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Al-Fathby Saud Al-Shuraim
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    مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَىٰ
    His heart did not falsify what he perceived.

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    uzungol-trabzon1Fasting has great merits and beneficial outcomes, which are often referred to in the Quran and Sunnah (Prophetic tradition). Allaah The Almighty enjoined it upon His servants for a month in the year, and decreed it upon them, just as He decreed it upon those who were before them. He states (what means): {O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.} [Quran 2:183]

     Thus, Allaah The Almighty made the fasting of Ramadan an obligatory duty, binding upon every male and female Muslim, according to certain conditions stated in the Quran and the Sunnah. This indicates that it is an act of worship that people cannot dispense with, due to its benefits and great consequences, the good it brings about in the souls, and the power it gives to do right, to abandon what is shameful and turn away from falsehood.

     Allaah The Almighty favors Ramadan with numerous characteristics, one of which is mentioned in the authentic narration in which the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened.” [Al-Bukhaari]

     It is further narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may Allaah be pleased with him that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: When the month of Ramadan begins, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.

    It goes without saying that all this gives glad tidings to the believers of the potential for performing righteous deeds that lead to Paradise, and the means available to them, which can help them perform and further multiply those deeds. Besides, of course, Allaah The Almighty strengthens abstinence from and evasion of sins in Ramadan, Shaytaan (Satan) weakens in his schemes and fails to achieve his plots.

     One of the characteristics of fasting in Ramadan is shown in the narration of both books of authentic Ahaadeeth (narrations) and others on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may Allaah be pleased with him that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention )said: He, who observes the fast of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and expecting the reward from Allaah, his previous sins would be forgiven.

    That is, whoever fasts this month, out of belief in its being obligatory, expecting the reward for it from his Lord Almighty, and striving his utmost to follow the Sunnah of His Prophet  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) let him receive the glad tidings of forgiveness.

     Since the reward of fasting is multiplied immeasurably and the fasting person receives his reward without reckoning, the deeds of the fasting person are also multiplied in Ramadan, as shown in the Hadeeth of Salmaan  may Allaah be pleased with him that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: Whoever comes near Allaah in it (Ramadan) with a good act, it is (multiplied as much) as if he has performed an obligatory duty at any other time; and whoever comes near Allaah with an obligatory duty in it, it is (multiplied as much) as if he has performed seventy obligatory duties at any other time. Thus, both deed and reward are multiplied for the servant in Ramadan: {As bounty from your Lord. That is the great attainment.[Quran 44:57]

     Another characteristic of Ramadan is that the angels beseech Allaah The Almighty to conceal and erase the sins of the fasting persons. This is stated in the Hadeeth narrated from the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) that he said, concerning the fasting people: And the angels continue to seek the forgiveness of Allaah for them until they break their fast.” [Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may Allaah be pleased with him]

     The angels are pure, honored creatures, entitled to receive the response of Allaah The Almighty to their supplication, and forgiveness for those whom they seek forgiveness for, and the servants err again and again, and need repentance and forgiveness, as shown in the authentic Qudsi Hadeeth (sacred narration) in which Allaah The Almighty Says: O My servants! You commit mistakes during night and day, and I forgive all sins. So, seek My forgiveness, perchance I would forgive you.

     If a believer seeks forgiveness for himself and this is combined with the angels seeking forgiveness for him, it is most likely that he will be awarded the highest rank. Ramadan is also the month of consoling and doing good, and Allaah The Almighty likes those who do good; He has promised them forgiveness, Paradise, and prosperity. Doing good is the highest rank of faith, and you need not ask about the position of the one who is characterized by it in Paradise, and the bliss and various kinds of honor he will receive (as stated by Allaah The Almighty in the verse (which means):{Accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were, before that, doers of good.} [Quran 52:16]

     Among the good deeds that are more feasible in this blessed month than in others is to serve food (to the needy) and providing Iftaar for those who are fasting. These are among the means which help one obtain forgiveness for one’s sins, release people from the Hellfire and multiply the rewards.

     These deeds lead to Al-Kawthar, the lake-fount of the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) which, if one gets a sip thereof, he will never become thirsty: we ask Allaah The Almighty, by His bounty and generosity, to cause us to come upon it. Serving food is one of the causes that admit one to Paradise, the abode of peace. Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslims to receive the means of mercy, the factors that lead to forgiveness, and the requirements of release from Hellfire. How abundant are the gifts from the Lord, the Generous, the Forgiver!

    It is the month of Thikr (remembrance of Allaah) and supplication. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

       •   {and remember Allaah often that you may succeed.} [Quran 62:10]

      •   {and the men who remember Allaah often and the women who do so – for them Allaah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.} [Quran 33:35]

      •   {And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allaah is near to the doers of good.} [Quran 7:56]

      •   {And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.} [Quran 2:186]

     This last noble verse in particular highlights the intimate relation between fasting and supplication.
    In Ramadan, there is Laylatu Al-Qadr (the Night of Decree), in connection with which Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {The Night of Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months.} [Quran 97:3] According to the scholars, any righteous deed performed therein is better than the actions of one thousand months, i.e. almost 83 years.

     This is sufficient commendation of its superiority and honor, and the magnificence of the deed done on it for the one whom Allaah guides to stay up in worship on that night– we ask Allaah The Almighty to guide us to that always, by His bounty and generosity. It is narrated in an authentic Hadeeth that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He who stands (in prayer) on the Night of Al-Qadr, out of sincere faith, and expecting the reward with Allaah, his previous sins would be forgiven for him.” That is among the merits of standing (in prayer) on it; and sufficient it is for a prize and profit.

     Among the characteristics of Ramadan is the superiority of charity in it, compared to any other time. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was asked, “Which object of charity is the best?” He said: “An object of charity to be given in Ramadan.” [At-Tirmithi]

     It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas  may Allaah be pleased with them that he said, “The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention )was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel (Gabriel  may Allaah exalt his mention) met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) was the most generous person, even more generous and faster in spending charity than the blowing wind.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

    According to the narration of Ahmad, “He was never asked [for] anything but he gave it.” Generosity is to give liberally and openhandedly in charity or anything else. 

     His increased munificence  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) in Ramadan was a means to avail himself of this blessed time and of the multiplication of deeds and their rewards in it. It is narrated on the authority of Salmaan  may Allaah be pleased with him in a Marfoo’ Hadeeth, that he  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever draws near to Allaah in it (Ramadan) with a good act, it is (multiplied as much) as if he has performed an obligatory duty at any other time; and whoever draws near to Allaah with an obligatory duty in it, it is (multiplied as much) as if he has performed seventy obligatory duties at any other time.

     The combination of fasting and charity has a greater effect in removing sins and prevention from Hellfire. According to an authentic Hadeeth: “Fasting acts as a protective shield” i.e., to save one from Hellfire. According to another authentic Hadeeth, he  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Safeguard yourselves from Hellfire even with half a date (to be given in charity).
    A further characteristic of Ramadan is that the ‘Umrah (minor pilgrimage) performed in it is equal to Hajj (major pilgrimage) in reward. It is proven in the books of Al-Bukhaari and Muslim that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention )said: “‘Umrah performed in Ramadan is equal to Hajj.” Or, according to another narration: ” … is equal to Hajj performed along with me.

     

    Another characteristic lies in the fact that it is the month of the Quran, as Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.} [Quran 2:185]

    The Quran recited in it mends the hearts and provides guidance for the one who recites it, reflects upon its meanings, and supplicates Allaah The Almighty with it. In connection with the superiority of recitation of the Quran, the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said:

       • “The skillful reciter of the Quran will be with the noble and dutiful messenger-angels, and the one who recites it with difficulty will be granted a double reward.” 

       • “Recite the Quran, because it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Judgment.

       • “Verily, Allaah raises some people by (virtue of) that Book (i.e., the Quran).

       • “The best one among you is he who learns and then teaches the Quran.

     All those Hadeeths are authentic, and include the greatest glad tidings to the person who recites the Quran with reflection and meditation. Then, how much greater would be the reward and benefit if it was recited in Ramadan?

     May Allaah The Almighty make us of the people of the Quran, who are counted among the special worshippers of Allaah The Almighty and the elite among the believers. knowingAllah.com

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