According to a report by the Independent, ‘nearly half of people [Brits] would rather just hibernate in the winter. From scraping ice off the car to getting into cold beds, winter is – for obvious reasons – a much disliked season. Whilst it does provide joy for many thanks to its extended holiday season, winter is all too often detested by the majority.
However, in Islam, winter is a significant season. Referred to as the best season, prophetic traditions refer to winter as the spring season for the believer. As spring is associated with growth and new beginnings, winter too is a chance to renew one’s connection with Allah by spending more time praying and fasting. With shorter days and longer nights, our pious predecessors often emphasised the importance of taking advantage of this.
The Prophet PBUH mentioned, ‘The winter is the spring of the believer. Its nights are long for him to stand in them (in prayer) and its days are short for him to fast them.” [Ahmad]
The renowned Companion, Ibn Mas’ud RA also mentioned the following regarding winter. ‘Welcome to the winter! Blessings come down in it; the nights are long for standing in prayer and the days are shortened for fasting.’ [Lata’if al-Ma’arif Ibn Rajab]
The Prophet PBUH mentioned in a hadith, “Fasting during the winter is an easy reward.” [Jami’ Timridhi]
In other words, fasting in the winter requires little to no effort. Thanks to the extremely short days we experience in the West, many of us can have our Suhur before we leave for work and enjoy our Futoor upon our return. What’s more, for those of us that have missed our fasts for whatever reason, the winter season is the ideal time to make them up.
The longer nights are also greatly beneficial for believers as it allows one to be more flexible with tahajjud. One can now sleep well and awaken in the middle of the night and pray two units of prayer comfortably. With such ease in performing lengthy tahajjud prayers and fasting short hours during the day, there’s no excuse for not taking advantage.
Ibn Rajab adds a further benefit of being a believer in the winter. Undoubtedly one will perform Wudhu to pray, which for many of us can become an experience with cold water. On that note, Ibn Rajab mention a remarkable insight. In his book Lata’if al-Ma’arif, he mentions that Umar RA advised his son Abdullah RA the following on his deathbed: ‘performing wudu during the days of winter is one of ‘the characteristics of iman (faith)’.
Look Out For Others
Charity is an integral part of our faith all year round, yet it becomes even more important in the winter. With homelessness and poverty rampant across the globe, winter is the time to think about those less fortunate. Many in the UK are having to sleep in the snow, whilst others around the world are enduring camp-based living. This is the season to look out for them and reach out to anyone we know that may be in the same situation.
Charities are aplenty, which means that donating to those suffering from the blistering cold has become more and more accessible. The winter season is the worst season for struggling families as it brings even more hardship and pain. With the rise in costs and lack of proper clothing in parts of the world, donating becomes even more important. After all, the Prophet PBUH did remind us to ‘Be merciful to those on the earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.’ [Tirmidhi]
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]