Ramadan, which is also known as the Fasting month, It is a holy month of fasting, self-analysis and prayer for the Muslims. Ramadan is a religious observance, observed by Muslims globally, it takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar year. The meaning of Ramadan in Arabic is ‘intense heat or scorching heat’ perhaps because it takes place in a time when the temperatures are raised up in that part of the world. Ramadan is referred to as the most respected, adored and highly blessed month of the Islamic year. Every day during the month of Ramadhan, Muslims are not supposed to drink or eat from sunrise till sunset. They are also instructed to avoid impure or dirty thoughts and bad or sinful behavior like using bad language, cursing, dishonesty, lying, deceiving, anger and disputes.
According to the Islamic belief, Allah revealed the Quran (Islam’s holy book, “as an advice and enlightenment for the people”) to the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) during the Holy Month of Ramadan when he was meditating in a large cave exterior to the Holy city of Mecca. The month is thus intended to honor and memorialize the first revelation that was sent down on Laylat al-Qadr that is generally referred as (The Night of Power)
The Quran states:
“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it.”
There are no particular dates for the commencement and ending of the month of. The Islamic lunar calendar is not equal to the solar calendar. That is why, the dates keep changing by almost about 11 days every year.
Usually, the month starts on the last full moon of the specific month and it lasts 29 or 30 days. Most of the times, Ramadan mubarak takes place between late May and late June. For the the completion of the holy month, it is essential for the crescent moon to be seen at Mecca on the 29th day. If the moon is not sighted, the month lasts for an additional day and completes at 30 days.
Events of the month of Ramadan mubarak:
Following are the scared events that take place in the month of Ramadan and add to its beauty and merriment, following them properly can make a person please Allah Almighty and find a way to Jannah, the ultimate reward
Fasting – Sawm
Fasting (sawm) is the most eminent and foremost event of the month of Ramadan that is observed by the most obedient and practicing Muslims. Ramadan- the scared and blessed month is all about fasting and following Allah’s (SWT) guidelines and commands. According to Islamic Teachings, there are five pillars of Islam. Fasting during Ramazan is among these five pillars.
The allies of Prophet (PBUH) used to spend six months for the preparation of Ramadan. The act of fasting is not only packed with rewards and blessings but it is also a source of protection against sin, wickedness and hell-fire.
Allah says: ”Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. And I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Suhoor and iftar – A sunnah
Every single day during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims from all over the world wake up before dawn to have their Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal)
Suhoor (the pre dawn meal) is the meal that is an important source of providing energy all through the day of fasting. The time for Suhoor finishes just before the time of Fajr. If you live in a region where the Masjid articulates the Adhan out loud, then you should listen to the words Asalatu Khairul mina nawm (prayer is better than sleep) and that should be the point where you must discontinue all eating.
Still, a number of muslims don’t eat their pre-dawn meal because probably they find it difficult to get up so early. The Prophet (PBUH) articulated the people about the goodness and blessings of Suhoor (pre dawn meal) when he (PBUH) says,
“Have Suhoor for verily there is a blessing in it.” [Abu Dawud]
“Indeed it is a blessing that Allah (SWT) has given to all of you, so do not leave it.” [Nasai]
“Indeed Allah and His angels send Salah upon those who have Suhoor.” (Tabarani)
An indispensable part of Suhoor is making the intention (Niyyah) to fast. Not eating Suhoor is opposing to Sunnah and one must put efforts to eat Suhoor even if it comprises few dates and a glass of water.
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.” [Ahmad, Saheeh]
“The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is the (meal of) Suhoor.” [Sahih Muslim]
Additionally, Suhoor (pre dawn meal) is also a scared and blessed time, the third part of the night and the perfect time to pray to Allah (SWT), make supplications and ask forgiveness from Allah Almighty.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Our Lord, The Blessed, The Superior, comes down every night to the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” [Bukhari]
Having a delay in Suhoor (pre dawn meal) is also a part of the Sunnah and the Prophet’s allies (RA) used to delay having their Suhoor until as near to Fajr as possible. You should quit eating with the appearance of dawn. While, on the other hand, when it is about breaking your fast, you should hurry up. According to Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) would break his fast prior to praying by having fresh dates, and even if there were no fresh dates available he used to have dried dates and if there were no dried dates available, he used to drink a few sips of water. It is Sunnah to break the fast by eating dates.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “Hasten to (eating) Iftar (in Ramadan immediately when the time is due), and delay (eating) Suhoor.” [At-Tabaraani]
It was narrated by Anas ibn Maalik that The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1923; Muslim, 1095.
This hadith specifies that the fasting person is instructed to eat his suhoor because it is a great source of blessing and goodness, both in a spiritual way and world wise. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stated the blessing so as to inspire and encourage us to have the suhoor.
It was re-counted by Jaabir that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever wants to fast, let him eat something for suhoor.” Narrated by Ahmad, 14533
Suhoor (pre dawn meal) is an eminent deal of blessing that contains benefits and welfare both in the present world and in the Hereafter. These blessings contain the following:
1 – It provides strength for worship and assists one to obey Allah throughout the day by praying, reciting Quran and by remembering Allah (Dhikr). One who is starving may become sluggish in worship just like he may become lethargic in his daily labor; this is something that is usual.
2 – Suhoor turns away the worst attitude which may be aggravated by hunger, so the one who eats suhoor will be in a good and happy mood and will deal fine with other people.
3 – The one who eats suhoor (pre dawn meal) will be motivated to fast more and more, because fasting is not hard and difficult for the one who eats suhoor, so he will be inspired to fast and it will not be so tough and tiring for him.
4 – By eating suhoor one follow the Sunnah, so if the person who eats suhoor (pre dawn meal) has the purpose of obeying the directions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and following his example, then his suhoor is counted as an act of worship, so he will be given a reward for it accordingly. If he has an intention thereby to gain physical power and endurance for fasting and praying qiyaam, he will be given a reward according to his intentions.
5 – The person who eats suhoor (pre dawn meal) wakes up by the end of the night to remember Allah, make supplications and pray, for that is the time when prayers are answered and it is the moment when Allaah and angels send their ultimate blessings upon those who eat their suhoor.
6 – By eating suhoor one becomes distinguishable from the people of the Book. It is essential for the muslim to avoid copying them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the Book is eating suhoor.”
7 –One more blessing of suhoor is offering the prayer of Fajr in gathering, at the proper time. That’s why you witness that there are more worshipers who are praying Fajr in Ramadan as compared to other months, because they have awakened up for suhoor.
The person who intends to fast should be keen to have his suhoor and he must not miss it because he may feel so sleepy or because of any other reason. He must be easy going when he is gotten up for suhoor and should be in a good and fresh mood, pleased to be following the direction of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and keen to achieve its goodness and barakah (blessing), as our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)declared the significance of suhoor and enjoined it completely, and described that it is the sign of the Muslims’ fasting that distinguishes their fasting from that of the people of the Book and that’s why he asked us not to skip suhoor.
Suhoor (pre dawn meal) can be done by means of the minimum amount of food stuff or drink that a person eats or drinks, it does not have to be any particular type of food.
It was recounted by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best suhoor for the believer is dates.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2345); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
It was delineated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Suhoor is a blessed meal, so do not skip it, even if one of you only takes a sip of water, for Allaah and His angels send blessings on those who eat suhoor.” Narrated by Ahmad, 11003; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3683.
The perfect time for suhoor
It was narrated that Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “We ate suhoor with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) then he went to pray.” I [the narrator] enquired, “How long was there between the adhan and suhoor?” He said, “As long as it takes to recite fifty verses.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1921; Muslim, 1097.
This hadith shows that it is mustahab to delay your suhoor until just before praying Fajr. Between the time when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) ended their suhoor and began to pray was the extent of time it took to recite fifty verses of the Quran at a normal pace, neither so fast nor so slow. This shows that the time for prayer is close to the time of end eating and drinking.
What is signified by the adhan here is the iqamah, that is named as adhan because it is a pronouncement for that the prayer is about to start. Hurrying to have the suhoor (pre dawn meal) midway through the night is allowed, but it is opposite to the Sunnah. Suhoor is called so as it occurs at the time of sahr, which is the completion of the night.
If an individual eats suhoor midway through the night, there are chances that he may miss out his Fajr prayer because sleep may overcome him. Also, having a delay in suhoor is nicer and kinder to the fasting individual and provides him more energy, as one of the purposes of suhoor is to provide physical power and strength to fast and for the conservation of one’s energy, so it is sagacious to delay the suhoor.
The fasting individual must follow the example of the Prophet in this regard, and must not eat suhoor early.
Another manner of fasting which was told by the scholars is that the fasting individual must not be excessively lavish in his suhoor and he must not fill his stomach with so much of food, rather he should eat a moderate quantity of food, because not any worse vessel is filled by the son of Adam than his stomach. Even if he fills his stomach to the fullest at the time of suhoor it will not be of any use until the time of Zuhr, eating a large quantity of food only makes a person feel lethargic and inactive. The words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “The best suhoor for the believer is dates” point out to this sense, because dates, in addition to their extraordinary nutritional value, are also not hard on the stomach and can be easily digested. If an individual eats a lot and stays up till late and sleeps the whole day, he does not fulfill the main purpose of fasting as the aim of fasting is lost.
Suhoor, Nutritionally an important meal
Suhoor is basically considered to be the foremost meal of Ramadan, as it provides the body with a great amount of energy to assist in the fasting. Eating before taking the fast is very crucial, as this is a way of accumulating adequate amounts of minerals that will certainly keep your body energetic, healthy and fit until the time to break your fast.
Not having the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) can cause a number of surprising and unpredicted situations that include having a severely bad headache the next day specifically due to insufficient food and water in your body. If you have not observed, omitting Suhoor may also result in a loss of attentiveness the next day, which is something you don’t want to have during labor or while driving.
It is preferably advised to eat brown bread during Suhoor as it comprises an adequate amount of fiber that will slowly raise your blood sugar levels all through the day. Eating vegetables, eggs, fruits and yogurt is highly suggested.
After the whole day of fasting, break the fast with eating dates as the first thing as they are rich sources of potassium, iron, vitamin C, sugar, protein, minerals and so on. After eating dates drink a glass of water or something light like a porridge or vegetable soup and then eat whatever you desire to eat. By doing this, sugars are transported more rapidly to the liver where they are being changed to energy, exactly the amount you need after a long day of fasting.
IFTAR is an Arabic term, which actually means ‘to break’. In the Islamic perspective, it literally means to break the fast, to drink and eat in the evening after the long day of fasting. Iftar is not merely a matter of eating dinner. It has a great importance. It is the consumption of a mixture of a physical and spiritual food.
After the Maghrib prayer, Muslims congregate in their houses or mosques for breaking their fast with a meal that is named as ifṭār which is frequently shared with friends and whole family. The ifṭār normally starts with dates, as was the practice of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), or fruits, water, sweetened milk or other drinks.
Iftar is just like a dinner, but it is a dinner joint with a sacred experience. It is like a necessary form of exercise. When a person goes through hunger the whole day, he realizes the significance of food and water that provide us energy. Actually, he finds out the fact that an individual cannot live without water and food. And, after this experience of hunger, when an individual eats food and drinks water in the evening, he is packed with gratefulness to Allah Almighty, who apart from creating him, also provides him with all the fundamental needs that are necessary for his ongoing presence.
Iftar, hence not only provides physical energy, but it also becomes a basis of spiritual progress.
This spiritual practice also instills in his mind the significance of humanity and generosity. He becomes more generous and sensitive to those people who are not able to meet their necessities. This sacred feeling gives him encouragement to help such types of people.
In this meaning, iftar becomes a beautiful cause of spiritual training. The iftar time turns out to be a time of motivation and encouragement. It is the moment of conversion of physical food to spiritual food.
According to Islamic training, iftar must be a simple meal and must not be an extravagant affair. Simplicity or easiness protects us from disturbance and will make us focus on the spiritual characteristics of fasting.But in another way, if the iftar takes the form of an extravagant affair, all attention will be paid to the taste and the physical appearance of food, while the spiritual benefits will be lost completely. In fact, an extravagant iftar badly kills the true and sacred spirit of fasting. The Prophet of Islam and his allies would always take simple food at the time of iftar.
Iftar apparently ends the time of fasting, but taking it as an end would likely be an underestimation. For the mind that is spiritually awakened, it is like a new commencement towards spiritual development. Such an individual will explore the experiences of the hungry day and will try to acquire lessons from them. Iftar provides a glimpse of the limitless rewards that are waiting for the man in the world Hereafter.
Iftar is the moment to make dua that one would not want to miss out. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “When the fasting person breaks his fast, his supplication is not turned back.” (Ibn Majah)
“There are three whose supplication is not rejected: A fasting person when he/she breaks his/her fast, a just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.” [Jami’-at-Tirmidhi, no. 3598]
It is reported that the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (Saww) would say at the moment of iftar, ‘Thirst has been quenched, and hunger is no more, and, God willing, God will bless us with His reward.’ This indicates that iftar entreats the essence of a prayer. It provides us a chance to say,
‘O God, I have fulfilled my obligation and now I have a faith that You will not deprive me of Your highest blessings.’
During the fast, hunger pangs and the thirst makes a person feel weak and he turns towards God with increased and refreshed enthusiasm. He cries out, ‘God, I have obeyed Your one order while there are many I could not. I kept one day’s fast, but I badly failed on numerous other events. I seek Your forgiveness and your greatest blessings.’
When a sincere and genuine prayer like this is uttered by a person, God turns His special consideration and kindness to his call and the rewards which the person is bestowed with are countless. A person prays in this existing world and the reward is given in the world Hereafter. But fasting is an allowance and exception for which a flavor of the reward is given in this present world itself.
It is also persuaded to give food to neighbors, friends, poor and family in the time of Iftar. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“At every breaking of the fast, Allah has people whom He redeems” [Ahmad]
“Whoever gives Iftar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the fasting person’s reward in the slightest.” [Hadith, Tirmidhi]
Iftar is also a perfect time to spread the message of Islam, to summon a non-Muslim neighbour friend, or colleague for Iftar dinner. Also take care of Muslims who may be having an Iftar alone out of some reason, specifically those who have recently converted to Islam. Invite them to your place or have a meeting with them to break the fast together.
Giving an iftar (fast-breaking) meal is a very gratifying and rewarding deed (thawab). If a man, while walking on the road, provides only a date or even an olive to a fasting person, the reward for giving the meal is completely achieved. Our beloved the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) stated, “If a person gives iftar to a fasting person in this month, his sins will be forgiven. And he will be given as many rewards as has that fasting person,” some of the Blessed allies told that they were not really rich as to provide iftar meal to a fasting person. He stated as a reply, “The rewards will be given even to a person who gives a date as the iftar or who provides water to break the fast or who offers a little milk” [Bayhaqi].
It is stated in another hadith.
“Crossing the Sirat Bridge will be easier for a person who provides a guest with food to break his fast.” [Wasilat-un Najat]
It is very worthwhile to feed the people. Feeding a fasting person specifically is much more fruitful. Such an individual receives as many blessings as the fasting person receives, with no depletion in the reward of the fasting person.
Similarly, when our master the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) declared , “He who gives water as iftar to a fasting person in Ramadan becomes as sinless as the day his mother bore him,” the Blessed allies asked him, “Is it so when water is scarce and precious?” He said to them in response, “The case is the same even if he gives it by a river” (Wasilat-un-Najat).
We must consider it a blessing to offer food to people.
Ramadan month is actually a time to be kind and generous plus a way to develop empathy and understanding among people by means of summoning them for Iftar. It encourages unity, amity, friendship, and at the end, every person will have a sense of satisfaction and contentment, and that is indeed a blessing!
Who Should Fast During Ramadan?
Normally, every single person who has passed puberty must take part in Ramadan fasting. There are however exclusions like the elderly, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, diabetic patients and the people with ill health and specific medical conditions. Although children are not ought to fast yet you can make Ramadan interesting for kids. Read to them books about Ramadan, narrate them the sacred and beautiful incidence of Ramadan, teach them the suitable Ramadan greetings, make them involved in preparing Iftar dinners and when the holy month of Ramadan completes, celebrate the Eid al Fitr together.
Fasting and feasting
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is reported to have said: “The fasting person has two delights: one at the time of breaking the fast and the other at the time of meeting with his Lord God most High.” (Sahih Muslim). Fasting, and the breaking of the fast; both are different practices in their own way.
The actual reality of this life can be comprehended through the practice of fasting. Eating, drinking and some other particular activities are strictly forbidden during the fast for a brief and specific period of time throughout the day. Similar vetoing is inflicted upon the true believer all through his life. He has to refrain himself from all the activities that have been prohibited by Allah Almighty and spend his life as a ‘fasting’ person.
The main aim of life is the ‘testing’ of a person. Fasting is the resemblance of this test. This worldly life is only to do good deeds and perform good activities as enjoined by Allah Almighty, to follow the way He has shown and abstain from all that He has forbidden. For this laborious life the promise of God is ultimate blessings in the Hereafter; blessings that are not revealed in this worldly life. Fasting hence provides a consciousness of the endurance, tolerance and struggle of this worldly life.
In difference to fasting, Iftar (breaking the fast), presents a resemblance of life Hereafter. In the same essence, the whole holy month of Ramadan resembles the constrained life of this world.
Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is not merely a type of annual tradition. It is a living creative practice. Fasting is linked to the whole life of a human being, the purpose of which is to make man’s life a life that is fasting-oriented.
The actuality of fasting is to control the desires. In one Hadith, this is referred to as ‘renouncing one’s desires’. Food and water are essentially fundamental needs of a person. Rest and sleep are also basic needs of a person. During the holy month of fasting there are limitations to these basic needs by obligation. This experience instills in man the ability to limit his desires happily so that he willingly leads a self-controlled and civilized life.
There is a 50:50 proportion in all the activities a person has to perform in his life i.e. 50% of the actions require refraining from something and the other 50% performing on something.
The same proportion of negative and positive features is found in all the religious performances. In this regard, the purpose of fasting for a person is to put a brake on his worldly desires so that he may carry out the appropriate deeds in this world.
Literally speaking, the position of fasting in human life is like the brakes in an engine. Brakes control the engine of a vehicle so that the journey can be finished successfully. If there are no brakes to control the engine, the vehicle will not be able to function properly.
The similar is the case of fasting in the life of a true believer. Man must accord the position of brakes to fasting in his life so that he may travel successfully on the way of Allah Almighty. The fasting of that man is real for whom fasting is like putting on brakes on the things that are prohibited by Allah Almighty.
Ramadan and Duas For fasting
Following are the Duas for fasting:
Dua for Fasting at the time of Suhoor
Translation: I intent to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan.
Dua for Breaking the Fast
Translation: O Allah, I fasted for You and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with your sustenance.
Dua for Sighting the Crescent Moon
Translation: Allah is the greatest. O Allah, let the crescent loom above us in safety, faith, peace, and Islam, and in agreement with all that You love and pleases You. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah. (At Tirmidhi 5/504)
Dua for Laila tul Qadr
Prayer and Reading of The Quran
As well as fasting, Muslims are persuaded to read the whole Quran.
Muslims inclined to do the recitation of the whole Quran by means of particular prayers, called Taraweeh, which are held in the mosques every single night of this holy month, during taraweeh the entire section of the Qur’an (juz, that is 1/30 of the Qur’an) is recited, so that by the completion of the month the whole Qur’an has been completely recited. Taraweeh is an Arabic phrase that refers to those additional prayers. This prayer is offered after salah of Isha’a, but prior to the witr rakat.
Muslims also pay Zakat (only valid if a person can afford it) during the holy month of ramadan. For those who are qualified to pay Zakat, according to the Islamic Nisab (those whose wealth is more than their necessities), of the excess of their wealth that is earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid at any time or moment of the year yet it has to be calculated on a yearly basis, while many Muslims use Ramadan as the perfect month for calculation and distribution.
Ramadan is also a time out of the whole year when Muslims are encouraged to slow down from worldly matters and pay attention on self-renovation or improvement, spiritual cleaning, illumination and clarification, developing a relation between Allah Almighty and themselves through prayer, donation, assistance, supplication, virtuous acts, sympathy, humanity and generosity.
Since it is a sacred and beautiful occasion of sharing and caring, Muslims make multiple special foods and purchase gifts for their friends and family and for distributing among the poor and needy who are unable to afford it themselves, this can include purchasing new wears, shoes and many other multiple items of need.
There is also a social part included – the making of different foods and summoning people for the Iftar meal (the main meal to break the Fast).
In multiple Muslim and non Muslim nations with large Muslim populations, markets are closed down in the evening to make people able to offer prayers and eat the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast) – these markets or shops then open again and stay open for a long part of the night. Muslims can be seen purchasing multiple stuffs including clothes, shoes, jewelry and eating plus spending quality time with their friends and family during this evening time.
Taraweeh prayer is a mandatory Sunnah for all the Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan. According to hadith, Holy Prophet PBUH offered the prayer of taraweeh one night in Mosque and number of people followed the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) in the mosque. Then the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) offered the prayer of taraweeh the following night in mosque again and many other people followed the Prophet (Saww). Then the people congregated again in mosque on third and fourth night again but the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not show up and the very next morning, He (SAW) said: “I saw what you did, and nothing kept me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you” (Al-Bukhari). From this hadith, we deduced that Taraweeh prayer is the recommended Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
According to Abu Hurairah (RA), Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Saww) said that: “He who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven” (Muslim). We may say that Taraweeh is one of the multiple blessings that Holy month of Ramadan carries for us.
Offering this special and particular prayer for the whole month of Ramadan becomes a source of spiritual in addition to health benefits. It not only cleanses our soul but also helps us to stay healthy and energetic. Although offering this prayer is not mandatory but the virtues and the advantages it provides leave no reason for missing it. Taraweeh is a special prayer comprising 20 Rakat that is offered instantly after the prayer of Isha.
Advantages of Taraweeh Prayer
Taraweeh prayer is not merely the cause of reward and blessings by Allah Almighty but also hold many spiritual and physical advantages that are discussed as follows:
- This special prayer assists in improving and enhancing physical and spiritual health. The gentle and calm up and down actions, containing Sajdah and Ruku, done while praying refines and progresses physical and spiritual health in addition to improving the strength of the praying individual. It has been noticed that the individuals who fast the entire day and then offer Taraweeh prayers at night feel more flourishing and prosperous.
- Taraweeh restores Muscle endurance in elderly people. As people get old, their physical exercise declines, which causes weakening of their bones. The recurrent movements during Taraweeh prayers enhance the flexibility of joints, strength of muscle, and power of tendon. So, Taraweeh prayers enhance endurances, confidence and self-esteem of the elderly people.
- Another benefit of Taraweeh is to motivate people to visit the mosque greatly for offering this particular prayer quite often in the gathering.
- Taraweeh prayer bonds all Muslims from multiple walks of life at a single place.
- Taraweeh prayer also develops unity among Muslims all around the world.
- Experiencing the sacred act of performing this particular prayer for the whole month of Ramadan supports and enhances Muslims faith and inspires Muslims to adopt what delights Allah Almighty and what makes Allah Almighty happy.
- Taraweeh prayer and taraweeh dua encourage us to worship more and more that in turn becomes the cause of a peaceful sleep.
- This special sacred prayer of Taraweeh along with taraweeh dua not merely connects and brings us closer to Allah Almighty but also gives us an opportunity to get engaged in some physical activity that refrains us from binge eating and stay healthy and energetic.
- Taraweeh dua also improves and enhances the memory with the constant recitation of the beautiful verses from the Holy Quran, shielding the mind from evil or any other inbound thoughts.
Health benefits Of Taraweeh
After the meal of iftar (the breaking of fast), the blood glucose level continues rising up from the consumed food.
Just before the meal of iftar , blood glucose and insulin levels both are at their lowest levels.
An hour or more after the consumption of the meal, blood glucose starts to rise, in addition to plasma insulin. The liver and the muscles start circulating glucose to multiple organs and the body. Blood sugar reaches the highest levels in an hour or two, right then the advantages of the Taraweeh prayer come into influence.
The circulating glucose is converted into carbon dioxide and water during the prayer of Taraweeh.
Hence, the Taraweeh prayer helps burn extra calories and enhances flexibility, elasticity and coordination, decreases stress-related autonomic reactions in healthy individuals, and helps to get rid of anxiety, stress and depression.
The gentle movements that are performed during the prayer enhance physical and mental fitness, spiritual well-being and increases endurance.
It is narrated that the five daily prayers cause the same functional or physiological modifications with no unwanted side effects as those caused by walking or jogging at almost the speed of 5 kph.
Reasons Not to miss Taraweeh Prayer
All your sins are pardoned
For beginners , the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) clearly educated us about the virtues of standing in prayer, specifically in this holy month of Ramadan, when he said “Whosoever stands in the nights of Ramadan, with faith and in hope of receiving Allah’s reward, his past sins will be forgiven” (Bukhari).
You are granted for the whole night of prayer
By praying Taraweeh and taraweeh dua you attain the reward of standing the entire night in prayer. The Prophet Muhammad ( Saww) is reported to have narrated“Whoever stands praying with the Imam until he is finished, it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.” (Tirmidhi Sahih)
Nafil prayers make up for failings in obligatory prayers
Another important point to take into account is that your additional nafl prayers will make up for all the shortcomings or failings in your obligatory Salah. The Prophet Muhammad (Saww) told us that when a person stands before Allah on the Day of judgement, and his obligatory prayers are found to be flawed, Allah will say: “See if my servant has any voluntary prayers that can complete what is lacking in his obligatory prayers.” (Tirmidhī Sahih)
You’re the one who is rewarded, not Allah.
We must never look at the salah as a load or just an activity, the fact is that Allah gains no advantage or reward from our prayers, it is only us who will take benefit out of it. For the Prophet Muhammad (Saww), prayer was taken as a comfort and a form of easing, an escape from the daily toil. He used to say Bilal, the Mua’thin, “Call for the prayer, so we can pray and feel at ease.”
Dua E Taraweeh
Laylat al-Qadr the “Night of Decrees” (Shab e qadar)
One of the most essential facets of the holy month of Ramadan is that it consists of Lailatul Qadr or shab e qadar (the night of decree or the night of glory). As we all know that Lailatul Qadr is supremely the blessed night of the year. This is the night in which Allah (SWT) opted to manifest the Holy Quran upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Saww). In the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“Verily! We have sent it (Quran) down on the Night of Decree (Lailatul Qadr). And what will make you know what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descend the angels and the Rooh (i.e. Gabriel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees, Peace! until the appearance of dawn” (Quran, 97:1-5).
As the holy Quran was manifested in the Night of Decree so this is the perfect and clear sign that the recitation of the Quran on this Night of power (Lailatul Qadr or shab e qadar) is more benefitting than during any other moment of the year. If a person recites a single letter of the Quran, he/she will surely be blessed with ten deeds.
Muslims also believed that Lailatul Qadr or shab e qadar is the sacred night in which Allah Almighty makes a decision about the fate, destiny, fortune, sustenance, nativity, death for HIS creation worthy and bad or evil of a person’s deeds etc. It is written in the Holy Quran that this night is way more better than a thousand months as Allah Himself speaks: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (Quran, 97:3). This actually gives a meaning that the worship performed in this night brings more blessings and benefits than that worship being carried out for the period of a thousand months.
Lailatul Qadr or shab e qadar is one of the main blessings of the holy month of Ramadan. Significance of the night of decree could be understood by the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). According to a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (RA), the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left” (Al-Bukhari).
Lailatul Qadr (shab e qadar) the Night of Decree takes place in odd-numbered nights during the most last ten days of the holy month of Ramadan. It may occur on twenty-first, may take place on twenty-third, might fall on twenty-fifth, may happen on twenty-seventh or may come about on twenty-ninth. It is narrated by Aisha (RA): “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) used to practice Itikaaf in the last ten nights and say: ‘Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadan” (Muslim).
Lailatul Qadr is the night wherein Allah Almighty showers His countless and choicest of blessings from the heavens upon the people of the earth. Even the angels from the heavens come down on the earth and convey salaams to every true believer who is involved in the worshiping of Allah Almighty. It is recounted on the authority of Ibn Abbas, that Prophet Muhammad (Saww) had said: “…all those angels who are stationed by the Sidratul Muntaha (lote tree of the utmost boundary beyond which none can pass) descend with the angel Jibraeel (AS) to the earth and there remain no male or female believers whom they do not convey salaams to, exempting the person who drinks liquor or consumes pork”. (Bukhari)
The very subtle and perfect way to attain advantage from the blessings of this night is to stay up for the entire night and devote it in prayers. Those who are unable to do so, for any reason, must at least spend a short but reasonable part of the night for Allah (SWT).
The Rules of Ramadan
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn till dusk every single day obeying the rules of Ramadan. They are meant to abstain themselves from drinking, smoking, eating and sexual activity, as well as ill or dirty thoughts or words and evil or bad behavior observing the rules of Ramadan.
The holy month of ramadan is a time to experience self-control and self-analysis. Fasting is seen as an actual way of cleansing the soul and developing empathy for those in the world who are needy, poor and less privileged. Muslims go to schools and their work and pay attention to their normal activities during the holy month of Ramadan; But, some people also recite the whole Quran, offer special prayers and visit mosques quite often during this holy month of Ramadan to experience the rules of Ramadan mubarak.
All Muslims who have passed puberty and are in better health are supposed to fast following the rules of Ramadan mubarak. The sick people and elderly, along with the travelers, expecting women and those who are involved in lactation are exempted, although they are required to make a compensation for the missed fast days some other time in the upcoming life or provide assistance in feeding the poor.
The first pre-dawn meal of the day during the holy month of Ramadan is called “suhoor.” Each day’s fast is broken with a meal that is known as “iftar.” Usually, a date is consumed to break the fast. Msulims must enjoy these two events observing the rules of Ramadan. Iftars are frequently extended feasts enjoyed with friends and family. The kinds of foods that are usually served differ according to tradition and beliefs.
Importance of Ramadan
- Holy Quran was first manifested in the holy month of Ramadan.
- Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is the fourth Pillar of Islam among the five pillars.
- Fasting is another way of attaining Taqwa (performing of activities which delight Allah and refraining from those activities that offend Him).
- Ramadan is said to be the month of Quran. It is greatly suggested in the Ramadan to recite and learn the Holy Quran and to share its knowledge with other people.
- The Night of Decree or The Night of Glory or The Night of Power (Laylat al Qadr ) takes place in this holy month of Ramadan, which is superior to a thousand months.
- In this Holy month of ramadan, the doors of Paradise are opened, doors of Hell are sealed and the devils are tied up.
- Umrah (smaller/minor pilgrimage) in the holy month of Ramadan is considered equal to Hajj (major pilgrimage).
- Muslims observe Itikaaf (accommodating in the mosque for worship) in the holy month of Ramadan particularly in the last 10 days of this Holy month of ramadan.
- It is a very worthwhile deed in the holy month of Ramadan to offer Iftar (sunset meal to break fast) to those people who are fasting.
- It is also highly advised to give Zakat (obligatory tax/donation – 2.5% of wealth/savings/assets) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity) in the holy month of Ramadan to the poor, orphans, widow, needy people.
- It is narrated in an authentic Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Saww) that fasting in the holy month of Ramadan genuinely out of faith and in the expectation of blessing and reward, we shall be pardoned all our earlier sins, provided the main sins are not done.
RAMADAN IN THE QURAN
The holy month of Ramadan [is that] in which was manifested the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace is until the emergence of dawn.
HADITHS ABOUT THE RAMADAN
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.” ‘
[Sunan an-Nasa’i Book-22 Hadith-116]
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Book-31 Hadith-1]
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Book-30 Hadith-9]
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The five (daily) Salat (prayers), and from one Jumu’ah prayer to the (next) Jumu’ah prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals); provided the major sins are not committed”.
[Sahih Muslim Book-1 Hadith-130]
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to practice I’tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Book-32 Hadith-7]
Umm Ma’qil narrated that:
The Prophet said: “Umrah during Ramadan is equal to Hajj.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi Book-9 Hadith-132]
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said:
“The Messenger of Allah enjoined the Zakah of Ramadan on everyone, young and old, free and slave, male and female, a Sa of dates or a Sa of barley.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i Book-23, Hadith-0]
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever died and he ought to have fasted (the missed days of Ramadan) then his guardians must fast on his behalf.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Book-30, Hadith-59]
Abu Ayub narrated that :
the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting everyday.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi Book-8 Hadith-78]
Health Benefits of Ramadan
Muslims do not take fast out of the thought of medical advantages that are of a minor importance. Fasting has been done by patients for the management of weight, to rest the digestive lining and for reducing lipids. There are multiple adverse or bad effects of total fasting in addition to crash diets. Islamic fasting is not the same as such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnourishment or insufficient calories intake. The calories intake of Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan is at or somewhat below the nutritional requirement strategies. Furthermore, the fasting in the holy month of Ramadan is willingly taken and is not a recommended imposition from the doctor.
Ramadan is a month of self-control and self-analysis, with the expectation that this experience will continue beyond the end of the holy month of Ramadan. If the teachings or good deeds learned during the month of Ramadan, whether in accordance to dietary intake or morality, are continued even after the holy month of Ramadan, their impacts will be longing for life. Likewise, the kind of food eaten during the holy month of Ramadan does not have any discriminating principles of crash diets like those that are protein only or fruit only kind of diets. Everything that is allowed is consumed in a moderate amount.
The dissimilarity between Ramadan and total fasting is the period of the food consumption; during Ramadan, we literally miss lunch and eat an early breakfast and avoid eating until dusk. Abstention of water for eight to ten hours is not essentially worse for health. The body has its own unique water conservation system.
The physiological or functional effect of fasting involves declining blood sugar level, pulling down cholesterol and reduction of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting is an ideal suggestion for treating slight to moderate, non-insulin diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
In 1994 the first International Congress on “Health and Ramadan”, conducted in Casablanca, came into 50 general studies on the medical aspects and ethics of fasting. While enhancement in many medical conditions was eminent; but, in no way did fasting exacerbate the health of any patients or their basic medical condition. On the contrary, patients who are suffering from serious disorders, be it type I diabetes or heart diseases, kidney stones, etc are excluded from fasting and are not allowed to fast.
There are psychological or functional impacts of fasting as well. There is a calm, comfort and tranquility for those who take fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Personal resentment is at a minimum, and the crime rate declines. Muslims take advice from the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) who said, “If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting.” This psychological refining could be linked to better balance of blood glucose during fasting because low glucose level after eating, worsens behavior changes. There is an advantageous impact of additional prayer at night.
This not only assists with improved utilization of food but also assists in energy output. There are ten additional calories output for each part of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for practice, but a slight motion of the joints with additional calorie utilization is an improved kind of practice. In the same way, reading of the Quran not only provides tranquility of heart and mind and soul, but also enhances the memory.
One of the odd-numbered nights in the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan is called the night of power or the night of decree when angels come down, and take the prayer of worship to Allah Almighty for approval.
Fasting is a specific deed of worship which is only between humans and Allah Almighty since no one other knows for sure if this person is literally fasting. Thus Allah Almighty says in hadith Qudsi that “Fasting is for Me and I only will reward it”. In another hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said “If one does not give away falsehoods in words and deeds, Allah Almighty has no need of him giving away food and drink”.
Things Will Change due to Corona in Ramadan 2020
Ramadan 2020: The world is experiencing a worldwide lockdown, the time period of this situation is still uncertain. Therefore, we need to be ready to experience a changed month of Ramadan, this year.
- This year, in Ramadan 2020, Muslims will not be allowed to enter mosques for praying. Collected prayers are even prevented in the Gulf nations as people congregations are firmly not suggested these days.
- In Ramadan 2020, As mosques would be kept locked, people will not be able to offer i’tikaf at their nearest mosques even. But women will still be able to offer itikaf prayers because they practice most of the prayers within the boundaries of their houses.
- Also, people will not be able to have meetings and congregations and eat with their friends and extended family. Eid shopping will also be influenced by lockdown. We will not be able to see our relatives after having the sight of the moon in order to congratulate them about Ramadan.
- In Ramadan 2020, Laylatul Qadar, which is the night of blessings and the night of glory, will not also be as ordered as it was. During the lockdown to practice social distancing, lightening, events and sermons at houses or at the mosques will not be possible.
- In accordance with the ban on collected prayers, the Taraweeh prayers will not also be offered in congregation. Sadly, “Taraweeh” in Ramadan 2020, which are the particular evening prayers after the meal of iftar, will not be performed in the mosques.
Eid al Fitr
Eid al Fitr is an essential festival in the Islamic calendar and was initiated by the Prophet Muhammad (Saww) himself. It is also identified as ‘The Feast of Breaking the Fast’ and is commemorated by Muslims globally to mark the completion of Ramadan.
Eid al Fitr occurs on the very first day of the tenth month (Shawal) of the Islamic lunar calendar, and Muslims are not allowed to fast on that special day.
Muslims are not merely celebrating the completion of fasting, but also paying gratitude to Allah Almighty for the Qur’an, which was first manifested towards the completion of Ramadan, and for the endurance that Allah Almighty has given them to practice self-restraint all through the prior month of fasting. If essential, they will ask Allah Almighty for forgiveness if they became unsuccessful to take the fast at any point.
In Muslim countries, Eid ul Fitr is a general holiday. The festival of Eid is celebrated in the following ways:
- The festival day of Eid starts with the first spotting of the new moon at the commencement of the tenth month (Shawal) of the Islamic calendar and muslim greet each other saying eid mubarak.
- On the prestigious occasion of Eid muslims wear the beautiful best attires, beautify their homes and spend time feasting with their friends and extended family.
- Some Muslims may donate money to the poor as a sign of eid mubarak so that they can also enjoy the perks of the day.
- Collective celebration services are conducted both outdoors and in the mosques, there are parades or marches of eid mubarak through the streets and roads and a special feasting meal is eaten – the first daytime meal that the Muslims will eat in a month.
Eid ul Fitr is a moment for families, neighbors and friends and to pass time together and share delicious food.
When it was Eid, the Prophet Muhammad ( Saww), would take single road to the mosque and a changed road on his way back home. He would do this in order to greet as many people as possible and spread harmony, amity and bliss
Similarly Eid 2020 will be an exquisite moment of rejoicing and feasting. We should make sure of not forgetting the poor, needy and less fortunate people who are deprived of the fundamental needs and cannot cherish the moments of Eid ul fitr as rich people do.
Eid 2020 may be bit different considering the current situation of Corona and lockdown, we ought to celebrate Eid 2020 following the rules of Islam.