My dear respected brothers and sisters,
I hope and pray that all of you are in the best of iman and health.
The holy month of Ramadan has come, and it is a special occasion to all, but especially to the People of Tasawuff. This is the time where body, heart and mind purification occurs. But only if you expose yourself to it, with your presistant efforts, extra worship, and re-shaping yourself and your commitments.
Two things I would like you to to increase in this Holy month:
1- the number of times you send your Salams to our Beloved Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam
2- The number of Ayahs of the Qu'ran you recite daily. As this is the month of Qur'an.
Remember, that some think this is the month to eat, when infact, this is the month not to eat a lot.
Remember that you do not only abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during this month, but to go to a higher level by:
1- Commanding your organs and limbs ( including tongue, eyes, ears, hands) to abstain from all that's not good.
This is extremely important.
2- Commanding your thoughts that cross your mind to abstain from all that's not good. This comes with training, and perseverance, so please start.
Khutbah (Sermon) of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam) about Ramadan
'O you who believe, prescribed for you is the Fast, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that you will have taqwa.' Qur`an 2:183
'A great month, a blessed month, a month containing a night which is better than a thousand months has approached you people. Allah has appointed the observance of fasting during it as an obligatory duty, and the passing of its nights in prayer as a voluntary practice.
If someone draws near to Allah during it with some good act he will be like one who fulfills an obligatory duty in another month, and he who fulfills an obligatory duty in it will be like one who fulfills seventy obligatory duties in some other month.
It is the month of endurance, and the reward of endurance is paradise. It is the month of sharing with others, and a month in which the believer's provision is increased. If someone gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast it will provide forgiveness of his wrong actions and save him from the Fire, and he will have a reward equal to the fasting man's reward without his reward being diminished in any way... Allah gives this reward to anyone who gives one who has been fasting some milk mixed with water, or a date, or a drink of water with which to break his fast, and anyone who gives a full meal to one who has been fasting will be given a drink by Allah and will not thirst until he enters Paradise.
It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness, and whose end is freedom from the Fire. If anyone makes things easy for his slave during it, Allah will forgive him and free him from the Fire.'
From a khutba (sermon) given by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, on the last day of Shaban.
Reported by Salman al-Farsi (Mishkat al Masabih).
Some Hadiths About Ramadan
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'Ramadan, a blessed month, has come to you during which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast. In it the gates of the Garden are opened, the gates of the Fire are locked, and the rebellious Shaytan is chained. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good indeed suffered deprivation.'Ahmad and Nasa'i transmitted it.
Every good deed will be rewarded from ten to seven hundred fold except fasting which is endured for My sake and which I shall reward.'Hadith Qudsi, Sahih al-Bukhari
'By Him Who holds my life in His hand the breath of the fasting man's mouth is more fragrant before God and better pleasing to Him than redolent musk.'Sahih Muslim
'Paradise has a gate which is called al-Rayyan through which not one shall enter except those who have observed the fast.'Sahih al-Bukhari
'Two joys are prepared for him who observes the fast, the joy of breaking the fast and that of meeting his Lord.'Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim
Excerpts from the Book of the Mysteries of Fasting from the Ihya Ulum al-Deen of Imam al-Ghazali'Praise be to Allah who has shown great favor to His servants, Who has frustrated the hopes and plans of Shaytan by making fasting a bulwark and a shield for His friends.'
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, 'The reward of the fasting man will be generous beyond imagination or estimate.' And so it should be because fasting belongs to Allah and by virtue of this relationship it has been rendered noble. The fast belongs to Allah in two respects. First because it is a form of desisting and relinquishing, in its very nature concealed from human sight, whereas all the other acts of worship are apparent and exposed to it. And secondly because it is a means of vanquishing the enemy of Allah, Shaytan, who works through the appetites and desires. These appetites and desires are increased by eating and drinking. For this reason the Prophet said, 'Shaytan affects the son of Adam by pervading his blood. Let him therefore make this difficult for Shaytan by means of hunger.' For the same reason he told A'isha, 'Persist in knocking on the door of Paradise.' When she asked what she should knock with he replied, 'With hunger.'
The excellence of fasting established, what follows is a basic description of the outward and inward conditions for fasting.
Outward conditions for fasting
The first outward duty is to watch the beginning of the month of Ramadan and announce it at the observation of the new moon (al-hilal). If clouds make the observation of the new moon impossible then the length of Shaban should be extended to thirty days. By observation we mean actual sighting of the new moon. Anyone who hears a trustworthy witness say that he has seen the new moon and believes him, fasting then becomes incumbent on him.
The second outward duty is intention (niyyah). Every night before the dawn of the following day one should specifically and deliberately entertain the intention of fasting. If he should entertain the intention to fast the month of Ramadan but fails to renew his intention every night his fast would not be valid...
The third duty is that, as long as he remembers that he is fasting, the individual should abstain from intentionally allowing any material substance such as food, drink, snuff and enema, to enter his body... Whatever enters the body unintentionally, such as dust, or water, during the rinsing of the mouth will not invalidate the fast...
The fourth duty is abstinence from sexual intercourse...
The fifth duty is abstinence from deliberate seminal emission.
The sixth outward duty is abstinence from vomiting. If one cannot help it however, his fast remains intact and valid.
Practices connected with the Fast
Delaying the time of suhur (until near the time of daybreak).
Speeding the breaking of the fast by eating dates or drinking water before performing the prayer.
Generous giving throughout the month.
Special study of the Our' an.
Retreat (i'tikaf) into the mosque, especially during the last ten days of Ramadan (in which the Night of Power, laylat ul-Qadr, falls).
Inward conditions of fasting
Fasting is of three grades:
The fasting of the general public (sawm al-umun)
The fasting of the select few (sawm al-khusus)
The fasting of the elite among the select few (sawm kusus al-khusus)
The fasting of the general public involves refraining from satisfying the appetites of the stomach and the appetites of sex and is described in the section on Outward conditions.
The fasting of the select few is to keep the ears, the eyes, the tongue, and hands, the feet and other senses free from wrong actions.
It consists of:
Refraining from looking at anything disapproved, or anything which occupies the person and distracts him from remembering Allah.
Keeping the tongue free from raving, lying, backbiting, tale-bearing, obscenity, abusive speech, wrangling and hypocrisy.
Closing the ears to every reprehensible thing because everything which is unlawful to utter is also unlawful to hear.
Restraining the limbs from wrong actions as well as avoiding questionable foods at the breaking of the fast.
Not overeating when breaking the fast.
Remaining in a state of suspense between fear and hope after breaking the fast as to whether or not the fast has been accepted by Allah.
The fast of the elite among the select few is the fast of the heart from mean thoughts and worldly worries and its complete unconcern with anything but Allah and the Last Day, as well as by concern over this world, except insofar as it promotes the deen (life-transaction), which belongs to the hereafter.
Every act of worship is possessed of an outward form and an inner secret, an external husk and internal path. The husks are of different grades and each grade has different layers. It is for you to choose whether to be content with the husk or join the company of the wise and learned.
Breaking the Fast
'A human being has not filled any vessel which is worse than a belly. Enough for the son of Adam are some mouthfuls which keep his back straight, but if there is not escape he should fill it a third with food, a third with drink, and leave a third empty.'
Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah
'Many a one who fasts gets nothing from his fasting but thirst and many a one who prays during the night gets nothing from his night prayers but sleeplessness.'
The mercy of the fast of Ramadan penetrates all dimensions of man's existence, providing a holistic cure for all that ails him, rejuvenating the body as well as the spirit of man. Breaking the fast by overeating renders both these beneficial effects useless. And breaking the fast with the wrong foods in any amount will debilitate the one who fasts and make his spiritual efforts more difficult.
Allah exhorts us in the Our' an to eat of the purest foods and the practitioners of modern medicine are just beginning to realize the essential wisdom of this command along with the wisdom of the fast itself. The therapeutic effect of fasting is well documented by actual clinical experience both in Europe and in the United States, leading to general acceptance of the principal that fasting is man's oldest and best healing method. And the kind and amount of food with which one breaks the fast to a large extent determines whether the fast is useful or a waste of time.
The main rule in breaking the fast is to remember why you are fasting and what you hope to obtain by it. Thereare several du'a [supplications] for breaking the fast which call one back to this reality, one of which is:
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,O Allah, for You I have fasted and I have believed in You,And have broken my fast on Your bounty and so forgive memy past and present wrong actions. O Lord of the Worlds.
Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem
Allahumma laka sumtu wa bika aamantu Wa 'alaa rizqika aftartu faghfirlee Maa addamtu wa maa akhartu Ya rabbil aalamen.
One of the sunnas [practices] of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, is to break the fast as soon as the Adhan [call to prayer] is heard before performing the Maghrib prayer, with a date and some water.
Ramadan Food Guideline
The rule of thumb of the amount of food to be consumed at the evening meal which follows is that it should be no more than is usually eaten at that time. In fact, if it is, the fast is technically invalid. Again one has to review what one's goal in Ramadan is -- to bury his head deep into a nose-bag full of food every evening after sunset and snore his nights away or to eat a light but nutritious evening meal and use the precious nights of Ramadan for dhikr [remembrance] and fikr [reflection].
The following is a guideline to the types of food which will enhance the natural purifying effect which the fast already has on the body and which will increase the one who incorporates them into his diet in energy, clarity and awareness:
Use as much as possible pure and organic foods, uncontaminated by artificial flavorings, colors, and
Avoid eating too much meat too frequently. The Prophet, Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, ate meat only twice a week. Needless to say it should be halal, but it is also recommended to find a source of free-range animals and to have as close a control as possible over the actual killing.
Include lots of vegetables and raw fruits in your diet.
Avoid overdoses of starches, particularly excessive amounts of polished white rice -- use whole grains when possible and then not too much of them.
Avoid too much sugar and substances containing caffeine -- they will unbalance the delicate endocrine system of the body.
Pay attention to the order in which you eat different foods and the combinations of foods which you eat. The medicine of the Prophet recommends limiting the number of different types of food eaten at one time as much as possible, and latest research has revealed that the reason for this is the stomach's ability to produce
And finally, please do not forget me in your daily Du'a,
May Allah bless you and make this month a success for all,
Muhammad bin Yahya