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|موضوع: Reality and Obligation in Ramadan الأربعاء أغسطس 18, 2010 6:31 pm|| |
Reality and Obligation in Ramadan
Al-Jumuah Magazine, Vol 8, Issue
this Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vansh into the
night, leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on
fasting, its wisdom and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of
the Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between the reality and
our obligations. Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah blessed
His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase their piety
(Taqwa). Allah said: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you
as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious."
(Al-Baqarah 2:183). This article is an attempt to present the essential
causes of this gap, and to some remedies. primary reason for the gap is
ignorance about the goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many
Muslims ignore the purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely
to conform to the social environmet without contemplation. If one is
not aware of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world
and in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.
Goals of Fasting
Achieving Taqwa: is one of the most important
wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on Taqwa as it lessens the desire of
the stomach and mutes the sexual appetite. Whoever fasts frequently
would overcome these two desires more easily. This deter against
committing abominations and sins and assist in controlling life leading
Strengthening willpower and acquiring patience:
The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam called Ramadhan the month of
patience as it increases one's will power to control his desire and the
selfishness of his soul. This training allows him to be strong in
following Allah's commands. The most important being to carry the
Message and propel it forward. The person trains himself to be patient
in obeying Allah by stopping at the limits set by Allah both by way of
action and abstention. Allah said: "These are the limits set by Allah,
so approach them not." (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Fasting is pure worship: The fact that he is
abstaining from food and drink both in public and in secret shows his
honest faith and strong love of Allah, and his knowledge and feeling
that Allah is all-knowing of everything. For this reason Allah has made
the reward for fasting greater than for any other type of worship. Allah
said in the hadith Qudsi: "Every deed of the son of Adam will be
multiplied [in rewards], the good deed by ten of its like, up to seven
hundreds, up to whatever Allah wills, except fasting, it is for Me and I
will reward it. He abandons his desire and his food for My sake.."
(Related by Muslim) lbn al-Qayyim said: "...And people may see that a
person is not eating in front of them, but the fact that he is really
abandoning his food and his desire for the sake of God is a thing that
nobody can find out about, and that is the essence of fasting." (Zaad
Relieving Muslims from life's distractions:
Eating, drinking, and socializing all distract a person and weaken ties
with Allah. It is by the Mercy of Allah that Muslims are ordered to fast
so as not to be bothered by the intrusion of these activities. Nor by
the thought about them nor the anticipation for them when devoting
themselves to the all types of worship Either reading the Qur'an,
offering additional prayer or making I'tikaf. For this reason the
Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Fasting is a shield, and a
secure fortress against Hell fire" (Related by Ahmad).
Discovering Allah's Blessings: A person
experiences the hardship of the poor. He should then be thankful to
Allah Who has blessed him with His bounty while others are deprived.
This should make him more sympathetic and willing to share this bounty.
The poor rediscovers that fasting helps a person be more devoted to
worship. More able to concentrate and meditate. He should then be able
of this devotion all year long, a blessing he should thank Allah for.
Acquiring strength and endurance:It has been
discovered that depriving the body of food for a period of time helps
its defense and endurance mechanism. This in turn this protects the body
from certain diseases.
Remember that fasting is not only dependent on abstentions:
Many believe that fasting consist only of certain abstentions,
forgetting that Allah established certain acts of worship with fasting.
Among which are:
Qiyamul-layl: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa
sallam said: "Whoever performed the night prayer during Ramadhan out of
belief and anticipating God's rewards, will be forgiven his previous
sins."(Related by Muslim).Performing Umrah: The Prophet sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam said: "An Umrah during Ramadhan is like a Hajj with
me." (Related by al-Hakim).
Offering Iftar (meal) to those who fasted. The
Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Whoever feeds a fasting
person has the same reward as him, except that the reward of the fasting
person will not be diminished." (Related by Ahmad).
Reading and completing the Qur'an: The Prophet
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Fasting and [reading] Qur'an will
intercede for the person: fasting will say: O Lord I forbade him eating
and drinking so let me intercede for him, and the Qur'an will say: I
deprived him from his night sleep so let me intercede for him," he then
said: "So they will intercede." (Related by Ahmad). The Prophet
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to recite the whole Qur'an to Angel
Jibreel each Ramadhan.
Giving in charity: Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said:
"The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam was the most generous among
people, and he was more generous during the month of Ramadhan." (Related
I`tikaaf: which is to confine oneself in the
masjid for prayer and invocation leaving the worldly activities. Ibn
Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: "The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam
used to perforrn I'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan." (Related
by Muslim). It is surprising that many people have abandoned I'tikaf
though the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam never abandoned it from
the time he arrived to Madinah until he died.
Supplication: In the verses dealing with
fasting, Allah said: "And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning
Me, then answer them, I am indeed near to them. I respond to the
invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me." (Al-Baqarah 2: 186).
This is an encouragement for the fasting person to increase his
invocation. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: "Three
invocations will be answered: The invocation of the fasting person, the
invocation of the oppressed, and the invocation of the traveler."
(Related by Muslim).
Repentance: Ramadhan is the time of repentance
and return to Allah, for it is a time when the devils are chained, and
when many people are saved from hell fire every night by the grace of
Applying oneself in all good deeds in the last ten days of Ramadhan:
Aysha radhiallabu anha said: "When the last ten days come, he
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam would pray most of the night and wake his
family, and apply himself, and tighten up his loincloth.", and she also
said: "The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to strive
in the last days of Ramadhan more than he did during the other days."
(Related by Muslim).
Abstaining from vain talk: Sins decrease the
reward of fasting although they do not annul it. The Prophet sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam said: "Fasting is not [only] abstaining from eating and
drinking, but abstaining from vain and obscene talk, so if someone
insulted you or wronged you say: I am fasting." (Related by al-Hakim)
and he also said: 'Whoever does not abandon lying, then Allah does not
need him to abandon his food and drink." (Related by al-Bukhari).
Common errors made during Ramadhan
Excessive spending: Ramadhan should be a time
to avoid being wasteful, and learning to be prepared in facing harder
times by distinguishing the needs from the luxuries. Unfortunately, many
people go beyond their limits to spend during Ramadhan. Whether in the
varieties of food that they savor each night, or by the other types of
Staying awake during the night and sleeping during the day:
Some people sleep during most of the day when they are fasting.
Ramadhan is not a time of being lazy, and this do not allow the full
benefit from the experience of fasting. It is as if they have only
inverted their nights into days and vice versa. In addition, some may
spend a great portion of the night indulging in eating and drinking and
Spending more time in socializing: Because
people invite each other more often during Ramadhan they do tend to
spend more time socializing with friends, and relatives. While it is a
good deed to feed the fasting person, this should not result in precious
time lost in vain talk. Use the occasion for remembering Allah and
offering additional prayers, and for the Da'wah to Allah.
Insisting on performing a certain number of Rakaas during the Tarawih (night) prayer
to the point of not praying behind the Imam and thus forfeiting the
benefit of congregational prayer. This might also bring hatred and
disagreement between the Muslims of one community.
Reading Qur'an too fast: Some insist on
finishing the whole Qur'an once or more, even if they have to read very
fast. Although reading the Qur'an many times is desirable, this should
not be done hastily, especially during the Tarawih prayer without
pondering upon its meaning. Allah ta'ala said: "This is a Book which We
have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its
verses," (Saad 38:29), and the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said:
"Those who read the Qur'an in less than three days do not grasp [its
Socializing in l'tikaf: Many people are eager
to do I'tikaf but some confine themselves in the masjid not to pray and
worship Allah but to talk and socialize.
The ways of doing good are numerous in Ramadhan Many
people try to perform more than they are able to. By going beyond their
capabilities, they end up not performing any deed in the desired way.
Scholars and Dai'ahs should assume a more prominent
role in educating the people - both by talking to them and by giving the
best example in their behavior which should comply to the Shariah and
following the Sunnah.
The Muslim should realize that his priorities dictate
that he does what benefits him in the Hereafter and should not put
worldly interests first.
The Muslim should apply himself to deepen his sense
of following the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, in
every aspect of his life, at all times and especially during the month
of Ramadhan. This necessitates seeking more knowledge about the Fiqh of
fasting and its etiquette, assimilating the wisdom and goals of fasting,
and facilitating the means that allow all the Muslims to benefit from
We ask Allah to accept our fast and our good deeds