Ramadan fasting in the light of Qur’an and Prophetic conduct

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Highlights Topics: Fasting (Sawm), Ramadan Values: Charity Channel: Ramadan - Day 2 Views: 655

Fasting is a requirement in Islam. A saying of the Prophet narrated by Abdullah son of Omar said, “Islam has been built on five pillars: Testifying there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establishing prayer, paying Zakat – the obligatory charity, making the pilgrimage to the House in Mecca and fasting in Ramadan (narrated in Bukhari & Muslim).

Fasting was prescribed in the second year after migration of the Prophet. It is described in the following verses from the Qur’an: “Oh You who Believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you become God- conscious.”(Al Baqarah, 2: Verse 183)

Islam requires being God-conscious and living as God-conscious Individuals and community Being God-conscious, or living in consciousness of God, that is knowing and acting that one is in the presence of God all the time is basic in understanding Islam, which is submission to God. A Muslim achieves this God-consciousness by constantly praying, remembering God (making Dhikr), and reading the Qur’an.

The obligatory fasting takes place during the month of Ramadan, which is the 9th month of lunar calendar. This is stated in the following verse of Qur’an: “Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear signs for guidance, and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during this month should spend it in fasting. But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. He wants you to complete the prescribed period, And to glorify Him in that He has guided you, and so that you shall be grateful.” (Al Baqarah 2: Verse 185).

As such, fasting prescribed in the month of Ramadan is to thank God for revealing Qur’an for guidance to humankind, alongside clear proofs for this guidance and serve as criterion to judge between right and wrong.

The Islamic calendar like other Abrahamic religions is a lunar calendar. Ramadan is the 9 th lunar month, and Ramadan begins with the first sighting of new moon. Muslims on seeing the new moon declare the onset of holy month of Ramadan.

Fasting requires total abstinence from food, drinks and any sexual activity

This fasting takes place from dawn to sunset for the entire month of Ramadan, and requires total abstinence from food, drinking and any sexual activity.

Ramadan is the most awaited month of the year because of its excellence. It presents an excellent opportunity for a person to perform good deeds. Abu Hurayrah told the Prophet said, “When Ramadan enters, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.”

Prolonged fasting helps a person to attain spiritual freedom from the materialistic world

During Ramadan, a Muslim connects with God by regularly reading Qur’an, making dhikr, offering charity and doing good deeds. A fasting person refrain from doing bad deeds and keep away from people bad people Abu Hurayrah narrated the Prophet said, “Fasting is a shield, so when one of you is fasting, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should raise his voice in anger. If someone attacks him, let him say: I am fasting.”

Fasting during the month of Ramadan forgives sins and multiplies rewards Muslims look forward to fasting during the month of Ramadan. Fasting multiplies the rewards for good deeds, and forgives the sins committed.

Abu Hurayrah tells us, the Prophet said, “Whosoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan with faith and seeking his rewards from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.”

Ramadan-specific voluntary prayers during the month

The Prophet used to perform extra prayers after the last obligatory prayer of the day during the month of Ramadan. They are called Taraweeh meaning rest and relaxed, because the prayers are performed in a leisurely and relaxed manner.

Regarding these Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet encouraged us to pray at night in Ramadan without making them obligatory. This is how the things were when the Prophet died, and this is how it remained during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. It was Omar who asked the community to come together to pray Taraweeh and made arrangements for it, considering that there are 27 times more rewards than performing individual prayers.

This principle also applies to nightly vigil called Qiyaam literally Standing when one wakes up after a few hours’ sleep to perform prayers called Tahajud meant to increase one’s God-consciousness and being closer to Divine mercy.

Layla Al-Qadr, the Night of Power and its benefits

The revelation of Qur’an to the Prophet was started during the night in the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an calls that night as Layla-tul-Qadar and describes its blessings in the following verses:

“We have indeed revealed this Message in the Night of Power. And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by God’s permission on every errand: Peace ... This until the rise of Morn! (Al Qadar 97: verses 1-5). Here a thousand months need not be taken literally, but is meant for emphasis, others say it means “all time.” A thousand months equals 82 years, which is the life time of a human being.

Muslims maintain that the Night of Power comes again every year. Many reports from the Prophet say that it occurs during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Another Hadith says that it occurs on one of the odd days of the last ten nights. The Prophet would usually practice spiritual retreat called itikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, and advised his followers to do so as well.

A hadith of the Prophet said, “Whoever stands (in prayer) during the Night of Power out of belief and seeking reward, his previous sins are forgiven.”

Importance of charity during the month of Ramadan

Zakat is an obligatory charity in Islam wherein a Muslim is obliged to give 2 and a half percent of his net savings to certain categories of people in need. It ensures the equal distribution of wealth in society. Muslims normally pay Zakat during the month of Ramadan to derive the maximum rewards of the month of giving and sharing.

Abu Musa narrated the Prophet said, “A believer is to another is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.” as such Zakat can help create collective security for spreading sympathy among members of the Muslim society and utilize its resources for their mutual benefit.

Sadaqa or charity and voluntary deeds are increasingly given in Ramadan to spread kindness, and hospitality among members of the society and others who are in need.

A Muslim is obliged to feed up to 60 people for every missed fast. When a person is unable to fast as a result of illness, pregnancy, travelling, or another valid reason, to expatiate for it he has to give charitable donations.

American Muslims practice open houses at mosques and Islamic centers in Ramadan and invite the poor of community and homeless to share in breaking of the fast with them. The Qur’an calls upon us, “And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan and the captive.”(Al Insan 76: Verse 8).

A Hadith Qudsi or Holy Hadith about the fasting and its bounteous rewards

A Hadith Qudsi narrated by Abu Hurairah says, “Every action a son of Adam does shall be multiplied – a good action by ten times its value, up to 700 times. Allah says; with the exception of fasting, which belongs to me, and I reward it accordingly. For, one abandons his desire and food for my sake. There are two occasions of joy for a fasting person: one when breaks his fast, and the other when he meets his Lord, and the (bad) breath (of a fasting person) is better in the sight of Allah than the fragrance of musk.”

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Highlights
  Topics: Fasting (Sawm), Ramadan  Values: Charity  Channel: Ramadan - Day 2
Views: 655

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