VIRTUES OF RAMADHAN
Prof. Dr. M Es’ad Cosan
As-salâmu aleykum wa rahmetullàhi wa berekâtuhû!..
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May Almighty Allah be pleased with you. May He have you benefit from the mercy and blessings of this month that are prepared for the virtuous servants of Allah.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Salmân-i Fârisî RA was one of the closest companions of the Prophet SAS: (Salmâni minnâ ehlel beyti) “Salmân is from us, my family.” Salmân RA reported:
(Khatabanâ rasûlullah SAS fi akhiri yawmin min sha’ban) “On the last day of Sha’ban, the Messenger of Allah delivered a sermon.” According to Salmân RA, the Prophet SAS said:
(Yâ ayyuhan nâs) “O mankind! (Qad ezallekum shehrun azîmun) A great month has cast a shadow on you.” Since it is still Sha’ban, not Ramadhan yet, the Prophet expressed it that way. (mubârakun) “It is a blessed month, (shahrun fîhi laylatun khayrun min elfi shehrin) a month in which is a night that is better than a thousand months.”
As you know, the Night of Power is better than one thousand months. It is somehow hidden in Ramadhan. The Prophet SAS suggested: “Search for the Night of Power in the last ten days of Ramadhan.” He also suggested the odd days of Ramadhan. The Prophet would spend the last ten days of Ramadhan in the mosque. He would not go to his house; he would spend his time in worship. For us to benefit from the blessings of the Night of Power, we must follow the footsteps of the Prophet.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Prophet Mohammed SAS was a messenger of Allah, His most beloved servant, the master of all who lived before and after him, the noblest of all mankind, the leader of the prophets, and the owner of the highest stage in the hereafter. He was exemplary in code of conduct and in the lifestyle. Everything about his was excellent. Yet during the three months season, he would do more worship despite the fact that he was in a state of worship continuously. This is a great observation for us to take a lesson.
During the month of Rajab, the prophet fasted more days than he did other months. Rajab is the month two months before Ramadhan. There is the Raghàib Night in Rajab. That is a signal for Muslims to realize that three months season has arrived. Almighty Allah grants great blessings during the night of Raghàib. In the twenty-seventh night of Rajab, the Prophet had the Mi’raj. The Prophet was accepted to the Divine Presence and saw Almighty Allah during Mi’raj that happened in Rajab.
The Prophet maintained his worship in Sha’ban. He maintained his fasting, too. There is the night of Bara’ah in the middle of Sha’ban. We have had the Bara’ah Night and reached Ramadhan. The Prophet was delivering His sermon at the end of Sha’ban. I am reading the hadith reported bySalmân RA.
In the hadith the Prophet SAS indicates how great and blessed the month of Ramadhan is. Then he states that the night of power that is better than one thousand months is hidden in the month of Ramadhan. Since the Night of Power is hidden in Ramadhan, we should spend every night of Ramadhan as if it is the Night of Power.
In fact, there is a proverb: “Consider every night as the Night of Power, every person you meet asKhidir.” The person you meet could look poor, homeless, be in need of a hair trim, yet you must not look down upon him. He could be Khidir AS. Do not spend your night in unawareness; it could be the Night of Power. Our ancestors recommended us to enliven every night as though it were the Night of Power.
The very first thing the Prophet pointed out in this hadith is the Night of Power. Then we must keep the Night of Power in our mind as an important matter. We have the intention: “If Almighty Allah allows me, I would like to do i’tikaf as the Prophet did in the last ten days of Ramadhan. I will spend the day and night in a mosque. I can read the jurisprudence books and learn about the manners of the i’tikaf. It is a Sunnah muakkad. If nobody does i’tikaf in a locality, everybody in that locality will be held responsible. I will do it this Ramadhan.” Let us have this intention and catch the Night of Power.
Almighty Allah has promised: “You ask from Me, I will give you what you want.” Our beloved Prophet SAS said that Almighty Allah would give Paradise for those who want it. That is why we need to turn to Allah in prayers and ask from Him with sincerity and zeal.
There are ahadith that each Muslim should ask Almighty Allah for martyrdom: “My Lord! Let me give my life for Your sake in Your path. Grant me martyrdom.” If a person does not have a desire to die as a martyr, he dies in a state of hypocrisy. Each Muslim should be willing to give up his life for Allah. If a Muslim dies in his bed with the desires of becoming a martyr, Almighty Allah would elevate his rank to the level of martyrs. This is stated in the ahadith. That means the intentions are very important.
Then we should have the intention of “catching” the Night of Power by practicing i’tikâf in the last ten days of Ramadhan. We remind our brothers and Sisters so that they do not miss the opportunities. We reminded about the three months over two months ago. We reminded about Sha’ban and Ramadhan. Now I am telling you about the Night of Power.
Let me tell you something else. As you know we sacrifice an animal on the Eid-al-Adha. Those who are qualified as “rich” from an Islamic point of view would buy a good-looking ram and slaughter it on the day of Eid-al-Adha. May Allah accept their sacrifice. We ought to have the intention about Eid-al-Adha, too: “By the will of Allah, I intend to sacrifice an animal on the nextEid-al-Adha.” Let it be our practice to have intentions for good deeds.
Sacrificing an animal on the day of Eid-al-Adha is a must (wajib), and every practicing Muslim who is “rich” does that. Yet there is the sacrifice on the day of Eid-al-Fitr. We are on the second day or Ramadhan, and I am reminding you ahead of time: Sacrificing an animal on the day of Eid-al-Fitr has so much rewards–seven hundred folds!
In a hadith the Prophet SAS listed four deeds that are rewarded in seven hundred folds:
1. Spending in the way of Allah is rewarded seven hundred folds: Jihad, Hajj, Umrah and alike.
2. Spending for the parents is rewarded seven hundred folds: their food, clothing, rent and alike.
3. Spending for the family is rewarded seven hundred folds. Isn’t that nice? Islam pays utmost attention to the love and affection in the family. Taking a bag of grocery for the spouse and children would make them happy and content, so they would not look at what other people have. They would find all they need at home. All of this spending is rewarded seven hundred times.
4. Sacrificing an animal on the day of Eid-al-Fitr is rewarded seven hundred folds. Why is it so? The Eid is a happy day, a day to celebrate. If one slaughters an animal on that day, there would be an abundance of sustenance in the house. Do not think of Turkey or our time only. Islam is for all times and places. Imagine a desert or a remote village where there are no butcher shops or grocery stores. Think about the times of scarcity.
When an animal is sacrificed, there would be abundance and feast in the house. One could entertain his guests easily by offering them meat dishes. That is also a reminder for you.
I have reminded you two things that we could practice in near future: Practice i’tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhan so that you could appreciate the Night of Power and not miss it. Then, by the will of Allah, if you have the means, you sacrifice an animal on the day of Eid-al-Fitr and receive seven hundred folds of rewards.
Salman RA, the companion of the Prophet, the crown of our heads, reported from the Prophet SAS: “Our beloved Prophet delivered a sermon on the last day of Sha’ban.” First he said that Ramadhan is a great month, it is a blessed month, and he said that there is the Night of Power in Ramadhan. These are very important.
The Prophet SAS continued in the hadith:
(Ja’alalàhu siyâmahû farîdaten wa qiyâma laylihî tatawwu’an) “Allah made fasting during the days in this month obligatory (fard) and prayers at night non-obligatory but rewarding (tatawwu).” We all fast during the day and offer Tarawih prayers after Ish’a as the tatawwu‘worship. We practice Tarawih as the sunnah of the Prophet SAS with eagerness and zeal. It is in Ramadhan–not in other months.
Alhamdu lillah, we could not find any room inside the Yeni Cami; we offered the sunnah prayer outside, then found some room inside. I congratulate our brothers in Denizli–may Allah be pleased with them. It is the abundance of Islam that Muslims do not fit in the mosques and the congregation spills to the streets. It is an indication that the youth realize the beauty of Islam and practice it. We pray that it is a continuous effort and it increases in time.
The Prophet (saw) continued:
(Men taqarraba fîhî bihasletin minel khayri aw eddâ farîdaten kâne kemen eddâ seb’înefarîdaten fî mâ siwâhu) “If a person gets closer to Allah in this month by doing a good deed or fulfilling an obligation, he would be like a person who fulfilled seventy obligations in other times.” Zakat, for instance, could be paid in Ramadhan although it is not an obligation to be carried out in Ramadhan.
If a Person goes for Umrah in Ramadhan, he receives much more rewards than he would if went for Umrah other times. This is the abundance of the month of Ramadhan.
Since I am following the hadith, I did not mention other ahadith about Ramadhan that are introductory ahadith. Almighty Allah prepares Paradise, heavens and earth spiritually in Ramadhan. The gates of Paradise are opened for the believers, and the gates of Hell are closed. The sky is decorated. Almighty Allah orders Jibrîl AS: “Go and tie the leaders of satans with chains and throw them to the oceans. There are ahadith on this. It means the satans become weaker and they do not fool believers as much as they would other times. Almighty Allah reduces the temptations for evil.
The decoration of the sky and Paradise, opening of the gates of Paradise and closure of the gates of Hell are good things. All these happen because this month is an important month. A good deed in this month is rewarded as the fulfillment of seventy obligations outside of Ramadhan. All of this means we should try doing good deeds in Ramadhan as much as we can. This is so encouraging, isn’t it?
(Wa huwa shahrus-sabri) “And, it is the month of patience.” Almighty Allah ordered us not to do some of the pure and good things during the day in Ramadhan: “Do not eat food or drink during the day.” We accept the order and observe it. We would not drink water even if we get very thirsty. Well in some places Ramadhan could be in winter and the days would be short. However, in some places, it could be summer time. The days would be long. Our forefathers kept fasting while they harvested the wheat during the hot days of summer. Their mouth got dry and their lips got cracked, yet they kept their patience. It is the month of patience.
Different parts of the world could experience different seasons at a given time. For instance, our brothers in Australia are having summer while you are having winter in Turkey. Your days are short while theirs is long. Nevertheless, all of us undergo some patience test. If we maintain our patience from the morning till the night that would be excellent.
We are patient about not eating food and not drinking water during the day. Another form of the patience is not getting angry. You should not get angry with your children, your spouse, your neighbor or your associates. You have to be gentle, soft and calm towards them. You have to control your eyes and your tongue. These are also parts of being patient.
(Was-sabru thawâbuhul jenneh) “The reward for patience is Paradise.” The patience is very important. It could be hard for a person to maintain patience, yet its reward is Paradise. The Prophet promised Paradise for those who practice patience and fast properly.
(Wa shahrul muwâsâti) “This is the month of muwâsâh,” i.e., helping somebody by giving him food, clothing or other things. We shall spare some money, go to the market, buy few things: half a kilo of cheese, three kilos of rice, five kilos of potatoes, some onions and other things. We shall put them in a box and take it to a poor family. That would be a support for that family.
Ramadhan is the month of helping one another. A believer should look after other believers, help the needy and make them happy. He should help them cope with the economical hardship.
(Wa shahrun-yuzâdu fî rizqil mu’mini fîhî) “Almighty Allah increases the sustenance of the believer in this month.” In fact, if you draw a graphic of what you eat in your home and compare the section for Ramadhan with the rest of the year, you can see the increase in Ramadhan. That is because of the blessings of Ramadhan as indicated in this hadith. the sustenance of the believer is increased in Ramadhan. You see a variety of food at the table.
Our late master Mehmed Zahid Effendi–may his abode be Paradise–used to say: “The sustenance of a person is what he eats, no what he keeps in his safe.” Imagine some cheese or jam in a jar. If you lick the jar from outside, you get nothing. That cheese or jam is not your sustenance unless you eat it.
In Ramadhan we witness that a variety of food would be at the table. If we try to count it, our fingers would not be sufficient; we would out-count the toes, too. This abundance in Ramadhan is due to the fact that is indicated in this hadith: “The sustenance of the believer is increased in this month.” Sadaqa rasûlullah–the Messenger of Allah stated the truth.
(Men fattara fîhî sàimen kâne maghfiraten lizunûbihî) “If a person provides food for a person who has fasted the day, he will have his own offenses forgiven.” This is another aspect to remember. We shall generously invite people for dinner in Ramadhan.
(Wa itqa raqabatihî minen nâr) “And he would free his neck from Hellfire. (Wa kâne lehû mithliejrihî) “What ever the reward the fasting person earns, the same would be given to the person who provide him food in the evening (min ghayri en yenqusa min ejrihî shay’) without any decrease in the rewards of the person who fasted.” This is very important, too, because we would earn the same rewards the fasting person gets when we invite him for dinner.
In the continuation of the hadith, there is another good news:
(Qàlû: Yâ rasûlallah! Leyse kullunâ yejidu mâ yufattirus sàim.) “O prophet of Allah! Not all of us have the means to provide dinner for a fasting person.” They had quite a bit hardship. They hardly had any food in their houses to feed a person. They were curious about what would happen to a person who could not provide much of food for a fasting person. The Prophet said:
(Yu’tillâhu hâdhes thawâbe men fettara sàimen alâ temratin aw alâ sherbeti mâ’in awmedhkati lebenin.) “Almighty Allah gives this reward to any person who offers a date fruit, a sip of water, or some milk to a fasting person.” Even the small offers to the fasting person are rewarded in large quantities.
Having heard of this hadith, we should provide things for people to break their fast when the sun goes down. It would be quite beneficial if one carries a bag of dates to offer to other people. Sometimes, they would be on the road or at work when the time arrives for iftar. They could break their fast with the date you offer. You get your rewards.
Last week, we were traveling towards Izmir. We stopped at somebody’s house. I told the host: “Bring something for us to break our fast and earn the rewards.” They brought food and we hadiftar. According to this hadith, they earned the same rewards that we earned by fasting without any decrease in our rewards.
(Wa huwa shahrun awwaluhû rahmetun) “This is such a month that the first part is dominated by the mercy of Allah.” We are surrounded by the mercy of Allah alhamdulillah! (Wa awsatuhûmaghfiratun) “The middle of this month is dominated by the forgiveness of the sins.” We all have wrongdoing in the past, and we have so many shortcomings. As we keep fasting, Almighty Allah forgives us our sins by the middle of this month. (Wa âkhiruhû itqun minen nâr) “The last part of this month is freedom from the hellfire.” Almighty Allah will say, “O My servant! You have fasted in Ramadhan, I have forgiven you and freed you from the fire.” It is for those who fasted in Ramadhan properly.
May Almighty Allah place us among those who are freed from the Hellfire.
(Men khaffefe an memlûkihî fîhî ghafarallàhu lehû wa a’tekahû minen nâr) As you know in the past the prisoners of wars could be taken as slaves. The slaves had to work hard. The prophet said: “If a person reduces the burden on his slave in this month–some slaves were Muslims, yet they still had to work–Almighty Allah forgives that person (wa a’tekahû minen nâr) and frees him from the hellfire.
(Festekthirû fîhî min erbai hisâl) “Do these four deeds in plenty (Hasleteyni turdùne bihimârabbekum) two of these deeds will have you earn the consent of your Lord. (Wa hasleteynilâghinâe bikum anhumâ) The other two deeds are something you cannot give up.”
What could be these four deeds? (Fe emmel hasletânilletâni urdùne bihimâ rabbekum) “What are the two deeds with which you are going to earn the consent of Allah? (Fe shahâdetu en lâilâhe illallah) To bear witness that there is no deity but Allah.” This is a very important word. (Watestaghfirûnehû) “The second one is seeking forgiveness.”
What we understand is that we need to keep saying “Esh-hadu en lâ ilâhe illallah” and “Estaghfirullah.” We could say “Estaghfirullah al azîm wa etûbu ileyh”
I had written in the magazines in the past: “Ramadhan is the month of Tasawwuf.” As you see in this hadith, the Prophet is ordering the practices of Tasawwuf. You shall do the dhikr of “Lâ ilâheillallah” and “Estaghfirullah.” With these dhikr, you will make Almighty Allah pleased with you. It is grace of Allah that he is pleased with us when we say “Lâ ilâhe illallah” and “Estaghfirullah.” What a great system of belief!
Dear brothers and Sisters, do these dhikr and become a good dervish.
(Wa emmel hasletânilletâni lâ ghinâe bikum anhumâ) “The other two deeds that you could not do without are (Fetes’elûnallahel jenneh wa teùzûne bihî minen nâr) asking Paradise from Allah and seek refuge with Allah from hellfire.” We shall keep praying: “Our Lord! Send us to Your Paradise! Our Lord! Free us from the hellfire!”
(Wa men saqà fîhî sàimen) “If a person provides food and water to somebody who fasted the day, (saqàhullàhu teâlâ min hawdî sherbeten) Almighty Allah provides that person from the pool of Kawthar in a way that (lâ yezmau ba’dehâ ebedâ) one who drinks from that pool never feels thirsty again.”
With this hadith, the Prophet had given us the good news that the person who provides some food to another person who has fasted the day will be served from the pool of Kawthar in Paradise.Thus we have completed the hadith. If you took notes, you have gathered quite a bit of information. Let us go over the hadith:
We must be careful and not miss the Night of Power. For this, we should practice i’tikâf in the last ten days of Ramadhan. If we have the money, we should sacrifice an animal on the day of Eid-al-Fitr. We must realize that this month is the month of patience and remember that the reward for patience is Paradise. If a person does good deeds in this month, he will receive the rewards in seventy folds. We must do charitable deeds in this month.
The sustenance is increased in this month, and we must be thankful for that and say “Alhamdulillah!“ We shall support the poor and needy by giving them money or goods. Everybody will have some kind of a feast in Ramadhan, and feel free of hardship.
Those who provide food for a person who is fasting will be forgiven their sins and are freed from the hellfire. They also receive the same rewards that the fasting person receives. That is why we need to open our doors and invite people for iftar. If we cannot afford it, we could offer simple things such as a cup of water, a date fruit, or some milk to a fasting person to break his fast in the evening. That will also bring the same rewards.
We shall do the dhikr “Lâ ilâhe illallah” and “Estaghfirullah” in plenty and ask for Paradise from Almighty Allah. We shall also ask Almighty Allah to be saved from the hellfire often: “Or Lord! Forgive us our wrongdoing. Do not send us to hellfire. Keep us in Your Paradise!”
May Almighty Allah have you practice all the good things stated by the Prophet SAS in this hadith. May He have you live many Ramadhans as his beloved servants who practice the deeds that are favorable to Allah and benefit from the blessings of these months.
May Allah grant you a life in compliance with His consent. May He illuminate your hearts, fill your hearts with His love, and make you His beloved servants. May he grant you a good end as you depart from this life and accept you as illuminated servants whom He is pleased with. May He honor all of us with His beauty in His Paradise. May He make us neighbors to his beloved ProphetMuhammed Mustafa in the hereafter. May He grant us the drinks from the pool of Kawthar inParadise.
As-salâmu aleykum wa rahmatullàhu wa barakâtuhû!..
Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you.