Ramadan; Month of Great Victories
By: Abdullah Abdeen
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims abstain not only from eating, drinking and intimate relationship from dawn to sunset, but also from anything that displeases Allah (Glory be to Him). The obligation of fasting in Islam came after the obligation of prayer, as the former became obligatory in the second year after Hijrah. While the month of Ramadan is regarded as the month of observing fasting, reciting the Glorious Qur’an, giving charity and many acts of worship, we must also keep in mind that it is a month of honor and pride for all Muslims as they managed to snatch great victories from the jaws of defeat.
The first battle that took place during the month of Ramadan was the battle of Badr, referred to as Yaum al-Furqān (day when the true was distinguished from the false) in the Qur'an as Allah says, “…if you truly believe In Allah and in what We sent down on Our servant on the day when the true was distinguished from the false, the day on which the two armies met in battle. Allah has power over all things”. This battle took place on the 17th of Ramadan, 2 A.H. It is worth mentioning here that the number of Muslim fighters during this battle was about three hundred while the number of the unbelievers was about one thousand. However, Muslims were sure that Allah would support them with such great victory as Allah says,
“We will, without doubt, help our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world's life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth”
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Due to this great victory, Allah revealed a verse recited in the Glorious Quran till the day of judgment so that this battle remains deep engraved in the hearts of Muslims around the globe and throughout centuries, where Allah says, “Allah had helped you at Badr, when you were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus may you show your gratitude”.
After the battle of Badr, the Muslim army was able to liberate Mecca on 20th of Ramadan 8 A.H. This liberation, known also as (the greatest conquest), marked the end of the wars between the followers of the Prophet and the tribe of Quraysh. This battle was a turning point in Muslim history as Muslim started to control over the Arabian Peninsula as a whole. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went to Mecca, he performed circumambulation around the K‘aba (tawaaf) and started breaking down the pagans' idols rehearsing Allah's saying, “And say: "Truth has (now) arrived, and falsehood perished: for falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish".
On 28th of Ramadan 92 A.H., the Muslim army led by Tariq ibn Ziyad and Mussa Ibn Nusair was able to conquer al-Andalus (Parts of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims), in the west, and another Muslim army reached China, in the east. The Islam remained in al-Andalus for more than eight centuries and this land was one of the most important crossing points between Islamic and European civilizations. The Islamic civilization in al-Andalus came to an end with the fall of the Emirate of Granada.
Afterwards, on the 9th of Ramadan 212 A.H., Muslims, led by Asad ibn al-Furat, who was also a jurist and theologian, conquered the Island of Sicily, which is regarded as the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Muslims became only five miles away from Italy. Muslims ceaselessly continued their journey of preaching and spreading the message of Islam across the globe.
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On Ramadan 223 A.H., the Abbasid campaign was led personally by the Caliph al-Mu‘tasim, when a Muslim woman appealed for help from him saying, “O Mu‘tasim, [Save me!]”. Therefore, he targeted Amorium, a Byzantine city in western Asia Minor, because it was one of Byzantium's largest and most important cities. Amorium was strongly fortified but a traitor revealed a weak spot in the wall, where the Abbasids concentrated their attack, effecting a breach and soldiers surrendered.
As for modern era, we find that the greatest war that occurred in Ramadan was the 6th of October War, 1973, which corresponds to the 10th of Ramadan 1393 A.H., where the Egyptian army forces crossed the Bar Lev Line and destroyed the Israeli defense points east of the Canal. After long negotiations, Egypt restored not only its entire land from the Israeli occupation, but its military prestige that it had lost after the defeat on the 5th of June 1967 as well. Therefore, there is no wonder if we said that fasting and the month of Ramadan are a source of inspiration, enthusiasm, and motivation to the Muslim soldiers, as this month witnessed many decisive battles that contributed greatly to Muslim achievements. We can also surely say that it is a month for hard work, great effort and endurance, not a month for laziness and sleeping.