Khutbah: Welcoming Ramadan
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.
Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”
My respected Brothers and Sisters,
We begin this amazing month of Ramadhan, in a few days’ time, insha-Allah. This khutbah is a short reminder about the Holy Month. Why do we fast? What do we expect to gain from fasting? And, how can we make the best of Ramadhan? What should we do to get the maximum benefit?
“Ya ay yuhal latheena aamanu, kutiba ‘alaykumus siyaam, kama kutiba alal latheena min qablikum, la al-lakum tat-taqoon.”
“O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn taqwa, (self-restraint).” [2:183]
Those of us who are fasting, enjoy the satisfaction that we are giving up our delicious food and drink, our leisure and amusement so that we can please our Lord and Sustainer. Allah tells us in His Holy Book, all our other duties concern the poor, the needy, our families and ourselves, but Fasting is for Allah alone, and He rewards whom He pleases. We must always bear in mind the purpose of our fasting. It’s not only to stay hungry and thirsty. It’s to be conscious of Allah at all times. Fasting teaches us to tame our lower passions, al-nafs-al-ammara-bis-sow. This is the lower self that clings to the earth, and drags us towards all the hateful and shameful actions, envy, greed, sexual lust, jealousy, anger, hatred, revenge…
Fasting helps us to be disciplined. It helps us to strengthen our conscience, the higher self, which in Arabic is called al-nafs-al-law-waamah. This is the self-reproaching nafs, this is the higher self that constantly blames itself and seeks to put right all the errors and sins of the lower self. Throughout our lives we struggle with this great Jihad, of trying to control our desires and passions, so that our thoughts, our words and our actions are only good and pleasing to Allah. Once the Muslims returned from a battle, and Prophet Muhammad sws said to them, You have completed the lesser Jihad, now you must engage with the greater Jihad, which is the struggle to control and purify yourself.
I pray that every one of us here will use this Ramadan as an opportunity to fight this most important of all struggles, the Greater Jihad of taking control of our lives, control of our lower passions and desires. This struggle to cultivate self-discipline is not only for Ramadan. It’s a lifelong struggle. Shaitan will constantly
offer temptations and make our evil nature seem pleasing to us. But we must be on guard, and we must remember what pleases Allah. We must say, “A-oothu bil-laahi minash shaytaanir rajeem”: “I take refuge in Allah from Shaytaan, the Cursed One”. We must constantly keep in mind that Allah will hold us to account for our actions. We do not want to be among the losers, the ones whose end is hellfire, Jahannam, wal A-oothu bil-Laah! We want to be among the winners, the ones who will enter paradise. We want to spend our lives, purifying our thoughts and words and actions, so that when we die we have a purified heart and soul. We want our Ruh, our soul to be as pure and unblemished as the day when we were born. The last verses of Sura Al Fajr, are indeed the words we would all like to hear from Allah, when we die and return to Him:
“Ya ay-yuhan nafs-al-Mut’mainnah! Irji-ee Rabbikee raadiyatan-mar’diyyah! Fad-khulee fee ‘ibaadee, wad’ khulee jannatee”
“O Purified Soul, well pleased with yourself, and well-pleasing to Me, enter you among my devotees, enter you my garden.”
Ramadan is also a time for us to remember those who are fasting every day of their lives, not by choice, not because they want to fast, but because of poverty. They simply don’t have enough to eat or drink. We who enjoy clean drinking water, hot meals every day and a warm comfortable home, we must remember that we are very fortunate to have these blessings. Ramadhan is a time to remember others less fortunate. It’s a time to show Compassion and Mercy. You know, every time a Muslim begins an important action, he says the Basmallah: Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem! He says: I begin this action in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate!
Dear Brothers and sisters, how many times a day do we say these words? Surely it must have some effect on our behaviour, if we are conscious of the meaning. Surely compassion and mercy must flow from our words and actions. In time our whole character should be infused with Allah’s mercy and compassion. This is one of the big lessons of Ramadhan. And that is why it is important for us to pay our Zakat during this month. Zakat is the 2.5% of unused wealth that goes to the poor and needy. Let us try to remember these important lessons of Ramadan.
“All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds; may the greetings and peace be upon the best messenger, Muhammad, the unlettered prophet; and upon his family and upon all of his companions. Amma ba’ad, And, after this,
Behold, Allah and his angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask for blessings on him, and salute him with a worthy greeting.
O Allah! Send your greetings upon Muhammad and his family, just as you sent your greetings on Abraham, and his family. O Allah, send your blessings on Muhammad and his family, just as you blessed Abraham and his family. In both worlds, you are praiseworthy and exalted.”
Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een.
InnAllaha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, wa alaa áli Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”
Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem.
“All glory is for Allah, and all praise is for Allah; There is no power and no strength except with Allah.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Many of us think that Ramadan is a time to ‘go slow’ and to avoid exerting ourselves. Some of us, if we had the opportunity, we would want to sleep all day until iftar. This is completely wrong. Ramadan is not a time for hibernation. That’s for the polar bears and grizzly bears in the cold north American winter. It’s not for Muslims!
Ramadan is the time we should be busy reading and understanding the Quran, studying our faith and trying to improve our knowledge and our character. It’s a time of spiritual renewal and revival.
Many important events took place in Ramadan:
- The Holy Quran was revealed in Ramadan.
- The Battle of Badr took place in Ramadan.
- Makka was conquered in a bloodless battle by Prophet Muhammad sws during Ramadan.
- Tariq bin Ziyad conquered Spain during Ramadan. The list goes on and on…
So remember, Ramadan is not an excuse for laziness. It is a time for improving ourselves, improving our mind and body and spirit. We must welcome Ramadan like a long lost friend.
May Allah accept our fasting which we do only for His sake. We do not fast just to lose weight or to show off to others, how religious we are. We fast because we love Allah, and we want to please Him. We owe Him so much. Fasting is a very small thing that HE asks us to do, only for Him. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Fasting is for Me alone, and I will give rewards for it.” Allah doesn’t specify how much, 10 times, 70 times or 700 times. Allah gives rewards for fasting, from His limitless bounty, “bi ghairi hisaab,” without limits.
I pray that you and I will be amongst those whom Allah rewards, without limits.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90), Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152]. wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.” “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
Ameen. Aqeemus salaah