RAMADAN REMINDER 1
- Ramadan is the most blessed month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The virtues of this Holy Month are innumerable – one hadith mentions the excellence of Ramadan and fasting in it as follows:
“My Umma is given five privileges in the month of Ramadan that no Umma was given before: [1.] The khuluf of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter in the estimation of Allah than the fragrance of musk. . The angels continually pray to Allah to forgive them (i.e. those who are fasting), until they break their fast. [3.] Allah decorates Janna (paradise) every day saying to it, ‘My pious slaves are about to be relieved of their burdens and sufferings and enter you’. [4.] Satans are chained in this month, so that they are not able to accomplish their evil and [5.] The believers’ sins are forgiven by the last night of Ramadan. Someone asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘Is it the night of Laylat al-Qadar’? He said: ‘no. But the labourer is usually paid upon finishing his task’.”
أعطيت أمتي خمس خصال في رمضان لم تعطهن أمة قبلهم خلوف فم الصائم أطيب عند الله من ريح المسك وتستغفر لهم الحيتان حتى يفطروا ويزين الله عز وجل كل يوم جنته ثم يقول يوشك عبادي الصالحون أن يلقوا عنهم المؤنة ويصيروا إليك وتصفد فيه مردة الشياطين فلا يخلصوا فيه إلى ما كانوا يخلصون إليه في غيره ويغفر لهم في آخر ليلة قيل يا رسول الله أهي ليلة القدر قال لا ولكن العامل إنما يوفى أجره إذا قضى عمله…
- But before Ramadan commences, at least two notions should be remembered and carried into the Month when one fasts:  worship (al-ta`a) and  forgiveness (al-ghufran).
- Ramadan is the month of utter worship and submission to Allah as well as open forgiveness. Thus it is a month for a person to strengthen and grow in their devotion to Allah and an opportunity to attain redemption and pardon from a life-cycle of sin and separation from Allah.
-  Worship: Fasting is defined as being ‘restraint’ (al-imsak). This is a month in which everyone gives up permitted things (eating, drinking and sexual intercourse) purely out of an awareness and realisation that Allah has commanded it.
- Ramadan is a month of being alert to the commandments of Allah and being immersed in His worship so as to increase in God-consciousness (taqwa); hence the constant reminder to one’s self that h/she is in a state of fasting, being extra careful of those actions that will break the fast, salat al-tarawih, extra Qur’anic recitation, the eating of the pre-dawn meal (al-suhur), etc.
- This focus – every day for 30 days – is a way of reinforcing and training a person to shape their inclinations, thoughts and emotions to the commandments of Allah. This training is then to be applied/extended to all other aspects of one’s life, e.g. prayer, buying-selling, marriage, employment, civil transactions, ruling, politics, etc.
- Thus, fasting helps and facilitates an individual to become a holistic and comprehensive devotee of Allah and not a selective one. A person realises that that the basis for their actions are the commandments of Allah and they adhere to that in all areas of their life.
-  Forgiveness: The Messenger of Allah (saw) mentions how in the Month of Ramadan, the Shaytan and his allies are restrained and how the doors of mercy of flung wide open for all who seek forgiveness and pardon:
“When the month of Ramadan begins, the doors of Paradise are opened wide and Satan is tied up”.
إذا دخل شهر رمضان فتحت أبواب السماء، وغلقت أبواب جهنم، وسلسلت الشياطين.
- Another narration regarding Ramadan is attributed to the Messenger of Allah (saw) is:
“Ramadan: its beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is emancipation from the Fire”.
أول شهر رمضان رحمة، و أوسطه مغفرة، و آخره عتق من النار…
- Thus, this month should be a month of hope in the Mercy of Allah and hence a desire to seek pardon (al-tawba).
- Ramadan can serve as a means of attaining forgiveness and that new start in order to draw nearer to Allah and live a life based on the Shari`a and Islamic standards.
- It is a sign of true loss that Ramadan enters and a person fails to obtain forgiveness from as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (saw):
(1) “May the mouth of a man be full of dirt! How is it that Ramadan enters and he spends his time in it before being forgiven?”.
وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَمَضَانُ ثُمَّ انْسَلَخَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لَهُ…
(2) “Jibril came to me and said: if one was not able to attain forgiveness when Ramadan came and entered Hellfire and Allah banished him, say ‘amen’. I said: amen.”
إن جبريل أتاني فقال : من أدرك شهر رمضان فلم يغفر له فدخل النار فأبعده الله قل آمين فقلت آمين.
Thus, Ramadan should be a month that makes us realise we are servants of Allah in all aspects of our lives and bound by the Shari`a in all parts of life and it is a month encompassed by mercy and forgiveness for an opportunity to seek that life that draws one nearer to Allah.
Peace and blessing be upon our Master Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
S. Z. C.
Meaning ‘odour’ or ‘smell’.
 Reported by Abu Hurayra. See al-Hafiz al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib, 2:112 and al-Haythami, al-Majma` al-Zawa’id, 3:143 where there is weakness in the narration although each aspects of the narration are sahih (authenticated) from other narrations
 Narrated by Abu Hurayra (ra) by Bukhari in his Sahih (#1899).
 Narrated by Salman al-Farisi (ra). See for example Diya’ al-Maqdisi, al-Sunan wa ’l-Ahkam, 3:400; al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib, 2:115; al-`Ayni, `Umdat al-Qari. 10:383 and al-Haythami, al-Zawajir, 1:197. The narration however is weak.
 Narrated by Abu Hurayra (ra) by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (#3545).
 Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 3:188 and declared hasan (‘good’) by Shaykh Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut.