This was delivered by Hababa Umm Rayyan al-Kaff on the opening session in Ramadan 1443 as part of the Dar al-Zahra (Liverpool) ‘Awakening the Hearts: Daily Ramadan Classes’ series.
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.
Praise be to Allah who has ennobled us with reaching this blessed month and for showering down the great graces that this month offers. All praise is due to Allah who has joined us together regardless of us being in different countries around the world. Although we are physically from different places, praise be to Allah that our hearts are gathered as one. All praise is due to Allah, that we are in the second day of this blessed month.
We send praise and peace upon the beloved one, Muhammad ﷺ, the one who taught us what Ramadan is.
O Allah, allow our fasts to be from his fasts, our prayers to be from his prayers, our prostrations to be from his prostrations and our tarawih from his tarawih. We ask Allah that he grants our hearts spiritual gifts that are extensions of his ﷺ spiritual gifts. We ask that He unites us (sisters) in places of good and times of good. We ask Allah that He allows us to be united in this current moment and to receive as one all that is being brought down in the rawdah sharifah in Madinah and the multazim in Makkah where the dua is recited after tawaf. Through the blessings in those two places, He grants to us all. We ask that He also allows us to partake in that which is currently coming down in the prayer places of Ahl’ul’Kisaa in Tarim and Dar al Zahra in Tarim. At this very moment, we ask Allah that we are able to open up our hearts so we open ourselves to His mercy.
We have come to the door of Allah and we are knocking. We are asking He extends to us His blessings, goodness and mercy.
Know, this blessed month of Ramdan, my beloved sisters, is a great month. It is filled with gifts from Allah. From the great gifts of Ramadan is this first night that has passed by us; the night of His gaze. Allah gazes upon His servants on this night, and whoever He gazes upon He does not punish ever in this world or next. How do we thank Allah for this great blessing? If we were to all close our eyes and place our hands upon our hearts and just feel our inner realities for a moment, we would find our heart in this current moment is not the same as the one previous to the night of His gaze. This change has come from the glance of Allah, beloved ones. The glance of Allah is a healing. It is a healing and a medicine and gives life to the heart. The glance of Allah washes the heart in a great, manifest way. Allah is saying to you: ‘O you who have become tired from this earth, it is vast but has become constricted for you. O you who has tried to walk upon this path and has fallen. Your heart is broken and sad. It is in a state of grief. You ask yourself, has the time not come to fear God? You ask yourself, when will the tranquillity of the inner-state come to me? How and when shall we taste the connection to Allah?’ Glory be to Allah, these are the feelings we have, it is through this we see that Allah is aiming to shorten the distance between us and Him through Ramadan. In actual reality, there is no distance between us and Allah, as we have caused this distance. Ramadan is a huge opportunity for us to renew our faith, to revive our hearts and to heal them. It is an opportunity to undress characteristics that are not beloved to Allah and to adorn ourselves with characteristics beloved to Allah. It is a month to purify our hearts. It is a month to purify our souls and every time we purify the soul, it rises and becomes elevated.
The great spiritual giving of Ramdan is in abundance, where is the one trying to benefit from it?
This is why our beloved one, the Messenger ﷺ, at the beginning of Ramadan would say the following to create a longing inside of the hearts of the companions. He wanted them to know the greatness and nobility of the worship of this month before entering it. The one who knows the immensity and stature of a thing, they strive to achieve it. The one who knows the nobility of Ramdan, they strive to do many great works inside it. The Prophet ﷺ said to his companions: ‘A month of great blessings has come upon you.’ Allah envelops you in this blessed month and His mercy comes down upon you. He causes your sins to be erased. He accepts your supplications. He looks at you competing in good. He calls His angels to come into His presence and shows off about His servants competing in good.
The sinful one is the one who is prevented from attaining Allah’s mercy – we ask Allah that He does not cause any of us to be from the sinners or to be prevented from His mercy.
We see in the speech of the Messenger of God ﷺ in many years of Ramadan that he speaks before it in a way that allows people to desire Ramadan and to do much good. From one of the speeches of the Prophet ﷺ that is mentioned in a hadith is the title of our talk: ‘The One Saved in Ramadan is Saved Throughout the Year.’
سلم can mean safe or secure here. When we stop and ponder on this hadith, we will see that it is very strange indeed. By saving yourself in one year, you are protected for the whole year. These words and the wondrous nature of them are an encouragement for us to understand the greatness of this month and to spend our time in that which is most appropriate for the month.
How can one be saved in Ramadan?
Being saved in Ramadan is to live it how the Prophet ﷺ advised us to live. The Messenger of God ﷺ has counselled us to be of those with characteristics that are described in ahadith and in the Qur’an. We want to embellish ourselves with these characteristics. We are trying to save our hearts. If you save the heart from destructive vices, your Ramadan is saved and from that your year.
If your heart is saved and it is sound, this overflows to the limbs. If you save the heart, the next thing that will come is that your eyes, tongue and the rest of your limbs are safe. If one is fasting from food and drink but they are backbiting or carrying out similar sins, they have not saved their body from that which breaks the spiritual fast. These things harm the fast. We are talking about saving and harming the fast. Whoever is acting in a haughty manner or is arrogant, they are harming their fast. There is an absolute need for us to preserve our worship, actions and anything that is hidden within our hearts. It is important for us to take care of these things.
If we begin speaking about the heart, what causes Allah to gaze upon hearts and fall in love? How can the heart be sound, secure and good? Allah mentions ‘a sound heart’ in the Qur’an. Each time we work on washing, cleaning and sweeping the heart of jealousy and arrogance, the heart becomes more beautiful. Many women ask Hababa Mona: My heart is heavy due to sister so-and-so.
If one truly attaches themselves to Allah and fills their heart with His love, it is easy to overcome these negative feelings that darken the heart.
The gaze of Allah on the first night is a preparation for the heart to allow it to be able to have the capacity to do what which we are about to talk about.
The whole month of Ramadan is a letter of love from Allah. It is as though Allah is sending a personalised letter saying ‘I love you and I want you to get closer to Me.’
If we stop and think about Ramadan, it is filled with information about this letter; dua is accepted upon iftar, Laylatul Qadr is worth 1000 months of worship, and dua is accepted through our qiyam. It is all showing us what Allah has written in this letter: ‘I love you and I want you to get closer to Me.’
Think about the hadith when the Prophet ﷺ says: ‘When the fasting one breaks his fast, he has two joys.’
Hababa mentions the first joy – this joy is due to our proximity to Allah at this point even if we don’t feel it. Why do we feel this happiness in being able to fast? This fast comes from Allah drawing close to our hearts. He unveils His light to our hearts which causes this joy within us.
Have we thought about what this second joy might be? As for the second joy, we don’t even understand it in reality or its magnificence. This happiness is not worldly. It is a surprise. You don’t understand what is in the next world. It is beyond our imagination. This second joy is more beautiful than our minds can think of. Think about the words of Allah in a Hadith Qudsi: ‘Fasting is for Me. I shall grant it reward.’
Allah does not specify a reward. If we think of someone rewarding us or gifting us in a surprise manner, we would say that the more generous or wealthier a person is, I would expect more reward. How about a reward from the Lord of the Worlds?
I advise you all to understand the greatness of this month and when you break your fast. So, let us prepare for the receiving of this great joy. How? This is advice and counsel to all my sisters that we don’t sit quickly to break our fast. We sit as a family, 10 mins before the fast opens, upon love, dhikr, and preparation to receive this great joy that is about to come from breaking the fast. We recite the following:
أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار(3)
Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na’udhu 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 repeat it as our hearts are filled with love. The young and elderly join in. We explain what this supplication means to all present. This is the way that you allow the hearts of everyone in the household to unite upon one truth and to experience the joy.
Also, nobody should be busy in the kitchen at this moment. There should be tranquillity within the home upon breaking the fast. It should be established as everyone should know this moment is great and significant with Allah. It’s a moment to prepare for – receiving this great joy.
When everyone is gathered, the mother or father makes dua, and everyone says ameen. People should have turns to lead the dua – including the children. This sets a tone. There may be a moment where the mother or father is absent, so they step in. This then brings down closeness to the Divine which overflows to the rest of the fasting day.
Women have come to Hababa that would never sit together as a family but did after hearing this advice. They say that for the first time they felt this state of mercy overflowing between family members. Mothers have said it has given them time to hug their daughter. This sitting together brings love, mercy and forgiveness between each other. We want our hearts to have this great love and mercy between each other.
We also want our hearts to esteem Allah and feel Him in every moment of Ramadan. We also ennoble and give esteem to the acts of Ramadan. When we hold in esteem things like tarawih or breaking the fast, we remember the hadith that a sunna action is worth a fard and a fard is worth seventy times its amount. These help us feel the greatness of these things and allows us to maximise the goodness within Ramadan.
We also remind our young men and women, we give them glad-tidings of the fasting day, that this is enough to wipe away all your sins. It allows you to have a renewal of self and direction through the blessing of your fast. We speak to them in this way.
These feelings and emotions that cause the heart to move inside of Ramadan, this is what allows Ramadan to be sound and secure.
We counsel you and ourselves with the renewal of tawba (repentance). Habib Umar recommends this. We feel in our hearts that we are running from sin. Hababa mentioned a verse: “And I have hastened to You, my Lord, so You will be pleased.” – Surah Taha:84 Hababa explained this – running to Allah gives us the feeling that our whole lives are about this purpose of being connected to Allah and serving Him in the best way.
One of the things we should ensure in Ramadan is that before we pray, we feel that we are in the presence of Allah and try to rid anything that causes a distraction from this. We want to be present with Allah in every moment, not just in our prayer. Is this possible? Yes. Think and feel inside of your heart the words: ‘A caller calls out, one who wants good, come forth!’ Feel that calling. Your heart should be saying, ‘Labbayk! I am here.’ Allah is calling out to you so He wants you to reach Him. Right now, I’m not on the prayer mat but I’m in the supermarket or picking my children from school, you can be present with Allah. Have intentions. They cause the mundane acts to be acts of worship. We want every moment of Ramadan to be of benefit and profit.
We must organise our time. This is how we benefit from Ramadan. We must have a specific time for tarawih, Quran, for eating etc. Ramadan will be over in the blink of an eye; we need to maximise it. If you find yourself being lazy or the himmah waning, say to yourself, ‘Hey, be careful. If you’re saved in Ramadan and keep it safe, you’ll be safe the rest of the year.’
Ramadan is a hospital which is checking you over. It’ll tell you what is wrong. If you catch an illness early, you can cure it. You go through a process of removing that which is not good and beautifying yourself that which is good. This is what happens at the hospital. If you do this right, your heart will be sound for the rest of the year.
We want to close with a final point. We want to get light, proximity and an inner-peace from Allah. If we can attain this in Ramadan, we will have it throughout the year. The Prophet ﷺ advises us: “Renew your faith by saying La ila ha il Allah.” When we think about this hadith, why is he ﷺ asking us to renew our faith? Faith can be like clothing. It is very new and looks good, but it may get worn out so you renew the clothing. This is what retaking the shahada is again and again. This is what happens in Ramadan. The faith is renewed. The strength is gained. What we are aiming for in Ramadan and what will happen is that the soul is strengthened and our spiritual state is. When we do this correctly, we come out of Ramadan as a formidable person with a stronger spiritual state throughout the rest of the year.
We ask Allah to remove any ugly traits from us and to beautify us with beautiful traits.
A selection of questions were asked. We have chosen one to share.
Question: There was some really great advice for families to attain the blessings together as a family, are there any advice for people who do not have families and are breaking the fast alone every day? How do one get the most of these blessed moments and how do one attain sincere contentment with the situation in being alone?
Answer: The one who is physically alone, never feel you are alone. Our hearts are one and there are millions opening their fast at the same time. Seek sisters who are opening their fast alone and create that sisterhood. If not, feel the presence of others. Allah gave this ummah an elect quality which is that we are united together as a family by our faith.
Without a doubt, you are alone and fasting despite this hardship of worshipping alone, Allah has love, happiness and joy for you. Keep this feeling in your heart. Always feel that Allah does not put you in a place save that it is good and better for you.
Hababa emphasised that you are not alone.
With this contentment and feeling you are with others; Allah will allow you to rise to levels that others are not able to arrive at.
In addition, now that I’ve heard this, my heart is moved to feel such that every single fast of Ramadan, I will remember this sister. We will be together as an ummah. Present in dua.
Ustadha Umm Abdullah asked her to include other sisters who are alone. Hababa mentioned that we are an ummah who are connected as a family. Whenever you see Habib Umar make dua, we always hear him making duas for Muslims all around the world and those new to Islam. He makes them present as if they’re in the room. This is what our ummah is – we feel each other’s heart.
Also, the Prophet ﷺ says in a hadith: ‘The actions of my ummah are displayed to me.’
When you break your fast, bring this to mind. Actually, you are not alone, the Rasul ﷺ is with you. He is with us in all our good actions.
May He make us of those who stand in prayer, fast, remember Allah abundantly, give abundant charity, and are wiped from sins such that we are pure and purified people. May we be from those whose Ramadan is protected and preserved, and are saved from all fitna and tribulations; especially those that may affect our faith. May our last words in this world be the shahada. We ask when we say these words, we say it internally, we say it externally and are connected to it.
These are notes. Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from Treasures for the Seeker admin. Please correct us when you spot any mistakes.