We continue on from last weeks reminder on the upcoming month of Ramadan by speaking this week of the rules and etiquettes surrounding the blessed month.
The air of expectation is already here and if there is any doubt as to the magnitude of this month then the imam began by relaying the following hadith Qudsi to us which is translated to say:
“Every [good] deed a son of Adam does will be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. God has said, ‘With the exception of fasting, for it is done for my sake and I give a reward for it. One abandons his passion and his food for my sake.* The one who fasts has two occasions of joy, one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his Lord. The bad breath of one who fasts is sweeter to God than the fragrance of musk. Fasting is a protection, [i.e. from acts of disobedience in this world and from hell in the next. Pt. vi.] and when the day of the fast of any of you comes he must not use vile language or raise his voice, and if anyone reviles him or tries to fight with him he should tell him he is fasting.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we are grown up knowing that this life is a test and the passing of that test brings its own reward. We are encouraged to hold steadfast to our deen because we will be granted Paradise and the descriptions within it. However, Ramadan holds a special place in life in that it is the only act of worship in which Allah SWT has reserved the right to tell us of its reward. Scholars state that the reward is go great as Allah SWT has explicitly stated that He will give us that reward for it when we return to Him.
This alone should make us contemplate how blessed we are to be nearing another opportunity to gain this reward insha’Allah.
One of the etiquettes of fasting is to do so with desire. For some of us fasting comes easy and we are able to fast even in the summer months without much of a challenge. For others, fasting fills us with dread and we struggle every year when this month comes around.
For those who struggle, it is important to remember that Allah SWT built us all differently. There is no shame in finding the task difficult as Allah SWT created you and knows what is in your heart. The good news is that those who find this difficult but persevere are rewarded heavily by Allah SWT.
The imam mentioned the 10th ayat of Sura Az-Zumar which proves this point. It is translated to say:
Say ˹O Prophet, that Allah says˺, “O My servants who believe! Be mindful of your Lord. Those who do good in this world will have a good reward. And Allah’s earth is spacious. Only those who endure patiently will be given their reward without limit.”
Dear brothers and sisters who find fasting difficult. Endure this silently and with patience and speak to your Lord in prayer when you are finding the month challenging and insha’Allah your reward will be without limit.
Alongside this we have a hadith taught to us that states the Prophet SAWS told us that the act of fasting will intercede for us on the day of Judgement. It is translated to say:
“Fasting and the Qur’an intercede for a man. Fasting says, ‘O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.’ The Qur’an says, ‘I have kept him away from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.’ Then their intercession is accepted.”
And we even have the blessing of those who fasted to enter Paradise from a particular door. The Prophet SAWS taught that to us in the following hadith in which it is translated to say:
“There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the reminder concludes with rules and guidelines to help us achieve the mentioned blessings of this month.
- To fast is to refrain from eating and drinking from fajr to magrib. You can have the intention to fast in your heart and you don’t need to verbally say it at fajr time.
- You can only fast if you are a healthy adult, both physically and mentally.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and people who are travelling do not need to fast but should make up these fasts after Eid.
- The fasting person should protect their fast. This is done by not lying, arguing, or doing anything that is haram.
- Fasting does not break if someone forgets and accidentally eats or drinks, just spit out your mouthful and continue to fast.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are entering a blessed month and by following these guidelines and reminders, we can aim to be of those who are accepted as performed as Allah SWT wanted us to in this blessed month.