For a people enjoined and assured with the divine decree: “You have a good example in God's Messenger for whoever hopes for God and the Last Day, and remembers God oft” (Qur’an, 33:21), the life of the Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan, the most sacred month on the Islamic calendar – as with his daily life during all other times of the year – demands great importance.
Just as Muslims are required to pray how he prayed, fast how he fasted, and turn to their Creator with utmost sincerity and devotion, they are instructed to make it their life’s endeavor to live as he lived, emulating him in each and every facet of their humanly existence.
The greatest jewel on the crown of the Islamic year is the blessed month of Ramadan, the month described by the Messenger (saw) himself as the month of his community. The manner in which the Last Prophet spent this month, every minute detail of which is recorded, is the model, the very blueprint for the Muslim who aspires to earning the pleasure of God and attracting His infinite grace and mercy during this sacred month.
Let us take a glance at a single day in the month of Ramadan with the Messenger of God – a page out of that remarkable Prophetic diary which has permeated through the centuries.
The exact time for the pre-dawn meal, the sahur, would be determined after which the pre-dawn meal would be consumed. The Messenger of God (saw) advised believers to partake in this meal prior to fasting, even if it be with only a morsel of food, or a mouthful of drink, as there was great blessing concealed therein. The meal would be delayed until just before the Morning Prayer. God’s Messenger (saw) would make an intention to fast for the day as, like all other acts of worship, intentions were pivotal in fasting also. He would clean his teeth with siwak, a piece of the root of the arak tree used as a toothbrush.
There are several Prophetic traditions indicating that God’s Messenger (saw) would have guests with him for the sahur from time to time.
The morning prayer would be performed in congregation in the Prophet’s Mosque, with God’s Messenger (saw) leading the prayer.
During the day
Throughout the entire day, God’s Messenger (saw) would engage in acts of generosity and charity, so much so that, although he was the most benevolent among people, his benevolence increased markedly during the month of Ramadan.
At the call to the Evening Prayer at sunset, the breaking of the fast was not delayed. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) would break his fast before performing the Evening Prayer, with fresh dates, or dried dates if fresh ones were not available. If neither was available, he would break fast with water, and sometimes with a particular kind of soup.
The Prophet (saw) supplicated at the time of breaking fast, saying, “O God, I have fasted for Your sake, I have broken my fast with what you have provided. Thirst is gone and the veins are moist once again. God willing, the reward is established, too.” The Prophet (saw) would not seek any food in particular, but eat from what was available. As per usual practice, he would not eat to his full.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) would lead the night prayer in the mosque. This was followed by the tarawih, the twenty-cycle voluntary prayer reserved only for the nights of Ramadan, with rests after each four cycles. He would then retreat to his chamber adjacent to the mosque. He would spend a significant portion of the night in worship, reflection and supplication.
God’s Messenger (saw) would devote more time to recitation of the Qur’an during Ramadan and reflecting upon its meaning. Archangel Jibril (as) (Gabriel) would come to the Prophet each night and listen to his recitation of the Qur’an. Jibril (as) would then reciprocate by reciting the same verses in order to compare and confirm them, in way of ensuring its preservation and protection.