The Many Virtues Of Fasting And Ramadan

Ramadan Cresent

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.  [Surah Baqarah, 2: 183]

In this verse the Creator states that He had enjoined fasting in some form upon the followers of earlier prophets. And He mentions the purpose behind it: "that you may become righteous." So fasting is a means to attain righteousness, piety and consciousness of Allah (taqwá).

In a hadith qudsi, Prophet Muhammad  disclosed that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, has said, "Fasting is for Me, and I [alone] reward for it." [Bukhari]

No servant fasts one day in the way of Allah but that Allah puts between his face and the Hellfire a distance of seventy years.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Fasting and the Qur'an intercede for a servant on the Day of Resurrection (Qiyámah). The fast says, 'O my Lord, I prevented him from food and desires by day, so let me intercede.' And the Qur'án says, 'I prevented him from sleep by night, so let me intercede.' So they are allowed to intercede.[Ahmad]

By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the breath of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. And the fasting person has two joys: when he breaks his fast he rejoices for that and when he meets his Lord he rejoices for his fasting.[Ahmad and Muslim]

Paradise has a door called 'ar-Rayyán'. On the Day of Resurrection it will be said, ‘Where are those who fasted?’ And when the last of them has entered the door will be closed.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abú Umámah reported that he said to the Messenger of Allah , "Order me to do a deed which will allow me to enter Paradise." He  replied, "Fast, for there is no equivalent to it." [Ahmad and an-Nasá'i]

Allah, the Most Merciful, is especially attentive to one who is fasting. The Prophet  affirmed, "There are three whose supplication is not rejected - that of a fasting person until he breaks his fast, that of a just leader and that of someone oppressed." [At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and Ibn Majah - saheeh]

Virtues of Ramadan

The fast of Ramadan is a religious obligation (fardh) by authority of the Qur'án, the Sunnah and a consensus of Muslim scholars. The Qur'án conveys the commands of Allah, the Almighty:

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you.[Surah Baqarah, 2: 183]

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it…   [Surah Baqarah, 2: 185]

The Messenger of Allah  mentioned additional benefits of Ramadan: A blessed month has come. Allah has required you to fast it. During it the doors of Paradise are opened, the doors of Hell are closed and devils are chained. Therein is a night better than a thousand months. Whoever misses its benefit has surely been deprived. [Ahmad and an-Nasá’i]

Whoever fasts Ramadan with faith and seeking [Allah's] reward will have whatever preceded of his sin forgiven. [Ahmad]

The five prayers, Friday [prayer] to Friday and Ramadan to Ramadan are expiation for what is between them when the major sins are avoided. [Sahih Muslim]

An ‘umrah during Ramadan is equal [in reward] to a hajj. [Ahmad and al-Bukhari]

Month of Charity & Quran

Ibn ‘Abbás reported: “The Messenger of Allah  was the most generous of people, and he was the most generous ever during Ramadan when [the angel] Jibreel would meet him. He would meet him every night of Ramadan and review the Qur’an with him. Then he was more generous than a swift, far-reaching breeze.[Al-Bukhari]

Each year during Ramadan, the Prophet  reviewed all that had been revealed to him to date with Jibreel, and in the year before his death he did so twice. Muslims are encouraged to practice the sunnah of additional recitation and study of the Qur'án during Ramadan, as well as increased worship of all kinds.

The Messenger of Allah  said: “Whoever gives a fasting person iftár will have a reward like his, without reducing the reward of the one who fasted.[At-Tirmidhi - saheeh]

Du’aa after Iftar

When the Messenger of Allah  broke his fast, he would say: “Dhahabath-thama'u wabtalatil-‘urooqu wa thabatal-ajru in sha' Allah.” (Thirst has gone, the veins are refreshed and the reward is assured if Allah wills.) [Abu Dáwúd - hasan]

Fasting from evil deeds

The Prophet  confirmed, "Fasting is not only abstaining from food and drink, but from empty and immoral speech. So if someone should insult you or behave badly toward you, then say, 'I am fasting, I am fasting.' " [Al-Hákim - saheeh]

And he  said, "Anyone who does not refrain from making false statements and acting upon them – Allah has no need of his refraining from food and drink." [Al-Bukhari]

Another hadith states, "Possibly one who fasts gains nothing from his fast but hunger, and possibly one who stands in [night] prayer gains nothing from it but wakefulness." [Ibn Májah and al-Hákim - saheeh]

Taraweeh or Night Prayers

The Prophet  encouraged it, saying, “Whoever performs night prayers in Ramadan out of faith and expecting reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ali added, “He  would strive [in worship] during the last ten days of Ramadan more than at any other time.[Muslim and at-Tirmidhi]

I’tikaf

The Prophet  used to observe i‘tikáf during the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah took his soul, and then his wives observed it after that. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Zakat al-Fitr

Ibn ‘Umar reported: "The Messenger of Allah () made zakát al-fitr obligatory at the end of Ramadan – a measure of dates or barley – for the slave and the freeman, the male and the female, the young and the old among Muslims." [Al-Bukhári and Muslim]

The Prophet  instructed: “Let them be satisfied on that day [of ‘Eid].[Al-Bayhaqi]

Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri reported: "During the time of the Prophet , on the Day of Fitr, we used to give out one measure of food, and our food was barley, raisins, dried cheese and dates." [Al-Bukhari]

Six days of Shawwal

Fasting six days of Shawwál after completing the obligatory fast of Ramadan is a recommended sunnah. The Messenger of Allah  said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six days from Shawwál – it will be as if he fasted for all time.[Muslim, Abu Dáwúd, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasá’i and Ibn Májah]

Another hadith states, "Whoever fasts six days after [the day of] Fitr has completed the year. He who brings a good deed will have ten like it." [Ibn Májah and an-Nasá'i - saheeh]

Scholars explained that it is like a year of fasting because the reward of each good deed is multiplied by ten. Therefore fasting the month of Ramadan brings the reward of ten months, and fasting six additional days brings the reward of two months. This equals the fast of an entire Year. [Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 8/56.]

Reference: Fasting in Islam by Saheeh International


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