قال الله تبارك وتعالى في محكم كتابه المجيدبسم الله الرحمن الرحيم يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
Brothers and sisters, in a week’s time the holy month of Ramadhan will approach. We all are invited to a very big feast, to the hospitality of Allah Almighty, as in the last Friday sermon before the month of Ramadhan, the Prophet (S.A.W.W) said in his sermon that the holy month of Ramadhan is approaching (شهر دعيتم فيه الى ضيافة الله) which means the hospitality of Allah (S.W.T) is offered to you this month. When you normally have a guest, or guests, you are throwing a party or a feast, you see how honourable and dear your guests are to you. So, the greater they are, the more honourable and high status, normally people pay more attention, take more care and try to make the hospitality as perfect as possible. When the host is Allah Almighty, all blessings and bounties come from Him and now, He is inviting his servants, the believers in this month calling it according to the Prophet (S.A.W.W), the hospitality which will be perfect by Allah (S.W.T). So, we are guests, invited to this feast both spiritual and physical, mental and in every aspect of our lives. First of all, Allah (S.W.T) in this Aya, which is Aya number 183, in Surat Al-Bakhara, says that “O you who believe, the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for the nations before you.” But what is the reason for that? What is the philosophy behind it? What is the objective that Allah (S.W.T) wants to explain to us (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ)? You might achieve the piety. What is piety? Of course, people who fast go under an exercise of hunger, thirst and they are restricted as they are not living their normal lives. Many things are prohibited during the fast. So, what are you doing here? (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ) You do this in order to achieve piety and what is piety? Piety is as described and understood as anything which brings you close to Allah (S.W.T) and his pleasure. (تقوى) Piety means that like CCTV cameras, you feel the omnipresence of Allah (S.W.T) every minute, every time, every place. I’m sure that you see the difference between drivers who are driving on the highway and exceeding the speed limit, the moment they see a police car, the moment they see the cameras, they try to reduce their speed. Why? Because everything will be recorded, and they will be held accountable for any misdeed or penalties will be there. So when you know that you are in the presence of Allah (S.W.T) and you worship Him as He is watching you and every minute as Imam Sadiq (A.S) said that you have to perform your daily prayers, the other obligations as if Allah (S.W.T) is seeing you and as you say Allah, you are in His presence. This is brothers and sisters very important, but let us see what are the signs for this feast, for this hospitality? First of all, the Prophet (S.A.W.W) said (أنفاسكم فيه تسبيح) which means that you normally breathe, and that breath life depends on it. Nowadays, you see the news and hear about this pandemic that when this virus attacks someone, it goes to his lungs and stops the function of the lungs. The breathing becomes so difficult as if someone suffocating. Someone described that who has recovered from this virus, he recently said that it was as if you are immersed in water and you are holding your breath that you can’t breathe. Later on, Alhamdullilah he had recovered. This breath, although it is natural, it is automatic, it is to guarantee the life for every human being, then Allah (S.W.T) says that according to the Prophet () you breathe and the angels record that breath as an act of worship.
Brothers and sisters, this is very important to know that the concept of worship in Islam is much wider than rituals that we perform, the prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and so on. Why? Because anything you do in order to please Allah (S.W.T), and by the way when we say to please Allah, when you have to offer your services, your kindness, your help to other servants of Allah (S.W.T), it is indeed an act of worship. Here, we appreciate all the nurses in all hospitals who are offering their assistance to people who are attacked by this virus, indeed whether they are Muslims or not, they are doing a good job and that is an act of worship so, (عبادة) in its wider aspect covers every assistance and every service you offer to others in order to please Allah (S.W.T). The first one is your breath is counted as glorification to Allah (S.W.T) (أنفاسكم فيه تسبيح) and the second point (ونومكم فيه عبادة) of course, you are hungry, you are tired, if you weak during the fasting, you go to sleep, it is natural but the Prophet (S.A.W.W) said that is again an act of worship as long as you are asleep, it is as if it is considered to be indulged and busy with offering your submission to Allah (S.W.T). Here we see the hospitality of Allah (S.W.T), the merits for those who keep fast and one thing again, brothers and sisters very important to know about this month of Ramadhan is that the Holy Quran, the last and final divine Scripture which has been revealed to the humanity, to the chest and the heart of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and he delivered that to Muslims that we have the honour and opportunity to recite, to ponder upon, to memorise, to lessons from the Quran and to enjoy all these connections with the Quran. The Quran was revealed in the holy month of Ramadhan, in Laylatul Qadr the night of destiny and measure, the night which has been described in the Quran, described to be more valuable than 1000 months. Which means that a night which is not only equal, rather even more honourable (خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ) so, if you are going to count the solar months it will be approximately 30,000 nights. If it is lunar, it can be 29,500. When one night is given such value, such significance to be even better than and more superior to 1000 months, we have to brothers and sisters seize this opportunity to do everything to make a possibility and the ability to ponder on our life, on our character, in our behaviour and the way that we handle things. And at the time of this staying at home, I know brothers and sisters, sometimes some disputes, some difficulties, some misunderstandings between husband and wife, between members of the family arise there. The forbearance, the understanding, reconciliation and trying to help ourselves and our families with the light of guidance, with the strength of Iman and with understanding of the value of the holy month of Ramadhan and the real concept of fasting we get over all those problems and do not cause extra trouble in addition to the trouble we are going through and to accept it and tolerate it and that is the pandemic here.
Let us pray to Allah (S.W.T) that He grants us the best of blessings during this month and enable us to be good people who are a source of mercy, assistance and kindness to all.