Great importance is displayed from the side of Allah for the blessed month of Ramadhan. Nabi ﷺ has also elucidated its worth in various ways to the ummah.
Its importance in the sight of Allah is understood from the following Hadith of Nabi ﷺ
“Jannah is beautified and adorned from one Ramadhan to the next in anticipation of the blessed month of Ramadhan.”
I.e. from the completion of one Ramadhan up to the commencement of the next Ramadhan, for a full eleven months, Jannah is beautified for the coming Ramadhan.
As is already evident, which bounty and adornment of Allah is not found in Jannah?
ولكم فيها ما تشتىه انفسكم ولكم فيها ما تدعون
“And therein will be for you whatever your heart desires and all that you ask for.”
And such things are found therein which a Hadith describes as:
ما لا عني رات و لا اذن سمعت ولا خطر على قلب بشر
“That which no eye has seen, nor has any ear heard of, nor has it crossed the imagination of any person.”
Despite Jannah being beautified and adorned from before, Allah further enhances its beauty and adornment. We are able to gauge from this the regard for the blessed month of Ramadhan in the sight of Allah.
Apart from this the doors of Jannah are opened and the shayaateen (devils) are chained.
In short, all this regard is displayed from the side of Allah. We understand from this that Allah desires the following in this month:-
“My servants detach themselves from all things and turn their attention to Me.”
It is for this very reason that all such things are divinely removed which pose as obstacles in achieving this. Shaytaan poses a threat. Thus, it is mentioned in a Hadith that the shayaateen are imprisoned and their legs are chained. Ones carnal self poses as a threat. Thus, Allah has prescribed fasting. In fasting one remains hungry and thirsty, and owing to taraweeh salaah at night one is required to remain awake. By fasting ones beastly instincts are restrained and effort is made to bring it under control and in addition to this, devilish instincts are also controlled. It is mentioned in a Hadith:
“Shaytaan moves and flows within a person just as blood moves and flows within him. Therefore, be careful (of this onslaught of Shaytaan) and block off all his passages (whereby he may influence you) by remaining hungry.”
Just as blood flows throughout one’s body, so too does shaytaan penetrate and negatively influence a person. Nabi ﷺ has exhorted us that we should block all his pathways and channels of movement by remaining hungry. Thus, an attempt is made to remove devilish influences and simultaneously beastly influences are also expelled by virtue of which one is required to remain hungry and thirsty as is the case in training a hunting animal to hunt.
So all such obstacles which hinder a bondsman’s proximity, relationship and attachment with Allah are eliminated. As if Allah desires in these days and in this month that His bondsman is united with Him and that a special relationship and bond is established with Allah.
Nabi`s ﷺ preparation for Ramadhan
Nabi ﷺ had before the commencement of Ramadhan, specially delivered a discourse in which attention is drawn to this month:
قد اظلكم شهر عظيم ، شهر مبارك ، شهر فيه ليلة خري من الف شهر
“A great month has dawned upon you, a most blessed month, a month wherein a night more virtuous than a thousand months lies.”
Furthermore, this is such a month:
اوله رمحة ، واوسطه مغفرة وآخره عتق من النار
“The beginning portion of which is mercy, the middle ten days are days of forgiveness and the last ten days are the days of emancipation from Jahannam.”
Only if the mercy of Allah is present will one fast, perform acts of devotion and perform taraweeh salaah. When for a period of ten days some acts of worship have been carried out then it is as though one has become deserving of the forgiveness of Allah. It is thus stated that the middle ten days are days of forgiveness. And once a person has been forgiven, he has consequently been granted deliverance from Jahannam. It is thus mentioned that the last ten days are the days of emancipation from hell-fire.
Attention has also been drawn to the devotional practices of this month that Allah Ta’ala has declared the fasting as fardh and the taraweeh salaah as Sunnah. And further one should duly endeavour to feed a fasting person and also to recite an abundance of kalimah tayyibah and istighfaar and to beg for Jannah and seek protection from Jahannam.
Nonetheless, before Ramadhan, Nabi ﷺ used to draw attention to the above-mentioned aspects in his sermon.
What is the objective of all of this? It is to emphasize the importance of this month and to impress the value thereof upon the hearts and minds of the ummah so that by appreciating and understanding its importance, due regard is given for the acquisition of this month.
It is for this reason that Allah has specially kept this month so that a bondsman may strengthen his connection and bond with Allah. In doing so the residue and veil upon his heart, resulting from his occupation in his worldly involvements of trade, manufacturing, farming, employment, etc., for the entire year, can be removed.
Factory owners know that a service is required on machinery after they have been in use for a period of time and they are overhauled. Due to the machines being opened and serviced the factory remains closed for two days and work is suspended. If they are not serviced then they will not function at optimal levels and the desired output will not be realised. Accordingly is the anticipated effect of the month of Ramadhan.