Is the month of Ramadan an exclusive feature of the Muslims?

Question:

Is the month of Ramadan an exclusive feature of our Muslim nation only or it was also prescribed upon previous nations?

Answer:

Allah (Exalted be He) states: “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious - See V.2: 2).” [Al-Baqarah: 183] This Sacred Ayah (Qur’anic verse) indicates that fasting is an ancient ‘Ibadah (worship) that was enjoined on those before us; however, were they obliged to fast in Ramadan or in other months? I do not know of any text about it from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Regarding the merits of Ramadan and its special features, they are many. For example, Imam Ahmad reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My nation was given in Ramadan five things that were not given to any previous nation: the bad smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk, the angels ask Allah to forgive those who fast till they breakfast, the rebellious Jinn (creatures created from fire) are in chains so that they could not move as they move before in other months. Allah adorns His Paradise every day and says My righteous servants are about to deny themselves comforts and experience hardships and draw closer to Me. They are forgiven on the last night. It was said: Is it Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Decree)? He said, no but when workers complete their duties, they receive their wages.1

The Prophet (peace be upon him) indicated that this is only for this nation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith hoping for a reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven. And whoever observes the Night Prayer during Ramadan, because of faith, expecting his reward from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever stands for Prayer on Laylat-ul-Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for the reward from Allah, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 2

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Look for Laylat-ul-Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 3

Upon the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard), pray all the night, and keep his family awake for the Prayer.” (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 4


  1. Narrated by Imam Ahmad, Rest of the section on the Hadiths narrated by the Companions who narrated a large number of Hadiths; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, no. 7857. 

  2. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on Tarawih Prayer, Chapter on excellence of Laylat-ul-Qadr, no. 2014; and Muslim, Book on travelers Salah and Salah shortening, Chapter on encouragement to observe Salah during Ramadan, no. 760. 

  3. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on Tarawih Prayer, Chapter on looking for Laylat-ul-Qadr, nos. 2017 and 2020; and Muslim, Book on fasting, Chapter on excellence of Laylat-ul-Qadr, no. 1169. 

  4. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on Tarawih Prayer, Chapter on good actions during the last ten days of Ramadan, no. 2024.