“When the month of Ramadhan comes, the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and the Gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are put behind bars” In another report, the “Gates of Mercy” are mentioned in place of the “Gates of Heaven”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Commentary – Commenting of this Tradition, Shah Wali-ullah remarks that as the devout bondsmen apply themselves to worship and good-doings during the month of Ramadhan and spend their days in God- remembrance and recitation of the Qur’an while Fasting, and a major part of their nights in Taraweeh and Tahajjud, supplication and repentance, under the influence of their high spirituality and devotional exertions the hearts of the common Muslims, too become more inclined towards prayer and piety and they, on the whole succeed in abstaining from good many sins. Owing to the generation of the atmosphere worship and virtue in the Islamic circles, people who are not wholly disregardful of transcendental truths develop a fondness for things that are pleasing to God and an aversion for acts that are repugnant to Him. moreover, in this blessed month the recompense on even smaller acts of moral goodness is made much greater by God than on other days. In consequence of all this, the gates of Paradise are opened and of Hell are closed for such people and the devils are not left free to tempt and mislead them.
It would be clear that all the three things – the throwing open of the gates of Heaven, the shutting up of the gates of Hell and the binding of the devils in chains – are in respect only of the bondsmen who feel disposed towards good-doing in the month of Ramadhan, and out of the keenness to partake of its blessings engage themselves enthusiastically in worship and other religious duties. As for the Apostates, the negligent and the heedless who care little for Divine injunctions and produce no change in their daily lives at the advent of Ramadhan, these tidings do not apply to them,. When they have opted out, of their own accord, for the path of error and omission and taken willingly to follow Satan and doing his bidding there is nothing for them except disappointment with God as well.
It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of Allah (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) said : “When the first night of the month of Ramadhan (comes), the devil’s and defiant Jinn are bound in chains and all the Gates of Hell are closed and non of them remains open and all the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and none of them remains closed and the heavenly herald announces, “O seeker of goodness and virtue! come forward; and O lover of wickedness and evil-doing! Halt, and do not come forward” and a large number of (sinning) bondsmen are released from Hell at the command of God (i.e., decision of forgiveness and deliverance is taken for them), and all this takes place on every night of Ramadhan.” [Tirmizi and Ibn-i-Maja]
Abdullah Bin Abbas narrates that the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) was superior to all men in generosity and the doing of good to the people in general, but in the month of Ramadhan his benevolence knew no bounds. In Ramadhan, Gabriel came to him every night and the Prophet (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) recited the Qur’an to him. During Ramadhan the Prophet (sallaho alaihi wa sallam) appeared to be faster than the wind in generosity and benevolence. [Bukhari and Muslim]
From Meaning and Messages of the Traditions
By Shaykh Mohammad Manzoor Nomani (RA).