The Blessings of Ramadan

Ramadan is the month of the Community of Muhammad, when Muslims fast throughout the day.

Some of the sayings of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings upon him, about Ramadan are as follows:-

“The month of Ramadan has come, in which Allah forgives all the people of this Community”. He said, “if Allah’s servants knew what Ramadan was, they would have wished it lasted for the whole of the year”.

“The month of Ramadan has come to you, a blessed month for the duration of which God has prescribed fasting for you. In it the gates of Heaven are open and the gates of hell are closed”.

“All deeds of the Children of Adam are multiplied so that there are ten rewards for each good deed increasing up to 700, except for fasting, for it is done purely for Me and I reward it”. God is saying that because the fasting of Ramadan is done for Him, only He knows the rewards He will bestow on Judgement Day. Muslims recognize that one of the attributes of God is that He is the abundantly Generous One.

“Fasting is a shield” and is, “half of restraint” naming restraint as, “pure light”.

“There is a door in the Garden called the Quenching. The fasters will enter on the Day of Rising. None except they will enter”.

Ramadan is divided into three equal portions:- the first ten days as Mercy, when God sends His ‘Rahmat’ on his servants, the second ten days are Forgiveness, ‘Maghfirah’, when He blesses His servants with Love and Mercy, and the last ten days He gives Salvation from Hellfire.

Breaking the fast is obviously a happy time for Muslims, which is usually done together with family or friends. The Prophet said, “Whoever fasts experiences two joys. He is joyful when he breaks his fast, and is joyful because of his fasting when he meets his Lord.”

The holy Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan. It says in the Qur’an, “It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for mankind, clear message giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong”. (Qur’an 2:185). The general Muslim view of this is that the complete Qur’an was sent down by God from the Preserved Tablet to the First Heaven on The Night of Decree.  This confirms the high ranking and ancient nature of the Qur’an. It was then revealed to the Prophet in stages by the Archangel Gabriel, over the twenty three year period that he was the Messenger of God.

During this month Muslims try not to see, hear, speak nor do what displeases God. Also in the last ten days of Ramadan, in the tradition of the Prophet, some Sufis and Muslims retire into a partial seclusion, allowing them to contemplate and pray to God in a more intimate way.

Towards the end of Ramadan, there is very special night, called ‘The Night of Power’ or ‘The Night of Immense Worth’ or ‘The Night of Glory’ or ‘The Night of Decree’ or ‘Laylatul Qadr’.It says in the Qur’an in the chapter of the Night of Glory,

“ We sent it down on the Night of Glory. What will explain to you what that Night of Glory is? The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months; on that night the Angels and the Spirit descend again and again with their Lord’s permission on every task. Peace it is until the rising of the dawn”. (Qur’an 1:97). Whoever attains the blessings of this holy night shall attain power and glory in their spiritual life because its value is worth more than a thousand months of worshipping. It is concentrated power and glory made available by God to mankind. A thousand months is equal to eighty three years and four months, or thirty thousand days and nights. It has been said that Soloman’s and Alexander the Great’s kingdoms each lasted for five hundred months, and God has made the deeds done during the Night of Power outweigh the combination of both these great kingdoms.

A requirement for Muslims in Ramadan is to pay Charity or ‘Zakat’, which is to give a portion of one’s surplus wealth so this can be distributed to the needy in the community. The word Zakat is derived from the word ‘Zaka’ meaning ‘to thrive’, ‘to be wholesome’ and ‘to be pure’. The Qur’an says, “Of their wealth take alms to purify and sanctify them”. So Zakat not only purifies the person giving the charity but it also makes the distribution to the needy, lawful and ethical. Thus Zakat in spirit is an act of inner worship, whilst in its external form is the implementation of a social service.

The end of Ramadan is marked by “The Festival of Fast Breaking’ or ‘Eid al-Fitr’, which is a day of great celebration throughout the Muslim world. After prayers in congregation in the morning, families and friends join together in eating, drinking throughout this day and distributing presents, especially to the children.