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Friday Sermon : When Ramadan Enters, The Gates Of Mercy Are Opened

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All What You Need To Know About Ramadan Fasting

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and His Messenger.

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that, when the month Ramadan enters, the gates of heaven (Jannah) are opened, the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained, according to the Hadith in two Sahihs (Bukhari and Muslim).

Respected brothers and sisters! Ramadan is a month in which goodness increases and good deeds are multiplied and mercies descend. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith (iman) and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And whoever spends the nights of Ramadan in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins (Bukhari and Muslim).

And the Merciful month of Ramadan has;

“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” [Qur’an, 97:3]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was keen about it and sought it out. For that reason, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would seclude himself in the Mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan and say:

“Look for Lailatul-Qadr (Night of Decree) in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah the Almighty said:

“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 crescent of] the month, let him fast it.” [Qur’an, 2: 185]

“And the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous in Ramadan when Jibril met him. Jibril use to meet him every night during the month of Ramadan and study Qur’an with him. And the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was more generous in doing good than the generous wind.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And Umrah is recommended in Ramadan. For the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“For Umrah in Ramadan is (equal in reward) to Hajj.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Dear servants of Allah! Ramadan is the month of private worship. For a person may refrain from food, drink, and all things that break the fast but is not actually fasting, because they have not intended to fast, or because their heart is devoid of Iman (faith), or because they do not perform the obligatory prayers. So Allah Almighty attributed fasting to Himself saying:

“Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it. And the breath of one observing fasting is better to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” [Bukhari]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Every good deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied. A good deed will be multiplied ten times up to as many as seven hundred times, or as much as Allah wills. Allah says: ‘Except for fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desire and his food for My sake.’” [Muslim]

And despite these virtues and rewards, a fasting person may only attain hunger from their fasting. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

This is because such a person combined fasting with performing sins, false speech, idle talk and wasting time. Such a person is in loss. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“May the one upon whom Ramadan enters but is not forgiven be humiliated.” [See Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

The believer that is keen to attain the mercy of their Lord in Ramadan makes plenty of supplications before Ramadan that they are able to receive the month in a state of wellbeing, strength, peace, safety and security. For there were those wishing to fast the month of Ramadan, but are not able to do so for valid reasons. While there are others whose passing cut off their hopes of reaching the month. And there are Muslims who fast in fear due to the lack of security in their areas.

Be grateful to Allah Almighty for His favour upon you for letting you reach Ramadan. And supplicate much to Him the Almighty that He completes His favour upon you by granting you success to excel in fasting and praying at night. And ask Allah the Exalted plentifully for help in performing acts of worship with proficiency and sincerity. For a person is weak and is completely dependent upon the help of Allah.

Then if the month passes, we should ask Allah Almighty to accept our fasting, our night prayers and our good deeds and to overlook our mistakes, errors and missteps and to not make us among the losers. For this is the way of the righteous. They perform righteous deeds and safeguard them from errors and deficiencies. And in spite of that they are fearful that Allah Almighty may not accept their deeds. Allah the Almighty said:

“And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord.” [Qur’an, 23:60]

Dear brothers and sisters! The fasting person who is keen to attain the bounties of Allah Almighty in Ramadan must make the best use of their time in seeking the pleasure of their Lord. So they should not waste a part of Ramadan or even one moment within it. They should occupy their time with acts of obedience such as prayer, sadaqah (charity), remembrance of Allah (Zikr), reciting and reflecting upon the Qur’an, and night prayer and giving and acts of goodness. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If a man prays with the Imam until he leaves, that will be counted for him as if he spent the whole night in prayer.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

And the fasting person who is keen on attaining the forgiveness of their Lord in the month of Ramadan shall avoid idle speech, quarrelling and disputing as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) instructed:

“When anyone of you is fasting, let him not utter evil or raise his voice in anger and if anyone insults him or wants to fight, let him say, I am a person who is fasting.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The one keen to free themselves from the Fire in Ramadan should not occupy themselves with time-wasters and sinful matters. For fasting does not mean to only refrain from eating, drinking and intimate relations. Rather, it is to constrain the sight from looking at the forbidden. And to restrain the hearing from listening to the prohibited. And to restrain the tongue from uttering obscene, evil and cheap speech. And to restrain the hands from extending to what Allah Almighty has forbidden. And restraining the feet from going to what incurs the wrath of Allah the Exalted.

Respected servants of Allah! Be conscious of Allah Almighty and obey Him and supplicate plentifully. For the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There are three whose supplication are not rejected, the supplication of a parent, the supplication of a fasting person and the supplication of a traveler.” [Sahih Al-Jami’]

And Allah the Almighty said:

“And when My servants ask you 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.” [Qur’an, 2: 186]

And Allah Almighty has placed this verse in the middle of the verses about fasting in Surah Al-Baqarah.

So be keen to make plenty of supplications (Du’a) throughout the month of Ramadan and not just at the time of breaking the fast. And repeatedly ask your Lord over and over. And supplicate the supplication of one who is in utter and utmost need. And do not be stingy with yourselves. For your Lord is near, merciful and answering.

I ask Allah the Almighty to make us among those who occupy themselves with what raises their ranks with their Lord and make the most out of these blessed days. May Allah Almighty accept our fasting, prayers and good deeds. Indeed Allah is All Hearing, Answering.

I conclude with this and send prayers of blessings and peace upon our beloved Prophet as our Lord commanded:

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” [Qur’an, 33: 56]

O Allah, guide us with those whom You have guided, grant us well-being among those You have granted well-being, be an ally to us along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless what You have bestowed upon us, and save us from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree over You. He whom You support can never be humiliated. Glory is to You, our Lord, You are Blessed and Exalted.

O Allah, We ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know. O Allah, we seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know. O Allah, we ask You for the good that Your servant and Prophet (Peace be upon him) has asked You for, and we seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your servant and Prophet sought refuge. O Allah, we ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and we seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And we ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning us good.

Dear servants of Allah! Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters. And, establish the prayer.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, 19 Sha’aban, 1445 AH (March 1st, 2024).

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