Bismillähir-Rahmänir-Rahïm. In the Name of God, most Merciful, most Compassionate.
Ramazan ( or Ramadan) is the ninth month in the lunar(Islamic) calendar. It is one of the most (spiritually) important month in Islam when every Muslim has to refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise till sunset for the sake Allah. It is a period of 29-30 days which is celebrated by Muslims around the globe with full religious fervor. It is the time when every (optional) prayer is rewarded as an obligatory one would be rewarded. It is the month of seeking forgiveness from Allah for all your sins/bad deeds.
As our respected Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven – (Bukhari, Muslim).
In this holy month, we should try to avoid all the bad habits and abandon them forever. We should try to seek forgiveness for all our bad deeds. “And I do not make myself free of blame, for the human soul is inclined to ignorance, except what my Lord has mercy on. Surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful” (Quran, 12:53). For Allah is the most Merciful of all. Glory and praise be to Allah only.
From the Prophet’s (peace and blessings upon him) sermon on Ramadan: “O People! Indeed ahead of you is the blessed month of God. A month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness. A month which God has deemed the best of months. Its days, the best of days, its nights, the best of nights, and its hours, the best of hours.” So dear brothers and sisters, don’t miss out even the nights for its nights are the best ones as our Prophet PBUH mentioned.
I’ve felt that some people don’t fast during some days of this holy month just because they feel weak and unhealthy. Allah has put such rahmah in this month that by fasting, we don’t get weak but it strengthens our relation with God. Muhammad Mustafa PBUH once said: “Even perpetual fast will not compensate for missing one day of fasting Ramadan without an excuse or illness” (Al-Tirmidhi). Such is the significance of fasting in Ramadan. Then how can we miss even one day without any solid excuse. Spend your days in the remembrance of Allah and His holy messenger PBUH. It is one of those ways to make your inner heart blossom with love for One. Quran itself says, “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” It is for your own good and so your inner self may remain at peace.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, the Mighty and Exalted said, ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for himself except for fasting. It is Mine and I repay it.’ Fasting is a shield. When someone is fasting, he should not have sexual relations nor quarrel. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting’. By the One in whose hand the self of Muhammad is, the changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk. The faster experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he rejoices and when he meets his Lord he rejoices in his fasting.” (Credit – Riyad as-Saliheen)
So fast during this month with full joy because fasters will be the only ones to enter through gate called Rayyan upon the day of Rising. Prophet Muhammad, may Allah grant him peace, said ,”There is a gate in the Garden called ar-Rayyan which those who fast will enter on the Day of Rising, and none but they will enter it.” It will be said, ‘Where are the fasters?’ They will stand up and none but they will enter it. When they have entered it, it will be closed and no one else will enter it.” (Reported by Sahl Ibn Sa’d)
It is, indeed, during Ramadan that ‘the gates of Gardens are opened, the gates of fire are closed and Shayyateen are chained up’ (Abu Hurayra reported). This also proves here that the powers that derive you to do bad things are chained; thus if you are doing something bad, you will be punished more severely. Because the most evil ones are chained and if the ones who have less influence can catch you then what would become of you in the months other than Ramadan?
THE INNER HEART
“There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are flutes. When the soundbox is filled, no music can come forth. When the brain and the belly burn from fasting, every moment a new song rises out of the fire. The mists clear, and a new vitality makes you spring up the steps before you.
Be empty and cry as a reed instrument. Be empty and write secrets with a reed pen. When satiated by food and drink, an unsightly metal statue is seated where your spirit should be. When fasting, good habits gather like helpful friends. Fasting is Solomon’s ring. But even when will and control have been lost, they will return when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground, or pennants flying in the breeze.” -Rumi
How right Mevlana Rumi was. Fasting not only means avoiding food, drink for sometime but it also means cleaning your innerself by not speaking abusive language, caring for others who are deprived of the basic needs of life, not offending anybody and helping out everyone generously. For Allah is endlessly generous and rewards everyone who lends out a hand for help to his/her brethrens in need. Indeed, He is the Most-Merciful and Forgiving.
“The real fast is the blossoming of the inner heart.” — M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
This is what we really need to do and what our aim should be. The blossoming of the inner (real) heart. As Bawa Muhaiyaddeen said, “The real fast is the blossoming of the inner heart. Fragrance must emanate. The qualities, conduct, behavior, and disposition that accompany this blossoming make no sound. Light and fragrance must dawn in the inner heart. The one point which is God must resplend.
Do fast, but make sure the heart blossoms; make it fragrant. The flowering scent must emanate, and when that space is perceived, the One who inhales that perfume will come. The One who perceives that fragrance will come. He is the Lord.”
Allah Subhana wa ta’lla said, “I worship him who worships Me. I think of him who thinks of Me. I seek him who seeks Me. I believe in him who believes in Me. I speak to him who speaks to Me. If he calls Me once, I call him ten times. If he cries once, I cry for him ten times.”
I would also like to mention this here that sole purpose of fasting should be attaining closeness to Allah and Allah only. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) expressed this beautifully at a time of intense drought, when he addressed them before performing the drought prayer, “All praise is due to Allah; the Merciful, the Compassionate; Lord of the Day of Reckoning; there is no god but Him, He does what He wills. O Allah, You are God, there is no god but You. You are the One free of all need, and we are the ones in absolute need.” Then he asked for rain and prayed two rakats. [Abu Dawud] The scholars mention that this (or similar supplication, followed by two cycles of prayer, is both a powerful expression of neediness (faqr) and a powerful means of fulfilling one’s worldly or spiritual needs. (Credit – SeekersGuidance)
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، الرحمن الرحيم ، مالك يوم الدين ، لا إله إلا الله يفعل ما يريد ، اللهم أنت الله ، لا إله أنت الغني ونحن الفقراء
O My Lord, bestow upon your people, countless blessings and rahma during this highly spiritual month. O Lord, lift all the veils of ignorance and with Your Light, show us the Truth. O Lord, give us the strength to strengthen this Relationship to know You better. Surely You will show the path to whom You will. And forgive all my sins, for You are the Most-Merciful and Highly Forgiving.