Ramadan, ninth month of Islamic Lunar Calendar is very dear to Allah (SWT). It is the most august of all months, pure, generous and merciful. Do not let its nights go waste in slumber, its days in careless omission or loss of remembrance of Allah (SWT).
The month of Ramadan Kareem is an opportunity given by the gracious Creator for His servants to come close to Him, seek forgiveness for their sins, and fulfillment of their needs. In the Glorious Qur’an, amidst an important discussion on the month of Ramadan Karim, the following ayat (verse), which apparently has no direct connection with Ramadan Kareem, is included: “And when my servants ask you about me, then surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls upon me, so respond to me, and believe in me, so that they may be led right.” (2:186) Commentators agree that this is the most poignant of all the verses on the Divine human connection. The whole verse is based on the singular first person pronoun, which is repeated seven (7) times. It is a confirmation of the close relationship between man and His creator, and an assurance that he will be listened to when he calls upon Him.
That such a verse should be included among the ayats discussing the importance of Ramadan Kareem, and some of its rules (see 2:183-187), are an indication of the important role of Du’a in the month of Ramadan Kareem. Abstaining from fulfillment of physical desires stimulates an increase in spirituality, and creates an inclination for prayers and worship. Believers feel close to Allah (SWT), and Allah (SWT) reminds them that He too is close, and will answer their prayers. The nights of Ramadan Kareem are spent in prayers and supplications. Even those believers, who normally do not have much time for prayers, try to do so during this month. This is because of the emphasis on the sanctity of the month, the promise of multiplied rewards, as well as the assurance of a favorable response. Says the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “. . . do supplicate with your hands raised . . . as these are the best of times, during which the Almighty looks at His servants with mercy, answers if they supplicate, responds if they call, grants if they ask, and accepts if they plead . . .” (Prophet’s sermon welcoming the month of Ramadan Al-Mubarak).
The best thing a believer can pray for during this month is forgiveness for his past sins. Many of the Du’as special to the month of Ramadan Kareem plead for forgiveness of the huge burden of sins which man carries. Ramadan Al-Mubarak is a glorious chance given to him to have his sins erased, and gain a higher position in the eyes of Allah (SWT). So many people are forgiven in this month that it is only the unfortunates who are deprived. Says the Prophet in the same sermon: “Indeed, miserable is he who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month.” Other things to pray for include fulfillment of needs, removal of afflictions, and success in the hereafter.
The Glorious month of Ramadan Kareem: Fasting and Worship
It was reserved for Islam to prescribe and perfect a formula for spiritual purification for every one of its followers, notwithstanding the state of society he may belong to, and which can be followed without interfering with his normal avocations a Muslim may be engaged in, it does not hinder him from obeying this divine commandment which is one of the five fundamental tenets of Islam.
The Muslim fast means a complete abstinence from eating or drinking between daybreak and sunset. The sighting of the thin sickle of the new moon of Ramadan Kareem heralds for the Muslim the beginning of a month of glory and of spiritual elevation, when, Allah’s command he voluntarily and of his own free will, denies himself, between daybreak and sunset the blessings of food and drink for a whole month and surrenders himself wholly to Allah (SWT), exercising at the same time complete control over his thoughts, speech and actions.
This month (Ramadan Kareem) means for the Muslims, the triumph of the spiritual and the pure in his nature over all the gross and carnal desires which are an inevitable component of our human structure. The proper observance of the fast is beautifully explained by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the following words: “One who, while fasting, does not guard his tongue from telling lies, does not refrain from doing bad deeds, is not respecting his fast and Allah does not approve of mere abstention from food.”
“When you are fasting you should not speak ill of anybody, nor should you be boisterous and noisy. If anybody, speaks ill of you or tries to pick a quarrel with you, return him not, but say unto him that you are fasting.”
Ramadan Kareem, however, has another special significance for the Muslims, for it was in this month that the first revelation of the Glorious Qur’an was made to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This month, therefore, is dear to the heart of every Muslim. During this month the Muslim applies himself more assiduously to the reading of the Holy Book, which shall remain for all time as the standing miracle of Muhammad, the unlettered Prophet. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Throughout this month is heard, in every Muslim home, during the day and night, the pleasant and beautiful cadences of Qur’anic recitation.
The fact that great spiritual benefit is derived from the reading of the Glorious Qur’an in this month can be seen in the following saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “A man gets the same reward by reading in this month one verse of the Glorious Qur’an as others do by reading the whole of the Glorious Qur’an in other months.”
In this Holy month of Ramadan Karim it should therefore be the duty of every Muslim to read and try to understand the meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, and thereby gain an insight into the divine secrets enshrined therein. It brings peace and illumination to the mind, imparts purity to the soul and removes many a curtain hanging between man and God.
Only consistent reading can produce the tremendous amount of joy and pleasure one experience in reading the Glorious Qur’an.
Ramadan Kareem is the month of fasting and intensive prayer, a month of sacrifice and divine worship. In this month a devout Muslim spends hours every night in prayer and meditation, realizing all the time the presence of Allah Who is all pervading. Along with the prayers, he fasts during the day for a whole month in the true sense of the word, i.e. not merely denying himself food and water, but also, as the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained, exercising strict control over his tongue, his eyes, his ears, his mind, his thoughts and his deeds and canalizing every activity of his towards and for the love of God. Living such a life is an immense spiritual peak and it also realizes the joy and happiness experienced by living a life which is in tune with the Infinite. In short, these joys and these pleasures can be earned by any Muslim who devotes himself to prayer and fasting in the manner taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Glorious Qur’an says “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace” Sura 13 verse 28. Peace of mind that passes understanding can only be attained by sincere and continuous remembrance of Allah.
When a man fasts and prays in this holy month of Ramadan Kareem as thought and practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he can truly say, as stated in the Glorious Qur’an, “Say, lo! My worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds” Sura 6 verse 162, and when a good Muslim reaches this stage, he gets into divine circuits and he can exclaim along with the holy men of Islam as follows: “We take our colour from Allah and who is better than Allah at colouring. We are His worshippers” Sura 2 verse 138.