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Global - May 6, 2022

[Friday Sermon] Ramadan’s Muslims!

 

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day – then to proceed:

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that, Ramadan is a level playing field wherein people compete with each other in good deeds and benevolence. During this blessed month, souls are trained in virtue and accustomed to dignity, they learn to disdain vices, sins and acquire all good attributes.

 

Whoever witnesses this month without gaining any of its rewards is indeed useless and poor, and nothing cripples him other than negligence, laziness, procrastination, and false hopes.

 

However, what is appalling is to see some of those who were guided to do good deeds and take provisions from virtues during this month hastily destroying what they had built, and replacing good with evil. This is a gross mistake and shameful act in the true sense of the word and no remorse or apology will revoke it when you stand in front of your One Lord.

 

Bishr was asked about people who only become diligent during the month of Ramadan and he said:

 

“They are abominable people, because they only know Allah the Almighty during the month of Ramadan. The truly righteous people are those who worship Allah the Almighty diligently throughout the whole year.”

 

And Imam Ash-Shibli, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked:

 

“Which is better: Sha‘aban or Rajab?” His answer was, “Be a worshipper of Allah the Almighty rather than a worshipper of Sha‘aban.”

 

Aisha (RA) was asked:

 

“Did the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) choose some special days (for fasting)?’ She replied, ‘No, but he used to be regular (constant) (in his service of worshipping).’ The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also never performed more than eleven Raka‘ahs (units of prayer) whether in Ramadan or at any other time of the year.”

 

I sincerely invite such people out of fear for them to reconsider their lifestyle and to review themselves and think about their condition before it is too late. I advise them not to allow appearances, their strength, health and youth to deceive them. That is because all of this is nothing but a mirage that one may see as water, but once he reaches it, he finds nothing. Health will be followed by sickness, youth will be followed by old age, and strength will eventually turn into weakness. So, wake up and pay attention! Life is short even if it seems long, and happiness will end no matter how long it lasts.

 

Such people should know that perseverance and adherence to the right path as well as obedience to Allah the Almighty is one of the greatest signs of acceptance of one’s good deeds. Allah the Almighty says:

 

“And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).” [Qur’an, 15:99]

 

Consequently, the souls should remain adherent to the right and guided path just as they were during the month of Ramadan. Guidance is not confined to certain times and acts of worship, and obedience to Allah the Almighty is not limited to the month of Ramadan. Imam Hasan Al-Basri (Rahimahullah) said:

 

“Allah has not set an end for the believer’s work other than death.” Then he recited: “And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty ‎‎ (death).” [Qur’an, 15:99]

 

Respected brothers and sisters! Indeed, Ramadan has ended but you still have several renewed seasons for worship. The five daily prayers are among the highest and best good deeds and prayer is the first thing about which one would be asked on the Day of Judgment when he stands in front of Allah the Almighty.

 

If the fast of Ramadan has ended, then you have the voluntary fasts and occasions such as the six days of Shawwal (Sittu Shawwal), Mondays and Thursdays, the white days (Ayyamul-Bid), the tenth day of Muharram, the Day of Arafah, and so on.

 

If the night prayer of Ramadan has ended, you should know that the night prayer can be offered every night:

 

“They used to sleep but little of the night‎.” [Qur’an, 51:17]

 

If the time of Zakatul-Fitr has ended, then there is the obligatory Zakat in addition to the countless ways of giving voluntary charity.

 

Dear Muslim brothers and sisters! You should know that one of the attributes of the servants of Allah the Almighty is that they perform their good deeds constantly, as Allah the Almighty says:

 

“Those who are constant in their prayer.” [Qur’an, 70:23]

 

“And they who carefully maintain their prayers.” [Qur’an, 23:9]

 

If you aspire to know how to save yourself from this trap and how to perform good deeds regularly, you have to do the following:

 

  1. You must be sincerely and strongly determined to do good deeds constantly under all circumstances and conditions. This requires keeping away from weakness and laziness. That is why the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to seek refuge with Allah the Almighty from inability and laziness, given their dire consequences. Hence, you should seek the help of Allah the Almighty and move ahead.

 

  1. Moderation is very important, and you should never overburden yourself, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“Do such deeds as you can do easily, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) until you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

You should remember that there are blessings in perseverance. For example, whoever reads a Juz’ (portion) of the Qur’an every day will read the whole Qur’an in one month, and whoever observes fast for three days every month will be rewarded as if he had observed fast throughout the whole year. Likewise, whoever observes twelve voluntary Raka‘ahs every day, Allah the Almighty will build a house for him in Paradise, and so on.

 

  1. You should know that it is unacceptable for whoever observes a good deed to abandon it. It was narrated that Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Aas (RA) said:

 

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said to me: ‘O Abdullah! Do not be like so-and-so; he used to get up at night (for voluntary prayer) but abandoned it later.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

  1. Dear brothers and sisters! Remember what our righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) used to do. Aisha (RA) said that:

 

“Whenever our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) missed the night prayer because of illness or sleep, he would pray twelve Raka’ahs the next day.” [Muslim]

 

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also once missed I’itikaf (staying in seclusion in the Mosque) and he made up for it in Shawwal. Abu Hurairah (RA) said that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said to Bilal (RA):

 

“‘O Bilal, tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e., one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) you have done since you accepted Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in Paradise.’ Bilal (RA) said, ‘I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make ablution (or take a bath) in any hour of the night or day, I would immediately perform prayer for as long as was destined for me to pray.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

However, the most amazing thing is what Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA) used to do in response to the advice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) when he once visited him and found him sleeping with his wife Fatimah (daughter of the Prophet). Ali (RA) said:

 

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) placed his leg between me and Fatimah (RA) and taught us what to say when we go to bed, saying: ‘When you go to your bed recite Subhanallah thirty-three times (Glory be to Allah), Alhamdulillah thirty-three times (All praise is for Allah), and Allahu Akbar thirty-four times (Allah is The Greatest).’ Ali added ‘By Allah, I never left this practice for the rest of my life.’ A man asked him, ‘Even on the night of the Battle of Siffin?’ He said, ‘Yes, I observed this even on the night of Siffin.’” [Al-Hakim]

 

If you contemplate over this narration, you will be amazed at the keenness and persistence on doing good deeds even at times of war and bloodshed. None of these distracted him from implementing the advice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) regarding what he should say upon going to bed. Such stories and narrations should make you persist in doing good deeds and attempting to imitate the righteous predecessors and following their path.

 

Dear servants of Allah! Even though Ramadan has ended, we all have to make sure it stays with us. How, might you ask? Everybody knows that Ramadan lasts only for a month, 29 or 30 wonderful days.

 

This special month is a time to get closer to Allah Almighty, physically and mentally. And we have to take care not to lose this closeness with Allah Almighty.

 

We know that Ramadan is a very special time in our lives. In addition to the obvious, fasting from sunrise to sunset, we must also abstain from so many other things. One added bonus that comes with fasting is that we actually learn to be more kind to those around us.

 

Since we strive to strengthen our bodies with both the physical and mental power that we need to complete our fasts, let’s take that a step further and make it last throughout the year. It takes real devotion to Allah to fast for His sake only.

 

There is a Hadith narrated by Sufyan Ibn Abdallah (may Allah have his blessings on him) who said:

 

“O Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), tell me something about Islam, which I cannot ask anyone else besides you.” He (Peace be upon him) replied, “Say, ‘I believe in Allah’ and then be steadfast (upon that).” [Muslim]

 

This Hadith is proof that we are obligated, after having faith in Allah, to be steadfast in obeying Allah by performing the obligatory acts and avoiding the prohibited ones. This is achieved by following the Straight Path, which is Islam. If a Muslim lives through Ramadan and spent his days in fasting and his nights in prayer and he accustomed himself to doing acts of good, then he must continue to remain upon this obedience to Allah at all times.

 

In fact, steadfastness after Ramadan is the greatest sign that one has gained benefit from the month of Ramadan. These are the real signs of a successful Ramadan. Furthermore, the deeds of a sincere Muslim do not come to an end with the end of Ramadan. Rather, they continue and extend throughout the year. Allah Almighty says:

 

“And worship your Lord until the certainty (death) comes to you.” [Qur’an, 15:99]

 

When the fasting of Ramadan comes to an end, then indeed the voluntary fast is prescribed throughout the entire year. When standing in prayer at night in Ramadan comes to an end, then indeed the entire year is a time for performing the night prayer. And if Zakatul-Fitr comes to an end then there is still the Zakat that is still obligatory as well as the voluntary charity that lasts the whole year. This goes the same for reciting the Qur’an and pondering over its meaning, as well as every other good deed that was sought, for these can be performed at all times. Therefore, the zeal that was felt throughout Ramadan must continue through the whole year.

 

It is unfortunate to find that some people perform worship by doing righteous deeds only during Ramadan. They guard strictly upon their five daily prayers, they recite Qur’an, and they give charity. But when Ramadan comes to an end, they grow lazy in their worship. Sometimes, they even abandon their obligation entirely.

 

Truly, there is much reward that Allah grants his servant in the fasting of Ramadan. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

 

“He wants that you must complete the same number of days and that you must magnify Allah (by saying Allahu-Akbar) for having guided you, so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Qur’an, 2:185]

 

Brothers and sisters in Islam! Ramadan is like an institution of spirituality, where we correct and change our habits that we have acquired over the year without the whispers of Shaitan (Satan). For now is the time in which Shaitan (Satan) is locked up and he does not have the chance to twist our thoughts and change our good actions. The first step is always hard to take, but Ramadan is the time to do it. So after Ramadan, we all can try to keep up with our good deeds — praying at the correct times, charity to the less fortunate, and genuinely being more patient and kind with one another.

 

It’s a month of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners, but what will happen after it is gone — do Muslim continue performing the good deeds?

 

We leave the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Qur’an, taqwa, patience, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire.

 

Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and came out of the month as a fine student of Islam fearing Allah and obeying all His commandments. Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs and blind imitations?

 

Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?

 

Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness.

Allah Almighty says:

 

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].” [Qur’an, 11:112]

 

And:

 

“So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Qur’an, 41:6]

 

If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against your soul, then praise and thank Allah, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“Say ‘I believe in Allah,’ then be steadfast.” [Muslim]

 

My great people! We leave the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Qur’an, taqwa, patience, jihad, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire…

 

Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from the Ramadan school with the diploma of the Allah-fearing?

 

Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs and blind imitations (Taqlid)?

 

Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?

 

Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness:

 

  • What Have We Gained From Ramadan?

 

Ramadan is a school of Iman and a ‘stop to recharge one’s spiritual batteries’- to acquire one’s provision for the rest of the year..

 

For when will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the month of Ramadan?

 

The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the Law of Allah Almighty:

 

“Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]

 

If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against your soul, then praise and thank Allah, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death.

 

Be not like one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it…

 

Have you seen one who sewed a shirt or thawb, so when she looked at it, she liked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for no reason. What would people say about such a person?!

 

Or have you seen one who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned, Naira by Naira, Dollar by Dollar and Riyal by Riyal. What would people say about such a person?!

 

This is the condition of one who returns to sinning and evildoing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after he was favoured with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah he returned to the blaze of sins and evil actions. How evil are the people who know Allah only in Ramadan, or who are only Muslims in Ramadan!

 

My Dear ones! Falling short in one’s commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including:

 

  1. Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after they filled the Mosques for Tarawih prayers, thus going to the Masjid for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones.

 

  1. Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing etc.

 

This is not thankfulness for blessings and favours, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one’s actions, rather this is opposition to favours and absence of thankfulness.

 

These are from signs of one’s deeds not being accepted – and Allah’s refuge is sought – for one who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah may not accept his fasting, just as the pious predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) would continue asking for acceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it.

 

From signs that one’s deeds are accepted is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah Almighty.

 

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]…” [Qur’an, 14:7]

 

Increase you in good, faith and righteous actions. So if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from sinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said:

 

“And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty [i.e. death].” [Qur’an, 15:99]

 

The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah, firm upon His Shari’ah, steadfast upon His Religion, so that he or she is not of those who worship Allah only during one month or only in one place. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places, so he is steadfast upon the Shari’ah of Allah until he meets Him while He is pleased with him. Allah Almighty says:

 

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].” [Qur’an, 11:112]

 

And:

 

“So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Qur’an, 41:6]

 

And the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“Say ‘I believe in Allah’, then be steadfast.” [Muslim]

 

Dear brothers and sisters! If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary fasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays and Thursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of Ashurah, Arafat and others.

 

If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year:

 

“They used to sleep but little of the night.” [Qur’an, 51:17]

 

If the charity in Ramadan and Zakatul-Fitr have ended, then there is the obligatory Zakat, and also there are many other open doors to charity, voluntary actions and jihad.

 

Reading of the Qur’an and contemplating it is not only for Ramadan, rather it is for all times.

 

Righteous actions are for all times and all places, so strive – O my brothers and sisters – and beware of laziness. And remember that it is not allowed for us to leave the obligatory actions or delay them, such as the five daily prayers on time, in congregation etc.

 

And do not fall into forbidden actions, such as forbidden sayings, food and drinks, or by looking at or listening to what is forbidden.

 

Be steadfast and upright upon the Religion of Allah at all times, for you do not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death (Malakul-Mawt). Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin.

 

“O Allah, Who turns the hearts, keep our hearts steadfast upon Your Religion.”

 

I ask Allah to accept from us and you our fasting, our prayers and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a better one, that the state of our Ummah improves, that we are granted honour and that we truly turn to our Lord, ameen.

 

And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

 

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

 

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 05, 1443 AH (March 06, 2022).

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