This was delivered by Hababa Umm Rayyan al-Kaff on the 1st Ramadan 1441.
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.
This is a special month unlike any other month. Allah has a special closeness to us. The first third is mercy, second third is forgiveness, and the final third is emancipation from the hellfire. Every night there is a caller saying: “O seeker of good, approach!”
Every soul yearns and longs to be with its Lord so this is a time that the soul is being called by Allah to come forth and return back to Allah. Whoever is occupied with other things during the year, this is a time that Allah wants us to free and return to Him.
Being freed from any preoccupation due to the current situation, we are outwardly free in our homes due to it so we ask Allah to make it that we are inwardly free too.
Opening ourselves to the divine gifts of Allah during the month of Ramadan; Allah wants us in this month to be purified and clean; a diseased heart to be healed; that which is dirty to become clean and purified; the one who is tired and drained to be comforted and relaxed.
It is a month where Allah wants us to rearrange our lives. Whoever has been tired from their bad qualities, this is an opportunity to be freed from it and purified. 30 days and 30 nights have come for us to be elevated and become better. It is a time to restructure ourselves and rebuild ourselves and to go into Ramadan with one state and come out with a better state. Our Beloved Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “If Ramadan is safe, then the entire year is safe.” Ramadan prepares us for the remaining year but rather prepares us for our entire lives. Ramadan is a great opportunity for us to recharge our batteries when the rest of the year has drained it. Ramadan is a station for the souls to reconnect with its Lord. The heart and soul without this strong connection to Allah; the soul tires out and the heart tires out. It is as if he becomes an inanimate object on the earth like a rock if he is not connected to Allah. Connecting to Allah gives life meaning. All human beings are bodies walking upon the earth but what is the difference between them? The one who has a heart connected to Allah is different than the rest; Allah teaches him; Allah heals him; Allah takes care of their matters; Allah inspires him; Allah takes care of him; Allah enlightens his inner sight. Do you see how he is completely different?
This is how the Prophets were and likewise the righteous. They lived in the gardens of nearness to Allah whilst they were in this world (dunya). They tasted the sweetness of entering into it. If they enter Ramadan, they are in paradise. If they pray, their prayer is paradise. Their remembrance (of Allah) is paradise. If people knew the sweetness they are in, they would fight them over it. Rather, it is a gift from Allah that He honours with; He honours with it those who have been written felicitous in the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah and those who seek and strive for it. When this divine rain comes down, the young and old are excited for it; more so the children. So, when rain comes down you will see children and adults excited but more so children underneath the rain playing, jumping and laughing because they have a natural disposition (fitra). Maybe they don’t know why they feel so happy? However, their souls know that the rain is fresh from Allah. And, we are in Ramadan, a special month that every moment in it has a Divine gift and compassion from Allah. We should imagine when we are entering as if we are in a very intense training programme. What is the purpose of this seminar? What is the goal? As we said, it is strengthening our connection to Allah and to our Beloved (prayers and peace be upon him). It is renewing our faith and so we are dressed with the garment of taqwa. “O you who believe, fasting was prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may attain taqwa.” The goal is to have a God-conscious heart and God-conscious limbs.
Taqwa is that a person avoids any quality which Allah does not love. If one distances himself from any intention, action, and state that is disliked by Allah they will go to that intention, action and state that is beloved to Allah.
When people graduate from university, they graduate with a certificate of completion. Coming out of the month of Ramadan, you come out with a certificate of taqwa. A heart that is God-conscious is magnifying Allah; is between fear and hope; is loving to Allah; always placing Allah in front of him before every movement and action. The love of Allah fills his heart so he becomes tranquil and feels peace. How can he not become tranquil when he knows Allah is with him and watching him? Knowing that nothing moves except by the knowledge and power of Allah. How can he not become at peace? This God-conscious heart is very keen in seeking the pleasure of Allah. This God-consciousness now reflects upon all of his states. So, that all the limbs now become God-conscious. The eye of the God-conscious will only look at that which brings them closer to Allah and abstain from looking at anything prohibited. Likewise, the tongue, hand and every limb becomes affected by what is in the heart.
So, we see the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) praising Abu Bakr by saying to the Sahaba (companions) that: ‘Abu Bakr did not surpass you in a lot of prayer and fast although he had a lot.’ The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) was indicating something special so he said it was something that settled in his heart.
We have to praise Allah a lot and be joyous a lot. We have to make our children and homes happy. Every young and old, even the walls of the house have to feel the coming of this great month. We have to look as if we have entered this month into the intensive care of Allah. The mercy of Allah brings us back to life.
In it is mercy, forgiveness, and emancipation. In it is a night that Allah glances upon His creation with a great glance. In it is the moment of breaking our fast when the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said that for the fasting person there are two joys; when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord. When one is fasting and feeling tired with a headache, the joy they have upon eating the date, imagine the joy one will receive when they meet their Lord.
Allah mentions and speaks about the reward that every good deed we have 10 rewards with upto 700 multiples more but Allah says: ‘fasting is for Me’. The person who is given Divine assistance by Allah is the one who enters Ramadan with every atom of their being, their children, and their homes. We ask Allah to make us from those who enter Ramadan with our whole beings.
What is requested from us is to direct ourselves so we can gain more and more from the gifts of Ramadan. Ramadan has come to us as a form of care from every direction. Ramadan takes care of our heart as our heart becomes purified from all that is within it. From the downpours of mercy, forgiveness and freedom, it is an opportunity to be purified and come out of Ramadan with that state. Ramadan is an opportunity to discipline the soul so whoever is really tired of their soul and the struggle, it is an opportunity to rid their heart of blameworthy traits and adorn it with praiseworthy traits. It is an opportunity for the limbs to be protected from disobedience.
So, magnifying Ramadan is from taqwa. “Whoever esteems the signs of Allah, indeed it is from taqwa.”
So, when we receive a guest we treat them in accordance to how much respect and reverence we have. Now, we have a gift from Allah so we will treat it as much as we magnify it.
I counsel myself and you to enter Ramadan with 2 main things.
- Having a plan for this month
From the great intentions that we should have is to intend to fast Ramadan having faith in Allah and anticipating His reward. We seek assistance from Allah and beg Him to give us success. When we stand at the door of Allah, we remember the poem of Imam al-Haddad. He said: And here I stand at Your door, so have mercy, my Lord
We ask Allah that we enter Ramadan with pure worship of Allah and we enter with humbleness and brokenness asking Him to change our states.
We intend to have complete presence in our prayer, recitation of Qur’an, and dhikr. The blessing of being present with Allah is a blessing that nothing is like it. So, when we enter the prayer saying,‘Allah is the Greatest’, we should feel this in our heart. We should continue with this state from prayer to prayer; likewise, when reciting the Qur’an. The more the heart is present with Allah, the more it is distant from disobedience to Allah.
We want to enter being vigilant over our time. Even when one is preoccupied due to children and cooking for them, one should be doing dhikr.
أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار
Ashadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na`audhu bika min an-nar
“I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and we seek the forgiveness of Allah. We ask You for Paradise and take refuge in You from the Fire.” (3 times)
اللهمَّ إنَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحِبُّ العَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا(3) يا كَرِيم
Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna
“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).]
We intend closeness to Allah through different types of worship. Specifically more so during our current circumstances we should help people in need without them asking us. Our Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) was in the month of Ramadan more generous than the wind in giving. We should remember our sisters that are in need and not forget them.
We intend to follow the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), following in his traditions and characteristics. We should work hard and strive to be a good role model for those in our households and those around us. Children learn better from observing a person’s state than words.
We intend to have a special time for Qur’an because this is the month of Qur’an.
We intend to busy our tongue and heart with the remembrance of Allah and the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him). So, the tongue utters the dhikr and the heart experiences the meaning.
We intend to pray tarawih in congregation.
Khutba of the Prophet at the start of Ramadan:
“O People, there comes upon you now a great month, a most blessed month, in which lies a night greater in worth than one thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made compulsory that the fasting should be observed by day; and He has made standing by night voluntary. Whosoever tries drawing nearer to Allāh by performing any virtuous deed in this month, for him shall be such reward as if he had performed a farḍ (obligatory observance) in any other time of the year. And whoever performs a farḍ for him shall be the reward of seventy farḍ in any other time of the year. This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (Paradise); it is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen; it is the month wherein a true believer’s rizq (sustenance) is increased. Whoever feeds a fasting person in order to break the fast (at sunset), for him there shall be forgiveness of his sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (Hell), and for him shall be the same reward as for him (whom he fed), without that person’s reward being diminished in the least.”
The sermon is long, perhaps you can read it at home with your children. The sermons of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) are of utmost benefit to us all.
We ask Allah that he renders our fasting of this month to be greater than of the previous year. If we were fasting previously from food and drink, we pray that our fasting this year is a fasting of our limbs from disobedience of Allah.
Imam Ghazali informed us that fasting is of three ranks: 1) general public 2) elect 3) elect of the elect
We intend to fast the fast of the elect of the elect.
The general public fast is from food and drink whilst limbs may engage in disobedience. The one in that state is in danger. Allah is not in need of our hunger and thirst. He needs us to fast from anything He dislikes. So, we need to learn all the characteristics Allah does not like. The danger of this is when the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) spoke about ‘all a fasting person has from his fast is hunger and thirst.’
Second type is to abstain from food and drink but also limbs don’t engage in sin. As it came in a Prophetic tradition, “If you fast: then let your hearing, sight and tongue fast too.” So, if somebody says foul words, say, “O Allah I am fasting” so your fast is not corrupted.
We will conclude with the third level which is the fast of the elect of the elect which is there is nothing in the heart except Allah. The person in that state is completely occupied with obedience of Allah. He does not enter into a permissible matter unless he can change his intention into something higher.
We ask Allah (Exalted is He) to grant us an increase in Ramadan.
Allahumma Ameen. Allahumma Ameen. Allahumma Ameen.
Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me. Please correct me when you spot any mistakes.