My young brother and sister,
Just a few days ago, we welcomed Ramadan, a blessed month that means a lot to you and us. Like all Muslims, you certainly rejoiced at the advent of this noble month.
It pleases me, my dear brother and sister, in this noble month, to offer you the most precious and valuable thing that I have, adopting an approach of frankness and openness.
Frankness may be bitter, but its results are sweet. All of us have tasted bitterness caused by concealing demerits and burying mistakes in the name of courtesy.
I hope that you listen good-heartedly to what I have to say.
My young brother and sister: It is common to see the following case during Ramadan: a young man who is far from the religion, immersed in the quagmire of desires, boldly engaging in major sins, and falling short in performing acts of worship. You may see a young man like this asking about very minor issues concerning fasting. Examples of such questions include the following: He made ablution and drops of blood involuntarily fell from his nose. Does this invalidate his fast? While walking down a street, dust entered his mouth; what is the ruling on this? He may pose such questions earnestly and with complete willingness to fulfill any requirements laid out in the answer, such as making for an invalid fast or fulfilling expiations. In fact, asking about an ambiguous issue pertaining to worship is an indisputable principle. In addition, committing sins is not an excuse for a person not to pay attention to his acts of worship and inquire about them.
However, do you not agree with me that such a young man is leading a life of inexplicable contradictions!
What is the reason that he shows religious commitment and adopts a cautious approach regarding something that he is uncertain about while, on the other hand, he intentionally and knowingly commits a sin, even a major one!
When you forbid some youths from a particular sin or command them to do a good deed, they may reply that they are fully convinced of what they are told yet are overcome by their uncontrollable desires. Upon first consideration, their excuse may seem logical to some. However, these same youths may adopt a totally different logic when it comes to fasting. Once the time of the Fajr prayer begins, such a person immediately abstains from food, even if he is holding the first morsel to eat, as he got up too late. When the time for the Maghrib prayer nears, he dares not eat anything from the Iftaar (meal with which to break a fast) table in front of him until he hears the Adhaan. Throughout the day, he never thinks about jumping over the fence of fasting, no matter how thirsty or fatigued he may be. This attitude, which is undoubtedly commendable, clearly indicates that he is able to control himself and get the better of his desires.
Fasting offers us, o young brother and sister, the lesson that we are able, by the will of Allah, the Exalted, to restrain ourselves and overcome our vain desires.
Have you seen these people?
Have you ever gone to a mosque where the Imam has such a melodious and moving voice in reciting the noble Quran? In such a blessed place, you would find good youths with the intent to stand before Allah Almighty in prayer, even if it continued to the latter part of the night. By contrast, other youths abandon the congregational obligatory prayer itself.
During the last ten days of Ramadan, you only find a few people in the mosque as many others have already gone to the Ka`bah in pursuit of the multiplication of rewards and forgiveness of sins. Meanwhile, other youths are spending the nights of Ramadan in sinful and worthless activities. It is advisable for those youths who wonder in the markets to ask themselves: “Can I not be like these people? How did they achieve success, whereas they live in the very society in which I live, have the same desires, and face the same obstacles?”
Can you not endure what they endured?
My dear brother and sister, many young people were on the path of deviation and heedlessness, indulging in their whims and pleasures, then Allah Almighty bestowed guidance on them, and they took a U-turn and joined the community of the righteous and worshipping servants. Perhaps a colleague of yours is one of them. Why can these youths succeed in overcoming obstacles while others are unable to do so? How could they repent while others could not? In fact, what hinders a lot of young people from repenting and being religiously committed is not the lack of conviction but rather the feeling of inability to bring about a change. The successful youths should serve as a good example and proof that inability is nothing but a false illusion.
Before the flower withers
You must have seen someone who grew old and hunchbacked, with a crutch as his third leg and his face showing the effect of long years on him. This person was not born like that. On the contrary, there was once a day when he was full of strength and vigor. Are you not aware that you and I are proceeding toward this same state – unless we die earlier, which is even more serious – when this bloom will vanish and that vitality will fade away. Given these facts, my dear brother and sister, we should keenly focus on investing our youthful years in good deeds before we lose them and regret the loss when it is too late.
About his youth and how he spent it
Dear brother and sister, you most likely memorized the Hadeeth in which the Prophet said, "A servant will not move from his place on the Day of Judgment until he is asked about four things: about his youth and how he spent it; about his lifespan and what he did with it; and about his earnings: where he obtained it and on what he spent it."
Considering our reality today, do we have a proper answer to this question about our youth when we stand before our Lord? Does our current situation during our years of youth qualify us to pass this exam? We still have a chance to make good use of our youth and prepare for this exam.
One of seven
Prophet Muhammad informed us in a Hadeeth that, on the Day of Judgment, the sun will draw near to the heads of the creatures, until there will be a distance of one mile only, so the people will sink in their sweat according to their actions. On that tremendous day, there are people who will be honored by Allah Almighty and be covered in His shade. Such people include "A youth who grows up worshipping Allah." Indeed, nothing prevents you from becoming one of them. Perform your calculations anew and correct your track. Seize the opportunity offered in this blessed month to reach that great status.
Great indeed is what you offer in this month:
My young brother and sister: You must have seen people whose conditions changed during the month of Ramadan. Mosques are abounding with those who pray and recite the Noble Quran, the sacred places are overcrowded with those who perform the Tawaaf (circumambulation) and I`tikaaf (ritual seclusion in the mosque), and money is generously spent in good causes. What a wonderful scene: one is praying, another is reciting the Quran, someone else is spending in charity, and the fourth is making Dua`a' (supplications).
Where do you stand among such people? It is appropriate for you to search for a place within this map. The best thing to do and achieve to reach is to sincerely repent and declare that you are joining the caravan of righteous people? Do this quickly before death overtakes you and you irreversibly depart this life. Make this your goal during Ramadan and, Allah willing, you will be successful.
Repentance and waiting for an illusion
It often happens that a young person becomes convinced that he is on a wrong path and wishes to change. Yet, he waits for the proper occasion, such as the death of a relative or an accident that he himself suffers and that deeply shakes him and calls him to repent. However, what if he himself was the one who faces death and serves as an admonition for others?
This would be the major event that he was waiting for and with which came his very end. My young brother and sister, man has only one lifetime on this earth, and he should not take such risks by endlessly waiting.
Let us decide to repent now and to follow the right path
This decision may be truly difficult and heavy on the soul and will necessarily be followed by hard work and sacrifices. Its consequence, however, will be good, and its fruit ripe – Allah willing.