“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed 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.” (Al-Baqarah 185) This verse shows the virtue of the holiest month to all Muslims around the world. Ramadan always had a significant place to the Prophet ﷺ, his Companions, and our Salaf, “the pious predecessors“.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said about fasting Ramadan, “Fasting is a shield. 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 ﷺ 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 1894)
It’s worth to mention that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) fasted on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the year. He also fasted on the days of the white of each month. Narrated Qatadah Ibn Malhan al-Qaysi: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to command us to fast the days of the white (nights): thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of the month. He said: This is like keeping perpetual fast.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 24490)
But when Ramadan comes, the Prophet ﷺ rejoiced and he delighted his Companions saying: “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it, the gates of the heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it, Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 2106)
Ibn Umar reported: The Prophet ﷺ said: “Do not fast the month of Ramadan until you see the crescent moon, and do not break your fast until you see it. If the sky is cloudy for you, then estimate it. (Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhari 1906)
Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, called Ramadan ” the Purifier” because it purifies sins. He said, “Fasting is not merely from food and drink alone. Rather, it is from lies, falsehood, vain talk, and swearing.” (Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah 8882)
So, during Ramadan, we should watch our tongue from backbiting, gossiping, telling lies, insulting others, and saying evil words or bad deeds as the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ did.
Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with them, said, “When you fast, then let your hearing, seeing, and tongue fast as well from falsehood and sins, and avoid harming your servants. Rather, you must have dignity and tranquility on the day of your fasting. Do not make days you do not fast and days you fast as if they were the same.” (Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah 8880)
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: “And if anyone slanders him or quarrels with him, he should say:” I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Sahih Muslim 1151a)
The Companions also paid great attention to reciting the Holy Quran during the month of Ramadan which it is called the Month of the Quran. They recited it at night and during al-Taraweeh prayers. Some of them completed Quran every three nights and others every seven nights. Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) completed reciting the whole Quran every day, from beginning to end.
Furthermore, Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when Gabriel would meet him, he would meet him every night of Ramadan to study the Quran.” (Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhari 1902)
Qatadah, may Allah be pleased with him, completed the Qur’an in seven days throughout the year but in Ramadan, he completed it every three days. While in the last ten days of Ramadan, Qatadah completed it every night. (Al-Siyar 5/276).
Abdullah bin Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, and all the companions concentrated attention during Ramadan on seeking Allah’s forgiveness continuously. Abdullah said upon breaking his fast, “Oh Allah, I ask You by Your mercy which encompasses all things, that You forgive me.”
Asking for Allah’s forgiveness during Ramadan must be all Muslims’ priority.
Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If anyone fasts during Ramadan because of faith and in order to seek his reward from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven to him.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 1372).
So, Ramadan is a great opportunity to ask forgiveness from the most Merciful. So, never be desperate as Allah (SW) Says: “Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 53)
In Ramadan, the Companions dedicated themselves to ibadah and salaah, some of them even stopped all their labors. In general, all of them prayed long Taraweeh and Qiyam prayers and recited hundreds of verses till dawn during the holy month.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to encourage them and said, “Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the early days of ‘Umar’s Caliphate.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2009) When Umar bin Al-Khattab, one night in Ramadan, saw people praying in different groups, a man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him, he said, ‘In my opinion, I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter). So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka’b. He and Tamim al-Dari lead Muslims in Taraweeh prayers and they recited the Quran and lengthened the prayers till people lean on staves.
The Companions of the Prophet ﷺ cursed the disbelievers, “the Hypocrites” in Ramadan as they just pray in the early part of the night.
The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions make sure to prepare themselves for Ramadan since Rajab and Sha’ban. They fasted, prayed, and sought forgiveness before Ramadan. Narrated `Aisha “I never saw Allah’s Messenger ﷺ fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha’ban.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1969)
Usamah ibn Zayd reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as you fast during Sha’ban.” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “It is a month people neglect between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds and I like for my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.” (Sunan al-Nasā’ī 2357)
Also, `Aisha, the Mother of the Believers (may Allah be pleased with her), made up for the missed obligatory fasting days of Ramadan in Sha`ban. Narrated `Aisha: Sometimes I missed some days of Ramadan, but could not fast instead of them except in the month of Sha’ban.” Said Yahya, a sub-narrator, “She used to be busy serving the Prophet ﷺ .” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1950)
In addition, the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions occupied themselves with many additional prayers “Nawafel“, voluntary Fasting, and private worship before and during Ramadan. Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, prayed in his house during Ramadan, but when people depart from the mosque of the Prophet ﷺ, he would go there with a flask of water [to pray] and would stay there until al-Fajr prayer.
They also preferred others above themselves and used to break others’ fasting, iftaar, to gain their rewards and to feel and taste the flavor of hunger, too. Ibn ‘Umar used to break his fast with the orphans and the poor and needy. They follow the hadith of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when he said, “Whoever gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will have a reward like theirs, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 1746)
During Ramadan, narrated Ibn `Abbas: Prophet ﷺ was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ then used to be more generous than the fast wind. (Sahih al-Bukhari 3554).
Likewise, the companions were generous as they follow the lead of the Prophet ﷺ. Al-Nawawi writes: Our scholars said that being generous and performing favors are highly recommended during Ramadan, specifically during the last ten nights. By doing so, we emulate the example of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, as well as our predecessors. This month is honored and good deeds performed in this month are more blessed than they are at any other time. (al-Majmū’ Sharḥ al-Muhadhdhab 6/424)
The last ten days of Ramadan are highly important for all Muslims. Narrated `Aisha that the Prophet ﷺ tightened his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and prayed all night, and kept his family awake for the prayers. (Sahih al-Bukhari 2024).
In another narration, Aisha said: “The Prophet ﷺ would exert himself in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan more so than any other time.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1175)
The Prophet ﷺ and Companions were also keen to observe i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan and seek the Night of Al-Qadr on the odd nights. The night that Allah, Glorified and Exalted Be He, described it as “The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. (Surah Al-Qadr 3)
The Prophet ﷺ said about the Night of Qadr, “And whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2014)
`Aisha (RA) reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, if I know which night is the Night of Decree, what should I say during it?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Say: O Allah, You are pardoning. You love to forgive, so forgive me.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3513)
For that, Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) made long, sincere, and deep Du`a’s, recited the Holy Quran, remembered Allah, practiced i`tikaf, paid charity and Zakah, and asked Allah’s forgiveness during Ramadan.
The Prophet ﷺ also promised those who fast a special Heaven they enter it through a special gate and he ﷺ said: “Verily, there is a gate in Paradise called al-Rayyan, through which only those who fasted will enter on the Day of Resurrection. No one else will enter it along with them. It will be said: Where are those who fasted? They will stand and no one will enter it along with them. When they enter it, it will be closed and no one else will go through it.” (Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhari 1896)
He ﷺ also motivated his Companions to perform the Umrah during Ramadan as Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺsaid: “Verily, the Umrah pilgrimage during Ramadan is equal to Hajj.” (Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhari 1782)
These days, we are on the cusp of the three sacred months, Rajab, Sha’ban, and Ramadan. Our dear Prophet ﷺ and his beloved Companions represent to us the best examples to learn from and to follow in their footsteps. Let’s all grasp this opportunity and may Allah grant us a Blessed Ramadan.
And Allah knows best.