The holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The month of Fasting (Sawm) is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. A holy and blessed month for Muslims the world over, it’s a time of fasting, prayer and reflection. For many, it’s the perfect opportunity to develop a closer relationship with their creator, Allah.
But what makes Ramadan such a blessed and special time of year for Muslims?
The most significant thing is the fact that in this month, as we are told by Allah, the gates of Heaven are thrown open, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and the rebellious jinn are chained, the gates of Hell are locked and not one of them is opened; the gates of Paradise are opened and not one of them is locked. ” (Tirmidhi).
Another significance of this month is the act of fasting itself. Fasting means one has to have self-restraint and self-control as the person fasting does not only have to abstain from food and drink, but he must also refrain from many other things, including; backbiting, gossiping, fighting, using foul language etc.
He also said, “If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting'” (Bukhari).
As previously mentioned, one of the virtues of this month is to gain ‘Taqwa’ or ‘god consiousness.’ To attain Taqwa or righteousness means to fear Allah and to obey His every Command. And by fasting for thirty days, we are doing just that. Fasting is never done for any material or worldly gain. Fasting is done mainly because it is the command of Allah for Muslims to follow. And it is this spirit which is the cause of instilling “Taqwa” in Muslims.
The month of Ramadan is also a month of forgiving. Allah SWT is the most forgiving to all his believers. Most Muslims would make use of this holy month to pray for forgiveness for the sins, intentional or unintentional, they’ve committed in the past year.
The Prophet Muhammad (PHUB) mentioned, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, Sahih al-Bukhari)
Ramadan is also the month in which the Quran was revealed. Therefore it is only fitting that Muslims celebrate this by reciting verses from the Holy Book. Fasting during the month of Ramadan would not be complete without spending some time with the Quran.
It was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185)