Receiving the Month of Ramadan
The Makkan Sanctuary
Sheikh Salih Al Talib
The first sermon
Praise be to Allah who ordained fasting upon us and made it one of the causes of forgiving sins and one of the gates of Paradise.
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone who has no partner. I also bear witness that our master and Prophet is Muhammad, the servant of Allah and His Messenger. Prophet Muhammad is the owner of the Basin from which people shall drink on the Day of Recompense and the one who has the highest rank in Paradise and the highest status. O Allah, send peace and blessings upon Your Servant and Messenger: Muhammad, upon his family, and his Companions as long as the night and day alternate.
O people, fear Allah "And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allâh. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly." [Surat Al Baqarah: 281].
O Muslims, when the month of Ramadan comes, the men of understanding ponder over the beauty and greatness of the ceremony and the overwhelming joy which covers Muslims when receiving that month. They also remember the joy which the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed his Companions about in the Hadith which was reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim in their two Sahih (Books of authentic Hadiths) with the wordings of Al Bukhari (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "There are two occasions of joy for the one who fasts when he breaks his fast, he will be happy and when he meets his Lord, he shall be pleased of his fast." In another wording of Ibn Khuzaymah: "He shall be pleased of the reward of his fast."
This reminds them of thinking about the origin of this joy, its reasons, and the reality of fasting. People know that the fasting of the person who does not abandon untruthful speech and acting according to it, insulting people, and those who do not guard their hearings, sights, and organs against sins will not achieve the objective of fasting. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "A fasting person may gain just hunger and thirst out of his fasting and the one who wakes up at night for Salah may gain only sleeplessness out of that." [Reported by An-Nasa'y in As-Sunan Al Kubra and reported also by Ibn Majah with his own wordings with an authentic chain of narration on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)]. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)" [Reported by Al Bukhari in his Sahih from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)].
The people also know that the fasting of the one —who fasts as he is seeing his countrymen fasting, so he has to observe fasting— does not achieve the objective of fasting. The people also know that the one who fasts against his will or fasts while being hating fasting, does not want to fast, counts the days of Ramadan, and waits to end and go back to his errors and sins does not achieve the objective of fasting.
The meaning of fasting to the men of understanding is different. It is the fast of those who follow a straight method and a good way that will deliver them to the highest ends and the noblest ranks at their Lord when they meet Him. It is the fast of those who receive the Month with strong determination to take the chance of that Month to purify themselves and guard their tongues, sights, and all their organs. It is the fast of those who fast out of faith because it is a right and obedience by which a person draws near to his Lord seeking the reward from Him alone, hoping for gaining the great reward that was mentioned in the Hadith that was reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahih on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." O people, it is a special pardon, according to the majority of scholars, for minor sins but grievous sins cannot be pardoned but through sincere repentance and rendering trusts to their people if they are connected with the rights of people because of the Prophet's saying: "The five (daily) Salah (prayers), and from one Friday Salah to the (next) Friday Salah, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals); provided the major sins are not committed." [Reported by Muslim in his Sahih from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)]. As for the fast of those who count the bounties and favors of Allah (may He be Exalted) in this Month, such as: His Great Bounty, Favors, Mercy, holding devils from annoying the fasting people, such fasting has maintained its conditions, its proprieties are preserved, and anything that may spoil it was avoided. All these are incentives to exert efforts and be keen to gain all these rewards and favors of Allah (may He be Exalted) which He revealed to His Messenger (peace be upon him) in the Hadith that was reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahih with the wordings of Al Bukhari (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained." They also make the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this Month the best provision as Imam Ibn Al Qayyim said: The Prophet's guidance is the best, the most achievable, and the easiest to oneself.
It was part of his Sunnah to increase all types of acts of worship. He used to increase charity, recitation of the Qur'an, Salah, Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), and I'tikaf (retiring to the mosque for worship). He used to single out Ramadan with types of the acts of worship unlike other months. Moreover, Gabriel used to teach him the Qur'an every night and when he met Gabriel, he was more generous with goodness than the blowing wind: which is permanent and continuing.
O people, those who follow this approach and that guidance are the people who shall win at the end by complete happiness and joy when they meet their Lord because they will find there the great reward and high ranks in Paradise. It is the due right of those who exerted efforts, earned lawfully, and worked well to be happy with the output, but those who did not do good and their output was bad how could they be glad on a day when believers shall be happy with the favor, bounty, and mercy of Allah.
So, fear Allah (may Allah bestow mercy on you) and be keen to do righteous actions which shall deliver you to the most perfect happiness and joy. Receive your month as should with industriousness and competition in doing good. Exert efforts and show to Allah that you are keen to goodness because, by Allah, it is a good chance and happy will be the one who shall take it. I seek refuge in Allah against the cursed Satan: "The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fast) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fast) must be made up] from other days. Allâh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allâh [i.e. to say Takbîr (Allâhu Akbar; Allâh is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him." [Surat Al Baqarah: 185].
May Allah make you and me benefit from the guidance of His Book and from the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace be upon him). These are my words to you and I seek the forgiveness of Allah, the Most Glorious, for myself as well as all Muslims, for He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving.
All praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His Help and guidance. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of ourselves and the evils of our actions, whom Allah guides there is no one can mislead and whom Allah misleads no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah Alone who has no partner and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. O Allah! Send peace and blessings on Your Servant and Messenger Muhammad, upon his family, and his Companions.
O people, the joy of a fasting person with his fasting is not limited to knowing the reward which Allah prepared for those who observe fasting, but because fasting also is one of the greatest causes of piety as Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) informed His Servants in His Saying: "O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)." [Surat Al-Baqarah: 183].
Fasting, as some scholars said, is the best way to reach that end which contains the happiness of a person in terms of his religion, world, and Hereafter. A person who observes fasting draws closer to His Lord by abandoning things he desires and advances the love of his Lord to the love of himself. Therefore, Allah singled out fasting with all that reward among other acts of worship as was mentioned in the authentic Hadith that was reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim with the wordings of Al Bukhari from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) says: Every good deed of Adam's son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it."
That Month contains increase in faith, practice to patience and hardships, as it is a cause for increasing the acts of worship, such as Salah, recitation, Dhirk, charities, etc. All these achieve one objective which is piety and deterring oneself from committing prohibited matters. The Month also contains fearing Allah and knowing that He is watching over our actions, therefore a person leaves what he desires while being able to do it because he knows that Allah is watching over him; and no doubt that is one of the great pillars of piety. Furthermore, fasting tightens the passages of Satan inside the blood of a person, accordingly, its power and control over a person decrease and sins are reduced. No wonder that a Muslim feels a great joy whenever the Month of Ramadan approaches.
Therefore, O people, fear Allah and be keen to take the chance and benefit from that Month, beware not to waste it, and mention frequently that Allah (Glory be to Him) commanded you to send peace and blessing upon the seal of all prophets, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah when He says: "Allâh sends His Salât (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy) on the Prophet (Muhammad peace be upon him), and also His angels (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salât on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad peace be upon him), and (you should) greet (salute) him with the Islâmic way of greeting (salutation i.e. As-Salâmu 'Alaikum)." [Surat Al Ahzab: 56].
O Allah, send peace and blessings upon Your Servant and Messenger Muhammad and be pleased with his Four-Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman, `Ali, all Companions, the Followers, and those who follow them righteously until the Day of Recompense. O Allah, include us among them with Your Pardon, Generosity, and Benevolence, for You are the Most Generous.
O Allah, make Islam and Muslim victorious! O Allah, Make Islam and Muslim victorious! O Allah, Make Islam and Muslim victorious! Protect the religion, and destroy the enemy of Islam and all tyrants and corrupt people. O Allah, set harmony among the hearts of Muslims, unite their rows and their leaders, and gather their words on the truth, O Lord of the Worlds.
O Allah, provide victory for Your Religion, Book, the Sunnah of Your Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and Your Truthful believing servants.
O Allah, we make You in the chests of Your Enemy and our enemy, O Lord of the Worlds. O Allah, we make You in their chests and we seek refuge with You against their evils. O Allah, we make You in their chests and we seek refuge with You against their evils. O Allah, we ask You to protect us from Your Enemy and our enemy as you like. O Allah, we ask You to protect us from Your Enemy and our enemy as you like. O Allah, we ask You to protect us from Your Enemy and our enemy as you like.
O Allah, make our final destination good in all matters and protect us from the shame of the world and the torment of the Hereafter. O Allah, reform our religion which is all we got in this life, reform our world in which we live, reform our Hereafter to which will be our final destination, and make the world good for us and death a rest for us from all evils.
O Allah, guard Muslims against epidemics. O Allah, guard Muslims against epidemics. O Allah, guard them against all afflictions, O Allah, guard Muslims against epidemics and guard them against all afflictions. O Allah, cure our sick people, bestow mercy on our dead, and make us fulfill our hopes in the way that pleases You.
O Allah, help us fast Ramadan, perform Qiyam (special voluntary night Salah to be observed after `Isha' during Ramadan), and grant us success in things that please You. O Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if You do not pardon and show mercy to us, we shall be of the losers. O Lord, give us a reward in this world, a reward in the Hereafter, and protect us against Hell-Fire. O Allah, send peace and blessings upon Your Servant and Messenger Prophet Muhammad, upon his family, and all his Companions. Praised be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds [i.e., people].