The Virtues and Rewards of Ramaḍān

The Virtues and Rewards of Ramaḍān

by | Jun 22, 2014 | Articles, Ramadan | 0 comments

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In the Name of Allāh, all praise is due to Allāh, praise and security be upon the Messenger of Allāh.

To proceed:

My dear brothers and sisters rejoice and praise Allāh, for indeed another beautiful month of extended fasting and delightful worship approaches us in excitable haste.

For those with Īmān it is like reuniting with one’s beloved, the anticipation is exhilarating and the mere proximity of it has left us with butterflies in our stomachs. We long to embrace it and enjoy its soothing company and we are always deeply sad to see it inevitably depart.

As for those with little or no Īmān it is like bumping into a disliked relative or acquaintance, the apprehension is physically debilitating, psychologically traumatising and the mere proximity of it leaves them in paralysing terror. They cannot wait for the visit to be over and become relieved when it departs.

Perhaps if the latter group were to realise the significance of fasting and the many virtues and rewards associated with this refreshing and rejuvenating act of worship, they would not hold such a view.

This article then, with the permission of Allāh, is the first of a series of articles regarding Ramaḍān. In this particular article we will discuss the obligation and virtues of fasting. We hope it will increase your hopes for the tremendous rewards that await you thereby motivating and spurring you on to perform abundant righteous deeds for the sake of Allāh the Mighty and Exalted.

So let us start by defining al-Ṣiyām or fasting.

Al-Ṣiyām linguistically means ‘abstinence’, thus one who remains silent is termed “Ṣāʾim” or “abstainer” because of his abstinence from speaking. This is the meaning of the āyah in Sūrah Maryam, verse 26:

{Indeed I have vowed a fast unto the Most Merciful}

Islāmically, al-Ṣiyām, as Shaykh Muḥammad b. Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn states in al-Sharh al-Mumtiʿ [6:298] refers to worshipping Allāh the Mighty and Exalted by abstaining from eating, drinking and all other nullifiers from the rise of Fajr until the sun sets.

Obligation of Ramaḍān

The fast of Ramaḍān was obligated in Shaʿbān, the 8th month of the Islāmic year in 2AH, thus the Prophet fasted 9 Ramaḍāns altogether.

Interestingly, fasting was obligated in three stages:

1.      The fast of the Day of ʿĀshūrāʾ was obligated first and the Prophet ` ordered its performance

2.      The fast of Ramaḍān was obligated secondly, however there was a choice to either fast the month or to pay fidyah [literally: ‘ransom’]. Allāh says:

{And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have (a choice to either fast or) to feed a poor person. But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you know.}

[2:184]

3.      Emphasis on the obligation of the fast of Ramaḍān without any choice. Allāh says:

{The month of Ramaḍān in which was revealed the Qurʾān, guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and criterion. So whoever of you sights the month, he must fast it.}

[2:185]

The wisdom behind this gradual legislation is that fasting contains a level of difficulty on the soul thus it was adopted a little at a time.

Thus fasting in the month of Ramaḍān is a pillar of Islām, without which the house of Islām cannot stand erect. The Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] stated, as reported in both Bukhārī [8] and Muslim [16] that “Islām was built upon five…” and he mentioned among them “…the fast of Ramaḍān…” The aḥādīth indicating its obligation are numerous and the Muslims are unanimously agreed that one who denies its obligation is not a Muslim.

Now that we know the linguistic and Islāmic definition of fasting and the fact that it was obligated gradually over three stages and that it is considered to be a critical pillar of Islām, let us now look at the immense virtues and rewards associated with this mighty act of worship. Remember, Allāh never obligates something upon us except that He promises to reward us open-handedly for obeying Him!

Virtues

Allāh Will Reward It As He Likes

The Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said that your Lord said,

“Every (sinful) deed can be expiated; and the fast is for Me, so I will give the reward for it; and the smell which comes out of the mouth of a fasting person, is better in Allāh’s Sight than the smell of musk.”

[al-Bukhārī]

More than 700 Multiples

He also said:

“Every action of the son of Ādam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allāh the Most High said: ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me’. For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time of joy when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allāh than the smell of musk.”

[Muslim]

Gates of Heaven are Opened and the Gates of Hell are Closed

Abū Hurayrah reported that Allāh’s Messenger[ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“When the month of Ramaḍān starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

[al-Bukhārī]

Supplication is Granted

Jābir relates that the Messenger of Allāh[ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“In every day and every night, during the month of Ramaḍān, there are people to whom Allāh grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.”

[al-Bazzār, Aḥmad and Ibn Mājah; Ṣaḥiḥ]

Means of Intercession

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAmr reported that the Messenger of Allāh [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“The fast and the Qurʾān are two intercessors for the servant of Allāh on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qurʾān will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.”

[Aḥmad]

The Gate of al-Rayyān

Sahl ibn Saʿd reported that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“There is a gate to Paradise that is called al-Rayyān. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.”

[al-Bukhārī and Muslim].

Laylatul-Qadr

Better Than a Thousand Months

Abū Hurayrah reported that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“The blessed month has come to you. Allāh has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great].”

[Aḥmad, al-Nasāʾī and al-Bayhaqī].

Forgiveness of Past Sins

Abū Hurayrah also said the Messenger of Allāh [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.”

[al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

ʿUmrah is Equivalent to Ḥajj

He [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] also said:

“An ʿUmrah in Ramaḍān is equal [in reward] of Ḥajj with me.”

[Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmīʿ]

Forgiveness of all Past Sins

Abū Hurayrah narrated that Allāh’s Messenger [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said :

“Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramaḍān out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allāh’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”

[al-Bukhārī]

Abū Hurayrah reported that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said :

“The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramaḍān are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins.”

[Muslim]

Abū Hurayrah also reported that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“Whoever spends the nights of Ramaḍān in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

[al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

Redemption From The Fire

Abū Umāmah stated that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“At every breaking of the fast, Allāh has people whom He redeems.”

[Ṣaḥīḥ al-Targḥīb, no. 987]

Life-Time’s Worth of Fasting

Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī  from the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam]:

“Whoever fasts Ramaḍān then follows it with six days of Shawwāl, it will be like fasting for a lifetime.”

[Muslim]

Thawbān reported that the Prophet [ṣallAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam] said:

“Whoever fasts Ramaḍān, a month is like ten months, and fasting six days after al-Fiṭr will complete the year.”

[Aḥmad: 22412]

The glorious rewards of fasting in Ramaḍān mentioned above from the authentic ḥadīth literature are enough to stir the hearts of those who have hope in meeting Allāh on the Day of Judgement. The promised rewards demonstrate Allāh’s immense generosity and kindness which itself is an indication of how beloved the act of fasting in Ramaḍān is to Him because He says He will reward it as He likes unlike the other acts of worship we do for Him.

So when you fast this Ramaḍān, have it in your mind that you hope to receive an unlimited amount of rewards added to your account on the Day of Recompense, forgiveness of all your previous sins, entry into the gate entitled al-Rayyān, that your fast will act as an intercessor for you and its intercession will be granted, that your supplication will be granted because you are fasting, that the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of the Fire are closed and the most rebellious devils are locked up, that your breath smells better to Allāh than musk and that you will enjoy two times of joy – when breaking your fast in this life and when meeting your Rabb in the next.

I ask Allāh to grant us all these amazing rewards and to please Him in the best possible manner through this act of worship.

So how do we go about achieving this reward? That is the topic of the next article…

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