressed all over the world.

We remember the innocent people of the Middle East rocked by strife and affliction, under siege and bombardment; we remember our brothers subjected to persecution, slaughter, and mistreatment; and the threat of genocide in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir, East Turkestan, Pathani, Moro, Crimea and many other parts of the world.

We remember the importance of union, and unity- if they are to be saved. The images of innocent people wiped out by bombs, and machine guns, and of the bodies of children laid out in rows- never escape our memories.

We think of and pray for them at every Iftar meal; and once again, reaffirm our intentions to do all in our power to speed the coming of Islamic Unity in order that they may be saved.

Our wish is that our Almighty Lord will answer our prayers. As Muslims- with a passionate love of Allah (swt)- we fast with the love for Him, and break our fasts with the love for Him.

May He bestow salvation on our innocent brothers whom we never forget for a moment. May He make the Earth a place where the divisions and disputes of the Islamic world are set aside, and all Muslims embrace each other.

May the bloodshed cease- as quickly as possible; may the sufferings of the Ummah — and all mankind — come to an end; and may peace and security prevail. Ameen.

In Focus: The Blessings of Ramadan


Fasting in the month of Ramadan has been enjoined for all mankind in the Quran. We fast because it is an act of devotion and faith and because it is beneficial for our bodies and minds. As we bid farewell to Ramadan, there are also other blessings from Allah worth remembering and reflecting over them may help us be grateful to Allah for making us experience Ramadan this year, plan for the year ahead, and of course, ponder over how to make it even better next year.

The blessing of health

This year, fasting has not been not easy, especially during the hot summer months, and we have all experienced fatigue and discomfort at some point.  However, fasting has had a positive impact on our health, and we should be grateful to Allah to be included among those who have been able to fast. Good health is a blessing that we often tend to forget until we are afflicted with some ailment. This year, instead of complaining about aches and weaknesses as a result of fasting, we should simply say Alhumdulillah, and be grateful that Allah gave us the ability to fast along with good health that we enjoy daily without realizing its importance.

The blessing of family

Ramadan has many joys and one of its delights has been to share it with your family and friends. Fasting is a solitary act of devotion, but together we share the experience and we take pleasure and comfort from each other’s company. The feeling of hunger and physical stress may put us on edge, but fasting tests our patience, self-restraint and control of anger. Keeping in mind that the presence of our loved ones – our parents, spouses, children, siblings, other relatives and friends in our lives – is an Amanah from Allah should help us be more patient towards their shortcomings, act with more love and respect, and be grateful to Allah for their being there, for the days to come. Just imagine a Ramadan with one of your loved ones missing…

The blessing of comfortable homes

Ramadan in the summer months along with tests like loadshedding compel us to lose patience at times. Electricity, gas, clean water running from the tap – we take it all for granted and think our lives would be impossible without these conveniences. Fasting in a cosy, air-conditioned house is certainly easier than fasting in a mud hut without running water not to mention other comforts. If you have been without electricity this Ramadan and felt the brunt of it, let it be a reminder that it is another blessing from Allah to enjoy living in a comfortable house with modern amenities and that not all members of our Ummah are so lucky. Just as we empathize through fasting with those who suffer from hunger, we can show compassion with those living in less fortunate conditions by exercising patience and contentment and being grateful to Allah for what we have.

The blessing of literacy

One of the most memorable events of Ramadan is the revelation of the first verse of the Quran: “Read! In the Name of your Lord who has created (all that exists).” (Al-Alaq 96:1) The ability to read and write is a blessing we take for granted, forgetting that many miss the chance to acquire these essential skills. We forget how privileged we are and we forget to make best use of our advantages. For many of us, the Ramadan experience is not complete without daily recitation of the Quran. It is the best habit worth continuing throughout the year, as incorporating the Quran into our everyday life is sure to enrich it.

Today is an odd night in the last ten days of Ramadan – there is another one to come, Insha’Allah. We search for Laylat-ul-Qadr which is indeed the night on which the Quran was revealed. Let us contemplate over this blessing of Allah to guide humankind to the straight path.

May Allah (swt) enable us to remain thankful and patient, make the most of this Ramadan and continue our best practices of the Deen throughout the year. Ameen!

Ramadan – A Time to Improve and Sustain Yourself

RamadanAbdul Azeez Qari invites all Muslims to make the most of the blessings of Ramadan

The Prophet (sa) used to give glad tidings to his companions, upon the arrival of this month. Allah made it a time of action, when believers should strive for four things: fasting, Quran, worship, and righteous deeds. These are the most obvious gifts of Ramadan.

Why does evil diminish in Ramadan?

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Heaven (in another narration – the gates of Paradise) are opened, the gates of the Hellfire are sealed, and the Shayateen (devils) are chained” (Bukhari and Muslim)

He (sa) also said: “On the first night of Ramadan, the Shayateen and the leaders of the Jinn are chained.” (Ibn Majah)

This means that during Ramadan, their ability to tempt people diminishes. Evil and disobedience decrease, because, although the causes of disobedience are many, the greatest factor of all is the whispers of Satan. However, narrations prove that during this month only the leaders of the Shayateen are chained. This is why the evil does not come to a complete halt.

There also are many other sources for evil, one of them being the human soul, which is naturally inclined towards evil. Human devils are another reason for immorality in addition to man’s own lusts and desires. Yet another reason is that the remaining devils, which do not get chained, continue to misguide people. Nevertheless, all of these sources of evil have a lesser effect on the fasting people, because fasting bestows upon them a certain blessing.

What are the mercies of Allah during Ramadan?

Allah ordained fasting during this month, whereby people refrain from food, drink, and conjugal relations from dawn until sunset. When the sun sets, a fasting person can eat, drink, and have marital relations. The nations that came before us were not allowed to touch their spouses even at night. Likewise, if a person from them fell asleep before he had the chance to eat or drink, he was restricted from food and drink until the end of the next day.

However, Allah has made it easy for this nation. He says: “…Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to magnify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

One of such signs of ease is that an ill person and a traveller can break their fasts and make them up at a later time after Ramadan. Also, the elderly who cannot bear fasting, as well as the people, who have no hope for a cure (i.e., the chronically ill), instead of fasting, can feed the needy – they do not have to make up their missed fasts. In these mentioned cases, the believers should make use of the permission Allah has furnished for them, because He likes, when people take heed of the mercy He has endowed.

O, Muslims! Know that fasting is a protection from wrongdoing. This month is an opportunity for you to purify yourselves. During Ramadan, a Muslim has fewer burdens, as his desires are diminished and he acquires more goodness from being involved in fasting. One can rid himself of bad habits, such as overdoing matters, which are lawful – overeating, talking too much, and being over indulgent in sexual relations with ones spouse. We must stop the awful habit of going to extremes in fulfilling these desires.

What about hypocrites during Ramadan?

Some people fail to understand the reality of fasting. They spend their mornings hungry, while their evenings are full of sin. They spend the whole night watching television with their families, eating all night long to make up for the food they have missed while fasting. Therefore, fasting means no more to such people, but a change in the times of eating.

A Hadeeth states: “A man by the name of Abu Ghazwan came to visit the Prophet (sa). This was before Abu Ghazwan had become Muslim. The Prophet (sa) was the most generous of all people. He milked seven sheep for him, so the man drank all of the milk. Then the Prophet (sa) said to him: ‘Is it not time for you to become a Muslim?’ He replied, ‘Yes’ and became a Muslim. The Prophet (sa) then stroked his chest (while supplicating for him). The next day, the Prophet (sa) milked only one sheep for him, but Abu Ghazwan, was not able to drink all of the milk. So, the Prophet (sa) asked: ‘What is the matter, Abu Ghazwan?’ He, responded: ‘I swear by the One Who sent you as a Prophet, I have had enough.’ So the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Last night you had seven stomachs, while you were a disbeliever, and today you have only one stomach’ (At-Tabarani)

A believer can eat less and control his desires more, since he does not eat to enjoy nor to fulfil a desire, but rather to stop hunger and become stronger, so that he can worship Allah. The disbeliever, however, who does not believe in the Day-to-come, eats with a strong desire and the lust of animals, as Allah describes him in the Qur’an, saying that which means:

“…But those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as grazing livestock eat, and the Fire will be a residence for them.” (Muhammad 47:12)

What about the marketing strategy for MORE?

One type of cooked food is enough; let us not be like the Children of Israel, who would not settle for only one kind of food. O, people, who observe fasting! When you put these different types of foods on the table in front of you, before you begin to eat, remember that the Prophet (sa) would remain without lighting a fire in his house (i.e., without cooking) for one or even two months: “He and his family only ate dates and drank water” (Bukhari)

This was not because he could not have obtained it. It was merely because he stayed away from worldly pleasures, living a simple life and aiming to draw ever closer to Allah. Even though Allah offered him control of the treasures of the earth, the Prophet (sa) chose to live in poor conditions, eating as a slave eats, sitting as a slave sits. He used to say: “O Allah! Let me live as a Miskeen (humble servant) and resurrect me with the Masakeen (humble)” (Tirmidhi & Baihaqi)

How does Allah reward fasting?

Allah says as reported in a Hadeeth Qudsi: “He left eating and drinking and his desires for My sake. Fasting is for Me and I give reward for it – one blessing (for fasting) is multiplied ten times.” (Bukhari)