MOHAMMED AL SOBHI
Every year when the month of Ramadan starts it seems as if the last one has just ended. One year has passed quickly and as time passes sometimes we lose the direction in our lives, getting caught up with day-to-day affairs, forgetting what we were created for and what is the purpose of our existence.
Therefore, we should greet the month of Ramadan and consider is as an opportunity to reflect on our lives and to reconsider our ways.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) has advised the Muslims to welcome the month of Ramadan. He says: “I do not know of any specific way of welcoming Ramadan, but the Muslims should welcome it with joy and happiness and thanking Allah for enabling them to reach Ramadan, for he has caused him to be among the living who compete in doing righteous deeds. Reaching Ramadan is a great blessing of Allah. Hence the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to give his companions the glad tidings of the arrival of Ramadan and explain its virtues, and the great reward that Allah has prepared for those who fast and who spend the night in prayer. It is prescribed for the Muslims to welcome this blessed month with sincere repentance and preparations to fast and pray qiyaam, with a sound intention and sincere resolve.”
Fasting is obligatory for all Muslims, except those who have a valid excuse. It is prescribed by Allah for the Muslims and the fasting during the month of Ramadan is considered the fourth pillar of Islam.
The main blessing of fasting during the month of Ramadan was explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him):
"Whoever observes fast during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven."
We need to welcome the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and we need to hope for reward from Allah for our fasting and our good deeds. The month of Ramadan is not about being hungry and thirsty during the day or about refraining from bad habits we are accustomed to during the rest of the year.
Fasting involves the heart, faith and belief in Allah. If we do not appreciate and welcome Ramadan as a chance for a new start in our lives; as a chance to develop faith and taqwah through our fasting and behavior change; we will not be able to derive much benefit from this blessed month.
There are many who fast but earn nothing except that they remain hungry and thirsty. Many people abstain from eating and drinking, but they forget that their hearts and tongues also need to have the impact of fasting. They nurture hatred in their hearts for other Muslims and speak ill of them.
If observing fast does not change your behavior; if it does not make you feel the pain of the Muslim Ummah, not only in this country but all over the world and if it does not put sympathy in your heart for those who are less fortunate, then there is something wrong with your fast. Then one should understand that it is just abstaining from eating and drinking and not the fast that elevates a person spiritually.
Fasting will bring us closer to Allah and it will increase our taqwah, our respect for Allah, but only if we allow it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whosoever does not leave bad words and bad actions, Allah does not care if he leaves his food and drink.” (Al-Tirmidhi 641).
Ramadan is the month of great blessing and rewards from Allah if we are ready for it. The reward for all good deeds during this month is multiplied many times. The gates of paradise are opened, the gates of hell are closed and the Satan is chained during this month. Allah makes it extremely easy for us during this month to follow His orders and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and to change our lives.
By fasting during the month of Ramadan in a proper way — with our body, our heart and our soul — we learn to discipline ourselves for Allah and we follow His way and His law. All the time it should be in our mind that we have to obey His command. Let this Ramadan be the month to understand that we have to follow the orders of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him) all the time, not only one month every year.
May Allah accept our fasting, our prayers and all our good deeds.
- Courtesy of Jeddah Dawah Center