Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Salmaan wants to fast!
"But, Mum, I do not want to eat. I am a big boy and I can fast," Salmaan told his mother.
"But you are fasting, Salmaan, 7-year-old children eat in the morning and a little in the afternoon and then they don't eat anything else till evening."
"But you do not fast like that, Mum," the little boy insisted.
"I am older, Salmaan. Grownups fast that way."
The young boy sat deep in thought and then asked, "Mum, why do we fast?"
"That's a good question, Salmaan." She got up and went to the kitchen cupboard. She removed something from it.
"Do you know what this is, Salmaan?"
"It's a blender."
"Do you know what it is supposed to do?"
"It blends fruit for juice." His mother laughed. "Yes, it does blend. Our body does the same thing. It grinds the food we eat; it takes what it needs and removes the rest. It does this everyday, day in day out."
"Doesn't the body get tired, Mum?"
"It does. Just like the blender. When we have blended juice for too long, it refuses to work. Then it needs fixing. So we have to give our body a rest so it can work better for us. That's why we fast in Ramadan and some other days in the year."
"Does everybody fast, Mummy?"
"Not everybody. If you are ill or expecting a baby or if you are old and weak like your grandpa or if you are 7 years old like yourself then you don't fast.
The little boy thought some more. He ate the food his mother had set before him without much fuss. "What if you don't want to fast?"
"What is your sister Laika's favorite colour?" "Pink".
"And what is the colour of her uniform for Madrassa (School)?" "Blue".
But she says she'd like to wear her pink hijab when she goes."
"And why doesn't she?"
"She is afraid Muallim (Teacher) will punish her."
"You see, she was afraid the teacher would punish her. The teacher will punish her because she has broken the rule of the madrassaby wearing pink.
You see, Salmaan, Allah knows what is good for us and so we have to do as He commands, because He sees and knows everything. We love Him and fear Him and we don't want Him to be displeased with us."
"But Salmaan the real reason fast is to please Allah.Only Allah can give us the reward and fasting creates taqwa in our hearts."
"What is taqwa" Salmaan asked?
"Umar bin al-Khattab asked Ibn Ka'ab for the meaning of Taqwa. Ibn Ka'ab asked Umar how he would travel on a road full of thorns. 'Umar said he would carefully walk, gathering his clothes so they would not get stuck on the thorns which could cause him injury. Ibn K'aab said "This is the meaning of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin during our life's dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey untouched by sin."
"So Salmaan if a person is fasting and drinks water secretly when making wudhu will anybody know?"
"Nobody will no know Mum"
"But Allah will surely know as Allah sees everything and knows about all that we do! So when we fast we do it only for Allah and this will create the fear of Allah in our hearts. We will then be able to obey Allah at all times!"
"But don't you get hungry, Mum?"
"Of course we do. But we keep ourselves busy on other important things to take our mind away from the food and also do things which our dear Rasulullah told us to do.We read the Qur'an, or we visit the sick people or we go to the mosque to read of Salaah and make Zikr and also take part in taalim and dawah. You see there's plenty to do and before you know it, it's time to eat!"
"Is there another reason why Muslims fast?"
"Yes. You are fortunate, Salmaan, because you have food everyday. Not everyone has food to eat, like the poor people in the squatter camps?"
" If we go hungry like them, we will be able to understand that they need help."
The little boy Salmaan seemed satisfied with the answers, his mother had given him.
"Mum, can I go with you and Daddy to help the poor?" "By the Grace of Allah, you can."
" Mum, one more request"
"Can I fast tomorrow?" Salmaan asked
Salmaan's Mum smiled and replied " Allah has allowed 7 year old's not to fast until they grow bigger"
"But my sister Laika fasted yesterday " Salmaan pleaded to his Mum.
"Ok Salmaan I will wake you up for Sehri and then you can try. But if you do get very hungry you may eat ok!"
Happy with reply of his Mother Salmaan read his Salaah and went to bed praying to Allah to let him also fast tomorrow!
We need to explain to our children the essence and importance of Islamic practises so as they grow up they learn to appreciate and understand the wisdom of this beautiful Deen that Allah has gifted us with!
Fill the Bucket!
"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 replied – lies 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:
"يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ"
"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.
"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!"
Emma is a lawyer
And so is Aisha too
Colleagues going into court
At about half past two
Its 1 O'Clock right now
Aisha prays before the trial
They chat about this and that
Conversing with a smile
Aisha is in full hijab
With a loose all over Abaya (Cloak)
Emma's in her business wear
With accessories and other gear
Emma's really quite bemused
At Aisha's Godly ways
She looks Aisha in the eyes
And very firmly says
You're a smart girl Aisha
Why do you wear that across your hair?
Subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair
Take it off my sister
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD
Aisha is amazed
But not the least bit shy
She bravely puts her milkshake down
And gives Emma the reply
My dear sister Emma,
Why do you dress the way you do?
The skirt you're wearing round your waist,
Is it really you?
Now that we've sat down
I see you tug it across your thighs,
Do you feel ashamed?
Aware of prying eyes?
I see the way you're sitting,
Both legs joined at the knees,
Who forces you to sit like that?
Do you feel at ease?
I'll tell you who obliges you,
To dress the way you do,
Gucci, Klein, and St. Laurent
All have designs on you!
In the market, its designer labels for real,
Who dictate the whims of fashion,
Generating all the garb,
To incite the basest passion
"Sex Sells" there is no doubt
But who buys with such great haste,
The answer is likes like you,
Because they want to be embraced...
They want to be accepted,
On a level playing field
Sure, with brain and intellect
But with body parts revealed
Intelligence and reason
Are useful by and by
But if you want to make a mark
Stay appealing to the eye
You claim your skirt is office-like
A business dress of sorts
Would we not laugh at Mike?
If he turned up in shorts?
His could be the smartest of pants
Pinstripe from Saville Rowe
But walking round like that my friend
He'd really have to go
Why do you douse yourself in creams
To make your skin so milky?
Why do you rip off all your hair
To keep your body silky?
A simple shower's all you need
To stay respectable and clean
The time and money that you spend
Is really quite obscene
Why do you wake up at dawn,
To apply a firm foundation,
Topped with makeup and the like,
In one chaotic combination?
And if you should have to leave the house
Devoid of this routine
Why do you feel insecure
That you should not be seen?
Be free my sister Emma
Escape from your deep mire
Don hijab today my friend
And all Islam's attire
Avoid all those sickly stares
Or whistles from afar
Walk down the street with dignity
Take pride in who you are
Strength lies in anonymity
Be a shadow in the crowd
Until you speak and interact
When your voice will carry loud
You're a smart girl Emma
Wear this across your hair
Don't be subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair
To use your very words my friend
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD
THE IMPORTANCE OF SADAQATUL-FITR
Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam said: "The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid."
Sadaqatul fitr [fitra] is compulsory charity which becomes payable on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Fitr means to break fast or to refrain from fasting. Hence the Eid after the fasts of Ramadhân is called Eid-ul-Fitr, as it is the day of rejoicing after the completion of fasting. On this occasion of happiness, as a sign of gratitude one has to give a specific amount in aims, which is called Sad'qatui-Fitr. To purify and obtain complete blessings for the fasts of Ramadhân Mubârak one has to give Sadaqatul-Fitr. Thus it is wâjib to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to purify one's fast. The true object in giving Sadqatul-fitr on this happy, occasion is also to assist the poor and needy, so that, they may rejoice with the more fortunate.
Ibn Abbas (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) made the Sadkat-ul-Fitr obligatory for the purpose of: purifying our fasting from vain talk and shameful mistakes, to make arrangements for the poor and the needy for food and clothing (for the festival of
Eid). (Hadith: Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja)
Sadaqatul Fitr (or fitrah) is wâjib [compulsory] upon all Muslims -male, female and children fitrah should preferably be paid before the Eid Salâh.
It is not permissible to delay the payment of fitrah later than the Day of Eid.
What amount Should be paid
The amount of Sadqatul Fitr is 1.633kg of wheat or 3.266kg of barley or the equivalent in cash. Please consult your local Islamic Scholars[Ulema] in your area for exact amount.It is highly recommended that this amount is paid in advance so that the contributions could be used for the benefit of the poor on Eid day
An Exceptional Prayer…Salaatut Tasbeeh
In life there are occasions and opportunities where a person has a chance to increase in profits and rewards significantly. One such opportunity is the Blessed Month of Ramadaan, wherein rewards are multiplied enormously. This is a time where we can exert ourselves in prayers to gain nearness to Allah Ta'ala.
An exceptional prayer that can be performed in Ramadaan as well as throughout the year is Salaatut Tasbeeh, a special prayer taught to the Muslim Ummah by The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Salatut Tasbeeh is a special Salaah that carries great rewards and blessings. Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (R.A) reports that Nabi (S.A.W) said to him: "O Abbas! O my uncle! Should I present to you a gift? Should I bestow something to you? Should I inform you of something greatly beneficial? Should I show you such an act which, if you render it, Allah will forgive all your sins – old and new, those committed in error and those committed deliberately, sins committed publicly or privately? The act is to perform four Rakaats (Salatut Tasbeeh) ... (after the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) taught him the way of performing this Salaah, he said): If possible, perform this Salaah daily; if you are unable, then perform it once a week. If you are unable, then perform it once a month; if you are unable, then perform it once a year and if you are unable to do even this, then perform it at least once in a lifetime." (Hadith-Abu Dawood)
WHEN TO PRAY:
This Salaah (namaz) is offered in four rakat at any convenient time and can be read in any part of the day and night keeping in mind the forbidden times for performing Salaah (i.e. Zawal , Sunrise and Sunset times). It is an excellent practice during the Mubarak(blessed) nights of Ramadhaan or on any other auspicious night.
The Tasbeeh(words of praise) to be recited in Salatut Tasbeeh:
"Subhan allahi wal hamdulillahi wa la ilaha illal laahu wallahu akbar"
The words "La Hawla wala Quwwata illa billahil Aliyyil Azeem" may also be added at the end of the above Tasbeeh.
· After Thana - 15 Times
· After the Surah and before Ruku - 10 Times
· In Ruku after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· In Qaumah (standing position after Ruku) - 10 Times
· In (first) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· In Jalsa (sitting position between the two Sajdas) - 10 Times
· In (second) Sajda after the Tasbeeh - 10 Times
· The second, third and fourth Rakaats will be read in the same manner.
1. In every Rakat, the Tasbeeh will be recited 75 times totalling 300 times in the entire Salah.
2. There are also other methods of praying Salatut Tasbeeh which is correct and acceptable.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
1) Do not count loudly.
2) Do not count by holding a Bead Tasbeeh(prayer beads) or a counter in your hand.
3) You may count by pressing the fingers as a reminder. For example if you are in Ruku. You may press small finger of your right hand first for the first count, then the finger next to it for second count, then the middle finger for third count, following this method until you reach the small finger of left hand will give you an exact count of ten. Use the same method in Qiyaam, Sajdah and Jalsa.
May Allah Ta'ala accept our ibadah(worship) and grant us an elevated position in Jannah(paradise).
Sunday, July 13, 2014
If I told you that I can give you whatever you wish and allow you to have one week's time to decide what you want, will you plan for it?
I believe you will.
We plan for the things that are important in life, for the things we want most. From job interviews, to choosing spouses,going for Haj, to picking out furniture for the house, we plan for things that are important in our life.
So what about our du`a (supplication)?
Is not du`a a way to receive what we ask for? Allah (Allah Ta'ala) is the one that provides everything in our lives and asking Him is the most important thing we can do, but how often do we actually plan for it? Du`a too often becomes only a spur of the moment thing rather than a comprehensive list of things we wish for the most.
With Ramadan upon us, now is the best time to really put our minds to what we wish to ask the Creator of the heavens and the earth. I would like to share some ways to do so most effectively from my own personal experience.
Others Have Playlists, Muslims Have Praylists
For the past four years, before the beginning of every Ramadan, I have made a special, organized, and comprehensive list of du`a. The list would consist of 8 to 10 things that I desired the most, both in this world and in the Hereafter. Every day of Ramadan, I would pray for them at the times that supplication is most likely to be accepted. I call these my praylists.
As Muslims, we make du`a to Allah everyday. We make du`a right when we wake up, before every meal, every time we raise our hands and recite chapter Al-Fatihah, and so much more. Why then make a special list of du`a? Developing a praylist helps one focus and reflect.
Focusing on a specific list of du`a helps remind oneself of his/her needs and ambitions. By listing and repeating the items on the list, every single day, it not only assures that one does not forget all his wishes but it reinforces the pursuit of each one. For example, if I have always wanted to improve my tajweed (recitation of the Quran), by asking for help from Allah (Allah Ta'ala) to do so everyday encourages me to put my words into practice.
Reflection of du`as allows one to appreciate what Allah has granted him. I can personally attest to this. There have been items on my past praylists that have been answered in ways that I could never imagine. It's incredible. I look back and cannot believe I have received so many of the things I asked so desperately for. Allah (Allah Ta'ala) truly does not leave the hands of a believer empty when raised to Him.
The Time Is Now
Now that Ramadan is upon us again, I am excited to develop another praylist for the blessed month and I would love to encourage you all to do the same.
As an incentive, I remind myself and others, that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything" (At Tirmidhi). Why make Him angry?
Here are effective ways to plan your du`a to make the best out of your praylist:
Write It All Down
Take some time to actually write out your praylist. Do so in a format which is most accessible for you to review. You can write them on a small piece of paper to place in your wallet or purse, or if you're like me, you can type them into your phone's notes application.
There shouldn't be any limit on the size of the list, as long as it is manageable. If the list is so long that it becomes a burden to repeat more than once a day, it's then best to shorten it.
If you are weary of writing out your praylist because you wish to keep some or the entire items private, you should still write it out but then only list keywords that remind you of each item.
Ask Anything & Everything That Is Good
When choosing your items, imagine that Allah is asking you to ask Him for anything and everything you've ever wanted! Imagine the possibilities. From self improvement, to material things, to bettering relationships in your life, write down everything you want to ask Allah with no limitations other than keeping each item halal (lawful). Remember, you're asking Al-Mujeeb! The one who responds and is the supreme answerer.
Learn Prophetic and Quranic du`as to include as well.
Organize items in your "praylist" into different categories. I use the categories: this world, hereafter, worship, Muslim community and relationships. Once each item is sorted, you'll notice that some categories may be lacking than others. Adjust and add du`as where necessary. This will ensure that your praylist is all encompassing of your needs.
Make Du`a When They Are Most Likely Answered
These times include right before breaking the fast, during your prayer in prostration, after the obligatory prayers, night prayer, and the last 10 nights. At the least, everyday of Ramadan, I always make sure to make du`a before breaking my fast during iftar.
Remember the Etiquettes of Du`a
There is a right and proper way to make du`a. Remember that we must praise Allah Ta'ala first, ask for peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad and then make our du`a.
So go on, take some time to think of what things you want the most. This time next year, you'll be surprised how many items on your list Allah Ta'ala has directly or indirectly granted you insha'Allah (Allah Ta'ala-willing).
I pray we all have a meaningful and successful Ramadan full of blessings. May Allah Ta'ala preserve us all to reap the benefits of such a Holy month and bring us closer to Him. May He give us all strength, knowledge, patience and humility. Ameen.