Mufti Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram: Ladies and gentlemen. We are thankful to Allah, we give thanks to Allah for his blessing, and giving us this opportunity to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan that is upon us.
We give thanks to Allah (swt) for bestowing our hearts and soul with faith, and giving us the opportunity to be the followers of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, the last and the leader of all the Prophets sent by Allah to bring mercy to the universe.
Allah says: “for we not sent you, O Muhammad, except as a mercy to the worlds”.
Blessings from the prophet are immense as it is a gift from Allah that we, the people of faith, look forward to the arrival of Ramadan every year.
The holy month that we believe will bring thousands and even millions of from Allah swt.
Ladies and gentlemen, We often say Ramadan is a month of grace, we would normally associate it a month of forgiveness, we associate this month with a month of worship and look forward to the blessings promised from Allah, it is said that one blessing for performing a Sunnah prayer in Ramadan is equal to performing an obligatory prayer in other months.
One obligatory prayer that we perform in the month of Ramadan is said to be worth 70 obligatory prayers in other months.
We are told that Allah’s mercy is so immense that during Ramadan, the gates of heaven are opened, while the gates of hell are closed.
Then there is the promise of lailatul Qader which is said to be better than a thousand months.
But, Sometimes there are Allah’s blessings that we do not even notice, and at times these are greater and more meaningful to us than just to hope for a special reward from Allah.
Among them, ladies and gentlemen, the month of Ramadan is month of grace because it allows us to realize our strengths and weaknesses.
We are created and chosen by Allah as steward of the earth, privileged and highly ranked.
But too often, as we going through challenges in our lives, we get wear that we tend to forget we have been uniquely created by Allah.
Allah has specially chosen us as steward because he has bestowed upon us the ability, which we would realize and appreciate, if we experience Ramadan with faith and realization.
For example, in the month of Ramadan we realize that in spite of hunger and thirst that often makes us feel tired, we have the capability and capacity to perform any tasks, responsibilities that entrusted upon us.
With faith and devotion, a person who fasts will be able to execute his duties faithfully without giving excuses just because he is hungry.
People of faith will not use the month of Ramadan as an excuse to laze around, to sleep to procrastinate until the month is over to fulfill their obligations, just because they are tired, hungry and thirsty.
This is not exemplary of a faithful Muslim.
The duties we perform during Ramadan are not meant to prove to others but rather to remind ourselves of how special we are as servants of Allah, blessed with strength and ability.
The month of Ramadan helps us to realize who we are and Ramadan calls upon us as individuals, as a member of the family, even as a society that we are capable of performing our responsibilities, even though we have our shortcomings.
The faithful does not make his shortcomings as an excuse not to improve himself / herself.
The faithful will not say although “I lack this and therefore, I am not able to achieve the goals that I have set”.
No! The faithful would say: “even at this point, when I do not have what I need, but by grace of Allah the Almighty, I will have the ability and capability”.
Ladies and gentlemen, we also need to realize that as we develop our abilities, we have what it takes to build a resilient society.
Let’s use Ramadan to bring about self- realization that as the faithful we must have the discipline and the ability to distinguish between what we need from what we want.
As they going through life, humans often fail, because they are not able to discern between what they want and what they need.
When human desires go unchecked, uncontrolled, mismanaged he will pursuer his desires while disregarding his needs.
This will result in a crisis within oneself or within the community.
We often se around us, people who do not priorities their needs will be faced with difficulties and hurdles in life for giving in to their wants and desires most of which are not necessary.
We should appreciate Ramadan as it teaches and educates as individuals and as community who excellence and distinction.
Ramadan teaches us that as human beings, we are able and have the power to make adjustments and changes.
We know in life, whether as individuals within our family, workplaces, organizations, mosques, change is difficult. Often, people are afraid to change even when it is necessary.
Even when these changes are inevitable, people often give up and do not have the courage to make adjustments.
But in the month of Ramadan, the faithful have been trained by Allah to realize that we have the capacity and strength to make adapt and adjust.
Instead of having breakfast at 8 am, we are trained to have it earlier at 4 or 5 am. Instead of having dinner at 8 pm, we have it at 1 or 2 am. We are trained by Allah to delay our lunch until we break fast at 7 pm.
These adjustments will not make us suffer till we faint or die or cause us to be admitted to the ICU. We can because we are able to adapt. We have been chosen by Allah to be responsible for our lives.
The faithful are those who are very flexible and able to adapt when necessary, unlike the people whom the Prophet calls the Munafik (hypocrites).
The Munafik are those who have no faith in Allah, but wants to be seen by other as trustworthy. The analogy of Munafik, as told by the Prophet is like a huge tree with a hard tree trunk. He is firm and will not sway to the right or left when the wind blows, because he / she is stubborn and arrogant.
But when a tornado strikes, then he / she will topple because he / she is not flexible and not adaptable to the changes around him / her. That is the nature of a Munafik, his arrogance prevents him / her from being able to adapt.
But the faithful will know what to done when the need arise comes because in the same hades, the Prophet said, the faithful is like a flexible tree. Sometimes sway to the right then left as the wind blows, but never gets uprooted, even when a tornado occurs. This what Ramadan teaches us. And this is the blessing from Allah swt.
Ramadan will show us the way toward righteousness. Ramadan will provide strength to the faithful to go to the mosque, to perform Tarawih prayers every night, either 20 or eight Rakaat.
It does not mean that if you perform 8 rakaat you lesser than those who perform 20 rakaat. If not for the month of Ramadan performing the eight rakaat every night would not be an easy without faith, going to the mosque for Maghrib or Isyak (prayers) is equally difficult, even more so for the 8 rakaat.
With Allah’s blessings, realization come from within us that as humans, we are capable of doing good. If we are able to instill and teach our children to listen to the word of Allah and his angels, InsyaAllah, our community will be full of individuals who always aspire for good and reject all that is bad.
We see the grace of Ramadan where Allah gives strength to the faithful to focus on their goals and direction in life. Man will fail when he has goals, dreams and ambitions but is unable to achieve them due to lack of focus and desire. Ramadan teaches us about the grace of Allah.
Remember we have a mission to search for Allah’s blessings. We have an objective that despite the fact that we are hungry Allah will grant us his blessings and forgiveness. When we break our fast, Allah will grant the wishes of those who fast during the day.
The faithful knows his / her goals, he has very clear objectives life, he focused, attentive, and has the ability to channel his energy to achieve his goal.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the month of Ramadan I call upon our community to be strong and resilient as we go through Ramadan. Within ourselves and our families train our children to have the ability to carry out his or her duties in spite of hunger and thirst. Educate our children to be individuals who are able who are able to priorities their needs instead of their wants.
Instill in our children with the resilience to face any challenges in life and adapt accordingly, to become an individual who is faithful and able to focus his energy and achieve his objectives.
InsyaAllah, as Ramadan comes and goes every year, our community will grow stronger, and be more resilient. We should take small steps, to inculcate good habits among our children.
We want every family to have a Ramadan fund, let’s use this Ramadan to rain our children to save, encourage not spending and saving the money. If they have a bit more money, they could also save it. Do this from Ramadan till Syawal.
At the end of Syawal the money that they save could be donated to the needy, this will help them develop the spirit of charity. Hopefully this spirit will grow among our family, our community, which will then bring about excellence to our community. Amin.