The Month of Ramadhan
The holy month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This month commemorates the revelation of the Quran. It is also believed that during this month the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are closed and the devils (shaitan) are chained up within.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“When Ramadhan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are closed,
and the devils are put in chains.”
This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.
The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fardh (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from chronic illness, travelling, are weak, feeble and elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, severe diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha’aban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina. Fatwas have been issued declaring that Muslims who live in regions with natural phenomenon such as the midnight sun or polar night should follow the timetable of Mecca.
While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in marital relations. Muslims are also required to refrain from sinful behaviour that may negate the reward of fasting, such as fighting, lying, insulting, backbiting, cursing, indulging anger, indulging in physical pleasures etc. Food and drink are served daily, before dawn and after sunset. In many areas in the Middle East, iftar offers a spread of food and drinks way until midnight. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Muslims during Ramadan are encouraged to do the increased offering of salat (prayers) during Tarawih and recitation of the Quran.
Surah Al-Baqara – 2:185
شَہۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِۚ فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُۖ وَمَن ڪَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُڪۡمِلُواْ ٱلۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُڪَبِّرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَٮٰكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.
The actual night that the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad is called Lailat ul Qadr, and to stand in prayer on this one night is said to be better than a thousand months of worship.
Ramadan is often called ‘month of the Qur’an’ because of this, and Muslims attempt to recite as much of the Qur’an as they can during the month. Most mosques will recite one-thirtieth of the Qur’an each night during the Taraweeh prayers.
No one knows on which particular night the Qur’an was first revealed, but it is said to be one of the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Good actions bring a greater reward during this month than at any other time of year because this month has been blessed by Allah. It is also believed that it is easier to do good in this month because the devils have been chained in Hell, and so can’t tempt believers. This doesn’t mean that Muslims will not behave badly, but that any evil that they do comes from within themselves, without additional encouragement from Satan.
To all Brothers and Sisters in Islam, Ramadhan Kareem and may Allah’s (SWT) Blessings and Mercy be with all.
Written by Ladyana Z. Abdullah