O my brother in Islam, the month of Ramadan has come to you, full of blessings. It comes only once in a year for just a few short days, full of mercy, so take advantage of them before they are gone:
(( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُون . أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ . شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ))
“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous (la’allakum tattaqun). [Fasting for] a limited, set number of days. So whoever of you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an (equal) number of other days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] is a ransom [as substitute] of feeding of one poor person. But whoever voluntary does good, then that is better for him. And it is better for you that you should fast, if only you knew. The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of guidance and criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you witnesses the month, then let him fast it. And whosoever of you is ill or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and He does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period, and to glorify (tukabbiroo) Allah for having guided you, and so that perhaps you may be grateful.” [al-Baqarah (2):183-185]
Allah has informed us that the major objective of the month of Ramadan is so that we become of those who practice taqwa, and it is to fulfill that which Allah has ordered and to avoid acts of disobedience to him. The word taqwa is derived from waqaa, which means to protect and shield. It was named that because the one who possesses taqwa, his taqwa will protect him from Allah’s punishment. And there is nothing that we are in greater need of than this, so Allah has prescribed for us fasting for a set number of days every year. And how many of us are there who have felt when Ramadan approaches that it has come just when we need it. This is because Allah knows us best.
And so He has created a program for the development of taqwa that fits our nature and our character perfectly as Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says:
(( أَلاَ يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ ))
“Does not He who has created know, while He is al-Latif, al-Khabir?” [al-Mulk (67): 14]
He is Latif (Kind) to His Servants, so He looks out for their welfare, and Khabir (all-informed) concerning their conditions and their nature so He knows what is best for them and so He legislated for them fasting in the manner that is best fitting for teaching them taqwa and training them in being more righteous.
Finally, when this month ends, Allah has taught us to make Takbir in celebration on the day of ‘Id.
There are many virtues of this blessed month which were mentioned by Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Abu Hurayrah reports from him that he said:
(( إِذَا دَخَلَ رَمَضَانَ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَسُلْسِلَتْ الشَّيَاطِينُ ))
“When Ramadan enters, the Gates of Heaven are opened, and the Gates of the Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.”
And in one wording with Muslim: “the Gates of Mercy” in place of “the Gates of Heaven.” So this month is a month of mercy. Allah has made entering Paradise very easy in this month. And He has blocked many of the paths to evil.
Ramadan is an opportunity to make up for all one’s shortcomings as Abu Hurayrah reports from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he said:
((الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمْعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمْعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّارَاتٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الكَبَائِرَ ))
“The five prayers, and Jumu’ah to Jumu’ah, and Ramadan to Ramadan, expiate what is between them, so long as one avoids major sins.”
And due to the great virtue of this month, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to strive the most in this month. Al-Bukhari reports from ibn ‘Abbas that he said:
(( كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنْ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ ))
“Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibril would meet him. And Jibril used to meet him every night of Ramadan to study the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).”
So it is a prophetic sunnah to strive in studying Qur’an, for it is the month in which it was revealed, and it was in this month that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would review the Qur’an with Jibril, peace be upon him. And it is for this reason that so many of the Salaf used to strive in reciting the Qur’an in this month.
And in this month, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to increase in his generosity. And perhaps this is because studying the Qur’an increases one’s detachment to the Dunya, and increases one’s longing for the Hereafter. And it is said that just as this is the month in which Allah increases in His bounties to His servants, likewise, Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to increase in generosity to Allah’s servants in this time as well, thus following the Sunnah of Allah.
So do not neglect this Prophetic Sunnah, my brother, and strive in studying the Qur’an in this month as:
(( خَيرُكُم مَن تَعَلَّمَ القُرآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ ))
“The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it to others.”
Abu ‘Abdir-Rahman as-Sulami, may Allah have mercy upon him, reports this hadith from ‘Uthman (رضي الله عنه) from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم). And he used to be one of the greatest of the scholars of the Qur’an from amongst the Tabi’in. Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaydah, who narrated this hadith from him said that Abu ‘Abdir-Rahman as-Sulami taught people the Qur’an from the time of ‘Uthman’s rule until the days of al-Hajjaj. He then quoted from Abu ‘Abdir-Rahman that he said concerning this hadith, “And that is what has caused me to take this position of mine.”
So look at how the Salaf strove to implement the words of Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) while we neglect them. So take advantage of this blessed month to begin studying the Book of Allah and to make its study an essential part of your life.
And do not forget the blessing of seeking religious knowledge, and in particular of studying the Qur’an in the masjid as Abu Hurayrah reports from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) that he said in a long hadith:
(( وَمَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِلاَّ نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ وَغَشِيَتْهُمْ الرَّحْمَةُ وَحَفَّتْهُمْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَذَكَرَهُمْ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ ))
“And whoever treads a path seeking knowledge, Allah makes easy for him a path to Paradise. And no group gathers in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it with one another, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels would surround them and Allah mentions them to those in His presence.”
Another important act of worship to perform in this month is ‘umrah. Ibn ‘Abbas relates from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he said:
(( فَعُمْرَةٌ فِي رَمَضَانَ تَقْضِي حَجَّةً أَوْ حَجَّةً مَعِي ))
“‘Umrah in Ramadan is equal to Hajj with me.” 
Virtues of Fasting in Ramadan
Abu Hurayrah reports that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
(( مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ))
“Whoever fasts Ramadan, out of faith (iman), and seeking the reward (from Allah), his previous sins shall be forgiven. And whoever stands the Night of Power (in prayer), out of faith (iman), and seeking the reward (from Allah), his previous sins shall be forgiven.”
That is: he fasts it, due to his belief in Allah, seeking His Pleasure, not out of habit, or to please his community or avoid their blame.
As for the Night of Power (Laylat ul-Qadar), it shall be discussed in detail later on, if Allah wills.
And Abu Hurayrah reports a hadith qudsi from Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that he said:
(( قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلَّا الصِّيَامَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ وَالصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلَا يَرْفُثْ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَلَا يَسْخَبْ فَإِنْ سَابَّهُ أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صَائِمٌ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ وَلِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ يَفْرَحُهُمَا إِذَا أَفْطَرَ فَرِحَ بِفِطْرِهِ وَإِذَا لَقِيَ رَبَّهُ فَرِحَ بِصَوْمِهِ ))
Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, said, “Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting, for it is for Me and I shall give the reward for it. Fasting is a shield. When it is the day of his fast, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise his voice. And if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say, ‘I am a person fasting.’” By Him, in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the bad breath of the fasting person will be sweeter to Allah on the Day of Judgment than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two times of joy. When he breaks the fast, he rejoices in that, and one when he meets his Lord he rejoices in his fast.
And one narration with Muslim states that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
(( كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ يُضَاعَفُ الْحَسَنَةُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعمِائَة ضِعْفٍ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَّا الصَّوْمَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي ))
“Every deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven-hundredfold reward. Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, has said, ‘With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for he abandons his lust and his food for My sake.’”
This beautiful hadith qudsi shows the virtue of fasting from a number of different angles:
The First: Allah has chosen fasting from amongst all the various actions for Himself. This is due to its honorable status with Him and His love for it. That is because fasting is a manifestation of ikhlas (sincerity), for it is a secret between Allah and His servant. None can know of it except Allah. The fasting person could go to an empty place and be able to eat or drink while none is watching, yet he refrains from doing so since he knows he has a Lord who is watching him as Allah (تعالى) says, “He abandons his lust and his food for My sake.”
The Second: It is rewarded without any consideration for a number or amount. Instead, Allah has attributed it to Himself. It is an exercise in patience, and Allah (تعالى) has said:
(( إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِحِسَابٍ ))
“It is only the patient who receive their reward without measure.” [az-Zumar (39):10]
So it is fitting that fasting should be rewarded without measure. The fasting person patiently endures hunger, thirst, and feelings of weakness for the sake of Allah. And patience is an essential quality for the believer to have, for:
(( إنَّ اللَّه مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ ))
“Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [al-Baqarah (2):153]
And so it was singled out for special mention in Surah al-‘Asr when Allah listed the attributes of those who are saved from being in loss:
(( إِنَّ الإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ))
“Indeed, man is in loss. Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds and advise one another to the truth and advise one another to patience.” [Al-‘Asr (103):2-3]
And Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says:
(( وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُمْ مُصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ أُولَئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ ))
“And give glad tidings to the patient. Those who, when affliction strikes them, say, “Indeed, to Allah we belong and indeed, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are Salawaat and Mercy from their Lord. And it is they who are the guided ones.” [al-Baqarah (2):155-157]
The Third: It saves him from idle talk and abusive language: “When it is the day of his fast, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise his voice.” And this is an important element of fasting as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
(( مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ ))
“Whoever does not give up speaking with falsehood, and acting upon it, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.”
The Fourth: The bad breath that the fasting person has due to his fasting is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk because it is a result of obedience to Him and worship of Him even though it is something despised by the people.
The Fifth: The fasting person has two occasions of joy. The first is when he breaks his fast; he rejoices in the blessing that Allah has given him of being able to fulfill this noble act of worship and he rejoices in the many good things Allah has given him to enjoy of good foods and drink and wives. And as Allah mentioned, one of the purposes of fasting is, “…and so that perhaps you may be grateful.”
And due to all the virtues of fasting:
(( إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ بَابًا يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ فَيَقُومُونَ لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ ))
“Indeed, there is a gate in Paradise called ar-Rayyan, those who used to fast shall enter from it on the Day of Resurrection. None shall enter from it other than them. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ so they will stand. And none will enter from it other than them. Once they have entered, it will be locked, and then no one else will enter from it.”
Virtues of Qiyam in Ramadan
Abu Hurayrah reports that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
(( مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ))
“Whoever stands Ramadan (in prayer), out of faith (iman), and seeking the reward (from Allah), his previous sins shall be forgiven.”
And in particular, my brother, do not miss the great reward for praying at-Tarawih with the Imam, as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has said:
(( إِنَّهُ مَنْ قَامَ مَعَ الإمَامِ حَتَّى يَنْصَرِفَ كُتِبَ لَهُ قِيَامُ لَيْلَةٍ ))
“Whoever stands with the imam (in prayer), until he finishes, it will be written for him as qiyam of an entire night.”
So look at how great Allah’s bounty is. So many chances have been given in this month for increased reward, and forgiveness of sins. And so many pathways have been opened for good, that truly, the miserable one is the one who is deprived of the Mercy of Allah in this month.
And may Allah send salah and peace upon Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them until the establishment of the Hour.
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 1899) and Muslim (no. 1079).
 Reported by Muslim (no. 233).
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 6). And it is reported with similar wording by Muslim (no. 2308).
 See Fath al-Bari (1/42-43).
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 5027).
 The generation immediately following the Companions.
 Al-Hafidh ibn Hajar mentions in al-Fath (9/96) that the period from the beginning of ‘Uthman’s rule till the end of al-Hajjaj’s was about seventy-two years, while the period from the end of ‘Uthman’s rule until the beginning of the period of al-Hajjaj’s was thirty-eight years.
 Reported by Muslim (no. 2699).
 Reported by Muslim (no. 1256) and al-Bukhari (no. 1863).
 Reported by Muslim (no. 760).
 Reported by Muslim (no. 1151) and al-Bukhari (no. 1904).
 Reported by Muslim (no. 1151).
 When it is said that Allah sends salah upon someone, it means that He mentions them to those who are in His Presence as explained by ibn al-Qayyim in Jala’ al-Afham. [See Saying Salah upon the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) by Abu Khaliyl, Dar al-Kitab wal-Hikmah]
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 1903).
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 1896).
 Reported by al-Bukhari (no. 37) and Muslim (no. 759).
 Reported by Ahmad (no. 21447) Abu Dawud (no. 1375), an-Nasa’i (no. 1364), at-Tirmidhi (no. 806), and ibn Majah (no. 1327). At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih,” and Shaykh al-Albani also graded it Sahih in al-Irwa’ (no. 447).