The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Do good all the time, and seek to be recipients of the ‘outpouring’ of Allah’s mercy. Indeed, Allah showers down these (special) ‘outpourings’ of His mercy to whomsoever He wills from His slaves.” (Ṭabarānī)
Although Allah constantly showers His mercy, love and blessings upon us throughout the year, there are certain times of the year wherein He is even more Generous to us. These are the special seasons, days and moments in which it is even easier to acquire His pleasure, earn His forgiveness and be saved from the Hell-fire. The blessed month of Ramaḍān is one such season when we witness the fruits of Allah’s love and kindness.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The month of Ramaḍān has come to you, a blessed month in which Allah – Exalted and Majestic is He – has obligated (its) fasting upon you. In it the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell-fire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it, Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived!” (Nasā’ī)
Ibn Rajab (raḥimahullāh) quoted the earlier scholars as saying: ‘This ḥadīth is the basis for congratulating one another for the arrival of Ramaḍān. Why shouldn’t the believer be congratulated when the gates of Paradise have opened? Why shouldn’t the sinner be congratulated when the gates of the Hell-fire have closed? Why shouldn’t the intelligent one be congratulated for a time when the devils are chained?’
Allah instructed His beloved ﷺ:
قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِۦ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا۟ هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ
“Say: In Allah’s grace and mercy let them rejoice. That is far better than whatever (wealth) they accumulate.”
Ramaḍān is indeed from the mercy, kindness and generosity of Allah upon us. Let us rejoice and feel happy with its arrival.
Let us be from those who are pleased with Ramaḍān and are eager to strive in it. Let us show Allah how happy we are with His special month through our intentions, worship and desire for reward.
Let us not be of those who become miserable with Ramaḍān’s arrival and feel ‘forced’ to fast its days.
The Immense Kindness of Allah
Allah says in the Holy Qur’ān,
“(fast for) a limited number of days…” (2:184)
Fasting is obligatory upon us only for a limited number of days (29/30 days). From His mercy, Allah made this amount manageable and easy for us. Furthermore, He made this short amount of time a source of immense blessings.
Ḥafṣah b. Sīrīn (raḥimahallāh) quoted Abūl-ʿĀliyah (raḥimahullāh) as saying, “The fasting person is in a state of worship so long as he does not backbite anyone, even if he is sleeping in his bed.” Then Ḥafṣah would say, “How wonderful it is that I am in a state of worship whilst I am sleeping on my bed.”
We also witness the immense generosity of Allah in the following ḥadīth. A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “O Messenger of Allah, if I testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and that you are the Messenger of Allah, I pray the five prayers, I give zakāh, I fast Ramaḍān and I stand in prayer during its nights; then who do you think I am from?” He ﷺ said: “From the Ṣiddīqīn and the martyrs.” (Ibn Ḥibbān)
The Ṣiddīqīn are those who have attained the highest status of īmān, conviction and truthfulness. Even in difficult times, their actions consistently verify their words. Examples of such people include the best of the Prophets’ followers, such as Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu).
Ramadan: The Annual Milestone
Just as Friday punctuates our week, and the five daily prayers punctuates our days, Ramaḍān punctuates our year. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The five daily prayers, Jumuʿah to Jumuʿah, and Ramaḍān to Ramaḍān expiate for (the sins perpetrated) in between them, so long as one stays away from the major sins” (Muslim).
Ramaḍān is the benchmark of the year. If we strive hard during it to stay away from sins and attain the pleasure of Allah al-Karīm (The Most Generous), we will enjoy its fruits throughout the year. Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) wrote, “Whoever’s Jumuʿah is safe from evil, his week will be safe from evil. Whoever’s Ramaḍān is safe from evil, his year will be safe from evil. Whoever’s ḥajj is safe from evil, his life will be safe from evil.”
Ramaḍān: The Example of Yūsuf (ʿalayhis-salām)
Ibn al-Jawzī (raḥimahullāh) writes:
“It has been said that the example of the 12 months is like the children of Yaʿqūb (ʿalayhis-salām): Ramaḍān is like Yūsuf (ʿalayhis-salām), while the remaining months resemble his brothers. Just as Yūsuf was Yaʿqūb’s most beloved child, Ramaḍān is likewise Allah’s most beloved month.
From his mercy and compassion, Yūsuf forgave his brothers and said, ‘There is no blame on you today’ (12:92). Ramaḍān is likewise the month of compassion and mercy. It is a month of blessings, goodness, freedom from the Hell-fire, and forgiveness from the All-Powerful King.
The brothers of Yūsuf (ʿalayhis-salām) came to ask him if he could remedy their situation. Subsequently, Yūsuf (ʿalayhis-salām) treated them with kindness and was hospitable to them. He provided them with food and told his servants: ‘Put their (traded) goods back into their saddlebags, so that they may recognise them when they go back to their family, and perhaps they may return’ (12:62). Thus, one person remedied the shortcomings of eleven others. Likewise, the month of Ramaḍān is one month that remedies our shortcomings and deficiencies of the other eleven months.
Yaʿqūb (ʿalayhis-salām) had eleven sons who were living with him and whose actions he would see at all times. However, his eyesight did not return due to any of their clothing. Instead, it returned due to Yūsuf’s shirt. Likewise, if the sinner smells the scents of Ramaḍān, sits with those who remind him of Allah, recites the Qur’ān, and avoids backbiting and vain talk, he will be forgiven after being a sinner. He will become close after he was far. His heart which was previously blind, will now have the ability to ‘perceive’. Throughout his entire life, he will be granted tawfīq (divine providence) to obey Allah, and in his last moments, his soul will be extracted gently from his body. When he eventually meets Allah, he will be blessed with forgiveness and lofty ranks in Paradise.
So, by Allah, take advantage of this blessing during these few days; and you will soon see endless blessings and a very long period of rest and relaxation, Allah willing.” (Adapted from Bustān al-Wāʿiẓīn)
‘O seeker of good, come forward! O seeker of evil, stop!’
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When it is the first night of the month of Ramaḍān, the devils and the rebellious jinn are tied up; the doors of Hell-fire are closed, and none of its doors are opened. The doors of Paradise are opened, and none of its doors are closed. A caller calls out: ‘O seeker of good, come forward! O seeker of evil, stop!’ Indeed, Allah frees slaves from the Hell-fire every night” (Tirmidhī).
As we enter the blessed month, let us supplicate like our beloved Prophet ﷺ did:
اَللّٰهُمَّ أَهِلَّهُ عَلَيْنَا بِالْيُمْنِ وَالْإِيْمَانِ ، وَالسَّلاَمَةِ وَالْإِسْلاَمِ ، رَبِّيْ وَرَبُّكَ اللّٰهُ
O Allah, make this moon (month) pass over us with blessings, īmān, peace, and in the state of Islam. (O moon,) My Lord and your Lord is Allah.
“By Allah, if it was said to the people of grave, ‘make a wish!’ they would wish for one day of Ramaḍān.” – Ibn al-Jawzī (raḥimahullāh)