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The Meaning of Ramadan

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.

Source: Al Balagh

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Ramadhan 24 Hour programme

Hereunder we suggest a 24-hour programme for the month of Ramadhan. It is an example of spending our time correctly. The programme starts from Maghrib till Maghrib the following day.

Read: “O You who are Great in Bounties, forgive me”, as many times as possible before Iftar.

Make du’a 5 to 10 minutes before Iftar. The du’a of a fasting person is readily accepted at this time.

Make Iftar quickly. Thereafter perform Maghrib (for men with Jamat and for women at home).

After Maghrib perform 6 to 20 Rakats Awwâbîn Namaz.

Read Surah Tabarak after Maghrib. The benefit of it is that it will save us from the punishment of the grave.

Read Surah Waqiyah. The virtue of it is that it will save one from poverty.

Have supper quickly. Our suggestion is that due to the long days, have a rest for 15 – 20 minutes before Esha, so that one may be fresh for Tarawîh and Esha salâh.

Prepare for Esha before the Esha Azan and proceed for Esha and Tarawih Salat. Return home immediately after Tarawih or after any Deeni programme in the Masjid. Do not waste time talking and discussing political and business issues.

On returning home, read Surah Sajdah. Thereafter spend a few minutes with the family and try to sleep as early as possible allowing one to arise at 3.00 a.m. for Tahajjud salâh.

Read Tasbeeh-e-Fatimi before sleeping.

Perform at least 4,8, or 12 rakâts Tahajjud salah, thereafter read the first kalima 100 times and then make du’a before partaking of Sehri.

Immediately after Sehri proceed to the Masjid for Fajr Salâh. After Fajr recite the Quran till Ishraq time.

Perform 2 or 4 Rakats Ishraq. The benefit is that your daily work will become easy and you will attain the reward of an accepted Haj. After Ishraq rest before going to work. People who are self employed should take advantage of this rest and also give their employees this opportunity.

At work or at one’s business, one should keep one’s tongue moist with Zikr eg. Kalimah Tayyibah, Istighfar and Durood Shareef. Those who are bay’t to a Sheikh should complete their prescribed Zikr.

Try to be early for Zohar Namaz so that one could read the Qur,an immediately after one has read the 4 Sunnat-e-Muakkadah before the Jamat Namaz. If possible try to read Qur’an after Zohar Namaz as well, depending on how long one’s lunch break is.

After completing Asar Namaz, read Durood Shareef at least 100 times and Istighfar 100 times. Thereafter spend the balance of the time reciting Qur’an till Iftar time, not forgetting the du’a before Iftar.

Published by Villa Liza Madrasah, Actonville, BENONI

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Effects of Worship in Ramadhan

Experience has shown that effects of ibaadat (worship) in the blessed month of Ramadhan remain upon the remainder of the year. Whomsoever practises any virtue informally therein, ease of performing A’amale Salihah overtakes them thereafter.

Similarly, whoever prevents them self from sinning therein, for the remaining eleven months abstentation will become easy. In reality, prevention from sins in Ramadhan is not too difficult because, it is established that the Shayateen are imprisoned. Consequently, less sinning occurs generally because of removal of this stimulant.

However, sins do not totally disappear because the other orchestrator: one’s nafs (self) is present. Even in this month it will instigate sins but, yes, its schemes will lesson because only one stimulant is now active.

Therefore, the impositions of this one month should be accepted. All parts (of one’s body) should be saved from sin.

Source: Ashrafs Blessings of Ramadhan

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Virtues of Ramadhan

Virtues of Ramadan

It is related by Abu Hurairah (RAA) that the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) said “When the month of Ramadhan comes, the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and the Gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are put behind bars” In another report, the “Gates of Mercy” are mentioned in place of the “Gates of Heaven”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary – Commenting of this Tradition, Shah Wali-ullah remarks that as the devout bondsmen apply themselves to worship and good-doings during the month of Ramadhan and spend their days in God- remembrance and recitation of the Qur’an while Fasting, and a major part of their nights in Taraweeh and Tahajjud, supplication and repentance, under the influence of their high spirituality and devotional exertions the hearts of the common Muslims, too become more inclined towards prayer and piety and they, on the whole succeed in abstaining from good many sins. Owing to the generation of the atmosphere worship and virtue in the Islamic circles, people who are not wholly disregardful of transcendental truths develop a fondness for things that are pleasing to God and an aversion for acts that are repugnant to Him. moreover, in this blessed month the recompense on even smaller acts of moral goodness is made much greater by God than on other days. In consequence of all this, the gates of Paradise are opened and of Hell are closed for such people and the devils are not left free to tempt and mislead them.

It would be clear that all the three things – the throwing open of the gates of Heaven, the shutting up of the gates of Hell and the binding of the devils in chains – are in respect only of the bondsmen who feel disposed towards good-doing in the month of Ramadhan, and out of the keenness to partake of its blessings engage themselves enthusiastically in worship and other religious duties. As for the Apostates, the negligent and the heedless who care little for Divine injunctions and produce no change in their daily lives at the advent of Ramadhan, these tidings do not apply to them,. When they have opted out, of their own accord, for the path of error and omission and taken willingly to follow Satan and doing his bidding there is nothing for them except disappointment with God as well.

It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of Allah (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) said : “When the first night of the month of Ramadhan (comes), the devil’s and defiant Jinn are bound in chains and all the Gates of Hell are closed and non of them remains open and all the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and none of them remains closed and the heavenly herald announces, “O seeker of goodness and virtue! come forward; and O lover of wickedness and evil-doing! Halt, and do not come forward” and a large number of (sinning) bondsmen are released from Hell at the command of God (i.e., decision of forgiveness and deliverance is taken for them), and all this takes place on every night of Ramadhan.” [Tirmizi and Ibn-i-Maja]

Abdullah Bin Abbas narrates that the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) was superior to all men in generosity and the doing of good to the people in general, but in the month of Ramadhan his benevolence knew no bounds. In Ramadhan, Gabriel came to him every night and the Prophet (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) recited the Qur’an to him. During Ramadhan the Prophet (sallaho alaihi wa sallam) appeared to be faster than the wind in generosity and benevolence. [Bukhari and Muslim]

From Meaning and Messages of the Traditions
By Shaykh Mohammad Manzoor Nomani (RA).

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Eighteen Reasons For Fasting

O ye who believe! Fasting is ordained for you, even as it was ordained for those before you, that ye may guard yourself (against evil)” Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 183).

Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayers for the Muslims. The fast consists of total abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk. There is, however, a greater significance to fasts than mere abstinence from eating and drinking. The real objective of fasts is to inculcate in man the spirit of abstinence from sins and of cultivation of virtue. Thus the Qur’an declares that the fasts have been prescribed with a view to developing piety in man, as is clear from the verse quoted at the top of this page.

How are the many facets of piety sought to be cultivated through the fasts?

  1. The prime consideration in undertaking fast, as in any act of devotion, is to seek NEARNESS TO GOD and beseech HIS PLEASURE and FORGIVENESS. This itself generates a spirit of piety in man.
  2. The wilful creation of the stringent conditions of hunger and thirst for one’s own self, simply in obedience to the Divine Order, measures the FAITH of man in God and helps to strengthen it by putting it to a severe test.
  3. Fasting enhances through creation of artificial non-availability, the value of the bounties of God, which man is apt to take for granted in the midst of plentiful availability, and thus inculcates in man a spirit of GRATITUDE and consequent DEVOTION to GOD. Nothing else can bring home to man the worth of God’s bounties than a glass of water and a square meal after a day‑long fast. This also reminds man that the real joy in enjoying God’s bounties lies in MODERATION and RESTRAINT and not in OVER INDULGENCE.
  4. Fasting makes us deeply conscious of the pangs of hunger and discomfort suffered by the less fortunate among our brethren, who may have to put up with such stringent conditions all through their lives ‑ it thus enkindles in man a spirit of SACRIFICE leading to CHARITY towards his suffering brethren.
  5. Fasting affords man an unfailing training in ENDURANCE ‑ i.e. a SPIRIT OF. ACCEPTANCE of the inevitable, which could well prepare him to put up with the unchangeable situations in life in the same spirit of RESIGNATION as cultivated during the fasts.
  6. Fasting develops COURAGE, FORTITUDE and a FIGHTING SPIRIT IN man to surmount the heavy odds in life with a cool and tranquil mind. It sharpens his, power of CONCENTRATION to overcome obstacles, through a vigorous exercise all through the month, leading to a steeling of his WILL POWER and RESOLVE, which could help him in trying situations in actual life. It is seen that many an undesirable habit which is found hard to leave, is more easily left off during the days of fasting.
  7. Fasting teaches man RELIANCE on God and CONFIDENCE in HIM in facing the bitter situations in life with the comforting thought that these too, ordained by Him, could well be surmounted through His assistance alone, even as the rigorous state of fasting for a complete month. For, fasting develops the quality of PATIENCE in man, with the realisation that, as the days of fasting, though seeming unending do have a successful and, so are all the bitter situations in life. It therefore infuses a spirit of GOOD CHEER, (driving away BITTERNESS and DESPAIR) in his attitude towards life and in his demeanour towards others.
  8. Through quick alternation of the state of plenty and of scarcity, fasting seeks to inculcate in man the right type of attitude in different situations in life‑ of GRATITUDE and THANKSGIVING in plenty and of PATIENCE and FORBEARANCE in difficulty.
  9. Fasting is meant to CONQUER ANGER, not to augment it, and to develop SELF‑CONTROL in man; for the vigorous effort of wilfully putting up with a continued state of hunger and thirst can well be extended to conquer other infirmities of human character that lead man into error and sin.
  10. Fasting inculcates a spirit of TOLERANCE in man to face unpleasant conditions and situations without making his fellow-being the victim of his wrath on account of his adverse conditions, such as deprivation of his basic needs of life, which constitutes the common cause of dissension among men.
  11. Fasting MELLOWS a man and enhances his character, giving jolt to the human instincts of ‘PRIDE, HAUGHTINESS, ENVY and AMBITION, for when fasting, a man’s energies are too sapped to follow these instincts which are the chief causes of discord and conflict among men.
  12. Fasting exposes the weakness of man in the event of his being deprived of but two of the bounties of God ‑ those of food and drink; it thus infuses in him a spirit of MEEKNESS and SUBMISSION, generating HUMILITY and PRAYER in an otherwise arrogant man.
  13. Fasting breathes the spirit of FORGIVENESS in man towards his subordinates, as he himself seeks God’s FORGIVENESS through fasts and prayers.
  14. Fasting affords lessons in PUNCTUALITY through man’s strict adherence to various time‑schedules in the observance of fasts and offering of prayers.
  15. Fasting can be made to effect ECONOMY in an individual’s life, which can be extended to wider spheres.
  16. Fasting enforces in man rigid DISCIPLINE ‑ mental, spiritual and physical ‑ a trait of character which forms an essential ingredient to success in human life.
  17. Fasting provides LEISURE, that could he gainfully employed in devotional or intellectual pursuits. The month‑long duration of fasts creates a proper climate for the SPIRITUAL REFORMATION in man, infusing in him a spirit pf enthusiasm and zest to turn over a new leaf ‑ an opportunity provided every year.
  18. On the physical side, fasting cleanses the human system of the accumulated impurities of uninterrupted eating throughout the year. It prepares the body for toughness and hardihood to face disease or conditions of scarcity. The rigid abstinence that the fast provides, regulates man’s HEALTH, sharpens has INTELLECT, gives spurt to his SPIRITUALLY and enhances the qualities of his HEART. With the cleansing of the human body, it paves the way for its easy and effective rebuilding through meals at the end of the day or after the month is over.

Source: Jamiatul Ulama South Africa

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Object of Ramadan

On a sweltering hot day your throat has become parched. You are in the privacy of your home and the refreshingly cool water is within hand’s reach. You desire to drink it, but you do not. Why? Simply because you are fasting and while fasting you cannot eat and drink. If somebody prompts you to nevertheless drink it and says: “Nobody is watching,” you will immediately rebuke him with the words: “But Allah is watching!”

ALLAH  TA’ALA IS WATCHING!
Subhanallah! Allah Ta’ala is watching. Allahu Akbar! Allah Ta’ala is All Hearing, All Knowing, He is Omnipresent. He sees and knows when we cheat while fasting, thus we resist all temptations of food, drink and lawful conjugal relations from dawn to dusk. We have learnt the lesson of Taqwa. We have learnt that lesson which the fasting was meant to teach us. Allah Ta’ala is watching! Yes, Allah Ta’ala is Watching! Every time there is an urge to eat or drink while fasting, the voice from within cries out: “Allah Ta’ala is watching!” Dozens of times daily for an entire month this reality is reaffirmed. Allah Ta’ala is watching. So deeply is it embedded in the heart that by the time Ramadhaan is over, a person becomes conscious of Allah Ta’ala to such an extent that he is now guided by an inner force that propels him in the direction of righteousness and turns him away from sin.

TAQWA
The fasts of Ramadhaan were prescribed for the purpose and object of attaining Taqwa. This is clearly declared in the Qur’an-al-Kareem. Taqwa simply is to obey the commands of Allah Ta’ala and refrain from all sin, The increased rewards for lbaadah (worship) in Ramadhaan and all the blessings of this great month should be considered as the bonus. The object is Taqwa. If one performs an abundance of Salaah, completes the recitation of the Qur’an thirty times and engages in many other acts of lbaadah, but fails to give up sins – one has failed to achieve the object and purpose of Ramadhaan. One has failed to firmly embed the reality of Taqwa in the heart, the Taqwa that cries out “Allah  Is watching” whenever one contemplates committing any transgression.

TEMPTATION
The dictates of Taqwa are not restricted to abstaining from drinking, gambling, adultery, transacting in interest and other such vices. Indeed Taqwa demands that while abstaining from all the above vices one also observes Taqwa in one’s business. When the temptation to cheat the customer beckons, or when one is tempted to buy stolen goods, or to indulge in fraud, at that time also the heart should cry out “Allah is watching” and it should restrain one from the sin.

RIGHTS
Similarly, Taqwa demands the fulfillment of the rights of the husband/wife, It also demands the joining of family ties. It demands respect for the elders and kindness for the young. Taqwa entails, among other aspects, being honest and clear in all monetary dealings and social interactions. Hence when there is a wedding or funeral, or at the time of distributing the inheritance of the deceased, the same level of Allah consciousness must be displayed as was apparent when refraining from drinking the cold water while fasting.

PURDAH
Likewise, when the laws of purdah are violated, does the heart cry out “Allah is watching”? Or when one intends to watch something on TV., which will most definitely involve one in zina of the eyes and ears, does one hear the voice from within: “Allah is watching,” as a result of which one refrains from that sin? The same pertains to the Shari’ aspects of appearance and clothing. How often have we done things to appease and please even the enemies of Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? How often have we abandoned the dictates of Taqwa in order to earn a few coppers? Now is the time to sincerely repent. It is the time to say “Allah is watching” and to do everything to please Him. It is a time to acquire Taqwa.

ABSTAIN FROM SIN
This then is the object of Ramadhaan. This will only be achieved if we conduct ourselves in this great month with Taqwa. Or else the object of Ramadhaan will be defeated. Hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “He who does not forsake lying and other futile actions, Allah Ta’ala has no need for him to give up his food and drink.” Thus together with fasting, performing Salaah, reading the Qur’an, serving the cause of Deen, etc,, one must totally abstain from every sin in the month of Ramadhaan and adorn oneself with Taqwa. Insha-Allah this will then carry one along for the rest of the eleven months to abstain from all sins.

May Allah Ta’ala enable us to make this Ramadhaan a month where we will truly attain Taqwa. Aameen.

AL-HAADI, Volume 5 – Issue 4

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Virtues of Sehri

by Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya

HADITH NO. 7 Ibn Umar (Radhi Allaho anho) relates: Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: ‘Verily Allah and His Malaa’ikah send Mercy upon those who eat ‘Sehri’ (sower-Suhoor).”

COMMENTARY How great is Allah’s favour upon us that even the partaking of food before dawn for fasting is so greatly rewarded. There are many Ahaadith in which the virtues of “Sehri” are expounded and the rewards mentioned. Allaamah Ain – Commentator on Bukhari – has quoted the virtues of “Sehri” from seventeen different ‘Sahaabah’ and all the “Ulama” are agreed on its being “Mustahab” (desirable). Many people are deprived of this great reward because of their own laziness. Some even go so far as to finish ‘Taraweeh’, eat (what they suppose to be “Sehri’!) and go to bed. What great blessings do they lose! “Sehri” actually means partaking of food shortly before dawn. Some authorities say that the time for “Sehri” commences after half the night has passed (Mirquat). The author of Kash-shaff (Zamakhshari) divided the night into six portions, stating that the last one of these is the time of “Sehri”; so that, when the night (from sunset till dawn) extends over twelve hours, the last two hours would be the correct time for “Sehri”. Then it must also be remembered that to eat at the latest possible time is better and greater in reward than eating earlier, subject to the condition that no doubt remains as to whether “Sehri” had been eaten before the time of dawn. The Ahaadith are full of virtues of “Sehri”.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) said: ‘The difference between our fasting and that of the Ahlul-Kitaab (Jews and Christians) lies in our partaking of food at “Sehri” which they do not.” The Prophet has said, “Eat Sehri, because in it lie great blessings; and again. “In three things, are the great blessings: in “Jama’ah” (company), in eating “Thareed” and in “Sehri”. In this Hadith, the use of the word “Jama’ah” is general, wherefrom we deduce that it includes “Salaat” with “Jamaa’ah” and all those righteous deeds done in company, as thus Allah’s help comes to them. “Thareed” is a tasty preparation, in which baked bread is cooked with meat. The third thing mentioned in this Hadith is “Sehri”. When Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) used to invite any of the companions to eat “Sehri” with him, he used to say: “Come and partake of blessed food with me.” One Hadith says: “Eat ‘Sehri’ and strengthen yourself for the fast. And sleep in the afternoon (Siesta), so as to gain assistance in waking up in the latter portion of the night (for “Ibaadah”).” Abdullah bin Haarith (Radhiallahu Anhu) reports that one of the Sahaaba said: “I once visited Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) at a time when he was busy in partaking of ‘Sehri’. Rasulullah then said: “This is a thing full of blessings, which Allah has granted you. Do not give it up.” Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) in urging us repeatedly for ‘Sehri’ has said: “Even though there be no food, then one date should be eaten or a drink of water taken.” Thus, when there are definitely great advantages and reward in ‘Sehri’, Muslims should endeavour to observe this practice as much as possible. However, in all things moderation is important, and going beyond the bounds of moderation is harmful: neither should so little be eaten that one feels weak throughout the period of fasting, nor should so much be eaten that it causes discomfort. Repeatedly, we have been prohibited from filling the stomach excessively.

In his commentary on “Sahih Bukhari”, Ibne Hajar has mentioned various reasons for the blessedness of “Sehri”:

  • Because in it, the ‘Sunnah’ is followed.
  • Through “Sehri”, we differentiate ourselves from the ways of Ahlul-Kitaab, which we are at all times called upon to do.
  • It provides strength for “Ibaadah”
  • It promotes greater sincerity in “Ibaadah”
  • It aids in elimination of bad temper, which normally comes about as result of hunger.
  • ‘Sehri’ is the time when prayers are accepted.
  • At the time of ‘Sehri’, one gets the opportunity to remember Allah, makes Dhikr and lifts up the hand to Him in prayer.

These are a few of the major reasons; there are many others as well. Some ‘Sufis’ are in doubt as to whether the eating of ‘Sehri’ conflicts with the object of fasting or not. They maintain that the object of fasting is to stay away from food, drink and sexual desires, therefore ‘Sehri’ is against the object of fasting. In my opinion the amount to be eaten varies according to different persons and their activities. Foe example, for those students who are busy seeking knowledge of ‘Deen’, too little food at ‘Sehri’ as well as ‘Iftaar’ will be harmful; for them it is better not to have too little, because they seek ‘Deeni’ knowledge, which is very important (for the preservation and spread of Islam). similar is the case of those who are busy with ‘Dhikr’ and other ‘Deeni’ activities. Other people who have no such hard work to do should eat little at ‘Sehri’.

Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) announced to those proceeding for ‘Jihaad’: ‘There is no virtue in fasting while travelling.’ That was in the month of Ramadhaan, when some Sahaaba were fasting. Allamah Sha’raani mentions in Sharh Iqna: ‘A covenant was made with us that we shall not fill our stomachs (completely) when eating, especially in the nights of Ramadhaan.’ It is better that one should eat less in the nights of Ramadhaan than on other nights. After all, what is the utility of fasting after having filled oneself at ‘Sehri’ and ‘Iftaar’? the religious divines have said, ‘Whoever remains hungry in Ramadhaan shall remain safe from the evil of ‘Shaytaan’ throughout the year, until the next Ramadhaan.’

Sharah Ihya Ulumuddin mentions the experiences of some saints, such as Sahl bin Abdullah Tastari, who used to eat only once every fifteen days, while in Ramadhaan he ate only one morsel; but in order to follow the Sunnah, he used to have a drink of water daily for ‘Sehri’ and ‘Iftaar’. Shaykh Junayd always used to fast throughout the year. However, when his noble friends would visit him occasionally, he used to break his fast and eat with them, saying, ‘The virtue of breaking fast and eating with (such noble) friends is not less than that of ‘Nafl’ fasting.

Similarly, we can mention the experiences of numerous saints who through eating less used to discipline their inner-selves, but let us bear in mind that it should not be carried to such extremes that the’religious’ activities and responsibilities are neglected, as a result of weakness of the body.
Virtues of Ramadhaan

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Don’t Let the Sand of Ramadhan Slip Away

Imagine that you are on the beach. You are four years old. The camp leader has told you that you have five minutes to build a great castle. “Quickly,” your three year old Ameer tells you, “the sand here is too soft. Run closer to the water and get better sand!” Off you run and grab, with your tiny hands, as much sand as you can hold. But, as you run back, plop, plop, plop, you feel the sand slipping through your fingers. You can do nothing about it. In your haste, all the sand has slipped away. Bang. The competition is over. This is the analogy of our lives. This is the analogy of our time in Ramadan.
For many living in Western countries, Ramadan is passed daily with 9 to 5 jobs or school – nights where we may or may not go for Taraweeh. A peak at the TV (may Allah protect us) and the night is over. Back to work where all around us people are eating and drinking from crystal water fountains. Blink. Ramadan is over. The question of the hour is: how do we take full advantage of this gift of Allah? This is our topic, before the sands of Ramadan slip away.
How many years have we been fasting Ramadan? 10 or 15 or 40 years? Are we 10 or 15 or 40 times better? Or, does it seem like we have arrived back at the drawing board every time Ramadan comes around? All acts of worship are for our own benefit! Don’t do it and harm befalls you, which is the way life was programmed. Ramadan is no small matter. It is one of the pillars of this Deen of Islam – without it one’s Islam would not be complete. In this month, Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – would intensify his worship of Allah ta’ala. In doing so, he laid the foundation for his Ummah after him to emulate. Ibn AlQayyim – rahimahullaah – wrote:
“From his blessed guidance – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – in Ramadan is that he used to intensify and diversify his actions of worship. So, for example, Jibreel used to rehearse the Qur’an with him during the nights of Ramadan. When Jibreel would visit him, he would intensify the amount of Sadaqah that he would give. He was the most generous out of all people – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – and Ramadan was the time when he was most generous. In Ramadan, he would fill his time with Sadaqah, treating people kindly, reciting Qur’an, performing Salah, remembering Allah, and performing I’tikaaf.”
– from the book ‘Zaad AlMa’aad’
Observers described the way Allah’s Messenger– sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – gave like Ar-Reeh AlMursalah, like the blessed wind. Why? The blessed wind, as they knew it, was a wind that brought coolness to everyone – no one was denied its blessing. The blessed wind, additionally, was not lazy in bringing its goodness to the people. It would come swiftly to all. This is how Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – was described, and this is how our service to humanity should be: swift and encompassing. Bi idhnillah. Below are ten ideas to and help make the most of Ramadan – before it slips through our hands.
Idea one: Compound Your Siyaam! If you told your financial broker that you just want to keep money in the bank and save it, he would say, “You are wrong.” “Invest it in the stock market. That way your money will be compounded – you will earn multiple times what you put in.” So now I ask the question: Wouldn’t you love to get two times the reward of fasting Ramadan? How? Zayd ibn Khaalid AlJuhanee narrates that the Prophet – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Whoever gives a fasting person (food) to break his or her fast, he (the one feeding) will get the reward equivalent to the (fasting persons) reward – without diminishing anything from the reward of the (fasting person).”
How do we do this? Ask any Muslim relief agency if they have a feed a fasting person program. Subhan Allah, you may find that it only costs £1 to feed a person! So, for £30 you could come out of Ramadan having doubled your reward. And, we should not forget the needy in our city. We think that in a ‘modern’ western country or city there are no needy people. That is not true. There are many needy families that are waiting to be discovered. Ask around and you will find a gold mine of people to help, in your own backyard.
Idea two: Operation Guide the Youth Often in Ramadan, there are khaatirahs, words of wisdom, halaqahs and reminders, all geared to the adults praying Taraweeh. The youth, it seems, are being disrespectful by talking in the back of the masjid. “Shhhhhsh!” someone shouts at them. “Listen or go outside (and we prefer if you just go outside)!” So, quietly they sneak out of the Masjid and chat and chill all Ramadan. How Eman boosting is that? Remember, Allah commands that you protect your wife and children also. Try this: Just like there are things for the adults, we could have Ramadan activities and reminders geared specifically for the youth. And, it need not be ‘in’ the Masjid. Let’s say the youth like to chat and chill outside in the parking lot. Why not organize the activity there? Yes, on the basketball court or in the parking lot. Have a 5-minute Khatirah, play games with them, and give them some noble projects to complete in Ramadan. Again, making a difference like this needs a leader with vision, one who recognizes that the youth are his or her responsibility. I pray that person is you!
Idea Three: Turnoff TV Month Every parent knows that when they want their child to do well in their studies they tell them, “no TV.” If this is for Dunya, then how about someone who wants to excel in Ramadan? “Fasting and the Qur’an will come and testify on behalf of the ‘Abd on the Day of Resurrection. The Fasting will say: O my lord, I denied him food and desires, so allow me to be a means for him to enter paradise. And the Qu’ran will say:
O my Lord, I denied him sleep at night so allow me to be a means for him to enter Paradise. And (he will be entered into paradise) because of those two.” – Musnad Ahmad
Try this: Announce in your household that Ramadan is the official turnoff TV month. Be an example for others and do fun and rewarding things instead. Visit people, take on a Ramadan feeding project, increase yourself in knowledge, etc. Turn off the TV and turn on life.
Idea Four: Dua’ Time Ramadan is the month of making dua’ to Allah, an essential compliment to fasting. Rasul Allah – sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam – said,
“There are three persons dua’ that will be accepted (by Allah). The fasting person, the oppressed one, and the traveler.”
Try this: Make a list of all your goals in life. Make a section for your a) personal goals; b) spiritual goals; c) economic goals; and d) contribution goals. Every day during Ramadan, take out your list and make dua’ to Allah to grant you the tawfeeq to accomplish your goals. Insha Allah, you will attain your goals with hard work, both during and after Ramadan.
Idea Five: Parent Appreciation Month We all know that the one who wakes us up for Suhoor is our mom. I know it was for me. If not for her alarm clock, her early morning cooking, her motherly love to go and wake everyone up … well, let’s just say our iftars would have become our suhoors. If you are living away from your parents, you know what I’m talking about. Remember the hadith of the person who doesn’t reach Ramadan with forgiveness? The end part of the Hadith says they found their parents in old age and they were not a means for him to enter Jannah! So, why not announce it loud and clear this month, “Thank you Mom! Thank you Dad!” Let’s take care of them this month with extra calls, extra hugs, and extra love.
Idea Six: Masjid Power Hour During Ramadan, why not spend a few more moments in the Masjid before taking off. This could be done after Fajr or after Asr. Sit back, grab a Qur’an and remember Allah. As your time in the Masjid increases, bi idhnillaah, your love and heart attachment will increase. Make this your personal Masjid power hour.
Idea Seven: Bad Habit Buster Many people already do this. They may have a smoking problem or a TV addiction. When Ramadan comes around they say, “I’m going to train myself to stop smoking or to stop watching excessive TV by abandoning it throughout Ramadan.” So, you don’t have a smoking problem huh? Everyone has a bad habit and everyone has a recurring sin they pray they could desist from. Make Ramadan the training month by telling yourself to go without this sin for the entire month. Then, if Allah grants one Tawfeeq to complete the month, one should continue to pray to Allah to keep them away from the sin after Ramadan.
Idea Eight: The Gift Groove Have you ever noticed how beloved a bottle of perfume is when it is handed out by a little four year old Muslim? Everyone loves a gift. Why not take this a step forward? Go to your local Islamic bookstore and request a bulk purchase of some beneficial Islamic materials, something in the £5 range. Then, hand it out to everyone that comes to your masjid. Bi idhnillaah, you will find for the little effort one may put, people all throughout Ramadan will be learning from the gift.

Idea Nine: Ramadan Muslims, Convert! It is true that on the first day of Ramadan, the number of Muslims in the local Masjid multiplies considerably. And, it is a sad moment on the first day after Ramadan that the Masjid attendance drops significantly. This idea is Operation No More Ramadan Muslims. We want people all year long!

Ibn Abbas I’tikaaf: A man came to Ibn Abbas while he was doing I’tikaaf in the masjid and asked him for his assistance. So, Ibn Abbas stood to leave and people around him warned him, ‘but you are in I’tikaaf’. He replied, “To assist my brother in fulfilling his need is more beloved to me than to perform I’tikaaf for 2 months in the Masjid of Rasul Allah – sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” Try this: Make a ‘compassion crew’ that reaches out specifically to Ramadan Muslims. Extra special attention is showered on them and roles of responsibility are delegated to them so that they can participate more in the Masjid. Invite them to special Iftars where they are the center of attention. With this extra attention and responsibility, bi idhnillaah, every month will be Ramadan for them and the masjids will be full all year.

Idea Ten: Home Halaqah Muslim families often keep their worship for the Masjid, but why not make Muslim family time at home. It could work like this: After Taraweeh or Asr, the family gathers together for 15 minutes. There are many things you could do in your Halaqah, the main thing is that you set time aside for it. For example, each family member may recite a few verses of Qur’an. Or, one of the kids can read a story of the Sahaabah so that all family members can be reminded. Or, each family member can speak about the blessings of Allah upon them and what they have in their lives for which they are thankful. Just 15 minutes for the home Halaqah. For the entire family, bi idhnillah, it will be a spring of Eman.

The past saw Muslims that spent their nights of Ramadan awake praying to Allah. It saw days where people, for the sake of Allah, went thirsty. They knew that this season may never return on them and they heard Allah’s words “Ayyaman Ma’doodaat”– a limited number of days. Don’t let the sand of Ramadan slip away.

I hope this post came of benefit, dont let the month of Ramadan fly by, do as much ibadah as possible this could be your last Ramadhan…

Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
Source: http://mujahidah-an-nafs.blogspot.com

Ramadan Poem

by Donna Sibaai

The holy month of Ramadan
For all Muslims has begun.
Praising Allah through the day,
From dawn to dusk we fast and pray.

We pay zakah (charity) for those in need,
Trying hard to do good deeds.

When the sun has set, and day is done-
I’ll break this chain, but only one.
By the end of Ramadan, this whole chain will be all gone!
It’s time for Eid and lots of fun!!!