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JUMAT SERMON: Preparations For Ramadan

JUMAT SERMON: Preparations For Ramadan
  • PublishedMarch 25, 2022


By Imaam Raji Musa Oladapo

ALL praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the universe, the Sustainer, and the Cherisher of our lives. He whom Allah guides is rightly guided, but he whom He sends astray, for him he would find no guiding friend (Waliyy) to lead him (to the right path). I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him and I also bear witness that Prophet Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon his soul, members of his household, his companions and those who follow him till the day of accountability.

“In the name of Allah, most Gracious most Merciful, and strive hard in Allah’s cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islam monotheism to mankind), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship….”, Qur’an 22:77.

What is fasting (sawm)?It is total abstinence from eating, drinking, sexual intercourse and every other thing capable of rendering one’s fasting invalid such as: telling lies, backbiting, tale-bearing, cheating, deceit, nonsense, etc.

WHY DO WE FAST AS MUSLIMS? The answer to this question is found in the Qur’an where Allah says “O you who believe! Observing As-sawn (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)”, Qur’an 2:183. To fast therefore, is a directive from our creator, the Most High. The verse also informs us that the same directive had been given to those before us. Not only that, the purpose of the fast is equally stated, i.e. God’s consciousness.

Apart from the above-quoted verse, the Prophet (SAW) made the fast as the Fourth Pillar of Islam. His tradition says that Jibril (AS) appeared to him and demanded thus: What is Islam? He (the Prophet) said “Islam is that thou shall worship Allah and not associate (anything) with Him and (that) thou keep up prayer and pay the prescribed poor rate (zakat) and fast in Ramadan….”

In order not to be handled with levity or hide under a flimsy excuse, fast must be repaid back by those who have legal reasons to leave it during the Ramadan. Some of these reasons are mentioned in the Qur’an thus; “But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days”, Quran 2:184.        WHEN DO WE FAST? We fast for the entire month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of lunar calendar. Allah says; “Observing sawm (fast) for a fixed number of days (29 or 30 days).But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. Qur’an 2:184.

It must be on record that Muslims fast only when some conditions are met: (1) We fast when the crescent of Ramadan is sighted and If the crescent is not visible, we should count 30 days for the previous month, and then fast. The Prophet says; “Fast upon the sighting of the crescent and break the fast upon the sighting of the crescent”. (2) A fasting believer must form an intention of fasting for his fast to be valid. This must be done individually and not the traditional chorus way of doing it. Because the Prophet says, “Actions are judged according to the intention”. (3) A fasting believer should not fast on the day of doubt; if he does, his fast would not be counted.

HOW DO WE FAST? A fasting Muslim must abstain from everything capable of rendering his/her fast invalid between the dawn and the dusk. Allah says “….and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night) then complete your sawm (fast) till the nightfall…”Qur’an 2:187. This verse sounds rhetorical by comparing the night with a black thread and the broad day with white thread. The intention is just to determine the period of fasting in a concise manner, so that a fasting person would not eat his/her sahur dawn meal in the midnight and break his fast very too late in the night. While a Muslim is fasting, he should shun vulgar talks, false witnesses and all evils deeds because the aim of fasting is to attain God’s consciousness. The Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said thus; “If a Muslim does not refrain from lying and indecent activities, Allah does not want that he should abstain from eating and drinking.” The aim of fasting, therefore, is to sanitize the society from all evils.

Whenever the fasting was approaching like this in the past, the companions of the Prophet (SAW) used to share good tiding of it among themselves. Ramadan period is considered to be a period of bumper harvest because of various acts of Ibaadat therein. We should therefore emulate them. The Prophet was quoted as saying: “O believers, take advantage of this great month and magnify it. Allah has blessed you therein with various acts of Ibaadat and other means of nearness to Him. Strive therein and follow Allah’s way for it is a great month. Allah has made it an arena for his servants so they can compete in goodness towards Allah. Therefore, establish prayers (obligatory and non-obligatory) therein, give charity therein, read the Quran therein, be kind to the poor, the needy and the orphans therein and above all, guard your fast jealously against all evil acts. Islam teaches that when anyone of you is fasting, he should abstain from loose talks and the noisy exchange of words. If someone starts cursing him or picks up a quarrel with him, he should tell him: “I am fasting”.

HOW DO WE USHER IN THE RAMADAN? It must be ushered in with pure heart, good intention and high spirit of preparedness to harvest its goodies. Upon arrival of Ramadan, the Prophet said, “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which has enjoined you to fast during which the gates of heavens are opened and gates of hell are closed and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is far better than a thousand months and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.

Because of all the above inspiring words, the companions used to pray fervently to Allah to spare their lives in order to take part in it. The object of their intention is to carry out acts of Ibaadat therein and not to stock food items in their house. Muslims are therefore enjoined to prepare well for the forthcoming Ramadan with a view at maximizing the derivable benefit therein through various recommended acts of ibaadat, because Allah Himself is in charge of its reward. Allah says, “Fasting is Mine and it is I who give reward for it”, (a man) gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for my sake. Fasting is like a shield and he who fasts has two joys; a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord.

In conclusion, I pray Almighty Allah to count us among those that will partake in it and those that will secure His forgiveness, and above all, count us among the dwellers of Paradise. I seek forgiveness of my sins and yours from Allah The Most Merciful. The ever-Forgiving.

  • Friday sermon prepared and delivered by Imaam Raji Musa Oladapo, the Chief Imaam of Telemuland, Telemu, State of Osun.

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