In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our master Muhammad and upon his family and companions. I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.

Alhamdulilah, we praise Allah (Exalted is He) for gathering us in a gathering in which Allah (Exalted is He) and his Prophet (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) are mentioned.
And we ask Him to make us of those who go beyond the mere mentioning of Him and His Prophet, and render us of those who seek to embody the characterises that Allah is characterised with, and those that he has instilled in His beloved.

The Prophet (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said: Allah made my character beautiful, so we ask Him to make the characters of each and every one of us beautiful.

Anything that Allah bestows upon the slave that requires effort on part of the slave, they are those that Allah has guided to the path; the multiple paths that Allah has laid out for those who want to approach Him sincerely.
“Those that struggle for Our sake, we will guide them to our paths”- multiple plural paths – each and every one of them you will find the footsteps of the beloved Prophet upon.

When we walk and talk inside of the great month of Ramadan, we will see that there is not an act that we can mention/do in Ramadan but that the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah, and his fingerprints (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) are over that act.

These are acts of taqarrub (gaining closeness) to Allah, these acts are eternal with Allah. That those who are God-fearing, these people will see on that Day those acts waiting as great ships, waiting for them to sail into paradise.

This world is a world of struggle, it is not a world of raaha (rest), a world in which we have to struggle in order to attain those great things that Allah (Exalted is He) ultimately wants to bestow upon us. And Allah (Exalted is He) is a beautiful Lord, a Generous Lord, and a Beneficent Lord. And Allah wants to give. Allah wants to give the most priceless thing He has. The Prophet (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said “is not the commodity of Allah expensive? Is not the commodity of Allah paradise?”

Which one of us is the one who desires paradise? And which one of us does paradise desire? Like the great people that struggled in this fleeting life. Like the Messenger of Allah (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said of the likes of Salman al Farsi and Ali bin Abi Talib, that Paradise yearns for them. In this month paradise yearns for its people. The great gates of paradise are flung open and paradise yearns for great souls, those that have struggled in this fleeting life.

There is good news and bad news for all of us. As when we enter Ramadan, how will we exit Sha`ban? The reality is that this has already been determined in the months that were prior. We are still in a blessed month and we are thinking of Ramadan- When the Muslim, as Sayyidina Umar said ,“the Muslim is the son of his time.” At this moment we are still in Sha`ban, the month the prophet said is “my month” – the month of which the prophet said that many Muslims want to forget as it is between the two great months, Rajab and Ramadan.

We are of those who have not struggled and yet we expect great things in Ramadan- when the nature of the religion is causative. What we do, we get. If we haven’t prepared adequately and if we haven’t struggled then what will we receive? We will receive what Shaykh Haroon alluded to, a cultural approach to Ramadan, we will receive a somewhat momentary boost in terms of our religion and then when we exit Ramadan, we will leave Ramadan behind, and we will also leave the great commodity of Allah behind. The religion is a religion of struggle.

And in sha Allah we live to next year, and next Ramadan and we understand the Prophet (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) did not begin dua for Ramadan in Rajab for no reason. But there is a reason why we approach Rajab, the great month of Allah, Rajab with sincerity..because how can Ramadan be the month of his ummah, when it is not based on Allah and His Messenger? (Rajab and Sha`ban)

Rajab is the month of Allah and we have to seek forgiveness from Allah for all our deficient actions in relation to Him. Use another person as a mirror, “the believer is the mirror of his brother” and as the Prophet (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said, “look at those above than you in deen, and those that have less than you in dunya.”

Gaze at the messenger who expended every moment with Allah. Every single moment he expended in Allah. Many of us can count those moments in our day when we are with Allah.

But in a sense, if you attempt to enumerate the blessings of Allah, you cannot! But when we can define those few moments we have with Allah, when we can count them, then this is not a good sign in relation to our religion. The ulema say that the nature of (accepted) acts is that they are continual and they are ultimately erased from the mind as Allah has raised those acts unto Him. But we are such that we can remember our few good acts, and this is not a good sign, it means Allah has rendered those acts earthly, and not arshy (with Allah) clinging to His throne, singing His praises.

We ask Allah for baseerah (inner sight), and forgiveness, and a good opinion of Him. And based on this good opinion Allah (Exalted is He) gazes on His slave. And Imam al Haddad said that when Allah gazes with a merciful eye unto those who are trying to embrace the mercy of Allah, then this becomes a new beginning.

For which one of us will Ramadan become a beginning for us? Which one of us when we reach Eid, it is an increase in obedience because we took from reciting the Quran? So when we go into Shawwal we wish to read it from beginning to end.

A month when we hear in the Quran from beginning until the end, then when we exit from the month we also desire to hear the Quran. Like when the Prophet \9salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) used to call Ubayy bin Ka’ab and Abdullah bin Masud and ask them to recite the Quran to him and they said “Ya RasulAllah, and upon you it was revealed” and he responded, “I love to hear it recited by other than me. ” Which one of us will attach ourselves to that reality? That we understand that the way out on That Day will be the Quran. Ramadan the month in which the Quran was revealed.

We use Ramadan as a launching pad where we can change for the sake of Allah. Any month where you can sit in the month and read the Quran, then why can’t you in other months? Any month where you can pray extra 20 rakats on top of your usual, then why can’t you in other months? In the month of Ramadan we can fast 29 or 30 days continuously, then why can’t we fast Mondays and Thursdays, or the six white and black days, or even the six of shawwal? We struggle to even do 6 or 8 extra fasts in other months! Every one of us need to take themselves in check.

We desire to read the stories of the saliheen, but the nature of the great generations that came after was that they didn’t have to read stories, because they had amongst them multi-dimensional biographical walking figures that inspired each and every one of them/us to turn to Allah, and allow their/our souls to take flight.

Which one of us will arise to the calling? Because each generation has people that arise to the calling but unless people arise to the calling, then it remains a cultural phenomena, the practice of Islam – the way we attach to Islam, it becomes a part-time affair.
We can engage the mighty internet, and it becomes such a great part of our lives. We don’t engage Allah and we don’t engage RasulAllah, we don’t engage the believers.

Which one of us will arise to the calling? Allah is looking for those who seek goodness, who seek elevation. Those that seek to be mentioned at His throne, those that seek to be mentioned with His Prophet, those that seek to be mentioned in the great company. Allah seeks those individuals. Allah has angels that have surrounded this very gathering to see which hearts are sincere.

A month where we can become more generous. Our Mother, Aisha, said that the Prophet was generous, and most generous in Ramadan. Which one of us will be beneficient with the wealth Allah has given us? As Muslims we live the life of Ebenezer Scrooge! We can read examples of people who have not been blessed with belief, who have never sat in a mawlid or gathering, who have never prayed 2 rakats, or enjoyed Ramadan. Yet they can discuss giving away half of their wealth, when have we, as Muslims, ever discussed what we will give away for Allah?

Ramadan is a time we have to place ourselves in check, and understand the standard that the Prophet came with, it is a lofty standard, for beautiful and purified souls. Those who want to reach and be mentioned in the highest realm, and be granted acceptance on earth. Maybe it is one of us in sha Allah, and we have a good opinion of Allah, and a good opinion of His slaves, but good opinion has to be transformed into reality by virtue of the struggle Allah has crafted each one of us in.

We ask Allah to make Ramadan Ramadan, a month where Allah scorches and purges the sins of each and every one of us. Sins that we are ultimately drowning in due to our own desire because we can’t go beyond ourselves. We don’t have a higher determination to come beyond ourselves, and take the Messenger of Allah as a walking example unto Allah.

We ask Allah to make Ramadan blessed! And we ask Allah by the dua of the prophet when he asked Allah to bless Rajab and Sha`ban, and he did not ask Allah for blessing in Ramadan but asked Allah just to reach Ramadan. Because thereafter the struggle is done, and the facilitation comes from Allah.
We ask Allah that it becomes a month of acceptance, that we make it about the Quran. We ask Allah to make it a month where we truly fast, not just food, drink and intercourse, but that we put aside all the pleasures the human beings have. Because the greater the struggle, the greater the reward.

We ask Allah to make it a month of salawat, although in terms of the weekly mawlid this is last mawlid, but every night in Ramadan is a mawlid. Every night is a remembrance of the Prophet. Woe to any of us who do not gaze upon the messenger, either with the naked eye or the naked heart in this month! What kind of month is it if it is a month where we do not engage the messenger? It is a month where we must truly attach to him and his way, (salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa alihi wa sallam).

We ask Allah for blessings (baraka), increase (ziyada) and His gaze (nadra).
Allahumma Amin