Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in Al Fazl, 15 February 1962
Hazrat Maulana Abul Ata Jalandhari was a stalwart of the Jamaat. He was the editor of Furqan (among other Arabic journals) and author of the acclaimed Tafhimat-e-Rabbaniyyah. At the age of 27, he was sent as a missionary to the Arab world, conducting tabligh in places such as Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. He would also serve as a lecturer and the principal of Jamia Ahmadiyya, among many other notable offices of the Jamaat.
Maulana Abul Ata Sahib (1904-1977)
:وَعَن سلمَان قَالَ: خَطَبَنَا رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ صَلَّى اللّٰه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي آخِرِ يَوْمٍ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَقَالَ
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ أَظَلَّكُمْ شَهْرٌ عَظِيمٌ مُبَارَكٌ شَهْرٌ فِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مَنْ أَلْفِ شهر جعل اللّٰه تَعَالَى صِيَامَهُ فَرِيضَةً وَقِيَامَ لَيْلِهِ تَطَوُّعًا مَنْ تَقَرَّبَ فِيهِ بخصلة من الْخَيْرِ كَانَ كَمَنْ أَدَّى فَرِيضَةً فِيمَا سِوَاهُ وَمَنْ أَدَّى فَرِيضَةً فِيهِ كَانَ كَمَنْ أَدَّى سَبْعِينَ فَرِيضَةً فِيمَا سِوَاهُ وَهُوَ شَهْرُ الصَّبْرِ وَالصَّبْر ثَوَابه الْجنَّة وَشهر الْمُوَاسَاة وَشهر يزْدَاد فِيهِ رِزْقُ الْمُؤْمِنِ مَنْ فَطَّرَ فِيهِ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ مَغْفِرَةً لِذُنُوبِهِ وَعِتْقَ رَقَبَتِهِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَكَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ أَجْرِهِ شَيْءٌ
قُلْنَا: يَا رَسُولَ اللّٰهِ لَيْسَ كلنا يجد مَا نُفَطِّرُ بِهِ الصَّائِمَ۔ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللّٰه صَلَّى اللّٰه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:
يُعْطِي اللّٰه هَذَا الثَّوَابَ مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا عَلَى مَذْقَةِ لَبَنٍ أَوْ تَمْرَةٍ أَوْ شَرْبَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ وَمَنْ أَشْبَعَ صَائِمًا سَقَاهُ اللّٰهُ مِنْ حَوْضِي شَرْبَةً لَا يَظْمَأُ حَتَّى يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ أَوَّلُهُ رَحْمَةٌ وَأَوْسَطُهُ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَآخِرُهُ عِتْقٌ مِنَ النَّارِ وَمَنْ خَفَّفَ عَنْ مَمْلُوكِهِ فِيهِ غَفَرَ الله لَهُ وَأعْتقهُ من النَّار۔ رَوَاهُ الْبَيْهَقِيّ
“Hazrat Salman al-Farsira narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said in a sermon, which he delivered to them on the last day of Sha‘ban:
“‘A great month, a blessed month, a month containing a night which is better than a thousand months has approached you people. Allah has appointed the observance of fasting during it as an obligatory duty, and the passing of its night in prayer as a voluntary practice.
“‘If someone draws near to Allah during it with a normal good act, he will be like one who fulfils an obligatory duty in another month, and he who fulfils an obligatory duty in it will be like one who fulfils seventy obligatory duties in another month.
“‘It is the month of endurance, and the reward of endurance is Paradise. It is the month of sympathy mutual consolation and a month in which the believer’s provisions are increased. If someone gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast, it will provide forgiveness of his sins and save him from Hell, and he will have a reward equal to his without his reward being diminished in any respect.’
“Some of them remarked to God’s Messenger that they did not all have the means to give [food] to the one who had been fasting with which to break his fast, and he replied, ‘God gives this reward to him who gives one who has been fasting some milk mixed with water, or a date, or a drink of water with which to break his fast and anyone who gives a full meal to one who has been fasting will be given a drink from my river [Hawz al-Kauthar, River of abundance] by Allah and will not thirst till he enters Paradise.’
“‘It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness, and whose end is salvation from Hell. If anyone makes things easy for His slave during it, God will forgive him and free him from Hell.’” (Mishkat al-Masabih, The Book of Fasting)
Honourable people! It is obvious from this hadith that the Holy Prophetsa would prepare his Companionsra for the fasts of the blessed month of Ramadan and by telling them about its blessings and virtues, would urge them to keep fasts.
The fasts of Ramadan are extremely blessed and the Tahajjud prayers offered during the nights [of this month] possess a special quality. Every commandment of Allah that is fulfilled by someone in this month holds great reward. In this month, a Muslim is made to practice patience and to leave even those things that are halal – whoever succeeds in this exercise will surely be deserving of Heaven.
Through hunger and thirst, rich and wealthy Muslims are made to practically realise and feel how a less privileged person endures pain and difficulties every day throughout the year. Through this realisation and understanding, feelings of sympathy are born and mutual sympathy starts.
In this month, blessings in provisions from Allah the Almighty are also increased. The Holy Prophetsa had also directed Muslims to provide iftar [food for breaking ones fast] for those who are fasting. The one who provides this iftar, through his action, proves he considers the fast as something respectful and honourable and he recognises the high rank of the person who fasts. In this way, through iftar, mutual love is increased and relationships are strengthened – this is why the Holy Prophetsa paid importance to this.
The one who provides the food for the iftar gains reward, but this has no effect on the reward of the person who is fasting [i.e. it does not reduce].
The reason for clarifying this is important because some are under the illusion that by eating the iftar provided by someone else, the reward for their own fast is reduced or that the person providing the iftar takes their reward [for keeping the fast]. The Holy Prophetsa said the one providing the iftar will be deserving of reward according to their own intentions; however, the person fasting will most definitely be rewarded, and accepting an invitation to open their fast at someone else’s place does not reduce their reward; rather, by following a sunnah, such a person definitely increases their reward.
Learning about the reward one receives by providing iftar, the Companionsra were inspired and wanted to act on this. However, a question arose in their hearts, that “if providing the iftar brought so much reward, then surely the food for the iftar should also be grand and lavish; however, not all of us have the means to provide such food.”
In response to this query, the Holy Prophetsa said that spending large amounts is not necessary while giving iftar. One can provide iftar by even giving a sip of milk, a date or even a sip of water. The real purpose behind providing iftar is to increase brotherhood and mutual sympathy between Muslims and to join them together. This most definitely does not require large expenses. Every believer, according to their own means, can provide the iftar, even by giving very little to eat and drink.
In this instruction, the Holy Prophetsa has also indicated that someone who is fasting should even accept the invitation of a believer who can only provide a sip of water for iftar, as the most important thing is sincerity and love.
On the other hand, if someone can give a full meal to those fasting [for their iftar] and fully satiate their hunger, then this is a greater deed. Allah the Almighty will give more reward to such a person according to their sincerity and they will be rewarded by being able to drink specially from the “Hawz al-Kauthar” [River of abundance, in Paradise].
Toward the end of his speech, the Holy Prophetsa emphasised that every day and every moment in Ramadan is full of blessings; starting with mercy, Ramadan results in forgiveness and complete salvation at its end. This is why all the fasts of Ramadan should be kept and one should acquire a large amount of all its blessings.
In another hadith-e-qudsi [a hadith in which the content is attributed to Allah, but not scripturally part of the Holy Quran] it is written that Allah the Almighty says:
“Every good deed has its reward and merit; however, the fast is [a deed that is performed] especially for me. A person keeping a fast remains hungry and thirsty and especially imbues himself with My colours. That is why the reward of fasting is Myself”; meaning, “I grant the one who is fasting special closeness to Myself – I bless them with My special mercy and forgiveness. I bestow special showers of My blessings and protect them from every pain and suffering.”
The Holy Prophetsa also urged people to reduce the burden of work on labourers and servants during Ramadan and said that doing so is a great deed. In truth, only that person takes such steps who truly believes in Allah the Almighty and loves His servants. Therefore, being kind and considerate toward someone who is keeping a fast attracts the blessings of Allah and pleases Him.
I pray that Allah the Almighty enables all believers to gain the blessings of Ramadan. Amin.
(Translated to English by Al Hakam; originally published in Urdu in Al Fazl, 15 February 1962, p. 3)