What is Ramadan?4 min read

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What is Ramadan?

In praise of Ramadan

In Arabic language, the term for Ramadan is ‘Ramadan,’ which signifies intense heat and warmth. Ramadan is so named because during this month, fasting individuals experience the severity and intensity of hunger and thirst, hence it is called Ramadan. This name was chosen because when the Arabs transferred the names of months from the old lexicon, they associated them with times and seasons, including the time they were in. Coincidentally, Ramadan occurred during a period of intense heat. Therefore, it was named Ramadan. This month is filled with blessings and mercy from the descent of the Quran. Special acts of worship, such as fasting, recitation of the Quran, performing prayers, moral rectification, and helping the poor and needy, are emphasized during this month.

In the Islamic calendar, significance

Ramadan Mubarak is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan Mubarak holds great importance in the Quran and Hadith. And Ramadan Mubarak is indeed the month mentioned in the Noble Quran. It is a divine guidance:

In the month of Sha’ban, the Quran Majid was revealed (Al-Baqarah: 185).

In this month, there is a night called Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months (Al-Qadr:3).

Hazrat Salman (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet () said, ‘A month is about to come over you, a great blessed month. In it, there is a night which is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting in this month obligatory and standing (in prayer) at its night a means of reward. Whoever draws near to Allah with a good deed in it will be like the one who performed an obligatory deed in any other time and whoever performs an obligatory deed in it will be like the one who performed seventy obligatory deeds in any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of a believer is increased therein.’

Allah Almighty says: ‘O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.’ (Al-Baqarah:183)

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: ‘The one who is deprived of the blessings of Ramadan is indeed deprived of all good. Even if one fasts, prays, and seeks forgiveness in Ramadan, yet his sins are not forgiven.’ Hazrat Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious jinn are chained, and the gates of Hell are closed, and none of its gates are opened. The gates of Paradise are opened, and none of its gates are closed, and a caller announces, “O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist.” Allah frees some people from Hell every night.’ (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

The importance of Ramadan lies in the fact that it cannot be attained in any of the other twelve months. This distinction and significance are unique to Ramadan in the Islamic calendar, unlike the other months found in the lunar calendar or in other religious calendars. Islam’s uniqueness lies in its calendar, which bears several distinctive features, including the fact that it is comprised of twelve months, as mentioned in Surah At-Tawbah:

‘The count of months with Allah is twelve months in the Book of Allah, since the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.’ (At-Tawbah:36)

The Islamic calendar consists of twelve months, as mentioned in the verse cited.

Each month in the Islamic calendar consists of either 29 or 30 days, as stated in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ): “The month is of 29 days, and then it may be of 30.” The Prophet (ﷺ) clarified this with a gesture of his hand. An important feature of the Islamic calendar is its association with the moon, hence the terms “lunar months” and “lunar dates” are prevalent in society. Based on the lunar connection, religious practices such as fasting, pilgrimage, prayers, etc., are anchored around the sighting of the moon at the beginning and end of each month.

Among the twelve months of the Islamic calendar, four are sacred, as mentioned in the Quran: “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months in the Book of Allah, the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 36). Further details about these sacred months are found in Sahih Bukhari, narrated by Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه), where he said, “The sacred months are three consecutive months, Dhu al-Qi’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab which comes between Jumada al-Awwal and Sha’ban.” The inception of the Islamic calendar is tied to the Hijrah (migration) of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), a matter greatly emphasized by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه). During his caliphate, he consulted with the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) to establish the Islamic calendar. Some suggested marking the beginning from the Prophet’s (ﷺ) birth, while others proposed his passing away. However, Umar (رضي الله عنه), with his foresight and prudent consultation with Ali (رضي الله عنه), decided to base the calendar on the significant event of the Hijrah, considering it a momentous turning point in history.

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Umme Muhammad

I am an Islamic Scholar. I have expertise in Ahadith, Fiqh, Logics, and the Arabic language. I have a specialty in Translation, Tafseer, Arabic Language, and Ahadith learning. To get started with me, Book Now one-to-one Session, or let us know what do you like in the contact form.

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