By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
Ramadan is the 9th month of the lunar calendar. It is very blessed month. It is called the chief of the months. The Almighty Allah has made the fasting of this whole month compulsory upon the Muslims. Its significance can be understood in this way that following the arrival of Rajab, the 7th month of Islamic calendar, Allah’s messenger Muhammad (SAWS) used to supplicate: “O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Shaban blessed for us and take us to the month of Ramadan. (Shuabu Al-Imam: 3534) Regarding Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) says: “My Ummah has been granted five things in the month of Ramadan which weren’t granted to any prophet before me. 1: When the first night of the month of Ramadan comes, Allah the Mighty and Sublime sees them (this Ummah) and whomever He sees is never punished. 2: The smell coming out from the mouths at the time of breaking fast is better with Allah than the smell of musk. 3: The angels ask for forgiveness for them day and night. 4: The Almighty Allah orders His Jannah saying: ‘Beautify yourself and get ready for my slaves….’ 5: When it is the last night (of Ramadan), Allah forgives all of them. (Shuabu Al-Imam: 3331)
The Glorious Qura’an was revealed in the very month of Ramadan. The Almighty Allah says: “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong.” (Al-Baqarah: 185) The Qura’an was revealed in the special night of the month of Ramadan that is called “Night of Power”. Allah the Exalted says: “We have sent it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of Qadr.” (Al-Qadr: 1) The revelation of the Qura’an in Ramadan means that Allah the All-Powerful revealed the Qura’an from “The Preserved Tablet” in “The House of Might” of the first sky at one time in the “night of power”. Then from “The House of Might”, it was sent down upon the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) through Jibril (AS) in 23 years gradually according to the incidents.
Abu Al-Fida, Imaduddin Ismail bin Umar (700-774 AH) writes: “Ibn Abbas and others have said: “Allah sent the Qur’an down all at one time (in the Night of Power) from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz) to the House of Might (Baytul-Izzah), which is in the heaven of this world. Then it came down in parts to the Messenger of Allah based upon the incidents that occurred over a period of 23 years.” (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: 8/441)
The aforementioned verse proves that the Holy Qura’an was sent down in Ramadan. Therefore, Ramadan and the Qura’an have thick and close relations with each other. Treasuring the times in Ramadan, we must fast along with involving ourselves in reciting it. The Qura’an and the fasts are so much linked that they would intercede on the Day of Resurrection for those who fast and recite the Qura’an. According to a Hadith, “The fast and the Qura’an will intercede on the Day of Qiyamah. The fast will say, O My Lord, I had stopped him from the food and drink in the day, so accept my intercession in his favour. The Qura’an will speak: O my Lord, I stopped him from sleeping in the night, so accept my intercession for him. So, their intercessions will be accepted.” (Hilyah Al-Awliya Wa Tabaqat Al-Asfiya: 8/161)
The believers should spend most of their times in the month of Ramadan pondering over the Qura’an and reciting it. While on the one hand, this activity will keep them protected from the absurd and idle talks, it will cause the rewards for them in the hereafter on the other. Allah the Almighty gave the chance to our elders and pious predecessors to keep themselves busy in reciting the Qura’an and pondering over it most of their times in Ramadan avoiding other activities.
It was the practice of the Prophet (SAWS) to recite the holy Qura’an to Jibril (AS) in Ramadan every night as he (AS) used to meet him on every night in Ramadan. Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) narrating the Prophet (SAWS)’s habit of the recitation and generosity in Ramadan says: “The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jibril (AS) visited him. And Jibril (AS) used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet (SAWS) used to recite the Noble Qur’an to Jibril, and when Jibril met him, he used to be more generous than the fair wind (sent by Allah with glad tidings (rain) in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds.)” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 1902) The Hadith guides us to be more generous in regard to the charitable works and to the recitation in Ramadan more than other months.
Imam Abu Hanifah (80-150) is a distinguished personality of this Ummah. Ali bin Zaid Seidani narrates about him that he used to recite the entire Qura’an 60 times in the month of Ramadan, once in the day and once in the night. (Al-Tadween Fee Akhbar Qazween 2/332)
Ibn Abdul Hakim narrates about Imam Malik (93-179): “Following the arrival of the month of Ramadan, Imam Malik stopped teaching Hadith and the gathering of the learned people and he used to recite the Holy Qura’an with keen and zeal.” (Lataaif Al-Ma’arif of Ibn Rajab 1/171)
Imam Muhammad bin Idris Shafaiee (150-204) was lacking in the recitation due to his educational activities in the beginning. Then he used to recite a lot in his old age. Rabi says about him: “Imam Shafai’ee used to recite the entire Qura’an each night. He used to read the whole Qura’an 60 times in the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Muntazam Fee Tarikh Al-Umam Wa Al-Muluk 10/135)
Abdur Razzaq says about Sufyan Thauri (97-161): “When the month of Ramadan comes, he stopped optional worships and recited the Qura’an with full enthusiasm.” (Lataaif Al-Ma’arif of Ibn Rajab 1/171)
Waleed bin Abdul Malik (668-715) was the famous Caliph from Umayyad destine. Ibrahim bin Abu Ablah says that once Abdul Malik asked him: “In how many days do you recite the full Qura’an?” I answer: “In so-and-so days.” Then he said: “Amirul Mumineen read the whole Qura’an in three days.” Waleed used to complete the recitation of the Qura’an 17 times in the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Bidayah Wa Al-Nihaya: 9/182)
Describing the practice of Imam Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim Bukhari (194-256 AH), Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes: “When the first night of Ramadan comes, he used to gather his friends. He used to lead Salah for them reciting 20 verses in each Raka’ah. It was his practice, until he completed the entire Qura’an. He used to recite half or two third of the Qura’an till the dawn (Suhur) time. He used to complete the recitation of the entire Qura’an each third night at the Suhur time. He used to recite the full Qura’an once in a day in the month of Ramadan.” (Fath Al-Bari 1/481)
Muhammad bin Zuhair bin Qumair says: “My father used to gather us in the month of Ramadan at the time of completing the recitation of the Qura’an. He used to recite the full Qura’an three times in one day and night. In this way, he used to recite the entire Qura’an 90 times in Ramadan. (Taarikh Baghdad: 8/485)
Imam Baghawi (433-516) says about Zuhair Muhammad bin Qumair: “I didn’t find anyone better than him after Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. He used to recite the entire Qur’an 90 times in the month of Ramadan.” (Al-‘Ibar Fee Khabar Man Ghabar 1/369)
Mamoon Rashid (786-833) is well-known caliph from Abbasid destine. Allah had blessed him with knowledge and bravery. He committed tyranny against the scholars due to the issue concerning the creation of the Qura’an. This is the worst reality of his life. It is said about him: “He used to recite the full Qura’an 33 times in the month of Ramadan sometimes.” (Taarikh Al-Khulafaa of Suyuti 1/226)
Abu Jafar Muhammad bin Abdullah narrates that Abul Abbas bin Ata’ said to him: “O Abu Jafar! I recite the whole Qura’an once in a day for many years. In Ramadan, I recite the full Qura’an three times in a day and night. (Sifah Al-Safwa 1/533)
It was habit of Qatadah (RA) to recite the full Qura’an once in each seven nights. Following the arrival of Ramadan, he used to recite the whole Qura’an once in each three nights. When it was last ten days of Ramadan, he used to complete reciting the whole Qura’an once in each night.
Maulana Muhammad Manzoor Nomani (1905-1998) writes the practice of his teacher Allamah Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmir (1875-1933) about thinking and pondering over the Qura’an in Ramadan: “His deep knowledge and perspicacity can be guessed and understood by this that once he told his situation, ‘I start the holy Qura’an in Ramadan and I want to complete it with pondering over it; but it never happened. When I realise that today Ramadan is going to end, then I stop my special methodology and complete that day what is remaining.’ This helpless (Nomani) says that he never had a chance to be close to Kashmiri in Ramadan; but it is known that in the blessed month of Ramadan, Kashmiri used to spend most of his time in the Qura’an. Despite that he could not complete pondering over the whole Qura’an.” (Abdur Rahman Kondu, Al-Anwar, P.: 307)
Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlavi (1898-1982) was known as the renowned scholar of the science of Hadith. His life was devoted for studying, teaching, mentoring, authoring, reforming the people etc. It remained his routine work for almost 42 years to recite of the whole Qura’an everyday in the month of Ramadan. He writes: “The blessed activity of reciting the whole Qura’an everyday started in the blessed month of (13)38 AH. It continued up to (13)80 AH, but even after that. (Aap Biti: 1/72)
The grandmother of Sheikhul Hadith had memorized the holy Qura’an by heart. He writes about her recitation of the Qur’an: “My grandmother had learned the Qura’an by heart. Her memorization of the Qur’an was very fine. Apart from house chores, (like) cooking, she used to recite one Manzil every day. She used to recite full Qura’an plus one third every day in Ramadan.” (Aap Biti 1/72)
Sheikhu Hadith Maulana Salimullah Khan (1926-2017) was one of the prominent scholars of the recent past. He had graduated from Darul Uloom Deoband and was the student of Sheikhul Islam Husain Ahmad Madani (1879-1957). He used to recite the full Qura’an everyday in the month of Ramadan. (Tazkirah Sheikhul Kul Maulana Saleemullah Khan, P. 132)
Aforesaid quotations are sufficient to understand that how the elders committed themselves in recitation of the Qura’an. They were well-informed that it is dearly loved deed in the sight of Allah. It is the source of getting Allah’s pleasure. They were taking it as an opportunity and they were considering themselves fortunate. Learning from the elders, we should make it our practice. We should keep ourselves busy in the recitation with deep love and enthusiasm with Qura’an specially in the month of Ramadan. If a person keeps himself busy only in the recitation stopping from the supplications and other remembrance of Allah, the Supreme Lord will fulfil his lawful desires and will reward him more than those who supplicate. One Hadith Qudsi goes like this: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “The Lord, Blessed and Most High, has said: “Whoever is too busy with the Qura’an to remember Me and asking Me, then I shall give him more than what I give to those who ask.'” (Sunan Tirmidhi: 2926)
What has been presented in reference to the pious predecessors’ recitation and pondering over the holy Qura’an in Ramadan is the clear proof of their deep love, enthusiasm, devotion and interest in the Qura’an. We should also make efforts to follow their footprints in this regard. It is known to us that the Qura’an is the Book of Allah. When we keep ourselves busy with it and we express our love for it, the Almighty Allah will love us and make us from His beloved slaves. It will be big success for us in the hereafter. May Allah give us understanding to value the month of Ramadan as it deserves! Aameen! ····
*Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa