Archive for August, 2008

The sermon of Rasullulah(saw) on the last Jumu’ah of Sha’ban

The sermon of Rasullulah(saw) on the last Jumu’ah of Sha’ban

On the authority of Salman al Farsi (May Allah be pleased with him) it is narrated that during the last Jumu’ah of the month of Sha’ban the Prophet (Peace be upon him) recited a Khutba (sermon) in which he said:

‘O people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made Fasting compulsory by day, and has made Sunnah the Taraweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such a person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a Fardh (Obligatory act) in any other time. And whoever performs a Fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy Faraa-idh in any other time.

This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (Paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer’s rizq (sustenance) is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and freedom from the fire of Jahannum (hellfire), and for such a feeder shall be the same reward as the one who Fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least.”

Thereupon we said, “O Messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast.” (They were at the time under the impression that Rasullulah(saw) referred to a full meal). Rasullulah (saw) replied: “Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk (for Iftar).”

“This is a month, the first of which brings Allah’s mercy (i.e. the first 10 days), the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings freedom from the fire of Jahannum.”

“Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (or those under his authority) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannum.”

“And in this month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kallimah Tayyibah Laa ilaha illallah) and make much Istighfaar (repentance, beg Allah’s forgiveness with Astagfirullah). And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah, entrance into Paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannum.”

“And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from My fountain, such a drink where after that a person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah.”

[Ibn Khuzaimah in his Saheeh]

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The Gateways to good

The Gateways to good

Mu’adh ibn Jabal (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he said to the Prophet (Peace be upon him),

“Inform me about an act which would entitle me to get into Paradise, and remove me away from the Hellfire.”

So the Prophet (saw) replied, “You have asked me about a matter (which ostensibly appears to be) difficult but it is easy to those for whom Allah, the Exalted, has made it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate anything with him, establish prayer, pay the Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan and perform Hajj to the (sacred) House (Ka’bah).” He again said:Should I not direct you to the gateways of good?”

“Listen to me: The fasting is a shield against evil, the charity extinguishes (the fire of sin) just as water extinguishes fire, the prayer of a person during the middle of the night.” Then he (saw) recited: ‘Who forsake their beds…(up to)….they used to do.’ [Al Qur’an]. Then he(saw) said: Should I not direct you to the highest level of this matter, to the pillar on which (it rests) and its top?

I said: Allah’s Messenger yes, (do tell me).

He (saw) said: The uppermost level of the matter is Islam. Its pillar is the prayer and its top is Jihad.

He (saw) then said: Should I not inform you of the sheet anchor of all this?

I said: Allah’s Apostle (of course do it).

He took hold of his tongue and said: Exercise restraint on it. I said: Apostle of Allah, would we be held responsible for what we say with it? Thereupon he said: Mu’adh, may your mother be bereaved. Will anything else besides (irresponsible) talk cause the people to be thrown into the Hell-Fire upon their faces or on their nostrils?

[Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]

The purpose of fasting in Ramadhan

The purpose of fasting in Ramadhan

Allah, the Most High says,

“O you who believe! Fasting has been ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa.”

[Al Qur’an 2:183]

Explanation

A common question that Muslims are often asked, mainly by non-Muslims is ‘why do you fast?’ or ‘What do you achieve through fasting?’ Many Muslims attempt to answer these questions in a very philosophical way, explaining that fasting helps us to think about the poor and about those less privileged than us. Or that it allows us to feel the hunger and thirst that poor people around the world feel so that we may be grateful to Allah(swt) for the food that we have, or so on and so forth. Although most of these answers maybe true, but the real answer is much simpler than that and is contained in the above verse of the Qur’an. It is that firstly fasting is a command from Allah(swt), and those that came before us (i.e. the nations that came before) were also commanded to fast. Secondly, the purpose for which we have been ordained to fast is so that we may attain Taqwa.

A Tabi’ee (A Companion from the generation after the Sahaabah) Talq ibn Habeeb (May Allah have mercy upon him) was asked to define Taqwa, so he said, ‘Taqwa is acting in obedience to Allah (swt), hoping for His Mercy, and Taqwa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah out of fear of Him.’ This is the purpose behind fasting, and this is what fasting in Ramadhan should lead us to, i.e. towards attaining Taqwa. The aim is to achieve Taqwa, the means to this achievement is fasting and the result of achieving this aim is the closeness and pleasure of Allah(swt), and immense reward from Allah in this world and in the hereafter.

How to prepare oneself for Ramadhan

How to prepare oneself for Ramadhan

Click here to Listen (to save right-click and save target as)

This is a talk that was given on radio by Imam Zaid Shakir (Hafidhullah) in which he gives excellent advice on how we can best prepare ourselves for the blessed month of Ramadhan.

He expounds that Ramadhan is not only a month in which one gives up their food and drink, remaining hungry from pre-dawn till dusk, but rather this month is much more than just that. It is a month of Spirituality in which a believer is given the opportunity to gain a closeness to Allah(swt) not only by fulfilling the obligatory acts and increase in other types of worship such as charity and recitation of the Qur’an etc…, but more than just that by abstaining from sins and acts of disobedience.

Abstention from sins is all the more important in this month, in particular abstaining from sins related to the faculties of hearing, seeing, thinking and speaking. This is a month of purification in which we as believers are given the opportunity to cleanse ourselves of our sins and purify ourselves both physically and spiritually, through fasting and increased worship.

So fasting is not just to abstain from food and drink, but also to prevent our ears from hearing forbidden things such as irreligious songs and music, to prevent our eyes from viewing forbidden things, to prevent ourselves to the best of our ability from thinking about sinful things and finally last but not least to safeguard the tongue, ‘the boneless wonder’ which is responsible for and has so many sins related to it, such as lying, backbiting, slandering, gossiping etc… It is very important to safeguard the tongue from sins in this month, and it is for this reason why one of the pious predecessors used to refer to Ramadhan as ‘The Month of Silence’.

May Allah(swt) allow us all to gain the full blessings from this month and make it a month of reformation for us, so that we once and for all abandon disobedience to our Creator and become His(swt) obedient, pious and sincere servants. Ameen

“And ask forgiveness for your sins and also for the believing men and believing women” (Qur’an 47:19)

Fasting on the 15th of Sha’ban

Fasting on the 15th of Sha’ban

“In order to observe the Night of Bara’ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as one can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for whatever reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:

  • Salah (prayer)
  • Recitation of the Holy Qur’an
  • Dhikr (remembrance of Allah, by reciting the Names of Allah or other tasbeehaat)
  • Durood (salutations) upon the Holy Prophet(saw)
  • Engaging in much supplication (dua) and invoking Allah(swt).

One should avoid acts that are not a part of the Shariah and have never been mentioned in the ahadeeth and nor were practiced upon by the Sahaabah (ra) or the Pious predecessors (ra), but are rather customary practices that have been introduced into the religion such as cooking specials meals on this night, or gathering together in a location to celebrate this night etc..

Fast of the 15th Sha’ban

On the day immediately following the Night of Bara’ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha’ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep a fast. The Holy Prophet(saw) is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically (mentioned in At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb with the narration of Ibn Majah). Although the scholars of hadith have some doubts in the authenticity of this report, yet as is known from other ahadeeth that the fasts of the first half of Sha’ban have special merits and the Holy Prophet(saw) used to fast most of the days in Sha’ban. Moreover, a large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha’ban. This constant practice indicates that they accepted the relevant hadith as authentic. Therefore it is advisable to fast the 15th of Sha’ban as an optional (nafl) fast. “

[Taken from the book: Islamic Months by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]

Laylatul-Bara’ah: The night of freedom from the fire

Laylatul-Bara’ah: The night of freedom from the hellfire

The Mother of the Believers ‘Aisha (May Allah be well pleased with her) is reported to have said that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said,

“This is the middle night of Sha’ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from the Hellfire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He(swt) does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against another muslim), or at a person who cuts off the ties of womb-relations, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine.”

[Baihaqi, At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb]

Explanation

Kalb was a big tribe, the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore the mention of this in the hadith indicates the large number of people who are forgiven on this night by Allah (swt)

The half of the month of Sha’ban: Nisful Sha’ban

The half of the month of Sha’ban: Nisful Sha’ban

The Mother of the Believers ‘Aisha (May Allah be well pleased with her) is reported to have said,

“Once the Holy prophet (Peace be upon him) performed the Salah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah (prostration) until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he was alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying (to Allah) in Sajdah (prostration).

‘I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise you as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.’

Thereafter, when he(saw) raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salah, he (saw) said to me: “’Aisha, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?” I said, “No, O Prophet of Allah (saw), but I apprehended that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.” He(saw) asked me. “Do you know which night is this?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger (saw) know best.” He(saw) said,

“This is the night of the half of Sha’ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy, but keeps those who have malice (envy and hatred against a muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).”

[Baihaqi, At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb]


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