On the last day of Sha’ban, the day before the advent of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) delivered this soul-enriching and heart-inspiring sermon [khutba] to his beloved companions (may Allah be pleased with them):
“O people! There comes over you now a great month, a blessed month in which lies a night greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day, and extra prayers recommended by night.
Whoever performs one good deed in it shall be rewarded like the one who had performed an obligation [fard] in any other time. And whoever performs a fard in it shall be given the reward of seventy in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer’s rizq (sustenance) is increased.
Whoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for him shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell). For him shall also be the same reward as the one who fasted, without the latter’s reward being decreased in the least.”
Thereupon those listening to this fascinating and appealing message asked, “Not all of us possess the means to give a fasting person to break his fast.”
The sublime orator (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk.
This is a month, the first of which brings Allah’s mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness, and the last of which brings freedom from the fire of Jahannam. Whoever lessens the burden of his servants (bondsmen) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam.
And in this month, four things you should continue to perform in great number; two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be that which you cannot do without.
That which shall be to please your Lord are that you should, in great quantity,
- bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite in abundance the sacrosanct kalimah tayyibah, ‘lâ ilâha illa-Llâh‘; and
- make much istighfâr (i.e. beg Allah’s forgiveness saying, ‘astaghfiru-Llâh‘)
As for that without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah,
- for entrance into Paradise; and
- refuge in Him from Hell
And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from my Fountain; a drink after which he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Paradise.”
And Allah is the Guide.
Source: M. Monawwar Ateeq’s “Preparing for Ramadan”