Tag Archives: Ramadan

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

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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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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After Ramadan

The Holy month of Ramadaan came like seasonal rain and passed by. This rain did not water the plants and crops -it showered upon the hearts of believers. It is sad, but true, that the hearts of the majority of Muslims are stricken with spiritual drought and spiritual decadence. It is a drought caused by excessive indulgence in un-Islamic activities, immoral behaviour, unjust actions, unfair dealings etc. Drought caused by lack of rain destroys crops -drought caused by lack of piety, lack of fear of Allah and lack of Allah consciousness destroys the SPIRITUALITY of the heart.

Ramadaan’s spiritual rains brought to life the Masaajid and other prayer places. Ramadaan had fanned the dying spark of charity .Ramadaan had awakened the dying spirit of tolerance, patience and sympathy for the less fortunate.

Now that we come to the end of Ramadaan the big question is what to do? Did we go through all the spiritual exercises in Ramadaan in order that we may have the freedom to indulge, on Eid day, in all types of immoral, shameless and indecent amusement? Did we restrain ourselves from halaal food, drinks and other pleasures from dawn to sunset throughout Ramadaan, so that we may return with renewed vigour to gambling, drinking, adultery and fornication? Will the spirit of tolerance, mercy, patience, charity and sympathy be still evident or will these noble qualities be shelved until the dawn of the next Ramadaan?

Will the Masajids which were filled on most nights in Ramadaan remain the same or will they become empty wondering where the faithful have gone? Our lifetsyles after Ramadaan will show whether we used the month to bring about a total reformation within ourselves or are we going to waste the valuable opportunity?

The National and international position of the Muslim communities leaves much to be desired. Muslims are lamenting the loss of lives, destruction of property, oppression, tyranny, injustice and a host of other problems all over the world. They are wondering why the promised help of Allah to the believers is nowhere in sight. Just one glance into the lifestyles of the overwhelming majority of the Muslims is sufficient to answer the question. Millions of Muslims do not have much to their credit besides Muslim names.

Allah’s help comes with action and Islamic qualities -not with names or faces – Arabs or non-Arabs, African or European, Chinese or Indians. On the other hand every group, organization, society or individual who talks Islam, seems to have got its own brand of Islam. The Islamic teachings which were left behind for us, crystal clear and pristine pure, have become so adulterated with foreign customs, alien practices and un-Islamic ideologies, that a new Muslim has to make an effort to search for the Quran and Sunnah brand of Islam or remain confused and ignorant.

May Allah Ta’ala on the occasion of Eid give us the guidance to resolve that we shall make the Quran and Sunnah our guiding lights and practise Islam as much as possible. If  the non-Muslim inhabitants of our country see Islam in the lives of Muslims, they will not require much persuasion to accept our beautiful deen.

Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel

www.jamiat.org.za

Last Night of Ramadhaan

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said,
‘On the last night of Ramadhaan the fasting Muslims are forgiven.’ The Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum inquired,
‘O Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, is that the night of power?’ Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam replied,
‘No! But it is only right that a servant should be given his reward on having completed his duty’ [Ahmad]

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The Virtue of Taraweeh

In this belated day and age, every morning heralds a new fitna, a fitna that strikes at the very root of our Imaan and amal. For the past fourteen hundred years the Ummah has been performing twenty rakaats of taraweeh without question. However “a sect” now claims that taraweeh is ONLY eight rakaats, which implies that for fourteen hundred years the Ummah had deviated from the sunnah of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam and had performed twenty rakaats without any shari proof.

The Virtue of Taraweeh

Abdullah Bin Ammar radhiallahu anhu states that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “The fast and the Quraan will both plead on behalf of the bondsmen who keeps fast in the day and recites or listens attentively to the recitation of the Quraan at night standing in the presence of Allah (in taraweeh). The fast will say “O my Lord, I had held him back from food, drink and sexual gratification, accept my intercession for him today and treat him with mercy and forgiveness. The Quraan will say, “I had held him back from taking rest and sleep at night, O’ my Lord, accept my intercession for him today and treat him with mercy and forgiveness”. The intercession of both the fast and Quraan will be accepted and he will be treated with exceptionl kindness”. (Baihaqi).

Sayyidina Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree radhiallahu anhu narrates that Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “When the first night of Ramadhaan dawns (comes), the doors of the skies are opened, and none of its doors are then closed until the last night of Ramadhaan.”

No mu’min servant (of Allah) performs salaah during its night (any night of Ramadhaan), but Allah will record for him one thousand five hundred hasanah (rewards) for every sajdah that he makes. And Allah will build a home for him in Jannah made out of red ruby, which will have sixty thousand doors, each of its doors having (interlinked to, leading to) a palace made out of gold, ornamented (beautified and decorated) with rubies.

Thus, when he (the mu’min) fasts on the first day of Ramadhaan, all his past sins are pardoned, and seventy thousand malaaikah make istighfaar for him, daily, from the time of the fajr salaah, until the sun sets.

And for every sajdah that he makes during Ramadhaan, either by day or by night, there will be for him a tree, (in Jannah, so huge that) a person on horseback will ride in its shade for five hundred years.” (Baihaqi, Targheeb)

Salmaan radhiallahu anhu reports: “On the last day of Sha’baan the Messenger of Allah addressed us and said: ‘O people, there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than one thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made compulsory that the days shoud be observed by fasting. And he has made sunnah the Taraweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing nearer to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for him shall be the reward like him who had performed a fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh, for him shall be the reward of seventy faraa’idh in any other time. This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellow men. It is the month wherein a true believer’s rizq is increased.

Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast (at sunset), for him there shall be forgiveness for his sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell), and for him shall be the same reward as him (whom he fed) without that person’s reward being decreased in the least….”. From this hadeeth it is noted that the command for taraweeh prayers too comes from Allah Himself. All the authorities of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamm’ah are agreed upon the fact that taraweeh is sunnah.

Taraweeh During the Era of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam and the Sahabah radhiallahu anhu

Ibn Abbass radhiallahu anhu states that during the month of Ramadhaan, Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam performed twenty rakaats (taraweeh) and thereafter performed the witr salaat. (Baihaqi and Musannaf Ibn Abie Shaiba).

Ubay bin Ka’ab radhiallahu anhu led the taraweeh prayers and offered 20 rakaats and three rakaats waajib salaat.

Umar radhiallahu anhu commanded the Imaam to perform twenty rakaats Taraweeh salaat for the congregation.

Views of the Scholars

Imaan Qurtubi radhiallahu anhu states: “Twenty rakaats taraweeh and three rakaats witr is the most authentic narration.”

Imaam Nawawi radhiallahu anhu states: “Taraweeh is a unanimously accepted sunnah of the Muslims. It is twenty rakaats”.

“The pandemonium that the Ghair Muqallideen (people who do not follow any Mazhab) had started for the past hundred years was never heared of in the Islamic world before……… Similarly from the time of Umar radhiallahu anhu upto the emergence of this sect there was no masjid in the world where eight rakaats of Taraweeh was performed……”. (Moulana Habib ur Rahmaan Azmi).

A Grave Misconception

The proponents of eight rakaats taraweeh quote the following hadeeth of Ayesha radhiallahu anha as stated in Bukhari Shareef. Ayesha radhiallahu anha was asked about the salaat of Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam. She replied by saying that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam did not exceed eleven rakaats in Ramadhaan nor in any other month…”.

This hadeeth apparently indicates that Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam performed eight rakaats taraweeh and three rakaats witr. However the words ‘nor in any other month’ clearly indicates that this was with reference to tahajjud salaat and not taraweeh salaat. The fact that Imaam Bukhari (R.A.) himself has not mentioned this hadeeth under the caption of Taraweeh salaat is clear proof that the salaat in question refers to witr and not taraweeh salaat.

Hazrat Umar radhiallahu anhu during his khilaafat had directed that taraweeh salaat be performed collectively in the masaajid, lest the practice gradually dissipates from the Ummah. He did not introduce the number of rakaats on his own accord. To believe that the twenty rakaats is an innovation of Umar radhiallahu anhu is to undermine the integrity of Umar radhiallahu anhu and all the Sahabah who were present at that time!

Source: Jamiatul Ulama South Africa

Ibaadat of Iftaar

A very important act related to Saum (Fasting) is Iftaar or to break the fast at its appropriate time. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasised the importance and the virtues of correct observance of Iftaar. Correct observance of Iftaar means to observe it in the Sunnat way. Although Iftaar is ostensibly a mundane act of eating some food, it is an ibaadat of much thawaab (reward) as well. However, Iftaar will be bereft of its spirituality and ibaadat dimension if it is not observed in the Masnoon manner.

THE MASNOON MANNER

It should be well understood that Iftaar is not feasting. It is not an act to discharge gluttonously or with impatience. It is a spiritually pleasurable act or should be so. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Saa-im (the fasting person) experiences two moments of happiness or pleasure. The one moment is when he makes Iftaar and the other moment will be the occasion when he meets his Rabb (in the Aakhirah).

This pleasurable exercise should not be contaminated and ruined with greed and impatience when it is time to end the fast. The Masnoon method of breaking the fast is to eat some dates or to drink some water. It should not be transformed in a veritable feast with heavy foods as has become the norm in most places. Instead of the light Iftaar which was the practice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sahaabah, people have developed the greedy and impatient habit of stuffing their bellies with food of a variety of kinds while the Athaan is in progress. They are consequently deprived of the thawaab of responding to the Athaan. They suffer the loss of the Sunnat acts of responding to the Athaan and of the Masnoon light Iftaar which is not only spiritually beneficial but which is physically beneficial as well. The sudden avalanche of food which descends into the stomach which has become contracted as a result of the day-long abstention from food and water, leads to disorders in the body. The repercussion of such disorders can be severe and very harmful for even the physical health.

The excessive feasting at the time of Iftaar leads to spiritual lethargy, indigestion and delay in beginning of the Maghrib Salaat. To gain the best rewards of Iftaar, spiritual and physical, it is necessary to break the fast with only some dates or water. The Maghrib Salaat should then commence almost immediately after the Athaan, perhaps three or four minutes after the Athaan, not 10, 15 and even 20 minutes after the Athaan as has been observed in some places where people feast like gluttons. In this way, they detract from the benefits of the Saum. The best results of ibaadat can be acquired only if the proper Masnoon method is adopted.

Source: www.themajlis.net

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Ten Tips for Ramadhan

As the blessed month of Ramadhan approaches, we need to prepare for it in such a way that we can gain the maximum benefit of this month. For many, Ramadhan comes and goes. However, very few people actually benefit from this great month. Our teachers advise us to live the whole year as if we are in the month of Ramadhan. This magnanimous achievement can only be attained when the actual month of Ramadhan is spent properly. In order to acquire a droplet of the reality mentioned above, Insha Allah, I hope to mention ten points that were given as form of advice to me and many others.

  1. Discipline: Most people already know to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from one’s spouse during the daytime of Ramadhan. However, a level of discipline must be developed to do righteous acts and abstain from those acts which would earn the displeasure of Allah. That was a basic form of discipline that needs to be developed but along with that, one needs to have discipline in following a particular routine or schedule for Ramadhan. This will be the real life changing factor for an individual. They wake up for suhoor but also pray Tahajjud at that time. Recite some Qur’an. They eat. Make dua’ while waiting for Salah. They pray Fajr. Recite Qur’an and make zikr. Rest if they need to.
    The idea is to make a schedule and act accordingly the whole month without sacrificing their schedule. This is the desired discipline that is required.One may ask, “Why did he not just put the first point as a ‘making a schedule’?” Well, the answer is very simple. Anyone can come up with a schedule, but it takes real discipline to abide by it.
  2. Devotional life (‘Ibadah): Ramadhan is the month where Allah allows us to really fulfill the purpose of our being, and the purpose of our creation. Allah created us all to worship Him, and Him alone. Here, I will not mention virtues of various acts or worship because those can be found in the many books on the merits of certain deeds. However, since Ramadhan and Qur’an are closely connected, I will say that much of our devotional life should be focused on the Qur’an.
    Reciting at least the entire Qur’an once in this month. Understanding it from erudite scholarship of our community or from accepted commentaries and Tafaaseer. I am not asking that a person recites the entire Qur’an and completes one entire commentary of it in one month. Perhaps it may be feasible to recite the entire Qur’an and start off a regimen of a Tafseer and try to finish it on an annual basis.
  3. Identifying with the Ummah: It is important that we feel our fast, i.e. feel hunger and thirst. Apart from that, we can use this to our benefit by making other people’s fast count for us as well. This means that if we feed or give to drink something to someone who fasts, we can get the reward of their fast as well.
    Another aspect of identifying with the Ummah is to be grateful for whatever Allah has given us and realize that a little of that we need to give to others so that they may have a decent Ramadhan and wonderful ‘Eid. See what the Ummah is going through and see how we can actively participate to help the Ummah in any way possible.
  4. Contact with the Qur’an: Ramadhan is the month wherein the Qur’an was revealed. This is the month of the Qur’an. It is extremely essential to establish a relationship with the Qur’an. Without going into much detail, I will just mention something practical with regards to the Qur’an and Ramadhan.
    For the average person, i.e. one who is not scholar or is not a Hafiz, they should read at least one juz per day so that they finish at a minimum one entire Qur’an for the month of Ramadhan. If one can do more, than Alhamdulillah, no one is stopping anyone. The next thing is to understand the Qur’an. So take the first volume of Ma’ariful Qur’an (for example) and read one section of the Arabic part (if one can) and then read the translation, then read the commentary. Do this every day without fail. Obviously the whole commentary will not be completed in one month, but at least a schedule to read a portion regularly will be developed and hopefully within a year it could be completed.
    Also, one should try to memorize those chapters/surahs which are read often like Mulk, Kahf, Ya Seen, Waqi’ah, and Sajdah. Also memorize Surahs from the last juz at least and more if possible.
  5. Mujahadah: Ramadhan is a month of sacrifice and struggle. It is a month where Allah wants our time, our health, our wealth, and our whole being. We literally live the whole year for everything and anything. It is just one month…can we not live one month solely for our Creator?! So what if we have to sacrifice our sleep, and random other luxuries that we can do without anyway. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” The amount of sacrifice and struggle we put into this month, Allah will reward us in this world and the next accordingly.
    Give yourself to Allah, and see what Allah has in store for you.
  6. Dua’: The essence of worship is supplication to Allah. This whole month, Allah is willing and readily open to accept all that we ask of Him. It is only to our own loss and detriment that we lack in begging Allah for the things we need. Prioritize your supplications. Ask firstly for yourself, then your family, community, then the Ummah at large. Within that, prioritize and ask for things pertaining to the hereafter, then ask for things pertaining to this world. Just remember one thing when it comes to dua’, the point of dua’ is not that we need something or we need protection or refuge from some other thing, the point is that Allah told us to supplicate to Him, and that is why one should make dua’ abundantly. There are certain things Allah loves to do, and one of them is to answer the supplications of His servants who call unto Him.
    One final aspect regarding dua’ is crying or pretending to cry. Tears are something foreign to Allah and therefore He has immense value for tears. The whole year we become filthy and impure spiritually by sinning, Ramadhan is the month where we purify our spirits by bathing our spirits in our tears.
  7. Good Company: Ramadhan is a month to maximize on good deeds and keep bad deeds at zero. Being in the company of the righteous will allow one to attain this goal. I will keep this point short. The minimum benefit one gets by being in good company is that one will not sin which in turn will cause one to become the greatest worshiper based off the hadith of Tirmidhi wherein Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) took Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s hand and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, abstain from all prohibitions and you will become the best worshiper.”
    The maximum benefit is that being with the people of Allah, Insha Allah; a person may just Attain Allah. What can be greater?!
  8. Gratitude: The secret to an increase in anything is to be thankful for it. To make sure that we see this month the next year, appreciate it this year. Be thankful for all that we have in every aspect, even the basic things we neglect and take for granted. We have Iman, we have Islam. Alhamdulillah, we are the best Ummah. We have been given the best book, i.e. the Qur’an. The best way to appreciate a bounty is to use it for its purpose.
    Allah has blessed with infinite blessing and bounties. Ramadhan is one of those bounties, so to fully appreciate Ramadhan, we must spend it the way Allah would like us to spend it and attain out goal which is Taqwa.
  9. Following the Sunnah: Anything of the beloved is also beloved. That is a principle of love. Allah has proclaimed the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) as His beloved. If we follow the Sunnah and show a resemblance, then we can also gain the focus of Allah. Particularly follow the Sunnah acts which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) performed in Ramadhan.
    If we have to do something, might as well do it the best way possible. The best way for anything to be done is the way of the Sunnah. If by any chance it was some other way, Allah would have had His Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) do it that way then.
  10. Istiqamah: Imam Junayd Al-Baghdadi (RA) said, “Steadfastness is greater than a thousand miracles.” Please do not tire one’s self out in the initial stages of Ramadhan, rather figure out a routine that works and stick to it regularly. The most beloved of actions to Allah are those that are done consistently even though they may seem minor. We all need to be thankful for the good that we have done and also for the evil we are able to abstain from. We also need to be thankful for whatever level of steadfastness that we have. We want to make Ramadhan last beyond Ramadhan as well. I’ll end with a quote from one of our mashaaikh, Shaykh In’aam-ul-Hasan Kandehlawi (RA) said, “Whoever lives their life as they do in Ramadhan, then death will come to that person just as the moon of ‘Eid comes for the fasting person.”

To conclude, we pray to Allah that He accepts all of our efforts and overlooks and forgives all of our shortcomings. Aameen.

Source: An-Noor

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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