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 Reaping the benefits of Ramadan


Reaping the benefits of Ramadan 
           

In the month of Ramadaan it is very important that we spent a few moments to
understand some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month
of fasting.

Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion
of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Let it not be that the day that you
fast and the day that you break fast be equal." Meaning, one`s behaviour,
attitude and outlook are the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has
no effect upon that person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these
lessons.


LESSON 1: Gaining Taqwaa

Allaah legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa, "O you who believe, fasting has
been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so
that you may attain taqwaa." (meaning of Soraatul Baqarah (2):183) Taqwaa in
this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allaah’s anger and
Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this
fasting day made us fear Allaah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect
ourselves from the hellfire or not?


LESSON 2: Drawing closer to Allaah

This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’aan during night and
day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allaah, sitting in circles
of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for those who can,
making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, so as to
leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of
Allaah, so as to bring oneself closer to
Allaah (SWT). When one sins, one feels distant from Allaah. That is why one
might find it heard to read the Qur’aan and come to the masjid. However, the
obedient worshipper feels closer to Allaah and wants to worship Allaah more,
because he is not shy from his sins.


LESSON 3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allaah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’aan and has
commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts,
and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for
those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs man and
women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of
Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allaah. We do not need
emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes
to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.


LESSON 4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away
from riyaa’ (showing off)

Ihsaan means to worship Allaah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does
not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, "By Allaah, in the last
twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or
refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back,
except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allaah love
this action? Is Allaah pleased with this action?` So when one is fasting, one
should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from
riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadeeth qudsee, "Fasting is
for Me and I reward it." (al-Bukhaaree) Allaah singles out fasting from all
other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no one knows
whether you are fasting or not, except Allaah. For example, when one is
praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen by the people,
so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyaan
ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used
to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allaah? He said, ‘No.’
They said, "Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?" He said, ‘No. It is not
the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been
worshipping Allaah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not
certain that my intentions are purely for Allaah.’"


LESSON 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related to truthfulness and
discharging trusts.

The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Whoever
does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allaah (SWT) has no need
that he should heave his food and drink." (al-Bukhaaree) What we learn from
this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners.

The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "was sent
to perfect good m