In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah bless and grant peace to our liegelord Muhammad as well as his folk and companions.
Dear brothers and sisters from the nation of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),
As we wait in eager anticipation of the noble guest who approaches, the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, we undoubtedly are making physical and spiritual preparations therefore.
Among the preparations that the scholars of Islam have encouraged is preparing our hearts for Allah’s gaze. Baihaqi relates, “When it is the first night of the month of Ramadan, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, gazes to them and the one to whom Allah looks, He does not punish him, ever.” The place to which Allah looks is the heart. So what will Allah see in your and my heart if He were to look to us on the first night of Ramadan?
One of the qualities that would prevent us from this blessed gaze (and from many other opportunities for forgiveness) is malice. The Prophet, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us of the Night of Power and the Half Night of Sha’ban that those who harbor rancor, mistreat parents, severe bonds of kinship or drink are prevented from Allah’s merciful gaze. Do we want Allah to look to His servants on the first night of Ramadan and overlook us because we are bearing ill will against each other? Is whatever anyone has done to hurt us so important that we can not overlook it in exchange for an opportunity for eternal salvation from Allah’s punishment? What about all of those whom we have wronged? Do we not need Allah’s pardon as well as theirs?
We can purify our hearts in preparation for this gaze from our Merciful, Forgiving Lord and also expose ourselves to an opportunity for His pardon when we need it most, by pardoning His servants. Allah said, “The one who pardons and reconciles his reward is upon Allah;” Quran (42:40). Tabarani relates that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A caller will call [on the Day of Rising], ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ Then he will call a second time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ It will be said, ‘Who is the one whose reward is upon Allah, Mighty and Majestic?’ He will say, ‘Those who pardon people.’ Then he will call a third time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise.’ Then so and so many thousand will stand and enter paradise without reckoning.” Imagine being among that fortunate group and having all of our many sins forgiven and receiving our reward directly from Allah!
In preparation for the blessed first night of Ramadan, Insha’Allah, and that day in which each of us will meet Allah, let us pardon one another and all of Allah’s servants. I will begin with my own sinful self. O Allah, if any of Your slaves have transgressed the rights You have prescribed to me, they are excused. I ask you to grant them and me Paradise, and that You make us among its dwellers whom You have described in Your saying, “We have removed what was in their breasts of rancor, brethren on couches facing one another;” Quran (15:47). I also ask anyone who I have wronged to seek their due from me and to forgive me.
“Our Lord forgives us and our brethren who preceded us in faith and do no place in our hearts ill will towards those who believe. Our Lord, indeed you are compassionate and merciful.” Quran (54:10)
And Allah alone grants tawfiq (success),