Objectives of Ramadan

Source: SuhaibWebb.com

Discussing the objectives of our actions is an important thing because to do so is to discuss the actions in a true and deep way. It is possible that if we do not know why we are doing certain things, we could miss the entire point behind the action itself. The Prophet ﷺ said about this concept, “Maybe a fasting person gains nothing from his fast except hunger and thirst. And maybe a person who prays in the night gains nothing from their prayer except staying up late.”1 So this is a person who does an action but gets no result from it.

This is because if someone does an action without knowing why they are doing it or what the objective behind it is, then it is possible that the action will be useless. This is because, as Imam al-Shāṭibī said, “Actions without objectives are like bodies without souls.” So in this article we will discuss some of the general objectives of fasting and Ramadan.

1. Attaining Taqwa

This is the major objective of fasting in Ramadan as clarified by the Qur’an. God said, “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous [muttaqūn].”2 Fasting also teaches a person how to have taqwā because while one is fasting they are careful about all kinds of things. They watch what comes out of their mouth, what they look at, and all that they do. As a result, the person learns how to have a certain level of restraint regarding their actions. This helps them build their taqwā by making them watchful over everything that they do. As to the definition of taqwā, the clearest way to understand it is through the definition that was provided by Abū Hurayra (ra). Someone came to him and asked, “What is taqwā?” He responded by asking the man if he has ever walked through a thorny road. He said, “Yes.” He asked, “What did you do?” He replied, “Whenever I saw thorns I would avoid them or adjust my clothes to keep them safe.” Abū Hurayra told him, “That’s taqwā.

2. Fasting is a Shield

The Prophet ﷺ said in an authentic hadith (narration) that “fasting is a shield.”3 Even the word shield in Arabic has the connotation of protection and this is one of the meanings of the word taqwā. The Prophet ﷺ also said, “O youth! Whosoever amongst you can afford to get married, let them get married. And whoever cannot afford to do so then they should fast because it will help him control his desires.”4 This protection that fasting gives cannot be accomplished by just reducing one’s food intake because it is the material and immaterial elements of fasting that aide one in controlling themselves. For this reason Imam al-Ṣanʿānī said about this, “It is for a secret that God put in fasting, so just reducing how much food you eat will not be enough.”

3. Fasting and Patience

Another thing that we should learn in Ramadan is to be patient with what we face in our daily lives. The Prophet ﷺ said in a hadith, “Fasting the month of patience, and three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the entire year.”5 In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ refers to the month of Ramadan as the month of patience, emphasizing the importance of patience in this month.

It is also said that fasting is half of patience. This is because patience basically consists of staying away from bad deeds and persisting in good deeds. In the month of Ramadan, one of the major things that we seek to do is stay away from as many bad deeds as possible so that our fasting is half of patience.

4. Ramadan is the Month of Qur’an

In the month of Ramadan, we spend more time with the Qur’an than in any other part of the year. We spend time reading it by ourselves, we spend time studying it, we spend time listening to it during tarāwīḥ prayers, and so on. In this month, the revelation of the Qur’an began and a civilization of learning and knowledge was born.

5. A Month of Generosity

It is narrated that the Prophet ﷺ was the most generous of people and his most generous time was Ramadan. In doing this, the Prophet ﷺ was combining between a personal act of worship, like reading the Qur’an, and a social act of worship, charity. Thereby, he showed what it means to live a comprehensive existence as someone who worships God. In doing so, he shows that our responsibilities are not only limited to ourselves but also include those around us.

6. The Importance of Time

We also learn in Ramadan that time is one of the most important blessings that we have in our lives. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Two blessings, many people are at a loss regarding them: health and free time.”6 The major acts of worship in Islam are all related to specific times. We pay our zakāt at a particular time. We pray at specific times. We start fasting at a particular time, in a particular month, and we break our fast at a particular time. We go on ḥajj at a particular time. All of these specifications are meant to teach us, among other things, the importance of time. For this reason al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī said, “O son of Adam! You are nothing but a compilation of breaths, so every time you inhale and exhale, a piece of you is lost.” The believer is strict with their time and the more a person’s faith increases, the more their observance of their time increases. The responsibilities we have are more than the time we have to carry them out, so we should try to be as strict with our time as possible.

These are just some of the objectives of fasting and Ramadan that we should seek to actualize. We can use these as a measuring stick for our month and see how we add up. If we look throughout and see that we are improving in these aspects then we should thank God for His bounties upon us, and if we find that we are not, then we should seek His forgiveness and grace and work harder.

May Allah accept from us all our good deeds in this month and forgive us for our shortcomings. Ameen.

Note: Most of the this article is taken from an article on the topic that was written by Shaykh al-Raysuni.

Source: SuhaibWebb.com

Fiqh of Ramadan [Sawm, Zakah & Eid]

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,

The blessed month of Ramadan has arrived again, alhumdulillah. May Allah help us make this Ramadan the most beneficial one.

I have posted the Fiqh of Ramadan notes from “Learn Islam(Short Courses)“, short courses helping us gain Islamic knowledge run as a facebook page.

The Fiqh of Ramadan course consisted of Fiqh of Sawm(fasting), Fiqh of Zakah and Fiqh of eid, each of which I have published as a seperate page on the blog. You can find it on the top left hand corner under the ‘Fiqh’ title, inshaAllah or just use the following links to be re-directed to the page.

Fiqh Of Fasting
Fiqh of Zakah
Fiqh of Eid [ COMING SOON!!! – scheduled to be published on Aug 1, 2013 inshaAllah]

Have a blessed Ramadan, make the most of your time . May Allah make this Ramadan a means for us to grow spiritually and closer to Him. Ameen!

Ramadan Mubarak! 🙂

Ramadan_mubarak9

And you thought you were strong…

There are times Allah puts you into situations that make you feel in a way that you never thought you would. These are the times you realise how weak, how human and how helpless you are… You have no control over certain things… especially your Qalb – Your heart! You realise then that Allah is Al-Muqallib – Controller of Hearts and it is only through him that you find any strength that you do, everything you feel, everything you experience comes from Him. He put it there for some reason. It’s the contemplation in moments like these that you understand again the necessity of your heart to be with Him, to depend on Him alone and ask of Him alone. Because alone you are nothing, and through Him you gain everything.

You thought you were strong,
You thought you’d now act grown up
You thought you had unshaken faith
You thought you would never feel anxious again
You thought you’d never wait!

You were wrong
You were wrong
You were wrong!

You still wait
You still get anxious Continue reading