“…Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!”
Patience is inseparable from the purpose of Ramaḍān. Scholars mention four areas where patience is required: fulfilling acts of obedience to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā); refraining from prohibitions; bearing trials and tribulations; and preserving one’s heart and intellect from misguidance. Fasting allows us to exercise and develop all these types of patience.
For Days Passed By!
“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past!”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri is reported to have said, “The Hūr al-ʿAyn will say to a Walī of Allāh whilst reclining with her by a river of honey and being presented with a cup, ‘Allāh looked upon you on a very long hot day, experiencing severe thirst and so Allāh boasted about you before the Angels saying, ‘Look at my slave, he has forsaken his wife, desire, pleasure, food, and drink for my sake and for what is with me, bear witness that I have forgiven him!’ So, he forgave you that day and wed me to you’.”
The fasting day is much longer this year and it will get even longer with the years to come. This creates more difficulty for everyone, especially those at work. It is important to realise that we are all under the watchful gaze of the One who is above us all and that He is reserving our reward for us and soon enough we will find that reward with great happiness and joy. This is a matter we should often remind ourselves of throughout the day especially when we feel the pangs of hunger; when we fast all the while being conscious that Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is watching us, our rewards multiply.
A Private Affair
The fast is a secret between the slave and his Lord, no one knows about the difficulty and hardship the fasting person is going through except Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). He is the one who determines the reward, and His bounty is unlimited! Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
“Every action of the son of Ādam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allāh the Most High said, ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.’”
Fasting is a type of communication with Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) just as prayer is. It is as though we are calling out to Him, ‘I am only doing this action that no one knows about except for you. And this action that I do, even though I am doing it, it belongs to you.’
Striving to Win
Abū Mūsā Al-Ashʿari is an example of one who came before us who truly understood the rewards and virtues of fasting and would love to increase his worship of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). He said, “Allāh decreed upon Himself that whoever goes thirsty for Him on a hot day, that He would grant him water on the Day of Judgement”. Abū Mūsā would often fast and choose days that were hot and long.
The Highest Objective
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain Taqwā (piety).”
The Glorious Qur’ān
“The month of Ramadān in which was revealed the Qur’ān, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).”
It is almost as though Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is telling us that we should shift our focus and efforts during the holy month of Ramaḍān to reading the Qur’ān. This is what some of the past scholars did as they would stop delivering lectures and answering questions. Many of them completed it dozens of times during this blessed month. This is a great opportunity for us to become more proficient in our recitation and ponder much over the Qur’ān.
We should read the Qur’ān with its translation as this will help us to understand what Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is saying to us and will aid us in learning the Arabic words that appear in the Qur’ān often. Reading the Qur’ān is not enough; we must understand and ponder over it. This is why Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) said it is a guidance for mankind so that we know what is right and what is wrong. Only when we know what is being read can we take it as a source of guidance. An easy step to take in this regard is to simply select a small portion of your daily recitation and read the English whilst following the Arabic. By doing this every Ramaḍān one can really build up their Qur’ānic Arabic vocabulary.
Intimacy of Tawhīd
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”
This verse is among the same set that commands us with fasting; as we read the words of Our Lord and comply with what is asked from us, we should also ask Him what we need and want from Him. We should feel close to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) in this month more so than any other month. As Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) speaks to us through his words in His book, we should speak to Him in our supplications.
Whenever people questioned the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) about a matter and Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) addressed it in the Qur’an he would start by saying, ‘Qul’ (Say). Yet, when Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) was asked about Himself as in this Āyah, he did not say, ‘Qul’. This shows us that we do not need to go through anyone to reach Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and ask of Him, emphasising the greatness and importance of His Oneness. This also shows us how close Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is to us. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) also expresses His nearness to us by attaching the slave to Himself, “And when My slave asks you.” This also shows the great heights a human being can reach by being a slave of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). Other verses refer to the slave as though they are distant and many, whilst here the slaves are being addressed as being near and as one individual.
So, we know how close Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is to us and that He promised to respond to His slave. Now imagine that this slave is fasting, and the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has told us that the supplication of the fasting Muslim will not be rejected! The bounties and opportunities of Ramadān are many and unlimited yet the number of days we have to take advantage of it are few and limited.
Let us make this Ramaḍān different to all our previous ones. They say that actions speak louder than words, so let your actions (worship) therefore be as though you are speaking to your Lord.
 Al-Qur’ān 39:10
 Al-Qur’ān 69:24
 Al-Bazzār, declared hasan by al-Albāni in Sahīh al-Targhīb
 Al-Qur’ān 2:183
 Talq b. Habīb, related by Ibn Abī Shaybah in Kitāb al-Imān
 Al-Qur’ān 2:185
 Al-Qur’ān 2:186