The Excellence of Ramadan and Fasting
1) The Messenger of Allah (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
((When (the month of) Ramadan enters, the doors of heavens are flung open and the doors of Hell are shut, and the Shayaateen are chained up)).
And in a narration it mentions:
((When (the month of) Ramadan arrives, the doors of Paradise are opened)).
And in yet another narration, it mentions:
((…the doors of mercy are opened)).
[The authenticity of the above narrations has been agreed upon by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
2) And in the transmission of at-Tirmidhee (it mentions):
((A caller would call out: "O you who want good, proceed, and O you who want evil, cease. Allah frees people from the fire, and this is done every night until ramadaan is over")).
[al-Albaanee has graded it as Hasan]
3) And he (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
(((The reward for) all the actions of the son of Aadam are multiplied (from anywhere between) ten times to seven hundred times)).
And Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala) said in a hadeeth qudsee :
((…except for fasting, then it is for Me and I will give reward for it; He left off his desires and his food for My sake. For the fasting person there are two pleasures: his pleasure at the time of breaking his fast and his pleasure when he meets his Lord. And the smell emanating from the mouth of the one who is fasting is better in the Sight of Allah than the smell of musk)).
[The authenticity of all the above narrations have been agreed upon by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
That which is required of you in Ramadan
Know! O my Muslim Brother, that Allah has made fasting obligatory upon us so that we worship Him doing so; (therefore) so that your fast is acceptable and beneficial (to you) be aware of the following:
1) Be wary of protecting your prayers: Many people who are fasting are slack in maintaining their prayers despite it being a pillar of the religion, and leaving it is from (the acts of) kufr;
2) Maintain good manners: Be wary of falling into kufr and cursing the religion, and ill manners towards the people, particularly whilst fasting. Fasting purifies the inner self and does not lead to ill manners, and kufr renders the Muslim outside the fold of the religion;
3) Do not speak unnecessarily even if you are joking, as this will reduce the reward of your fast. Take note of what the Messenger of Allah (sal-Allahu 'alahe wa sallam) said:
((If any of you are fasting, then abstain from ignorant and indecent speech that day; and if anyone curses you or strikes you, then say: I am fasting));
[The authenticity of this narration has been agreed upon by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
4) Benefit from the fast by leaving off smoking, which causes cancer and ulcers; Try to maintain your willpower and leave off smoking in the evening just as you left it during the day. As a result, you will be better off in health as well as financially;
5) Be wary of divulging in excessive eating at the time of breaking the fast, as it can result in ruining the benefit of the fast and harming your health.
6) Do not go to the cinema or watch television, so that you do not see that which will spoil your fast and ruin its effect;
7) Do not go to sleep too late and as a result miss out on the sahoor (pre-dawn meal) and the Salaatul-Fajr. Try to maintain an early start to your work, as the Messenger of Allah (sal-Allahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
((O Allah bless my Ummah in that which they maintain of an early start));
[Saheeh, transmitted by Ahmad]
8) Increase in giving in charity to your relatives and those who are needy; visit your relatives (to maintain family ties) and clear up any disputes and misunderstandings that may exist;
9) Increase in the remembrance of Allah and recite the Qur'an, listen to it and reflect upon its meaning and act according to it. Go to the masaajid to listen to beneficial talks; and doing the i'tikaaf in the masjid during the last ten days and nights of Ramadan is from the Sunnah;
10) Read around the subject of fasting so as to learn its rulings. You will then come to know that eating and drinking forgetfully does not break the fast. Also, having sexual intercourse during the night does not prevent anyone from fasting;
11) Maintain the fast of Ramadan and prepare your children to fast as soon as you feel they are capable, and beware of breaking the fast without an Islamically valid reason. Whoever intentionally breaks his fast any day then he is required to make up that day and repent;
12) Beware O my Muslim brother from eating (and drinking during the day) in Ramadan, and beware of openly doing so in front of the people, for indeed doing so is tantamount to fearlessness of Allah, making a mockery of Islam, and brazenness in front of the people. So know that whoever does not fast, then he has no right to celebrate the 'Eed since 'Eed is a major celebration upon the culmination of the fasting and anticipation for the acceptance of one's worship.