Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Day of Eid!

The Day of Eid!

By Umm Ammarah

The Month of Ramadaan is coming to an end and the transition from Ramadan to Eid and thereafter  should be a path that brings us closer to our Creator and a path that treads the Sunnah i.e. The way of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) .

After a month of sacrifice, Allah Ta'aala takes it upon Himself to reward His faithful servants. Allah Ta'ala is the Most Generous and Most Benevolent. Indeed Allah Ta'ala's Generosity multiplies in Ramadaan. When Allah Ta'ala sees His servants carry out all their duties  faithfully and strive to gain closeness to Him through their Fasting ,Salaat ,patience ,recitation of Quraan ,zikr ,dua ,and controlling of even permissible desires  and needs like food, drink etc. then Allah Ta'ala bestows on His faithful servants a special prize on the night preceding the day of Eid.

 THE PRIZE GIVING NIGHT:  Allah Ta'ala bestows the rewards on those who have spent the month in His obedience and all their Du'as (prayers) on such an occasion are indeed accepted. It has been the practice of The Messenger of Allah Ta'ala (pbuh)that he would not sleep during the night preceding  Eid-ul –Fitr, this night has been named Laylatul Jaaiza (The Prize Giving night). The night when the faithful and obedient servants of Allah Ta'ala are given the true reward. To benefit from this opportunity, one should exert in prayer and ask Allah Ta'ala for all our needs.Our Beloved Rasulullah (Salallaho alaihe wassallam) said: "The person who stays awake on the nights preceding the two Eids occupying himself with ibâdah(worship), his heart will not die on the day when everyone's heart will perish." (His heart will not die during the time of evil and corruption). It could also mean that with the blowing of the trumpet his soul will not become unconscious. (Hadith –Ibn Majah)

EID-UL-FITR: Celebrated on the first day of Shawwaal, at the completion of Ramadhaan. Shawwaal is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Eid-al-Fitr is a very joyous day for the believing men and women. On this day Muslims show their real joy for the many blessings Allah Ta'ala has given to them to fulfil their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadhaan.

SADAQTUL FITR-Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe this happy day. First of all well off Muslims start their day by giving charity Sadaqtul Fitr to the poor of their society, so that the less endowed can also enjoy their day along with others. Ibn Abbas(RA) said that the Messenger of Allah Ta'ala (pbuh) enjoined Sadaqatul Fitr so that those who fasted  may be purified of idle deeds and shameful talk committed during Ramadaan and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before salaah( even days before) will have his obligation accepted, and whoever gives it after salaah it will be an ordinary charity.(Hadith -Abu Dawood)

SUNNAH ACTS ON THE DAY OF EID:

  • Wake up early.
  • Take a Ghusl (bath) before Eid Salaah
  • Brush your teeth (use Miswaak)
  • Dress up, putting on best clothes available.
  • Use itr (perfume)
  • Eat something sweet before proceeding to the Eid Musallah e.g. Dates etc.
  • Pay Sadaqatul Fitr before Salaatul-Eid (on Eid-al-Fitr).
  • Go to Eid Musallah (Eid Gah/prayer ground) early.
  • Offer Salaah-al-Eid in congregation in an Eid Musallah except when weather is not permitting like rain, snow, etc.
  • Use different roads en route to the Eid Musallah and back home.
  • Recite the following Takbir on the way to Eid Musallah :

Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar. La ila-ha illallahu Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar. Wa-lillahil hamd. (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no god but Allah. Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest. And all praises are for Allah)

THE EID PRAYER-And then comes along the morning of Eid, Allah Ta'ala sends down the angels to all the lands in the earth, where they take their positions at access points of roads calling out with a voice that is heard by all accept man and jinn. Allah Ta'ala then says: I call you to witness, Oh my Angels that for their having fasted during the month of Ramadaan ,and for their having stood before me in prayer by night, I have granted to them as reward My pleasure and have granted them forgiveness.-Allah Ta'ala will then say…,Oh my servants ask now of Me, for I swear by My honour and My Greatness, that whatsoever you shall beg of me this day in this assembly of yours for the needs of the Hereafter ,I shall grant you, and what so ever  you shall ask for your worldly needs shall look at you favourably. (Hadith-Targheeb)

 

 Jubayr ibn Nufayr (RA) said: 'When the companions of Allah Ta'ala's Messenger (peace be upon him) met on the day of `Eid, they would say to each other, 'TaqaballAllahu Ta'ala minna wa minkum (may Allah Ta'ala accept from you and us )." (Fathul  Bari ).

 

TIPS ON HOW TO SPEND THE DAY OF EID:

  • Keep in mind the pleasure of Allah and uphold Shari'ah at ALL times.
  • Adorn yourself and your family modestly in the best of garments (not necessarily new).
  • Avoid over eating and other festivities that have no benefit.
  • Visit the poor, needy, orphans, elderly and sick.
  • Should Eid be made at "my mum or your mum or wherever?" This requires Shura/Mashurah (mutual consultation). Shurah is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalaho alaihe wassallam).Try to compromise and accommodate each other.
  • Maintain and strengthen family bonds- Rasulullah (Salallaho alaihe wassallam) is reported to have said, "Anyone who wishes to have his means of livelihood enlarged and a prolonged life, should treat his relatives with kindness."(Hadith)
  • Don't forget the suffering, oppressed, poor and needy Muslims in all parts of the world in your du'as and charity.
  • Be punctual with our acts of worship and on this joyous day.

 

 

BE CAUTIOUS!- Avoid excessive indulgence of any kind and stay away from places where the laws of Islam are violated. It is a joyous occasion indeed and let it be spent in ways that are pleasing to our Creator. Use the day profitably to earn the pleasure of Allah Ta'ala and continue to do so everyday.  A Muslim is Muslim for life and not just during Ramadaan.

WHAT NOW AFTER RAMADAANWe leave the month Ramadaan, its beautiful days and nights,we leave the  Month of Mercy, Quraan , Taqwa and Ibadat, sympathy ,forgiveness...we need to ask ourselves: Ramadaaan is over and what have we gained?

Ramadaan was a 30 day course on self restraint and piety , have we graduated from the course having learnt to fight our desires and defeat them..? Have we recharged our spiritual batteries and gained Taqwa (Allah consciousness)? If we have …then ALHAMDULILLAH (Praise be to Allah)…now let us continue to obey Allah Ta'ala and ask Allah Ta'ala to keep us steadfast. Ramadaan is over and Shawwal has come,  let us save the changes that we all made in our lives during the month of Ramadaan. Let Ramadaan not be a final destination but a stepping stone to greater good from now on. We need to make a firm resolution to continue with the momentum and lead a life of piety and free of sins. We now face another eleven months after this training. Let it be that we come out stronger and better servants of Allah Ta'ala…AMEEN!


The Elegant Hijab



The Elegant Hijab

 



The pea is a splendid plant. It proudly displays its strong green Hijab. It protects it from the hot and cold weather and guards it from insects. Allah has blessed the pea with a special Hijab, because without it, the seeds would scatter, dry up and die.



The orange keeps itself within its shiny orange Hijab to protect its delicious fruit. Otherwise it loses its taste too.



So are the banana, the coconut and the pomegranate. Each one has an elegant and unique Hijab, which protects it from disease and destruction.



The jewel of the sea, the pearl, has been given a very tough and rugged Hijab - oyster shell. It protects it from sea animals and keeps it sparkling and shining inside.

 
                               
 

 

The delicacies and exotic chocolates of this world are covered to protect it from bacteria and preserve their taste. Besides being so elegant it adds to its value!

                                    
                               
                   
 

However, the most beloved of Allah in all His creation is the Muslim girl who wears the Hijab. She knows it is a gift from Allah. It protects her from harm, injury and mischief. She wears it knowing it gives her dignity, beauty and respect. So precious she can be that she hides herself beneath her Hijab.
 
                    
 


Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Musalli (Mosque go-er)

The Musalli (Mosque go-er)
 
 
 
 
 
Allah, the Exalted, says:
 

"The attendants of Allah's Masjid(mosque) are those who believe in Allah and the last day" [Quran-At-Taubah 18].

A Mosque go-er wrote a letter to the editor of An Islamic Journal and complained that it made no sense to go to Mosque. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 Bayaans (Lectures). But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time(going to the Mosque) and the Imams are wasting theirs by giving Bayaans(Lectures) at all ."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wise person wrote this clincher.

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to Mosque for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

The Excellence in Going to The Masjid(Mosque)

 

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

 

·         "Whoever attends the mosque, Allah prepares a special hospitality for him" (Muslim).

·         "If anyone goes back and forth to the mosque, Allah will prepare for him a feast in paradise as often as he goes back and forth."

·         "If anyone purifies himself in his house, and then walks to one of the houses of Allah to fulfill one of the obligations laid down by Allah, then [each one] of his steps will erase one of his sins and the next will raise his degrees."

·         "The mosque is a house for every pious person, and Allah provides everyone whose house is the mosque with comfort, leisure, and a path to Allah's pleasure, to paradise."

"Allah makes the way to Jannah(Paradise) easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.''[Hadith-Muslim].


Checklist-Ramadhan's last 10 nights & days

Checklist – Ramadhaan's Last Ten Nights and Days

 

In this blessed month of Ramadan, we have now come to the grand finale – the last ten days of Ramadan that are even more blessed than the rest of Ramadan. In it is a night that Qur'an tells us is better than 1000 months (yes, months – not days).

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived." (Narrated by An-Nasaa'i, 2106; Ahmad, 8769. classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih At-Targheeb, 999.)

So, in preparation for the grand finale, here is a checklist of some of the things that we can all do to make the remaining days of Ramadan work to our advantage:

 

1) Get in High Gear for the Next few Nights and Days

Time is of the essence. Every moment counts. Whatever you need to do for the next ten days to make the most in `Ibadah, good deeds, reciting Qur'an, dhikr, making du`aa', etc., rewards are going to be multiplied. No one knew about the importance of these days more than the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). According to Ahmad and Muslim: he would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan as he did not do at other times.

If we lose this opportunity, we get our next opportunity next year – assuming we are still around and are in good health and shape to make use of it. Even if we are – we have the past years' sins on our shoulders and life's normal trials and tribulations to face the coming year. So, there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier than NOW.

 

2) Get a Copy of the Qur'an and Recite as Often as You Can

A few lines on this post can't even come close to explaining the benefits and virtues of Qur'an. It is proven in the authentic Sunnah that the Qur'an will intercede for those who read it at night, as Ahmad (6626) narrated from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"Fasting and the Qur'an will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, 'O Lord, I deprived him of his food and his desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.' And the Qur'an will say: 'I deprived him of his sleep at night so let me intercede for him.' Then they will intercede." (Narrated by Ahmad; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami`, no. 3882.)

As is stated in the hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:"Whosoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a Hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the Hasanah (good deed) is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-laam-meem is (considered as) a letter (in reward), rather Alif is one letter, laam is one letter, and meem is one letter." (Reported by At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darami)

The Messenger of Allah ! Blessings and Peace be upon him' said:"The best of you is he who learns the Quran and teaches it." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

 

3) Get your Sins Forgiven

First the bad news – In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"A man is deprived of provision (Rizq) because of the sins that he commits." (Narrated by Ibn Majah, 4022, classed as hasan by Al-Albani in Sahih Ibn Majah).

And now for the good news –

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in Prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins."

 

4) What to Say on Laylat Al-Qadr

One of the best du`aa's that can be recited on Laylat Al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). It was narrated by At-Tirmidhi, who classed it as sahih, that 'A'ishah said: I said: "O Messenger of Allah, If I know which night is Laylat Al-Qadr, what should I say?" He said: "Say: Allaahumma innaka afuwwun tohibbul'afwa fa'fu anna (O Allah, You are All-Forgiving and You love forgiveness so forgive me)."

 

5) Get in the Class of the Pious People

Allah has described the pious as follows (interpretation of the meaning):

(They used to sleep but little by night (invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope). (Adh-Dhariyat 51:17)

(And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness,) (Adh-Dhariyat 51:18)

Allah's Messenger(saw) said:" There is in Paradise an Apartment, the exterior of which can be seen from the interior, and the interior of which can be seen from the exterior. Such apartments have been prepared for those who are Polite in their talk, Provide Food to the Needy, Fast frequently and observe the TAHAJJUD PRAYERS when people are sleep." (Mishkhat Al-Masabih ; Hadith No. 1232)

 

6) Finally…

Think of all that you need to ask Allah for and ask Him now. If you haven't before, this is the time to connect with Him and feel closer to Him. And when you do during these last ten nights and days of this Ramadan, you would want to do this again and again – even after the month is over.

And finally, when you are in a state of Prayers and worship, please open your heart for others as well and please do remember your brothers and sisters who are in great difficulty all around the world in your prayers. Remember what the Prophet said:

"The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence." (Reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)

 


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Itikaf "The Spiritual Retreat"

    ITIKAF

"The Spiritual Retreat"

By E ISLAM (www.eislam.co.za)

The meaning of Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid  with the express niyyah (intention) of Itikaf.

Allah Ta'ala has indeed in His perfect wisdom created humanity in a unique way. He has made it such that from time to time His creation needs a rest. We rest at night to give our bodies time to recover. Birds retire to their nests, horses to their stables, bees to their hives etc. However there comes a time when more intensive rest or a retreat is required.  Sometimes due to a person's physical condition he is admitted into the intensive care unit allowing his body time to recover.

Likewise the soul also needs to recover from the hustle and bustle of the world, the spiritual pollution caused by evil elements of society, the rat race of wanting, desiring and acquiring more of this world and the distractions that has diverted our mind, heart and soul from the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala and His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Intensive Care Unit(ICU) for the soul is the Masjid and Itikaf is the feature within this ICU to allow the soul to not only recover but be spiritually rejuvenated! Itikaf is indeed a Spiritual Retreat!

Inside each and every human being, a constant battle rages.  It is like a battle between two tigers. One tiger is a manifestation of evil.  It is full of hate, lust, and greed.  It's fangs drip with bitterness and strife. The other tiger is an embodiment of good.  It is full of love, compassion, and honesty.  He never betrays his brother.

These two tigers are constantly at war. Which tiger is going to win the battle?

The answer is quite obvious…. Whichever one you feed.

Our soul is being bombarded by forces of good and evil. We need to feed it good so that it overpowers the evil….and Itikaf is indeed an excellent opportunity to achieve this by feeding and nourishing the soul with good deeds.

Since the life of the transient world keeps us busy for the whole year in studies, work, social functions, business, traveling and other such things that often causes us to be negligent of our souls and the next life, we may sometimes think that these things are the sole purpose in life and thus, we end up forgetting our true goal – Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him). Thus, it is for this reason that I'tikaf is referred to as

"The spring of life in a world struck with the drought of negligence of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him)."

 

I'tikaf indeed rejuvenates the soul and gives a fresh breath to life. In addition, we can once again find ourselves and our Lord Allah Ta'ala and spiritually return back to Him before we are forced to return back to Him when our soul separates from our body (death).

 

The period of I'tikaf is the best time to force one's self to sit and think and reflect on the self and the world around; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to nurturing the soul and linking oneself with the Creator of the soul; the period of the I'tikaf is the best time to return back to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) in true repentance for our sins committed through the year and to give our souls the spiritual strength desperately needed to live a spiritual and pure life in this challenging world.

The Messenger of Allah ( Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) observed, I'tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful.

Hazrat Ayesha (Radiallâhu anha) relates that "Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam regularly observed I'tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition." (Hadith-Bukhari)

It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira (Radiallâhu anhu) that

"Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam observed I'tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days." (Hadith-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him s family) is reported to have said: 

"The persons who secludes himself (in the Masjid in I'tikaf) in true faith and hope (for the reward of Allah), all of his previous sins shall be forgiven." (Kanzul Ummal, Hadith 24007) 

 3 TYPES OF ITIKAF

WAAJIB (Compulsory) Itikaf.

This Itikaf becomes compulsory when a person makes it obligatory upon himself. An example of this is, when a person makes a vow to Allah that if Allah fulfills a certain wish of his, he will undertake to perform so many days Itikaf. In this case the moment his wish is fulfilled, Itikaf becomes compulsory. A person may just make unconditional vow whereby he makes Itikaf Waajib upon himself for certain number of days. This becomes a Waajib duty on from that moment onward.

SUNNAH Itikaf.

This was the general practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and it means to seclude oneself inside the Masjid for the last ten days of Ramadhan.

NAFIL Itikaf.

There is no special time or specific number of days for Nafil Itikaf. A person may make niyyah for any number of days at any time, even for his whole life

Before engaging into Itikaf it is highly recommended to learn the rules relating to this important act of ibadah (worship). Please to do consult your local Ulama (Islamic Scholars) for more guidance.

For a detailed article on Itikaf and its rules please visit :

http://eislaminfo.blogspot.com/2010/08/itikaf.html

 




Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ramdhaan, a month of enormous blessings…

Ramdhaan, a month of enormous blessings…

 

We are now so fortunate that Allah Ta'ala has blessed us with this great Month of Ramadhaan. We wish to share with you some beautiful advise as passed on to us by The Greatest Teacher The Noble and Final Messenger of Allah(Peace be upon him).This message was delivered on the Last Day of Sha'baan.

 

Salmaan (Radhiallaho Anhu) reports On the last day of Shabaan, Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam) addressed us and said: Oh 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 Taraaweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a Fard in any other time and whoever performs a Fard, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy faraaidh 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 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 emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell) and for such feeder shall be the some 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' Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihi Wasallam) 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.

This is a month, the first of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahannam.

Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bondsmen) in this month; Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam.

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 Kalimah Tayibbah Laa Ilaaha illallah) and make much Istighfaar (beg Allah's forgiveness with Astaghfirullah) and as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah entrance into paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam.

And whoever gives a person water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from my fountain, such such a drink whereafter that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah.

(HADITH-BAIHAQI)


Fill the Bucket this Ramadaan

Fill the Bucket!

By Abdur Rahmaan Umar
 

"Sheikh, Ramadaan soon," said Omar, his gruff voice making him sound a lot older than his 28 years, "We will really have to exert ourselves this Ramadaan!"

Sheik Hamaad nodded quietly, taking a sip of his favourite Jasmine tea.

"Yup, we really gonna have to try and do a lot this Ramadaan," chorused Ridwaan.

Sheikh looked at them and whispered, "Or not to do."

Omar jerked his head in surprise and looked at Ridwaan, searching for an answer. Ridwaan raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. The group looked at one another with skewed glances but said little until Omar mustered the courage and broke the silence, "Did Sheikh say not to do?"

Sheikh nodded in silent affirmation, his long beard making little waves on his chest.

They looked at one another for some clue, something just wasn't right.

Zaid, unable to contain himself and ventured softly, his voice barely audible from his usual position against the wall at the back, "But Sheikh always told us that this is the month to capitalize, to take maximum benefit of the time and to really … how you say…stock up."

Sheikh Hamaad's lips curled into a soft smile as he placed his tea on the little ornate wood table beside him, "True, I did say that you have to work hard and earn rewards. But let me give you an example – if you have a bucket, how long will it take to fill up?"

Omar's face lit up, he adjusted his specs, and in his a very professional tone said, "Depends on many factors – what's the rate of flow of the water, how big is the bucket, what is the size of the opening, and …"

"Let say we ignore all that," Sheikh continued, "If the bucket has a huge hole at the bottom will it remain full?"

"Well," began Omar, "depends on the size of the hole, and the rate of…"

"No ways! It will not remain full," Zaid interrupted him, and looked to Sheikh for an explanation of the analogy.

Sheikh surveyed the puzzled look on their faces and decided to end the suspense, "If we do a lot in Ramadaan, but fail to give up sinning then we are like people who are trying to fill a bucket that has holes."

"Holy bucket!" said Zaid, chuckled softly at his joke.

Sheikh smiled and continued, "Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah Radiallahu anhu narrated that the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam said: 'There are many such people who fast but gain nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are many such people who stand up (in Prayer) for whom there is nothing but the (difficulty) of staying awake. (Hadith-ibn Majah)' So….people may make a lot of effort, but gain nothing from it."

"Holes in the bucket," acknowledged Zaid, his head nodding in affirmation, "But why?"

Sheikh paused to sip his tea, "Because they don't give up sinning…perhaps they break their fast with haraam provisions, or they indulged in backbiting during the day. Or they indulged in some other sin that erased the good of the fasting and prayer. "

In another saying of the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam narrated by Hadhrat Abu Ubaydah( Radiallahu Anhu) that "Fasting is a shield until it's not torn" (Hadith-Ibn Majah); which conveys a similar meaning. A shield is only useful if it's able to withstand the onslaught of the enemy. If it's damaged it's no longer a source of protection. Likewise, we have to be extra careful about not committing sins in Ramadaan.

Ridwaan leaned forward and asked, "Must we be more vigilant about sins than doing good deeds?"

"Yes, you need to be more cautious, because if you do good deeds without refraining from sin then it's like filling a bucket with holes. Holy bucket!" said sheikh nodding at Zaid, whose curiosity dragged him away from the back wall.

Sheikh paused to take drain the cup of the last drops of tea, In another Hadith it's mentioned that a person asked The Messenger Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam, just as you have asked, what causes the fast to tear, and he, Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam repliedlies and backbiting.

Fasting is not just about giving up food and drink; it's about staying away from haraam. So the eyes have to fast by not looking at anything impermissible, the ears have to fast by not listening to haraam. So too, the mouth, by avoiding lies, backbiting, swearing and other wrongful words. Even the limbs have to fast by not going to haraam or indulging in it.

"That changes the whole notion of fasting," asked Zaid, now having made his way close to the front, "But that's tough…"

Sheikh immediately began reciting in his melodious voice:

"From Surah Baqarah (verse 185) – Allah Ta'ala desires ease for you and does not intend for you hardship. And (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you;"

"Zaid! You love your kebabs?" Sheikh asked.

Zaid nodded bashfully. "Would you eat any one of those lovely, tasty kebabs just before fast breaking time? Say with 30 seconds to spare?"

Zaid shook his head vigorously and replied, "No!" his voice a little too loud for the occasion.

"Why not?"

"Because that would be breaking Allah's command!"

"Even by a mere thirty seconds?" asked Sheikh and Zaid shook his head more energetically.

"So we have so much self-restraint about what we put in our mouths that we won't even transgress by thirty seconds, but we take very little care about what comes out of our mouths," said Sheikh, "Allah Ta'ala has given us the ability to control ourselves, we have to use this ability to avoid all those things which earn His displeasure."

"So what's the best thing we can do this Ramadaan? "asked Omar.

"The best thing to do is to avoid sinning in this blessed month, and…and...do your best to fill the bucket. By the grace of Allah Ta'ala it will be filled which much good that will remain even after Ramadaan. So, simply, do nothing wrong this Ramadaan!"