Shaykh Ahsan Hanif spoke on Friday, July 23rd, about welcoming Ramadan. SubhanAllah, Ramadan is fast approaching, so inshaAllah, this is of benefit.
He began with stating every year, we go over this topic. Every year, we hear about the fiqh of Ramadan, how to welcome it, the dos and the don’ts. So, going to that path is not what we did on Friday. Instead, Shaykh Ahsan spoke from a different perspective.
We weant to be able to live with Ramadan – to treat it as a guest whom we welcome into our homes, who we can see and hear. If you tell someone to pray 5 times a day, to spend in charity, to go to Hajj – they don’t really want to. Why? Acts of worship are seen as a chore. If we had the choice to worship, most Muslims would not do anything. Here’s the thing – we should be enjoying worship – we should be able to taste its sweetness.
The Prophet, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, had all his sins forgiven, yet he would still pray and cry from his heart in his worship. His famous statement in response to why he does so: “Should I not be a thankful slave?” SubhanAllah, how relevant is this statement to our every moment of being? In the end, the sweetest thing a person can do is come closer to Allah.
With Ramadan, we don’t treat it like that. We don’t come closer to it. We know all the virtues of it; of how we should be better Muslims, of the moments to take advantage of, we know it all. But Ramadan comes and goes and nothing changes.
Imagine Ramadan as a living, breathing guest. If something is living, you automatically treat it differently. For example, if a guest were to come over, you wouldn’t ignore them by just sticking them in a room and moving on with your life. You interact with them, treat them with respect, try to fufill their haqq as a guest upon you. We need to do the same with Ramadan – interact with it, treat it properly, and ultimately, benefit from it.
For over 1400 years, Ramadan has seen Muslims all over the world fasting. If Ramadan came to our city, what would Ramadan say about us? What would its thoughts be? Would it say we are like those from the verse ‘Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you can attain taqwa?’ How many years have you seen Ramadan come? Does this verse apply to us? Do we become better, increase in our Eman and Taqwa? Or do we fast and the only thing we gain is hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Are we only worried about the timing? Sleeping? Making food? Scheduling? Just want taraweeh to finish? Is this how you would treat a guest? This is why Ramadan comes and goes, and we gain nothing. What if it were to never come again?
The Sahabah would make du’aa for 6 months after Ramadan for Allah swt to accept their Ramadan. For the next 6 months, they would make du’aa for Allah to grant them the next Ramadan. This is the status of one who truly appreciates Ramadan. It should bring us together as a community, make us increase in our Eman.
One time, the Prophet sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ascended the mimbar and said Ameen 3 times. The people asked why he just said Ameen. He replied that Jibreel (as) came to hime and made 3 du’aas and told him to say ameen. One of the du’aas was for the one who gets Ramadan and doesn’t get his sins forgiven, to distance him from Allah’s mercy. SubhanAllah, are we of the people that the Prophet (S) made du’aa against? May Allah protect us.
How do we buy our freedom and salvation? What Eman and righteous actions do we use? If we were compared to previous nations, how would we fare?
The Scholars of hadith would close their books of Hadith in Ramadan and say this is the month of the Qur’an. These were people who would finish reciting the Qur’an in salah in 3, 5, 7, or 9 days. How do we treat the Qur’an in this month? For the first 3 days the mosque is full in taraweeh. Then it dwindles, as people complain that it’s too long. In the last three days (ie 27th on), the mosque is full again. SubhanAllah. Is that a way to treat a guest?
How would Ramadan compare us to the Prophet (S)? This shouldn’t sadden us – it should motivate us to do the same as him, as he was our role model. He (S) would give charity like the ‘wind-driven rain’ – no one was left from his kindness. What do we see in our homes? How is it different? Do we act differently in Ramadan? Do spouses encourage each other in the night prayer? Are parents emphasizing the Qur’an? Or is it like any other day, and you would find no difference in the actions. The Prophet (S) would be even more vigorous in his worship. How many of us use Ramadan to come closer to Allah? Do we think about the taraweeh and extra Qur’an reading? Why don’t we think the time between ‘Isha and Fajr will be so short so we can stay up for extra ‘ibaadah? We all know the virtues of the last third of the night, alhamdulillah.
Would it remind us of Laylatul Qadr, whose reward is equal to a thousand months? How many of us seek out this night (seeing as it is one of the odd nights of the last 10 days, not just the 27th)? Do we pray Fajr at the masjid, seeing as we are already awake (ie no excuses)? What would Ramadan say to you? Will you enter Jannah from the gate of Rayyan, the one reserved for the fasting? Ramadan is not just about stopping your eating and drinking. It is all of your limbs fasting from disobedience of Allah. Your mouth, eyes, ears, hand, feet, everything fasts. If we still lie or commit other sins, then Allah is in no need of our fasting. It is not to lose weight or just because everyone else is – it is to come closer to Allah.
From all acts of worship, what Allah wants is for us to attain taqwa, piety. Even to the point of slaughtering an animal to eat – we begin it in the name of Allah. All He wants is for us to attain Taqwa from any act of worship. He wants to see our Eman increase. And subhanAllah, He really does give us opportunity after the next for this!
What is your mindest? Prepare for this guest by fasting in Sha’baan. Read Qur’an. Pray at night. Teach yourself the rulings of fasting. Be well-equipped and prepared for this guest you know is coming, inshaAllah. This is the most important matter – our mindset. Ramadan should change our lives, give us more Eman, and bring us closer to Allah. None of this comes if we look at it negatively. If you want benefit, accept it as a noble guest – and treat it accordingly. We should be stronger, inshaAllah, on an EmanRush, longing for Ramadan. ‘Eid should be the day of the new beginning – not an open season for sin. We should be truly transformed into better Muslims.
Again, how do you interact with and treat Ramadan? Imagine it alive, with feelings. How will you treat this guest whom you may never see again?