I find Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy to be very easy to listen to. His talks and khutbahs are relatable and full of anecdotes, which makes it easy to retain the lessons within them. In this khutbah (Friday sermon), he gives us some tips on how to make the most of Ramadan and some things that make this month special, which I’ll summarize below.
Brother Murphy began his talk with a real-life story of a time when he was given a wedding invitation from a community member. He glanced at the invitation and immediately said he couldn’t go, but after checking again, realized that the date was more than a year later. He then reflected on how we spend so much time and energy preparing for weddings and other special events, but sometimes fail to prepare for Ramadan and rush to get in the spiritual mode after the month actually begins.
He reminds us about how the sahaabah (Prophetic companions) used to pray for the acceptance of their Ramadan for six months after it ended, and for the rest of the year (almost another six months), they would prepare for the upcoming Ramadan and pray to see it.
Br. Murphy gives us the example of cows, gold, and grass: That gold is useless to a cow, and a cow wouldn’t care if you put a pile of gold in front of it, whereas the average person would get really excited to have it. And a cow would love to have grass, but humans don’t care about it. It’s all about what we appreciate. He reminds us that “our focus and our excitement is dictated by what we value. When you value something, you get excited at the prospect of it. So if we think of Ramadan and there’s no sense of excitement, the question we have to ask ourselves it, ‘Do we value Ramadan?’”
Then he says the most beautiful and true statement: “We need this month to fix us.” He acknowledges that many of us have had a tough year that has left us “broken and damaged,” caused by things like financial distress, relationship problems, and illness. Ramadan is a time of healing, and most importantly: miracles.
In Ramadan, the impossible becomes possible. We are given some miraculous examples from the Seerah [the life of the Prophet (SAWS)] to demonstrate the truth of this statement. He then gives examples from contemporary times, of addicts who think they can never recover, of families that are falling apart, and a couple that is having trouble conceiving, but during Ramadan, many of these people see a miraculous improvement in their situation due to the blessings that Allah has put in this month.
“If a person fails to plan, then they plan to fail.” These are 2 plans/goals that Br. Murphy has for his Ramadan, that he shares with us:
- Having a special time to make du’a to Allah (supplicate to God), alone and with sincerity. He shares the secret to making du’a, which is realizing how helpless and needy we are in front of Allah. Nothing can happen without Allah’s will. “Arrogance is the drug of the person who thinks that they don’t need anything.” We need to humble ourselves before God through our du’as.
- Ramadan is a time for community and family purification, so he plans on identifying who he has hurt in any way (words or actions) and apologizing to them in person and seeking forgiveness from them. “Be honest with yourself” — this applies to all of us.
The khutbah ends with a beautiful du’a for Allah to make this Ramadan our best one yet. Ameen.