Ramadan the Month of Goodness and Blessings
Sheikh ‘Abdul Muhsin al Qaasim
June 28, 2013 ~ Shabaan 19, 1434
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Praise be to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrong deeds. He whom Allah guides, none can misguide, and he whom Allah sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, Who has no partners, and I bear witness that our master and Prophet Muhammad is Allah’s servant and Messenger. May Allah bestow his bountiful peace and blessings upon him and his Household and Companions.
O Muslims! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and be mindful of Him in secret and in your private conversations.
O Muslims! The most honourable deeds are those that bring honour and glory to man through his obedience to his Creator, and this can only be achieved by worshiping Allah, Exalted be He, and demonstrating total submission to Him. Allah, Glorified be He, says: “Whosoever desires honour, power and glory then to Allah belong all honour, power and glory . . .” [Surah Fatir: 10]
Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) said, “The more the servant fulfills the duties of worship towards Allah, the closer he will be to perfection and the higher the rank he will attain”.
Allah has praised Prophet Ibrahim for worshiping Him, saying: “Verily, Ibrahim was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoke Allah with humility, and was repentant.” [Surah Hud: 75]
He also ordered Prophet Musa, the one to whom He spoke directly, to do the same thing. Allah says: “Verily! I am Allah! La ilahailla Ana, so worship Me. . . .” [Surah Taha: 14]
Prophet Dawud (Alayhi Salaam) worshiped Allah, Glorified be He, so much that he would fast every other day and would sleep half the night, stand in prayer one-third of it, and then sleep one-sixth of it. The good news of an upright son to be born to Prophet Zakariyya (Zacharias)also reached him while he was standing in prayer, worshiping Allah: “Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al-Mihrab, (saying): ‘Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya. . .’ .” [Surah Ale Imran: 39]
Similarly, Prophet ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) said to his people: “And verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). . . .” [Surah Maryam: 36]
Allah, Exalted be He, ordered His Prophet, Muhammad ﷺ saying: “Nay! But worship Allah (Alone and none else), and be among the grateful.” [Surah az-Zumar: 66]
The Prophet ﷺ obeyed the order of his Lord and started to pray so much of the night that his feet often became swollen and also spent some nights every year in i’tikaf (a spiritual retreat or seclusion for worship in a mosque).
Allah also ordered him to inform people that he worshiped Allah alone without associating any partners with Him. As Allah says in the Qur’an: “. . . Say: “I am commanded only to worship Allah and not to join partners with Him. To Him I call and to Him is my return”.” [Surah ar-Ra’d: 36]
He also ordered the Quraish disbelievers to worship Him alone without associating any partners with Him. Allah says: “So let them worship the Lord of this House.” [Surah Quraish :3]
The Prophet ﷺ urged us to worship Allah alone more often, saying,“Perform prayers more often. For every prostration you do before Allah, Allah raises you one degree and forgives you one of your sins.” [Reported by Muslim]
Allah has commanded all His creatures to worship Him, as this is the main reason why He created them in the first place: “O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” [Surah al-Baqara 21]
He has also ordered the believers to worship Him alone. He says: “O you who believe! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord . . .” [Surah al-Hajj: 77]
A Muslim who grows up in the worship of Allah since his childhood will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the Day when there will be no shade but His. Allah describes the Prophet’s Companions as being devoted to Him by praying and supplicating to Him more often. He says: “.. . You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayers), seeking bounty from Allah and Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers) . . .” [Surah al-Fath: 29]
Ibn Kathir (Radiallahu Anhu) said of them, “The Prophet’s Companions had sincere intentions and performed good deeds so much so that their demeanour and conduct appealed to all those who saw them.”
The righteous predecessors of this Ummah, may Allah have mercy upon them, adopted this sound approach that is based on the fear of Allah and on worshiping Him much. Al-Bazzar said of Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy on his soul, “As for his worship, it was almost unheard of, as he would spend most of his time engrossed in it. Upon beginning the prayer, you would feel as if your heart would split asunder in awe of the way in which he would recite the opening takbirah (saying ‘Allahu Akbar’).” Similarly, Ibn Katheer said of Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on their souls, “To my knowledge, there is no one in this world and in this time of ours who exceeds him in worship.”
In fact, worship is the very soul and source of happiness for the servant, and thus he must be constant and patient in his worship under all circumstances. Allah, Glorified be He, says: “. . . So worship Him (Alone) and be constant and patient in His worship. . .” [Surah Maryam: 65]
Because the servant really needs worship, he has been enjoined to perform it as long as he is alive.Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, says: “And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Surah al-Hijr: 99]
By His encompassing grace to His servants, Allah has blessed them every year with the month of Ramadan, which He has made a real opportunity for them to worship Him night and day. By His bounty, He has made available to them diverse virtues and acts of obedience during that month.
The days and nights of Ramadan are coming along with their bounties and blessings. The Prophet ﷺ said,“There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast; a month during which the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it is a night for Allah which is better than a thousand months, and whoever misses its bounties is indeed deprived of all good” [Reported by Muslim]
In Ramadan, Muslims perform one of the five pillars of Islam and souls compete to do good deeds. The Prophet ﷺ said, “When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.” [Agreed upon] As Ibn Al-‘Arabi (Rahimahullah) said, “The gates of Paradise are opened so that people may have more hope [in Allah’s mercy], increase their good deeds, have more determination, and become more desirous of Paradise. The gates of Hell are closed so that the devils may be humiliated and sins may decrease.”
The reward for fasting is not tenfold the good deed, as in other good deeds, but is rather unlimited. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me, and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.” [Agreed upon[ Ibn Rajab (Rahimahullah) said, “The reward of any good deed is multiplied from ten to seven hundred times except that of fasting. Its reward is not confined to this number but is multiplied many times over and infinitely.”
Just as the good deeds of the fasting person are rewarded immeasurably, so his sins are forgiven because of his fasting. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of Allah’s reward will have all his previous sins forgiven.” [Agreed upon]
In Ramadan there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever spends that night in prayer out of faith and in the hope of Allah’s reward will have his previous sins forgiven.
In addition to being the month of fasting, Ramadan abounds in other great virtues. The Noble Qur’an was revealed in Ramadan. Jibreel used to study the Qur’an with our Prophet during the nights of Ramadan. Whoever recites the Qur’an in Ramadan will be blessed, enlightened and guided as he draws nearer to it. His rewards will be multiplied commensurate with the degree of his sincerity in reciting it.
The fasting person is totally submissive to his Lord. The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are three types of people whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just ruler, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while’.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi)]
The following Qur’anic verse occurs in the midst of the verses on fasting: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). . .” [Surah al-Baqarah: 186]
This clearly indicates that we should increase our supplications during Ramadan.
Goodness begets more goodness. Fasting and reciting the Qur’an lead to other acts of obedience and good deeds. Generous people compete with one another to give in charity in Ramadan, and thosewho do so are promised to have his sins forgiven as well as great bounty from Allah. Allah, Exalted be He, says: “Shaitan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty . . .” [Surah al-Baqarah: 268]
Allah makes things easier for those who give in charity. Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, says: “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allâh and fears Him, And believes in Al-Husna, We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness).” [Surah al-Layl: 5-7]
The Prophet ﷺ was the greatest in giving charity; he never felt that he had given too much and never drove away a beggar. Giving in charity was the most beloved deedto him.The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was more pleased with what he had given than the taker was with what he had taken.
Zakah is one of the pillars of Islam; without it, Islam cannot be established. It purifies and increases one’s wealth. Therefore, give it open-heartedly and generously; use it to console a poor person or an orphan, and show sincerity to Allah when giving it. Beware of delaying payment of zakah beyond its due time, for you never know what incidents may happen that will prevent you from paying it on its due time.
Just as the doors of forgiveness are open in the days of Ramadan, they are also wide open in its nights. Performing theTaraweeh prayers (on the nights of Ramadan)is one of the causes of gaining Allah’s forgiveness.The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever performs the night prayer in congregation with his Imam [in Ramadan] till he completes it will have the reward for standing the entire night in prayer.” [Agreed upon] Whoever prays in congregation with his Imam till he finishes will have the rewards of a night of prayers recorded for him.In addition, the hadith says that “performing ‘Umrah in Ramadan equals performing Hajj.” [Agreed upon] Another narration reads, “. . . equals performing hajj with me.”
Successive acts of obedience give glad tidings of victory to the believers.The first of such victories in Ramadan was in the Battle of Badr. In addition, preparations for the Battle of the Trench started in Ramadan in the fifth year of the Hegira. The Prophet’s victorious return toMakkah, when people entered Allah’s religion in crowds and broke the idols, took place in Ramadan. Similarly, the demolition of Masjid adh-Dhirar (the ‘Mosque of Dissent’,built by the hypocrites in opposition to Quba’ Mosque in Madinah) took place in Ramadan.
A wise person never abandons or reduces the different acts of worship which he does in Ramadan, or in any other month.In order for one’s fast to be complete and perfect, one must avoid all those acts that are bound to render it deficient, such as telling lies, backbiting, looking at forbidden things, or engaging in acts that distract one from the worship of Allah and waste one’s time. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Fasting is a shield [against Hellfire and against committing sins]. When anyone of you is observing fast, he should avoid sexual intercourse with his wife and avoid raising his voice in anger; and if anyone insults him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’”[Reported by Al-Bukhari]
Those who miss the opportunity of having their sins forgiven in this month are the ones who are indeed deprived of all good.The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “May a man upon whom Ramadan enters and then passes and his sins are not forgiven be humiliated.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi]
O Muslims! True Muslims always look forward to acts of worship and feel joyful when they engage in them. When they perform a certain act of worship, they make sure they do it sincerely for the sake of Allah and in compliance with the Prophet’s Sunnah. In this way, Allah accepts it from them and increases its reward manifold for them. Indeed, one way of showing respect for Allah is to hasten to obey His commands willingly and cheerfully.
Allah, Glorified be He, says: “And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me.” [SUrah adh-Dhariyat: 56]
May Allah bless you and me with the Great Qur’an and make us benefit from its verses and wise words. I have said what you have heard and I ask forgiveness of Allah for myself, for you, and for all Muslims, for any sin that we have committed.
Praise be to Allah for His kindness to us; and all forms of gratitude are due to Him for the success He has blessed us with and for His graciousness. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, Who has no partners, in glorification of His dignified position. I also bear witness that our prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May Allah’s bountiful peace and blessings be upon him, his Household, and his Companions.
O Muslims! One sign of Allah’s assistance to us in obeying Him is to help us prepare for it by doing another act of worship before it. It was the practice of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to fast much in the month of Sha’ban in preparation for fasting Ramadan, which is the best of all months. ‘A’ishah (Radiallahu Anha) said,“I never saw the Prophet ﷺ fast in a month more than he did in the month of Sha’ban.” [Agreed upon]
Those who are in the habit of fasting the first part of Sha’ban may also fast the last part of it, if they so desire, but there is no evidence in the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, regarding the virtues of the month of Sha’ban except for frequently fasting during it. Nor is there any evidence in the Sunnah that there is a particularly virtuous night in this month, whether at its beginning, or in its middle, or at its end. Ibn Rajab (Radiallahu Anhu) said, “There is no evidence that the Prophet ﷺ or his Companions performed voluntary night prayers in the middle of the month of Sha’ban.” The best guidance is that which our prophet Muhammad ﷺ prescribed for us. Successful indeed are those who worship Allah in all sincerity and in accordance with the practice of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
Know you that Allah has commanded you to invoke His peace and blessings upon His Prophet. He says in His perfect revelation: “Allah sends His salutations upon the Prophet and also His angels (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your salutations upon him and salute him with the Islamic way of greeting.” [Surah al-Ahzab: 56]
O Allah! Bestow peace and blessings upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and be pleased with the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, who ruled by the truth and thereby established justice, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, along with all the Companions, and also be pleased with us along with them, by Your grace and generosity, O the Most Generous of all the generous!
O Allah! Provide power and glory to Islam and the Muslims, humiliate polytheism and the polytheists, and destroy the enemies of the religion. O Allah! Make this country of ours, as well as all other Muslim countries, safe, secure, and prosperous.
O Allah! Improve the conditions of Muslims everywhere. O Allah! Protect them against trials and tribulations, apparent and hidden. O Allah! Assist them in achieving unity as well as agreement on the truth, O Lord of all the Worlds. O Allah! Protect them against the evil of their enemy and Your enemy, O All-Strong! O All-Mighty!
O Allah! Grant victory to the oppressed amongst the Muslims everywhere. O Allah! Be their Helper and Supporter. O Allah! Let Your enemy and their enemy suffer an evil turn of fate, O All-Strong! O All-Mighty!
O Allah! Lead our ruler to Your guidance, make all his deeds pleasing to You, and guide all the leaders of the Muslims to act according to Your Book and rule by Your Shari’a, O Owner of Majesty and Generosity!
O Allah! We ask You for sincerity in word and deed.
“Our Lord! Give us that which is good in this world and that which is good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Hellfire!” [Surah al-Baqarah:201]
Servants of Allah! “Verily, Allah enjoins justice and kindness, and giving (help) to kith and kin, and forbids all types of lewd acts, and all kinds of oppression. He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” [Surah an-Nahl: 90]
Remember Allah, the Great, the Sublime, and He will remember you. Thank Him for His blessings and favours and He will give you more. Verily, remembrance of Allah is greater than all, and Allah knows what you do.
Translated by Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University