The Condition of the Salaf Before, During and After Ramaḍān

Al-ʿAllāmah Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān

From the knowledge-based preparation is that we are acquainted with the rulings of fasting, that which breaks our fast, the rulings regarding that which breaks the fast etc., but some of the people are ignorant of these matters.
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Question: What was the condition of the salaf al-ṣāliḥ (may Allāh have mercy upon them) in greeting this great month (Ramaḍān)? What was their methodology, and how was their guidance? How should the Muslim prepare to achieve maximum benefit in these upcoming days and nights (of Ramaḍān)? From the knowledge-based preparation is that we are acquainted with the rulings of fasting, that which breaks our fast, the rulings regarding that which breaks the fast etc., but some of the people are ignorant of these matters. They do not understand the affair of fasting nor do they comprehend the compulsory matters regarding fasting. So can the shaykh (may Allāh preserve him) advise us on this matter?

Answer: In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

Wa ʿalaykum al-salām wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh,

May Allāh bless you and may He bless you for raising these two important questions. The first of these questions was regarding the condition of the salaf in Ramaḍān. The condition of the salaf, as found in the books—with authentic chains of narration—that they use to ask Allāh (ʿazza wa jal) to let them reach the month of Ramaḍān due to their knowledge of the great good and abundant benefit which existed therein.

When the month of Ramaḍān entered, they would ask Allāh for assistance to perform righteous actions. Then, when Ramaḍān had finished, they would ask Allāh to accept it from them, as Allāh has stated:

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ ‎﴿٦٠﴾‏ أُولَٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ ‎﴿٦١﴾

And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning). It is these who race for the good deeds, and they are foremost in them [e.g. offering the compulsory ṣalāh (prayers) in their (early) stated, fixed times and so on].
[al-Muʾminūn, 23:60-61]

They (the salaf) used to strive to perform good deeds and then they would be in a state of worry after performing the good deeds. They would be worried about whether it will be accepted from them or not. This was due to their knowledge of the greatness of Allāh (ʿazza wa jal) and their knowledge that Allāh does not accept anything except that it was sincerely for his sake and correct—according to the sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ).

Al-ʿAllāmah Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān

They (the salaf) used to strive to perform good deeds and then they would be in a state of worry after performing the good deeds. They would be worried about whether it will be accepted from them or not. This was due to their knowledge of the greatness of Allāh (ʿazza wa jal) and their knowledge that Allāh does not accept anything except that it was sincerely for his sake and correct—according to the sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ). 

They (the salaf) did not ascribe purity to themselves, rather they used to fear that their actions would render in vain. They would spend more effort worried about whether it would be accepted or not than the initial effort it took to perform the action, this is due to the statement of Allāh:

  إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ ‎﴿٢٧﴾

Verily, Allāh accepts only from those who are al-Mutaqūn (the pious).
[al-Māʾidah, 5:27]

They use to free up their time in this month to maximize the time for worship and to minimize their actions pertaining to this worldly life. Likewise, they dedicated their time to residing in the houses of Allāh (ʿazza wa jal), whilst saying, ‘we will preserve our fasts and we will not backbite anyone.’ They would study the book of Allāh (ʿazza wa jal).

The salaf would be diligent with their time; not wasting it at all. They were not negligent of their time as is the case with many people today, rather, they showed diligence in the night, by standing for prayer, and in the day, by fasting, reciting the Qurʾān, remembering Allāh and performing good deeds. Not a minute passed by them except that they performed righteous actions.

Source: حال السلف الصالح في استقبال شهر رمضان
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī

Published: March 28, 2022
Edited: March 29, 2022

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