How to spend Ramadan:
The month of Ramadan is the season of divine blessings. It is the month of purification. It is meant for annual renovation of the inner spiritual qualities. It is a golden opportunity for every Muslim to strengthen his ‘iman, to purify his heart and soul and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.
This month invites a Muslim to minimize his other mundane involvements and maximize the acts of worship. One should plan his schedule for this month, before-hand, so as to spare maximum time for ‘ibadah.
Here is a brief list of the acts which should be carried out in Ramadan with due care:
1. To offer every prayer with jama’ah in a masjid.
2. To rise up a little earlier than the exact time of suhoor and to offer the salah of tahajjud. There is no prescribed number of the Tahajuud prayer. Yet, it is better to pray 8 Rak’at.
3. To offer the nafl prayers of Ishraq (two rak’at after the sunrise) Duha (Four rak’at which may be performed at anytime after Ishraq before noon) and Awwabin (six rak’at after maghrib).
4. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an. No specific limit is prescribed. But one should recite as much of it as he can.
5. Dhikr or Tasbeeh, specially the following recitations:
Apart from reciting these words, one hundred times each, at a particular time, they may also be continued frequently throughout the day, even if one is engaged in some light work, when walking and when in bed.
6. Prayers and supplications: No particular prayer is prescribed. One can pray for everything he needs both in this world and in the Hereafter. However, the supplications of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are so comprehensive that they encompass all that a Muslim can need in his life and after his death. It is, therefore, much advisable to pray Allah Almighty in the prophetic words used by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
There are several books where these prophetic supplications have been complied. Here is the name of two books, which should be kept by every Muslim in his home and be used for praying daily:
(i) Al-hisnul-hasin By ‘Allamah al-jazri.
(ii) Munajat-e-Maqbool By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.
7. Sadaqah (charity): Apart from paying zakah, which is obligatory, one should also pay optional sadaqah in Ramadan according to his best ability. It is reported in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to pay special attention in Ramadan to look after the poor and to help them financially. Therefore, a Muslim should give as much money in sadaqah as he can afford.

What should not be avoided in Ramadan:
All sinful acts should be avoided completely during the month of Ramadan. Although the sinful acts are totally prohibited in Shariah, whether in Ramadan or at any other time, but their prohibition becomes more severe in this month. It is evident that every Muslim avoids certain lawful acts, like eating and drinking, during the fasts. If he continues to commit sins in Ramadan, it will be a mockery to avoid lawful things and yet be engaged in unlawful acts never allowed in Shari’ah. Thus, the abstinence from sins becomes all the more necessary in this month.
Especially the following acts should be avoided totally.
(1) Telling a lie.
(2) Gheebah or backbiting i.e. condemnation of a person in his absence.
(3) Quarreling.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has particularly forbidden from it when one is in the state of fasting. He has directed us that, if someone wants to quarrel in Ramadan, we should tell him that we are fasting, hence we are not prepared to indulge in any quarrel.
(4) Eating unlawful things.
(5) Earning through unlawful means.
(6) Any act which may harm a person without a valid cause.
(7) Burdening one’s servants or employees with a toilsome job beyond their ability, without proving them facilities to carry it out.
In short, one should try his best to refrain from all kinds of sins, and protect his eyes, ears, tongue and all other organs from indulging in an unlawful activity.
Once a Muslim spends the month of Ramadan in this way, he will insha Allah, find himself equipped with a spiritual strength which will facilitate for him to conduct a good Islamic life in accordance with the pleasure of Allah.

Rules of Fasting:
Fasting in the days of Ramadan is obligatory (fard) on every Muslim. The one who does not believe it to be obligatory is not a Muslim, and the one who, without a valid excuse, does not fast in day of Ramadan is a sinner.
“Fast” means “to refrain from eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse throughout the day, right from the break of dawn up to sunset, with a clear intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah.” If somebody refrains from food, drink and sex for any reason other than seeking the pleasure of Allah, it cannot be called a “fast” in the terminology of the Shari’ah. It is thus necessary that there should be an intention, which is called the “Niyyah”.
For the fasts of Ramadan it is advisable that the “niyyah” be made in the night i.e. before the commencement of the fast. However, if a person had no intention of keeping fast before dawn, he can also make “niyyah” in the morning at any time before midday, i.e. about 1 ½ hours before Zawal (noon). But this rule is applicable only for the fast of Ramadan and for the Nafl (optional) fasts. As for fasts of qada it is always necessary to make niyyah before dawn.
Since the niyyah means intention, it is an act performed by one’s heart. It need not be pronounced in words. However, it is also permissible to express this intention in spoken words, but those who take it as ‘necessary’ to pronounce the words of “niyyah” are not correct.

Acts nullifying the Fast:
Acts nullifying the fast are of two kinds. In the first place there are some acts, which not only nullify the fast, but also make one liable to both qada and kaffarah. The number of these acts is only three, namely:
(a) Eating something.
(b) Drinking something.
(c) Having sexual intercourse.
These three acts are liable to kaffarah when they are committed deliberately after one has started a fast, provided that the person committing them knows that they render the fast broken.
In such cases both qada’ and kaffarah are obligatory on him. Qada’ means to keep another fast in lieu of the broken one. And kaffarah means to perform an act to expiate the sin of having broken the fast.
Kaffarh may be given in the following three ways respectively:
(a) Freeing a slave.
(b) Fasting for two months constantly without a break.
(c) Giving food to sixty persons.
Since slavery has come to an end in our days, only the latter two ways can be adopted today. But the person who has strength enough to fast for two month constantly has been bound to fast. He cannot adopt the third way, i.e. giving food to sixty persons. If he is too weak to fast for such a large number of days, he can give kaffarah be giving food to sixty persons.
In the second place there are some acts, which nullify the fast, but do not make the relevant person liable to kaffarah. In such cases only qada’ is obligatory.
These acts are:
(i) Eating or dirinking unintentionally. For example, while making wudu, if a drop of water slips into the throat unintentionally, the fast stands broken, but only the qada’ will be enough to compensate for the mistake.
(ii) Dropping medicine or anything else in the nose or the ear.
(iii) Smoking.
(iv) Emission of semen while touching, kissing or caressing a women.
(v) Eating or drinking under the wrong impression that the dawn has not yet broken, or the sun has set, while otherwise was true.
(vi) If someone eats or drinks while he does not remember that he is in state of fasting, his fast is not broken. He should continue with his fast after he remembers, his fast will stand broken, and if this eating or drinking was due to his wrong impression that his fast stood broken by his first eating or drinking, he will be liable to qada’ only.


Previous | Next

Back to Contents