In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, thank you for the confidence you place in us; we implore Almighty Allah to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
It is noteworthy that the month of Ramadan is highly honored by Almighty Allah, His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as well as Muslims throughout generations. It is a month that is venerated in the Islamic religion, and it is distinguished from the other months by a number of characteristics and virtues. Among these virtues is that performing `Umrahin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.
In his response to your question,Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, stated,
First, Al-Bukhari(1782) and Muslim (1256) narrated that Ibn`Abbassaid, The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said to a woman from among theAnsar — Ibn`Abbas mentioned her name but I forgot it — “What kept you from performing Hajj with us?” She said, “We only have two camels,” and the father of her son and her son had gone for Hajj on one camel, and he left the other camel so that they could carry water on it. He said, “When Ramadan comes, go for ‘Umrah, for ‘Umrahin (that month) is equivalent to Hajj.”
Second, scholars differed concerning the one who attains the virtue mentioned in thehadith. There are three opinions:
1.That this hadith applies only to the woman who was addressed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Among those who favored this view was Sa`id ibn Jubair among the successors, as was narrated from him by IbnHajarinFathAl-Bari(3/605). Among the evidence quoted in support of this view is thehadithof UmmMa`qil, who said, “Hajj is Hajj and `Umrahis `Umrah. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said this to me and I do not know whether it was just for me or for all people.” (AbuDawud1989), but this version isda`if(Arabic for: weak); it was classified as such by Al-Albaniin Da`if AbuDawud.
2. That this virtue is attained by the one who intends to do Hajj but is unable to do it, then he or she makes up for it by doing `Umrahin Ramadan. For by combining the intention to do Hajj with performance of `Umrahin Ramadan, he or she attains the reward of doing a complete Hajj with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Ibn Rajab said inLata’if Al-Ma`arif(p. 249), “It should be noted that the one who is unable to do a good deed and regrets that and wishes that he could do it will share the reward with the one who does it (and he mentioned a few examples of that). Some women missed out on doing Hajj with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and when he came they asked him about what would make up for that Hajj, and he said, “Do `Umrahin Ramadan, for `Umrahin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj or to Hajj with me.”
IbnKathirsaid something similar in hisTafsir(1/531).
This view was mentioned inMajmu` Al-Fatawaby IbnTaymiyahas something possible (26/293-294).
3. The view of the scholars of the four fiqh schools and others, that the virtue mentioned in this hadith is general in meaning and applies to everyone who does `Umrahin the month of Ramadan. `Umrahat that time is equivalent to Hajj for all people, not just for a few people or in certain circumstances.
The most correct of these opinions — and Allah knows best — is the last one, and the virtue is general in meaning and is attained by all those who do `Umrahin Ramadan. This is indicated by the following:
1.The hadith was narrated from a number of the Prophet’s Companions. Al-Tirmidhi said, “Concerning this topic (reports were narrated) fromIbn`Abas, Jabir, AbuHurayrah, Anas and WahbibnKhanbash. Most of the reports make no mention of the woman who asked the question.”
2. The action of people throughout the ages, namely the Companions,Tabi`un, scholars, and righteous people, who have always been eager to perform `Umrahin Ramadan so that they may attain this reward.
As for the idea that the virtue could only be attained by one who was unable to perform Hajj that year because of some impediment, it may be said that if a person sincerely intended and resolved to do Hajj and took the appropriate means, then was prevented by something beyond control, then Allah will decree the reward for that action because of his or her intention. So how could the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) make the reward conditional upon doing some additional action, namely performing `Umrahin Ramadan, when the sincere intention is sufficient to attain the reward?
Third, there remains the question about what is meant by the virtue mentioned, and that `Umrahin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj. That may be explained as follows:
Undoubtedly, `Umrahin Ramadan does not take the place of the obligatory Hajj, i.e. the one who does `Umrahin Ramadan has not discharged the duty to perform the obligatory Hajj for the sake of Allah.
What is meant by thehadithis that they are alike in terms of reward, not in terms of fulfilling the duty.
Nevertheless, what is meant by equivalency between therewardfor `Umrahin Ramadan and the reward for Hajj is equivalency in terms of amount, not in terms of type. Undoubtedly, Hajj is superior to `Umrahin terms of the type of action.
The one who does `Umrahin Ramadan will attain a reward equal in amount to that of Hajj, but the action of Hajj brings special virtues and status that are not present in `Umrah, such asdu`aa’ in `Arafah, throwing the Jamarat, and offering the sacrifice. Although they are equal in terms of the amount or number of reward, they are not equal in terms of type or nature.
IbnTaymiyahmentioned something similar when he spoke about thehadith that stats thatSuratAl-Ikhlasis equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an.
IshaqibnRahawayhsaid, “What thishadith —`Umrahin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj — means is similar to the report narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in which he said, ‘Whoever recitesQul Huwa Allahu Ahad has recited one-third of the Qur’an’“SunanAt-Tirmidhi(2/268).
InMasa’ilAl-Imam AhmadibnHanbal(1/553), there is a report from AbuYa`qubAl-Kusaj,”I asked, ‘Who said that `Umrahin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj? Is that proven?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is proven.’Ishaaqsaid, ‘It is proven as he said. What is meant is that there will be recorded for him a reward like that of Hajj, but he will never be like the one who performed Hajj at all.'”
IbnTaymiyahsaid inMajmu` Al-Fatawa(26/293-294):
“It is well known that what is meant is that your `Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj with me, because she wanted to do Hajj with him but was not able to. So he told her of what would take the place of that. The same applied to others among the Companions who were in the same position as her. No wise man would say what some ignorant people think that the `Umrah of one of us from the Miqator from Makkahis equivalent to Hajj with him, because it is obvious that a complete Hajj is better than `Umrah in Ramadan, and even if one of us does the obligatory Hajj, it cannot be like Hajj with him, so how can `Umrah be like that? The most that can be understood from thehadithis that the `Umrah of one of us from the Miqatin Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.”
Excerpted, with slight modifications from Islam-qa.com.
During this Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vanish into the night, leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on fasting, its wisdom and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of the Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between the reality and our obligations. Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah blessed His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase their piety (Taqwa). Allah said: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (Al-Baqarah 2:183). This article is an attempt to present the essential causes of this gap, and to some remedies. primary reason for the gap is ignorance about the goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many Muslims ignore the purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely to conform to the social environmet without contemplation. If one is not aware of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world and in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.
Goals of Fasting
Achieving Taqwa: is one of the most important wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on Taqwa as it lessens the desire of the stomach and mutes the sexual appetite. Whoever fasts frequently would overcome these two desires more easily. This deter against committing abominations and sins and assist in controlling life leading to Taqwa.
Strengthening willpower and acquiring patience: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam called Ramadhan the month of patience as it increases one’s will power to control his desire and the selfishness of his soul. This training allows him to be strong in following Allah’s commands. The most important being to carry the Message and propel it forward. The person trains himself to be patient in obeying Allah by stopping at the limits set by Allah both by way of action and abstention. Allah said: “These are the limits set by Allah, so approach them not.” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Fasting is pure worship: The fact that he is abstaining from food and drink both in public and in secret shows his honest faith and strong love of Allah, and his knowledge and feeling that Allah is all-knowing of everything. For this reason Allah has made the reward for fasting greater than for any other type of worship. Allah said in the hadith Qudsi: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied [in rewards], the good deed by ten of its like, up to seven hundreds, up to whatever Allah wills, except fasting, it is for Me and I will reward it. He abandons his desire and his food for My sake..” (Related by Muslim) lbn al-Qayyim said: “…And people may see that a person is not eating in front of them, but the fact that he is really abandoning his food and his desire for the sake of God is a thing that nobody can find out about, and that is the essence of fasting.” (Zaad al-Ma’ad 2/29).
Relieving Muslims from life’s distractions: Eating, drinking, and socializing all distract a person and weaken ties with Allah. It is by the Mercy of Allah that Muslims are ordered to fast so as not to be bothered by the intrusion of these activities. Nor by the thought about them nor the anticipation for them when devoting themselves to the all types of worship Either reading the Qur’an, offering additional prayer or making I’tikaf. For this reason the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting is a shield, and a secure fortress against Hell fire” (Related by Ahmad).
Discovering Allah’s Blessings: A person experiences the hardship of the poor. He should then be thankful to Allah Who has blessed him with His bounty while others are deprived. This should make him more sympathetic and willing to share this bounty. The poor rediscovers that fasting helps a person be more devoted to worship. More able to concentrate and meditate. He should then be able of this devotion all year long, a blessing he should thank Allah for.
Acquiring strength and endurance:It has been discovered that depriving the body of food for a period of time helps its defense and endurance mechanism. This in turn this protects the body from certain diseases.
Remember that fasting is not only dependent on abstentions: Many believe that fasting consist only of certain abstentions, forgetting that Allah established certain acts of worship with fasting. Among which are:
Qiyamul-layl: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Whoever performed the night prayer during Ramadhan out of belief and anticipating God’s rewards, will be forgiven his previous sins.”(Related by Muslim).Performing Umrah: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “An Umrah during Ramadhan is like a Hajj with me.” (Related by al-Hakim).
Offering Iftar (meal) to those who fasted. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Whoever feeds a fasting person has the same reward as him, except that the reward of the fasting person will not be diminished.” (Related by Ahmad).
Reading and completing the Qur’an: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting and [reading] Qur’an will intercede for the person: fasting will say: O Lord I forbade him eating and drinking so let me intercede for him, and the Qur’an will say: I deprived him from his night sleep so let me intercede for him,” he then said: “So they will intercede.” (Related by Ahmad). The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to recite the whole Qur’an to Angel Jibreel each Ramadhan.
Giving in charity: Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: “The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam was the most generous among people, and he was more generous during the month of Ramadhan.” (Related by Muslim).
I`tikaaf: which is to confine oneself in the masjid for prayer and invocation leaving the worldly activities. Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: “The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to perforrn I’tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan.” (Related by Muslim). It is surprising that many people have abandoned I’tikaf though the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam never abandoned it from the time he arrived to Madinah until he died.
Supplication: In the verses dealing with fasting, Allah said: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then answer them, I am indeed near to them. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 186). This is an encouragement for the fasting person to increase his invocation. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Three invocations will be answered: The invocation of the fasting person, the invocation of the oppressed, and the invocation of the traveler.” (Related by Muslim).
Repentance: Ramadhan is the time of repentance and return to Allah, for it is a time when the devils are chained, and when many people are saved from hell fire every night by the grace of Allah.
Applying oneself in all good deeds in the last ten days of Ramadhan: Aysha radhiallabu anha said: “When the last ten days come, he sallallahu alayhe wa sallam would pray most of the night and wake his family, and apply himself, and tighten up his loincloth.”, and she also said: “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to strive in the last days of Ramadhan more than he did during the other days.” (Related by Muslim).
Abstaining from vain talk: Sins decrease the reward of fasting although they do not annul it. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting is not [only] abstaining from eating and drinking, but abstaining from vain and obscene talk, so if someone insulted you or wronged you say: I am fasting.” (Related by al-Hakim) and he also said: ‘Whoever does not abandon lying, then Allah does not need him to abandon his food and drink.” (Related by al-Bukhari).
Source: Al-Jumuah Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 9
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent but he that will give more, of his own free will, it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during the month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way. (Al-Baqarah 2:183-186)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is giving us another opportunity in our life to witness the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a great time of Allah’s blessings and His mercy. Every Muslims should take full advantage of this time. We should get ready now to welcome this month and receive it with happiness. Following are some ways to welcome this month:
1. Special Du’a: Pray to Allah that this month reaches you while you are in the best of health and safety so that you can fast and do all your acts of devotion (‘ibadat) with ease and enthusiasm. It is reported by Anas bin Malik that the Prophet – peace be upon him – used to say from the beginning of Rajab in his prayers:
“O Allah bless us in Rajab, bless us in Sha’ban and bless us in Ramadan.” (Musnad Ahmad, 2228)
When he used to see Ramadan’s crescent, he used to pray:
“O Allah, make this crescent to shine on us with safety, faith, security, Islam and good fortune to do what is beloved and pleasing to our Lord. Our and your Lord is Allah.” (Al-Darmi 1625)
2. Thanks and Happiness: When the month comes, then you should be thankful to Allah and show happiness. The Companions of the Prophet – may Allah be pleased with all of them – used to greet each other on the beginning of Ramadan. The Prophet – peace be upon him – used to say:
The Prophet – peace be upon him – said giving the good news of the month to his Companions, “The month of Ramadan has come to you. It is a blessed month. Allah has made obligatory on you to fast during this month. The gates of heaven are opened in this month and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained. In this month there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whosoever is deprived of its blessings is indeed deprived.” (Musnad Ahmad 8631)
3. Planning and Determination: You should make a good plan for the whole month about how you are going to organize your days and evenings during Ramadan. Plan special schedules for your work so that you can pray on time, read the Qur’an and take Sahur and Iftar on time. Have sincere intention and determination to take full advantage of this time. Also have a full determination and commitment that you will not do any sin or anything wrong during this time. Make sincere repentance and seek the forgiveness of those whom you might have offended. In this way you can benefit much more from your fasting and prayers.
4. Learn about the Rules of Fasting: Fiqh of fasting is very important so that you do not do anything that will spoil your fasts. Learn the way of Prophet Muhammad in fasting. That is the best way. Fast is not spoiled only by eating and drinking during the fast, but also by speaking bad words and doing wrong things. The Prophet – peace be upon him – said, “Whosoever does not give up bad words and bad deeds, Allah has no need in that he leaves his food and his drink.” (Al-Bukhari 1770).
5. Charity, Generosity and Kindness: The month of Ramadan is the month of kindness, charity and generosity. Plan to invite your neighbors, co-workers, friends, Muslims and non-Muslims to have Iftar with you. Let your non-Muslims friends and neighbors know about this month and its blessings. Be more generous and help the poor and needy. Plan to give your Zakat and Sadaqat at this time and help others as much as you can. It is reported in a Hadith:
“The Prophet – peace be upon him – was the most generous person, but in Ramadan he used to be more generous when Jibrael(a.s.) used to meet him. Jibraeel(a.s.) used to see him during Ramadan every night and he used to read the Qur’an with him. The Prophet –peace be upon him – was then more generous with goodness than the blowing wind.” (Al-Bukhari, 5)
By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi