Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Ramadan – Season of virtuous deeds

Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Ramadan – Season of virtuous deeds
– by Imam Al-Haramain, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Ibn Abdul Aziz-as-Sudais
Makkah al-Mukarramah; Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab

The Transcript:

Verily all praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and seek His help and guidance; we ask Him for forgiveness and we repent to Him. We believe in Him and put our trust in Him, and we praise Him by attributing all good to Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own selves and from our bad deeds. Whoever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whoever Allah sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone, with no partner or associate. He has blessed His slaves with seasons of mercy and forgiveness, and He has generously bestowed upon them times when they may increase in righteousness and good deeds, times of goodness, bounty and blessings. And I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger, the best one who ever prayed and fasted, the best one who ever prayed Tahajjud and Qiyaam. May Allah send blessings and peace upon him and upon his Family and Companions and those who follow him in truth.

To proceed:

O Muslims, fear Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) and give thanks to Him for His abundant blessings and favours. One of the greatest blessings that Allah has bestowed upon His slaves is the great acts of worship and noble seasons that He has prescribed for them, through which their souls may he purified and filled with goodness, righteousness, blessings and abundance of rewards, and that they may be filled with light and radiate the brightness of purity. What the Muslim Ummah is seeing during this glorious month, with its beautiful days and blessed nights, is one of the greatest spiritual opportunities that is irreplaceable and beyond price. How could it be otherwise, when during this month the Muslims are living with the Quran, seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and pleasure? How could it be otherwise when they are supplicating to attain Paradise and ransom from the Fire, and are exposed to the mercy of the Sovereign, the Judge? Truly, this blessed month is an arena of goodness, piety, righteousness and guidance, in which the believers race and compete to make the most of its virtues.

However, do the Muslims truly understand the great blessings of this noble month? Do they know the wisdom behind it, its opportunities and impact? Do they comply with its teachings and etiquette? Will they implement and act upon what fasting was prescribed for, or are many of them are unaware of the wisdom behind prescribing it and have overlooked its blessed results and etiquette, and are content only with depriving themselves of food and drink and refraining from physical actions that break the fast?

O fellow believers, the Muslim Ummah is in urgent need of its members taking stock of themselves, pondering, evaluating and thinking, and this month represents the best opportunity for learning. It is a school in which people can learn goodness, righteousness, forbearance and patience. It is a beacon of faith and Taqwa, a fortress against turmoil and trouble, nourishment for the soul, a means of healing wounds, a restraint for desires and urges, a source of motivation, a cleansing for the heart and mind, a means of bringing about harmony, mutual compassion and cooperation in the Ummah. It is indeed a great opportunity for righteous believers, and for sinners too. In this month, the Muslim Ummah remembers its eternal glory, its brilliant past and its great victories, which strengthens its resolve and stirs its feelings, so that every Muslim will adopt a serious attitude and take stock of himself: will he, in this blessed month, recover from his negligence and wake up from his slumber? Or is his attitude during this month the same as at other times, controlled by sins, distracted by whims and desires and hopes for a long life?

O fasting brothers, there are widespread mistakes among those who fast that need to he addressed; the cause of all of them is lack of understanding of the religion of Allah and its rulings. Every person who fasts, and hopes that his fast will he accepted, must hasten to understand this great act of worship in the light of the Sharee’ah, and in accordance with the Sunnah. The lack of understanding on the part of some Muslims concerning this great act of worship has led to these phenomena becoming widespread in the lives of the Muslims. However, if a person does not benefit from his fast in terms of learning lessons from it and attaining Hasanaat (rewards) and knowledge, when will he benefit? If a person does not straighten up in Ramadan, when will he straighten up?

If the Muslim Ummah does not go back to the rule of Sharee’ah and turn to its Book during this blessed season, when will it do so? If its scholars, reformers, Daa’iyahs and thinkers do not get motivated to carry out their duties – of teaching, enjoining good, forbidding evil, correcting others and seeking to bring people closer to Allah — when will they be motivated? If the Muslims do not overcome their differences and unite — when they are brought together by these activities, fasting, worship and praying Qiyaam — when will they unite and their hearts be purified from negative feelings, grudges, hatred, envy and resentment? If their tongues do not refrain from lying, backbiting, gossiping and fabrications during this month, when will they refrain? If they do not liberate themselves from whims and desires and come back to the path of guidance and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wassallam), when will they do that?

If the one who has been distracted from his religion by his worldly affairs does not turn to Allah, when will he turn to Him? If the Muslim youth do not benefit from this great season — by reforming themselves and helping others to reform — when will they benefit? If Muslim women do not return to an atmosphere of faith, chastity, modesty and Hijaab, when will they return? If the rich do not spend and become generous with the wealth of Allah with which He is testing them, when will they he generous?

O Ummah of Islam, this blessed month, in which the Muslims find an opportunity to worship Allah (subhanahu ta’ala), should be a starting point or turning back to Him sincerely and without wavering. It should not be a temporary change for a few days. How blessed are those who fast and what glad tidings there are, by Allah, for those who pray Qiyaam out of faith and in the hope of reward, without any reluctance or boredom, and without finding it burdensome.

O fasting brother, the Muslim should not feel that his worship – his fasting, Qiyaam, charity l’tikaaf, reading Quran and making supplications — is too much for his Lord. All his deeds – no matter how many — are little in comparison to the blessings that Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) has bestowed upon him. It is a great loss and deprivation to let the days and nights of this blessed month go by without any effort being made on the part of the Muslims, to make the most of this time, instead of spending the days sleeping and lazing about, and the nights staying up to indulge in idle entertainment and Haraam activities, going to extremes in fulfilling physical desires and giving free rein to one’s physical senses, listening to, watching and saying things that Allah (subhanahu ta’ala) has forbidden.

Do these people not remember how quickly this month passes? Shouldn’t they observe proper etiquette towards the blessed month of Allah? Where are those who take stock of themselves? The first ten days of this blessed month have passed like the blink of an eye; indeed half the month has already passed, and many of the Muslims are still heedless and distracted. Haven’t we learned a lesson from those who were with us last Ramadan, but death prevented them from being with us this year, for Ramadan has come when they are already beneath the ground and decay has already started taking its toll? We do not know, will we be able to complete this month or will we also be prevented from doing so by the destroyer of pleasures, that which breaks up groups (i.e., death)? And Allah is the One Whose help we seek.

Now half of the month has passed; it seems like only yesterday when we were looking forward to its arrival and longing for its return, and soon it will end like all other months. This is the way of Allah, may He be glorified. So shouldn’t we pause, O slaves of Allah, and take stock of ourselves, and start a new page of righteous deeds, especially as we are in the middle ten days of Ramadan, the ten days of forgiveness? Is there anyone who wants to expose himself to the mercy of the Lord, hoping that he will attain these great blessings? We are now approaching the last ten days of Ramadan, in which is Laylat al-Qadr. Is there anyone who is preparing to strive hard in worship of Allah and seeking His forgiveness? Isn’t it about time for heedless hearts and drifting minds to turn to Allah before it is too late and before life comes to an end? All of us, no doubt, are hoping for a rise in status and expiation of bad deeds, and hope to attain Paradise. Then this is the season of making good bargains with the Lord of the heavens and earth. So let the one who wants to do good strive hard and let the one who wants to do evil refrain.

O brothers in Islam, O Ummah of fasting and prayer, in these blessed ten (middle) days an important event in the history of the Ummah took place. It was a great victory, an event that changed the course of history and one that is a source of pride for the Muslim Ummah, past and present. It has also provided an important lesson for this Ummah throughout the ages, so that they might be certain that they have no glory and no power except by adhering to their religion and turning to their Lord, Who is the source of victory and power. Do you know what this event is? It is a day on which Allah caused Islam and its people to prevail, and He humiliated Shirk and its people. It is the day of the decisive battle on which Allah distinguished between truth and falsehood, the day of the great battle of Badr, when the Muslims were victorious, even though they were few in number and lacking in military equipment, against a large army of disbelievers and the adherents of Shirk. That only came about because they supported the religion of Allah, so Allah supported them and fulfilled His promise to them.

“Verily, Allah will help those who help His (Cause).” [Surah al-Hajj, 22:40]

“…and (as for) the believers it was incumbent upon Us to help (them).” [Surah ar-Rum, 30:47]

It is expected of the Ummah of Islam today, when it is surrounded with tribulations and afflicted with so much turmoil, and all nations have come together against it, to learn from its glorious past. A nation that has no past has no present or future, but we are an Ummah that has a civilization, roots and history; we have a great past, a promising present and a bright future – by Allah’s leave. Nothing is good for the later generations of this Ummah except to adhere to what was good for its earlier generations.

The Muslims must know that the month of Ramadan is a month of striving hard, a month of strength and Jihad, a month of great victories and dazzling conquests. Every time the darkness grows intense and the clouds of calamity and disaster spread throughout the lands of Islam, optimism and hope are always present and the signs of victory are there, praise be to Allah. All of this is embodied in the great International Islamic revival that is encompassing all parts of the world by the grace of Allah. In the blessed land of al-Masjid al-Aqsa, we see what gives us hope of Allah’s support for the Jihad of our brothers there, the Muslims in Palestine. This should motivate all Muslims in all places to rise up — on the basis of knowledge, reason and wisdom — against every kind of alien thought and inauthentic methodology, against all behavior and conduct that is contrary to the teachings of our great religion. The same may be said of many places throughout the world which will rejoice over the victory of Allah which we hope will
come soon, by Allah’s leave.

“And for Allah that is not hard or difficult (i.e. very easy for Allah).” [Surah Ibrahim, 14:20]

Are we going to restore Ramadan, O brothers in Islam, to its position of having a reviving impact on our Ummah? Will we continue the life of worship, righteousness and upholding ties with others (as we did in Ramadan)? Can we attain Tawheed, unity, mutual compassion, kindness, empathy and solidarity? This is what we hope and wish for, and we are seeing its signs with Allah’s help, praise be to Him.

We hope, if Allah wills, to have the joy of seeing the condition of Muslims in all places improve in the best of ways. May Allah grant that soon, for He is the Most Kind, Most Generous.

May Allah bless me and you with the Holy Quran, and with the guidance of the best of the Messengers. I say these words of mine and I ask Allah to forgive us and you and all the Muslims, so ask Him for forgiveness, for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah Who has made fasting a shield and a means of attaining piety and Paradise. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah, Who prescribed fasting for us as a blessing and bounty from Him. And I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is His Slave and His Messenger, who called people to the best religion and the straightest path. May Allah send blessings and peace upon him and upon his Family and Companions.

To proceed:

Fear Allah, O slaves of Allah, and respect His sacred limits and the practices that He has prescribed. Appreciate the value of this month and invest in its hours, days and nights. Guard your fast against everything that may nullify it or detract from it, and beware lest you be among those whose only gain from the fast is hunger and thirst, and whose only gain from praying Qiyaam is exhaustion arid tiredness. We seek refuge with Allah from such deprivation.

Take your Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) as a good example, for he was the most generous of people and he was at his most generous during Ramadan. He was like the fast-blowing wind in his hastening to do good and racing to do acts of kindness and righteousness. If this is the effort and action of the one for whom Allah had forgiven all his earlier and later sins (As it says in the Quran: “That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future,..” [Surah al-Fath, 48:2]), then how about us weak people? And Allah is the One Whose help we seek.

O brothers in Islam, I remind you who turn to Allah in your prayer, Dhikr, recitation and Du’a, that Allah has enjoined upon you the Zakat of your wealth, and has made it the third pillar of Islam. So strive to give it willingly and give generously from that which Allah has bestowed upon you, for helping the poor and needy Muslims, the Mujaahideen and those who are going through calamity in all places. Do not forget your brothers and your fellow Muslims in your sincere Du’a’s during the blessed month. Allah knows, O brothers in faith, how often the weapon of Du’a has been the cause of bringing relief from many calamities and removing many obstacles. Allah, may He be exalted, says:

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad  (sallallahu alayhi wassallam)) 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). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah aI-Baqarah, 2:186]

O slaves of Allah, make a pledge that you will adhere to the path of righteousness and repentance, turning to Allah in all of your affairs, so that you may attain mercy and forgiveness, and ransom from the Fire in this blessed month.

Finally, send blessings and peace – may Allah have mercy on you – upon the Prophet of mercy and guidance, the best of those who fast and the noblest of those who pray Qiyaam, as Allah has enjoined you to send blessings and peace upon him in His Book, in which He says:

“Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam)) and also His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salat on (ask Allah to bless) him (Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wassallam)), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islamic way of greeting (salutation i.e. AsSalamu ‘Alaikum).” [Surah al-Ahzab, 33:56]


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