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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Ramadan: Do we know enough?


The month of Ramadan is just about the corner - in fact a days away. But do we really know enough about this month of which Allah makes a mention ONLY Once in the Holy Qur'an?For most of the Muslims, the first thought that comes to their minds is fasting. But did Allah talk of fasting while mentioning the month of Ramadan in the Holy Qur'an?

Read this post and you may start viewing Ramadan from a different perspective !!

Well you may be amazed to know that when Allah makes a mention of month of Ramadan, He attributes having revealed the Qur'an in this month. Isn't it something incredible and amazing that Allah Himself is talking of His best reveled Book for which He chose the month of Ramadan. Which means that is the month that we should try to establish a very closer relationship with Allah and start knowing Him better than before by reading the Holy Qur'an for it is the only key to getting closer to Allah.

In Surah Al Baqarah, Verse 185 of the Quran Allah says:

شَهۡرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِىۡٓ اُنۡزِلَ فِيۡهِ الۡقُرۡاٰنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَ بَيِّنٰتٍ مِّنَ الۡهُدٰى وَالۡفُرۡقَانِۚ فَمَنۡ شَهِدَ مِنۡكُمُ الشَّهۡرَ فَلۡيَـصُمۡهُ ؕ وَمَنۡ کَانَ مَرِيۡضًا اَوۡ عَلٰى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنۡ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَؕ يُرِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ بِکُمُ الۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيۡدُ بِکُمُ الۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُکۡمِلُوا الۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُکَبِّرُوا اللّٰهَ عَلٰى مَا هَدٰٮكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡكُرُوۡنَ‏ 
Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was sent down : this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of clear teachings which show the right way and are a criterion of Truth and falsehood. Therefore from now on whoever witnesses it, it is obligatory on hire to fast the whole month, but if one be ill or on a journey, he should make up for the same number by fasting on other days. Allah desires to show leniency to you and does not desire to show any hardship. "therefore this method is being shown to you so that you may complete the number of Fast days and glorify Allah for the Guidance He has shown to you and be grateful to Him.
( Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was sent down : this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of clear teachings which show the right way and are a criterion of Truth and falsehood. Therefore from now on whoever witnesses it, it is obligatory on hire to fast the whole month, but if one be ill or on a journey, he should make up for the same number by fasting on other days.) 
It has been left to the option of the individual to observe or not to observe fasts during a journey. Some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet observed fasts and some did not when they were on a journey with him and neither raised any objection against the other. The Holy Prophet himself sometimes observed fasts on a journey and sometimes did not. Once he saw people gathered round a man who had fallen to the ground and asked what was the matter with him. He was told that he had become too weak to stand on account of observing fasts; he remarked that it was no virtue to observe fasts in such a condition.
During war time, he used to issue orders for postponing the fasts. Hadrat 'Umar has related that they did not observe fasts twice during the month of Ramadan when they went to war under the command of the Holy Prophet: on the occasion of the battle of Badr and at the conquest of Makkah. Ibn 'Umar says that on the eve of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet declared, "As we are going to tight our enemy you should postpone your fasts so that you may conserve your strength to tight." 'there is no clear injunction from the Holy Prophet for the prescription of a minimum standard of distance for postponing the fasts. His Companions also differed in practice with regard to the standard. But it is obvious that the fast may be postponed for that distance which is commonly understood to be a journey and in which one begins to feel being on a journey.
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the people of a city, which is attacked by an enemy, can postpone the fast for the sake of Jihad, inspite of being the residents. Some scholars do not allow this. But Imam Ibn Taimiyyah has maintained with strong arguments that postponement of the fast under such circumstances is permissible.  
(Allah desires to show leniency to you and does not desire to show any hardship. "therefore this method is being shown to you so that you may complete the number of Fast days and glorify Allah for the Guidance He has shown to you and be grateful to Him.)
Allah is so bountiful that He does not want to deprive His servants of the blessings of fasting. Therefore He has not confined it to the month of Ramadan but has opened another way for its completion for those who fail to complete it during this month for genuin reasons. They should make up the deficiency by observing fast on other days in order to show their gratitude for the revelation of the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan.
It is clear from this verse that fasting in Ramadan has been prescribed not only as a form of worship and a training for piety, but also to show gratitude for the great blessing of the Revelation of the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan. And the best way to show gratitude for a favour is to fulfil the object for which it was bestowed and to prepare oneself for its completion as best as one can. The object for which Allah has bestowed the Qur'an upon us is to reveal His Will so that we may fulfil it ourselves and persuade others to do the same. Fasting provides the best training for the fulfilment of this object and is both a devotion and a sign of gratitude for the favour shown in the form of the Qur'an.
Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Virtue of Ramadan and the Revelation of the Qur'an in it - Allah praised the month of Ramadan out of the other months by choosing it to send down the Glorious Qur'an, just as He did for all of the Divine Books He revealed to the Prophets. 

Imam Ahmad reported Wathilah bin Al-Asqa` that Allah's Messenger said: (The Suhuf (Pages) of Ibrahim were revealed during the first night of Ramadan. The Torah was revealed during the sixth night of Ramadan. The Injil was revealed during the thirteenth night of Ramadan. Allah revealed the Qur'an on the twenty-fourth night of Ramadan.)

The Obligation of Fasting Ramadan - Allah said:
(فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasting) that month.)
This Ayah requires the healthy persons who witness the beginning of the month, while residing in their land, to fast the month. This Ayah abrogated the Ayah that allows a choice of fasting or paying the Fidyah. 

When Allah ordered fasting, He again mentioned the permission for the ill person and the traveler to break the fast and to fast other days instead as compensation. Allah said:
(وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ...and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number ﴿of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasting) must be made up ( from other days.)
This Ayah indicates that ill persons who are unable to fast or fear harm by fasting, and the traveler, are all allowed to break the fast. 

When one does not fast in this case, he is obliged to fast other days instead. Allah said:
(يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.)
This Ayah indicates that Allah allowed such persons, out of His mercy and to make matters easy for them, to break the fast when they are ill or traveling, while the fast is still obligatory on the healthy persons who are not traveling.

FASTING (rules) - Question comes: "What are some rulings concerning fasting? For instance, while traveling or on a journey or while under extreme conditions?"

The authentic Sunnah states that Allah's Messenger traveled during the month of Ramadan for the battle for Makkah. The Prophet marched until he reached the area of Kadid and then broke his fast and ordered those who were with him to do likewise. This was recorded in the Two Sahihs. Breaking the fast mentioned in this Hadith was not required, for the Companions used to go out with Allah's Messenger during the month of Ramadan, then, some of them would fast while some of them would not fast and neither category would criticize the others. If the command mentioned in the Hadith required breaking the fast, the Prophet would have criticized those who fasted. Allah's Messenger himself sometimes fasted while traveling. For instance, it is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Ad-Darda' said, "We once went with Allah's Messenger during Ramadan while the heat was intense. One of us would place his hand on his head because of the intense heat. Only Allah's Messenger and `Abdullah bin Rawahah were fasting at that time.''
We should state that observing the permission to break the fast while traveling is better, as Allah's Messenger said about fasting while traveling: (Those who did not fast have done good, and there is no harm for those who fasted.)
In another Hadith, the Prophet said: (Hold to Allah's permission that He has granted you.)
Some scholars say that the two actions are the same, as `A'ishah narrated that Hamzah bin `Amr Al-Aslami said, "O Messenger of Allah! I fast a lot, should I fast while traveling'' The Prophet said: (Fast if you wish or do not fast if you wish.)

This Hadith is in the Two Sahihs. It was reported that if the fast becomes difficult (while traveling), then breaking the fast is better. Jabir said that Allah's Messenger saw a man who was being shaded (by other people while traveling). The Prophet asked about him and he was told that man was fasting. The Prophet said: (It is not a part of Birr (piety) to fast while traveling.) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
As for those who ignore the Sunnah and believe in their hearts that breaking the fast while traveling is disliked, they are required to break the fast and are not allowed to fast.
As for making up for missed fasting days, it is not required to be consecutive. One may do so consecutively or not consecutively. There are ample proofs to this fact. We should mention that fasting consecutive days is only required exclusively during Ramadan. After the month of Ramadan, what is required then is to merely make up for missed days. 
This is why Allah said: ( فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ . ..the same number (should be made up) from other days.)
Ramadan - Ease and not Hardship

Allah then said: (Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you.)
Imam Ahmad recorded Anas bin Malik saying that Allah's Messenger said: (Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion.)
This Hadith was also collected in the Two Sahihs. It is reported in the Sahihayn that Allah's Messenger said to Mu`adh and Abu Musa when he sent them to Yemen: (Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion; and love each other, and don't differ.)

The Sunan and the Musnad compilers recorded that Allah's Messenger said: (I was sent with the easy Hanifiyyah (Islamic Monotheism).)

Allah's statement: (يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days)) means: You were allowed to break the fast while ill, while traveling, and so forth, because Allah wanted to make matters easy for you. He only commanded you to make up for missed days so that you complete the days of one month.

Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship 

Allah's statement: (وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ ...and that you must magnify Allah ﴿i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)﴾ for having guided you) means: So that you remember Allah upon finishing the act of worship. 

This is similar to Allah's statement:
(So when you have accomplished your Manasik, (rituals) remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance.) (2:200) and:
(...Then when the (Jumu`ah) Salah (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.) (62:10) and:
(...and glorify the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. And during a part of the night, glorify His praises, and after the prayers.) (50:39, 40)
This is why the Sunnah encouraged Tasbih (saying Subhan Allah, i.e., all praise is due to Allah), Tahmid (saying Al-Hamdu Lillah, i.e., all the thanks are due to Allah) and Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, i.e., Allah is the Most Great) after the compulsory prayers. Ibn `Abbas said, "We used to know that Allah's Messenger has finished the prayer by the Takbir.'' 

Similarly, several scholars have stated that reciting Takbir the during `Id-ul-Fitr was specified by the Ayah that states: ((He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah ﴿i.e., to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great)﴾ for having guided you...) 

Allah's statement: (وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ...so that you may be grateful to Him.) means: If you adhere to what Allah commanded you, obeying Him by performing the obligations, abandoning the prohibitions and abiding by the set limits, then perhaps you will be among the grateful.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The regulations are again and again coupled with an insistence on two things: (a) the facilities and concessions given, and (b) the spiritual significance of the fast, without which it is like an empty shell without a kernel. If we relise this, we shall look upon Ramadhan, not as a burden, but as a blessing, and shall be duly grateful for the lead given to us in this matter.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs:
(The month of Ramadan is) the month in (which was revealed the Qur'an) whereupon Gabriel brought down the entire Qur'an to the first heaven, dictated it to the scribes among the angels (al-safarah) and then took it down to Muhammad (pbuh) day after day, sometimes revealing to him just one, two or three verses and sometimes an entire surah, (a guidance for mankind) the Qur'an elucidates error to people, (and clear proofs of the guidance) in the matter of Religion, (and the Criterion (of right and wrong)) the lawful and the unlawful, the legal rulings, legal punishments and the steering away from doubtful matters. (And whoever of you is present) in settled areas and not travelling, (let him fast the month. And whoever of you is sick) during the month of Ramadan (or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of days) at another time. (Allah desireth for your ease) He desires for you the dispensation of breaking the fast while on a journey; it is also said that this means: Allah wants you to break the fast when travelling; (He desireth not hardship for you) He does not desire for you the hardship of fasting while travelling; (and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period) that you should fast when you are back in your settlement the same number of days of fast you broke during your travel, (and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you) as He guided you to His religion and legal dispensation, (and that peradventure ye may be thankful) so that you be thankful for His giving you this dispensation.

Tafsir Al-Qushairi:
The month of RamaḌān in which the QurÌān was revealed a guidance for the people and as clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion; So let those of you who are present [at his home] at the month fast it and if any of you be sick or if he be on a journey then a number of other days. RamaḌān burns yurmiḌu the sins dhunūb of some people and burns the outward characteristics rusūm of other people. What a difference between those whose sins are burned by His mercy and those whose outward characteristics are burned by His reality! 

The month of RamaḌān is the month of the opening of the [divine] speech khiṬāb the month of the revelation of the Book kitāb the month of obtaining the reward thawāb the month of drawing near and [gaining God's] approval ījāb the month of the lightening of burdens takhfīf al-kulfa the month of achieving intimacy taḥqīq al-zulfa the month of descending mercy nuzūl al-raḥma the month of granting blessing wufūr al-niʿma the month of salvation najāt and the month of intimate conversation munājāt. God desires ease for you and desires not hardship for you Part of His desiring ease for you is knowing that He desires ease for you. Among the signs that He desires ease for His servant is that He has brought about the search for ease for if [God] had not desired ease for [His servant] He would not have placed a desire for it in him. The one who spoke for them said: If You had not wanted me to obtain that for which I hope and seek from Your generosity You would not have taught me to seek. [God] made hope [for ease] appropriate and confirmed the longing [for it]. He enjoined this inasmuch as He said “and He desires not hardship for you.” This was to negate the possibilities of other ways of thinking leaving the true sense clearly spelled out. and that you fulfill the number According to the language of scholars lisān al-ʿilm [it is] that you fulfill the number [of days] of the fast. According to the language of allusion lisān al-ishāra [it is] “that in the happiness of the present moment ṣafāÌ al-ḥāl you should be aware of the fulfillment of the end wafāÌ al-maÌāl.” and magnify God for having guided you and that you might be thankful [Thankful] in the final breath and that you might leave the numbered [days] of your life in the security salāma of your faith. [God's] granting of success tawfīq in completing the fast of the month is immensely important but it is even greater to have your life sealed with felicity.
So when the month of Ramadan comes, we should think of and in fact start getting ready to knowing Allah better for it is that scared month in which Allah revealed His Divine scripture in the form of the Holy Qur'an to the last of the prophets, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Remember Qur'an is the key to the guidance, and guidance for the entire humanity, not only Muslims. So whoever seeks guidance from the Holy Qur'an shall be blessed, In Sha Allah (Allah willing).
So this Ramadan, let us recite the Holy Qur'an as if we are doing it for the first time in our lives. Let us read and understand it better than before  for it is better understanding of what is contained in the Qur'an that Allah wants us to know so that we start to know Him better than before.

And when we start knowing Allah better, the many secrets of life will start to unfold on to us - and then we would know that fasting is something that Allah desires us to observe "in this month" for it is one of the tools knowing Allah better than anything else. The self deprivation of many bounties and blessings of Allah only to please Allah should be our aim and not to show to the world that we are fasting. In fact there should come no change in our daily routine which should exhibit to others that we are fasting, for we observe fast or saum as it is called in Arabic to please Allah and no one else.

You may like to listen to eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan on "Why Fast":

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