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The virtues of fasting and other activities during the month of Ramadân are enough to fill an entire volume. In this article we will try, by the mercy of Allâh, to summarize some important points. A good book to study during Ramadân is Virtues of Ramadhân by Shaikhul-Hadîth Maulana Mohammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi (rahimahu-allâh).
The month of Ramadân is a most blessed month, in which the reward for performing a nafl will be as the reward of a fard in any other time of the year; and the reward for performing a fard will be as the reward of seventy fard in any other time of the year. It is a month of patience, whose reward is Jannah. It is the month of sympathy for one’s fellowmen. Whoever provides food to someone to break their fast, he will have forgiveness for his sins and freedom from the fire of Jahannam (Hell). The first of this month brings Allâh’s Mercy; the middle brings His Forgiveness and the end brings emancipation from the Hellfire. In this month the devils are chained and confined, as a result of which evil is diminished. In this month, the Qur’ân was sent down from al-Lawh-ul-Mahfűz (the Protected Tablet) to the Samâ-ud-Dunyâ (heaven of the earth), from where it was revealed bit by bit over a span of twenty-three years.
During this month every Muslim should endeavor to read the Qur’ân at least once from cover to cover. Our great and pious predecessors and scholars such as Imâm Shâfi’ and Imâm Abu Hanîfah (rahimahum-allâh) used to complete the reading of the entire Qur’ân 60 times over in this month. Hazrat Jibra’îl (alayhis-salâm) used to recite or listen to the recitation of the entire Qur’ân by our Nabi Muhammad ( sallallâhu-alayhi-wa-sallam) in the month of Ramadân. Also during this month, Rasűlullâh(- sallallâhu-alayhi-wa-sallam) advised us to make much dhikr and istighfâr. [Virtues of Ramadhân]
Sighting the Moon
It is wâjib kifâyah to look for the moon on the night of the 29th of Sha’bân. If some people from the locality do this, the obligation is removed from the entire community. If no one goes to sight the moon, it will be a sin upon the entire community. If the sky is not clear, then the witness of a single upright, mature, intelligent Muslim is sufficient. If the sky is clear, then it is necessary that a large group of people should bear witness to the sighting such that there can be no doubt in the report. If the moon is not sighted, then 30 days of Sha’bân are to be completed. [Rahnama-e-Mudarrisîn Ml. Muhammad Tâhir Rahîmi, Multan, Pakistan; Noorul-Eidâh Imâm Shurunbulâli; Bahishti Zewar]
Du’â (Prayer) Upon Sighting the Moon of Ramadân
Intention for the Fast
It is necessary to make intention for the validity of the fast. The intention may be expressed in the heart, but it is much more preferable to recite the following statement of intention verbally before the beginning of the dawn:
Prayer at Time of Breaking the Fast
It is sunnat to make iftaar (breaking the fast) immediately after sunset and not to delay. The iftaar should not be so long that the Maghrib prayer is missed. There are several recommended du’â at the time of iftaar. Among them,
With regard to fasting, the Prophet ( - sallallâhu-alayhi-wa-sallam) has left an important warning which we must endeavor to heed: “Many are those who fast but whose fast brings them only hunger and thirst; and many are those who pray at night, but whose prayer only results in sleeplessness.” Abstaining from carnal pleasures is not the only conditon of the fast. The fast is also meant to strengthen the spiritual and moral character of the Muslim. Thus, all actions of the hands, feet, eyes, ears, and especially the tongue, must be kept in strict accordance with the Sharî’ah. The Prophet ( - sallallâhu-alayhi-wa-sallam) repeatedly emphasized the avoidance of lying, back-biting, gossip, cheating, swearing, obscene and useless talk while fasting. All these actions can ruin the fast. May Allâh guide us and help us.
Rasűlullâh( - sallallâhu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “The one who observes the Tarâweeh prayer at night during Ramadân with complete faith and devotion, only for the sake of the reward of the Hereafter, will have all his previous sins forgiven by Allâh.” [Agreed upon] The Tarâweeh prayer starts from the evening that the moon of Ramadân is sighted up till (but not including) the night of ‘Eid. Imaam Nawawi (rahimahu-allâh) has written about this prayer:
As mentioned above, the Tarâweeh is performed in units of two rak’ât. After every four units, a short pause is observed during which one may rest quietly or recite supplications such as the following tasbeeh:
(During Ramadân only, the 3 rak’aat of Witr prayer is also performed in congregation after the Tarâweeh.)
Among the nights of Ramadân, the “Night of Power,” Laylatul-Qadr, is a night of extremely great blessing. The virtues and reward of good actions on this night are multiplied by 1000 months, as mentioned in the Qur’ân itself. Laylatul-Qadr most probably occurs on one of the odd nights of the last ten nights of the month. It is recommended to search for it and involve oneself in extra worship and recitation of the Qur’ân. The best du’â to make on that night is:
(This supplication is related in a famous hadîth by Hadrat Â’ishah radhiyallâhu-anha)
Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756