I appeal to all of you my brothers and myself to have taqwa or faith in Allah s.w.t. by carrying out all His Commandments and refraining from doing things that He has forbidden. We must also strive truly to stop doing any bad deeds, especially we are now on the eve of the holiest month, the month of Ramadhan.
Tomorrow, insya Allah, we will be ushering in the month of Ramadhan. Tomorrow the followers of Islam throughout the world will start to fast for a whole month. Tomorrow the followers of Islam will receive various kinds of bounties and blessings from Allah s.w.t. Now there are only a few hours left for us to make preparations for this holy month.
What do we need to do to prepare ourselves to face this holy month of Ramadhan? Be aware that among the important things we need to prepare ourselves with are that of having the knowledge and preparing our soul or our spiritual self. We need to have the knowledge and once again have reference on what are the important things we need to know to observe during the fast of Ramadhan. Do we know what are the things that will nullify our fast? Do we know what are the things that we are required to do during the month of Ramadhan?
If the answer is no, or we have doubts on what we need to do, we should quickly read up again the books of fiqh concerning the fast of Ramadhan. We should not allow our ignorance to the fiqh of fasting to nullify our fast. If a student needs to study and analyse his lessons before taking his examinations in order to pass in that subject, likewise for us the followers of Islam who will be facing the month of Ramadhan. Therefore to be among those who will be blessed and bestowed by Allah s.w.t in this month of Ramadhan, we need to study and remember again the requirements of fasting in the month of Ramadhan and what are the things that will nullify our fast.
Maybe we know are the things that will nullify our fast. Maybe we are among those who observe the fast diligently. If we are among this group of people, we should be grateful to Allah. However at the same time, we should also remind ourselves on the etiquette of fasting, especially the etiquette with regards to our physical and spiritual self.
My brothers, be aware that many of those who have fasted but they do not get any rewards whatsoever from their fast. On the contrary, they have instead accumulated their sins. Unintentionally, they have carried out bad deeds in this month where Allah forgives the sins of His servants. How could this happen?
This happens when we do not observe the etiquette of fasting. Rasulullah s.a.w. has narrated:
It means: “There are many of those who have fasted, they do not receive any blessings from their fast except that of being hungry and thirsty.”
Therefore, to prevent ourselves from being in such a situation, we need to observe the etiquette of fasting. Fasting does not only mean refraining ourselves from eating and drinking in the daytime of Ramadhan. It is demanded upon us to guard our bodies from doing any bad deeds. We need to guard our eyes from looking at things that are forbidden, like looking at woman’s aurat, looking at things that are forbidden and indecent. Indeed guarding our eyesight is such a great challenge. Today we can see everywhere around us many women exposing their aurat. Not to look at them is something that is rather impossible. Islam has provided guidelines – the unintentional first glance is not a sin. However, if that first glance is prolonged with the intention of admiring that woman’s beauty, or if that first glance is followed with a second glance, this action is forbidden and is sinful. Such action should not take place more so during the month of Ramadhan. Today we are also exposed to many forbidden sights shown on the television, where women are exposing their aurat and performing things that are forbidden. We must also take care regarding such sights. It is not only a sin to look at the exposed aurat of a woman in person, but also those seen on televisions and photos.
My brothers, take this opportunity presented in this month of Ramadhan to give our eyes a rest from seeing sinful things, like how we have given our stomach to have a rest from eating and drinking during the daytime in the month of Ramadhan.
Besides guarding our eyes from seeing forbidden things, we must also ensure that the rest of our body is also guarded from things that are forbidden. We must guard our ears from listening to gossip, slandering remarks, dirty talks and others. We must also guard our mouth from sins, like telling lies, slandering, criticising others, talking bad about others, cursing, swearing or making barbed remarks. Such things can nullified our fast.
Remember that the heart is where Allah s.w.t. looks at, and not at our beautiful clothes or appearance. Therefore we must guard our hearts so that this place that Allah looks at is always pure and beautiful and not dirty and bad. How do we cleanse our hearts? The way is for us to prevent ourselves from committing immorality and guarding our hearts from having forbidden emotions. We guard our hearts from feelings of jealousy among our Muslims brothers, guarding our hearts from suspicions, arrogance, pride, conceit, loftiness and others. When we are able to cleanse our heart from such dirty and bad feelings, we can then decorate it with pure and honourable characteristics.
Honourable characters include being humble, feeling that one has not done enough good deeds, always feeling remorseful and repentance of one’s past sins, always remembering Allah, seeking forgiveness from Allah, etc. These are among the honourable characteristics that we can decorate our hearts with so that Allah will see it as place the pure and beautiful.
Allah s.w.t has stated in surah Al-Baqarah, verse 183:
It means : “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”
This is the aim of our fasting, that we become pious. And to attain piety, we need to prepare ourselves to face this month of Ramadhan. Remember my brothers, to prepare our physical self we need to read up again on the law and requirements of fasting in the month of Ramadhan as well as guarding every parts of our body from committing immorality. To prepare our spiritual self we have to purify our hearts from any bad or ill feelings. We have to increase our remembrance of Allah, read the Al-Quran and perform other form of good deeds like doing voluntary prayers, giving alms during this holy month of Ramadhan. By doing such, we will be among those who are pious, ameen ya Rabbal álamin.