By Maulana Muhammad Aslam Shaikhupuri Sahib

The month for which the Sahaba-i-Keram (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہما) used to wait just as one waits for a dear and valued guest, is here again. The well-known tabayee, Mualli bin Fazal (رحمۃ اللہ علیہ), talking abut the enthusiasm, the impatience with which the Sahaba-i-Keram used to wait for the beginning of Ramadhan-ul-Mubarak says, For six months they used to pray, Ya Allah! let us live till the month of Ramadhan, and after that for the rest of the year they used to pray, Ya Allah! accept one salat and saum. Grant them Divine acceptance.

About Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) himself, Hazrat Anas bin Maslik (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) says, when he saw the new moon of Rajab, Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) used to pray: Ya Allah bless us with abundance (barakat) in the months of Rajab and Shaban, and convey us to Ramadhan.

When the month of Shaban used to come, his eager was such that Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) used to begin fasting in that month, well ahead of Ramadhan.

Umm-ul-Mumineen Sayyeda Ayesha Siddiqah (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) used to fast for the whole month of Shaban. And when that ended and the month of Ramadhan arrived, his worship, recitation of the Quran and generosity knew no bounds. He used to be more liberal than the fast-moving wind.

The month is here in which Jannah is specially decorated, made specially beautiful; in which countless people are given the glad tidings of deliverance from Jahannum; in which the reward of all forms of worship is increased manifold; in which prayers are answered; in which the herald of Allah Taala cries aloud:

O Seeker of God be ready and come forward. O Seeker of Evil! Turn back and be careful: This is not the month for committing sins. It is the month for repentance for asking deliverance from Jahannum.

The blessed days and nights are her when springs of Good flow from dutiful hearts; when eager prostrating lie restless obedient foreheads; when tears stream from eyes, when the filth of sins gets washed away; when a persons record is cleansed of all wrong-doings. Hands are raised supplication to the True and Real Master, lips offer eager prayers, the doors of acceptance are flung open, souls are set free of Jahannum and dua-offerers do not only ask for themselves but also for their blood relations and those related to them by the loud of emaan. Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) too, told his people that when you pray to Allah Taala in the auspicious days and nights, say, Ya Allah! Grant us freedom from the fire of Jahannum. Grant deliverance too to our parents, our ancestors, our wives and children, our relatives and friends, to all Muslims and all Mumin men and women. Save us all from the fire of Hell, Ya Allah!

A shorter dua is: Ya Allah! We solicit you for Jannah and ask refuge from the fire of Jahannum. The golden, shinning days of forgiveness and deliverance are here. The ones to take advantage of them are fortunate indeed while those who fail to attain forgiveness are truly wretched. These are the words of not just anyone but of Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) himself who never uttered anything but the truth in his entire life. Not even in jest did he ever speak a falsehood.

It is narriated by Kab Bin Ujaa (رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ) that, One day Rasoolullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) asked us to come closer to the mimber. We gathered around. As he ascended the first step of the mimber he said, Aameen. When he ascended the second step he said, Aameen. When he ascended the third step he said, Aameen! As he got down from the mimber we said, O Rasool of Allah, we have heard from you today something which we never heard before. He said, When I ascended the first step Jibraeel (علیہ اسلام) appeared before me and said: Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadhan and let it passes by without gaining forgiveness. Upon that I said, Aameen. When I ascended the second step he said: Woe to him before whom they name is taken and he does not offer durood. I replied, Aameen. When I ascended the third step he said: Woe unto the person in whose life both parents or one of them attain old age and (through failure to serve them) he is not allowed to enter Jannah. I said, Aameen.

Just think! The one to express the curses is Hazrat Jibraeel (علیہ السلام), the leader of all angels and the one to say Aameen to his curses is the leader of all those born or yet to be born. So can there be any doubt that the dua will not be accepted?

The memorable moon has appeared in the sky with the rising of which the River of His Blessings swells and overflows its banks. Love verges on insanity; fortunate souls become restless to meet their Maker; from the depths of his base nature, man ascends to the heights of the sublime in him; made from clay, he is blessed with divine characteristics.

Soul-stirring scenes of silent adoration of a slave for his Master can be seen everywhere. The melodious notes of the eternal verses create an ecstasy in the inner world and why shouldnt it be so when it was in this very month that the most comprehensive Book of Instructions was sent down. It was an auspicious moment of this August month when the true sympathiser of all mankind was sitting perplexed and bewildered, with head down-bent and a world of pain in his heart in one corner of Ghaar-i-Hira and the one to arrive had clutched him close to his chest and said, Iqra (read).

These were not just common words which were being asked to be read but a message of blessings, a code of instructions, a missive of the True Beloved, a summation, an epitome of all the books sent down from Heaven, it was in fact all that man needed to guide him till Qiyamah. All the Books had been sent down to be annulled later but this was the everlasting, eternally unchangeable Book. It was but essential to celebrate the coming down of this most perfect of all Book of Instructions.

The Islamic way to celebrate is not to illuminate buildings but to lighten up the inner world, the world of the soul. Thus O ye people, who have covered your hearts with the rust of countless sins, collected the burning coals of fire of Hell your own bad deeds, earned the displeasure of your Maker with the wrong use of your kinds and energy; blackened your Roll of Deeds with countless sins and transgressions, the month is here whose correct use can take away the rust from your hearts leaving them bright and shinning, whose nights spent in shedding remorseful tears can extinguish the colas of fire, whose days spent in recitation, zikrullah and worship can earn the Pleasure of Allah, whose invaluable moments spent in repentance, in asking forgiveness, can wash away the blackness from your Roll of Deeds. So come, make this month the most memorable month of your lives. For who knows we may be alive to see another Ramadhan.