Ramadan: The Month of Deeds

Since 2012-12-23

“On the first night of Ramadan, the devils and rebellious jinn are bound in chains; the gates of hell are closed, none of them remains open and the gates of Paradise are opened until not a single gate remains closed.”


Uthman Khan
All praise belongs to Allah the Most High, who created both life and death as a test to see who is foremost in deed. Through His infinite mercy He blessed mankind with selected times and seasons in which the best deeds are made obligatory and the reward for good deeds is multiplied.
Allah, the Most Wise, prescribed the third pillar of Islam, fasting, in the second year after the hijrah of the final Messenger (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). Fasting is obligatory upon every sane Muslim adult, Allah the Most High says, {O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun} [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183]
{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} البقرة: 183
Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo kutiba AAalaykumu alssiyamu kama kutiba AAala allatheena min qablikum laAAallakum tattaqoona
Taqwa is defined as “the consciousness of the soul to fulfill what Allah the Most High has commanded and abstain from what He has prohibited.”[1]
Fasting is therefore a means towards achieving a level of self-restraint. The scholars of tafsir (exegesis) mention various behaviors that are restrained by fasting including eating, drinking, fulfilling one’s desires, being angry and disobeying Allah the Most High in general. Sufyan Al Thawri said, “The reason for the title muttaqin (those who have taqwa) is that they leave that which is not left”. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The objective behind fasting is to restrain the soul from desires (for food, drink, and sexual relations), divert it from its normal circumstances, tame the strong desires, prepare it to attain the happiness and benefits (from fasting), and purify it from its untamed state. By experiencing the intensity of hunger and thirst, one is reminded of the condition of the hungry stomachs of needy people.”[2]
The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “On the first night of Ramadan, the devils and rebellious jinn are bound in chains; the gates of hell are closed, none of them remains open and the gates of Paradise are opened until not a single gate remains closed. Then a caller calls out, ‘O desirer of good, go forth! O desirer of evil, restrain yourself! Allah is emancipating people from the Fire every night’.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî and Ibn Maajah; authenticated by Sheikh Albaani]
«إذا كان أول ليلة من شهر رمضان: صفدت الشياطين ومردة الجن، وغلقت أبواب النار فلم يفتح منها باب، وفتحت أبواب الجنة فلم يغلق منها باب» رواه الترمذي وصححه الألباني
Many Muslims assume that when Ramadan comes they will endeavour to become obedient Muslims and do the maximum possible good deeds for the whole month. If you imagine the reality as a graph, what happens is that you start off with a peak and then the influx of deeds becomes difficult for so many reasons, so you trough or lull for much of this precious month. You then try a bit harder at the end to try to catch laylat-ul-Qadr (the night of decree), but even then you may sleep some nights and even miss some obligatory prayers! This approach to Ramadan is not correct will repeatedly fail. The Messenger (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) and his companions would pray, fast, and be obedient to Allah all year round. In Ramadan, like other special times in the year, they would maximize their efforts to excel in good deeds.
Ramadan should be used as a platform to change lives, every day should get increasingly better, the case being even more so each and every year. Allah the Most High loves those deeds that are done with consistency, because they represent a Muslim’s personality, and they are the deeds that will pave the path to Jannah (paradise). Prior to Ramadan, Muslims must perform the obligatory acts, otherwise they will be punished for their negligence after this life. The obligatory acts should be supplemented with voluntary acts that are part of one’s daily routine. Once Ramadan arrives then that is the time to exceed beyond your normal deeds with more voluntary acts and increase them in a gradual manner. Then whoever can perform i’tikaaf (confinement of oneself to the mosque) they spend all of their time in good deeds until the end of Ramadan, while those who cannot, exert themselves to spend their days performing good deeds and their nights in prayer. After celebrating Eid al Fitr, the six fasts of Shawwal should be performed and good deeds should remain part of our routines until the following Ramadan.
The Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would perform various good deeds in Ramadan. Some of the deeds that have been mentioned in association with fasting and Ramadan will now be mentioned, all of which are highly recommended acts of worship to be performed.
Allah the Most High combined fasting with eight other deeds when He described the successful believers {(The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who repent to Allah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers.} [Surah At-Taubah 9:112]
{التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدُونَ الْآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ} التوبة: 112
Transliteration: Alttaiboona alAAabidoona alhamidoona alssaihoona alrrakiAAoona alssajidoona alamiroona bialmaAAroofi waalnnahoona AAani almunkari waalhafithoona lihudoodi Allahi wabashshiri almumineena
Ramadan is also the month of Quran as Allah the Most High said {The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).} [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185]
{شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ} البقرة: 185
Transliteration: Shahru ramadana allathee onzila feehi alquranu hudan lilnnasi wabayyinatin mina alhuda waalfurqani
Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Fasting and the Quran will intercede for a slave on the day of judgement, the fasts will say, ‘my Lord I prevented him (or her) from food and desires so let me intercede’, and the Quran will say, ‘I prevented him (or her) from sleeping at night so let me intercede’, then they will intercede.” [Reported by Imam Ahmad, Ahmad Shaker declared its chain to be authentic]
«الصيام والقرآن يشفعان للعبد يوم القيامة يقول الصيام أي رب منعته الطعام والشهوات بالنهار فشفعني فيه ويقول القرآن منعته النوم بالليل فشفعني فيه قال فيشفعان» رواه الإمام أحمد وصححه إسناده أحمد شاكر
It was said that the salaf would spend the days of Ramadan reading the Quran[3], and the importance of studying the Quran cannot be emphasized enough. A single ayah recited with contemplation (tadabbur) may be better than reciting many ayaat (verses) of the Quran without contemplation. Scholars differed regarding whether it is better to recite more or recite less with contemplation. Although as isolated deeds they both may be equal, the latter will benefit you for the rest of your life and thus the effects of understanding the Quran will elevate you further in the Hereafter. Abu Jumrah once said to Abdullah ibn Masud ‘I am fast in my recitation and perhaps I would recite the Quran once or even twice in a single night’, Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) replied ‘For me to recite one surah is more pleasing to me than if I did that which you do, if you do so then make sure that you recite so that your ears hear what you recite and your heart pays attention.’[4]
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) was the most generous of people and he was the most generous in the month of Ramadan, when Jibreel would meet him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran.” [Sahih alBukhari]
«كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس، وأجود ما يكون في رمضان، حين يلقاه جبريل، وكان جبريل عليه السلام يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن» رواه البخاري
This hadith emphasizes the need to be generous in giving all kinds of charity in Ramadan, in addition to studying the Quran. It is also important to feed others, especially those with less. The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “whoever gives a fasting person (food or drink to break their fast), they will have similar to the reward of the one who fasted, without any decrease for the one who fasted.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Al-Albani]
«من فطر صائما كان له مثل أجره، غير أنه لا ينقص من أجر الصائم شيئا» رواه الترمذي وصححه الألباني
It is upon us all to fear Allah, and direct our best efforts in and out of the month of Ramadan towards obeying Him. Allah the Most High commanded us {So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey; and spend in charity, that is better for yourselves. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones.} [Surah At-Taghaabun 64:16]
{فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِّأَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ} التغابن: 16
Transliteration: Faittaqoo Allaha ma istataAAtum waismaAAoo waateeAAoo waanfiqoo khayran lianfusikum waman yooqa shuhha nafsihi faolaika humu almuflihoona
No one is burdened with more than they can take, however it is through the performance of good deeds and the attainment of taqwa that we will earn the reward prepared for the muttaqeen.
Source: www.islam21c.com
[1] Mu’jam al-lughatul-fuqahaa, Dar An-Nafaes
[2] Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zaad al-Ma’aad, Maktabah Al-Risalah, Volume 2, pp27-29
[3] Muhammad ‘Arif, Siyaam As-Saaliheen, pp30-32
[4] Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zaad al-Ma’aad, Maktabah Al-Risaalah, Volume 1, pp327-329


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