There are numerous virtues of Ramadan and fasting expressed in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). If only one of these virtues was told to us it would have been enough motivation to perfect our fasting, seeking that reward and the pleasure of Allah, but it is again from the mercy of Allah that He taught us the many virtues of fasting so that we are encouraged even more.
It was narrated by Salman Al Farisi (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) delivered a sermon on the last Friday of Sha’ban, in which he said:
“O People! There comes upon you now a great and most blessed month, wherein lies a night greater in worth than a thousand months. The fasting during this month is made compulsory and the extra prayers by night are optional. Whosoever tries drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed in this month, for him shall be such reward as if he had performed any obligatory duty in any other time of the year. And whosoever performs any obligatory duty, for him shall be the reward of 70 such duties in any other time of the year.This is a month, the first part of which brings Allah’s Mercy, the middle part which brings His forgiveness and the last part of which brings freedom from the fire of hell. Whosoever lessens the burdens of his servants in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from hell.
Ramadan is indeed the month of patience and the reward for true patience is Paradise. It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellow men. It is a month wherein a true believer’s livelihood is increased. Whosoever feeds a fasting person in order to break the fast at Iftar, for him there will be forgiveness of his sins and emancipation from the fire of hell and he will receive the reward equal to the fasting person, without that person’s reward being diminished in the least. Some of the companions then said, not all of us possess the means whereby we can provide enough for a fasting person to break his fast. The Prophet (peace be upon him), replied: Allah grants the same reward to him who gives a fasting person a single date or a sip of milk or drink of water to break the fast.
In this month there are four things you should endeavour to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. The first two qualities are to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and to ask for forgiveness. And as for the other two you cannot do without: ask Allah for Paradise and seek refuge from hell fire. And whosoever gives a fasting Muslim water to drink at lftar, Allah will grant him a drink during the Day of Judgement from the fountain of Muhammad after which he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Paradise” (lbn-e-Huzimah).
There are many more ahadith which mention vividly the benefits and virtues of fasting in Ramadan. We will pick a few more of these fragrant flowers from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) colourful meadow. The beloved Mustafa (peace be upon him) said: “On the Day of Judgement the Glorious Quran and the fast will intercede (on your behalf). The fast will say ‘O Lord! I stopped him from eating, drinking and sexual activity throughout the day’, then the Quran will say ‘O Mighty Lord! I stopped him from rest and sleep at night so I intercede for him” (Muslim).
In another hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) went on to say: “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relations with his wife and should not behave foolishly and rudely, 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 him for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times” (Bukhari).
We pray to Allah to make this Ramadan a means for us to enter paradise and escape the punishment of hell! Ameen