Plan Your Schedule in Ramadan

Plan Your Schedule in Ramadan

Daily Planning

During these 30 days of mercy and forgiveness, we have the privilege of getting closer to Allah so much that we are expected to be given whatever we ask for.

Abu Hurairah reported that our dear Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan out of faith and seeking reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)

We are now witnessing the most important yearly spiritual experience in a Muslim’s life. During these 30 days of mercy and forgiveness, we have the privilege of getting closer to Allah (Exalted be He) so much that we are expected to be given whatever we ask for. This article will focus on tips to follow during Ramadan.

The First Night of Ramadan

Before the first night of Ramadan, Muslims all around the world wait for the announcement of the month. So, how to collect reward from this moment?

Try to look for the new moon with the family, make the little ones busy with this. However, if the religious authority in your country announces the beginning of Ramadan and you are still unable to see the new moon, you should accept the decision without any fuss.

Send greetings to family members and friends. If you live in a non-Muslim community, try to explain the significance of Ramadan to your neighbors. It is important to explain to them that Ramadan is more than just abstaining from eating and drinking.

Share the joy of Ramadan with your children. Do not refer to the night of `Eid (festival day)! Kids should feel that the coming of Ramadan is a special event to celebrate, even if they do not fast it yet. Involve them in decorating the house, making lamps using craft work, etc.

Do not miss Tarawih (night Prayer in Ramadan). Many people miss the Tarawih Prayer on the first night of Ramadan for different reasons. They say the first day of Ramadan starts after midnight, and thus they don’t attend the first Tarawih. Others are occupied with congratulation calls regarding the coming of Ramadan. Some others may just forget it.

Keep Niyyah

Ibn `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Actions are judged by intention. A man will be rewarded only for what he has intended.” (Al-Bukhari)

Intention (niyyah) in Islam has an immense importance. During the first night of Ramadan, make a lot of good intentions and ask Allah to help you fulfill them. Examples of intentions:

–      Fasting for Allah’s sake

–      Having a rewarded month

–      Attaining inner peace

–      Pardoning friends and family members

–      Witnessing the Night of Qadr and getting its rewards

–      Preparing food for the fasting persons to get the reward

Daily Planning

While planning your schedule, there are two points that should be taken into account. First, do not pile tasks on our schedule and wait till the appropriate minute to fulfill them. Instead, you should allocate an enough time for each task. Second, there are blessed moments in Ramadan that we should not miss by focusing on other tasks. For example, you should not visit people during Tarawih (night Prayer in Ramadan), or watch a religious program right after Fajr when you are supposed to do dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and read the Qur’an.

Divide your day into at least 6 parts:

– The morning: For sahur (pre-dawn meal) Tahajjud (Night Prayer), Fajr Prayer, reciting Qur’an after Fajr, istighfar (asking forgiveness).

– Work: Fasting is not an excuse to be inefficient at work. It does not justify being ill tempered because you miss your coffee or cigarette. Concentrate on dhikr (remembrance of Allah) especially while waiting in traffic, driving to and from work, etc.

– From `Asr to Maghrib: 30 minute nap, family time, reciting Qur’an, watching an educational program, reading about the Prophets´ stories, preparing Iftar (breaking the fasting meal) and any other task you planned for.

– Breaking fast

– `Isha’ and Tarawih: It is unnecessary to spend hours in traffic to go to a mosque with the best sheikh in the city. Choose a masjid in your neighborhood.

– Night: This time depends on when you complete the Tarawih Prayers. (Family time, completing other tasks, Qiyam)

– Keep each salah as a time interval between tasks, so you can pray at the masjid if possible.

– Have intention for i´tikaf (staying in the masjid for a particular time period in the worship of Allah with certain conditions).

Monthly Planning

– Divide the month into three parts where each part consists of 10 days. This is an efficient way to accomplish your schedule in this blessed month.

– Set the goals you want to fulfill in each of the 10 days. Write them in a separate column. You could concentrate on social tasks in the first 10 days, family tasks the following 10 days, du`aa’ and dhikr (personal spirituality) in the last ten days. I do not mean to totally separate your tasks, but give you a rough time period to focus on.

– Start dividing these tasks and goals. If your lifestyle is organized with minimal surprises, you can plan these 10 days in advance. If not, try and make a draft for 2 days. Making a draft helps you feel less guilty if something unexpected happens. This does not mean that you get out of your actual task but, you might need to double the effort for the next 2 days. Place an X on completed tasks, to give you a sense of accomplishment.

– For the last 10 days of Ramadan, try to intensify all kinds of `ibadat (acts of worship), especially praying at night.

– Recite the whole Qur’an. In case you cannot read, listen to it and read the translation.

‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Laylat Al-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka `afuwwun, tuhibbul `afwa, fa`fu `anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”(At-Tirmidhi)

Last Night of Ramadan

After all the effort of planning, helping others, praying, fasting and keeping good intentions, we will reach the last night of Ramadan hoping for the great reward of being saved from the fire and accepted in the Heaven. It is important to trust Allah that He will accept your hard work. At the night of `Eid, the joy is not because we are not supposed to fast the next day. Yet, it is because we have accomplished an act of worship that is most beloved to Almighty Allah.

– Supplicate Allah that He accepts all of your efforts done in Ramadan, and that He supports you to sustain your productivity after Ramadan.

– Share greetings for `Eid (feast).

– Give the kids the joy of `Eid (new clothes, money, decorating the house, gifts, going to the park and making plans for the day of `Eid)

– Do not forget to pay Zakat Al-Fitr (the charity paid during the month of Ramadan). It is preferable to delay it to the last days of Ramadan, as reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this concern. However, scholars stated that it is permissible to give it during the whole month.

– Do not forget the families with limited income. Although you pay your Zakat Al-Fitr, you are still asked to donate for those people in order to bless them with Ramadan and `Eid.

– As soon as the authorities prove it to be the end of Ramadan, start repeating the Takbir (Saying “Allahu Akbar” [i.e. Allah is the Greatest]) and teach it to the young ones.

These are some of my tips for Ramadan, please share yours! I will pray from the heart that Allah accepts all of our good deeds and efforts this Ramadan. Please do not forget me in your du`aa’.

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Source: productivemuslim.com

 

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Ramadan: Why That Blessed?

Ramadan: Why That Blessed?

What blessings and rewards does the Month of Ramadan have? Why does Ramadan have such status in Islam? What’s special about that act of worship? How can we get such blessings?

Ramadan is a very precious guest, with time limit.

This is a reminder for all of us about the beautiful month of Ramadan and it’s great rewards and unmatched blessings.

Let’s do our best to get all the rewards and blessings from Allah (Exalted is He) during this month of Ramadan, getting closer to Him.

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Ramadan: Ready for the Blessings?

Ramadan: Ready for the Blessings?

By Shazia Ahmad 

Every person in this world has a life that’s an epic story, full of joys and sadnesses, challenges and opportunities, and ‘defining moments’; moments in which a person comes to a realization, a deep awareness about themselves, and decides to change something inside.  Such moments are when a person makes an intense resolve from their heart; they make a commitment, an oath to themselves, and ‘turn a new leaf’, and their life becomes very different than it was before, by God’s leave. How can apply this on on Ramadan?

We find that Allah, the Most High, gives us ample opportunities in our lives for these moments – these chances to turn to a fresh page and a fresh start. Ramadan is one of them, and perhaps even the best of them.

It is a time for us to sit with our own selves and ask, ‘How long will you be happy with dry eyes and heart-less prayers? Why – when you think about reading the Qur’an – is the cover of that Book so heavy, as if it’s cover weighs a thousand pounds or more? How long will you keep convincing yourself that the sins you commit have no effect and don’t touch your heart, when it’s been so long since you’ve felt His Nearness?”

Ramadan is here, brothers and sisters, and it’s telling us: make this your defining moment. Isn’t it time? Hasn’t Allah, the Exalted, said: “Has not the time come for the hearts of the believers to submit and humble themselves?”. (Al-Hadid 57:16)

Make this the month that we come back to Allah, no matter how far we’ve gone, and how distant we are from His company and nearness. A poet said, ‘Come wanderer, O lover of leaving… Ours is not a caravan of despair’.

No matter how far we are from Him, and how long we’ve been away, know that Allah giving us life to witness this Ramadan is a sign that He has left the door open for us to turn back to Him. Your sins are great, and mistakes and weaknesses are many, you may say, but His mercy, compassion and loving grace to His servants are far greater and far more vast. Ours is not a caravan of despair, or of giving up; ours is a caravan of loving mercy and continuously turning back to Him.

This is the month in which we can strive to overcome the weights our nafs (human self) put down on us, that make going to the masjid so heavy and difficult, that make opening the Qur’an and reading it an impossible task, that make prayer so burdensome.

This is the month in which we can bring life to these acts, and in which Allah facilitates and makes them easy for us to help us taste their sweetness.

A poet said, in a loving welcome of Ramadan,

Peace be upon you,

O month of fasting

Month of night vigil

Month of Qur’an

Month of forgiveness

Month of security

Month of glowing lanterns

Month of sleepless eyes

Month of scented pulpits

Month of burning hearts

We welcome you O blessed month, month of opportunity, redemption and hope.

May you be the means for our lives to change, our faith to be rekindled and our hearts illumined in His nearness. Ameen.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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Ramadan: Objectives & Lessons to Learn (Part 2)

Ramadan: Objectives & Lessons to Learn (Part 2)

Ramadan: Fallibility and Mercy

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in a number of authentic narrations, “Whoever fasts this month of Ramadan with faith in Allah and hope in Allah’s forgiveness, his previous sins will be forgiven”. (Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet also said in the hadith (narration of the Prophet’s words or actions): “Whoever stands and prays in these nights of Ramadan with faith and hope in Allah, Allah (Exalted is He) will forgive them.” (Al-Bukhari)

We take one important lesson quickly from this month, the lesson that we are not asked to be utopian. This is the danger as I alluded to earlier, coming out of a colonial-religious understanding where a massive inferiority complex was ingrained in us, which we still have, we cannot deal with the drama in our community.

Instead of dealing with the problems of our communities, we push them under the rug. For example, I have had parents that come to me with their kids and they say, ‘Brother Suhaib, please don’t put this in the newsletter on Friday’. What do you think I’d put it in the newsletter?

We’re hyper-paranoid of people finding out that we make mistakes because we think that those mistakes mean that Islam is mistaken, and this is a massive error. We are not secure enough to deal with our own drama. We are not secure enough to battle with our own demons because we’re scared, because of an inferiority complex, and because our understanding of religion has been changed to utopianism.

But Allah says, “Wa la yadurallaha shay’a” (nothing can hurt Allah). And the hadith of the Prophet: “If the first of you and the last of you and the most righteous of you stood and asked Allah and He gave, you would not take anything from Him and if the worst of you also would not harm Allah in any way”. (Al-Bukhari)

Because of that, the month of Ramadan is openly calling us to repent to Allah, to re-establish our relationship with Allah, to seek His mercy, but for what? Because we have not made any mistakes or because we have made mistakes? Because we have made mistakes. But when we bring this utopian understanding into the community, we push the Muslims away.

As one person said to me, ‘When I come to the mosque, it is like I’m coming to the court of Judge Judy to be judged by the people and to be declared as evil’. But in the time of the Prophet, the word iman (faith) came from the meaning security and trust; that there is a trust with Allah, amantu billah (I believe in Allah).

Therefore, Allah used this word, not `aqidah (Islamic creed), not tawheed (doctrine of Oneness of God), but iman. Iman in Allah that this security with Allah is as the Prophet mentioned in his definition to believe in Allah, His angels, and His books to the end.

To have secured means I can come to you with my mistakes and I trust that you will forgive me if I seek your forgiveness. That is why Allah says in the Qur’an that if you come back to Him, “you will find Allah the Forgiving, the Merciful”. (An-Nisaa’ 4:64)

In our communities now, we are starting at a micro level. Our people are coming to this community and seeking Allah’s mercy. Our people who have made mistakes are coming back, the divorcees fill our community, the drunkards fill our community. Of course there should be some haya’ (modesty), but again, if we’re not careful, we’ll adopt a self-righteous set of constructs that will push the masses of the community away from us, especially the young people.

I notice this because every time someone comes and asks me a question, you know what the first thing they say to me is? ‘I’m sorry’. Why are you sorry? ‘I’m sorry I need to ask…’ Why would you be sorry? Have some self-confidence, brother. ‘I’m sorry brother . . .’ What are you sorry for, man? I got the same drama that you got akhi (brother). ‘I’m sorry…’ No, you’re not sorry, you are human!

One thing we take from the month of Ramadan is that Ramadan is a means of forgiveness. For what? For mistakes. So the Muslim community is going to make mistakes, as Allah says: fastaqimu ilayhi wa astaghfirru  “Be upright and seek Allah’s forgiveness”. (Fussilat 41:6) This use of the letter ‘waw’ means that at the same time that you’re upright, seek Allah’s forgiveness.

Because of the insecurity in our Muslim community, we find Muslims in clubs. People say, ‘I can’t believe a Muslim would do something like that’. Why not? I’m not saying go to the club but why not? They are human beings! ‘I can’t believe she lied about me. She wears hijab, that’s why I don’t wear hijab’. Why not? She’s a human being!

But that doesn’t hurt Islam at all; Islam is Islam and Muslims are Muslims. That’s why the first thing I tell a convert is ‘Don’t judge Islam by Muslims, judge Islam by itself’. And that’s why we have the famous statement by Sheikh Muhammad `Abdu. When he went to Europe he said, ‘I saw Muslims without Islam’, then he said about us, ‘I saw Islam without Muslims’. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging mistakes; the community has to gain this maturity in order to deal with the problems of the community.

If we live under a self-righteous set of constructs, we’re not going to help each other at all. But look at the Prophet’s community: even a drunk can come to the masjid of the Prophet. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, a drunken man comes to the masjid of the Prophet and the Prophet orders him to be punished. After the ta`zir (sentence to a crime) is made upon him, the people start to chastise that man, but the Prophet said, “Don’t help shaytan (the devil) on your brother.”

He trusted the Prophet. Would a drunk come to me? No way. Would he come to one of the sheikhs (scholars, leaders) of the masjid? No way. They would not come because they are fearful of this retribution, fearful of their mother and father displayed in front of the community.

One sister said to me, if the people knew about my mistakes in this community, they would laugh at me and relish my mistakes. This is nifaq (hypocrisy). Allah mentions, “If something bad happens to you, O Muhammad, the munafiqin (hypocrites) are happy with it”. (Aal `Imran 3:120)

So we have to move beyond that self-righteous way of looking at things and get back to that good old-fashioned religion that Grandma use to talk about. Organic religion that understands people who make mistakes; where the community can be the crutches that carry the people through errors and mistakes that they make, not judges and self-righteous kings who think that they know everything. This is a disaster.

The month of Ramadan comes as a means of forgiveness for our sins that Allah knows we’re going to make because He knows us better than we know ourselves. With that in mind, I implore this community to work towards establishing social services in this community. Battered women homes, abused children, drug addiction, sex addiction, and these things.

I’m not insulting Islam, Islam is Islam. We’re human beings. But because we’re insecure with who we are, we’re unable to tackle the difficulties of the community, thereby emphasizing our ability to really serve the prophetic message. Ask the young people here who have troubles. One young person comes to me every time and begs, ‘Please Suhaib, don’t talk about it on the minbar (pulpit).’So why should I talk about you on the minbar?’ ‘Don’t tell anyone, if my parents know, they’ll cut me into pieces.’ ‘Why would they cut you into pieces?’ That self-righteous set of ideas not only fell into the community but fell into the homes, and that’s why kids can’t talk to their parents anymore.

They are scared if they go to their mother and father with some drama then it’s on—celebrity death match, kids are going to get taken out. Instead, we should discipline them and we should teach them and we should guide them. This month of Ramadan was brought to us to come to Allah with our sins, repenting to him, admitting our sins, and He forgives us.

This is an extremely important message that we want to take from this month of Ramadan. Get away from the utopian vision that was a product of modernity and fascism and nationalism. We have self-righteous nationalism in this community where people can come with their problems and ask us for help. Even the women who committed zina (adultery) trusted the Prophet enough to go to him. And she knew the punishment but still she went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘I committed zina, O Messenger of Allah’.

What about us? Remember the young man in Sahih Al-Bukhari who comes to the Prophet and says, ‘I kissed a girl’. What about us now? Those people would never come to the community, they would never come to the community because they feel frightened.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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Ramadan: The Embodiment of Discipline

Ramadan: The Embodiment of Discipline

What is discipline, and what what does it have to do in Ramadan?

Discipline means the directions and prohibitions, as well as the rational, ethical and spiritual training that one must abide by. It is the ‘spirit of order’ that one has to obtain to become a balanced person.

A disciplined person is thus one who lives within the parameters of certain rules and principles and one who is sensitive to order and regulations. As a matter of fact, the life of a believer should always be in harmony. They should always know what to do, when they should do it and what activities they should engage in beforehand; and they should act accordingly.

Apart from organizing a program and creating a time frame in which certain activities to be performed, they should not think: ‘I wonder what I should do now?’ They should determine their duties and responsibilities towards their Creator, other people and themselves. They should be aware all the time of when they should perform such acts in an organized predetermined manner, and always displaying exemplary order and structure.

In fact, the prescribed prayers provide us with a timetable to organize our time. Believers map out their time frame saying, ‘after the Zhuhr Prayer (Noon Prayer) . . . before the Maghrib Prayer (Evening Prayer)’; thus ensuring that they do not waste one moment of time. Those who know the value of time and realize that their life is a blessing which should be utilized properly ensure that all aspects of their lives, from sleeping to waking, from eating to drinking, are under control. They do not neglect matters or procrastinate. They are well aware of the fact that both people and organizations are the most productive when they are organized well.

Therefore, Ramadan is a response to the carnal desires for eating, drinking, sleeping, etc., and in this way it instills discipline into our lives, ensuring that these needs are met according to our basic requirements and within the parameters of gratitude. Through seeking refuge in the spiritual atmosphere of the heart and soul against one’s carnal desires and through strengthening the will by setting into motion the conscience, Ramadan teaches us that we must maintain this discipline.

Ramadan ensures that the desire to eat and drink, which can be a true weak spot for some, is constrained and under control. It teaches us discipline in eating. Of course, we need to eat and drink to live. However, not only is it unhealthy for the body to eat and drink without taking into account the basic principles of nutrition; it is also a catastrophe if the stomach is allowed to dominate the heart and soul, causing a person to plummet into the pits of material and carnal desires.

Indeed, to eat in an unregulated manner in which the stomach is always full is not only harmful to the body, it is also an act not condoned by Allah. The fasting that is carried out during Ramadan serves to limit the times for the intake of food, thus avoiding an overloading of the stomach, as well as avoiding those things that are harmful to both the body and soul. In addition, one is able to ensure that one always stays within the parameters of what is permitted. People who undergo the Ramadan gain a disciplined spirit.

Ramadan brings to each person who is able to benefit from it the status of a loyal servant. Each believer who fasts and who is able to discover its hidden meanings will not only be awarded with Allah’s blessing, but will also be loyal and virtuous in their dealings with their community. It will not be enough for them just to worship at certain times, but they will walk towards the horizon of integrity by making use of their whole day with this consciousness, living as if in worship each moment. When they are able to free themselves from worldly and material inclinations, the objective of becoming a symbol of truth and devotion to Allah will appear before them.

With the purpose of achieving this aim, they, in the words of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, will start to think for the sake of Allah, speak for the sake of Allah, love for the sake of Allah, aiming to always be surrounded by Allah’s approval. Everyday this intention brings them closer to success, and one day they become a person of loyalty and devotion.

In fact, fasting is the best indication of loyalty as it is a concurrence between the Creator and the created. The servant shows that they are able to give up certain things during certain times and they show their devotion through such restrain. In return, Allah declares that He will give the reward for such a display of loyalty. A person who is loyal to Allah in time is elevated to the status of ‘a monument of loyalty’ in their personal and social life.

With these feelings, they care for their family and relatives (silat al-rahim); they reach out to all in need; they never forgo charity (); their thirst for giving sadaqah (charity) is never insatiable.

For Muslims, one of the important aspects of the relationship with the Creator is reading the Qur’an and praying to Allah, seeking refuge in Him at all times. It is unfortunate that often it is only during Ramadan that the Qur’an is liberated from the carved chests and embroidered silk cases, becoming a sweet syrup for the tongue and heart. This holy month puts the flavor of the Qur’an into the mouth and instills in

 

people the discipline of the daily religious tasks.

Those whose lives with all dimensions become regulated in Ramadan- eating, sleeping, praying, etc.- should ensure that they are able to protect and continue the worship and religious obligations that they fulfilled for the entire month in an orderly fashion after Ramadan has finished. For example, those believers who interrupt their sleep during the month to benefit from the blessings of sahur (predawn meal) and who have a reunion with their prayer mat should consider these thirty nights as a stepping stone that enables them to see each night of the year as a night of reunion, and enlighten their nights with a few cycles of prayer (Tahajjud).

Disciplined people predetermine how they shall live and act; they carve a path for themselves with certain principles and proceed carefully. Islam has already determined the color, shape and design of our actions. For example, belief in Allah and His Prophet is the most important principle. This principle acts as a corner stone in shaping our behavioral traits. We are responsible to advocate for Allah and the Prophet, who is a guide to all humanity. It is our duty to teach our religion.

Accordingly, we try to conquer hearts and we try to represent Islam, which means being good to others, through our own actions that reflect this goodness. We mingle with others who have been adorned with the actions that are shaped by our religion and introduce them to our values. Apart from actions that have been religiously forbidden, we use all means necessary to explain to others the ideals to which we have devoted ourselves, trying to eliminate all the obstacles that stand between them and the truths of faith.

At the same time, we distinguish between being a disciplined person and being bound by regulations that lead to inflexibility; we take into account the circumstances which we find ourselves in at the same time as safeguarding our cultural realities and enlightening those around us in an appropriate manner.

If we aim to be bestowed with the good pleasure of Allah and we have devoted ourselves to communicate Him to humanity, then regardless of conditions in which we find ourselves in, we will be far from inactivity, we will not fall weak, and we will not avoid our responsibility. ‘Let the spring come, the flowers blossom, the nightingales sing, and then I will also sing’ is not a thought that would enter the mind of a disciplined person . They will sing in the winter and in the summer and serenade the roses in the spring and autumn. They find a tune for each season and time and never refrain from chanting these truths.

Of course, this supremacy of a heart and spirit that has been disciplined in this way-unless there is benevolence endowed by Allah-cannot be achieved at once. To reach such a horizon requires a long time and serious commitment. But it is enough to say that Ramadan is a beginning and that it is a fruitful time to sow these virtues so that they may be reaped later.

Actually, for those who believe, a person’s life is Ramadan, adolescence is when the fasting begins, and death is the breaking of the fast. One month of Ramadan is like a rehearsal for a fast that will last a life time. Those who know how to continue to enjoy the virtues gained in this month are aware that the remuneration of staying thirsty and hungry in this world will come to them when they break the fast with Allah’s words ‘My servants, I used to see you off color, with your eyes and cheeks sunken and you used to endure this for Me. “Eat and drink with pleasure as the reward for what you did in the past.” (Al-Haqqah 69:24)

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Source: fountainmagazine.com.

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Ramadan: Objectives & Lessons to Learn (Part 1)

Ramadan: Objectives & Lessons to Learn (Part 1)

The month of Ramadan is upon us; the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned in this good hadith (narration of the sayings or actions of the Prophet) that when the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the doors of the Hell-fire are closed and that the devils are chained. (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

Allah says:

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become God-conscious. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

The Objective of Ramadan

We should come to this month, number one, with some objective that we’ve written down in the form of a few goals that we want to take from this month. Maybe we can put them in our iPhone or our Palm; we can put them on our computer, but we should have a few goals because upon us is a noble time. The Prophet said: “There are two blessings that most people miss out on: their free time and their health”. (Al-Bukhari)

There are two blessings that most people lose out on; one of them is free time, which can be utilized to do noble acts of worship. Ibn Al-Qayim (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned that Allah (Exalted is He) out of His mercy, out of His greatness, and out of His awesome power and mercy to His servants, Allah has chosen specific times when people, if they increase their `ibadah (worship), their servitude, their focus on Allah, and their rewards are greater. And one of them is this month of Ramadan, particularly the last ten nights.

For that reason, we can take from this month a few lessons. Imam Ad-Dahlawi in his book Hujjat Allah Al-Balighah mentioned something very important: one is foolish who thinks that Allah legislated these acts of worship without any wisdom. Takleef (accountability to God) alone- without any wisdom, without any objectives, without any goals that can be seen by the servant of Allah – is foolish. For example, in Surat Al-Kahf, Allah discusses sending down the rain and how it gives life to a dead land; He says these are signs for every servant who repents and returns to Allah. These are a few lessons we can take from siyam (fasting) and in sha’ Allah (if Allah wills) we can benefit.

Lesson One

Number one is the lesson of ease and tadarruj (a step-by-step process in developing ourselves) in Islam. We have to avoid coming from a mindset that is post-colonial, post Jim-Crow (for those of us who lived in America), post-set-of-utopian-constructs where the concept of religiosity and religion itself was changed and uprooted in the Muslim world, which causes us to be ideologues. Islam has become an ideology, it is no longer organic; it does not have any natural disposition to itself.

Everything is done in private and not in the public scene anymore. Everything is policy without practice. One of the dangers of this is the inability to teach Islam and practice Islam correctly as the Prophet taught his Companions, as we find in his life this concept of tadaruuj (gradualism).

As Allah described the Companions of the Prophet, they develop like seeds overtime, the law of the land overtime, until they became pleasing to Allah. Not in one day, not in five minutes.

I’ll give you an example of this. A few weeks ago, there was a non-Muslim in front of this building and he saw the new sign, alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah) we got a sign. When I became Muslim, brothers and sisters, there was no sign in the masjid, I just kept driving around. I didn’t know where the mosque was because there was no sign. We were still mudathirun (we had not removed the blanket yet from us as Allah ordered the Prophet).

So one of our community members, I don’t know who he is, but someone complained to me. When he saw this non-Muslim walk by the sign and start to look at it, one of our community members, he started to yell from across the street as loud as he could, ‘Hey! You want to know about Islam?’ as loud as he could.

So consequently, alhamdulillah luckily the guy did not run away like Usain Bolt, but this non-Muslim became kind of scared. He said, ‘Why is this person yelling at me like this?’ Because in this country, brothers, we don’t yell at people; even in the Muslim countries, we shouldn’t yell at people like this.

So this is an example of not practicing the methodology of the Prophet. Once a person came in to our community wanting to learn about Islam and I heard the brothers, the first thing they told him was ‘You have to change your name’. Number two, they said, ‘You have to be circumcised’. I swear by Allah. This is not funny; this is a very serious issue because we are talking about the message of the Prophet. And number three, ‘You can’t eat in the dumps’. They told him these three things and you think he came back to the masjid after that?

So what happens when he goes home to his friends and they ask him: what’s the message of Islam? What do you think he will tell them? He will probably say, ‘Man, Muslims are insane people’. They told me to change my name, do this and not eat out at McDonalds anymore’. Is this understanding of the religion that was given to us by the Prophet?

Allah says: “Fasting was prescribed for you…” (Al-Baqarah 2:183). So the first question that comes to mind, since siyam (fasting) is a word that has many meanings, is: ‘What is siyam?’

Then Allah says Ayyam ma`dudat (a few/fixed number of days)…” (Al-Baqarah 2:184) this is called jam` al-qila in the Arabic language, ayyam ma`dudat means a few days.

When I became a Muslim, I remember when they told me that we’re going to fast, the first question, subahan Allah (Glory be  to Allah) that came to my mind was ‘How long? How long do you fast? And how do you fast?”

Here, Allah shows this is tadarruj, so he says “a few days only”. Why? To build them, to let them feel excited about siyam. Then the next verse we find the bayan (clarification) of this. Allah says: “the month of Ramadan when the Qur’an was revealed” (Al-Baqarah 2:185) Then Allah makes it clear to them the month of Ramadan.

So we see this process of what is called tadarruj in da’wah, how we should build people, how we should develop people, and how we should take people stage by stage, stage by stage, according to Shari`ah (Islamic law), according to the legislation of the system which Allah sent to us.

Lesson Two

Number two is that the month of Ramadan is a blessed month; as Sheikh `Allama Shaqinti mentioned: this is a month where we can feel, we can taste the `ibadah of the angels. This is because the angels “do not disobey Allah”. (At-Tahrim 66:6) They obey Allah all the time.

When we make the intention to fast, the act of siyam is for the entire month. Usually when we do ritual acts of worship we have to stop our work to pray, we have to stop our work to do certain types of `ibadah but with the siyam wherever we go we’re fasting—whether it is in school, whether it is at home, whether it is at work, any place we are, alhamdulillah we observe this fast for the sake of Allah and can taste the `ibadah of the angels.

We ask Allah to make this fasting beloved to us; we ask Allah to give us the correct understanding of this deen (way of life); and we ask Him to guide us in worshiping Him in the best of manners.

Ameen.

To be continued…

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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All About Ramadan 1438-2017

All About Ramadan 1438-2017

Islam aims to transform the whole life of man into a life of worship. Fasting is the second act of worship that Allah enjoins upon the Muslim that help us come to that life of total worship.

Sawm or the Fasting means abstaining from dawn to sunset from eating, drinking and sex.

Like the prayer, this act of worship has been part of the Shari`ah given by all the Prophets. Their followers fasted as we do.

However, the rules, the number of days, and the periods prescribed for fasting have varied from one Shari`ah to another. Today, although fasting remains a part of most religions in some form or other, people have often changed its original form by accretions of their own.

O Believers! Fasting is ordained for you, even as it was ordained for those before you. (Al-Baqarah 2:183

Why has this particular act of worship been practiced in all eras?

Ramadan is earmarked for all Muslims to fast together, to ensure similar results, turning individual into collective i`badah, and suffusing the whole environment with a spirit of righteousness, virtue and piety. As flowers blossom in spring, so does taqwa in Ramadan.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said:

Every good deed of a man is granted manifold increase, ten to seven hundred times. But says Allah: Fasting is an exception; it is exclusively for Me, and I reward for it as much as I wish. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

So, how do we fast in Ramadan? what is true spirit of fasting as an act of worship? And what is the wisdom behind fasting? How can we reap the benefits of witnessing the blessed month of Ramadan?

In this Special Folder (All About Ramadan), we will focus on fasting and its related issues.

Your Health in Ramadan

Fasting and Overall Health

Fasting and Overall Health

In some cases, fasting could do more harm than good to some ill people, but could be beneficial to others, and even improve health. Who is exempted from fasting, who can decide this? How should fasting…

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Last Ten Days of Ramadan

The Last Ten Nights of Ramadan – Don’t Miss!

The Last Ten Nights of Ramadan – Don’t Miss!

The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylat al-Qadr…

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E-Books on Ramadan

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

With the coming of Ramadan, every Muslim has to prepare himself for that blessed month. This book tackles the most important issues that a Muslim has to be aware of before going on fasting. It tries to present the rulings of fasting as well as the spiritual objectives for which fasting was obligated. Take your time in going through this helpful book and we hope that we provided something that has been beneficial for you.

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The Faith Revival (1): Faith Is Refuge

The Faith Revival (1): Faith Is Refuge

Every day this month Sheikh Omar Suleiman is going to us through a saying, a verse, a tip on how we can revive, renew our faith, on how to maintain it and keep it strong.

When we talk about iman (faith/belief) we firstly need to know what faith is.

From a technical perspective, we know iman is to believe in God,  to believe in the Angles, to believe on the Messengers, to believe in the Scriptures, to believe in the Day of Judgment, to believe in Divine Decree.

But iman just goes beyond that.

So, before exploring different methods of reviving and protecting our faith, it’s important to understand the meaning of faith itself.

In the first episode, Sheikh Omar Suleiman explore what faith is, particularly its role as a protector – a refuge.

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Source: Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research

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The Faith Revival (2): Your Faith Wears Out

Every day this month Sheikh Omar Suleiman is going to us through a saying, a verse, a tip on how we can revive, renew our faith, on how to maintain it and keep it strong.

Think of your favorite shirt. It fades slightly each time you wash it, and will eventually wear out if you don’t take proper care of it. Faith is the same way – but unlike a piece of clothing, it’s the most valuable asset you have. Without faith, you have nothing.

Use this du`aa’ to ask Allah to renew your faith….

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Source: Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research

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The Faith Revival (3): Shaky Foundations

The Faith Revival (3): Shaky Foundations

Every day this month Sheikh Omar Suleiman is going to us through a saying, a verse, a tip on how we can revive, renew our faith, on how to maintain it and keep it strong.

There is a direct correlation between the actions of the tongue with the condition of the heart. If you want to receive faith, you must first settle your heart – and if you wish to settle your heart, you must settle your tongue.

 

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Source: Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research

 

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