Some thought-provoking and heartfelt words on Ramadan by Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullah), which I came across in his book ‘Bustan al-Wa’idhin’:
‘… Where are those who fast and where are those who pray by night? Where are those who obey their Lord and where are those who work righteousness? Where are those who are foremost and where are are the humble ones? Where are those who remember (their Lord) and where are those devoted to Him? Where are the truthful and where are the patient? Where are the charity-givers? Where are those who enjoin good, who save the troubled ones and who forbid the wrong? Where are those who heed contemplation and who listen to good advice and life-lessons? By Allah, they have indeed gone with the Salihin (righteous), returned with the Mu’minin (believers), settled with the Anbiya’ (Prophets) and taken residence with the Siddiqin (truthful ones). But us, we remain behind with the ignorant, have settled with the wrong-doers and have taken the heedless as our guides…
Fasting is the shield of nations, protecting from the Hellfire
And fasting is a fortress for whoever fears that fire
Fasting is a covering for all the people of goodness
Those who fear the burden of blame and sinfulness
And this month is the month of the Lord of the Throne
A Most Merciful Lord, Who conceals the heavy sins & burdens
So therein have fasted men who thus profited
Their reward lies with the Exalted and Forgiving One
And so they came to settle in Everlasting Gardens
Surrounded by maidens, and rivers and plantations…
So glad tidings to those who obey the Most Merciful King in this month of Mercy, this month of Ramadan. They bore patience over a few days, and thus long-lasting mercy and abundant blessings came after them and pursued them. Every time you do good in this month, you shall be rewarded for the rest of your life because righteousness is a habit and evilness is mere stubbornness.
Where are you O’ fasting one, who prays by night? Come forth to goodness and you shall triumph with everlasting happiness! Trade with your Lord and you shall profit, work with Him and you shall be successful, apologise and He shall accept your apology, seek His forgiveness and He shall forgive your sins, draw close to Him and He shall alleviate your suffering, ask Him from His Bounties and He shall expand your provisions, repent to Him and He shall increase your portion (in life).
O my dear brother, in this month all faults and mistakes are concealed, all souls and hearts are softened, sins and burdens are forgiven, and Allah `azza wa jall relieves every sad and troubled one. He says to His angels, ‘O My Angels, look at those dry tongues, how they become moist with My Remembrance. Look at those hard eyes, how they soften and weep out of fear of Me, and look at those delicate feet planted firmly at the stations of prayer out of desire for Me!’ O my dear brother, whenever you give food to others in this month for the Sake of Allah the Lord of the heavens and the earth, you shall be raised to high ranks in the lofty grounds of Paradise, and you will be clothed with complete goodness and stripped of all sin…’
Source: Ibn al-Jawzi, ‘Bustan al-Wa’idhin wa Riyadh al-Sami’in’ (pg. 185-186).