The heat is on! Once a year a dramatic change occurs in the Muslim community. Once a year Icky baby and the Sams becomes Brother Iqbal and Sister Sameera. Off come the baggy jeans, the Nikes and the Raiders cap. On come the yellow Shalwar Kameez (clothes most Pakistanis wear), out goes the brylcreamed hairstyle which glues on that terribly uncool Towpee (cap) and in comes the miswak in the top pocket, making you look like something like “Karachi cops”.
It’s during this HOLY month of Ramadan that we ditch the daytime raves and frequent visit to the library (and we don’t mean for the reference section) and begin to act it out. Icky baby becomes temporarily religious.
It’s a sort of spooky feeling. The Mosques are full and you feel good. Good cos’ you’ve done your bit for the year. One by one you scratch the days from your Ramadan timetable that your dad brought back from the Mosque-and then-thank crunchie it’s Eid.
The Mosques again becomes museums for the old and for those deprived “ACHA BACHA”- a good baby. The crease-free shalwar kameez comes off and comes the baggy jeans, whilst the libraries reopen for “business as usual”. Just 11 more months of “freedom” to go before the smelly breath season come back with a vengeance.
Year after year it goes on, almost as a ritual. You know it’s rough. Yet Allah(swt) is Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem as we are told by our parents (who probably also have gone through this). And anyway religion is for the old men in the mosques- with smelly breaths, and beards that sweep the floor everytime they walk from one end of the mosque to the other.
Religion is for those “fundies”(fundamentalists) at school/college, the “weirdoes” who only talk to the opposite sex about the benefits of the Khilafah ruling system or the fallacies of Western ideology such as Capitalism and Marxist Philosophy.(i.e.try saying that in one breath!).
So you go around playing this game. It’s like an endless spiral. You think you’re a rebel or tough-yet you’re just one of the pack- a zombie, conforming to master-plan, when you turn 40s you grow your beard and take your seat in front row of the mosque, invest in a miswak, pack your bags for Hajj, and then everything is gonna be safe!
Well no! It doesn’t quite work like that. The million dollar question is will you ever turn 40?
Suppose you die. Just suppose you snuff it before you turn 40? What then? It could severely damage that master-plan of yours. Alright, the chances may look slim yet the stakes are high. Nobody knows when he or she is going to die. Just suppose you’re locked up in a room and there’s no way out. Just suppose there’s a time bomb ticking away in this room. Now if this bomb has “6 days” on it you would probably turn “fundy” and spend all six days reading namaz(salah).
Just suppose the bomb had a “?” on it? What then? That’s exactly how life is!!! A ticking-bomb with a “?” on it, you never know when it’s gonna blow-up. Whereever you are, death will find you. Even if you are in tower built up strong and high!” (Translation of the meaning of the Qu’ran) 30 days or a lifetime? And anyway, even if you do go along with this “dodgy” game, don’t you think your Creator will know your intention? Many people have sussed out Islam as a blind faith or and emotional/spiritual/spooky belief which leaves you contemplating rationally about the meanings of life. Where did you come from? Why are we here? Or the question that puts a dampner on all raves, ” what’s going to happen to us when we die?”
Islam asks us to answer these vital questions and come to a conclusion, the correct one. Islam doesn’t rely on the dodgy culture we are brought up with either from our parents or from the Molvi-Saab(imam). Islam is far from being a “religion” as it is often coined in the media. Islam is a complete system of life- with solutions to all our problems be it for Muslims or non-Muslims. Check out Islam for yourself and free yourself from this shallow zombie-like culture. Before your credits run out!
Remember there is no Life or Dignity without Islam. “O you who believe answer the call of Allah(swt) and His Messenger to that which gives you Life.” (8:24)
Rememberance of the people is the disease, and rememberance of Allaah is the cure. Yet how strange is it that we hasten to the disease and not the cure?
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10 Beneficial Tips to Prepare for Ramadhan
by Shaykh Abdul Raheem hafizahullah
1. To fast some days in the month of Sha’baan
This will get you in the system, and then fasting will become easy. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to fast in the month of Sha’baan perpetually.
2. Sincere tawba & Istghfaar
It cleanses the heart so the NOOR and Barakah of Ramadhan can enter the heart
We should start praying 5 times a day with Jamaat and Takbeere Ulaa
We should calculate our Zakat and pay in Sha’baan, or you can pay it gradually throughout Ramadhan
5. Giving Up Sins
We should give up all our bad habits before Ramadhan starts.if we don’t, they will carry on in Ramadhan too.
6. Have Great Terms With Close Ones
Forgive one another, help one another, advise one another. Spring clean the heart
If you have missed any fast from last Ramadhan, make up for them before Ramadhan starts. Also make up for any salah, kafaraa etc..
8. Plan Your Daily Schedule
This will help you throughout Ramadhan
The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to make this Dua:
اللهم سلمني لرمضان وسلم رمضان لي وتسلمو مني متقبلا
10. Social media
Minimize it, only use it for Necessity. This will help you focus to worship Allah more.
Transcribed by Ali Qaisar from Shaykh’s ‘Preparation for Ramadhan’ lecture delivered on 07/05/17
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Just as a farmer needs to make an effort to prepare the land for plantation by clearing the shrubs & weeds, then softening the soil & tilling it, planting the seeds & ensuring the proper irrigation & fumigation etc until the day of harvest, we too need to prepare for the month of fasting by leaving all sin, softening our hearts, increase our acts of worship etc. Without this we would not reap the fruits of this month.
Mufti Ismail Menk
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From the book Khulaasatul Kalaam by Shaykh Jaarullah.
Brother Muslim, Sister Muslima:
1. Fast Ramadhan with belief and truly seeking the reward of Allah the Most High so that He may forgive you your past sins.
2. Beware of breaking your fast during the days of Ramadhan without a valid Islamic excuse, for it is from the greatest of sins.
3. Pray Salat ut-Taraweeh and the night prayer during the nights of Ramadhan – especially on Layatul-Qadr – based on belief and truly seeking the reward of Allah, so that Allah may forgive you your past sins.
4. Make sure that your food, your drink and your clothing are from halal means, in order that your actions be accepted, and your supplications answered. Beware of refraining from the halal while fasting and breaking your fast with the haram.
5. Give food to some fasting people to gain a reward similar to theirs.
6. Perform your five prayers on time in congregation to gain the reward and Allahs protection.
7. Give a lot of charity for the best charity is that of Ramadhan.
8. Beware of spending your time without performing righteous deeds, for you will be responsible and reckoned for it and will be rewarded for all you do during your time.
9. Perform `umrah in Ramadhan for `Umrah in Ramadhan is equal to Hajj.
10. Seek help for fasting during the day by eating the sahoor meal in the last part of the night before the appearance of Fajr.
11. Hasten breaking your fast after the sun has truly set in order to gain the love of Allah.
12. Perform ghusl before fajr if you need to purify yourself from the state of major impurity so that you are able to do acts of worship in a state of purity and cleanliness.
13. Cease the opportunity of being in Ramadhan and spend it with the good that has been revealed in it – by reciting the noble Quran and pondering and reflection of its meanings so that it be a proof for you with your Lord and an intercessor for you on the Day of Reckoning.
14. Preserve your tongue from lying, cursing, backbiting and slander for it decreases the reward of fasting.
15. Do not let fasting cause you cross your boundaries by getting upset due to the slightest of reasons. Rather, fating should be a cause of peacefulness and tranquility of your soul.
16. Upon completion of fasting, be in a state of taqwa of Allah the Most High, being aware of Allah watching you in secret and in public, in thankfulness for His favors, and steadfastness upon obedience of Allah by doing all what He has ordered and shunning all that He has prohibited.
17. Increase in remembrance of Allah, seeking of forgiveness, asking for Paradise and protection against the Fire, especially when fasting, while breaking the fast and during suhoor, for these actions are among greatest causes of attaining Allahs forgiveness.
18. Increase in supplication for yourself, your parents, your children and Muslims, for Allah has ordered making of supplications and has guaranteed acceptance.
19. Repent to Allah with a sincere repentance in all times by leaving sins, regretting those that you have done before and firmly deciding not to return to them in the future, for Allah accepts repentance of those who repent.
20. Fast six days of Shawwal, for whoever fasts Ramadhan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal, it is as if he fasts all the time.
21. Fast on the Day of `Arafah, the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, to attain success by being forgiven your sins of the last year and the coming year.
22. Fast on the day of `Aashuraa, the 10th of Muharram, along with the 9th, to attain success by being forgiven your sins of the past year.
23. Continue being in a state of iman and taqwa and perform righteous actions after the month of Ramadhan, until you die. And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death). [Quran 15:99]
24. Ensure that you attain the positive effects of your acts of worship such as prayer, fasting, zakat and hajj, sincere repentance and leaving of customs that are in variance with the Sharee`ah.
25. Invoke a lot of salawat and salam upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him, his Companions and all those who follow them until the Day of Judgment.
O Allah make us and all Muslims of those who fast and stand in prayer during the month of Ramadhan based on belief and truly seeking Your reward so that we are forgiven our past and future sins.
O Allah make us of those who fasted the month, attained full reward, witnessed Layatul-Qadr and attained success by permission of the Lord, Blessed and Most High.
O Allah, verily you are Forgiver, like to forgive, so forgive us.
O Lord, accept from us, verily you are the All-Hearing, all-Seeing, O Living, O Independent, O Owner of all majesty and honor.
And may Allahs blessings and peace be upon Muhammad, his family and his Companions.
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A short speech and advice on The Month of Sha’ban and Preparing for Ramadan by Shaykh Shams ud-Duha.
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
by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq
يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
‘O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]
Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.
Past communities and the injunction to fast
The verse makes it obligatory for the Muslims to fast in a specified period, but the command in the respect has been accompanied by the statement that the obligation of fasting is not peculiar to them. The fasting had also been enjoined upon the earlier Ummahs (communities of the past prophets). The reference to the earlier Ummahs in the verse shows the importance of fasting on the one hand, and gives an encouragement to the Muslims on the other. It indicates that although there may be some inconvenience in fasting but the same inconvenience was faced by earlier communities. This brings a psychological comfort to the Muslims, because if an inconvenience is faced by a large number of people, it becomes easier to bear. (Ruh al Ma’ani)
The words of the Qur’an ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (those before you) have been used in general sense including all religious communities from Sayyidina Adam to the last of the Prophets (peace and blessings upon him). This tells us that, like Salah, fasting has also been enjoined upon every Ummah of every prophet without exception.
Commentators who interpret مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (before you) to mean ‘the Christians’ take it just as an example, not aiming to exclude other communities. (Ruh al Ma’ani)
The verse simply says that fasts have been enjoined on Muslims as were enjoined on past communities. From this it does not necessarily follow that the fasts enjoined upon the earlier communities were fully identical in all respects with the fasts enjoined upon this Ummah. There may have been difference in the number and the timings of the fasts etc. and, actually, there has been such a difference. (Ruh al Ma’ani)
By saying لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (so that you be God-fearing), the text has pointed out to the inherent quality of fasting which contributes significantly to one’s ability to become abstaining from the sins and God-fearing. Fasting grows into man a power which helps him control his desires, which is really the foundation of Taqwa, the very special term of the Holy Qur’an which has been tentatively translated as fear of God, abstinence, and the warding of evil.
Ma’ariful Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi
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By Umme Faatimah (B.Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria)
The modern world has swept us off our feet in so many ways… our dressing, our lifestyles and most noticeably our eating habits. We have so casually adapted the western culture of unhealthy eating, moving further and further away from the Noble teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Yet, the newest nutritional research continues to discover the benefits of certain foods, labelled as “Super Foods”. They have also unravelled the great benefits of certain eating habits, such as washing the hands before and after meals, eating with the hands, not drinking with meals…just to mention a few. However, all of this has already been outlined in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah more than 1400 years ago.
We are certainly the losers if we do not make an effort to practice upon the Sunnah in our homes and kitchens. What better time to bring about these changes than now? Our beautiful Deen offers us the opportunity during the beautiful month of Ramadhaan, to bring about positive changes in our lives- changes that benefit us mentally, physically and spiritually which Insha Allah (Allah Willing) can be sustained for the future.
Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed to body detoxification, tissue repair and system healing.
With that in mind I have chosen to highlight just a few of the favourite foods of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). With the special month of Ramadhaan fast approaching, we can all ensure we have these foods on our shopping lists. InshaAllah, by us adopting the lifestyle of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we will be rewarded enormously… Ameen.
Dates are the most mentioned fruit in the Quraan. They are high in energy, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: ” The home with no dates is like the home with no food”.(Hadith- Sahih Muslim)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)used to break his fast with fresh dates and a few sips of water. If he did not find fresh dates, he would use dried dates. He (pbuh) said: “When one of you breaks the fast let him do so with dates, for they are a blessing and if he cannot find dates then with water for it is a purification” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
He often consumed dates with cucumber, butter, cream or bread. A dessert called “Haisa” made with ghee (butter), dates, cheese and yoghurt was also prepared.
Tips: At iftaar (breaking fast) time, dates can also be used to prepare date milkshakes, date chutney, date desserts as well as sprinkled over salads. For sehri (pre-dawn meal), dates can be used as a softened spread over bread or added into muffins, rusks etc.
Dieticians and nutritionist the world over have been advocating the use of olive oil for its excellent cardio-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing research is revealing more and more great benefits on the consumption and application of olive oil.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: “Eat the olive and use it as an ointment as it comes from a blessed tree”.(Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Tips: During Ramadhaan, olive oil is best used raw as a dip for breads or as a salad dressing. The lighter olive oils are well suited for cooking and baking purposes. Whole olives can be added to salads as well as de-pitted and added to breads, muffins, pies and pizzas.
A recent Readers Digest article highlighted barley as one of the five healthiest foods we tend not to eat. Yet it was barley that was one of the staple foods in the diet of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Modern research is discovering that barley has a very high soluble- fibre content. This helps to keep the arteries clear and healthy. It has an extremely low glycaemic index (GI), which means it takes a longer time to digest, keeping one fuller for longer.
It is mentioned that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed barley in the following ways:
SAWIQ – a coarse broth prepared from ground wheat and barley – very much like a haleem (soup)
THARID – Barley bread covered in gravy cooked with meat
TALBEENAH – A porridge prepared using barley and milk
A Hadith in Mishkaat narrates that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)never used sifted flour in his lifetime. We should take lesson from this, as we are all moving to consuming more refined and processed foods where all the beneficial nutrients have been stripped off. Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quraan grains with their husks, amongst His many gifts to us. Un-sifted flour as used by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)contains all the valuable nutrients found in the bran and germ layers and has a lower GI.
Tips: During Ramadhaan, barley can be added to soups and broths or prepared as a drink by boiling and straining mixture. A hadith in Bukhari mentions that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed “Sawiq” at iftaar. Barley flour can be used for preparing breads and rotis. Substitute 1.5 cups barley flour for every 3 cups regular flour. Cereals containing barley flakes like muesli can be purchased, or barley flakes can be added to biscuits, muffins, breads and other cereals.
Barley can be prepared as a filling porridge for sehri -Talbeenah. Soak 1-2 tablespoons whole barley overnight in a flask filled with rapidly boiling water. At sehri time, strain water out and prepare porridge with honey and milk. (Store bought “pearled barley” has been polished with some of the bran layer removed).
Modern research has been abuzz with the myriad of health benefits associated with honey- anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, energising tonic….to name a few.Our beautiful Deen has encouraged the use of honey 1400 years ago. The Holy Quraan mentions”there comes forth from the bee’s belly, a drink of varying colours, wherin is a healing for men”.(Qur’an 16:68-69)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) further said ” Make use of two cures- honey and the Quraan”(Hadith-Ibn Majah)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved drinks that were sweet and cold and often consumed honey water.
Tips: Honey can be used to sweeten items like tea, fresh juices, milk drinks and cereals etc. Raw honey which is thicker and creamier has a lower GI, and can be mixed with cinnamon and used as a spread on toast for sehri.
GRAPES AND RAISINS
Grapes have been found to contain resveratrol- a powerful antioxidant that protects the body on a cellular level from damage. The seeds are rich in flavonoids which lower the risk of fatty plaque accumulation on the lining of blood vessels to the heart.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved eating grapes. Hadith in Abu Dawood mentions The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him )often consumed a drink “Nabeez”- prepared from soaked raisins. Nabeez can be prepared by soaking raisins after Esha (evening) prayer in clean water covered with a plate. The following morning the water can be drunk and the soaked fruit eaten or just use the blender to obtain a beautiful cloudy Nabeez. And, if you soak in the morning, drink in the evening. Nabeez should be consumed within twelve hours of soaking to prevent fermentation.
Tips: Nabeez or fresh grape juice can be prepared as a drink after Taraweeh (evening prayer in Ramadaan). Grapes can be served as part of salad or dessert. Raisins eaten with nuts can be enjoyed as a healthy munch after taraweeh salaat.
The Sunnah way of eating is the healthy way of eating. InshaAllah, let us all strive to revive and bring alive the Sunnahs of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in our homes this Ramadhaan. I have highlighted just a few. Make an intention to eat on the floor, share eating utensils and to fill a third of your stomach with water, a third with food and a third left for air.
Besides the immense health benefits outlined above our greatest rewards really lie in following the Sunnah, as it comes in Hadith mentioned by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him):
” The person who follows my Sunnah is the one who truly loves me, and will be with me in Jannah” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Allah Ta’ala said to His Messenger (pbuh)”Say (to mankind), if you love Allah, follow me – Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” (Qur’an:3: 31)
Wishing you all healthy eating, the Sunnah way………………….Ramadhaan Mubarak!