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 Important Lessons From Ramadan

Important Lessons From Ramadan
Al-Istiqaamah, Ramadan 1417 AH


Allah – the Most High – said: "The month of Ramadaan in which the Qur’aan was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadaan, he must fast that month." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:185]

Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said:

"Islaam is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving the Zakaah, performing Hajj to the House, and fasting in Ramadaan." (1)

He sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

"There has come to you Ramadaan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good truly has been deprived." (2)

From the many important lessons to be learnt from fasting are:

[1] Gaining Taqwaa

Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain taqwaa, as Allah – the Most High – said: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwaa." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:183]

Talq ibn Habeeb (d. 100H) – rahimahullah – said:

"When fitnah (trial and tribulation) appears then extinguish it with taqwaa." So he was asked as to what taqwaa was, so he replied: "Taqwaa to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (i.e. eemaan, faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And taqwaa is leaving the acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah." (3)

This is one of the best definitions of taqwaa. For every action must have both a starting point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or nearness to Allah, unless it starts from pure eemaan (faith in Allah). Thus it is pure eemaan – and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its like – that should be what initiates the action. And the [goal of the] action should be to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure." (4) So fasting is a means of attaining taqwaa, since it helps prevent from many sins that one is prone to. Due to this, the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Fasting is a shield with which the servant protects himself from the Fire." (5) So we should ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this fasting made us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?

[2] Seeking Nearness to Allah

The Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said:

"Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory duties that I have placed upon him. My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with optional deeds so that I shall love him." (6)

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

"Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadaan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the fire, then may Allah distance him." (7)

So drawing closer to Allah – the Most Perfect – in this blessed month, can be achieved by fulfilling one’s obligatory duties; and also reciting the Qur’aan and reflecting upon its meanings, increasing in kindness and in giving charity, in making du`aa (supplication) to Allah, attending the taraweeh Prayer, seeking out Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power and Pre-Decree), a night which is better than a thousand months, attending gatherings of knowledge, and striving in those actions that will cause the heart to draw closer to its Lord and to gain His forgiveness. Our level of striving in this blessed month should be greater than our striving to worship Allah in any other month, due to the excellence and rewards that Allah has placed in it. Likewise from the great means of seeking nearness to Allah in this month is making I`tikaaf (seclusion in the mosque in order to worship Allah) – for whoever is able.

Imam ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751H) – rahimahullah – said:

"Allah also prescribed I`tikaaf for them, the objective being that the heart becomes fully preoccupied with Allah – the Most High – concentrated upon Him alone, and cut-off from being preoccupied with the creation. Rather, the heart is only engrossed with Allah – the Most Perfect – such that loving Him, remembering Him, and turning to Him takes the place of all the heart’s anxieties and worries, so that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Allah, and his thoughts are all directed towards remembering Him and thinking of how to at