The Month of Fasting [Ramadhan Al-Mubarak]

July 18, 2012 § 7 Comments


Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, where over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world celebrate this holy month of Ramadhan every year. Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it is an obligation on every adult and healthy Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadhan. Fasting is a total abstention from physical, psychological and emotional needs that includes eating, drinking, and sexual relations, immoral behavior and anger from dawn to dusk for 29 or 30 days of the month of Ramadhan.

The month of Ramadhan is also the month in which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad SAW over a period of 23 years. It is a month where Muslims recharge their faith and increase their spiritual connection to Islam. In Ramadhan, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the shaitan (devils) are tied up and the reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied many times over.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Bukhari :: Book# 31 :: Hadith# 123]

The purpose of fasting is not to just get hungry and thirsty but it is to become pious. It is when we increase our focus and attention towards submitting to Allah SWT. Performing night prayers (Taraweeh), read and finish the Qur’an within the month, refrain from speaking unless truly necessary and increasing our good deeds are required if we truly seek the benefits of Ramadhan.

Prophet SAW said: “A fasting person may get nothing from his fast except hunger and the one who prays at night may get nothing from his qiyaam but a sleepless night.” [Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1690; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.]
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Sahih Bukhari :: Book# 31 :: Hadith# 127]
Fasting offers unlimited rewards

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Allah, the Majestic and the Exalted, said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for My sake, and I will give a reward for it. By Allah in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk”. [Sahih Muslim :: Book# 6 :: Hadith# 2564]

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah the Exalted and Majestic said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward it. Fasting is a shield. When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise the voice; or if anyone revile him or tries to quarrel with him he should say: I am a person fasting. By Him, in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah on the Day of judgment than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two (occasions) of joy, one when he breaks the fast he is glad with the breaking of (the fast) and one when he meets his Lord he is glad with his fast. [Sahih Muslim :: Book# 6 :: Hadith# 2566]

 Narrated Sahl: The Prophet said, “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.”  [Sahih Bukhari: Hadith #120, Book #31]

Fasting is a shield against the Fire:

Narrated by Abu Said: I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, “Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” [Bukhari Hadith 93 Volume 4, Book 52]

On the Day of Judgment, “Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan]

Fasting is a means to attain forgiveness for  one’s sins.

The Prophet (peace be upon him.) said: “He who fasts Ramadan, due to Iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven.”[al-Bukhari, Muslim]

The supplication of the fasting person is answered

There are in the month of Ramadan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad, Saheeh]

Wishing all Muslims, Ramadhan Al-Mubarak!

Knowledge of the Hearts & Minds

June 28, 2012 § 1 Comment



In two similar verses, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) says:

 

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ

“And know that Allah knows what is in your minds, so fear Him. And know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.” (Qur’an 2:235)

 

And He says,

وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَلِيمًا

“Allah knows what is in your hearts. And Allah is Ever All Knowing, Most Forbearing.” (Qur’an 33:51)

Why does Allah SWT mention His Name Al-Haleem (Most Forbearing) here? When someone is haleem, it means they respond to the harm that is done to them with generosity, whereas a saabar (patient person) accepts the sorrows and hardships without showing it. Hilm is another dimension of Sabr.

Respond to harm with generosity

Accept Sorrow & Hardships without showing it

The use of Allah SWT ’s Majestic Name Al-Haleem gives us hope. People harbor so many negative, evil and ugly thoughts. We feel ashamed when we hear these ayat (verses)—that Allah SWT is aware of these ugly and evil thoughts. Allah SWT , while knowing these horrible thoughts, while having access to what is hidden in us, is Haleem with us… He is so Generous with us even though we have so much evil in our hearts. Despite what He knows of us inside, He is Haleem.

From His Divine Wisdom, He did not give humans access to each other’s internal thoughts and realities. If people knew what their loved ones thought about them, they would not forgive! This is why there is Divine Wisdom in the prohibition of spying on one another—we are not endued with enough mercy, forbearance, and love to handle what we do not know.

We must remember that Allah SWT sees inside of us, so we must look inside of ourselves. When we are faced with a conflict, even if the other person is wrong, we must ask ourselves “What have I harbored internally that added to this conflict?” If we become angry, we should ask ourselves, “What do I have inside of me that triggered that reaction?” We only keep theories of Divine and Prophetic teachings. We must work to harbor them.

-Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui

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Rewarding Patience

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment


`Umar bin `Abdul `Aziz said:

He who acts without knowledge causes more corruption than good, and he who does not consider his speech to be part of his actions sins repeatedly.

Satisfaction is scarce, and the true believer should rely on patience.

Allah SWT never bestowed a blessing upon one of His servants and then took it away from him, giving him patience in return for that which was taken away, except that the replacement was better than what was taken away from him.

Then he recited the following verse:

“Surely the patient ones will be paid their wages in full without reckoning.” [Qur’an 39:10]

Memorizing The Qur’an (Becoming A Huffaz)

June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment


A huffaz is someone has memorized the whole Qur’an (30 Juzuk, 114 Surah). Some tried but only a few succeeded. Most of us, at one time or the other, just wish that we are able to become one but we never did make an attempt to it. “Ohh, it will be so difficult” would be one of the excuses, “It must be time-consuming and I just do not have the time” would be another one. Yes, we hear it all the time whenever the subject of becoming a huffaz is being mentioned.

Young boys taking Qur'an lessons from wooden t...

Young boys taking Qur’an lessons from wooden tablets in Mauritania, West Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did we ever wonder that we could recite the Fatihah so easily, while at the same time doing some other work. It just flows out instinctively without any moment of thought. It has withstood the test of time whereby we do not need to refresh the memory by looking the Qur’an itself. Sure we can quickly memorize a short surah but can we recite it back in a month’s time? Perhaps that’s the key…how could we have done it with Al-Fatihah? Let’s look at this phenomenon and figure out how can we apply it to the whole Qur’an.

Certainly, We have made this (Qur’an) easy in your tongue, in order that they may remember
(Ad-Dukhan, Chapter #44, Verse #58)

And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember (or receive admonition)? 
(Al-Qamar, Chapter #54, Verse #17)

We have been taught Al-Fatihah since we were kids, repeating them a minimum of 17 times daily, which amounts to more than 450 times in a month!. Is that the key? Repetitions? Kids in Mauritania (north-west of Africa) have been known to repeat 1000 times daily during their memorization of the Qur’an and/or Hadith. Before that, let’s establish some useful numbers. Looking at a typically normal Qur’an, it is divided into 30 Juzuk and each Juzuk is covered in 20 pages. And each page contains 15 rows of ayats.

  • Let’s start small, say we hope to memorize 3 rows of the Qur’an daily. On the 1st day, recite the 3 rows 300 times.(for ease of reference, we will label this “A”)
  • On the 2nd day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “B”). Once completed, recite “A” 150 times.
  • On the 3rd day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “C”). Once completed, recite “B” 150 times and recite “A” 75 times.
  • On the 4th day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “D”). Once completed, recite “C” 150 times and recite “B” 75 times and recite “A” 35 times.
  • On the 5th day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “E”). Once completed, recite “D” 150 times and recite “C” 75 times and recite “B” 35 times and recite “A” 15 times .
  • On the 6th and 7th day (will be Saturday and Sunday if you started on Monday), you will need to reconcile the whole page (yes, it’s a whole page of 15 rows) by repeating each page 100 times daily.

By now, you would have realized that most of it comes almost naturally, albeit a few glitches here and there. Surprised? Feels good?

Effectively, you will be reciting each set of 3-rows for 300 + 150 + 75 + 35 + 15 + 100 + 100 = 775 times!!!

And repeat the following weeks accordingly. You will soon get the hang of it and the process becomes easier as the weeks passed by. You will be tempted to increase the number of rows daily…just DON’T. Get a few Juzuk under your belt and progress in small steps. Once you have completed a Juzuk (in 20 weeks), take the following week by just reciting the Juzuk daily.

Again, let’s re-visit the numbers. The Qur’an contains 30 Juzuk and each Juzuk contains 20 pages. That brings us a total of 600 pages for the whole Qur’an. By sticking to the above program, you will become a Huffaz in 11 years. What? No worries, as you make those small progressions, you will accomplish it in 3-5 years, insyaallah.

Note: Get a standard copy of the Qur’an (mushhaf) and use it throughout your journey. It will breed familiarity.

Work hard, istiqomah (consistency) and make du’a. Allah shall make it easy for us to remember!!!

30 Reasons to Avoid Being Angry and Argumentative

June 3, 2012 § 4 Comments


How difficult is it to practice patience when being provoked? At the same time, how many times have we responded much too sensitively, although we were not the clear target of anyone’s malice?

How many hearts have been lost in an effort to win arguments? And yet, as human beings it is natural and even our right to disagree, and to think critically. One of the most difficult challenges of character for Muslims of every background is being able to practice hilm (forbearance) during times of anger and disagreement—that is to be able to disagree with a dignified and generous spirit, and to think critically without being argumentative, stubborn, and condescending. It is because we as a community fall into this so much, and on so many levels, that I found this issue to be a relevant reminder to myself and others.

The activist argues about strategy, the student argues about fiqh and other branches of knowledge,  the community leader argues in the board room, and the Imam with those who disagree with his style or approach. Whether it be with our family, friends, community members or the Islamophobe—we often find ourselves in situations where anger and argumentation can creep in, sour the mood, and sully the spirit. Below is a collection of Quranic verses, Prophetic narrations, and sayings of righteous people mostly taken from Sa’eed Hawwa’s work “Selected Writings on Purifying the Soul.” These statements remind us to prevent anger and argumentation from getting the better of us.

May Allah help us to remember that when we deal with people, our transactions are actually with Him and not His creation. As such, may awareness of His presence (ihsan) bring goodness from our speech and characters during times of difficulty as well as ease. Ameen.

1. “And when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with ‘Salamaa’ (peaceful words of gentleness).” (Qur’an, 25:63)

2. “If they pass by some vain speech or play, they pass by it with dignity.” (Qur’an, 25:72)

3. “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys… But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book.” (Qur’an, 31:19-20)

4. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “He who gave up disputing while he is right, a palace of high rank in Paradise will be built for him. He who gave up disputing while he is a fabricator, a palace in the center of Paradise will be built for him.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it as hasan)

5. “There are no people who went astray after having been guided except for indulging in disputation.” (al-Tirmidhi)

6. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ repeated three times, “Those who search deeply for confusing questions have perished.” (Muslim)

7. “Do not dispute with your brother, ridicule him, nor promise him and then break your promise.” (al-Tirmidhi)

8. Bilal ibn Sa’d radiAllahu `anhu (ra) said, “If you see a disputing, arrogant, and bigoted person, bear in mind that they are utterly lost.”

9. Luqman `alayhi assalam (as) said to his son, “O son! Do not dispute with the knowledgeable lest they detest you.”

10. `Umar (ra) said, “Do not learn knowledge for three things and do not leave it for three things. Do not learn it to dispute over it, to show off with it, or to boast about it. Do not leave seeking it out of shyness, dislike for it, or contending with ignorance in its stead.”

11. It was narrated that Abu Hanifa said to Dawud al-Taa’i, “Why do you prefer seclusion?” Dawud replied, “To struggle against myself to leave disputing.” Abu Hanifah said, “Attend meetings, listen to what is said, and remain silent.” Dawud said, “I have done so, but I have found nothing heavier than this.”

12. `A’ishah (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The most hated person with Allah is the most quarrelsome person.” (al-Bukhari)

13. Ibn Qutaybah said that his disputant said to him, “What is the matter with you?” He replied to him, “I will not dispute with you.” The disputant then said, “Thus you have come to know that I am right.” Ibn Qutaybah responded, “No, but I respect myself more than that.” At this the disputant retracted and said, “And I will not claim a thing that is not my right.”

14. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The one initiating abuse incurs the sin of abusing as long as the other did not return it.” (Muslim)

15. “The believer does not curse.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan)

16. “The believer does not defame, abuse, disparage, nor vilify.” (al-Tirmidhi, sahih)

17. “Do not invoke Allah’s curse, His anger, or Hellfire.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan sahih)

18. “Men accustomed to cursing will not be intercessors or witnesses on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)

19. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (ra) narrated, “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about what saves me from Allah’s wrath, and he said, “Do not become angry.” (al-Tabarani and Ibn Abdul Barr) Ibn `Umar, Ibn Mas’ud, and Abu Darda’ (ra) relate similar conversations on their own behalf.

20. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “He who is victorious over his passion at the time of anger is the strongest among you. He who forgives having the power to release (his anger and take revenge) is the most patient among you.” (a-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Imaan)

21. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The strong person is not he who has physical strength but the person is strong if he can control his anger.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

22. `Umar ibn Abdul Aziz wrote to one of his governors and said, “Do not punish at the time of anger. If you are angry with any man, keep him in detention. When your anger is appeased punish him in proportion to his crime.”

23. ‘Ali ibn Zaid mentioned, “A man of the Quraysh spoke harshly to the Caliph `Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz who remained silent for a long time and then said, “You wish that the devil rouses in me the pride of the Caliphate and I treat you so rudely that you can take revenge tomorrow (in the Afterlife) on me.”

24. Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) narrated, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “And when you get angry, keep silent.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi Dunya, al-Tabarani, and al-Bayhaqi)

25. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Anger is a burning coal. It burns in the heart.” (al-Tirmidhi and al-Bayhaqi)

26. “When anyone of you gets angry, let him perform ablution because anger arises from fire.” (Abu Dawud)

27. “Nobody swallows a more bitter pill than that of anger—seeking the satisfaction of Allah.” (Ibn Majah)

28. `Umar (ra) said, “He who fears Allah cannot give an outlet to his anger (by sinning). He who fears Allah cannot do what he likes.”

29. A nomad said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ “Advise me.” And he ﷺ said, “If a man defamed you with what he knows about you, do not defame him with what you know about him. For the sin is against him.” The nomad said, “I never abused any person after that.”

30. Al-Hasan (ra) said, “He that did not safeguard his tongue did not understand his religion.”

You thought it was over didn’t you? Here is a little something extra to encourage us not only to avoid such negative traits, but to also proactively seek positive ones in their place.

10 Reasons to Strive for Generosity of Spirit and Kindness in Speech

1. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Kind speech and feeding (the hungry) guarantee you Paradise.” (al-Tabarani)

2. “And speak nicely to people.” (Qur’an, 2:83)

3. “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, 4:86) Ibn Abbas commented on this and said, “He who greets you return his greeting in better words even if he were a Magian.1 He also said, “If Pharoah were to speak nicely to me, I would do so to him.”

4. Anas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily there are chambers in Paradise; their insides and outsides can be seen – for him who spoke kindly and fed (the hungry).” (al-Tirmidhi)

5. He ﷺ also said, “A good word is also a charitable deed.” (Muslim)

6. “Ward off the Fire even if by giving half a date in charity. If you could not afford that then utter a kind word.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7. `Umar (ra) said, “Generosity is an easy thing. It is a smiling face and kind words.”

8. Some wise men said, “Do not be stingy with a word that does not arouse your Lord’s wrath yet it pleases your brother. It may happen that Allah gives you the reward of those who do good works.”

9. “And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” (Qur’an, 24:22). Abu Bakr (ra) had cut off his financial support of his relative Mustah because Mustah had participated in the slander against his daughter `A’ishah (ra). After this verse was revealed, he resumed and even increased the amount he gave Mustah in financial support.

10. “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.” (Qur’an, 7:199)

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