Blessed Friday Jemaah,
In this month full of barakah, let us work together toward increasing our takwa to Allah s.w.t. by obeying His commands with steadfastness and diligence, and avoid what Allah has forbidden for us.
As we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, it is only appropriate that as believers, we welcome this blessed month with sincere intentions and a sense of determination to reap the best rewards that this month has to offer.
Let it be known that the heart of a believer will be full of joy and determination to attain a purity of heart through the many opportunities laid out in this blessed month. Every test and hurdle that one faces while fasting and performing other acts of worship in this month, will be met with utmost determination.
Remember the Salafus Soleh, whenever Ramadan came they will say: "Marhaban bil Muthahhir!" which means "Welcome the Month of Cleansing!” for this is the month of cleansing from sins and mistakes. Let us reflect upon the hadith of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, which we often hear during Ramadan:
Which means: "Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim]
Imagine jemaah, those whose fasting throughout Ramadan is accepted by Allah, then they will be rewarded with Allah’s forgiveness for their past sins. I am sure that all of us here would want this reward because none of us are free from committing sins and mistakes. Hence, as believers (mukmin), we should strive to achieve this golden opportunity to attain Allah’s forgiveness. Allah says in surah Az-Zumar verse 52:
Which means: Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
For us to reap these benefits and to achieve perfection in our fasting, there are two suggestions that I will share today.
First: We need to protect our fast from actions and deeds that will harm our fasting or may reduce the rewards from our acts of worship. Rasulullah s.a.w said:
Which means: "Whoever does not abandon falsehood and action in accordance with it and foolishness, Allah has no need that he should abandon his food and drink”. [Hadith reported by Imam Bukhari].
A companion of the Prophet s.a.w, Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Anshari r.a once advised: " If you fast, let your hearing, sight and tongue observe fasting from lying and sins. You should desist from harming your neighbour, and be distinguished by solemnity and calmness on the day you observe fasting and do not make the day on which you break your fasting and the day you fast the same (in behaviour)”. [Hadith reported by Ibnu Abi Syaibah and Al-Baihaqi]
Hence, we should be conscious of our actions and words, including what we write on social media. Imagine, the loss of those who do not guard their manners and morals (akhlak) when they are fasting, and in the end they do not gain anything from their fasting except hunger and thirst. Remember, it is not only our speech and sense that will be held accountable in front of Allah s.w.t., but also what our fingers type.
The second step for us to undertake is: To improve our spiritual acts in this blessed month.
Enliven Ramadan by embracing the spirit of Ramadan in all aspects of our lives, whether from an individual aspect, family and also within the community. This month is a golden opportunity for us to strive to bring ourselves closer to the mosque by strengthening our relationship with the Creator of this universe, Allah s.w.t.
Plant in our hearts the desire to khatam the Quran at least once this holy month. And this requires self-discipline and steadfastness (istiqamah), which at first may be difficult but will eventually become a habit if we practise it often.
This was exemplified by Rasulullah s.a.w. himself, he often read the Quran and held tadarus sessions (reciting the Quran with others), as reported by Ibnu Abbas r.a that the Prophet s.a.w. often did the tadarus with the angel Jibril a.s. every night during Ramadan. [Hadith reported by Imam Bukhari and Muslim]
Let us call upon our family members to be diligent in grabbing this golden opportunity and strive hard to reap as many rewards and benefits through fasting and the Quran. They are the ones most dear to us, and we definitely want the best for them, not just worldly aspects, but more so their future in the hereafter. This is also the time for us to strengthen our family ties and deepen the love we have toward our family, through fasting, reading and understanding the Quran, and other acts of worship and virtues.
By ensuring that we observe our fast with faith, reciting the Quran with sincerity, devotion and humility, we hope to be blessed with the syafa’at from both our fasting and the Quran on the Day of Judgement, as the Prophet s.a.w. said in a hadith: “Fasting and Al-Quran will bring syafaat to a servant. So says the fast: Oh my Lord, Verily I have prevented him from eating and drinking in the day, so give me leave to give syafaat to him. And thus says Al-Quran: Oh my Lord, I have kept him from sleeping in the night, so please let me give syafaat to him. And the two, Fasting and Al-Quran are allowed to give syafaat." [Hadith reported by Imam Ahmad]
May in this Ramadan, we become servants of Allah who are more diligent in trying to gain Allah’s pleasure, with a pure heart full of sincerity, free of arrogance and pride, and may we be given the opportunity to perform good deeds that will benefit the community and ourselves. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Khutbah Jumaat, 4 July 2014 / 6 Ramadan 1435