Ramadan and the Conditions of the Muslim Ummah
Sheikh Saalih aal Taalib
July 5, 2013 ~ Shabaan 26, 1434
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Praise be to Allah! Praise be to Allah, Who has privileged certain days and months over others and made Ramada the month of the greatest forms of worship and the source of the most generous rewards. I praise my Lord and thank Him. I repent to Him and ask for His forgiveness. He is the Merciful, the Pardoner, the Forgiver, the Generous, the Munificent, and the Grateful. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship save Allah alone without associate; a testimony whereby I seek salvation on Resurrection Day. I equally bear witness that Muhammad ﷺ is Allah’s Servant and Messenger and the best creature ever. May Allah send His Salat and Peace onto him, his family, his Companions, and his Ummah as long as crescents are born in the sky and mid-month full moons come into view by night time.
Now then, fear Allah and hold fast to the non-severable bond of Islam. Hold yourselves accountable before the Day of Accountability and make your own šaĥîfa (Deed Record) clear of sins before it is tagged around your neck (on Doomsday), and also before your body organs and locations you once frequented in the herein serve as witnesses for what you perpetrated. There are certainly angel-scribes taking record of all your deeds, and Allah is the promptest in exacting His creatures’ accountability: “And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allâh. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.“ [Surah al-Baqara: 281]
O Muslims! Year in, year out; days and nights alternate. Sunset gives way to sunrise. Victories, defeats, advantages, and inconveniences rotate. The passage of time burdens the self with responsibilities, pitfalls, fatigue, and regression which incite worshippers to recoil from the journey to Allah and make them feel bored with the length of the path leading to Allah’s promised recompense. Sometimes, one may even feel alienated from the very road taken and estranged from one’s travel mates. One will therefore struggle under the heavy burden of life’s habits which exert extra pressure on one’s psychological state torn between pain of despair and a ray of hope. Under such circumstances, one is inclined to search for a safe haven of shade from the scorching heat of sunshine and a secure harbour from tempestuous sea waves. One is in need of some respite, as the journey is long, food is scarce, and the obstacle is insurmountable.
This is why Allah, the Most-Munificent, bestowed upon His servants a graceful month and a magnificent season so that Muslim worshipers could strengthen their faith to confront the journey of belief ahead and enhance the degree of their taqwa. This graceful month is similar to a river for quenching one’s thirst, healing one’s wounds, and imbibing souls with its bounteous graces ‒which eventually leads to their felicitous destiny. It is a month during which one defeats one’s capricious desires and satanic drives. It is a month of bounteous divine favours and forgiveness. Notice how swiftly time passes and the twelve months of the calendar rush in succession until the month of Sha`aban has departed and the holy month of Ramadan is close to supplant it. Signs of its advent herald its remarkably glamorous features. It will soon be our most welcome and venerated guest. So, make yourselves ready to stand in awe of its revered arrival with determination to obey Allah by performing acts of worship.
How much longing worshipers have for it! How much pious people adore it! How impatiently they have been aching for its arrival! How much spiritual elevation their egos have experienced during its nights and early dawns! How mysterious they have found its early daybreak! How close they have felt to Allah, the One and the Omnipotent! How frequently they have tasted the flavour of faith and kept company of the Holy Quran both in listening and in reciting!
It is indeed one of Allah’s bounties to benefit from such a seasonal occasion in order to be cleansed of our sins and to purify our souls so as to achieve moral rectitude and ethical refinement: “O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious …).“ [Surah al-Baqara: 183]. Taqwa is a multi-faceted innermost feeling of fear that the performer of fasting experiences; it is positively reflected on his/her soul in the form of internal radiance, moral purity, and unblemished conduct.
Ramadan is the springtime of believers’ hearts, the beacon for moral people, the intimate company of the pious, and a good omen for worshippers. It is indeed a month whose perfection is crystal clear and whose splendour is manifest: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion. So whoever of you sights the month, he must observe fasts that month, …“ [Surah al-Baqara: 185]
Its daytime is reserved for fasting; its night time is devoted to Qiyām (night worship rituals); its motto is the Quran and its outer fitting is charity and benevolence. During the month of Ramadan, prayers are met with acquiescent divine response, and good deeds are raised to Heaven. Each night, there are people who are salvaged from Hellfire. So, are there people determined to repent?
As to the reward reserved for Muslims performing fasting, it pertains to Allah’s benevolence. Abu Huraira (Radiallahu Anhu) reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Allah said: “Every good human deed belongs to its performer except fasting: it belongs to me and thus I offer the reward thereof. Fasting is an ideal shelter. Whoever performs fasting is interdicted from approaching his wife and from clamouring. If ever he is insulted or assaulted, he should say, ‘I am a fasting person.’ I swear by Allah, who is in control of my soul, the typical odour of the fasting person’s mouth smells better than musk. The fasting person experiences joy twice: the first time when he breaks his fast and the second time when he meets his Lord glad with his own fasting.” [Reported by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim] In a different version by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, “the fasting person refrains from eating and drinking for my own sake.”
In the Sahih by Imam Muslim, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported to have said, “The current month of Ramadan succeeded by the following month of Ramadan offers remission of sins for the time span between both months on condition that grave sins be avoided.” In the same Sahih Book, there is the Hadith, “Remiss and failed will be everyone who reaches the month of Ramadan but his sins have not been expiated.” This is because Ramadan is known for its whiff of spiritual splendour and divine compassion of which only a totally remiss person would be deprived.
In the two Sahih Books of Hadith by Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported to have said, “With the advent of Ramadan, the gates of paradise are opened and those of hell are firmly locked, while Shaytan and his agents are chained in manacles.” In the two Sahih Books of Hadith by Imam Muslim and Imam Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported to have said, “Whoever performs fasting during the month of Ramadan ‒solely prompted by faith and sacrificing comfort in anticipation of Allah’s reward‒ will have his sins expiated in retrospect” and that “Whoever performs nightly prayers during the month of Ramadan ‒solely prompted by faith and sacrificing comfort in anticipation of Allah’s reward‒ will have his sins expiated in retrospect.” By the same token, “Whoever performs nightly prayers during Laylat Al-Qadr [the Night of Decree] ‒solely prompted by faith and sacrificing comfort in anticipation of Allah’s reward‒ will have his sins expiated in retrospect.”
It is worth noting that the best form of welcome for the month of Ramadan is repentance, for a soul delivered from sins and alleviated of burdens would be more readily motivated to perform the acts of worship associated with Ramadan and is likely to please Allah with good deeds and intentions.
Another germane point worth mentioning here is related to diverging astrological opinions with regard to confirming the beginning of the lunar month, including individual attempts to use observatories for that purpose. The very publication of such controversial observations in the media (both printed and audio-visual) has no other consequences than spreading scepticism among Muslims concerning their acts of worship and to underestimating the logistic and technical capacity of governmental institutions and committees to provide reliable information. Some people who get involved in such a debate are quite well-intentioned; others find in it an opportunity to show off and rise to fame.
To both camps we would like to say: Save your energy! You have been spared such effort in this country where special committees have been set up in different locations on the territory in order to duly observe this ritual and to take precautions against any error affecting the performance of this religious duty. Allah’s guidance and those special committees’ advice are quite sufficient for such a task, and whoever has a different opinion let them contact the authorities directly and stop disturbing Muslims’ spiritual life.
Servants of Allah! The meaning of fasting is not restricted to the sheer act of refraining from consuming food, then filling one’s stomach when breaking the fast. The wisdom behind fasting is to coerce the self to restrain its whims, to break the routine of its habitual actions, to cleanse it of all sorts of impurity, and to train it to remember the existence of starving and homeless families. Who will take care of populations struck by ordeals and weakened by wars that actually subjugate and grind down humanity? The victims are your brothers in faith who have no refuge except in Allah’s providential protection and in you. It is Allah Who grants and retains favours; it is Allah Who lowers and elevates His creatures’ status; and it is He Who ordained you to be His trustee in the property He bestowed on you in order to see how you would act. On Resurrection Day, the believer will take shelter from Hellfire in his charitable acts in the herein: “…and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allâh’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” [Surah Saba’: 39]
Of course, it is not impossible for a wealthy person to come across a needy person from among his own acquaintances or through authorised agencies and institutions. May Allah recompense every doer of meritorious deeds with due reward and accept good services from benefactors. I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion. So whoever of you sights the month, he must observe fasts that month, …“ [Surah al-Baǭara: 185]
May Allah bless you and me by the Holy and Magnificent Qur’ān. May Allah help us benefit from the teachings of the Sunnah of the Master of Messengers, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Having said this, I ask Allah to forgive you and me.
May Allah be praised abundantly and kindheartedly, a blessed praise that pleases our Lord and is to His liking! I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, Who has no associate. I also bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May Allah send His Salat (Graces, Honours and Mercy), Peace and Blessing on him and all his family and Companions!
Now then, O Muslims! There are certain events that are so conclusive in the history of the Muslim Ummah. When Muslims managed to overcome their own passions and desires Allah helped them triumph over their aggressors. Such events served as a precursor of the days that followed. The month of Ramadan witnessed the great Battle of Badr (fought 17 of Ramadan, 2 AH), the conquest of Makkah (fought 18 of Ramadan, 8 AH) and many others including those of the Sindh, Antioch, Sicily, the Battle of Ain Jalut (the Spring of Goliath) and finally the battle for the recovery of Sinai by the Egyptians. It was indeed in Ramadan that all of these battles and conquests took place.
There is a lesson to be learnt from these events particularly these days in which the forces of evil and hypocrisy have gone on the rampage against large numbers of Muslims across the world. The hostility deeply entrenched in the hearts of many against this religion has suddenly surfaced.
Presently, Muslims are being afflicted with much sturdiness at the hands of platoons of people who share no language, values, faith or homeland but bitter sentiments of hostility and enmity towards Islam. However, Muslims are still oblivious of their own cause, or say it is meant for them to remain unaware of the fact that hostility is nothing but religious. In Arakan and Burma, waves after waves of extermination are being launched against Muslims. In Syria, criminals are carrying out their evil practices in alternation. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, people are being abused, wickedness is prevailing and assistance and support have gone hard to find.
For decades we have not witnessed such masters of hypocrisy nor have we heard such loud voices speaking up against Islamic Sharia. Today, international laws and conventions are violated; political, human, children’s and women’s rights are abused. Advocates of such rights are not acting the way they should had the aggressor been Arab or Muslim and the victim from a different nationality or faith.
What has been going on is a disgrace for the entire world with its international organizations, conventions and covenants. The opponents of religion have been called into alliance from all directions and have grown increasingly powerful. Their determination and enthusiasm in this regard are so strong that they would stop at nothing (even if it comes to kneeling down) in order to stand by the aggressor and support injustice, to suppress truth and subjugate the oppressed.
In light of this, it is the obligation of every Muslim –without exception– to stay alert and vigilant, to hold as fast as ever to the Rope of Allah and not to take this religion (Islam) with weakness. Should Muslims venture to relinquish their faith they would lose power in this Life and reap disappointment in the Hereafter. On the other hand, if they take it with laxity they will run the risk of being overpowered by the enemy with no entitlement to the support they have otherwise been promised. However, if they take it with resolve, they will prevail in this Life and succeed in the Hereafter: “O Yahyâ! Hold fast the Scripture.“ [Surah Mariam: 12]
We are hopeful that Allah shall help our oppressed brothers in Syria prevail and that our fellow Muslims throughout the world shall realize the complexity of their cause in such a way that urges them to hasten to their support towards lifting the siege around them and defeating their enemy, particularly that the enemies of Arabs and Muslims have now rushed to strengthen their grip on the city of Homs.
All Muslims should also realize that one of the very first instructions given to ensure victory during the Battle of Badr was: “and do not dispute lest you lose courage and your strength departs, and be patient. Surely, Allâh is with those who are patient.” [Surah al Anfal: 46]
We place our hope first in Allah and then in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its support of our fellow Muslims in Syria and for its efforts in taking their cause to international forums and organizations and in urging major world powers to intervene in order to put an end to this prolonged and bloody tragedy. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques himself has so repeatedly and generously insisted on halting this bloody violence in Syria and bringing peace back to it.
May Allah help carry out their endeavors and bless their efforts! Remember that Allah gave you a command, which He Himself started as He said: “Allâh sends His Salât on the Prophet, and also His angels. O you who believe! Send your Salât on him, and greet him with the Islâmic way of greeting” [Surah al Ahzab: 56]
O Allah! Send Your Salat, Peace and Blessing on Your Servant and Messenger, Muhammad, and on his good and pure family! O Allah! Be pleased with all of Your Messenger’s Companions and those who followed them in righteousness until the Day of Judgement!
O Allah! Grant glory to Islam and Muslims and fail the tyrants, infidels and corruptors! O Allah! Grant glory to Your Religion, Your Book and the Sunnah of Your Prophet and Your believing servants!
O Allah! Foreordain for this ummah a matter (an affair) of rationality (guidance) whereby the pious are honored and the sinful are guided, and whereby al-ma’roof (good deeds) is enjoined and al-munkar (evil deeds) is prevented! O Lord of the Worlds!
O Allah! Make preoccupied with their own evil those who wish to harm Islam and Muslims! Turn their plots and their cunning against them! O Lord of the Worlds!
O Allah! Grant victory to the Mujahideen! O Allah! Grant victory to the Mujahideen in Your cause in Palestine, in the Levant and wherever they may be, O Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Lift the siege around them, improve their conditions, and suppress their enemy!
O Allah! We beseech You by Your Supreme Name to have mercy on our brothers in Syria! O Allah! Have mercy on our brothers in Syria! O Allah! Lift their distress and grant them speedy relief! O Allah! Have mercy on them for they are defenseless! Mend their breakage and take charge of their case, You, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate!
O Allah! You, Whose soldiers are invincible, Whose promises are never broken and Whose command is ever carried out, glory and praise be to You! Honored he is who seeks Your neighbourliness! Glorified be Your praise, and sanctified be Your Names! O Allah! We beseech You by Your Supreme Name to have mercy on our brothers in Syria! O Allah! Have mercy on our brothers in Syria! O Allah! Lift their distress and grant them speedy relief! O Allah! Have mercy on them for they are defenseless! Mend their breakage and take charge of their case, You, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate!
O Allah! You, Who sent down the angels on the Day of Badr and dispersed Al Ahzāb on the Day of Al Khandaq (the Trench)! Grant victory to the Mujahideen in Your cause in the Sham in general and in Homs in particular! O Allah! Lift the siege around them, spare their blood, reassure them, preserve their dignity and honour, bring them closer together, feed the hungry among them, strengthen their stamina, and grant them power and victory over their oppressors!
O Allah! Set right their conditions, unite them around righteousness, and protect them against the evil doers among them! O Allah! Suppress their enemy! O Allah! Suppress their enemy! O Allah! Defeat the tyrants and oppressors and those who side with them! O Allah! Defeat the tyrants and oppressors and those who side with them!
O Allah! The Revealer of The Book (The Holy Qur’ān), the Runner of the clouds, and the Defeater of Al Ahzāb (the Confederates)! Defeat the oppressors, shake the ground from underneath them and grant victory to our brothers in faith over them!
O Allah! Liberate Al Aqsa Mosque from the oppressors’ injustice and the occupiers’ aggression! O Allah! Improve the conditions of our Muslim brothers in Egypt and everywhere! O Allah! Improve the conditions of our Muslim brothers in Egypt and everywhere! O Allah! Bring them close together on the path of righteousness and guidance! O Allah! Set right their conditions, and protect them against the evil doers among them! O You the Ever-Living, the Eternal Guardian, the Lord of Majesty and Bounty!
O Allah! Guide our leader, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to do whatever you love and accept! O Allah! Guide him to piety and righteousness! O Allah! Impart on him health and well-being! O Allah! Impart to him well-being! O Allah! Keep him in good health! O Allah! Grant him, his Crown Prince, their brothers and assistants success to do what is good for the people and the country!
O Allah! Grant success to all the leaders of Muslims in order to govern by Your Sharia and follow the sunnah of Your Prophet ﷺ! O Allah! Make them merciful to Your true servants!
O Allah! Make safe and prosperous our country and all Muslim countries around the world! O Allah! Protect us against the evil of wrongdoers and the maliciousness of the lecherous and the evil of those plotting to carry it out by day or night!
“… Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!] [Al-Baqarah: 201]! [Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and our transgressions (in keeping our duties to You), establish our feet firmly, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.“ [Surah Ale ‘Imran: 147]
O Allah! Forgive our sins, cover our flaws, make easy our affairs and make come true our wishes in what pleases You! O Allah! Forgive our sins, those of our parents, our grandparents, our wives and children, You are All-Hearing! O Allah! We ask You to be pleased with us and to grant us Your paradise, and we seek refuge in You against Your wrath and hell fire!
O Allah! Help us reach Ramadan! O Allah! Help us reach Ramadan and guide us to do good throughout it and do accept our good deeds, You the most Generous!
O our Lord! Accept from us, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing! Accept our repentance; You are the Relenting, the Merciful!
Glorified be our Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! He is free from what they attribute unto Him! Peace be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allâh, Lord of the ‘Al`alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists
Translated by Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University.