الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين، نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين أما بعد
Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) said:
O people; fear Allaah, The Most High, and thank Him when the month of Ramadhaan reaches you, and ask Him that He aids you in this month in taking opportunity of its timings with obedience and goodness. Indeed, it is an immense season and a noble arrival, Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High, has given it preference, so He said:
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 Ramadhaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever from you sights [the new moon of] the month, then he should fast it, and whoever is ill or upon a journey; then a [like] number [should be made up] from other days. Allaah desires ease for you and does not desire hardship for you, and that you complete the number and that you magnify Allaah [through Takbeer] for having guided you; and that you may be grateful.)) (Al-Baqarah: 185)
So this month is of goodness in its entirety, its days as well as its nights, its hours and its timings, however the issue is within our own selves, with what do we receive this month? And with what do we pass its blessed times in?
Therefore the month is an immense month; the problem however is within our own selves, thus we should know the value of this month and receive it with delight and happiness.
So the first of the virtues of this month is: that within it Allaah revealed the Qur’aan, meaning that He began to reveal the Qur’aan in this month, and that was in the Lailatul Qadr (Night of Decree), as He, The Majestic, and Most High, said:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
((Indeed; We sent it [the Qur’aan] down in the Night of Al-Qadr [Decree])) (Al-Qadr: 1)
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
((Indeed, We sent it [the Qur’aan] down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning.)) (Ad-Dukhaan: 3)
So the revealing of the Qur’aan upon Muhammad (sallaallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) began in the month of Ramadhaan, then its being revealed followed in succession upon the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) separately in accordance to events and occurrences until Allaah completed it at the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) when Allaah revealed to him His saying:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
((This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion.)) (Al-Maa-idah: 3)
Due to that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would designate this month with reciting the Qur’aan more-so than in other than it, and his companions as well as the Muslims that came after them would likewise devote themselves upon recitation of the Qur’aan during this tremendous month. So it is the month of the Qur’aan, and it is the month of fasting, Allaah, The Majestic, and Most High, made fasting it an obligation and a pillar from the pillars of Islaam;
فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ
((So whoever from you sights [the new moon of] the month, then he should fast it)) (Al-Baqarah: 185)
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made the fasting of Ramadhaan from the five pillars of Islaam, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
((Islaam is built upon five pillars; the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and to establish the prayer, and to give the zakaat, and to fast in Ramadhaan, and to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allaah for whoever is able to do so.))
So it is obligatory upon every Muslim who is a resident that he fasts this month, from its beginning to its end, in fulfillment (of it) in its time, as for the one who is excused due to journeying or due to illness, then he should eat during the days of his journey and the days of his illness, and he is to make up for the days in which he had eaten from other alternative days.
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) likewise legislated for us and established for us the standing in its nights, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
((Whoever stands [in prayer] in Ramadhaan with true faith and seeking reward, then his previous sins will be forgiven for him.))
So standing in the month of Ramadhaan has in it a great virtue, by way of it Allaah expiates the sins, and whoever stands in Ramadhaan out of Eemaan and in hope and expectation of reward; Eemaan (true faith) and attestation of it and its virtue, and in hope and expectation of its reward, then Allaah will forgive him for that which has preceded from his sins – and that is by way of the minor sins, as for the major sins, then they are not expiated except by way of repentance.
إِن تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَائِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ
((If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden from, We shall expiate from you your [lesser] sins)) (An-Nisaa: 31)
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
((The five daily prayers, and one Friday to another Friday, and one Ramadhaan to another Ramadhaan are an expiation for that which is committed between them, as long as the major sins are avoided.))
The people of major sins, when they repent to Allaah, then Allaah accepts their repentance and forgives their sins;
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا
((Indeed, Allaah forgives all sins.)) (Az-Zumar: 53)
However in the month of Ramadhaan repentance and seeking forgiveness is especially emphasized upon every Muslim in that he holds himself to account and looks into his actions in order that he enters into this month and he has purified himself from sins. So that he may enter it with a clear pure soul, so that he can vacate himself for the worship of Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High.
Likewise from the virtues of this month; is that in it the gates of Paradise are opened, and that is through facilitation of righteous actions and their being made easy for the people of Eemaan, because Paradise is attained by righteous actions by reason of righteous deeds. So Allaah opens the gates of Paradise so that the Muslims should compete to (attain) it through righteous deeds, and in this month they are abundant and facilitated for whoever Allaah has made it easy for.
Likewise the gates to the Fire are closed, and that is due to the Muslims repenting to Allaah and seeking His forgiveness and hence they are saved from the Fire, since bad deeds are a cause of entry into the Fire. Therefore Allaah, The Majestic, and Most High, closes it off from them in this month with the meaning that He facilitates repentance and seeking forgiveness for His servants, as well as the abandonment of sins and misdeeds so that they can be saved from this Fire.
Likewise during this month Satan is shackled, so he is unable to busy the Muslims from their religion – as he would otherwise do so in other than Ramadhaan, in Ramadhaan Allaah, The Majestic, and Most High, detains him from His believing servants, he cannot whisper to them, and he cannot preoccupy them, and he cannot obstruct them from righteous actions. It is due to this that you will find the Muslims being actively enthusiastic during this month, and they engage in righteous deeds more than in other than it out of desire and voluntary obedience, because Satan is unable to busy them and obstruct them from righteous deeds. This is something that it witnessed, for indeed the peoples’ turning to and engaging in the acts of worship during this month is a proof that Satan has been prevented from coming between them and the acts of obedience, however; he holds sway over his own patrons.
So Allaah, The Majestic, and Most High, has guarded His group and His army from Satan being able to hold sway over them, He said:
قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ * إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ
((He [Satan] said; “By Your Might, I will surely mislead them all. Except Your chosen servants amongst them.”)) (Saad: 82-83)
Therefore the servants of Allaah who are sincere, Satan has no access to them, especially in Ramadhaan.
As for his army and his group, then he holds sway over them at every time, and his evil intensifies during this month, as He, The Glorified, and Most High, said:
وَاسْتَفْزِزْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ مِنْهُم بِصَوْتِكَ وَأَجْلِبْ عَلَيْهِم بِخَيْلِكَ وَرَجِلِكَ وَشَارِكْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ وَعِدْهُمْ ۚ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا * إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلًا
((“And incite whom you can of them with your voice and rally against them with your cavalry and your infantry, and mutually share with them in wealth and children and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit. Indeed My servants; you [Satan] have no authority over them. And sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.)) (Al-Israa: 64-65)
So truly, We should fear Allaah O Muslims, this month, all of it is good, and all of it is blessing, its day is fasting and its night is standing (in prayer) and in the remembrance of Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High. So the Muslim either preoccupies his time always in the obligatory acts and the supererogatory ones and the acts of obedience, or he rests through sleep in order to become invigorated for worship, and (this being) sleep that is of certain degree, as for the one who sleeps; who stays up at night engaging in gossip/idle talk and eating and drinking and joyful pleasures, and then he sleeps for the whole day and says: ‘I am fasting’ – this is from the strange oddities. A fasting person who abandons the prayers, he leaves off the obligatory prayers and does not pray in congregation nor does he head for the Masjid – this is someone who is fasting?
Fasting is not (abstaining) from food and drink only, rather fasting is refraining from all of that which Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High, has forbidden, and from the greatest of them is missing the obligatory prayers in their correct times. So it is upon the Muslims that they pay attention to this affair, since the month of Ramadhaan is not a month of laziness and eating and drinking, rather it is a month of obedience and perseverance and striving hard in speech and action. There is no objection for a person to take a portion of rest so that goodness should not escape him, so that the congregational prayer is not missed by him, and partaking in good is not missed by him, rather he gathers between that which gives his body rest, and that which gives life to his heart and his soul and his mind through the remembrance of Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High.
This is an opportunity, and opportunities do not continuously last, and the month of Ramadhaan may not recur upon you another time, so this month would be a final seal of your life, rather you conclude it with the best conclusive seal.
I seek refuge with Allaah from Satan – the rejected:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ * 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
((O you who believe; fasting is prescribed upon you just as it was prescribed upon those before you, that you may attain Taqwa [piety and fearfulness]. [Fasting for] a fixed number of days, so whoever among you is ill or upon a journey, then a [like] number [should be made up] from other days. And upon those who can endure it [the fast – but with difficulty], a redemption [of absolution] of feeding a poor person. And whoever voluntarily does good – then it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if you but know.)) (Al-Baqarah: 183-184)
Abridged from: http://www.alfawzan.af.org.sa/ar/node/12980
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.8) and Muslim (no.21) with the following wording: ((Islaam is built upon five; the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and to establish the prayer, and to give the zakaat, and to perform the Hajj, and to fast in Ramadhaan.))
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.37) and Muslim (no.759)
 Reported by Muslim (no.233)