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Ramadan, My Dear Guest, I’m Sorry

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Honoring the guest is mandatory in Islam. Muslims, due to their religious values and duties, are known as the most hospitable people. Guests should be honored the moment they arrive, and they should honored most at the time of their departure. This practice is a polite way of making the guest feel the most welcomed next time he or she comes back. Imagine, for a whole year you have been expecting an honorable guest to come to your place, and then finally he arrives. He is kind, generous, and the most beloved. For twenty-nine or thirty days, you have developed an emotional relation with him that you started becoming worried and anxious over the day when he leaves. Eventually, the time comes and the day of his departure is here, and your beloved and blissful guest, Ramadan, is leaving, and leaving soon. This wonderful guest is so polite that he does not come back very often, so that you always desire his return later. Now that you realize his departure, you do not know if you will ever see him again. He might not come next year, or you may not be there when he comes back. These anxious thoughts of fear and hope provoke your heart to cry and your eyes to shed tears. They make you prepare the best farewell party ever made for a guest who, as he leaves, was the most welcomed, Ramadan. How do you bid farewell your honorable guest?

1. My dear guest, I’m sorry

It’s the last night of the month of Ramadan. His luggage is packed, placed by the door and the place is full with people who came to have a final look at him and enjoy a last moment with the guest. As we watch the guest sipping his final drops of our hospitality, he asks to be excused; we realize now that all the hospitality we offered was not yet enough to meet his status. So we hold his hand tight wish that he would not let go and hope to keep him longer. We become remorseful and ask for forgiveness and say “My dear guest, I’m sorry.”

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At the end of this blessed month we say “O Allah, forgive me. My Lord, I could have done more but I did not, so forgive me. My Lord, excuse my shortcomings and blemishes, You are indeed oft -Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me.”

Istighfaar, or seeking forgiveness, at the end of every good deed, not just bad deeds, is the way of the righteous. We need forgiveness to patch the holes we created in our fasting due to our faults and mistakes, or at least for falling short on fulfilling the full rights of hospitality to the guest. After all, arriving with a batched record is better off than arriving with no records at all.

Omar ibn Abdulaziz, the Umayyad ruler famous for his justice, may Allah have mercy on him, used to send his deputies around the country with the command to summon the deeds of Ramadan with Istighfaar and charity. Let us have a moment of remorse, and excuse ourselves by seeking forgiveness from the Lord of Ramadan.

2.My dear guest, a final token of appreciation

Our guest deserves the best farewell party, the Eid prayer. We decorate our lives and go out of our way for this party. We take a shower, we come early, we dress nicely, we take different routes back and forth to spread the news of his departure and we bring to the party all people. We bring out our families; our wives and children, the old and young even the most shy maidens and women with legal excuses. It is a procession of goodness, which no one can afford to miss. It is a final token of appreciation. It is a way to say to our dear guest, thank you.

In order not to show our departing guest any sign of sadness on that day, we show him deliberate happiness. Therefore, we eat few dates prior to our arrival at the party site, the prayer area. He now knows that we accept his inevitable departure, we just broke our long time fast.

Anas may Allah be pleased with him narrated: “The Messenger of Allah would not leave to Eid-ul-Fitr until he eats few dates, and he used to eat them in odd number.” (Bukhari) It saddens our beloved guest not to follow the example of Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Not breaking the fast until we come back from the Eid prayer is indeed a sign of fake piety.

3. My dear guest, this is your legacy

As we prepare for the party, we make sure that everybody around is happy and satisfied. All should participate in this party and no one should be left behind. That was the reason why our guest had come visiting us for anyways, he came to teach us how to care and share. Our guest should not leave us seeing anyone unhappy or dissatisfied. We feed the hungry and keep Ramadan’s legacy alive. We give Zakat’l-Fitr.

Ibn Omar may Allah be pleased with him narrated: “The Messenger of Allah obliged the payment of Zakat’l-Fitr, the amount of Sa’ (four cupped hands) of dates, or barley. This should be paid on behalf every male and female, free or slave and adult or young, from all the Muslims.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

4. My dear guest, allow us to sing for you

Escorting the guest out with chanting and du’a until he is out of sight is an Islamic etiquette of honoring the guest. And there is no guest who deserves it more than our beloved Ramadan. Once the announcement of his departure is delivered, as we sight that gesture at night -the hilal, we start making our du’a and chanting our takbeer until the party next day is over.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says: “He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him (in takbeer) in that He has guided you, and perchance you shall be grateful.” (al-Baqarah 2:185)

Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with him says: “It is an incumbent duty on all Muslims, when they see the crescent for the beginning of Shawwal, to start their chanting with takbeer until they are done with their Eid prayer.”

5. My dear guest, I just did what I could, but I’m sorry.

Our guest is leaving and as he slowly walks away, he turns to us and say: “Farewell my dear friends and good companions. Know that I may not see you again after this day.” The shocking reality strikes, we need to make sure that he leaves happy and satisfied and therefore we concern ourselves with the acceptance of whatsoever we offered of hospitality, even if it was little. It is no longer how much we did; it is how much was accepted and approved. We turn to our guest and present our case and say: “Please, accept the little of our hospitality, for what you saw was indeed the utmost we could afford of our generosity.”

Ali b. Abi Talib may Allah be pleased with him once said, “Be concerned more over the acceptance of your deeds than over the deeds themselves for Allah does not accept deeds except from the righteous. Didn’t you read Allah’s statement: ‘Verily, Allah accepts only from the Muttaqeen -Righteous.’ (al-Ma’idah 5:27)”

Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “The pious predecessors used to spend their efforts on completing their deeds perfectly and precisely. They then, concern themselves over their acceptance, fearing it might be rejected. Those are the people about whom Allah says: “And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord.” (al-Mu’minoon 23:60)

So here we are in a moment of muhasaba and self reckoning. We remember the days we spent with our guest, how much good did we do? And how much of what we did we can count on as a sincere act of hospitality?

It’s time to prepare our presentation for the angels to see and report to Allah. How professional do you think our presentation will look? This is the time when you need all the skills of du’a and invocation you have learned so far. And if you feel it’s too late to prepare for this presentation, then know that Allah accepts from the deeds their ends. Therefore, make your last deeds the best of all deeds.

We ask Allah to accept from us the little, regardless of how much it was, of what we offered from acts of worship during this blessed month of Ramadan.

6. My dear guest, I’ll keep in touch

Our guest is now taking his ride, and his departure becomes inevitable; we start running after him hoping for one final glance from him. He turns the window down and waves to us gracefully saying with a loud reminder: “Don’t forget about me.” “Never,” we vow, “Keep in touch, and write back,” he says and we answer back, “of course we will.” Then as we start slowing down we reiterate to ourselves the pledge we have just given to our guest, that we will never forget about him and we shall keep in touch, we build loyalty to our guest and our friend, the month of Ramadan.

How can we keep loyal to Ramadan? And how can we stay in touch with him?

Obviously, Ramadan and the reminisces of Ramadan should remain in our hearts. Then we keep loyal to him and in touch with him, by keeping our deeds, which we had established with him, continuous. Because of this blessed guest, we were able to establish a new way of life, a life of regular fasting, night prayers, recitation of the Qur’an and other Ramadan deeds. Moreover, as loyal friends of Ramadan, even long after his departure, we shall keep in touch with him by keeping alive what we have learned from him. We sure love Ramadan.

Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) narrated the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The most beloved deeds to Allah, are the continuous ones even if they were little.”  Once the Messenger of Allah establishes an act of worship, he used to maintain it continuously. Therefore, follow the example of your beloved Messenger and keep in touch with Ramadan. Continue the good work; continue fasting.

7.  My dear guest, thank you for coming

In a final moment of showing our gratitude to our beloved guest and how much we were honored with his presence, we raise our voices with thanks and praises, with shukr and takbeer to Allah. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says: “He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him (in takbeer) in that He has guided you, and perchance you shall be grateful.” (al-Baqarah 2:185).

Moreover, as our guest leaves, we return to our inner homes, and then in a moment of contemplation, immediately we go and check on him and act as if he was still there. We could not wait long to display our loyalty to him and our love for him, therefore, we followed his example and fasted six days of Shawwal right after Eid day.

Abu Ayyoub al-Ansaari may Allah be pleased with him narrated the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and then followed it with six days of Shawwal, it would be counted for him as if he had fasted the whole year.” (Muslim) We do not want to stop thinking of him and from that point onward, we will keep in touch and join his fans club, club Ar-Rayyan.

8. My dear guest, I’m sorry I forgot

It has been awhile since our guest left, we thought we will never forget about him, unfortunately we were wrong. Soon as he came out of sight, our hearts changed on us and changed on him. We’re no longer entertained by his presence which always worked for us as a frequent reminder. As time passed by, the vow of loyalty we had given him faded away, and life chores took the best of our hearts. We forgot about Ramadan and we forgot the dear lessons of Ramadan. We went back to the old bad habits we had prior to his graceful visit. Naturally, the prolonged separation caused a great damage to our connection with Ramadan. My dear guest, my dear Ramadan, I’m sorry that I forgot.

As Ramadan announces his departure, it is hard to believe that this blessed season has ended. Never lose hope from the mercy of Allah, celebrate the end of Ramadan with another act of worship, with Istighfaar and do not forget to pay your Zakat-ul-Fitr. Make your concluding act with Ramadan perfect, pray Eid on time with perfect, halal style. Celebrate the departure of Ramadan with takbeer, dhikr and du’a, you definitely need your deeds be accepted. Stay in touch with Ramadan, continue the good work and start with the sequel event of the six days of Shawwal. Finally, keep the beautiful memories of Ramadan; they will always come handy and will always be a source of inspiration. Ramadan, my dear guest, may Allah forgive me. For seeing you departing so quickly, I will always be sorry.

Yaser Birjas

The night of 27th of Ramadan 1429 H.

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Sh. Yaser Birjas is originally from Palestine. He received his Bachelors degree from Islamic University of Madinah in 1996 in Fiqh & Usool, graduating as the class valedictorian. After graduating, he went on to work as a youth counselor and relief program aide in war-torn Bosnia. Thereafter, he immigrated to the U.S. and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He is also an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, where he teaches popular seminars such as Fiqh of Love, The Code Evolved, and Heavenly Hues.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. ibnabeeomar

    September 28, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Shaykh Yaser with the hat trick!!

    jazakallahu khayr for all 3 ‘sticky‘ articles this ramadan. may Allah (swt) enable us to all remember the lessons and implement them.

  2. Yasir Qadhi

    September 28, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    Ma sha Allah… keep up the good work Shaykhana!

    بارك الله فيكم و في علمكم و نفع بكم الإسلام و المسلمين

  3. Amad

    September 28, 2008 at 1:40 PM

    Unfortunately, I was traveling when the guest came home… so I have to make up for my absence here. This was the first time I travelled for an extended period in Ramadan (nearly 10 days), and my advice to everyone is that if you can avoid travel, avoid it. It does take away from honoring the guest who only shows up for a few days in the year.

    jazakAllahkhair Shaykh Yaser for these amazing gems!

  4. AnonyMouse

    September 28, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    Ya Shaikh, this is beautiful… subhanAllah… jazakAllahu alf khair for your amazing reminders!

  5. sisterindeen

    September 28, 2008 at 4:42 PM

    MashaAllah, I’ve really benefited from your reminders this month, Sheikh.

    What a beautiful analogy as Ramadan as a guest of ours.

  6. Mahin F. Islam

    September 28, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    I’m with Amad,

    I got my wisdom teeth pulled this Ramadhaan and it has put me out for like 10 days due to medication. If I knew my recovery would have been this long, I definitely would have postponed the procedure. Reading these articles just makes it super-regretful.

  7. Muslimah

    September 28, 2008 at 5:06 PM

    “Whoever fasts Ramadan and then followed it with six days of Shawwal, it would be counted for him as if he had fasted the whole year.” (Muslim)

    jazahhallah khairan for this article Sh.Yaser i had a question with regards to the hadith above , if someone missed some days of ramadhan do to illness or menses would that have to complete theire missed days then fast the 6 days of shawwal right after and it would be accepted?

  8. ilmsummitee

    September 28, 2008 at 5:39 PM

    JazakAllahu Sh. Yaser for yet another moving, and very creative article!
    May Allah continue to increase blessings in your work, Ameen.

    SubhanAllah, my heart is heavy these last days; I dont know how to say this but I am not looking forward to Eid (our next guest, who’s known to like parties, food, & celebrations but is invited only for a few days :)

    I will truly miss Ramadan, YaAllah we beg you to allow us to witness more Ramadans to come. Ya Allah do not let our distractions and ignorance, belittle the significance of this holy and blessed month, and accept us as those who you have forgiven and saved from your punishment. Ameen, thuma Ameen.

  9. Ayooshi

    September 28, 2008 at 7:41 PM

    Asalamu Alaikum,

    Really good article, Jazaak Allahu Khairan

    Fi AmanAllah

  10. IbnAbbas

    September 28, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    Another amazing article mashaAllah… jazakallahu khairan katheeran yaa shaykh!

    Subhaanallah, this is what makes this blog so special that we have our qualified and experienced shayyokhs and we, from different parts of the world, can always be in touch with them by reading their excellent reminders and naseehas.

    May Allah give us all the tawfeeq not to forget our dear friend Ramadhaan and always honour him by doing all the righteous deeds that he has taught us during this month.

  11. usman

    September 28, 2008 at 11:13 PM

    salaam, amazing article, i had tears in my eyes…may allah reward our beloved shaykh yasir and everyone in MM…i was wondering if i could post this article on my blog…do u guys have copyright stuff…please let me kno inshallah. wsalaam

  12. Bint AbdelHamid

    September 29, 2008 at 1:13 AM

    Jazakum Allahu khayran sheikh…

  13. Osman

    September 29, 2008 at 1:52 AM

    I’m sad too and I havent done esp. I’m especially regretful for the night of the 27th. On the morning of the 26th of Ramadhan, there was a downpour ba`da fajr. And I likened it to Yawm al Furqaan ie the Day of Badr, where Allah sent rain down, before he strengthened the Muslims. I had a strong feeling then that the night would be Laylatul Qadr. However I missed salaah and dua that night and the next day I read what Tawfiique Chaudary said. Im kicking myself till now :(

  14. Salman

    September 29, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    Salaam,
    Would it be possible for someone to do a post of the correct way to perform Eid Salaat especially in accordance with the sunnah.
    Or if possible some links that show the ettiquette of Eid day and the Eid Salaat.

    Jazakallah Kher.

  15. nikhat mansoori

    September 29, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    Shaykh your article is very inspiring.It brought tears in our eyes.I don’t know whether I worked hard for
    ramadaan the way I Should have or not.May Allah accept our Ibaadah and forgive our sins.Pls continue to write more articles so that
    we can keep recharging our Imaan.May Allah S.W.T give us the ability to continue the good habits we learned during ramadaan.AMEEN!!!

    Eid mubarak!!!!

    JazakaAllahu khair

  16. sis

    September 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM

    بارك الله فيكم و في علمكم و نفع بكم الإسلام و المسلمين

  17. Abu Maahi

    September 29, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    Assalamu Alakum Sh. Yaser,

    JAzakallahu Khairan for yet another lesson for us and it was really touching and will surely move everyone who reads this. May Allah accept all our deeds and make us to be the group of Ar-Rayyan – Ameen

  18. Abu Misbah

    September 30, 2008 at 1:36 AM

    Masha Allah!

    It made tears come to my eyes. Seriously, when we start loving our guest, he departs. Aaaaaaah! Ramadan, we truely love you.

  19. umalkhayr

    September 30, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    SubhnAllah that was great thanks for the reminder
    I prayed 9 nights of the last ten nights but subhnAllah i missed the 29th because my mother asked me to stay home it sadden me
    I had a dream i was paying Tahjud salat in congregation with many people i was about to finish salat by doing my last Sajood i got up and was about to do sajood on my bed while sleeping my mother called my name to wake me up for salata fajr Ugh i missed tahjud and i didnt get to finish it in my dream … :( Maybe next year

  20. Muhammad Alshareef

    September 30, 2008 at 4:08 AM

    Jazakum Allahu khayr sh.Yaser for the great “guest” analogy. It really puts a human element of our understanding of our relationship with Ramadan.

    How many more times will Ramadan visit us in our life?

  21. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    September 30, 2008 at 9:31 AM

    Salman,

    There is a multimedia presentation here from Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef on EID 101.

    http://www.fiqhflash.com/

  22. Yaser Birjas

    September 30, 2008 at 4:19 PM

    @ Muslimah

    It is best if Ramadan’s days are taken care of first before you start with the Nafl of Shawwal. This is the opinion of sh. Uthaymeen rahimahullah and many other mashayikh. However, it was reported that Aisha my allah be pleased with her used to delay making her days of Ramadan until Sha’ban which is the month preceeding Ramadan. There is no report she would fast Shawwal first though, but she was known for her constant fasting after the death of her husband the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. And Allah knows best.

  23. Yaser Birjas

    September 30, 2008 at 4:25 PM

    Ramadan is over, and may those who maintian the spirit of Ramadan continue to live a prosperous spiritual life. Ameen.

  24. Fadouma

    September 30, 2008 at 11:53 PM

    MashAllah!
    This article brought tears to my eyes. Ramadan went by speedily, like sand slipping through ones fingers.
    May Allah give us the ability to further implement the good habits which we attained in Ramadan.,.

  25. Ameera

    October 1, 2008 at 11:18 AM

    This article mirrored my feelings EXACTLY and I speak retrospectively about those feelings because it’s Eid today. Yesterday in the evening, before Iftaar, I felt just the way it’s described in the article. I have not done justice to Ramadan, by a long shot, and I worry if I’ll see Ramadan again! This was the guest we had been mentally preparing for the past one or two months and now he’s gone!!! May Allah grant us the chance to see another Ramadan and do more… for OUR sake!! Ameen.

  26. Pingback: Ramadan, My Dear Guest I’m sorry… :(( « Islam, the way of life

  27. ASC

    October 3, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    Jazak Allah Khairun Shaykh Yasir Birjas….this was an excellent read, and truly reflected how many of us are feeling at this particular time

  28. QasYM

    October 8, 2008 at 2:08 PM

    Sadly, many let the guest go on the 27th night thinking that it could bring them no more benefit after this night. Sadly, the pre-Eid parties began, the Masaajid lost hundreds in a matter of one night, and the hosts were no where to be found. While it was still possible that its best night was still ahead of us. May Allah guide us all.

  29. Jannatan

    September 19, 2009 at 9:16 PM

    Barakaa Allaahu Feek Shaykh Yaser, this was an excellent reminder and read. Very well written as well. May Allaah accept our ramadan and allow us to witness another one.

  30. Traveller

    September 2, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    “Ramadan, my dear guest, may Allah forgive me. For seeing you departing so quickly, I will always be sorry.”

    The first time I read this article, my beard was soaked with tears, I read it and felt it was like a portrayal of my life that Ramadan.

    Every Ramadan that has come, I always read this article. Jazaakamullah Khayrun. May more people benefit from it insha’Allah – aameen

  31. Bela

    September 3, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    So amazingly awesome. Can’t put into words. reminder. May the vow of loyalty we had given him never fade away. Ameen

    Bela Khan

    Pakistan

  32. Hashim.P.K

    September 7, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    Jazak Allahu Khairan

    nice article brother, may allah guide us to treet this guest good manner than anyother guests

    I suggest you to make one article on our Inherent Guest- The Ruhh which Allah Breathed us Before we start first breat from this world

  33. Pingback: Ramadan in Doha, Qatar: It’s Awesome, even if just for the Tarawih! Sh. Areefi Du’a Audio | MuslimMatters.org

  34. Fathimah

    September 9, 2010 at 8:18 AM

    Assalamualikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

    Jazak Allahu khayr Shaykh Yaser….you conveyed the message so beautifully echoing our feelings and instilling feelings if there was something…
    SubhanAllah, it feels like yesterday that our guest arrived and Surah Al-Baqarah was read…and already its preparing for departure..
    May Allah accept our deeds that were not sufficient enough, may Allah bless us with more visits from this guest, may He give us the honor of treating him better and better year after year…and finally, may this guest intercede for us so that we may enter through Ar-Rayyan….aameen….thumma aameen….

  35. Pingback: MM Treasures I Ramadan, My Dear Guest, I’m Sorry - MuslimMatters.org

  36. AbuMisbah

    August 17, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    JazakAllah Khair Brother. This has left tears in my eyes. I realize that this month has come and gone before i could leave my procrastination..“O Allah, forgive me. My Lord, I could have done more but I did not, so forgive me. My Lord, excuse my shortcomings and blemishes, You are indeed oft -Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me.”

  37. Anum Javed

    August 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    JazakAllah brother… this is one the most beautiful articles i have ever read in my life. You put put your feelings in such a beautiful words that testifies your love for Ramdan and it brought tears in my eyes… may Allah bless you and all muslims . keep writing such things because your followers are always waiting there.

  38. Khader Ali Khan

    August 17, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Jazakallahu Khairan Sh. Yaser Birjas. The guest analogy is perfect.

  39. IbnoBenWamie Melohon

    August 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    barakallah feek! (: perhaps its sad to bid our goodbyes to d holy Ramadhan. but lets be thankful for the opportunity that he had given us and for the blessings he showered upon us in every second of the holy month.. let us all pray Inshaallah we will be able to welcome him back..
    advance Eid mubarak to everyone.

    jazakallahu khair brother Yaser Birjas

  40. ha

    August 18, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    As the Shiekh starts reciting the final surahs in the Quran, as he makes the witr duaa with
    the words ” Akhir Ramadan”-“The end of Ramadan”, as he recites the khitim al
    Quran, the hearts of the beleivers are shattered and filled with tears as they
    realize the beloved vist
    of Ramadan has come to an end.
    This month allowed
    you to taste the sweetness of faith, and this month brought you closer to
    achiveing the “Nafs Al-mutmaa” The Soul At Peace”

    Our beloved vistor
    took away our hearts this month as it taught us how to become closer to Allah,
    as it made us spend long nights in sujud and ruku, as it mades us cry as we
    remeber Allah, but always remeber
    Allah is always close even after Ramadan…

    “and We are
    closer to him than [his] jugular vein” Surat Qaf: 16.
    This is what i wrote upon returning home from the final taraweeh, and then I came across this article and humdallah i feel better ! I hope our vistor comes again and were still here inshallah …for now let us celebrate the Eid and remeber Allah is around all year long…!

  41. Uzma Jung

    August 18, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Jazakallahu khayran for the article. You may be interested in a similar piece by one of the Muslim Matter’s original contributors, entitled “Ibn Rajab: Farewell to Ramadan”. It can be read here: http://www.thehumblei.wordpress.com

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