In The Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
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 and blessings of Allāh be upon him):
Narrated by Abdullah: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh 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 and blessings of Allāh 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?
Ma’ali bin Fudail said, ‘They used to ask Allah the Almighty six months before Ramadhan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadhan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadhan to accept their fasting’.
Amazing indeed! Their whole year was full of supplication and worship.
It’s also narrated that Ibn Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) used to say when Ramadhan started, ‘Welcome oh the month that purifies us from the sins’.
This was their situation before Ramadhan started. How do think their situation was in the midst of Ramadhan?! BismiAllah – let us start the journey through their history…
Their Relationship with Quran
The companions of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to give special preference to the Quran during the holy month of Ramadhan. It is said that Uthman bin Affan used to finish the recitation of the whole Quran once everyday.
Their recitation was not only reading the verses but contemplating in its meaning. ‘Narrated By Albayhaqi, Abu Hureyra said, when the last verses of Suratul Najm (53) were revealed -
“Do you then wonder at this recital (the Quran)? And you laugh at it and weep not” (53: 59,60,61)
- the companions who used to live in the mosque of Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) cried so hard. When Rasulullah (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) heard them he came to them and started weeping with them. And then he said ‘He will not enter hellfire a person who cried out of fear of Allah the Almighty’ (Bayhaqi).
It is also said that Ibn Umar used to cry very much when he read the Quran. One day while he was reading Suratul Mutaffin, it is said that when he reached the verse - “The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)?” (83:6) – he cried so hard that he was overwhelmed and could not read the Quran anymore.
This is how the relationship of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions was with Quran and here is how at’bau ta’biin’s (the followers of the righteous predecessors) relationship with Quran during Ramadan was:
‘When Ramadhan started Sufyan Athawri used to leave all acts of worship and turn to Quran’
‘Sa’aid Ibnu Jubeyr used to finish the whole recitation of Quran in two nights’
‘Malik ibn Anas used to run from all circles of knowledge when Ramadhan started and turned instead to the recitation of Quran’
‘Zahriy used to say when Ramadan started, ‘Indeed it’s the recitation of Quran and feeding the poor’.
A Typical Day of Our Righteous Predecessors
They used to start their day with prayer and supplication until sunrise. 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.
‘Aswad Ibn Yaziid used to finish the recitation of Quran in two nights’
‘Khataada used to finish the recitation of Quran every seven days and every three days in ramadhan.’
The average reader of Quran recites a Juz in 30-35 minutes. The Quran has 30 Juz. So that means that they used to read 10 Juz a day. (30 minutes multiplied by 10 Juz = 300minutes/60= 5hours). So we can say they used to read the Quran 5 hours a day.
A typical day of Uthman Ibn Affan in Ramadhan was fasting during the day time and prayer and prostration at night ‘(Sunan al-bayhaqi 4/301). And Uthman bin Affan (may Allāh be pleased with him) was also killed while he was fasting. (Al-hilyah 1/55)
Their day was full of supplications and free from vain talks. Jabir Bin Abdullah (may Allāh be pleased with him) 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)
The righteous predecessors would also remain away from sinful people and their gatherings. Indeed, as we find in the example of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud, even if they were invited to a wedding feast, they would leave that feast if they found something forbidden therein. They would stay away from the people of sin and innovations. In this way, their hearts would remain pure and clean. They would not be infected or infiltrated by the doubts and desires of such evil people. By mixing only with good people and attending only settings in which the forbidden aspects are absent, they were able to increase their faith and keep their faith strong.
When the time of iftaar arrived, they used to race in feeding the poor and the unfortunate. It’s narrated that Ibnu Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) used to break his fast with the poor people and if a poor person came to him asking for food while he was eating he used to give him his portion.’.
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.”
(Read on pg 55, Abdul-Malik bin Muhammad ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Qasim, Silent Moments: The Description of Before & After Death Aspects. Darussalam Publishers. Riyadh:2004.)
About the Author:
Muhammad Ahmed (Feyte) is a regular speaker at his local community and webinars online. He has studied Sahih-Bukhari for a year under Sheikh Muhammad Umal (Great Muhadith in East Africa) and Tajweed under Qari Sh. Abdirashid Ali Suufi (Imam in Qatar), Fiqh and tafseer under various scholars from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. He lives in Sweden and is currently studying Islamic Science traditionally under different scholars.