In the name of Allah who states “Ramadan is the month in which ??? was sent down The Qur’an, as a guide To mankind, also clear Signs For guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong), So everyone of You Who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting …” Q2:185
May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant, our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
Some significant events remembered in this month include the loss of prophet’s beloved wife, Sayyidah Khadijah and compassionate uncle, Abi Talib, father of Imam Ali, the commander of the faithful. Thus, the year was named year of sorrow in Islamic history. Sayyidah Khadijah was the first wife of the noble messenger. She was a prominent lady known for her piety, compassion and generosity before revelation for which she was referred as “the pure” among other names. The prophet has related the success of Islam to her wealth, sword of Ali in defense of the religion and protection of Abu Talib! Throughout their married life, the prophet did not marry any other woman.
A’isha, mother of the faithful reported, “one day the messenger of Allah remembered Khadija (his deceased wife). I disliked this and said she was old; she was such and such. Now, Allah has provided you with a better wife. (She meant herself). He said; Allah has not provided me with a better wife. She believed in my prophet hood when others refused to believe in me, and she verified and supported my words when others contradicted them, and she placed her wealth at my disposal when others disappointed me. Allah blessed me with children through her and not through any other wife” Istii’aab by Ibn AbdulBarr, with similar records by Bukhari and Muslim. The prophet (S) has given Sayyida Khadija glad tidings of Allah’s forgiveness and mercy in the hereafter!
Abu Talib, on the other hand, was the father of Ali. He believed in the noble prophet and gave him utmost care although enemies of his son have rejected his faith. He also died in the same year as Sayyida Khadija for which the noble messenger suffered much and named the year as mentioned above.
Similarly, the battle of Badr was fought on the 17th of the holy month. Despite fasting, the believers were faced with the persecution of the Meccan pagans under Abu Sufyan. As such, Allah permitted them to protect themselves from the persistent persecution and helped them with great victory. “Assuredly Allah did help you in many battle-fields, and on the day of Hunain; Behold! Your great numbers elated you, but they availed you naught; the land. For all that it is wide, did constrain you, and ye turned back in retreat” Q9:25
Over 70 enemies of Islam were killed with about the same number taken as hostages! No one could imagine success for the believers with their little number and few arms when the unbelievers tripled them, and were fully armed to teeth! “Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord, And He answered you; I will assist you with a thousand of the angels, ranks and ranks” Q8:9. Allah has promised believers similar success forever provided they are steadfast and sincere in their faith! “O Prophet! Sufficient unto thee is Allah, and unto those who follow thee among the believers” Q7:64
Birth of Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba was part of its historic events. He was born on 15th, three years after hijra. His father was the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali son of Abi Talib and mother, Sayyidah Fatima, daughter of the noble prophet (S). At his birth, the prophet went to the house, took him in his blessed arms and recited Adhan and Iqama naming him al-Hasan! He was brought up under the prophet’s patronage. However, he was finally murdered on orders of his father’s renowned enemy, Mu’awiya son of Abu Sufyan, 50 years AH.
The martyrdom of Imam Ali, commander of the faithful by Mu’awiya’s tool, Ibn Muljim happened on 21st Ramadan, 40 years after hijra when the Imam was leading the morning prayer at Kufa. Before his last breath, he passed his lengthy will to his eldest son Imam Hasan, part of which; “… I advise you all my children, members of my family and everyone whom my writing reaches to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order and to maintain good relations among yourselves for I have heard grandfather (the holy prophet) saying; improvement of mutual differences is better than general prayers and fasting…”
Scheduling The Fasting
Generally speaking, all forms of worship are encouraged in this month, most noticeably the following:
1. Qur’anic recitation: recitation of the noble Qur’an is the most important aspect of the month. Every believer should do his or her best in this direction. I use this medium to encourage brothers and sisters on the need to master the noble book as the level of ignorance in this regard is very disheartening. Our attention is more on the secular direction. How many of us acquired their first, second degree and PhD but are lagging behind regarding the noble Qur’an? We must wake up and do the right thing for our goodness. We should try to recite the whole Qur’an as many times as possible and sacrifice such rewards to parents and loved one’s dead or alive. One could produce a schedule to enable him achieve the goal in this direction. A very important point is the improvement of our recitation. Tajweed, is technically meant to prevent the Qur’anic reciters from mistake in the cause of reading the Noble Qur’an. Allah says “Verily this is a revelation From The Lords of the Worlds; Which came down The Truthful spirit. To thy heart That thou mayest admonish in the perspicuous Arabic tongue” Q26:192-195. The Qur’an as revealed in Arabic has rules and regulations governing pronunciation and other aspects of the language that must be strictly followed. Despite the fact that the messenger of Allah was an Arab, he was taught and supervised on the Noble Book. Allah states, “Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for us to collect it and to promulgate it” Q75:16-17. He also states “Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation to you is completed, but say o my Lord! Advance me in knowledge” Q20: 114
2. Salat: Another significant aspect to draw attention to is the superogatory prayers. Taraweeh is the most popular in this regard. But there are different series that are said in this month. In fact, there is a popular narration of a thousand raka’ats in the month by Imam Jaafar al-Sadiq (AS). According to the narration, 20 raka’ats are performed in the first 20 nights with 8 raka’ats after Magrib and 12 after Isha. In the last 10 days, 30 raka’ats are performed, 8 after Magrib, 22 after Isha and 100 raka’ats each on Layalul qadr’ 19th, 21st and 23rd nights. There are many others obtainable in the books of supplication.
3. Prayers: More than any other time, believers are encouraged to put in more efforts in prayers this time. Allah said “When My servants Ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I respond To the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me; Let them also, with a will listen to My call, And believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way” Q2: 186. Therefore, we should remain steadfast seeking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy for our humble selves, parents and loved ones so that we may achieve salvation. Other forms of Allah’s remembrance such as Salatun Nabiy, Istigfar etc., should be maintained. We should befriend the books of supplication like Mafaateehul Jinaan, Dhiyaa’us Saaliheen and the like. On the Zaria massacre and illegal detention, we should not relent in prayers for Allah’s retribution against the killers of innocence, armless and peace-loving brothers and sisters.
4. Generosity: the prophet (S) has encouraged the Ummah especially the rich to do their best in this direction. The reward of such gestures is totally incomparable with that of Ramadhan. This is why group and community Iftar was encouraged to help the needy, given the economic hardship artificially created in our societies. That is the rationale behind Zakatul fitrah at the eve of Sallah celebration.
5. Tafseer sessions: the Tafseer, as commonly organised on individual and collective levels, should be attended. Other relevant sessions should not be neglected. However, we must put the lessons into action which speak louder than voice. As the month moves fast, we should put in more efforts to gain the pleasure of Allah the Most high. In a popular adage, assess yourself before you are assessed. Appraise yourself in relation to the goal of fasting. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self – restraint (al – taqwa)” Q2:183. Whoever does not achieve it in the end has really missed goal! “O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those Who patiently persevere” Q2:153.
In our self and general assessment, we should never forget the clearly stated objective meant for multiplier-effects in our socio-economic lives.
While congratulating the Muslim Umma for another opportunity to observe the great month, I emphasise the need for the unconditional release of Sheikh el-Zakzaky (H) and his disciples.