Taken from “Discourses on Islamic Way of Life” By Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (Hafidullah) (Darul Ishaat Publication)
The Month of Mercy
Allah, ofcourse, knew that man will forget Him once he occupies himself in the affairs of the world. He will not pay as much attention to worship as he will be immersed in his worldly pursuits. So, he said to man, “We will give you more opportunity. Every year you will get one month. You will spend eleven months running after the material things and We will give you one month of Mercy. If you come to us in this one Month, you will regain the lost spiritual blessings and you will again come near Us. We guide you in this month that the rust that has come over your heart you may remove and may you come out of negligence. You may take up Our remembrance.” To obtain these things fasting is very important. The other forms of worship prescribed this month are also helpful in achieving nearness to Allah. The aim of Allah is that those who have gone far away may regain nearness to Him.
Allah has said:
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as was prescribed for those before you that you may be God fearing.” (al-baqarah 2:183)
It is as though Allah says: The eleven months that you have been spending away from Us have weakened your taqwa (fear of Allah). You can regain that by fasting this months.” So, it is not enough that we fast and offer taraweeh prayers but we must regain what we have lost in that past eleven months. In the month of Ramadan, we must bring down the other tasks as much as we can. Let us keep tihs month aside for worship.
My respected father Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rahimahullah) used to say that the way to welcome ramadan is to review beforehand what work, or part of it may be held in that task and devote oneself to worship in the time available.
Why Annual Vacations in Ramadan
The annual vacations in our religious institutions, known as Madrasah (pl. Madaris), commence from 15th Shaban and continue up to 15th shawwal when the new academic year begins. This has been the practice since a very long time and our elders have begun it. Some people object to this and say that our ulama teach students to remain idle in the Month of ramadan while the companions radiallahu anhum took part in Jihad and other work during Ramadan. They must know that if the need arises they may participate in Jihad during ramdan. In fact, the battle of badr was fought in Ramadan and Makkah was taken over in Ramadan. But when there is to be time for vacation then why not in Ramadan so that more time may be devoted to worship.
Nevertheless, whatever is done in these Madaris all over the year is also religious, the Quran and Hadith are taught. Fiqh or Justistic science is taught. But that is all indirect worship and Allah wishes that in Ramadan muslims engage in direct worship. That is why our elders had set aside ramadan for direct worship. Instead of summer vacations they set aside the month of Ramadan for vacations.
So, those who can take vacations in Ramadan may seize the opportunity but if they cannot they may devote as much time as they can to worship. That is the aim of Ramadan.
The Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam asked to Worship
My respected father, Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi rhaimahullah once pointed out the following verses of the Quran.
“So when you are free (from your public duties) exert in worship, and let toward your Lord be your entire quest,.” (94:7-8)
What worship? Offering prayers, standing before Allah prostrating before him. My respected father rahimahullah used to ask us to consider who was addressed in these words. The Holy Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam he was asked to exert himself after he was free! Was he busy in the affairs of the world? No! Rather, whatever he did was worship, He was engaged in teaching, preaching, training or purifying his people, or Jihad against the enemy. He had no other work but serving the religion of Allah. In spite of that, he is told that when he finishes with them, he must stand before Allah and exert himself. So, in obedience to this command, the Messenger of Allah salalahu alayhi wa salam used to stand all night in prayer and his feet would swell because of that. This shows that the tasks in which he was busy were indirect and he was called upon by these verses to engage himself in DIRECT WORSHIP.
Inshaallah if Allaah allows us we will continue to prepare for Ramadan may Allah give us the tawfeeq to strengthen our connection with him and strive in our efforts for His Face. Ameen
I also request Duas for those we benefit of the Ulama including our mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (hafidullah) [whom I post from his great works] and from my beloved Shaykh Husayn Adam (May Allah preserve him) Ameen