Shaikh Abu Nasr [Muhammad ibn al-Banna’] has informed us, on good traditional authority, that Salman [al-Farisi] (may Allah be well pleased with him) once said:
“Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) delivered a sermon for our benefit on the last day of Sha’ban, and this is what he told us:
O people, a mighty month has cast its protective shade to screen you. A blessed month, a month in which there is a night that is better than a thousand months! Allah has made keeping the fast therein [siyama-hu] an obligatory religious duty [farida], and the observance of night vigil therein [qiyam laili-hi] a voluntary practice [tatawwu’]. If someone seeks to draw near [to the Lord] therein by setting just one example of good conduct, or performs just one religious obligation, that person will be exactly the same as someone who discharges seventy religious obligations during all the other months of the year.
It is the month of patient endurance [sabr], and the reward for patient endurance is the Garden of Paradise. It is the month of charitable sharing [musawa’], and it is the month in which the sustenance of the true believer [mu’min] is increased. So, if someone provides a breakfast meal for a person who is keeping the fast, this will result in forgiveness for his sins, and in his emancipation from the Fire of Hell. The benefactor will also be granted a reward equivalent to that earned by the recipient of his generosity, but without anything at all being deducted from the reward due to the latter.
“‘Not all of us can find what it takes to provide a breakfast meal for someone who is keeping the fast,’ said those who were listening to his sermon, but the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) went on to say:
Allah will grant this reward to anyone who gives some kind of breakfast nourishment to a person who is keeping the fast, even if it is merely a dried date, a drink of water, or a cup of diluted milk.
It is a month the beginning of which is a mercy, the middle of which is a forgiveness, and the last part of which is a deliverance from the Fire of Hell. So, if a slaveholder lightens the burden borne by his slave in this month, Allah will forgive him and grant him freedom from the Fire of Hell.
During the course of this month, you must therefore cultivate four practices, and repeat then frequently. Two of these are practices by which you will earn your Lord’s good pleasure, while the other two are practices that you simply cannot afford to do without. As for the two practices by which you will earn your Lord’s good pleasure, they are testifying that there is no god except Allah [shahada an la ilaha illa ‘llah] and begging Him for forgiveness. As for the two that you simply cannot afford to do without, they are imploring Allah to grant you the Garden of Paradise, and taking refuge with Him from the Fire of Hell.
Furthermore, if someone provides a satisfying breakfast meal, in the course of this month, for a person who is keeping the fast, Allah (Exalted is He) will give the benefactor a drink from my Basin [Hawd], after which he will never feel thirsty again.”
According to a traditional report transmitted by al-Kalbi, on the authority of Abu Nadra, it was Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (may Allah be well pleased with him) who stated that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:
The gates of the Garden of Paradise and the gates of heaven will surely be flung open on the first night of the month of Ramadan, and they will not be closed again until the very last night thereof. Each time, without fail, that a male or female servant [of the Lord] performs the ritual prayer [yusalli] during any night of this month, Allah will credit him or her with seventeen hundred good deeds for every act of prostration [sajda]. For that servant, He will build in the Garden of Paradise a house, made from a single red ruby, that has seventy doors. Each of those doors will have two leaves of gold, beautifully adorned with knobs fashioned from red ruby.
If someone keeps the fast on the first day of the month of Ramadan, Allah will forgive him every sin until the last day of Ramadan, and his fasting will be an expiation until that same point in time. For every day on which he keeps the fast, he will be granted a palatial mansion in the Garden of Paradise, equipped with a thousand doors made of gold. From early in the morning, seventy thousand angels will beg forgiveness on his behalf, although they will stay out of sight behind the curtain. For every act of prostration he performs, by night or by day, he will be granted a tree in Garden of Paradise, a tree in the shade of which a rider can travel for one hundred years without every passing beyond it.
Shaikh Abu Nasr [Muhammad ibn al-Banna’] has informed me, on good traditional authority, that it was Abu Huraira (may Allah be well pleased with him) who first reported this next saying of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):
When the first night of the month of Ramadan has arrived, Allah surveys His entire creation. If He takes notice of a particular servant of His, it means that He will never cause him to suffer torment, and a million have reason, every day, to thank Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) for their deliverance from the Fire of Hell.
Shaikh Abu Nasr [Muhammad ibn al-Banna’] has also informed me, on good traditional authority, that it was Abu Huraira (may Allah be well pleased with him) who first reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:
As soon as Ramadan comes around, the gates of the Garden of Paradise are flung open, the gates of the Fire of Hell are shut and locked, and the devils [shayatin] are shackled and tied up tight.
According to another traditional report, this one transmitted on the authority of Nafi’ ibn Burda, Abu Mas’ud al-Ghifari (may Allah be well pleased with him) once heard these words being uttered by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):
No servant [of the Lord], who keeps the fast for at least one day of Ramadan, can possibly fail to be married to a wife from among the brides of Paradise, those maidens with such lovely eyes [al-hur al-‘in]. The wedding will take place inside a pavilion made from a single hollowed pearl. This fits the description given by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He):
Four maids, close-guarded in pavilions. (55:72)
Every woman amongst them will be dressed in seventy fine articles of clothing, no item being the same as any other. She will be given seventy kinds of perfume, none with the same fragrance as any other. She will also be given seventy thronelike raised couches, made from a red ruby studded with pearls. Upon each of these couches there will be seventy cushions, and over every cushion there will be a canopy. Every woman will have seventy thousand maidservants to attend to the needs of her husband. Each of these maidservants will carry a dish made of gold, containing some kind of cooked food, the last morsel of which will be found to have a delicious flavor that went unnoticed in the first bite. Her husband will be given special treats like this, as he reclines upon a couch made from red ruby. Such will be his reward for every day on which he has kept the fast of Ramadan, quite apart from what he may have earned by performing charitable deeds!
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Sufficient Provision for the Seekers of the Path of Truth (Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq)