الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي فرض الصيامَ في رمضان، وأنزل فيه القرءان، ووعد لمن صامه أيمانا واحتسابا العفو والغفران، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.

 

This thing we know of as time is not uniform. There are times and there are times. Our perceptions of it change as we go through life and indeed in the course of a single day. Some moments have more resonance, some moments have more baraka. Some moments fly by in the blink of eye, some stretch out into what feels like eternity. Part of that is to do with our state and our perceptions, but an even larger part is to do with the way our Lord created them. Not all times are created equal. Some have more weight and are more honoured in the sight of Allah, such as, for example the four sacred months, or the day of Jumua or the last third of the night. And that is especially through of that noble month which commences in around ten days time, the month of Ramadan, the greatest of months in the eyes of our Lord. The Prophet said,

سيد الشهور رمضان

 

“The lord of all the months is Ramadan.” It is an unparalleled time of year, exalted and qualitatively different to the remainder, so different that even the most heedless of Muslims, those who neglect a major part of their deen throughout the rest of the year, do not fail to notice. Even people who do not usually pray flock to the mosque during this extraordinary month. Its qualities are abundant and clearly felt and perceived.

Let us enumerate some of those qualities so that we can better know the gift that we are given, for Ramadan is truly a gift beyond compare. Our Lord has honoured this month, and by His honoured of it has truly honoured us.

The first is siyam, the act of worship that has become synonymous with this month. Fasting is no ordinary act of worship, especially when it is obligatory, for by their very nature, the fara’id, are the most beneficial of actions. Allah says in a hadith qudsi,

 

وما تقرب لي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضته عليه

 

“There is no action by means of which my slave can get close to Me more beloved to Me than those which I have made obligatory upon him.” Fasting stands out from all the other acts of worship, because not only is it itself an act of worship, but it imbues all the other acts of worship with extra meaning and increased worth. It alters our state and makes us more receptive and open, more focused and aware. That is why it is recommended on so many of the great days of the year, for it helps us to take better advantage of those times. A prayer while fasting is more significant than one outside the fast, as is remembrance of Allah and recitation of Quran. The fast opens up facets of those actions that otherwise might remain closed. The Messenger of Allah said,

لكل شيء باب وباب العبادة الصوم

 

“Everything has its door – has its way in – and the door to ibada is fasting.” It does not only imbue acts of worship with extra meaning, but also day-to-day acts that would otherwise have no particular value. The acts of eating at suhur and iftar became major sources of reward, as does rest and sleep. The Messenger of Allah said,

نوم الصائم عبادة

 

“The sleep of the one who fasts is an act of worship.” As an act of worship in itself, fasting is unparalleled and has a reward unlike any other. It has its own unique category, it brings the most intimate connection with our Lord and Creator. Allah says in a hadith qudsi,

 

كل حسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف إلا الصيام فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به

 

“Every good deed is multiplied by between ten to seven hundred times, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and I give the reward for it.” It even has its own personal gate in the Garden, a gate that leads straight into the presence of our Creator where He receives us and we revel in His contemplation. Al-Ghazali reported that the Prophet said,

 

للجنة باب يقال له الريان لا يدخله إلا الصائمون وهو موعود بلقاء الله في جزاء صومه

 

“The Garden has a gate called ar-Rayyan through which only those who fast will be admitted. It is the promise of the meeting with Allah as a reward for his fasting.”

The second way that Allah has honoured the month of Ramadan is by means of His Book. It is the month in which it was revealed and the month in which it entered into our lives as an umma. Allah says,

 

شهْرُ رَمَضانَ الذِي أُنزِلَ فيهِ القرْآنُ هُدًى للنَّاسِ وَبيِّنَاتٍ منْ الهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

 

the translation of which is, “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur‘an was sent down as guidance for mankind, with Clear Signs containing guidance and furqan (discrimination).” Its Clear Signs are never clearer than in this month, and our capacity to hear, taste and understand them never so sharpened and enhanced. Many of the barriers between our hearts and the meanings inherent in the Words of Allah are weakened and removed, so make the Book of Allah your constant companion throughout its days and nights.

The third way this month is honoured is by means of the quality of sabr. It is the month of sabr, the month in which even the habitually impatient get a taste of this tremendous quality of character that lies of the heart of what it truly means to be a believer. The Prophet said,

وهو شهر الصبر، والصبر ثوابُه الجنة

 

“It is the month of Sabr, and the reward for sabr is the Garden.” And he said,

 

الصبر نصف الإيمان

“Sabr is one half of iman.”

And the fourth is that it is the month of generosity, both in terms of our Lord’s generosity to us and our generosity to one another, both in terms of deeds and opinion and in terms of material things. The Prophet said,

وهو شهر المواساة وشهرٌ يزاد فيه رزقُ المؤمن

 

“It is the month of generous giving, and the month in which a believer’s provision is increased.” In terms of the generosity of our Lord, he expands our rizq, multiplies the rewards for our actions and keeps the Shayatin and those who would whisper to us and lead us astray under lock and key. The Prophet said,

 

إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضانُ فتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الجَنَّةِ وَغلقتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ وَصُفِّدَت الشَّيَاطِينُ

 

“When Ramadan comes, the Gates of the Garden are thrown open, the Gates of the Fire are slammed shut, and the Shaytans are chained up.” And in terms of our generosity to one another, homes which were closed fling open their doors to guests on an almost nightly basis, ties which were broken are re-established, and harsh words replaced with welcome. Even the most miserly find occasion to give, even if that only be of their company and good will. And to that end we will be serving iftar every night here in the mosque, and making Saturday nights a special community night where we encourage all to come. There will be fine dates, and spectacularly tasty soups and breads, to say nothing of the uplifting company. Everyone is welcome.

Those who would like to participate in the preparation of these soups and help in making these nights a tremendous success are welcome to come and speak to me afterwards. The Messenger of Allah said,

 

من فطر فيه صائما كان له عتقُ رقبةٍ ومغفرةٌ لذنوبه وكان له أجرُه من غير أن يَنقُصَ من أجرِه شَيءٌ

 

“Anyone who provides someone fasting with that with which to break his fast, will receive the reward of freeing a slave and be forgiven his wrong actions. Moreover, he will receive the reward for the fast of the one he fed without diminishing that person’s reward in any way.”

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقامَ ربِّهِ وَنَهَا النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى فَإِنَّ الجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى

 

Allah says in His Mighty Book, “But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the lower self its appetites, the Garden will be his refuge.”

We mentioned in the first khutba that one of the things that sets the month of Ramadan apart is that it has been chosen to be the month of fasting, but true fasting is much more than most realise. It is not just the abstention from food, drink and sexual intercourse, even though that is its legal definition – that is just the start, and those are but two of the seven jawarih/limbs of the body – the stomach and private parts. It is also  abstaining from the appetites and wrong actions of the remainder – the tongue, eyes, ears, hands and feet. If you do not, then know that, although you have legally fasted, all you have got from your month is hunger and exhaustion. The Prophet said,

 

رُبَّ صائمٍ حظُّه من صيامه الجوعُ والعطُش، ورُبَّ قائمٍ حظه من قيامه التَعب والسَهَر

 

“So many who fast get nothing but hunger and thirst from their fasting, and so many who stand the night in prayer get nothing but tiredness and loss of sleep.” There is little benefit in denying yourself what is normally lawful when you permit yourself what is normally unlawful. It defeats the whole purpose. The Prophet said,

 

من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به فليس لله حاجة في أن يدع طعامه وشرابه

 

“If someone does not leave false testimony or false action, Allah will have no need of him giving up his food or drink.” In the eyes of Allah, it will be as if he never fasted at all. Al-Ghazali likens the one who abstains from food and drink but lets his other limbs run free and engage in the haram, to the one who does a complete wudu but without water. He wipes his hands, face, arms, head and feet and completes all the ritual movements, but at the end of it he is still just as impure as he was at the start and the prayer he does with it is worthless and rejected. So it is for the one who does not fast in the fullest sense of the word. He has nothing – all he has done is weakened and exhausted himself.

This is emphasised by both the Messenger of Allah and his Companions. Abstinence from food, drink and sexual intercourse is but the start of siyam, not the completion, and while it is only them that break it in a legal sense, its meaning and hence benefit is broken by many other things. The Prophet said,

 

خمس يفطرن الصائم الكذب والغيبة والنميمة واليمين الكاذبة والنظر بشهوة

 

“Five things break the fast of the faster: lying, back-biting, slander, false testimony and lustful glances.” And he said,

 

إنما الصوم جنة فإذا كان أحدكم صائماً فلا يرفث ولا يجهل وإن امرؤ قاتله أو شاتمه فليقل إني صائم إني صائم

 

“Fasting is a shield. If you are fasting, then do not mouth obscenities and do not speak in ignorance or anger. If a man curses you or tries to fight with you, then do not engage, but instead say, ‘I am fasting. I am fasting.’” And Jabir ibn Abdallah said,

 

إذا صمت فليصم سمعك وبصرك ولسانك عن الكذب والمآثم، ودع أذى الخادم، وليكن عليك وقار وسكينة يوم صيامك، ولا تجعل يوم فطرك ويوم صيامك سواء

 

“When you fast, let your ears, eyes and tongue abstain/fast from lying and any other wrong action. Do not harm your servants and remain serene and at peace. Do not let the day you fast be the same as days you do not fast.” Do not forget these words and do not approach the days of your fast as you would any other day. Realise the month of Ramadan for what it is and approach its days and nights with the same awe and reverence that you would the mosques, for they are with respect to time as the Houses of Allah are with respect to place.

We ask Allah to give us the best of this upcoming month. We ask Him to protect all of our limbs from wrong action during the course of it, and increase us in sabr, generosity and all those good qualities of character that it magnifies and enhances. We ask Him to accept our fast and give us the strength and himma to stand in prayer and take advantage of its nights, especially the Laylat al-Qadr. May He make us all among those who bring that night to life and gain access to its lights and secrets. And we ask Him to unlock for us the meanings of His Book and make it our constant Companion throughout the coming month and for the remainder of our lives.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.  اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.