Alhamdulillah, I had the pleasure to record a podcast with Imam Suhaib Webb, discussing Ramadan preparation. The following are some additional thoughts.
The following lecture was delivered by Imam Khalis Rashaad on the final Friday of Ramadan, 1438 (2017).
The following khutbah was delivered by Imam Khalis Rashaad on the final Friday of Ramadan, 1438 (2017).
إِنّا أَنزَلناهُ في لَيلَةِ القَدرِ
وَما أَدراكَ ما لَيلَةُ القَدرِ
“We sent it down on the Laylah al-Qadr. And how will you know Laylah al-Qadr?” —
Qur’an, 97: 1-2
Qadr – what does it mean? Is it “measurement”? Is it “power” (qudrah)? Is it “worth” or “rank”? Certainly one of its qualities is,
خَيرٌ مِن أَلفِ شَهرٍ
“[It’s worth is] better than a thousand nights!” —
Qur’an, 97: 3
So let me ask you: If it is the night of measurement, of power, or worth, than ask yourself, “What is my self-worth?” “What am I worth?” “What is my soul worth?” Can our souls be bought for a few dollars? A few million? Can they be measured by brand names? How powerful is our soul? Is it weak? Is it strong?
Seek those answers in the Night Worth A Thousand Months.
إِنَّ الَّذينَ لا يَرجونَ لِقاءَنا وَرَضوا بِالحَياةِ الدُّنيا وَاطمَأَنّوا بِها وَالَّذينَ هُم عَن آياتِنا غافِلونَ
أُولٰئِكَ مَأواهُمُ النّارُ بِما كانوا يَكسِبونَ
“Those who don’t look forward to their meeting with Us, who are satisfied with the life of this world and who disregard Our Signs (verses) they’re going to have their home in the Fire on account of what they’ve earned for themselves.” — Qur’an, 10: 7-8
قال الحسن: والله ما زينوها ولا رفعوها ، حتى رضوا بها وهم غافلون عن آيات الله الكونية فلا يتفكرون فيها والشرعية فلا يأتمرون بها
Ibn Kathir relates in his Tafsir: “They adorned this life and praised it until they became completely satisfied with it. They were unconcerned with God’s signs in the universe, nor did they ponder over them. They were also unconcerned with God’s commandments, nor did they adhere to them. Their resting place on the Day of Resurrection will be in the Fire; that’s their reward for what they earned in their worldly lives through all their sins and crimes, and that’s in addition to their rejection of God, His Messenger and the Last Day.” — Hasan al-Basri
Never Being Satisfied With One’s Character
من قرأ القرآنَ فقد استدرج النُّبوَّةَ بين جنبَيْه غيرَ أنَّه لا يُوحَى إليه لا ينبغي لصاحبِ القرآنِ أن يجِدَّ مع من وجَدٍّ ولا يجهلَ مع من جهِل وفي جوفهِ كلامُ الله تعالى
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever recites the Qur’an, they have approached prophethood, the only difference being they do not receive Divine Inspiration. It is not appropriate for the Companion of the Qur’an to act hastily with a hasty person nor be ignorant with an ignorant person while having the Word of God in his breast”. — al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Take advantage of five things before another five are taken from you:  youth before old age;  health before sickness;  wealth before poverty;  free time before becoming busy; and  life before death”. — Narrated by ’Abdullah bin ’Abbas in al-Bayhaqi’s Shu’ab al-Iman
Satisfaction With The Creator vs. Created Things
إِنَّ الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ أُولٰئِكَ هُم خَيرُ البَرِيَّةِ
جَزاؤُهُم عِندَ رَبِّهِم جَنّاتُ عَدنٍ تَجري مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهارُ خالِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ لِمَن خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ
“However, those who believe and do what’s morally right are the best of creatures.Their reward lies with their Lord: everlasting gardens beneath which rivers flow — and there they shall remain — God well pleased with them and they with Him. This is what’s in store for the one who adored his Lord.” — Qur’an, 98: 7-8
Modern society has become obsessed with winning. But what happens if you can’t always win? What happens if God puts you in circumstances in which you lose?
God, in the Qur’an, had to tell the pagan Arabs that God will not cause any good you’ve done in secret to fall by the wayside.
وهو شهرٌ أولُهُ رحمةٌ وأوسطُهُ مغفرةٌ وآخرُهُ عتقٌ من النارِ
“It [Ramadan] is a month in which the first of it is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the last of it is salvation from the fire.” — narration from Salman al-Farisi
‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about this verse”:
عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ سَعِيدِ بْنِ وَهْبٍ الْهَمْدَانِيِّ، أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ، زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَتْ
سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْ هَذِهِ الآيَةِ
إِنَّ الَّذينَ هُم مِن خَشيَةِ رَبِّهِم مُشفِقونَ
وَالَّذينَ هُم بِآياتِ رَبِّهِم يُؤمِنونَ
وَالَّذينَ هُم بِرَبِّهِم لا يُشرِكونَ
وَالَّذينَ يُؤتونَ ما آتَوا وَقُلوبُهُم وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُم إِلىٰ رَبِّهِم راجِعونَ
أُولٰئِكَ يُسارِعونَ فِي الخَيراتِ وَهُم لَها سابِقونَ
قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ أَهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْرَبُونَ الْخَمْرَ وَيَسْرِقُونَ قَالَ لاَ يَا بِنْتَ الصِّدِّيقِ وَلَكِنَّهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَصُومُونَ وَيُصَلُّونَ وَيَتَصَدَّقُونَ وَهُمْ يَخَافُونَ أَنْ لاَ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ
“Indeed, those who anxiously fear their Lord, who believe in the signs of their Lord, who don’t make partners with their Lord and who give whatever they give in charity with nervous hearts, knowing that they’re going to return to their Lord, they’re the ones who rush forward to do every type of good deed. They’re foremost in doing what’s pleasing to God. — Qur’an 23: 57-61
‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “Are they those who drink alcohol and steal?” He ﷺ said, “No, O daughter of al-Siddiq; they are the ones who fast and pray and give charity, but they fear that it will not be accepted from them; they are the ones who race for the good deeds.” — Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, #3175
عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه
خياركم من قرأ القرآن وأقرأه
Ibn Mas’ud related that the Prophet ﷺ said, “The best of you is the one who recites the Qur’an (for his or herself) and then recites it to others.”
In Surah al-Zumar Allah uses a word: ibādi, referring not only to Muslims to everyone. Allah shows care and concern us all. However, He also doesn’t say “you’ll never experience unhappiness in life” or that “your mom won’t die”. Rather, He says, if you do what I say you will live forever after death/after Judgment in tranquility and have whatever you want.
In other words, salvation.
قُل يا عِبادِيَ الَّذينَ أَسرَفوا عَلىٰ أَنفُسِهِم لا تَقنَطوا مِن رَحمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغفِرُ الذُّنوبَ جَميعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفورُ الرَّحيمُ
وَأَنيبوا إِلىٰ رَبِّكُم وَأَسلِموا لَهُ مِن قَبلِ أَن يَأتِيَكُمُ العَذابُ ثُمَّ لا تُنصَرونَ
وَاتَّبِعوا أَحسَنَ ما أُنزِلَ إِلَيكُم مِن رَبِّكُم مِن قَبلِ أَن يَأتِيَكُمُ العَذابُ بَغتَةً وَأَنتُم لا تَشعُرونَ
أَن تَقولَ نَفسٌ يا حَسرَتا عَلىٰ ما فَرَّطتُ في جَنبِ اللَّهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السّاخِرينَ
“[Muhammad – Tell the people that I, Myself, have said, ‘All My servants who have acted excessively against their own souls! Don’t lose hope of God’s mercy, for God can forgive all sins. He truly is the Forgiving and the Merciful!’
‘Turn towards your Lord and surrender to Him before the punishment overwhelms you, for then you’ll have no one to help you.’
‘Follow the best of what’s being revealed to you from your Lord before the punishment overwhelms you all of a sudden without your even realizing what’s happening.’
‘For then your soul will cry out, “I’m doomed! I neglected my duty to God, and I scoffed!” — Qur’an, 39: 53-56
There is no “guess work” in religion:
عن وابصة بن معبد رضي الله عنه قال أتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال جئتَ تسألُ عن البرِّ والإثمِ قلتُ نعم فجمع أصابعَه الثَّلاثَ فجعل ينكُتُ بها في صدري ويقولُ يا وابصةُ استفْتِ قلبَك والبرُّ ما اطمأنَّت إليه النَّفسُ واطمأنَّ إليه القلبُ والإثمُ ما حاك في القلبِ وتردَّدُ في الصَّدرِ وإن أفتاك النَّاسُ وأفتَوْك
Wabisah bin Ma’bad, a Companion of the Prophet ﷺ reported that he went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and he asked me, “Have you come to inquire about piety and sin?” I replied, “yes”. He ﷺ then gather his three fingers together and poked me in my chest, saying “Wabisah … ask your heart regarding it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which knots up the heart and causes one’s chest to be hesitant even if people pronounce it permissible and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.” — al-Mundhiri relates this in al-Targhib wa’l Tarhib with a sound chain
What you’re missing out on the other 11 months of the year:
تُفتَحُ أبوابُ الجنَّةِ يومَ الاثنينِ ، ويومَ الخميسِ ، فيُغفَرُ لِكُلِّ عبدٍ لا يشرِكُ باللَّهِ شيئًا ، إلَّا رجلًا كانت بينَهُ وبينَ أخيهِ شحناءُ
“The doors of Paradise are opened every Monday and Thursday. Thus, every worshiper of God is forgiven except for the person where there exists rancor between him or her and his or her brother or sister.” — Related by Abu Hurayrah, recorded in Sahih Muslim, #2565
One of the linguistic meanings of Sha’ban is “to branch out” and “connect” because it’s the month which literally connects with Ramadan.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِذَا تَقَرَّبَ عَبْدِي مِنِّي شِبْرًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا وَإِذَا تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ بَاعًا – أَوْ بُوعًا – وَإِذَا أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stated,
“When My servant draws close to Me by the span of a palm, I draw close to him by the cubit and when he draws close to Me by the cubit, I draw close to him by the space of two arm spans, and when he comes to Me walking, I go in a hurry towards him.” — Sahih Muslim, #2675
Likewise, Allah has made us into shu’uban and qaba’il.
يا أَيُّهَا النّاسُ إِنّا خَلَقناكُم مِن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثىٰ وَجَعَلناكُم شُعوبًا وَقَبائِلَ لِتَعارَفوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكرَمَكُم عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتقاكُم ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَليمٌ خَبيرٌ
“All you people! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into different races and tribes so you can come to know one another. The noblest among you in the sight of God is the one who is the most mindful of his duty to Him. Truly, God knows and is aware.” — Qur’an, 49: 13
الشعوب: جمع شعب بفتح الشين، وهو أعظم من القبيلة، وتحته القبيلة ثم البطن ثم الفخذ ثم الفصيلة
Ibn Juzayy says,
“Shu’ub is the plural of sha’b, which is greater than a qabilah, which is after the qabilah is a batan, then a fikhdh, then a fasilah”. — al-Tas’hil l’Ulum al-Tanzil
What makes a shu’b is that the people are connected. Our connection is not simply to one another because we share the same ancestor but because we share the same core belief: Allah and His Messenger. This is why unity is so difficult in the Muslim community because we’re not connected or connecting on that thing which can truly branch across divides.
قالَتِ الأَعرابُ آمَنّا ۖ قُل لَم تُؤمِنوا وَلٰكِن قولوا أَسلَمنا وَلَمّا يَدخُلِ الإيمانُ في قُلوبِكُم ۖ وَإِن تُطيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسولَهُ لا يَلِتكُم مِن أَعمالِكُم شَيئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفورٌ رَحيمٌ
Joining Islam is not doing God a Favor
Background: During a year of famine, members of the bedouin tribe of Banu Asad arrived in Medina and professed to be Muslims in order to receive donations to help their tribe. They said they had never fought the Muslims and that they had always donated to the Muslims and helped them in the past, which was only partially true. Their behavior in the city was culturally reprehensible, and they also conducted themselves in obvious ignorance of Islamic manners and values. Finally, they made it seem as if they were doing the Muslims a favor by joining them. While their profession of faith may or may not have been real, they had not let the full effect of faith seep into their hearts in a genuine fashion. This passage was revealed in response. — Asbab al-Nuzul
“The bedouin Arabs are quick to say, “We believe!” Yet, say to them (Muhammad), “You have no faith, for you’re only saying, ‘We’re surrendered to God,’ but sincere faith hasn’t yet entered your hearts. If you obey God and His Messenger, He won’t decrease the value of any of your (good) deeds, for God is forgiving and merciful.” — Qur’an, 49: 14