August 5, 2012 by Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would engage in different forms of fasting in the month of Ramadan. Every year, he would revise the Quran with angel Jibreel aalyhi sallam. He was a generous man on ordinary days, but when Ramadan arrived he became even more generous and gave much charity. He engaged in kind acts, recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and retreat during this month.
The Worship and Remembrance of Allah
He used to apportion to Ramadan a degree of worship that was not set aside to any other month. Sometimes he actually used to continue into the night. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, however, forbade his companions from doing so. When they pointed out to him that he continued he responded saying, “My body is not like yours, I dwell with my Lord, He feeds me and gives me drink.” [Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala used to nourish His Prophet during those periods of extended fasts with subtle knowledge, and abounding wisdom and light of the message. Of course, it was not food and drink in the literal sense, for if this were so the Prophet would not be considered fasting.
When the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became satisfied from the worship of his Creator and his heart opened up to his aim and his mind rested with the remembrance of his Master and his condition improved by his closeness to His Lord, he forget all food and drink. As it was said, ‘spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink. Nothing can harm you if you have attained the knowledge of your Lord.
The Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the best of those who remembered and worshiped Allah. As for the month of Ramadan it was made to be a season of worship and a time for remembrance and recitation. His nights were spent in supplication and humiliation unto his Lord, seeking His help, support, victory and guidance. He read long chapters of the Quran and stayed for long period bowing (in ruku’) and prostrating himself before Him. Such was the desire that was never satisfied with worship, making his standing in the night a source of sustenance and supply as well as power and energy. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah al-Muzzamil Ayah 1, “O Thou enwrapped one! Keep awake [in prayer] at night, all but a small part.”
The Days of Rasoolullah
During the days of the fasting month, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spent his time in propagating the Islamic call, engaging in Jihad, providing advice and training and reminding his companions. Among his practices was that the Prophet never commenced the fast of Ramadan except with a vision of what was to be achieved.
Prophet’s Advice to Have Suhoor
He used to encourage his companions to take meal before daybreak [Suhoor]. Indeed, it was confirmed that he said, “Have the meal before daybreak, because there is blessing in it.”
The period before daybreak is considered blessed because it is in the last third of the night, the time of divine descent and forgiveness. Allah says in Surah Adh-Dhariyat Ayah 18, “And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness.”
He says in Surah Ale Imran Ayah 7, “Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend in the way of Allah; and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning.”
The meal before daybreaks helps the individual in his fast and worship. It is therefore a payment for the bounty of worship that Allah has bestowed upon us.
Hastening to Have Iftaar
It was also established that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to hasten to have a meal after the setting of the sun. He, likewise, ordered his companions to do the same. Usually, he had dates or water because something sweet was agreeable for an empty stomach. Several sources have narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Verily, the fasting person has a prayer that will never be rejected.” Thus, he used to pray for the good of this world and the Hereafter. He broke his fast before praying Salaat ul Maghreb. In one authentic hadith, he said, “If the night enters from here and slips away from there, then the faster should end his fast.”
Fasting While Traveling and During Battles
Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam traveled during Ramadan fasting and then breaking his fast. In this regard, he gave the companions the choice of fasting or not while traveling. During battle, however, he ordered them to break their fasts, to enable them to fight. Here it would be recalled that the Great Battle of Badr was fought during the month of Ramadan. Then, Allah gave the Muslims a victory that has known no parallel since.
Retreat and Seclusion in the Last Ten Days
Among his practices also was that of retreat and seclusion during the last ten days of Ramadan. Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did this in order to attune his heart ever more with Allah and to free his mind from the concerns of the world. The gaze of his heart thus became entirely focused to the heavens.
During this time, he limited his contacts with people and intensified his supplication and prayers to Allah, the Lord of all Majesty and Glory. His heart, therefore, indulged purely in the contemplation of Allah’s attributes and qualities. It reflected upon His clear signs in the universe and of Allah’s creation in the heavens and the earth.
Indeed, he was the most pious of all men and sacrificed himself the most for the sake of Allah!