Ramadan, the Month of Mercyÿ

Ali Hussein

ÿAll perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.ÿ

What is Ramadan? As far as language is concerned, Ramadan is known as the Month of Mercy. The first 10 days bring mercy, the second 10 bring forgiveness, and the last save one from the Hell Fire. It is believed that during Ramadan, the first revelation of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, was sent down to the Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessing be upon him, on the Night of Decree. Ramadan comes with great blessings, grace, mercy and tranquility, and good deeds in it are multiplied. During Ramadan, Muslims are likely to sin less and make true repentance.ÿ

Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam during which adult Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. In Ramadan, fasting is abstaining from specific things, at certain times, for certain reasons. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith (believing that it is an obligation due to Allah) and seeking the reward from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven.” Muslims must make a sincere intention to fast on the night of the previous day. As stated by a Fatwa Team supervised by Dr. Abdulla Al-Faqeeh, “for the fasting to be valid, one has to intend it at the night that precedes the day to be fasted regardless of whether the fasting is continuous like Ramadan, or on a daily basis like making up missed days.” The place of the intention is the heart, so there is no need to utter it.ÿ

ÿMuslims who intend to fast are strongly recommended to eat a meal called Sahoor before dawn. Food, drink, smoking and sex are prohibited during fasting. If, by accident, one drinks or eats, one should stop at the moment of consciousness and continue fasting. The sick and pregnant or breastfeeding are exempted. However, they can make up for their missed days of fasting anytime after Ramadan is complete before the next Ramadan begins.ÿ

ÿHaving such high prestige in the life of Muslims, Ramadan is not only a month of fasting and worship, it is also an excellent opportunity that teaches us to be patient, considerate, self-disciplined and, most importantly, to remember the grace Allah bestowed on us. Thus, we are more inclined to experience what the less fortunate go through every day.

Behind every form of worship there is wisdom stated in the Qur’an or in the Sunna, the sayings of the Prophet. As slaves of Allah, we don’t always look for the wisdom behind every form of worship; instead, we willingly submit to the orders of Allah. Allah said in the Qur’an that the goal of fasting is to reach a high level of piousness. However, certain habits should be carefully followed to reach a high level of health. Eating and drinking moderately right after breaking the fast is necessary. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing be upon him, said, “No child of Adam has filled a receptacle worse than his or her stomach. It is sufficient for the child of Adam to eat a few morsels (of food) that set his or her backbone upright. If the child of Adam is under the pressure of his sole inclination (to eat more) he should allot a third (of his or her stomach) to the food, a third to the drink and a third to the breath.” This saying of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, should not be applied in Ramadan only, but all year round. Whether in Kent State, or any other place, Ramadan always has a special taste.

May Allah bless all of us and guide us to the straight path, Amen!

Ali Hussein graduated from Kent State in the spring with an English degree.