1. The Gates of Paradise are Opened and the Gates of Hellfire are Closed
Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrates the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed us about this so that we could worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala with more dedication, love, and passion.
Opening up the doors of Paradise means that we open up our hearts and minds for moving towards Paradise consciously, and not simply by wishful thinking. Keeping Paradise as our goal we will strive in righteous deeds heading towards Paradise, in sha Allah (God-willing). It also means we enter it with ease without any effort on our part. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has planned everything for us so lovingly that one can (and must) express shukr for everything. He wants us to enter Jannah (Paradise) with ease. He not only encourages us to do good deeds, but also has planned that we enter it smoothly. SubhanAllah!
The doors of Hellfire are closed means that we shut the doors of sins in our lives as well. In Ramadan, a person is provided with such an environment where it is easier for him to strive in the deeds that can take him to Paradise and protect him from those that will lead him to Hellfire.
In Ramadan, the doors of the heavens are opened up for the acceptance of one’s deeds and du’as [supplications]. Do not waste them in the kitchen or in futile activities, please. Busy yourself in reserving your place in Jannah instead.
2. Performing Umrah in Ramadan
Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu relates the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked a woman from Madina, “What prevented you from embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage with us?” She replied, “We had two camels: My husband and child took one and left the other for the rest of us to ride on.”
The Prophet ﷺ then told her, “When the month of Ramadan arrives, go for ‘Umrah because ‘Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying me on Hajj.” (Bukhari)
This means do not wait for the time until you have enough funds to finance your Hajj obligation. Rather, it means why delay a rewarding opportunity. You are alive and have the means to visit the House of Allah. Perform the ‘Umrah now and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to invite you again for the Hajj obligation, in sha Allah. Do not delay the Umrah opportunity for the hopes of Hajj one day.
3. Fasting will be an Intercession on the Day of Resurrection
‘Abdullah ibn Amr radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him. The Qur’an will say: I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him. And their intercession will be accepted.” (Ahmad)
When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands us to do something He also ensures that we are motivated to act it out. The ayaat of the Qur’an or the Prophet’s sayings contain motivation for us so that we are inclined to perform that task wholeheartedly. No other duty in the world brings rewards or motivation. The office duties are often assigned with the mindset these are ‘your’ duties’ you ‘have’ to perform them. If you do not perform your task you are fired. But Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives us a command and ensures that He motivates us through many ways either by narrating the rewards or by encouraging us that it was the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Hence, making it easier for us to submit before our Lord.
4. Fasting is a Shield
Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu reported that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it. The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting,’ twice. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted.” [Muslim]
5. A Special Door for those who Fast
Sahl ibn Sa’ad radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “In Paradise there is a gate called Ar-Rayyan through which those who used to fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection, and no one but they will enter it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who fasted?’ They will get up, and none will enter it but them. When they have entered, it will be locked, and no one else will enter.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
The Doors of Paradise
Paradise has eight doors. Each door is fixed for a certain good deed. These doors are:
1. Baab As-Salaat: those who were punctual and focused in their prayers will be granted entry through this door.
2. Baab Al-Jihad: those who have died in the defense of Islam will be granted entry through this door.
3. Baab As-Sadaqah: those who frequently give away in charity will be admitted into Jannah through this door.
4. Baab Ar-Rayyan: the people who constantly observed fasting (especially during Ramadan) will be granted entry through this door.
5. Baab Al-Hajj: those who observe the Hajj pilgrimage will be admitted through this door.
6. Baab Al-Kaazimeen Al-Ghaiz Wal Aafina Anin Naas: this door is reserved for those who control their anger and forgive others.
7. Baab Al-Emaan: this door is reserved for the entry of such people who have sincere faith and trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and who strive to follow His commands.
8. Baab Al-Dhikr: those who constantly remembered Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will be admitted through this door.
Again Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made arrangements for us according to our individual potentials. Some people are regular in their prayers. They neither consider it a burden nor neglect it. Some are enthusiastic about giving in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They use His favors in His cause to seek nothing but His pleasure. Then there are those who strive in His cause. And those who remember Him abundantly – while they are standing, sitting, laying down or prostrating. There is a door for each servant of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala according to his deeds. This should also encourage us to perform obligatory and voluntary deeds more ardently.
When the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informing the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhu about the different gates of Jannah, Abu Bakr Sideeq radhiAllahu ‘anhu asked if there will be someone who will enter through all the gates. The Prophet said, “Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr.”