Farewell Ramadaan: Khutbah From Makkah

19 09 2009

Farewell Ramadaan

Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sudays

Translated By Hazem Ragab

Edited By Nasim Chowdhury

Summary

1) The course of life.

2) The anguish at the end of Ramadaan.

3 ) Those who rejoice during Ramadaan.

4) Acceptance of good deeds was the greatest concern of the salaf.

5) Acts of worship performed during Ramadaan.

6) The wonderful opportunity that Ramadaan represents

7) Persistence on obedience.

8) The effects of Ramadaan upon the soul.

9) The painful predicament of our Ummah.

10) Propaganda against Islaam and Muslims.

11) Salvation is achieved through sound faith.

12) Good deeds at the end of Ramadaan.

13) Zakaatul-Fitr (charity paid at the conclusion of Ramadaan).

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allaah, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah, for that is the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. It is the best provision for the Abode of Peace and whoever possesses it will prosper and be saved from all evils.

Fellow Muslims! When one ponders over the history of nations, they will realise that all are in the process of constant change. This is the course destined for them by Allaah and nothing can change that.

Brothers in Islaam! Tell me, if an honourable guest visits you in your dwellings, showers you with goodness and loves you – which you reciprocate; then the time for his departure arrives, how are you going to bid him farewell and how are you going to feel? What separation is then greater and more emotional than that from the beloved guest of the Muslims, the blessed month of Ramadaan?

Ramadaan is the month righteousness and generosity, the month of forgiveness and liberation from Hell. It is all but gone now and nothing remains of it but a few moments. Yesterday, we were congratulating each other on the arrival of the month; today we are consoling one another over its departure and invoking Allaah to accept all our acts of worship.

In this noble month, many have done good deeds while others have done the opposite. These are going to testify for or against us on the Day of Reckoning. We do not know whether we are going to live to witness this glorious month again or not. Therefore, the fortunate Muslim during this month was the one who was able to perfect their acts of worship with sincerity and self-examination and end it with sincere repentance, for acts are judged according to their ends.

Brothers in faith! Our righteous predecessors used to exert maximum effort in perfecting their acts of worship and had grave concerns regarding their acceptance or rejection. ‘Ali Ibn Abi Taalib warned: “Have a greater concern for the acceptance of your deeds than you do for the amount of deeds you have performed. Do not you hear the saying of Allaah: ‘Indeed, Allaah accepts only from the righteous” (Al Maa’idah: 27).

Fudhaalah ibn ‘Ubayd said, “To know that Allaah has accepted a single act of righteousness from me would be dearer to me than this world all that it contains.” This is how our diligent predecessors were. O Allaah! Forgive our negligence and have mercy on us all.

May the peace of Allaah be upon the month of fasting and night prayers! May the peace of Allaah be upon the month of the Qur’aan and the remembrance of Allaah! It has now passed like the twinkling of an eye, yet while it was here it was an arena for those who race to do good deeds. Endeavour then, to utilise the remaining hours of it by performing good deeds for Ramadaan can never be substituted by any other any month.

It is a month in which hearts are refined and sins are forgiven. It is a month of security and peace for the frightened. In this great month, many hands have been raised in supplication, many a tear has been shed and many a heart has been struck with the fear of Allaah. Allaah has showered His Mercy and Favour on many of His slaves in this month – particularly in the last ten days of it.

Brothers in faith! When will one who has not been forgiven his sins in this month ever be forgiven? When will the one whose supplication is rejected in Lailatul Qadr (the Night of Power) ever have it accepted? Ibn Rajab narrated that ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib used to proclaim in the last night of Ramadaan: ‘How I wish I knew those whose acts of worship have been accepted so that I could congratulate them; and how I wish I knew those whose acts of worship have been rejected so that I could commiserate with them!’

Whose loss is greater than he who missed the blessings of Ramadaan? When will the one who did not reform himself during the month of Ramadaan ever do so? When will the one who was not cured from the sickness of ignorance and heedlessness in this month ever get cured?

O you who have committed great sins! These few remaining blessed days are an opportunity for you to repent, for whoever is librated from Hell has indeed won a great reward. As for you, who have been liberated from Hell by your Lord; do not shackle yourself in sins again. Is it rational to be moving closer to Hell after your Lord has pardoned you from it? Hasten therefore, dear brothers to do more good deeds, for some of you may not live to see the end of this year.

Let the negligent ones among you seize the opportunity of this outgoing month in doing righteous deeds before it is too late. Let the heedless ones wake up and remember the terrible fate that awaits them; let them try to spend the rest of their lives doing good deeds.

Fellow Muslims! Let us look at our present condition in light of the effects Ramadaan had on us. Let us compare our condition at the start of Ramadaan to our condition now: Was the advent of Ramadaan something that made us become pious? Did it reform our actions and conduct? Did it unify our ranks against our enemies? Did it remove the hatred and rancour between us? Did it eliminate the evil deeds committed by our communities?

Brothers in faith! You have responded to the call of your Lord by fasting so respond to His command in all other matters and at all times. Humble your hearts for the remembrance of Allaah and be united in adherence to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam so that the Muslim nation may be saved from calamities.

Brothers in Islaam! It is appropriate for us, while we are bidding farewell to this blessed month, to also try to bid farewell to all the calamities that have come to characterise the very essence of this nation. We must take serious steps to put an immediate end to the shedding of Muslim blood that is taking place in the blessed land of Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya with impunity.

Is it credible that the Muslims who are more than a billion in number can be so powerless in failing to protect the blood of their brothers and win them back their security and glory? Will the Muslims, while bidding farewell to Ramadaan, spurn the weakness and disunity that characterises their position on the issue of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Al-Aqsaa Mosque – which are under the occupation of the Zionist devils?!

With regard to the Afghan issue, let the different Afghan groups bury their differences and lend their support to those who will govern them by the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam in order to protect the lives of the Muslims, the security of their land and the safety of the Afghan people. Let us do more to alleviate the pain and suffering of the Muslim minorities throughout the world.

Let the leaders of the Muslim countries and their scholars champion this cause by exerting more efforts to exalt the religion of Allaah and help the cause of Islaam everywhere. This is especially important given the current global situation that is having adverse effects on the lives of the Muslims worldwide. Will the Muslims not put an end to the vicious campaign of the mass media against Islaam, the Muslims, and their lands – particularly the land of the two Holy Mosques?

Has the time not come for the Muslims to make positive use of all the intellectual Da’wah capabilities and modern information technology at their disposal? Why don’t they use these to propagate the beauty of Islaam, its provision for human rights, its firm establishment upon the real concepts of truth, justice and peace and its abhorrence of violence and terrorism – especially in this time of vicious globalization and the so-called clash of civilizations? Will the meaning of terrorism be based on the whims of the Zionists who themselves are known terrorists, O world leaders?

O Ummah of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam! We are a nation known by our outstanding history of glory and strength. We must desert the degradation and humiliation which has now become our lot and assume our divine role by liberating the oppressed from error, misery, materialism and anarchy to the truth, justice and peace.

In fact this is our duty, for this is from our obligation toward the correct faith, truth and piety. It is our duty to nurture the youth on moderation and lay down a strategy for elevating Islamic propagation and protecting the Muslim communities from the scourge of petty disagreements, – which have plagued us for ages.

It is time for the Muslims to realise that their present condition will never improve unless they hold on to the correct Islamic belief, in an age where atheism and paganism are the order of the day. I swear by Allaah! Degenerated nations and communities did not become so except as a result of their religious and moral decline and their abandonment of the divine teachings.

Will the Muslims now recognise the value of their belief and unite on the path of their righteous predecessors in order to attain blessings for the whole world and its inhabitants?

Fellow Muslims! Bid farewell to the month of Ramadaan with good deeds that will testify in your favour on the day of Resurrection.

Brothers in faith! Allaah has prescribed for you at the end of Ramadaan a great deed with which you can make amends for your deficiencies within that month. By doing this, you can also gain immense rewards; Allaah says that which translates to: “He wants for you to complete the period and to magnify Allaah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Baqarah: 185).

Therefore, Allaah also prescribed the Zakaatul-Fitr [end of Ramadaan alms-giving] for you as a sign of gratitude to Him for facilitating fasting and night prayers for you, to purify you from any obscenity you may have uttered and as a feeding for the poor and the needy in order to promote the brotherhood and unity among the Muslims.

The amount to be given is one Saa’ [approximately 3 kg.] of wheat, rice or any other staple food of the land. It is to be given by every Muslim, be they young, old, male or female. It is also rewardable if it is given on behalf of the unborn foetus. It is best given between the Fajr and ‘Eid prayers (on the day of ‘Eid) but there is no harm if it is given a day or two before ‘Eid.

The Sunnah is to give it out in foodstuff as it has been explicitly explained in the Hadeeth and in accordance with the practice of our righteous predecessors. So give this charity out, for Allaah has only asked you to give a negligible amount of the huge bounty that He has bestowed upon you.

Brothers in Islaam! Continue in your good deeds even after Ramadaan. Be constant in observing the five obligatory prayers and other acts of worship. Know that, among the signs of the acceptance of a good deed is to continue and be steadfast in performing that deed. Know also that it is only the evil people who know and worship Allaah in Ramadaan only.





Last Chance to Give During This Blessed Season!

18 09 2009
*~
Last chance to give during this blessed season!
~

Ramadan is almost over, and with it the month’s many blessings and multiplied rewards shall depart as well.

But you still have a chance to take advantage of the tremendous reward that this holy month offers.

These finals days are your last chance to pay your Zakah and Zakat al-Fitr before Ramadan is over. Zakat al-Fitr is estimated to be $10, and must be paid before Eid prayer.

Even if you have already paid your Zakah, you can still take advantage of the multiplied reward that these blessed days offer by donating to other funds and supporting our projects worldwide.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

As we prepare for the joyous occasion of Eid, let’s not forget the needy people around the world who have nothing.

USA: https://www.islamicreliefusa.org

Worldwide: http://www.islamic-relief.com/





Ruling on Eid prayers

18 09 2009
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Asalaamu Alaiakum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu

What is the ruling on Eid prayers?

Praise be to Allaah.

The scholars differed concerning the ruling on Eid prayers. There are three scholarly points of view:

1 – that Eid prayer is Sunnah mu’akkadah (a confirmed Sunnah). This is the view of Imam Maalik and Imam al-Shaafa’i.

2 – that it is a communal obligation. This is the view of Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him).

3 – that it is a duty for each Muslim and is obligatory for men; those who do not do it with no excuse are sinning thereby. This is the view of Imam Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him), and was also narrated from Imam Ahmad. Among those who favoured this view were Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and al-Shawkaani (may Allaah have mercy on them).

See al-Majmoo’, 5/5; al-Mughni, 3/253; al-Insaaf, 5/316; al-Ikhtiyaaraat, p. 82.

Those who held the third view quoted several texts as evidence, including the following:

1 – The verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)”

[al-Kawthar 108:2]

Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni: The well-known view is that what is meant by this is the Eid prayer.

Some of the scholars were of the view that what is meant in this verse is prayer in general, not just Eid prayer, so what the verse means is that we are commanded to devote our prayer and sacrifice to Allaah Alone, so it is like the verse in which He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my Salaah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)’”

[al-An’aam 6:162]

This view concerning this meaning of the verse was shared by Ibn Jareer (12/724) and Ibn Katheer (8/502).

2 – The fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded the people to go out to it (the Eid prayer) and even commanded the women to go out too.

Al-Bukhaari (324) and Muslim (890) narrated that Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to bring them (women) out on (Eid) al-Fitr and (Eid) al-Adha, and to bring out adolescent girls, menstruating women and virgins, but the menstruating women were to stay away from the prayer, but were to witness goodness and the gathering of the Muslims. I said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what if one of us does not have a jilbaab?” He said: “Let her sister lend her a jilbab.”

The evidence of this hadeeth that the Eid prayer is obligatory is stronger than the evidence of the verse quoted above.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (16/214):

What I think is that the Eid prayer is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that it is not permissible for men to miss it, rather they have to attend, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined that. He even commanded the women – including virgins and those who usually stayed in seclusion – to come out to the Eid prayer, and he commanded menstruating women to come out to the Eid prayer, but told them to keep away from the prayer-place itself. This indicates that it is confirmed.

He also said (16/217):

What seems more likely to be correct in my view, based on the evidence, is that it is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that it is obligatory for every male to attend the Eid prayer apart from those who have an excuse.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 13/7 concerning the view that it is fard ‘ayn:

This view is more likely to be correct, based on the evidence.

And Allah Knows Best

Islam Q&A





Eid and Zakat ul-Fitr

18 09 2009

Eid and Zakat ul-Fitr

Adopted from The Friday Report (now AlJumuah Magazine), Jan-Feb 1995

`Eid

– Playing, recreation, and eating on the day of Eid:

These are permissible as long as they stay within the acceptable bounds of Islam. Anas said: When the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, came to Madinah, they had two days for amusement. The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, has exchanged these days for two better days: the day of breaking the fast and the day of sacrifice. (Related by An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban)

– Taking women and children to the prayer area:

The Prophet sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to take his wives and daughters to the two Eids. Umm Atiyah said: “We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids in order to witness the good and the supplications of the Muslims. The menstruating women though would stay away from the prayer area.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

– Going to the prayer area:

The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to go to the prayer area by walking. Jaber narrated: “On the days of Eid, the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, would go to the prayer area by one route and come back by another route.” (Related by al-Bukhari)

– Eating before going to the prayer area:

Since Eid al-Fitr is the day on which Muslims break their Ramadhan fast, it is preferable to eat before going to the Eid prayer. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, to eat an odd number of dates before going to pray Salat al-Eid. Anas reported: “The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, would not go out on the day of Eid al-Fitr without eating an odd number of dates.”(Related by al-Bukhari.)

– Preparation for Eid prayer:

It is preferred to make Ghusl (take a bath), wear one’s best clothes and, for men, to put perfume before going to Salat al-Eid. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to wear his best clothes for the Eid prayers and he had clothes that he reserved for the two Eids and Jumu’ah.”

– Making Takbeer:

Takbeer starts from the night of Eid’s eve until the Imam comes out to start the prayer. Allah says (S2 A185): “You should complete the prescribed period and then you should glorify Allah (i.e., say Takbeer) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” The form of takbeer is related by `Umar and Ibn Mas`ud: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La illaha illallah. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillahil-hamd.”

– Congratulating each other:

It has been narrated that when the Prophet’s companions met each other on the Eid day, they would say to each other: “May Allah accept from us and from you.” (Related by Ahmad.)

Zakat Al Fitr

Zakat al Fitr is an obligatory charity on every Muslim at the end of the month of Ramadan. Ibn `Umar said: “The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, enjoined the payment of one Sa’a of dates or one Sa’a of barley as Zakat al-Fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to purify the one who has fasted from any type of indecent act or speech he might have committed while fasting. It also helps the poor and the needy. Ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on the one who fasts to shield him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy.” (Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.)

The Amount of Zakat al-Fitr

As the first hadeeth indicated, the amount of Zakat al-Fitr is one Sa’a. Sa’a is a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5 lb of good wheat. The material of the Zakat can be either dates, barley, wheat, rice, corn or similar items considered as basic foods. Abu Saeed said: “We used to give for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of every child, aged person, free man or slave during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, one Sa’a of food, or one Sa’a of dried yogurt, or one Sa’a of barley, or one Sa’a of dates, or one Sa’a of raisins.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

The Time for Zakat al-Fitr

Zakat al-Fitr has to be paid by the end of Ramadhan. There are two times to pay Zakat al-Fitr. Either one or two days before Eid as ‘Umar used to do, or the day of Eid before the Eid prayer. Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, ordered them to pay Zakat al-Fitr before they go out to perform the Eid prayer. If Zakat al-Fitr is paid after the Eid prayer, it will only be considered as regular charity. The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, said: “If one pays Zakat al-Fitr before the Salat, it is considered an accepted Zakat, if he pays it after the Salat, it is considered an ordinary charity.” (Related by Abu Dawud.)

Zakat al-Fitr is to be given to the same eight categories or people as in the other types of Zakat. Some scholars say that the poor and the needy are the most deserving ones since the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, said that it had “…the purpose of providing food for the needy.”





7 Practical tips for praying Qiyam Al-Layl

14 09 2009
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
~

7 Practical tips for praying Qiyam Al-Layl

Qiyam means standing and Qiyam Al-Layl means standing at night. In the Islamic terminology, both words refer to the voluntary night prayer, whose time extends from after Isha prayer until dawn.
Other common names for Qiyam Al-Layl are Salat-ul-Layl (the night prayer), Tahajjud (from hajada, meaning remained one who awake at night), and Taraweeh (resting).

A widespread misconception is that Tahajjud is a different night prayer than Qiyam or Taraweeh. It is important to clarify this misunderstanding and to make clear that the voluntary night prayer is known by different names.

1. Ikhlas (Sincerity)

Allah’s Help is required not only for worldly affairs but also for our worship. And Allah helps those who are sincere in their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “If you are truthful with Allah, then Allah will deliver to you what you wish for.” (An-Nasa’i, Al-Hakim and Sahih Al-Jami’’)
Therefore, one should have a sincere intention to pray Qiyam Al-Layl. One should seek the pleasure of Allah alone and avoid any desire of praise or fame. Allah says:

“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone…” (Qur’an, 98:5)

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears. Failure comes to them in a similar manner.”

2. Know the virtue

Knowing the virtues and rewards of worship encourages us to perform them. The virtue of praying at night during Ramdan supersedes the virtue of praying any other night during the year. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyam during Ramadan. He (peace be upon him) used to say: ‘Whoever stands (in Qiyam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.’ ” (Sahih Muslim)

3. Take a nap

Taking a nap before or after Zuhr Salah will reduce stress and give you sufficient energy to wake up late at night to stand in front of your Lord. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen (pl. of Shaytan) do not take naps.” (At-Tabarani, Al-Sahihah, no. 2647)

4. Sleep as per the Sunnah

• Sleep early! It’s a healthy habit and it was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). He would sleep immediately after performing the Isha prayer. Abu Barzah Al-Aslami said the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to prefer to delay Isha, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it.” (Al-Bukhari)

• Sleep in a state of taharah (cleanliness). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity, but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, (the Angel) says, ‘O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’ ” (At-Tabarani, Sahih Al-Jami’, no. 3831)

• Choose a suitable bed. Extreme luxury and very soft mattresses provoke laziness. We tend to sleep more and become negligent. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the pillow of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was made of leather stuffed with palm fibers.” (Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Al-Jami’, no. 4714)

• Keep the bed clean and lie on your right side. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When any one of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side…” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

• Recite the Adhkar (supplications) mentioned in the Sunnah before sleeping. Among the Adhkar are reciting the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah; reciting Surah Al-Falaq, Al-Nas and Ikhlas and blowing in the palms and wiping as much of the body as possible – starting from the head, face and then the front of the body – three times; and saying Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5. Don’t eat too much

Eating and drinking too much are the main obstacles that make one lazy and negligent of Qiyam Al-Layl. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, Sahih Al-Jami’, no. 5674)

Abu Juhayfah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to a man who burped in his presence: “Stop your burping, for the people who eat the most in this life will be the most hungry on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Hakim, Sahih Al-Jami’, no. 1190)

6. Exert yourself

Exert yourself to get up and pray. Rise above your desires. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers).” (Qur’an, 29:69)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The Mujahid (one who strives in the Cuase of Allah) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allah.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Sahihah, no. 549)

He (peace be upon him) also said: “When a man from my Ummah gets up to pray at night, striving against his own self to get up and purify himself, there are knots on him. When he washes his hands in wudu, one knot is undone. When he washes his face, another knot is undone. When he wipes his head another knot is undone. When he washes his feet, another knot is undone. Then Allah says to those who are veiled (in the Unseen): ‘Look at this slave of Mine, he is striving against his own self and asking of Me. Whatever My slave asks of Me shall be his.” (Musnad Ahmad, Sahih Al-Targheeb, no. 627)

7. Regret if you missed it

Qiyam Al-Layl is a great blessing of Allah. He has kept numerous spiritual benefits and rewards for the believer in this prayer. Therefore, one should regret if he misses this great opportunity of achieving rewards and the Pleasure of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Qur’an, 59:18)

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allah says, “…Verily, hearing, sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allah.” (Qur’an, 17:36), then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.” – As-Sunnah

Ref: ‘The Night Prayers’ by Muhammad Nasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani





Peace Until Fajr

14 09 2009
*~
Excerpted from Manaar As-sabeel

Al-Muntada Al-Islami

Bismilahi Rahmaani Rahiim

1 We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
2 And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
3 The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
4 Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah.s permission, on every errand:
5 Peace!…This until the rise of morn!

In each of the daily prayer we offer, we solemnly declare to Allah, “Iyyaka na’budu” (You alone do we worship). While the intelligent and committed believer realizes that his very lifestyle spells worship, he knows, remembering the words of our Prophet (pbuh) that “Du’aa’ (supplication) is worship” [Tirmidhi, Abu Daud] Allah, the Most Merciful, has encouraged the believers to take advantage of certain times during the year to make du’aa’. Such an occasion presents itself annually during Ramadan — especially on the Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. On this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded as, after the Glorious Quran was preserved in the Protected Tablet, Jibril descended with the blessed book to reveal it, upon Allah’s command, to His Messenger (pbuh). Accentuating its significance, Allah says “and how would you know (the value of the) Night of Qadr [97:2] So valuable is this Night of Qadr that the Quran devotes a special surah to it. “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months” [97:3] This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, oddnumbered nights of Ramadan. The fact that the exact night is unknown reflects Allah’s will in keeping it hidden. Indeed, the Prophet (pbuh) was prevented from telling us its precise time. One day, he came out to tell the companions the exact night. On the way he saw two men arguing with each other. By the will of Allah, he(pbuh)forgot and subsequently remembered it. Afterwards the Prophet (pbuh) was instructed not to divulge this information. “Had I been allowed,” he (pbuh) remarked once, “I would have told you (of its exact time).” [Ahmad]

The Almighty in His wisdom kept this hidden from us for many reasons. Perhaps He wants us to strive hard in our worship during the last ten days of Ramadan so that we don’t become lazy, worshipping hard on just that one night and denying ourselves the benefit of doing the same on the other nights. “Had people not left their salah except for that (one) night, I would have informed you (of its exact date).” [Al-Tabarani] 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 for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (pbuh) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, he remembers the Prophet’s (pbuh) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like “seek”, “pursue”, “search”, and “look hard” for Lailatul Qadr. Moreover, Allah and His Prophet (pbuh) provided us some signs of its occurrence. Allah (swt) describes the night as “..peace until the rise of the morn.” [97:5] In various sayings, the Prophet (pbuh) described the night as serene, tranquil, and peaceful. The sun at sunrise would appear reddish and without its normal blazing and sharp rays. The Prophet (pbuh) added that “the angel of earth on that night of Qadr will be more numerous than all the pebbles of the earth.”

What should one do during the last ten days in pursuit of Lailatul Qadr? The devoted servant of Allah makes these nights alive with prayer, reading and reflecting on Quran. He makes du’aa’ to Allah, penitently beseeching Him for His forgivness. He is inspired by the Prophet’s (pbuh) words “Our Lord, most Exalted, Most high comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of each night and announces (reassuringly): Whoever makes du’aa’, I shall answer it. Whoever asks (for something halal) I shall grant it; and whoever seeks forgiveness, I shall forgive him.” [Bukhari] The believer, conscious of Allah and their sins, will continue to beseech Allah, in and out of prayer, during his prostration. For a time, the only concern will be cleansing oneself of the forgetfulness that this life propagates in one’s heart, the sins that accumulate, darkening the heart, making it insensitive to disobeying Allah. He begs Allah to keep him away from misfortunes in this world, the punishment of the grave, and the torment of Hell. He asks Allah to make him patient and steadfast in struggling to maintain his Islam in this world and asks Him to overlook his shortcomings, periods of laziness and neglect. Sincere devotion on that night will render the believer forgtful of the time, until he is surprised by the Adhan of Fajr. After Fajr, as the sun creeps above the horizon, reddish and weak in its appearance, without any rays, the effort at night will have been worthwhile. The believer rejoices, knowing that this was quite possibly Lailatul Qadr and “whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” [Bukhari, Muslim]





Maximize the last 10 days of Ramadan

14 09 2009
*~
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Asalaamu Alaiakum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatu

Maximize the last 10 days of Ramadan
By: Abdul Malik Mujahid
IslamiCity* –

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.

Abdul Malik Mujahid, is the President and Director of Sound Vision Foundation Inc. He is an Imam in the Chicago area and the Chairperson of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC).