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Sermon of the Prophet before Ramadan: 'O people ! A blessed ..

 Sermon of the Prophet (SAW) Before Ramadhan 

Salman Farsi related to us that 'the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) delivered a sermon on the last day of the month of Shaban."

In it, he said: 'O people ! A blessed month is casting its shadow upon you ; a night of this month (the Night of Power) is better than a thousand months ; God has prescribed the fasts of this month and ordered as a supererogatory worship the standing up in his presence (i.e.; the offering up of Taraweeh Salah ) during its nights ( on which there is great reward ). Whoever will offer, in it, a non - obligatory ( i.e.; Sunnat or Nafl ) prayer with the object of seeking the countenance of the Lord, will get a reward identical in value to the reward on a Fardh

( i.e.; obligatory) prayer on the other days of the year. It is the month of patient perseverance and the reward on patient perseverance is Paradise, and it is the month of kindness and compassion. It is the month in which the sustenance of the faithful bondsman is increased. Whoever will invite a person who is fasting to break the fast with him will get the same reward as the one who was fasting and there will be no reduction in his reward either. Upon it, It was enquired from the Prophet (SAW) `Everyone of us does not have the means to ask (people) to break the fast with him. (So, will he remain deprived of the great reward ?) The Prophet (SAW) replied `God will give the reward to him (also) who will have a person who is fasting break the fast with a little milk or a draught of water.` (Continuing the prophet observed): ` And whoever will feed fasting person with a full meal (at the time of breaking the fast), God will satiate him in such a manner from my pond (i.e.; Kausar) that, after it, he will not feel thirsty until he has reached heaven.( After it, the Prophet (SAW) said) : `The first part of this blessed month is Mercy, the second part is Forgiveness, and the third part is Freedom from the Fire of Hell.` (After it, the Prophet (SAW) said ): `Whoever will make a reduction in the work of his slave or servant, God will forgive him and grant him Freedom from Hell.` - Baihaqi

Commentary: The purport of the above Tradition is clear. Yet we will offer a few comments on some of the points here.

(I) The first and the greatest virtue of the month Ramadan is that there occurs during it a night which is better than thousand nights but months. It has, also, been mentioned , as we know, in Sura-i -Qadr of the Quran. In fact, the whole of the Surah deals with the suspiciousness and splendour of this night which it should be enough to appreciate its worth and importance.

Approximately, one thousand months thirty thousand nights. The superiority of the Night of Power to a thousand months should, therefore, be taken to mean that the devotees who are keenly desirous to earn the good graces of the Lord and His propinquity can make as much progress in one night as in a thousand other nights. Just as in the material world we see that by a jet propelled aeroplane one can, nowadays, cover as much distance in a day as, or even in an hour, as we done in a hundred years in the past, the rate of advance of the earnest seekers of the countenance of the Lord, too, is increased so greatly in the night of Power that they can attain in it was is possible in hundreds of months.

The Prophet's (SAW) remark that if a person will seek the propitiation of God, in the month of Ramadan, by performing a superogatory act, it will be treated as equal in recompense to the fulfilment of an obligatory duty in the other days of the year and if he will fulfil an obligatory duty during it, it will be treated as equal in recompense to the fulfilment of seventy obligatory duties during the rest of the year should be seen in the same light. Thus, while the superiority of the Night of Power peculiar o a particular night of Ramadan, the fetching of seventy times reward by a virtuous act is the characteristic attribute of every day and night of the blessed month.

(ii) Ramadan has been described in the sermon quoted above as the month of fortitude and compassion. In the Islamic usage `fortitude` signifies the suppression of sensual desires and urges and endurance of painful and unpleasant things the sake of learning the good pleasure of God. This is what fasting stands for, from the beginning to the end. In the same way, while fasting the bondsman has an experience of the rigours of starvation, and, from it, he learn to feel for and sympathise with those who are forced by their circumstances to go hungry.

(iii) It, also, tell that, in this month, the provision of the truthful bondsman is augmented. The experience of every fasting believer is that he more and better to eat and drink during Ramadan than in the other eleven months of the year. In whatever way or through whatever course this increase may take place in this world of cause and effect, it by the command of God in any case.

(iv) At the end of the sermon it is said that the first part of the month of Ramadan is Mercy, the second part is Forgiveness, and the third is Freedom from the Fire of Hell.

The most satisfactory explanation of it, in our view, is that there can be three kinds of bondsmen who avail themselves of the boon and blessings of Ramadan. Firstly, the pious souls who habitually take care not to commit a sin, and if they ever fall into error, they immediately make amends for it through sincere repentance. On these bondsmen the Mercy of the Lord begins to descend from the very first night of Ramadan. Secondly, those who are not so pure in the heart but are not altogether bereft of the fear of God as well. such Bondsmen improve their state and make themselves deserving of the Mercy and Forgiveness through fasting, repentance and other virtuous acts during this part of Ramadan, the decision for their forgiveness is taken in the second part of the month. Thirdly, those who have been unjust and have made themselves wholly worthy of Hell through their misconduct . When even they atone somewhat for their sinfulness through fasting and repentance along with the common Muslims during the first and second parts of Ramadan, God decides upon their freedom from Hell during the last one-third of the month when the Divine benevolence is at its peak.

FROM MEANING AND MESSAGES OF THE TRADITIONS

BY SHAYKH MOHAMMAD MANZOOR NOMANI (RA).

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