All praise be to Allah Almighty, and may blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah and all his family and Companions.

The blessed month of Ramadan is a season of varied acts of worship including fasting, night prayers, reciting the Quran, giving charity, kindness, thikr (remembrance of Allah Almighty), supplication, seeking forgiveness, and asking for the attainment of Paradise and salvation from Hellfire. The guided person is the one who preserves its times during its days and nights and fills them with what delights him and brings him closer to his Lord in the correct manner, without increase or decrease. It is known to every Muslim that sincerity of worship to Allah Almighty and following the Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) are conditions for the acceptance of deeds.

That is why the Muslim should learn the rulings of fasting: upon who is it obligatory, the conditions of it being obligatory, the conditions of its validity, who may break his fast in Ramadan and who may not, the etiquettes of a fasting person and what is recommended for him, the invalidators of fasting, and rulings on the night prayers.

Many people are negligent in learning these rulings, which is why you see them making many mistakes. These mistakes include:

1- Not knowing the rulings on fasting and not asking about them, while Allah Almighty says (what means): {So ask the people of the message if you do not know.} [Quran 21:7] The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "He for whom Allah, the Exalted, intends good, He gives him insight into the religion." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

2- Receiving this noble month with entertainment and amusement instead of remembering and thanking Allah Almighty for making them reach this great month and instead of receiving it with sincere repentance, returning to Allah, the Exalted, and reckoning themselves for every single detail before they are reckoned and recompensed for the good and evil they did.

3- It is noted that, when Ramadan comes, some people repent, pray and fast but, as soon as it ends, they return to abandoning the prayer and committing acts of disobedience. These are the worst people because they do not know Allah Almighty except in Ramadan. Do they not know that the Lord of all the months is one Lord, that disobedience is forbidden at all times, and that Allah Almighty watches them at all times and places? Let them repent to Allah, the Exalted, with sincere repentance by abandoning acts of disobedience, regretting what they did, and being determined not to return to that in the future so that their repentance is accepted, their sins are forgiven, and their misdeeds are wiped out.

4- The belief of some people that Ramadan is the chance for sleep and laziness by day and for staying up late at night. Most probably, they stay up late while doing things that displease Allah Almighty, such as entertainment, playing, heedlessness, chatting, backbiting, and tale bearing. This involves great danger and grave loss for them. These few days bear witness of the obedience of the obedient slaves and the disobedience and heedlessness of the disobedient and the heedless ones.

5- It is noted that some people are upset because of the advent of the month of Ramadan and are happy with its end because they believe that it deprives them of fulfilling their desires. They only fast to go along with the people and follow them. They prefer other months over it although it is the month of blessings, forgiveness, mercy, and salvation from Hellfire for the Muslim who performs the obligations, abandons forbidden acts, complies with orders, and avoids prohibitions.

6- Some people stay up late in the nights of Ramadan often performing acts that have dire consequences, like entertainment, amusement, wandering in the streets, and sitting on pavements having suhoor (meal taken before fasting) after midnight and sleeping during the performance of the Fajr prayer at its due time in congregation. This includes many violations:

a) Staying up late doing useless things. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention) disliked sleeping before the ‘Isha’ prayer and speaking after it except about that which is good. Ahmad may Allaah have mercy upon him narrated a hadith in which the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Night talks are only allowed for one who intends to perform night prayers and the traveler in his journey." [Ahmad: As-Suyooti: good]

b) Wasting precious time in Ramadan without utilizing it. Man will regret every moment in which he did not remember Allah Almighty.

c) Advancing the suhoor before its recommended time at the end of the night, directly before the break of dawn.

d) The greatest catastrophe is sleeping and not performing the Fajr prayer in congregation, whose reward equals performing qiyam (night prayer) all or half the night according to the hadith narrated by Muslim may Allaah have mercy upon him in his Saheeh on the authority of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, who related that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Whoever performs the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation, it is as if he prayed half the night, and whoever performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, it is as if he prayed the entire night." [Muslim] Thus, they are characterized with the qualities of the hypocrites, who do not pray except in laziness, delay prayers from their specified times, do not attend the congregational prayer, and deprive themselves of the great virtue and ample reward resulting therefrom.

7- Avoiding the physical invalidators of fasting, like eating, drinking and intercourse, while not avoiding the moral invalidators, like backbiting, tale bearing, lying, cursing, abusing, and freely looking at women in streets and shops. Every Muslim should guard his fast and avoid these forbidden acts and invalidators. Perhaps there is a fasting person who attains nothing from his fast except hunger and thirst, and perhaps there is a person who performs night prayers who attains nothing but sleeplessness and exhaustion. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies) and acting upon them, Allah Almighty will not be in need of him leaving his food and drink (i.e. his fasting)." [Al-Bukhari]

8- Abandoning the Taraweeh (collective night prayer in Ramadan in the masjid) prayer, whose performer, who performs it out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah Almighty, was promised the forgiveness of sins. Abandoning it means disdaining this great reward. Many Muslims do not perform it while others perform only a little portion of it and then leave under the pretext that it is a Sunnah.

Yes, it is a confirmed Sunnah that was performed by the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) his rightly guided caliphs, and those who followed them with excellence. It brings the slave closer to Allah, the Exalted, and it is a reason for the forgiveness of Allah Almighty to His slave and His love for him. Abandoning it is considered a great deprivation, and we seek refuge with Allah Almighty from this. Perhaps the performer of this prayer may attain the night of Al-Qadr and obtain great forgiveness and reward. Acts of the Sunnah were legislated to compensate what is lacking in performing obligations. They are from the reasons for the love of Allah Almighty for His slaves and for His answering supplications, expiating sins, doubling rewards, and elevating ranks.

One should not miss the Taraweeh prayer so that he may obtain its reward, and he should not leave until the imam finishes so that he may obtain the reward of performing prayers the whole night, for the Prophet sallallaahu`alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention) said, "If someone prays with the imam till the imam leaves, then he will be rewarded as if he prayed the whole night." [Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah with a sound chain of narrators]

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