There are many virtues of Ramadan and fasting expressed in the Qur'an and in the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. 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 many virtues of fasting so that we get encouraged even more. I will focus mainly on the virtues of forgiveness, salvation from Hell fire and reward of Paradise, but before that I shall mention few other virtues that are not less important than the latter.
A means to attain Taqwa
Allah says [meaning]: "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:183]
Indeed the person who has attained Taqwa has attained excellence in the worship of her Lord. In many Ayat of the Qur'an Allah says that the reward of the people of Taqwa is Paradise. This topic of Taqwa shall be the subject of one of the coming issues of Al-Mu'minah. We will just mention here two ayat in regard of the success of the people of Taqwa and their reward with Paradise.
The people of Taqwa are the successful people in this life and in the hereafter where they will be the dwellers of Paradise. Allah says [in meaning]: "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to the Muttaqeen [people of Taqwa]. Who believe in the Unseen are steadfast in prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee and sent before thy time and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true) guidance from their Lord and it is these who are the successful.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2-5)
He also says [meaning]: "Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth prepared for the Muttaqeen [people of Taqwa]. Those who spend (freely) whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good. And those who having done something to be ashamed of or wronged their own souls earnestly bring Allah to mind and ask for forgiveness for their sins and who can forgive sins except Allah? And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens with rivers flowing underneath an eternal dwelling; how excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!" [Surah Aali `Imraan, 3:133-136]
A merciful recommendation from Allah:
"And fast, it is better for you, if only you knew" [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:184]
Indeed if Allah says that something is better of us, it is rally better for us and we should strive to perfect it.
The practice of the Prophets
Ibn Abbas reported: "The Prophet came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting the day of Ashura. He asked them: "Why are you fasting this day?" They said: "This is a great day. Allah saved Mousa (Moses) and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore Mousa fasted on it. "The Prophet said: "We have more of a right to Mousa than you." So he fasted on that day also and ordered the people to fast on that day." [Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim].
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam said: “The fast most loved by Allah is the fast of Dawood and the most loved prayer is the prayer of Dawood. He used to sleep half the night, pray for a third of the night, and then sleep during the last sixth of the night. He would also fast one day and then eat on the next.” [Reported by Ahmad]
‘Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah's Messenger fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha'ban. [Reported by Bukhari]
A great reward for those who fast
Abu Huraira, radhiya Allahu ‘anh reported many Ahadith in this regard. We will mention few of them as they carry the same meaning.
The Prophet said that your Lord said, "Every (sinful) deed can be expiated; and the fast is for Me, so I will give the reward for it; and the smell which comes out of the mouth of a fasting person, is better in Allah's Sight than the smell of musk." [Reported by Bukhari]
The Prophet said, "Allah said: The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness or joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah's Sight than the smell of musk." [Reported by Bukhari]
The Prophet said, "(Allah said), 'Every good deed of Adam's son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.' Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk." [Reported by Bukhari]
He also said: "Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah 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'. For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time of joy when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of Musk." [Reported by Muslim]
The greatest reward is, of course, Paradise, this will be covered under the section "Ramadan; a way to Paradise".
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