The acts of worship of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, in Ramadan

عبادات النبي صلى الله عليه وسلمفي رمضـان

Acts of Worship of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in Ramadan

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful

All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon the seal of the Prophets and the Imam of the Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, صلى الله عليه وسلم, and all his family and Companions.

The month of Ramadan is the month of worship and drawing closer to Allah Almighty with different sorts of acts of worship and righteous deeds.

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to increase the different types of his acts of worship in the month of Ramadan.

He used to single out Ramadan with acts of worship that he did not perform in other months.

He used to urge his Companions to perform acts of worship and obedience and head towards Allah, the Exalted, in this month.

He, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said:

إذا كان أول ليلة من شهر رمضان صفدت الشياطين ومردة الجن، وغلقت أبواب النار فلم يفتح منها باب، وفتحت أبواب الجنة فلم يغلق منها باب، وينادي مناد كل ليلة، يا باغي الخير أقبل، ويا باغي الشر أقصر، ولله عتقاء من النار، وذلك كل ليلة»

(متفق عليه).

When the first night of Ramadan arrives, the devils and rebellious jinn are chained, the gates of Hellfire are closed till no gate thereof is open, and the gates of Paradise are opened till no door thereof is closed. A caller cries out: “O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist.” Allah saves some people from Hellfire—and that happens every night.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The acts of worship of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, in Ramadan include:

First: Fasting Ramadan:

فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ [سورة البقرة:185].

Allah Almighty says (what means): {So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it.} [Quran 2:185]

«من صام رمضان إيماناً واحتساباً غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه» (متفق عليه).

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said: “Whoever fasts in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah, then his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

«أتاكم شهر رمضان، شهر مبارك، فرض الله عليكم صيامه»

(رواه النسائي وصححه الألباني لغيره).

He, صلى الله عليه وسلم, also said: “The month of Ramadan has come to you. It is a blessed month in which Allah enjoined you to fast.” [An-Nasaai; Al-Albani: authentic due to other narrations]

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, warned against abandoning seizing the virtues of this month and leaving it without your sins being forgiven and your rank being elevated.

أبي هريرة أن النبي صعد المنبر فقال: «آمين، آمين، آمين» قيل: يا رسول الله ! إنك صعدت المنبر فقلت: « آمين، آمين، آمين ». قال: «إن جبريل عليه السلام أتاني فقال: من أدرك شهر رمضان، فلم يغفر له، فدخل النار، فأبعده الله، قل: آمين، فقلت: آمين »

(رواه ابن خزيمة وابن حبان وقال الألباني حسن صحيح).

Abu Hurayrah narrated that once the Prophet, said “Ameen!” three times when he stepped up to the pulpit to deliver a sermon. Afterwards, he was asked why he said “Ameen!” three times.

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, responded:

While I was at the pulpit, Jibreel (Gabriel), , came to me. He said: “May he be far from the mercy of Allah who reached Ramadan and was not forgiven so he entered Hellfire. So Allah distanced him far away. Say: ‘Ameen.’ So I said ‘Ameen.'” [Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbaan; Al-Albani: good-authentic]

Every Muslim should beware of wasting the time of this month in whatever displeases Allah Almighty or in the permissible acts that are not rewarded.

When the wrongdoer sees the good-doers on the Day of Resurrection, he will regret his wrongdoing and wish that he had done good like them. Regret, weeping, remorse and pain, however, do not benefit then.

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, informed us that there are people who fast only as a matter of habit so that it has no impact in improving their behavior or disciplining their speech.

They know nothing of the meanings of fasting except for abstention from food and drink for a period of time.

«من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به والجهل فليس لله حاجة في أن يدع طعامه وشرابه» (رواه البخاري).

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said about these people: “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), acting upon them and ignorant behavior, Allah will not be in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.” [Al-Bukhari]

«رب صائم حظه من صيامه الجوع والعطش» (رواه أحمد وابن ماجة وصححه السيوطي)

He, صلى الله عليه وسلم, also said: “Perhaps there is a fasting person who gets nothing of his fasting except hunger and thirst.” [Ahmad and Ibn Maajah; As-Suyooti: authentic]

The meaning is that he does not attain the reward of fasting because he violated its sanctity with different types of disobedience and forbidden acts.

This is why one of the predecessors said: “The easiest part of fasting is abandoning food and drink.”

This is also why the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم clarified that true fasting protects against dispraised acts and bad morals.

«الصيام جنة، فإذا كان يوم صيام أحدكم فلا يرفث ولا يفسق، فإن سابه أحد أو قاتله، فليقل: إني صائم، أني صائم » (متفق عليه) 

The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said: “Fasting is a shield. If one of you is fasting, then he should avoid having sexual relations with his wife and quarrelling and if somebody fights or quarrels with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.'” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This is the required fasting that helps the fasting person to reach the desired aim.

Allah, the Exalted, says (what means):

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ [البقرة:183].

{O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.} [Quran 2:183]

Second: Performing qiyaam (i.e. night prayers) in Ramadan:

Qiyaam in Ramadan is the night prayers observed in Ramadan. The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to perform qiyaam all throughout the year, in compliance with the verses in which Allah Almighty says (what means):

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ * قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا [المزمل ا ،2]

O you who wraps himself [in clothing], arise [to pray] the night, except for a little.} [Quran 73:1-2]

Allah, the Exalted, praised those who perform night prayers, as He says (what means):

وَالَّذِينَ يَبِيتُونَ لِرَبِّهِمْ سُجَّدًا وَقِيَامًا [الفرقان: 64]،

{And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer].} [Quran 25:64]

and (what means):

تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ [السجدة: 16]

{They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend.} [Quran 32:16]

«أفضل بالصلاة بعد الفريضة صلاة الليل» (رواه مسلم).

The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said: “The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the night prayer.” [Muslim]

It was narrated that the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, singled out the qiyaam of Ramadan with more care. This includes that he urged performing qiyaam in Ramadan and informed us that it is a reason for forgiving sins like the fasting of Ramadan as he, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said:

«من قام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه» (متفق عليه).

“Whoever stands in prayer in the nights of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Performing qiyaam in Ramadan means performing tahajjud (praying late at night) through humbly submissive prayers at night seeking to draw closer to Allah Almighty in these honoured nights.

قال الشيخ ابن عثيمين: ومعنى قوله: «إيمانا» أي بالله وبما أعده من الثواب للقائمين. ومعنى قوله: «احتسابا» أي طلبا لثواب الله، لم يحمله على ذلك رياء، ولا سمعة، ولا طلب مال ولا جاه.

Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen, , said, “’Out of sincere faith,’ means faith in Allah and belief in the reward that he prepared for those who stand in prayer. ‘Hoping to attain the reward from Allah,’ means that he is not doing this to show off or to gain fame, wealth or authority.”

Qiyaam in Ramadan encompasses prayers at the beginning and the end of the night.

Therefore, taraaweeh (voluntary night prayer in congregations in the mosque in Ramadan) is considered qiyaam. Hence, we should be keen on it and seek the reward from Allah Almighty for it.

They are only a few nights that are seized by the wise believer before they depart.

It was named as such (i.e. to rest or take a break) because people used to prolong it so much that whenever they prayed four rakahs (units of prayer), they would take a short break.

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, was the first to pray the taraaweeh prayer in congregation in the masjid. Then, he abandoned it out of fear that it would become obligatory upon his nation.

ففي الصحيحين عن عائشة رضي الله عنها« أن النبي صلى في المسجد ذات ليلة، وصلى بصلاته ناس، ثم صلى من القابلة، وكثر الناس، ثم اجتمعوا من الليلة الثالثة أو الرابعة، فلم يخرج إليهم رسول الله ، فلما أصبح قال: قد رأيت الذي صنعتم، فلم يمنعني من الخروج إليكم إلا أني خشيت أن تفرض عليكم. وكان ذلك في رمضان»

Aaishah, , narrated that, one night, the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, offered the prayer in the masjid and the people followed him. The next night, he also offered the prayer and so many people gathered.

On the third and fourth nights, more people gathered but the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, did not come out to them.

In the morning, he, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said: “I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the prayer) might be enjoined upon you stopped me from coming to you.” That happened in the month of Ramadan. [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]

The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, died while the matter was as such. 

Afterwards, Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, gathered the people in the masjid to pray the taraaweeh prayers led by one Imam.

Thus, he revived this Sunnah after its absence because the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, feared that it might be enjoined upon his nation.

The revelation ended with the death of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم. Muslims from among Ahlus-Sunnah (the people who follow the Sunnah) agreed upon the permissibility of what Umar, did. No one contradicted them except for the people of innovations.

Another piece of evidence on its permissibility is what was narrated by Abu Ad-Dardaa, that the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, led them in prayer on the twenty-third night till the third of the night and on the twenty-fifth night till half the night.

فقالوا: لو ثقلتنا – أي زدتنا بقية ليلتنا – فقال عليه الصلاة والسلام: «إن الرجل إذا صلى مع الإمام حتى ينصرف، كتب له بقية ليلته»

(رواه أهل السنن وحسنه الترمذي).

They said to him: “Would you please pray the rest of the night with us?” The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, replied: “If someone prays with the imam till the imam leaves, then he will be rewarded as if he prayed the rest of the night.” [Ahlus-Sunan; At-Tirmithi: good]

This indicates that praying part of the night with the imam is rewarded like praying the whole night, even if this portion of the night is less than the third, as indicated by the hadith:

«إذا صلى مع الإمام حتى ينصرف»

“If someone prays with the imam till the imam leaves”. The apparent meaning is that he should pray with him until he leaves.  

If he leaves before the imam, then he will not attain this reward.

وعن الإمام أحمد أنه كان يأخذ بهذا الحديث، ويصلي مع الإمام

Imam Ahmad, used to apply this hadith and pray with the Imam.

Therefore, those people who leave after performing two, four or six rakahs are deprived from attaining the reward of performing the qiyaam of a complete night.

Consider how the Companions used to pray with the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, till half the night and then they asked him to pray more.

This shows the strength of their faith and their diligence in obeying Allah Almighty. If you consider the states of many imams nowadays, you will find that they pray the entire taraaweeh prayer in half an hour or less or a bit more.

Nonetheless, people are not patient to complete it with the imam.

This indicates preoccupation with the life of this world, prevalence of its love in souls, excessive hope, and relinquishing the deeds of the Hereafter.

Third: studying the Quran:

From among the acts of worship of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, in Ramadan is studying the Quran.

عن ابن عباس قال: «كان النبي أجود الناس، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل فيدارسه القرآن، وكان جبريل يلقاه كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن،

فلرسول الله حين يلقاه جبريل أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة»

(متفق عليه).

Ibn Abbas, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, was the most generous of all the people and that he used to be even more generous in the month of Ramadan, when Jibreel (Gabriel), used to meet him.

Jibreel used to meet him every night in Ramadan to study the Noble Quran together. The Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to become more generous than the fast wind (which causes rain and welfare) when he met Jibreel. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

قال الإمام ابن رجب: (ودل الحديث أيضا على استحباب دراسة القرآن في رمضان والاجتماع على ذلك، وعرض القرآن على من هو أحفظ له.

Imaam Ibn Rajab, said: “This hadith also indicates that it is recommended to study the Quran in Ramadan, gather for this reason, and recite the Quran before whoever memorized more than you.”

This hadith also signifies that it is recommended to frequently recite the Quran in the month of Ramadan.

Fatimah, narrated that her father, صلى الله عليه وسلم, informed her that he used to study the Quran with Jibreel, , once every year and that, in the year of his death, they studied it twice.

This hadith also implies that this studying between the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, and Jibreel, was at night.

This signifies that it is recommended to frequently recite the Quran at night in Ramadan.

At night, business and concerns end, determinations grows stronger, and the heart and tongue cooperate to contemplate.

إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا [المزمل:6].

Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words.} [Quran 73:6]

Ramadan has a special relation with the Quran, as Allah Almighty says (what means):

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآَنُ [البقرة:185]

{The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran.} [Quran 2:185]

There are etiquettes for reciting the Quran, and these comprise the following:

1- Sincerity of intention for the sake of Allah Almighty.

2- Reading with an attentive heart, contemplating on what is read, and understanding its meanings.

3- Being in a state of purity because this is part of glorifying the words of Allah, the Exalted.

4- Not reading the Quran in unclean places or in a gathering where one cannot listen to its recitation because such a recitation, in those circumstances, would disdain the Quran.

5- Seeking refuge with Allah Almighty from the accursed Satan when starting the recitation and not pronouncing the Basmalah (i.e. saying:

In the Name of Allah) except at the beginning of a new Surah. 

6- Improving one’s voice in recitation.

7- Reciting the Quran with measured recitation and applying the rules of recitation.

8- Prostrating when passing by a verse of prostration while one is in a state of purity at any time, whether night or day.

While prostrating, one should say: “Glory be to my Lord, the Most High,” supplicate Allah Almighty, and then rise without saying takbeer (i.e. saying: Allah Akbar) or offering tasleem (ending the prayer with salutations). 

Fourth: Thikr (remembrance) and supplication:

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to mention his Lord at all times and in all states. He used to do more so in Ramadan.

From among the athkaar (i.e. plural of thikr) of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, in Ramadan was that when he saw the moon, he used to say:

«الله أكبر، الله أكبر، اللهم أهله علينا بالأمن والإيمان، والسلامة والإسلام، والتوفيق لما تحب وترضى، ربنا وربك الله»

(رواه الدارمي).

“Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. O Allah, bring us the new moon with security and faith, salvation and Islam (submission to You), and guidance to what You like and what pleases You. Our Lord and yours (O moon) is Allah.” [Ad-Daarimi]

When the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, broke his fast, he used to say:

«ذهب الظمأ وابتلت العروق وثبت الأجر إن شاء الله»

(رواه أبو داود والنسائي).

“Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist and the reward is sure, if Allah wills.” [Abu Daawood and An-Nasaaʼi]

 وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: قلت يا رسول الله! إن علمت ليلة القدر ما أقول فيها؟ قال: قولي: «اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني»

(رواه الترمذي وقال: حسن صحيح).

Aaishah, said: “I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know which night is the Night of Qadr, then what should I say during it?’

He, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said: ‘Say, O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.'” [At-Tirmithi narrated it and classed it as good-authentic]

وقال النووي: يستحب أن يكثر في الاعتكاف من تلاوة القرآن وغيره من الأذكار.

An-Nawawi, said: “It is recommended to frequently recite the Quran and other athkaar when observing itikaaf (i.e. religious seclusion in the masjid).”

Concerning supplication, the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

«ثلاثة لا ترد دعوتهم الصائم حتى يفطر، والإمام العادل، دعوة المظلوم»

(رواه الترمذي وحسنه).

“There are three types of people whose supplications are never rejected: a fasting person when he breaks his fast, a just ruler, and the supplication of a wronged person.” [At-Tirmithi narrated it and classed it as good]

Fifth: Much generosity and spending;

In the above mentioned hadith of Ibn Abbas, it is stated that the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to be the most generous in Ramadan. He was even more generous than the fast wind that brings the rain. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is the most generous of all the children of Adam, He is the best, most knowledgeable, and most perfect of them with regards to all the praised qualities.

He encompassed all sorts of generosity including offering knowledge, money, sacrificing himself for the sake of Allah, supporting His religion, guiding His slaves, and conveying benefit to them with all means, like by feeding the hungry among them, preaching to the ignorant among them, running their errands, and bearing their burdens.

وفي الصحيحين عن أنس قال: «كان رسول الله أحسن الناس، وأشجع الناس وأجود الناس».

Anas, narrated, “The Messenger of Allah, was the best, bravest, and most generous of all people.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Anas, also said:

وفي صحيح مسلم عن أنس قال: «ما سئل رسول الله على الإسلام شيئا إلا أعطاه، فجاء رجل، فأعطاه غنما بين جبلين، فرجع إلى قومه فقال: يا قوم أسلموا، فإن محمداً يعطي عطاء من لا يخشى الفاقة ».

It never happened that the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم was asked anything for the sake of Islam and did not give it. There came to him a person and he gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) that extended to a distance between two mountains. The man went back to his people and said: “O my people! Embrace Islam for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of poverty.” [Muslim]

His generosity increased in Ramadan compared to other months, just as the generosity of his Lord increased in it as well. Allah, the Exalted, instilled the noble qualities that He loves in him. He was as such even before al-bithah (i.e. the commission to bear and proclaim the message). [Lataaf Al-Maarif by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali]

Generosity in Ramadan includes offering iftaar (i.e. meal to break a fast with) to the fasting people for the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

«من فطر صائماً فله مثل أجره» (رواه أحمد والنسائي وصححه الألباني)،

“Whoever offers iftaar to a fasting person will receive a reward that is equivalent to that of the fasting person.” [Ahmad, An-Nasaai; Al-Albani: authentic]

From among the characteristics of the generosity of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is that he did everything completely for the sake of Allah Almighty and to seek His pleasure.

He used to give money to the poor and needy, spend it in the way of Allah, or bring with it to Islam whoever he thinks could benefit it with his power.

He used to favor others over himself, his family, and children.

He used to give in a way that cannot be imitated by kings like Kisra and Caesar.

He used to live the life of the poor.

Sometimes, no food would be cooked in his house for one or two months, and perhaps he would wrap a rock over his stomach due to hunger.

Sixth: Performing Umrah in Ramadan:

Although the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, did not perform Umrah in Ramadan, he urged doing so by saying:

«عمرة في رمضان تعدل حجة – أو قال – حجة معي» (متفق عليه)،

“Perform Umrah in the month of Ramadan as it is equivalent to Hajj (or he said: Hajj with me) (in reward).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This indicates doubling the reward of righteous deeds in Ramadan. Whoever was deprived of the bounty, mercy and broad forgiveness of Allah, the Exalted, in this month is truly deprived.

Seventh: Observing itikaaf:

Itikaaf is an established Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, صلى الله عليه وسلم.

فعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: «كان النبي يعتكف العشر الأواخر من رمضان، حتى توفاه الله، ثم اعتكف أزواجه من بعده»

(متفق عليه).

Aaishah, said: “The Prophet used to practice itikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died, and then his wives used to practice itikaaf after him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

وفي لفظ: «كان النبي يعتكف في كل رمضان عشرة أيام، فلما كان العام الذي قبض فيه اعتكف عشرين يوما»

(رواه البخاري).

Another narration reads: “The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used to perform itikaaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days and, when it was the year of his death, he stayed in itikaaf for twenty days.” [Al-Bukhari] 

Eighth: Exerting more effort in the last ten days:

فعن عائشة رضي الله عنها «أن النبي كان يجتهد في العشر الأواخر ما لا يجتهد في غيره»

(رواه مسلم).

Aaishah, narrated, “The Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم used to exert more effort in the last ten days of Ramadan than in the rest of the year.” [Muslim]

وقالت: «كان النبي إذا دخل العشر شد مئزره، وأحيا ليله، وأيقظ أهله» (متفق عليه).

She also said: “With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard), pray all night, and keep his family awake for the prayers.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This diligence encompassed all kinds of acts of worship, including prayer, recitation of the Quran, thikr, charity, and other acts of worship.

We ask Allah Almighty to guide us to follow the example of this Prophet, and win his intercession on the Day of Resurrection.

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