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يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves. (2:183)

Welcoming the Month of Ramadan

By Dr. Gibril Haddad

Ramadan is derived from ramdaa‘ which means “sun-baked,” perhaps a reference to the pangs of fasting.

Anas (r) said that when the month of Ramadan came the Prophet (s) said: “Glory to Allah! What are you facing now! What is coming ahead!” `Umar ibn al-Khattab (r) said: “My father’s life for you, and my mother’s! O Prophet of Allah, what is it? Did you receive revelation, or is an enemy coming?” He replied: “No, but the month of Ramadan has come, in which Allah forgives all the people of this Community.” He also said: “If Allah’s servants knew what Ramadan was, they would have wished it lasted for the whole year.”

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an is a time of tremendous blessings and the gate of repentance and return to Allah.

The Prophet (s) also said: “The month of Ramadan has come to you, a blessed month for the duration of which Allah has prescribed fasting for you. In it the gates of the heaven are open and the gates of Gehenna are shut.” Another version adds: “And devils are put in chains.”

The Prophet (s) named fasting “the poor-tax of the body” (zakat al-jasad) and he named it “a shield” (al-siyamu junnah) and also “half of restraint” (al-sabru nisfu al-sawm), and he named restraint “pure light” (al-sabru diya’). When asked who were the wanderers in the verse:

التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدونَ الآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللّهِ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Those that turn to Allah in repentance;
that serve Him, and praise Him;
that wander in devotion to His cause (al-sa’ihun);
that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer;
that enjoin good and forbid evil;
and observe the limits set by Allah —
these do rejoice!
So proclaim the glad tidings to the believers. (9:112)

The Prophet (s) said: “The wanderers in the cause of Allah (al-sa’ihun) are those who fast” (hum al-sa’imun). Thus a true dervish fasts, and many of the great shaykhs said that the path consists in hunger. The Prophet (s) also said: “There is no conceit in fasting.”

The month of Ramadan is a tremendous witness on the Day of the judgment, and the Prophet (s) said: “I declare myself clear of them whose detractor is Ramadan.” It brings immense rewards as he said: “Those who fast the month of Ramadan believing (in Allah and his Messenger) and seeking a reward, all their past sins are forgiven.” Another version adds: “and pray (the voluntary night-prayer) in it” and in the end: “he comes out of his sins as on the day his mother gave birth to him.”

According to the Companion `Ubadah ibn al-Samit the Prophet (s) used to say upon entering this month:

Allahumma sallimnee li ramadana wa sallim ramadana
wa sallimhu minnee mutaqabbilan.

“O Allah, greet and save me for Ramadan; greet and save Ramadan;
greet and save Ramadan on my behalf, and grant me its acceptance.”