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Congratulations on receiving the month of the Quran!

WELCOME RAMADAN WITH DR. BASYOUNY NEHELA  

“O Allah, make us reach the month of Ramadan and bless us in Ramadan.” (Ahmad)

As-salamu `Alaykuim Wa Rahmatu Allah,

Dear Community,

“Oh people, the greatest month and blessings will soon shade you…

Congratulations on receiving the month of the Quran!

Alhamdulillah, we are about to reach the blessed month of Ramadan. Indeed, it is a great blessing from Allah that we must celebrate, take advantage of, and be among the prosperous and righteous people.

I want to encourage every brother and sister to increase his/her efforts during this great month, strive hard toward attaining that spirit, and plan for it.

Our Prophet ﷺ informed us that doing one obligatory act during the month of Ramadan will have seventy rewards, and doing one optional act will have the reward of an obligatory act. So, we must dedicate ourselves to performing all the different forms of worship during Ramadan.

Thus, we advise ourselves to do the following acts of worship at a minimum:

1. Fasting of the righteous:

Fast during Ramadan with genuine and sincere belief, and truly seeking the reward of Allah the Highest so that He may forgive us our past sins.  Learn the best way of fasting: the way of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Fasting is not only abstaining from eating, drinking, and sex but also strictly restraining our minds, hearts, as well as our eyes, ears, hands, tongues, and other senses and desires. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever does not give up bad words and bad deeds, Allah has no need in that he leaves his food and his drink”  (Al-Bukhari). During this month, we should endeavor to gain true and lasting benefits from our fasting. Let us realize the spirit of fasting, strive to control and train our behavior, and guide ourselves to be godly.

2. Reciting and studying Qur’an:

We know that Angel Jibreel used to see Prophet Muhammad ﷺ every night during Ramadan and read the Qur’an with him. Some practical lessons that we need to remember:
  • Increasing recitation of the Qur’an in Ramadan
  • Studying the Quran during Ramadan
  • Getting together for this purpose
  • Listening to the Quran from someone who has preserved it better.
  • That the nighttime is the best time to recite or listen to the Qur’an

3. Performing night prayer with your family and on your own:

Night prayer, in general, is the honor of the believer, a sign of truthfulness, and the best of the prayers after the obligatory ones. When we remember the vast amount of hadith and verses that talk about the merit of night prayer and its reward, we must rush towards this special worship and try our best to be among those whom Allah describes as those whose “…sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah’s cause) out of what We have bestowed on them” (As-Sajdah, 32 16).But performing night prayer in Ramadan is far more superior than that performed in other months by virtue of the recommendation of the Prophet ﷺ. Abu Hurairah said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to encourage us to pray at night in Ramadan, without making it obligatory. Then he said, ‘Whoever prays at night in Ramadan out of faith and the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.'” We need to earn this great reward so we can be qualified for more blessings from Allah.

4. Giving charity generously:

Ramadan generates and uncovers the spirit of giving and caring buried in us. When we deprive ourselves of food and drink, we also feel what it means to be hungry and thirsty. We have a glimpse into the pain of those who cannot find the necessities of life. So, we have to be very charitable and generous as our role model, the Prophet ﷺ, used to be.  Ibn `Abbas, narrated that: “The Prophet ﷺ was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel visited him, and Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet  used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Jibreel, and when Jibreel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).” (Al-Bukhari)Let’s plan from today to give kindly and generously in Ramadan, to help the poor and the needy, and to contribute generously to useful social and community projects. We suggest that our Ramadan charity be distributed as follows:

  • A pledge to all opportunities / national and local organizations which we are invited to support during Ramadan.
  • Also, let’s exercise the full meaning of al-sadaqah (charity) and carry it to its maximum in performing deeds such as helping others, making Da’wah, or just greeting each other with a smile, for greeting your Muslim brother with a smile is an act of charity.  This exercise should be solely for the sake of Allah and without the expectation of rewards from anyone else.

5. Seeking knowledge and enhancing our religious leadership skills:

As we know, the first revelation to our Prophet ﷺ came during the month of Ramadan, in the form of a divine command related to the concept of education: “Read, in the name of your Lord who created who taught by the pen.” With this verse, Allah established a foundational ethos of continuous learning, which prepared the Prophet ﷺ and his followers for what was to come: establishing a virtuous and just society whose contributions to humanity are still alive today throughout the world.In addition, Allah sent the angel Gabriel every year during Ramadan to read and study the Qurʾān with the Prophet ﷺ, nurturing his faith through learning and mentorship. The Prophet’s ﷺ experiences and the revelation he was given served as a constant training ground for fulfilling his mission of conveying the message of Islam, purifying the hearts of his followers, and mentoring them to be global ambassadors of righteousness and godly religious leaders.Let’s have this spirit always alive in our hearts throughout our religious leadership journey, especially during the month of Ramadan.

6. Sharing Ramadan blessings with our fellow citizens:

Ramadan is the month of compassion. This compassion is not only by extending kind words and kind acts towards us and our community but more importantly and imperatively, towards all of Allah’s creation, especially towards our non-Muslim neighbors in the country in which we live. The prophet of Allah ﷺ said: “Gabriel kept on commending the right of the neighbor to me almost to the point I thought he would make him an heir” (Abu Dawud). Because of this hadith, we find Abdullah ibn Amr ibn  al-‘As when he used to slaughter a sheep, he used to say to his servant, “Have you presented a gift from it to our neighbor, the Jew?”We learn from that:A neighbor in Islam includes Muslims and non-Muslims and caring about our neighbor is highly recommended in Islam. And sharing goodness with our neighbors is a must.

Based on this, we believe that caring about the souls and hearts of our neighbors is the most highly recommended act in Islam.  Sharing the blessings and the happiness of such an occasion as Ramadan with our neighbors is an important act of compassion that Muslims should express towards their neighbors during this holy month.

7. Having the intention to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive continuously:

This is our tool of evaluation for what we will be doing in the month of Ramadan. Because as we know fasting, praying during the night, reading the book of Allah, and giving charity should not be relegated to Ramadan alone. These good deeds, and others like staying away from gossip and slander, are things we should always do. By keeping the spirit of Ramadan alive throughout the year, we can safeguard our religion. We will be able to seize many opportunities to earn the mercy and blessings of Allah, which will help us to be successful in all aspects of life.

Finally, it is important to make sincere and constant supplications and to remember brothers and sisters, our Islamic institutions, and our society in your prayers.

May Allah accept us all and grant us a transformative Ramadan!

Dr. Basyouny Nehela
President, Boston Islamic Seminary