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Islamic Calendar: The Month of Ramadan

Islamic Calendar: The Month of Ramadan

Most people know what Ramadan is, even non-Muslims. But do we really know what it is? When was fasting in Ramadan established? What references do we find in the Quran and Sunnah? What does the word even mean? Read on to learn and teach others insha’Allah!


Meaning of Ramaḍān

The word Ramaḍān (in Arabic: رَمَضَان) is derived from the Arabic word رَمِضَ [ramiḍa] or الرَّمَضُ [ar-ramaḍ], which refer to “scorching heat” or “intense heat.” Islamic months were named according to the seasons, war, or both. When the naming of the Islamic months took place, Ramadan was the month that fell in the intensely hot summer season and therefore carried this name.


Chronological order in the Hijri calendar

Ramaḍān is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This month comes after Shaʿbān and before Shawwāl.


When Will Ramadan Take Place This Year?

This year (2021), Ramaḍān is expected to begin on April 13th, 2021 insha’Allah.


Significance of Ramadan in The Quran

Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down and fasting was decreed. Fasting in Ramadan was established as an obligatory observance in the 2nd year after the Hijrah (migration of the Prophet ﷺ from Makkah to Madinah) along with the duty imposed upon Muslims on paying Zakat (alms tax, poor-due).

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O You Who Believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183)

أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.” (2:184)

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (2:185)


Additionally, Surah Al-Anfal (spoils of war) was revealed on the occasion of the Battle of Badr, Ramadan 17th, 2 AH. It constituted a unique Divine commentary on this battle.


Significance of Ramadan in Hadith

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1899)

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated: “I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying regarding Ramadan, ‘Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.'” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2008)

Aisha رضي الله عنها narrated: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr [power] in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2020)

It was narrated from Abu Ma’qil that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 2993)

Ibn `Abbas رضي الله عنه narrated: “The Prophet ﷺ was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ then used to be more generous than the fast wind. (Sahih al-Bukhari 3554)

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Significance in Islamic History

Fasting in Ramadan was established as an obligatory observance in the year 2 A.H. along with the duty imposed upon Muslims on paying Zakat (alms tax, poor-due).


Battle of Badr: (Some Highlights)

The date on which the Battle of Badr took place was the 17th of Ramadan, in 624 CE, in the second year of the Hijrah. The battle was the first armed encounter between the Muslims and Quraysh. It was, in fact, a miraculous battle that gained the Muslims a historic victory acknowledged by all the Arabs.

The Muslim army was made up of 300-317 men. They were not well-equipped nor adequately prepared. Soon an arrogant group of 1300 soldiers including 100 horsemen and 600 soldiers in mail armor, with a large number of camels, was shouting to proceed to fight the Muslims.

The Muslims were afraid that the pagan Makkans would march on and start the warring within the headquarters of Islam, Madinah. A move of such nature would certainly damage and deal a decisive blow to the dignity and position of the Muslims. On account of the new grave developments, the Prophet ﷺ held an advisory military emergency meeting to review the ongoing situation and exchange viewpoints with the army leaders. Admittedly, some Muslims feared the horrible encounter and their courage began to waver; in this regard, Allah says:

كَمَا أَخْرَجَكَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَيْتِكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَارِهُونَ يُجَادِلُونَكَ فِي الْحَقِّ بَعْدَ مَا تَبَيَّنَ كَأَنَّمَا يُسَاقُونَ إِلَى الْمَوْتِ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ

“[It is] just as when your Lord brought you out of your home [for the battle of Badr] in truth, while indeed, a party among the believers were unwilling, arguing with you concerning the truth after it had become clear, as if they were being driven toward death while they were looking on.” (Quran, 8:5-6)

The Prophet ﷺ appraised his men of the gravity of the situation and asked for their advice. Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه was the first who spoke and assured the Prophet ﷺ of the unreserved obedience to his command. Umar رضي الله عنه was next. Then Al-Miqdad bin Amr رضي الله عنه got up and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Proceed where Allah directs you to, for we are with you. We will not say as the children of Israel said to Moses: ‘ Go you and your Lord fight and we will stay here,’ rather we shall say, ‘Go you and your Lord and fight and we will fight along with you.’ By Allah! If you were to take us to Birl Al-Ghimad, we will still fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it.” The Prophet ﷺ then spoke well to him and supplicated for him.

When the two parties approached closer to each other, the Prophet ﷺ began supplicating to Allah:

“O Allah! The proud arrogant Qurayshites are already here rebelling against you and belying your messenger. O Allah! I am waiting for your victory which you have promised me. I beg You Allah to defeat them (the enemies).”

Abu Jahl also prayed for victory. The battle started. The Prophet of Allah ﷺ prayed persistently day and night. Allah the Almighty inspired another message to His Messenger ﷺ, saying:

أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُم بِأَلْفٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ

“Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand from the angels, following one another.” (Quran, 8:9)

The Prophet ﷺ dozed off a little and then raised his head calling loudly in joy:

“O Abu Bakr, glad tidings are there for you: Allah’s victory has approached, by Allah, I can see Gabriel on his mare in the thick of a sandstorm.”

Iblis (Shaytan), in the guise of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju’sham Al-Mudliji, on seeing angels working in favor of the Muslims, and Quraysh rapidly losing ground on the battlefield, made a quick retreat despite the polytheists’ pleas to stay on. He ran off and jumped into the sea. The great tyrant Abu Jahl was deserted and left by himself on his horse waiting for death at the end of two courageous Ansar. (Reference: The Sealed Nectar, الرّحيق المختوم)

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

And already had Allah given you victory at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah; perhaps you will be grateful. (Quran, 3:123)

Did you miss our previous posts on the Hijri Calendar? Catch up here and stay tuned for more insha’Allah!

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