Beloved Friday Jemaah,
Let us increase our efforts to boost our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. Seek religious knowledge, so that we can continue to improve our understanding of the laws, commands and prohibitions ordained by Allah. May Allah place us among those who have takwa and faith.
We are now in the month of Syaaban. Time has passed by really fast. I can still clearly remember celebrating Ramadan and Eid last year. The year that has passed has been very valuable. We can never recover the time that has passed. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the value of time that Allah has blessed upon us because we keep thinking that will live a long life, that tomorrow will always come, and that we will have the opportunity to usher in Syaaban and Ramadan in the coming year.
Let us not be like those who realise how precious every second is only when they are at the end of their lives, or on their deathbeds! Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Mukminun verses 99 – 100:
Which means: “(In Falsehood will they be) Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: "O my Lord! Send me back (to life), – "In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected." – "By no means! It is but a word he says."- Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up.”
In appreciating the gift of time that Allah has bestowed upon us, let us reflect upon the state of our relationship with Allah s.w.t. We may be among those who have good relations with other people; always donating generously, helping those in need and well-liked by our family and friends. However, does the same apply when it comes to our relationship with Allah the Almighty? The One who created everything for us? Have we given enough of our time to Allah and to supplicate to Him?
Let us take advantage of the month of Syaaban to bring ourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. by understanding how our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. filled his time throughout the month of Syaaban. Nabi s.a.w. said:
Which means: “Syaaban is the month which humankind often neglect. It is the month between Rejab and Ramadan. It is the month where all of the servant’s deeds are brought to the Lord of the universe. Thus, I like to fast when my deeds are brought up. [Hadith narrated An-Nasaie’]
Imagine jemaah, how is the state of our record of deeds throughout this year? What would our value be when our book of deeds are opened and presented to Allah s.w.t, the Creator? If our books of deeds are presented to us today, would we be happy and proud of it? Or would we be embarrassed and filled with regrets, wising that we had done more good deeds? Just reflect upon how the Prophet s.a.w. – despite being infallible (maksum) – still continued to strive hard and was diligent in increasing his worship in the month of Syaaban.
Blessed Friday jemaah,
Syaaban is a sign that Ramadan will soon be here. Every mukmin who is aware of the advantages of the month will definitely strive hard and increase their deeds throughout Syaaban with the hope that Allah s.w.t. will grant the believer the strength to be able to usher in Ramadan.
Among the deeds that is a sunnah for us in this month of Syaaban is to fast more often. As narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, the wife of Rasul s.a.w. ‘Aisyah r.a. said: “I have never seen Rasulullah fast more than during the month of Syaaban”.
Among the hikmah or wisdom behind why we are encouraged to increase our fasting in Syaaban is to prepare us for Ramadan. In fact, we are also encouraged to perform other acts of worship that we often perform in Ramadan.
During Ramadan, we are encouraged to increase our sunnah deeds such as reading the Quran, making zikir, performing solat tahajjud and witir, solat dhuha and acts of charity. In order to be able to perform these deeds easily and with consistency (Istiqamah), we need ample practice. This is where the month of Syaaban offers us the opportunity to practice these acts. With practice, it will come naturally and easily for us to perform them during Ramadan.
It is narrated that an ulama, Abu Bakar Al-Balkhi, once said: “The month of Rejab is for sowing (the seeds). The month of Syaaban is to water the plants. And the month of Ramadan is to reap the fruits.” [Kitab Lathoif Al-Ma’aarif]
Besides preparing ourselves spiritually by increasing our acts of worship, a believer must also realise that one needs to prepare oneself intellectually as well, and that is done by continuously seeking knowledge. Year after year we will hear questions from some individuals within the community about errors or mistakes that they made while fasting, causing them to be uncertain as to whether the fast is still valid or has been nullified.
A mukmin should learn about the laws of Islam and matters pertaining to it. For example, learning about deeds that are encouraged when a person is fasting, as well as what nullifies or affects one’s fast. Armed with knowledge, we can then prevent ourselves from carrying out actions or deeds that can taint our fast.
Let us encourage each other (our friends and family members) to work together to enliven the spirit of Syaaban by performing acts of worship and increasing our knowledge. Take the opportunity in the month of Syaaban to prepare ourselves to usher in the holy month of Ramadan. Hopefully by doing as such we will gain the love and pleasure of Allah s.w.t., and be among those who attain success in this world and the hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin