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Welcome dear friend - Ramadan

Publishing Date : 07 May, 2019

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


Welcome to our ‘long-lost’ friend: Ramadan. Some of us have missed the days of self-restraint and the nights of mercy and delight! After eleven months of sinning, we now have the opportunity to ‘wash off’ our sins in this month of mercy and forgiveness.



For those, whose duas /prayers and supplication have not been answered, the month of answered duas has arrived. For those of us who have drifted away from the soothing night prayer, taraweeh (special evening prayers) has arrived. Welcome to our Lord’s mercy: the month of Ramadan, in the next three days depending on the sighting of the new moon. No doubt each and every sincere Muslim approaches Ramadan with a special inner excitement. Alas for some the excitement is met with fear and dread instead.


Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar is almost upon us. Millions of believers throughout the world are looking forward to this month long fasting period as an opportunity to reinvigorate and intensify their faith. This is so because of the intensive and concentrated nature of fasting, prayer and keeping away from all evil thought, intent and action, helps in purifying ones inner self. It is an ideal opportunity to recharge one’s soul – or shall we say recharge our “soul-ar” batteries for the year ahead?


As previously explained, fasting requires us to have total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear very difficult to some, Muslims relish the challenge because they see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.


It also acts as means for people share in the feeling of the pangs hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with steady income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw our conscience closer to the needs of the poor.
 

The following sermon delivered by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) just before the start of the month of Ramadan encapsulates what fasting is and what it brings to our lives. It stresses on the Blessings, opportunities and various advices and guidance to believers on how they could reap the most benefits from this Holy Month. It has been abridged for easier reading but it contains the essence of his message.


“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgiveness. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. The days of this month are the best among the days and the nights are the best among the nights and the hours during Ramadan are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Him to fast and pray. Allah has honoured you in it. In every breath you take is a reward of Allah, your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations are answered.”


“Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in all earnestness with hearts free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fast, and to recite the Holy Qur’an. Indeed! Miserable is the one who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month. While fasting, remember the hunger and thirst on the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and needy. Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongue against unworthy words, and your eyes from scenes that are not worth seeing (forbidden) and your ears from sounds that should not be heard.”


“Be kind to orphans so that if your children may become orphans they will also be treated with kindness. Do repent to Allah for your sins and supplicate with raised hands at the times of prayer as these are the best times, during which Allah Almighty looks at His servants with mercy. Allah Answers if they supplicate, Responds if they call, Grants if He is asked, and Accepts if they entreat. O people! You have made your conscience the slave of your desires.”


“Make it free by invoking Allah for forgiveness. Your back may break from the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate yourself before Allah for long intervals, and make this load lighter. Understand fully that Allah has promised in His Honour and Majesty that, people who perform salaat (prayer) and sajda (prostration) will be guarded from Hell-fire on the Day of Judgement.”


“O people!, if anyone amongst you arranges for iftaar (meal at the time of breaking the fast at sunset) for any believer, Allah will reward him as if he had freed a slave, and Allah will forgive him his sins. (A companion asked: “but not all of us have the means to do so” The Prophet (PBUH) replied: Keep yourself away from Hell-fire though it may consist of half a date or even some water if you have nothing else to give).”


“O people! Anyone who during this month cultivates good manners will walk over the Sirat (bridge to Paradise) on the day when feet will tend to slip. For anyone who during this month eases the workload of his servants, Allah will make easy his accounting, and for anyone who doesn’t hurt others during this month, Allah will safeguard him from His Wrath on the Day of Judgement. Anyone who respects and treats an orphan with kindness during this month, Allah shall look at him with kindness on that Day. Anyone who treats his kinsmen well during this month, Allah will bestow His Mercy on him on that Day, while anyone who mistreats his kinsmen during this month, Allah will keep away from His Mercy.”


“Whosoever offers the recommended prayers during this month, Allah will save him from Hell, and whosoever observes his obligations during this month, his reward will be seventy times the reward during other months. Whosoever repeatedly invokes Allah’s blessings on me, Allah will keep his scale of good deeds heavy, while the scales of others will be tending to lightness. Whosoever recites during this month an ayah (verse) of the Holy Qur’an, will get the reward of reciting the whole Qur’an in other months.”


“O people! the gates of Paradise remain open during this month. Pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you. While the gates of Hell are closed, pray to your Lord that they never open for you. Satan has been chained; invoke your Lord not to let him dominate you.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said ‘the best of deeds during this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden’.


To my Muslim brethren, ‘Ramadan Mubarak’, I hope that we will view this Ramadan with a fresh outlook and a turning point so that we can reap the full benefits of this auspicious month and may all our actions be in line with the Divine Injunctions so that we may achieve a place in that Heavenly City that has been promised to the faithful. 

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