Ramadan Mubarak! We're over 1/3rd in!
- Isa al-Bosnawi
and end of Ramadhan
Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, to tell him of an action by which he may enter Paradise. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"Take to fasting, there is nothing like it." [An-Nisa'i, Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim. Sahih]
In this hadith, the Prophet, peace be upon him, singled out fasting when asked about a deed that leads its doer to the best of rewards, Paradise. This fact alone is sufficient for us to understand the greatness of fasting. Mere knowledge of the importance and superiority of fasting. However, is not enough for a Muslim to attain Allah's pleasure and then, if Allah wills, His great reward. Indeed, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst." [Ibn Majah, ad-Darimi, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi. Sahih]
This hadith should raise our concern about fasting and increase our desire to perform this act of worship with the best intention and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet, upon whom be peace.
- Shahid Athar
(Editor: The author of this article is Shahid Athar, M.D. FACP, FACE)
Muslims worldwide observe total fasting (no food or water) between dawn to sunset in the month of Ramadhan. They do so not for losing weight or any medical benefit, but as it is ordained in Qur'an which says:
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who came before you; that you will perhaps be God-fearing." [Al-Qur'an 2:183]
According to Islamic Law, children below the age of 12, sick patients, travellers, and women who are menstruating or nursing a baby are exempt from fasting. In addition to staying away from food or water for the whole day, they are asked to stay away from sex, smoking or misconduct during the period of fast. In addition, they are encouraged to do more acts of piety i.e. prayer, charity, or reading the Qur'an during this month.
Food is needed by the body to provide energy for immediate use by burning up carbohydrates, that is, sugar. Excess of carbohydrates which cannot be used is stored up as fat tissue in muscles, and as glycogen in liver for future use. Insulin, a hormone from the pancreas, lowers blood sugar and diverts it to other forms of energy storage, that is, glycogen. To be effective, insulin has to be bound to binding sites called receptor. Obese people lack receptor; therefore, they cannot utilize their insulin. This leads to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.
When one fasts (or decreases carbohydrate intake drastically), it lowers his blood glucose and insulin level. This causes breakdown of glycogen from liver to provide glucose for energy need and breakdown of fat from adipose tissue to provide for energy needs.
- 'Abdullah al-Jarullah
Few Introductory and Complementary Notes by the Translator
- Ramadhan is an auspicious opportunity for believers to renew their commitment to their Creator and the Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. This commitment must be both outward and inward, so that a Muslim not only recites more Qur'an and offers more units of prayer, but that she or he does so with reflection, humility and attentiveness.
- Muslims must ensure they are not formalists who concentrate only on the outward. Achieving Allah's acceptance must be a believer's priority and is not easy - "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous." [Al-Qur'an 5:27]
- Ramadhan is a wonderful opportunity for accounting of one's sins and making repentance. If one does not repent in Ramadhan, when will he or she do so?
- Muslims should strive to worship Allah as best as they can from the beginning of the month, for that increases chances of the end of the month being good as well.
- Muslims should consider what is it that they truly want to achieve in Ramadhan, whether they want to be from the winners or from the losers, and should make sure they do not perform acts of worship simply because it is the surrounding people's custom to do so.
- Muslims must be firmly aware that Ramadhan is only a means and not an end.
Advice to Muslims in Ramadhan
Brother Muslim, Sister Muslimah:
- Abu Eesa Niamatullah
There are things in life which are not very important, those which are quite important and then those things which are absolutely vital for our collective well-being.
Let this be a reminder to me and anyone else who wishes to read on – there is simply nothing more vital for us in our very short and limited lives than to take absolute maximum benefit from the blessed month of Ramadhan.
The really interesting thing about the statement of Allah, the Most High:
"So remind (them), for indeed the reminder benefits those who have faith," [Al-Qur'an 51:55]
is that those who have the pure characteristics of faith do indeed benefit, even though human nature by itself would seem to oppose that. Isn't that sadly true? When someone believes they know what to do, they don't necessarily appreciate being told again how to do it. If someone believes that they've heard everything they need to hear, it takes a seriously patient and magnanimous person to sit there and hear it again.
By now we've certainly heard all the Prophetic narrations on the blessings of this very special time; a time in which our righteous ones delight as the gates of Paradise are flung open, and in which our sinful ones breathe a sigh of relief and take time to reflect as the gates of Hell are locked up.
So at this moment of clarity, where the stomachs, hearts, eyes, ears, tongue and mind are all enjoying their greatest moment of purity, let us all try and make sure that we profit from the following points gleaned from the advice of our Pious Predecessors ...
- Navaid Aziz
Alhamdulillahi rabbil-'alamin was salatu was salamu 'ala ashrifil-anbiya wa'l-mursalin nabiyina Muhammad wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi ajma'in
To many of you reading this the title may seem absurd, and may have even caught you off-guard, as love generally is not associated with the month of worship and blessing. Yet, if we were to contemplate the actions that we partake during this blessed month we would see that the vast majority of them revolve around love, we are often people that just fail to reflect.
The first thing that is needed to actually conceptualize where I am coming from would be to understand what love really is, or at the very least how it is being defined in this treatise. We all know that love has many manifestations, degrees, and types. The way a child loves his or her parents is not the same as the way a woman may love her husband, and likewise, the way a person may love chocolate, per se, is not the same way a person would love his or her Lord (or at least we hope not). However in all of these types of love there is a common and key theme, that of sacrifice and fulfilment. The more we love something, the more we are willing to sacrifice for it, and the more we will strive to fulfil the every command and wish of our beloved. This should not be misunderstood as sacrifice and fulfilment being the only components of love, but rather they are from amongst the essential components that make up love, along with longing and cherishing. And this is why we should see that love, along with hope and fear, is a pillar of our worship. Our worship will not be complete nor acceptable until it encompasses the right amounts of love, hope, and fear. After having comprehended this, we can see how shirk can be performed even in love, yet most of mankind knows not.
If we were to take just a moment to reflect what Islam means linguistically (let alone conventionally), we would see that submission (the true linguistic definition of Islam, and not peace contrary to common belief), entails a common theme with love and that being sacrifice. When we truly submit to Allah we are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for Him. This can be seen in one of the most fundamental mottos of a Muslim:
"Say: Indeed my prayer, and my sacrifice, and my living, and my dying are for none other than Allah, Lord of all that exists." [Al-Qur'an 6:162]
So when one goes about sacrificing and fulfilling the wants of other than Allah, just as much or, more than what he does for Allah then such an individual has fallen into shirk. And if one fails to meet the necessary sacrifices and falls short in fulfilling the required obligations then such an individual has fallen into disbelief. It is in light of these words that we understand the verse:
"From mankind are those people who have taken deities other than Allah, they love them as they love Allah, and those who have faith (i.e. are Muslims) are stronger in their love for Allah." [Al-Qur'an 2:165]
- Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
its own rewards
And from the acts of worship whose reward is multiplied during the heat is fasting, and this is because of the thirst that one experiences in the midday heat.
This is why Mu'adh ibn Jabal expressed regret on his deathbed that he would no longer experience this midday thirst, as did other early Muslims.
And it was related that Abu Bakr would fast in the summer and not fast in the winter, and 'Umar advised his son 'Abdullah on his deathbed: "Try to obtain the characteristics of faith," and the first one he mentioned was fasting in the intense summer heat.
And Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that 'A'ishah would fast in the intense heat, and he was asked: "What drove her to do this?" He replied: "She would take advantage of the days before death." And some of the righteous women would choose the hottest days and fast them, saying: "If the price is low, everyone will buy," meaning that she wanted to do those actions that only a few were capable of due to how hard it was to do them, and this is indicative of the high aspirations these women had.
And Abu Musa al-Ash'ari was on a boat, and he heard someone calling out: "O passengers, stand up!" And he said this three times. So, Abu Musa told him: "How can we stand up? Don't you see where we are? How can we stand up?" So, the caller said: "Let me tell you of a rule that Allah made upon Himself: whoever makes himself thirsty for Allah's sake on a hot day has the right upon Allah to have his thirst quenched on the Day of Resurrection." So, Abu Musa would search out the days that were so hot that one would feel he was being cooked, and he would fast those days.