In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
"May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You"
When a person is overcome by material desires and cravings, he becomes
negligent of his spiritual being and indifferent to the obligations imposed
on him by his Creator. To help man in combating this onslaught, the Almighty
has made fasting compulsory once every year for one whole month -- the month
of Rámádhân. With Rámádhân comes restriction on our eating and marital
relationship. Compared with some other forms of worship subscribed by Islam,
fasting is somewhat demanding because its aim is to discipline and channel
our soul. This objective, obviously, can only be achieved by a tough
When we are having Sehri, all of a sudden we hear the Adhan and we stop
eating at once. Howsoever strong our need or want to do certain things may
be, they are not allowed to us during our fast; we do not give in to our
wishes and temptations. This restriction remains till the Maghrib Adhan as
God has appointed this time for us to discontinue our fast. Therefore, as
soon as the Mu'adhin begins his Adhan, we rush forth to eat and drink. After
this, there is no restriction throughout the night. We spend the whole month
of Rámádhân in the same way. There is no doubt in the fact that we feel a
certain amount of weakness and inability to perform to our full capacity but
the patience and piety we acquire in return is as essential to the soul as
air, water and food are to the body, for man does not live by bread and
water alone but also by that which comes from his Lord.
Fasting is obligatory for every adult and sane Muslim. If during
Rámádhân, a person is ill or if he is traveling or if he is unable to fast
owing to some reason, then he is required to keep the fasts he has missed
whenever he is able to do so.
We gain a lot from fasting. The greatest achievement is that a man's
soul is liberated from the shackles of his wishes and desires and moves a
step further towards the lofty summits of knowledge and intellect. He moves
a step closer to the Kingdom of Allah by rising above all mundane needs. For
this purpose, fasting puts a restriction on all such things that cause an
increase in our desires and incline us towards pleasure. When a person
endures such constraints, he is able to break his bond with this world and
come closer to his Creator. It is this aspect of fasting because of which
God says that fasting is for Him and He alone will bestow the reward for it.
The second achievement of fasting is that the doors of temptation and
revolt are closed to a great extent. It is the tongue and the private parts
on which the devil attacks the most. The Prophet (sws) said that whosoever
could give him guarantee of the two things: one between the two cheeks and
the other between the two legs, he would guarantee him Paradise. Fasting
puts a check on both these instincts and weakens all inclinations of going
overboard with these two. It makes it easy for a person to do all things
that are pleasing to Allah and refrain from those which are displeasing to
Him. It is this fact which the Prophet (sws) has stated by saying that Satan
and his army are chained during the month of Rámádhân.
The third thing which a person gains from fasting is that his actual
distinction -- freedom of will -- is given a great chance to develop and
strengthen so that his character becomes adorned with the qualities of
resolve and determination. He gets disciplined enough to control all sorts
of emotions and reactions rising in his self. If a person's will power is
weak he can neither control his wishes from exceeding the limits nor can he
remain steadfast on the Shariah. Moreover, he cannot keep such emotions as
greed, provocation, hatred and love in check. This requires patience, and,
to be patient, it is necessary that he possess a strong power of decision
making. Fasting increases this power and disciplines it. It is this power
that helps a person to stand for the truth instead of evil. This is the
reason that the Prophet (sws) called fasting a shield and asked Muslims to
use it in combating evil by just saying: 'I am fasting'.
The fourth thing a person attains from Fasting is that it inculcates and
strengthens the spirit of sacrifice in a person and urges him to show
compassion to people who are less fortunate than he. To experience hunger
and thirst in a fast brings him closer to the poor and makes him realise
their needs. Fasting effects everyone according to his own disposition.
People who are sensitive become even more sensitive to and aware of the
suffering and sorrow around them.
The fifth thing that a person achieves in Rámádhân is that the solitude
and isolation he has in this month inclines him to spend more time in
reciting the Holy Qur'ân with a view to understand and practice its
teachings. Allah revealed His Holy Book in this month and made this the
month of fasting so that people could thank Him for this bounty. Different
Ahâdîth have revealed that Gabriel used to come to the Holy Prophet (sws) in
this month to hear and recite the Qur'ân.
The sixth thing that a person gains from fasting is that if he so desires
he can become attentive to his Creator with all his heart and soul. For
this, the 'Ibaadah of I'tikaf has been prescribed in this month. Although
this is not obligatory for everyone, it is a very essential form of worship
to incline our hearts towards God. In religious parlance, I'tikaf means that
a person should isolate himself from everyone in the mosque for ten days or
less according to his convenience and devote himself to the Almighty, and
unless an indispensable need arises, he should not come out. The Prophet
(sws) was very particular in observing I'tikaf throughout his life.
All these things can be attained from fasting, but for this it is
necessary that the person who is fasting should refrain from all wrong
doings, which if present during a fast, obliterate all its blessings.
Although these wrongs are many, but there are some about which everyone
should be aware of at all times.
One of these wrongs is that people tend to make Ramadan a month of
festivities and fun time. They think that they are not answerable for the
extravagance made in this month. They relish everything they eat. The result
is that instead of trying to discipline themselves they end up pampering
themselves. Throughout their fasts they keep dreaming about the delicious
things they will eat once the fast is over. The result is that they end up
learning nothing from their fasts.
To prevent such a thing from happening, it is necessary that a person
should eat just enough to keep him working and not make eating the sole
object of his life. Whatever is obtainable without too much of an effort
should be eaten with thankfulness to the Almighty. Whatever the family
presents should be consumed without fuss even if it is not tempting. The
rich instead of overindulging themselves should give more to the needy and
the poor. This is something that increases the blessings of fasting and has
been commended by the Prophet (sws).
The second wrongdoing one often comes across is that because hunger
provokes anger, people instead of making fasting a way of correcting it give
hunger as a reason to justify it. They tend to quarrel at the slightest
pretext with their wives and children and those under them. They do not
hesitate to utter any slighting remark which come to their mind and
sometimes if matters get out of hand even resort to abusing and beating.
After this they tend to defend themselves by saying that things like this
happen during fasting.
The remedy which the Prophet (sws) of God has suggested in this regard
is that instead of using fasting as instigation for anger one should use it
as a shield and whenever a person is incited he should remind himself that
he is fasting. If we can remember this every time we get angry, we will see
that slowly and gradually the greatest provocation tends to lose its sting.
Once we realise that we can conquer the Satan within our soul, this feeling
of conquest gives us peace and a sense of greatness. Thus such a reminder
becomes a means of our correction.
The third wrongdoing often perpetrated in fasting is that a lot of
people, when restricted from eating and enjoying some other pleasures of
life, tend to keep themselves busy with other things which they think would
not harm their fast. They play cards, read novels, listen to music, watch
movies, sit among friends and gossip, and even indulge in backbiting. When
one's stomach is empty, one tends to enjoy his brothers' meat more. The
result is that sometimes a person begins his morning with one of these
pastimes and ends when the Mu'adhin announces the break of fast. It is
obvious that all these things ruin a fast.
One solution to this problem is that a person should try to remain
silent in respect of his fast and at least for this month put a lock on his
tongue. Allah's Prophet (sws) says that if a person keeps telling all sorts
of true and false things during his fast, then God does not need his
abstinence from food and drink.
The second remedy for this is that whatever time he has to spare, he
should spend it in the study of the Qur'ân and Hadith and in understanding
his religion. He should try to learn some of the supplications mentioned in
the Qur'ân and also those narrated in the Ahâdîth. In this way, he will keep
away from the above mentioned activities and later use this store of prayers
to remember his God.
The fourth wrongdoing in this regard is that sometimes a person does not
fast for God but just under pressure of his family or to prevent other
people to think badly of him or just to put on a religious posture. This is
also quite obviously something which negates the purpose of a fast.
The cure for this is that every person should keep reminding himself
about the importance of fasting and think that if he is going to abstain
from food and other things then why not for Allah. Apart from Rámádhân, he
should keep additional non-obligatory fasts and try to conceal them and hope
that the obligatory ones will also one day be for Allah alone.
" O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to
those before you, that you may(learn) self-restraint. " (Al-Baqarah : 183)
" Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to
mankind, also clear(signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and
wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month
should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the
prescribed period(should be made up) by days later. God intends every
facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties... ."
" When the month of Ramadhan begins, the gates of Mercy are opened, the
gates of hell are locked, and the devils are shut in" (Hadith)
" Whoever observes the Fast, believing and seeking reward of Allah, has his
past sins forgiven." (Hadith)
" Fasting is a shield, so when one of you is fasting he should not use foul
language. If someone abuses him or insults him, let him say: `I am fasting,
I am fasting'" (Hadith)
The Philosophy behind the Fasting
A month long fasting during Ramadhan acts as a spiritual cleansing for those
who fast. The fast purges out all sins of the past and purifies the heart,
soul and mind of a Muslim. Through Ramadhan, a Muslim gets much, much closer
to Allah than any other time of the year. Besides that, Ramadhan as a month
of blessing comes as a Madrasah(school) once a year, teaching him
self-discipline( in using his senses) and time-management in carrying-out
his prayers and daily activities.
Furthermore, Ramadhan calls on an individual Muslim to reflect on the poor
and needy, the under-privileged people living under pathetic conditions all
over the world. By contemplating on the conditions of those who are living
and struggling in war- torn countries and of those living under harsh
weather conditions where there is scarcity of food and water resources, a
Muslim learns patience, perseverance, persistence, moderation, contentment
and austerity through his fast.
The ideal fast in Islam is one that transforms an individual from being
selfish and ego-centric to a person who is God-conscious and one who shows
love and care and compassion to his fellow human beings. It makes him an
individual, who is constantly mindful of his duties to his Creator and to
the rest of mankind. Through the process of fasting, an individual in Islam
becomes a good person in the true sense by bringing out all his humanly
potentials that are dormant in him. Moreover, it also brings out of him many
of the innate godly and angelic attributes in him, and at the same time it
subdues all the evil and animalistic nature that is within him.
Ramadhan & Al-Qur'an
There is an inseparable relationship between Ramadhan and the Holy Qur'an.
It was during the month of Ramadhan that the Qur'an was first revealed to
the Prophet s.a.w. At the time of the first revelation, the Prophet s.a.w.
was in a state of seclusion from the rest of the community contemplating on
the conditions of the Arabs. They led a life far, far away from what has
been prescribed by Allah in the Holy Books that came before the Qur'an.
During those days, there was no rule of law in the whole of Arabia. For the
Arabs, might was right. Though they were good in the usage of the Arabic
language, yet they were groping in their spiritual darkness which is known
in the history of the Arabs as `Ayyamul Jahiliyyah' (Days of Ignorance)
At the time when the archangel Jibrail a.s. made his first visitation,
Prophet s.a.w. was sitting in the darkness and stillness of the Cave of
Hira, which is located in Jabal Nur near Makkah. Upon the appearance of
Jibrail a.s. in the cave, there was light and he delivered to Prophet
Muhammad s.a.w. the first five verses from Surah Al-Alaq: "Proclaim!(or
Read!) in the name of your Lord and Cherisher, Who created- Created man, out
of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And your Lord is Most
Bountiful. He Who taught (the use of Pen). Taught man that he knew not."
Ever since this incident, the Qur'an started to descend in bits and pieces
in according to the need of the time and challenges faced by the Prophet
s.a.w. The whole of the Qur'an was completely revealed in twenty-three years
(13 years in Makkah and 10 years in Madinah)
During his prophet hood, every year during Ramadhan, angel Jibrail a.s will
visit Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to check on his reading of the Qur'an. As
such, the Prophet's reading of the Qur'an has been refined, and miraculously
he was able to commit the whole Qur'an to memory. This tradition in a way
has made the Qur'an truly authentic compared to the previous Holy Books
which were not preserved in writings.Reading the Qur'an with understanding
during the month of Ramadhan brings a lot of blessings and tranquility to
the hearts of the believers. Those who reads the Qur'an during the fasting
month bring upon themselves additional reward ( thawab) from their Lord.
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food,
drink, or both, for a period of time. A fast may be total or partial
concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent
as to the period of fasting. Fasting practices may preclude sexual activity
as well as food, in addition to refraining from eating certain types or
groups of foods; for example, one might refrain from eating meat. A complete
fast in its traditional definition is abstinence of all food and liquids
except for water.
Fasting for religious and spiritual reasons has been a part of human custom
since pre-history. It is mentioned in the Bible, in both the Old Testament
(the Tanach) and New Testament, the Qur'an, the Mahabharata, and the
Upanishads. Fasting is also practiced in many other religious traditions and
Fasting is also used in a medical context to refer to the state achieved
after digestion of a meal. A number of metabolic adjustments occur during
fasting and many medical diagnostic tests are standardized for fasting
conditions. For most medical purposes a person is assumed to be fasting
after 8-12 hours. A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8-72
hours depending on age) conducted under medical observation for
investigation of a problem, usually hypoglycemia. Fasting has occasionally
been recommended as a therapeutic intervention by physicians of many
cultures, though it is uncommonly resorted to for this purpose by modern
Buddhist monks and nuns following the Vinaya rules commonly do not eat each
day after the noon meal. This is not considered a fast, but rather a
disciplined regimen aiding in meditation. Fasting is not practiced by lay
Buddhists because it is seen as a deviation from the Middle Path. This is
because prior to attaining Buddhahood, prince Siddhartha practiced a regime
of four years of strict austerity during which he consumed very little food.
Later on this practice was abandoned since it achieved nothing. Henceforth,
prince Siddhartha practiced moderation in eating which he later advocated
for his disciples.
The Vajrayana practice of Nyung Ne is based on the tantric practice of
Chenrezig. It is said that Chenrezig appeared to Gelongma Palmo, an Indian
nun who had contracted leprosy and was on the verge of death. Chenrezig
taught her the method of Nyung Ne in which one keeps the eight precepts on
the first day, then refrains from both food and water on the second.
Although seemingly against the Middle Way, this practice is to experience
the negative karma of both oneself and all other sentient beings and, as
such is seen to be of benefit. Other self-inflicted harm is discouraged.
Perhaps due to sectarian differences, some lineages of Buddhism consider
taking the eight precepts even for a limited period of time, to be a fast.In
fact, they are occasionally referred to as "fasting precepts." The eight
precepts closely resemble the ten vinaya precepts for novice monks and nuns.
The novice precepts are the same with the prohibition against handling
money. (For further information, see The Way to Buddhahood: Instructions
from a Modern Chinese Master by Venerable Yin-shun.)
Biblical accounts of fasting
* Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights while he was on the
mountain with God. (Exodus 34:28)
* King David fasted when the son of his adulterous union with
Bathsheba was struck sick by God, in punishment for the adultery and for
David's murder of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite. Nevertheless, the
son died, upon which David broke his fast (2 Samuel 12:15-25).
* King Jehosaphat proclaimed a fast throughout Judah for victory over
the Moabites and Ammonites who were attacking them (2 Chronicles 20:3).
* The prophet Isaiah chastised the Israelites in Isaiah 58 for the
unrighteous methods and motives of their fasting. He clarified some of the
best reasons for fasting and listed both physical and spiritual benefits
that would result (Isaiah 58:3-13).
* The prophet Joel called for a fast to avert the judgement of God.
* The people of Nineveh in response to Jonah's prophecy, fasted to
avert the judgement of God (Jonah 3:7).
* The Jews of Persia, following Mordechai's example, fasted due to the
genocidal decree of Haman. Queen Esther declared a three-day fast for all
the Jews prior to risking her life in visiting King Ahasuerus uninvited
* The Pharisees in Jesus' time fasted regularly, and asked Jesus why
his disciples did not. Jesus answered them using a parable (Luke 5:33-39,
Matthew 9:14-15, Mark 2:18-20, see also Mark 2).
* Jesus also warned against fasting to gain favor from men. He warned
his followers that they should fast in private, not letting others know they
were fasting (Matthe6:1618).
* Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights while in the desert,
prior to the three temptations (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2).
* Jesus said: "But this kind (of demon) does not go out except by
prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:21)
* "And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind (of demon) can
come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)
* The prophetess Anna, who proclaimed the birth of Jesus in the
Temple, fasted regularly (Luke 2:37).
* There are indications in the New Testament as well as from the
Apocryphal Didache that members of the Early Christian Church fasted
* Hinduism Fasting is a very integral part of the Hindu religion.
Individuals observe different kinds of fasts based on personal beliefs and
local customs. Some are listed below.
* Some Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Ekadasi or
* Certain days of the week are also set aside for fasting depending on
personal belief and favorite deity. For example, devotees of Shiva tend to
fast on Mondays, while devotees of Vishnu tend to fast on Fridays or
* Thursday fasting is very common among the Hindus of northern India.
On Thursdays devotees listen to a story before breaking their fast. On the
Thursday fasters also worship Vrihaspati Mahadeva. They wear yellow clothes,
and meals with yellow colour are preferred. Women worship the banana tree
and water it. Food items are made with yellow-coloured ghee.
* Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Common
examples are Maha Shivaratri or the 9 days of Navratri (which occurs twice a
year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just
before Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar). Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting
unique to the northern part of India where married women undertake a fast
for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husbands. The fast is
broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve after sunset.
* In the state of Andhra Pradesh, the month of Kaarthika, which begins
with the day after Deepavali is often a period of frequent (though not
necessarily continuous) fasting for some people, especially women. Common
occasions for fasting during this month include Mondays (for Lord Shiva),
the full-moon day of Karthika and the occasion of Naagula Chaviti.
Methods of fasting also vary widely and cover a broad spectrum. If followed
strictly, the person fasting does not partake any food or water from the
previous day's sunset until 48 minutes after the following day's sunrise.
Fasting can also mean limiting oneself to one meal during the day and/or
abstaining from eating certain food types and/or eating only certain food
types. In any case, even if the fasting Hindu is non-vegetarian, he/she is
not supposed to eat or even touch any animal products (i.e. meat, eggs) on a
day of fasting. (Milk is an exception for animal products).
In Sri VIdya, One is Forbidden to Fast Him/Her self because the Devi is
within them, and starving would in return starve the god. The only exception
in Srividya for fasting is on the day the persons parents had passed away.
In Islam, fasting for a month is an obligatory practice during the holy
month of Ramadan, from fajr(dawn), until maghrib (sunset). Muslims are
prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual
intercourse while fasting. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the
Pillars of Islam, and thus one of the most important acts of Islamic
worship. By fasting, whether during Ramadan or other times, a Muslim draws
closer to their Lord by abandoning the things they enjoy, such as food and
drink. This makes the sincerity of their faith and their devotion to God all
the more evident.
The Qur'an states that fasting was prescribed for those before them (i.e.,
the Jews and Christians) and that by fasting a Muslim gains taqwa, which can
be described as the care taken by a person to do everything God has
commanded and to keep away from everything that He has forbidden. Fasting
helps prevent many sins and is a shield with which the Muslim protects
him/herself from jahannam.
Muslims believe that fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It
also includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, from any
ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and fighting, and lustful
thoughts. Therefore, fasting helps develop good behavior.
Fasting also inculcates a sense of fraternity and solidarity, as Muslims
feel and experience what their needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel.
However, even the poor, needy, and hungry participate in the fast. Moreover,
Ramadan is a month of giving charity and sharing meals to break the fast
Although fasting is fard (obligatory), exceptions are made for persons in
* Prepubescent children; though some parents will encourage their
children fast earlier for shorter periods, so the children get used to
* Serious illness; the days lost to illness will have to be made up
* If one is traveling, since the fajr and maghrib times will change;
but one must make up any days missed upon arriving at one's destination.
* Women who are pregnant or nursing.
* A woman during her menstrual period; although she must count the
days she missed and make them up at the end of Ramadan.
* An ill person or old person who is not physically able to fast. They
should donate the amount of a normal persons diet for each day missed if
they are financially capable.
Penalty of purposefully breaking fast at Ramadan:
* For elders who will not be able to fast, a lunch meal (or an
equivalent amount of money) is to be donated to the poor or needy for each
day of missed fasting.
* If a person does not keep the promise about which he or she swore,
either three days of fasting or the donation of ten lunch meals (or an
equivalent amount of money) to the poor or needy is mandated for each
* If a person breaks his fast intentionally and without any excuse,
some sayings tell that he cannot ever be excused and/or forgiven; however,
most Islamic opinions say that salvation / redemption can be attainted if
the violator fasts for 60 days successively (two months) without missing a
Courtesy: Hussein Mustafa Parmar
Sunday, August 31, 2008
In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
ABU HURAIRA (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of Jannah (Paradise) are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and satans are chained." (Bukhari and Muslim)
The gates of Jannah are opened in this month because lots of righteous deeds are performed and as an encouragement for those who seek Allah's reward. The gates of Hell are closed because fewer sins are committed by believers. The Satans will be chained so they do not have the chance as in other months to whisper into the hearts of believers and misguide them.
Allah has prescribed fasting upon all nations. He said:
"O you who believe! fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)."(Qur'an, 2:183)
If fasting were not a great act of worship, and the reward were not so great, Allah would not have prescribed it on all nations.
Atonement of sins. Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who observes the fast of the month of Ramadan out of sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven." – (Bukhari)
That is, when fasting is observed out of belief and without resentment to it as an act of worship or doubt in its reward, Allah will forgive the past sins of the one who observes it.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: "Allah said: All the deeds of Adam's children belong to them, except fasting, which belongs to me and I will reward it. Fasting is a shield (against Hell and against sins). If one of you happens to be fasting he should avoid sexual relations with his wife, and should avoid quarrelling. Should someone fight or quarrel with him let him say, 'I am fasting.' By Him in Whose hand my soul is, the smell from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than that of the musk." (Bukhari and Muslim).It is a shield because it safeguards the believer from vain talk and wrongdoing, and hence it protects him from Hell.
Of all the good deeds, Allah has favored fasting to be greatly rewarded by Him and distinguished it with prestige when it is observed with the pure intention to please Him alone.
Fasting is so meritorious for a believer that he will have two occasions of joy. The first is at the time of breaking his fast, when he enjoys the bounties of Allah because he has been favored with Allah's mercy to observe the fast while many others have been deprived of this great blessing. He will rejoice in the second occasion when he meets his Lord and enjoys the abundant reward for having observed fasting. In addition to this, fasting intercedes with Allah on behalf of the believer on the Day of Judgment.
Who should fast and who should not?
Fasting is obligatory on the mature sane and healthy Muslim. Those who are immature (i.e. young children) are encouraged to fast. People suffering from terminal illness or are too old to fast are exempted. Allah does not overburden His slaves.
Travelers are permitted to abstain from fasting. However, it is praiseworthy to fast while traveling if no hardship is imposed. In any case, travelers should make up the days they missed fasting in Ramadan once Ramadan is over and they are back home.
The sick fall into three categories:
• If it is neither hard nor harmful for them, they must observe fasting.
• If it is hard, but not harmful for them, they are permitted to break their fast.
• If it is harmful for them, then they must abstain from fasting.
The days that are missed in Ramadan must be made up once Ramadan is over.
During the monthly period or period of post-natal bleeding, women should abstain from fasting, but must make up the days they missed after the fasting month is over. The Pregnant or breastfeeding woman whose health or the health of the suckling baby might be affected by fasting should break her fast and make up the missed fasts after Ramadan.
The wisdom behind fasting
A Muslim fasts by leaving his desires in order to please his Lord, hoping for His reward. Common sense dictates that one would not give up desired things except for the sake of more desirable ones, in this case the pleasure of Allah, which is the most sought after desire.
It is a means of achieving piety and righteousness. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "He who does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah does not need his refraining from eating or drinking." (Saheeh Muslim). In other words, Allah does not accept his fast.
The heart, through fasting, is inclined to maintain its tenderness since desires are not sought, but rather shunned. Thus the heart tends to be more receptive to the words of Allah.
A rich person will be more appreciative of Allah's graces and bounties. He will go through what the poor and needy normally experience and will be motivated to help them. Fasting reduces pride or egoism and increases humbleness. Moreover, fasting has health advantages by means of decreasing the intake of food and relaxing the digestive system. Allah's wisdom and His Graces are great.
Obligatory while fasting
Performing the other acts of worship and duties is most important, and Salah is in particular, as without it no other act of worship is accepted by Allah.
Praying in congregation is a great aspect in our religion. Everyone should attend.
Its reward is twenty seven times greater than that which is performed individually. (Bukhari)
Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) was about to burn the houses on those who did not attend the congregational prayers. (Bukhari)
Refraining from bad behavior such as lying, cheating, music, smoking, backbiting and slandering others to create animosity among them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "No slanderer shall enter Paradise."(Bukhari)
Recommended in fasting
• Taking the meal of suhoor. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Take (the meal of) suhoor because there is blessing in it." (Bukhari). He (peace be upon him) also said: "The difference between our fasting and that of the people of the book is taking the meal of suhoor." (Saheeh Muslim). Even taking a cup of water as suhoor has blessing in it.
• Breaking the fast as soon as the sun sets. (Bukhari)
• Making du'a upon breaking fast. (Abu Dawood)
• Reciting as much Qur'an as possible during the month of Ramadan.
What breaks the fast
- Sexual intercourse in the daytime. The willful violation of the fast by this practice requires the fast of sixty consecutive days in order to make up for the day in which the intercourse took place. (Bukhari)
- Willful ejaculation by means of kissing or caressing, etc. Wet dreams and unintentional ejaculation do not break the fast.
- Eating, drinking, smoking or taking any food substitutes, such as receiving blood, glucose, or I. V. substances while observing the fast.
- Willful, not unintentional, vomiting.
- Menstrual bleeding. – (Bukhari). For practices other than the sexual intercourse, fasts are to be made up a day for a day after Ramadan.
Applying kuhl (surmah), eye drops, ear or nose drops do not break the fast. They are neither food nor its substitute. Perfumes, Siwaak or toothbrush without toothpaste do not break fast since it has been reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do so. (Saheeh Al-Jaami As-Sagheer)
Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Purge your rusted heart
Purge your rusted heart
ABDULLAH Bin Umar relates that the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) said,"Just as iron catches rust on contact with water, so are the hearts rusted."People asked, "How to remove the rust of the heart?" The Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "By remembering death and by reciting the Qur'an." (Baihaqi)
To err, it is said, is human. Though the statement contains some grains of truth, believers are enjoined to seek forgiveness from Allah, not to be content with the above dictum. This teaching aims at encouraging them to look forward to the Lord with hope on one hand, and on the other at purging their lives of sins. And this twofold teaching leads believers onto the path of spiritual advancement.
In another Hadith the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) says that a person gets a black spot on the heart on committing a sin; another spot on committing another sin, and so on. And if the person sticks to a life in sin unrepentantly, his heart darkens. While a believer happens to commit a sin, he repents and hastens to seek forgiveness from Allah, and as a result the black spot on his heart caused by the sin is removed. The life of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was in perfect accordance with the Will of Allah yet he used to seek forgiveness from Allah, at least 70 times a day.
The Hadith offers two prescriptions for a believer to cleanse the heart: remembering death and reciting the Holy Qur'an frequently.
To remember death means that man should think that this life is just a respite which would not be given to him for the second time to do good. So the more one remembers death, the more one will be able to realize the transient and ephemeral nature of this life on earth, do good to earn the pleasure of Allah, and thus come closer to Him.
Recitation of the Holy Qur'an means to read it correctly, to understand its meaning and to act upon it. It also includes propagation of the message of the Holy Book. Those who are not well-versed in the Arabic language should make efforts to understand the message of the Qur'an through its translation into their respective native languages as well as learn the language the Holy Book was revealed in.
Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on Internet sites and to publish in full text and subject title in not-for-profit publications.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
‘He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand;
and if he has not strength enough to do that, then he should do it with his tongue;
and if he has not strength enough to do even that, then he should (at least abhor it) from his heart; and that is the least of faith.”
Sahih Muslim Hadith 79 Narrated by Abu Sa’d al Khudri
In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
An English translation of that document is presented below.
This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).
A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said,
"My brother has some abdominal trouble." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him "Let him drink honey."
The man came for the second time and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, "Let him drink honey."
He came for the third time and the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Let him drink honey."
He returned again and said, "I have done that."
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "Allah has said the truth, but your brother's abdomen has told a lie. Let him drink honey." So he made him drink honey and he was cured.
Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith No. 7588 Narrated Abu Said Al Khudri
Saturday, August 16, 2008
1511. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.''[Muslim].
Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?'' He said, "One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.''[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whosoever gives me a guarantee to safeguard what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I shall guarantee him Jannah.''[Al-Bukhari].
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying, "A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.''[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.''[Al-Bukhari].
Abu 'Abdur-Rahman Bilal bin Al-Harith Al-Muzani (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A man speaks a good word without knowing its worth, Allah records for him His Good Pleasure till the day he will meet Him; and a man utters an evil word without realizing its importance, Allah records for him His displeasure till the day he will meet Him.''[Imam Malik and At-Tirmidhi].
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He whom Allah saves from the evil of that which is between his jaws and the evil of that which is between his legs will enter Jannah.''[At-Tirmidhi].
'Uqbah bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), "How can salvation be achieved?'' He replied, "Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.''[At-Tirmidhi].
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: `Fear Allah for our sake because we are with you: (i.e., we will be rewarded or punished as a result of what you do) if you are straight, we will be straight; and if you are crooked, we will become crooked.'''[At-Tirmidhi]. --
The True meaning of Life is to Plant Trees under whose shade you do not Expect to Sit.
Allah has been known by 99 attributes or traits which are mentioned in the Quran. These are known as His beautiful names. These are names that have been revealed to humanity while there are many other attributes that we are not aware of. Our intellect has not been given the capacity to comprehend them or recognize Allah through these characteristics. When we ponder on the names of Allah we are filled with wonder and awe at His being and power it wields. If we are to think of any one human who would have all these 99 traits we can imagine the person to be so superior and so powerful. Then imagine our Creator who not only possesses the peak of all these excellent traits but also possesses other traits that we are not even aware of and are not even able to comprehend.
If we consider other deities that have been created by humans and taken as a partner to Allah. None of these false gods/goddesses have anywhere communicated with such clarity and elegance their own characteristics and traits. Each one of them are given certain attributes and powers to the exclusion of other traits and powers. None of them have the full grown personality or persona that we can create in our minds when we think of Allah and His 99 attributes.
Who is Allah? Simply put He is the bundle of positive power and energy and the more we contemplate His powers and understand Him, the more His power manifests in our life. The more we are in a position to fight and win against the internal and external negative forces that are trying to overwhelm us.
Each of the 99 names contains such depth and meaning that when we start pondering on them we come up against the limitations of our own intellect and human capacity. A small beginning has been made by me to try to know my Creator by pondering and contemplating His greatness through these 99 beautiful names. If you find the attached writeup on name Ar-Rahman interesting send me an encouraging email please.
Bilal Ibn Rabah
Beloved Companions Series:
Bilal Ibn Rabah
(part 1 of 2)
- Bilal becomes a Muslim
Bilal (Radeeya Allah Anho) embraced Islam in the first year of Muhammad prophecy at the age of 30. There was an age difference of ten years between him and the Prophet (P.B.U.H) , as the Prophet received the message of Islam at the age of forty. Bilal was one of the first people in Makkah to embrace Islam.
Bilal had something valuable; he was the third person who became a Muslim in Makkah. This is a very important point, because he was a slave to a very cruel, disbelieving man from Quraish; Umaya Ibn Khalaf. This man lived and died a disbeliever, and Bilal wished to declare his religion openly although he was forbidden to do so. Even though he had to hide his beliefs from his cruel master, his declaration of faith was accepted. Bear in mind, that during the period of severe suffering in Makkah, no one openly declared their faith in Islam except seven people. Firstly the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), secondly Abu Bakr (R.A.) and the third person was Bilal Ibn Rabah (R.A.). Because he loved his religion so much, he couldnt hide it, and so forsook his life for the sake of Allah.
Bilal stood in the middle of Makkah and testified,"There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah". He was among the Companions who were greatly harmed by the disbelievers because of his faith in Islam.
Umaya Ibn Khalaf used to take him to the desert and wait until the temperature reached forty or fifty degrees. He ordered his servants to undress Bilal, then cover him in an iron material, and place a heavy stone on his chest, which was so heavy that ten men couldn’t lift. They would leave him like that for hours.
They would then return to him, and by then Bilal would literally be melting. They would demand Bilal to reject his faith in Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H.); but Bilal endless response would be: "Only one, only one" (meaning only One God). He stayed in this situation for endless days and months.
However, Bilal remained patient until Abu Bakr went to Umaya Ibn Khalaf and told him, "Why dont you have mercy on this poor man?"
Umaya replied, "You give mercy to him".
Abu Bakr said, "Yes, I will buy him. How much will you sell him for?"
A slave at that time was worth Deenars of silver. Since Bilal was in poor health and was beaten excessively, he was worth only one silver Deenar. The spiteful Umaya Ibn Khalaf said, "I will sell him for nine silver Deenars." Abu Bakr replied, "And I will buy him for that price."
Umaya laughed and said, "You know Abu Bakr, if you had argued the price with me, I would have sold Bilal to you for one Deenar”.
So Abu Bakr replied, "Umaya, if you had demanded one hundred Deenars, I would still have bought him!"
Brothers and sisters, spend wealth on people around you who are in need, be devoted and ready to sacrifice yourself. When you live solely for yourself and your children, you will live small and die small. But when you live for others, Allah will extend your life with each person you have helped.
If I asked women here, what is the state of your wardrobes? Filled with clothes? Do you wear them all? You'll find that you don’t wear half of them. Why? Because fashion changes, and because you’re going to lose weight next year, etc. This is a selfish and greedy act. Give to those who need; those who can benefit from your unwanted goods.
The Migration to Madinah
Bilal stayed with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) until the migration to Madinah (Al Hijrah), where they left Makkah to Madinah.
Something strange occurred in Madinah. The Prophet’s Mosque had been built, but people found it difficult to know the prayer times. How would they know when it is the time for prayer? One of the Muslims suggested ringing a bell, to signal that it is time for prayer. This idea was rejected, since the Christians use a bell to call members to church. Another Muslim suggested that they could raise a flag and walk with it to signal it was time to pray. But this idea was also rejected.
A companion called Abdullah Ibn Zayd (R.A.) came and said, "O Allah’s Prophet! This night I dreamt I saw a man selling bells, so I asked him if I could buy one. He replied, why do you need it? I said, so that people would know it was time to pray. The man replied, I can tell you something better than that. I asked him what it was. He said: to call for the prayer.”
O brothers and sisters! His dream was about the religion! Some of the youths’ dreams are to get a particular car, and that’s all they dream of!
While Abdullah Ibn Zayd told them of his dream, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab said, "I swear Allah’s messenger I saw exactly what he saw too!" Upon this, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, "Thanks be to Allah for this blessed vision. Tell Bilal to call for the prayer. He has a more beautiful voice than yours.”
Does Islam care about beauty, and how to make things look and sound beautiful? Is that our religion? Yes that's our religion! This is Islam.
So the call for the prayer heared, and Bilal became the first caller for the prayers in Islam, and the first caller for the prayer for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Battles and the Return to Makkah
Bilal stayed with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and never missed a single battle with him. When he was going to the battle of Badr to face the disbelievers, imagine who was among them? Umaya Ibn Khalaf! Bilal had come face to face with him! What would you do to the one who had tortured you? When Bilal saw him he said, "Umaya Ibn Khalaf, the head of the disbelievers, I wont survive if he survives." During the battle, Umaya Ibn Khalaf was killed.
When the Muslims returned to Makkah, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) returned the favour to Bilal. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, "Bilal, climb on the Kabah back and call out for the prayer". It doesnt end there. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) asked, "Where is the Kabah key?” There were 10,000 people standing in front of the Kabah and the space inside the Ka‘bah would not allow more than one person to pray next to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). Who will enter with Allah's Prophet?! Surely Abu Bakr or Omar or Othman? No, its a pious and loyal day, "Where's Bilal, come Bilal, pray with me inside the Kabah”. No one had prayed in the Kabah with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), except one person, Bilal Ibn Rabah. From then on, when Omar met Bilal he used to say, "Bilal, Abu Bakr is your master, and you are our master." ‘Omar used to say this to Bilal! Look at what he learnt from the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Once the Prophet asked Bilal, "Bilal, tell me the best deed you have done, as I heard your footsteps in Paradise."
"I swear the most I’ve done is that whenever my ablution was nullified, I would perform ablution immediately, and I would always pray two Raka‘s after ablution.” Bilal replied.
“That's it Bilal!” The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) exclaimed.
Brothers and sisters, do you want to hear your feet walking in Paradise? Don’t move except when you are pure and on ablution. How can you leave your house in the morning while you are not?
The Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) Death
Clearly, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) final moments in this world revealed Bilals finest characteristics as he was so emotional and seemed to be the person who suffered the most.
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) died on a Monday, Madinah has never witnessed such tears and unhappiness as that day. He died on Aisha chest; see the tenderness of his wife? She left her home, not knowing what to say to the people. She opened the doors to the mosque and said, "Allah messenger has died, Allah messenger has died.”
The people in the mosque burst out in tears. Anas Ibn Malak said, "The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) first came to Madinah on a Monday, and everything on that day was filled with light. Now he died in Madinah on a Monday, and everything on this day was filed with darkness."
One of the Companions that were away from Madinah said, "When I returned I found all the doors closed, and heard weeping from inside the houses."
The first prayer after his death came, and Bilal ascended to call for the prayer saying, “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest”, "there is no God but Allah, there is no God but Allah". When he reached to, “I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah", the people in the mosque burst into tears and Bilal’s voice broke down, tears overcoming him. He couldnt continue the call for prayer and descended the pulpit. When the next prayer came, Bilal ascended to call for the prayer and the same thing happened again.
O people, how can you latch onto other things and forget the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)?
Bilal stayed in this state for three days, wanting to call for the prayer but could not bring himself to do so. He went to Abu Bakr and said, "Abu Bakr, discharge me from being the caller for prayer." He requested this after ten years of calling for prayers. Abu Bakr wondered, “Why?” Bilal replied, "I can’t call anyone for the prayer after Allah's messenger. Every time I tried I failed". Abu Bakr again wondered, “Why?” Bilal said, “I can’t stay in Madinah after the Prophet’s death.”
Brothers and sisters, visit Madinah, visit the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), and send your salutations to him! Perform an Umrah* !
Abu Bakr said, “No I want you to stay with me”. Bilal said, "If you released me from slavery under Umaya for yourself then lock me up, and if you released me for Allah, then leave me to whom you released me for."
Imagine how lovely and kind this former slave was. Abu Bakr said, "I swear I didnt buy you except for Allah’s sake, or spent my wealth except for Allah, or released you except for Allah, go Bilal, do what you wish."
Where do you think he went? He’s a soldier of Islam. Does it mean that as a result of the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) death, Bilal will stop everything and stay at home? No! He just cant stand to stay in Madinah, because of the memories and the emotional ties.
Life After the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)
Bilal went to Palestine, where he joined the army which struggled to take back Palestine and Al Quds. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab sent out the armies, and they defeated the enemies and won. Bilal prayed with the Companions in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
O Allah! Reward us with a prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque!
The Muslims sent for Omar Ibn Al-Khattab to receive Palestine keys. He didn’t go in person to receive Egypt's keys, or Iraq's keys but he went to Palestine; see the significance of the country!
Omar met the armies and told them to gather in a wide open space, so they met on Golan Heights. Omar asked, "Where's Bilal?" It had been years since they had last met, and the happiness of meeting each other was immense. "Bilal, call for the prayer" Bilal said, "Ruler of the Believers, I don’t call anyone for the prayers after the Prophet (P.B.U.H.)." Omar said, "Bilal, this is a victorious day, this is a day of dignity, a day which would make the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) pleased." So Bilal ascended Golan Heights and called: “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest”, "there is no God but Allah, there is no God but Allah" until “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" was stated and the whole army burst into tears. They even heard Omar weeping voice!
The rest of Bilal story can be narrated in few lines. Bilal settled in Damascus in Syria. A few months before he died, he saw a vision; he saw the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) telling him, "O Bilal! What’s this unfriendliness, didn’t you miss visiting me Bilal?” As soon as he woke up, he hurried to Madinah. He stood in front of the Prophet’s grave (P.B.U.H.) and greeted him: "Peace be upon you Allah's messenger, peace be upon you Allah's beloved."
Let me tell you a real pleasant thing, no one salutes the Prophet (P.B.U.H.), without an Angel going to the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and informing him of this greeting, and so the Prophet would reply to your greeting! The Prophet (P.B.U.H,) said, "Allah has angels walking on earth, if they find someone who is praying and greeting me, they carry the greeting to me, so I reply to your greeting."
Hassan and Hussain, the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) grand-children, came to Bilal and he hugged them and cried. They said, “We have missed your call for the prayer, Bilal” so he ascended to call for the prayer. Seven years had passed since he last did this. The whole of Madinah was captivated as they remembered this precious sound as they listened to the call for prayer.
The call to the prayer has such sweetness.
People came out of their homes when they heard the call to prayer, moving towards the voice. Madinah cried like it hadnt since the death of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
Bilal died in Damascus in Syria, where his grave lies. He died at the age of sixty. While dying, his wife felt sad and cried out, “O disaster, O disaster”. Bilal replied, "Don’t say O! Disaster, say O! Joy, O! Joy, for tomorrow I meet the beloved Muhammad and his Companions."
Let's remember the details of Bilal life:
He is the first caller of the prayers for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
He embraced Islam at the age of 30.
He was among the first Muslims.
Abu Bakr released him from slavery.
He remained calling the prayers for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) for ten years.
He was the only one who prayed in the Ka‘bah with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).
He died in Damascus 17 A.H *. at the age of 60.
He said the well known quote on his death bed, "O! Joy, tomorrow I meet the beloved Muhammad and his Companions."
* Radeeya Allah ‘Anho’, R.A. is the abbreviation, literally means ‘May Allah be pleased with him’.
* P.B.U.H. is the abbreviation of ‘Peace be upon him’, referring to the Prophet.
* Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage which is optional and can be performed at any time.
* A.H. is the abbreviation of ‘After Hijrah’.
ARE you one of those people who rarely touch the Qur'an? Or do you read daily, but don't find it is having the impact on you that it should? Whatever the case may be, these are some simple tips that can help you connect with the Qur'an.
1. Before you touch it, check your heart. The key to really benefiting from the Qur'an is to check your heart first, before you even touch Allah's Book. Ask yourself, honestly, why you are reading it. Is it to just get some information and to let it drift away from you later? Remember that theProphet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was described by his wife as a "walking Qur'an": in other words, he didn't just read and recite the Qur'an, he lived it.
2. Do your Wudu (ablution). Doing your Wudu is good physical and mental preparation to remind you that you're not reading just another book. You are about to interact with God, so being clean should be a priority when communicating with Him.
3. Read at least 5 minutes everyday. Too often, we think we should readQur'an for at least one whole hour. If you aren't in the habit of reading regularly, this is too much. Start off with just five minutes daily. If you took care of step one, Insha Allah (God willing), you will notice that those five minutes will become 10, then half an hour, then an hour, and maybe even more!
4. Make sure you understand what you've read. Five minutes of reading the Qur'an in Arabic is good, but you need to understand what you're reading. Make sure you have a good translation of the Qur'an in the language you understand best. Always try to read the translation of what you've read that day.
5. Remember, the Qur'an is more interactive than a CD. In an age of "interactive" CD-Roms and computer programs, a number of people think books are passive and boring. But the Qur'an is not like that. Remember that when you read the Qur'an, you are interacting with Allah. He is talking to you, so pay attention.
6. Don't just read; listen too. There are now many audio cassettes and CDs of the Qur'an, a number of them with translations as well. This is great to put on your walkman or your car's CD or stereo as you drive to and from work. Use this in addition to your daily Qur'an reading, not as a replacement for it.
7. Make Dua (supplication) . Ask Allah to guide you when you read theQur'an. Your aim is to sincerely, for the love of Allah, interact with Him by reading, understanding and applying His blessed words. Making Dua to Allah for help and guidance will be your best tool for doing this.
Spirit of Tolerance in Islam
Muzammil H. Siddiqi, Ph.D.
Intolerance is on the increase in the world today, causing death, genocide, violence, religious persecution as well as confrontations on different levels. Some times it is racial and ethnic, some times it is religious and ideological, other times it is political and social. In every situation it is evil and painful. How can we solve the problem of intolerance? How can we assert our own beliefs and positions without being intolerant to others? How can we bring tolerance into the world today?
I would like to discuss some of these issues from an Islamic point of view.
What is tolerance? Literally the word "tolerance" means "to bear." As a concept it means "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of the world's cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human." In Arabic it is called "Tasamuh". There are also other words that give similar meanings, such as "Hilm" (forbearance) or "'`Afu" (pardon, forgiveness) or "Safh" (overlooking, disregarding). In the Persian and Urdu languages, we use the word "rawadari" which comes from "rawa" meaning "acceptable or bearable" and "dashtan" meaning "to hold". Thus it means to hold something acceptable or bearable.
Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious moral duty. It does not mean "concession, condescension or indulgence." It does not mean lack of principles, or lack of seriousness about one's principles.
Sometimes it is said, "people are tolerant of things that they do not care about." But this is not the case in Islam. Tolerance according to Islam does not mean that we believe that all religions are the same. It does not mean that we do not believe in the supremacy of Islam over other faiths and ideologies. It does not mean that we do not convey the message of Islam to others and do not wish them to become Muslims.
The UNESCO principles on tolerance say:
"Consistent with respect for human rights, the practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or the abandonment or weakening of one's convictions. It means that one is free to adhere to one's own convictions and accepts that others adhere to theirs. It means accepting the fact that human beings, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behavior and values, have the right to live in peace and to be as they are. It also means that one's views are not to be imposed on others."
Tolerance comes from our recognition of:
1. The dignity of the human beings,
2. The basic equality of all human beings,
3. Universal human rights, and
4. Fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief.
The Qur'an speaks about the basic dignity of all human beings. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, spoke about the equality of all human beings, regardless of their race, color, language or ethnic background. Shari`ah recognizes the rights of all people to life, property, family, honor and conscience.
Islam emphasizes the establishment of equality and justice, both of these values cannot be established without some degree of tolerance. Islam recognized from the very beginning the principle of freedom of belief or freedom of religion. It said very clearly that it is not allowed to have any coercion in the matters of faith and belief. The Qur'an says, "There is no compulsion in religion." (Al-Baqarah: 256)
If in the matters of religion, coercion is not permissible, then by implication one can say that in other matters of cultures and other worldly practices it is also not acceptable. In Surat Ash-Shura Allah says to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, "If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is but to convey (the Message)…" (Ash-Shura: 48) In another place Allah says, "Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. Your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." (An-Nahl:125)
Further, Allah says to the Believers, "Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, know then that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the Message) in the clearest manner." (Al-Ma'idah: 92)
One can also cite Allah's words: "Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if you turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message)."(An-Nur:54)
All these verses give note that Muslims do not coerce people; they must present the message to them in the most cogent and clear way, invite them to the truth and do their best in presenting and conveying the message of God to humanity, but it is up to people to accept or not to accept. Allah says, "And say, 'The truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wants let him believe and whosoever wants let him deny." (An-Nahl: 29)
The question then comes: If Allah gave choice to believe or not to believe, then why did He punish the people of Prophet Nuh, the `Ad, the Thamud, the people of Prophet Lut, the people of Prophet Shu`aib and Pharaoh and his followers? The answer is in the Qur'an itself. Those people were not punished simply because of their disbelief. They were punished because they had become oppressors. They committed aggression against the righteous, and stopped others to come to the way of Allah. There were many in the world who denied Allah, but Allah did not punish every one. Ibn Taymiyah, the outstanding Muslim scholar, said, "The states may live long inspite of their people's unbelief (kufr), but they cannot live long when their people become oppressors."
Another question is raised about Jihad. Some people say, "Is it not the duty of Muslims to make Jihad?" But the purpose of Jihad is not to convert people to Islam. Allah says, "No compulsion in religion."(Al-Baqarah: 256). The real purpose of Jihad is to remove injustice and aggression. Muslims are allowed to keep good relations with non-Muslims. Allah says, "Allah does not forbid you that you show kindness and deal justly with those who did not fight you in your religion and did not drive you out from your homes…" (Al-Mumtahinah: 8)
Islam teaches that fighting is only against those who fight. Allah says,"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors." (Al-Baqarah:190)
Islam may tolerate anything, but it teaches zero tolerance for injustice, oppression, and violation of the rights of other human beings. Allah says,"And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: 'Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Yourside one who will protect; and raise for us from Yourside one who will help!'"(An-Nisa': 75)
Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. It should be a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), and the rule of law. The Qur'an says very clearly: "To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, 'God knows best what it is you are doing.' 'God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ.'" (Al-Hajj: 76-69)
There are many levels of tolerance:
A. Between family members, between husband and wife, between parents and children, between siblings etc.
B. Tolerance between the members of the community: tolerance in views and opinions, tolerance between the Madhahib (Islamic Juristic Schools).
C. Tolerance between Muslims and the people of other faiths (interfaith relations, dialogue and cooperation).
Muslims have been generally very tolerant people. We must emphasize this virtue among us and in the world today. Tolerance is needed among our communities: We must foster tolerance through deliberate policies and efforts. Our centers should be multi-ethnic. We should teach our children respect of each other. We should not generalize about other races and cultures. We should have more exchange visits and meetings with each other. Even marriages should be encouraged among Muslims of different ethnic groups.
With non-Muslims we should have dialogue and good relations, but we cannot accept things that are contrary to our religion. We should inform them what is acceptable to us and what is not. With more information, I am sure the respect will develop and more cooperation will develop.
As Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
“If it was not for the fact that my nation would not be able to bear it. I would have ordered them to use Siwak before every Prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
“Whenever the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would wake up at night, he would clean his mouth from Siwak.”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
“Siwak cleans the mouth and pleases the Lord.” (Al-Bukhari)
“Whenever the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would enter his house, he would first use the Siwak.” (Muslim)
A few Important Points
The best type of Siwak is made from the Arak Trees. Further, one should not use an unknown tree for Siwak for it might be poisonous.
Siwak should be used moderately, because it might cause the coating of the teeth to wear away and thus the teeth will be susceptible to the hot vapors or gasses that ascend from the stomach and to all kinds of dirt.
When the Siwak is used moderately, it will polish the teeth, strengthen the roots of the teeth, help the tongue, prevent plaque, perfume the breath, clear the mind and strengthen the appetite.
The best way to use the Siwak is by soaking it in rose water. Also the best type of Siwak is made from walnut stems.
The author of At-Taysir said, “It was said that when one uses the Siwak every five days, it will clear the head, sharpen the senses and alert the mind.”
Siwak is beneficial for many reasons, such as perfuming the breath, strengthening the gingival, clearing the phlegm and the sight and the preventing cavities.
It also preserves the heath of the stomach, clears the voice, helps the digestion process, helps make the speech clear and encourages one to recite the Qur'an, remember Allah and pray.
Siwak also fights sleepiness, pleases the Lord, delights the angels and increases the number of good deeds.
Siwak is preferred at any time, especially before the Prayer, ablution, when waking up and when the mouths foul odor. It is also preferred for those who are fasting and all other people at all times.
There are Ahadith that allow this practice for those who are fasting, because it is beneficial for them and pleases the Lord.
Excerpt: Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) –Ibn Qayyim Pages 280-282
Wa Alaikum Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us Mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower." (Surah Al-Imran 3:8)
[Sahih Muslim : Book 1, Number 0161]
It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira (Radi Allah Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) observed: Avoid the seven noxious things. It was said (by the hearers): What are they, Messenger of Allah (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) ? He (the Holy Prophet (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) ) replied: Associating anything with Allah, magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury,turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary.
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
Study the Qur'aan in Qur'aanic light, to understand Islam in its pristine simplicity, clarity, beauty & purity
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Keep us on the Right Path, Allah!
Assalam-u-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
[6. Surah Al-An'am : Ayah 120]
And abandon open and secret sin; surely they who earn sin shall be recompensed with what they earned.
Al-Taharah (Cleanliness is half of Faith)
[Sahih Muslim : Book 2 'Al-Taharah' , Number 0432]
Abu Malik at-Ash'ari Radi Allah Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill upwhat is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.
[Sahih Muslim : Book 2, Book Name Kitab Al-Taharah Number 432]
Abu Malik at-Ash'ari (Radi Allah Anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill upwhat is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.
[2. Surah Al-Baqarah : Ayah 222]
Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.
My Lord! grant me that I should be grateful for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I should do good such as Thou art pleased with, and make me enter, by Thy mercy, into Thy servants, the good ones.
In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
"May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You"
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu
Observing the Sunnah and the manners of its obedience
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Everyone of my Ummah will enter Jannah except those who refuse". He was asked: "Who will refuse?" He (PBUH) said, "Whoever obeys me, shall enter Jannah, and whosoever disobeys me, refuses to (enter Jannah)".[Al-Bukhari].
16/158 - Riyad Us-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous)
The word Ummah here stands for the community which accepted the invitation of the Prophet (PBUH), that is to say, the people who on his call embraced Islam. Out of this community who follow him faithfully will go to Jannah.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Numerous Ways of Doing Good
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "The deeds of my people, good and bad, were presented before me, and I found the removal of harmful objects from the road among their good deeds, and phlegm which might be in a mosque left unburied among their evil deeds".
13/119 - Riyad Us-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous)
1. Allah has listed in virtue even the good deed which is for the benefit of people or can save them from loss. What is its opposite, however small it may be, is reckoned as mischief. This Hadith induces one to do good deeds to attain the Pleasure of Allah and prevents one from evil deeds so that one is saved from the displeasure of Allah.
2. The Hadith enjoins cleanliness of mosques and forbids throwing of anything there which violates its sacredness, i.e., spitting. If any such dirty thing is found there, it must be removed immediately.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008
Prohibition of the Treachery and Breaking one's Covenant
Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar and Anas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "For every one who breaks his covenant, there will be a (huge) flag on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: `This flag proclaims a breach of covenant by so-and-so."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
"Ghadr'" means breach of oath and its disregard. On the Day of Judgement, a person with such a quality will be given a (huge) flag which will be a sign of his lack of sincerity to his words.
277/1585 - Riyad Us-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous)
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Fasting: Its Wisdom and its Benefits
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
There is great wisdom in why fasting has been prescribed for us. We might only be able to appreciate a fraction of this wisdom, the rest of it being beyond the scope of our knowledge.
Fasting strengthens our devotion to Allah
Fasting brings to fore the reality of our subservience to Allah and it helps in our submission to Him. This is why fasting has been made one of the pillars of Islam, so that Islam itself is incomplete without it. Fasting conditions the worshipper upon obedience and upon carrying out his religious duties. It also reminds him that he is the servant of Allah Almighty and of no one else.
We see that Allah orders His servants to eat at certain times, so that if they were to fast at those times, they would be sinning. This is the case for the two `Îd celebrations. This is also the case for someone who fasts consecutive days without breaking his fast at night. At other times, by contrast, the worshippers are ordered to fast, so that if they were to eat at those times, they would be sinning.
We see the same thing when a pilgrim enters into the sacred state of ihrâm. While he is in that state, he is prohibited from certain things that he is commanded to do at other times. In this and many other ways, the worshipper continually reminds himself that he is the servant of Allah who complies with his Lord’s command and who keeps to the limits set by his Lord.
This is a concept of great significance that if people would only realize it in their worship, their devotions would then have a far greater impact upon them. The state of a believer should be that of a dutiful sentinel standing at attention, whose hand is ever poised to action and who is ready to advance and go forth whenever he is commanded to do so.
The importance of our worshipping Allah is one of the greatest objectives behind our fasting and behind all of our acts of devotion. Unfortunately, many Muslims fall short in their appreciation of this fact. Though they adhere to the performance of these acts of worship, their devotions are bereft of spiritual meaning and consequently fail to have the desired effect of bringing about true devotion and subservience to Allah.
Fasting strengthens our fear of Allah and gives us self restraint
Fasting conditions us upon the fear of Allah. This is why Allah says: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 183]
When a person fasts, whether it be a voluntary fast or an obligatory one, he is constantly reminding himself not to eat or drink This is in spite of the fact that eating and drinking are perfectly lawful for him at other times. He abstains from these otherwise lawful acts on account of Allah’s promise, in hopes of attaining Allah’s reward. It naturally follows that he will abstain from sin, from those acts that are prohibited to him at all times.
A Muslim needs to understand that this is the whole idea behind fasting. How can a person abstain from food and drink – though they are lawful to him at other times – and then go on to backbite people, spread rumors, tell lies, and engage in all sorts of other sins?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not leave off false speech and evil deeds, then Allah has no need of his leaving off his food and drink.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1903)]
We know that Allah has no need for us to leave off eating and drinking in any case, even when we abstain from false words and false deeds. What this means is that fasting has not been prescribed because Allah needs us to do so, it has only been prescribed to assist us in restraining ourselves from false words and evil deeds. Therefore, if we do not abandon these things, then to what avail is our fasting?
If fasting does not awaken in us this consciousness, then it is to no purpose. We must work to cultivate this consciousness. Fasting needs to bring us to the point where we can easily give up sinful deeds like backbiting, spreading rumors, slander, licentiousness, and all ignoble, destructive traits.
Fasting builds character
Another benefit of fasting is that it develops our character by strengthening our willpower and bolstering our patience. This is why fasting is sometimes referred to as patience and Ramadan is sometimes called “the month of patience”.
Allah says: “Seek help in patience and in prayer.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 45]
Some commentators of the Qur’ân have said: “The word ‘patience’ here refers to fasting. It means ‘Seek help in fasting and prayer’.”
This is because fasting forces us to exercise our willpower and practice patience.
Many of us need to constantly exercise our willpower to keep it strong.
There is a psychological benefit in operation here. Researchers into the causes of success say that success requires three ingredients:
1. Desire: All people wish to be strong, successful, and financially well of. Desires like these exist for everyone.
2. Strength or ability: Most people have the mental and physical wherewithal and the skills that they need to succeed if they properly put their minds to it.
3. Willpower: Strong willpower is one of the greatest reasons for success in both this world and the next.
Fasting strengthens the will and conditions a person to cope with difficulties in all aspects of his life. It helps to develop the very quality that only successful people possess, the quality of those people who can turn their desires into a reality by using skills and abilities that they have.
Fasting puts our passions and our vain desires in check
This is why the Prophet gave the following advice: “O assembly of young people, whosoever among you has the wherewithal to marry should do so, as it will help him to lower his gaze and safeguard his chastity. And whoever is unable to do so should fast, because it diminishes sexual desire.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5066) and Sahîh Muslim (1400)]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) points out that fasting withholds a person from responding to his passions.
Some scholars have discussed this hadîth in conjunction with another, where the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “Indeed, Satan circulates through the descendant of Adam as blood circulates through the body.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2039) and Sahîh Muslim (2174)]
Even though the phrase “…so restrict his circulatory paths by fasting” that is sometimes quoted along with this hadîth is baseless, the fact remains that fasting does put our passions in check, and it is quite possible that one way in which it does so is by restricting Satan’s ability to circulate within our persons, as stated by some scholars.
What is more likely is that fasting keeps our compulsions in check by keeping us involved in a specific act of worship. This continuous connection with an act of worship helps us to refrain from unlawful acts, including those acts, like the forbidden gaze, that incite our desires.
Fasting provides numerous and varied spiritual and physical benefits
Doctors have discussed the health benefits of fasting and how it can help us in learning to manage our diets. At times, doctors even prescribe fasting for various reasons. Without a doubt, these are at most secondary benefits of fasting. The same can be said for the physical benefits of prayer, pilgrimage, and other aspects of formal worship.
Still, the real reason that a Muslim does any of these things is for the sake of worshipping and obeying Allah. He would do so even if there were no health benefits. Indeed, were it proven to be injurious to his health, he would still do so. However, Allah never commands us to do anything that would harm us in the least except when the benefits of doing so far outweigh the harm.
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Assalam-u-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
[29. Surah Al-'Ankabut : Ayah 45]
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do.
Significance of Salam (Peace)
Peace - A greeting of blessing and purity from Allah
[24. Surah An-Nur : Ayah 61]
So when you enter houses, greet your people with a salutation from Allah, blessed (and) goodly; thus does Allah make clear to you the communications that you may understand.
[6. Surah Al-An'am : Ayah 54]
And when those who believe in Our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if any one of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful.
Quranic Places where Allah paid Salam (Peace) to his Prophets
[37. Surah As-Saffat : Ayah 109]
Peace be on Ibrahim (alaihi salaam).
[37. Surah As-Saffat : Ayah 120]
Peace be on Musa (alaihi salaam) and Haroun (alaihi salaam).
[37. Surah As-Saffat : Ayah 130]
Peace be on Ilyas (alaihi salaam).
[37. Surah As-Saffat : Ayah 181]
And peace be on the apostles.
[36. Surah Ya-Sin : Ayah 58]
Peace: a word from a Merciful Lord.
[56. Surah Waqia : Ayah 25]
They shall not hear therein vain or sinful discourse.
[56. Surah Waqia : Ayah 26]
Except the word peace, peace.
Dealing with Illiterate People
[43. Surah Az-Zukhruf : Ayah 88-89]
Consider his cry: O my Lord! surely they are a people who do not believe. So turn away from them and say, Peace, for they shall soon come to know.
[28. Surah Al-Qasas : Ayah 55]
And when they hear idle talk they turn aside from it and say: We shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds; peace be on you, we do not desire the ignorant.
[Sahih Bukhari : Volume 2, Book 2, Number 10]
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr (Radi Allah Anhu): A man asked the Prophet Muhammad (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ), "Whose Islam is good or what sort of deeds (or what qualities) of Islam are good." The Prophet replied, "To feed (others) and to greet those whom you know and those whom you don not know."