THE BLESSINGS OF THE MONTH OF RAMADHAN

Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam. The word "Sawm " (meaning to stop or abstain) is used in Arabic for fasting. A fast then means that one refrains from eating, drinking and other physical things (all those things that are otherwise allowed) from dawn to sunset. This month comes every year to spread the blessings and mercy of Allah. We are thankful to Allah for providing physical forms of divine worship such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage to improve our moral and spiritual condition.

Welcoming the Month of Ramadhan: The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said: "The month of Ramadhan comes to you. This is a blessed month" (Kitab-ul-Saum). The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has declared this month as the "month of Allah" because one abandons all otherwise "lawful" things in the way of Allah. He has also declared this month as the "Chief of the months." Worship during this month gains more blessings so one should fast with sincere intentions and worship should be performed to win Allah's pleasure.

Ramadhan - Anniversary of the Holy Quran: Ramadhan is that blessed month in which the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In this regard this month celebrates the birthday of the Holy Quran. To render our dues we should recite the Holy Quran as much as possible. During this month, at night, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) use to recite the Holy Quran in its entirety with the Angel Gabriel (Jibra eel).

Opening the doors to heaven: Hazrat Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "When the month of Ramadhan starts, the doors of heaven are opened, the doors of the hell are closed, and Satan is put into chains" (Sahih Muslim Kitab-ulSaum). In this saying the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has promised a high place in heaven for one who observe ss the fast because a believer is enjoined to perform such deeds that please Allah and stay away from bad things.

Ramadhan's Special relationship with Tahajjud Prayers: Hazrat Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "A person who gets up at night for Prayer and fulfills all requirements of his faith with an intention of receiving blessing during the Month of Ramadhan, is forgiven all his past sins."

Charity during Ramadhan: Ibn Abbas relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, was the most generous of men and he was at his most bountiful during Ramadhan when Gabriel visited him every night and recited the Quran to him. During this period the bounty of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, waxed faster than the rain-bearing breeze(Bokhari and Muslim).

Prayers: Allah forgives all previous sins of a person who sincerely worships Allah during the month of Ramadhan. During this month Allah's mercy and blessings are at their peak. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said that during Ramadhan: "Allah says: 'Is there anyone who calls on me so that I can accept his prayers? Is there anyone who asks for anything so that I can fulfill his desires? Is there anyone who asks for forgiveness so that I can forgive" (Sahih Bukhafi - Kitab-ul-Tauheed).

Last Ten days of Ramadhan: Hazrat Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that, during the month of Ramadhan, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to develop a new vigor, staying awake alI night and also waking members of his family for worship" (Sahih Bukhail, Kitab-ul-Saum). During the month of Ramadhan worship reaches its peak in the form of I'tikaaf (retirement for Allah's worship). The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to retire to the Mosque in the last ten days of the Ramadhan. He would go to a corner in the Masjid-e-Nabwee (Prophet's Mosque) to worship Allah in seclusion.

Ramadhan and Lailatul Qadr (Night of Decree): Hazrat Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "O Allah's Prophet, if I know which night is the Lailatul Qadr then what should I pray? He replied: 'you should pray: 'O Allah, you are very forgiving and love those who forgive othe rs. So bestow your blessings on me and forgive me"' (Jamiah Tirmidhi, Kitab-Al-Dawat). Lailatul Qadr is such a night that the Holy Quran has declared it to be better than a thousand months. May Allah enable us to be the recipients of Lailatul Qadr that we truly benefit from the coming month of Ramadhan. May Allah accept our prayers. Ameen.

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