Friday Sermon: Ramadan – Approaching the Month of Mercy, By Murtadha Gusau

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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise and thank be to Allah. He has blessed us with seasons in which the rewards for good deeds are multiplied and attributed, particularly Ramadan with greater virtues and blessings. In it, He the Almighty has urged us to strive in acts of worship.

I bear witness that there is no deity but Him, having no associates.

I also testify that Muhammad is His Messenger, the best of servants who prayed, fasted and honoured ties of kinship. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our master Muhammad, his family, his companions, and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment. Ameen.

Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you and myself to be mindful of Allah the Almighty and obey Him, in light of what He says:

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 183]

Dear Servants of Allah, time goes by so quickly and because days and months are short the noble Qur’an urges us to recall the days of Allah, as He says:

“And remind them of the days of Allah. Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful.” [Surah Ibrahim: 5]

The meaning of this Qur’anic verse is shown in the Hadith by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) when he said:

“Days of Allah means the grace (favours) of Allah.”

His blessings upon us are countless: He has conferred upon us Islam, guided us to faith, bequeathed us a land that we are  benefitting from its goodness, blessed us with abundant provision and granted us a just Prophet who cares for us, to name but a few. For all of these and others we must praise him.

Respected brothers and sisters, it was reported that when the sacred month of Ramadan was approaching, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would gather his Companions and remind them of Allah’s favours upon them, saying:

“There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.”

Dear Servants of Allah, as we are on the threshold of Ramadan, in which Allah grants rewards as measured by Himself as mentioned by the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for My sake, and I will give a reward for it.”

Let us therefore prepare for it with Zikr and praising Allah for He sent down (revealed) the Qur’an in this noble month. The Glorified and Exalted is He says:

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 185]

Let us also increase our prayers and recitation of Qur’an and ponder its meanings. The Companions, may Allah pleased with them, used to read Qur’an and remember Allah, seeking His rewards and pardon as well as purity. The Almighty says:

“O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts (hearts) and guidance and mercy for the believers.” [Surah Yunus: 57]

For Muslims, Qur’an and fasting Ramadan are path to intercession and forgiveness. It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“Fasting and Qur’an will intercede on behalf of the servant, fasting will say, “O Allah I deprived him from eating and drinking, let me intercede for him.” In addition, The Qur’an says, “O Allah I deprived him from sleeping at night let me intercede for him.” In the end, they are permitted to intercede on his behalf.”

Dear Servants of Allah, please seize the opportunity while you are closer to Allah by supplicating to Him. Indeed prayer (Du’a) is the fruit of worshipping, rather its core and essence. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“verily supplication (Du’a) is worship.”

As it is associated with fasting. The Almighty says:

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 186]

So let us supplicate to our Lord further, for ourselves, our families, our loved ones, living and dead, our leaders, our nations/countries and anyone who has a right upon us, including our leaders and rulers.

Indeed, glad tidings to those who have their minds guided to Zikr and their breasts (hearts) expanded to glorify their Lord. With this spirit, they can think, reflect and ask for forgiveness. Our Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“A man does nothing to rescue himself from Allah’s punishment better than remembering Allah (Zikr).”

This is a call for us to remember Allah during days and nights because He the Almighty is pleased with His servants who remember Him when they eat and drink, or when they make a mistake or forget. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Indeed Allah is pleased with the servant who, upon eating his food or drinking his drink, he praises Him for it.”

So as we remember our Lord, He does, and as we praises Him He increases His blessing upon us.

Dear Muslims, as Ramadan is starting, it is one of the perfect times to remember Allah and ask for His forgiveness. The Exalted is He says:

“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Surah An-Nur: 31]

The believer needs to benefit from the repentance reward and so to make up for what he may forget or ignore. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to supplicate:

“O Allah, forgive me my faults, my ignorance, my immoderation in my concern. And you are better aware (of my affairs) than myself. O Allah, grant me forgiveness (of the faults which I committed) seriously or otherwise (and which I committed) inadvertently and deliberately. All these (failings) are in me. O Allah, grant me forgiveness from the faults, which I did in haste or deferred, which I committed in privacy or in public and you are better aware (of them) than myself. You are the First and the Last and over all things you are Omnipotent.”

Dear Servants of Allah, truly Ramadan is a month of charity, a month of goodness and forgiveness. So please do good for the sake of Allah by giving Sadaqah and Zakah to help the needy fulfill their fasting and prayers. Please pay your Zakah through reliable entities like Mosques and Zakah and Waqf centers and give your Sadaqah to Islamic charities centers so that your giving be beneficially distributed. Another good act during Ramadan is offering Iftar (breakfast meal) for fasting people. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for his is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.”

Furthermore, you are asked to adopt the best of manners in dealing with people, for fasting is a protection from committing sins. Our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to advise people to have a good attitude and be patient. He (Peace be upon him) would say:

“If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting’.”

Dear brothers and sisters, knowing this, we need to show the positive meaning of fasting by treating everyone well, keeping a smile and accomplishing our tasks and duties perfectly well.

So turn to Allah through acts of worship, pray to him by obedience and sincerely thank Him.

Indeed, whoever is granted mercy during the fasting month, is, by Allah’s grace, forgiven; whoever is denied its benefits, is deprived; and whoever fails to avail himself of its goodness for his after-life, is to blame.

With this in mind,  may Allah make us to be amongst those who will witness the coming Ramadan, bless it for us all and accept our fasting. May Allah help us also to obey You, Your Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and those You have decreed on us to obey in compliance with You orders. Allah Almighty says:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.” [Surah An-Nisa’: 59]

Dear brothers and sisters, with the most precious guest, the month of Ramadan, just a couple of days away, it’s time to prepare our hearts to welcome it. And among the ways to do so is by getting a headstart on your good deeds.

Greet your Ramadan with Sadaqah and schedule your donation to our Islamic centers today! Your donation will be automatically processed on the first of Ramadan In Shaa Allah.

May Allah soften our hearts and fortify our souls in preparation for this truly special guest.

May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of His Messenger (Peace be upon him) and benefit us all in whatever is in them.

I say this and ask Allah the Great, the Most Honoured for forgiveness for me, for you and for all the Muslims for every sin committed, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

And I pray, May Allah grant us the opportunity to witness this coming month of Ramadan in good health, ameen.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for, delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 19, 1442 AH (April 02, 2021).

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