Ibn Rajab‘s book: Lataif al Maa’rif.

A portion of this book pertaining to Ramadan was summarized by Sheikh Abdur Rahman bin Muhammed bin Qassim the compiler of Majmu al Fatawa by Ibn Taymiyyah, with several additions by Sheikh Abdur Rahman himself.

Translated by Mustafa George

Chapter: The End of Ramadan

Several narrations related to the merits of this month have proceeded, and from them is that which is recorded in Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, that The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem- said:

“Whoever fasts Ramadan with faith and seeking the reward will have his past sins forgiven.”

In the narration recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed there is an additional portion of the same hadith stating:

“his past and future sins will be forgiven”
The chain of narrations for this additional wording is good (hasan). The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem also said:

“Whoever stands the night of decree (Laylatul Qadr) with faith and seeking the reward will have his past sins forgiven, and whoever fasts Ramadan with faith and seeking the reward will have his past sins forgiven.”

An additional wording is recorded in An Nisaee stating: “…his past and future sins will be forgiven”

Later the author states: Forgiveness of sins during this blessed month is conditional to the preservation of what one is instructed to preserve (i.e. Fulfilling the orders of Allah, and abstaining from what is forbidden). The majority (jemhoor) of the scholars hold that this expiation of sin is specifically referring to minor sins. This is because of the hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim, that The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem- stated:

“The five daily prayers, Friday prayer to the following Friday prayer, and Ramadan to the following Ramadan are expiations for sins as long as one abstains from major sins.”

The author also states: (Some scholars held a different view) Ibn Munthir mentioned pertaining to Laylatul Qadr: “It is hoped that the major and minor sins are all forgiven”
But the majority hold that one must make sincere repentance from all major sins ( in order for them to be expiated).

The aforementioned hadith of Abu Hurairah informs that those three elements mentioned within the hadith are an expiation for past sins. Therefore, it is understood (after combining all the hadiths related to Laylatul Qadr) that one receives this expiation of sins even if one was unaware of the specific night of Laylatul Qadr. And as for the fasting of Ramadan, then one receives this expiation upon commencement of the month. It is also said that one receives expiation for the fasting of Ramadan the last night of the month. The proof for this is what is recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: Those fasting will be forgiven the last night in Ramadan. The people said: Oh Messenger of Allah, will this take place on Laylatul Qadr? The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem- responded: “No, verily the worker receives his pay upon completion of his duties”

The author later states: Az Zuhree used to mention: On the day of Fitr (eid), once the people gather to perform the prayer Allah will look at them and say:

“Oh my servants, verily for Me you fasted, and for Me you stood in prayer! Return (to your homes), indeed your sins are forgiven.”

The author later states: The person who fasts and performs all other obligatory actions is from the best servants of Allah. And those who are negligent in fulfilling their obligations and do not give Allah His full due, then woe be to them. If the individual who deals unjustly with the scales (Mutaffif) in this worldly life is warned of a terrible punishment, then what is the case with the individual who deals unjustly with the scales of the hereafter!

(Poetry)

Tomorrow the souls will be granted what they worked for, and the farmers will harvest what they planted. If they did good, then they did so for themselves, and if they did evil, then what terrible actions they have prepared.

The Salaf worked diligently in perfecting their actions and making them faultless, then after that, they showed great concern for acceptance of their actions. They did this because they feared that their actions would be rejected. They are those who gave what was incumbent upon them while their hearts were in a state of fear. It is reported that Ali bin Abi Taleb said: Be more concerned that your actions are accepted than your concern of performing the action itself. Did you not hear the statement of Allah:

{Verily Allah only accepts the actions of the Mutaqeen (pious)}

Fudalah said: For me to know that Allah has accepted from me an action the size of a mustard seed, is more beloved to me than this world and everything within it. This is because of the statement of Allah:

{Verily Allah only accepts the actions of the Mutaqeen (pious)}

Malik bin Dinar said: Fear that an action is not accepted is more difficult than performing the action itself.

“Ataa as Sulamee stated: The pious fear that their righteous actions were not done sincerely for Allah.

Abdul Azeez ibn Abee Ruwaad said: I have met people very diligent in performing actions, and upon completion of those actions they are faced with sadness in fear of the action being accepted or not. Some Salaf used to say: The people of the past would supplicate 6 months to Allah to allow them to reach the month of Ramadan, and then upon completion of the month, they would again supplicate 6 months (begging) for acceptance of their fast. Some of the Salaf would display sadness on the day of Eid. It was said to them: This is a day of happiness and joy! They would respond: You have spoken the truth, but I am a servant, my Lord has ordered me to perform an action but I am not sure if He will accept it from me or not.

Wahb noticed people laughing on the day of Eid, upon seeing this he stated: If their fast was accepted, then know that this is not the action of those who are grateful, and if it was not accepted, then this is not the action of those who are afraid.

Hasan (al Basri) stated: Indeed Allah has made Ramadan a means of gain for His creation. (Within this month) they race to gain His pleasure through obedience to Him. Some individuals will gain (win), while others will remain back and lose. It is amazing to see a person playing and laughing on a day that the good doers will be rewarded, and the wrong doers will be defeated.

It is reported that Ali bin Abee Talib would call out on the last day of Ramadan: Where is the winner so that we may congratulate him, and where is the loser so that we may give him condolences. Oh winner, we congratulate you! Oh loser, may Allah give you ease in your time of calamity!

The author continued to say: The blessed month of Ramadan has within it several means of forgiveness, and from them:

- Feeding the fasting person
- Lightening the burden (work) of the slave
- Remembrance of Allah

It is stated in a hadith: “The one who remembers Allah in Ramadan will have his sins forgiven, and the one who calls on Him will not be disappointed”

(Continued means of forgiveness)

- Seeking forgiveness
- The supplication of the fasting individual is answered during the fast and at the time of breaking it.

It is reported that Abu Hurairah said: Everyone will be forgiven except he who rejects. Those around him asked: Oh Abu Hurairah, who will reject? He responded: The one who does not seek Allah”s forgiveness has rejected.

(continued reasons for forgiveness)

- The Angels will seek forgiveness for the fasting person until they break their fast.

Due to these numerous means of forgiveness during the month of Ramadan, the one who misses this great opportunity has indeed been afflicted with extreme, great lose. The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem- climbed the minbar and said:

“Ameen, Ameen, Ameen”

The companions inquired concerning this, and he responded:

“Verily Jabriel approached me and said: Whomsoever reaches the month of Ramadan but does not have his sins forgiven before his death and due to this he enters the Hell-fire, may Allah distance this person” Jabriel then ordered me to say Ameen, so I said Ameen. (Ibn Hiban)

Qatadah said: It used to be said: Whoever does not have his sins forgiven in Ramadan, he will not have his sins forgiven in other than Ramadan (meaning: if one did not take advantage of such great opportunity in Ramadan, more than likely he will not take advantage of any other opportunity). There is also a hadith similar to this, its wording is: “Whoever does not receive forgiveness in Ramadan, then when will he receive forgiveness?”

The author continues to state: When will a person be forgiven if he is not forgiven in this month?! When will a person”s actions be accepted if they are not accepted on Laylatul Qadr?! When will a person correct their affairs if they can”t correct them in Ramadan?! When will a person correct himself from the disease of negligence and ignorance?!

The author later says: Indeed the day of Fitr is an Eid (celebration) for the whole Ummah, this is because the sinners who fasted the month will be forgiven and saved from the Hell-fire. When this takes place, the sinners will join with the righteous (on the day of Eid). Just as the day of Nahr (Eid celebrating the conclusion of Hajj) is considered the Great Eid (Eid al Akbar), because before this day is the day of Arafat. There is no day of the year that more people will be freed from the Hell-fire than this day. Therefore, whoever is freed from the Hell-fire during these two times of the year (Ramadan, Dhul Hijjah) enjoys two days of celebration (Eid al Fitr, Eid al Adha), and whoever is not freed from the Hell-fire will bear a day of torture.

Due to forgiveness and salvation from the Hell-fire being related to fasting the month of Ramadan and standing in prayer during this month, Allah has ordered that glorification and gratitude are shown to Him upon completion of the month. He said:

{” in order for you to complete the prescribed amount of days and to glorify Allah for guiding you and so that you may show gratitude}

Therefore, one shows gratitude due to the blessing of Allah in allowing one to fast and pray, His assistance to the servant and His forgiveness of his sins and his salvation from the Hell-fire. Due to all of these blessings, one is instructed to remember Allah and show gratitude to Him, and fear Him with true fear.

Oh you, who your Lord has freed from the fire, be warned of returning to the servitude of the wretched after being freed! Will your Lord distance you from the fire, while you seek to become nearer to it?! He (Allah) saved you from it, while you seek to throw yourself in it, and don”t care to protect yourself from it! If mercy is shown to the good doers, then the wrong doer should not despair from it, and if forgiveness is shown to those who have piety, then one who has wronged himself will not be deprived of it.

(Poetry)

Oh Allah, if the only one that calls on You is the good doer, then who should the sinner call on!

Why should we despair of the pardoning of our Lord, and how can one not seek His gentleness?! It is mentioned in a hadith that Allah is more forgiving and merciful to His servants than their own mothers. Allah says:

{Oh My servants who have wronged themselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah, verily He forgives all sins}

Oh sinner -and all of us are sinners, do not despair from the mercy of Allah because of your evil deeds. How many people will be freed from the Hell-fire during these days, and their affair is similar to yours. It is upon you to think good of your Lord, and repent to Him, for verily no one will be destroyed except he who destroys (himself).

(Poetry)

If your sins are harming you, then cure them by raising your hands during the dark night. Do not despair from the mercy of Allah, for verily your despairing from His mercy is a greater fault than the sin you committed.

It is incumbent upon one who desires salvation from the Hell-fire to perform the actions that warrant this salvation”.

The author continues to say: The declaration of Tawheed eliminates sins and wipes them away. No sin will remain nor will any action out weight Tawheed, and it is similar to freeing a slave which warrants one”s salvation from the Hell-fire”.

He further says: As for the speech of Istigfar (Kelimat al Istigfar), then it is the greatest reason for forgiveness. Verily Istigfar means supplication for forgiveness, and the supplication of the fasting individual is answered while he is fasting, and at the time of breaking the fast.

Hasan (al Basri) said: Increase in you seeking of forgiveness, for verily you don”t know when the mercy of Allah will befall you.

Luqman said to his son: Oh my son, condition your tongue to constantly seek forgiveness from Allah. Verily Allah has specific hours that He does not reject supplication.

There is also a narration that Shayton mentioned: I have destroyed mankind with sins, and they have destroyed me with La illaha illa Allah and Istigfar.

Istigfar is the conclusion of all actions. One completes prayer with istigfar, along with Hajj and night prayer. It is also used to close gatherings. If these gatherings are gatherings of obedience, then istigfar is considered a brand to the gathering. But if the gathering was one of vein talk, then istigfar is considered expiation. Likewise, it is befitting that one concludes the month Ramadan with istigfar. Umar bin Abdul Azeez wrote to his governors informing them to end the month of Ramadan with istigfar and charity (sadaqatu fitr), for verily sadaqatu fitr is a means of purification for the fasting person from vein talk and lude acts, and istigfar mends the fault caused by actions that harm one”s fast. Umar bin Abdul Azeez mentioned in his letter:

Say as your father Adam -alayhi salam- has said: {Oh my Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will be from the losers}

And say as Nuh -alayhi salam- has said: {If you do not forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be from the losers}

And say as Musa -alayhi salam- has said: {Oh my Lord, I have wronged myself, so forgive me}

And say as Dhu Nun -alayhi salam- has said: {There is no deity worthy of worship except You, glory be to You, indeed I have been amongst the oppressors}

The author continues: Fasting is a fortress from the Hell-fire, as long as one does not damage his fortress with evil talk. Istigfar patches what harms this fortress.

The Messenger “salAllahu alayhi wa salem- instructed “Aisha on the night of Laylatul Qadr to seek pardoning from Allah, this is because the believer is diligent in fasting and standing the full month of Ramadan, and once the end of the month nears and Laylatul Qadr approaches, one is instructed to ask pardon from Allah due to the deficiency present during the month.

Yahya bin Muaadh said: The smart individual is not the one whose greatest goal is other than seeking the pardon of Allah. (The smart individual is not the one who) seeks forgiveness with his tongue, while his heart is firmly attached to sin, and he truly intends to return to sin after the completion of Ramadan. This individual”s fast is rejected, and acceptance is closed in his face.

Ka”b said: Whoever fasts Ramadan while inwardly saying: Once the month is over, I will disobey Allah; this person”s fasting is rejected. And whoever fasts the month while inwardly saying: Upon completion of the month, I won”t disobey Allah, this person will enter Jennah without questioning or debate.

The author further states: Oh servants of Allah, indeed the month of Ramadan has prepared to leave, and nothing remains except a few more days. Whoever has done well during the month should continue to do well, and whoever was deficient, should try to end the month in good, for indeed actions are according to their completion. Therefore, take advantage of what remains of the month, and give the month the best farewell and peace.

The hearts of the believers yearn for this month and morn over its departure. If this is the case with those who have gained during this month, then what is the case with those who have been negligent during its days and nights? What will the crying of this negligent person benefit him, when his trial and calamity is so great and tremendous? How many times was this poor individual advised, but he did not accept this advice! How many times was he called to correction, but he did not answer this call! How many people did he view gaining in this month, while he distanced himself from gain! How many times have the obedient passed him by, while he sat! (And now) time is constrained and reality has befallen him, now he regrets, but there is no benefit in this regret.

Trans. Note: This is a small, quick translation of a portion of Ibn Rajab”s book: Lataif al Maa”rif. A portion of this book pertaining to Ramadan was summarized by Sheikh Abdur Rahman bin Muhammed bin Qassim “the compiler of Mejmu” al Fatawa by Ibn Taymiyyah, with several additions by Sheikh Abdur Rahman himself. May Allah have mercy on Ibn Rajab, Sheikh Abdur Rahman and all the Muslims and forgive us for our shortcomings.

Mustafa George hafidhahullaah
http://knowledgeofislamblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/farewell-to-ramadan-by-al-hafith-ibn-rajab-2/