15+ Hadiths on Ramadan and Fasting

By Dr. Mohsen Haredy
15+ Hadiths on Ramadan and Fasting

Fasting purifies the Muslim’s body and soul.

Fasting (sawm) is the fourth pillar of Islam. Fasting is prescribed on Muslims as it was prescribed on those who came before Muslims. We read in the Quran what means:

{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 2:183)

The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said:

“(The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His bondsman and messenger, and the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakah, Pilgrimage to the House (Kabah) and the fast of Ramadan.” (Muslim)

A bedouin with unkempt hair came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards the prayers.” The Prophet replied: “You have to offer perfectly the five compulsory prayers in a day and night (24 hours), unless you want to pray optional prayers.”

The bedouin further asked, “Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards fasting.” The Prophet replied, “You have to fast during the whole month of Ramadan, unless you want to fast more as optional fasting.”

The bedouin further asked, “Tell me how much Zakah Allah has enjoined on me.” Thus, the Prophet informed him about all the rules (i.e. fundamentals) of Islam.

The bedouin then said, “By Him Who has honored you, I will neither perform any optional worship nor will I decrease what Allah has enjoined on me. The Prophet said, “If he is saying the truth, he will succeed (or he will be granted Paradise). (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet observed the fast on the 10th of Muharram (Ashura), and ordered (Muslims) to fast on that day, but when the fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed, the fasting of the Ashura was abandoned. (Al-Bukhari)

Muslims observe fasting during the month of Ramadan; the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, the Quran, which Muslims believe to be the final word of God, was revealed.

{The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.} (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Fasting purifies the Muslim’s body and soul. Fasting teaches Muslims self-discipline and self-control.

The month of Ramadan has many blessings and virtues. In what follows, we will quote some hadiths (traditions reported from Prophet Muhammad) about this glorious month.

Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet as saying:

“When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.” (Muslim)

The Prophet said:

“Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.” The Prophet added, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” (Al-Bukhari)

Muslims believe that fasting is an expiation for the sins they commit.

Abu Wail from Hudhaifah narrated:

Umar asked the people, “Who remembers the narration of the Prophet about the affliction?” Hudhaifah said, “I heard the Prophet saying, ‘The affliction of a person in his property, family and neighbors is expiated by his prayers, fasting, and giving in charity.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet tells Muslims that there is a special gate called Ar-Rayyan from which those who observe fasting will be allowed to enter Paradise from it.

The Prophet said, “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Usually, Muslims start fasting in Ramadan when the moon is sighted. Ibn Umar reported the Prophet as saying in connection with Ramadan:

“Do not fast till you see the new moon, and do not break fast till you see it; but if the weather is cloudy calculate about it.” (Muslim)

Whoever observes fast in Ramadan out of sincere faith with honest intention will have his sins forgiven.

The Prophet said:

“Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Quran to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare). (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet states that fasting is not only to abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse. He said:

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet taught Muslims how to react to abuse and insult when they are fasting.

Abu Hurairah narrated the Prophet said:

“Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hands my soul is’ The unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” (Al-Bukhari)

Fasting protects one from committing illegal sexual acts. Alqama narrated: While I was walking with Abdullah he said, “We were in the company of the Prophet and he said, ‘He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power.” (Al-Bukhari)

The pre-dawn meal (sahur) is a blessing and Muslims are urged to take in order to give them power to continue the daytime fasting.

Anas bin Malik narrated the Prophet said, “Take sahur as there is a blessing in it.” (Al-Bukhari)

Out of God’s mercy, if a person observes fasting eats or drinks forgetfully, his fasting is still valid. The Prophet said, “If somebody eats or drinks forgetfully, then he should complete his fast, for what he has eaten or drunk, has been given to him by Allah.” (Al-Bukhari)

Muslims are given the concession to break the fast if they are travelling. The Prophet was on a journey and saw a crowd of people, and a man was being shaded (by them). He asked, “What is the matter?” They said, “He (the man) is fasting.” The Prophet said, “It is not righteousness that you fast on a journey.” (Al-Bukhari)

We read in the Quran what means:

[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. (Quran 2:184)

Muslim women who are in their menses are given the concession to break the fast but they have to make up for these days later before the coming of the next Ramadan.

The Prophet said, “Isn’t it true that a woman does not pray and does not fast on menstruating? And that is the defect (a loss) in her religion.” (Al-Bukhari)

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