Ramadan 2024 is drawing near –
The month of blessing,
The month of purity and forgiveness,
The month of charity,
The month of Qur’an.
The best month of the year
Fasting, one of the Five Pillars of Islam is one of the key elements of Ramadan, where Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Fasting is more than just abstinence from food but also a form of worship and a way to build closer and deeper connections with Allah (SWT). Fasting teaches us what it is like to go without, it teaches us to have patience with oneself and those around them, as well as how to have compassion for those less fortunate. Fasting was ordained to us in the Qur’an; it is an obligation –fardh- for all Muslims who are able and well.
Why are more than 1 billion people around the world abstaining from food, drink, physical relations from dawn until dusk for one month every year? Simply because it is the month of Ramadan where Muslims observe abstinence.
Fasting (Saum) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and the abstinence from earthly pleasures is as an act that is not only pleasing to Allah (SWT) but also beneficial for mind, body and soul.
The fast begins at dawn – after the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) when the following dua is recited:
وَبِصَوْمِ غَدٍ نَّوَيْتُ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ
Wa bisawmi-ghadinn nawaiytu min-shahri Ramadan.
I intend to fast tomorrow during Ramadan.
The fasting day ends at dusk when the iftar (the breaking of the fast) is consumed. It is a Sunnah to break the fast with a date and/or water and recite the following dua:
اللَّهُمَّ اِنِّى لَكَ صُمْتُ وَبِكَ امنْتُ وَعَليْكَ تَوَكّلتُ وَ عَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ
Allahumma inni-laka-sumtu, wa bika-aamantu, wa alayka tawakkaltu, wa ala rizqika-aftartu.
O Allah! I have fasted for You, and I believe in You and have put my trust in You, and I break the fast with what You have bestowed.
Muslims follow the lunar calendar and the month of Ramadan begins when the new moon is sighted.
Ramadan is a special time for the Muslim world – not only is it a time of immense barakah it also teaches us to share and give to those less fortunate. It is a physical way to experience what a hungry person feels and allows us the opportunity to help those that go without food and drink because of feeling the pangs of hunger.
More than just fasting:
While fasting is an integral part of this month, for a Muslim it is not merely abstinence but also a time to refrain from backbiting and other vices.
The last 10 days of Ramadan:
The last ten days of Ramadan is an auspicious time for Muslims. Its significance stems from the fact that the first word Iqra’ (Read) was revealed to the Prophet (saw) by Jibra’eel (AS). Within these last 10 days lies a special day known as Laylatul Qadr. On this night, which is an odd night in the last 10, Allah S.W.T grants the believers immense blessing and mercy cleansing all of our spiritual imperfections if our intention is pure.
Best dua of the last 10 nights:
اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Aisha (RA) reported: I asked, “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (SAW) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [At-Tirmidhi].
Special Acts during Ramadan:
Zakat/Sadaqa: Zakat is another one of the Five Pillars of Islam and hence giving charity at any time of the year is a great deed. However, combined with the auspicious month of Ramadan, donating Zakat is multiplied by tenfold, with untold rewards and blessings.
The rewards of giving Sadaqah (or Zakat) during Ramadan are multiplied by 70 and the reward for any righteous act during Laylatul Qadr is equivalent to having performed the same act every day for over 83 years!
Taraweeh: A special Salah performed after the Esha Salah. Taraweeh is one of the acts unique to Ramadan and is a recitation of the entire Qur’an. Derived from the Arabic word that means “to rest and relax,” it can also be seen as form of meditation.
Qur’an: Ramadan is the month of Qur’an. The companions of the Prophet (SAW) knew it as such.
“The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” 2:185
Revelation began in the month of Ramadan. The night in which Quranic revelation began was no doubt a blessed night, the Night of Al-Qadr. Hence, the recitation of the Quran has many rewards during Ramadan. It is encouraged to recite Qur’an as much as possible as well as to listen to it during Taraweeh prayers.
Ramadan + Me
This month allows Muslims to make positive changes in their lives and develop habits that will strengthen their spiritual belief and practice. Ramadan teaches us discipline, self-control and shields the soul from greed and immoral behaviour. Very importantly, this month is one that strengthens our bond with the Almighty Allah (SWT)
Inshallah may Allah accept all our efforts during Ramadan.