Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic calendar. Muslims all over the world fast during this month and refrain from certain actions during their fasts. It is a month of great blessings: the reward for good deeds get increased by many folds. As Holy Prophet said:
‘Allah said, Fasting is for me and I will give reward for it. The reward for good deeds is multiplied ten times to seven hundred times’
Why is the month of Ramadan important than other months?
- The Holy Quran was first revealed in this month.
- The night of power (Lailat ul Qadr).
- Muslims observe fast during daytime in this blessed month; and fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.
- The gates to heaven are opened during this month.
- And, the gates to hell are closed during this month, and the devils are chained up.
Fasting is made obligatory during this month. It is the duty of every Muslim adult male and female to observe fast during this sacred month. Allah says:
‘Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Holy Quran as a guide to mankind also clear signs for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.’ (Al- Baqarah 2:185)
Muslims, however, are exempted from this duty if they are ill or travelling, and Muslim females are not required to observe fast if they are pregnant or are through their monthly periods.
Benefits of Fasting:
There are many benefits of fasting. Some of them are listed below:
- The believer gives up food, drink and sex and abstains from all the other enjoyable actions for Almighty Allah. This teaches himself control and self-restrain.
- Fasting brings Muslims close to their Lord.
- When Muslims experience hunger during this sacred month, they realize the hardships of poor Muslims and this brings them closer to their brothers.
- Fasting also provides the body with enough time to repair the worn-out body cells, it gives rest to the stomach and kidneys and the whole system gets cleansed up.
Things that make fast void:
- Sexual relations.
- If you get to break your fast before sunset.
- If you vomit deliberately.
Things to do in Ramadan:
During this holy month, Muslims are instructed to do as many good deeds as possible and abstain from lying, swearing and backbiting. Muslims are also recommended to offer Taraweeh prayers during this month, and to sit in Itikaaf.
Taraweeh prayers are not obligatory but they are highly recommended. They can be offered individually or in congregation. However, according to many Muslim scholars, congregation Taraweeh prayers are preferred. These prayers carry many rewards with them. As Holy Prophet said:
‘Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan (Taraweeh) with a strong belief, all of his previous sins would be forgiven’ (Bukhari)
This prayer consists of up to 20 rakkats and a part of Holy Quran is recited in these rakkats daily. Holy Quran is recited in such a way that the whole Quran gets completed by the end of Ramadan. It is a highly recommended practice to do in the month of Ramadan.
Another practice of Ramadan is itikaaf. Itikaaf is the practice of spending the last ten days of Ramadan in mosque, in the remembrance of Allah, and away from all the worldly practices. Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) used to observe this practice too. As Anas (R.A) reported:
‘Apostle of Allah used to seclude himself in the last ten days of Ramadan’ (Tirmizi, Abu Daud)
Although, you can also sit in Itikaaf for one day (a day and a night) and this is the minimum duration of itikaaf.
Ibadat (praying) on the night of power (Lailat ul Qadr):
Lailat ul Qadr also comes in Ramadan. You should pray as much as possible during this night and ask for forgiveness of Allah. This night brings with it countless blessings of Almighty Allah. As Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:
‘Whoever establishes prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven’ (Tirmizi and Ibn Majah)
So, take advantage of this blessed month and pray as much as possible. You should also help the poor in this sacred month as the rewards will be multiplied. Keep away from all the bad deeds like lying or backbiting and be good to everyone. You should also offer taraweeh and sit in Itikaaf to earn the extra rewards and blessings. This Ramadan, make a point to abstain from all the negative thoughts and collect the unlimited blessings of Almighty Allah.
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