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Passion Islam I August 2010 days of the year.


This philosophy of the month of Ramadan makes it clear that this month should be devoted to the direct acts of worship as far as possible. That is why the reward of the virtuous acts in this month has been multiplied. This is to encourage the Muslims to the maximum possible acts of ‘ibadah.


The Merits of Ramadan The Holy Prophet has mentioned the merits of Ramadan in a large number of ahadith. Some of them are reproduced here with translation: Salman, the Persian (ra) has reported the following: The Holy Prophet addressed us on the last day of Sha’ban wherein he said: “O men, a great, blessed month has cast its shadow upon you. It is a month which contains a night far better than one thousand months, a month that Allah has made it obligatory to fast therein and made in commendable to stand up praying in its nights. If someone seeks Allah’s nearness by offering an optional act of worship in this month, it will be as rewarding as to offer an obligatory worship in other days, and if someone performs an obligatory act of worship in this month, it will carry as much reward as the reward of performing seventy obligatory acts of worship in other days. It is the month of patience and the reward of patience is Jannah (paradise). It is a month of sympathy, a month in which the provision for a believer is increased. If someone provides another person with food to make iftar (terminate one’s fast by eating or drinking something), it will cause forgiveness to his sins and freeing his neck from hell and he will be awarded the same thawab as the fasting person will be rewarded for his fast, without decreasing his own thawab.”


The companions of the Holy


Prophet said, “O Messenger of Allah, every one of us does not have enough food to offer for iftar to another fasting person.” The Holy Prophet said, “This thawab will also be given to a person who offers to a fasting person one date or a drink of water or a little milk for his iftar. And this is a month the first part of which is the forgiveness from Allah and the last part of which is liberation from


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hell. If someone relaxes the burden of work from his slave in this month, Allah will forgive him his sins and will free from the Fire. In this month you should do four acts frequently. Two acts are such that you will please your Lord through them and two are such that you can never claim to be need-free of them. As for the two acts you please Allah through them, they are: to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to seek forgiveness from Allah. And the two acts you can never be need-free of them are: to pray Allah to give you the Jannah and to seek refuge to Allah from the Fire. And if someone serves a drink to a fasting person, Allah will make him have such a drink from my canal (the Kauthar) that he will never get thirsty after it until he enters Jannah.”


This hadith gives us a detailed account of the peculiar merits of the month of Ramadan and of what we should try to do in it. The upshot of the hadith is that one should not restrict himself to fasting in this month; rather, he should maximize the number of his virtuous acts and take this opportunity to seek forgiveness for his sins and to secure as much thawab as he can, by offering the nafl acts of worship including charitable acts. In another hadith, reported by Abu Hurairah (ra) the Holy Prophet has said: My ummah has been given five characteristic honours in the month of Ramadan which have not been given to any other ummah before. The smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk.


Fishes (in the water) keep praying Allah to forgive the fasting persons until they make iftar.


In every day of Ramadan, Allah decorates the Jannah and addresses it saying, “It is not too far that my righteous servants shall throw away the burdens (of the worldly life) and shall proceed towards you.” The rebellious satans are shackled in this month, and they cannot do in it what they do in other days (i.e. instigating men and women to commit sins).


In the last night of this month, they (the fasting persons) are granted amnesty.


In a hadith narrated by ‘Ubadah ibn al Samit (ra), the Holy Prophet


is reported to have said: Ramadan has come to you. It is the month of blessing in which Allah envelops you (with His kindness). He makes His mercy descend upon you, He forgives your sins and accepts your prayers. Allah witnesses you when you race one another (in virtuous deeds) in this month and becomes proud of you before His angels. Therefore, show Allah the best of deeds from your side, because unfortunate is that person who deprives himself from Allah’s mercy in this month.


These ahadith are sufficient to explain the great merits Allah has invested this month with.


Rules of Fasting


Fasting in the days of Ramadan is obligatory (fard) on every Muslim. The one who does not believe it to be obligatory is not a Muslim, and the one who, without a valid excuse, does not fast in a day of Ramadan is a sinner.


“Fast” means “to refrain from eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse throughout the day, right from the break of dawn upto sunset, with a clear intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah.” If somebody refrains from food, drink and sex for any reason other than seeking the pleasure of Allah, it cannot be called a “fast” in the terminology of the Shariah. It is thus necessary that there should be an intention which is called the “niyyah”.


For the fasts of Ramadan it is advisable that the “niyyah” be made in the night, i.e. before the commencement of the fast. However, if a person had no intention of keeping fast before dawn, he can also make “niyyah” in the morning at any time before midday, i.e. about 11/2 hours before Zawal (noon). But this rule is applicable only for the fast of Ramadan and for the nafl (optional) fasts. As for fasts of qada’ it is always necessary to make niyyah before dawn.


Since the niyyah means intention, it is an act performed by one’s heart. It need not be pronounced in words. However, it is also permissible to express this intention in spoken words, but those who take it as ‘necessary’ to pronounce the words or “niyyah” are not correct. by Mufti Taqi Usmani


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