Yemeni Journey

Approach of Ramadhaan

Ramadhaan is almost here, alhamdulillah. Despite the long, fourteen hour days and intense heat, the whole family is looking forward to it. It’s a month full of worship, contemplation, family time, and intense experiences. Ramadhaan is an enigma to many non-Muslims- those who are open minded are amazed that we are able to do the fast, and those who are prejudiced and bigoted think we’re deluded sheep, perhaps a bit crazy on top of that. It all comes down to this: why do we put ourselves through this month of fasting?

The main reason- in fact, the only reason we do so, is because Allaah has commanded us to. To put it simply, with all acts of faith, this is what it all boils down to in the end. Why do we wear hijaab? Because Allaah commands us to. Why do we separate the women from the men? Because Allaah commands us to. Why do we stay away from alcohol and fornication? Because Allaah commands us to. We do these things because we truly believe in God, and we believe that the religion He revealed to Prophet Muhammad, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, and which is presented to us in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, is real and true and meant to be followed and applied to our entire lives, mash’Allaah. If a person has never believed firmly in anything, if they move from one belief or practice to another, then perhaps they can’t understand this concept. But for us, it is the simple truth.

Allaah, the Most High, says, “The month of Ramadhaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the Criterion (between right and wrong). So, whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan, i.e. is present at his home), he must observe saum (the fast) that month.” (Surat al-Baqarah, From Ayat 185)

The Prophet, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, said, {The one who fasts Ramadhaan with faith and seeking the reward with Allaah, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.} (Agreed Upon)

We believe that Ramadhaan is a month of increased blessings.

The Prophet, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, said, {On the first night of Ramadhaan the Shayaateen and disobedient jinn are shackled, and the doors of the Fire are closed, and none of them are open, and the doors of Jennah (Paradise) are open, and none of them are shut. Also, a caller calls every night, “Oh seeker of good come forward, and oh seeker of evil, stay back”. And Allaah frees people from the Hellfire- and this happens every night.} (Ibn Maajah, and Sheikh al-Albaani declared it to be hasan)

He, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, also said, {Verily, in Jennah there is a door called ar-Rayyan through which those who fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection, and none other them in will enter it. It will be said, “Where are those who fast?” and they will enter from this door. After the last one of them enters, then it will be shut so no one else can enter.} (Agreed upon)

So there are major blessings to be had this month, and so Muslims all over the world refuse to eat or drink or have sexual intercourse from dawn until dusk. They increase in doing good deeds, such as being generous to others, feeding the poor, reading and reciting Qur’aan, and standing up for much of the night in prayer, often in the congregational taraaweeh prayer which is specific to this blessed month. They do their best to leave off anything that will displease Allaah, such as talking badly about others, doing bad deeds, and wasting time. They strive to make their intentions pure, to please Allaah alone.

Ramadhaan is a month of self-denial, a month of contemplation, a month of prayer and supplication, a month of increased generosity and kindness to others. It is a month of worship, a month of peace.

The Yemenis all around us are preparing for the month. Rugs, carpets and couches are being cleaned and put out in the hot sun to dry. Henna is being prepared and put on hands, arms, and feet. People are buying extra food items to use to make treats that they only indulge in during this month. The masaajid are preparing for the men and women who will be coming to the nightly taraaweeh prayers.

As this beautiful and blessed month progresses, insh’Allaah, take the time, whether you are Muslim or not, to ask yourself why you are here on this planet. How much do you really need to get by? Do you live a life of wastefulness and extravagance, ignoring the needs of others as well as of the Earth we live on? What have you done today to better yourself? What have you done today to make someone else’s life better? What have you done today to show someone that you care? And, on the other hand, what have you done today that harmed someone else? What have you done today that harmed yourself, either physically or spiritually? What have you done today that harmed the environment, or which showed a lack of concern for the future generations that will live on this Earth after us?

I challenge all of you to take this month and use it to examine yourselves and your lives, and to see what good practices you can begin now, that you can implement in the coming year.

Allaah, the Most High, says, “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, then verily, My punishment is indeed severe.” (Surat Ibraaheem, Ayat 7)

The Letter ث: ثبوت الشهر (thaboot ash-shahr) (to establish that the month has begun)

The beginning and end of the month are established by the sighting of the crescent moon. The Prophet, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, said, {Do not fast until you sight the crescent moon, and do not break your fast until you see the crescent moon. But if it is obscured from your view by clouds, then reckon for it.} and in a narration, {…then finish thirty days.} (Agreed upon)

Imaam an-Nawaawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, mentioned that the meaning of his saying {…if it is obscured from your view by clouds…} is that clouds came between you and it. And to prove this he mentioned that it is not permissible to fast the day of doubt, or the thirtieth of Sha’baan if the night of the thirtieth is cloudy (and the night of the thirtieth refers to the night before the day of the thirtieth). And this proves that calculations cannot be utilized for this purpose (meaning you can’t rely upon calculations or predictions to determine the establishment of the month). And Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, mentioned the consensus of the scholars that it is not allowed to depend on calculations to determine the month.

The Muslim must fast with the people of the country in which he resides at that time, and break his fast with them. The Prophet, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, said, {The fast is the day you all fast, and breaking the fast is on the day that you all break your fast. And the slaughtering of the animals (for the Eid) is the day you all slaughter your animals.} (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, and al-Albaani has declared it to be authentic)


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