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Muslim Fasting – The Sunnah Traditions of Ramadan



Sunnah is the ways that Prophet Mohammad lived and spoke. The Sunnah of Ramadan is the way Prophet Mohammad performed fasting and prayers.

Ramadan comes in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar after Sha'ban and before Shawwal. It is a month that all Muslims long for and pray that the life be extended to see a successful Ramadan. It is a month dearer to most Muslims than anything on earth. Sadly to say many Muslims have strayed away from following the Sunnah and have leaned towards culture.

New Muslim converts are taught in schools upon converting the correct way to worship Allah and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. By only doing what has been shown to be a strong hadith of Prophet Mohammad, the Muslim believer is assured that this Sunnah or tradition of the Prophet is the best and only way to fast; worship and yes even to love.

 

The Sunnah Tradition of Sha'ban


To fully understand the Sunnah traditions of Ramadan, the pious Muslim must first understand the preparation month prior to Ramadan. Prophet Mohammad fasted more in the month of Sha'ban than any other month except Ramadan and also said that Sha'ban was the month where people do not pay attention.

Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased*) said, "I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha'ban.' He said, 'That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.'" (Narrated by al-Nasa'i).


Fasting According to the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad


There are five things that Prophet Mohammad never gave up and were reported by Hafsah, "There are five things that the Prophet never abandoned: fasting the day of 'Ashurah, fasting the [first] ten [days of Zhul-Hijjah], fasting three days of every month and praying two rak'ah before the dawn prayer." This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i.

It was a pleasure to follow Prophet Mohammad and his ways by the companions and the best among them was Abu Bakr. When looking to follow the Sunnah and the best companion, it is best to follow Abu Bakr. The love Abu Bakr showed and the torture that was sustained to protect the religion of Islam and the Prophet, would show Muslims in today's society how truly to follow the Sunnah.

Abu Bakr never questioned whatever was told by Prophet Mohammad and Abu Bakr only wanted to submit. What does submit means? To follow what was asked by the Prophet. Who can go to heaven? Those who will submit. Once the love and extreme devotion of Abu Bakr is achieved, Muslims everywhere will now want to fast as Prophet Mohammad did and taught to the companions and followers.

 

Suhoor is A Blessing to Those Who Will Submit


After the niyah (intention) is made silently, a light meal called suhoor before the beginning of the fast is necessary when following the Sunnah traditions of Ramadan. Suhoor can be as little as a date and a few sips of water but is very necessary as the angels ask for forgiveness for the Muslim partaking of suhoor.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing (barakah)." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 4/139).

 

Keeping Away From Sins


It is very important in Ramadan and following the Sunnah traditions that all Muslims refrain from haram (forbidden) actions seeking the pleasure of Allah. These actions could include: backbiting, scandal mongering, lying, stealing and cheating. Prophet Mohammad was the glowing example of the Quran and according to him,"When any of you is fasting, let him not commit sin." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1904).
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink." (Al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1903).

 

Being the Most Generous


Another Sunnah tradition of Ramadan is being very generous. It is a time to help the poor and the needy and to give the best, not the worst. It is a time when all Muslims should rush to help those in need. Prophet Mohammad never refused anyone who asked of him.
"The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was more generous in doing good than a blowing wind." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath no. 6).

 

Rush to Break the Fast


Another Sunnah tradition of the prophet was to rush to break the fast. When breaking the fast say, "Allahumma laka sumtu wa 'ala ridhqika aftartu" (O Allah! For You did I fast and with Your bounties did I break the fast.). Prophet Mohammad use to break the fast with fresh dates. If fresh dates were not available then dried dates and if dried dates were not available, then water. After eating the dates and drinking the water, Prophet Mohammad prayed.

It is important not to overfill the stomach when breaking the fast. The Sunnah states to fill the stomach with 1/3 food, 1/3 water and to leave 1/3 empty. Then after the meal is finished say, "The thirst has gone and the veins have recovered and the blessing is established if Allah wills" (dhahaba dhamaa'a wabtallat al-urooq wa thabatal ajr inshaa'allaah) [Ahmad, Al-Baihaaqee].

* Muslims invoke Allah's blessings on the Prophet Muhammad whenever this name is mentioned.

Resources

"About Sunnah Fasting," All Experts
"Fasting (Siam) - According to the Quran and the Sunnah," Mosque for the Praising of Allah

 Photo courtesy of Photobucket: green_lover_4ever