What is Ramadan and its importance in Islam?
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the most sacred month of Islamic calendar that has been given too much importance in Islam due to the rewards of this month. Allah has rewarded Muslim Ummah with astonishing blessings and benedictions. Muslims observe fasts to achieve the freshness, purity and piety in their lives. Reward of observing fasts is not defined by Allah Almighty. He will provide reward by himself.
Why month of Ramadan is important for Muslims?
Importance of Ramadan in the lives of Muslims is undeniable. A glimpse of its importance is given here:
- Month of Ramadan is very important for Muslims because it is the month of worship for Muslims.
Revelation of Holy Quran:
- Holy Quran was also revealed in this sacred month.
- Reciting each word of Holy Quran provides uncountable blessings.
- Shab e Qadr or Laylatul Qadr also lies in this month. Worship during this night provides reward more than thousand months or 84 years.
Reward of worships increases seventy times:
- Reward of Umrah becomes equal to that of Hajj that’s why most of the Muslims choose to perform Umrah in this month.
- Bounties of Every worship is increased seventy times.
- Reward of Sunnah and Nawafil becomes equal to that of Fardh and blessings of Fardh are multiplied seventy times.
- Muslims also offer Taraveeh during this month and whole Quran is recited in this prayer.
- Everywhere there is a positive environment in the world.
Maintenance of body:
- According to the research of doctors and scientists, it is very important for human beings to keep their stomach empty for one month in a year.
- Observing fasts helps Muslims clean their stomach and to maintain their body balance.
- Muslims pay thanks to Allah for the blessing that He provided them in the form of Holy Quran. It is the guidance till the Day of Judgment and contains knowledge for everyone.
- It is the month to ask for forgiveness from Allah Almighty.
Why Muslims fast in Ramadan?
Out of all of the months of an Islamic year, Ramadan reserves great spiritual and religious significance for Muslims. During Ramadan, not only Allah Almighty increases his blessings but also Muslim community observes their obligatory fasts. For every able and adult Muslim, fasting for the entire month of Ramadan is an obligation as the third pillar of Islam. Since there’s a greater reward for every good deed performed during Ramadan, many Muslims from across the globe also travel for the holy rituals.
Here's why Muslims fast in Ramadan:
1) Fulfilling the religious obligation:
For a healthy and adult Muslim, it is obligatory to observe fasts on a daily basis for the entire month of Ramadan.
The concept of fasting in Islam not only refers to avoiding eating/drinking anything from dawn till dusk but also abstaining oneself from all the temptations and wrongdoings.
2) Obtaining peace:
Fasting in Ramadan also aids a person in developing a deeply-felt sense of peace and tranquility. This collective expression is an ultimate indication of the improvement in one’s mental, physical, and spiritual health. However, these benefits can only be achieved when fasting is intended with rightful intentions as well as exercised properly; as per the Islamic guidelines.
3) Cure of many diseases:
The Islamic concept of Fasting is a powerful therapeutic process that helps recover from mild to severe health conditions. Human bodies have a natural self-healing power and to activate this power, the stomach must be kept empty for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, if fasting in Ramadan is observed properly by a person it can help recover or prevent oneself from many diseases. For instance;
- On-insulin diabetes.
- Depression, etc.
Moreover, fasting also revitalizes the skin cells of the human body and thus bringing out the natural glow.
Fasting in Ramadan instills the traits of self-restraint and patience in one’s personality. When a person abstains from all the temptations and wrongdoing as well as even avoids drinking and eating anything, his/her self-control is heightened. Therefore, helping to practice it one’s daily life to avoid sins and wrong deeds.
5) Thanking Allah Almighty:
Last but not the least, fasting in Ramadan also remains an expression of gratitude from a believer towards his creator. Muslims excessively perform Ibadah, Dhikr, and Shukr of Allah Almighty during Ramadan. Therefore, asking him for forgiveness and progress in both the worlds.
These are some of the fundamental reasons why Muslims fast in Ramadan.
Guidelines for Fasting:
Before directly jumping on to the guidelines we need to understand what fasting is? In Ramadan Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, abusing, sins, etc., for a specific period - Suhoor to Iftar which is known as fast. Fasting is the 3rd pillar of Islam. The month of Ramadan brings numerous blessings where Allah blessed us with fasting practice also enhances the rewards of other prayers such as Ramadan UMRAH. Therefore many RAMADAN UMRAH Packages announce during this particular period to help to perform UMRAH in Ramadan. Ramadan UMRAH Packages provide easy access to perform UMRAH. Due to the pandemic Coronavirus, Ramadan UMRAH Packages were restricted but now these are open again as the Saudi government permits.
What is the purpose of fasting?
The purpose of fasting isn't only to refrain from eating and drinking. It’s a religious obligation that teaches us tolerance, discipline, and Taqwa. We should avoid abusing and we should control our aggression. We should also do charity and give our zakat as much as possible.
Who should fast and how?
People who are healthy in each aspect have to do fasting. It's an obligation upon all Muslims including youthful, old, poor, and rich people. However, Pre-pubescent children do not have to fast. The best way to fast is to do maximum Zikr, offer all prayers in time, read maximum Holy Quran, give Sadqa to the needy ones, and avoid arguments and fights.
Which sort of food is best for fasting?
For good fasting, we should eat healthy food in Suhoor like cereals, oats, milk, yogurt, fruit, egg, chicken, date, and water. So that it keeps you powerful and hydrated all day. During fasting days, we should avoid fried and junk food, sugar, sweets, reused food, cold drinks, etc. Because unhealthy food will only give you taste rather than power or energy.
Who is exempt from fasting?
People who are ill, old age, traveling, women who are menstruating or pregnant, breastfeeding mothers. They all can do fasting when they feel comfortable after the month of Ramadan. Because there's an ease in Islam for Muslims.
What are the benefits of fasting for the body?
- Fasting control our blood and sugar position.
- Fasting improves your health.
- Fasting controls your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Fasting boosts our metabolism.
- Fasting teaches us good habits, increases our tolerance position.
Ramadan should be treated spiritually not ritually. We should keep fast for Allah because fasting makes us close to Allah. The actual purpose of fast isn't to concentrate on food, eating and sleeping rather the true sense of fasting is to connect with Allah by reciting Quran, Salah, Tarawih and by helping poor and needy people. We should use this precious time for spreading love, kindness, avoiding evil deeds and becoming better humans.
Benefits of Umrah in Ramadan:
During Ramadan, Muslims observe their obligatory fasts as the third pillar of Islam. Fasting as well as Umrah's performance in Ramadan not only helps cleanse one’s soul, but it also helps in establishing a strong spiritual connection for a person with Allah Almighty. That’s why millions travel for the holy rituals of Umrah. You can learn more by reading What is Ramadan.
Significance of Umrah in Ramadan:
It was narrated by Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) in a hadith that, Umrah's performance in the holy month of Ramadan holds the equivalent reward of performing hajj.
Therefore, leading to the spiritual and personal development of a believer as well as improvement in health and wealth.
Here are some of the benefits of Umrah in Ramadan:
Spiritual refinement is among the most desirable benefits of performing Umrah in Ramadan. The constant feelings of thirst and hunger that a person feels and still possesses control over one’s desires are only achievable through it. All in all, helping to encourage good behavior while also eliminating the negative thoughts from one’s mind in a more effective manner.
Since only a spiritually pure mind and soul can endorse good deeds and brotherhood; Umrah in Ramadan helps in attaining it.
When a person fasts a whole day and spends most of their time in Dhikr and Ibadah, mental peace is guaranteed. Despite this, solemnly following the Islamic practices to please Allah Almighty and exercise good behavior throughout the day helps a person in earning great rewards in return as well as promotes learning.
Improved Physical Health:
Adopting the right eating habits for Iftar and Suhoor and performing the holy rituals properly ensures the physical well-being of a pilgrim. In addition to its spiritual benefits, fasting has many other physical health benefits as well. For instance;
- Stabilizing the sugar level of the human body
- Enhancing metabolism.
- Eliminating toxins.
- Improving heart health.
- Promoting proper functioning of the body organs.
However, at the same time, it is advised that pilgrims avoid eating heavy meals such as deep-fried foods or foods with excess carbohydrates.
Unites Muslim Ummah:
Umrah in Ramadan witnesses the arrival of people of all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, and languages in Haramain. However, the one thing that unites them all is their Islamic religion. So, when the pilgrims come together for the holy rituals of Umrah, the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood are fostered among them.
The cherry on top, the month of blessings and virtues i.e., Ramadan combined with Umrah performance further helps in promoting kindness and solidarity among Muslims.
Does Umrah equal Hajj in Ramadan?
The month of Ramadan remains the 9th yet the holiest month of the Islamic year for many reasons. During Ramadan, Muslims observe their obligatory fasts for the entire month because it’s the third pillar of the Islamic faith. Muslims from across the globe not only observe their fasts in Ramadan but millions also travel to Makkah for the holy rituals of minor pilgrimage. The reason for it is that it holds greater rewards for the believer.
Here's why Muslims travel for Umrah in Ramadan:
The reward of Hajj:
Performing Umrah in the holy month of Ramadan is exceptionally rewarding for a believer. Allah Almighty bestows such a person with infinite bounties. Moreover, it’s the most blessed time of the year to offer the holy rituals of umrah. It’s evident from the hadith of Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) that umrah performance in Ramadan holds the equivalent reward of Hajj for a pilgrim.
However, it doesn’t mean that performance of umrah in Ramadan is an alternative to Hajj performance. Remember that hajj is an obligation for whoever has the ability to afford it while Umrah is a voluntary pilgrimage. So, performing Umrah in Ramadan wouldn’t suffice for your Hajja-tul-Islam but it is only equivalent in reward.
The Night of Power:
Layla-tul-Qadr (The Night of Power) remains concealed within the odd-numbered nights of the last Ashra (last ten days) of Ramadan. It is one of the most sacred nights of the Islamic year and thus holds great spiritual rewards for the believers. In fact, it is believed that the Night of Power carries more rewards for a believer than the Ibadah of one thousand months (combined).
That’s why Muslim pilgrims also perform Itikaf during these days, usually at a mosque and spending their nights in prayers, and reciting the Holy Quran in solitude.
It’s in human nature to be susceptible to sins and transgress the boundaries that are established by Islam for a believer. Fasting in the month of Ramadan combined with the performance of holy rituals helps us to learn to be pious and restrain ourselves from temporary worldly pleasures as well as wrongdoings.
The very concept of fasting in Islam is to tell a person not to be fooled by materialistic desires and have control over one’s temptations. Since, achieving all of this requires a fixed training period, the month of Ramadan remains a great medium for it.
That’s why Muslim pilgrims opt for Umrah performance in the month of Ramadan.