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What Ramadan is
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Hijri Calendar. It is an obligation on all sane, healthy, resident adult Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk— that is, to abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse. This obligation is the fourth pillar of Islam after Shahadah, five daily prayers, and zakah (obligatory charity), and denying it will take one out of the fold of Islam.
The word Ramadan appears in the Quran in the following verse: The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days . . . [2:185]
Virtues of Ramadan
It is the month in which Quran was revealed. The Prophet (saws) used to study the Quran with Jibreel (as) every night in this month. The Sahaba and those following them recited a lot of the Quran in Ramadan, some completing one recitation every day.
The reward for reciting Quran and all other good deeds are increased in Ramadan from 10 to 700-fold or more.
Doing bad deeds in Ramadan is worse than doing them in any other month.
The devils are locked up during the month of Ramadan. [An Nasai]
The gates of Hellfire are closed and the gates of Paradise are opened. [An Nasai]
Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) falls within the last ten nights of this month. Worshipping Allah on this night is better than worshipping for more than 1000 months (about 83 years).
It is a month in which all past sins are forgiven for three reasons:
Whoever fasts Ramadaan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Whoever spends the nights of Ramadaan in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1910; Muslim, 760.
People are freed from Hell in Ramadan: At every breaking of the fast, Allaah has people whom He redeems. [Ahmad]
Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Intercession on the Day of Judgment: The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted. [Ahmad]
What Ramadan is not
Ramadan is not a month when you use it to compensate for eleven month’s worth of neglected worship. Fasting Ramadan does not exempt anyone from worshipping Allah for the rest of the year.
Ramadan is not a month of feasts. The Prophet (saws) used to break his fast with dates, whereas we often actually gain weight in it.
Ramadan is not a month of shopping. Use the precious time for worshipping Allah.
Things to Do During Ramadan
Five daily prayers (obligatory)
Reading and studying Quran and its meanings
Dua: When the fasting person breaks his fast, his supplication is not turned back. [ibn Majah]
Charity: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was the most generous of people in charity, but he was generous to the utmost in the month of Ramadan. [Sahih Muslim]
Whoever gives iftaar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the fasting person’s reward in the slightest. [Tirmidhi]
Night prayers (Tarawih or Qiyamul Layl)
Asking Allah for forgiveness
Sending salat and salams on the Prophet (durood).
I’tikaf: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. [Sahih Bukhari]
Things Not to Do During Ramadan
All acts forbidden by Allah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink. [Sahih Bukhari]
Goals of Ramadan
Despite the hardship of fasting, Ramadan actually makes our lives better. Allah said in the verse of Ramadan (2:185), Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship . . .
But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. [2:184]
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain Taqwa. [2:183]
(Taqwa means consciousness of Allah at all times and being averse to displeasing Him.)
Gratefulness to Allah: . . . to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. [2:185]
Paradise: in Paradise there is a gate called Ar’Rayyan, it will be said on the Day of Resurrection: “Where are those who used to fast? Would you like to enter through Ar-Rayyan?” whoever enters through it will never thirst again. Then when they have entered it will be closed behind them, and no one but they will enter through it. [An Nasai]
A Sign Your Ramadan was Not Effective
You indulge in sins and/or slacken in worship right after Ramadan.
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