Mozaik Islam

Puasa Ramadhan, Fiqih Shalat, Rahasia Sunnah, Zakat Fitrah, Haji dan Umrah

The Excellence of Fasting in Ramadan and Night Prayers in it

Then after: This is a brief exhortation on the excellence of fasting in the month of Ramadan and getting up at nights for worship during it, as well as the benefit of competing in it in good deeds; besides, there is also an elaboration of certain vital rules of this fasting that might not have come in the knowledge of some people.

It is an established fact that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to inform his Companions about the commencement of Ramadan and he (peace be upon him) also used to tell them that the month of Ramadan is a month in which the doors of Rahmah (grace) and doors of Jannah (Paradise) are opened; while doors of Jahannam (Hell) are closed; and during that period the devils are tied. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“When it is the first night of Ramadan, the doors of Jannah (Paradise) are opened and none of them is closed; and the doors of Jahannam (Hell) are closed and none of them is opened; the devils are tethered; and a caller calls saying: ‘O those who seek righteousness, get closer; O those who seek evil, be you at a loss; it is upon Allah to bar (Hell) fire,’ and that will happen every night of Ramadan.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“Ramadan has come to you, the month of Barakah (blessings); Allah covers you during the month, descends Rahmah (grace), removes sins and answers the invocations. Allah sees (in this month) your competitions (for good deeds) and so He boasts to the angels about you. Show Allah what is better (than this) by yourselves; verily the wretched are those debarred from Allah’s Rahmah (grace)”.

And the Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever fasts in Ramadan with firm belief and expecting reward on it, his previous sins are forgiven; and whoever gets up in the nights of Ramadan to worship, with firm belief and expecting reward on it, his previous sins are forgiven; and whoever gets up at nights of Qadr during Ramadan with firm belief and expecting reward on it, his previous sins are forgiven.”

The Messenger (peace be upon him) said that Allah says:

“All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times to seven hundren times, except Saum (fasting) which is for Me. And I will give the reward for it. He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake; there are two pleasures for the person observing Saum, one at the time of breaking his Saum and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord, and the smell coming out from the mouth of a person observing Saum is better with Allah than the aroma of musk.”

There are various Ahadith on the benefits of fasting in Ramadan and worshipping at nights therein.

So a believer should seize this opportunity in which Allah has bestowed grace upon the believers. So they should aspire to obey Allah, shun bad deeds and should work hard in performing what Allah has made obligatory on them, particularly offering the five prayers, for, these are the pillars of Islam and the foremost obligation after the two testimonies. It is therefore an obligation upon Muslims (male or female) to establish them and perform them in their right times with submissiveness and composure.

Among the most important obligations regarding prayers (Salât) upon men is performing them in congregation in the houses of Allah (Masjid) in which Allah has enjoined that His Name be remembered; as He says in His Noble Book:

“And offer prayers perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salât) and give Zakât and Irka‘ (i.e. bow down or submit yourselves with obedience to Allah) along with Ar-Raki‘in.” (2:43)

Allah also says:

“Guard strictly the (five obligatory) prayers especially the middle (i.e. the best) (Asr) prayer. And stand before Allah with obedience (and do not speak to others during prayers).” (2:238)

And He said:

“Successfull indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (23:1, 2)

He also said:

“And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) prayers (at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors who shall inherit Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.” (23: 9-11)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The difference between us (Muslims) and them (Kuffar) is prayers and whosoever leaves prayer is disobedient (infidel).”

Next to Salât (prayers) in importance is to pay Zakât, as Allah says:

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and offer prayers perfectly (Iqâmat-as-Salât) and give Zakât and that is the right religion.” (98:5)

Allah further says:

“And offer prayers perfectly (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and obey the Messenger (Muhammad (peace be upon him) ) that you may receive mercy (from Allah).” (24:56)

The Qur’ân and the Sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) have described that whoever does not pay Zakât over his wealth, shall be punished on the Day of Resurrection.

The most important issue in Islam after prayers and Zakât, is fasting during Ramadan which is one of the five pillars of Islam as mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) :

“Islam is based on five (pillars): To testify that there is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; To offer Salât (prayer); To pay Zakât (obligatory charity); To observe Saum (fasts during the month of Ramadan) and; To perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).”

A Muslim should protect his/her fasting and waking up for worship at nights, from all that Allah has forbidden, be it in deeds or in uttering, because the purpose of fasting is to obey Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and glorify His sanctities and fight the self against its desires in obeying his Lord, and get the self accustomed to abstaining from what Allah has forbidden, as the fasting does not mean merely abstaining from eating and drinking the things that break fast. In this sense Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has also said in an authentic Hadith:

“Fasting is shield; so when it is a day of fasting one should not indulge in obscene behaviour or glamour, or shout about; if any one quarrels with him or engages him in fight, he should say: ‘I am fasting’.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) further said in an authentic Hadith:

“Whosoever doesn’t abstain from false utterings, obscene deeds and absurd acts, Allah does not care for his abstaining from eating and drinking.”

What we learn from all the above reports and from various others, is that it is a must for a fasting person to abstain from all that Allah has forbidden and strictly guard and observe what Allah has made compulsory for him to do. Then, in this way he will get forgiveness, protection from the Fire, and acceptance of his fasting and Qiyam (i.e. night prayers).

There are other issues which may be not clear or unknown to the people

One of them is: a person should fast with firm belief and intention of reward; and not as a show-off or for reputation, or in imitation of other people; rather he should fast on the basis of his belief that Allah has made it obligatory for him to fast, and in hope of reward from Allah. Likewise, passing the night in prayer should be done with full confidence and in the hope of reward for it; and not for any other reason. In this sense, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever fasts in Ramadan with firm belief and hope of reward, gets his past sins forgiven. And whoever stood for prayer at night with firm belief and in hope of reward, gets his past sins forgiven; and whoever stood for prayer at the nights of Qadr (Decree) with firm belief and in hope of reward, gets his past sins forgiven.”

There are certain problems which some people face during their fasting like being wounded, or nose-bleeding, or vomiting or devouring water or petrol through his throat unintentionally; all these things do not vitiate fasting: and whoever vomits intentionally will vitiate his fasting: this is in line with the Hadith:

“Whoever vomits unintentionally, his fast is not disrupted, but whoever vomits intentionally, his fast is disrupted and he has to make it up.”

The person who is Junub (impure after sexual intercourse) and has delayed taking bath up to dawn, should observe fast. Similarly, the woman whose menstrual or labour bleeding has ceased to come before dawn and she delays in taking bath up to the dawn, she should also observe fast. The delay in taking bath up to the dawn to purify oneself from cultic impurity, is not prohibitive for fasting. However, one (he or she) should not delay oneself from purification up to sunrise; rather one (he or she) should purify oneself and pray Fajr Salât before sunrise.

Moreover, a man should be prompt enough in this regard so that he may join the congregation for Fajr Salât.

Among the things which do not disrupt fasting are: blood analysis and injection, if it (the injection) is not intended for (intravenous) feeding or nourishment. However, if possible, it is better to delay it (i.e. injection) till night. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Leave whatever you doubt in, for that in which you do not doubt.”

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“Whoever guards himself against suspicion, saves his Faith and honour.”

Furthermore, among the issues regarding which the people are negligent is the composure in Salât (prayers), be it the obligatory prayers or supererogatory ones: there are authentic Ahadith which prove that composure is one of the pillars of prayers and a prayer is not perfect without it. The composure consists in calmness and solemnity in Salât and not to make hurry in the postures of Salât till the vertebral columns are set right. Many a people pray in Tarawih prayer in a manner that they do not understand it nor are they tranquil in it. They actually move hurriedly back and forth like pecking. Such prayer is imperfect and the person praying does not get reward for it.

Another point regarding which people have misconception is the number of Raka‘at for Tarawih prayer: some people think, it is not proper to perform Tarawih prayer less than twenty Rak‘a; others think, it should not go beyond eleven or thirteen Rak‘a. All these are mere thoughts or guessworks on wrong premise; actually they are all mistakes that contravene all the proven facts.

There are Sahih Ahadith of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) to the effect that the night prayer is unlimited and hence no limitation as to the Rak‘a‘, can be imposed upon it. Rather it is proven that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray at times 11 Rak‘a, at times 13 Rak‘a, and at times he prayed less than these during Ramadan and also in other days. When he (the Prophet (peace be upon him) ) was asked about the prayers at night he answered:

“The night prayer should be offered by twos; and when one is afraid of approaching the dawn, he should pray one Rak‘a; it will be the Witr for all the Rak‘a prayed before.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

So the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually did not limit the Rak‘a for the night prayer, neither in Ramadan nor in any other period of the year; so on this basis the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) in the period of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to pray at times 23 (twenty-three) Rak‘a or at times 11 (eleven). And all these are proved from Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and the Companions in his lifetime.

And also some of the Salaf (pious predecessors) used to pray in Ramadan, 36 Rak‘a and 3 Rak‘a as Witr as well, and some others prayed 41. This fact was mentioned by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) and also by other learned people. Ibn Taimiyah also mentioned that the issue contains wide scope: it is better to reduce the number of Rak‘a for the one who prolongs the recitation, bowing (Ruku‘) and prostration; and for the one who shortens the recitation, bowing and prostration, it is better to increase the number of Rak‘a.

According to the Prophet’s practice it is better to pray either eleven or thirteen Rak‘a either in Ramadan or in other days, since these are the numbers of Rak‘a the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed most of the times, and because it is most convenient for the performers of prayers and it carries solemnity and tranquillity; and whoever exceeds this number, is not liable to be objected or blamed. Again, it is better for the one who prays with the Imam, not to leave him until he finishes the prayer and this is in line with the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) :

“Verily, if a man stands with the Imam during Tarawih prayer till the Imam finishes the prayer, he will get the reward of standing whole night in prayer.”

It is desirable for all Muslims to strive during this holy month of Ramadan with all kinds of worship like supererogatory prayers, reciting Qur’ân with meditation and understanding; most frequently reciting Tasbih,(1) Tahlil,(2) Tahmid,(3) Takbir,(4) Istighfar,(5) and other supplications as mentioned in Shari‘ah. A Muslim should also enjoin others for good deeds and prevent from forbidden acts; and also call upon people to Allah. He should also be more sympathetical to the poor and needy persons and strive to do good to the parents, and relatives; render hospitality to neighbours and attend the patients etc. This is in line with the already mentioned Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) :

“…Allah sees (in this month) your competitions (for good deeds) and so He boasts to the angels about you: Show Allah what is better (than this) by yourselves; verily, the wretched are those debarred from Allah’s Rahmah (Grace).”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Whoever wants the approachment of Allah in this month (Ramadan) by any of his good deeds is like the one who performs obligatory prayer in other months. And whoever performs an obligatory prayer in this month is like the one who performs seventy obligatory prayers in other months.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:

“Umrah in Ramadan is like Hajj”–– or he said ––“like Hajj with me.”

There are numerous Ahadith and traditions which prove the legitimacy of competing and contesting in the various forms of good deeds in the month of Ramadan.

And He is the Watcher; may He guide us and all the Muslims to all the deeds which lead to His Pleasure, and accept our fastings and night prayers, and set right our state of affairs, improve our conditions and protect us from all kinds of trials and afflictions. As we ask Him for the righteousness in our rulers, and to gather them on Truth, and for it He is the Guardian and the Powerful.

Wassalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.