Shaykh Muhammad ibn Haadi al-Madkhali (1), may Allah preserve him, says in one of his very beneficial lectures entitled ‘The categories of people at the ending of Ramadan’:

“From that which there is no doubt about it is that the people are divided into three categories at the ending of Ramadan.

1: From them are those who are well aware of the virtues of these last ten nights of Ramadan and are diligent concerning them and this is the one who you see upholding the rights of Allah that have been placed upon him in these last ten and you see him eager upon the hours and minutes of these last ten and thus he does not spend them except in that which draws him nearer to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.

So this person and his likes strive and compete in good in these last ten with numerous actions of obedience and you will find every time that when one of these individuals’ soul try to incite him towards comfort and remissiveness, he encourages it upon increasing in virtue and incites it by remembering the text and the stories of those diligent people who have passed away from the first three noble generations, the Companions of the Messenger, may Allah exalt his rank and grant him peace, and those who followed them in goodness. Every time his soul remembers them and reads about their news and biographies, he is rejuvenated and refreshed.

2: The second group is the one who knows the excellence of these ten and their excellency is not hidden from him, however he has within him laziness and lethargy that overpowers him. This individual is in need of someone to help him after Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, from his brothers, relatives and friends by taking hold of his hand and leading him towards the obedience of Allah. Thus, they remind him of that because the angel has an inkling over his heart and likewise the devil has a inkling over his heart just as the Prophet, may Allah exalt his rank and grant him peace, has mentioned. Allah says:

“Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqun (the Pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaytan (Satan), they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright).” [7:201]

Therefore it is befitting for the Muslim to assist his brother who is in this type of situation by encouraging and inciting him upon the good, making it easy for him and frightening him about the passing of virtuous times (without benefit), that life is very short and he is not guaranteed to reach these last ten again in the future.

So this person will gain benefit from this pure and good brotherhood and these are the characteristics of the believers. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says:

“By Al-’Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).”[103:1-3]

So these are those who possess righteous actions and true faith and they do not suffice that they themselves be upright and correct rather they call others.

“By Al-’Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).”[103:1-3]

3: The third group; this is the one who does not care if the last ten come or go, this is the one who, by Allah, is truly deprived and depleted and the one who the Prophet, may Allah exalt his rank and grant him peace, said about when he mentioned this month, the last ten in it and he mentioned the Night of Decree he said:

“Whoever is prevented from its good then he has indeed been prevented.”

He is the true deprived one! This is the true deprived person! That is because the opportunity has come to him and presented itself, health is with him, he is still alive, he is not busied by other matters and with all that he misses out on the good. An example of this individual – and for Allah is the highest example – is a person seeking a job and so he gets the job and everything and there is nothing else except for one to say to him, “walk!”, “proceed!”, “Race with those who are racing to this job,” and all of the conditions have been met but he says, “I will go tomorrow” and sleeps. And so the people receive the virtue and the job while he is sleeping.This is his example, the one who is granted the bounty of reaching these ten and misses out on the good and is prevented from standing the Night of Decree then he is the true deprived one. Not the one who misses this package or that one that can be reattained however if the Night of Decree is missed it cannot be reattained. This person has been defeated by his devil and desires.”

[Shaykh Muhammad ibn Haadi al-Madkhali (may Allaah preserve him)|Translated by: Abu Fouzaan Qaasim|Source]

Footnote:

(1) The Shaykh, may Allah preserve him, is from the Scholars of al-Madeenah an-Nabawiyyah and teachers at the Islamic Univeristy of Madeenah, KSA in the faculty of Hadeeth.

Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan was asked:

‘Some of the people, with great regret, you see them in Ramadan devoting themselves to the five (daily) prayers, to the taraweeh (prayers) and the night prayer and the recitation of the noble Qur’an…and when Ramadan finishes, they abandon that or most of it! So, what is the ruling about them? And are those righteous actions of theirs in Ramadan accepted? And what is your advice to the likes of these?’

So, the Shaykh replied by saying:

‘As for striving hard in Ramadan with righteous actions, then this is something good, and Ramadan has a specialness to it and it is a great time of the year. However, it is required from the Muslim that he strive hard in doing the good actions throughout all his lifespan and all his life and in all the months, because his life is a valuable opportunity and he is heading towards an abode which needs action. For indeed, the recompense in the abode of the hereafter is but indeed upon action. So, it is required from the Muslim that he takes advantage of his life in the world by doing righteous actions, and that he singles out the days of virtue and the times of the year which are of goodness, like the month of Ramadan, with extra hard striving.

As for these people who neglect and squander away from the obligatory duties and the prayers, then when Ramadan comes they strive hard and preserve their prayers, and when Ramadan finishes, then indeed they abandon the obligatory duties and squander (them). These (people), their striving hard in Ramadan will not be accepted from them.

And it was said to one of the salaf:

Indeed, a people strive hard in Ramadan and when it finishes they abandon the actions.

So he said:

What an evil people, do they not know Allah except in Ramadan?!

So, these ones, it will not be accepted from them if they abandoned the obligatory duties and abandoned the five (daily) prayers. As for if they abandoned something from the recommended and voluntary acts, then there is no sin upon these, and acceptance is hoped for them for what they did previously in Ramadan. And Allah knows best.’

[Source: Al-Muntaqa Min Fataawa Fadeelatish|Shaykh Saalih Bin Fawzaan Ibn ‘Abdillah Al-Fawzaan|Vol.2, Pp 429-430] t

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