Dear Friday Jemaah blessed by Allah,
Alhamdulillah, let us extend our gratitude to Allah s.w.t, for it is with His mercy and His love that we are able to meet the blessed month of Ramadan. Therefore, in appreciation for these blessings, let us strive together to achieve the main purpose of Ramadan, which is to make us Allah’s servants who are God-conscious, by heeding all His commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us.
My dear brothers,
Ramadan is the month of barakah. Ramadan is the month of forgiveness. It is the month of the Quran, where we are highly encouraged to read the Quran and understand its meaning. Allah s.w.t says in surah Al-Baqarah verse 185:
Which means: 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. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
We have also been given the opportunity during this month, to cleanse ourselves of any vices and sins. This is the chance for us to return to our fitrah, which is pure, thus erasing the dirt on ourselves. Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
This means: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking reward and blessings (from God) his previous sins will be forgiven” (Bukhari & Muslim)
For us to attain the beauty of Ramadan to the best of our abilities, who else can we emulate if not our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. We should not just emulate how Rasulullah fasted during Ramadan, but to also appreciate his virtues and his character throughout this blessed month. One of the values emphasised by Rasulullah s.a.w. during Ramadan is to be generous in giving. Ibn Abbas r.a. reported:
“Rasulullah s.a.w. was the most generous of all the people, and he was even more generous in the month of Ramadan when Jibril a.s met him. Jibril used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him (revise the recitation of) the Qur’an. Indeed Rasulullah s.a.w is more generous in doing good deeds than the wind that is blowing. (Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari).
From this hadith, we learn that Ramadan is actually the month for training ourselves to be generous in giving. Imagine how generous the Prophet s.a.w. was during Ramadan, or even outside of Ramadan. His concern and empathy toward those who are less fortunate was so outstanding that it became an example for his companions r.a.
In fact, in many of the deeds that are very much encouraged during Ramadan, we observe a certain message underlying them. For example: Through congregational terawih prayers, we stand in a row with our brothers, every night during this holy month, and this is actually to teach us about the importance of ukhuwah among fellow Muslims, loving our brothers even though we may have differences of opinion regarding several issues. These differences should not cause our unity and strong bonds to fray.
On this occasion, I would like to suggest something that we can try to undertake throughout this month. We can aim to achieve it during this holy month. The target that I am referring to is: To make this Ramadan a month for us to muhasabah, and reflect upon ourselves. To strengthen our relationship with Allah s.w.t. and all His creations.
My dear brothers, throughout Ramadan, let us try this: Every night before we go to bed, take a few minutes to reflect upon our lives thus far. Are we closer to Allah s.w.t? How is our relationship with Allah? Have we performed what Allah has made obligatory upon us? If we still miss our five daily prayers, then this Ramadan, let us start ensuring that we guard our prayers, which is a pillar of our religion. If there are those among us who are unable to read and recite the Quran yet, then let us strive to learn to read the Quran. Mosques nationwide are currently offering various solat courses and Quranic programmes. So let’s take the opportunity during this blessed month to change for the better and rebuild our relationship with Allah the Almighty.
For those who have been given the strength from Allah to guard their five daily prayers, and have been blessed with the knowledge of reading the Quran, make it a habit during this Ramadan to increase our ibadah by performing terawih and tahajjud prayers. We should also strive to complete reading the entire Quran, understanding and appreciating the lessons taught in the Quran and then applying these lessons in our daily lives.
Dear jemaah, we must also aim to better our ties with one another. If there are those among us that we have not spoken to for a long time, then take this Ramadan as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship and ukhuwah. If any of us have uttered words that have hurt others, then how long is this discord going to last? Take the opportunity of this holy month to emulate the Prophet’s character of being forgiving. Don’t we ourselves seek Allah’s forgiveness everyday by reciting this doa throughout Ramadan:
Which means: O Allah, You are the Lord who likes to forgive, therefore forgive our sins.
Why don’t we apply this supplication, which we recite daily, to our lives by forgiving the mistakes of our brothers. Hopefully, by doing so, we are able to truly understand how Ramadan trains our spirituality and our akhlak.
My dear jemaah, let us strive to be consistent (istiqamah), and do not forget to make doa asking from Allah, so that we are able to emulate the Prophet as best as we can, in strengthening our relationship with Allah and our relationship with others.
May this Ramadan bring about a profound impact in us, as we strive to gain Allah’s mercy and maghfirah, and ask from Allah to free us from the tortures of the Hellfire.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 12 July 2013 / 3 Ramadan 1434