Laylatul Qadr

(The Night of Power)

Crowning Glory

Laylatul Qadr is the crowning glory of the holy month of Ramadhaan. It is associated with the sending down of the Qur’an Majeed, the last Book of Allah on His last Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), for the guidance of mankind. The Qur’an Majeed describes this Night.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ ٱلْقَدْرِ
وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ ٱلْقَدْرِ
لَيْلَةُ ٱلْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
تَنَزَّلُ ٱلْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ
سَلاَمٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ ٱلْفَجْرِ
“We have indeed revealed this (message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit (Jibraeel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of Morn!” (Surah 97)

The Night of Power is the night of spiritual bliss. Our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said concerning Ramadhaan:

“Verily this month has come to you; and therein is a night which is better than a thousand Months. Whosoever is deprived of it, is deprived of all good; and none is deprived of its good except a totally unfortunate person”. (Ibn Majah)
“Whosoever stands up (in prayer) at the Night of Power out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.”
(Targhib)

Better than a thousand months

A thousand months are equivalent to 83 years and 4 months. Fortunate is the person who spends this night in prayer. The man or woman, who prays for the whole night during this Night, will deserve blessings and reward for the period as if he or she had been praying for eighty three years and four months consecutively. Since the Night of Power is better than one thousand months no one can actually measure the extent as to how much better it is.

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The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Laylatul Qadr has been bestowed by Allah to my Ummah (People). It was not given to any people before this.” (Dur-Mansoor).

How manifest and replete the special bounties and mercies of Allah Ta’ala are upon this Ummat is quite really beyond imagination. It will therefore be extremely foolish to allow ourselves to be deprived of these great blessings at the expense of sheer laziness and a few hours of extra sleep.

Which Night is it?

Although there are different reports in different traditions regarding the exact night, it is almost unanimous that the blessed night occurs in one of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan and more probably in one of the last ten odd nights i.e. 2lst, 23rd, 25th 27th or 29th night.

The popular opinion is, however, in favour of the 27th Night of Ramadhaan but that is not absolutely certain. The traditions indicate that it is to be sought in one of the last ten nights and preferably in the last three odd nights. It was therefore the practice of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his companions to make I’tikaaf in the Mosque for the whole time offering Divine service during the last ten days of Ramadhaan.

Hazrath Aisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) reported that the Apostle of Allah said: “Search for the Blessed Night in the odd (nights) from the last ten (nights) of Ramadhaan” (Bukhari).

Hazrath Aisha has narrated another saying:
“I asked: O Messenger of Allah! Tell me if I were to find a Night of Power, what should I recite therein?” Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) advised her to recite:

Al-laa-hum-ma in-na-ka ‘afoow-wan tu-hib-bul-‘af wa fa-fu ‘an-ni.
O Allah! You are Forgiving, You love forgiveness, so forgive me. (Bukhari).

Special attention should therefore be given to the excessive recitation of this dua on the blessed night. Furthermore one may engage in lengthy rakaats of Tahajjud salaat, Tilaawat of the Qur’an, Dua, Zikr, etc.

The worship and the vigil of the Night of Power are a treat to the soul. The heart tends to melt into tears of heartfelt gratitude. The body is in a state of angelic ecstasy The soul strives to reach nearer to Almighty Allah. In this holy month of Ramadhaan let us strive to seek the Night of Power and its bliss. May Allah reward us with His bountiful blessings. Aameen.

Source: Jamiatul Ulama

Laylatul Qadr

Fasting is a Shield

Fasting is a shield [Bukhari]

Fasting is a shield for a person which protects them from Shaytan, Allah’s punishment and Jahannam. However, one needs to make sure the shield is not damaged in any way. Otherwise it will not be effective in doing its job. The actions that damage this shield and render it useless are sins like Backbiting, Lying, Evil Glance, Swearing, Nonsensical Conversation, Arguments, Slander, Haram Sustenance, and every other evil.

Besides the compulsory fasting in the month of Ramadan, one should try to fast during those days for which Rasoolullah (صلي الله عليه و سلم) has mentioned many rewards, for example:

  • 6 days of Shawwal
  • Day of Aarafah
  • Ashoora (9th & 10th or 10th & 11th of Muharram)

Source: Riyadul Jannah Issue 2 Vol 13

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The Last Ashrah

The month of Ramadhan enjoys and intrinsic superiority over all the other months of the year. Likewise, it’s last ‘Ashra or ten days are superior to the two earlier ‘Ashras, and laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power, generally, falls in it. That is why, the sacred Prophet (peace & blessings upon him) devoted himself more intensively to prayer and other forms of worship during it and urged others, also, to do the same.

Ayesha (RA) related to us that “the Apostle of Allah (peace & blessings upon him)strove harder and took greater pains to observe prayer etc., during the last ten days of Ramadhan than during the other days.” [Muslim]

It is related by Ayesha (RA) that “when the last ten days of Ramadhan began the Apostle of Allah (peace & blessings upon him) would gird up the loins and keep awake in the nights (i.e., he used to spend the whole of the nights in prayer and worship), and, also, wakened the members of his family (so that they, too, could partake of the blessings of the nights of that month).” [Bukhari]

Source: Meaning and Messages of the traditions
by Shaykh Mohammad Manzoor Nomani

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The Wonderful Status of I’tikaaf

by Hazrat Muhammad Farouq Sahib

Fulfil one’s I’tikaaf in such a Masjid wherein the five daily Salaah is offered. A Masjid in terms of the Shariah. By means of this act Allah Ta’ala has granted us solitude while in a gathering. What more can be said!

Two Haj and two Umrah, by means of a single days I’tikaaf, how far is one removed from Jahannum? A distance of five hundred years. Brothers! What we all desire and need is to be distanced from Jahannum and closeness to paradise.

Another amazing point is the fact that one who is waiting for Salaah is granted the rewards of being in Salaah. It is as if the person forming the intention for I’tikaaf has begun Salaah on the eve of the twentieth of Ramadaan and remains engaged in this Salaah for a full ten days and nights, till the sighting of the crescent for Eid after which he turns for Salaam and completes his Salaah. While fast asleep, he is in Salaah! While wide a wake, he is in Salaah! While eating, he is in Salaah! While drinking, he is in Salaah! At every instant during his stay in the Masjid he is in Salaah. At times this is actually so while at other times he is allegorically so. We beseech Allah Ta’ala to grant us the abundant Taufeeq for these actions to be performed during Ramadaan and that He make them easy for us and assist us therein.

O Allah! We are weak and helpless. We are assailed by different forms of illnesses. O Allah! Provide us with Your assistance from the unseen whereby we can imbibe all these aspects within us. Let us engage in the abundant recitation of the Quraan as in the case of Hazrat Raipuri who gave up all his correspondence as well as meeting people and was either occupied in fasting or recitation of the Quraan. This cycle continued over and over every day of the entire month. We beseech Allah Ta’ala to grant such devotion to us as well, along with I’tikaaf during the last ten days.

O Allah! Grant abundant Taufeeq to us as well as to our children and the other members of our household. O Allah! Grant us the Taufeeq to spend Ramadaan in keeping with the Sunnah as discussed. Grant us the Taufeeq to spend Ramadaan in the shadows of Your accepted servants, Ameen.

Source: Darul Uloom Al-Islamiyya , Port Elizabeth South Africa

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The Month of Silence

Anas bin Malik ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻪﻨﻋ relates that Ramadhan arrived so the Prophet ﷲ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻠﺳو ﻰﻠﺻ said, ‘Indeed this month has come upon you, and therein is a night which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all good, and none is deprived of it except one who is truly deprived’ [Reported by ibn Majah],

He who wastes his time in Ramadhan is truly deprived of the virtues and forgiveness of this month. The sahabah ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻢﻬﻨﻋ ensured that not a moment passed in futility. They would complete their worldly tasks and free themselves two months prior to Ramadhan i.e. by Rajab.

Allah’s acceptance of a fast is not just conditional upon remaining hungry or thirsty but is also dependent upon the fasting of the other bodily organs i.e. the eyes, ears, heart, mind and especially the tongue.

Abu Hurayrah ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻪﻨﻋ reports that Allah’s Messenger ﻰﻠﺻ ﷲ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻠﺳو said ‘Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, fasting is to refrain from futility and indecency. So if someone abuses you or behaves ignorantly towards you, then say: “I am fasting” ’. [Reported by ibn Khuzaymah].

When fasting we should not even shout or raise our voices let alone argue. This is the month in which we should all remain silent as much as possible and not say or do anything which inconveniences others.

Source: Content Soul

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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"Surely, the true religion in Allah's sight is Islam" (3:19)