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Monday, April 18, 2011

Reaping the benefits of Ramadan

Reaping the benefits of Ramadan


from a lecture

In the month of
Ramadaan it is very important that we spent a few moments to understand
some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of

Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month
and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Let
it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be
Meaning, one's behaviour, attitude and outlook are
the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has no effect upon that
person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these lessons.


1: Gaining Taqwaa

legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa, "O you who believe,
fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon
those before you, so that you may attain taqwaa."
of SoraatulBaqarah (2):183) Taqwaa in this case means to make a shield
between oneself and Allaah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask
ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear
Allaah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the
hellfire or not?

2: Drawing closer to Allaah

This is
achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’aan during night and
day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allaah, sitting in
circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for
those who can, making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of
Ramadaan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a
masjid just thinking of Allaah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allaah
(SWT). When one sins, one feels distant from Allaah. That is why one
might find it heard to read the Qur’aan and come to the masjid.
However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allaah and wants to
worship Allaah more, because he is not shy from his sins.

3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allaah has
mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’aan and has
commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one
fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual
relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah
needs man and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the
Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of
Allaah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and
shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot
do so, they waver.

4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away
from riyaa’ (showing off)

means to worship Allaah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does
not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, "By Allaah, in the
last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my
hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or
stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action,
‘Does Allaah love this action? Is Allaah pleased with this action?' So
when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself
and also staying away from riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah
said in a hadeeth qudsee, "Fasting is for Me and I reward
(al-Bukhaaree) Allaah singles out fasting from all
other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no
one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allaah. For example,
when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen
by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the
people. Sufyaan ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying
and the people used to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the
fear of Allaah? He said, ‘No.’ They said, "Is it due to the
fear of the Hellfire?" He said, ‘No. It is not the fear of
Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been
worshipping Allaah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I
am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allaah.’"

5: Refinement of manners, especially those related totruthfulness and
discharging trusts.

Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Whoever
does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allaah (SWT) has no
need that he should heave his food and drink."
What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the
purification of our manners. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing
and peace upon him) said, "was sent to perfect good
(Maalik) So we must check ourselves, are we
following the behaviour of the Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and
peace upon him)? For example: Do we give salaam to those we don’t know
and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islaam, by telling the
truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the

6: Recognizing that one can change for the better

Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Every
son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those whorepent."

(Ibn Maajah) Allaah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and
seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.

7: Being more charitable

Ibn `Abaas
said, "The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon
him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more
so in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel used to meet him on every night
of Ramadaan till the end of the month…" (al-Bukhaaree) The
Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "He
who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive
the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting
person’s reward."

8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims

Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "…Those
of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must
cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khaleefahs. Hold
fast to it and stick to it."
(Aboo Daawood) In this month
we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast
together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we
pray Salaatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of
Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but
this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allaah and His

9: Learning discipline

Prophet (ma Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) made us adhere
to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to
fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allaah has laid down. One
cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be
accepted by Allaah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their
lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold
their lives around.

10: Teaching the young to worship Allaah

It was the
practice of the people of Madeenah, that during the fast of `Aashooraa
(which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to
fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their
parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy
to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents.
(as mentioned in al-Bukhaaree).

So the
young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their
parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming
worshippers of Allaah. If one does not encourage children to fast when
they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days
at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet (may Allah send His
blessing and peace upon him) said, "Command your children
to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do
not pray."

11: Caring for one’s health

has many medical benefits and it teaches Muslims to take care of their
health and too build strong bodies. The Prophet (may Allaah send His
blessing and peace upon him) said, "A strong believer is
better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is
good in everyone."

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