Virtues of Ramadaan
Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya
Hadhrat Salmaan (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) reports: "On the last day of 'Sha'baan', the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) addressed us and said: "O People, there comes upon you now a great month, a most blessed month, in which lies a night greater in worth than one thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made compulsory that the fasting should be observed by day; and He has made the 'Taraweeh' by night a 'Sunnah'. Whosoever tries drawing nearer to Allah by performing, any virtuous deed in this month, for him shall be such reward as if he had performed a "Fardh" (obligatory observance) in any other time of the Year. And whoever performs a 'Fardh' for him shall be the reward of seventy 'Fardh' in any other time of the year. This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is 'Jannah' (paradise); it is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen; it is the month wherein a true believer's '.Rizq" (provisions) is increased. Whosoever feeds a fasting person in order to break the fast (at sunset), for him there Shall be forgiveness of his sins and emancipation from the fire of 'Jahannam' (hell), and for him shall be the same reward as for him (whom he fed), without that person's reward being diminished in the least."
Thereupon we said: 'O Messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can provide enough for a fasting person to break his fast" The Messenger of Allah replied: "Allah grants this same reward to him who gives a fasting person a single date or a drink of water or a sip of milk to break the fast. This is a month, the first part of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last part of which brings emancipation from the fire of 'Jahannum' (Hell). Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bondsmen) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of 'Jahannam."
"And in this month, four things you should endeavour to perform in great number. two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity recite the 'Kalima Tayyibah'; Laa ilaaha illalLah' and make much 'Istighfaar' (beg Allah's forgiveness with Astaghfirullah). And as for those two without which You cannot make do, you should be Allah for entry into paradise and seek refuge with Him from the fire of Jahannam."
"And whoever gave a person who fasted, water to drink, Allah shall grant him a drink from my fountain such a drink whereafter he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters 'Jannah."' (Reported by 'Ibn Khuzaimah' in his 'Sahih')
All the points to which this Hadith draws attention have been further emphasised in numerous other Ahaadith on the great virtues of Ramadhan. Quite a number of important points are brought to our notice in this Hadith.
First it should be noted that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) delivered this sermon at the end of the month of Sha'baan, the obvious reason being that he intended to put into our minds the great importance of (the forthcoming) Ramadhan, so that we on our side could remember and not allow even a moment to go by without giving it the true importance it deserves. After describing the virtues of this month, attention is specifically drawn to several important items. First the "Laylatul Qadr' which is indeed a most valuable night. Thereafter, it is brought out in the above Hadith that fasting during day has been made obligatory by Allah, Who also made the 'Taraweeh' salaat during night a 'Sunnah' to please Allah. From this Hadith it is noted that the command for 'Taraweeh' prayers too comes from Allah Himself, and the other Ahaadith from the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) are really confirmatory. All the authorities are agreed on 'Taraweeh' being a 'Sunnah'. Maulana Shah Abdul-Haq Dehlavi wrote in his book "Maa Thabata Bis Sunnah" that should the people of any town fail to perform 'Taraweeh' prayers, the Muslim ruler should compel them to do so by force.
Here one point should be noted: Many are of the opinion that one may merely listen to the Qur'an being recited during 'Taraweeh' in eight or ten days in a certain 'Masjid' whereby the virtue of the 'Sunnah' shall have been attained. This is wrong because there are two distinct things: first, it is 'Sunnah' to hear the full Qur'an being recited in 'Taraweeh' during Ramadhan; secondly, it is 'Sunnah' to perform 'Taraweeh salaat' throughout Ramadhan. Both these should be performed with due care.
As for those who are on a journey and unable to perform both 'Sunan', because of not knowing where they might be (at different places); for them it is advisable that in the first few days of Ramadhan they should have the full Qur'an recited in 'Taraweeh', so that it does not remain incomplete. Then they should join in 'Taraweeh' wherever they find the opportunity.
Another point that is brought to our notice in the above Hadith is that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) informed us that any 'Nafl' (non-obligatory) act in 'Ramadhan' is rewarded as much as a 'Fardh' (obligatory) in normal times, whereas. a 'Fardh' in Ramadhan carries the reward of seventy 'Faraaidh' of other times.