WHAT IS RAMADAN: Islam is a religion that stands not only on some imaginative beliefs and cultures such as other human-made religions. Indeed, it is the true religion that shows real faith in the creator of the universe. In addition, it teaches its followers the necessary deeds and acts through which humans can make a relationship with their god and the creator. Then these deeds may relate to the body, to the tongue, or to the wealth of humans. For example, offering Salah is a deed that relates to both body and tongue while performing Hajj is a worship that relates to both body and wealth. And fasting during the month of Ramadan is a worship that relates to the body of a human being.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory worship, and is known as one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan is considered one of the most spiritual and necessary worship of Islam because it makes a beautiful connection between the lord of the world and his servants. And this is why the prophet of Allah (SAW) says that Allah (SWT) says that my servant fast (Ramadan) for me, and only I will pay his/her rewards.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan was obligatory in the second Hijri year in Medina[1]. Allah (SWT) says in his book: “O you who believe! Fasting (in the month of Ramadan) is obligated up on you as it was obligated on the people before you, so that you may fear god.” (Quran, ch 2, ver 183). Before it, the prophet of Allah (SAW) and the Muslims were fasting other several days (such as the tenth of Muharram). Note that the part of the verse ‘as it was obligated on the people before you’ shows that fasting is a worship that was obligated on the owners of the book (Christians and Jews) before the revelation of the Quran.

Now coming to the linguistic part of the word fast. Fast is the meaning of the word صوم (Saum) in Arabic which means to stop an action or speech[2]. However, from the sight of Islamic Sharia, it means to stop oneself from eating, drinking, and having a sexual relationship for a particular period of time. Then the time is identified as the whole month of Ramadan (the ninth month in the Islamic calendar), and from dawn to dusk each day. Allah (SWT) says in his book: “The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran is revealed which is a guide for the people and apparent signs that shows the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So, one of you who witnesses this month, has to fast in it.” Quran, ch 2, ver 185). Furthermore, the almighty says in another verse of the Quran: “and eat and drink as long as the white thread is distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. And then complete the fasting till the night.” (Quran, ch 2, ver 187).

As a result, the first verse mentioned above discloses that the month for fasting is the month of Ramadan which is the month of Quran revelation, too. And the second verse shows that in the month of Ramadan, all these actions (eating, drinking, and having sexual activity) must be stopped from dawn to dusk.

Rewards of fasting during the month of Ramadan

The doors of paradise are opened in this month: Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) reports that the prophet of Allah (SAW) said: “When the month of Ramadan arrives, the doors of paradise are opened and the doors of hell are closed and the Shiateen (devils) are chained.” (Sahih Muslim, #2488)

The fasting person will enter from a special door to Jannah: Hazrat Sahal (RA) narrates that the prophet of Allah (SAW) said: the Jannah has a door whose name is Al- Rayan, and only the ones who fast will enter from this door to Jannah. No one will be able to enter Jannah except them. It will be said: where are the fasting persons? Then the fasting people will stand and will enter Jannah from this door, and then it will be locked, and then no one will be able to enter from this door. (Sahih Bukhari, 1896).

It causes the forgiveness of Allah (SWT): Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) reports that the prophet of Allah (SAW) said: one who fasts during the month of Ramadan and worships during its nights while having faith and seeking the forgiveness of Allah, all his/her past sins will be forgiven. (Sunan Tirmidhi, #683).

What to do in the month of Ramadan?

Some Muslims think that fasting during the month of Ramadan means only avoiding eating foods, drinking a liquid, and having a sexual relationship, and that’s enough. But this is their mistake. Actually, the aim of fasting is to purify ourselves and to let us know how one feels when he/she leaves all the pleasures of the world for his beloved and his creator, the almighty Allah. Its purpose is to avoid every bad habit and every sin that we were used to doing before this month all the year. As there is one hadith of the prophet of Allah (SWT) indicating the same thing. The prophet of Allah (SWT) says: one who doesn’t leave bad words and acts on them, so Allah doesn’t need him/her to stop eating and drinking. (Sahih Bukhari, # 1903)

[1] Al- Bidayatu Wannihaya

[2] Mu’ajam Al- Waseet

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