Every year we witness the month of Ramadhan but if someone were to ask us what does Ramadhan mean what would be our reply? If we were ask to define fasting (sawm) what would be our reply?

Ramadhan comes from the word rimdun or ramada which means to scorch, according to the Ulema it is hoped that during the month of Ramadhan the sins of the believers will be scorched or burnt.

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In Mukhtasar Al Quduri which is one of the books of fiqh in the Hanafi Madhab, the definition of Sawm is given in the footnotes: Sawm according to the Arabic Language means to withhold, and according to Islamic Law (Shariah) sawm means to withhold oneself from eating, drinking and marital relations from dawn till dusk.

Some of us view fasting as a burden or an inconvenience it maybe an inconvenience on the body but it’s a convenience on the Soul. We should remember that we strengthen and fortify our bodies for eleven months of the year so why can’t we sacrifice one month to fortify our souls?

After all our souls would remain long after our bodies disintegrate into the earth. No wonder the Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) fasted throughout the year, not only in the month of Ramadhan.

Allah Most High says in the Quran al Karim:

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (or according to different translations so that you may ward off evil or become God conscious)

Shaykh Wahba Zuhayli gives the following explanation of this ayah in his Tafsir Wajeez ul Quran al Azeem:

“Oh Believers Allah has made fasting obligatory upon you by commanding you to withhold yourself from your bodily desires from dawn till dusk, with sincere intention as it was obligatory on the preceding nations, so that you may fear the fire (hell), that you may be successful in attaining the pleasure of Allah and that you purify yourself with worthy characteristics”.

Insha Allah we would be able to achieve the objectives the Shaykh stated in his Tafsir during the Month of Ramadhan.

Many Muslims find it difficult to suppress their desire to eat even though it is only for a few hours during the day, we should try to reflect on the sayings of the great saint Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh Ali Hujweri (May Allah be pleased with him) who said:

“Hunger is a cause of trouble to the body but a source of life to the heart and soul.

Eating one’s fill strengthens the stomach but hunger strengthens the inner and natural state. He who endeavors hard to strengthen the inner state is a special slave of Allah. He is protected against worldly worries and concerns”.

“People of the previous communities (Ummah) ate to live but now we live to eat”.

“One morsel was the root cause of Hazrat Adam’s (Peace be upon him) descent on the earth, as Allah willed, from heaven. It was the cause of his misfortune of losing the proximity with Allah”

(Kashf ul Mahjoob)

The following Ahadith have been selected to show the Virtues that we may attain by fasting and offering salaah in the month of Ramadhan.

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllahu Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “He who spends a two things in the way of Allah will be called from the gates of Jannah: `O slave of Allah! This gate is better for you’ and one who is constant in Salat (prayer), will be called from the Gate of Salat; and whoever is eager in fighting in the Cause of Allah, will be called from the Gate of Jihad; and who is regular in observing Sawm will be called from Ar-Raiyan Gate. The one who is generous in charity will be called from the Gate of Charity.” Abu Bakr (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said: “O Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam)! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Those who are called from these gates will stand in need of nothing. Will anybody be called from all of those gates?” He (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) replied, “Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (RadhiAllahu Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Every slave of Allah who observes Sawm (fasting) for one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will draw his face farther from Hell-fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllahu Anhu) reported: The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Saeed al Khudri (RadhiAllahu Anhu) narrates the following “On the first night of Ramadhan the doors of the heavens are opened and remain open until the last night Ramadhan. Any believer / faithful who prays on anything (Taraweeh) shall be rewarded 1,500 virtues for each sajdah and a grand house made out of Yaqut (Red Rubies) in paradise with 60,000 doors and each door leading to a palace of gold decorated with Yaqut (Red Rubies). On the first day of Ramadhan fast all the sins between the last Ramadhan and this (present one) are forgiven. Every day between Fajr and Magrib 70,000 angels pray for his forgiveness and for every sajdah of every sallah in the day or night he shall get a tree big enough that a rider (on horseback) will take 500yrs to cross its shadow.” (This hadith has been transmitted by Imam Bayhaqi, a similar hadith has been reported in the book Nuzhat ul Majalis written by Shaykh Abdur Rahman Safuri)

May Allah Most High reward us immensely in the Month of Ramadhan and may he forgive us for our past sins and help us to become steadfast in following the Blessed Sunnah of His Beloved and our Beloved Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).

nbsp; No wonder the Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) fasted throughout the year, not only in the month of Ramadhan.

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