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Ramadan and Fasting

Ramadan and Fasting

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Published by: Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander on Jul 08, 2012
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RAMADAN AND FASTING
By 
Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
Ramadan
(lit.
Scorching heat
), the ninth month of the Islamic
Hijri 
calendar, is considered to bethe most sacred and glorious month in Islam. Muslims the world over hold this Holy month inreverence and fast throughout it from dawn to dusk.
Ramadan
is considered a very virtuousmonth in Islam wherein the rewards for good deeds get multiplied manifold and bad deeds areforgiven. As a result the onset of Ramadan encourages people to get actively involved inperforming good deeds and getting close to
 Allah
by offering sincere repentance.
Ramadan
is
like a month of thorough training for Muslims in which they are “programmed” towardsrighteousness and get “charged” and gain the necessary momentum of faith
supposed to bemaintained the whole year round.
Ramadan
is the month of Mercy. Prophet Muhammad SAW said:
“When the month of Ramadanstarts the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.” 
(Bukhari)Ramadan is also known as the month of the
Qur’an
as the Noble
Qur’an
was revealed during thisHoly month. The Glorious
Qur’an
mentions: “
Ramadan is the (month) in which we sent downthe Qur 
’ 
an as a guide to mankind also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)
” (2:185)
 
The
Laylat ul Qadr 
or the Night of Blessing (
laylat ul Mubarak)
also falls in this month
.
A gooddeed performed in this night is better than the rewards of good deeds of 1000 months (about83.3 years). The
Qur’an
present in the
Lawhe mahfuz
or Sacred Tablet was separated from itsstations in the Highest heavens (85:21-22) and revealed upon the lowest heavens, House of Honour or
Bait al Izzah
as a whole.Regarding this night the Glorious
Qur’an
mentions:
We have revealed this (message) in the Night of power; And what will explain to you what thenight of power is? The night of power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down
the angels and the spirit by the permission of their Lord, on every errand ‘Peace!’ So u
ntill therise of morn.
”(97:1
-5)The above references clearly describe the position and status of the Holy month of 
Ramadan
inIslam. Now regarding fasting during this month, the Glorious
Qur’an
 
mentions “
So everyone of you who is present (at home) durin
g this month (Ramadan) should spend it in fasting” 
(2:185)
 
Further mentions the Glorious
Qur’an
 
that “
O You who Believe! Fasting is prescribed to you asit was prescribed before you so that you may (learn) self- restrain.
”(2:183)
This verse clearly states that fasting was ordained for earlier people also specially referring to thepeople of the Book as can be confirmed from these statements of the Bible. The Bible mentions:
“And when he (Jesus) fasted 40 days and 40 nights he was there after unhungered” (Ma
thew 4:2)
Also it is mentioned:
 
“And he (Moses) was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights; he
did neither eat bread nor drink water and wrote upon the tablest the words of the covenant,
the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)
 
Virtues of Fasting1. Abu Huraira R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said:
Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays duringthe nights of Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And whoever passes Laylat ul Qadr with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.
(Bukhari, Muslim)2. Abu Huraira R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said:
If one omits his fast for even a singleday in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he fasted even for his entirelife he could not makeup for it.
(Bukhari)3. Abu Huraira R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said:
Every deed of man will receive 10 to 700 times reward except Siyam (fasting) for it is for meand I shall reward it (as I please). There are two occasions of joy for the one who fasts: onewhen he breaks his fast and other when he meets his Lord.
(Muslim)When to start fastingIbn Umar R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said:
Do not start fasting until you see the newmoon and do not stop fasting until you see it. If the weather is cloudy then calculate when itshould appear.
(Bukhari, Muslim)The
Suhoor 
meal which is eaten before dawn:
Hadith - Sahih Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 31, #143, Narrated Sahl bin Sad 
 I used to take my Suhur meals with my family and then hurry up for presenting myself for the (Fajr) prayerwith Allah's Apostle.
Hadith - Sahih Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 31, #146, Narrated Anas bin Malik 
 The Prophet said, "Take Suhur as there is a blessing in it."
Fiqh-us-Sunnah 3.130a
 
 
The sunnah would be fulfilled by eating a small or large quantity of food, or even just by drinking a sip of water. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "The pre-dawn meal is blessed, sodo not neglect it even if you only take a sip of water. Verily, Allah and the angels pray for those who havepre-dawn meals." (Ahmad)
Breaking your fast (
Iftaar 
):
Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #1989, Narrated AbuHurayrah
[Tirmidhi transmitted it.]Allah's Messenger said, that Allah Most High said, "Those of my servants who arequickest in breaking their fast are dearest to me."
Hadith - Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 31, Number 178, Narrated Sahl bin Sad 
 Allah's Apostle said, "The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten thebreaking of the fast."
Hadith - Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 31, Number 182, Narrated Anas
 The Prophet said, "Do not practice Al-Wisal (fasting continuously without breaking one'sfast in the evening or eating before the following dawn)." The people said to the Prophet, "But youpractice Al-Wisal?" The Prophet replied, "I am not like any of you, for I am given foodand drink (by Allah) during the night."
Behaviour while fasting:Abu Huraira R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said: If a person does not avoid false talk andloose conduct during Siyam, Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink. (Bukhari,Muslim)The very meaning of 
Siyam
means “rest”. In the light of this H
adeeth we are to put to rest notonly our hunger and thirst but also our desires and bad habits that prevent us from getting closeto Allah.Forgetfully eating or drinking while fasting:Abu Huraira R.A.A. related that Muhammad SAW said:
If anyone forgets that he is fasting andforgetfully eats or drinks he should complete his fast for it is Allah who has fed him and givenhim drink.
(Bukhari, Muslim)Who must fast: The fast of Ramadan is obligatory upon every male and female who meets thefollowing criteria:1. To be sane and sound ie to be mentally and physically fit.2. To be of proper age ie puberty. Children below age of puberty should be encouraged to fatsbut it is not obligatory on them.3. To be present at your home, settlement etc.4. To be sure that fasting is unlikely to cause you any physical or mental harm other than hunger

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