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Faith and practice: How to benefit from the blessed month of Ramadan


“O Muhammad! You have a number of pursuits during the day; a continuous chain of chores and business that keeps you from having time for long continuous worship, so get up at night to worship Him.” 

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Ahmadiyya Times / AlFazl (Urdu)
By Imam Shamshad A. Nasir | July 23, 2012

As Muslims we are fortunate that, by the grace of the Almighty, we once again have the month of Ramadan in our lives. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has declared this month a blessed month. It is also called the “Chief of all months” for in this month Muslims can receive from 10 to 100 times reward for their righteous efforts. This blessed month is distinguished by mercy and forgiveness. Muslims should try to take benefit as much as possible in this blessed month by striving to accomplish the following:

Offer the five daily prayers in congregation:

In the Holy Quran, congregational prayers have been stressed on many occasions. A saying of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) gives the good news that a person gets 27 times the reward by offering congregational prayers as opposed to doing prayers alone. We should all try to say our prayers in congregation in the mosque. Congregational prayer is an essential part of Ramadan and the everyday life of a Muslim. Special attention should be placed on one’s prayers during Ramadan because to not do so defeats one of the key purposes of Ramadan.

Qayyam-ul-Lail  (Offering Salat and Supplications at Night):

In the blessed month of Ramadan, try to observe the Tahajjud prayers. It was the tradition of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in the month of Ramadan (as well as in other times) to offer eight Rakaat of Tahajjud prayers and three Witr. Whatever time one has after midnight or in the early morning should be offered in Tahajjud as prayers offered at this time are especially acceptable in the court of Allah. Tahajjud is the best time for communion with Allah. According to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Tahajjud prayer at night with heartfelt supplications has immense spiritual significance and yields a great reward. There is a revealed saying (Hadith-ul-Qudsi) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that every night, when one-third of it remains, Allah announces: “Who is here to call on me that I may accept their prayer? Who is here to ask of me that I may grant it, and who is here to seek my forgiveness that I may forgive?”

Some people say that we have a lot of work in the daytime and can’t get up that early for Tahajjud prayers. In the Holy Quran, Allah has asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to offer Tahajjud prayers. Keeping this issue in view: “O Muhammad! You have a number of pursuits during the day; a continuous chain of chores and business that keeps you from having time for long continuous worship, so get up at night to worship Him.” The prayer at this time has special benefits because it is convened with true sacrifice and zeal, therefore everyone among us must make it their duty to offer Tahajjud prayer – at least two rakaats. This will give them the blessed opportunity to supplicate before God at this time.

Tarawih Prayers:

In this blessed month, arrangements are made to say Tarawih prayers, but those who observe Tarawih should still try to get up for Tahajjud prayers, even if they can only offer two rakaats. This is very rewarding and gratifying.

Recitation of the Holy Quran:

Ramadan has a deep connection with the Holy Quran. The revelation of the Quran started in the blessed month of Ramadan. We must recite it frequently, and ponder and reflect over its meanings. According to the tradition of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), two recitations or at least one recitation of the Quran should be completed. For a believer it is imperative that the Quran should be recited frequently and regularly, especially in Ramadan.

“Supplicate, supplicate and supplicate abundantly.”

There is no doubt that this blessed month is also the month of acceptance of prayers. Hazrat Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “In Ramadan, one who remembers Allah is forgiven, and the one who begs from Allah is never refused.” This is the reason for the deep connection between the fast and the prayers. Allah the Exalted has declared: When My servants ask thee [Muhammad]

about Me, say: “I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.” (2:187)

It is important to remember that we should always pray fervently in the month of Ramadan so we may witness the acceptance of prayers. Though any time can be the time for the acceptance of prayers, the special time in Ramadan has been pointed out for a reason by the Holy Prophet (pbuh), who said that one who fasts, for him at the time of breaking the fast, his prayer is not refused. At the breaking of the fast, prayers are accepted. Therefore, such time should not be wasted in other, vain activities or idle talk. One should also try to pray in solitude for a few moments before the breaking of the fast. Always pray for the progress of Islam. Pray especially for the unity of the Jama’at and for the increase of love and affection among its members.

Remembrance of Allah, repentance and recitation of Darud Shareef:

In the blessed month of Ramadan, we should frequently remember Allah, earnestly repent and seek forgiveness with complete humility. It is seen that a person sometimes spends his time in other pursuits instead of remembrance of Allah. We should take advantage of Ramadan, and whatever time is available to us should be spent in the remembrance of Allah (Zikr-e-Ilahi) and in seeking forgiveness (Istaghfar).

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said “The example of one who remembers Allah and the one who does not is like one who is living and one who is dead.”

The person who wants to know how much he is remembered and valued in the sight of Allah should reflect on how much he remembers and values Allah. In the Holy Quran and in the sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), the seeking of forgiveness has been extolled meritoriously many times.

Allah the Exalted says in the Holy Quran: “God does not like to punish people while they are seeking His forgiveness.” So Allah the Exalted keeps safe from punishment whoever seeks forgiveness from Him. He further said that those people who commit some indecency or excess against their own selves, they should remember Allah much and ask forgiveness for their sins because who is there except Allah who can forgive sins? The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “I ask for forgiveness more than a 100 times daily.” He further said: “The person who makes seeking of forgiveness essential, God will provide for him the means of ease and comfort. He will also deliver them from every worry, affliction and sorrow, and will give him provision even from where he expects it not.”

Charity and donations:

The blessed month of Ramadan also gives another message that we should attend to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. Special care should be taken to help those less fortunate. Every attempt should be taken to meet their needs. Hence, one should donate service or wealth and spend heavily in the way of Allah. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was the most generous during Ramadan; he never turned away a needy person empty-handed. Even if the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had nothing he would suggest them to take loans to meet their needs, which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would later pay back to them.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) would spend and sacrifice everything in the way of Allah. In the sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), it has been mentioned that during the month of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet’s regular habit of giving charity would increase even more so, like the gusting of strong winds. It was the tradition of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to do extra financial sacrifice in the month of Ramadan, which we should emulate.

Fitrana (Charity of Eid):

The Fitrana for Eid should be paid in the beginning of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “The charity of Fitr is obligatory upon every believer, male, female, old or young.” He has also mentioned its wisdom and blessings. It is the way of keeping the one who fasts away from indecent, immoral and vain pursuits. It also provides the food on the table for those of meager subsistence.

In the month of Ramadan, the worship and pious deeds get suspended between Earth and the heavens, and the donation of fitr takes them to heaven and it becomes the cause of the acceptance of worship. So whatever Fitrana is fixed it should be paid early so that it meets the needs of the poor and less fortunate people as early as possible so they can participate in the happiness of Eid.

The last ten days of Ramadan:

The whole month of Ramadan is a struggle for worship and spirituality, but the last ten days are of exceptional significance. It is narrated in the sayings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that Hazrat Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates that during the last ten days of Ramadan  the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would be more diligent in his prayers, and he would wake up his family members as well for the worship of Allah.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) would engage in worship the entire year. Every night he would offer Tahajjud prayers and he would stand for such long periods at night that his feet would get swollen. But in the last ten days of Ramadan, his spiritual journey would take flight and increase by leaps and bounds. So we should with full effort strive in the last ten days to fill any lapses that were left in the first two of the ten day periods.

Those who are given the opportunity from Allah for spiritual seclusion and retreat in the mosque during the last tens days of Ramadan should spend their whole time in the remembrance of Allah, in seeking forgiveness and repentance, and recitation of Darud Shareef, frequent recitation of the Holy Quran and the offering of optional prayers (Nawafil).

Keep doing special prayers for the propagation of Islam, for those beset by anxiety and tribulations, for the poor, the less fortunate, and for widows and orphans. And above all, for every person who is in retreat in the mosque, they should undergo a great revolution within themselves. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) would spend all his time in worship during retreat, so everyone who retreats should spend his time according to the tradition of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). May Allah accept the retreat in the last ten days from all who undertake it.

The Night of Decree (retreat and Lailat-ul Qadr):

The significance of the Night of Decree has been described that: it is better than a thousand months. Another significance of the Night of Decree is that those who usually do not get enough opportunity for prayers and worship, when they enter the last ten days, they try to look for the Night of Decree and thus keep their nights alive with spiritual purpose. Then, with the blessing of Allah, they get intoxicated in the worship and prayers and it guides and enlightens their lives.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “The one who worships in the Night of Decree in the holy month of Ramadan with the state of belief and with the intention of spiritual reward, his previous sins are forgiven.”

The blessings of the Night of Decree are accessible by every person in all times and ages. Hazrat Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “The one who offered congregational prayer from the beginning to the end of Ramadan he received a large portion from the Night of Decree.”

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) taught Hazrat Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) the following prayer for the Night of Decree: “O Allah! You are a great forgiver, and You love forgivenesss, so forgive and pardon me.’

Eid-Ul-Fitr:

After the passing of the blessed month of Ramadan, Allah the Exalted has gifted for the believers Eid-ul-Fitr. Every believer — male, female, young or old — participates happily in this festival. This shows that Islam is also a religion of happiness and pleasure, and it provides means for the happiness of human souls, which is exactly according to human nature.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has expressed the necessity of offering the Eid Prayer. Hazrat Umme Atiya narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) told us that all women and children should attend Eid prayers, even the women on their menses; they should listen to the Eid sermon and participate in the silent prayer, but they should not offer the two-rakaats of the Eid Prayer.

So, the joy of Eid is the joy of communion with Allah as a result of His worship in the blessed month of Ramadan. And this is the real celebration, which is among the goals of Ramadan, that we become closer to the Almighty. Besides this, we are required to invite our less fortunate brothers and sisters to partake in our happiness. May Allah grant us this opportunity.

  — How to benefit from the blessed month of Ramadan
  — By Imam Shamshad A. Nasir, Baitul Hameed Mosque – Chino, CA

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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