Friday Sermon O Muslims, Ramadan Has Come To You – A Great And Blessed Month – Imam Murtadha Gusau.

In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Nourisher (Rabb) of the entire universe; the felicity of the hereafter is for those who fear Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. He is without partner, the object of worship of all the fore-runners and those gone-by. He maintains and administers the heavens and earth.

I further bear testimony to the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Messenger, His beloved and the custodian of His Revelation. Almighty Allah had sent him as the Messenger of good tidings and warner to all of humanity. He has been sent as the caller towards Allah, a shining and bright lamp shedding light. Allah’s blessings be upon His Messenger (Peace be upon him), his progeny, his Companions, who followed him in his mission of inviting the people towards Allah, remained steadfast therein, and offered sacrifices for the same, till Allah, the Almighty gave supremacy to His religion through them and gave eminence to His Kalimah – in spite of the disliking of the polytheists. Countless salutations – Peace and blessings be upon the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).

As for what follows, then:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! I advise you and myself to fear Allah during this blessed month as well as in any other month. However, this month has a special merit by which Allah has distinguished it, since it is a unique occasion for performing good deeds. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would supplicate to Allah to allow him to be able to reach Ramadan. So when the month of Rajab would come in, he (Peace be upon him) would say:

“O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’aban and allow us to reach Ramadan.” [Reported by Al-Bayhaqi in Shu’b al-Iman, Bazzar in his Musnad, Abu Nu’aim in al-Hilya and Ibn Asakir in Kanz al-‘Amal, declared weak by Imam Albani in Ad-Da’ifah]

It has been narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would also give his Companions the glad tidings of its arrival and explain to them its many virtues, saying to them:

“O people! A great and blessed month has come upon you.” [Reported by Imam Ahmad in Musnad]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would encourage his Companions to strive hard in performing good deeds during this month, both the obligatory and recommended ones, such as prayer, charity, sadaqa, showing goodness and kindness, being patient while obeying Allah, spending one’s day with fasting, one’s night with praying and one’s hours with recitation of the Qur’an and remembering Allah.

So do not waste time by being heedless and refusing, as is the case with the wretched ones who have forgotten Allah and so He has caused them to forget themselves. Such people do not extract benefit from the passing of occasions for doing good, nor do they realize their sanctity or know their worth.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Many people don’t know this month except as a month for various types of foods and beverages. So they go to great extents in giving their souls what they desire. And they exceed in buying fancy types of foods and drinks. It is well known that the intake of too much food and drink causes one to be lazy with acts of worship. What is required for the Muslim is that he decrease in his intake of food and drink such that he is energetic when it comes to acts of Ibadah (worship).

Some people don’t know the month of Ramadan except as a month in which one sleeps during the day and stays up all night doing things that have no benefit or things that cause harm. So these people stay awake most of the night or all of it then sleep in the daytime even over the times of the obligatory prayers. So they don’t pray with the congregation or in the prescribed times of prayer.

Another group of people sit at the dinner table when it’s time to break fast and abandon performing the Maghrib prayer in congregation. These types of people do not know the value of the month of Ramadan nor do they refrain from violating its sanctity by committing the forbidden type of sleeplessness (i.e. all night), abandoning the obligations and doing the prohibited.

Next to these people are those individuals who don’t view the month of Ramadan except as an opportunity for doing business, displaying their products and chasing after the worldly life, which is temporary. So they are active in buying and selling, thus spending all their time in the marketplaces and abandoning the Masaajid (Mosques). And if they do go to the Masaajid, then they are in haste and anguish. They do not relax while in the Masaajid since their joy and comfort lies in the market areas.

And there is another type of people that do not know the month of Ramadan except as a time for begging in the Masaajid (Mosques), in the houses of big men, in the houses of politicians and their offices, and in the streets. So they spend most of their time going back and forth from here and there and traveling from one city to another, from one country to another in order to collect money through begging and by presenting themselves as being needy when they are in fact wealthy, and as injured when they are in fact healthy! Such people are denying Allah’s blessing on them and taking the people’s wealth unjustly. And they are wasting their precious time in things that are harmful to them. So there are no special merits that can be found in Ramadan for these types of people.

O Dear Servants of Allah! The Prophet (Peace be upon him) would strive hard during this month more than he would in any other month. Even though the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was strong in performing worship at all times, he would free himself up during this month from many of the duties, which in reality were acts of worship, leaving off these righteous deeds for deeds that were better than those.

The Salaf as-Salih (Pious predecessors) would follow his example in this regard and so they would particularize this month with higher ambitions, thus keeping themselves unoccupied in it so that they could perform good deeds. They would spend their night in Tahajjud prayer and their day in fasting, remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Qur’an, thus frequenting the Masaajid for that purpose. So we should compare our conditions to their conditions and see what the extent of our abilities is in this month.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! We should know that just as the good deeds are multiplied during this month, then likewise, evil acts are worse and their punishment is greater. So we should fear Allah and magnify the sanctity of this month.

Allah the Almighty said:

“And whoever magnifies the sacred things of Allah, this is better for him in the sight of his Lord.” [Surah Al-Hajj, 22:30]

My Respected people! Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Ramadan has come to you – a blessed month. Allah has made it obligatory on you to fast in it. During this month, the gates of heaven are open, the gates of the Hellfire are closed and the evil devils are chained. To Allah belongs a night in it, which is better than a thousand months. Whosoever is prevented from its good, then he has been deprived.” [Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i. See Ahmad Shakir’s checking of the Musnad and Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib of Shaykh al-Albani as well as Tamamul Minnah]

Dear Servants of Allah! In this Hadith is a glad tiding to the righteous servants of Allah, of the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) informed his Companions of its coming and it was not just a simple relaying of news. Rather, his intent was to give them the glad tidings of a magnificent time of the year, so that the righteous people who are quick to do deeds can give it its due estimate. This is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) explained in it (the Hadith) what Allah has prepared for His servants from the ways towards gaining forgiveness and His contentment – and they are many. So whoever has forgiveness escape him during the month of Ramadan, then he has been deprived with the utmost deprivation.

Imam Ibn Rajab said:

"From the great favours and bounties that Allah has bestowed upon His servants is that He has prepared for them meritous occasions so that they may be of profit to those who obey Him and a race for those who rush to compete (for good deeds). These meritous occasions are times for fulfilling hopes by exerting in obedience and uplifting flaws and deficiencies through self-rectification and repentance. There is not a single occasion from these virtuous times, except that Allah has assigned in it works of obedience, by which one may draw close to Him. And Allah possesses the most beautiful things as gifts, which He bestows upon whomsoever He wills by His Grace and Mercy. So the one who achieves true happiness is he who takes advantage of these virtuous months, days and hours and draws closer to His Guardian in them, by doing what is prescribed in them from acts of Ibadah (worship). Thus perhaps he will be showered with one of the many blessings of those occasions and be helped by it, with an assistance that is enough to save him from the Fire and what it contains, such as its blazing heat." [See Lata’iful Ma’arif of Imam Ibn Rajab, page 8]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! Being able to reach Ramadan is itself a magnificent bounty that is bestowed on the one who reaches it and rises to its occasion, by standing in prayer during its night and fasting during its day. In it, he returns to his Protector — from disobeying Him to obeying Him, from neglecting Him to remembering Him, from remaining distant from Him to turning towards Him in submissive repentance.

A Muslim must be conscious of this bounty and acknowledge its magnitude. For indeed, many people are prevented from fasting, either because they die before they reach it, or because they are not capable of observing it or because they oppose and turn away from it. Thus, the one who fasts must give praise to his Lord for this bounty and should welcome this month with joy and delight that a magnificent time of the year out of all the occasions for performing obedience is welcomed. He should exert himself deeply in doing good deeds. And he should invoke Allah to grant him the ability to fast and stand in night prayer, and that He provide him with seriousness, enthusiasm, strength, and energy in that month. And that He awaken him from heedless oversleeping so that he may take advantage of these virtuous times of goodness.

My beloved people! It is unfortunate to find that many people do not know the value of this virtuous occasion, nor do they consider it to be sacred. So the month of Ramadan no longer becomes a significant time for obedience, worship, reciting the Qur’an, giving in charity and making remembrance of Allah. Rather, to some people, it becomes a significant time to diversify their foods and drinks and to prepare different types of meals before the month begins. Some other people do not know Ramadan except as a month of sleeplessness and constant recurring gatherings, while sleeping by day. This is to the point that some among them sleep past the time of the obligatory prayers, thus not praying them in congregation or in their proper times. Other people do not know Ramadan except as a significant time for conducting worldly affairs, not as a significant time for conducting affairs for the Hereafter. Thus, they work busily in it, buying and selling, and they stay in the market areas, consequently abandoning the Masaajid. And when they do pray with the people, they do so in such a hurried manner. This is because they find their pleasure in the market places. This is the extent that the notions and views (of Ramadan) have been changed.

Some of the Salaf as-Salih (Pious predecessors) used to say:

“Indeed Allah, the Most High, has made the month of Ramadan as a time of competition for His creatures, in which they may race with one another to His pleasure, by obeying Him. Thus, one group comes first and so they prosper and another group comes last and so they fail.” [See Lata’iful Ma’arif of Imam Ibn Rajab, page 246]

Also, the person does not know if this is perhaps the last Ramadan he will ever see in his life, if he completes it. How many men, women and children have fasted with us the past year, and yet now they lie buried in the depths of the earth, relying on their good deeds. And they expected to fast many more Ramadans. Likewise, we too shall all follow their path. Therefore, it is upon the Muslim to rejoice at this magnificent occasion for worship. And he should not renounce it, but instead busy himself with what will benefit him and what will cause its effect to remain. For what else is it, except numbered days, which are fasted in succession and which finish rapidly.

Oh Allah, make Taqwa (piety) for us our most profitable characteristic. And do not make us from those people who are neglectful and lost. And secure our fear on the Day of the arrival of the Hour. And forgive us and our parents and all the Muslims, ameen.

* Shedding Tears Of Sorrow In Ramadan

Dear Servants of Allah! I shed a tear of sorrow in Ramadan on those who don’t consider the sacredness of the month, and its virtues and merits, not only they meet it – as the other months – by sins and violations, but also they became farer from Allah – the Almighty – also they invented different types of sins and abominations, to deprive themselves and others from the heavy rain of rewards, they make the preparations to fight the Creature of the heavens and earth (Allah).

A tear in Ramadan on those who waste the obligated prayers, as they sleep at the time of prayers at some time, delay it other time, and leave it sometime.

A tear in Ramadan on those who disgrace Fasting sacredness, by their obscenity and bad morals, as they insult, curse, steal, backbite, and lie on people. And if you advised someone he argues that this is because of the Fasting!! As if Fasting is the reason behind these disadvantages, and they are unaware about the opinion of Fasting, its benefits, and its great rewards, and the most important benefits are:

– Devotion towards Allah occurs. As Allah says:

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous." [Al Baqarah, 2:183]

So does the devotion to Allah call for insulting, cursing, injustice and aggression of which we are used to even in the sacred month of Ramadan and in a sacred state of fasting? For that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

"Whoever doesn’t give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting)." [Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari]

So may Allah have mercy on you to know the reality of Fasting.

A tear in Ramadan on the women, who go out to pray Al-Tarawih/Tahajjud prayer while they are adorned, incensed, scented, showily, and wearing their most beautiful dresses, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

"Don’t prevent the female servants of Allah from visiting the Mosques of Allah, but they may go out (to the Mosque) having not perfumed themselves." [Narrated by Abu Dawud and Al-Albani said the Hadith is Hasan Sahih]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

"Whoever (woman) fumigated herself with perfume shouldn’t join us in the Isha prayer." [Narrated by Imam Muslim]

A tear in Ramadan on those who waste the month on watching the useless channels of satellite TV, and no satellite TV which spread debauchery, nakedness, and buffoonery, and their madness, debauchery and buffoonery increase in that precious month to fight the virtues and violate the nation’s constants and sanctities.

In our busy lives, we often forget to remember our Creator (Allah). As Muslims, we should try and incorporate Zikr in our daily lives, especially with Ramadan coming up in around one weeks’ time. Even if you take a couple of minutes out of your daily schedule to read the Qur’an and remember Allah the Almighty, they won’t go unrewarded. During those 5-10 minutes forget everything and focus on the blessings you have been provided by Him. You will feel relaxed and it will help rid you of the daily stresses of life.

* The Does And Doesn’t Of Fasting

– The Obligation

Dear Servants of Allah! Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah’s commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah’s mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for Allah, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Denial of the obligatory nature of fasting in the month of Ramadan amounts to disbelief (kufr).

One who avoids fasting without genuine reasons is a sinner and transgressor according to Islamic law.

– Time: When To Fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings – food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

– Who Is Exempted From Fasting

1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion.

2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them.

3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.

4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day.

5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Qur’an says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships.

6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day.

7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

– Niyyah Or Intention Of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows, but should be said in your heart:

"I intend to observe fast for today."

– Suhur

Suhur is a light, predawn meal, recommended before actually fasting. It is a blessing and hence recommended but not essential.
Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.

– Iftar

Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. Iftar is a light snack consisting of dates or desserts, along with liquids, such as water, juice or milk.

This is eaten after making the Du’a (supplication) for breaking the fast.

– What Breaks The Fast

1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.

2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.

3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).

The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require "Qadah" (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires "Qadah" but also additional penalty.

– What Does Not Break The Fast

1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.

2. Unintentional vomiting.

3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one’s own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.

4. Brushing the teeth.

5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.

6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.

7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.

– Kaffarah

During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, she/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

– Breaking Of The Fast Under Exceptional Conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.

In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha.

– Tarawih

These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha’ prayers.

– Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Qur’an).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Qur’an 97:3).

This was the night when Qur’an was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Qur’an.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is All-forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 24, 1439 AH (May 11, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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