Ramadan is the month wherein the Qur’an was revealed for the guidance of mankind and to serve as the criterion for knowing our rights from wrong. It is the month of fasting, praying, patience, worship, recitation of the glorious Qur’an and seclusion (itikaf). Therefore, every Muslim is obligated to partake in the blessings. Moreover, with valid reasons as prescribed, some individuals are prevented. But for whosoever that is prevented in this month, he/she shall payback the service later on.
‘o ye who believe! Fasting is decreed on you like it was decreed on the people before you; so that ye may be righteous’ — Qur’an 2:183.
This simply means that this blessed month has been prescribed has antidote to cure us from our unrighteous acts. We aare therefore enjoined to embrace all the teachings and practice from this Holy month during and after the Ramadan so that we may be righteous. This article will therefore entails series of important things we need to know , do and observe during the holy month in order not to miss the bounty rewards it brings.
Bismillahi ar rahmon ar raheem…
THE ONSET OF RAMADAN
This is marked by sighting of the crescent of Ramadan at the end of sha’aban (month). The Prophet (S.A.W) said, “The month (sha’ban) has 29 nights, though don’t fast until you see it (crescent), but when you are prevented from seeing it (by the cloud), then you should complete 30 days”. Alhamdulilah, the cresent to mark the commencement of Ramadan was sighted yesternight (26gth May, 2016) which stipulates that today (27gth May, 2016) marks the first day of Ramadan. Ramadan kareem! May Allah count out to be among those that will benefit greatly from the virtues it brings. Amen. Below are some of the virtues of the Holy month.
VIRTUES OF RAMADAN
Revelation of the glorious Qur’an during the night of majesty/power. (Quran 97: 1-5)
The presence of the best (last) 10 night of Ramadan.
The portals of paradise are opened, the gates of hell are closed and the devils (Shayadeen) are chained.
The presence of laylat- al qadr , the night which is worth more than one thousand (month of ibadat)
FAST (SAWN AND SIYAM)
Fasting means – abstaining from eating , drinking and sexual intercourse as well as engaging in vein talk/evil acts, from dawn to sunset .fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and it enjoys in the eyes of Allah, a grace unparallel by other act of piety and worship. Allah has said that He and He alone rewards the people that engages in Fasting. Moreover, to stay abraced in this attempt, we should understand the rulings guiding it. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is compulsory as Allah [SWT] prescribed it on us (Quran 2: 183). Almighty Allah says; ‘’O you who believe fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may [learn] self restraint [Q-Bagara V.183]’’.
It is obliged on :
- every adult, sane, healthy Muslim [male and female],
- who is not travelling and
- not in a state of menstruation, postpartum bleeding, old age or other recognized conditions in the shariah [Islamic law]’
THE INTENTION TO FAST (Aniyah):
For the fast of Ramadan to be valid, one has to make up one’s mind, or formulate the intention during the night of the day, he will fast. Hafsa [R.A] reported that the prophet [SAW] said;’’ whoever did not make up his/her mind to fast before dawn, then his/her fast invalid’’. The intention is an act of the heart, it is not necessary to utter it.
THE PRE-DAWN MEAL [SAHUR]:
This is highly recommended as the prophet [SAW] said; ‘’you should take the sahur, for in the sahur there is blessing: take even a mouth of water’’. The sahur should be delayed as close to the fajr prayer as possible [by the sunnah] and it should be with lawful [halal] food. The time for sahur is extended till dawn, the prophet [SAW]; if a man hears the call [to fajr prayer] while the cup is still in his hand, he shall not lay it down before he is through with it’’.
BREAKING THE FAST:
It is recommended that a person breaks his/her fast as the prophet [SAW] as prescribed. Anas reported that the prophet [SAW] used to break his fast before he performed the sunset [magrib] prayer with a few ripe dates, or if not available , a few dry date; or it not available, a few mouthful of water. The iftar should be hastened; it is a moment of joy for the fasting person.
THINGS TO ABSTAIN FROM DURING FASTING
- Food, drink, sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset
- Smoking, drug taking and injection of nourishing solution into body [e.g calcium, vitamins] is strictly forbidden
- Obscene speech, vein/boisterous talk, slander and back biting.
- Falsehood in speech or action; the prophet [SAW] said; he who does not abstain from falsehood in words and deeds, Allah has no need for his/her own fasting.
The prophet [SAW] said;’’ five things spoils man’s fast-lying, slander, calumny, false oath swearing and the lustful look’’.
THINGS THAT SPOILS THE FAST
- Flow of menstrual and post partum blood
- Expulsion of bodily fluids during intercourse, intentional vomiting, cupping of/ donating blood [large quantity].
- Deliberate eating, drinking, smoking, sexual intercourse, such defaulters are expected to observe kaffara [set a slave free] or fast for 2 consecutive months [60 days] or feeding 60 poor people.
THINGS THAT DOES NOT SPOIL THE FAST
- Involuntary vomiting, wet dreams
- Cupping of/bleeding from the head if person is not weak
- Unintentional eating or drinking
- Rinsing the mouth or bathing
- Intake of injections [medicines or vaccines], use of ear/eyes drops would dressing, use of inhaler etc
- Use of toothpaste or siwak for brushing.
THOSE EXEMPTED FROM FASTING
- menstruating women/post partum bleeding, they are expected to repay this fast after Ramadan
- The sick person.
- A person on a journey[it is optional]
- The aged: an old person who unable to fast is expected to feed a poor man each day of the fast.
BENEFITS OF FASTING
The prophet [SAW] said; ’’whoever fast during the Ramadan out of faith, seeking no reward, will have all his/her past sins forgiven’’.
- Attaining piety, gaining patience.
- Gaining forgiveness, mercy and deliverance from hell.
- Having the sense of feeling towards the poor and needy.
- Unity amongst the ummah is enhanced.
- Periods of acceptance of du’a [prayer]
- Fasting impacts a good control of blood sugar level and lowers cholesterol level.
- Fasting can help protect against brain diseases
This article enjoys a few thoughts from a publication of the Muslim brotherhood at the Muslim Corpers’ Association (Keffi , Nasarawa state Chapter). May Allah Grant and reward them with more blessings in this life and here after as they proceed to better the life their host community using Islam as a guide. Jazakumllah Khairan jaza.
May Allah [SWT] accept our fasting and all other acts in this glorious month of Ramadan. Amen. Stay tuned on the blog for more Ramadan messages. Ramadan Kareem from Muzzammilwrites Initiatives.