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The Prophet’ Sermon On The Advent Of Ramadhan

As we said before, holy Ramadhan is Allah’s Banquet, spread out for all His creatures without the difference of class, caste, rank, race, language or geographical barriers. It is not just a month of mere rituals, as some may misbelieve, but on the contrary signifies the very peak of spiritual purification, which Islam has perfected.

The word Ramadhan is derived from the root ramadh which indicates 'heat' and 'restlessness', and is said to signify the hardships of a fast like thirst for example. A hadith from the Prophet says, Shahr Ramadhan burns the sins and the faults as fire burns wood.

Before discussing further the spiritual and physical dynamism of fasting. Let's start with those eternal words of Allah's last and greatest Prophet, which continue to ring even today in the ears of the believers.

Imam Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a) 1 relates on the chain of authority of his illustrious forefathers from Imam Ali (‘a) that once on the advent of Ramadhan, Prophet Muhammad (s) 2 delivered the following sermon:

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إِنَّهُ قَدْ أَقْبَلَ إِلَيْكُمْ شَهْرُ اللهِ بِالْبَرَكَةِ وَالرَّحْمَةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ. شَهْرٌ هُوَ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَفْضَلُ الشُّهُورِ، وَأَيَّامُهُ أَفْضَلُ الأَيَّامِ، وَلَيَالِيهِ أَفْضَلُ اللَّيَالِي، وَسَاعَاتُهُ أَفْضَلُ السَّاعَاتِ. هُوَ شَهْرٌ دُعِيتُمْ فِيهِ إِلَى ضِيَافَةِ اللهِ، وَجُعِلْتُمْ فِيهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ كَرَامَةِ اللَّهِ. أَنْفَاسُكُمْ فِيهِ تَسْبِيحٌ، وَنَوْمُكُمْ فِيهِ عِبَادَةٌ، وَعَمَلُكُمْ فِيهِ مَقْبُولٌ، وَدُعَاؤُكُمْ فِيهِ مُسْتَجَابٌ،

O People! The month (Ramadhan) of Allah has come with His mercies, blessings and forgiveness. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. Its days are the best among the days, its nights are the best among the nights and its hours are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Him (to fast and to pray). Allah has honoured you in it. In it, every breath you take is (has the reward of) ' Tasbih' (the praise of Allah), your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations answered.

فَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ بِنِيَّاتٍ صَادِقَةٍ، وَقُلُوبٍ طَاهِرَةٍ، أَنْ يُوَفِّقَكُمْ لِصِيَامِهِ، وَتِلاوَةِ كِتَابِهِ، فَإِنَّ الشَّقِيَّ مَنْ حُرِمَ غُفْرَانَ اللَّهِ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ الْعَظِيمِ. وَاذْكُرُوا بِجُوعِكُمْ وَعَطَشِكُمْ فِيهِ، جُوعَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَعَطَشَهُ.

Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in right earnest with hearts that are free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fasts, and to recite the Holy Qur'an. Indeed! Miserable is the one who is deprived of Allah's forgiveness in this great month. While fasting, remember the hunger and thirst on the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and the needy.

وَتَصَدَّقُوا عَلَى فُقَرَائِكُمْ وَمَسَاكِينِكُمْ، وَوَقِّرُوا كِبَارَكُمْ، وَارْحَمُوا صِغَارَكُمْ، وَصِلُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ، وَاحْفَظُوا أَلْسِنَتَكُمْ، وَغُضُّوا عَمَّا لا يَحِلُّ النَّظَرُ إِلَيْهِ أَبْصَارَكُمْ، وَعَمَّا لا يَحِلُّ الاسْتِمَاعُ إِلَيْهِ أَسْمَاعَكُمْ.

Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongue against unworthy words, and your eyes from scenes that are not worth seeing (forbidden) and your ears from sounds that should not be heard.

وَتَحَنَّنُوا عَلَى أَيْتَامِ النَّاسِ يُتَحَنَّنْ عَلَى أَيْتَامِكُمْ، وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ ذُنُوبِكُمْ، وَارْفَعُوا إِلَيْهِ أَيْدِيَكُمْ بِالدُّعَاءِ فِي أَوْقَاتِ صَلاتِكُمْ، فَإِنَّهَا أَفْضَلُ السَّاعَاتِ، يَنْظُرُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهَا بِالرَّحْمَةِ إِلَى عِبَادِهِ، يُجِيبُهُمْ إِذَا نَاجَوْهُ، وَيُلَبِّيهِمْ إِذَا نَادَوْهُ، وَيُعْطِيهِمْ إِذَا سَأَلُوهُ، وَيَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُمْ إِذَا دَعَوْهُ

Be kind to orphans so that if your children become orphans they will also be treated with kindness. Do repent to Allah for your sins and supplicate with raised hands at the times of prayer as these are the best times, during which Almighty Allah looks at His servants with mercy. (He) Answers if they supplicate, Responds if they call, Grants if they ask, and Accepts if they entreat.

. أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ مَرْهُونَةٌ بِأَعْمَالِكُمْ، فَفُكُّوهَا بِاسْتِغْفَارِكُمْ، وَظُهُورَكُمْ ثَقِيلَةٌ مِنْ أَوْزَارِكُمْ، فَخَفِّفُوا عَنْهَا بِطُولِ سُجُودِكُمْ. وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ أَقْسَمَ بِعِزَّتِهِ أَنْ لا يُعَذِّبَ الْمُصَلِّينَ وَالسَّاجِدِينَ، وَأَنْ لا يُرَوِّعَهُمْ بِالنَّارِ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

O people! You have made your conscience the slave of your desires. Make it free, by invoking Him for forgiveness. Your back is breaking under the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate yourself before Him for long intervals and make it lighter. Do understand fully well that Allah has promised in the name of His Majesty and Honour that He will not take to task such people who perform Salaat and Sajda (prostration), and that He will guard their bodies against the fire of hell on the Day of Judgement.

أيها الناس! مَنْ فَطَّرَ مِنْكُمْ صَائِماً مُؤْمِناً فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ، كَانَ لَهُ بِذَلِكَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عِتْقُ نَسَمَةٍ، وَمَغْفِرَةٌ لِمَا مَضَى مِنْ ذُنُوبِهِ.

O people! If anybody amongst you arranges for the iftar (food for ending of fast at sunset) of any believers, then Allah will give him the reward as if he had set free a slave, and He will forgive his previous sins.

قِيلَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ! فَلَيْسَ كُلُّنَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ،

Then the companions of the Prophet (s) asked, But everybody amongst us does not have the means to do so.

فَقَالَ - صلى الله عليه وآله-: اتَّقُوا النَّارَ وَلَوْ بِشِقِّ تَمْرَةٍ، اتَّقُوا النَّارَ وَلَوْ بِشَرْبَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ.

The Prophet replied: Keep yourself away from the fire of hell, though it may consist of only half a date or even some water if you have nothing else.

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! مَنْ حَسَّنَ مِنْكُمْ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ خُلُقَهُ، كَانَ لَهُ جَوَازاً عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ يَوْمَ تَزِلُّ فِيهِ الأَقْدَامُ، وَمَنْ خَفَّفَ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ عَمَّا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُهُ، خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ حِسَابَهُ، وَمَنْ كَفَّ فِيهِ شَرَّهُ، كَفَّ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ غَضَبَهُ يَوْمَ يَلْقَاهُ، وَمَنْ أَكْرَمَ فِيهِ يَتِيماً،

O people! Anybody who in this month cultivates good manners, will walk over the Sirat (bridge leading to Paradise) on the day when feet will tend to slip. Anybody who in this month may take light work from his servants, Allah will make easy his accounting, and anybody who does not annoy others in it, Allah will keep him safe from His wrath on the Day of Judgement. Anybody who respects and treats an orphan with kindness in it, Allah shall look at him with kindness on that Day.

أَكْرَمَهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ يَلْقَاهُ، وَمَنْ وَصَلَ فِيهِ رَحِمَهُ وَصَلَهُ اللَّهُ بِرَحْمَتِهِ يَوْمَ يَلْقَاهُ، وَمَنْ قَطَعَ فِيهِ رَحِمَهُ قَطَعَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ رَحْمَتَهُ يَوْمَ يَلْقَاهُ،

Anybody who treats well his kinsmen in it, Allah will bestow His Mercy on him on the Day of Judgement, while anybody who maltreats his kinsmen in it, Allah will keep him away from His Mercy.

وَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ فِيهِ بِصَلاةٍ كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بَرَاءَةً مِنَ النَّارِ، وَمَنْ أَدَّى فِيهِ فَرْضاً كَانَ لَهُ ثَوَابُ مَنْ أَدَّى سَبْعِينَ فَرِيضَةً فِيمَا سِوَاهُ مِنَ الشُّهُورِ

Whoever offers recommended prayers in it, Allah will save him from hell, and whoever observes in it obligatories, his reward will be that of seventy such obligatories that were observed in other months.

، وَمَنْ أَكْثَرَ فِيهِ مِنَ الصَّلاةِ عَلَيَّ، ثَقَّلَ اللَّهُ مِيزَانَهُ يَوْمَ تَخِفُّ الْمَوَازِينُ، وَمَنْ تَلا فِيهِ آيَةً مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ، كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ مَنْ خَتَمَ الْقُرْآنَ فِي غَيْرِهِ مِنَ الشُّهُورِ.

Whoever recites repeatedly blessings (Salawat) on me in it Allah will keep the scales of his good deeds heavy (on Judgement Day) whilst the scales of others will be tending to lightness. Whoever recites in this month, an Aya (verse) of the Holy Qur'an, his reward will he that of reciting the whole Qur'an in other months.

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إِنَّ أَبْوَابَ الْجِنَانِ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ مُفَتَّحَةٌ، فَاسْأَلُوا رَبَّكُمْ أَنْ لا يُغَلِّقَهَا عَنْكُمْ، وَأَبْوَابَ النِّيرَانِ مُغَلَّقَةٌ، فَاسْأَلُوا رَبَّكُمْ أَنْ لا يُفَتِّحَهَا عَلَيْكُمْ، وَالشَّيَاطِينَ مَغْلُولَةٌ، فَاسْأَلُوا رَبَّكُمْ أَنْ لا يُسَلِّطَهَا عَلَيْكُمْ.

O people! The gates of Paradise remain open in this month. Do pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you. While the gates of Hell are closed, do pray to your lord they may never he opened for you. Satans have been handcuffed; invoke 'Our Lord not to let them dominate you.

قَالَ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عليُّ بن أبي طالب عليه السلام: فَقُمْتُ فَقُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ! مَا أَفْضَلُ الأَعْمَالِ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ؟

فَقَالَ: يَا أَبَا الْحَسَنِ! أَفْضَلُ الأَعْمَالِ فِي هَذَا الشَّهْرِ: الْوَرَعُ عَنْ مَحَارِمِ اللَّهِ"عزَّ وجلَّ ثمُّ بكى

Amir Al-M u' mineen Ali (‘a) said: « I asked, 'O Messenger of Allah, what is the best of deeds in this month?' He replied: O Abul Hassan, the best of deeds in this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden. »3

  • 1. (a) stands for: alayhi/alayhai/alayhim as-salaam (peace be upon him/ her/ them).
  • 2. (s) stands for: sal-lallahu alaylu wa alihi wasallam (may Allah shower His blessings on him and his progeny).
  • 3. Shaykh Saduq – Uyun Akhbar ar-Ridha