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 Ramadhaan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa

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PostSubject: Ramadhaan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa    Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:42 pm



Ramadhaan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa

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The month of Ramadhaan is approaching with its blessings of goodness and purity to inculcate in man willpower, composure, and determination. Ramadhaan equips Muslims with the art of endurance and stamina to face all adversities and overcome all obstacles and difficulties of life. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa used to congratulate his Companions at the beginning of Ramadhaan, saying: “O people! The month of Ramadhaan has come to you, a blessed month for the duration of which Allaah has prescribed fasting for you. In it the gates of Paradise are open, the gates of Hellfire are shut, and the devils are chained up. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great].” [Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i]

In another version of the same Hadeeth (narration), the Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa added: “A caller calls out every night: 'O seeker of good, draw near; come to Allaah! O seeker of evil, desist!' Allaah will have emancipated some people from the Fire, and that happens every night.” [At-Tirmithi, Al-Bayhaqi, and Ibn Hibbaan]

Ramadhaan is a holistic spiritually rejuvenating experience. It teaches self-discipline, self-restraint and engenders the willpower to abstain from what was deemed forbidden by Allaah The Almighty. It imbues man with an honest dedication and submission to the will of Allaah The Exalted, abiding by His commands and implementing His laws in all facets of life. Ramadhaan teaches man to renounce whatever harms his religion, worldly affairs, or body. It is a great annual training for character-building, self-discipline, spiritual and physical purification of one’s faculties and feelings both. Thus, one can attain Taqwa (piety, fear of Allaah, God-consciousness, and righteousness) in all times, places and situations, if he strives to attain spiritual rejuvenation.

He should also learn the sublime lessons of Ramadhaan through devoting his days and nights to worship, refraining from all sins and misdeeds and exercising self-discipline over one’s faculties to refrain from doing what is impermissible. Thus, a fasting person can successfully go through such a spiritual experience and victoriously triumph over himself. Such a fasting person would save his talents and physical and moral potentials as well as energy to face the enemies of Islam.

Indeed, the month of Ramadhaan is a great opportunity to pause for self-reflection and self-reproach. It is a time of introspection and self-evaluation in order to set the records straight, make up for one’s past mistakes, and obviate potential mistakes or misdeeds before it is too late. Such an opportunity to attain Taqwa, for those whom Allaah The Exalted guides to Taqwa, a motivation to do good deeds and acts of worship since people are inclined towards goodness. The rebellious devils are chained up during the month of Ramadhaan, so they are unable to incite and tempt people the way they do at other times. During the month of Ramadhaan, the gates of Paradise are opened and those of Hellfire are closed.

On each night of Ramadhaan, Allaah The Exalted saves many people from Hellfire. Moreover, the rewards of [worship on] the Night of Al-Qadar is better than the rewards of [worship on] of a thousand months. What great glad tidings! If we ponder on such words, we would hasten to do good deeds, compete with one another in doing good, refrain from grave sins, ignore satisfying the desires of the flesh, and seize the great opportunity of Ramadhaan to achieve Taqwa.

Indeed, Ramadhaan is an opportunity to relish Taqwa; to become among the righteous, devout and pious servants. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.} [Quran 2]

The verse highlights the objective of fasting. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {…that you may become righteous.} [Quran 2] This indicates that the greatest benefit and the main rationale behind fasting is attaining Taqwa. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab radiyallahu anhu asked the revered Companion Ubayy ibn Ka‘b radiyallahu anhu about the meaning of Taqwa. Ubayy ibn Ka’b replied, “O Commander of the Believers! What would you do if you walked on a thorny road?” ‘Umar replied, “I would raise my garment and be cautious not to let my clothes get entangled in the thorns and strive not to step on one of them.” Ubayy ibn Ka‘b radiyallahu anhu said, “This is Taqwa.”

Taqwa is sensitivity of the conscience, transparency of feelings, a continuous fear, permanent caution, and avoidance of the thorns on the road. The path of life is full of thorns that symbolize lusts and desires. There are thorns of fears and concerns, thorns of temptations and vices, and thorns of false hope in someone who cannot fulfill one’s needs. The path of life abounds with thorns of forged fear of those who can neither benefit nor harm us and dozens of other thorns. This is what is meant by Taqwa.

If the concept of Taqwa is not yet clear, let us ponder on the wise words of ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib radiyallahu anhu reflecting on piety. He said, “It is the fear of Allaah The Exalted, abiding by the commands in the Noble Quran in one’s life, feeling content with whatever little provision one has, and preparing for the day of departure."

This is the genuine meaning of Taqwa. Where do we stand in relation to such a refined concept?



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PostSubject: Re: Ramadhaan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa    Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:54 pm



Let us consider the holy month of Ramadhaan a starting point to pursue piety. Indeed, piety is the optimal clothing [of the soul]. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means):


• {…the clothing of piety - that is best.} [Quran 7:26]
• {Indeed, the pious will be among gardens and rivers,* In a seat of honor near a Sovereign, Perfect in Ability.} [Quran 54:54-55]


Bear in mind that fasting the month of Ramadhaan forbids man from committing sins. Allaah The Exalted commands us to abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual intercourse during the day of the fast, and deemed doing such acts among the actions that invalidate the fast. This urges Muslims to refrain from misdeeds during the days and nights of Ramadhaan. This is because Allaah The Exalted, Who deemed doing such acts forbidden during the days of Ramadhaan, although food and drink are indispensable needs for everyone, forbade other acts that are graver and more harmful. Unlike eating and drinking, they are dispensable.


There are many traditions clarifying this point, some of which are the following:


1 - Abu Hurayrah radiyallahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “The person observing fasting should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should say, 'I am fasting." [Al-Bukhaari]

The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa emphasized that a fasting person should not raise his voice, utter bad and foul words, or indulge in gossip or finding faults in others or talk about women obscenely and the like. He also stressed that a fasting person should not use foul language, or desecrate or make fun of what is sacred. Indeed, fasting should shield man against doing such immoral actions. A fasting person should abstain from raising his voice, and using foul and obscene language. It should prevent one from committing sins. How could a fasting person refrain from eating and drinking, which are permissible, yet commit what is forbidden?


2 - Abu Hurayrah radiyallahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and false conduct, Allaah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allaah will not accept his fasting.)” [Al-Bukhaari]

Allaah The Almighty does not command Muslims to fast in Ramadhaan except for their own benefit. Fasting is meant to inculcate in man the urge to refrain from raising their voices, using foul and obscene language, committing immoral acts, making false testimonies, and committing sins that are related to women and one's faculties. If the fasting person did not do this, then he did not benefit from his fasting. Therefore, Allaah The Exalted would not accept his fasting nor reward him for it.


3 - Abu Hurayrah radiyallahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger and thirst, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” [Ahmad and Ibn Maajah]

Undeniably, fasting that is not translated in the person’s manners and actions does not avail the fasting person. A sound fast, which meets the due conditions and etiquettes of fasting in Islam, intercedes for the fasting person on the Day of Judgment and testifies for his sake before Allaah The Exalted. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Fasting and the Quran will intercede for the slave on the Day of Judgment.”


However, if one fails to observe the due conditions and etiquettes of fasting in Islam, it will be of no benefit for him and he will not be rewarded for it.


A pious man said, “If I do not abstain from hearing what is prohibited while fasting, from looking at what is impermissible and from saying what is unnecessary, then I will get nothing from my fast save hunger and thirst. Even if I claim that I fasted, I did not.”


Hence, fasting should be translated in the person’s manners and conduct. Jaabir radiyallahu anhu said, “If you fast, then your hearing and sight should also fast, and your tongue should fast from backbiting and tale bearing. Do not harm your neighbor and be calm and dignified on the day that you fast. Do not make a day that you fast similar to a day that you do not.”

In general, a sound fast urges the fasting person to avoid prohibitions. Before a fasting person commits a sin, he should think and reflect on what he is about to do. He should ask himself: how come I want to commit a sin while Allaah The Almighty has full control over me? Allaah The Exalted bestowed upon me so many blessings and I am performing this act of worship [fasting so as to be closer to Him]. Fasting should have an impact on one's morality and behavior.

One example of those who do not benefit from their fast are those people who smoke all night in Ramadhaan. Smoking is forbidden and is harmful in all its forms. Undeniably, they do not benefit from their fast, as their fasting is not translated in their conduct.

A fasting person may abstain from smoking all day long, as well as from consuming all forbidden substances, may Allaah safeguard us all, yet he consumes them in the nights of Ramadhaan. This attitude proves that he did not benefit from his fast, rather he will reap the ill-effects of what he had sowed.

A sound fast urges one to avoid committing forbidden acts. If a person thinks about committing a sin and his evil-inclined soul encourages him to look at what is forbidden, such as watching nude scenes in films or looking at unveiled women, he pauses for reflection and introspection. He should think how could he refrain from the physical wants and needs such as food, drink, and so on, which are permissible on ordinary days and commit what is prohibited? Thus, if his evil-inclined soul incites him to consume unlawful money, deal in usury, deceive or trick others in a fraudulent plot or the like, he should say to himself: How can I do a righteous deed and commit a sin simultaneously?

These examples illustrate the fact that a sound and genuine fast benefits the fasting person through urging him to avoid sins, whether the sins that are temporarily forbidden such as eating or drinking during the day of the fast, or those that are permanently forbidden such as drinking alcohol, gambling, smoking, bribery, fraud, usury, adultery, going to nightclubs and the like. Such acts are, definitely, impermissible.


A Muslim should bear in mind that Allaah The Exalted forbade such sinful acts and He also forbade us from eating and drinking during the days of fast; both commands must be obeyed. Therefore, he abstains from all that is forbidden.

If your fasting is like this, then you would benefit from your fasting, gain the rewards of fasting and earn the forgiveness of your Lord. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa emphasized that a person can have his sins forgiven through fasting out of sincere faith and devotion. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadhaan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain the rewards of Allaah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhaari, Chapter of Fasting Ramadhaan out of sincere faith]

Fasting in Ramadhaan should be done out of sincere faith and hoping for the Rewards of Allaah The Exalted. Undeniably, the meaning of faith here is to believe that fasting is an act of worship that was deemed obligatory by Allaah The Exalted upon Muslims. The other part of the narration refers to hoping for the rewards of Allaah The Exalted and this entails being mindful of Him at all times and under all circumstances.




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PostSubject: Re: Ramadhaan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa    Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:05 pm



According to some scholars fasting is a secret between the slave and his Lord. Some of them even believed that fasting is a secret whose essence no human being knows. A fasting person may break his fast in seclusion away from people’s eyes, but a true believer fasts out of sincere faith and hoping for the rewards of his Lord. He offers this act of worship to Allaah The Exalted and knows that He is watching him at all times. Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {Who sees you when you arise * And your movement among those who prostrate. * Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.} [Quran 26:218-220]

The fasting believer knows that his Lord sees him wherever he is; therefore, he would never violate or invalidate his fast even if no one could see him. He endures hunger patiently, knowing that he is unable to endure the wrath of Allaah The Almighty. This is what the scholars meant by fasting as a secret between the slave and his Lord and that fasting should be done out of faith. The fasting person abstains from eating and drinking out of his sincere faith in Allaah The Exalted Who commands him to fast and out of his belief that it is his Lord Who forbade him from satisfying his desires while fasting.


The effect of a sound and correct fast should be translated in people’s conduct and behavior at all times. A fasting person should not undermine his fasting by doing misdeeds or unfavorable acts. In this case, such fasting entails having one’s sins forgiven. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadhaan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain the rewards of Allaah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”

Indisputably, fasting with its commendable fruits and virtues is appealing and endearing to people who possess pure hearts. People with sound and pure souls rejoice at fasting that grants them the opportunity to purify their hearts and experience an elevated state of spirituality. However, the deviated and corrupted souls see fasting as a heavy burden and wish for the month of Ramadhaan to end. This is a clear difference between the believers and other people. The believer wishes that Ramadhaan would last forever. One of the Companions radiyallahu anhu said, “If Muslims knew what (reward) is in Ramadhaan, they would have hoped that the whole year was Ramadhaan.”

Dear reader, do you see the difference?


Some of our righteous predecessors and the pious allies of Allaah would consider the whole year as Ramadhaan. They used to carry out the same acts of worship and good deeds of Ramadhaan all year long. They used to fast most of the year, break their fast with the poor and if their families tried to stop them from doing that, they would express their dismay by not having dinner with them that night.


Some of them used to serve their friends the most delicious food and tend to them while fasting, out of self-discipline. Such people used to wish that Ramadhaan would last the whole year. They did not perform extra acts of worship in Ramadhaan more than they already did in Rajab or Sha‘baan; for they were active and diligent worshippers all year long. However, those who fail to grasp the significance and rationale of fasting, their hearts are not affected by its fruits. They are unable to learn its great lessons and find fasting a trying duty and a heavy burden. They would wish for Ramadhaan to end as soon as possible and rejoice at the end of every day that another day of Ramadhaan is over. Indeed, this is not a sound and correct fast. A pious fasting believer wishes that Ramadhaan would last longer. Many people whose hearts encompass weak faith would wish for Ramadhaan to end and rejoice at seeing the moon of Shawwaal, as if they got rid of a heavy burden.

We advise our brothers and sisters to ask themselves whether they are among those people or not. One should investigate the extent of the influence of this act of worship on himself/herself. If the fasting person finds that he has benefited from fasting and that he continues to carry out the acts of worship and righteous deeds after Ramadhaan, then he has successfully benefited from this holy month. However, if he does not carry out the same acts of worship and righteous deeds after Ramadhaan and continues to commit sins and misdeeds, then he has failed to benefit from fasting. Ramadhaan for such people was not an opportunity to attain Taqwa and they might not be rewarded for it.

Therefore, our righteous predecessors were keen to make sure that their fasting was accepted by Allaah The Exalted. They used to supplicate Allaah The Exalted for six months before Ramadhaan to enable them to live until they reach it and then benefit from it and for six months after Ramadhaan to accept their fasting. They were eager to perform righteous deeds and after performing them perfectly, they were concerned whether they would be accepted or not. One of the righteous predecessors saw some people laughing boisterously on the day of ‘Eed. He said, “If the fasting of these people was accepted, then this is unbecoming of thankful people, and if it was rejected, then this is unbecoming of those who fear Allaah The Exalted.”


Bear in mind that sins and wrongdoings have repercussions, one of which is hardening the hearts! Ramadhaan is the month of abundant blessings and the optimal season for soft-hearted people. If you no longer have a pure heart that is free from sin, you may not be able to attain Taqwa in Ramadhaan. Perhaps the one who fails to savor Taqwa in Ramadhaan will not be able to relish it after Ramadhaan.


Do not make the days of Ramadhaan like your regular days. Instead, make them the best days of your life. You should assign greater attention to purifying your fasting [from any sin or misdeed] just like you are keen to maintain the purity and cleanliness of your clothes. Therefore, you should avoid idle talk, obscenity, vices and ill manners. The Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa said: “Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: "I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Ibn Khuzaymah and Al-Haakim]

Do not be among those who were described by Prophet Sallalahu aleihi wa when he said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” [At-Tabaraani]

One should see fasting as self-training and self-disciplining experience that grounds in him the nobility of character and cultivates virtue in his heart. When Ramadhaan ends, one would reap the fruits of his fasting and he would have benefited from this blessed month duly.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri rahimahullah: said, "Allaah The Exalted rendered the month of Ramadhaan a track for His slaves on which they would compete in earning His Satisfaction through carrying out acts of obedience to please Him. Some may win the race and others may face failure. How strange is the laughing competitor on the day when the pious people win and the wrongdoers lose!”

Dear reader, imagine that you travel to get something you need for thirty days and after reaching your destination, you return empty-handed! Imagine wasting your efforts and striving in vain. What would you do then?


Very few people care to prepare themselves before Ramadhaan in order to receive those blessed days with hearts that are full of hope and fear of their Lord. You should be among such wise people.


Let us implore Allaah The Exalted together to enable us to witness the coming Ramadhaan and grant us His Mercy.





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