All praise and adoration are due to Allāh. 1 thank and praise Allāh the Exalted and bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Him Alone without partners and that Muḥammad is His slave and Messenger. O Allāh! Bestow Your best peace and blessings on Your slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muḥammad, and on his progeny and Companions until the Day of Resurrection.
My dear brothers and sisters! Alḥamdulillāh, we are almost through with the second ten of blessed month of Ramaḍān which indicates that all our shortcomings in the past are forgiven.The month of Ramadan is not only the month of fasting but also the month of Qur’ān as espoused in the last Khutbah. It also the month of compassion, the month of piety, patience, forgiveness, and thankfulness to Allāh; all in a bid to move us closer to Almighty Allāh (SWT).
In today’s Khuṭbah we shall be talking on how to maintain a level of spirituality during and after Ramaḍān.
Spirituality in respect to Islām is described as the presence of a relationship with Allāh that affects the individual’s self worth, sense of meaning and connectedness with others and nature. The relational quality is understood to be a core theme of Islamic religion that comprises beliefs, virtues, daily living behaviours and knowledge. From this humble description, it is crystal clear that spirituality in Islām is about nearness or moving closer to Allāh through many devotional acts of ‘Ibādah. Of course, there could be no other times one could have achieved this other than the period of Ramaḍān, when all acts of ‘Ibādah are maximized.
In other words, during this period, doors of opportunities are opened for the believers to move closer to Allāh in order to gain His mercy and blessings.
Almighty Allāh in the Qur’ān emphasizes the fact that He is closer to man, but the closeness can only be achieved through sincere yearnings of the soul of man.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَليَستَجِيبُواْ لِي وَليُؤمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُم يَرشُدُونَ
And when My servants ask you (Muḥammad) concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (Q. 2:186)
The above reference points to the fact that there are certain obligations to be fulfilled before one could get closer to Allāh.
Another verse says:
وَلَقَد خَلَقنَا ٱلإِنسَٰنَ وَنَعلَمُ مَا تُوَسوِسُ بِهِۦ نَفسُهُۥۖ وَنَحنُ أَقرَبُ إِلَيهِ مِن حَبلِ ٱلوَرِيدِ
And certainly We created man, and We know what his mind suggests to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular-vein. (Q. 50:16)
We as Muslims must realize a point from the above rreference that the closeness of Allāh to man depends on individual perception and actions. Access to Allāh is not beyond human power nor is His nearness the monopoly of any particular set of people. The attainement of union with Allāh is within the reach of every man and woman, and the door to His mercy and grace is also open to all.
Let me share with you an encounter of a man and his son, which bothers on the perception of closeness of Allah to man. The little boy had asked his father: “Dad! What is the size of God? The father looked up to the sky and saw a plane and asked his son, what is the size of this plane? The boy replied: “It is very small, I can hardly see it”. Then the father took him to the airport and as they approach a plane, he asked, my son, how big is this plane? The boy exclaimed, wow! Its huge, then the father told him: “God’s size depends on how close or far you are to Him, the closer you are to Him, the greater and greater He will be in your life.”
It therefore implies that one cannot perceive the real essence of Allāh until one move closer to Him, of course through different acts of ‘Ibādah.
There are countless of acts and deeds that tend to draw us closer to Allāh, and as such afford us the opportunity to attain certain level of spirituality during and after Ramaḍān. To start with, all the pillars of Islām, such as proclamation of faith, performing the five obligatory prayers, giving Zakāh, fasting in the month of Ramaḍān, performing the Ḥajj; if they are carried out in the best possible manner, following the footsteps of the Prophet (SAW), are means towards attaining spirituality. Apart from these fundamentals, there are also many acts of worship which are termed as superegatories, extra-voluntaries, and more so, some good deeds which are commanded by Allāh to be carried out.
Below are some extra voluntary duties that avail Muslims the opportunity to attain a high level of spirituality.
Performing Qiyāmu’l-Layl or Tahajjud. There are many virtues and benefits of standing up in the night observe Ṣalāh. The Prophet (SAW) said: “the best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” It prevents one from entering the Hell-fire. It raises one to the level of appreciation and progress and piety.
وَمِنَ ٱلَّيلِ فَتَهَجَّد بِهِۦ نَافِلَة لَّكَ عَسَىٰ أَن يَبعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاما مَّحمُودا
And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. (Q. 17:79)
Performing night prayer draws one nearer to Allāh. This is true because Allāh is said to descend to the last heaven every last third of the night, asking anyone to petition Him for whatever he wishes and it shall be granted. It is also a time of acceptance of prayer.
Performing wudū’ before sleep. It is a rewardable Sunnah to perform ablution before going to bed. The Prophet (SAW) said in this regard: “No one cleanses himself before sleep, except that angel in every hour of the night asks for Allāh’s forgiveness on him.” The Prophet (SAW) was also reported to have asked Bilāl those acts he engaged in apart from the fundamentals, because he used to hear the footsteps of his shoes in the Paradise. He (Bilāl) said: “I used to be in ablution always until I sleep and observe prayer with it.”
READ ALSO: The Inevitable Death
Observing Ṣalatu’d-Ḍuḥā, this is performed at the day break when the sun rises.
Engaging in voluntary fasts in the following periods: Monday and Thursday, ‘Arafat day, first ten days of Dhul Ḥijjah, six days of Shawwāl, 13th, 14th and 15th days of every month, known as Ayāmu’l-bīd.
Assisting those in need for the sake of Allāh without expecting any reward from them.
Maintaining peace and tranquility in the society through good neighbourliness.
Forgiving those who might have in one way or the other offended you.
Goodness and respect to the parents.
Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is wrong.
Tieing the rope of family, helping the orphans, the widows and reconciling people.
Every Muslim should strive to engage in all the extra-voluntary duties to complement the fundamental principles in order to get closer to Allāh, so as to become His friend and attain a high level of spirituality.
Allāh has promised those who attained that level of spirituality thus:
أَلَا إِنَّ أَولِيَاءَ ٱللَّهِ لَا خَوفٌ عَلَيهِم وَلَا هُم يَحزَنُونَ . ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ . لَهُمُ ٱلبُشرَىٰ فِي ٱلحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنيَا وَفِي ٱلأخِرَةِ لَا تَبدِيلَ لِكَلِمَٰتِ ٱللَّه ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ ٱلفَوزُ ٱلعَظِيمُ
Now surely the friends of Allāh– they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and guarded (against evil): They shall have good news in this world´s life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the words of Allāh; that is the mighty achievement. (Q. 10:62-64)
أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ لِي وَلَكُمْ وَلِسَائِرِ المُسْلِمينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتْ فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
I say this and ask Allāh for forgiveness for me and you, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين.
All thanks and praises belong to Allāh the Lord of the Worlds. And may the constant blessings and mercies of Allāh be upon the leader of the Prophets, his entire household, companions and the entire Muslim ummah.
Dear brothers and sisters in Islām, we must make sure that all the fundamentals and extral-voluntary acts and deeds are to be to maximized in the month of Ramaḍān. This is because in it, the spiritual rewards are multiplied and a person can achieve a thousand rewards for one good deed. Observing the fast in Ramaḍān and engaging in meritorious acts and deeds defeat the carnal self and its illusory lordship.
Believers become spiritually inclined towards their Lord. In other words, no religious deeds can be compared to the one in the month of Ramaḍān in terms of reward; this is why the believers feel serious grief when this blessed month is gone.
READ ALSO: Leave What Which Does Not Concern You
When the month of Ramaḍān is gone, as believers, we should endeavour to maintain and sustain the tempo of our spiritual level, by holding on to all the commandments of Allāh as explained above. People become less spiritual when they abandon all the aforesaid meritorious deeds and return to materialism, obscenity, indecencies and vulgality. This is in tandem with the word of Marthin Luther King Jnr when he says: “The richer we have become materially, the poor we become morally and spiritually.” In other words, for people to grow spiritually at all times there is need to sacrifice from the enjoyment of worldly pleasures.
O Allāh, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our Prophet Muḥammad (SAW), his family and all of the companions.
May Allāh be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān and ‘Alī, and all of the noble Companions.
O Allāh, we seek Your grace to make us amongst those who remember you much and are steadfast on performing acts of worship. O Allāh, please forgive us all.
© Dr. Mubin Olatoye Raji