Welcome, O! Month of Ramadan! Welcome, O! Month of Seeking God!

Welcome, O! Month of Ramadan! Welcome, O! Month of Seeking God!

Fasting is one of the five fundamental pillars in Islam. It is a universal institution because all other religions in the world also adopted fasting in some forms as the most important method of controlling and killing passions. In this month the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for humanity, as a clear proof of that guidance, and as a criterion for distinguishing between right and wrong. Prophet Mohammad (SAW) remarks, the month of Ramadan is a very valuable period of time where one can direct his will for this purpose without succumbing to the things we like and take for granted every day. The patience shown until the end of Ramadan will bring the comfort of surrendering to God. Ramadan is an opportunity, a way to train ourselves in spirit and body, to show our love and commitment for God. Just like we know when the time comes for prayer and we perform it, being patient is also a worship. For this reason, a person who does not eat or drink when he is hungry or thirsty because he is fasting is actually fulfilling another beautiful manner of worship by having beautiful patience.
Whenever someone is being patient, he becomes closer to God and his commitment to God is strengthened. When someone shows patience for God’s favor, it also becomes a reason for happiness for him. Prophet Mohammad (SAW) reportedly said “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.” We should treat Ramadan as a spiritual not as a ritual. We should not fast just because everyone else is fasting around us. It is a time to make dua, to purify our hearts and souls from all evil deeds. It is the proper time to ask forgiveness to our God, not just stay away from food and drinks.
We should not give much stress on food and drink during the month of Ramadan. Some people spend the whole day for planning, cooking, shopping, and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, studying Qur’an and Hadith, giving charity to the poor and needy and other acts of worship. We should not turn Ramadan from month of fasting to month of feasting.
We should not spend our entire day for cooking and preparing food. Some of our sisters spend a lot of time for cooking throughout the day and even at night, which makes them tired. As a result, they can’t even perform Isha and Taraweeh prayers on time, or even read Qur’an. So, we should try to turn off our stove and turn on our Imaan during this Holy month of Ramadan. One should not eat too much just because we are fasting the whole day. It is not recommended to eat full stomach in Islam for any time and it is also quite unhealthy. Too much food makes one feel very lazy and therefore people don’t want to perform worships.
There are many traditions related to the virtues and merits that a man can achieve from Allah (SWT) by fasting during the month of Ramadan. In this month, the doors of mercy, forgiveness, and kindness are specially opened and the doors of punishments are closed. Therefore, whosoever wishes to have these blessings will at once take up to fasting at the advent of this month. It is stated in the Hadith-e-Qudsee that Allah says: “It is for me and I shall certainly compensate it.” The Prophet (SAW) also stated, “The fragrance of the mouth of a fasting man is more pleasant to Allah (SWT) than the smell of musk.” (Mishkat)
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “When Ramadan comes, the doors of heaven are opened. (in another narration: the doors of paradise are opened), (in another narration: the doors of mercy are opened) and the doors of hell are shut up and the devils are put under chains.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whosoever fasts in Ramadan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven; and whosoever stands up (in prayer) in Ramadan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven and whosoever stands up (in prayer) at the Blessed Night out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
It is related on the authority of Sahl bin Saa’d (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said: “There is a special Gate of Paradise, which is known as Rayyan (and) only those who observe fasting will be allowed to enter through it on the Day of Resurrection. On that day, it will be called, ‘Where are the bondsmen who used to fast for the sake of Allah (SWT) and endure the pangs of hunger and thirst? Such of the bondsmen will respond to the call and save them, no one will be permitted to enter by this gate. When they have entered paradise through this gate, it will be shut, and after it, no one will be able to enter by it.” (Mishkat).
Therefore, it is recommended that Muslims in­crease their fasting in those months so as to be close to Allah. Moreover, they would be pre­paring themselves for Ramadan before it comes. Our beloved Prophet Mohammad (SAW) used to fast most of the month of Sha’ban. The Prophet said: ‘Many people are unaware of this month’s sig­nificance; it is between Rajab and Ramadan. In this month the deeds of the people are lifted to the Lord of the Worlds. I like my deeds to be lifted while I am in a state of fasting. Ramadan is the month of fasting. As the Qur’an says:  ‘0 you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was a prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restrain,(Taqwa).”
The greatness of Ramadan therefore lies in the opportunity it offers for the development of Taqwa a virtue that allows us to truly participate in that great cosmic celebration in honor of the revelation of the Qur’an as a Huda to all people, which is, as mentioned earlier, Ramadan itself. Ramadan allows us to magnify Allah Ta’ala as He ought to be magnified, namely, with complete awareness of our earthly duties and spiritual work; and, therefore, to be of those who are truly thankful to Allah. It is a virtue too, which is ultimately celebrated in the Quran itself, for Allah says: “The best of you are those who have learnt Taqwa.” It is an inner and psychological demolition of things perceived by others as impossible. Fasting helps in all these shades for the virtuous, patient person because, the conditioning is that if a believer can exercise patience, and forsake gourmet food and drink, and the exhilaration we enjoy while eating or drinking our favorites, as well as marital association, the gratifying of other normal appetites for a whole day, for a month the realization that the barrier between you and food is your consciousness of your Creator, can better  make you able to exercise patience in virtually everything in life.

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