If you've not made use of the first half of Ramadan; its never too late to make use of the other half and make the most of seeking forgiveness and helping others. Positivity takes you a long way in sha Allah.
Ramadan is a great opportunity for Muslims to improve their character and increase in good action and to be grateful. For Allah subhanahu wa taala said in Quran [2:185]:
"(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must glorify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him"
It is important to initiate Ramadan by making the intention (Niyyah) to fast. For Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
“There is no fast for the person who did not intend to fast from the night before.”
[Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2454. A number of the scholars, such as al-Bukhaari, al-Nisaa'i, al-Tirmidhi and others thought it was likely to be mawqoof. See Talkhees al-Hubayr, 2/188]
The next manner for fasting is to consume pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) as it is full of blessings. There is plenty evidence in the Sunnah. Amongst them are as follows:
Amr ibn Al-As radia allahu anhu narrated that Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"The distinction between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the book [Jews and Christians] is the taking of Suhoor".
Salman radia allahu anhu reported that the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"Blessing is in three : The Jama`a [the congregation of the Muslims], The Thareed [a broth of (crumbled) bread and meat] and the Suhoor".
[Tabarani and Abu Nu`aim; Hasan]
Abu Said al-Khudri radia allahu anhu said that reported that The Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"The Suhoor is a meal of blessings, so do not leave it, even if one of you just takes a gulp of water, since Allah sends mercy and His angels seek forgiveness for those who take Suhoor".
[Ahmad and Ibn Abi Shaibah]
So what can we eat in Suhoor? Amongst the food Allah has bestowed on us are dates. As the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"How excellent are dates as the believer's Suhoor".
[Abu Dawood, Ibn Hibban and al-Baihaqee; Sahih]
Moreover, our character my dear brothers and sisters, each of us are in need of polishing our character. It is like the yeast that makes the bread. It is like the water that allows the fish to survive. What is worship and fasting without improving our character? The Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
“Fasting is a shield – one who fasts does not use obscenities or act in an ignorant manner. If someone argues with you or insults you, say: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting’.”
[Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1795)]
Amongst the ways in which we can improve our character is to have manners and respect for the old, young and for all faiths and we should also need to be modest. An important trait that we need to strive to improve is to restrain from anger and Ramadan is an excellent chance to develop clemency. For the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: "I am fasting, I am fasting."
[Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim; Sahih].
The Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah Mighty and Majestic has no need [i.e. will not accept] that he should leave his food and drink".
Another manner in which we should approach Ramadan and beyond is genorosity. Ibn Abbas radia allahu anhu said that the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
"The Prophet was the most generous of people, but he would be his most generous during Ramadan when he would meet with [the angel] Jibreel (Gabriel). He would meet with him every night and recite the Qur'an. When Jibreel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind."
So how can we generous during Ramadan... hmm well here are some ideas, visiting the old people’s homes, feeding the poor, giving food to a fasting person:
"He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting person's reward".
[Ahmad, al-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban; Sahih]
In addition another manner we as Muslims can adapt when we fast is by using the Miswak (tooth stick)
Abu Huraira radia allahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
'But for my fear that it would be hard for my followers, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak on every performance of ablution."
Furthermore, when we fast, the manner in which we should break our fast is by making supplications: The Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam used to recite the following duas to his guests:
‘Allahuma aghfir lahum wa irhamhum wa barik lahum fi ma razaqtahum’ ‘O Allah forgive them, have mercy upon them and place bless what You provided for them.’
‘Allahuma at3im man at3amani, wasqi man saqani’ ‘O Allah fees the one who feed me, and give drink to the one who gave me drink.’
‘Akala t3amakumul abrar, wa salat 3laykuma al mala-ika, wa aftar 3ndakuma sa-emoon’ ‘May the righteous eat you food, may the angel seek forgiveness for you and may those who fast break the fast with you.’
[Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and others]
So when can we break our fast. The manner in which the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam approached this was to break it when the sun has set.
Abu Darda radia allahu anhu said: "Three things are from the manners of the Prophets: Hastening in breaking the fast, delaying the Suhoor, and placing the right hand upon the left in prayer".
What did the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam break his fast with?
Anas radia allahu anhu narrated that Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water."
[Abu Dawud, al-Hakim and at-Tirmithi, / Sahih al-Jami`]
Anas radia allahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said: "If the food is already presented, eat before the sunset prayer and do not eat your meals in haste."
[al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Furthermore, one of the major aspects of Ramadan is the Night Prayer. The feeling of the sounds of the wind and the observation of the stars in the night shining brightly on the way to the masjid. The Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam advised us to perform the night prayers with good intention.
Abu Huraira radia allahu anhu reported that the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam: "Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.
What manner did the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam and his companions radia allahu anhu pray the night prayers?
Jaabir Ibn Abdilah radia allahu said: "When the Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam led the people in prayer, during the night of Ramadan, he prayed eight Rak`ah and the Witr".
[Ibn Hibban and Tabarani; Hasan]
Abu Salma bin 'Abdur Rahman radia allahu said: I asked 'Aisha, "How is the prayer of Allah's Apostle during the month of Ramadan." She said, "Allah's Apostle never exceeded eleven Rakat in Ramadan or in other months; he used to offer four Rakat-- do not ask me about their beauty and length, then four Rakat, do not ask me about their beauty and length, and then three Rakat." Aisha further said, "I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Do you sleep before offering the Witr prayer?' He replied, 'O 'Aisha! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake'!"
I recommend this book The Night Prayers Qiyam & Taraweeh By Dr. Mohammad al-Jibaly that can be brought from here https://www.mijbookstore.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=2471
May Allah bless you all!
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