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)