The month of Ramadan is a special time full of God’s blessings and great wonders. The Holy Qur’an was revealed and therefore Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) prophethood was established in this month. The gates of heaven opened up one more time and the friendship between Archangel Gabriel and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) started in this month. Laylat al-Qadr (The Night of Power), a night which is more valuable than a thousand months, is hidden in the month of Ramadan.
In this month ‘The gates of heaven open, the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.’1 During the daytime, fasting and abstinence bring a person closer to God. The evenings are illuminated by prayers. This spiritual enlightenment deepens during the last ten days of Ramadan through supererogatory prayers and abstinence. This spiritual depth is reflected in the community through almsgiving and by helping the poor and the needy.
Fasting during Ramadan cleanses one from earlier sins. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said ‘Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiatious for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins.’2 Human nature is susceptible to making mistakes and to committing sins. Our Compassionate Creator gives us numerous opportunities to cleanse our sins; we can do this every day by performing the prescribed prayers and every year by making the most out of the month of Ramadan.
A path of nearness to God goes through the month of Ramadan. Fasting during the daytime, breaking the fast after sunset, prayers at night, and the night meal before dawn are all on this path, a path that every soul should follow. The following verse from the Qur’an affirms this meaning: ‘And when My servants ask you about Me, say: ‘I am near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls; so they should answer My call and believe in Me, that they may be rightly guided.’ (2: 186)
This month gives us the opportunity to cleanse ourselves for the Ramadan celebration at the end of the month. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) notes that ‘Whoever observes Ramadan well, expecting the reward from God, his past sins are forgiven.’3 One who reaches the month of Ramadan but does not take advantage of this opportunity has lost a great amount.
We would like to talk about Ramadan in more detail.
The Arabic word for fasting, ‘sawm’, means abstinence from what is desired by the carnal self, be it uttering a single word. The word ‘fast’ in the following verse has such a meaning: ‘I have vowed to the Merciful to fast (19: 26)
Based on the Quranic verses and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), fasting involves abstinence from the greatest human desires, eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse; such abstinence is done with the intention of pleasing God. In other words, it is the worship by abstinence from these desires, from dawn until dusk.
The Gate To Heaven
God ordered us to fast and chose the month of Ramadan for this purpose. Believers fast during this month and do not eat, drink, or have sexual relationships from dawn to dusk. They act with the awareness of fulfilling one of the five pillars of Islam. Sometimes their mouths smell due to hunger. They seek to qualify for the status described in the hadith ‘the breath of one observing fast is sweeter to God than the fragrance of musk.’4 The faithful acknowledge their servanthood to the Creator and aspire for the ‘Rayyan’ gate to heaven related in the following hadith ‘In Paradise there is a gate which is called Rayyan through which only the observers of fast would enter on the Day on Resurrection. None else would enter along with them. It would be proclaimed: Where are the observers of fast that they should be admitted into it? And when the last of them would enter, it would be closed and no one would enter it.’5
They find hope in the hadith ‘He who observes the fast for a day in the way of God, God would remove, because of this day, his face farther from the Fire (of Hell) to the extent of seventy years’ distance.’6
They heed Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) advice to Abu Umamah ‘I recommend fasting to you, since there is nothing like it’7 and live according to the purpose of their creation. They wake up for the night meal in the expectation of God’s blessings, they look forward to breaking their fast in the hope that their souls will be saved from Hell, and their hearts are filled with peace and happiness as they comtemplate their rewards in the hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) states the following: ‘There are two (occasions) of joy for the observer of the fast. He feels joy when he breaks the fast and he is happy when he meets God.’8 This joy in the hereafter could be due to the rewards of fasting or it may simply be the peace felt from pleasing God.
Fasting Develops Self-Control
Fasting is one way God cultivates us, as reported in the verse ‘We will certainly test you with some fear and hunger, and with some loss of property and lives and crops. Announce the good news to those who endure patiently.’ (2: 155), saving us from hunger in the hereafter and earning us rewards for our patience. The fast in Ramadan is instrumental for controlling the self and its desires. Jews and Christians fast as well, although the forms and time periods differ.
‘Fasting is a shield.’9 Fasting helps control the mundane desires of the carnal self. It thereby protects the individual from wrongdoing and extreme indulgence. A person can resist temptations and greed and understand the real and lofty pleasures of life through this connection with God. Indeed, what makes us valuable and different is our ability to control our desires and thoughts.
First of all, fasting first helps normalize temptations and desires. The individual becomes essentially ‘free’ from these desires as they are followed now as a choice, no longer as an uncontrollable obligation. This can be observed in the lives of people who fast and those who do not. People who do not fast generally have less self-control and they become the plaything of their desires and temptations, making mistakes and committing sins. However, people who have developed self-control through fasting are more able to use their reason and to avoid temptations and desires that might lead them into sin.
One who has never fasted cannot know patience and cannot know how to employ his carnal self (nefs) in normal, legitimate ways. Above all, if one who lives an affluent life never fasts, they will become a slave of their carnal desires; they will not be able to distinguish between what is allowed and forbidden. Their conscience may warn them against disgraceful actions, but they will continue to act in an incorrect manner. At most, they treat their ego unjustly; they ruin themselves, going against their own intelligence, logic, religion and wisdom.
In order to mention the protective side of fasting, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘0 young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes from casting (evil glances). and preserves one from immorality; but those who cannot should devote themselves to fasting for it is a means of controlling sexual desire.’10
God accepts good deeds performed only for Him at ten times their value. Sometimes such deeds can be accepted at seven hundred times their value. Fasting is an exceptional worship. The reward of fasting belongs to God. The people who are fasting control themselves, they do not satisfy even their essential needs. Such people abandon all desires, keeping only a desire for God. God then says: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except the fasting which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it.’11 and He appreciates this abstention.
To earn God’s love and to obtain his consent, fasting will deepen one, creating a special place for one’s perfection. While the carnal self desires everything, without thinking about it being allowed or forbidden, fasting believers keep themselves away from even legitimate desires. To gain the level of heart and spirit they put barriers up against their animal desires. To detach from the material world they stay hungry. Their hunger and the progress of becoming detached from bodily things are done only for God. While believers fulfill their obligations to attain God’s consent, they cause the other parts of their body to fast in order to increase the positive effect that fasting has. Things that must be done at times other than Ramadan, for example, keeping one’s eyes, hands, tongue and other parts of the body under control, must be continued during Ramadan. There is an inverse relationship between eating and carnal desires. If one has fulfilled his physical appetite, then the carnal appetite comes to the fore. Inversely, if one’s stomach is empty then his other bodily desires will be satisfied. That is why eating less is suggested as a method for someone who leads with the body, but who desires for the spirit to dominate.
The following event12 related to the subject is very meaningful: ‘God Almighty said to the carnal self: ‘Who am I and who are you?’ The self replied: ‘I am myself and You are Yourself.’ So He punished it and cast it into Hell, then asked it again. Again it replied: ‘I am myself and You are Yourself.’ However He punished it, it did not give up its egoism. Finally He punished it with hunger. That is, He left it hungry. Then again He asked it: ‘Who am I and who are you?’ And the soul replied: ‘You are my Compassionate Sustainer and I am your impotent slave.’ ‘
The believer who fasts is aware of this reality and accepts Ramadan and fasting in Ramadan as a godsend. There is the giving of alms (zakat) in everything. The zakat of the body is fasting. In Ramadan the body is purified from questionable foods. During the days and nights of Ramadan, believers make progress, and attain a higher spiritual rank with the help of God. Believers would like to be able to maintain this level after Ramadan. In order to maintain such a level, a believer has to become self-righteous. A believer must fear the loss of this level, and thus worship more. Worshipping brings a believer closer to God. As one becomes closer to God, one is able to awaken others into becoming a person of worship. A believer lives their entire life with the desire to be a good person and to help others to be good. A life circle that starts with fasting changes such a person to an ideal person. Truly, fasting has such a power.
The Relation Between Fasting and
God’s Self Sufficiency
Even if it is only temporary, fasting is a way which helps discern the meaning of ‘God’s Self Sufficiency’. God is ‘The Self Sufficient One’ (Samad). He does not need anything, He never eats or drinks, throughout time and throughout space. God is He on Whom all depend. Believers leave the material world by fasting, leave behind even the necessities of life. By acting in such a manner, as if they do not need anything, and as if they were angels, they educate themselves in the manner of God and become closer to God. This attitude is the resonance of the true care and mercy, acting like a receiver to the breeze that comes from the world of care and mercy at the same frequency.
The Relation of Fasting
In the Qur’an it states, ‘He gives you all you ask Him for. And were you to count God’s favors you will never be able to exhaust them.’ (14: 34)
Fasting helps us to see the true face of favors, the value of which we are unaware. The fasting believer is a person who lives in poverty amongst riches. He is hungry and keeps himself from eating until iftar, yet there is food in the home. The believer understands that one drop of water or one crumb of bread is a bounty. Ones who only give thanks for occasional ‘extra’ blessings realize that even the things they take for granted, like bread and water, are great blessings in reality.
Fasting is a form of prayer that helps us to understand what true thanksgiving to God is.
Another concern about thanksgiving and fasting is that if a believer experiences deprivation, even if it is only temporarily, they will then know what deprivation is. This is not knowledge, rather it is a deep interpretation. One who fasts will desire to help the poor. The wealthy believer, after giving thanks, will share his wealth with love and mercy. Fasting is a form of social worship, even if it appears to be an individual worship.
Another practical benefit of fasting concerns health. Fasting is often suggested as a form of protection from illnesses. Overeating is an invitation to many illnesses. Fasting is an asceticism of the spirit and a diet of the body. The soul takes advantage of the empty stomach and makes itself open to development. When a fasting believer is able to fast with his whole body, then the soul lives true asceticism. Eating less helps to talk less and sleep less. If a believer can complete the Dhikr (Remembrance of God) then they are able to leave the material world.
Believers are aware of all these benefits that are provided by fasting. That is why they fast before the month of Ramadan, during the months of Rajab and Shaban. After Ramadan, during the month of Shawwal, they fast for six days; this is considered as having the same reward as fasting for a whole year. This period is called ‘ayyamul ‘biyz’ the 13th,’14th,’ and 15th days in a lunar calendar month. The days of ashura and the arafa are also good opportunities for fasting. In addition, to fast on Mondays and Thursdays is sunna.
B. THE NIGHT OF QADR (Power)
The most important and blessed night within the year is the Night of Qadr (Power). God chose the month of Ramadan for believers to fast and He gave much importance to this night. In the Qur’an, the the Night of Qadr is mentioned, being given utmost importance.
On the Night of Qadr, the single most important event in human history unfolded. The Glorious Qur’an was preserved in ‘the Preserved Tablet’, and the Archangel Gabriel descended with the blessed book to reveal it upon the command of God to His Messenger (pbuh). On this night, the doors of the heavens opened and the revelation descended. So valuable is this Night of Qadr that a special sura has been devoted to it in the Qur’an; it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Gabriel descended many times to earth in order to convey a message to the prophets, but on the Night of Qadr Gabriel, the other angels and God’s mercy poured down to earth for the sake of the Qur’an.
The Night of Qadr is important for us; if this night is spent in prayers and supplications all past sins and mistakes will be forgiven. ‘Whoever stands in prayer during Laylat-ul- Qadr, with faith and being hopeful of God’s reward, will have his former sins forgiven.’13
The night of Qadr has meanings, such as the night of power, decree, majesty and honor. The Divine Decrees are issued on this night, the appointed time of everything is fixed and the blessings are apportioned. It is such a great and honored night that its blessings are more than that of a thousand months.
The Night of Qadr is such an important night that there is a special sura devoted to it in the Qur’an:
‘We have sent it (the Qur’an) down on the Night of Qadr.
If only you knew what is the Night of Qadr.
The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend thereon by the leave of their Lord with every command.
It is peace, till the break of dawn.’ (97; 1-6)
1. We have sent it down on the Night of Qadr:
In the first verse, God the Most High, states that the Qur’an was sent down on the Night of Qadr. Indeed the word “Qur’an” is not used in the first verse; instead a pronoun is used. With the sentence ‘We have sent it down’, God indicates both the greatness of He Who sent it and He shows the great honor of that which was sent. The Qur’an is so great and honorable that it is obvious that God has sent it and of course the night on which it was sent must therefore be an important night. The complete Qur’an was sent down from ‘The Preserved Tablet’ on this night to the ‘The House of Glory’ in the lowest heaven, from whence it was revealed piecemeal to the Prophet (pbuh), according to events which took place during his life, over a period of twenty-three years.
2. If only you knew what is the Night of Qadr:
In this verse God makes clear the greatness of the night of Al-Qadr, the night on which He chose to send down the Noble Qur’an. The night of Qadr is such an important night, yet if God had left us alone and had not informed us of its importance we would not have understood the value of this night.
3. The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months:
The number a thousand might not mean the exact number of months, or it might in fact mean exactly 83 years. The good deeds performed on this night, the fasting on this night and the standing in prayer on this night are all better than the good deeds, prayers and fasting of a thousand months. The rewards of all these are countless. Only God knows how much reward will be given to those who spend the night in prayer. This is a very large blessing for the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
It is reported that the Prophet (pbuh) was shown the people who had lived in ancient times; it seemed as if the lifespan of those in his community were shorter, thus making it not possible for them to accomplish the same amount of deeds as those who had come before, as they had lived longer lives. Thus, God gave Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the night of Qadr, which is better than a thousand months. This also shows us that a span of 80 years for the people of today is quite a long time.
4-6. The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend thereon by the leave of their Lord with every command. It is peace, till the break of dawn:
The word ‘spirit’ has been interpreted as signifying the Archangel Gabriel. On this night the Archangel Gabriel and innumerable other angels descended with innumerable blessings and mercy. Their descent occured several times, not only once, and this was repeated by other groups of angels who continued to descend until the dawn.
The words “by the Lord’s permission” show the importance of the angels’ descent and their tasks.
The Prophet’s (pbuh) advice, found in different hadiths, suggests that one should search for the Night of Qadr in the last 10 days of Ramadan, especially on odd numbered days.
God’s mercy and peace surrounds believers until dawn. The angels pray for the believers and send salutations of peace to those who are occupied in prayer until dawn. The morning of the night is also full of goodness and it is serene, tranquil and peaceful. A good example of this is the victory of Badr, which took place during the life of the Prophet (pbuh) in the second year of emigration from Makka to Madina.
C. ITIKAF (WITHDRAWING FOR PRAYER)
The meaning of ‘itikaf’ is to continue to do something. In religious terminology it means to stay in (or to withdraw/retract to) a mosque or a similar temple for the purpose of continuous prayer.
When one participates in itikaf, one strives to prepare his heart so that he can ‘let God in’.
In another way, itikaf is to continuously and persistently knock on God’s door saying, ‘please open Your door to me, too’, ‘I won’t leave Your doorstep until You forgive me’, ‘hold the hand that I stretch out to You and don’t let go’, and ‘do not reject me (and leave me with empty hands)’. Truly, the believers who observe the month of Ramadan have already spent the day fasting, therefore withdrawing from worldly deeds. In addition to this, the believers completely give themselves up to prayer and reflection. The believers recite the Holy Qur’an, pray, and keep busy with Dhikr (the mentioning of God and His names). They read books on God (the Face of Truth, the Ultimate Truth) and extend the horizons of their wisdom. At night, they perform the special prayers, the tarawih prayers. Also, they pass the time before dawn with another special prayer, the tahajjud prayer. The believers attract God’s mercy with prayers that ask for forgiveness. Moreover, the believers eat less, sleep less, speak less, and do not deal with worldly deeds. During these holy days and nights they completely focus on the feeling of unity with God (The Truth). They try to stay alert for the gentle inspiration that may come from God. From this perspective, it would be correct to say that the believers that have withdrawn (to itikaf) are people who have stationed themselves to witness the appearances of the Lord.
God Almighty, with His infinite mercy, will not reject the believers who have turned to Him with a sincere heart and who persist in staying on His doorstep; He even hears the ant and does not deny its requests.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) organized his work accordingly during the last 10 days (the last third) of Ramadan, and withdrew (itikaf) every year, spending those days worshipping God in seclusion. Traditionally, he would increase the amount of worship to God during the month of Ramadan relative to that in other months. He increased his proximity to God within the month of Ramadan. The Prophet would share his efforts to worship with his wives and would also ask them to also occupy themselves with the worship of God.
Believers who are serious in their intention to follow the Prophet’s tradition can put their hand on God’s door. They can lay their faces on God’s doorstep and during this holy period of time they will be in search of the Lord’s mercy.
D. ALMS OF FITR (ISLAMIC CHARITY)
The monetary worship or charity that is carried out during the month of Ramadan is called Alms (Islamic charity) of Fitr. Worship, such as fasting, reciting the Quran, performing the tarawih prayer, searching for the Night of Qadr and the assessment of this are carried out physically. Alms of Fitr must be delivered to the needy during this month and it must be in monetary form. It is also more virtuous to give the zakat (the annual Islamic tax) during this month, but this is not obligatory. Zakat can be paid at other times. However, the giving of the Alms of Fitr is limited to the month of Ramadan. Although the giving of Fitr is required after sunrise on the first day of ‘Eid (the holiday after Ramadan) it is preferable to give it before this time, so that the needy can enjoy the ‘Eid, having fulfilled their needs.
Fitr is an Arabic word that means to end fasting. The word ‘iftar’ comes from the same root. Fitr also means ‘natural’ (fitrat), in which case the deeper meaning becomes to thank God for having given us the ability to believe in Him, for allowing us to reach the month of Ramadan, for having helped us complete the fasting and the prayers, and for having given us a body to worship Him with. Again, if we derive the meaning from the word ‘fitrat’ we can say that the alm of Fitr is the physical alm.
In terminology the fitr alm is defined as: ‘The alm that is required to be paid by each Muslim who has reached the end of Ramadan and has at least a small (nisab) amount of goods superfluous to his/her personal/basic needs.’ This definition is the one followed by the Hanafi sect. In the Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali sects there is no requirement to have a nisab amount. It is obligatory to give the alm of fitr in all four sects.
The requirement of fitr has been fixed according to the following narration of Abdullah b. Umar (from the Prophet’s hadith): ‘The Prophet (pbuh) has ordered all Muslims, man or woman, free or enslaved, to give fitr equal to one measure of barley or dates.’
What the Alm of Fitr Brings
Fasting believers understand the situation of the poor in their heart when they feel the hunger and understand the condition of people who can barely find a morsel of food. This feeling triggers the desire to help such people. Similarly, the believers prepare for the Eid Holiday by buying themselves and their children nice clothes, and sweet things and chocolates to serve visitors. While doing these things, the alm of fitr is standing in front of them. The believers have already understood the condition of the poor during the Ramadan, sometimes feeling hunger, sometimes feeling thirst, yet nonetheless not indulging in eating during the day.
E. TARAWIH PRAYER
Believers wake up before dawn in order to start their day with the night meal. They fast until evening, when they break their fast. They recite the Qur’an during the day and during the night, or they listen to a recitation of it; this is called a ‘muqabala’. They also perform a prayer at night time that follows the isha prayer. This night prayer is called the ‘tarawih’ prayer.
The word tarawih is the plural of the word ‘tarwiha’, which means comforting and restful. Originally the sitting position that is adopted following every two or four units of this prayer was called the tarwiha. Later on, the plural form of this word, tarawih, became the name of the prayer performed at night during the month of Ramadan.14 The tarawih prayer is only offered during the month of Ramadan following the isha prayer.
It is a muakkad sunna to perform the tarawih prayer. The Messenger of God (pbuh) recommended offering prayers at night during the month of Ramadan. Two examples are given here: ‘Whoever offers the night prayer during the month of Ramadan, believing in and expecting rewards from God, his former sins are forgiven.’15 ‘God has made it obligatory (fard) on you to fast during the month of Ramadan. And I made it sunna on you to stand up offering prayers during the night in the month of Ramadan. Whoever fasts with ikhlas (with sincerity; only for the sake of God), believing in and expecting rewards from God, and offers the night prayer, he will be as clean of his sins as he was on the day he was born.’16
Scholars have agreed that what is meant by ‘the night prayer’ in these hadiths is the tarawih prayer.
Besides recommending such prayers, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself led his companions a few times in the tarawih prayer. He later discontinued leading the tarawih prayer, so as to not make it obligatory. Any worship routinely practiced by the Prophet (pbuh) could become obligatory. God Almighty gave this right to His Messenger (pbuh). In other words, the worship of the believers was shaped according to the worship of God’s Messenger (pbuh). God determined the obligatory worship for Muslims according to the Prophet’s (pbuh) practices. In fact, the time of the Prophet (pbuh) was a period of ‘tasri’. That is, the rules were being determined during this period.
In the narration of Aisha (pbuh), God’s Messenger (pbuh) performed the tarawih prayer in the mosque with his companions for two or three nights. Because of the enthusiasm of the companions for this prayer, the following nights, after leading the isha prayer he left for his room immediately, and did not come back to the mosque for the tarawih prayer. Some people waited for him. Some people even coughed on purpose to wake him up, thinking that he may have fallen asleep. The Prophet (pbuh) addressed the people who had been waiting the next morning when he came to the mosque for the fajr prayer: ‘I realize your enthusiasm for this prayer. There was nothing to prevent me leading the prayer either. Rather, I was concerned that it may become obligatory on you. If it becomes obligatory on you, you would not be able to carry it out.’17
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) always fulfilled duties of Islam to perfection in his own life-time. He would offer prayers at night, standing until his feet become swollen. He would join the fasts without breaking his fast or without eating the night meal; this is the so called ‘sawm-i wisal’. But he would not ask the same from his companions, instead he recommended them to be moderate. He was so thoughtful and merciful to his people. When he had to choose between two alternatives for his people, he would prefer the easy option. He did the same concerning the tarawih prayer; he showed his compassion and mercy by not coming out to the mosque to lead the tarawih prayer.
One night during Ramadan Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came to the mosque; he saw some people praying and he asked: ‘What are these people doing?’ The people accompanying him answered: ‘O Messenger of God, these are people who do not know all the Qur’an by heart and Ubay b. Ka’b is leading the prayer for them.’ Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was pleased with this answer and ‘What they are doing is very good; it’s very proper’ he said.18
When Umar Ibn Khattab was Caliph, he ordered Ubay b. Kab to lead a twenty unit prayer for tarawih.19 By so doing, Umar Ibn Khattab accomplished something that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had wished for and had encouraged. At this time, the period of ‘tasri’ was over, the doors of the heavens were closed and it was no longer possible for any kind of worship to become obligatory. In this way, the wish of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was brought about and the tarawih prayer took its place in the observance of Ramadan during the nights as an important worship and a strong sunna act.
In fact, there were many respected companions, such as Uthman, Ali, Talha, Zubayr, Muaz, Abdullah b. Masud and Abdullah b. Abbas among the people who were praying behind the leadership of Ubay b. Kab in the tarawih prayers. They supported Umar’s decision and did not object to him leading. Instead they prayed for him: ‘Umar Ibn Khattab has enlightened our mosques, may God enlighten his grave.’20
During the month of Ramadan, one approaches closer to God by fasting during the day. The tarawih prayer enlightens the night. It helps start a spiritual preparation for the following day. Believers intend to spend the next day in the same way. Intentions and performances fill the days and the nights of Ramadan. As a response to the mercy of God falling on them as rain, believers fully observe this month by worshipping God; in this way they fulfill the wishes of God and at the same time, they walk towards their purpose of creation, they become worthy of paradise.
God Almighty, who constantly creates occasions for believers to seek out his forgiveness, offers Ramadan as an invaluable opportunity and urges them to take advantage of it. He forgives those who successfully can do this. For those who cannot afford the level of performance Ramadan requires for a whole month, He further includes a chance to partake in the blessings within the last ten days of Ramadan. These are the days of itikaf for believers, a time to devote most of their time to constant worship and reflection. One who is able to do this is most likely to be forgiven by the end of the month of Ramadan due to his/her opportunity to observe the Night of Qadr. For those who cannot do this either, it is recommended that they look for the Night of Qadr in the odd numbered nights within the days of itikaf, such as the 23rd, 25th, and the 27th. God will forgive the previous sins of those who fully observe the Night of Qadr.
The month of Ramadan is a blissful month during which God Almighty pours down His blessings upon His creatures.
The truth is we do not need to wait for Ramadan in order to gain the blessings of God Almighty. One can search for avenues to forgiveness by making the most of Fridays. Daily prayers, by themselves, are grounds for forgiveness of small sins, as mentioned above. In fact, when one third of every night is over, God virtually calls out from the skies: ‘Are there not any who pray to me, let me accept their prayers; are there not any who ask for something, let me grant them what they ask for; are there not any who ask for forgiveness, let me forgive their sins.’
May God include us among those who make the most the month of Ramadan and earn His forgiveness. Amen.
1 Bukhari, Sawm 5; Muslim, Siyam 1
2 Bukhari, Muslim,
3 Bukhari, Salat al-Tarawih 1, Muslim, Salat al-Musafirin 174
4 Bukhari, Sawm 2, 9, Libas 78; Muslim, Siyam 164
5 Bukhari, Sawm 4; Muslim, Siyam 166
6 Muslim, Sawm, 2572
7 Nasai, Siyam 43
8 Riyad-us-Saliheen 2566
9 Riyad-us-Saliheen 2565
10 Bukhari, Sawm 10; Muslim, Nikah 1
11 Riyad-us-Saliheen 1215
12 Muzakki’n Nufus
13 Riyad-us-Saliheen, 1189
14 Ibn Manzur, Lisanu’l-Arab, rvh mad.
15 Bukhari, Salatu’t-Tarawih, 1; Muslim, Salatu’l- Musafirin, 174.
16 Nasai, Qiyam, 40; Ibn Mace, Iqama, 173.
17 Bukhari, Salatu’t-Tarawih, 2; Muslim, Salatu’l- Musafirin, 178.
18 Tahanawi, I’lau’s- Sunan, 7/59-60.
19 Mewsili, El-Ihtiyar, 1/68-69.
20 Ibrahim Halebi, Multeka, 119.