Bismillah Ar-Rahmaan Ar-Raheem. Alhumdulillah. Peace and blessings on Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa alihi wa sallam), his Noble Companions and Family. Dear Committed brothers, dear committed sisters,
Allah’s guiding words:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur’an was caused to descend as a matter of guidance and as a criteria. Those of you who are present in this month should fast it, those who are ill or travelling should make up by an equivalent amount of days later on. Allah wills ease for you and does not will to burden you… (Surah Al Baqarahverse 185)
These sequence of ayaat on fasting have the potential of developing a crystallised human being in his behaviour, feelings and thoughts. There are people who are fasting, (today), in the physical sense of the word; they withhold consumption of food, liquids and the partaking of sex during the daylight hours. That is not what is required of fasting; that is the outward manifestation of the fast, but there is a significant expression of fasting, and that is that your internal thoughts and internal feelings are moulded to conform to the standards that are expected of you by Allah our creator. The Prophet of Allah to this effect said whoever does not abstain from false statements, and false actions, of course during this month of fasting, or during any time of fasting, then Allah has no need for this person to abstain from food and from drink, from nutrients and from physical nourishment. So, it is the parting in your feelings, hearts- deep down inside of your mind and psychology-with false expressions, whether they are verbal or physical. If you don’t part with these false expressions then Allah doesn’t mind if you are parting from the food and water that is available to you. This is the area that has to be worked on during this month so that everything you or any Muslim says and does will not reflect any tendency towards whatever is false, untrue, artificial and not substantial.
Now, you take this criteria and look at the multitudes of people that are fasting in this month. There are many of them- probably the overwhelming majority of Muslims do their fasting at least in the outward physical sense; but are they doing it in the prescribed sense, not in the mechanical qualifications of fasting, but in the more intrinsic meanings of fasting? Are they meeting that qualification and standard? That quality of Taqwa that stands as a barrier between anyone who’s observing this fast and whatever Shaytaan has to offer of indulgence, attractions, pitfalls and what the carnal desires of man always gravitate towards, (those are the offerings of shaytaan).
During this month, when we are abstaining from a couple of meals a day, we should notice that there are people in this world who don’t have any meals during the course of the year. To them, if they happen to be Muslims, Ramadhan in the physical sense is no challenge at all because, most of the time they find themselves denied of the food and nutrients that to many of us are available. What is the meaning of fasting as far as these Muslims who have plenty? There are many Muslims around the world who are stashed with the cash, the budgets and the have-it-all to make the needy peoples life more comfortable, but do they do that? Ramadhan will come and go and we don’t see a very significant amount of resources given to these people who are in need.
You know- it’s many times easy for a person to criticise at a distance. We have a distance of hundreds of years in the past, but we take a look at the people who were around the Prophet, who learnt from him. One example of the people close to the Prophet, (the problem with mentioning a name is it develops in certain minds a backlash and erects a barrier to understanding the lesson that is intended), so suffice it to say that when this person who was close to the Prophet, (who use to come to him almost on a daily basis), became the ruler and governor of the Muslims, he would see to it that he himself would go around to see the condition of his own people, his own brothers and sisters and the families around. That challenges almost all of the rulers we know nowadays, especially those who claim that they are fasting during the month of Ramadhan. How many of them go into the depressed, economically lacking and the financially deprived neighbourhoods of their own lands and see to it that these families are eating enough and do they have enough to support themselves? After the Prophet passed away, when this close person to the Prophet became governor, he went to the residential areas, the depressed part of Makkah to see are there any people in need. On one such occasion, he came across a family- the family didn’t recognise who this person was. They thought this person is coming to look and see what is happening inside this household. He asked the wife of the family who was attending to some water, what are you doing? She says to him that she is boiling some water. He said obviously you’re preparing food, what are you going to serve to your children? At that moment, the woman was silent. What was she going to say? She was boiling water to see to it that her children would go to sleep!! How many rulers in Muslim lands go to these families and see to it that they get their food. That was a person that came from the school of Ramadhan and the proximity of the Prophet. Now rulers get detached- there’s some money and some power around and they forget about the human condition.
When another such person who was close to the Prophet, who understood the meanings of Ramadhan, became the ruler after the Prophet, he said the only reason there are people who have empty stomachs is because there are other people whose stomachs are full. These are not words that are said by some philosopher somewhere, these are words that were uttered by people who had power, status and privileges (as it were) in this life, but they could see through all of this. They had more than that- they had a channel that was open to the normal individual. They weren’t living somewhere in ivory towers; they were not disconnected and discommunicated from their own peoples and from the human race. Now, we have a person around Makkah-a person who is called officially Khadim Al Haramain Ashsharifain- the up-keeper or upholder of the two noble sanctuaries. This person who is plagued with diabetes, strokes, cardio-vascular problems, old age and a loss of memory- what kind of statements is he making that concerns the Muslims? Has anyone ever heard him talk or in a speech? Why? If he is the protector of the two Holy Shrines in Makkah and Al Madinah, at least it behoves the Muslims to have access to what this person says. But no one can remember anything he says because he barely makes any public statements or appearances. Now that he is no longer involved in the day-to-day decision making and is confined to some health quarter, they tell you, (now they’re beginning to talk because his sort of on his way out), “in the years that have passed, when he was responsible for those day-to-day decisions…”- remember we have people in Muslim lands, just across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula who don’t find a decent/square meal, (as it were), to eat- “this person, in his spare time used to spend hours in seclusion; he used to be to himself in a room, closed.” He closes the room and what is he doing? Is he involved in some sujoodto Allah or in some rak’at that he has to offer his Sustainer? No! Is he involved in consulting concerning the affairs of the plight of the Muslims in this world? No! Is he involved in caring for his own subjects? No! So what is he doing? Hours everyday or every other day he spends in a locked room, doing what! These are there own words- “he’s playing the Nintendo.” Compare this type of ruler who calls himself the custodian of Makkah and Al Madinah with those who were the close up-bring of the Prophet himself and the statements they made and the care they displayed- the genuine care; there’s wasn’t done for show; show of what! When there was a year of famine that affected the Muslim condition after the Prophet, that was called the year of famine. No one found anything to have or eat; during that year the application of the hadd had to be suspended because some people were possessing other things to survive. When living was at the survivallevel in that year of famine what did the ruler of the Muslims at that time do? Go off to Monte Carlo?! Spend his time in casinos?! Abandon his own people to spend the days of Ramadhan thousands of miles away in anon- Muslim land?! No! For six months, this leader of the Muslims used to consume oil- olive oil or whatever oil it was, with pieces of bread. Compare that type of personality and character with the characters we have today, going into and then out of Ramadhan. In a few weeks we’ll be out of Ramadhan, Ramadhan will no longer exist. What were these rulers doing in Ramadhan? They spend $70Billion on a war- the second Persian-Gulf war, not to count the first one. Now they are facing liquidity- they used to have liquid assets- look where they put the Muslim wealth, outside of Muslim lands- is beginning to add out. They use to have a program, (if you are aware of it), on the radio there use to be an Arabic language program, a link up with the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, where’s that program now? We will now encounter the first year in which there are no programs in this area concerning Ramadhan. What happened to all those finances, where did they go? If Ramadhan doesn’t bring about an awareness and consciousness of these facts, then it was a mechanical and physical Ramadhan; what is intended of Ramadhan is not a mechanical and physical Ramadhan, even though obviously abstinence from food and drink is part of the process- but that is not all of the process and that is not the objective of fasting.
Hear that, LA ALLAKUM TATTAKUN, and in another ayah following this ayah, a couple of ayahs beneath it
تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَقْرَبُوهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
… in that manner Allah makes evident His involvement in human affairs so that they may guard against His penalty. (Surah Al Baqarah verse 187)
It is a sad comment, or (be-it an) alas, it is the truth that Ramadhan will have come and those that are making decisions for the Muslims will not have gained the privilege of fasting this month of Ramadhan. We ask Allah to offer us that privilege by extending ourselves to those in the human condition around us; if, we cannot in any physical sense do so, at least in our thoughts and minds. The Prophet of Allah says fasting is a protection or a protective layer for this human being. Is that the case when these people are fasting and when they make decisions impacting the lives of Muslims as they have been doing throughout the past 13 years or so? Have they been fasting? Forget about us in our individual sense- assume this condition is thousands of miles away, i.e. somewhere in Hong Kong there’s a Masjid and the administration in that Masjid tells some Muslims they cannot go into the Masjid; and then they are fasting Ramadhan and are supposed to have Taqwa. Is this the meaning of Taqwa? This is only a small presentation of the large scale policies and decisions that they make that impact the lives of many other Muslims in this world.
This month of Ramadhan takes us to other areas of the world where we have other Muslims that are fasting- Muslims who are our brothers and sisters in Chechenya, Bosnia etc. The number of Muslims just in this past year, since last Ramadhan until this Ramadhan that are reported to have been killed in Chechenya is between thirty five thousand and fifty thousand. Right now, medical sources, (remember, these are non- Muslim sources), in this past week are saying there are probably three hundred mass graves in Bosnia; they are talking about amass grave that has around seven thousand in the area of Srebrenica. This is the condition of Muslims, (it’s) as if when we go from one Ramadhan to the next Ramadhan (and) we have a certain Government in the world that delights in taking out the blood of the Muslims, in spilling their blood and killing them. We’ve been through chapters of this in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in the Gulf war, in Chechenya, in Palestine-it seems as these people who are opposed to Islam look for the month of Ramadhan and then administer the harshest policies to the scale of genocide against the Muslims during this month. Are they more aware of this Ramadhan than the Muslims are we begin to ask?
During this month of Ramadhan we intensify our connection and relationship with Allah. If we feel cold, (some of us actually and obviously do feel cold; this is a winter day, we are out here exposed to the elements and there’s no heating); we are forced to pray in the street; other Muslims are forced to pray in the mountains with ammunition beside them to defend themselves and to take arms during this month. What we are doing here is a breeze compared to what they are doing in Algeria, the Caucuses, Lebanon and in other areas of the Muslim world. Look around- are these people really fasting? Where’s their conscience? If they are fasting, what type of mind tells them have these Muslims pray in the street and have those Muslims killed in the cities (and to) pursue them with fire arms and the restriction of liberties and freedom if they happen to be in lands and in countries that guarantee certain liberties and certain freedoms. This is the condition that the Muslims are maturing through today; this is a season in which we are thankful to Allah. No longer are our enemies working from behind the scenes, they have exposed themselves. The month of Ramadhan gives us an insight to what they are planning against the Muslims; the month of Ramadhan also gives us access to Allah who overwhelms such plans. You think if they tape and record what Muslims are doing, Allah’s not taping and recording what they are doing. It is not our strength that is going to manifest its-self, it is the strength of Allah that is going to manifest itself.
لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُم بِهَا
… compared to them we are no match, but they compared to Allah are no match… (Surah An Naml verse 37)