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The Importance of Ramadan and Fasting
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars that form the basis of Islam. These pillars lay the foundations of a believer and a Muslim must adhere to them with devotion. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is compulsory, as prescribed by Allah in The Holy Qur’an:

“Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramadan˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Quran 2:185)

The importance of the month of Ramadan and virtues of fasting are described in numerous ahadith, or sayings of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They highlight the blessed month’s merits and rewards, within the traditions of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) related to fasting.

The Gates of Mercy are opened

Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) 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 Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1900

When to start fasting

Narrated by Ibn Umar: I heard Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) saying, “When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can’t see It) then regard the crescent (month) of Ramadan (as of 30 days)." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1901

Suhur (Pre-dawn meal)

Narrated by Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Take Suhur as there is a blessing in it." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1924

Narrated by Anas: Zaid bin Thabit said, “We took the Suhur with the Prophet. Then he stood for the prayer.” I asked, “What was the interval between the Suhur and the Adhan?” He replied, “The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of the Qur’an." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1922

Refraining leads to reward from Allah (SWT)

Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.” The Prophet added, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1895

Hasten to break the fast

Narrated by Sahl bin Sad: Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, “The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1958

Increase in sadaqah and charitable acts

Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare). Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1903

Fasting during journey

Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Allah’s Apostle was on a journey and saw a crowd of people, and a man was being shaded (by them). He asked, “What is the matter?” They said, “He (the man) is fasting.” The Prophet said, “It is not righteousness that you fast on a journey." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1947

Maintaining excellent character traits and behaviors while fasting

Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)" Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1904

Forgetfully eating or drinking while fasting

Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If somebody eats something forgetfully while he is fasting, then he should complete his fast, for Allah has made him eat and drink." Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 83, Hadith 6671

The Night of Qadr – The Night of a Thousand Months

Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in 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 Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 1902

Sins will be forgiven

Narrated by Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) 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 Volume 3, Book 30, Hadith 2009

May Allah accept this Ramadan from us and forgive the entire Ummah, granting us Jannatul Firdaus because of our actions and intentions this Ramadan. Ameen!

The Alim Foundation: NPS / NH; April 20, 2021