Shaykh Ibn Baz’s advice to the Muslims about Ramadan
This article is taken from a speech delivered by the office of His Eminence, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz (rahimahullaah) when he was the Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research, Ifta’, Daw`ah, and Guidance, published in Okaz newspaper, ed. 1813 on 7/9/1419 A.H.
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From `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz to all Muslims. May Allah guide us all to benefit from all good and hasten to perform good deeds, Amen!
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
O Muslims! You are in the great sacred month of Ramadan; the month of Sawm (Fast), Qiyam-ul-Layl (optional Prayer at night), and recitation of the Qur’an. In this month, Allah opens the door of forgiveness and sets His pious Servants free from the Fire. Ramadan is the month of giving Sadaqah (voluntary charity); a month in which the doors of Paradise are open, rewards of deeds are multiplied, hardships are removed, supplications are answered, ranks are elevated, and sins are forgiven. During this month, Allah (Glorified be He) provides His Servants with all kinds of bounties and showers His Awliya’ (pious people) with blessings.
A month in which Allah has made fasting it one of the pillars of Islam and in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) observed Sawm and commanded the people to do the same. He (peace be upon him) informed us that whoever observes Sawm in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allah’s Reward, their previous sins shall be forgiven; and that those who observe Qiyam-ul-Layl in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allah’s Reward, their previous sins shall be forgiven. In this month, there is one night that is better than thousand months.
Muslims who deprive themselves of its good are really in loss. Honor this month, may Allah forgive you, by having good intentions, doing your best to observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, competing to do good, and repenting sincerely from all sins and misdeeds. Do your best to advise one another and cooperate in doing good and being pious. Advise one another to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and invite one another to every thing that is good to win dignity and great rewards.
Sawm has many benefits and great wisdom:
Some of these benefits are: Purifying one’s soul; disciplining it; ridding it of bad traits and evil attributes, such as insolence, ingratitude, and miserliness; accustoming it to adopt good ethics, such as patience, forbearance, and generosity; and struggling to please Allah and draw closer to Him.
Other benefits of Sawm: It makes us know humble selves, our needs, our weaknesses and our dependence on our Lord. It reminds us of Allah’s Blessings and of the needs of the poor; thus, driving us to be grateful to Allah (Glorified be He). We ought to employ Allah’s Blessings in obeying Him and in consoling and helping our poor Muslim fellows.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) refers to these benefits in the following Ayah (Qur’anic verse): “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)” [Qur’an 2:183]
Allah (Glorified be He) points out that Muslims are commanded to observe Sawm to fear Allah. This indicates that Sawm is a means to become pious and fear Allah as He should be feared which would result into obeying Allah and His Messenger. In this way, servants will be saved from Allah’s Punishment and Wrath.
Sawm diminishes one’s sexual desire and is a way to help one remain pure and chaste. Satan runs in our bloodstream and Sawm narrows the veins and reminds one of Allah and His Greatness and, thus, the power of Satan diminishes and one’s faith is strengthened. Sawm encourages good deeds and dissuades bad ones.
Other benefits of Sawm: It purifies the body of toxins, making one healthy and energetic, as confirmed by many physicians.
O Muslims! Sawm is a good deed for which there is enormous reward, especially Sawm in Ramadan which Allah has made obligatory for His Servants and made it a means to be granted success.
On the authority of `Ubadah ibn Al-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
Ramadan came to you as a month of blessing in which Allah spreads His Mercy, forgives sins, and answers supplications. Allah (Exalted be He) sees your competition and speaks proudly of you to the angels. So show Allah that you are doing good as the deprived one is he who deprives himself of Allah’s Mercy (in this month). [al-Haithami in his Majma’ al-Fawaid 3/142 number 4783, ascribed this to Al-Tabarani in Majma al-Kabeer 13/37 number 13655]
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
Allah has enjoined you to fast the month of Ramadan and I have made it a Sunnah (a commendable act) for you to observe Qiyam-ul-Layl during it. Whoever observes Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl during its nights out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), they will emerge as sinless as a new-born child. [Related by Al-Nasa’i]
Muslims should know that it is prescribed, when observing Qiyam-ul-Layl in Ramadan or offering any other Salah (Prayer), to offer Salah with tranquility and submissiveness when standing, bowing, prostrating and reciting the Qur’an.
Many people who observe Qiyam-ul-Layl in Ramadan do so without contemplation or tranquility. Rather, they only hit the ground and this is not permissible. It is Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and renders Salah null and void since tranquility is a pillar in Salah.
It was also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded the one who knocked the ground while performing his Salah in haste to repeat it.
O Muslims! Glorify your Salah by performing it as Allah commands; and seize the opportunity to gain every benefit from this great month by performing good deeds and all forms of worship.
Hasten to obey Allah as it is a great month in which Allah gives His Servants a chance to compete in doing good deeds in obedience to Him. May Allah forgive you and have mercy on you! Offer as much Salah as you can, give Sadaqah, recite the Qur’an with contemplation and thought, glorify Allah, praise Him, say Takbir and Tahlil (saying: “La ilaha illa Allah [There is no god except Allah]”) and ask Allah for forgiveness.
Send peace and blessings to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as much as you can and do good to the poor, needy, and orphans. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people and was even more generous during Ramadan. So follow in his footsteps, may Allah have mercy on you, by increasing your Sadaqah and good deeds in Ramadan. Help your poor brothers to observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, and hope for Allah’s Reward, the King and All-Knower.
Guard your Sawm from what Allah forbids. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever does not give up false speech and acting accordingly, Allah does not need them to leave their food and drink. He (peace be upon him) also said: Sawm is a shield (from the fire and from committing sins). When one of you is observing Sawm, he should avoid intimate relations (with his wife) and quarreling, and if someone insults him, he should say, ‘I am observing Sawm.’ [Saheeh al-Bukhari 1904]
It was reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Sawm is not abstinence from food and drink, but (true) Sawm is abstinence from empty talk and bad language. [Reported in ‘al-Mustadrak’ of al-Hakim number 1604]
Ibn Hibban reported in his Sahih Book of Hadith on the authority of Abu Sa`id (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Whoever observes Sawm in Ramadan, knows its ordinances and observes what should be observed during it will have all their previous sins forgiven.
Also, Jabir ibn `Abdullah Al-Ansary (may Allah be pleased with them) said: When you observe Sawm, let your ears, eyes and tongue abstain from lying and other unlawful acts. Do not harm your neighbors. Be characterized by humility and calmness. Let there be a difference between the days of observing Sawm and the days when you are not observing Sawm. [Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah number 8981]
In this month, Muslims should be generous and spend as much as they can, paying much attention to the poor and those who do not ask for charity. Muslims should help them observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, following the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to please Allah (Glorified be He) and as a way of thanking Him for His Blessings. Allah (Glorified be He) has promised His Servants who spend a great reward and many children.
Allah (Glorified be He) says: “And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, (i.e. Nawafil non-obligatory acts of worship: prayers, charity, fasting, Hajj and ‘Umrah), you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.” [Qur’an 73:20]
Beware, may Allah grant you mercy, any sins that might affect your Sawm negatively, diminish your reward, or incur Allah’s Wrath such as usury, adultery, theft, murder without justification, unjust consumption of the property of orphans; and all forms of injustice against persons, money, or honor. You should also avoid cheating in dealings, not keeping trusts, being ungrateful to parents, and severing ties of kinship. Enmity and hostility without a just cause; intoxicants and drugs, such as hashish and tobacco; backbiting and slander, lying, false testimony, false claims, and perjury should all be avoided.
Men should not shave or cut off their beards, allow their moustaches to grow long, act pridefully, or make Isbal (lengthening and trailing clothing below the ankles). Muslims should not listen to songs and music. Muslim women should abstain from Tabarruj (dressing immodestly in violation of the Islamic dress code) and imitating disbelieving women in wearing revealing clothes or others things that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have forbidden.
These sins are forbidden at all times and all places, but are more forbidden during Ramadan and more grievous because of the sanctity of this month.
O Muslims! You must fear Allah and avoid what He and His Messenger have forbidden. Be steadfast in obeying Allah in Ramadan and in other months as well, advise one another to do that. Enjoin others to do good and forbid evil to gain honor, happiness, and dignity, and to be saved in this world and in the Hereafter.
May Allah protect you, us, and all Muslims from that which brings His Wrath! May Allah accept our Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl and rectify the affairs of Muslim rulers and make them a means to defend Islam and defeat His enemies! May Allah guide us all to comprehend Islam, hold fast to it, and judge according to it in all our affairs! Allah has power over all things.
Peace be upon His Servant and Messenger, Muhammad, and upon all his family and Companions and whoever follows his way until the Day of Resurrection. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh!
Source: Fataawa of Ibn Baaz. Part No. 15; Page No. 22-37