Rewards of Fasting
Every act of goodness is rewarded. Rewards are given based on the sincerity of the intention. Fasting is the only worship about which Allah has said that He Himself is the reward for it. This means that one develops such a close relationship with Allah that Allah Himself becomes the helper.
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Allah, the Lord of Honor and glory says: All other deeds of man are for himself, but his fasting is purely for Me and I shall reward him for it. The fast is a shield. When any of you is fasting he should abstain from loose talk and noisy exchanges. Should anyone revile him or seek to pick a quarrel with him, he should respond with: I am observing a fast. By Him in Whose hands is the life of Muhammad, the breath of one who is fasting is purer in the sight of Allah than the fragrance of musk. One who fasts experiences two joys: he is joyful when he breaks his fast, and he is joyful by virtue of his fast when he meets his Lord" (Bukhari and Muslim).
Sa'ad ibn Sahl relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "There is a gate of Paradise called Rayyan through which only those will enter on the Day of Judgment who are regular in observing the fast and no one else. A call will go forth: Where are those who observed the fast regularly? And they will step forth and no one beside them will enter through that gate. After they shall have entered, the gate will be closed and no one else will enter thereby" (Bokhari and Muslim).
Abu Sa'id Khudri relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When a servant of Allah observes the fast for a day for the sake of Allah, He thereby repels the Fire from him a distance of seventy years of journeying" (Bokhari and Muslim).
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "He who observes the fast during Ramadhan out of sincerity of faith and in hope of earning merit will have his past sins forgiven him" (Bokhari and Muslim).
Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When Ramadhan arrives the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and satans are put in chains" (Bokhari and Muslim).
Requirements of Ramadhan
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has given guidance to the Muslims for each and every thing. He has given detailed instructions on when to start the month of Ramadhan and how to spend time during this month.
Beginning and Ending of Ramadhan: Hazrat Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) has narrated that: "I heard the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying that you should start fasting when you see the moon for the month of Ramadhan and stop fasting when you see the new moon" (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ulSaum).
Forgetfulness while fasting: The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said: "if some mistakenly eats while fasting he should complete his fast till the evening because surely Allah made him eat and drink" (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Saum).
Importance of eating breakfast: Anas relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Take breakfast before the fast begins; there is blessing in breakfast" (Bokhari and Muslim), Zaid ibn Thabit relates: We ate breakfast during Ramadhan with the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him said: "The difference between our observance of the fast and that of the People of the Book is eating of breakfast" (Muslim).
Etiquettes of Sehri (food taken at dawn): Sehri is a blessed meal. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said: "This is truly a blessing. One strengthens in oneself the habit of getting up early in the morning and to worship Allah and one can offer humble prayers to Him." The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: "Eat Sehri as there are blessings in eating Sehri" (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Saum).
At time of Iftar (opening the Fast): There are some times during the day that are more helpful and assist in prayers being answered, Allah accepts more prayers when the fast is opened. In one saying the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has reported to have said: "No prayer is rejected at the time of the opening of the fast that is offered by someone who has been fasting" (Sunan Ibn Maja, Al-Abwab Al-Dawat).
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim Lunar calendar, marks the day when the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad via His messenger the Angel Gabriel.
The following verses declare the Quran was "sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of salvation."
Ramadan is a special month for Muslims, a time of worship and contemplation. To this end, Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual intercourse during the daylight hours. Additionally, Muslims must show increased tolerance and sympathy with the poor and needy during the holy month.
At the end of the day the fasting is broken with a meal called the Iftar. Following Iftar, it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting friends and relatives. The first threads of daylight signal the resumption of the fasting.
The good that is acquired through the fasting can be destroyed by slander, telling a lie, denouncing someone behind his back, a false oath, greed or covetousness.
During Ramadan, some Muslims choose to go to the Masjid (Mosque) and spend several hours praying and studying the Quran. In addition to the five daily prayers, during Ramadan Muslims recite a special prayer called the Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer).
The length of this prayer is usually 2-3 times as long as the daily prayers. Some Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.
The evening of the 27th day of the month marks the most special day of the year for believers as Laylat-al-Qadr (the Night of Decree) is observed.
It is believed that on this night Prophet Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran. Any prayer or deed is returned manifold and all sins are forgiven.
The first day of the next month after Ramadan (known as the month of Shawwal in Arabic) marks the beginning of a three-day holiday called Eid. It is marked by amicable exchange of gifts and visiting of family and friends.
the narrations quoted are insha Allaah authentic from
(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam).
[A Moment of Pain]
When we fast, we feel the pain of deprivation and hunger and learn to endure it patiently. This experience should make us realize the severe effects of such hardships on others, who might be deprived of essential commodities such as food, shelter, and security for months or probably years altogether! It should make us much quicker than anybody else in sympathizing with the oppressed and needy around the world, and responding to their needs.
"It is the month to visit the poor, the sick, and the needy to share their sorrows. It is the month where the food, sustenance and the earnings of a believing Muslim increases and they are blessed," proclaimed the Messenger of God (peace be upon him).
[A Time for Hearts to Melt]
It is said when you love someone, you would want to learn about him or her and would remember every little thing he or she says. How can we claim to love Allah, yet know very little about His message and gift to us? Ramadan perhaps offers the rare opportunity for an intense reflection on the message of the Quran. It is the source of a constant revolution in the lives of millions of those who possess a living heart, as Allah says, "Indeed in this (Quran) there is remembrance for those who have a living heart, listen attentively and are awake to taking heed."[Surah Qaf : 37]
THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF FASTING IN RAMADAN
Fasting is yet another unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally defined, fasting means to abstain "completely" from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. But if we restrict the meaning of the Islamic Fasting to this literal sense, we would be sadly mistaken.
When Islam introduced this matchless institution, it planted an ever-growing tree of infinite virtue and invaluable products. Here is an explanation of the spiritual meaning of the Islamic Fasting:
It teaches man the principle of sincere Love: because when he observes Fasting he does it out of deep love for God. And the man who loves God truly is a man who really knows what love is.
It equips man with a creative sense of hope and an optimistic outlook on life; because when he fasts he is hoping to please God and is seeking His Grace.
It imbues in man the genuine virtue of effective devotion, honest dedication and closeness to God; because when he fasts he does so for God and for His sake alone.
It cultivates in man a vigilant and sound conscience; because the fasting person keeps his fast in secret as well as in public. In fasting, especially, there is no mundane authority to check man's behavior or compel him to observe fasting. He keeps it to please God and satisfy his own conscience by being faithful in secret and in public. There is no better way to cultivate a sound conscience in man.
It indoctrinates man in patience and selflessness, as through fasting, he feels the pains of deprivation but he endures them patiently.
It is an effective lesson in applied moderation and willpower.
Fasting also provides man with a transparent soul, a clear mind and a light body.
It shows man a new way of wise savings and sound budgeting.
It enables man to master the art of mature adaptability. We can easily understand the point once we realize that fasting makes man change the entire course of his daily life.
It grounds man in discipline and healthy survival.
It originates in man the real spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood, of equality before God as well as before the law.
It is a Godly prescription for self-reassurance and self-control.
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