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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.

Back to Ramadan Menu

Meeting another Muslim with a cheerful countenance

When one Muslim meets another he should confront him with a smile and cheerful countenance and physically express his delight in meeting him. This will entail a fortification of love and affection between them. If you confront a grieved person with a cheerful countenance, you might just allay his grief or at least pacify him. A person feels unrestrained in expressing himself if he is confronted cheerfully thereby aiding him in fulfilling his needs.

Hadhrat Abu Dhar (رضى الله تعالى عنه) narrates that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“Don’t ever belittle any of your good deeds even though this may be meeting your brother with a cheerful countenance.” [Muslim]

The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“When two Muslims meets and clasp each others hands, their sins are shed as a tree sheds it’s leaves.”

Together with a buoyant confrontation, clasping each others hands is also mustahab (preferable) as this increases mutual love and affection.

Hadhrat Qatadah (رضى الله تعالى عنه) relates that he enquired of Hadhrat Anas (رضى الله تعالى عنه) if the companions of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) grasped each others hands whilst meeting. Hadhrat Anas (رضى الله تعالى عنه) replied: “Yes of course!” [Fathul Baari]

Hadhrat Baraa (رضى الله تعالى عنه) narrates that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“When two Muslims meet one another and clasp each others hands, they are forgiven even before they separate from one another.” [Abu Daud]

Source: The 40 Pathways to Jannah by Sheikh Khalid Sayyid Ali

Imam ibn Majah

Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Majah (r.a) – [209 – 273 A.H.]

Imam Ibn Majah was born in the city of Qazvin in the northern Persian province of Dailam. After gaining ahadith from the many great religious scholars of his city, he travelled to seek knowledge at the young age of 21. Imam Ibn Majah is said to have visited Basrah, Kufah, Baghdad, the Hijaz, Makkah, Syria and Egypt to hear and gather ahadith.

Amongst his teachers were Jabbara ibn al Mughlis, Ibrahim ibn al-Munzar, Hisham ibn Umar and more Abu Bakr ibn Shaibah.

His status
Ibn Khallikan writes that Imam ibn Majah held the position of an Imam in the subject of hadith.
Abu al-Ali Khalili says he was a great scholar of Qur’anic exegesis, ahadith and history.
Adh Dhahabi stated that he was a hafiz and warehouse of Prophetic knowledge.

Imam ibn Majah is known to have authored 3 books, popularly known Sunan ibn Majah, at-Tafsir and at-Tarikh.

Imam Ibn Majah departed from this world during the blessed month of Ramadan 273 A.H. in Qazvin, the city of his birth.

May Allah Ta’ala fill his Qabar with Noor.
Ameen.
Source: Scholars of Hadith by Syed Bashir Ali

Fight Laziness

Early to bed and early to rise are habits taught by the Messenger pbuh.

Those who unnecessarily or habitually delay going to bed may not realise the harm to their mental, physical, spiritual & social well being.

Similarly those who get up very late each day, allowing laziness to overpower them would have their share of obstacles & negativities as a result.

Once this becomes a habit, it can lead to the break up of marriages, feuds within the families, flaring of tempers, loss of income, failure at school or work, loss of concentration, a constant lathargic feeling and becoming an irritation to those we live with.

It can also cause deep unexplained discontentment, sadness or even put us into a depressive mode. We MUST fight laziness to succeed!

Mufti Ismail Menk

Imam an-Nasa’i

Ahmad ibn Shu’aib an-Nasa’i (r.a) – [215 – 303 A.H.]

Imam an-Nasa’i was born in the town of Nasa’ in the Persian province of Khorasan. After gaining hadith from the teachers his own city, Imam an-Nasa’i travelled through Khorasan, Iraq, the Hijaz Syria and Egypt gaining ahadith. Egypt was where Imam an-Nasa’i settled and established his center for teaching and studies here.

Imam an-Nasa’i was said to have exhausted many of his days and nights in prayers, repeatedly performed Hajj and also joined the Muslim army to participate in battle. He was very particular of the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), had a hatred for deviation and avoided the circles of kings and nobles.

Imam Nasa’i’s status
Ibn Khallikan writes ‘He was the Imam of hadith of his age.’
Daraqutni says ‘He was more distinguished than all the muhaddithun of his time.’
He is well known for Sunan an-Nasa’i which is a collection of 5751 sound ahadith. In it he also describes the flaws of a hadith, exposes any disagreements on the title, names and kunyat of narrators and clarifies the variations between different versions of a hadith.

His teachers are many, the first being Muhaddith Qutaibah ibn Sa’id al Balkhi. Some others are Ishaq ibn Rahawaih, Muhammad ibn Nasr, Muhammad ibn Bishr and the famous Abu Dawud.

His students came from all over the Muslim world, and some of the more famous of them are Ali ibn Jafar at-Tahawi, Abul Qasim at-Tabrani, Muhammad ibn Mu’awiyah al Andalusi, Abu Jafar at-Tahani and also his own son.

Imam an-Nasa’i travelled to Damascus, Syria in 302 A.H. where he noticed people displaying some hostility towards Hazrat Ali (R.A). He therefore wrote a book to honor the character of Hazrat Ali (R.A) and started lecturing from it in a Masjid. He had only read a few lines when he was accused of being a Shi’i and was beaten badly by a crowd, such he received severe injuries to his body. In this state he requested some admirers to take him to Makkah, and it was after reaching Makkah Imam an-Nasa’i passed away.

Source: Scholars of Hadith by Syed Bashir Ali

May Allah Ta’ala fill Imam an-Nasa’i’s Qabar with Noor, Ameen.

Hour of Accepted Dua on Jumuah

Rasulullah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“There is such an hour on Friday that if any Muslim makes dua in it, his dua will definitely be accepted. ”
[Bukhari, Muslim]

The ulama have differed in specifying that hour which has been mentioned in the Hadith. Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi rahmatullahialayh has mentioned 40 different opinions in his book Sharh Sifrus Sa’aadah. However, from among all these opinions he has given preference to two opinions:
(1) That time is from the commencement of the khutbah till the end of the salaat,
(2) That time is towards the end of the day.

A big group of ulama have given preference to this second opinion and there are many Ahadith which support this opinion. Shaykh Dehlawi rahmatullahialayh says that this narration is correct that Hadrat Fatimah radiallahuanha used to order her maid on Fridays to inform her when the day is about to end so that she could occupy herself in making zikr and duas. (Ash’atulLama’aat)