By Haroon Ishola-Balogun
The obligation to fast in Ramadan was revealed in the first year of Hijrah when the Prophet migrated to Madinah.
This commandment can be found in the very first juz of the Quran. This juz tells us about the beginning, about the basic tenets and pillars of Islam – tawheed, salat, charity/zakat hajj. Allah says: Yaa ayuha lladhina amanu kutiba ¿alaykumu l-ciyamu kama kutiba ¿ala alladhina min qablikum la¿allakum tattaqun. It is a concluded matter as we can see that it was also ordained for those before us so that we can attain piety. Fasting is the best means of attaining God’s consciousness. It is in this month that even those who involved in major sins, will come to the masjid and pray, or the Muslim who never come to the mosque will come.
It is in this month everyone of us will become conscious of what we do and what we don’t do, – our speech, our gaze, where we go and what we do. It is in this month we monitor our days, and nights. Never in the whole year do we monitor our behaviour as we do in Ramadan.
That is the consciousness, taqwa the fasting is bringing to us.
Ayyman ma¿dkdtin faman kna minkum mar+an aw ¿al safarin fa¿iddatun min ayymin ukhara wa¿al alladh+na yum+qknahu fid’yatun ma¿mu mis’k+nin faman tamawwa¿a khayran fahuwa khayrun lahu wa-an tackmk khayrun lakum in kuntum ta¿lamkn. Again, this is for a period of time, and that is why after two to three weeks, we begin to count down and before we know it, it will be a thing of the past.
In essence, it has only limited time and that is why we should take advantage of it because Allah is offering Janah for it. The gates of hell fire are shut; even the sinners can’t go into it while also the gates of Janah are flung open; becoming only the way for people to go in. What a great opportunity!
The third aspect of it is Allah linking the month with the Quran. Shahru ramadnal-ladh+ unzila fihil-qur’nu hudan linnsi wabayyintin minal-hud wal-furqn. Dear brothers, this is the only month mentioned by Allah in the Quran. This emphasises its sanctity. It is t he month in which the Quran was sent down. The association of the Quran with the month of Ramadan is more explicit than the association of siyam (fasting) with Ramadan. This is because the linking of the Quran with Ramadan came before Allah links Ramadan with Siyam.
Ibn Abass said in the month of Ramadan, Allah sent down the entire Quran from the lahul-mahfuz, the highest heavens to the lowest heavens. He said the whole of the Quran came down from lahul-mahfuz to baitul izam, then on the first day of revelation, is a day after lailatul-Qadr. Jubril, alaihi salam revealed the first verse Iqra to the Prophet (s.a.w) coincided with one of the odd days in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Two things are important here.
First, the entire Quran came down in Ramadan and the first revelation of it came in the last ten days of Ramadan. The lesson here is that Allah links Ramadan with the Quran. In the Sahih Bukhari, it was reported that our Prophet told Aisha (r.a) that every year Jubril came to read the Quran to me and I read it back to him. This year, he (Jubril) insisted I read it twice. So, he had a premonition that this might be his last year. And that was his last year. In essence, the Prophet has established the sunnah, we should read it and we should also listen to it.
The Quran is, however, guidance for mankind. And whosoever that cannot fast, Allah does not want any difficulty for him, let him pay back at a later date or feed the fasting Muslim.
One of the hadiths Al-Qudsiy narrated by Abu Hurayrah that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “Allah said: The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight than the smell of musk.” (See Hadith No. 128, Vol. 3).
In reality, all our actions belong to Allah, but you will be able to see and evaluate if right or wrong, if beneficial or not. Our actions go back to us either positively or negatively. Al- jasaul-ihsan, ila-l-ihsan. But Allah is saying this will not apply to siyam, Allah will reward it beyound the way He does for other actions.
The servant will not understand the proportion of the reward of siyam as only Allah will apply his measure in reward of it. The import of this is that siyam is high before Allah and Allah has raised it among all actions of mankind. Brothers, Allah will take charge in terms of apportioning reward for siyam.
This is also because Allah is proud that His servants abandon the two essentials for living food and drink for Allah. He will surely reward it bountifully. So, let’s make this Ramadan the best for ourselves. The fact that we don’t even know our last. Certainly, there will be one last Ramadan for everyone of us, but who knows which one will be the last? It is better to strive harder and make this one the best in terms of spirituality.
The Prophet said, “Verily, Gabriel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Amin. I said Amin. Sahih Ibn Hibban 915 Grade: Sahih (authentic)
Anyone who cannot get his sins forgiven in Ramadan or cannot get his acts together to observe it and get hope for forgiveness of sins, then such a person is doomed and has lost all hopes.
May Allah make us among those who will get His favour, forgiveness and blessings during this Ramadan. Amin.