Ramadan: A Gift For Muslims

Nouman Ali Khan

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. Continue reading

Ramadan: The Month Of Victory

Sheikh Abu Adnan

Sheikh Abu Adnan speaks about the virtues of Ramadan and gives some advice about how we should worship and act during ramadan and how we should keep our good deeds outside of ramadan. This is another very beneficial lesson by our beloved Sheikh. Continue reading

Why Do Muslims Fast?

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/why-do-muslims-fast.jpg

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 11 | Size: 1 MB

Most of us who are fighting the battle of the bulge have experimented with some form of fasting, like an all fruit fast, a water fast or an sugar-free fast, you name it. But what many may find rather strange and intriguing is a whole nation of people; be it man or woman, old or young, rich or poor; going completely without food and drink from dawn to dusk for a whole month – Ramadan. What is the significance of Ramadan beyond shortened work hours? Is it not a very harsh practice? Is it merely a time when Muslims sleep and fast and hardly work all day; and eat, drink, enjoy and stay awake all night? What really is the spirit of Ramadan?

Fasting Prescribed in All Religions

In English “fasting” means to abstain from food or from certain kinds of food voluntarily, as an observance of a holy day or as a token of grief, sorrow, or repentance.[1] This practice can be found in most of the major religions of the world. For example, in Hinduism, fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Devout Hindus observe fasting on special occasions as a mark of respect to their personal gods or as a part of their penance. Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food.[2] For Jews, the day Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) is the last of the Ten Days of Repentance observed on the 10th of Tishri. It is forbidden on that day to eat, drink, wash, wear leather, or have sexual relations. In addition, prohibitions on labor similar to those on the Sabbath are in force.[3] It should also be noted that Moses (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Torah to have fasted.

“And he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights, he neither ate bread not drank water.” (Exodus 34:28)

For Catholics among Christians, Lent is the major season of fasting, imitative of the forty-day fast of Jesus (peace be upon him). In the fourth century it was observed as six weeks of fasting before Easter or before Holy Week. It was adjusted to forty days of actual fasting in most places in the seventh century.[4] Jesus (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Gospels to have fasted like Moses.

“And he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and afterward he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:2 & Luke 4:2)

It is in this context that God states in the Quran: “O believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God.” (Quran 2:183)

Among the Best Righteous Deeds

Although in most religions, fasting is for expiation of sin or atonement for sin, in Islam it is primarily to bring one closer to God, as stated in the above-mentioned verse. Since, Godconsciousness is the prerequisite for righteousness, great stress is placed on fasting in Islam. Thus, it is not surprising to find that when Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was asked:

“Which is the best deed?” He replied, “Fasting, for there is nothing equal to it.” (Al-Nasa’i)

There are as many levels of fasting as there are facets to being human. Proper fasting should encompass all dimensions of human existence for it to have the divinely intended effect. The following are some of the major levels of fasting:

The Levels of Fasting

The Ritual Level

This level of fasting requires that the basic rules for fasting be fulfilled, which are avoiding food, drink and sexual intercourse between dawn and sunset for 29 or 30 days each year. On this level, one is basically following the letter of the laws regarding fasting without particular consideration for the spirit of fasting. It is the entrance level which must be fulfilled for the fast to be Islamicly correct, but the other levels must be added for the fast to have any real impact on the fasting person. Fasting on this level alone will not benefit one spiritually, except from the perspective of submission to divine instructions, if one chooses to follow the ritual consciously and not merely according to tradition. Thus, by itself, the ritual level will not purify one of sin or atone for sin.

The Physical Level

Fasting on the “physical” level causes the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst when the prophetic (Sunnah) way of fasting is observed. Prophet Muhammad used to consume a very light meal before the dawn (suhoor) and moderate meal (iftaar) to break the fast at sunset, while scrupulously avoiding filling his stomach. He is reported to have said:

“The worst container a human being can fill is his stomach. A few morsels of food to keep a person’s back straight are sufficient. However, if his desire overcomes him, then let him eat a third, drink a third and leave a third for breathing.” (Ibn Majah)

before beginning the sunset prayer.[5] This level allows the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst and thereby develops sympathy in him or her for those starving and dying of thirst in other parts of the world.

Medical Benefits

On the physical level, some chemicals in the brain that transmit messages and create feelings, called neurotransmitters, are affected by fasting. Fasting encourages the endorphin neurotransmitter system, related to the feeling of well being and euphoria, to produce more endorphins and, in fact, makes us “feel” better. This is similar to the effect of exercise (but without the physical work).It has also been noted by medical experts that fasting improves the physical health in numerous ways. For example, during the fast the body uses up stored cholesterol (fat) that is often deposited in the blood system, as well as in other fatty areas of the body. Thus, it helps to keep the body firm and minimizes the danger of heart attacks. The difference between the ritual level 1 and the physical level 2 is that a person dong only ritual fasting may eat large meals prior to beginning the fast and immediately upon ending the fast, and thus not feel any hunger or thirst throughout the whole month. However, like level one, if the fasting person does not incorporate the other levels of fasting, the fast will only be physically exhausting. The Prophet said:

“Perhaps a fasting person will gain nothing but hunger and thirst from fasting.”(Ibn Majah)

The Libidinal Level

The sexual instinct and drives (libido) are harnessed on this level of fasting. In these times where the media continually plays on sexual desires to promote and sell products, the ability to control these powerful desires is a plus. Fasting physically reduces sexual desires and the fact that the fasting person has to avoid anything which could stimulate him psychologically helps to further lower the libido. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“O youths, whoever among you is able to marry let him do so, for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. He who is unable to marry should fast, because it is a shield.” (Saheeh Al- Bukhari)

By restraining oneself from sexual acts which are permissible, the fasting person makes it easier for himself to restrain himself from forbidden sexual acts when he is not fasting.

The Emotional Level

Fasting on this level involves controlling the many negative emotions which simmer in the human mind and soul. For example, among the most destructive emotions is anger. Fasting helps to bring this emotion under control. Prophet Muhammad, said:

“When one of you is fasting, he should abstain from indecent acts and unnecessary talk, and if someone begins an obscene conversation or tries to pick an argument, he should simply tell him, ‘I am fasting.'” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Thus, on this level, whatever negative emotions challenge the fasting person must be avoided. One must abstain from lewd conversation and heated arguments. Even when one is in the right, it is better to let that right go and keep one’s emotional fast intact. Likewise, the negative emotion of jealousy is reduced, as every fasting person is reduced to the common denominator of abstinence; no one is externally superior to another in this regard. Continue reading

Your Day In Ramadan

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/your-day-in-ramadan.jpg

Website of Rasoulullah (peace be upon him)
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 16 | Size: 1 MB

This is a useful book talks about how a fasting Muslim should spend his day in Ramadan. This is regarding deeds by which he abides during his day. No doubt he should be eager to instill the good morals into himself while performing this great rite. He should not forget to ask Allah when he breaks his fasting, for Allah promised that he answers the fasting Muslim’s invocation when he breaks his fast. He should remember that it is highly recommended to perform Qiyam (supererogatory prayers at night) to get his sins forgiven.

Contents:

Al Fajr prayer
Invocations and Glorifications after Fajr Prayer
Going to Work
Dohr Prayer (Noon Prayer)
Asr Prayer (Afternoon)
Before Maghrib Prayer
Maghrib Prayer
Isha’ Prayer (Night Prayer)
After Tarawih
Sleeping
Tahajjud (Late Night Prayer)
Sahour (Last Night Meal)
some things to bear in mind (Niyyah) and the proof of each Niyyah Continue reading

How Do We Receive Ramadan?

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/how-do-we-receive-ramadan.jpg

Mohammed Al-Hashmi Mustafa
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 37 | Size: 1 MB

A brief book about the virtue of Ramadan and the importance of making good use of all seasons of worship. This is through getting ready to do good deeds, making faithful repentance and intending sincere intention to change one’s conditions in Ramadan and what is after it. Continue reading

Fasting In Ramadan According To The Qur’an And The Authentic Sunnah

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/fasting-in-ramadan-according-to-the-qur-an-and-the-authentic-sunnah.jpg

Abdul Karim Awad
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 133 | Size: 6 MB

With the advent of another Ramadan, a mixture of feelings overwhelm the hearts of Muslims all over the world. The hearts are full of hope, based on trithful promises and glad tidings given by Allah and his Messenger, of great bounties and endless bliss.

The past sins would be forgiven for those who fast, based on belief (Emaan) and truly expecting the reward of Allah (Ihtisaab).

The previous sins will be forgiven for those who offer night prayers (Qiyaam) during this month, and who do this with the 2 conditions of Emaan (belief) and Ihtisaab.

There is a night on this month which is better (in rewards) than a thousand months of worship, and all sins will be forgiven for those who spend this night in offering prayer with both Emaan (belief) and Ihtisaab.

The devils will be chained down, the gates of Hell will all be shut and the gates of paradise will alll be open throughout this month. Allahj will free (from punishment) some of his Ibaad (worshippers) on every night of this month of Ramadan.

Allah answers the du’aa (suplications) of the fasting person at the Iftaar (fast- breaking). Allah multiplies the reward of fasting beyond the limits of imagination. The fasting person will be joyous and happy when he meets his Lord. Continue reading

The Fiqh Of Fasting

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/the-fiqh-of-fasting.jpg

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 80 | Size: 2 MB

Fasting (siyaam) in Arabic linguistically means to restrain or abstain from. According to the Sharee‘ah it means “abstaining from food, drink, sexual intercourse, and other acts mentioned in the divine law during the day in the prescribed way. It is followed by abstinence from foolish talk, obscenity, and other forms of prohibited and disliked speech, due to the narration of hadeeths forbidding them during fasting more so than at other times. [The abstinence should be] during a specified time, and under special conditions which are explained in the following hadeeths. The beginning of its obligation was in the second year after the Hijrah.

[1] – Aboo Hurayrah narrated that Allaah’s messenger (PBUH) said, “Do not fast one or two days just before Ramadaan, except in the case of a person who has been in the habit of fasting this way. He may fast on those days.” Collected by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

Aboo Hurayrah’s quotation of Allaah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying, “Do not fast one or two days just before Ramadaan…” contains evidence supporting the use of the term Ramadaan as a general term for the month of Ramadaan. The hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah collected by Ahmad and others attributed to the Prophet (PBUH),

“Don’t say: ‘Ramadaan has come,’ because Ramadaan is one of Allaah’s names. Instead, say, ‘The month of Ramadaan has come.’ ” is weak and cannot validly oppose what is found in the authentic [collections of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim].

“except in the case of a person5 who has been in the habit of fasting this way. He may fast on those days.”

The hadeeth is proof for the prohibition of fasting a day or two before Ramadaan. After narrating this hadeeth, at-Tirmithee said: “Doing this according to the people of knowledge was considered disliked (makrooh). They disliked that a person fast before the arrival of Ramadaan based on the very meaning of the term Ramadaan.” At-Tirmithee’s statement “based on the meaning of Ramadaan,” restricts the prohibition to precautionary fasts, and not fasting in general, like voluntary fasts, fasts due to vows, and other similar fasts. That restriction obviously implies that preceding Ramadaan by any other kind of fast is permissible. But that position is in conflict with the obvious meaning of the hadeeth which is general. Nothing is excluded from it except the fast of someone who regularly fasts fixed days and they coincide with the last days of Sha‘baan. If the Prophet (PBUH) had intended that the fast be limited by what at-Tirmithee mentioned, he would have said, “except one doing voluntary fasts,” or something similar. Prohibition of preceding Ramadaan with fasts was because the Lawgiver had linked the beginning of fasting the Ramadaan fast to the sighting of the crescent moon. One who precedes its sighting is in conflict with both the commands and prohibitions of the religious texts. The hadeeth also contains invalidation of the esoteric (Baatinites) practice of preceding the fast by one or two days prior to sighting the crescent moon of Ramadaan, and their claim that the particle preposition (laam) in the Prophet’s statement: صُومُوا لِرُؤْیَتِھِ Fast for its sighting means “greeting it”, because the hadeeth indicates that the laam cannot be correctly interpreted according to this meaning even though it carries that meaning in other contexts. Continue reading

Don’t Forget The Prisoners This Ramadan

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/dont-forget-the-prisoners-this-ramadan.gif

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that “the best charity is one given during Ramadhan” and he himself was the best example of this, as was narrated, “the Messenger of Allaah, was the most generous of people and he used to be most generous in Ramadhan” Continue reading

Ramadan: Stop, Revive, Survive

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/ramadan-stop-revive-survive.gif

Sheikh Bilal Dannoun

Sheikh Bilal Dannoun explains many of the virtues of Ramadan as well as answering many common questions asked on the rules of fasting in the month of RamadanAllah says in the Qur’an:’Oh you who believe Observing As-Saum (fasting) has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)’ Continue reading

Benefits Of Ramadan

https://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/benefits-of-ramadan.gif

Sheikh Ali At-Timimi

By Ali At-Timimi (May Allah hasten his release from prison..ameen). In the month of Ramadaan it is very important that we spent a few moments to understand some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of fasting. Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Let it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal.” Continue reading