By Yusuf Abdullahi
In the name of Allah who states “Ramadan is the month In which was sent down The Qur’an, as a guide To mankind, also clear Signs For guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong), So everyone of You Who is present (at his home) During that month should spend it in fasting …” Q2: 185
May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
MEMORABLE HISTORIC EVENTS
Many significant events are remembered in this great month. They include the loss of prophet’s beloved wife Sayyidah Khadijah and compassionate Uncle Abi Talib, father of Imam Ali, the commander of the faithful. The year was named year of sorrow in Islamic history. Sayyidah Khadijah was the first wife of the noble messenger. She was a prominent lady known for her piety, compassion and generosity before revelation for which she was referred as "the pure" among other names. The prophet has related the success of Islam to her wealth, sword of Ali in defense of the religion and protection of Abu Talib! In a hadeeth “the most superior women of paradise are Khadijah daughter of Khuwailid, Fatima daughter of Muhammad, Asiyah daughter of Muzahim and Maryam daughter of Imran”. She spent good fifteen years with noble messenger (s). And throughout the period, the prophet did not marry any one woman. In fact, the logic in the marriages of the prophet was basically on compassionate and political ground.
A’isha, mother of the faithful reported “one day the messenger of Allah remembered Khadija (his deceased wife). I disliked this and said she was old, she was such and such. Now Allah has provided you with a better wife. (She meant herself). He said; Allah has not provided me with a better wife. She believed in my prophet hood when others refused to believe in me, and she verified and supported my words when others contradicted them, and she placed her wealth at my disposal when others disappointed me. Allah blessed me with children through her and not through any other wife” Istii’aab by bin Abdul Barr, with similar records by Bukhari and Muslim. The prophet (s) has given sayyida Khadija glad tidings of Allah’s forgiveness and mercy in the hereafter!
It was part of the boundless blessings that her daughter Fatima was highly elevated above all women in this Ummah “O my daughter! Are you not satisfied that you are the doyenne of the women of the world? She said: o father! What about Mary daughter of Imran (then)? He said: she was the doyenne of the women of her world and you are the doyenne of the women of your world; I swear by Allah that I have married you to a master in life and hereafter. Hilyat al – Auliya volume 2 page 42.
Abu Talib on the other hand was the father of Ali. He believed in the noble prophet and gave him utmost protection although the enemies of his son have rejected his faith. He also died in the same year as Sayyida Khadija for which the noble messenger suffered much and named the year as mentioned above.
THE WAR OF BADR
The battle of Badr was fought in the holy month of Ramadhan on the 17th. Despite fasting, the believers were faced with the persecution of the Meccan pagans under Abu Sufyan. As such Allah permitted them to protect themselves from the persistent persecution and helped them with great victory. “Assuredly Allah did help you In many battle – fields, And on the day of Hunain; Behold! Your great numbers Elated you, but they Availed you naught; the land. For all that it is wide, Did constrain you, and ye Turned back in retreat” Q9:25
Over seventy enemies of Islam were killed with about the same number taken as hostages! No one could imagine success for the believers with their little number and few arms when the unbelievers have more than tripled them fully armed to teeth! “Remember ye implored The assistance of your Lord, And He answered you; I will assist you With a thousand of the angels, Ranks and ranks” Q8:9
Allah has promised believers similar success forever provided they are steadfast and sincere in their faith! “O Prophet! Sufficient unto thee is Allah, And unto those Who follow thee Among the Believers” Q7”64
BIRTH OF IMAM HASAN (AS)
Birth of Imam Hasan al – Mujtaba was part of the historic events. The Imam was born on 15th Ramadhan, 3 years after hijra. His father was the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali son of Abi Talib and mother Sayyidah Fatima daughter of the noble prophet (s). At his birth, the prophet went to the house and took him in his blessed arms and recited Adhan and Iqama naming him al – Hasan! He was brought up under the patronage of his grandfather the prophet (s). However, he was finally murdered on orders of his father’s enemy, Mu’awiya son of Abu Sufyan, 50 years AH.
MARTYRDOM OF IMAM ALI (AS)
The martyrdom of Imam Ali, commander of the faithful by Mu’awiya’s tool, Ibn Muljim happened on the 21st Ramadan, 40 years after hijra when the Imam was leading the morning prayer at Kufa. “And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay (they are) alive, but you do not perceive” Q2:154
Before his last breath, the Imam passed his lengthy will to his eldest son Imam Hasan, part of which; “… I advice you all my children, members of my family and everyone whom my writing reaches to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order and to maintain good relations among yourselves for I have heard grandfather (the holy prophet) saying; improvement of mutual differences is better than general prayers and fasting…”
ASSESSING OUR FASTING
Generally speaking, some forms of worship are specifically encouraged in this month. We may briefly highlight the following points:
1. Qur’anic recitation: Undoubtedly, recitation of the noble Qur’an is the most important functions of the month. So every believer should do his or her utmost best in this direction. I use this medium to encourage brothers and sisters on the need to master the noble book as the level of ignorance in this regard is very disheartening. Our attention is more on the secular direction. How many of us acquired their first, second degree and PhD but are lagging behind regarding to the noble Qur’an? So we must wake up and do the right thing for our goodness. We should try to recite the whole Qur’an as many times as possible and sacrifice such rewards to parents and loved ones dead or alive.
2. Salat: Another significant action we must draw attention to is the superogatory prayers. Taraweeh is the most popular in this regard. But there are different series that are said in this month. In fact, there is a popular narration of a thousand raka’ats in the month by Imam Jaafar al – Sadiq (as). According to the narration 20 raka’ats in the first 20 nights with 8 raka’ats after Magrib and 12 after Isha. In the last 10 days, 30 raka’ats are said, 8 after Magrib, 22 after Isha and 100 raka’ats each on Layalul qadr’ 19th, 21st and 23rd nights.
3. Prayers: More than any other time believers are encouraged to put in more efforts in prayers this time. Allah said “When My servants Ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I respond To the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me; Let them also, with a will listen to My call, And believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way” Q2: 186. So we must keep up the night prayers seeking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy for our humble selves, parents and beloved so that we may achieve salvation. In addition to that, other forms of Allah’s remembrance such as Salatun Nabiy, Istigfar etc must be maintained. We must befriend the books of supplication like Mafaateehul Jinaan, Dhiyaa’us Saaliheen and the like. And as the Zaria massacre clocked six months, brothers should not relent in prayers for Allah’s retribution against the killers of innocent, armless and peace loving members of the Islamic Movement last year’s December.
4. Generosity: We should not neglect this important point. The prophet (s) has encouraged the Ummah especially the rich to do their best in this direction. The reward of kind gestures are totally incomparable with that of Ramadhan. This is why group and community Iftar was encouraged to help the needy. So also Zakatul fitrah at the eve of Sallah celebration.
5. Tafseer sessions: With regard to Tafseer and relevant other sessions, we must make sure that we put into practice the lessons therein as actions always speak louder.
As the month moves fast, I hope we should accelerate our activities seeking the pleasure of Allah the Most high. As the popular saying goes assess yourself before you are assessed. Everyone can appraise his or her activities toward the goal of fasting. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self – restraint (al – taqwa)” Q2:183. Because whoever does not achieve it in the end has really missed the goal and failed the examination! “O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance And prayer; for Allah is with those Who patiently persevere” Q2:153.
In our self and general assessment, we should never forget that fasting is a special act of worship enjoined on Muslims with a clearly stated objective. And the objective is designed to have positive multiplier – effects in our socio – economic lives.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah.