Ramadan Month of the Quraan
By: Br. Abu Dharr
The first part of this is based on an extract from Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali`s Lata`if al-Ma`arif (pp. 179-182), quoted by Fahd bin Sulaiman in Kayf Nastafeed min Ramadan (pp. 48-50). The advice given in this article is all the more important now that we are in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Imam Bukhari reports from `Aishah that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would tighten his waist-cloth (i.e. detach himself from his wives), spend the night in worship and awake his family, during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Ramadan is nearly over, so make the most of this precious opportunity!
Ramadan has a special relationship with the Qur`an, of course:
"The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it." (cf. Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)
The word `so` (fa) in this ayah leads to the following paraphrase of one aspect of its meaning: "Fast this month because it is the one in which the Qur`an was sent down" -- see Fasting in Ramadaan by Ali al-Halabi & Saleem al-Hilali, Al-Hidaayah, 1414/1994, pp. 11-12.
Ibn `Abbas narrates "that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was the most generous person, and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan because Jibril would come to him every night and he would rehearse the Qur`an with him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Eng. trans. 6/486)
This hadith contains recommendation of the following:
Studying the Qur`an in Ramadan;
coming together for this purpose;
checking (one`s memory/knowledge of) the Qur`an with someone who has preserved it better;
increasing recitation of the Qur`an in Ramadan;
that the night time is the best time to recite, when other preoccupations decrease and it is easier to concentrate, as in Surah al-Muzzammil 73:6.
Further, Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated from her father (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who told her that Jibril would rehearse the Quran with him (in Ramadan) once every year, and he did so twice in the year of his death. (Bukhari 6/485)
After mentioning the above aspects of the Sunnah, Ibn Rajab talks about the situation of the Salaf (the early Muslims) during Ramadan:
"... Some of the Salaf would complete reciting the whole Quran during the night prayer of Ramadan every 3 days, others every 7 days e.g. Qataadah, others in 10 days e.g. Abu Rajaa` al-Atardi. The Salaf would recite Quran in Ramadan in Prayer as well as outside it. Al-Aswad would finish the Quran every 2 nights in Ramadan; Ibrahim an-Nakh`I would do likewise in the last 10 nights specifically, & every 3 nights during the rest of the month. Qataadah would regularly finish the Quran in 7 days, but in 3 days during Ramadan, when he would study the Quran especially, and every night during its last 10 days. Al-Zuhri would say when Ramadan began, `It is recitation of the Quran and feeding of people.` When Ramadan began, Imam Malik would cease narrating Hadith and sitting with the people of knowledge, and stick to reciting the Quran from its pages, while Sufyan al-Thawri would leave other acts of worship and stick to reciting the Quran. `Aishah would recite from the pages of the Quran at the beginning of the day in Ramadan (i.e. after Dawn), until when the sun had risen, she would sleep. Zayd al-Yaami would bring copies of the Quran when Ramadan began and gather his companions around him. ..."
Ibn Rajab later continues, "The forbiddance of completing recitation of the Quran in less than 3 days applies to this being made a regular practice, but as for favoured times such as Ramadan, esp. the nights in which Laylat al-Qadr is sought, or favoured places such as Makkah for the visitor, it is recommended to increase reciting the Quran to avail the time and place. This is the view of Ahmad, Ishaq & other Imams, and the practice of others indicates this too."
The purpose here is not to discuss whether or not the latter view is correct or not, since that is purely academic for most of us, as we do not get anywhere near reciting the whole Quran in three days! However, the practice of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), his Companions, and those who followed their path, should be clear enough. As a further example, Bukhari (3/79) quotes from the noble Companion Zaid bin Thabit who answered the question, "How much time was there between the pre-dawn meal and the Dawn Prayer?" by saying, "Enough time to recite fifty ayat"; since the practice of the Arabs was to measure time in terms of everyday actions, this shows that the Sahabah were pre-occupied with the Qur`an, especially in Ramadan.
Compare all this with our sad state, when we talk so muc