Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Maaf Zahir & Batin

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Maaf Zahir & Batin

Monday, August 29, 2011

EID MUBARAK 2011 / 1432 - SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI


EID MUBARAK / SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI TO ALL .
MINAL AIDIN WAL FAIDZIN
Wish you all a happy and peaceful Eid-Ul-Fitr and may ALLAH bless and reward all of you with the blessings of Heaven.
from home to home, and heart to heart,
from one place to another
the warmth and joy of EID,
brings us closer to each other.

Please keep up all the good deeds which you have done during Ramadhan.

MAAF ZAHIR BATIN KEPADA SEMUA UMAT ISLAM.

The Meaning of Eid

Eid means recurring happiness or festivity. There are two such Eid in Islam. The first is called Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Fast Breaking).
It falls on the first day of Shawwaal, the tenth month of the Muslim year, following the month of Ramadhaan in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed and which is the month of fasting.
The second is called Eid al-Adhaa (the Festival of sacrifice). It falls on the tenth day of Zulhijjah, the final month of the Muslim year. The Islamic Eid are unique in every way. To them there can be nothing similar in any other religion or any other sociopolitical system. Besides their highly spiritual and moral characteristics, they have matchless qualities.
Each Eid is a wholesome celebration of a remarkable achievement of the individual Muslim in the service of Allah SWT. The first Eid comes after an entire month of 'absolute' fasting during the days of the month. The second Eid marks the completion of Hajj to Mecca, a course in which the Muslim handsomely demonstrates his renouncement of the mundane concerns and hearkens only to the eternal voice of Allah SWT.
Each Eid is a thanksgiving day where Muslims assemble in a brotherly and joyful atmosphere to offer their gratitude to Allah SWT for helping them to fulfill their spiritual obligations prior to the Eid. This form of thanksgiving is not confined to spiritual devotion and verbal expressions. It goes far beyond that to manifest itself in a handsome shape of social and humanitarian spirit. The Muslims who have completed the fasting of Ramadhaan express their thanks to Allah SWT by means of distributing alms among the poor and needy on the first Eid before the prayer.
Eid also is a day of remembrance. Even in their most joyful times the Muslims make a flesh stall of the day by a plural session of worship to Allah SWT. They pray to Him and glorify His name to demonstrate their remembrance of His favors. Along with that course, they remember the deceased by praying for their souls, the needy by extending a hand of help, the grieved by showing them sympathy and consolation, the sick by cheerful visits and utterances of good wishes, the absentees by cordial greetings and sincere considerateness. Thus, the meaning of remembrance on the day transcends all limits and expands over far-reaching dimensions of human life.
Most of the imaam when delivering the Eid khutbah will mention that Eid is a day of victory. The individual who succeeds in securing his spiritual rights and growth receives the Eid with a victorious spirit. The individual who faithfully observes the duties, which are associated with the Eid, is a triumphant one. He proves that he holds a strong command over his desires, exercises a sound self-control and enjoys the taste of disciplinary life.
Once a person acquires these qualities, he has achieved his greatest victory because the person who knows how to control himself and discipline his desires is free from sin and wrong, from fear and cowardice, from vice and indecency, from jealousy and greed, from humiliation and all other causes of enslavement. Therefore, when he receives the Eid, which marks the achievement of this freedom, he is in fact celebrating his victory, and the Eid thus becomes a day of victory.
This is the proper meaning of an Islamic Eid. It is a day of thanksgiving, a day of festive remembrance and a day of moral victory. An Islamic Eid is all this and is much more because it is a day of Islam, a day of Allah SWT. Celebrate this coming Eid with the true imaan and taqwa. InshaaAllah, besides having enjoyment, we will be blessed by Allah SWT.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Zakaah al-Fitr

1. MEANING

Zakaah al-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqah al-Fitr. The word Fitr means the same as Iftaar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakaah al-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadaan.

2. CLASSIFICATION

Sadaqah al-Fitr is a duty which is Waajib on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.
The proof that this form of charity is compulsory can be found in the Sunnah whereby Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barely. [collected by Bukhaaree - Arabic/English, vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579]
The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said, "On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out during Allaah's Messenger's (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) lifetime one Saa` of grain, cheese or raisins". [collected by Muslim - English transl. vol. 2, p. 469, no. 2155]

3. SIGNIFICANCE

The significant role played by Zakaah in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqah al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqah al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity. Thus, Sadaqah al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.
4. PURPOSE

The main purpose of Zakaah al-Fitr is to provide those who fasted with the means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. Zakaah al-Fitr also provides the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (`Eed al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.
Ibn Abbaas reported, "The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadaan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salaah will have it accepted as Zakaah, while he who gives it after the Salaah has given Sadaqah." [collected by Abu Dawood - Eng. transl. vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1605 - rated Saheeh by Shaikh Naser Al-Albanee]
Hence, the goal of Sadaqah al-Fitr is the spiritual development of the Believers. By making them give up some of their wealth, the believers are taught the higher moral characteristics of generosity, compassion (sympathy for the unfortunate), gratitude to God and the righteousness. But, since Islaam does not neglect man's material need, part of the goal of Zakaah al-Fitr is the economic well-being of the poorer members of society.

5. CONDITIONS

Zakaah al-Fitr is only Waajib for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and can not make it up. This form of charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salaah al-'Eed' (i.e. shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as many of the Sahaabah (companions of the Prophet(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) ) used to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr a couple days before the `Eed.
Naafi reported that the Prophet's companion Ibn `Umar used to give it to those who would accept it and the people used to give it a day or two before the `Eed. [collected by al-Bukhaaree - Arabic/English, Vol. 2, p.339, no. 579]
Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) order that it (Zakaah al-Fitr) be given before people go to make the Salaah (al-'Eed).
And Ibn `Abbaas reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Whoever gives it before the Salaah will have it accepted as Zakaah, while he who gives it after the Salaah (will not, for it will only be considered as) ordinary charity." Therefore, one who forgets to pay this Zakaah al-Fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as Zakaah al-Fitr.
6. RATE

The amount of Zakaah is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Saa` (two handfuls ) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. This calculation is based on Ibn `Umar's report that the Prophet(sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory and payable by a Saa` of dried dates or a Saa` of barley.
The Sahaabee, Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree said, "In the Prophet's time, we used to give it (Zakaah al-Fitr) as a Saa` of food, dried dates, barley, raisins or dried cheese". [collected by al-Bukhaaree - Arabic/English vol. 2, p. 340, no. 582]


Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'TIKAF

1. I'TIKAF in the first ten and in the mid ten days of Ramadan:

Abu Sai'id Al-Khudri Radiyallahu Anh narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) observed I'tikaf in the first ten days of Ramadan; he then observed I'tikaf in the middle ten days in a Turkish tent with a mat hanging at its door. The Prophet (PBUH) took hold of that mat and place it in the nook of the tent. He then put his head out, and talked with people who came nera him, and he said: I observed I'tikaf in the first ten nights and days in order to seek that night (Night of Decree). I then observed I'tikaf in the middle ten days. Then an angel was sent to me, and I was told that this night is among the last ten nights. He who among you like to observe I'tikaf may do so," and people observed it along with him, and he again said: "That Night of Decree was shown to me in an odd night and I saw in the dream that I was prostrating in the morning in mud and water." So in the morning of the twenty-first night when the Prophet (PBUH) got up for dawn prayer, there was rainfall and the mosque dripped, and I saw mud and water. When he came out after he finished the morning prayer, he saw that his forehead and the tip of his nose had traces of mud and water, and that was the twenty-first night of the last ten nights of Ramadan. (Bukhari 2018). (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 632)

2. I'tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan
'Aishah Radiyallahu Anha narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) was regular in observing I'tikaf in the last ten (days) of Ramadan until Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, collected him. His wives also used to observe I'tikaf with him. (Bukhari 2026). (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 633)

2.1. Striving hard in the last ten (of Ramadan)
'Aishah Radiyallahu Anha narrated that when the last ten nights of Ramadan began the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) kept awake at nights (for prayer and worship), awoke his family, strove hard and fastened his lower garment. (Bukhari 2024) (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 634)

3. Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree) and seeking it in the last ten (nights) of Ramadan
Ibn 'Umar Radiyallahu Anhuma narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Seek it (Lailat-ul-Qadr) in the last ten (nights). If one of you shows slackness in the earlier part of Ramadan, let it not be weak to observe the last seven." (Bukhari 2015) (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 635)

4. Lailat-ul-Qadr was the twenty-third night of Ramadan
'Abdullah bin Unais Radiyallahu Anh narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "I was shown Lailat-ul-Qadr; then I was made to forget it. I saw that I was prostrating in water and mud in the morning of that night." The narrator said: There was a downpour on the twenty-third night and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) led us in prayer, and as he went back, there was a trace of water and mud on his forehead and on his nose. The narrator added: "Abdullah bin Unais used to say that it was the twenty-third night. (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 636)

5. Seek it (Lailat-ul-Qadr) in the ninth and seventh and the fifth (in the last ten nights of Ramadan):
Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri Radiyallahu Anh narrated: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) observed I'tikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan to seek Lailat-ul-Qadr, before it was shown to him. When these nights were over, he ordered a tent to be pitched. Then it was shown to him that (Lailat-ul-Qadr) was in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Then he ordered to pitch the tent again. He then came to people and said: "O people, Lailat-ul-Qadr was shown to me and I came out to tell you about it, but two man were quarrelling with each other, and there was a devil along with them, and I forgot it. So seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Seek it on the ninth, on the seventh and on the fifth." One of the narrators said: "Abu Sa'id, you know more than about numbers." He said: "Yes, indeed we know better than you." I said: "What is this ninth, seventh, and fifth?" He said: "When twenty-one nights are over and the twenty-second begins, it is the ninth; and when twenty-three nights are over, that which follows is the seventh; and when twenty-five nights are over, what follows is the fifth." (Bukhari2016) (Source: Summarized Sahih Muslim, Volume 1, Hadith 637)

Friday, August 26, 2011

When the Night Equals a Thousand

It was narrated that in the days that Musa (Alahi salaam) wandered with Bani Israel in the desert an intense drought befell them. Together, they raised their hands towards the heavens praying for the blessed rain to come. Then, to the astonishment of Musa (Alahi salaam) and all those watching, the few scattered clouds that were in the sky vanished, the heat poured down, and the drought intensified.
It was revealed to Musa that there was a sinner amongst the tribe of Bani Israel whom had disobeyed Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) for more than forty years of his life. 'Let him separate himself from the congregation,' Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) told Musa (Alahi salaam). 'Only then shall I shower you all with rain.'
Musa (Alahi salaam) then called out to the throngs of humanity, 'There is a person amongst us who has disobeyed Allah for forty years. Let him separate himself from the congregation and only then shall we be rescued from the drought.' That man, waited, looking left and right, hoping that someone else would step forward, but no one did. Sweat poured forth from his brow and he knew that he was the one.
The man knew that if he stayed amongst the congregation all would die of thirst and that if he stepped forward he would be humiliated for all eternity.
He raised his hands with a sincerity he had never known before, with a humility he had never tasted, and as tears poured down on both cheeks he said: 'O Allah, have mercy on me! O Allah, hide my sins! O Allah, forgive me!'
As Musa (Alahi salaam) and the people of Bani Israel awaited for the sinner to step forward, the clouds hugged the sky and the rain poured. Musa (Alahi salaam) asked Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala), 'O Allah, you blessed us with rain even though the sinner did not come forward.' And Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) replied, 'O Musa, it is for the repentance of that very person that I blessed all of Bani Israel with water.'
Musa (Alahi salaam), wanting to know who this blessed man was, asked, 'Show him to me O Allah!' Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) replied, 'O Musa, I hid his sins for forty years, do you think that after his repentance I shall expose him?'
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) revealed the Qur'an in the most blessed month; the month of Ramadan, the month in which the Qur'an was sent down.
On the most blessed night, the Grand night: Laylatul Qadr; 'Verily, we revealed the Qur'an on the night of Qadr.'
Ibn Jareer narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid that there was a man from Bani Israel who used to spend the night in prayer. Then in the morning he would fight the enemy in the Way of Allah during the day, until the evening and he did this for a thousand months.
And so Allah revealed the Surah: 'Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr? until the verse 'The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months' That is, standing in prayer on that night is better than the actions of that man.
Sufyaan ath-Thawree reports, on the authority of Mujaahid (also), that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed on it, fasting on it, and standing in prayer on it are better than a thousand months? good deeds, prayers and fasting. (Narrated by Ibn Jareer)
It is reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: 'When the month of Ramadan came, the Messenger of Allah said: 'The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable.?' (Narrated by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasaa'i).
It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: 'Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven.' (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadan. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, the believer remembers the Prophet's (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like 'seek', 'pursue', 'search' and 'look hard' for Laylatul Qadr.
Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. The Mu'min should search for it in the last ten nights of Ramadan, passing the nights in worship and obedience.
For those who catch the opportunity, their gift is that of past sins wiped away.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) illustrated for us some of the things we should be doing on this Grand Night. From his blessed Sunnah we find the following:

Praying Qiyaam (night prayer):

It is recommended to make a long qiyaam prayer during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many ahadeeth, such as 'Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylatul Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah's reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the addition 'and it is facilitated for him' is recorded by Ahmad from the report of 'Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.]

Making Supplications:

It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. 'A'ishah reported that she asked Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) 'O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul Qadr, what should I say during it?' And he instructed her to say:
'Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me.' [An authentic Hadith recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi.]
Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship: It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr is likely to fall. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala).
'A'ishah reported: 'When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer) and wake up his family.' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And she said: 'Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights.' [Muslim]
Have we estimated Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) correctly?
The opportunity of Laylatul Qadr is coming in the next few days. Life is about people that take advantage of their opportunities to win the love of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala), and this is indeed one of those chances.
Abu Dah Daah was one of those who found an opportunity and won that which is greater than the heavens and the earth. An adult companion of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) cultivated his garden next to the property of an orphan. The orphan claimed that a specific palm tree was on his property and thus belonged to him. The companion rejected the claim and off to the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) went the orphan boy to complain. With his justness, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) measured the two gardens and found that the palm tree did indeed belong to the companion. The orphan erupted crying. Seeing this, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) offered the companion, 'would you give him the palm tree and to you is a palm tree in Jannah?' However, the companion in his disbelief that an orphan would complain to the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) missed the opportunity and went away angry.
But someone else saw the opportunity, Abu Dah Daah - radi Allahu 'anhu. He went to the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and asked, 'Ya Rasul Allah, if I buy the tree from him and give it to the orphan shall I have that tree in Jannah?' The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, 'Yes.'
Abu Dah Daah chased after the companion and asked, 'Would you sell that tree to me for my entire garden?' The companion answered, 'Take it for there is no good in a tree that I was complained to the Prophet about.'
Immediately, Abu Dah Daah went home and found his wife and children playing in the garden. 'Leave the garden!' shouted Abu Dah Daah, 'we've sold it to Allah! We've sold it to Allah!' Some of his children had dates in their hand and he snached the dates from them and threw them back into the garden. 'We've sold it to Allah!'
When Abu Dah Daah was later martyred in the battle of Uhud, Rasul Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) stood over his slain body and remarked, 'How many shady palm trees does Abu Dah Daah now have in paradise?'
What did Abu Dah Daah lose? Dates? Bushes? Dirt? What did he gain? He gained a Jannah whose expanse is the heavens and the earth.
Abu Dah Daah did not miss his opportunity, and I pray to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) that we do not miss our opportunity of standing to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) on Laylatul Qadr.
Dear brothers and sisters, we do not obey, worship and revere Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) in a way befitting of His Majesty.
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) revealed: 'No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him. On the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand: Glory to Him! High is He above the partners they attribute to Him' (Surat al-An'aam, Ayat 91).
Everything that we have belongs to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala). When someone dies we say, Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji'oon, Indeed to Allah we belong and indeed to Him we shall return. This is not a supplication just for when a soul is lost. It is a supplication for every calamity that befalls a believer, even if his sandal were to tear. Why? Because everything belongs to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) and everything shall come back to him. Sit and try to count the blessings Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) has bestowed upon you. Have you ever tried to count stars?
'And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude' (Surat Ibrahim, Ayat 34).
We have not understood the weight of this Qur'an that we rest on our high shelves, this Noble book that was sent to give life to the dead. For even if our hearts were as solid as rock they would have crumbled to the ground in fear and hope of Allah's (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) punishment and Mercy. Could it be that our hearts are harder than that mountain?
'Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and split asunder in fear of Allah (Surat al-Hashr, Ayat 21).
Dear brothers and sisters, as you fill the Masajid for Qiyamul Layl in the last ten nights of Ramadan, remember what Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) wants you to know:
'Know ye that Allah is strict in punishment and that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.'
There shall be a night, some night in your life that you shall awaken in Jannah or Hell fire. Anas ibn Malik, on his deathbed, prayed to Allah, (Subhanahu wa ta'ala), 'O Allah, protect from a night whose morning brings a journey to hell fire.' Think about that morning.
Peace shall descend on Laylatul Qadr until the dawn. It may be that you shall leave the Masjid after Fajr one day soon forgiven by Allah, Glorious and Most High.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The concept of Charity in Islam

Charity, preached by every religion of the world, is a way of bringing justice to society. And justice is the essence of religion, Islam has therefore made charity that is Zakah, obligatory and binding upon all those who embrace the faith; it has been made into an institution in order to give in permanence and regularity.

A society can flourish only when its members do not spend all their wealth to fulfil their own desires but reserve a portion of it for parents, relatives, neighbors, the poor and the debilitated. As the saying goes: Charity begins at home. A true believer is thus always prepared, after meeting the needs of his family, to assist other people in need of his help.

Thus the spirit of kindness and well wishing is the essence of charity. The giver is not to expect any reward from the beneficiary as there awaits for him an abundant reward from God - material, moral and spiritual - what God deems it best to confer on His servant.

Charity should be lawfully earned or acquired by the giver. It should include such things as are of use and value to others.

"Charity is for those in need." This is general principle which enjoins us to help people in need, be they good or bad, on the right path or not, Muslims or non-Muslims. No one should judge in these matters. The foremost ends in charity should be God's pleasure and our own spiritual good. The concept of charity in Islam is thus linked with justice. It is not limited to the redressal of grievances. It implies apart from the removal of handicaps, the recognition of the right that every human being has to attain the fullness of life.

The spirit of helping others to earn God's pleasure is best reflected in Muslim society in the field of education. The greatest charity for a Muslim is to learn something and then teach it to other Muslims in large numbers. Thus Muslims have devoted themselves to other's education generation after generation. Knowledge is the most wonderful thing in the whole universe. That is why there is nothing greater then knowledge being imparted by one human being to another. Muslims on a large scale have engaged themselves in receiving education and imparting it to others, individually as well as by establishing maktabs and madrasas, that is, primary schools and Colleges. These educational institutions established in the house of the teachers or in separate buildings, generally made no charges for instruction. During the medieval period, these madrasas flourished in tens of thousands throughout the Muslim world. The wealthy people helped in running these madrasas, not only though Zakah, but also by making endowments (wakf), of their properties as these madrasas. The income from these properties met the needs of these schools. The orphans and poor people were given stipends over and above free board and lodging.

There are two forms of charity in Islam - obligatory and voluntary, called Zakah and Sadaqah respectively.

The concept of charity appears in most of the world's religions. The Islamic tradition has rigid laws associated with it. It is said that those Muslims who do not abide by them are surely noticed by their God, Allah (SWT). Charity in Islam is seen as an amplification of the ideal of community within the religion. When a Muslim person raises funds he is not gathering money for a stranger, rather he is acting on behalf of his own family. Everyone in the Islamic community is seen to reside in the house of Allah, as one people. Thus the definition of charity in Islamic tradition differs somewhat from its interpretation in other contexts.

The Qur'an states: 'And be steadfast in your prayer and pay charity; whatever good you send forth for your future, you shall find it with Allah, for Allah is well aware of what you do' (2:110). Charity is central to a Muslim's life.

The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person, said Prophet Muhammad (SAS). He also said "No wealth (of a servant of Allah) is decreased because of charity." (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 2247).

This writer believes in the axiom "WE KNOW HOW TO MAKE MONEY BUT WE DO NOT KNOW WHO TO SPEND MONEY". We spend the first 20 to 30 years of our lives in acquiring skilled and marketable talents to earn money, but we are not taught how to spend money. We are not given guidance concerning financial transactions.

Spending in the way of Allah 'fee Sabil Allah" e.g. in Hajj, in Jihad, the poor, on widows and orphans or on relatives and friends to help them out. The Qur'an encourages the Muslim to donate their funds: 'the likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain that sprouts seven spikes. In every spike there are 100 grains, and Allah multiplies for whom He will' (2:261). Giving charity is thereby not seen as detracting from income, but rather as a multiplication in terms of spiritual observance. It is like one who sows a good grain of wheat in the field from which grows a plant on which sprout seven ears and each ear yields hundred grains. As a result, one grain was worth a total yield of 700 grains. When one spends in the way of Allah, he or she receives in return (reward in the Hereafter) on the scale of one to seven hundred.

Sayyidna Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) said: The rewards of spending one dirham in Jihad and Hajj is equal to 700 dirhams.

How to get 700 grains out of one grain? This is possible only when the grain is good. The farmer is an expert in the art of farming. The soil for the grain should be good; we need to add fertilizer, water, and sunshine to the plant. One needs to prevent disease to the plant and also prevent the plant to be eaten by cattle, etc. Similarly that which is spent in the way of Allah should be clean, pure and Halal (lawful)- BECAUSE ALLAH ALMIGHTY ACCEPTS NOTHING EXCEPT WHAT IS CLEAN, PURE AND HALAL.

Spender should be good in intentions and righteous in deeds. The one to whom Sadaqah (charity) is given should also be deserving of it. It should not be wasted by spending on the non-deserving.

Masnoon (according to Sunnah)

Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying that Allah, the Most Blessed and High, said: O son of Adam, I will spend on you. The right hand of Allah is full and overflowing and nothing would diminish it, by overspending day and night. (Sahih Muslim; Kitab al-Zakat; p. 477)

The following five words are the most frequently used words to describe charity in the Noble Qur'an:

1. Infaq fi Sabil Allah (spending in the path of Allah). Infaq Meaning spending benevolently

2. Ihsan Meaning the doing of good or (kindness and consideration

3. Zakah Meaning growth or purification

4. Sadaqah Derived from the root sidq and meaning truth, and comes to signify charitable deed

5. Khayrat Meaning good deeds

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE LOVE OF ALLAH

Ten causes that result in Allah's love for His slave and the slave's love for his Lord.

These ten are:
First, reciting the Qur'an while pondering over its meanings and what is meant by it.

Second, getting closer to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after completing obligatory deeds. This is as is stated in a Hadith Qudsi: "My slave continues getting closer to Me by performing voluntary deeds until I love him." (al-Bukhari)

Third, continual remembrance of Allah under all circumstances, with one’s tongue, heart and actions. The extent of one’s love of Allah is determined by this.

Fourth, giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when you are overtaken by your desires.

Fifth, the heart being avid of Allah's Names, and Attributes and the heart roaming in that garden of knowledge

Sixth, observing Allah's kindness, goodness and bounties, both hidden and open.

Seventh, and this is the most wonderful, the heart being soft, subdued and meek before Allah.

Eighth, being alone with Allah during the time when the Lord descends during the last portion of the night while reading His Book and ending that by asking for forgiveness and repenting.

Ninth, sitting with the beloved and sincere, benefitting from the most fruitful of their speech. And not to speak unless speaking is more beneficial and you know that it will improve your state and be beneficial to others.

Tenth, remaining away from every cause that comes between the heart and Allah.

These ten causes take the lovers to the station of true love and bring them to their Beloved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Seek Laylat-ul-Qadr

Laylat ul-Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If a believing person is zealous to obey his Lord and increase the good deeds in his record, he should strive to encounter this night and to pass it in worship and obedience. If this is facilitated for him, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.

Praying Qiyaam


It is recommended to make a long Qiyaam prayer during the nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many hadeeths, such as the following:
Abu Tharr (radhiallahu `anhu) relates:
"We fasted with Allah's Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in Ramadaan. He did not lead us (in qiyaam) at all until there were seven (nights of Ramadaan) left. Then he stood with us (that night - in prayer) until one third of the night had passed. He did not pray with us on the sixth. On the fifth night, he prayed with us until half of the night had passed. So we said, 'Allah's Messenger! Wouldn't you pray with us the whole night?' He replied:
'Whoever stands in prayer with the imaam until he (the imaam) concludes the prayer, it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.'…" [Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi (who authenticated it), an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, at-Tahawi (in Sharhu Ma`an il-Athar, Ibn Nasr, al-Faryabi, and al-Bayhaqi. Their isnad is authentic.]
[Point of benefit: Abu Dawud mentioned: "I heard Ahmad being asked, 'Do you like for a man to pray with the people or by himself during Ramadan?' He replied, 'Pray with the people.' I also heard him say, 'I would prefer for one to pray (qiyaam) with the imaam and to pray witr with him as well, for the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "When a man prays with the imaam until he concludes, it is recorded that he prayed the rest of that night." [Masaa'il]]
Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu `anhu) narrated that the Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylat ul-Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah's reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the addition "and it is facilitated for him" is recorded by Ahmad from the report of `Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.]

Making Supplications

It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. `A'ishah (radhiallahu `anha) reported that she asked Allah's Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), "O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylat ul-Qadr, what should I say during it?" And he instructed her to say:
"Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuh.ibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me." [Recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmithi. Verified to be authentic by Al-Albani]

Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship
It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylat ul-Qadr is likely to be. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah.
`A'ishah (radhiallahu `anha) reported:
"When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer), and wake up his family." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And she said:
"Allah's Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights." [Muslim]

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maximize the last 10 days of Ramadan

Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) is described in the Quran as, "better than a thousand months" (97:3). Any action done on this night such as reciting the Quran, remembering Allah, etc. is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of Qadr.
Allah's Messenger used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time." (Muslim). Allah's peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet.
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, related that the Prophet said: Look for Laylatul Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).
The Prophet said: "Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven." (Bukhari and Muslim recorded from Abu Huraira).
Here are some tips of things we can do on the Night of Power and the time before and after it.

1. Take a vacation for Allah.

We take a break from our jobs for almost everything in life. Why not this time to focus on worshiping and thanking our Creator.
If this is not possible at least take a few days off if you can. This can make it easier to stay awake at night to do extra Ibadah, not having to worry about getting to work the next day. It will also facilitate doing Itikaf.

2. Do I'tikaf.

It was a practice of the Prophet to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in the masjid for I'tikaf.
Those in I'tikaf stay in the masjid all this time, performing various forms of zikr (the remembrance of Allah), like doing extra Salat, recitation and study of the Quran. They do not go outside the masjid except in case of emergencies, therefore, they sleep in the masjid. Their families or the masjid administration takes care of their food needs. I'tikaf of a shorter period of time, like one night, a day or a couple of days is encouraged as well.

3. Make this special Dua.

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.' "(Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).
The transliteration of this Dua is "Allahumma innaka 'afuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee"

4. Recite the Quran.

Perhaps you can choose Surahs or passages from the Quran, which you have heard in Tarawih this past Ramadan to recite.
If you attend a class where the recitation of the Quran is taught, this is a great time to put your knowledge into practice.

5. Reflect on the meaning of the Quran.

Choose the latest Surah or Surahs you've heard in Tarawih and read their translation and Tafseer. Then think deeply about their meaning and how it affects you on a personal level.

6. Get your sins wiped out.

Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger said: Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven. [Bukhari and Muslim).
Don't just pray using the shorter Surahs that you know. Try to make your prayers longer, deeper and meaningful. If you are familiar with longer Surahs, read the translation and explanation and then pray reciting these Surahs, carefully reflecting on the meaning while you pray.
Even if you are only familiar with the shorter Surahs, read the translation and explanation beforehand, and then pray reflecting on the message of the Surahs.
This is a good way to develop the habit of concentration, even in regular prayers, where many of us tend to be fidgety and/or easily distracted.

7. Make a personal Dua list.

Ask yourself what you really want from Allah. Make a list of each and everything, no matter how small or how big it is, whether it deals with this world or not. Allah loves to hear from us. Once this list is ready, you can do three things:
* Ask Allah to give you those things
* Think about what actions you have taken to get those things
* Develop a work plan to get those things in future.

8. Evaluate yourself.

Ask yourself those questions that need to be asked. Do an evaluation of where you are and where you are going. Let this evaluation lead you to feel happiness for the good you have done and remorse for the bad you have done. This latter feeling should make it easier to seek Allah's sincere forgiveness when making the Dua mentioned in tip number one above.

9. Make long, sincere and deep Duas

One of the best times to do this is during the last part of the night.
Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet said: When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One descends towards the heaven of the earth and proclaims: Who is that who supplicates for Me, and I grant his supplication? Who is that who begs Me for anything and I grant it to him? And who is that who seeks My forgiveness, and I forgive him? (Bukhari, Muslim).
That means for instance, waking up one hour before Suhoor time to ask Allah for anything and everything you want that is Halal. This can be done using the Duas of the Sunnah, but also Dua in your own language, with sincerity and conviction.

10. Memorize a different Dua every night

They don't have to be long. They can be just one line. And be sure to know what they mean generally at least, even if you don't know the exact translation in English.
You can put them on index cards (or and keep them with you during the day, glancing at them during work, while driving, waiting in line, etc.) Then practice them at night in prayer.

11. Have Iftar with the family

If you've spent Iftar time on weekdays in your cubicle at work alone with a couple of dates, now is the last few days you'll have this Ramadan to spend with your family. Use it wisely.

12. Take the family to Tarawih

Have your spouse and kids missed Tarawih most of Ramadan because you weren't there to drive them to the Masjid, which is too far away to walk to? If so, do all of yourselves a favour and bring everyone for Tarawih in these last ten nights.

13. Attend the Dua after the completion of Quran recitation

Almost all Masjids where the Imam aims to finish an entire reading of the Quran in Tarawih prayers in Ramadan will be completing their recitation in these last ten nights. They may try to end on one of the odd nights and read the Dua at the end of a reading of the Quran. Attend this particular night's Tarawih prayer with your family. See if you can attend different Masjids' Tarawih prayers the night they finish reading the Quran.

14. Finish reading a book on the Prophet

Read about the Prophet's life, which can increase your love for him and Islam by seeing how much he struggled for Allah's sake. It may inspire you to push yourself even harder during these last ten nights. This community is built on sacrifice.

15. Plan for the next year

Once you've done a self-evaluation, you can plan on where you want to go, at least in the next 12 months. Laylatul Qadr is a great night to be thinking about this (without taking away from your worship), since you'll Insha Allah, be in a more contemplative state. You may choose to dedicate one night of power for evaluation and one night for planning for the next year.

16. To do list for the Night of Power

Make a to do checklist for each Night of Power. This should define how you would like your night, the one better than a thousand months, to be used. Pick things from this list and define the sequence you would like to do things in. This will help you avoid wasting your time in unproductive chats which common in the festive atmosphere of Masjids at the Night of Power.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Laylat al-Qadr: The Night of Power

Let's analyze the significance of Laylat al-Qadr with commentary, (tafseer) on chapter 97 of Al-Qur'an, Al-Qadr (the Night of Power).
Al-Qadr
This chapter (surah) was revealed in Makkah, and its basic theme is honoring the revelation of this blessed book, the Holy Qur`an. The Night of Power or honor is a special gift only to the community (Ummah) of Islam. The night is one which even the angels in the heavens see as worthy of witnessing. The night is so rich with holiness, as the night when good deeds are returned, and is equal to a thousand months in the sight of Allah.
Occasion Of Revelation
In a report by Abi Hatim and Al-Wahidi, by way of Mujahid, the Messenger (saas) mentioned that there was a man among the Israelites who devoted his life to the cause of Allah for a thousand months. The companions were amazed and impressed, but were saddened because they knew there would be no way that they could reach this status of devotion. So Allah (SWT) revealed this surah to inform them that He had just blessed this Ummah with the Night of Honor, which is equal to a thousand months.
"We have indeed revealed it, (Al-Qur`an) in the Night of Power." (Al-Qur`an 97:1)
There are several points pertaining to the meaning of this verse:
The meaning and the use of the pronoun "We" is a style in Al-Qur`an that when the Creator (SWT) is mentioned as a pronoun, He is referred to by "We" or "I," as is evidenced in this surah. Elsewhere He said, "Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: `I will create a vicegerent..." (Al-Qur`an, 2:30). There is no problem when Allah uses the pronoun "I" to refer to His Exalted Self, but when he uses "We" the explanation becomes warranted because it cannot be perceived to indicate plural. There is unanimity among the scholars that "We" indicates respect and exaltation for the Creator and Cherisher of all the worlds, whose greatness is incomprehensibly vast and beyond our imagination.
Or, it is referring to Allah (SWT) and the angels who carry out his words to one all, in every level of His dominion. It cannot mean plural, or more than One Allah, for that would necessitate dropping in ranks, the absoluteness, and the powers of each competing deity. If each is capable of being absolute, each would have been independent from the other and the idea that each deity can be independent from the other, is evidence that none is absolute. This is inconceivable of Allah (SWT) therefore, "We" cannot mean anything but respect and exaltation of the One and Only.
"...Have Indeed Revealed It In the Night of Power" (Al-Qur`an 97:1)
There is again unanimity among the commentators that "it" refers to Al-Qur'an, meaning "We revealed" Al-Qur'an in the Night of Power. He (SWT) did not mention Al-Qur'an explicitly because to refer to Al-Qur'an by the pronoun implies a certain divine uniqueness of this book, as well as greatness and honor that may not be attained if the word Al-Qur'an was used instead. First, it ascribed the revelation of Al-Qur'an to Himself, and not to anyone else. Second, referring to Al-Qur'an by pronoun is an indication that the revelation of this book was not a secret that no one knew about. Its revelation was an event widely known to all during the time of Muhammad (saas) and after, guarding against anyone who may like to challenge it or claim any honor of teaching Muhammad (saas) Al-Qur'an. Third, the statement also meant to honor and memorialize the time period in which Al-Qur'an was revealed.
By revealing Al-Qur'an in the Night of Power, Allah (SWT) inaugurated or started its revelation for the beginning of the prophethood ('Bi'ethah), and the Prophet's mission of Al-Islam began in the month of Ramadan on that Night. Al-Qur'an was not revealed in one night; it was revealed over the course of 23 years. Ibn Abbas (raa) said: The whole Qur'an was revealed to the lower heavens from the protective slate (Lawhul Mahfuz) on the Night of Power, then from there to the earth in the course of 23 years.
The word power, Al-Qadr, has several implications and meaning, but we cover only those implications which are relevant to the issues here.
Qadr implies having power over something, as in the case of the Creator over the creation. Allah's (SWT) excellence is Al-Qadr, capable, omnipotent, almighty, all powerful. It also implies excellence and high esteem, and as for this Night of Power, it is highly esteemed and regarded. For this night is equal to over 80 years in the sight of Allah (SWT).
It also implies to maintain, appoint, assign or decree an order. Thus, in the Night of Power, Allah (SWT) proclaims to the angels His commands and orders in regards to the affairs of the universe. From this meaning is derived the concept of Al-Qada Wa Qadar, the fifth article of faith, that Allah has decreed or preordained or, in other words, has full knowledge of all that the human being will do with his free will. A man's decision to act freely in good conscience or bad conscience is all known to Allah (SWT), past, present and future.
Qadr also implies measurement, that is all the events of the year will occur in accordance to the exact measurement of what is in the knowledge of Allah, Who states: "Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure." (Al-Qur`an, 54:49)
Why the name, the Night of Power?
As mentioned above, it is the night of Taqdeer, meaning the one in which Allah (SWT) announces to the angels His already decreed commands, rules, events, etc., for the coming calendar year, from the present Night of Power to the next Night of Power. Allah (SWT) states:
"We sent it down during a blessed night; We forever wish to warn (against evil). In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom." (Al-Qur`an, 44:3-4)
It should be known that most scholars believe Allah's commands and rules are not made on that night. It has already been decreed in the eternity what is known to Allah, but that knowledge is not known to anyone, including the angels, until He announces it to the angels on that night so that they will record it on the protective slate.
This is also the night of honor and prestige which may be awarded to the servant who devotes himself to special deeds, or to the deeds themselves for the higher value they contain on that night.
The Night Is Concealed
Allah (SWT) in His mercy, has concealed the Night of Power from us for the following reasons: The problems pertaining to an exact night on which the honors are attained are not unique with this Night. It seems that Allah conceals many things. He conceals his pleasure from us in all our good deeds so that we will strive in all of them. He conceals His wrath from us in all of the sins we commit so that we will avoid them. He conceals His most beloved servants ('awliya) so that we will respect all the believers. He has concealed the time of His acceptance of our supplications so that we will strive in all our supplications. He concealed his greatest name, so that we mention all His names. He has concealed the time of death so that we will be conscious of Him and our deeds all the time.
He has concealed the exact date of the Night of Power so that we would double our the efforts in the whole month of Ramadan, or at least the last ten days. He has concealed it also to test the serious and the non-serious. The seriously interested person will search for the night late and in the early hours until he or she attains it, regardless of the hardship.
Where Is The Night?
The majority of the scholars who agreed that the night occurs in the month of Ramadan, disagreed on the exact night. Some said it comes on the first day of Ramadan. Others said it is on the seventh; while others say its on the 19th night. All these opinions are not built on sound proof. There is evidence that the night comes on the last ten days of Ramadan, specifically on the odd numbered nights. In a report by Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: "Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."
In a hadith by Ibn Umar (raa), some men among the companions saw the night in a dream occurring in the last seven nights. Responding to this, the Messenger of Allah (saas) told them, "I see your dreams coincide on the last seven, whoever wants to seek it should do so in the last seven." (Agreed upon)
In Muslim's report, the Prophet (saas) said, "Seek the night in the last ten days, and if any of you is weak, or can't observe it, he should not miss the remaining seven days." In Hadith by Ubayy bin Ka'ab (raa), he said: "By Allah, I know which night it is. It is the night the Messenger commanded us to observe, the night of the 27th." (Ahmed/Tirmidhi)
Analyzing all these citations indicates still no one knows for sure which night is the Night of Power, at least in a given year. It seems that the night shifts and rotates to different nights from one year to another. It may occur on the 27th in one year, while the next year it will be on the 25th, while on the following year it will be occurring on the 29th, etc. There is an indication to this in hadith by Bukhari, when the Messenger of Allah (saas) states: "Seek it on the twenty-ninth; it may be on the twenty-seventh, or on the twenty-fifth." Imam Ibn Hajr, in his book, "Fathul Bari", in the commentary of the Book of Bukhari, said: ``I accept the ruling that the night occurs on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, namely the twenty-first, twenty-third, twenty-fifth, twenty-seventh and or twenty-ninth.''
Seeking The Night
It is recommended to seek the night and spend it diligently in devotion, including night Sunnah prayers (Tahajjud), recitation of Al-Qur'an and supplications. In a hadith related by Abu Hurairah (raa), the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: "He who spends the night in prayer on the Night of Power, as a sign of His faith, and seeking rewards from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven." (Bukhari/Muslim) This citation indicates that regardless of whether a person knows the night or not, Allah will grant him forgiveness for previous shortcomings.
" And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is?; The Night of Power is better than a thousand months." (Al-Qur`an 97:2-3)
Allah (SWT) is emphasizing by putting the second verse in question form. The answer being no one knows, or comprehends, the awesomeness and the depth of honor of the night. As if to say whatever merits Allah informs you about the night is just nothing compared to the things you have no idea about. Nonetheless, He mentions three honors in the credit of the night: 1."The Night is better than a thousand months. 2. "Therein, come down the angels..." and 3. "Peace!"
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. This indicates that acts of worship such as prayer, charity, and recitation done on this night are better in reward than the same act done on other nights. The rewards (thawaab) are being multiplied several-fold.
Imam Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (saas) was shown the long life span of people of previous nations, so the Prophet bemoaned the shortness of the life span of the Ummah, fearing that they might not be able to save many good deeds for the Hereafter. Therefore, Allah gave him the Night of Power to compensate for their lack of longevity. Hence, the devoted believer has as chance of adding 80 something years of worship to his life on the Night of Power. You see, for instance, if you worship Allah on this night every year for 65 years, by multiplying 65 by 80, you would have lived for 5,200 years, or achieved the reward of a person who lived that long.
You can see why the devotions were highly encouraged by the Prophet. Indeed, you can achieve the honor of the Night of Power if you so wish by spending the odd nights of the last ten days in acts of worship.
"Therein, come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand." (Al-Qur`an 97:4)
This is far from the earlier cry of the angels who, when Allah told them, "...I will create a vicegerent on earth," they said, "Will you place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?..." (Al-Qur`an, 2:30)
You see, when the angels first looked at our spirit with its traits of mischief, vanity and desires, and the rages of anger, they, the embodiment of all that is good, did not like us at all. That explains their response in the above verse. So is the case with parents, when they first conceptualize the shape of the offspring, semen and congealed blood; they do not like it. They will even wash their hands, clothes and everything that this substance touches, a gruesome thing. They may even think about aborting the baby in the beginning.
But after the baby is being fashioned in the most beautiful shape and they feel the movement of life, they change from dislike to caring love.
That is seemingly what happened to the angels. When they saw in us this beautiful spirit of knowing the Creator, and worshipping Allah alone, they changed from dislike to complete love, and cannot wait for another Night of Power to come down so they can pray for us. Allah states: "...And they implore forgiveness for those who believe..." (Al-Qur`an, 40:7)
He used the form (tanazzal) "They come", to indicate that the angels descend on the Night of Power, group after group; some coming down to earth while others ascend into the heaven. This heavenly, angelic organized traffic of good will continues until the break of dawn.
As for the reasons why they come, there are several explanations including: (1) they descend to witness how we worship and obey Allah, and (2) to show their deep love for the believers. This is why they seek permission from Allah to come and meet us. This is a once-a-year opportunity they do not like to miss. (3) Allah promised the believers that in the hereafter, angels will approach on them with greetings: "...And the angels shall enter into them from every gate (with the salutation): Peace be unto you for that you persevered in patience..." (Al-Qur`an, 13:23-24)
Now, if you preoccupy yourself with worship of Allah, the angels will descend on you with salutations. (4) Allah (SWT) singles out this night with honors on the earth so the angels can come down and increase their rewards, and as a means to encourage the human race to worship. (5) Realization that the angels are around is encouragement for the servants to devote more time to good deeds as a man will work harder when a foreman is present.
"...And the Spirit..." (Al-Qur`an 97:4)
There are several explanations for the meaning of the Spirit: (1) The Spirit is comprised of groups of special angels who are seen only on the Night of Power; (2) it is referring to Al-Qur`an, as Allah (SWT) stated: "And thus have We, by Our command sent inspiration (spirit) to thee..." (Al-Qur`an 42:52), (3) This is a reference to Angel Jibreel, as this is a special honor to Jibreel who has been mentioned twice Surah 42 first with another angel, and separately as the spirit of Allah (SWT) as the Qur`an says: "Verily this is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. With it came down the spirit of faith and truth." (Al-Qur`an, 26:192-193) Thus the correct explanation of the spirit, Ruuh, is Jibreel in this verse to indicate the angels on one side and Jibreel on the other, while they were descending.
"...By Allah`s permission..."
This indicates the angels extend a request to come to meet the believers; and to underscore the fact that angels are infallible; that they do not make a move without explicit permission from their Lord. Allah (SWT) states: "They speak not before He speaks, and they act (in all things) by His command." (Al-Qur`an, 21:27) "(The angels say) We descend not but by command of thy Lord..." (Al-Qur`an 19:64)
"(Their) Lord." It indicates honor for the angels. It is as if Allah (SWT) is saying ``They are for Me and I am for them''. Similarly, Allah (SWT) said regarding us: "Verily your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six days..." (Al-Qur`an, 10:3) And regarding Prophet Muhammad (saas) Allah said: "Behold, your Lord said to the angels..." (Al-Qur'an, 2:30)
It has been reported that when Prophet David was terminally ill, he asked Allah to be for his son Solomon, as He was for him. Allah (SWT) replied, saying: "Tell Solomon to be for Me as you are for Me. (Al-Qur`an 2:30)
"...On every errand..."
This indicates the angels and the Spirit descend for different purposes: some come down for prostration, some for bowing, and others for supplications for the believers and salutations. Or they come down carrying with them the proclamations of the coming year.
"Peace!..." (Al-Qur`an 97:5)
There are several explanations to this verse: (1) The whole Night of Power, from sunset to the break of dawn, will be spent by the angeles in salutation. (2) The purpose is to describe the night with peace because of the salutation from the angels. That is very important, because when seven angels visited Prophet Ibrahim (saas) and saluted him, he was very happy, and when Nimrod threw him in the fire, it turned ice-cold when the angels saluted him. (3) This is a wish of safety and peace from all evil and harmful things, or the angels will only bring on this night, good things!
"...Until the rise of morn." (Al-Qur`an 97:5)
All the honor, blessings and peace of the Night of Power will continue in every second of the night until Fajr. Allah (SWT) is the Best Knower.

Don't Use Mosque As Political Arena, Says Selangor Sultan

SHAH ALAM, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- The Sultan of Selangor reminded Muslims not to use mosques in the state as a political arena.
"Such use of mosques can cause disunity that is detrimental to the community and can also destroy the progress that Selangor has achieved," Sultan Sharafuddin Idris said when opening the Desa Subang Permai Mosque here Saturday.
He hoped the mosque committee could organise programmes to benefit all Muslims in the area regardless of age or status.
The mosque on 1.04 hectares was built at the end of 1997 at a cost of RM2 million.
The Sultan also urged corporations not to neglect their social responsibility of helping to raise the standard of living of the people.

tunku : only "satan" uses mosque for personal agenda or for their political views.latest in the list is ali setan. election is coming so he used this opportunity to get political party to engage him for their ceramahs. it's all about money.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Muslims Worship Kaaba :: Misconception about Islam

This is especially for the non Muslim as they had the misconseption that Muslim worship Kaabah.

Kaaba is the Qibla i.e. the direction Muslims face during their prayers. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Kaaba during prayers, they do not worship the Kaaba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah. It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah: “We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn thee to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction.”

1. Islam believes in fostering unity [Al-Qur'an 2:144] For instance, if Muslims want to offer Salaah (Prayer), it is possible that some may wish to face north, while some may wish to face south. In order to unite Muslims in their worship of the One True God, Muslims, wherever they may be, are asked to face in only one direction i.e. towards the Kaaba. If some Muslims live towards the west of the Kaaba they face the east. Similarly if they live towards the east of the Kaaba they face the west.

2. Kaaba is at the Centre of the World Map The Muslims were the first people to draw the map of the world. They drew the map with the south facing upwards and north downwards. The Kaaba was at the centre. Later, western cartographers drew the map upside down with the north facing upwards and south downwards. Yet, Alhamdullilah the Kaaba is at the centre of the world map.

3. Tawaf around Kaaba for indicating one God When the Muslims go to Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah, they perform tawaf or circumambulation round the Kaaba. This act symbolizes the belief and worship of One God, since, just as every circle has one centre, so also there is only one Allah (swt) worthy of worship.

4. Hadith of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) Regarding the black stone, hajr-e-aswad, there is a hadith (tradition), attributed to the illustrious companion of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). According to Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, book of Hajj, chapter 56, H.No. 675. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (pbuh) touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you”.

5. People stood on Kaaba and gave the adhaan At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Kaaba and gave the ‘adhaan’ or the call to prayer. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Kaaba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Important Lessons from Ramadhan

Allah -The Most High - said: "The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’aan was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadhan, he must fast that month." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:185].
Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Islam is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and the Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving the Zakaah performing Hajj to the House, and lasting in Ramadhan." [1]
He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said:
"There has come to you Ramadhan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has truly been deprived."[2]
From the many important lessons to be learnt from fasting are:
[1]: GAINING TAQWAA
Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain taqwaa as Allah - the Most High - said: "O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwaa." [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:183].
Talq ibn Habeeb (d.100H) - rahimahullaah - said:
"When fitnah (trial and tribulation) appears then extinguish it with taqwaa." So he was asked as to what taqwaa was, so he replied: "Taqwaa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (i.e. eemaan, faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And taqwaa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah."[3]
"This is one of the best definitions of taqwaa. For every action must have both a stating point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or newness to Allah unless it sluts from pure eemaan (faith in Allah). Thus, it is pure eemaan - and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its flee - that should be what initiates an action. And the preparation showed, to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure."[4] So Fasting is a means of attaining taqwaa, since it helps prevent a person from many sins that one is prone to. Due to this, the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Fasting is a shield with which the servant protects himself from the Fire."[5] So we should ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this lasting made us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?

[2]: SEEKING NEARNESS TO ALLAH
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to me with anything more beloved to me than the obligatory duties that I have placed upon him. My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with optional deeds so that I shall love him."[6]
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him."[7]
So drawing closer to Allah - the Most Perfect - in this blessed month, can be achieved by fulfilling one's obligatory duties; and also reciting the Qur’aan and reflecting upon its meanings, increasing in kindness and in giving charity, in making du‘aa (supplication) to Allah, attending the Taraaweeh Prayer, seeking out Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power and Pre-Decree), a night which is better than a thousand months, attending gatherings of knowledge, and striving in those actions that will cause the heart to draw closer to its lard and to gain His forgiveness. Our level of striving in this blessed month should be greater than our striving to worship Allah in any other month, due to the excellence and rewards that Allah has placed in it. Likewise from the great means of seeking nearness to Allah in this month is making I‘tikaaf (seclusion in the mosque in order to worship Allah) - for whoever is able.
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H) - rahimahullaah - said:
"Allah also prescribed i’tikaaf for them, the objective being that the heart becomes fully preoccupied with Allah - the Most High - concentrated upon Him alone, and cut-off from being preoccupied with the creation. Rather, the heart is only engrossed with Allah - the Most Perfect - such that loving Him, remembering Him, and turning to Him takes the place of all the heart's anxieties and worries, so that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Allah, and his thoughts are all directed towards remembering Him and thinking of how to attain His Pleasure and what will cause nearness to him which leads him to feel contented with Allah instead of people. This, in turn prepares him for being at peace with Allah alone, on the day of loneliness in the grave, when there will be no one else to give comfort, nor anyone to grant solace, except Him. So this is the greater goal of I‘tikaaf." [8]

[3]: ACQUIRING PATIENCE
Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) - rahimahullaah - said:
"Allah has mentioned sabr (patience) in over ninety places in His Book." [9]
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"The month of Patience, and the three days of every month, are times for fasting." [10]
Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (d.464H) - rahimahullaah - said:
"What is meant by the month of Patience is the month of Ramadhan ... So fasting is called patience because it restrains the soul from eating, drinking, conjugal relations and sexual desires." [11]
He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"O youths! Whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so; for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. But whoever is unable, then let him fast, because it will be a shield for him." [12]
So fasting is a means of learning self-restraint and patience. With patience we are able to strengthen our resolve to worship Allah alone, with sincerity, and also cope with life's ups and downs. So - for example - with patience we are able to perform our Prayers calmly and correctly, without being hasty, and without merely pecking the ground several times! With patience we are able to restrain our souls from greed and stinginess and thus give part of our surplus wealth in Zakaah (obligatory charity). With patience we are able to subdue the soul's ill temperament, and thus endure the ordeal and hardships of Hajj, without losing tempers and behaving badly. Likewise, with patience we are able to stand firm and fight Jihaad against the disbelievers, hypocrites and heretics - withstanding their constant onslaught, without wavering and buckling, without despairing or being complacent and without becoming hasty and impatient at the first signs of hardship. Allah - the Most High - said:
"O Prophet, urge the Believers to fight ... So if there are one hundred who are patient, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be one thousand, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient ones." [Soorah al-Anfaal 8:65-66].
Thus, without knowledge and patience, nothing remains, except zeal and uncontrolled emotions, shouts and hollow slogans, speech that does not strengthen, but rather weakens, and actions that do not build, but rather destroy! So in this month, we should strive to develop a firm resolve for doing acts of obedience, and to adorn ourselves with patience - having certainty in the saying of our Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): "And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and case with hardship." [13]

[4]: CULTIVATING GOOD MANNERS
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Whosoever does not abandon falsehood in speech and action, then Allah the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink." [14]
He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also said:
"Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses or behaves ignorantly with you, then say: I am fasting, I am fasting." [15]
These narrations point towards the importance of truthfulness and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teaches us not only to abstain from food and drink, but to also abstain from such statements and actions that may be the cause of harming people and violating their rights - since the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said whilst describing the true Believer: "A Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand." [16] Thus it is upon us as individuals, to examine the shortcomings in our character, and to then seek to improve them - modeling ourselves upon the character of the last of the Prophets and Messengers, and their leader, Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) - aspiring also for the excellence which he mentioned in his saying: "I am a guarantor for a house on the outskirts of Paradise (or whosoever leaves off arguing, even if he is in the right; and a house in the centre of Paradise (or whosoever abandons falsehood, even when joking; and a house in the upper-most part of Paradise for whosoever makes his character good."[17] So by shunning oppression, shamelessness, harbouring hatred towards Muslims, back-biting, slandering, tale-carrying, and other types of falsehood, we can be saved from nullifying the rewards of our fasting - as Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "It may be that a fasting person, receives nothing from his fast, except hunger and thirst." [18]

[5]: SENSING MUSLIM UNITY
The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Fast when they fast, and break your fast when they break their fast, and sacrifice the day they sacrifice." [19]
Imaam at-Tirmidthee (d.275H) - rahimahullaah - said:
"Some of the People of Knowledge explained this hadeeth by saying: Its meaning is to fast and break the fast along with the Jamaa’ah and the majority of people." [10]
Thus, in this blessed month we can sense an increased feeling of unity and of being a single Ummah due to our fasting and breaking our fast collectively. We also feel an increased awareness about the state of affairs of the Muslims and of the hardships that they endure, because: "During the fast a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel, who are forced to go without food and drink for many days - as occurs today to many of the Muslims in Africa." [21] Indeed, the unity of the Muslims - and their aiding and assisting one another - is one of the great fundamentals upon which the Religion of Islaam is built, as Allah - the Most High -said: "And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allah and do not be divided." [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan 3:103]. Allah - the Most High - also said: "The Believers - men and women - and friends and protectors to one another." [Soorah at-Tawbah 9:44].
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728) - rahimahullaah - said:
"The welfare of people will not be complete - neither in this world, nor in the Hereafter - except with ijtimaa‘ (collectiveness), ta‘aawun (mutual cooperation), and tanaasur (mutual help); mutual cooperation in order to secure benefits, and mutual help in order to ward off harm. It is for this reason that man is said to be social and civil by nature." [22]
Thus we see that Islaam lays great importance in bringing hearts together and encouraging ijtimaa‘ (collectiveness). This is not only reflected in the month of Ramadhan, but also in the other acts of worship as well. So, for example, we have been ordered by the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to pray the five daily Prayers in congregation, and that it has been made twenty-seven times more rewarding than praying it individually. [23] Likewise, this similar collective spirit is demonstrated in the act of Hajj (Pilgrimage). Even in learning knowledge and studying it, blessings have been placed in collectiveness, as Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "No people gather together in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it amongst themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them to those that are with Him." [24] Likewise, even in our everyday actions such as eating, Islam teaches us collectiveness. Thus, when some of the Companions of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we eat but do not become satisfied. He replied: "Perhaps you eat individually?" They replied, Yes! So he said: "Eat collectively and mention the name of Allah. There will then be blessings for you in it." [25] Indeed, even in the etiquette’s of sitting the spirit of collectiveness ' is demonstrated. So, one day the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came across the Companions who were sitting in separate circles, so he said to them: "Why do I see you sitting separately!" [26] Similarly, Aboo Tha‘labah al-Khushanee (radiyAllahu ‘anhu) said: Whenever the people used to encamp, they used to split-up into the mountain passes and valleys. So Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Indeed your being split-up in these mountain passes and valleys is from Shaytaan." Thereafter, whenever they used to encamp, they used to keep very close together, to such an extent that it was said: If a cloth were to be spread over them, it would cover them all. [27]
Thus, Ramadhan is a time to increase our sense of unity and brotherhood, and our commitment to Allah and His Religion. And there is no doubt that this sense of unity necessitates that: "We all work together as required by Islam as sincere brothers - not due to hizbiyyah (bigoted party spirit), nor sectarianism - in order to realize that which is of benefit to the Islaamic Ummah and to establish the Islamic society that every Muslim aspires for so that the Sharee‘ah (Prescribed Law) of Allah is applied upon His earth" [28] So we must examine ourselves during the month of Ramadhan and ask: What is my role? - and each of us has a role - in helping this precious Ummah to regain its honour, and return to the Ummah its comprehensive unity and strength, and victory that has been promised to it? Likewise, we should reflect upon our own character and actions and ask: Are they aiding the process of unity and brotherhood, or are they a harm and a hindrance to it?
So we ask Allah to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better, during this blessed month, and not to be of those who are prevented from His Mercy and forgiveness. Indeed He is the One who Hears and He is the One to Respond.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Would You Do if You Knew This Was Your Last Ramadan? A Reminder for Us!!

We have 30 days of Ramadan each year. Some of us look forward it because of its bountiful benefits to our spiritual self. It makes us stronger inwardly and this helps us face another new year.
But sometimes, even though we know of its many benefits, we still feel weary and tired of fasting and keeping up with our many spiritual obligations from praying to reading and studying the Quran daily, and even watching how we speak and interact with people. No one ever said that fasting would be easy - it is not simply abstaining from food and water from daybreak to sunset. It is a whole lot more. Most of us know this.
And yet, being human, we start consciously or unconsciously slacking off, be it from duties such as praying or reading the Quran. Instead, we spend our day sleeping, might eating and talking instead of prayer and relection. If we feel guilty, then we tell ourselves that we will fast "properly" the next day. In some cases, when a bad cycle begins, it can be difficult to break it. And before we know it, Ramadan has ended. We celebrate Eid and another year begins. Well, maybe next year, we'll do it "properly".
But what if we do not get another chance to fast "properly" so that God forgives all of our sins? We may be healthy and fit right now, but what is the guarantee that we will remain healthy and fit tomorrow? If you knew that this was your last Ramadan, that something might prevent you from ever experiencing Ramadan again, would you not want to observe it the right way today, the best you can? So that you can reap of its benefits while you are still able to?
One of our writers' relative suffered a small stroke while fasting recently. The stroke was not fatal, nor will it be permanently damaging. But it was serious enough that she is not expected to be able to fast the rest of the month. Perhaps since she is of advanced age, she might not be able to fast any more for the rest of her life.
But that should give us all pause. We do not know what the future holds. We may be young and healthy, and have all of bodily and mental functions intact. But that can change in an instant. It is only when we think of our own mortality that we know how limiting we as human beings actually are. And how precious time is.
Do not waste your time. Use it well. And make this Ramadan count because we do not know what the future holds, if we are lucky enough to observe another one.
"Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair."
When we give him a taste of some Mercy from Ourselves, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say, "This is due to my (merit): I think not that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) be established; but if I am brought back to my Lord, I have (much) good (stored) in His sight!" But We will show the Unbelievers the truth of all that they did, and We shall give them the taste of a severe Penalty.
When We bestow favours on man, he turns away, and gets himself remote on his side (instead of coming to Us); and when evil seizes him, (he comes) full of prolonged prayer!"
(Quran, 41:49-51)
If we were to step back a moment and realize that this is the last Ramadan we will see in our lifetime, how would we spend it? Death we know can come to us at any time, yet we still remain so ignorant of the time now given to us to be utilized by Allah the Almighty.
I pray Allah gives, first of all me, and all Muslims the ability to utilize the month of Ramadan..May this Ramadan be our best so far, for we know not if we will witness the next, Aameen..
Jazaak Allah Khairan for reading.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ramadhan: the Month of Qur'an

By Br. Abu Dharr, Based on Ibn Rajab's "Lata'if al-Ma'arif"

Ramadan has a special relationship with the Qur'an, of course:
"The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it." (cf. Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)
The word 'so' (fa) in this ayah leads to the following paraphrase of one aspect of its meaning:
"Fast this month because it is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down."
Ibn 'Abbas narrates that "the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was the most generous person, and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan because Jibril would come to him every night and he would rehearse the Qur'an with him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Eng. trans. 6/486)
This hadith contains recommendation of the following:
* Studying the Qur'an in Ramadan;
* Coming together for this purpose;
* Checking (one's memory/knowledge of) the Qur'an with someone who has preserved it better;
* Increasing recitation of the Qur'an in Ramadan;
* That the night time is the best time to recite, when other preoccupations decrease and it is easier to concentrate, as in Surah al-Muzzammil 73:6.
Further, Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated from her father (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who told her that Jibril would rehearse the Qur'an with him (in Ramadan) once every year, and he did so twice in the year of his death. (Bukhari 6/485)
After mentioning the above aspects of the Sunnah, Ibn Rajab talks about the situation of the Salaf (the early Muslims) during Ramadan:
"... Some of the Salaf would complete reciting the whole Qur'an during the night prayer of Ramadan every 3 days, others every 7 days e.g. Qataadah, others in 10 days e.g. Abu Rajaa' al-Atardi. The Salaf would recite Qur'an in Ramadan in Prayer as well as outside it. Al-Aswad would finish the Qur'an every 2 nights in Ramadan; Ibrahim an-Nakh would do likewise in the last 10 nights specifically, & every 3 nights during the rest of the month. Qataadah would regularly finish the Qur'an in 7 days, but in 3 days during Ramadan, when he would study the Qur'an especially, and every night during its last 10 days. Al-Zuhri would say when Ramadan began, 'It is recitation of the Qur'an and feeding of people.'

When Ramadan began, Imam Malik would cease narrating Hadith and sitting with the people of knowledge, and stick to reciting the Qur'an from its pages, while Sufyan al-Thawri would leave other acts of worship and stick to reciting the Qur'an. 'Aishah would recite from the pages of the Qur'an at the beginning of the day in Ramadan (i.e. after Dawn), until when the sun had risen, she would sleep. Zayd al-Yaami would bring copies of the Qur'an when Ramadan began and gather his companions around him. ..."
Ibn Rajab later continues,
"The forbiddance of completing recitation of the Qur'an in less than 3 days applies to this being made a regular practice, but as for favoured times such as Ramadan, esp. the nights in which Laylat al-Qadr is sought, or favoured places such as Makkah for the visitor, it is recommended to increase reciting the Qur'an to avail the time and place. This is the view of Ahmad, Ishaq and other Imams, and the practice of others indicates this too."
The purpose here is not to discuss whether or not the latter view is correct or not, since that is purely academic for most of us, as we do not get anywhere near reciting the whole Qur'an in three days! However, the practice of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), his Companions, and those who followed their path, should be clear enough. As a further example, Bukhari (3/79) quotes from the noble Companion Zaid bin Thabit who answered the question, "How much time was there between the pre-dawn meal and the Dawn Prayer?" by saying, "Enough time to recite fifty ayat." Since the practice of the Arabs was to measure time in terms of everyday actions, this shows that the Sahabah were preoccupied with the Qur'an, especially in Ramadan.
Compare all this with our sad state, when we talk so much about establishing Islam, implementing the Qur'an, etc. and yet have such little contact with it, maybe not completing its recitation ever at all since childhood, or perhaps never! Hence we become unbalanced in our understanding of Islam, because there are ayat which we rarely or never hear or think about; we repeat only certain selected ayat over and over again; we lost the context of the verses, the overall flow, argument and balance of the Qur'an, all of which is beautiful & miraculous. Because of this ignorance we go astray from the Straight Path, split up into sects, lose the blessings of Allah...
"We took a covenant from those who said: we are Christians, but they forgot part of the message with which they had been reminded, so we ingrained amongst them enmity and hatred until the Day of Judgment..." (Surah al-Ma'idah 5:14)
In Sahih Bukhari (6/521), there is an amazing piece of advice from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace): "Recite the Qur'an as long as your hearts agree on it; if you disagree about it, stop reciting it (for the time being)." Studying the Qur'an should bring people together!
In Surah al-Mu'minoon (23:53), there is mention of the people before us (in whose footsteps we would follow), who broke up their Deen into sects (zuburan), each party rejoicing in what it had. One understanding of this, from the word zuburan meaning literally 'books', is that each sect left the Book of Allah and concentrated solely on the books of its own sect, so "they split their deen up into books"!
The most twisted, ridiculous, shallow ideas, innovations and superstitions are propagated amongst Muslims when they are away from the Qur'an, because any little knowledge of the Qur'an would be enough to dispel them.
Hence, O servant of Allah, leave aside secondary books and concentrate on studying the blessed Book of Allah in this blessed month (use a good translation/commentary if needed), for it is the source of all knowledge in other books, and keep away from wasting time, especially in futile discussions and arguments which lead nowhere, for that is a sure sign of being misguided, as the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Whenever a people went astray after they had been on guidance, they were given to argumentation (jadl)." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah - Sahih al-Jami' al-Saghir, no. 5633)
Finally, remember that the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) will complain to Allah on the Day of Judgment that his people neglected the Qur'an (Surah al-Furqan 25:30). Neglect of the Qur'an is of different levels, as Ibn al-Qayyim writes:
Not reciting or listening to it;
Not studying and understanding it;
Not conveying its message;
Not judging by it in personal and communal matters, at all levels of society;
Not believing in it.
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.