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Sh Haitham: Prepare for Lockdown Ramadan

All praises are to Allāh, the Most Kind and Most Merciful, and may His peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).

“If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail”

The month of Ramadan will arrive in the next few days. We ask Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) to keep us alive in order to witness this blessed month. Āmīn.

One of the early scholars, Ma’ali bin Fudail, recalls about the companions and the early generations:

“They used to ask Allāh the Almighty six months before Ramadan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadan, and they used to ask Allāh the Almighty six months after Ramadan to accept their fasting.”

SubhanAllāh, their whole year was for this month. As one of the scholars said: “The entire year is about Ramadan.”

They would think about Ramadan six months ahead of its conception, and they would think of Ramadan six months after its completion. But why? The answer is simple: Ramadan is the most important month of the year.

It is through this that Ramadan is the 9th Hijri month in the Islamic calendar. And Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) mentioned it by name once in the Qur’ān, which means that it appears once – a unique opportunity. If you lose it, you have truly deprived yourself.

Why are they losing?

This was confirmed in the hadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) when he was with his companions.

Abū Huraira reported: The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) ascended the pulpit and said, “Āmīn, āmīn, āmīn.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allāh, you ascended the pulpit and said āmīn, āmīn, āmīn.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Jibrīl came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire, and Allāh will cast him far away, so say āmīn. I said āmīn. Whoever sees his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and he does not honour them and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire, and Allāh will cast him far away, so say āmīn. I said āmīn. Whoever has your name mentioned in his presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire, and Allāh will cast him far away, so say āmīn. I said āmīn.”

Every time Jibrīl uttered a statement, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) replied ‘āmīn’, signalling that he is in agreement. Therefore, the person who witnesses the entire month of Ramadan but does not receive the forgiveness of all his previous sins by Allāh is deprived, and they are in a losing state.

Missing the Opportunities

Consider how many opportunities Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has given us during the month of Ramadan in order for all of our previous sins to be forgiven.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

“Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allāh’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”[1]

The one who fasts Ramadan out of belief that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) commanded him or her to fast, all whilst seeking the reward of it with the two conditions in place, he or she will have all of their previous sins forgiven, SubhānAllāh.

Some scholars have said that a person’s major sins will also be forgiven. Other scholars have said this forgiveness is limited to the minor sins. But even if this is the case, and the reward is limited to the minor sins, isn’t that great? Isn’t worth chasing after? This is the time to have all of our previous sins forgiven; this is the first chance that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has given us.

Abū Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whosoever performs Qiyām (optional night prayer) during Ramadan out of faith and being hopeful of Allāh’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”[2]

What an amazing reward for an amazing act! This is in addition to the many other virtues we have for establishing Qiyām ul-Layl.

Even if you miss these two opportunities, there is a third:

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whosoever performs Qiyām (optional night prayer) during Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Decree), out of faith and being hopeful of Allāh’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”[3]

Therefore, if you observe Qiyām ul-Layl every day in the last 10 nights, you are certainly going to observe Qiyām ul-Layl during Laylat al-Qadr, as Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has legislated this.

Perhaps you miss the first, second, and third opportunity, by the end of Ramadan you still have a unique opportunity to have all your previous sins forgiven, including being free from the Hellfire.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“And there are those who were destined for the fire whom Allāh ransoms from it every single night.”

On every single one of its nights, Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) frees His slaves who were bound for the Hellfire. Some scholars have said that it is more during the last 10 nights of Ramadan.

Two conditions are required

It is just one month. One single month. Exert all your effort during this month. Free yourself during this month. Consider yourself as being in an emergency situation. This month is only 30 days. If we want to utilise all of these opportunities, then we need to prepare for them. Before exploring how to do this, we should be reminded of something very important.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allāh’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”[4]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) put these two conditions for attaining the forgiveness of Allāh.

1. Believing that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) commanded you to fast, or to establish Qiyām al-layl (night prayer)

Believing in His legislation, His hukm (legislation), and that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) will reward you for that.

2. Seeking the reward that Allāh promised you

These are the two conditions. We do not want to be Muslims who fast the month of Ramadan simply because other people are fasting. We do not want to be Muslims who fast the month of because it is embarrassing if we do not. We do not even want to Muslims who fast the month because it is a habit. The obligation might be lifted, but the reward might not be granted. It is indeed possible that the obligation of fasting Ramadan might be lifted, but the reward might not be attained.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“Islam is built upon five: to worship Allāh and to disbelieve in what is worshiped besides him; to establish prayer; to give charity; to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to The Sacred House; and to fast the month of Ramadan.[5]

Fasting the long summer days

It is natural to find it difficult, especially if we think of depriving ourselves from food, drink, and sexual activities in those long days for such long hours. This year, the people of the UK will be fasting 18-19 hours. Our brothers and sisters in Northern Europe may be fasting 20+ hours. It is indeed difficult, but once you balance that natural reaction with remembering the reward, then you will be happy that Allāh has granted you the opportunity to fast the entire month of Ramadan.

As a result of this difficulty, we mark the completion of Ramadan by celebrating the day of Eid. Eid is a day that is nothing but a celebration for the blessings that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has given us. That is why Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“You complete the prescribed period and glorify Him for the guidance He has given you, so that you may be thankful.”[6]

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O you who have believed, fasting has been decreed upon you as it was decreed upon those before you so that you may become mindful of Allāh.”[7] 

Fast Ramadan with this spirit and see that the first element for any success is to change your mindset, to change your perception. The best motivation for yourself comes from within; even if others motivate you, that motivation has to be embedded and internalised within you, and once you have that, you will push yourself to achieve great things.

The innumerable reward

There is nothing better to motivate yourself than thinking of the reward of fasting, thinking of the forgiveness of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā).

Abū Umāmah came to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as he was going for jihād. He said to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam): “I am going jihād and ask Allāh to die as a martyr.”

He came back with booty of war but did not die as a martyr.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said to him: “stick to fasting because nothing is equal to fasting.”[8]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) said in a hadīth Qudsī:

“Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except for fasting. It is for Me and I will reward it.”[9]

The scholars have commented as to why Allāh did not specify a specific reward for fasting. They said it is because Allāh made the reward unlimited. That is why Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“The patient will be rewarded without any limit.”[10]

What does that mean?

Some scholars have said the sābirūn refers to those who are fasting as they are observing patience during the entire month. It is sabr against the desires of food, hunger, thirst, lust, and sexual relations. Fast Ramadan with this spirit in order to maximise your reward during this blessed month.

Moreover, there are many virtues we can attain and activities we can undertake during the month of Ramadan. The days will be long, the weather will be hot, and we will most likely be staying at home due to the lockdown.

One of the scholars, Al-Hasan al-Basrī, said:

“The hūr al-ʿayn will say to a walī of Allāh whilst reclining with her by a river of honey and being presented with a cup, ‘Allāh looked upon you on a very long hot day, experiencing severe thirst and so Allāh boasted about you before the Angels saying, ‘Look at my slave, he has forsaken his wife, desire, pleasure, food, and drink for My sake and for what is with Me, [so] bear witness that I have forgiven him!’ So, he forgave you that day and wed me to you.’”

Your Ramadan Checklist

It is very likely that this lockdown will continue throughout the month of Ramadan. Do not complain that the masājid are closed and therefore we cannot do much. The successful person can be successful in any circumstance, under any situation. The failing person, even if you give him 100,000 meanings of success, will still be failing. It is all in the mindset that you adopt.

Do not have a defeatist mindset; have the mindset of successful people, the mindset of leaders. Have the mindset of those who are working for their ākhirah irrespective of the situation they are in. Once you do that, you will be truly successful.

Other than walking to the masājid, which we are undoubtedly missing, this lockdown is an opportunity in disguise. Some of us are not commuting to work anymore, thus saving precious time. I advise you to plan for this period. Some people plan for the TV and the shows they are going to watch, others plan for the food they are going to eat at iftār, and the last thing they plan for is what kind of lifestyle they want to observe in order to get the most out of Ramadan.

1. Plan that you pray in congregation inside

Pray at home with your family, including your children. If you do not have children, establish the prayer between you and your wife. Pray in jamā’ah (congregation), and prepare well for this. Make the ādhān, and do not abandon it.

“If the people knew the reward for pronouncing the ādhān and for standing in the first row (in congregational prayers) and found no other way to get that except by drawing lots, they would draw lots.”[11]

The ādhān expels the shaytān. The ādhān brings in the angels to pray behind you in your home. The ādhān has so many blessings. Allāh might look at you when you are making the ādhān and He may say to His angels: “be witnesses that I have forgiven all of his previous sins.”

2. Do your iftār together

Do iftār together, not by yourself.

3. Improve your language

Do not use foul language. Smile with each other and do not become frustrated.

4. Fix your relationship with your parents, your spouse, and your close relatives

Say to yourself ‘we are opening a new chapter’.

5. Plan how much Qur’ān you are going to read

Plan to read. Hold Qur’ān circles.

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ

“The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’ān was revealed.”[12]

All the scholars would dedicate more time for the recitation of the Qur’ān during the month of Ramadan. It is the easiest, quickest, and one of the most effective ways to gain reward. You will receive at least 3 million hasanāt (good deeds) for completing a reading of the Qur’ān during the month of Ramadan. This could be multiplied by 10, totalling 30 million hasanāt.

6. Charity

The Prophet was the most charitable person in Ramadan.

Do not use this lockdown as an excuse for not achieving anything during the month of Ramadan. May Allāh make us amongst the most successful people during this month.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri, 38

[2] Al-Bukhāri and Muslim

[3] Al-Bukhāri and Muslim

[4] Ṣaḥīḥ al-,Bukhāri 38

[5] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 8, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 16

[6] Al-Qur’ān, 2:185

[7] Al-Qur’ān, 2:183

[8] Imam Ahmad in al-Musnad and it is a Ṣaḥīḥ hadīth.

[9] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1795, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1151

[10] Al-Qur’ān, 39:10

[11] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri, 615

[12] Al-Qur’ān, 2:185

The views expressed on Islam21c and its connected channels do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation.

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About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

2 comments

  1. Excellent reminder, JazakAllah Khairan Sheikh

  2. Pakistan is slowly coming out of Lockdown. Mosques will be allowed to operate through ramadan, however musallis must maintain 2 metres social distancing, wear face masks and mosques must be disinfected regularly.

    What approach should mosques take in this country when lockdown restrictions are eased bearing in mind that Corona virus will still be present?

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