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All the praises and thanks be to Allah Alone. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

The aim of this article is to highlight the productivity of our pious predecessors in order to inspire us present-day Muslims to make the most out of our Ramadan. I ask Allah the Almighty to make this article beneficial and make the journey we are taking easy on us. We all know the famous authentic hadith In Sahih al Bukhari Book of Companions of the Prophet(peace be upon him). Narrated by Abdullah: The Prophet(peace be upon him) said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter. Then there will come some people who will bear witness before taking oaths, and take oaths before bearing witness.” (Ibrahim, a sub-narrator said, “They used to beat us for witnesses and covenants when we were still children.”

The three great generations were the generation of the our Prophet(peace be upon him) and his companions, the generation of the ta’biin (the righteous predecessors) and the generation of at’bau ta’biin (the followers of the righteous predecessors). How was their Ramadhan? Was their Ramadan like our Ramadan? How was their feeling when Ramadhan started?

Ramadan during the caliphate of Umar is not quite different from Ramadan as in  the period of the prophet (peace be upon him him) and Abu Bakr. People used to welcome the month of Ramadan with repentance and true determination to reap its benefits and fully utilize its precious time. Our Salaf (pious predecessors) were the best in this vein. Here are some of people's deeds in Ramadan during the caliphate of Umar:

Praying Taraweeh prayer in congregation: It is a well-established fact that the Taraweeh as a congregational night prayer of Ramadan, owes its existence to the order of the second caliph Umar. Waking up in the night to pray Taraweeh, i.e. performing prayer during the night in congregation, was a regular act during the era of Umar.

It is narrated from ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari’ that he said: I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) one night in Ramadan to the mosque, where we saw the people in scattered groups, one man praying by himself, and another man praying with a group of people following his prayer. ‘Umar said: I think that if I unite these people behind one reciter, it will be better. Then he decided to do that, so he united them behind Ubayy ibn Ka‘b. Then I went out with him on another night, and the people were all praying behind their reciter. ‘Umar said: What a good innovation this is, but what they sleep and miss is better than what they are doing – referring to prayer at the end of the night, whereas the people were praying qiyaam at the beginning of the night. Al-Bukhari.

With regard to ‘Umar’s words “what a good innovation (bid‘ah) this is”, what he meant by calling it an innovation was in the linguistic sense. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: This is a description in linguistic terms, not in a technical shar‘i sense. That is because the word innovation (bid‘ah), in linguistic terms, includes everything that is introduced without precedent.

Giving charity (Sadaqah): Charity during Ramadan has special significance. The Muslims were keen to provide food for others and they placed it before many acts of worship. Whether you feed a hungry person or a wealthy Muslim – the reward is the same. Hence, poverty is not a condition for feeding a person.

Many of the Salaf used to leave their Iftaar (food for breaking the fast) to others. They included ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, Daawood At-Taa’i, Maalik ibn Dinaar and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, did not break his fast except with the orphans and the needy. Sometimes, if he learned that his family had turned away orphans and the needy, he would not break his fast that night.

However, Muslims in the era of Umar used to start their day with prayer and supplication until sunrise the same way as they were doing in the era of the Prophet (peace be upon him).. Their whole day was full of recitation of Quran. If we were to calculate how many hours they read the Quran in Ramadhan, the biggest portion of the hours would go to Quran.Their day was full of supplications and free from vain talks. Jabir Bin Abdullah said, ‘When you fast then let your ears, eyes and your tongue fast from false statement and bad deeds. And be calm and don’t let the day your fasting and the day you are not fasting be the same’ (Ibnu abi sheyba 2/422).

I will conclude with a famous saying of one of the pious predecessors who wept when he was dying and so he was asked, “What makes you weep?” He said, “That those who fast do so without me, that those who remember Allah do so without me, and that those who pray do so without me.”



 

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