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Why Do We Still Sin in Ramadan?

03 March, 2024
Q As-salamu `alaykum. It is said that Satan is locked up during the month of Ramadan. If this is the case, then why do we see sins committed in this month? To whom should such crimes be ascribed?


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- It is well known that Satan has nothing to do with those who are committed to the true meaning of fasting. Such people are saved from the devil’s influence during the blessed month of Ramadan.

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2- Although devils are chained during Ramadan, it is no wonder to see people committing sins in broad daylight because not all sins are committed as a result of Satanic whispers, but one’s evil soul or nafs may drive one to sin and even commit crimes.

In his response to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.” (Al-Bukhari)

It is clear from the aforementioned Hadith that putting devils in chains during the month of Ramadan does not mean that they cannot influence people who are not abiding by the laws of Allah.

The statement only means that as far as the believers who are observing the rules of Allah are concerned, Satan’s control over them is diminished. This month, with all of its many blessings and spiritual incentives, puts pressure on Satan, and therefore it acts as a kind of a barrier between them and it.

Moreover, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa committee, adds,

I would like to state that there is no contradiction between the Prophetic Hadith which states that devils are chained during the month of Ramadan and the reality that some fasting Muslims do commit crimes during the blessed month. The commentators of the aforementioned Hadith of Abu Hurairah state that ‘the devils that are put in chains during Ramadan’ are those who can’t approach those who sincerely fast for Allah’s Sake and who commit themselves to the high morals of fasting such as lowering the gaze and refraining from doing any harm to others.

Ibn Khuzaymah also states that ‘putting the devils in chains’ means that their activity during the blessed month is (only) reduced, and that is why some Muslims sin during the month of Ramadan.

Another possible interpretation of the Hadith states that sins that are committed through Satanic whispers are halted, as the devils are chained and they no longer tempt people to sin during Ramadan.

As to the sins that are committed by some Muslims during the blessed month, some commentators state that they are due to the evil souls that tempt some to sin and transgress Allah’s limits. Some also state that the devils that are meant are those from among the Jinn, whereas human devils are not chained.

It has become clear that the Hadith does not contradict the common reality if we tend to understand it with deep profundity. Religious texts are to be understood in a proper and sound way in order to avoid confusion in understanding religion.

Allah Almighty knows best.