“O, People! A great (and) blessed month has cast its shadow upon you. It is a month which contains a night far better than one thousand months – a month Allah has made it obligatory to fast therein and made it commendable to stand up praying on its nights. If someone performs an obligatory act of worship in this month, it will carry as much reward as the reward of performing seventy obligatory acts of worship on other days. It is the month of patience and the reward for patience is paradise. It is a month of sympathy, a month in which the provision for a believer is increased.” [Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah]
In this profound hadith, the Prophet ﷺ welcomed the month of Ramadhan in a remarkable manner. Although his statement was uttered more than 1400 years ago, the message still rings true to this day.
We once again witness the spectacle of this blessed and spiritual month with great happiness and joy. This is a month which unites Muslims, reminds them of the true journey of life, and prepares us for our ultimate meeting with Allah.
These are all gifts from Allah and in one hadith, the Prophet ﷺ mentions, “Allah has gifts in your time, and you should be open to receiving them.” [Tabarani] Ramadhan is one of the greatest gifts, as it is a time when several transformations occur.
Abu Huraira RA reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When the month of Ramadan begins, the gates of the heaven are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Whilst we may not fully understand these transformational cosmic events, they have been prescribed to take place so that we may find ease and spiritual joy in partaking in acts of obedience in this month. This is the true reason why Ramadhan is in fact a gift, and not a month of difficulty as may be perceived by many of us.
The Purpose of Ramadhan
The pious predecessors welcomed Ramadhan with delight and extreme happiness and above all, they saw this as an opportunity to renew their trust in Allah. For 11 months, we are engrossed and engaged in matters other than Allah, which is why Ramadhan is the finest opportunity to play catch up, restore your faith in Allah, and revive your relationship with him. What’s more, once the month of Ramadhan arrives, the motives of worship become a reality in the heart.
But before we do enter the month, to truly benefit from its fruits, we must relieve ourselves from the past and our accumulated sins. That is why scholars of Islam have recommended that one repents before Ramadhan so that he/she may enter the blessed month with a clean heart and an unburdened spiritual state.
Ramadhan is a month in which the most devout and the most insincere find motive to enhance their relationship with Allah. In another hadith, the Prophet ﷺ mentions, “A caller calls: ‘O seeker of the good; come near!’ and ‘O seeker of evil; stop!” [Jami’ Tirmdhi]
Whilst we may not be able to hear the voice of this caller, it is believed that this is the voice of an angel calling out to all believers, urging them to do their best in the month of Ramadhan. For those whose hearts do respond, increasing acts of worship and performing good deeds in the month come easy.
One of the greatest benefits of Ramadhan is that it drives one to continue once the month is over. It is perhaps for this reason that the Prophet ﷺ told us that Allah mentions in a hadith qudsi, “I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Let us welcome the month of Ramadhan with the intention to mention Allah, remember Him often and draw nearer to him in any way possible.
May Allah accept all our noble deeds and charitable endeavours in this blessed month!