The Details of the Question
I read that during Ramadan, if you fast and pray, all of your past sins will be forgiven. Does that mean that every year after Ramadan we start a clean, sin-free life? If not, then to which extent are our sins forgiven during the month of Ramadan?
Dear Brother / Sister,
Forgiveness of Sins in Ramadan
Nobody can tell-in Ramadan-either whether his/her sins or whether any other person's sins will be definitely forgiven, either altogether or partially. On that matter, only some comments based on certain principles can be uttered. For instance:
Ramadan is the month when Allah forgives humans the most.
A good deed has a recompense of ten rewards in other months, while in Ramadan one good deed has a recompense of a thousand rewards. Inspired by the verse in the Qur'an which says: “The Night of Destiny and Power is better than a thousand months!” (The Qur'an, Al-Qadr Surah. 97:3), Bediuzzaman says that in this month good deeds and worships may earn us 30 thousand rewards for one good deed, and that especially at the Night of Destiny and Power (Laylat Al-Qadr) for each letter of the Ayat al-Qursi (The Throne Verse; 255th verse of the second chapter (surah) of the Qur'an; Al-Baqara Surah), 30 thousand rewards may be given. That increase of rewards in a way means forgiveness of sins.
Violating others' rights comes among the prominent sins that are hard to be forgiven, even in Ramadan. Especially the rights of parents are very important. As a principle, it is also seen as hard for such sins to be forgiven as those because of which no remorse is felt, of which one does not repent and does not supplicate Allah for forgiveness. Of course, Allah's forgiveness embraces all sins. However, as a requisite of His name “Al-Hakim” (The Wise), Allah requires a reason or a means for forgiving those sins. Our Lord attached special importance to the sacred nights, Fridays, religious festivals and to three holy months, especially Ramadan, so that they serve as such an occasion and means. And He invited His servants to be more careful and alert at those times.
We learn from this hadith (saying of the Prophet) that being in the month of Ramadan does not mean immediate forgiveness:
Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates:
Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings upon him, said: “Let him/her crawl on his/her nose; Let him/her crawl on his/her nose; Let him/her crawl on his/her nose.” When it was asked: “Who? O Allah's Messenger!” He answered: “A person whose parents, or one of them, attain old age, living with him, and they do not cause him to be admitted into heaven.” (Muslim, Bir, 9-10)
According to Tirmidhi, the narration-again by Abu Hurayra-is as follows: “Let him/her crawl on his/her nose whoever doesn't say “Salawat” (sending peace and blessings to the Prophet) though my name was mentioned in his/her presence. Let him/her crawl on his/her nose whoever is not forgiven though the Month of Ramadan came and went. Let him/her crawl on his/her nose whoever cannot go to Paradise though both his/her old parents or one of them was alive and with him/her (and s/he couldn't take good care of them and thus couldn't enter Paradise).” (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 101)
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