On the occasion of this blessed month of Ramadan 1433, I have decided to share with you some of the wisdom from the book Thirty Lessons for Those Who Fast. It is written by Aa’id Abdullah al Qarni, as Saudi scholar and author of many works including Don’t Be Sad and Muhammad As If You Can See Him. His book provides us with spiritual insight and guidance as we fast this month of Ramadan.
Lesson One – Guidance of the Prophet in Fasting
Firstly, all praises are due to Allah, and may He bestow His peace and blessings upon his final Prophet Muhammad, his relatives, companions and all those who are loyal to him.
Ibn al Qayim said: “Among the guidance of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in the month of Ramadan, was his engagement in many forms of worship. The angel Gabriel used to teach him the Qur’an in this month. Whenever Gabriel met him he was more generous than a guided breeze. He was, ordinarily the most charitable person, and yet when Ramadan arrived, he became even more generous. He gave much charity and engaged in kind acts, recitation of the Qur’an, prayers, remembrance and retreat during this month.”
The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, used to apportion to Ramadan a degree of worship that was not set aside to any other month. His nights were spent in supplication and humiliation to his Lord, seeking His help, support, victory and guidance. He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, read long chapters from the Qur’an and stayed for long periods bowing and prostrating before his Lord. His desire for worship was never satisfied, and his standing was a source of sustenance to him, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, says in the Qur’an:
“O Thou enwrapped one! Keep awake [in prayer] at night, all but a small part” (Surah al-Muzzammil:1)
“And rise from thy sleep and pray during part of the night [as well], as a free offering from thee, and thy Sustainer may well raise thee to a glorious station [in the life to come]“ (Surah Al-Isra:79)
During the days of Ramadan, the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, spent his time propagating the Islamic call, engaging in jihad, providing advice and training, and reminding his companions. Among his practices, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was that he never commenced the month of Ramadan without a vision of what he wanted to achieve.
The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, would encourage his companions to eat the meal of suhoor before the daybreak, and he advised them that there was a great blessing in it. This period before the daybreak is blessed because it is the last third of the night, the time of divine decent and forgiveness. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, says:
“And in the hours of early dawn, they were found praying for forgiveness” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat:18)
“Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend in the way of Allah; and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning” (Surah Al-Imran:17)
It is also recorded that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to hasten to have a meal after the setting of the sun and he ordered other to do the same. Several sources have narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: ‘Verily the fasting person has a prayer that will never be rejected’, and as such, he used to make dua for the best of this life and the best of the Hereafter. He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would break his fast before praying the maghrib prayer.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, travelled during Ramadan fasting and then breaking his fast. In this way, he gave his Companions the choice whether or not to continue fasting if they had to travel. During battle however, he ordered them to break their fasts in order to fight. Here we should remember that the great Battle of Badr was fought in Ramadan.
There were times when the Fajr came and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was still in a state of impurity from sexual intercourse. In these circumstances, he would take a bath and thereafter he would fast. He would also kiss his wives whilst they were fasting in Ramadan.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, ruled that the one who accidentally broke their fast out of forgetfulness was not required to make up the fast. He pointed out that it was Allah who had in fact fed and watered that person. We learn from the hadith that amongst the things that invalidate fasting are eating, drinking, cupping and vomiting and the Qur’an advises us that marital relations break the fast in the same way as eating and drinking.
Among the other practices of the blessed Prophet was that he would retreat for the last ten days of Ramadan to intensify his worship. He did this in order to draw closer to Allah and to free his mind from worldly concerns. During this time he limited his contact with people and increased his supplications, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Let these beautiful examples be lessons for us in the many ways in which we can draw closer to Allah during this blessed month of Ramadan. Let’s strive to purify our intention, make a vision of what we want to achieve. Let’s increase our salah, particularly in the last third of the night, and let’s remember that the dua of the fasting person will never be rejected. Let’s follow the example of our beloved Prophet, and ask for the best of this life and the best of the hereafter:
“Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil ‘akhirati hasanatan waqina ‘adhaban-nar”
” Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire” (Surah al-Baqarah:201)
May Allah bestow His infinite blessings upon you and enable you to gain the most from this blessed month. Ameen.