Date: 10th July 2015, 22nd Ramadan 1436
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Allah has given us the month of Ramadan so that we can attain Taqwa or in other words fear of Allah. Now that Ramadan is almost on the brink of departure, we must fathom whether the purpose of fasting during Ramadan has been achieved.
This concept of Taqwa overrides most of us as many of us really don’t know how we can understand whether we have attained it. Now that Ramadan is ending, each of us needs to find ways of maximizing our limited time. No one knows whether we will live to see the next Ramadan and the reality is that many of us won’t be there to see the next Ramadan. So whatever time we have, we need to value it with the utmost delicacy.
The value of Ramadan was never realized by anyone like the way the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) realized. This can be interpreted through this Hadith:
Narrated by Aisha (Radi Allahu ‘Anha) Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time.”
Reference: Sahih Muslim
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to understand that Ramadan was leaving and since he was also granted with a limited life, he knew he had to make the most of this blessed month.
Now let’s look at the ways in which we can maximize our level of Taqwa.
- Do Itikaf
Each of us need to strive for doing Itikaf because there is unimaginable blessing in this Ibadah. One Hadith states:
Ali Ibn Hussain (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates from his father that Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “He who observes the ten days I’tikaf during Ramadhan will obtain the reward of two Hajj & two Umrah.”
Through Itikaf the Night of Qadr will be properly observed and utilized.
- Increase the level of Nafl Salahs
As discussed before, every good deeds get multiplied by seventy or even more. So through more Nafl Salahs, we are getting closer to Allah and attaining Taqwa. One Hadith states:
Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying as: “Verily Allah Ta’ala has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a wali (friend) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with Nafl (supererogatory) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.”
Reference: Sahih Bukhari
So to increase our closeness to Allah, we need to perform more Nafl Ibadah.
- Restrain from Sinning
A Muslim’s Imaan is measured when he is capable of presenting his resistance from sinning. That is the identity of true Taqwa. When we talk of Taqwa, we must refer to the incident of Prophet Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) because every Mumin must take lesson from this Prophet of Allah.
Allah was so impressed by the commitment of Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) that He released a Surah in his name and also narrated it in a perfect sequence. Before narrating Allah, Himself said to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) about the life of Prophet Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) and referred to it as “the best of stories”.
We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an although you were, before it, among the unaware.
Surah Yusuf, Ayah 3 (12:3) Translation: Sahih International
In a Hadith the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anhu): The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)! Who is the most honorable amongst the people (with Allah)?” He said, “The most righteous among them.” They said, “We do not ask you about this.” He said, “Then Yusuf, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil [i.e. Ibrahim].” They said, “We do not want to ask about this.” He said, “Then you want to ask about the descent of the Arabs. Those who were the best in the Pre-Islamic period of ignorance will be the best in Islam provided that they comprehend the religious knowledge.”
Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari
Mentioning the incident in a gist, we all know that when Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) was young he was sold to the governor of Egypt as a slave. We know that Prophet Yusuf was bestowed with such compelling handsomeness which could drive any woman mad. Hadith states:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said in a lengthy Hadith concerning the Miraj, “When I met Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām), I saw that Allah has blessed him with half of the beauty of the whole world, while the other half has been spread over the rest of it”
Reference: Sahih Muslim
The wife of the governor, Zulekha, naturally felt attracted towards young Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) and so she plotted to seduce him. One day she closed all doors and windows and tried to invite Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) towards adultery. Now being a young man, it is normal for Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām) to feel intrigued. He actually did feel attracted but he remembered his Lord and fled from her. It is mentioned in the Quran:
And she (Zulekha), in whose house he (Yusuf) was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “Come, you.” He said, “[I seek] the refuge of Allah. Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed.”
And she certainly determined [to seduce] him, and he (Yusuf) would have inclined to her had he not seen the proof of his Lord. And thus [it was] that We should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants.
And they both raced to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back, and they found her husband at the door. She said, “What is the recompense of one who intended evil for your wife but that he be imprisoned or a painful punishment?”
Surah Yusuf, Ayahs 23-25 (12:23-25) Translation: Sahih International
Few things need to be noted here. When Zulekha intended to seduce Yusuf (Alayhi As-Salām), he asked help from Allah. After finding himself in a dilemma he ran from her as fast as he could even after all the doors and windows were closed. Upon seeing his sincerity, the help of Allah arrived and all the doors and windows of the enclosed house were automatically open.
True believers are regarded invaluable to Allah and He will do whatever it takes to help them when they are being sincere towards Him. The concept is to try our best in abstaining from sinning and then leave the rest to Allah. If we are sincere, the help of Allah is always near. It is mentioned in the Quran:
That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out
And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.
Surah At-Talaq, Ayahs 2-3 (65:2-3) Translation: Sahih International
- Make Dua and Seek for Repentance
We are used to making dua and asking for repentance from our Lord. But what most of us don’t realize is that there a few etiquettes which needs to be considered before making any dua.
- The one who is making dua should believe in Tawheed with regard to the divinity, Lordship, names and attributes of Allah. His heart should be filled with Tawheed. In order for Allah to respond to the dua, it is essential that the person should be responding to his Lord by obeying Him and not disobeying Him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], 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.
Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 186 (2:186) Translation: Sahih International
- Sending blessings upon the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) before making the dua.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Every dua is kept back until you send blessings upon the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).”
References: Tabarani in al-Awsat, 1/220. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4399.
- Having certain faith that Allah will respond, and focusing with proper presence of mind.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Call upon Allah when you are certain of a response, and remember that Allah will not answer a dua that comes from a negligent and heedless heart.”
Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3479. Classed as Hasan by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2766.
- Presenting one’s weakness and helplessness to Allah. A servant should be humble and is expected to give up towards the superiority of his Lord. Anyone who backs off from being humble towards Allah will be considered arrogant and this will in the end will bring his destruction. Feeling inferior towards Allah is an Adaab we should all master and we should present our weakness towards Allah. This can be interpreted from the dua of Prophet Zakariya (Alayhi As-Salām):
He said, “My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy.
Surah Maryam, Ayah 4 (19:4) Translation: Sahih International
Notice how Prophet Zakariya (Alayhi As-Salām) presented his weaknesses towards His Lord and for this selfless dua, Allah granted him a child after testing His servant’s patience.
These are some of the fundamental etiquettes we should keep in mind while making dua.
- Reciting the Quran and Doing Dhikr
The benefits of reciting the Quran were discussed in the previous Khutbahs. As for Dhikr, many of us tend to forget its virtue. One Hadith states:
Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds, the most pleasing to your Sovereign, those that raise you most in status, and that are better than your giving gold and silver, or meeting your enemy (in battle) and you strike their necks and they strike you necks?” They said: “Yes,” He said: “Remembrance of Allah (dhikr), may He be exalted.”
References: Jami at-Tirmidhi Hadith 3373 and Sunan Ibn Majah Hadith 3790. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Ramadan is leaving us and we must amends into making our Ramadan worthwhile at its final hours. One way we can find whether our Ramadan was productive or not is by realizing whether our Imaan and character improved. May Allah grant us the opportunity of pleasing Him in the ways of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), Ameen.
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