Excellence of the Month of Ramadan & Its Siyam

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)

By Imam Zijad Delic

Day 208: Excellence of the Month of Ramadan & Its Siyam

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S) — By Imam Zijad Delic

Narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that the Prophet (S) said: “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained.”

عَنِ هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه قَالَ, قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏ إِذَا دَخَلَ رَمَضَانُ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ جَهَنَّمَ، وَسُلْسِلَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ

Source: Bukhari

Transliteration: “Idha Dakhala Ramadanu Futtihat Abwabul Jannati Wa Gulliqat Abwabu Jahannama Wa Sulsilatish Shayatin.”

We are blessed that we have this opportunity to welcoming a “noble” month, and a “grand” season of this year – the month of Ramadan!

It is the blessed season of fasting, mercy, forgiveness, self-evaluation, self-discipline and great opportunities for all those who aspire to be dear and near to the Creator.

The Creator increases the value of any good deed during these blessed days by giving extra rewards for any good action.

He opens the doors of good for whosoever turns to them.
Yes, the month of Ramadan is the month of goodness and blessings and the month of individual and communal growth.

It is the month in which Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to humanity and clear Sign for guidance and judgment between right and wrong.

News of this month’s greatness and preference is widespread and evidenced in many sources of our Din and particularly in the verses of the Qur’an and statements of the Prophet Muhammad (S).

The word ‘Ramadan’ is derived from the Arabic root ‘ramida or ramad’ denoting intense scorching heat and dryness especially the ground.

Thus, the word Ramadan is so called to indicate the heating sensation in the stomach as a result of thirst.

The other opinion says that it is called so because the hearts and souls are more readily receptive to the admonition and remembrance of Allah during the month of Ramadan, as the sand and stones are receptive to the sun’s heat.

The relationship between the heat and its properties is miraculously similar to that of Ramadan.

While the heat represents the matter that helps shape, form, and mold virtually every matter-from metal to plastics, to plants and living cells – Ramadan undoubtedly helps a true believer remold, reshape, reform, and renew his/her physical and spiritual disposition and behavior.

In short, it means ‘to burn’.

Just as the fire burns the dint of gold and makes it pure and shiny, in the same way the virtuous deeds and the prayers offered during the month of Ramadan cleans the Muslims from his/her sins and brings him/her nearer to Allah, and makes him/her dearer to the Creator.

Ramadan is not mere abstention from eating, drinking and the fulfillment of the lawful desires.

It is a term which makes the true believers stop, think, reflect and act.

It upsets their schedules, cuts deep into their daily habits and affects their neat and well-arranged lifestyles, precisely in order to help them dig deeper into their own selves.

It makes believers to ask themselves a question about their identity-who they are?

It brings to their minds the questions such as: What are we? Are we mere lumps of flesh, or mere desires, and cravings to fulfill them?

Is a human being a mere one-dimensional being totally abandoned to the cares and concerns of his/her body only?

A Saim gets to understand that a human being is a body, mind, and soul, all in one, and all must be well coordinated.

We are not humans mainly because of our bodies, but most importantly because of our souls.

Ramadan is a great chance to take care of both – our souls as well as our bodies!

It is the month where we can challenge ourselves and better ourselves!

It summons us into a new realization that a human being’s happiness, as often we think, is not in pure material gratification but in the development of a new human being, the one who is in a state of peace with himself/herself, with his Creator, with the universe and nature around him/her and with the fellow human beings and other species he/she shares the planet with.

The essential purpose behind fasting in the month of Ramadan is to improve human being’s character, the good in him/her.

Good human being in a society is a guarantee for the good and prosperous society.

Through the many verses of the Qur’an and the traditions of the Messenger (S), we are reminded again and again on the great potentials Ramadan offers for human being’s growth and development.

We should remember that Ramadan’s blessings and possibilities are too valuable to be overlooked.

They immediately relate to our own destiny as humans, they decide our fate, our success and failure in life.

We have to use this opportunity before the death will come.

There is no guarantee that we will have this opportunity next year.

How many have passed on, who deceived themselves into saying: ‘Not this Ramadan, but the next one,” and yet that next one never did arrive for them.

Therefore, we cannot afford to lose this opportunity, or refuse to cling to the hand that is stretched out from heaven to save us from drawing except at our own peril.

Almighty Allah and the Prophet (S), have spoken at length on the blessings of the great month of Ramadan.

All the verses which are sometimes orders, sometimes advises and exhorts are for only one purpose: to help us come forward vigorously with firm determination to utilize its many blessings for gaining true success and prosperity.

All Ayat and Ahadith which we will mention intend to save us from utter frustration, the dire consequences of a life lived without heeding the call of Allah, a life which is not infused with higher spiritual goals, a life totally abandoned to the cares and concerns of the body.

Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those nations before you, so that you may become ‘’Muttaqin’ (learn self-discipline, self-restraint, and self-control).

You should fast for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or embarking on a journey, the prescribed number should be made up later, day for day. And for those who would fast with hardship, a ransom of feeding a needy person is acceptable. But he who will give more, of his/her own free will, will bring lots of good to himself/herself. And it is beneficial for you to fast if you only knew.

Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, as a guidance for humanity, with sure signs of guidance, and criterion, setting the truth plain from error.

He/she who is present therein must fast. But whoever is ailing, or traveling, he/she should fast the same number of days later.

Allah loves ease for you; He does not love hardship for you.

He wants you all to complete the fixed days of fasting and to glorify Allah for guiding you to the right way.

All this is in order that you may render thanks to Him (for His blessings).

When My servants ask you about Me (O Muhammad (S)), tell them I am near, ready to answer the prayer of him/her who prays to me. So let them heed My call, and cherish faith in Me, so that they may find proper guidance.” (Al Baqarah 183-186)

The numerous traditions of the Prophet (S) exalt the blessings of Ramadan and fasting in it.

He (S) once said: “It is the month which contains a night, which is more excellent than a thousand month.” “Ramadan is the month of Sabr and the reward for Sabr is Jannah. It is the month of sharing.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, Bayhaqi)

Anas ibn Malik narrated tat the Prophet (S) said when the month of Ramadan began: “Verily, this month has presented itself to you. There is a night within it that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it has been deprived of all good. None is deprived of its good but that he is truly deprived.” (Ibn Majah)

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ دَخَلَ رَمَضَانُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ هَذَا الشَّهْرَ قَدْ حَضَرَكُمْ وَفِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَهَا فَقَدْ حُرِمَ الْخَيْرَ كُلَّهُ وَلَا يُحْرَمُ خَيْرَهَا إِلَّا مَحْرُومٌ

He (S) encouraged: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan while cherishing faith and hoping or seeking his reward from Allah, then all his/her past sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

He (S) also said: “Almighty Allah said: ‘All the actions a son of Adam performs is his, except Siyam, for it is Mine, and I am to decide its rewards. Siyam is a shield. So if a person is fasting, he should not engage in foolish behavior or shouting or yelling. If someone rebukes him or fights with him, he should not retaliate but answer him saying: ‘I am fasting.’ I swear by the One in Whose Hands is my soul! The breath of a person who is fasting is sweeter to Allah than the smell of the musk. A person who is fasting has two great joys: When he breaks his fast (Iftar), he is happy, and the other time when he meets his Lord (on the Day of Judgment), he would be pleased because of his fasting.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ، فَلاَ يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَجْهَلْ، وَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ‏.‏ مَرَّتَيْنِ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ، يَتْرُكُ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ وَشَهْوَتَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، الصِّيَامُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ، وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا

Among the points this insightful Hadith revealed is that the fasting is Allah’s.

Certainly, there is only one reason why a believer will put himself/herself through this month-long physical exercise, and it is to seek the pleasure of Allah, the Merciful and Forgiving.

The Siyam is the single most important device to test the Iman (Faith) of the believer and the depth of his/her sincerity and commitment to the faith.

There are 3 ways that Allah rewards His servants in this month.
The first way is that Allah made these actions obligatory on us.
The second way is that Allah gave the believers the Tawfiq (ability) to do these righteous acts that many others have neglected.

Had it not been for Allah’s Tawfiq then they would not have done these acts, so to Allah is all praise and graciousness.

The third way is that the reward is multiplied by ten to 700 times to many more times.

So, the grace and rewards are from Allah and all praise is due to Him, the Lord of all the worlds.

Seeking the rewards of Ramadan is a huge blessing and whoever tries to seek them by doing what is required and staying away from heedlessness and forgetfulness on Allah, will come closer to their Lord and enter the realm of His Rida (pleasure).

Ya Allah! Help us recognize the excellence of Ramadan’s blessings so that all of us could benefit by living some of them during this blessed month of Ramadan and continue living the spirit of Ramadan even when the month of Ramadan is over!

Allahumma Amin!

than a Fard prayer so one can imagine the immense rewards that are available in Ramadan for every voluntary prayer we pray.

The Prophet (S) said: “Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he/she is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he/she is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, Bayhaqi)

So, to seize the opportunity of Ramadan and its blessings in full, we should do our voluntary prayers more often before the month of Ramadan and when we enter it, regular or extra prayers during this blessed month, will not be a burden but an enjoyable spiritual act.

  1. Repenting Sincerely and Making Du’as Frequently

Ramadan is the month where we can gain mercy and forgiveness from Allah for our mistakes and shortcomings.

We should know that Allah is most merciful and most forgiving and loves to forgive.

Many of us do not spend as much time as we should by doing Istigfar and Du’a.

Even if we do so, we rush our Du’a and often our hearts and minds are not present as we supplicate to Him.

Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an: ” When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me, (tell them of Muhammad (S)) that I am truly near. I respond to the prayer of every supplicant when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Path.’” (Qur’an 2:186)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

Thus, we should get into habit of asking from Allah to forgive us and accept our Du’as now so that in Ramadan we continue doing it daily.

One who enters the month of Ramadan and does not get out of Ramadan with the forgiveness of Allah, is indeed in a great loss!

  1. Controlling the Tongue and Improving Character & Manners Consistently

Ramadan is a time of behavioral modification!

It is the time when we must control our whims and desires (nafs) as well as our tongues.

It was narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that the Prophet (S) said: “Verily, fasting is not only from eating and drinking. Rather, fasting is from vanity and obscenity. If someone abuses you or acts foolishly against you, then say: Indeed, I am fasting.” (Ibn Hibban)

إِنَّ الصِّيَامَ لَيْسَ مِنَ الأَكْلِ وَالشُّرْبِ فَقَطْ إِنَّمَا الصِّيَامُ مِنَ اللَّغُوِ وَالرَّفَثِ فَإِنْ سَابَّكَ أَحَدٌ أَوْ جَهِلَ عَلَيْكَ فَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

Abu Huraira (r) also narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his/her leaving food and drink.” (Bukhari)

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ

Jabir (r) said: “When you fast, then let your hearing, seeing, and tongue fast as well from falsehood and sins, and avoid harming your servants. Rather, you must have dignity and tranquility on the day of your fasting. Do not make days you do not fast and days you fast as if they were the same.” (Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah)

إذَا صُمْتَ فَلْيَصُمْ سَمْعُكَ وَبَصَرُكَ وَلِسَانُكَ عَنِ الْكَذِبِ وَالْمَآثِمِ وَدَعْ أَذَى الْخَادِمِ وَلْيَكُنْ عَلَيْكَ وَقَارٌ وَسَكِينَةٌ يَوْمَ صِيَامِكَ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ يَوْمَ فِطْرِكَ وَيَوْمَ صِيَامِكَ سَوَاءً

Abu Darda (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Nothing is heavier on the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than good character. Verily, Allah hates the vulgar, obscene person.” (Tirmizi)

عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَا شَيْءٌ أَثْقَلُ فِي مِيزَانِ الْمُؤْمِنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَيُبْغِضُ الْفَاحِشَ

These are just several of the voluntary actions that we could do before the month of Ramadan to prepare ourselves for this great month of opportunities.

Some others could be added to the list of good deeds which we could do before the month of Ramadan to prepare ourselves for it, such as being generous and charitable, eating moderately, reviving some Sunan in our lives, etc.

Ya Rabb! Guide us to plan for the month of Ramadan before it starts! Enlighten us with knowledge of what the Prophet (S) and the companions (r) did to prepare and strengthen our resolve to make this Ramadan the best Ramadan in our lives, the lives of our families and the community!

Allahumma Amin!