Checklist –Ramadhan's Last Ten Nights and Days
In this blessed month of Ramadhan, we have now come to the grand finale – the last ten days of Ramadhan that are regarded as the “cream” of Ramadhan. In it is a night that Qur'an tells us is better than 1000 months (yes, months…not days!)
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"There has come to you Ramadaan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived." (Hadith Narrated by An-Nasaa’i, 2106; Ahmad, Sahih At-Targheeb, 999.)
So, in preparation for the grand finale, here is a checklist of some of the things that we can all do to make the remaining days of Ramadaan work to our advantage:
1) Get in High Gear for the Next few Nights and Days
Time is of the essence. Every moment counts. Whatever you need to do for the next ten days to make the most in `Ibadah, good deeds, reciting Qur'an, dhikr, making du`aa', etc., rewards are going to be multiplied. No one knew about the importance of these days more than the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadaan as he did not do at other times.(Hadith Muslim)
If we lose this opportunity, we have to wait another year, assuming we are still around and are in good health and shape to make use of it. Even if we are, we have the past years’ sins on our shoulders and life’s normal trials and tribulations to face the coming year. So, there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier than NOW.
2) Get a Copy of the Qur'an and Recite as Often as You Can
Not enough can be mentioned on the benefits and virtues of Qur'an. It is proven in the authentic Sunnah that the Qur'an will intercede for those who read it at night, as Ahmad (6626) narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"Fasting and the Qur'an will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord, I deprived him of his food and his desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’ And the Qur'an will say: ‘I deprived him of his sleep at night so let me intercede for him.’ Then they will intercede." (Narrated by Ahmad; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami`, no. 3882.)
As is stated in the hadith in which the The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:"Whosoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a Hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the Hasanah (good deed) is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-laam-meem is (considered as) a letter (in reward), rather Alif is one letter, laam is one letter, and meem is one letter." (Reported by At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darami)
The Messenger of Allah( Blessings and Peace be upon him) said:"The best of you is he who learns the Quran and teaches it." (Hadith Reported by Al-Bukhari)
3) Get your Sins Forgiven
First the bad news –In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"A man is deprived of provision (Rizq) because of the sins that he commits." (Narrated by Ibn Majah, 4022, ).
And now for the good news –
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in Prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins."
4) What to Say on Laylat Al-Qadr
One of the best du`aa’s that can be recited on Laylat Al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was narrated by At-Tirmidhi, who classed it as sahih, that ‘A’ishah said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah, If I know which night is Laylat Al-Qadr, what should I say?” He said:
"Say: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa`fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness so forgive me)."
5) Get in the Class of the Pious People
Allah has described the pious as follows (interpretation of the meaning):
(They used to sleep but little by night (invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope). (Adh-Dhariyat 51:17)
(And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness,) (Adh-Dhariyat 51:18)
Allah's Messenger(saw) said:" There is in Paradise an Apartment, the exterior of which can be seen from the interior, and the interior of which can be seen from the exterior. Such apartments have been prepared for those who are Polite in their talk, Provide Food to the Needy, Fast frequently and observe the TAHAJJUD PRAYERS when people are sleep.” (Mishkhat Al-Masabih ; Hadith No. 1232)
Think of all that you need to ask Allah for and ask Him now. If you haven’t before, this is the time to connect with Him and feel closer to Him. And when you do during these last ten nights and days of this Ramadaan, you would want to do this again and again– even after the month is over.
And finally, when you are in a state of Ibadah (Prayers and worship), please open your heart for others as well and please do remember your brothers and sisters who are in great difficulty all around the world in your prayers. Remember what The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
"The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence."(Hadith-Reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
You snooze…you loose! So strive during these last ten days, as if it would be your last chance to do so. A wise man once said…
“ I will pass this way but once so let me do whatever good I can NOW for I may NEVER pass this way again!”
May Allah Ta’la grants us the wisdom, courage and strength to reap the full benefits of this month…Ameen
Salatut-Tasbeeh, Its Importance & Method
Written by Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi
Translated into Eng. By Nehal Anwer Qasmi
Salatut-Tasbeeh is a significant prayer in Islam. It wipes out all the sins of a Muslim. Since this Salaah consists of Tasbeeh, therefore, it is called Salatut-Tasbeeh. The particular Tasbeeh, for this Salaah as recommended by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in the following Hadith, is Sub-haanallahi Wal Hamdu Lillaahi Wa Laa Ilaaha Illal Laahu Wallaahu Akbar (سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله أكبر). We recite it 75 times in each Rak'ah i.e. 300 times in four Rak'ah.
Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) narrates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to his uncle (Abbas رضي الله عنه): O uncle shall I not give you, Shall I not grant you, Shall I not award you, Shall I not do a mercy on you, Shall I not tell you 10 things when you do them, Allah will forgive your sins: of the future and of the past, new and old, those you have forgotten and those you did knowingly, big and small, hidden and revealed. Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) explained the way to offer Salatut-Tasbeeh. Make intention of offering four Rak'ah. In each Rak’ah, recite Surah Fatiha and a Surah from the Qur'an. Once you are finished with it, recite the Tasbeeh 15 times. Then perform Ruku and recite Ruku's usual Tasbeeh, thereafter, recite the Tasbeeh 10 times. After finishing from Ruku, repeat the same Tasbeeh 10 times in Qauma position. Go to first Sajdah and after reciting Sajdah's Tasbeeh, recite the Tasbeeh 10 times. Now go to Jalsah position and repeat it 10 times. Go to second Sajdah again and do as you did in the first Sajdah; that is reciting the same Tasbeeh 10 times after the Tasbeeh of Sajdah. Once you get up from the second Sajdah, sit for a while and recite again the Tasbeeh 10 times. The total number of the Tasbeeh in one Rak'ah is now 75. Do the same in the remaining three Rak'ah and the total number of the Tasbeeh will reach 300.
After explaining the method of Salatut-Tasbeeh the Prophet (PBUH) asked his uncle to pray this Salaah once a day. If not, then every Friday, and even if this is not possible then once a month, and even if this is not possible then once a year, and even if this is not possible then at least once in a lifetime. (Abu Daud; V:1 Page: 190 & Tirmizi; V:1 Page: 109)
There is one another way to offer Salatut-Tasbeeh. That too has been narrated by the same source. Recite the Tasbeeh 15 times after Sana and 10 times after reading a Surah. The rest is same. In this case, you don't need to sit after second Sajdah.
In the afore-mentioned Hadith, it has been asserted by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that offering Salatut-Tasbeeh will wipe out all the sins, either they are major or minor. Since we are humans, we are undoubtedly marred in sins. Thus, we ought to offer Salatut-Tasbeeh time and again to purify ourselves from the piles of sins. In fact, not only Salatut-Tasbeeh, even usual Salaah is very effective in removing sins. Once a man kissed a female stranger. But at the same time he realized his sin and came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asking for the remedy of his sin. Allah hence revealed the following verse:
"And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and of the night. Indeed good deeds annul misdeeds. That is a remembrance for the mindful". (Surah Hood: 114)
The man asked the Prophet if this verse has been revealed particularly for me. The Prophet replied no. It is for every person of my community. (Bukhari & Muslim)
There is another Hadith that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The five daily prayers and Friday prayer to the next Friday prayer, and the fasting of Ramadan to the next Ramadan, is expiation of the sins committed in between them, so long as major sins are avoided." (Muslim)
The above-mentioned two Ahadith make it clear that the Salaah play significant role in removing sins of a Muslim. Moreover, there are several Ahadith, which emphasize that the remembrance and consciousness of Allah too help seek His forgiveness. The Salatut-Tasbeeh mostly consists of Tasbeeh and remembrance of Allah. Thus, it is quite logical that the Salatut-Tasbeeh will wipe out all the previous sins.
As for the time of Salatut-Tasbeeh, the scholars of Islam do not prescribe specific time for it. It can be offered in any part of the day and night except for the time forbidden. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) himself said to his uncle after explaining Salatut-Tasbeeh: "Pray it once a day. If you cannot, then once on every Friday. If that too is not possible, then once in a month or once in a year or at least once in the lifetime".
Some people who think Islam as their monopoly object that the Hadith which speaks of Salatut-Tasbeeh is Za'eef (weak). Thus, it has no root in Islam and offering it is sheer bid'at (innovation). However, the fact is that, this Hadith has been recorded by many reliable books of Ahadith. A large number of Hadith scholars of old and modern time including Al Shaikh Nasir Al Din Al-Bani, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Khatib Baghdadi, Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Mansoor Al-Sam'aani, Imam Muslim, Imam Nawawi, Ibnul Hajar Asqalani, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Shaikh Ahmad Shakir etc all of them acknowledged this Hadith as authentic. Therefore, Salatut-Tasbeeh being innovation is out of question.
Some may also argue that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) personally taught this Salaah to his uncle. So this was not meant to all Muslims. I would say even though the Prophet taught Salatut-Tasbeeh to his uncle, but there is no evidence that it was meant only for his uncle Abbas (RA). Rather there are abundant examples where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gave certain commandments on certain incidents. But, those commandments applied for all Muslims. Once the Prophet told a woman that offering Umrah in the moth of Ramdhan is equal in the reward of performing Hajj with me. Apparently, this Hadith is for that woman. But, all the scholars agree that virtue mentioned in this Hadith apply for all the Muslims without any exception.
In short, the Salatut-Tasbeeh is Nafl. It ought to be offered by the Muslims according to their capacity, as it helps to wipe out all the major and minor sins. Calling it bid'at is likely to lead to denial of an authentic Hadith.
May Allah give us taufeeq to offer Salatut-Tasbeeh as much as possible, Ameen!
An Exceptional Prayer…Salaatut Tasbeeh
In life there are occasions and opportunities where a person has a chance to increase in profits and rewards significantly. One such opportunity is the Blessed Month of Ramadaan, wherein rewards are multiplied enormously. This is a time where we can exert ourselves in prayers to gain nearness to Allah Ta’ala.
An exceptional prayer that can be performed in Ramadaan as well as throughout the year is Salaatut Tasbeeh, a special prayer taught to the Muslim Ummah by The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Salatut Tasbeeh is a special Salaah that carries great rewards and blessings. Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A) reports that Nabi (S.A.W) said to him: “O Abbas! O my uncle! Should I present to you a gift? Should I bestow something to you? Should I inform you of something greatly beneficial? Should I show you such an act which, if you render it, Allah will forgive all your sins – old and new, those committed in error and those committed deliberately, sins committed publicly or privately? The act is to perform four Rakaats (Salatut Tasbeeh) ... (after the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) taught him the way of performing this Salaah, he said): If possible, perform this Salaah daily; if you are unable, then perform it once a week. If you are unable, then perform it once a month; if you are unable, then perform it once a year and if you are unable to do even this, then perform it at least once in a lifetime.” (Hadith-Abu Dawood)
WHEN TO PRAY:
This Salaah (namaz) is offered in four rakat at any convenient time and can be read in any part of the day and night keeping in mind the forbidden times for performing Salaah (i.e. Zawal , Sunrise and Sunset times). It is an excellent practice during the Mubarak(blessed) nights of Ramadhaan or on any other auspicious night.
The Tasbeeh(words of praise) to be recited in Salatut Tasbeeh:
“Subhan allahi wal hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illal laahu wallahu akbar”
The words “La Hawla wala Quwwata illa billahil Aliyyil Azeem” may also be added at the end of the above Tasbeeh.
· After Thana - 15 Times
· After the Surah and before Ruku - 10 Times
· In Ruku after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· In Qaumah (standing position after Ruku) - 10 Times
· In (first) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· In Jalsa (sitting position between the two Sajdas) - 10 Times
· In (second) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· The second, third and fourth Rakaats will be read in the same manner.
1. In every Rakat, the Tasbeeh will be recited 75 times totalling 300 times in the entire Salah.
2. There are also other methods of praying Salatut Tasbeeh which is correct and acceptable.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
1) Do not count loudly.
2) Do not count by holding a Bead Tasbeeh(prayer beads) or a counter in your hand.
3) You may count by pressing the fingers as a reminder. For example if you are in Ruku. You may press small finger of your right hand first for the first count, then the finger next to it for second count, then the middle finger for third count, following this method until you reach the small finger of left hand will give you an exact count of ten. Use the same method in Qiyaam, Sajdah and Jalsa.
May Allah Ta’ala accept our ibadah(worship) and grant us an elevated position in Jannah(paradise).
The Dynamic Nature of Ramadaan
By Abu Muhammed
Have you ever noticed that in Ramadaan how it is that everyone’s days (and nights) seem to rotate around their salaah(prayer) times and how easy it is to fast for long periods, perform Salaah, recite the Quraan, spend more time in the Masjid and to do good ? Business appointments are deliberately avoided close to salaah times and trips to shopping malls are strictly to get what’s required, recreation curtailed and ‘entertainment’, almost nonexistent. Journeys, if necessary, are planned in such a manner that destinations are reached before the time of futoor (opening of the fast). In summation we can safely say that life is taken very seriously and time scrupulously spent.
A famous contemporary scholar was often heard saying,
‘If our lives are spent as we spend Ramadaan then death (our meeting with Allah Jalla Wa A’ala) will be enjoyable to us as the joy we feel at the sighting of the crescent of Eidul Fitr’
One of the most salient aspects of the Shariah (The Body of Islamic Law) is that almost all the formal acts of Ibaadah (Worship) have been fixed. It can be safely said that the temperament of Ibaadah in Islam is very ‘time and place’ specific.
· Haj in the month of Zhul Hijjah (8th to the 12th) in the city of Makkah and its surrounds of Mina, Arafah and Muzdalifa
· Zakaat once a year (Lunar) fixed
· Salaah fixed five times a day at specific times, and
· Fasting in Ramadaan
The maximum benefit of these acts of Ibaadah will be reaped when they are done at their specific times and places. An example to emphasise the point is that most Muslims are aware of the great virtue of the day of Arafah (9th Zil Hijjah) during Hajj (pilgrimage). It is a day wherein Allah frees the most souls from Jahannum (Hell) and displays His Mercy and Forgiveness in waves and torrents like no other time. Arafah is essentially a desert plain with little or no vegetation. If a person were to be on the plains of Arafah on every other day of the year other than the 9th of Zhul Hijjah he will not benefit from the great rewards of Arafah. An example pertaining to Ramadaan is that if a person, with a valid reason, misses the fast of Ramadaan he cannot acquire the spiritual benefit of that one fast were he to fast for the entire year out of Ramadaan. The Qadha fast (late fulfillment) will fulfill his obligation but detract from the benefit of that fast in its original place and time.
While there will be those who argue that the Shariah is not so stringent and allows for leeway there is great wisdom in fixing the formal acts of Ibaadah (Worship). Breaking away from a high profile meeting or stopping in the middle of an important task at work and heading off for Salaah to the local Masjid for the congregational prayer may not seem very different to fulfilling the obligation of Salaah after the meeting or completing one’s task but upon closer scrutiny under a ‘spiritual’ microscope one will find an important difference. In the first instance a person has put the command of the Creator – Allah Jalla Wa A’ala – before everything else while in the second instance, while not making a verbal statement, a person has given priority to his meeting or task over the fulfilling of the command of Allah Jalla Wa A’ala. The former is precisely the aim and objective of Shariah. After all we are the ‘Ibaad – Slaves’ of Allah Jalla Wa A’ala and as Hasan Basri (May Allah have mercy on him) says ‘a slave can have no other wish than to fulfill the wish (command) of his/her Master’. Fulfilling the command of Allah Jalla Wa A’ala is another name for ‘Worship’ which is the objective of the short and transitory life of a Human Being (Qur’an Surah 51, Verse 56) on this earth and determines the extent of his/her success or failure in the Akhira (the Hereafter)
From this perspective then, Ramadaan is a practical exercise and lesson in learning Uboodiya (Slavery) to one’s Creator where one’s 24 hour day becomes consciously focused at fulfilling the Command of one’s Creator over and above all the ‘commands’ of a personal or vocational nature. Ramadaan is also proof to us that we do have the ability and capacity to dedicate ourselves towards a life of conscious worship of Allah Jalla Wa A’ala and not just one month of the year. One drawback is that we limit our niyyah (intention) only for Ramadaan.
As mentioned at the beginning, we find that in Ramadaan it becomes easy to good deeds. This is the coming in to play of the powerful force that is collectivity in thought and action as well as the effect of an environment. Islam recognises the powerful force of social pressure towards conformance and adherence.
This is borne out by the famous saying of the Noble Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) narrated by Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) about a man from the previous nations who killed ninety nine people and then desired forgiveness. It is a lengthy narration but the crux of the matter was that he was forgiven, because the advice given to him by a scholar to maintain his state of Taubah (repentance) was, ‘Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place’ (Hadith-Bukhari & Muslim)
This movement towards the environment of righteousness was the deciding factor that secured his forgiveness. This highlights the great effect that company and/or environment can have on influencing the actions of individuals and in turn communities and societies. This is also corroborated by another saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) narrated by Abu Musa Al Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased with him) wherein the similitude of good and bad company (environments) is likened to a person spending time in the company of a perfume seller and a blacksmith. The least one will benefit from the former is a pleasant scent (without buying) while the latter will cause one to obtain an unpleasant and foul smell and may even burn one’s clothing. (Hadith-Bukhari & Muslim)
The concept of ‘every man for himself and God for all’ is alien to Islam. Islam promotes the idea that ‘the strength of the community lies in the strength of the individual and in turn the strength of the individual lies in the strength of the community’. That is why the encouragement towards good and the forbidding of evil has been made an individual and collective obligation.
Upon closer perusal we will find that the formal acts of worship in Islam while, being ‘time and place’ specific, are also very social and communal with an emphasis on collectivity and public benefit. This can be seen in the institution of Salaah, Haj, Zakaat as well as in Ramadaan.
Therefore in Ramadaan we find it easy to do more good because everyone is in the same frame of mind, understanding the magnitude that is the month of Ramadaan, as well as consciously making an effort practically to maximise this great opportunity to earn good. This in turn creates an environment that generates energy and buzz that is an impetus for all acts of Ibaadah (Worship) even for those of us who normally feel lazy and disinclined.
Ramadaan presents an excellent opportunity for positive individual and collective change. The first step towards achieving this would be, not to limit our niyyah only to Ramadaan but to make the niyyah that Ramadaan be the beginning of change for us. Once we do so the next step would be to attach ourselves after Ramadaan to such people and environments where such A’amaal (practices) are in vogue that would enhance and maintain all that we had reaped in Ramadaan. If we spend one Ramadaan to the next Ramadaan for the balance of our lives in this manner then have no doubt that the time of meeting with Allah Jalla Wa A’ala (death) will be enjoyable to us as the joy we feel at the sighting of the crescent of Eidul Fitr...if not more!!!
And the one who achieves this has fulfilled the purpose of creation and passed the test that is called ‘LIFE’ and is entitled to an eternal and everlasting life of bliss and happiness.
8 Easy Steps to Recite the Entire Qur’an this Ramadan
By Haafidha Rayhaanah Omar (Fee Qalbee blog)
It has been said that everything has a beloved & that the month of Ramadan has a beloved, too: The Glorious Qur’an. For the duration of this month, Muslims worldwide honour Ramadan’s beloved and aspire to complete the recitation of the Qur’an.
In this article you’ll learn how you too can work towards achieving this noble goal, insha’Allah.
STEP 1: ESTABLISHING AN INTENTION
Our beloved Messenger of Allah(peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us – through his words & actions – the importance of one’s intent or purpose. Establishing one’s intention is an effective catalyst for implementation. Once your intention has been established, remember to renew it often. Whilst reciting and even upon completion of the Qur’an, recall your intention and renew it, thus ensuring that it is constantly purified & you are seeking His Divine Acceptance, inshaAllah.
STEP 2: DON’T BE OVERWHELMED
For some, as much as they aspire to complete the recitation of the Qur’an during Ramadan, they are overwhelmed by the number of pages or the length of some Surahs. Remove ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary and eliminate negative thinking, for the believer puts their trust in Allah, matched by striving with their actions. Remind yourself that you are (if Allah wills) fully capable of achieving your Qur’anic aspirations, whether it be completing Qur’an 1 or 5 times. This second point is key. Put your heart into this accomplishment & reap the rewards throughout, inshaAllah.
STEP 3: PLAN AHEAD
Prior to commencing with your recitation it’s important to plan around your routine and block out time for your Qur’an goal e.g. your work hours, rest hours & any other commitments which you may have. Structure a realistic plan of how to complete the recitation of Qur’an within the month by dividing each Juz per day. Draw up this personal plan, review it constantly, and put it into action!
As you put your plan to paper, consider past Ramadan’s and ask yourself if there have been instances where you were unable to complete Qur’anic recitation. Reflect over why and how this occurred. Is there a different mechanism that you could put into place? How could you enhance your daily Qur’an routine if these distractions were dealt with?
Take the first opportunity that comes, to begin your Qur’anic quest. So when the moon is sighted & the announcement has been made for the 1st Salaatul-Taraweeh, begin in earnest, with Surah Al-Fatiha, Surah Al-Baqarah etc.
STEP 4: UNDERSTAND THE QUR’AN
Read the translation of the Juz you will be reciting daily. Having a basic knowledge of the theme, topic, message & meaning of what you are reciting makes the recitation of the Qur’an an incredibly uplifting experience that you do not want to miss out on!
STEP 5: FIND QUR’AN BUDDIES AND COMPETE IN GOOD
Develop close bonds with brothers/sisters who are known for their attachment to the Qur’an. They’ll be your spiritual friends. Engage a Qur’an Buddy in your noble Qur’an productivity goals. Request that they remind you to fulfil your goals and spiritual aspirations so they can help you in times of slacking.
In life, we compete with many materialistic goals and race one another, but what about following the footsteps of the best of generations that had come before us in a competition this Ramadan? In striving and competing with our friends and colleagues towards our noble goals, in a good-natured way, we can motivate ourselves to finish our Qur’an goal.
One of the common aspects which deter a Muslim from completing this task is excessive communication. Often, many of us spend too much unnecessary time surfing the net, chatting, texting, etc… . Reduce this even by a third and you will see, feel and witness the blessings in your time, inshaAllah.
STEP 6: SEIZE THE MOMENT
A deeply inspiring story in ‘lessons from the waiting room’ – where a mother; who has taken her unwell child to the hospital; waits for the doctor to see to her child. She notices a young Muslim who uses his time in the waiting room, in a most effective & spiritually rewarding way, reciting from a pocket-sized Quran. Lesson to be taken here: Invest in a pocket-sized Qur’an and make it your best friend this Ramadan. Seize every opportunity and moment to be with Allah (glorified and exalted be He) through your recitation.
One of the best times at which to recite Qur’an, is after Suhoor(pre- dawn meal). Having partaken from the Sunnah meal, and within an hour or two still to go before work or school, this is the ideal jump start to your day. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) asked Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to bless our Ummah in the early hours, and you will also be more likely to memorise ayahs at this time. Research shows that morning study creates better performance in students so don’t miss the morning recitation!
Time Tip: Salah Followed by Qur’an.
Consider the following option that has worked well for numerous people in past Ramadan’s. Try reciting 6 – 8 pages of Qur’an (depending on the Mus-haf(copy of the Qur’an) that you are using) after each of your 5 daily salah. Add Qiyaamul-Layl (late night salah) as a 6th addition, and you will reach the end of Ramadan, having completed your Qur’an recitation with ease & perhaps, even before the last 5 days of Ramadan so long as you remain committed.
Time Tip: Recite before going to sleep.
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says: “Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence and more suitable for words” (Qur’an73:6). Reciting during the day is also beneficial, however the night time recitation is easier as well during Ramadan as there are less distractions and noise.
STEP 7: REMAIN STEADFAST AND CONSISTENT
The key to any success is consistency. Once you’ve mapped your plan, stick to it. Remind yourself of the greatness of this month, of the opportunities that it provides for your spiritual growth and your relationship with the Qur’an. Don’t be willing to compromise it in this month.
STEP 8: MAKE DUA’A TO ALLAH (GLORIFIED AND EXALTED BE HE)
Nothing can be achieved without the aid and guidance of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). When making your intention to complete your recitation or memorisation of Qur’an, supplicate to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to ease this noble pathway and to crown your efforts with success, inshaAllah.
These are the 8 ways I wanted to share with you on starting and completing your journey through recitation of the Qur’an this Ramadan. Indeed, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah.’’ In the hours of the days and nights of this sacred month, may the Qur’an be your companion of light and guidance, resonating through your words, actions and life mission. May your relationship with the Qur’an be strengthened, enriched & enlivened with the profound wisdom and divine message from Allah (glorified and exalted be He).
THE IMPORTANCE OF SADAQATUL-FITR
Sadaqatul fitr is compulsory charity which becomes payable on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The Noble Messenger of Allah ( Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) said:
"The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid."
Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam made charity of Fitr compulsory as a purification of fasts from useless talks and vile discourses and also as food to the poor
Fitr means to break fast or to refrain from fasting. Hence the Eid after the fasts of Ramadhân is called Eid-ul-Fitr, as it is the day of rejoicing after the completion of fasting. On this occasion of happiness, as a sign of gratitude one has to give a specific amount in aims, which is called Sad'qatui-Fitr. To purify and obtain complete blessings for the fasts of Ramadhân Mubârak one has to give Sadaqatul-Fitr. Thus it is wâjib to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to purify one's fast. The true object in giving Sadqatul-fitr on this happy, occasion is also to assist the poor and needy, so that, they may rejoice with the more fortunate.
Sadaqatul Fitr (or fitrah) is wâjib upon all Muslims -male, female and children fitrah should preferably be paid before the Eid Salâh.
It is not permissible to delay the payment of fitrah later than the Day of Eid.
What amount Should be paid
The amount of Sadqatul Fitr is 1.633kg of wheat or 3.266kg of barley or the equivalent in cash. Please consult your local Islamic Scholars for exact amount.
It is highly recommended that this amount is paid in advance so that the contributions could be used for the benefit of the poor on Eid day.
For a detailed article and rules on Sadaqatul Fitr please visit:
Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power!
Allah, Most Wise, says:
"The Night of Power is better than a thousand months." (97:3 Quran)
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
“Whosoever stands in "Ibaadah" on this night, with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward, his previous sins will be forgiven." (Hadith-Bukhari and Muslim)
"Seek it (laylatul qadr) in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, 21st 23rd, 25th, 27th, 29th or the last night of Ramadhan." (Sahih Hadith Ahmad 5:318)
From traditions we learn that among the signs of this night is that it is a serene, quiet, shining night, neither hot, nor cold but temperate as if a moon is shining clear, and no meteors are shot at the "Shayateen" on that night; it lasts until the break of the dawn. Another sign is that at morn, the Sun rises without any radiant beams of light, appearing rather like the moon in it's fullness. On that day, Allah prohibits the "Shayateen" from rising up with the Sun.
What to do on this night?
Worship during this night can take on many forms. Here are a few suggestions to help you through Laylatul Qadr:
For a detailed article on Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) in the light of Qur’an and Hadith please visit:
I'TIKAF: The Spiritual Retreat
By E Islam Team
The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) is reported to have said:
"The persons who secludes himself (for I'tikaf) in true faith and hope (of reward from Allah), all of his previous sins shall be forgiven." (Kanzul Ummal, Hadith 24007)
The meaning of Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid with the express niyyah (intention) of Itikaf.
Allah has indeed in his perfect wisdom created humanity in a unique way. He has made it such that from time to time His creation needs a rest. We rest at night to give our bodies time to recover. Birds retire to their nests, horses to their stables, bees to their hives etc. However there comes a time when more intensive rest or retreat is required. Sometimes due to a person's physical condition he is admitted into the hospital’s intensive care unit allowing his or her body time to recover.
Likewise the soul also needs to recover from the hustle and bustle of the world, the spiritual pollution caused by evil elements of society, the rat race of wanting, desiring and acquiring more of this world and the distractions that has diverted our mind, heart and soul from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Intensive Care Unit(ICU) for the soul is the Musjid and Itikaf is the facitilty within this ICU to allow the soul to not only recover but be spiritually rejuvenated!
Itikah is indeed a Spiritual Retreat!
Inside each and every human being, a constant battle rages. It is like a battle between two wolves. One of the wolves is evil. It is full of hate, lust, and greed. His fangs drip with bitterness and strife. The other wolf is a good one. He is full of love, compassion, and honesty. He never betrays his brother.
These two wolves are constantly at war. Which wolf is going to win the battle?
The answer is quite obvious…. Whichever one you feed.
Our soul is being bombarded by forces of good and evil. We need to feed it good so that it overpowers the evil….and Itikaf is indeed an excellent opportunity to achieve this.
Since the life of the transient world keeps us busy for the whole year in studies, work, social functions, business, travelling and other such things that causes us to be negligent of our souls and the next life, we may sometimes think that these things are the sole purpose in life and thus, we end up forgetting our true goal – Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him). Thus, it is for this reason that I'tikaf is referred to as "The spring of life in a world struck with the drought of negligence of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him)."
It is the negligence of ourselves and our Creator which is given a fresh breath of life during Itikaf. In addition, we can once again find ourselves and our Lord and spiritually return back to Him before we are forced to return back to him by the separation of the soul from the body in a state of complete negligence of Him.
The period of I'tikaf is the best time to force one's self to sit and think and reflect on the self and the world around; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to nurturing the soul and linking oneself with the Creator of the soul; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to return back to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) in true repentance for our sins committed through the year and to give our souls the spiritual strength desperately needed to live a spiritual and pure life in this challenging world.
Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam always observed, I'tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful.
Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha relates that "Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam regularly observed I'tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition." (Hadith-Bukhari)
It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira Radiallâhu anhu that "Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam observed I'tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days." (Hadith-Bukhari)
3 TYPES OF ITIKAF
This Itikaf becomes compulsory when a person makes it obligatory upon himself. An example of this is, when a person makes a vow to Allah that if Allah fulfills a certain wish of his, he will under take to perform so many days Itikaf. In this case the moment his wish is fulfilled, Itikaf becomes compulsory. A person may just make unconditional vow whereby he makes Itikaf Waajib upon himself for certain number of days. This becomes a Waajib duty on him from that moment onward.
This was the general practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and it means to seclude oneself inside the Masjid for the last ten days of Ramadhan.
There is no special time or specific number of days for Nafil Itikaf. A person may make niyyah for any number of days at any time, even for his whole life
For a detailed article on Itikaf and its rules please visit :
Benefits of Ramadan
1. Fasting in Ramadan helps in achieving Taqwaa.
Allaah says: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (achieve Taqwaa)” (Al-Baqarah, 2:183)
When we change our attitude while fasting and have a good mental state, we can achieve Taqwaa. Jabir ibn Abullah said,
“When you fast, your hearing, your vision, and your tongue should also fast by avoiding lies and sins. You should not abuse your servant. You should maintain your composure and dignity on the day you fast. Do not make your fasting day the same as your normal day.” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah)
2. Double reward of fasting:
“Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward.” (Al Tirmidhee)
Ibn Taymiyah said:
What is meant by giving him iftaar is giving him enough to satisfy him. (Al-Ikhtiyaaraat, p. 194)
3. Reading Qur’an in Ramadan assists in attaining “Taqwaa”
Reading Qur’an in this month assists in attaining “Taqwaa” since it is one of the main objectives of the revelation of the Qur’an. Allaah says: “(It is) an Arabic Qur'an, without any deviance that they might become righteous.” (Az-Zumar, 39:28)
4. A means of gaining forgiveness of sins:
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said:
a. “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (al-Bukharee, 2014; Muslim, 760)
b. “…from one Ramadan to the next are expiation for sins committed in between, so long as you avoid major sins.” (Saheeh Muslim (233))
5. Steadfastness and Patience:
Fasting helps in developing a strong will power. Fasting is patience in obeying Allaah, patience in keeping away from the things forbidden by Allaah, and patience in bearing the decree of Allaah, hunger, thirst, physical and mental weakness. So it combines all three types of patience, thus the fasting person deserves to be counted as one of the patient, and Allaah says:
“Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account." (Az-Zumar, 39:10)
6. Seeking Laylatul Qadr:
Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said:
“There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allaah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” ( An-Nasa’ee, 2106; Ahmad, 8769.)
7. Fasting precludes ar-riya and assists in ikhlaas:
“Allaah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it…’” ( Al-Bukharee (1761) and Muslim (1946))
Allaah didn’t say “prayer is Mine”, or “Hajj is Mine”, or “charity is Mine”. Why did He single out fasting? Al-Qurtubi said: Because showing off may enter into all good deeds, but no one can see when a person is fasting except Allaah, so Allaah connected it to Himself.
8. Ramadan trains us to have good character and be truthful:
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said:
“Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and ignorant behaviour, Allaah has no need of his giving up his food and drink”. (Sahih Al-Bukharee,1903)
So if a person refrains from disobeying Allaah or gives up sinfulness, then this is true fasting. Meaning, your body needs to fast with you too along with hunger and thirst.
9. A sense of Unity:
All the Muslims participate in this act of worship. All of us are fasting and breaking the fast at the same time. We as a single ummah gather upon a single act of worship directing towards a single purpose.
10. Ramadan is an opportunity to learn discipline in food and drink:
One of the benefits of fasting is good health. This is something we should seek because with good health, we can worship Allaah better and do extra good deeds which we might not be able to do if we did not have it. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said:
“A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allaah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…” (Sahih Muslim 2664)
11. Two moments of Joy:
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said:
“The fasting person will have two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast, and the other when he meets his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” (al-Bukharee, 1771)
Source : Idealmuslimah (Edited)
From Bahishti Zewar
1. Rasulullah said: "The sleep of a fasting person is regarded as an act of ibaadah, his remaining silent is regarded as a tasbeeh, the reward for his good deeds is multiplied, his duas are accepted, and his sins are forgiven."
2. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield and a strong fortress in order to save oneself from hell. In other words, just as a person seeks refuge in a strong fortress or by means of a shield from an enemy, in the same way, one gets salvation from hell by fasting. By fasting, a person's power of committing sins gets weak, and his power to do good gets stronger. When a person fasts in the proper manner and implements all the etiquette of fasting, he will free himself of sins and gain salvation from hell.
3. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield as long as it is not destroyed by lies and backbiting. In other words, fasting works as a shield as explained above. But this is on the condition that the person abstains from sinning. If a person fasts and still speaks lies, backbites, and commits other sins, then although he will be absolved of the fard of fasting, he will be committing a major sin. Furthermore, he will be deprived of the barakah of fasting.
4. It is mentioned in a Hadith that fasting is a shield. The person who awakens in the morning in a state of fasting should not commit any act of ignorance. If a person approaches him in an ignorant way, he should not reply him in the same ignorant manner nor should he address him disrespectfully. Instead, he should inform him that he is fasting. By him in whose control is the life of Muhammad , the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala than the fragrance of musk. In other words, on the day of judgement, the smell that emanates from the mouth of a fasting person will be replaced with a fragrance even better than musk. This fragrance will emanate from the mouth of the fasting person and it will be most beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. This foul smell that emanates from a fasting person in this world will actually be a source of attaining that fragrance in the hereafter.
5. It is mentioned in a Hadith that at the time of opening the fast, the person is permitted to make a dua whose acceptance is promised.
6. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Rasulullah addressed two persons saying: "You should fast because fasting is a shield in order to save oneself from hell and in order to save oneself from the difficulties of time." In other words, one will be saved from hell and also from the difficulties and calamities of this world.
7. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the day of judgement, three persons will not have to give an account of the food that they ate, immaterial of what they ate as long as it is halal. They are: the fasting person, the person who makes sehri, and the person who is stationed on the borders of the Islamic state safeguarding it from being invaded by the kuffaar. This is a great concession for these three persons that they have been absolved from giving an account of their eating. It should be borne in mind that despite this concession, one should not spend a lot of money and time in preparing very exquisite meals. Spending a lot of time in preparing delicacies turns one away from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and gives impetus to one's power of committing sins. This should always be borne in mind. One should value the bounties that Allah Ta'ala has blessed one with. The best way of showing gratitude to Allah Ta'ala is that one should obey all His commands and orders.
8. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who feeds a fasting person at the time of opening fast will receive the same reward as that of the fasting person without there being any decrease in the reward of the fasting person. In other words, through the mercy and generosity of Allah Ta'ala, both of them will receive the same reward. This will apply even if the person feeds him with a very simple or insignificant meal. Even if he merely gives him some water to drink.
9. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah Ta'ala multiplies the rewards of His pious servants by ten times up to 700 times except for the reward of fasting. In other words, there is no limit for the reward of fasting. As regards fasting, Allah Ta'ala says: "It is for Me alone and I will give the reward for it." From this we can gauge how great the reward of fasting is that there is no limit to the rewards. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will give the reward for fasting Himself and will not delegate this task to the angels. Glory be to Allah Ta'ala for attaching such importance to this little effort on our part. However, it should be borne in mind that all these virtues and benefits of fasting will only come into effect when we fulfil this duty as it ought to be fulfilled, and only when we abstain from speaking lies, backbiting, and all other sins. In the month of Ramadaan, some people leave out their Salats completely while others miss out the fajr Salat. In doing so, they are depriving themselves of the numerous blessings and rewards of fasting. Furthermore, by reading this Hadith, one should not have this misconception that fasting is more virtuous than Salat because Salat is the most virtuous of all the different acts of ibaadah. The meaning of this Hadith is that there is a very great reward for fasting and it does not mean that fasting is the most virtuous act of ibaadah. The above-mentioned Hadith continues that there are two times of extreme happiness for the fasting person. The first time of happiness is when he opens his fast and the second time is on the day of judgement. That is, when he meets Allah Ta'ala, as mentioned in other Ahaadith.
10. It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the first night of Ramadaan the doors of heaven are opened. These doors remain open right till the end of Ramadaan. There is no Muslim who offers Salat in any of the nights of this month except that he receives 2500 rewards for every rakaat that he offers. In addition to this, Allah Ta'ala will construct a palace of rubies. This palace will have sixty doors. Each of these doors will have a golden chamber which will be decorated with rubies.
When the person keeps the first fast of Ramadaan, all the minor sins that he had committed during the past year since the first fast of the last Ramadaan will be forgiven. In addition to this, 70 000 angels will make dua for his forgiveness daily from morning till sunset. For every rakaat of Salat that he offers in Ramadaan, whether it be during the day or at night, he will be rewarded with a tree in paradise. The shade of this tree will be such that a traveller will be able to travel beneath it for a journey of 500 years.
How great is the virtue of fasting! O Muslims! Never allow yourself to miss any fast. In fact, if you have the strength, then keep nafl fasts as well. Show total love for Allah Ta'ala who is so merciful that He is rewarding us so abundantly in exchange for a little effort on our part. At least make Allah Ta'ala your beloved for your own benefit in that you will receive the abundant benefits of jannah.
11. It is mentioned in a Hadith that jannah is decorated from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for Ramadaan. In addition to this, the large-eyed Hoors of jannah decorate and beautify themselves from the beginning of the year till the end of the year especially for the fasting persons. When Ramadaan commences, jannah says to Allah Ta'ala: "O Allah! Enter your pious servants into me in this month." As for the large-eyed Hoors, they say: "O Allah! Appoint husbands for us from among your pious servants."
The person who did not slander anyone in this month and did not consume any intoxicants shall have all his sins wiped out. As for the one who slanders someone or consumes any intoxicant, all his good deeds for the past year will be wiped out. In other words, he will be committing a major sin. It should be borne in mind that just as rewards are multiplied in a holy month, punishment is also increased if a sin is committed in a holy month. One should ponder over the warning in this Hadith.
Fear the month of Ramadaan because it is the month of Allah Ta'ala. In this month, Allah Ta'ala has ordered His servants to emulate His practice by abstaining from food and drink. Since Allah Ta'ala is pure from food and drink all the time, this month of Ramadaan has been specially attached to Him. As for the other months, they all belong to Him as well. Allah Ta'ala has given you eleven months in which you can eat, drink, and indulge in other halal pleasures. He has set aside just one month for Himself in which He has ordered you to abstain from food, drink, and other halal pleasures. Therefore, fear the month of Ramadaan, for most certainly, it belongs to Allah Ta'ala.
Obey Allah Ta'ala in this month and abstain from sins. Although obedience to Allah Ta'ala is necessary all the time, it's importance is stressed in particular places such as Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah; and at particular times such as in the month of Ramadaan. Special attention should be paid to abstaining from sins at such places and at such times because just as rewards are multiplied at these times and places, so too is punishment.
12. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when food is presented to you at the time of iftaar, then prior to opening your fast you should recite the following dua:
Translation: "In the name of Allah. All praise is due to Allah. O Allah! I have fasted for Your pleasure, it is with Your sustenance that I am opening my fast, and I have placed complete trust in You. Glory be to You and praise be to You. Accept this fast from me for most surely You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing."
13. It is mentioned in a Hadith that when you open your fast, it is preferable to open it with dry dates because there is a lot of blessing in this. If you do not have dates, open your fast with water because water is a great purifier. In certain Ahadith it is also mentioned that the fast should be opened with milk.
14. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps fast for 40 days solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala shall have whatever dua he makes to Allah Ta'ala accepted. In other words, this person will become so beloved in the sight of Allah Ta'ala that whatever dua he makes will be accepted by Allah Ta'ala if He feels that it will be to the benefit of that person. The respected sufis, may Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them, have laid down a system of cutting off all relations with this world for forty days and engaging in the ibaadah of Allah Ta'ala in a musjid. In addition to this, the person must fast for these forty days while he is in the musjid. By doing this, the person will benefit tremendously and will also develop the strength to do good deeds. Through the barakah of this, he will receive special knowledge from Allah Ta'ala and he will also be blessed with a deep understanding of things.
15. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who fasts on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every sacred month, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for 700 years. There are four months which are sacred. They are: Rajab, Zul Qa'dah, the first ten days of Zul Hijjah, and Muharram. However, it should be borne in mind that it is haram to fast on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of Zul Hijjah.
16. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who keeps three fasts in the sacred months, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, he will receive the reward of making ibaadah for two years. That is, on the Day of Judgement it will be written in his book of deeds that he had made ibaadah for two years in return for these three days of fasting.
To read Bahishti Zewar online click here.
Salman, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports, "On the last day of Shaban Rasulullah addressed us and said, 'O people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made Fasting compulsory by day. And has made sunnah the Taraweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy faraa-idh in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah ( paradise. It is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer's rizq is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell}, and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who Fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least."
Thereupon we said, "O messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast." Rasulullah replied, "Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk."
"This is a month, the first of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahan-nam."
"Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam."
"And in this month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa llaaha illallaah) and make much Istighfaar beg Allah's forgiveness with Astagirfirul-laah)." And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah, entrance into paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam."
"And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from My fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah."
To read Faza'il-e-A'maal online click here.
By Khalid Baig
We observe Ramadan every year. Do we also listen to it?
Ramadan is the most important month of our calendar. It is a tremendous gift from Allah in so many ways. In our current state of being down and out, it can uplift us, empower us, and turn around our situation individually and collectively. It is the spring season for the garden of Islam when dry grass can come back to life and flowers bloom. But these benefits are not promised for lifeless and thoughtless rituals alone. They will be ours if our actions are informed by the message of Ramadan.
Today the message of Ramadan tends to get drowned out by much louder voices of the pop culture that have an opposite message. We have become so accustomed to them that many of us remain enslaved to them even during Ramadan.
The most important message of Ramadan is that we are not just body. We are body and soul. And that what makes us human beings and that determines our value as human beings is the soul and not the body. During Ramadan we deprive the body to uplift the soul. This is all simple and familiar. But we can understand its significance if we remember that the message of the materialistic hedonistic global pop culture that has engulfed every Muslim land today --- just like the rest of the world--- is exactly the opposite. It says that body is everything. That the materialistic world is all that counts. That the greatest happiness -- if not virtue-- is in filling the appetites of the body. This message produces endless appetites and consequently endless wars to fill those endless appetites through endless exploitation. It produces endless frustrations since the gap between desires and achievements can never be filled. It produces endless chaos and endless oppression. Yet this trash comes in such beautiful and enticing packages that we can hardly resist it. We equate this slavery with freedom. We consider this march to disaster as progress. And with every movement, we get further and deeper into the mire.
Ramadan is here to liberate us from all this. Here is a powerful message that it is soul over body. Take a break from the pop culture. Turn off the music and TV. Say goodbye to the endless and futile pursuit of happiness in sensory pleasures. Rediscover your inner self that has been buried deep under it. Reorient yourself. Devote your time to the reading of the Qur'an, to voluntary worship, to prayers and conversations with Allah. Reflect on the direction of your life and your priorities. Reflect on and strengthen your relationship with your Creator.
On the last day of one Sha'ban, Prophet Muhammad, gave a Khutbah about the upcoming month of Ramadan. It is a very important Khutbah that we should carefully read before every Ramadan to prepare ourselves mentally for the sacred month. It begins: "Oh people! A great month is coming to you. A blessed month. A month in which there is one night that is better than a thousand months. A month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer to Allah by performing any of the voluntary good deeds in this month shall receive the same reward as is there for performing an obligatory deed at any other time. And whoever discharges an obligatory deed in this month shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of Sabr (patience), and the reward for sabr is Heaven. It is the month of kindness and charity. It is a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without the latter's reward being diminished at all."
The hadith continues and contains many other very important messages. However let us take the time to highlight two of the statements contained above. First, that Ramadan is the month of sabr. The English translation is patience but that word has a very narrow meaning compared to sabr. Sabr means not only patience and perseverance in the face of difficulties, it also means being steadfast in avoiding sin in the face of temptations and being persistent in performing virtues when that is not easy. Overcoming hunger and thirst during fasting is part of it. But protecting our eyes, ears, minds, tongues, and hands, etc. from all sins is also part of it. So is being persistent in doing good deeds as much as possible despite external or internal obstacles. Ramadan requires sabr in its fullest sense and provides a training ground for that very important quality to be developed and nurtured. Here is a recipe for the complete overhaul of our life, not just a small adjustment in meal times.
The highest point of Ramadan is itikaf, an act of worship in which a person secludes himself in a masjid to devote his time entirely to worshipping and remembering Allah. Some in every Muslim community must take a break and go to the masjid for the entire last ten days of Ramadan. Others should imbibe the spirit and do whatever they can.
But we must differentiate between worldly pleasures and worldly responsibilities. We take a break from the former and not the latter. Syedna Abdullah ibn Abbas, Radi-Allahu unhu, was performing itikaf, when a person came and sat down silently. Sensing his distressed condition Ibn Abbas enquired about his situation, learnt that he needed help, and proceeded to leave the masjid to go out and help him. Now this action does nullify the itikaf, making a makeup obligatory. So the person, though grateful, was curious. Explaining his action, Ibn Abbas related a hadith that when a person makes efforts to help his brother, he earns the reward for performing itikaf for ten years.
This brings us to the second statement to consider: that Ramadan is the month of kindness and charity. With those in distress in the millions in the world today, the need for remembering this message of Ramadan cannot be overstated.
Unfortunately, today another scene seems to be dominant in some parts of the Muslim world. Here Ramadan is the month of celebrations, shopping, fancy iftars at posh restaurants, entertainment and gossip. People stay up at night but not for worship; they while away that time watching TV or wandering in the bazaar. Ramadan here is more a month of feasting than fasting.
No one can take away our Ramadan from us; we just give it away ourselves. And if we realize the utter blunder we have made, we can take it back.
By Khalid Baig
Fasting during Ramadan was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then?
The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required the peace and security that was offered by Madinah.
Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab --- two full months before Ramadan --- the Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to supplicate thus: "O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health)."
During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. "If we combine all the blessings of the other eleven months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan," said the great scholar and reformer Shaikh Ahmed Farooqi (Mujaddad Alif Thani). It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.
"Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven," said Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. "Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven." As other ahadith tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan.
Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason, cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy.
One who does not fast is obviously in this category, but so also is the person who fasts and prays but makes no effort to stay away from sins or attain purity of the heart through the numerous opportunities offered by Ramadan. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us: "There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep."
Those who understood this, for them Ramadan was indeed a very special month. In addition to fasting, mandatory Salat, and extra Travih Salat, they spent the whole month in acts of worship like voluntary Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an), Dhikr etc. After mentioning that this has been the tradition of the pious people of this Ummah throughout the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi notes: " I have seen with my own eyes such ulema and mashaikh who used to finish recitation of the entire Qur’an everyday during Ramadan. They spent almost the entire night in prayers. They used to eat so little that one wondered how they could endure all this. These greats valued every moment of Ramadan and would not waste any of it in any other pursuit…Watching them made one believe the astounding stories of Ibada and devotion of our elders recorded by history."
This emphasis on these acts of worship may sound strange --- even misplaced --- to some. It requires some explanation. We know that the term Ibada (worship and obedience) in Islam applies not only to the formal acts of worship and devotion like Salat , Tilawa, and Dhikr, but it also applies to worldly acts when performed in obedience to Shariah and with the intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a believer going to work is performing Ibada when he seeks Halal income to discharge his responsibility as a bread-winner for the family. However a distinction must be made between the two. The first category consists of direct Ibada, acts that are required for their own sake. The second category consists of indirect Ibada --- worldly acts that become Ibada through proper intention and observation of Shariah. While the second category is important for it extends the idea of Ibada to our entire life, there is also a danger because by their very nature these acts can camouflage other motives. (Is my going to work really Ibada or am I actually in the rat race?). Here the direct Ibada comes to the rescue. Through them we can purify our motives, and re-establish our relationship with Allah.
Islam does not approve of monasticism. It does not ask us to permanently isolate ourselves from this world, since our test is in living here according to the Commands of our Creator. But it does ask us to take periodic breaks from it. The mandatory Salat (five daily prayers) is one example. For a few minutes every so many hours throughout the day, we leave the affairs of this world and appear before Allah to remind ourselves that none but He is worthy of worship and of our unfaltering obedience. Ramadan takes this to the next higher plane, providing intense training for a whole month.
This spirit is captured in I’tikaf, a unique Ibada associated with Ramadan, in which a person gives up all his normal activities and enters a mosque for a specific period. There is great merit in it and every Muslim community is encouraged to provide at least one person who will perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan. But even those who cannot spare ten days are encouraged to spend as much time in the mosque as possible.
Through direct Ibada we "charge our batteries"; the indirect ones allow us to use the power so accumulated in driving the vehicle of our life. Ramadan is the month for rebuilding our spiritual strength. How much we benefit from it is up to us.