الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي خص آخر رمضانَ بالعتق من النار، وجعل فيه ليلةً يفرح من وجدها من عباده الأبرار، 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.
The end of the month of Ramadan is fast approaching – we are already into its 25th day, and as with all things that start and stop, there is a tendency to start looking beyond it, to slacken off and anticipate its completion, to turn our attention to what lies ahead and concentrate lest fully on what lies in the now. This tendency becomes even more accentuated after the night of the 27th has past, and for some all that remains of Ramadan at that point is waiting for it to end. This tendency is a most dangerous one and one which threatens to render all your considerable efforts throughout this month null and void. For it is ever those final few yards that determine success or lack of it. The Messenger of Allah said,
إنما الأعمال بِالخواتيم
“Actions are according to their seals.” And sayyidina Abu Bakr used to ask,
اللَّهم اجعل خير عمري آخره، وخير عملي خواتمه، وخير أيامي يوم ألقاك
“O Allah, make the best of my life be its end, the best of my actions be their seal, and the best of my days be the day I meet You.” The seal of an action – the manner in which it is completed – is always its most vital part. You can spend your whole life following a particular course and going in a particular direction, but if you turn aside at the end, all of that effort will have been in vain. The Prophet said,
إن أحدكم ليعمل بعمل أهل الجنة حتى ما يكون بينه وبينها ذراع فيسبق عليه الكتاب فيعمل بعمل أهل النار فيدخلها
“One of you may do the actions of the people of the Garden right up until only a few feet lies between him and it, and then his fate will catch up with him and he will do the actions of the people of the Fire and enter it instead.” There was an example of this during the lifetime of the Prophet. During the course of a battle, the Muslims showed great admiration for a particular man in their ranks who was fighting with great bravery and skill, and praised him to the Prophet. But he did not reciprocate their praise, instead he told them that this was a man written for the Fire. They were shocked when they heard this and wondered to themselves how any one of them could possibly enter the Garden if a man as apparently right-acting as this could be denied entry. So one of them undertook to follow him and see what transpired. And lo, later in the day when the man was wounded, he opted to take his own life. Despite having been engaged in one of the great acts of obedience to Allah, jihad in His Name, the man rendered it all worthless by making the seal of that action an unforgivable act of ingratitude to his Lord.
You must keep going right to the final moment, you must not slacken off and you must not turn aside until whatever you are doing is complete. This is true in all avenues of life – ask any athlete, any student, any trader – you only succeed when you push on right to the end, and not just push on, but redouble your efforts during the last stretch in order to extract the most that you possibly can. Athletes sprint, students cram and men of Allah dedicate their time more completely to the worship of their Lord. And that is especially true of Ramadan. The fasting and standing of Ramadan may take its toll, and may become more and more difficult as the month progresses and we may lose some of the vigour, energy and freshness that marked its beginning, but the men of Allah do not use that as an excuse to slow down and cut back, but rather take it as their cue to do the exact opposite. They see its moments slipping away and are anxious to take advantage of them before they are gone forever. In this, they are following the example of our noble Messenger. Sayyidatuna Aisha said,
كان رسول الله ﷺ يجتهد في العشر الأواخر مالا يجتهد في غيره
“The Messenger of Allah used to strive harder in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he would in the rest of the year.” He would redouble his efforts, pray even more rakats in the night, recite even more Quran, and spend even more time in the mosque. Ibn Umar narrated that,
كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يعتكف في العشر الأواخر من رمضان
“The Prophet used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in the mosque doing i’tikaf.” i’tikaf is a highly recommended act of worship for both and women and is extremely popular, but people have become somewhat lax with elements that are almost essential to it. The first is the mosque – its zone is the mosque, the prayer area, and that zone cannot be left for any reason except absolute necessity, such as taking a trip to the bathroom or making wudu, not just because you are bored and want a change of scene. The second is when you start. While it is not necessary to do the full ten days, on any day upon which you do decide to do i’tikaf, you must arrive in the mosque before Maghrib. If you arrive even a minute after Maghrib, your i’tikaf for that day is not valid. And finally, how you use your time. A lot of people who do i’tikaf use large portions of their time chatting with other people in i’tikaf. That is not the purpose of i’tikaf. To all intents and purposes, when you are in i’tikaf, you are alone with your Lord and He is the only One with whom you should converse, in the form of prayer and dua. Otherwise you should fill your moments with dhikr and Quran. Do not waste your moments and remember what it is you have undertaken to do.
The other major act of worship, aside from fasting, in these last ten days, is qiyam al-layl, standing the night in prayer. And that is because one of these last nights coincides with the best night in the year, a night whose worth is greater than 1000 nights, an entire lifetime, the Laylat ul Qadr. The Prophet said,
تحروا ليلة القدر في العشر الأواخر من رمضان
“Look for the Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” It can fall on any one of these nights, although it is most likely to fall on one of the odd nights, in particular the 27th night, for the Prophet said,
من كان متحرياً ليلة القدر، فليتحرّها ليلة سبع وعشرين
“Anyone who seeks the Laylat al-Qadr should seek it on the 27th night.” Tomorrow night will be the 27th night, so we will delay the normal taraweeh until 9pm, and complete the khatm of Quran in the 20 rakats of Qiyam ul Layl that will follow from about 11pm. The mosque will be open the whole night and there will be refreshments served. You are welcome to come and join us. We ask our rd to open up the secrets of these last ten days to us all and grant us the strength to stand these nights in prayer and fill them with dhikr and nawafil. And we ask Him to make us from among those who find the Laylat al-Qadr and benefit from its rewards.
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.
This deen is a tremendous mercy from Allah and there is joy to be found in beginnings and in ends. The excitement was palpable as the month of Ramadan began and the excitement is palpable as its end approaches and the day of Eid comes near. That day, the day of Eid al-Fitr will coincide with either Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the sighting of the moon. For as the month began, so too does it end with a sighting of the moon. A group of people from this jama’a will be joining the rest of the Cape Town Muslim community at Sea Point on Tuesday night to look for the hilal, and if it is seen then the Eid will take place the next day. There are a number of rulings relating to the Eid that we would do well to remember.
Firstly, the Eid prayer. The Eid prayer is an emphasised sunna. Indeed, after the Witr prayer, it is perhaps the next most strongly-stressed sunna prayer in the din. While it is best prayed in a Eidgha or Musalla, such as a public park, since such a large public gathering of Muslims inspires awe and demonstrates our strength and numbers, it is also permissible to pray it in the mosque, especially when there is a fear of bad weather. And given that rain is forecast, we will be doing the Eid prayer here in the mosque, inshallah.
The prayer will commence at 8.30, and everyone should come, men and women, young and old. Umm Atiya narrates that,
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يُخرج الأبكارَ والعواتقَ وذواتِ الخدورِ والحيضِ في العيدين فأما الحِيضُ فيعتزِلْن المصلى ويشهِدْن دعوةَ المسلمين
“The Messenger of Allah used to encourage young unmarried women, older women, those who were secluded in the homes and even menstruating women go out to the Eid prayer. The menstruating, women, however, kept out of the Musalla and joined in the duas of the Muslims from afar.”
Have a ghusl, break your fast, wear your best clothes and come early so you can join in with the rest of those present in filling the mosque with takbirs in those moments leading up to the prayer. Those takbirs are one of the great sha‘a’ir, the great outward manifestations of the strength and vitality of Islam and the Muslims.
Secondly, the zakat al-Fitr. Ibn Umar narrated that,
فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهم عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ عَلَى الْعَبْدِ وَالْحُرِّ وَالذَّكَرِ وَالْأُنْثَى وَالصَّغِيرِ وَالْكَبِيرِ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَأَمَرَ بِهَا أَنْ تُؤَدَّى قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ النَّاسِ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ
“The Messenger of Allah made it obligatory for every Muslim, slave or freeman, male or female, young or old, to pay a zakat al-Fitr of one sa’ of barley or one sa’ of dates, and commanded that it be paid before people went out to the ‘Eid prayer.”
Zakat al-Fitr is not just some recommended act, as some suppose, but an obligatory one. And not just on the wealthy, not just on those who are mukallaf, but on every Muslim, regardless of social status, age, sex or wealth, even those who are poor and are ordinarily eligible for zakat. There is only one exception to this, and that is those who are destitute that they do not even have the means to meet their families’ basic needs for the day of Eid.
Zakat al-Fitr is paid by the master of a household on behalf of all those for whom he is financially responsible, even those who have only just been born, and should be paid in the basic staple foodstuffs of the country in which he lives, such as rice, wheat or barley. A cash substitute is not acceptable according to the most well-known positions of Imam Malik and Imam ash-Shafii. It is recommended that the food that you give be of the highest possible quality, a standard that you would be pleased to receive yourself, although it is enough that it be on a par with the quality of food that most people of that society customarily eat on a day-to-day basis.
A full sa’ must be given on behalf of every person upon whom it is due. A sa’ is four mudds or four double handfuls measured according to the size of the hands of the Messenger of Allah. This measurement is of course a volume, and the exact weight varies according to the substance that is given. With rice, it has been estimated that a sa’ is equivalent to approximately two point two kilos.
Zakat al-Fitr must be given before the Eid prayer, even a day or two beforehand, although the absolute best time to distribute it is between the time of Fajr on the day of the Eid and the Eid prayer. If you delay beyond the time of the Eid prayer, then you have missed the time of Zakat al-Fitr, even though that does not exonerate you from having to pay it. The Prophet said,
من أدّاها قبل الصلاةِ فهي مقبولةٌ ومن أدّاها بعد الصلاةِ فهي صدقةٌ من الصدقات
“If you pay it before the prayer it is accepted, but if you pay it after the prayer it is the same as any other sadaqa.”
Unlike Zakat al-Mal, with Zakat al Fitr, it is best to distribute it yourself if you personally know of anyone who is eligible to receive it. Otherwise, you can leave it here at the mosque and our amir and his representatives will ensure its distribution to those who need it most.
Speaking of Zakat al-Mal, now, the month of Ramadan, is the time of the year which people often set aside for it. Anyone who has zakat that needs to be taken should contact the amir of this community, Hajj Rhomeez Hendricks. Zakat al-Mal is not just an individual act of worship, it is not an act of charity, it is a function of amirate, something inextricably linked to governance. People are not trusted to pay it themselves, it is taken from them. In surat at-Tawba, Allah says,
خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا
the translation of which is, “Take sadaqa from their wealth to purify and cleanse them.” According to the mufassirun, the word sadaqa in this aya refers specifically to zakat, and the Prophet is being addressed in his capacity as leader of the Muslims, not in his capacity as Messenger. So this instruction is directed at every Muslim leader. Indeed, Sayyidina Abu Bakr went to war with a people who refused to have their zakat taken by him.
What are the consequences of this fact? What does this mean in practical terms? It means that when people have an amir, and in the case of this community we have one in the shape of Hajj Rhomeez Hendricks, when people have an amir they cannot distribute the zakat themselves to whomsoever they deem fit and worthy, but must instead hand it over to him and his representatives and appointed collectors. And he then undertakes to distribute it.
And he distributes it locally, to the needy Muslims of this place, he does not send it abroad, he does not collect it on behalf of some person, charity or institution outside the borders of this land. Charity always starts at home, and that applies to the obligatory as much as the voluntary. Thus was the example of our noble Messenger.
Zakat is a pillar of this great deen, and if we want the edifice of Islam to stand proud, then we must make sure it is established correctly. Otherwise all we are left with of our great deen is a broken-down ruin. We ask our Lord to give us success in establishing His deen in its majesty and entirety, and give us the success to put it into practice in the manner in which He has commanded.
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.