[FRIDAY SERMON] Ramadan Has Come, By Murtada Gusau

By Murtada Gusau

All praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides there is none who can misguide him, and whomever Allah misguides there is none who can guide him. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners, and I testify that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s slave and Messenger.

“O you who have believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except in a state of Islam (as Muslims with complete submission to Allah).” (Ali Imran, 3:102)

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve) and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut off the relations of the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-watcher over you.” (An-Nisaa’, 4:1)

“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (saved from the Hell fire and enter paradise).” (Ahzaab, 33:70-71)

As to what proceeds: verily the best of speech is the book of Allah and the best of the guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The worst of affairs are the newly invented affairs in the religion and every newly invented affair in the religion is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Hell fire. As to what proceeds:

O Servants of Allah! O Muslims!
You are facing the great sacred month of Ramadan; the month of Sawm (Fast), the month of Qiyam-ul-Layl (optional prayer at night), and the month of recitation of the Qur’an. In this month, Allah opens the door of forgiveness and sets His pious servants free from the fire. Ramadan is the month of giving sadaqah (voluntary charity); a month of feeding the poor slaves of Allah; a month, in which the doors of Paradise are open, the doors of Hell are closed, rewards of deeds are multiplied, hardships are removed, supplications are answered, ranks are elevated, and sins are forgiven. During this month, Allah (Glorified be He) provides His Servants with all kinds of bounties and showers His Awliya’ (pious people) with blessings.

A month in which Allah has made fasting one of the pillars of Islam and in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) observed sawm and commanded the people to do the same. He (peace be upon him) informed us that whoever observed Sawm in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allah’s Reward, their previous sins shall be forgiven; and that those who observe Qiyam-ul-Layl (night prayer) in Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping for Allah’s reward, their previous sins shall be forgiven. In this month, there is one night that is better than thousand months (i.e. Laylatul Qadr).

Muslims who deprive themselves of its good are really in loss. Honour this month, May Allah forgive you, by having good intentions, doing your best to observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, competing to do good, and repenting sincerely from all sins and misdeeds. Do your best to advise one another and cooperate in doing good and being pious. Advise one another to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and invite one another to everything that is good to win dignity and great rewards.

Sawm (Fast) has many benefits and great wisdom:

Some of these benefits are: Purifying one’s soul; disciplining it; ridding it of bad traits and evil attributes, such as insolence, ingratitude, and miserliness; accustoming it to adopt good ethics, such as patience, forbearance, and generosity; and struggling to please Allah and draw closer to Him.

Other benefits of sawm: it makes us know humble selves, our needs, our weaknesses and our dependence on our Lord. It reminds us of Allah’s blessings and of the needs of the poor; thus, driving us to be grateful to Allah (Glorified be He). We ought to employ Allah’s blessings in obeying Him and in consoling and helping our poor Muslim fellows.

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) refers to these benefits in the following Ayah (Qur’anic verse):

“O you who have believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Qur’an 2:183)

Allah (Glorified Be He) points out that Muslims are commanded to observe Sawn to fear Allah. This indicates that Sawm is a means to become pious and fear Allah as He should be feared which would result into obeying Allah and His Messenger. In this way, servants will be saved from Allah’s punishment and Wrath.

Brothers and Sisters!
Sawm (the Fasting) diminishes one’s sexual desire and is a way to help one remain pure and chaste. Satan runs in our bloodstream and Sawm (the Fasting) narrows the veins and reminds one of Allah and His Greatness and, thus, the power of Satan diminishes and one’s faith is strengthened. Sawm encourages good deeds and dissuades bad ones.

Other benefits of Sawm: it purifies the body of toxins, making one healthy and energetic, as confirmed by many reliable and educated physicians.

O respected Muslims!
Sawm is a good deed for which there is enormous reward, especially Sawm in Ramadan which Allah has made obligatory for His Servants and made it a means to be granted success.

On the authority of Ubadah Ibn As-Saamit (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Ramadan came to you as a month of blessing in which Allah spreads His Mercy, forgives sins, and answers supplications. Allah (Exalted be He) sees your competition and speaks proudly of you to the angels. So show Allah that you are doing good as the deprived one is who deprives himself of Allah’s Mercy (in this blessed month).” (al-Haithami in his Majma’ az-Zawa’id 3/142 number 4783, ascribed this to Al-Tabarani in Majma al-Kabeer 13/37 number 13655)

Also on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Allah has enjoined you to fast the month of Ramadan and I have made it a Sunnah (a commendable act) for you to observe Qiyam-ul-layl during it. Whoever observes Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl during its nights out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off); they will emerge as sinless as a new-born child.” (Related by Al- Nasa’i)

Muslims should know that it is prescribed, when observing Qiyam-ul-Layl in Ramadan or offering any other Salah (prayer), to offer Salah with tranquility and submissiveness when standing, bowing, prostrating and reciting Qur’an.

Many people who observe Qiyam-ul-Layl, Tarawih in Ramadan do so without contemplation or tranquility. Rather, they only hit the ground and this is not permissible. It is Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and renders Salah null and void since tranquility is a pillar in Salah.

It was also authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded the one who knocked the ground while performning his Salah in haste to repeat it.

My respected people!
Glorify your Salah by performing it as Allah commands; and seize the opportunity to gain every benefit from this great month of Ramadan by performing good deeds and all forms of worship.

Hasten to obey Allah as it is a great month in which Allah gives His Servants a chance to compete in doing good deeds in obedience to Him. May Allah forgive you and have mercy on you! Offer as much Salah as you can, give Sadaqah, feed the poor and orphans, recite the Qur’an with contemplation and thought, glorify Allah, praise Him, say Takbir and Tahlil (sayig: “La ilaha illa Allah [There is no god except Allah]”) and ask Allah for forgiveness.

Send peace and blessings to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as much as you can and do good to the poor, needy, and orphans. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people and was even more generous during Ramadan. So follow in his footsteps, imitate and emulate him, may Allah have mercy on you, by increasing your Sadaqah and good deeds in Ramadan. Help your poor brothers to observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, and hope for Allah’s Reward, the King and All-Knower.

Guard your Sawm from what Allah forbids. It was authentically reproted that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever does not give up false speech and acting accordingly, Allah does not need them to leave their food and drink”. He (peace be upon him) also said: “Sawm is a shield (from the fire and from committing sins). When one of you is observing Sawm, he should avoid intimate relations (with his wife) and quarreling, and if someone insults him, he should say, ‘I am observing Sawm.” {Sahih al-Bukhari 1904}

It was also reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Sawm is not only abstinence from food and drink, but (true) Sawm is abstinence from empty talk and bad language.” [Reported in Al-Mustadrak of al-Hakim number 1604]

Ibn Hibban reported in his Sahih Book of Hadith on the authority of Abu Sa’id (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever observes Sawm in Ramadan knows its ordinances and observes what should be observed during it will have all their previous sins forgiven.”

Also, Jabir ibn Abdullah Al-Ansary (May Allah be plesed with them) said:

“When you observed Sawm, let your ears, eyes and tongue abstain from lying and other unlawful acts. Do no harm your neighbours. Be characterized by humility and calmness. Let there be a difference between the days of observing Sawm and the days when you are not observing Sawm.”[Musannaf ibn Abi Shaibah number 8981]

Servants of Allah!
In this blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims, and all our 3 tiers of governments, (Federal, state and local governments) should fear Allah and be generous and spend as much as they can, paying much attention to the poor and those who do not ask for charity. Wealthy Muslims and governments should help them observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl, following the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to please Allah (Glorified be He) and as a way of thanking Him for His Blessings. Allah (Glorified be He) has prosmised His Servants who spend their wealth, a great reward and many blessed children.

Allah (Glorified be He) says:

“And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, (i.e. Nawafil non-obligatory acts of worship: prayers, charity, fasting, Hajj and Umrah), you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.” [Qur’an 73:20]

Fellow Muslims!
Beware, may Allah grant you mercy, any sins that might affect your Sawm negatively, diminish your reward, or incur Allah’s Wrath such as usury, adultery, theft, looting the public treasury, murder without justification, unjust consumption of the property of orphans; and all forms of injustice against persons, money, or honour. You shold also avoid cheating in dealings, not keeping trusts, being ungrateful to parents, and severing ties of kinship. Enmity and hostility without a just cause; intoxicants and drugs, such as Marijuana, Indian hemp, and Tobacco; backbiting and slander, lying, false testimony, false claims, and perjury should all be avoided.

People should not act pridefully, or make envy (Hasad) against each other. Muslims shoud not listen to songs and music in the blessed month of Ramadan. Muslim women should abstain from Tabarruj (dressing immodestly in violation of the Islamic dress code) and imitating disbelieving women in wearing revealing clothes or other things that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have forbidden.

These sins are forbidden at all times and all places, but are more forbidden during Ramadan and more grievous because of the sanctity of this month.

O Muslims! You must fear Allah and avoid what He and His Messenger have forbidden. Be steadfast in obeying Allah in Ramadan and in other months as well, advise one another to do that. Enjoin others to do good and forbid evil to gain honour, happiness, and dignity, and to be saved in this world and in the Hereafter.

Brothers and Sisters!
Ramadan is like a rare flower that blossoms once a year and just as you begin to smell its fragrance, it disappears for another year. Try to make this Ramadan, the month of mercy and blessings, the turning point in your life. Break free from the deceptions of Satan and this world and indulge into the sweetness of true Imaan (faith). In the blessed month of Ramadan we have 4 weeks of Barakat (blessings), 30 days of forgiveness, 720 hours of guidance, 43200 minutes of purification and 2592000 seconds of Nur (light). Try as much as possible to enjoy them and benefits from them.

My respected Muslim Brothers and Sisters!
As usual, let’s fear Allah (SWT) for the unity of Islamic ummah. Let’s fear Allah so that we obey our leaders. Let’s fear Allah so that we have patience and wait to hear from them (our leaders) for the commencement of Ramadan fasting. The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, as the overall leader of Nigerian Muslims and the President General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic affairs (NSCIA), is going to announce on the proper date to start the fasting, as good Muslims, we must obey. I pray may Allah the Almighty grant our leaders success and provide strength, assistance and tawfeeq to them, ameen.

May Allah protect you, us, and all Muslims from that which brings His wrath! May Allah accept our sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl and rectify the affairs of Muslim leaders and make them a means to defend Islam and Muslims! May Allah guide us all to comprehend Islam, hold fast to it, and judge according to it in all our affairs! Allah has power over all things.

O Allah! Preserve us until Ramadan comes and make Ramadan easy for us, and accept it from us with total acceptance. O Allah! Let us reach the blessed month of Ramadan. May this coming Ramadan be the best (Ramadan) for all of us.

O Allah! Safeguard us for the month of Ramadan (by sparing us to witness the blessed month of Ramadan healthy and fit), and safeguard the month of Ramadan for us (by making the conditions in it such that we can take maximum benefit from it) and accept it from us.

May the Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His beloved Servant and Messenger, Muhammad, and upon all his family and Companions and whoever follows his way until the Day of Resurrection.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 20, 1437 AH (May 27, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +23480382 89761.