Staying Motivated For Ramadan and Onwards

Brothers and Sisters, 

We’re already halfway through Ramadan Alhamdulilah. It feels like it just started and here we are, almost done.

Every year it seems to go by so quickly. The doors of Jannah are open and the doors of hellfire are closed. The rewards are increased exponentially. The Jinn are locked up. And in this month we have one day worth 1000 months.

Everything is in our favor. Do we have anyone else to blame if we don’t earn the mercy of Allah?

The Prophet said, “Verily, Jibreel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin. I said amin.”

[sahih ibn hibban 907]

This is extremely scary, and points to how much forgiveness Allah gives during Ramadan. If you can’t be forgiven during Ramadan, then when else can you expect to be?

So how do we earn Allah’s forgiveness? The Prophet PBUH also said:

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ ‏”‏ 

‘Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and the hope of reward will be forgiven his previous sins.”


مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: “Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Laylat Al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”


So let us be hopeful for Allah’s forgiveness, and work towards it. If we fast every day, not just from food and drink but guarding our tongue, our eyes, and our hands,

and we pray taraweeh every night,

and increase our ibadah especially in the last 10 nights where laylatul qadr falls on.

Then for sure we should earn Allah’s forgiveness and favor.

We have many chances. The reward for fasting is more than 700x. Let us not waste this precious month.

In today’s khutbah I want to focus on Jannah and Jahannam. Paradise and Hellfire. Starting with Hellfire.

Allah mentions reward and punishment throughout the Quran. Humans function in this way. On a system of punishment and reward.

That’s how you have a functioning society. People are scared to break the law, because it will result in punishment. And they work hard in school and in their jobs expecting a reward.

When you remove punishment and reward from a society, you have chaos.

So just like in this society where most of us obey the law and we also work hard to achieve our rizq, it should be more so regarding the next life where we fear Jahannam and hope for Jannah.

Because unlike in this life, the reward and punishment is much more severe and longer lasting. We are only travelers in this world.

The Prophet PBUH said: 

كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّكَ غَرِيبٌ أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيلٍ

Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along a path.


So like a traveler on a journey, they don’t put all their effort into one of the stops on the journey.

No. Their goal is to get to a destination. For us that is Jannah.

So we should take what we need from this world to continue our journey successfully, and leave what would stop us from making that journey.

If you were trying to make an international flight, you wouldn’t spend the whole trip in the airport, missing your flight. No, you would prepare for the journey.

Take what you need of clothes and money. Go early so you don’t miss your flight. Wait patiently keeping track of when your flight leaves and any delays. Check in on time. Buy some food and drink some water, then continue on with your journey.

Only a fool would think the airport was his final destination.

The Prophet PBUH also said:

الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ

The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.


This world should be a prison for us, because it prevents us from reaching our final and real home. It’s full of distractions to keep us away from the path of Allah. It’s a struggle to remain balanced and righteous.

But for the disbeliever, this life is a paradise for them and they treat it as such. Indulging in all their lusts and desires. They’ve fallen for the distractions, and are blind to the reminders. As a result their final home is eternal pain and punishment. Allah save us from that.

Anas ibn Malik, RA, reported: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Among the inmates of Hell will be a person who had led a very luxurious life in this world. He will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and dipped in the Hellfire, he will then be asked: `O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any comfort? Did you (ever) happen to have any luxury?’ He will reply: `I swear by Allah, no my Lord.’


The pain of simply being dipped in hellfire was so severe, that this man totally forgot the pleasure of this world.

A man who indulged in all the pleasures of this world. He had women, mansions, cars, servants, power, and fame. All of it. All the stuff that most people chase after.

People would kill to get what he had. And after being dipped in hellfire, did he think anything of his past pleasures? No. Forgotten. Subhana Allah!

So is it worth it? Is it worth chasing after this dunyah, when we’ll leave it behind and totally forget about it?

 In another hadith the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The least in punishment among the people of Hellfire is one whose sandals or shoelaces will be of fire, which will make his brain boil as a pot of water boils. He will not think that there is anyone being punished more than him, but in fact, he will be the least in punishment.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
pair of brown footbed sandals
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Now imagine you’re waiting for 50,000 years to be judged. No food or water is given to you. You think you’re hungry and thirsty now? There’s no comparison.

But unfortunately your scale of bad deeds outweighed your good deeds and you land in Hell. You’re still hungry and thirsty. You’re begging for something to eat or drink. Allah says in the Quran:

إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا ۚ وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاءٍ كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ ۚ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا

“…Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.”

[Quran 18: 29]

The Christians believe that the Jinn will be the ones punishing us in hellfire. They imagine angels as naked men women and children with nice smiling faces. Aoothu Billah.

In reality the sinful men and jinn will be in hellfire being punished by Angels. Angels obey Allah perfectly. No hesitation, no tiredness. And these angels will not show any mercy. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.”

[Quran 66: 6]

The worst part of all of this is that it won’t end.

In this world we suffer too, of course not at the level of hellfire, but we do go through pains. Sickness, injuries, loss of family, loss of wealth, and so on.

But there is always relief. There’s always a break. Even if it’s just sleep. We can be patient because we know that Allah will reward us for our patience, but also that Allah will relieve us. Our suffering won’t last forever.

But in the hellfire there’s no relief. There’s no sleep. And if we die upon shirk then there’s no end. Allah protect us from that.

Now that we finished describing hellfire, it’s time to describe Paradise. We are in the month of Ramadan. A month of forgiveness, and mercy. A month of increase of reward. So let us see what Allah has in store for the believers who pass His test.

drone shot of foggy mountains during sunset
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The Prophet PBUH said in continuation of an earlier hadith that I mentioned: Then, another person, who had experienced extreme misery in the life of this world, will be dipped in Paradise. He will then be asked: `O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any misery? Did you ever encounter difficulty?’ He will reply: ‘I swear by Allah, no my Lord, I neither experienced misery nor passed through hardship.’


This shows how amazing paradise is. This person who had a wretched life. Full of misery and suffering. Something that very few people can truly imagine or understand.

Some people are born without limbs. Some are born blind or deaf. Some are so poor, they only have one piece of clothing full of holes.

Some have no family. Some are tortured for crimes they didn’t even commit. The suffering of the Palestinians, The Ughyrs, the Muslims in Burma, in Yemen, in Syria, and on and on.

Alhamdulilah we are blessed living here. We have it so easy. May Allah grant patience, and ease for those who are suffering around the world. All this suffering compared to simply being dipped in paradise, will be forgotten. Subhana Allah!

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah said, “I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of.’ “


So all the descriptions of paradise is only a hint of what awaits us. We’ll know the reality of it when we actually see it. It’s beyond what we can even imagine.

The Prophet PBUH said: Jannah has 8 gates, one of them called ar-Rayyaan that only those who fasted (frequently) will enter.

brown wooden dock with white metal fence
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The other gates are for other frequent acts of worship. If we can fast for 30 days straight in Ramadan, we can definitely at least fast outside of Ramadan Mondays and Thursdays, the 13, 14, and 15th days of each month. This way we can earn the reward of entering through the Baab ar-Rayyaan.

To get a sense of how amazing paradise is, just like we looked at the best person of hellfire and his punishment, let’s look at the worst person of paradise and his reward.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, I know who will be the last to come out of the Hellfire and the last to enter Paradise. He is a man who will come out of the Hellfire crawling. Allah will say to him: Go and enter Paradise. The man will go out but imagine it is full, so he will return and say: O Lord, I have found it full. Allah will say: Go and enter Paradise and you will have as much as the world and ten times more. The man will say: Do You mock me or laugh at me while you are the King?

[bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet PBUH said: After the people of Jannah enter it, a caller (from Allah) will announce, “Indeed, you are promised now to live and never die, to be healthy and never weaken, to be youthful and never age, and to be happy and never grieve.”

And the greatest reward will be the reward of looking at Allah. At the Rabb al-’Alameen. At the Lord of everything.

The Lord who we pray to and seek His pleasure, even though we have never seen Him.

If simply gazing at paradise will leave us awestruck then what more looking at the Creator of Paradise. The Prophet PBUH said:

When the people of Jannah enter it, a caller (from Allah) will say to them, “O people of Jannah! Indeed, you have a promise with Allah that He wants to fulfill for you.” They will say, “What can it be? Has He not made our scales heavy, brightened our faces, admitted us to Jannah, and saved us from the Fire?” The veil will then be removed (between Allah and them), so they will be looking directly at Him. By Allah, nothing of what Allah previously gave them will be dearer to them or more satisfactory than looking at Him.

photo of man looking up
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I hope with these brief descriptions of Jahannam and Jannah we can motivate ourselves to give our utmost in these few remaining days.

We should constantly remind ourselves and our families of paradise and hellfire, so that we stay motivated. We easily forget and thus need these constant reminders.

Rather than reminding ourselves of haraam through music, movies, and useless talk, why not be reminded of our journey in this world, and the pleasures that await us.

May Allah accept our fasting, our prayer, our thikr, our reading of the quran. May He forgive us all and enter us all into Jannatul firdaws al ‘ala be dooni hisaab wa la ‘athaab.

A fun moral comic for kids

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