Making the Best in Ramadan

By Shaikh M. Ibrahim Memon

The Holy month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for all believers to reestablish their relationship with Almighty Allah . During this month, Allah opens the doors of guidance, mercy, and forgiveness and showers His blessings on mankind. Blessed are those who avail this opportunity and work hard to obtain the pleasure of Allah .

Following are some points to remember that may help us have a better Ramadan:

Sahoor: Rasulullah said, “Allah sends blessings on those who eat Sahoor (meal before Fajr) and the angels pray for them.” (Ibn Habban) We should never miss Sahoor as it is blessed food and a Sunnah of the Prophet .

Salat Al-Taraweeh: Perform twenty raka’ah of Taraweeh every night.

Salat Al-Tahajud: Other than Taraweeh, perform some raka’ah of Tahajud prayer.

Dua: After Tahajud, spend some time making Dua for yourself, your family, the community, and the whole Muslim Ummah. This is extremely needed and very few do it. Every person in the family should engage in Dua and prayers in the darkness of the night and in isolation. Cry before Allah for forgiveness and for all of your needs.

Also wake up your children and teach them how to make Dua to Allah . Teach them how to cry before Allah , for those who do not cry before Allah will have to cry before people like themselves.

Crying and begging to Allah attracts His Mercy. Rasulullah encouraged his followers to cry when making Dua.

Salah in the Masjid: Try your best to perform every Salah in the Masjid with congregation (jama’ah)

Perform the additional following ibadah:

1. Recite Istighfaar 100 times a day (i.e. Astaghfirallah)
2. Send blessing on Rasulullah 100 times a day
3. Tasbeehaat 100 times a day (i.e. Subhanallah Wal-Hamdulillah wala Illaha Illallah Wallahu Akbar)
4. Recite at least one Juz of the Qur’an every day

Avoid all kinds of sins: Rasulullah said, “Many of those who fast get nothing out of it except hunger” (Nasa’ee) Advising his wife, once Rasulullah said, “O Aishah, refrain from even the minor sins because Allah will question you about them also.” (Ibn Majah)

Do not become angry: Avoid all quarrels, fights, and arguments which may lead you to anger.

Use only Halal food bought by Halal earnings. Avoid all doubtful items.
Reduce the amount of:

1. Eating
2. Sleeping
3. Talking

Unfortunately, it is very common in many Masajid to sit and chat after iftaar. This time should be used for Nawafil prayers, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, Tasbeeh, and Dua. Masjid is the House of Allah . It must be given its due respect. Disrespecting the house of Allah is disrespect to Allah .

Raising the voice or talking of worldly matters in the Masjid is forbidden. It is the responsibility of every Muslim to maintain the order, silence, respect, and cleanliness in the Masjid.

May Allah bless and guide all of us.

Source: http://mujahidah-an-nafs.blogspot.com

Why Religious Fasting Could Be Good for Your Brain

By Andrea Useem | September 17, 2008
http://pokedandprodded.health.com

Ramadan is in its third week now, and the required dawn-to-dusk fasting often feels like a daily mini–marathon. By late afternoon, hunger and thirst have sucked me dry, leaving me sleepy, slow-minded, and sometimes short-tempered.

I know that the purpose of fasting is spiritual—God will reward us in the next life—but in this lifetime, fasting sometimes makes me an ineffective, irritable person. So I was excited to learn that Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, MD, had spoken at a recent Renaissance Weekend event about how caloric restriction can improve brain function.

I emailed Dr. Ratey to find out if those benefits might extend to religious fasting, and he sent me a 2006 paper on the brain functioning of men during the Ramadan fast. The researchers studied a small group of healthy men during and after the holy month, looking at their brain activity via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They concluded that “all individual results showed consistent and significant increase of activity in the motor cortex during fasting.”

Other research shows similar results
That research builds on the work of other scientists, including Mark Mattson, PhD, who heads a neuroscience lab at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging. Mattson has done important research on how dietary restrictions can significantly protect the brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

In a 2003 article, Mattson and others reported that rats who were deprived of food every other day, or restricted to a diet at 30% to 50% of normal calorie levels, showed not only decreased heart rates and blood pressure, but also “younger” brains, with “numerous age-related changes in gene expression.”

Mattson and his colleagues also shared data from research on humans, which shows that populations with higher caloric intakes—such as the United States and Europe—have a greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s than do populations that eat less—such as China and Japan. The authors speculate that humans may have adapted to conditions of feast and famine; the stress of having little food, they write, “may induce changes in gene expression that result in adaptive changes in cellular metabolism and the increased ability of the organism to reduce stress.”

Although this research is relatively new, with many questions left unanswered, the authors conclude that “it seems a safe bet that if people would incorporate a spartan approach to food intake into their lifestyles, this would greatly reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.” (Of course, how this recommendation translates for individual people remains almost a complete unknown; consult with your own doctor before restricting your diet in dramatic ways.)

But here’s the hard part: Although we know eating too much leads to all sorts of health problems, “it has proven very difficult to successfully implement prolonged dietary-restriction regimens,” reports Mattson and his team. Information and doctor’s orders are rarely enough motivation.

This last observation gave me hope, because it seemed the authors were overlooking the role of religion; it can inspire people in ways information or experts don’t. Would I be undergoing this rigorous month of fasting unless I believed strongly it was the right thing for me to do? Probably not. And the same goes for millions of Muslims around the world.

And many other religions include fasting or dietary restrictions as part of their religious observances. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons, for example, fast one Sunday a month. The Orthodox Church in America notes five separate fasting seasons on its website, in addition to individual fast days; during some of these fasts, all food is restricted, and during other fasts, only certain foods are off-limits. Some Roman Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays, and all do during Lent. Many types of Buddhist monks abide by a code that prohibits eating after noon each day.

Science may only now be discovering that some of these religious practices, both ancient and modern, offer nourishment not just for the soul, but for the body as well.

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Number of Rak’ah in Taraweeh

Some people think that Taraawee’h comprises of eight raka’aah only. This is not correct . In the unanimous opinion of all the Imams, Taraawee’h consists of twenty raka’aah.

Although no Imam agreed upon less than twenty raka’aah, Imam Malik holds an opinion of 32 raka’aah. This means that in the consensus of all the Imams no one agrees upon less than twenty raka’aah.

Moreover, we can know from Ibn Abbaas’s narration that he led taraawee’h for two or three nights during which he offered twenty raka’aah. The companions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) performed according to his saying and presented themselves as excellent examples to be followed. They had not only recorded the actions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) but also went on imitating his actions. They did us a great favor by providing us with valuable traditions that will be the source of guidance (for all of us) until the end of this world.

The variation in the number of raka’aah in the section of Taraawee’h is only due to misinterpretation of Qiyaam-al-lail as Tahajjud and not Taraawee’h and the premise that, “as the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) has most probably offered tahajjud in 8 raka’aah, therefore, Taraawee’h should also be offered in 8 raka’aah.”

To eliminate the misconceptions held by some people, we shall present here the routines followed by the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) himself, the rightly guided caliphs and other companions during the month of Ramadaan. We shall provide some information regarding the reinstatement of the congregational Taraawee’h during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) so that people may know the fact that the only reason that stopped the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) from leading the congregational Taraawee’h was that he was afraid that praying Taraawee’h in congregation might become obligatory upon his nation which might lead to hardship upon his ummah.

It is a sheer error in concluding that the congregational Taraawee’h is not at all proven by the practice of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) just because he did not lead it with regularity.

Below are some of the narrations with their corresponding references.

The Practice (of Muslims) during the period of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions (r.a.a.)

Hadrath Abdullah bin Abbaas reported, “The holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) led us in twenty raka’aah congregational prayer of Taraawee’h. [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]
There should be no doubt concerning the fact that after the death of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم), Hadrath Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was the first caliph and in the Taraawee’h section, none of his acts is recorded nor has he left anything for the ummah concerning this. This fact should also be considered that regarding his era and the era that follows him, the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) had said; ‘the best era is mine, the next best after this one and the next one after that.’ Moreover the caliphate of Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was of very short duration and he was busy curbing the revolt of the apostates [khaarijeen]. Therefore he did not consider it necessary for Taraawee’h to be offered in congregation. After him Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) thought about protecting (Muslims) against the forthcoming circumstances and confusion and appointed Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka’b as the Imam and reinstated this excellent form of congregation that accorded exactly with the will of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم).

The prayer of Taraawee’h used to consist of twenty raka’aah during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) , Hadrath Uthmaan (r.a.a.) and Hadrath Ali (r.a.a). [Na’sburraya page 153 volume 2]

Hadrath Ubai ibn Ka’b (r.a.a.) said that he used to lead twenty raka’aah of congregational prayer of Taraawee’h on the command of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.).[Kanzul ‘ummaal page 315 volume 3]

During the month of Ramadaan Hadrath Suwaid bin Ghaflah (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer in which he took five tarwee’hah (pauses). [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) commanded a companion to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer with five tarwee’hah (pauses/intervals). [Mu’sannaf ibn abi shaiba page 393 volume 3]

There is a narration related to Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself that he gathered all the reciters and commanded them to lead twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h prayer and after the congregational Taraawee’h, Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself led them in witr. [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Saa-ib bin yazeed (r.a.a.) said that during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a), twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h prayer was offered .[baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka’b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h in the month of Ramadaan in the city of Madinah [Musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

‘Sa’hibul Mi’t-harah (nickname of Hadrath Abdullah b. Mas’ood (r.a.a.)) used to offer twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer [‘Aini, qiyaamul-lail page 91]

Hadrath ubai ibn ka’b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer in the month of Ramadaan [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

Hadrath ‘Ali ibn rabi`ah (r.a.a.) used to offer twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer which had five tarwee’hah (pauses/intervals) [musannaf ibn abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

The practice of the second and third generation Muslims

‘Allaamah Nawawi (r.h.) of Shari’h Muslim (guide to Muslim Shareef) stated that only twenty raka’aah Taraawee’h is proven because there is a tawaatur (Having numerous chains of narrators) and tasalsul (Continuity) about “offering 20 raka’aah”. [Mirqaat page 169 volume 2]

Hadrath Haarith (r.h.) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h. [musannaf abi shaiba page 293 volume 2]

Hadrath Shateer (r.h) used to lead twenty raka’aah taraawee’h prayer. [Baihaqi page 496 volume 2]

‘Haafiz ibn ‘hajar ‘asqalaani (r.h.) of Shari’h Bukhari (Guide to Bukhari Shareef) said that twenty raka’aah in taraawee’h are proven by the actions of all the companions of the holy prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) [Baihaqi volume 2 page 170]

‘Allaamah ibn ‘Ikramah Hambali (r.h.) said that since the companions of the holy prophet (Both Muhajireen and Ansar) kept offering twenty raka’aah taraawee’h with regularity, this act is considered to be in Ijma’ (consensus) [al-mughni libn qudaamah page 456 volume 1]

‘Allaamah Ta’h`taawi wrote; ‘Twenty raka’aah are proven by regularity of the companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.).’ [Ta`h`taawi page 224]

Source: The Taraawee’h Prayer
Compiled By Mufti Ahmed Abdul Haseeb Tanweer Qaasmi

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Utilise Ramadhan

From today all noises of conversation shall cease. If any man allows Ramadan to be wasted, it is a great sorrow indeed.

Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi on the morning of the first of Ramadhan.

The Prophet’s Sermon on Ramadhan

Baihaqi reported on the authority of Salman Al-Farsi (Radhi Allah ‘Anh) that Prophet (‘Alaihi Salat was-Salam) delivered a sermon on the last day of the month of Sha’ban. In it he (‘Alaihi Salat was-Salam) said,

“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgivenesses. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. The days of this month are the best among the days and the nights are the best among the nights and the hours during Ramadan are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Him (to fast and pray). Allah has honoured you in it. In every breath you take is a reward of Allah, your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations are answered.

Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in all earnestness with hearts free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fast, and to recite the Holy Qur’an. Indeed!, miserable is the o­ne who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month. While fasting remember the hunger and thirst o­n the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and needy. Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongue against unworthy words, and your eyes from scenes that are not worth seeing (forbidden) and your ears from sounds that should not be heard.

Be kind to orphans so that if your children may become orphans they will also be treated with kindness. Do repent to Allah for your sins and supplicate with raised hands at the times of prayer as these are the best times, during which Allah Almighty looks at His servants with mercy. Allah Answers if they supplicate, Responds if they call, Grants if He is asked, and Accepts if they entreat. O people! you have made your conscience the slave of your desires.

Make it free by invoking Allah for forgiveness. Your back may break from the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate yourself before Allah for long intervals, and make this load lighter. Understand fully that Allah has promised in His Honour and Majesty that, people who perform salat and sajda (prostration) will be guarded from Hell-fire o­n the Day of Judgement.

O people!, if anyone amongst you arranges for iftar (meal at sunset) for any believer, Allah will reward him as if he had freed a slave, and Allah will forgive him his sins. A companion asked: “but not all of us have the means to do so” The Prophet (SAAWS) replied: Keep yourself away from Hell-fire though it may consist of half a date or even some water if you have nothing else.

O people!, anyone who during this month cultivates good manners, will walk over the Sirat (bridge to Paradise) o­n the day when feet will tend to slip. For anyone who during this month eases the workload of his servants, Allah will make easy his accounting, and for anyone who doesn’t hurt others during this month, Allah will safeguard him from His Wrath o­n the Day of Judgement. Anyone who respects and treats an orphan with kindness during this month, Allah shall look at him with kindness o­n that Day. Anyone who treats his kinsmen well during this month, Allah will bestow His Mercy o­n him o­n that Day, while anyone who mistreats his kinsmen during this month, Allah will keep away from His Mercy.

Whomever offers the recommended prayers during this month, Allah will save him from Hell, and whomever observes his obligations during this month, his reward will be seventy times the reward during other months. Whomever repeatedly invokes Allah’s blessings o­n me, Allah will keep his scale of good deeds heavy, while the scales of others will be tending to lightness. Whomever recites during this month an ayat (verse) of the Holy Qur’an, will get the reward of reciting the whole Qur’an in other months.

O people!, the gates of Paradise remain open during this month. Pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you. While the gates of Hell are closed, pray to your Lord that they never open for you. Satan has been chained, invoke your Lord not to let him dominate you.”

Ali ibn Talib (RAA) said: “I asked, ‘O messenger of Allah, what are the best deeds during this month’?” ‘He replied: ‘O Abu-Hassan, the best of deeds during this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden’.”

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Asking for Forgiveness in Shabe Bara’ah

It’s good, however, it should not just be lip service. You can ask for muaafi from those with whom you are associated on a daily basis and where there are chances of things going wrong, but not from the whole world by sending out general texts to all contacts and all whattsapp groups.

There are plenty of texts going around asking people to forgive them.

Here are four points to keep in mind at all times:

1) The tongue should always be kept under control. Dont hurt anyone. Keep your heart clean. If it’s clean and you haven’t said anything bad, then there’s no need to ask forgiveness from people.

Hadeeth 1: ولا تتكلم بكلام تعتذر منه غدا “Do not say something for which you will have to apologise tomorrow.”

Remember! The heart is the king of the body. If the heart is controlled, then the tongue, eyes, ears etc are also controlled. The heart is the engine which runs the body.

Hadeeth 2: ‘A muslim whose heart is sweeped (cleansed) and who’s tongue is truthful, is a jannati person”

Hadeeth 3: ‘A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hand the other Muslims are safe.’

2) We are humans. If we do something wrong, we should apologise immediately. We should not wait for shabe bara’at!

STORY:
A young man named Al-Mubarak was once travelling. He saw an apple which had fallen from a tree in an orchard. He picked the apple up and ate it as he was hungry. He immediately realised that he ate the apple without the owner’s permission. So he quickly went to the owner of the orchard to ask for forgiveness.

The owner said to him that, I will only forgive you if you marry my daughter, who is dumb, deaf and blind. He thought that the suffering of this world is easier than the punishment of the hereafter. He was left with no choice so, Hoping to get the forgiveness, he decided to marry the girl. She turned out to be extremely healthy beautiful educated girl. The father said “She has never spoken, heard or seen any evil”

It is due to the piety of Al-Mubarak and his wife that Allah Taala granted them a pious child who we remember today as Abdullah Ibn Mubarak RA, the great muhaddith of of the 2nd century.

3) One should first fulfil the ‘Huqooqul Ibaad’ (the rights of fellow human beings) I.e the loan repayments, anything bought but not paid for yet, inheritance money owed to relatives, etc. They should all be given to the rightful owners.

2 – من كانت له مظلمةٌ لأحدٍ من عرضِه أو شيءٍ فليتحلَّلْه منه اليومَ ، قبل أن لا يكونَ دينارٌ ولا درهمٌ ، إن كان له عملٌ صالحٌ أخذ منه بقدرِ مظلمتِه ، وإن لم تكنْ له حسناتٌ أخذ من سيئاتِ صاحبِه فحمل عليه رواه البخاري

“Whoever has any wrongdoing with anyone, regarding honour, or anything, should resolve it with him today, before there is no dirham or dinar. If one has good deeds they will be taken from him according to his wrongdoing (to give the other person). If he does not have any good deeds, wrongdoings from the other person will be taken and loaded on him. (Bukhari)

4) People say our actions are closed on this blessed night. This is wrong. The truth is that on this night the a’maal (actions) for the following year are shown to the angels. E.g Rain, crops, births, deaths, etc..

Meaning during this month, the details are given to the angels from ‘lawhe mahfooz’ (The Preserved Tablet). I.e the angels of lawhe mahfooz pass on the actions for the following year to the angels of the earth. This continues until laylatul qadr.

SUMMARY:
1) Heart should be clean at all times
2) Don’t wait for shabe bara’ah for forgiveness from friends
3) Big huqooqul ibaad such as qarz, meerath, etc should be returned
4) Book of deeds is not closed on shabe bara’ah but copied from lawhe mahfooz.

May Allah forgive us all and be pleased with us. Ameen

Shaykh Abdur Raheem Limbada

Ramadan Advices

Regardless which timetable or country you follow for moon sighting, don’t begin Ramadhan with backbiting & ill thoughts of others.

Don’t stand around masajid gossiping about timetables & Saudi Arabia. It will not benefit anybody & only waste your valuable time.

If we can learn to detach ourselves from our phones this Ramadhan, it will be a great achievement & a major spiritual breakthrough.

Make a habit in Ramadan to sit in gatherings of a scholar in your area. Carry it on after Ramadan. Constant reminders are refreshers of Iman.

Some spend 1st couple of days in constant Ibadah in Ramadhan & then experience burnout. Exert yourself in moderation with breaks & rests.

Allocate some Qur’an time, Dhikr time, reading time, dua time, family time, rest time in your Ramadhan schedules.

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi