Sister, a great month is approaching. It has great virtues and many bounties. Its night is a niche for worshippers; its day is provision for them, and all its days are the escape bridge on the Day of Return. A month so described, and so full of favor is w
All Praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness and seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves and the evils of our actions, whomever Allah guides is not to be misled, and whomever He misleads is not to be guided. We testify that there is no god but Allah alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.
Sister, a great month is approaching. It has great virtues and many bounties. Its night is a niche for worshippers; its day is provision for them, and all its days are the escape bridge on the Day of Return. A month so described, and so full of favor is worthy of being prepared for investing, and getting ready for reaping its fruits; day and night.
O Ramadan you are the good omen for the worlds
Corners and universes called your name
In the sky stars are shining for you
And believing souls are your domain
So, what have you prepared for the month of Ramadan?
A brief note on the virtues of the fasting:
Sister, perhaps you have read in books, or heard in tapes about the virtues of fasting, and its great bounties. Perhaps knowing such bounties is the major step that stimulates the soul for catching the great blessings of Ramadan.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has shown the virtues of fasting in a comprehensive speech. He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has made it a stimulus for the believers to invest well in this month and spend it in good acts and charity. Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it. [Reported by Muslim].
«كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف الحسنة عشرة أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف. قال الله عز وجل: إلا الصوم. فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به» رواه مسلم
There is evidence in this Hadith that the faithful person, who fasts with faith and ihsan (i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allâh, totally for Allâh’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (peace be upon him in a perfect manner) is rewarded for his fasting without limits.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) has also reported the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as saying: “A blessed month has come upon you, Allah has enjoined you to fasting it. A month where the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell-fire are closed and the giant devils are put in chains. Allah has put in it a night better than a thousand months. He who is deprived from its bounties is really deprived” [Reported by An-Nassa’i, and authenticated by Al-Albani].
«أتاكم رمضان شهر مبارك، فرض الله عز وجل عليكم صيامه، تفتح فيه أبواب السماء، وتغلق فيه أبواب الجحيم، وتغل فيه مردة الشياطين، لله فيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر، من حرم خيرها فقد حرم» رواه النسائي وصححه الألباني
Are you a guest visiting for days
Swearing to live in fasting
You made a certain promise to time
To come back for a visit each year
Your campus is not limited by boundaries
The whole earth is your place
You have altered hospitality traditions
By sufficiently staying without food
O Muslim sister: Remember that Ramadan is unique in two aspects:
First: It is the month of obligatory fasting
Second: It is a month where Allah is pleased by striving in all kinds of performing acts of worship and that He has doubled the reward for it.
O sister, hence, to spend the month according to both things you should:
First: be keen on completing fasting with all its conditions, duties, its desirable actions; and by avoiding its violators, nullifiers and spoilers.
Second: abide by performing virtuous acts and acts of closeness by the day and night of Ramadan - especially those established in the Sunnah and to follow the conditions of the righteous ancestors in Ramadan.
Those two things require the Muslim woman to know the tenets of fasting, its conduct, and practices. This is all learnt by inquiring, reading, listening to useful lessons and attending sessions related to this issue, and to do anything that would benefit her in learning these rulings.
Here, sister is a proposal representing a program which may be useful for a Muslim woman to spend her day in Ramadan.
Muslim sister’s program in Ramadan
First: the program of the nights of Ramadan
The nights of Ramadan start by the appearance of the crescent after the sunset of the last day of Sha’baan. In this night, it is permissible to start the qiyâm, the sahûr and other established by evidence acts of worship.
The program of the Muslim sister of the nights of Ramadan differs according to the nights themselves. The last ten nights are more virtuous, and are more worthy of being keen on performing acts of worship in them.
In general, the program of the night of Ramadan is as follows:
1- Qiyâm (deep night prayers):
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “whoever performs night prayers in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Agreed upon].
«من قام رمضان إيماناً واحتساباً غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه» متفق عليه
The Hadith is an evidence of the virtue of the night prayers in Ramadan, and that they are means to forgiving sins. And whoever performs the tarâwîh prayers as they should be, then he has performed the night prayers of Ramadan. Forgiveness is conditioned on his words: “out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah”
Out of sincere faith means: In the state of praying, a Muslim does this while he is believing in Allah and his Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and sure of Allah’s promise, the virtue of night praying, and the great reward given by Allah Almighty.
Hoping for a reward from Allah means that he is only waiting for Allah’s reward, and that he is not meaning to show off to people. These are the virtues and the conditions of the qiyam.
O Muslim sister, if you think about the words “out of sincere faith”, you will see that they are evidence of following the traditions in night praying. This is because following is a condition for believing in Allah as God, and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as a Messenger.
So when is the time for night prayers and how it is performed?
Time: the Sunnah is to perform night prayers in the early night.
It is not from the Sunnah to delay it. If a Muslim woman wants to pray in the last night hours before daybreak, after performing the night prayers in the early hours of the night, it is from the Sunnah, too.
Abu Dawood said: “Ahmed was asked, in my presence: should we delay night prayer (meaning rest prayers) to the last hours of the night. He replied: No, the Muslims’ Sunnah is more favorable for me” (Questions for Imam Ahmed, by Abu Dawood, p 62).
But the Muslim sister must not pray an odd prayer if she has prayed in the early hours of the night and wants to pray in the late hours of it; because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “There should not be two odd prayers in one night” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani].
«لا وتران في ليلة» رواه الترمذي وصححه الألباني
This means that the odd prayer will be either in the early night prayer and not the late one, or the late night prayer and not the early one.
If, sister, you were praying in the Mosque, you shouldn’t leave before the Imam does; even if he prays more than eleven or thirteen prostrations; because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “He who prays with the Imam till he leaves, a night in prayers and remembering Allah will be written for him (in his book of deeds).” [Reported by the four Sunan and authenticated by Al-Albani].
«من قام مع الإمام حتى ينصرف كتب له قيام ليلة» رواه أصحاب السنن الأربعة وصححه الألباني
When the odd prayer is finished, you should say “Glory be to the King the Holy”, three times as was proven to be done by the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him [Reported by Abu Dawood and authenticated by Al-Albani].
«كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا سلم في الوتر قال سبحان الملك القدوس» رواه أبو داود وصححه الألباني
However, you must be following the manners of walking to Mosque; such as decency, reverence, veiling and chastity so that your going to the mosque is not a sedition for men.
As for the state of night praying; you should be keen on performing perfect prostrating and kneeling, and do much calling and asking for forgiveness when you prostrate. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, when she was asked about the prayers of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Ramadan: He never exceeded eleven Rakats in Ramadan or in any other month; he used to offer four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat.” Aisha further said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do you sleep before offering the Witr (odd) prayer?’ He replied: ‘O ‘Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake’“ [Reported by Al-Bukhari].
«أنه سأل عائشة رضي الله عنها: كيف كانت صلاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رمضان؟. فقالت: ما كان يزيد في رمضان ولا في غيره على إحدى عشرة ركعة، يصلي أربعا، فلا تسل عن حسنهن وطولهن، ثم يصلي أربعا، فلا تسل عن حسنهن وطولهن، ثم يصلي ثلاثا. فقلت: يا رسول الله، أتنام قبل أن توتر؟. قال: (يا عائشة ، إن عيني تنامان ولا ينام قلبي)» رواه البخاري
Ibn Abass (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) said: “The prayer of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to be of thirteen Rakat, i.e. of the night” [Reported by Al-Bukhari].
«كانت صلاة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ثلاثة عشرة ركعة يعني الليل» رواه البخاري
So performing much prostrations or less is according to the length of the night prayer; according to Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya.
It is preferable for you, O Muslim sister to recite the Holy Quran much. The last hours of the night are blessed hours, where Allah’s mercy to His creatures floods both in Ramadan and in other times. After performing the night prayer, you should take a rest to help you both in life and religious affairs. Yet, sleeping in Ramadan should not exceed eight hours; so that no harm is done to the body, and that acts of worship are not ignored in the blessed month of Ramadan. It is sufficient to sleep for five hours at night, if you can, and two in the early hours of the day and two in the mid-day. This is done according to one’s strength. It is preferable to seek help by the sleeping recitations that give power to the body during the rest of the day. Of these recitations are: glorifying Allah thirty three times, praising Allah thirty three times, and saying Allah is Greater thirty four times.
2- The Sahur (the last light meal before dawn):
The Sahur is the final meal in the last hours of the night. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was very keen on having it, and he has called it the blessed food. He has urged his nation to have it saying: “You should have the Sahur meal, verily it is the blessed food” [Reported by An-Nisa’I and Al-Albani said: Its chain of transmission is authentic].
«عليكم بغداء السحور، فإنه هو الغداء المبارك» رواه النسائي وقال الألباني: إسناده صحيح
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “eat the meal of the Sahûr (the last light meal before daybreak), surely there is a blessing in Sahûr” [Agreed upon].
«تسحروا، فإن في السحور بركة» متفق عليه
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has also said: “the Sahur is all blessings; so do not leave it even by taking a gulp of water. Allah sends His Salât (Graces, Honors, Blessings, Mercy) on those who take the sahûr and so do His angels (ask Allah to bless and forgive them)” [Declared Good (Hasan) by Al-Albani].
«السحور كله بركة فلا تدعوه، و لو أن يجرع أحدكم جرعة من ماء، فإن الله وملائكته يصلون على المتسحرين» حسنه الألباني
To have the Suhur blessing present, one should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Sunnah is to delay it to the last hour of the night. It is reported on the authority of Um Hakim: “Hasten the breaking of the fast and delay taking the sahûr.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani].
«عجلوا الإفطار، و أخروا السحور» صححه الألباني
The Sahur blessings include the blessings of religion and the blessings of this worldly life. It gives the strength to endure fasting and piety during it, if it is the will of Allah.
So, my Muslim sister you should be keen in observing the sahur, with no overheat nor negligence. Beware that staying up at night talking and playing keep your weaken you from waking up to obtain this godly blessing. Acts of worship are better in certain times; observing the sahur is the best act of worship during the last hour of the night; it is even better than performing night prayers or reciting the Quran in this time.
Second: the program of the daytime of Ramadan
The daytime of Ramadan is the arena of racing towards performing acts of closeness to Allah and acts of worship. This comes after observing the duties of perfect fasting. Hence, O Muslim sister, you should avoid:
1- Bad manners such as: backbiting, slandering, lying, calling names and disputing. Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “Fasting is not just fasting from eating and drinking. Fasting is about leaving obscenity and vain talking. So if someone happens to curse you or act foolishly, you should say: I am a person fasting, I am a person fasting”. [Authenticated by Al-Albani].
«ليس الصيام من الأكل و الشرب، إنما الصيام من اللغو و الرفث، فإن سابك أحد، أو جهل عليك، فقل إني صائم إني صائم» صححه الألباني
Abu Huraira has also reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari].
«من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به والجهل ، فليس لله حاجة أن يدع طعامه وشرابه» رواه البخاري
The former and latter Hadith prove that one should be keen on the integrity of his fasting by being free from the above-mentioned vice. These things are even worse during fasting, so they were specifically mentioned. Also, the Hadith tells us that fasting is the fasting of the body organs, not just by refraining from eating and drinking. Everyone can refrain from eating and drinking” (the Hadiths of Fasting pp83-84)
2- Leniency in learning the ordinances. The ordinances of Fasting – especially for women- are not exactly known by many women such as the ordinances about: menses, postpartum, pregnancy, and breast-feeding. So, women commit many violations in such issues. This is because of lenity in learning the ordinances of fasting and refraining from learning them.
3- Leniency in performing prayers, or leaving them altogether. Allah Glorified and Exalted has made praying one of the five pillars of Islam, such as fasting is a pillar of Islam. So, how come one observes fasting while waiving prayer- especially that prayer has a greater status to Allah, and the acceptance of fasting is even dependent on accepting it.
So, Muslim sister, you must try to shun these violations to make your fasting free from defects such as: bad manners, committing sins, or leaving prayers. Now, here is a general program for the daytime of Ramadan.
From dawn prayer to sunrise: In this time it is preferable to be keen in saying dhikr (remembering Allah, mentioning Him and invoking and supplicating Him) after performing the prayers, the morning praises, and reciting Quran till sunrise. If the Muslim sister feels fatigued, she could sleep for an hour and a half or two hours after sunrise. If the Muslim sister has overworked herself during the night in praying and other acts of worship, it is preferable that she takes this rest to regain her vigor during the day. If she finds herself active; she should invest her fasting time by memorizing and reciting the Quran. She should assign a daily part for memorizing. So, by the time Ramadan has ended; she would find that she has memorized much of it, and that she has followed the Sunnah of reciting Quran, as was done by our righteous ancestors, may Allah be pleased with them.
If the Muslim sister has no obligations till noon such as studying or working and the like; she should perform a lot of acts of closeness to Allah such as praising, dhikr, asking for forgiveness, and reciting the Quran. She should also perform the forenoon prayer - in particular- and the optional prayers in general. It is preferable to do that even while going to perform her duties, or even during working, cooking, etc.
From noon to the afternoon: Investing this time varies according to each woman. If a woman can perform acts of worship, she can assign this time to learning the Quran and reciting it in Quran schools, or in a house where righteous women meet. If there isn’t such a place, she should stay in her chamber in submissiveness remembering Allah’s praises and reciting Quran. She should have some entertainment by hearing some lessons and ordinances, especially concerning fasting.
From the afternoon to sunset: This time is for house work and chores while remembering praises such as: glorifying Allah, asking for forgiveness, etc. If she has no work to do, she should use this time in memorizing and reciting Quran; teaching her children the ordinances of fasting; studying ordinances with some qualified people; it is preferable to keep on remembering the evening praises.
From sunset to night: It is preferable to hasten in breaking the fast. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: “The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast” [Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
«لا يزال الناس بخير ما عجلوا الفطر» رواه البخاري ومسلم
The Sunnah and manners of breaking the fast should be observed. Afterwards the preparation for the night and rest prayers should be observed.
Sister, these are guidelines that will, by the Will of Allah, show you how to perfect your fasting. So, you would be, by the Will of Allah, one of those who reap the luscious fruits of fasting in this worldly life and in the Hereafter.
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
Ibn Khuzaymah House
With little modification