by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Translated and Edited by Shafiur Rahman
O servants of Allah, this is the month of Ramadan, in which the Qur’an was revealed and in its remaining days are bliss for the worshipers. This is the book of Allah recited and listened to amongst you; it is the Qur’an which, if it was sent upon a mountain, you would have seen the mountain split asunder out of fear and humility – but despite this, no heart fears, no eyes weep, the fasts do not prevent from haram [sin] so that they may be of benefit, the prayers at night are not such that the one praying can hope for intercession, hearts are bereft of the fear of Allah so they are deserted and empty of any goodness, the darkness of sins have shrouded them and therefore they cannot see nor hear.
How many ayat [verses] are recited upon us and still our hearts are like rocks or even harder? How many months of Ramadan pass by us and our states are like that of those condemned to wretchedness? No youth amongst us ceases to follow his youthful passions, and no elder amongst us takes heed of the warnings to give up evil deeds so that he may be amongst the pure ones.
Where are we in relation to the people when they hear the caller of Allah and respond to the call? And when the ayat are recited upon them, their hearts soften. And when they fast, their speech, hearing and sight also fast. Are they not examples for us to follow? How great a distance between us and the pure ones! We are further from them than the distance between Safa and Marwa., When our speech is good, our actions are bad. There is no power or might except by Allah, the most high the most majestic, and Allah is enough for us.
O self, the righteous ones have triumphed through taqwa1
They perceived the truth whilst my heart is blind,
O their splendid beauty—whilst the night conceals them
Their light exceeds that of the stars,
They spend the nights in the melody of remembrance
Their living made pure by this melody,
Their hearts have emptied for remembrance
Their tears are like pearls arranged,
Their daybreak shines radiant upon them
Honoured robes of clemency are the best allotment,
Woe unto you O soul will you not awaken?
And benefit before my feet slip?
In trivial matters and whims has time elapsed
So grasp what remains of it and profit.
- God consciousness [↩]