As Muslims around the world started Ramadan, a lot of people, Muslims and non-Muslims, especially in the West, have been asking why Fasting is made compulsory for Muslims in the lunar month of Ramadan and how important is this month to Muslims. Hence, the best way to respond to these questions is to borrow directly from the words of the last and final messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his household).
According the report gathered by ibn Khuzaimah, Salmaan, a disciple of Prophet Muhammad, summed up the virtues and importance of Ramadan as the month of patience, sympathy, forgiveness, compassion, and abundant rewards for good deeds.
Salmaan says: “On the last day of Sha-baan Rasulullah (PBUH) addressed us and said, ‘0 people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made Fasting compulsory by day. And has made sunnah the Taraaweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy faraa-idh in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer’s wealth is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell), and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who Fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least.”
Thereupon we said, “0 messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast.” The messenger of Allah (PBUH) replied, “Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk.” “This is a month, the first of which brings Allah’s mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahannam.”
“Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month; Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam.”
“And in this month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa llaaha illallaah) and make much Istighfaar beg Allah’s forgiveness with Astagirfirul-laah).” And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah, entrance into paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam.””And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from my fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah.”
Additionally, according to Ahmad, Bazzaar and Bayhaqi, one of the renowned disciples of the Prophet, Abu also relates that Prophet Mushammad (PBUH) said, “My Ummah was given five things for Ramadan which was not given to anyone except them. For them, the smell from the mouth of a fasting person is more attractive to Allah than the fragrant smell of musk. On their behalf the fish in the sea seek forgiveness for the fasting persons until they break their fast. Allah prepares and decorates a special garden in Jannah (paradise) every day and then says (to it), “The time is near when faithful servants shall cast aside the great trials of the world and come to you”. In this month (for them) evil-minded Shaytaan is chained so as not to reach unto those evils to which they normally reach during other months besides Ramadan. On the last night of Ramadan they are forgiven”. The Sahaabah R.A. thereupon enquired, “0 Messenger of Allah, is that last night Laylatul Qadr? The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) replied, “No. But it is only right that a servant should be given his reward on having completed his service”.
Therefore, considering the words of Prophet Muhammad highlighted above, it’s obvious that Ramadan is indeed a blessed month for Muslim Ummah. It is a month of compassion, generosity, forgiveness, proximity and strong bond with Allah, goodness, prosperity and socio-economic growth.
As Muslims, we are implored to take advantage of this special month of Ramadan to reset and re-plan our worldly and spiritual activities so that we and our neighbors can happily live together and of course, enjoy paradise after our demise.