Fast 2 Fit #1: Five Extraordinary Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for Fasting
On quest to follow the Ramadan as literally as possible like Prophet Mohammad (SAW) did in his lifetime.
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious the most Merciful.
Fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and has been prescribed upon all of the people of the book (Muslims, Jews, and Christians in their own different ways).
What is Ramadan Fasting?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim Calendar. In this month, Muslims all around the world observe fasting from dawn till dusk. Fasting is obligatory upon all adult Muslims who are not ill, traveling, elderly, breastfeeding, diabetic, or menstruating.
You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.
Ramadan is the time to give up food, water, and other earthly pleasures so that we can get closer to Allah(SWT) and become better. Ramadan is the time to go inward. When we starve our physical bodies to feed our souls.
Growing up, this is one thing I vividly remember constantly hearing from my parents, grandparents and great grand parents that the gates of Paradise are open. And particularly from one of my Grandmas, if this is the year, she was to die, May Allah call upon her in the month of Ramadan, so she may enter Paradise.
Abu Hurairah narrated that: the Messenger of Allah said: "On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Shayatin are shackled, the jinns are restrained, the gates of the Fires are shut such that no gate among them would be opened. The gates of Paradise are opened such that no gate among them would be closed, and a caller calls: 'O seeker of the good; come near!' and 'O seeker of evil; stop! For there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire.' And that is every night."
[Jami at-Tirmidhi 682 | https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi:682]
Here are the five guidelines from various Hadiths of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (SAW) to follow this Ramadan. Hope these serve as a quick reminder.
1. Suhoor - The meal before dawn.
Allah (SWT) has made the Ramadan easier on you by clear instructions on eating and drinking before dawn. The idea of Fasting is incredibly difficult in your mind - giving up the food and water. Ask anyone who has never fasted before. When you tell them you are fasting for Ramadan and you cannot eat or drink. The first question is always - Not even water? Followed by - Ok, That is unhealthy. You are going to die. Ha!
Think about it. If you wake up, for Suhoor and the, take a short rest/nap in the afternoon fasting will become so much easier on you - Physically and Mentally.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Seek help by eating Suhoor for fasting that day, and by taking a brief rest (at midday) for praying at night.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/7/56]
It is too tempting to get busy in the workday and try to do as much work as you can. So you can finish work early in time for the Iftar. However, the first few days of Ramadan, while your body is adjusting to the fasting schedule are especially difficult. This year try to schedule a small 5-10 minute break in the middle of the workday, so you can recharge, instead of powering through hunger, thirst, and work. Your day will become more Productive. And You will be able to actually use the increased faculties of your mind in order to read, learn and memorise the noble Quran.
2. What did Prophet Mohammad (SAW) eat during Suhoor?
The Prophet(SAW) used to drink water and eat Dates during the Suhoor.
It was narrated that 'Amr bin Al-As said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the Book, is eating Sahur."
[Sunan an-Nasa'i 2166 | https://sunnah.com/nasai:2166]
In the beginning days of Ramadan fasting it is difficult to get adjusted to eating at the time of Suhoor. It is best to plan on getting up in the time for Suhoor, Make Wudu and Drink Plenty of Water for Hydration and Eat Some Dates. Brush your teeth, And then declare your Intention for fasting - I intend to fast today in the month of Ramadan, Oh Allah (SWT) please accept from me as you are the all hearing and all knowing.
Hafsah narrated that: the Prophet said: "Whoever did not decide to fast before Fajr then there is no fast for him."
Jami at-Tirmidhi 730 | https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi:730
The Prophet(SAW) used to drink water and eat Dates during the Iftar. Followed by the Maghrib prayer.
Anas bin Malik narrated that: the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever has dried dates, then let him break the fast with that, and whoever does not, then let him break the fast with water, for indeed water is purifying."
[Jami at-Tirmidhi 694| Sahih (Darussalam) | https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi:694]
4. Taraweeh: Praying at night in Ramadan
The Quran was first revealed on the night of Qadr in Ramadan. Every Ramadan, there after angel Gabriel used to come to Prophet Mohammad (SAW) to teach him the Quran. It is thus ideal to make an effort to do the Taraweeh prayers, as well as try to read, understand and reflect upon the noble Quran in the month of Ramadan. Allah (SWT) says that the Quran is the guidance to the man, and the way to find the ultimate truth. And separate the truth from false.
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Messenger (SAW) saying regarding Ramadan, "Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
Sahih al-Bukhari 2008 | https://sunnah.com/bukhari:2008
5. Generosity in Ramadan
The Prophet(SAW) was already the most generous person of his time. But when Ramadan arrived his generosity multiplied even more. He gave more charity, prayed even more, and longer hours, retreated into Ihtikaf for the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and did more kind acts. The act of fasting in itself, brings about the compassion and mercy. I am sure it helps understand, especially now that most of the world has an abundance of food and snacks. It helps us imagine what hunger and thirst might feel like to the less fortunate who do not have food and clean drinking water.
Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet (SAW) was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet (SAW) used to recite the Holy Qur'an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).
Sahih al-Bukhari 1902 | https://sunnah.com/bukhari:1902
The Ramadan is the best time to give the zakat and other charity. To feed the hungry and less privileged. To take care of the parents, siblings, family members, and relatives. To take care of the less fortunate, and provide for them food, water, clothing and other necessities.
Ramadan and the Guidance of Allah (SWT) is a means for us to attain everything that we are seeking. May our actions please Allah (SWT). Some places might still be in lockdown due to the Pandemic. Even if you are restricted inside your homes, and cannot gather in the Masjid for the Taraweeh prayers, or provide Iftar for someone. We can still spend this time doing our best. And becoming our best. Allah(SWT) is All-Knowing. Allah (SWT) will show mercy on his servants, who are merciful.
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