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::Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu:::Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings::

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ramadhan in my own words.

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan. Ameen.

In about two weeks time the Holy month of Ramdhan will be upon us all insha'Allah; this month has numerous blessings and it was in this month thatthat the Holy Qur'an was revealed to our Beloved prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم .

Ramadhan is the ninth month on the Islamic calender, it falls in between the Islamic months of Sha'ban and Shawwal. It is during this month that muslimsall over the world prepare for fasting from Dawn till dusk. Allah subhana wa ta'ala says in the Holy Qur'an:

"O Muslims fasting is prescribed for you just as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become fearful (of Allah)" - Qur'an 2:183

It is from this ayah that we know that it is obligatory for muslims to fast during Ramdhan and it was also made obligatory to people who have lived before us.

During this month Allah subhana wa ta'ala locks away the Shaytaan so that this time may be a source of Barakah, spiritually aswell as physically. Fasting enables us to hold self control over ourself; whilst in urge for food and water we turn towards Allah subhana wa ta'ala, this brings us closer towards Him. It is during the moments of fasting we realise the struggle to with stand without food or water for virtually the whole day.

It is when feeling this struggle that we learn to turn towards Allah for help and for the will power to go on throughout the day; during these moments of dhikr we find that we are turning more and more towards Allah and we feel a deeper connection compared to our normal everyday lives.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Truly, it is by the rememberance of Allah that hearts find rest" - Qur'an 13:28

When we turn to Allah, when we praise Him, when we are engaged in total Ibadah we realise that we seek comfort and solace in just remembering our Lord. Subhana'Allah it is at times like these that we should realise that we do not need to turn to anyone else except Allah.

The holy month of Ramadhan is an extremely spiritually uplifting time for all muslims around the world. The prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم 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

Allah subhana wa ta'ala has blessed this month so much that the Shaytaan are all locked up; this gives man the inner ability to reflect on his own nafs. As the Shaytaan are locked up and we are not allowed to touch food for the major portion of the day it allows muslims to have maximum restraint over their nafs. We are able to detect our inner strength to withold from that which our Nafs desires, we are also able to steer clear away from those things that the shataan tempts us with to misguide us from the Siratul Mustaqeem. We can use this month to help us get rid of the razail-worthless qualities (please note that to actually rid oneself of the Razail is to weaken it-this will be discussed in another post insha'Allah).

My teacher at school used to tell me that during this month we can see ourselves for who we really are; meaning as the Shaytaan are locked away, we can see what our personality is like because there is no influence over our actions. Masha'Allah she was/is right, because it is during this time that we need to reflect on our bad deeds on we can also reflect on those people who we have hurt.

We as muslims are constantly at war with shaytaan and the inner nafs; our spiritual state when we sin is such that our hearts become black from the sin, however due to Allah subhana wa ta'alas infinite mercy, when we remember Him and engage in Dhikr a portion of that sin is wiped away. If our Dhikr becomes focused, regular, meaningful and we are able to block out the sin, we find ourselves spiritual higher than we were before.

Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is a sheild; it is a shield from Shaytaan and it is also a sheild from falling under Allah's anger and going to Jahanam. Whilst in the stateof fasting actions such as lying, backbiting, stealing, cheating, making one angry, disobedience to parents, disobedience to elders, hurting somone, make the fast worthless. The reason being is because the whole purpose of fasting is to shield ourselves from actions such as these. Allah subhana wa ta'alamakes it clear in Surah al-Baqarah:

"The object is that you may guard against evil…" - Qur'an 2:183

It is important to bear this in mind when fasting. When thinking about this I picture myself in a bee hive with the white outfit on protecting myself from the stings of the bee, each time you commit a sin a piece of protective clothing is removed and the bees come and sting you at the place exposed. The more sinning you do the more stings you get, except the stings aren't on our physical bodies, they're on our spiritual ones..and what happens when a person suffers from excessive stinging..they die- becoming spiritually dead is as though we have given our souls to shaytaan. Let us try to make an effort and refrain from getting stung by our tongue. Our tongues are witholding from food, let it also hold back from words evil.

Important notes about fasting:
- It is the fourth pillar of Islam
- Fasting is Fard (obligatory) on every muslim man and woman who is sane and mature
- Allah subhana wa ta'ala has declared a great reward for those who fast for His sake and not for show
- Fasting is not just obstaining from food and drink, it is also for the rest of the organs of the body to refrain from that which is forbidden. For example the tongue must refrain from bad talk and the hands must refrain from haram things. Fasting means for the whole body to be fasting.
- From fasting we can see the unity of the ummah; we are all of different races, backgrounds, languages, habits, way of life, accents, however when we fast we all recite the same thing at Iftaar, we all do it for Allah only, we all feel the hunger in our stomachs, we all feel what those people who do not have food feel.
The prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم said:

"The believers are to one another like a building-each part strengthening the others"

From the above hadeeth it shows us that when we fast, it is as though we are feeling what those muslims who do not have food feel. When we feel hungry our stomachs cry for food, you realise that people who lesser off than us feel like this all year round. It is important to see that Allah is constantly showering His blessings on us, yet we are so forgetful of it!
Ramadhan should also be a time for us to give thanks for all that He subhana wa ta'ala has blessed us with.

Some Hadith regarding fasting:
*It is stated in a hadith that Allah subhana wa ta'ala says:
"It is for Me and I shall certainly compensate it." The Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم also stated, "The fragrance of the mouth of a fasting manis more pleasant to Allah than the smell of musk" -Mishkaat

*Hazrat Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "Whosoever fasts in Ramadhaan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven; and whosoever stands up (in prayer) in Ramadhaan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven and whosoever stands up (in prayer) at the Blessed Night out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven."- Bukhari and Muslim

*It is related on the authority of Sahl bin Sa'd radiallahu anhu that the Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "There is a special Gate of Paradise, which is known as Rayyan (and) only those who observe fasting will be allowed to enter through it on the Day of Resurrection. On that day, it will be called aloud, ‘Where are the bondsmen who used to fast for the sake of God and endure the pangs of hunger and thirst?' Such of the bondsmen will respond to the call and save them, no one will be permitted to enter by this gate. When they have entered paradise through this gate, it will be shut,(and), after it, no one will be able to enter by it." -Mishkaat

Commentary: Thirst is the most severe hardship one has to bear during a fast and the greatest sacrifice a man who is fasting makes is that he remains thirsty. Complete satisfaction from thirst should as such form the most prominent part of the reward on fasting. Hence, the distinguishing quality ofthe gate has been set apart for the entry of those who fast is satiety. Rayyan, literally, means satiation.

*It is related on the authority of Abdullah bin ‘Amr radiallahu anhu that the Apostle of God صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "The fast and the Quran will both plead on behalf of the bondsman (who will keep fast in the day and recite or listen attentively to the recital ofthe Quran in the night, standing in the presence of the Lord). The fast will say: ‘My lord! I had held him back from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness)’. And the Quran will say: ‘I had held him back from taking rest and sleeping in the night. O God! Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness)’. The intercession of both, the fast and the Quran will be accepted for the bondsman and he will be treated with exceptional kindness." -Baihaqi

I feel that it neccesary for each and every muslims to spend their time wisely and efficiently during ramadhan, only Allah subhana wa ta'ala knows when our last day will be thus we should make the most of it, as it could be our last.
During ramadhan we should try and spend more time in dhikr and ibadah as during this month our rewards are multiplied 70 times. Talking of wordly affairs should be the last thing on our tongues and dhikr should be the first.

See ramadhan as a time for a step onto self reformation and also for reflecting on the nafs. Enjoy every moment of ramadhan and ask for forgiveness for the sins that we commit knowingly and unknowingly, day in and dayout. I hope to post more on Ramadhan insha'Allah.

Remember the muslim ummah in your duaas and if you have space please remember me :).
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.