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Salmaan Al-Farasi (Radi-Allahu anhu) relates that
the Prophet (Sall’Allahu alaihi wasallam) gave a sermon about Ramadan
to a gathering that met towards the end of Sha`ban.
He (Sall’Allahu alaihi wasallam) said:
“O People, a great and a blessed month is approaching you.
In this month, there is a night
that is better than one thousand months.
Allah has made fasting obligatory
and prayers at night commendable during this month.
Whosoever will do a voluntary good deed during this month,
it is as if he performed an obligatory good deed at another month;
and whosoever will perform an obligatory good deed,
it is as if he performed seventy obligatory good deeds at another month.
This is the month of patience
and the reward of patience is Paradise.
This is the month of kindness.
In this month the believer’s provision is increased.
Whosoever will give food to a fasting person in this month,
it will bring forgiveness for his sins,
will save him from the hellfire and he shall have his reward
while the fasting person will not lose any of his reward.”
“Allah (Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala) gives this reward to anyone
who gives one who has been fasting some milk mixed with water,
or a date or a drink of water with which to break the fast,
and anyone who gives a full meal to one who has been fasting
Allah (Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala) will give him water
during the Day of Judgment
from the fountain of Muhammad (Sall’Allahu alaihi wasallam),
which will quench his thirst until he enters Paradise.”
“It is a month
whose beginning is mercy,
whose middle is forgiveness
and whose end is freedom from the fire.”
“If anyone makes things easy for his slave during it,
Allah (Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala) shall forgive him
and free him from the Fire of Hell!”
(Mishkat as Masabih and Baihaqi)
The hadith continues and contains many other very important messages.
However let us take the time to highlight two of the statements contained above.
First, that Ramadan is the month of sabr.
The English translation is patience but that word has a very narrow meaning compared to sabr.
Sabr means not only patience and perseverance in the face of difficulties,
it also means being steadfast in avoiding sin in the face of temptations
and being persistent in performing virtues when that is not easy.
Overcoming hunger and thirst during fasting is part of it.
But protecting our eyes, ears, minds, tongues, and hands, etc. from all sins is also part of it.
So is being persistent in doing good deeds as much as possible despite external or internal obstacles.
Ramadan requires sabr in its fullest sense and provides a training ground
for that very important quality to be developed and nurtured.
Here is a recipe for the complete overhaul of our life, not just a small adjustment in meal times.
The highest point of Ramadan is itikaf, an act of worship
in which a person secludes himself in a masjid to devote his time
entirely to worshipping and remembering Allah.
Some in every Muslim community must take a break and go to the masjid
for the entire last ten days of Ramadan.
Others should imbibe the spirit and do whatever they can.
But we must differentiate between worldly pleasures and worldly responsibilities.
We take a break from the former and not the latter.
Syedna Abdullah ibn Abbas, Radi-Allahu unhu, was performing itikaf,
when a person came and sat down silently.
Sensing his distressed condition Ibn Abbas enquired about his situation,
learnt that he needed help, and proceeded to leave the masjid to go out and help him.
Now this action does nullify the itikaf, making a makeup obligatory.
So the person, though grateful, was curious.
Explaining his action, Ibn Abbas related a hadith that
when a person makes efforts to help his brother,
he earns the reward for performing itikaf for ten years.
May Allah grant us lot of patience and kindness.
grant us taufeeq for worshiping and remembering Allah
and being persistent in doing good deeds as much as possible.
May Allah accept our good deeds…inshaAllah