After sunset on the last day of the month of Sha’ban, Canadian Muslims will hear the good news that the Ramadan moon has been sighted. On hearing this happy news we will gather that night to offer the special prayer of Ramadan called Salat Tarawih.

Ramadan is the beginning of the call to Islam (total submission to Allah). This is a chance for Canadian Muslims as well as Muslims across the globe to remember the mission of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad (S) — a mission that began during this great month.

I congratulate you, my respected brothers and sisters, your families and the entire community on the arrival of this great guest into our homes and our communities.

I have chosen this time, on this blessed day, to introduce the khutbah of the Messenger Muhammad (S), which he delivered on the last day of Sha’ban to his Companions.

It is a short but concise khutbah, informative and educational. It provides instructional models for the Muslims to follow and practice in their daily lives, and especially during the month of Ramadan in our dear homeland of Canada.

Salman Al Farisi narrated that on the last day of Sha’ban, the God’s Messenger Muhammad (S) delivered a khutbah in which he said:

A great month, a blessed month, a month containing a night which is better than one thousand months has approached you, o people!

 The fasting during this month is an obligatory duty (faridah), and the extra prayers during its nights are voluntary.

For anyone who comes closer to Allah through a good deed during this month, it is as if he performed an obligatory duty (faridah) during times other than Ramadan, and the one who fulfills an obligatory duty in it will be like the one who fulfills seventy obligatory duties in another month.

It is the month of sabr (patience), and the reward of sabr is Jannah (Paradise).

It is the month of sharing with others (visiting sick, poor and needy ones and sharing with them what we have and enjoy), and the month in which the believer’s nourishment, his provision are increased.

The one who gives a saim (fasting person) something to break their fast with (iftar), it will provide forgiveness of their sins and save them from the fire, and that person will receive a reward equal to the fasting person’s reward without reducing their own reward in any respect.

Some of the Sahabah remarked: O Messenger of Allah! Not all of us may find food to share with someone so that they might break their fast.

Then the Messenger of Allah said: Allah will reward you even if you help the fasting Muslim to break their fast with a date, a sip of water, or a drink of milk.

It is the month whose beginning is mercy (rahmah), its middle part is forgiveness (magfirah), and its last part is freedom from Hellfire…

Increase in yourselves four characteristics: two by which you will please your Lord, and two others that you cannot live without.

The first two qualities to please Allah are to bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and to ask forgiveness from Him.

However, the other two things that you cannot live without are to ask Allah to grant you Jannah and to ask Him to protect you from Jahannam (Hellfire).

Anyone who gives water to a Muslim at iftar, Allah will give them water during the Day of Judgment from the fountain of the Rasul, Muhammad (S), which will make them not feel thirst till they enter Jannah.                                         (Ibn Khuzaymah)

This sermon of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S), is sufficient for one to understand the blessings and greatness of the month of Ramadan. Rasulullah (S) informed us that this great month will bring the shade over those who fast. This means that Ramadan is just like a tree, which gives protection from the summer heat to the Muslims who are tired of the style of life during the other 11 months, and now, in Ramadan, they turn to its shade, which provides peace and opportunities for them. It saves them from the hurriedness and pressures of the material world as well as from the Hellfire.

In this sermon of Rasulullah we learn that in the month of Ramadan Allah showers His blessings on believers, and for those who do a single virtuous deed in this month is the reward of one fard (obligatory) act and whoever performs a fard act in this month will get the reward of one who fulfills seventy obligatory duties in another month.

According to the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (S), this month will give us the energy to restrain ourselves, which is a quality of a true Muslim, and which creates mutual love and sympathy between us as well as with other human beings. Through the blessings of this month our provisions will also be increased.

In this sermon of our Rasul, Muhammad (S), we read that the first part of the month of Ramadan is Ar Rahmah, the Mercy that Allah has bestowed on the believers. In the second part, Allah sends Al Magfirah, Forgiveness, to the believers. In the last part of Ramadan we are saved from Jahannam.

Our Rasul Muhammad (S) informs us: When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the shaytans (devils) are chained. (Bukhari)

Siyam (fasting) as explained by the Messenger of Allah (S) is a means of self-discipline and recognition of the fact that Shaytan is always ready to act. He whispers to us and waits for the chance. But siyam is like a lock against Shaytan, closing up his access points to the inside.

That is, dear brothers and sisters, when we look into the Muslim community during this month of Ramadan, evil appears to be very much reduced. Muslims work to improve themselves during this month and modify their attitude and behaviour. Their spiritual awareness is so intense that Shaytan finds it harder to get the better of them.

Let me conclude with the following supplication: O Allah! Give us the ability to make use of our time during this special season and give us the ability to increase in taqwa and forgive us and our parents and all believers, with your mercy. Allahumma Ameen!