PREPARATION FOR THE MONTH OF RAMADAN

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL

BEING THE FIRST KHUTBAH FOR THE MONTH OF SHA’BAAN – 6 SHA’BAAN 1440AH (12 APRIL 2019CE)

 

PREPARATION FOR THE MONTH OF RAMADAN.

Praise be unto Allah who decreed fasting on believers making it guard from sins and fire. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (183) ” {البقرة :2\183} , “ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ …” {البقرة :2\285}

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous(183)…  The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful (184). We praise and thank Him, seek His help and guidance, forgiveness and repentance. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of our souls and deeds. Whoever Allah guides is guided and whoever He misled none will mislead Him. I bear witness there is no god but Allah alone without partner, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His servant and Messenger who says: “Whoever fast in Ramadan with faith and sincerity (), all his former sins will be forgiven” (Agreed upon). May Allah bless him and his families and all his companions, and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of recompense.

 

Thereafter,

I admonish you and myself on the fear of Allah, obedience and striving in righteousness … Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ” {البقرة : 183}.

{And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.} (2:197).

 

Dear brothers in faith, this is the first meet in Sha’baan, and the season of obedience and blessings is close-by, thus we see the need to prepare early enough for it in order to awaken our emotions and feelings from its slumber and laziness. Therefore the topic of our sermon is Preparation for the month of Ramadan. In order to benefit a lot from this topic, we implore the fundamental principles established by the scholars for the preparation as follow:

 

Preparation for the month of Ramadan:

1- Excitement and eagerness towards Allah: As days and night passes faith undergoes wear. The heart requires a re-ignition of the faith and replenishment of the corrosion. All these is reliance on Allah’s support and the level drive and desire a person has. The Prophet said: ‘If My slave comes nearer to me for a span, I go nearer to him for a cubit; and if he comes nearer to Me for a cubit, I go nearer to him for the span of outstretched arms; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ (bukhari)

Allah says: (ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ) “And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (40: 62). The verse shows that the effort starts from servants of Allah before Allah’s support is earned. Allah also says: (فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ”{البقرة:152) “So remember Me; I will remember you.” (2: 152)

 

2- Understanding the virtue of the period as a favour: The period is blessed by Allah. Allah gives honour to some periods over others. The sacred months for instance are dignified as stated thus: () “of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them.” (9: 36). Allah says concerning hajj period: () Hajj is [during] well-known months” (2:197). Regarding Ramadan, Allah mentions, () “The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an …” (2: 184). The Prophet said: “To Allah belong moments of gifts in the days of existence, therefore, avail yourself the opportunity. Perhaps one of you could meet this gift and never get misfortunate thereafter forever.” (Sahihul-Jami’)

 

3- Exercising determination and strong will:

If the scholars of Islamic fundamentals could define determination as what is built against ease, such as fasting on a journey for he who could observe it, and refusing to utter words of disbelief even if one is killed. Determination in the view of scholars of behaviours has a portion in this meaning. Determination to them is the gathering of strong will to act. It is like the person of determination does not have concession to fall behind in the putting passion to action, but is required to summon up his strength and sharpen it to the point of performance. Ash-shaatibiy pointed out in his Al-muwaafaqaat that Sunnah acts and voluntary acts are means of setting the ground and preparing the mind to enter into obligatory duty in full.

 

4- Eschew idleness and jobless people by seeking companion of people of strong will: Allah says: (وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ) “and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance].” (31: 15)Also He (swt) says: () “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” (9: 119)

5- Gathering lists of one’s shortcomings for corrections: The Prophet said: “A believer sees his sins as if he was sitting below a mountain which he fear could fall on him, but a fajir sees his sins as a mere fly which flies above his nose, and talks about it thus.” (Bukhari)

6- Preparation for obedience and self accountability: preparing for obedience and self accountability are two different duties but interwoven and interlinked. Preparation for obedience is a sign of divine guidance and honesty of intent. Allah says to emphasis importance of preparation: (وَلَوْ أَرَادُواْ الْخُرُوجَ لأَعَدُّواْ لَهُ عُدَّةً) “if they wanted to go out to have prepared him several” {repentance: 9:46}. Obedience must be based on legitimate duties in order to bear fruit and rewards, especially in the month of Ramadan, where works merit manifold rewards, virtues and honour, due to the honour of the period concerned. Congregational Prayers must be preceded with good ablutions, sincere intention for reward, and to pay visit to the house of Allah, honour the house of Allah and respond to the divine call, as well as hastening to listen to the sermons, and opportunity to make supplications to Him. Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – said: The Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him – “The prayer a man observe in jama’ah is in manifold of his prayer at home and market by twenty-five-fold. Likewise if he does ablution well and then went out to the mosque, for no other purpose than prayer, then he will not raise a step except that he is raised in degree and cleansed of sins. And when he prays, the Angels will not cease to pray for him as long as he remain in his prayer position without his ablution being nullified, saying: O Allah, bless him, O Allah grant him mercy, and he will not cease to be in prayer as long as he await (another) prayer” (Agreedupon).

7- Review the rules guiding fasting and other relevant judgement:Knowing the rules of fasting, the acceptable excuses, the pillars, the nullifiers, the permissible acts while fasting, the rules on taraawih, and ‘itikaaf. In the same respect for the woman, she should seek to understand peculiar cases with fasting and menstruation, post birth blood, pregnancy and nursing mothers etc.

 

8- Preparing the soul to learn lesson of patience:Allah says: (وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ) “But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good].” (41: 35). Ramadan as a month of fasting and patience; classes of patience include- to be patient in desisting from forbidden acts, patience in obedience, and patience in times of trials. The character of patience is a notable factor for consideration in leadership appointment in Islam as deduced by Ibn Taimiyah from the verse:

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ

 “And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.” (32: 24)

 

9- Reviving neglected forms of worships:

The nature of the gainful trade with Allahis to earn all His pleasure, and for he who seeks for the terms and love of His Lordhe earns wisdom in  his trade with his Lord, the Exalted. People have become accustomed to certain acts of worship, which they think are the only doors open to reach Allah, but the seeker of the pleasure of his Lord should be a researcher of the abandoned paths and the distant doors which many people have left out of laziness.

 

Among such acts which have been abandoned by many except a few is seeking forgiveness before dawn, it is the worship of the truthful slaves. Allah says: (“…وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ (15) الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ (16) الصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْمُنْفِقِينَ وَالْمُسْتَغْفِرِينَ بِالْأَسْحَارِ (17 “{آل عمران :3\15-17}) Say, “Shall I inform you of [something] better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and approval from Allah. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants -16 )   Those who say, “Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,”( 17 )   The patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allah], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn.

Including visiting the graves, the sick, the righteous, family relatives from both the mother and father, as well as the dawn.

 

The second sermon

All praises are due to Allah, We praise and thank Him, believe and depend on Him. I testify there is no god but Allah alone and I testify that our leader- Muhammad (pbuh) is his servant and messenger.  May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his household, companions and whoever follows them till the day of recompense.

As to what follows,

We would like to continue our discussion on the duties in Sha’baan, as today is the first Friday in Sha’baan.

Secondly, the middle of Sha’abaan

Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet says: “When Sha’abaan get to half, do not fast until Ramadan” (Ahmad, Abu Dawu, Tirmidhi,) Scholars differ on the soundness of this hadith and its application. Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibaan, Al-hakim, At-tahaawiy and Ibn Abdul-Barr regarded it as sound. While some other greater and more knowledgeable scholars than those mentioned- such as Ar-Rahman bn Mahdi, Imam Ahmad, Abu Zar’ah Ar-Raazi and Al-Athram described it as disliked. Imam Ahmad rejected this hadith on the basis of the following hadith: “Do not precede fasting in Ramadan with the fast of a day or two.” The understanding is the permissibility to precede Ramadan with more than two days with fast.

In this month also is a great night, the night of the middle of Sha’baan. The prophet raises its honour high in his words: “Allah looks at His creatures on the night of the middle of Sha’baan, and He forgives all His creatures except the Mushrik or the one who keeps malice.”

 

SOME OF THE INNOVATIONS IN SHABAAN

– Solat Alfiyyah- which is a hundred rakats prayer done in congregation where the Imam recites ten suratul ikhlas in every rakat.

– Choosing the middle night of shabaan specifically for special prayer and the day for fasting.

– Observing six rakat in the middle night of shabaan for warding off evil, seeking prosperity,..

 

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