What is the true and real meaning and importance of this holy month? what does all the fasting mean, why do we do it?
Significance of Ramadhan
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
The twelve months of the Arabic calendar have always been part of the Arabic tradition and culture, even before the advent of the Last Messenger of Allah (saws). And Ramadan was the name of one of those twelve months.
Allah chose the month of Ramadan to reveal His Final Message as a guidance and mercy to all of mankind; and subsequently Allah commanded the believers to fast the whole month of Ramadan, as a sign of gratitude to Allah Subhanah; and thus made it a way or course to develop piety and obedience in ourselves through this training for one month of the year.
Allah says in Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah aayat 185:Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down: this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of CLEAR teachings which show the right way and are a Criterion of the Truth and falsehood. Therefore, from now on, whosoever witnesses it, it is obligatory on him to fast the whole month. But if one be ill or on a journey, he should make up for the same number by fasting on other days (of the year).
Because this is the month in which Allah chose to reveal the Holy Quran, and this is also the month in which Allah commanded the believers to fast; the month of Ramadan has become a Sacred and Holy month for the believers, and considered better than the other months of the year.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 183: O you who have believed! The Fast has been made obligatory on you just as it was prescribed for the followers of the Prophets before you. It is expected that this produce piety in you.
In light of the above aayah of the Holy Quran, Allah declares the main reason for the fasts: so that one is able to produce piety or God-consiousness in himself. For this one month of Ramadan, the believers are commanded by Allah to abstain from the things which are normally halaal for them (food, drink, sexual intercourse, etc.) for a limited time, so that He may test who are obedient to His Command. When one fasts, it is a practical proof in deeds that he believes sincerely in Allah and the Last Day, and has submitted his will to the Will of His Lord. When Allah says eat, we eat! When Allah says stop, we stop! And Allah has promised a generous reward for the believers who fast for His sake and look towards Him for their reward. Allah also forgives a lot of the sins of the believers who fast in this Holy Month of Ramadan.
The significance and importance of Ramadan can be gauged from the following words of the Messenger of Allah (saws):
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1967 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar
The Prophet (saws) said, "Paradise is decorated for Ramadan from the beginning of the year till a following year, and when the first day of Ramadan comes, a wind under the throne blows some of the leaves of paradise on the maidens with large bright eyes, and they say, 'My Lord, appoint us husbands from among Thy servants, with whom we shall be happy and who will be happy with us."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1962 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah
Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "Ramadan, a blessed month, has come to you during which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast. In it the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of al-Jahim (Hell) are locked, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has indeed suffered deprivation."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.754 Narrated by Ibn Abbas
The Prophet (saws) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur'an with him. Allah's Apostle then used to be more generous than the fast wind.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.226 Narrated by Abu Huraira
I heard Allah's Apostle (saws) saying regarding Ramadan, "Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.241 Narrated by Aisha
With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (saws) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.519 Narrated by Abu Huraira
The Prophet (saws)
said, "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle, offers prayers perfectly
and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.125 Narrated by Abu Hurairah
The Prophet (saws) said, "Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.86 Narrated by Ibn Abbas
When the Prophet (saws) returned after performing his Hajj, he asked Um Sinan Al-Ansari, "What did forbid you to perform Hajj?" She replied, "Father of so-and-so (i.e. her husband) had two camels and he performed Hajj on one of them, and the second is used for the irrigation of our land." The Prophet said (to her), "Perform 'Umra in the month of Ramadan, (as it is equivalent to Hajj or Hajj with me (in reward)."
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2390 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah
The Prophet (saws) said: If anyone breaks his fast one day in Ramadan without a concession granted to him by Allah, a perpetual fast will not atone for it.
Ref: The Night of Qadr
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 97 Surah Al Qadr verses 1-5:We have sent down this (Quran) in the Night of Glory. And what do you know what the Night of Glory is? The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend in it with every decree, by the leave of their Lord. That Night is all peace, till the rise of dawn.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.234 Narrated byAisha
Allah's Apostle said, "Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1964 Narrated byAnas ibn Malik
Anas told of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saying when Ramadan began, "This month has come to you, and it contains a night which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of it is deprived of all good, but only those who are denied prosperity are deprived of it."
One of the wives of the Prophet (saws) asked him the best supplication one could make to Allah in this blessed month, and the Prophet (saws) told her to pray like this: Allah Humma innaka Afu-wan, Tohibbal Affwa, Fahfo Anna.
O Allah, you indeed are the All-Forgiving. You love to Forgive; thus (please) forgive me.
Try to pray the above supplication as many times as possible in this blessed month. Allah forgives and saves more people from the Hell Fire in this Blessed Month, than any other month of the year.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,