7. The Great Striving of Women and Elderly Old Men During Ramadan:
The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were keen on standing in prayer for a long time in spite of their old age. In fact, this matter never hindered them from making lengthy prayer. Sa‘eed ibn ‘Aamir narrated that Asmaa’ ibn ‘Ubayd said, “We went to Abu Rajaa’ Al-‘Utaaridi, and Sa‘eed said, ‘They believed that he had reached the age of one hundred and thirty years. He said, ‘They would come and carry me as if I was a basket and place me at the front to lead people in prayer and I would recite thirty verses’, or I think he said, ‘forty verses every Rak‘ah in Ramadan.’ Moreover, it was reported that Abu Rajaa’ would complete the recitation of the entire Quran every ten days in the night prayer in Ramadan.”
Additionally, women at that time had the same share of long prayers in the month of Ramadan. Abu Umayyah Ath-Thaqafi narrated from ‘Arfajah that ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, would order people to pray the night prayer in Ramadan, and he would assign an Imaam for men and another Imaam for women. He (i.e. Arfajah) said, “He ordered me to lead the women (in prayer).”
8- Generosity and Openhandedness
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, “The Messenger of Allah was the most generous person, and he would be even more so in the month of Ramadan because Jibreel would meet him every night in the month of Ramadan till it elapsed. The Messenger of Allah would recite the Quran for him. When Jibreel met him, he would be more generous than the blowing wind in doing good.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Ibn Rajab said, “Ash-Shaafi‘i said it is better for men to be exceedingly generous during the blessed month of Ramadan, following the example of the Messenger of Allah .”
Furthermore, people have a dire need for such charity as many of them are too busy with fasting and praying to earn their livelihood in that month.
Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, did not have his Iftaar (fast-breaking) meal except in the company of the needy. If anyone came to him while he was eating and asked for something, he would take his share of the food and give it to him. When he returned to his family he would find that they had eaten all the remaining food in the bowl and thus he would observe fasting the following morning without having eaten anything the night before.
9- Not Over-Eating
Ibraaheem ibn Abi Ayyoob said, “Muhammad ibn ‘Amr Al-Ghazzi would eat only two meals a day throughout the whole month of Ramadan.”
Furthermore, Abu Al-‘Abbaas Haashim ibn Al-Qaasim said, “I was visiting Al-Muhtadi one night in the month of Ramadan. I stood up to leave; however, he said to me, ‘Sit down.’ So I did. He led us in prayer and then called for food. Then a tray was brought upon which there were loaves of bread and a pot that had some salt, oil and vinegar and he invited me to eat. I ate like someone who awaits cooked food to be served. So he said, ‘Were you not fasting?’ I said that I was. Then he said, ‘Eat until you are satisfied for there is no food here other than what you see.’”
So whoever wants to enjoy the prayer should not eat too much for eating little softens the heart, strengthens the ability of understanding, humbles the soul, weakens the desires and controls anger.
Muhammad ibn Waasi‘ said, “Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants [to accomplish].”
Salamah ibn Sa‘eed said, “A man would be taunted because of overeating in much the same way he would be when he committed a sin.”
It was narrated that a man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, , who responded:“Keep your burps away from us, for the one who eats his fill the most in this world will be hungry for the longest time on the Day of Resurrection.”[At-Tirmithi]
10- Guarding the Tongue, Speaking Little and Avoiding Lying
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, , said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” [Al-Bukhari]
Al-Muhallab commented on this Hadeeth, saying: “This shows that fasting entails refraining from obscene and false speech just like it entails refraining from food and drink. If one does not abstain from false or obscene speech, then he detracts from the reward of his fast, and he exposes himself to the displeasure of his Lord and to the possibility of his fast not being accepted.” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Fasting does not just mean giving up food and drink; it also means giving up lies, falsehood and idle talk.” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Fasting does not just mean abstaining from food and drink, rather fasting means abstaining from lying, and idle and obscene speech.” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah, may Allah be pleased with them, said, “If you fast, then guard your ears, eyes and tongue against lies and evil deeds; do not abuse your servants; be tranquil and dignified on the day you observe fasting; do not let the day when you do not fast and the day when you fast be the same.” [Ibn Abi Shaybah in the book of fasting, chapter of avoiding too much talking and lying for the fasting person 2/422]
‘Ataa’ said, “I heard Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, saying. ‘If you are fasting, do not act in an ignorant manner or insult people, and if someone attacks you, then say, ‘I am fasting.’’” [‘Abdur-Razzaaq in Al-Musannaf]
Mujaahid, may Allah Have mercy upon him, said, “Whoever avoids two things, then his fast will be safe: backbiting and telling lies.” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
11- Striving Hard in Worship During the Last Ten Days
As for the last ten days of the blessed month of Ramadan, the companions of the Prophet, , would strive hard in worship following the footsteps of the Prophet, . It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “When the last ten days began, the Prophet would stay up at night, wake his family, exert himself, and tie his Izaar (lower garment) tight.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] And, in another narration reported by Imaam Muslim: “The Messenger of Allah used to strive hard in worship in the last ten nights as he did not do at other times.”
The greatest aim of doing so many righteous acts is to seek the Night of Al-Qadr (Divine decree). In fact, they would make special preparations for this night. Some of them would wash and wear perfume on the night of the twenty-seventh which many scholars believe is the Night of Al-Qadr. So they would spend it in praying, remembering and mentioning Allah The Almighty, reciting Quran, and supplicating to Allah The Almighty to save them from the punishment of the Hellfire.
Ash-Shaafi‘i said, “It is recommended to do more acts of worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan.”
Ibn Jareer said, “Many of the righteous predecessors would perform Ghusl (ritual bathing) every night during the last ten days of Ramadan. Ayyoob As-Sakhtiyaani would do the same and Imaam Maalik would do so for the night in which he believed was the Night of Al-Qadr. So he would wash himself, wear nice fragrance and dress up in a garment which he did not wear again except in the Ramadan of the following year.”
Other righteous predecessors used to do the same, so try as much as you can to follow their footsteps so that you may be like them and attain success.