Ramadan: The Month of Wala’ and Bara’
Ramadan is a month of many things for the Muslims: it is a month of mercy, forgiveness, blessing, worship, exertion, devotion, and discipline. In addition, it has historically been a month that revived the concept of wala’ and bara’ in the conscience of the believers in one way or another.
Firstly and most famously, the 17th of Ramadan 2 AH was the day of the first decisive battle between Islam and kufr: the Battle of Badr.
On the same day (17th) of Ramadan six years later, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) conquered Makkah along with 10,000 Muslim soldiers. That day, he entered the Ka’bah and personally smashed each of the 360 idols he found inside. Later that same Ramadan, he sent his Companions to destroy the other idols worshipped by the Arabs: Khalid bin al-Walid was sent to destroy al-‘Uzza, ‘Amr bin al-‘As to destroy Suwa’, and Sa’d bin Zayd to destroy Manat.
The next year, upon his return from the expedition to Tabuk in Ramadan, the Prophet sent a group of his Companions to demolish the Masjid ad-Dirar that was built by the hypocrites.
In Ramadan of 92 AH, Tariq bin Ziyad led an army against the Gothic King Roderick in the Battle of Guadalete. This was a battle in which the Muslims defeated an army of Goths eight times their size, initiating the Islamic conquest of Andalusia, Southern Italy, and parts of France.
Ramadan of the year 584 AH marked victory for the Muslims in the Battle of Hittin, in which Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi laid waste to the army of the Crusaders, resulting in his conquest of Jerusalem.
In Ramadan of the year 658 AH, the Mongols were dealt their first decisive defeat in history at the hands of Sayf ad-Din Qutuz in the Battle of ‘Ayn Jalut, avenging the deaths of the millions and millions of Muslims killed during the rape of their lands.
The revival of wala’ and bara’ in Ramadan was also manifested in the mosques of the Salaf during their prayers, as al-Imam Malik reported in his ‘Muwatta” (306):
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ دَاوُدَ بْنِ الْحُصَيْنِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ الأَعْرَجَ يَقُولُ: مَا أَدْرَكْتُ النَّاسَ، إِلاَّ وَهُمْ يَلْعَنُونَ الْكَفَرَةَ فِي رَمَضَانَ
al-A’raj said: “I did not find the people except that they would be cursing the kuffar in Ramadan.”
In ‘al-Istidhkar’ (2/72), Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said:
“This shows that it is permissible to curse the kuffar whether or not they are dhimmis. This is not obligatory. Rather, it is allowed for those who do it out of hatred for them for the sake of Allah due to their denial of the truth and their enmity to the Religion and its people…They would supplicate in the Witr of their prayer in Ramadan and curse the kuffar in imitation of the Messenger of Allah when he supplicated in his Qunut against Ra’al, Dhakwan, and Bani Lahyan, who had killed his Companions at the Well of Ma’unah.
And Ibn Wahb narrated from Malik that the Qunut in Ramadan should be in the last half of Ramadan, and it is the cursing of the kuffar. He curses the kuffar, and those behind him say ‘amin.’
…and al-A’raj met a group of the Companions and the major Tabi’in, and this is the practice of the people of Madinah.”
Also, on p. 32 of his treatise ‘Qiyam Ramadan,’ al-Albani mentions a narration of Ibn Khuzaymah’s (2/155) in which ‘Umar would appoint someone to lead the people in prayer at night in Ramadan, and at the end of the prayer after the first half of the month, the leader would make the following supplication:
اللهم قاتل الكفرة الذين يصدون عن سبيلك ويكذبون رسلك ولا يؤمنون بوعدك وخالف بين كلمتهم وألق في قلوبهم الرعب وألق عليهم رجزك وعذابك إله الحق
‘O Allah, fight the kuffar who lead people away from Your Path, deny your Messengers, and do not believe in Your Promise. Divide them and throw fear into their hearts, and throw Your punishment upon them, O Deity of Truth!’
The leader of the prayer would then invoke peace and blessings upon the Prophet, pray for the Muslims for what was good, and then ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the believers. After this, they would finish the supplication with the following:
اللهم إياك نعبد ولك نصلي ونسجد وإليك نسعى ونحفد ونرجو رحمتك ربنا ونخاف عذابك الجد إن عذابك لمن عاديت ملحق‘O Allah, we worship You, and we pray to You, and we prostrate to You, and we strive and rush and hope for Your Mercy, our Lord. And we fear Your true punishment, as Your punishment is close behind Your enemies.’
So, these glimpses of the Muslims who came before us show that they treated Ramadan as a month to revive the concept of wala’ and bara’.