A Gifted Month:
Being Muslim, we are so privileged that Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has blessed us with a beautiful gift of month of Ramadan. The ninth month in Islamic calendar, Ramadan carries immense significance which cannot be paralleled by any other month. Every moment of the month contains immeasurable blessings and uncountable rewards. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ multiplies the reward of good deeds in this month and forgives the sins of fasting person. The reward of a Nafl act is equivalent to that of a Fard, while the reward of performing Fard is multiplied 70 times in this sacred month.
Regarding the importance of Ramadan, one can find number of Quranic verses enlightening the significance of this sacred month. In the Holy Quran Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ Says:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِیْۤ اُنْزِلَ فِیْهِ الْقُرْاٰنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَ بَیِّنٰتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدٰى وَ الْفُرْقَانِۚ-فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْیَصُمْهُؕ-وَ مَنْ كَانَ مَرِیْضًا اَوْ عَلٰى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَیَّامٍ اُخَرَؕ-یُرِیْدُ اللّٰهُ بِكُمُ الْیُسْرَ وَ لَا یُرِیْدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ٘-وَ لِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللّٰهَ عَلٰى مَا هَدٰىكُمْ وَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُوْنَ(۱۸۵)
Translation from Kanz-ul-Iman:
The month of Ramadan in which was sent down the Quran – the guidance for mankind, the direction and the clear criteria (to judge between right and wrong). So whoever among you finds this month, must fast for the (whole) month; and whoever is sick or on a journey, may fast the same number in other days. Allah desires ease for you and does not desire hardship for you so that you complete the count (of fasts), and glorify Allah’s greatness for having guided you, and so that you may be grateful.
(Part 2, Surah Baqarah, verse 185) [Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)]
Virtues of Ramadan:
There are uncountable virtues of Ramadan. The first and foremost unique virtue of Ramadan is that Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ selected this month, in which the Holy Quran was revealed. Fasting in this month has been made compulsory. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has concealed a night, known as Laila-tul-Qadr in this month; in which the worship of one night is rewarded more than that of one thousand months. Moreover as the blessed and sacred month approaches, the doors of heaven are opened while the doors of hell are closed. It is a month in which the Satan is locked in the chains. The blessings of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ are bestowed upon the Muslims. Besides, among the eight doors of the paradise, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has particularized a door namely Al-Riyan, which only fast keeping Muslims will pass through to Jannah.
The Holy Quran is not only the last revealed book of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ but also contains complete guidance for the whole humanity. The process of revelation of the holy Quran lasted for twenty three years almost, but the completion of the revelation was done in this sacred month. Therefore the importance of this sacred month has been raised up.
The Month of Fasting
Fasting; the fourth pillar of Islam has also been made obligatory in this month. Fasting prohibits from eating, drinking and engaging in conjugal sexual relationships from dawn (Fajr) to sunset (Maghrib). It is such a worship which cannot be apparently observed unless it is declared by the observing person. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ likes the smell emitting from the mouth of fast keeping person. It has been declared that for those who keep fast have two types of pleasures; One will be given at the time while he breaks the fast at the time of Aftar; secondly the pleasure which the fast keeping person will be bestowed when he will meet Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ on the Day of Resurrection.
A Night with Increased Rewards
The most important feature that makes Ramadan the month of infinite blessings is the Night of Lalila-tul-Qadr. It is a night that appears during any of the odd nights of the last Ashrah of Ramadan-ul-Mubarak. It is a night in which the worship is rewarded to uncountable folds. The worship in this blessed night carries more significance than that of worshipping one thousand months during other days. It has been mentioned in the Holy Quran that:
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ (۳)
Translation: The blessed night is better than a thousand months.
(Part 30, Surah Qadr) [Kanz-ul-Īmān (Translation of Quran)]
As the month of Ramadan approaches the doors of heaven are opened whereas the doors of hell are closed. Muslims prepare themselves for accumulating maximum blessings and mercy from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. Satan is locked in chains. It can be observed during Ramadan that many of the social evils like abusing; drinking alcohol, fornication, telling lie, misbehaving etc. are minimized. Tolerance level in the society is observed to be high. Masajids remain full of Namazis and reciters of the Holy Quran. Unity among the Muslims is strengthened during this holy month.
Itikaf, The Unique Worship:
Following the Sunnah of the beloved and the noblest Prophet Muhammad صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ millions of Muslims observe Itikaf not only during the last Ashrah of Ramadan but also thousands of Muslims observe Itikaf during the whole month of Ramadan. They stay within the boundary of Mosque and remain busy in the worship of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. They seek forgiveness not for their own misdoings but also pray for the pleasure and prosperity of the whole Ummah. Also they convey reward to the deceased Muslims by praying and seeking forgiveness for them.
In brief it can be concluded that Ramadan is an opportunity for those who want to seek forgiveness; a blessing for those who want to seek mercy; a chance for those who want to accumulate the rewards for the day of Resurrections. Therefore, We Muslims must make use of this opportunity and collect as many rewards as possible. May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ enable us to make use of the Ramadan.
اٰمِيۡن بِجَاهِ النَّبِيِّ الۡاَمِيۡن صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيۡهِ وَاٰلِه وَسَلَّم
صَلُّوۡا عَلَى الۡحَبِيۡب صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلٰى مُحَمَّد