The Month of Great Heat
The name of the months of the Islamic calendar are said to predate Islam and many reflect weather conditions on the Arabian Peninsula. Still, scholars have argued that "heat", or "burning" in some translations of Ramadan, is a metaphor for the burning sensation of an empty stomach burning one's worldly desires.
Emblematic of Islam
Ramadan is one the four activities which define Islam.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?"
Allah's Apostle replied, "Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection."
Then he further asked, "What is Islam?"
Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan."
Then he further asked, "What is Ihsan (perfection)?"
Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you."
Then he further asked, "When will the Hour be established?"
Allah's Apostle replied, "The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents.
1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master.
2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings.
And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah."
The Prophet then recited: "Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour." (31:34)
Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him.
Then the Prophet said, "That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion."
Abu Abdullah said: He (the Prophet) considered all that as a part of faith.
What about the mandatory pilgrimage, the Hajj?
The Hajj could be considered part of the Allah worshipping activity which would explain why God's acclaimed last and greatest spokesperson did not include it as the four actions that are emblematic of Islam.
Killing During Ramadan
Fifty killed in co-ordinated Egypt attacks claimed by Islamic State ... Islamic State had urged its followers to escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which started in mid-June.
Reuters, July 01, 2015
At least 89 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide attack at a busy market in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province ... most of the bodies recovered from the rubble were women doing their Ramadan shopping and children.
BBC July 15, 2014
Islam’s so-called holy months (Ramadan and the Month of Pilgrimage, the Hajj) are a vestige of pre-Islamic Arabia’s Sacred Months. During the Sacred Months all fighting on the Peninsula stopped and life was celebrated through worship, song, dance and poetry.
Islam considers the period when killing was strictly forbidden during a Sacred Month as being “the time of ignorance.” Go figure.
Prior to the start of the 2015 Ramadan, CNN reminded us that during the 2014 holy Month of Great Heat (the meaning of Ramadan) more than eight hundred Iraqis, Shiites mostly, were blown to bits or shot to death; most of the slaughter courtesy of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s Iraq subsidiary.
Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s would do nothing that Allah and His Messenger did not approve of. The precedent for killing unbelievers, and co-religionists you consider heretics, during a holy month was set early on in the Prophet's campaign to get all Arabs (and later non-Arabs) to submit to the Will of His Mentor.
Ramadan, War and Women
The Prophet used to wait until the end of Ramadan, with his followers more convinced than ever of the need to rid the world of unbelievers after a period of intense immersion in the Koran, to give his army its marching orders.
It was also during the celebration of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of fasting that God's Messenger made one of his more deprecating observations about women's deficiencies.
Ramadan, Gabriel and the Prophet
During the month of Ramadan, the angel Gabriel visited the Prophet every day; visits during which their roles seemed to be reversed.
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Qur'an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).
Ramadan's Night of Power
Much is made of the proffered fact that the Koran was revealed during the month of Ramadan. Some of it obviously was, but not all of it, perhaps only a fraction.
97:1 We have sent it (the Qur’an) down on the night of Power.
Revelation 97:1 is one of a number of apparently contradictory revealed truths (immutable facts revealed to a mortal by a god) that would inform the reader as to when and how the Koran was sent down.
Tradition has it that the night of power occurred on the 27th day of Ramadan, even if God's Messenger was somewhat coy about the exact date Gabriel first met with him, on Allah's behalf, to begin the process of making known God's Will to him so that he could communicate It to the whole of mankind.
Narrated Ibn Umar:
Some men amongst the companions of the Prophet were shown in their dreams that the night of Qadr (Night of Power) was in the last seven nights of Ramadan.
Allah's Apostle said, "It seems that all your dreams agree that (the Night of Qadr) is in the last seven nights, and whoever wants to search for it (i.e. the Night of Qadr) should search in the last seven (nights of Ramadan)."
As to what is the Night of Power, Allah's explanation, like that of His Messenger as to its occurrence, is somewhat evasive.
97:2 If only you knew what is the Night of Power.
97:3 The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
97:4 The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend thereon by the Leave of their Lord with every Command.
97:5 It is peace, till the break of dawn.
Securing Ramadan against the Devils
During Ramadan precautions are taken so that the devils will not interfere and spoil the Fast.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."
The Best Time to Collect the Zakat
No Muslim escaped paying some form of Zakat, obligatory charity.
Ibn Umar said that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) prescribed the payment of zakat-ul-Fitr (on breaking the fast) of Ramadan for people, for every freeman, or slave, male and female among the Muslims-one sa' of dried dates, or one sa' of barley.
Sahih Muslim 5.2149
Ramadan in the Arctic
Arctic mosque lands safely in Inuvik. The world's most northern mosque has arrived by barge in Inuvik, N.W.T., giving Muslims in the Arctic town a proper place of worship.
CBC Sep 24, 2010
During the month of Ramadan, believers are expected to fast from dawn to dusk. What are the faithful who live above the Arctic circle to do when the fast of Ramadan coincides with a period when the sun does not set?
Muslims living near or above the Arctic Circle are not required to strictly follow a ritual more suited to believers who live in latitudes where there are no extremes in the length of nights and days so as to avoid severe sleep deprivation and malnutrition.
An Unexpected Encounter During Ramadan
The Prophet stopped to explain how pervasive Satan is when he was spotted with his eleventh wife out in the open during Ramadan, and feared that two men who saw them together might think they were not married.
Narrated Safiya bint Huyai:
The wife of the Prophet [said] that she went to Allah's Apostle while he was in Itikaf (staying in the mosque) during the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. She spoke to him for an hour (a while) at night and then she got up to return home. The Prophet got up to accompany her, and when they reached the gate of the mosque opposite the dwelling place of Um Salama, the wife of the Prophet, two Ansari men passed by, and greeting Allah's Apostle, they quickly went ahead.
Allah's Apostle said to them, "Do not be in a hurry, she is Safiyya the daughter of Huyai., "
They said, "Subhan Allah (Glorious is God)! O Allah's Apostle (how dare we suspect you)."
That was a great thing for both of them.
The Prophet then said, "Satan runs in the body of Adam's son (i.e. man) as his blood circulates in it, and I was afraid that he (Satan) might insert an evil thought in your hearts."