Assalamu alaykum! All praise is indeed due to Allah (SWT) for the grace to witness yet another blessed month of Ramadan. We pray that Allah accepts all our acts of worship during this month and grants us the maximum reward therein, aameen.
What better way is there to begin the month of Ramadan than to attend an educative and interesting lecture on the Dos and Don’ts of the month? As the saying goes, ‘Knowledge is power.’ Knowing those things to do and what to avoid would no doubt go a long way in enabling us to make the best of the month Bi ithniLLah.
The Shaykh began the lecture by mentioning the consensus of the Ulama that ‘the blessed place affects the acts that we perform.’ For example, doing something in Makkah or Madinah affects the rewards earned for such things. He also mentioned that during sacred and blessed times, we should avoid committing sins and increase our good deeds because rewards earned during these periods are multiplied. An example of this is during the month of Shabaan.
He referred us to the hadeeth:
“Allaah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it…’” -Bukhari & Muslim.
We learned that no one knows the reward for fasting during Ramadan except Allah because HE(SWT) links it to patience. According to Ibn Jawzi(RA), patience (sabr) is of 3 types:
- Sabr to do good (the act of worship)
- Sabr to avoid sins
- Sabr on what Allah Wills.
SABR TO DO GOOD:
Any act of worship be it fasting, performing salaah, hajj or even waking to eat suhoor requires patience.
SABR TO AVOID SINS:
The first type of Sabr above leads to this second type. When we perform acts of worship regularly, Allah will protect us from falling into sin. As human beings, it is impossible for us not to commit sins at all but it is possible to avoid them. Some people underestimate the importance of acts of worship and doing good and Al-Birr (righteousness or piety).
This type of Sabr makes one get to a point where he avoids sins because he will be shy of Allah to commit sins.
SABR ON WHAT ALLAH WILLS:
This is the hardest kind of sabr- to be patient on what Allah has decreed upon us. It is difficult because in the other 2 types of sabr, we have a choice. For example, the decision on whether or not to worship Allah on this earth is in our hands.
By the sun and its brightness
And [by] the moon when it follows it
And [by] the day when it displays it
And [by] the night when it covers it
And [by] the sky and He who constructed it
And [by] the earth and He who spread it
And [by] Nafs (a soul) and He who proportioned it.
-Soorah Ash-Shams (91): 1-7
Allah (SWT) uses ‘the’ for the sun, moon and so on because they are forced to worship Allah but HE (SWT) uses ‘a’ for the soul because it has a choice to be either good or bad. Humans and the Jinn have free will and can decide whether or not to worship Allah.
The sixth Pillar of Faith is to believe in what Allah has decreed whether good or bad. If we exercise sabr during tests and trials, Allah will turn them into good for us eventually either in this dun’ya or in the akhirah.
Fasting in Ramadan requires the 3 types of Sabr. Hence it is one of the highest levels of worship because we abstain from the things
Allah is not pleased with and even those that are halaal like our food and water because HE commands us to do so.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) said “if you are the same after Ramadan as before Ramadan, one is in problem.” The whole point of fasting is to gain Taqwa. Ramadan is the best time to purify the heart. The Prophet (PBUH) said “when Ramadan comes, angels spread everywhere…the whole universe changes, shayateen are locked up.”
As the whole universe changes during this blessed month, why don’t we change (for the better) too?
Remember, Ramadan is the month of change and it is not to be wasted!
Allah misguides those who want misguidance by their actions. We should not just abstain from eating and drinking but we should also make our hearts fast. We should spend as much time as we can with the Quran. Even though taking care of our families is a form of ibaadah and will be rewarded, we should prioritise our responsibilities to allow for other acts of ibaadah (especially as wives and mothers).
We can liken patience to pleasure and satisfaction with the decree of Allah (SWT). Patience could come with one’s level of eeman or with force in cases where one has no choice.
According to Imam Shafii (RahimahuLLah), Kanaa is the level of eeman where whether Allah gives or takes from us, we are patient and satisfied.
Allah (SWT) says:
And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.”
But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” -Soorah Al-Fajr (89): 15-16
We should be grateful to Allah and patient upon all conditions. After this very enlightening introduction, the Shaykh then led us through the things to do in Ramadan.
1. Fasting of the heart: What benefits a person on Yaomul Qiyamah is a pure heart.
2. Recite the Quran with tadabbur: This means we should focus more on understanding the meaning of each verse than on the number of times we are able to complete reading the Quran. When it comes to children, our focus as parents should be:
- To be the Quran/ live and act according to the Quran as much as possible in our homes. Action speaks louder than words and children learn more from seeing adults perform actions regularly. For instance, if we say ‘BismiLLah’ always before eating in the presence of kids, they will automatically pick up on it too.
- Encourage them to memorise more of the Quran because the older they get, the more challenging it becomes to memorise the Quran.
3. Attend taraweeh: Ramadan is a great time to go to the Masjid and stand behind beautiful reciters in salaah! It gives one a lot of spiritual energy. Women can either go to the Masjid or pray the taraweeh at home.
4. Help the poor and needy: The Prophet (PBUH) was very generous but was at his most generous in Ramadan. We should give sadaqah daily and think of how we can help others. We should pay particular attention to the last 10days and try our best to open all the doors of good deeds.
5. Du’a: This is one of the acts of worship that does not require any conditions. We should increase du’a especially at the time of fasting or breaking the fast. Abdullah Ibn Umar used to make du’a with his entire family after breaking their fast. This is a forgotten sunnah which we should try to adopt.
According to the Ulama, the Prophet (PBUH) would ask one to make du’a after any obligatory act. This is because one of the best times for du’a to be accepted is at the time one performs good deeds. The conditions for our du’a to be accepted are:
- We should believe in Allah and accept all HIS rulings.
- Submit fully to Allah.
6. Suhoor: This is the best time of the fasting day because Allah comes down to the lowest heaven and asks HIS slaves to request of HIM. The sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and the
sahabah (RA) was to eat suhoor the length of time it takes to read 50verses before fajr.
Though one cannot perform 2 witrs in one night, we can perform qiyaam when we wake up (if we had performed taraweeh before going to bed). It is however best to make witr the last prayer.
Taking suhoor is very important even if it is only water. It is also important to make du’a at the time of suhoor.
7. Prioritise: This relates to our lives inside and outside Ramadan. We should prioritise what matters. For instance, if one’s mother needs attention at the time of taraweeh, she should be attended to first. This is because when it comes to optional acts of worship, we should give priority to our parents. In the case of obligatory acts, we should weigh which is more important. We should be good to our parents and give them priority even if they are not Muslims. If however, they stand in the way of our worship of Allah, we should not obey them but still respect them.
What are the things not to do in Ramadan?
The Shaykh says that is simply not doing the above-mentioned points!
Before drawing the lecture to a close, the Shaykh mentioned the conditions of Shahada:
- Acceptance of everything in the Quran and the authentic ahadeeth and sunnah. Full submission to the Quran and the sunnah.
- Truthfulness and not being a hypocrite.
- Sincerity- Al- Ikhlaas
- Love what you do.
And on this note, the Boost your Eeman lecture for the month came to an end!
May Allah accept our fasting and all other acts of Ibaadah in this blessed month and beyond. May HE (SWT) grant us an abundance of life, good health and steadfastness on HIS Path to witness many more months of Ramadan. May HE (SWT) also accept our du’a and grant us the best of this dun’ya and the akhirah, aameen.