Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
15 May 2020M / 22 Ramadan 1441H
Success at The End of Ramadan
Dear blessed Friday congregation,
Observe taqwa in Allah in its truest sense. Let us strive to perform all of His commands and abstain from all of His prohibitions.
Three fourths of Ramadhan have passed. We are left with one fourth of Ramadhan this year before it leaves us. Each one of us, through our deeds and lived experiences, is searching for the mercy of Allah throughout this month of Ramadhan. While we may have our individual flaws as human beings, we can still feel the warmth of God’s love and mercy in this month. When we feel the pangs of hunger from obeying the obligation of fasting, certainly there is a sense of repentance in our hearts as we feel the Greatness of Allah’s mercy upon His servants. During the moments we lower ourselves in prostration throughout Ramadan, certainly there is a sense of remorse that seeks to remove the remnants of arrogance in ourselves.
Let us ponder upon how many supplications we have made to Allah for the past three weeks. It has surely been reassuring and calming for us to realise our flaws as human beings. Imagine, how many times have we seek forgiveness from God, The Most Forgiving. Rest assured, brothers and sisters, given the vastness of His forgiveness which knows no limits, surely many of our misdeeds in our book of deeds would have been erased. Imagine how some time ago we had excitedly prepared ourselves, awaiting the Night of Decree (or lailatul qadar) in order to gain its special rewards. Be grateful for that feeling for it is a sign that there is still taqwa in our hearts.
Yet, does that mean we can therefore be satisfied? Does it mean we have become special beings who are guaranteed to continue doing good deeds till the end of our lives? Does it mean that after three weeks of fasting, our desires has certainly been tamed and that it will never succumb to the devil’s whispers? Does it mean that if we manage to attain Lailatul Qadar this time, our faith can immediately be invincible, ever unshaken through the passage of time and will not be weakened by any future trials and challenges?
No, brothers and sisters. Ramadan is not a magical machine that will turn human beings into angels. This flawed being which came into Ramadan as a human will leave Ramadan as a human. Life challenges and trials will not stop coming. Our desires and the devil will continue to whisper into our hearts, even if the benefits of more than a thousand months on the Night of Decree have been achieved, even if our many supplications may have been answered, and even if our ocean of sins have been forgiven. Humans are still humans. In fact, in a hadith recorded by Muslim, Rasulullah s.a.w. had informed that if all human beings no longer commit sins, Allah will replace them with another group of human beings who err and sin. Why? Because He wants His servants to repent and seek His forgiveness.
My dear brothers and sisters, this does not mean that Ramadan and our act of fasting has no meaning, just because we cannot become angels or be free from sins like the prophets, for that is not the objective of Ramadan after all. Rather, what we want to achieve is the strengthening of our faith and an increase in taqwa at the end of our fasting journey. This comes with the hope that through this training, we gain the ability to face and overcome our lustful desires and the devil’s whispers.
Even though we may sometimes slip and err, it is hoped that we do not come to a point where we become slaves to the devil and to our desires. What we seek to achieve is the cleansing of our hearts so that we can feel the lightening of the burden of our sins that have been weighing heavily on our souls.
Thus, it is hoped that we succeed in becoming human beings who will continue to love goodness and detest evil. The success of true repentance does not only come in the form of forgiven sins, but true repentance is when we become human beings who feel shame and regret as soon as we commit a transgression. This is because one of the characteristics of people of taqwa is that when they commit a sin, they do not wish to continue indulging in it. This is highlighted in the Quran in Surah Ali ‘Imran verse 135:
Which means: “(The muttaqun, or people of taqwa, are) those who, when they happen to commit a shameful act or wrong themselves, they quickly remember Allah, then, seek forgiveness for their sins, and truly there is none who forgives sins except Allah, and they do not persist in what they have done, knowingly.”
Dear brothers and sisters,
The remaining days of Ramadan – of about slightly more than a week – is a critical period. We have to devote our attention by putting in efforts in increasing our faith and enhancing our acts of worship. Do not miss the opportunity of gaining the rewards of Lailatul Qadar in a state of remembering Allah as much as possible and contemplating upon our sins. This is not the time to be daydreaming in a state of heedlessness. Instead, this is the time to increase our efforts to pursue Allah’s love before Ramadan ends. Let’s take this up, my dear brothers and sisters! Tell ourselves that we truly want to attain husnul khatimah, or a good ending, this Ramadan. In fact, Rasulullah s.a.w., although with such a high stature, free from sins, would take the opportunity of the final ten days of Ramadan to be more active and diligent in his worship. What more is the case for us who still commit sins and errors aplenty.
May Allah give us the strength and determination to strive to be His servants who succeed in attaining His love and blessing, especially in these final days of Ramadan. Amin ya Rabbal ‘alamin.