Ramadan Reminder 3 – Suhoor Meal (Pre-dawn Meal)

The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

 

Eat Suhoor, indeed there is a blessing in Suhoor.

 

Dear brothers, in these long fasts, it’s often tempting to skip suhoor and have just the one large meal. Often, if one is asleep, waking up for suhoor is hard work and instead more sleep is attained at a cost of the suhoor.

 

Suhoor is an important part of the fast. In fact, the meal of suhoor is more important than that of the iftar.

 

Part of the reason for the blessings that result from eating this meal is its strengthening the fasting person and giving him energy, thus making fasting easy for him. Additionally, by eating this meal one attains the reward of following the sunnah of the Prophet SAWS.

 

Studies have shown the numerous benefits to having this meal such as it prevents fatigue and headaches during the day, it reduces extreme hunger and thirst during the day and it prevents the loss of focus or sluggishness during the day.

 

Even the type of food is important and again we follow the sunnah in relation to this. The Prophet SAWS said:

 

The best suhoor is to eat dates.

 

Alongside this we ought to focus on fruit, vegetables, oats, nuts and plenty of water. Even vegetables such as cucumber and lettuce will help as they contain plenty of fluid to help keep you hydrated. Keep meat consumption to a minimum as it will cause sluggishness and avoid foods high in sugar and high in salt as they will make you feel hungry and thirsty the next day.

 

Dear brothers, with unusually hot days for the average at this time of year, we should use this knowledge to keep our fasts intact and our health preserved during this blessed month of Ramadan.

 

May Allah SWT enable us to gain the reward associated with the suhoor meal.

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Ramadan Reminder 2 – Night prayer in Ramadan

 

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

This hadith is a perfect reminder of the mercy that is shown in the month of Ramadan and it also shows that this act that we are all engaged in this evening is one of the means of forgiveness of sin.

Just to be clear, what is meant by the night prayer is also referred to as qiyam al-layl and taraweeh prayers too.

What does it mean to be in faith and in the hope of reward? If we look at this meaning in detail then it means to pray the night prayer with focus, sincerity and intention to please Allah SWT.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, this is a special month for many reasons. One of the many benefits of the month is the masjid comes alive in this month unlike any other time of the year. As you can see today and especially on the weekend, the rows are full all the way to the back of the main hall.

 

We reconnect with friends and unlike jumma prayers, there is no time pressure associated with this and going back to our lives. However, we ought to be careful that this hadith speaks of forgiveness for those who seek it and are hopeful of it.

 

If we are focused more on the social aspect of this night, we run the risk of falling short of the requirement of this promise with qiyam al layl. Not only do we run the risk of losing focus ourselves but the hum of chatter in the hall can affect others who are attempting to focus on the imam and the night prayer.

 

Instead, we should make the most of the time given in this blessed month and the opportunity of this time of each day. Use the time at the end of vitr to catch up with one another and lets make the night prayer be a witness to our attaining forgiveness from Allah SWT.

 

May Allah SWT grant us forgiveness from our sins through our attendance at Qiyam al Layl.

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Ramadan Reminder 1 – Reciting Quran

I wanted to remind you of the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:

 

“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.”

 

As you can conclude from this hadith, each letter recited from the Glorious Quran is worth 10 good deeds.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, in this country and in this masjid there are people with varying degrees of skill when it comes to reciting the Quran.

 

There are those who have memorized the Quran, for them the act of completing the recitation is very achievable and they do so multiple times in this blessed month Mash’Allah.

 

There are others who have no knowledge of Arabic, who are maybe at Qaida level and who would struggle to read a page from the Quran. I want to relay the beauty of our faith and the beauty of this month insh’Allah by sharing the next two hadiths with you. The first one is specifically for those of us who aren’t fluent but have a desire to read the book of Allah SWT.

 

If you are in this category, don’t be disheartened by the level you are at. To struggle and strive in this task has no shame, in fact it is the opposite. Use this month to get going whether it’s through the help of a teacher, a class or even a Quran audio or app. The following hadith helps illustrate in which the Prophet SAWS said:

 

Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.

Dear brothers and sisters, those who struggle will have twice that reward. May Allah SWT let that statement resonate in your hearts and give you the drive to begin today insh’Allah.

The final hadith I wanted to share on this topic is in which the Prophet SAWS said:

“Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.”

So then if we look at all the hadiths in today’s reminder, we could potentially earn 700 good deeds per letter recited in this month. And for those, unsure whether to recite because you are struggling to get through each page, for you each letter is worth 1400 good deeds insh’Allah.

 

Now ask yourself, can you even count that many good deeds you’ve done in the past year. This is the blessing of Ramadan and this is the blessing that is the Quran and this is the blessing that is the religion of Islam. May Allah SWT give us all the drive and ability to recite from His Glorious Quran.

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Complacency

During the month of Ramadan, we often engage in extra acts of worship as we try to get the most out of the blessing of this month. As the month ends and we return back to life outside of this blessed month, there is the danger that we become complacent and think that we have achieved it in this life.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, we must not fall into the trap of believing that everything that we have done is enough and that we have performed enough to be saved. We need to be mindful that only through the maintenance of the acts of worship and through Allah SWT accepting them, will we be saved.

 

Firstly, we need to remember that alongside the bad deeds that play in our mind are those which our conscious mind has just got us forgetting and these will also be accounted for on the Day of Judgment.

 

The imam reminded us of the following ayats 8 and 9 from Sura Al-araf which are translated to say:

 

And the weighing [of deeds] that Day will be the truth. So those whose scales are heavy – it is they who will be the successful. And those whose scales are light – they are the ones who will lose themselves for what injustice they were doing toward Our verses.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, if we look into these verses, we are being reminded by Allah SWT that the scales never stop, never sleep, they are always counting our deeds, both good and bad and will continue to do so whilst we are still living this life.

 

And even that is not enough and this is really key to todays reminder. As Muslims we are only acutely aware that this life is all about intention and what our hearts were testifying to doing. If we are doing all these deeds but it was for the purpose of this life, i.e. showing off, then this will also come to pass on the day of Judgement and we will be held accountable for our lack of sincerity.

 

Our deeds should come through loving Allah SWT, loving the Prophet SAWS and loving the life of a Muslim. Our deeds should be through the fear that Allah SWT will not accept them and therefore keep our intentions in check to ensure they are sincere.

 

The imam reminded us of a story in the Quran. This is from Sura Al-Maida, ayat 27 and it is translated to say:

 

Narrate to them in all truth the story of the two sons of Adam. When they made an offering and it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other, the latter said: ‘I will surely kill you.’ Thereupon the former said: ‘Allah accepts offerings only from the God-fearing.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we look into this ayat, we can interpret that Allah SWTs refusal to accept the sacrifice of one of the two brothers was not due to any wrong doing of the deed itself, but through the lack of piety or poor intention. The lesson for the brother was rather than attempt to kill his brother, he should be concerned with gaining that piety and that pure intention.

Therefore we should always be aiming to do good for our account and at the same time, asking Allah SWT to forgive our bad deeds and accept those good deeds as a source of mercy and forgiveness when we are in front of Him on the Day of Judgement.

And among the good deeds, we are reminded that through the Quran and Hadith, the best deeds are those which are consistent and not based on size. We shouldn’t overburden ourselves either, Allah SWT knows what we are capable of and what limits our individual lives has left us with being able to do.

The imam relayed a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:

The Prophet SAWS used to construct a loom with a Hasir at night in order to pray therein, and during the day he used to spread it out and sit on it. The people started coming to the Prophet SAWS at night to offer the prayer behind him When their number increased, the Prophet SAWS faced them and said. O people! Do only those good deeds which you can do, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) till you get tired, and the best deeds to Allah are the incessant ones though they were few.

Dear brothers and sisters, we ought to ask ourselves if we have that beauty of sincerity within our good deeds and we can achieve this through the following 4 practical tips that concludes todays reminder:

 

  1. Have the love for Allah SWT and the Prophet SAWS in our hearts. This will ensure that when we are committing good deeds, its is the love that is propelling us to do the good deed and not some worldly reason. The Imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this first point which is translated as saying:

 

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else. 2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake. 3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.”

  1. To be pleased with Allah SWT for what we have been given. Alhamdullilah. This ought to be on our tongues and within our hearts. If it isn’t, use this month and a moment of solitude to reflect on the blessing that we have been given in our lives, from our five senses to our family to our provisions, the list is endless.
  2. Purify your deeds through charity. This is both through the obligatory charity of Zakat and through additional charitable acts from financial to just giving someone a smile.
  3. Continue to utilise the power of dua in asking for our deeds to be accepted and for Allah SWT to be pleased with us.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to use this month almost as a stepping board to lift ourselves to another level. This is the month to establish and begin new habits of worship but following this month is to keep these acts consistently there as part of our everyday lives.

 

Remember, there’s only two weeks left now before the temptations of everyday life will also step up their game and so lets get into the habit of establishing good deeds now alongside continued pleas to our Lord that He accepts them from us.

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