- Our First Impression
- Lesson in Psychological Preparation for Ramaḍān
- Lesson in Spiritual Preparation for Ramaḍān
- Lesson in Physical Preparation for Ramaḍān
- The Farewell
Alhamdulillah; all praises are due to Allah. All thanks are for Allah. All good are in the Good Hands of Allah. All affairs shall be returned to Allah. We seek His forgiveness at all time, and to Him, alone, we repent. May His Peace and Blessings be upon our Master, Ḥabībī Muhammad, his family members, his sahabah, and all those who follow their guided path.
It’s Ramaḍān! I mean, Ramaḍān is round the corner. It’s only a few weeks that set us apart from the month, which every Muslim eagerly awaits. But, let me be (secretly) honest, with you; I’m confused.. and lost! I’m lost in the process of preparing myself, to welcome the month of Ramaḍān, despite being so excited about it. SubhanAllah!
I’m confused, because I find celebrating the ’Eid (as many of us do, today) before the arrival of Ramaḍān itself, is not the right thing to do, to welcome Ramaḍān. Likewise, thinking and discussing about the different recipes of food that will be prepared and served in Ramaḍān don’t seem, either, to serve the purpose, for which fasting the month of Ramaḍān was prescribed.
So, I decided to humbly invite my dear brothers and sisters, readers of GSalam.Net, to join me in a pre-Ramaḍān visit, to Ḥabībī Rasūlillāh; to revive his noble Sunnah, and to learn how, righteously, we can prepare ourselves, psychologically, spiritually, and physically, for the month, which comes along with a night, which is confirmed to be better than 1000 months combined; that night is none other than Lailatul-Qadr.
Our visit has begun, and we have just arrived in Madinah; the City of Ḥabībī Rasūlillāh, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam. The first place we can go, out of respect and love, is straight to the ‘haram’ of Ḥabībī Rasūlillāh, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam. Immediately after we set our feet in the mosque, each one of us offered their Tahiyyatul Masjid (mosque greeting) quickly. Afterwards, we joined the ‘Halaqah’ of Rasūlillāh, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam. The Sahabah are in circle, around Ḥabībī Rasūlillāh, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam. The adab (good manners) which they portray in listening to Rasūlillāh, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam is so amazing. Yet, they never fail to ask, if they don’t understand; even in issues that may be very sensitive or even shying. In fact, these include questions, which may be critical.
Our visit takes place in late Rajab. So, most of the questions posed by the Sahabah, to Rasūlillāh are regarding fasting the month of Ramaḍān. Every one of them seems to be very excited about Ramaḍān. And Rasūlullāh hesitates not, in guiding them, with smiles and cheers; that can be seen all over his noble face, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam.
As if he knew why we came (all the way from where each one of us is reading this article). Yes.. he knows we came in search for something, that will motivate us and encourage us to look forward to Ramaḍān, and live Ramaḍān righteously. So he said [in a Hadeeth that was narrated by Sahl Ibn Sa’ad, raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, and was agreed upon, by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim]:
إِنَّ فِي الجَنَّةِ بَاباً يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ، يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ، لا يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ، يُقَالُ: أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ؟ فَيَقُومُونَ. لا يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ، فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ، فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَد
It means, “In Paradise (Jannah), there is a gate, called, Al-Rayyaan, through which only those who observe fasting will enter, on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last person among them enters, the gate will be closed. And then, no one will enter through that gate.”
Subhana Allah! When Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam, saw the excitement on our faces, while listening to his noble teachings, he added, what made us even more excited and happier. [Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, narrated a Hadeeth, which was also agreed upon by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim, in which] He ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam said:
مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، إِلاَّ بَاعَدَ اللَّهُ بِذَلِكَ اليَوْمِ وَجْهَهُ عَنِ النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفاً
It means, “Every slave of Allah who observes fasting for one day, for the Sake of Allah, Allah will draw his face farther from Hell-Fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years.”
Also, Rasūlullāh knew that some of us have some worries with regard to the bad temper that we may show during the fasting month, when we are irritated (“a hungry man is an angry man”), and also, that some of us have worries with regards the bad breath, which we may produce, when our abdomens are empty. So he, ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam, relieved all of us when he narrated a Hadeeth Al-Qudsi [which was narrated by Abu Hurairah, raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, and authenticated by Imam Muslim]:
قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلاَّ الصِّيَام، فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ. وَالصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ؛ فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلا يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَصْخَب. فَإِنْ سَابَّهُ أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ: إِنِّي صَائِمٌ. وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ، لَخَلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ المِسْكِ. لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ يَفْرَحُهُمَا: إِذَا أَفْطَرَ فَرِحَ بِفِطْرِه، وَإِذَا لَقِي رَبَّهُ فَرِحَ بِصَوْمِه
It means, “Allah s.w.t said: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except for fasting. That is exclusively for Me, and only I, shall reward him for it. Fasting is a shield. When any of you is fasting, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hand the soul of Muhammad is, the breath of the fasting person is sweeter, to Allah, than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts, experiences two joys: the joy he experiences when he breaks his fast (at sunset). And he will be joyful by virtue of his fast when he meets his Lord.”
Note: when I use the term ‘psychological’ here, I assume it doesn’t give the impression, that Rasūlullāh gave empty promises to the Sahabah (and to us), of what does not exist or not going to happen. The entire of the above mentioned are going to happen; simply because, whatever Rasūlullāh said, is a divine revelation that was revealed, to him. Also, Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam, would always use Hikmah in delivering the message of Islam.
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ * إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَىٰ
It means, “…Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.” [Surah Al-Najm, 53:3-4].
After Rasūlullāh has said the above Hadeeths (Ahaadeeth), he took us, in his noble teachings, to another level, which is equally important as the psychological preparation, or even more.
So, he shared with us, the imaginary (yet unseen) ambiance of Ramaḍān, and its connection to the Heavens… [Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, narrated a Hadeeth which was agreed upon by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim, in which] He ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam said:
إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانُ، فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الجَنَّةِ، وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ، وَصُفِّدَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ
It means, “When Ramadan begins, the gates of Heavens (Jannah) are opened, the gates of Hell-Fire are closed, and the devils are chained.”
Now, the question which some of us may ask, is: If the devils are chained during the month of Ramaḍān, why do we get tempted to committing sins and disobedience? Let us be honest to ourselves, at least for a moment; although Ibliss (Satan) and his family (the devils) will do everything, in order to engage us in disobedience, we are also responsible, and should have sense for that. No one will commit sin against their own will. I mean no one will commit any kind of sin unless they are convinced and are pleased beforehand. All the devils can do, is to converse with our inner persons and get them convinced. Thereafter, the devil will leave us alone, for us to take charge of our crime, be it moral crime, physical crime or religious crimes (which are all Islamically sinful). Otherwise, why would we be punished for our wrongdoings and not the devils alone? So, instead accusing the devils for our misdeeds, it’s about time that we take responsibility towards our deeds (good and bad alike).
Now, Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam is taking us to another level, which is physical preparation for the month of Ramaḍān. The first thing he said in this level was a word of encouragement; to fast most of the days of Sha’baan.
This is because; it’s not easy to start any course intensively, without an advance warm-up. You won’t go for a 10km jog without a warm-up, for your muscles, to get ready for the long journey.
The same thing applies to fasting the month of Ramaḍān. I assume most of us know that, the first day one fasts, after a long break (approximately eleven months), is going to be challenging for them. Even some may wish they did never initiate the fasting. And some may regret doing it. However, if they fast for the second day, they may find the pressure and the ‘mental torture’ less. Thus, the more one fasts, even with intervals, the easier the days of subsequent fasting days become for them. All this; provided they have the appropriate ‘Sahur’ (dawn meal) for the day.
That’s why; Rasūlullāh himself would fast in the month of Sha’baan, more than he would, in any other month, except Ramaḍān, because it helps to prepare the body system for the one month marathon fasting ahead, which is usually done amidst heavy ‘ibadahs and other commitments. So, he encouraged us, also, to do the same, as he encouraged the Sahabah too, to do so.
[Sayyidatuna ‘Aishah raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, narrated a Hadeeth, authenticated by Imam Al-Bukhari, which says]:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – يَصُومُ حَتَّى نَقُول: لا يُفْطِرُ، وَيُفْطِرُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ: لا يَصُومُ، فَمَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – اسْتَكْمَل صِيَامَ شَهْرٍ إِلا رَمَضَانَ، وَمَا رَأَيْتُهُ أَكْثَرَ صِيَامًا مِنْهُ في شَعْبَانَ
It means, “Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam used to fast until we say: ‘he doesn’t break his fast’, and he would refrain from fasting, until we say: ‘he won’t fast (anymore)’. I have never seen Rasūlallāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam fast a full month, other than Ramaḍān, and I have never seen him fasting a month as much as he did in Sha’baan.”
However, he also pointed out that, for one to appropriately prepare their body system for Ramaḍān, they should refrain from fasting, in the second half of the month of Sha’baan. This is the last 14 or 13 days before the arrival of the month of Ramaḍān.
For that, Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam said [in a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, and reported by Al-Tirmzhi]:
إِذَا بَقِي نِصْفٌ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَلاَ تَصُومُوا
It means, “When there comes the middle of Sha`baan, do not fast.”
It was a short visit. How we wish can stay longer! But we also understand that, Rasūlullāh prefers those who spread the message of Islam, over those who choose to stay home, even if they are in his noble company. So, we have to go, to reach our places in time, and also enjoin our families back home in the knowledge Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam parted to us.
As we are leaving, after seeking permission, he emphasized to us, on the importance of Ramaḍān. Thus he said [in a Hadeeth narrated by Sayyidina Abi Hurairah, raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, and agreed upon by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim]:
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَاناً وَاحْتِسَاباً غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
It means, “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.”
I strongly believe, that each one of us, would like their sins to be forgiven.
أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ، وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah Al-Nour, 24:22].
In addition to that, he reminded us of what he had told the Sahabah, earlier before our visit. He reminded us of the importance of engaging our wills in the process of fasting. Thus, we should not only refrain from food consumption and sexual intercourse. We should also watch our mouth and manners. So, he said [in the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah, and authenticated by Al-Bukhari]:
مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ
Meaning: “If one does not avoid lies and false witness, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.”
Also, because there will be poor people in any community at any time, including during the month of Ramaḍān, Rasūlullāh ṣallā Allāhu ʾalaihi wa sallam also advised us to take care of the welfare of the needy and the poor amongst us. For that, he said [in the Hadeeth of Zaid Ibn Khalid Al-Juhani, raḍiya Allāhu ʾanhu, reported by Al-Tirmizhi]:
مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِماً، كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلَ أَجْرِهِ، غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِ الصَّائِمِ شَيْءٌ
It means, “He who provides a fasting person something, with which to break his fast, will earn the same reward as the one who was observing the fast, without diminishing in any way the reward of the latter.”
Based on the lessons learnt from Ḥabībī Rasūlillāh, during our pre-Ramaḍān visit to him, we are undoubtedly granted the Jannah. But, each one of us has to successfully pass through a transit. This transit is called death. In order to successfully pass through this transit, we are required to ensure that all our deeds are righteous. The period of Ramaḍān is one of the seasons; in which any small righteous deed earns one of us endless rewards and points.
Also, we have no excuse not to welcome the blessed month of Ramaḍān the way it deserves. Let’s not forget: “Lailatul-Qadr (The Night of Decree) is better than a thousand months”.
One last thing we should remember is; last Ramaḍān seems like it has just passed yesterday. How fast time flied, it’s going to fly the same way, this Ramaḍān. That would be in a way; to pass a gentle reminder to us that our ages are actually running faster.
So, let’s us prepare appropriately for the month we all await, so we may carry out the deeds of Ramaḍān righteously, and deserve the rewards which Allah has always reserved for those who fast the month of Ramaḍān righteously and successfully.
Before I log out with du’a, allow me to share with you, my dear readers, some of my previous articles, which are related, in a way or the other, to Ramaḍān:
Yaa Allah! Truly our efforts, no matter how much put in, do not entitle us for Your Rewards and Forgiveness. But Your Love for Your hopeful servants, who put in their best, encourages us to seek Your pleasure and Forgiveness.
O Allah! We know we do not deserve Your Kindness; due to our mischief and wrongdoings, but the presence of children, the elderly, the sick amongst us, are all factors that give us the hope, that You will certainly shower us with Your Mercy, Forgiveness, Blessings, Wealth, Tranquillity, Happiness, and that You will fulfil all our needs.
Yaa Allah! Please grant us, in this Ramaḍān and the days to come, obedience, respect, patience and kindness towards our parents and the elderly. Grant us affection and mercy for our spouses. Grant us love, care, and sense of ‘amanah’ towards our children. Please make us faithful followers, diligent workers, responsible citizens and above all, good Muslims.
O Allah! Heal our patients, and the patients of Muslims. Grant recovery to our challenged ones, and those of Muslims. Clear our worries and those of Muslims. Take care of our anxiety, and those of Muslims. Settle out debts and those of Muslims. And set free our prisoners and those of Muslims.
Oh Allah! Some of Your servants were looking forward to your Blessings this Ramaḍān, but You have chosen them to be by Your Side; and no doubt, that is better for them. Please grant them multiple of Your Rewards, Mercy and Forgiveness that You would have granted them if they were still to be with us.
O Allah! Please grant us Your Guidance and bring us back to the good practice of Your Religion. Please be in the aid of our brothers and sisters who are oppressed around the world, simply because they embrace and practise Your Deen.
Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂