Ramadān provides us with many unique opportunities to bring the family together and strengthen the fabric of our family ties. Ramadan fortifies our religious faith in ways that brings people’s hearts together as one.
Reading the Qur’ān
When family members, young and old, male and female, all spend time at home reading the Qur’ān, it provides a special pleasure and brings a renewed commitment to adopt its noble manners in our lives.
Parents should therefore encourage their children to read the Qur’ān in Ramadan, if possible from beginning to end. The whole family should participate in reading the Qur’ān in a spirit of seeking Allāh’s blessings and they should supplicate to Allāh together as a family. This is especially so when any member of the family completes reading the Qur’ān in full.
Ibn al-`Uthaymīn informs us that: “coming together at home when someone completes reading the Qur’ān in full has its basis in the practice of the Companions. It is related that when Anas b. Mālik (raḍiyallāhu anhu) completed reading the Qur’ān, he would gather his family together and offer supplications.”
In this light, an-Nawawī writes in at-Tibyān: “It is very much recommended to attend the gathering of someone who completes reading the Qur’ān.”
Starting and Breaking the Fast
The whole family gathers together at the table before dawn to take their morning meal before the start of the fast. They do so again at Sunset to break the fast. This is a unique and special gathering, since it is founded upon faith and obedience to Allāh. It is the commencement and completion of an act of worship. These two gatherings at the table are times of blessings and prayer as well as times of festive joy. It is a sweet experience for the family to share this occasion together.
It is a time when our prayers are answered. The Prophet (Aallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “A fasting person at the time of breaking the fast offers a supplication that will not be refused.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah]
There is a great opportunity for family togetherness in giving charity. When an adult family member goes out to give charity to poor relatives or strangers, or to charitable centres, they should really involve their children. This gives the children a sense of importance and of real participation.
Similarly, children can get involved in laying out the tables and preparing meals in providing for the poor to break their fasts. These activities teach our youth about the love that human beings should have for each other and it also strengthens their sense of fraternity with their fellow Muslims. It is also a way of developing character and remedy for whatever selfish tendencies the children might have.
Moreover, we should know and remind our children that whatever we spend for the sake of Allāh, we know that Allāh compensates us for it with what is far, far better.
A man once donated a finely haltered camel in charity, saying: “This is for Allāh’s sake.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “On the Day of Judgment, you will have 700 camels, all of them finely haltered.” [Sahīh Muslim]
Ramadan is a time for bettering ourselves, for learning self-restraint, consideration for others, and for bringing our tempers under control. The first place we put these valuable skills into practice is in our homes.
The month of fasting is a time when we hold back on our desires, which merely starts with our restraining our desire to eat and drink. When we fast, we also strive to treat other people with kindness and generosity, and we exercise self-restraint in our interpersonal dealings, especially our disagreements.
Our Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) teaches us that when someone insults us or tries to instigate an argument with us when we are fasting, we should say to them: “I am a person who is fasting.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī and Sahīh Muslim] We indicate in this way that we are not going to argue. We are not going to return that person’s bad behavior. This is Ramadan when the devils are restrained, and we want only to compete with others in who can show the most kindness, goodwill, and generosity.
Allāh says: “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one that is better, then lo! he between you and whom there had been enmity will become as though he were a bosom friend.” [Sūrah FuSSilat: 35]
Ramadan teaches us patience and forbearance, even when we see from others what displeases us. This is all the more true when those others happen to be our nearest and dearest.
Ramadan is a special time that calls upon us as husbands and wives to see the beauty and goodness in our life partners, to stress their good qualities. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) advised husbands: “A believing man should never despise a believing woman. If he dislikes one of her personality traits, he will surely be pleased with another.” [Sahīh Muslim]
Ramadan is a special time that calls us as husbands and wives to express our love for our spouses, and as parents to express our love for our children. We can see this in the reward Allāh gives us for the good that we do for family. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “A coin that is spent in Allāh’s path, or for freeing a slave, or for helping the poor, or for providing for your family, the greatest of these in blessings is what is you spend on your family.” [Sahīh Muslim]
When you gather as a family at the Ramadan table, make our love and regard for one another more visible. Every kindness, no matter how small, is blessed. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said: “Whatever you spend, it is charity, even the morsel that you bring to your wife’s lips.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī]
Ramadan is a chance for family members to renew their commitments to one another, to correct their former errors, forgive each other, and turn over a fresh page. This is easy during Ramadan, the month that brings everyone together in fasting and devotion