Friday Khutbah (October 15, 2004) delivered by Shaykh Muhammad TaherDISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translater and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from Allah.
Indeed our Lord grants us (Nafahaat) gifts and presents during many occasions. These Nafahat remind us when we have forgotten, alert us when we have neglected and ignored, and give us power and resolution to do good whenever we have been weakened.
These are the seasons of blessings in which Allah gives the opportunity for His servants to benefit from the provisions available therein. And indeed the best of provisions is TAQWA.
Allah says: “… And take a provision, but the best of provisions is TAQWA (right conduct). So fear Me, O ye that are wise!” 2:197
And the greatest season of all is the blessed month of Ramadan, which Allah has favoured by revealing the Quran in.
Allah says: “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)…” 2:185
Ramadan comes every year to provide an opportunity for the Muslim to increase his good deeds and decrease his bad deeds.
In Ramadan the doors of good are open, the doors of paradise are open and the doors of hell are shut; the devils (shayateen) are chained in their shackles. This indicates that the means of good are in abundance, and the means of evil are limited and scarce.
He indeed has been granted happiness, the one who exploits this opportunity.
O’ you who aspire to do good, come forward, as the chance is readily available for you. You need only to reflect how much you forgot Allah in the last eleven months. If you wish to do good, here is the opportunity, the good deeds are multiplied, the door is open, put your hand in the hand of Allah (Azza Wajal). Come forward with the fineness of your fast and your night prayers and by increasing your obedience.
The fineness of your fast – cannot be achieved by confining your fast to your stomach and your private part – (i.e. just abstaining from food/drink and sexual intercourse), while your tongue is lying, your eyes are looking at the haram, and the rest of your body parts are involved in committing sins.
Safeguard your self, safeguard your tongue, safeguard your ears, safeguard your hands, safeguard your body parts. Try and purify yourself during this blessed month, try and change your self to the better during this season.
Ramadan is a gift and an opportunity from Allah. Dear brothers and sisters, do exploit it to change to the better and the best.
The changes that one needs to pay attention to involves his relation with his Lord, with himself, his family, and the people around him.
There is no doubt that changing requires from you patience and perseverance. You will not get rid of all your defects at once, and you will not change in a blink of an eye, but rejoice at the help and support that Allah will grant you.
Allah says: “ And those who strive in Our (Cause), We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right.” 29:69
Here are some advice which can help you to change yourself:
(1) Let your motto in this month be “I will change my self”. Accompany this saying with sincere intention and resolve. Remind yourself of this all the time. You may want to write it somewhere you see everyday.
(2) Put a plan which you will strive to follow during the month of Ramadan. A plan that will include the change and betterment of your self, your family and those around you.
(3) As for your relation with Allah
Look at your shortcomings, ask your self, what does Allah love to see me doing? And ensure that you do it. Ask yourself, what does Allah forbid or dislike me doing. Then distance your self from it.
Ask yourself about things that you have neglected and fix it. For example, if you have neglected your prayer, then promise Allah that from now on you will pray all the prayers on time. If you have been committing a sin, then promise Allah to stop doing it and repent to him with a true repentance. And that way you become obedient and close to Allah during Ramadan.
(4) With your family, parents, brothers and sisters, wife and children.
Check to see how you used to behave with every single one of those. Then decide to replace undutifulness with dutifulness, fix your broken relations, replace your marital disagreements with harmony, your neglect with care, and your difficult companionship with a good one.
(5) With your friends, brothers and colleagues – replace harm with kindness, spite with tolerance and forgiveness, and envy with loving good for people.
(6) With yourself – know your hidden defects, know your diseases, then cure them with your hard efforts and the help of Allah. Replace arrogance with humbleness, hypocrisy with sincerity, lying with truthfulness, discontent with satisfaction, satisfaction with Allah’s destiny, and replace your affliction with patience and content.
By doing these actions dear brothers and sisters we leave this blessed month and our souls have changed to the better in all fields with the blessings of Allah.
And most important dear brothers and sisters, is that we do not stop after Ramadan. Your aspiration to fix and remedy yourself and improve its relations with Allah and people should continue without an end.
The Muslim should fast from dawn till sunset. When the sunsets the Muslim should break his/her fast as soon as possible. The prophet (PBUH) says: “The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast." (Bukhari & Muslim)
To hasten the breaking of the fast and to delay Suhur (sihri - last(light)meal before daybreak) – is from the guidance of the prophet (PBUH) and his companions. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) used to break his fast before praying with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water. (Narrated by Abu-Dawood).
Hastening the breaking of fast, and delaying Suhur till shortly before Fajr is from the sunnah.
There is no such a period which is called “Imsak” (a period of abstention before fajr). There is no such thing in shari’ah.
The prophet (PBUH) ordered us not to fast the day of “shak” (doubt) – which is the day after the twenty ninth of Sha’ban. Whoever, fasted the day of “shak” then it turns out to be a day from Ramadan, should continue his fast, and fast another day instead of it. This is because he did not make his intention to fast an obligatory fast.
Know that Allah has made it permissible for the old man or women, the pregnant, the woman who is breastfeeding, and the person who has a chronic illness to break their fast. They should then feed for every day that they did not fast a poor person.
And Allah has made it permissible for the traveller, the ill person with a curable illness, the menstruating women, and the confined (Nafsaa) to break their fast. They should then make for every day they did not fast by fasting a day instead of it.
Know that fast is an obligation on every Muslim who reached the age of puberty. So children are excluded. But it is recommended to train them to fast if they wish. For example they can be encouraged to fast during weekends.
For those who have reached the age of puberty, fasting is an obligation. It is an obligation on every sane, able and not travelling person. Women who are menstruating or confined are not allowed to fast.
This is the month of Ramadan, which Allah made available for us to clean and purify ourselves from our sins and increase our good deeds. Good deeds are the only thing which will benefit us on a day when the only recognised currency is good and bad deeds.
So dear brothers do strive hard to increase your balance with Allah. Have the firm will from the beginning of this month, that you will make this month a month which is purely for Allah. A month of fasting, praying, reciting Quran, doing good deeds, spending in good causes, paying the Zakah, fulfilling your duties, and paying back your debts if you can do so, as every human being will be asked about his debt on the day of judgment, and nothing can intercede for debts, neither prayer, fast, hajj, nor ummrah.
And we O’ Muslims - are in a time when the tribulations have surrounded us from every direction, and the nations have gathered on us like the gathering of the hungry people around a bowl of food.
And nothing will save us, but a true return to Allah and the knocking on His door with clean, pure, repenting hands. This is the time that we should return to Allah, this is the season of repentance, so let us all proclaim what our father Adam and his wife (AA) – said “They said: "Our Lord! we have wronged our own souls: if Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost." 7:23
We are in desperate need to return to Allah in this blessed month, and to pray to Him with humble, tranquil hearts, to save us, and remove our afflictions, and ease our hardships.
We are indeed in need when the night arrives, the day departs and the sunsets just before we break our fast to pray – for ourselves, our families, and all the Muslims wherever they are. To pray for forgiveness and mercy. To pray for victory and safety for those who are oppressed, tortured and unfairly punished.