Monthly Archives: August 2011

Guidance of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding Eid prayers

eidgahPraise be to Allaah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to offer the Eid prayers in the prayer-place (musalla). There is no report of his offering the Eid prayer in his mosque.

Al-Shaafa’i said in al-Umm: It was narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out on the two Eids to the prayer-place in Madeenah, as did those (caliphs) who came after him, unless there was an excuse such as rain etc. The people of other lands did likewise, apart from the people of Makkah.

He used to wear his most beautiful garments to go out to pray. He had a suit (hullah) which he would wear for Eid and Jumu’ah (Friday prayer). A hullah is a two-piece suit of the same kind of fabric.

He used to eat dates before going out on Eid al-Fitr, and he would eat an odd number of them.

Al-Bukhaari (953) narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not go out on the morning of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates, and he would eat an odd number.

Ibn Qudaamah said: We do not know of any differing opinion concerning the fact that it is mustahabb to eat early on the day of Eid al-Fitr.

The reason for eating before the prayer is so that no one will think that it is essential to fast until the prayer has been offered.

And it was said that this was in order to hasten to obey the command of Allaah Who enjoined breaking the fast after He enjoined fasting.

If no dates are available, he should have something else for breakfast, even if it is only water, so that he can fulfil the Sunnah in principle, which is to have something for breakfast before praying on Eid al-Fitr.

With regard to Eid al-Adha, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to eat anything until he came back from the prayer-place, then he would eat some of the meat of his sacrifice.

It was narrated that he used to do ghusl for both Eids. Ibn al-Qayyim said: Two weak (da’eef) hadeeths have been narrated concerning this… but it was proven from Ibn ‘Umar, who was very keen to follow the Sunnah, that he used to do ghusl before going out on the day of Eid.

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out to the Eid prayer walking, and come back walking.

Ibn Maajah (1295) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out to the Eid (prayer) walking and come back walking. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

Al-Tirmidhi (530) narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said: It is Sunnah to go out to the Eid (prayer) walking. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Al-Tirmidhi said: Most of the scholars followed this hadeeth and said that it is mustahabb for a man to go out to the Eid (prayer) walking. It is mustahabb for him not to ride unless he has an excuse.

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) reached the prayer-place, he would begin the prayer with no adhaan or iqaamah, and without saying “Al-salaatu jaami’ah (prayer is about to begin).” The Sunnah is not to do any of these things.

And he did not offer any prayer in the prayer-place before or after the Eid prayer.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would start with the prayer, before the khutbah. He prayed two rak’ahs, with seven consecutive takbeers in the first rak’ah, including takbeerat al-ihraam (the takbeer with which the prayer begins), and a brief pause between each two takbeers. There is no report of him saying any particular dhikr between the takbeers, but it was narrated that Ibn Mas’ood would praise Allaah and send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

But Ibn ‘Umar, who was always keen to follow the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), used to raise his hands with each takbeer.

When he had completed the takbeers, he would start to recite. He would recite al-Faatihah then recite Qaf wa’l-Qur’aan il-majeed (Soorah Qaaf 50) in the first rak’ah and Aqtarabat il-saa’ah wa anshaqqa al-qamar (Soorat al-Qamar 54) in the other. Sometimes he recited Sabbih isma rabbika al-A’la (Soorat al-A’laa 87) and Hal ataaka hadeeth al-ghaashiyah (Soorat al-Ghaashiyah 88). Both were narrated in saheeh reports, but no other soorahs are mentioned in saheeh reports. When he had finished reciting he would say takbeer and bow. When he had finished bowing and prostrating and had stood up again, he would say five takbeers. When he had completed the takbeers he would start to recite again. The takbeer was the first thing that he would do in each rak’ah and his recitation was followed by rukoo’ (bowing).

Al-Timridhi narrated from the hadeeth of Katheer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf, from his father, from his grandfather, that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited takbeer in the Eid (prayer), seven times in the first rak’ah before reciting Qur’aan and five times in the second rak’ah before reciting Qur’aan. Al-Tirmidhi said: I asked Muhammad – i.e., al-Bukhaari – about this hadeeth and he said: There is nothing more sound than this concerning this topic. And I say likewise.

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished the prayer, he would move away and stand facing the people, with the people sitting in their rows, and he would address them, preaching and exhorting, with commands and prohibitions. If he wanted to dispatch anyone on a mission he would do so, and if he wanted to enjoin anything he would do that.

There was no minbar on which he would stand, and the minbar of Madeenah was not brought out. Rather he would address them standing on the ground. Jaabir said: I attended Eid prayer with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He started with the prayer before the khutbah, with no adhaan and no iqaamah, then he stood, leaning on Bilaal, and enjoined us to fear and obey Allaah. He preached to the people and reminded them, then he went over to the women and preached to them and reminded them. Agreed upon.

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out on the day of al-Fitr and al-Adha to the prayer place. He would start with the prayer, then he would go and stand facing the people, with the people sitting in their rows… This hadeeth was narrated by Muslim.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started all his khutbahs with praise of Allaah. It is not narrated even in one hadeeth that he started the khutbah of Eid with takbeer. Rather Ibn Maajah narrated in his Sunan (1287) that Sa’d al-Qaraz, the muezzin of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say the takbeer between the two sermons and he used to say takbeer a great deal throughout the khutbah of Eid. This was classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Da’eef Ibn Maajah. Although the hadeeth is da’eef, it does not indicate that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to begin his khutbah with takbeer.

It says in Tamaam al-Mannah: Although it does not indicate that it is prescribed to begin the Eid khutbah with takbeer, its isnaad is da’eef and includes one man who is da’eef (weak) and another who is majhool (unknown), so it is not permissible to quote it as evidence that it is Sunnah to say takbeer during the khutbah.

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

People differed as to how the khutbah on Eid and on the occasion of prayers for rain (istisqa’) should begin. It was said that they should begin with takbeer and it was said that the khutbah of istisqa’ should begin with prayers for forgiveness, and it was said that they should begin with praise. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: this is the correct view. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to begin all his khutbahs with praise of Allaah.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted a concession allowing those who attended the Eid prayers either to sit and listen to the khutbah, or to leave.

Abu Dawood (1155) narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Saa’ib said: I attended Eid (prayer) with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and when he had finished the prayer he said: “We are going to deliver the khutbah, so whoever wants to sit and listen to the khutbah, let him do so, and whoever wants to leave, let him go.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to vary his route on the day of Eid. He would go by one route and come back by another.

Al-Bukhaari narrated (986) that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would vary his route.

Jazaak Allah Khair for reading.

How do we end our Ramadan?

All Praise and Thanks is for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) who has blessed us with witnessing yet another Ramadan!  The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said that actions are judged by their ending [Bukhari].  So while many of us have started preparing for Eid, we should also make sure that we end this blessed month in a great way.

Tawbah: Repentance

We end this month by returning to Allah (swt) in a state of humility and repentance. We seek forgiveness of Allah (swt) and repent to Him because we acknowledge that our deeds are deficient, and we acknowledge that we have wronged ourselves and others.

Repenting to Allah (swt) is a reminder that Allah is the One who guided us to righteous deeds, and we do not know if He will accept them from us. It is from the sunnah of Allah (swt) that when we end a deed, we end it with seeking forgiveness. We seek forgiveness after finishing our prayers and after we end a gathering just as Allah (swt) told the Prophet ﷺ to seek forgiveness and to repent after the Opening of Makkah.

Shukr: Gratitude

We end this month in a state of gratitude to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:

“[…] to complete the period and to glorify Allah forthat [to] which he has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful,” (Qur’an 2:185).

We must thank Allah (swt) for all that He has given us during this month. He blessed us to be among those who worshiped Him and He gave us the health and ability to fast, to pray, and to increase in our good deeds.

Gratitude is a trait of the believers that is highlighted throughout the Qur’an and Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet ﷺ). We even see that when the believers enter Paradise, they proclaim:

quran 7:43

“[…] ‘Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us.’ […]” (Qur’an 7:43).

Being grateful to Allah (swt) and thanking Him reminds us to be humble, because we would not have received anything good or have had the opportunity to do any good without the Help of Allah (swt).

Takbeer: Proclaiming the Greatness of Allah

We end this month by declaring the Greatness of Allah (swt) for what He has guided us to. Allah (swt) says:

quran 2:185

“[…] to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which he has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful,” (Qur’an 2:185).

Takbeer is to declare the Greatness of Allah (swt), to exalt Him, and magnify Him. Saying “Allahu Akbar” is the highest and best way to exalt Allah (swt).

We make takbeer from the night of Eid until the Eid prayer by saying:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar                           Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest

La ilaaha il Allah,                                                There is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar                           Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest

wa Lillahil Hamd                                                  and for Allah Alone is All Praise

We repeat this throughout the night and day, reminding ourselves that Allah (swt) is Greater than everything else and we declare His Praise for having guided us to finish Ramadan.

Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahu allah, may Allah have mercy on him) says: “What is more beautiful than seeing the people proclaiming the greatness of Allah (swt) and declaring His Magnificence in every area and place, filling the horizon with Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater than everything), Alhamdulillah (Praise and thanks is for Allah Alone) and La ilaaha il Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah), while hoping for His Mercy and fearing His Punishment!”

Intention to Change

We end this month with the intention to continue fasting, praying and doing good. Ramadan is a month of change that is meant to give us a spiritual cleansing that will last us the whole year. The virtues of fasting and praying do not end after we celebrate Eid; rather, Eid should be the beginning of a new chapter for us to continue doing the habits we started in Ramadan. We can continue reading the Qur’an, fasting Mondays and Thursdays, or the White Days (the 13th-15th of each lunar month), and we can pray the night prayers every night (or once a week).

We’ve tasted the sweetness of standing during the night; we’ve tasted the sweetness of raising our hands to Allah (swt) in supplication; we’ve tasted the sweetness of breaking our fast after a long day; we’ve tasted the sweetness of giving charity. So how can we return to disobedience and leaving good deeds after having tasted this sweetness?

Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab (ra) says: “O one who has been freed from the Fire by His Owner! Be cautious of returning to enslavement after having been freed! Your Protector has removed you from the Fire and you are coming closer to it? And He has saved you from it, and you are falling into it?”

Do not be a “Ramadan Muslim” by intending to return to your old habits after the Eid prayer. Ask Allah (swt), the One who guided you to worship Him in Ramadan, to help you continue in your worship and good deeds. Remember that Ramadan has left us but the One who created this month will never leave; for He is Living and His reward is Everlasting.


The virtue of fasting six days of Shawwaal

What is the ruling on fasting six days of Shawwaal? Is it waajib (obligatory)?

Praise be to Allaah.

Fasting six days of Shawwaal after the obligatory fast of Ramadaan is Sunnah Mustahabbah, not waajib. It is recommended for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwaal, and in this there is great virtue and an immense reward. Whoever fasts these six days will have recorded for him a reward as if he had fasted a whole year, as was reported in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Abu Ayyoob (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained this when he said: “Whoever fasts for six days after (Eid) al-Fitr has completed the year: (whoever does a good deed (hasanah) will have ten hasanah like it).” According to another report: “Allaah has made for each hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year.” (al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/421). It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the wording: “Fasting for the month of Ramadaan brings the reward of ten like it, and fasting for six days brings the reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year.”

The Hanbali and Shaafa’i fuqaha’ explained that fasting six days of Shawwaal after fasting Ramadaan makes it as if one has fasted for an entire year of obligatory fasts, because the multiplication of the reward applies even to naafil fasts, because each hasanah brings the reward of ten like it.

Another of the important benefits of fasting six days of Shawwaal is that is makes up for any shortfall in a person’s obligatory Ramadaan fasts, because no one is free of shortcomings or sins that have a negative effect on his fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his naafil deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salaah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels – although He knows best – ‘Look at the salaah of My slave, whether it is complete or incomplete.’ If it is perfect, it will be recorded as perfect, and if something is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (naafil) prayers.’ If he did some voluntary prayers, [Allaah] will say, Complete the obligatory actions of My slave from his voluntary actions.’ Then all his actions will be dealt with in a similar manner.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood).

And Allaah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

What is a Successful Ramadaan?

ramadaan-successful1. The piety and humility of the Salaf

When Ramadaan came to a close, the rightly guided predecessors (As-Salaf As-Saalih) used to frequently seek forgiveness, repent to Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic – and fear that their (deeds) would not be accepted. They used to exert themselves (in worship) in Ramadaan and outside of Ramadaan, afterwards they would be fearful that none of this will be accepted.

2. How the Salaf behaved when Ramadaan was approaching and when it left

They used to seek the forgiveness of Allaah and repent. So much so that it was reported that they would supplicate to Allaah for six months that He would allow them to reach Ramadaan. If He allowed them to reach Ramadaan, they would fast, pray at night and supplicate for the next six months that He accepts the month of Ramadaan from them.

3. Signs that Ramadaan has been accepted

Following good deeds with good is a sign that (an act) has been accepted, whether it is pertaining to Ramadaan or other than it. If the Muslim is in a good state after Ramadaan, performing many good deeds and righteous actions, then this is a proof of acceptance.

4. Signs that Ramadaan hasn’t been accepted

If the opposite is true, and he follows good with evil, and as soon as Ramadaan is over he follows on from this with sins, heedlessness and turning away from the obedience of Allaah, then this is a proof that it hasn’t been accepted.

Every person knows their true situation after Ramadaan. So let them look, if they are in a better state, then let them thank Allaah, as this shows (that it has been) accepted.
If their state is worse, then let them repent to Allaah and seek the forgiveness of Allaah, as this is a proof that it hasn’t been accepted and it is a proof of negligence and carelessness.

5. Do not despair of the Mercy of Allaah

But the slave should not lose hope of the mercy of Allaah. He should not close the door that is between him and Allaah and despair of the mercy of Allaah.

Say: O my slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins). Do not despair of the Mercy of Allaah: verily Allaah forgives all sins. He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar: 53)

It is upon him to repent, seek the forgiveness of Allaah and return to Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic.
Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic – accepts repentance from those that repent.

And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.” (Ash-Shura:25)

And the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad.
By the Shaykh, ‘Allaamah Saalih Al-Fawzaan

Ithaaf Ahlil Eemaan bi Duroos Shahr Ar-Ramadaan pg. 119-120

Translated by Hassan As-Somali

7 Practical Tips for praying Qiyaam al-Layl

qiyaam-al-laylWhat is Qiyaam al-Layl?

Qiyaam’ means ‘standing’ and ‘Qiyaam al-Layl’ means ‘standing in night.’ In the Islamic terminology, both terms refer to, ‘the voluntary night prayer, whose time extends from after Isha prayer until dawn.’ Other common names for Qiyaam al-Layl are, Salaat ul-Layl (the night prayer), Tahajjud (from hajada meaning remained awake at night), Witr (odd-numbered this term is also used to refer to the last one or three Raka’ah of Qiyaam) and Taraweeh (resting).

A widespread misconception is that Tahajjud is a different night prayer than Qiyaam or Taraweeh. It is important to clarify this misunderstanding and to make clear that there is only one nafl night prayer known by different names. Even though the term Taraweeh is more commonly used to describe the night prayer in Ramadan, it is not different from Tahajjud. Thus, the practice of praying Taraweeh in the earlier part of the night and Tahajjud in the later part should be stopped.

The Excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl

Numerous Ahaadeeth and Qur’aanic verses mention the excellence of Qiyaam al-Layl and the merit of those who perform it regularly. Umm al-Mumineen, Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The most beloved deeds to Allah are the most constant, even if they were little.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] and she said in another narration: “Do not ever stop praying Qiyaam. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) never ceased praying it. When he was sick or weak, he prayed sitting.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslims] He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “You should pray Qiyaam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” [At-Tirmidhee and Musnad Ahmad]

Narrated Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (radhi allahu anhu): ‘The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to him: “May I show you the gates of goodness?’ (they are), “(a) Fasting is screen from Hell, (b) As-Sadaqah extinguishes the sins, as water extinguishes fire, (c) Standing in Salaat (prayer) by a slave of Allah during the last third part of a night.” Then the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) recited the verse: “Their (believer’s) sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope; and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.”’ [Abu Dawood and at-Tirmidhee]

Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The best of prayer after those prescribed (i.e. obligatory prayer) is that in the depth of night.” [Saheeh Muslims]

Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes his wife to pray; and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes her husband to pray; and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.” [(Hasan) Abu Dawood ]

Abdullah Ibn Bashr (radhi allahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) saying:“Whoever prays Qiyaam reciting ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent. Whoever prays Qiyaam reciting one hundred verses, he will be recorded among the devout. And whoever prays Qiyaam reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among those with a multitude of good deeds.” [(Hasan) Abu Dawood]

7 Practical Tips for praying Qiyaam al-Layl

1: Ikhlas (Sincerity) – the key to Allah’s Help and Blessings

Help of Allah is needed to accomplish and achieve success in all our affairs. And Allah only helps those who are sincere in their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “If you are truthful with Allah, then Allah will deliver to you what you wish for.” [An-Nasa’ee, al-Hakim and Saheeh al-Jamee] Therefore, one should have a sincere intention to pray Qiyaam al-Layl; seek the Pleasure of Allah Alone and avoid the desire of praise or fame. Allah says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone…” [(98): 5]
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears, and failure comes to them in like manner.”

2: Knowing the Virtues of Qiyaam al-Layl

Knowing the virtues and rewards of performing worship produces willingness and desire to perform the worship. We have previously mentioned numerous virtues of regularly praying Qiyaam al-Layl, here we mention the excellence of praying Qiyaam al-Layl particularly in the great month of Ramadan. Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported: “Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyaam during Ramadan. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyaam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Muslim]

3: Taking a nap in the daytime

Taking a nap before or after Dhur Salaat will dismiss the stress and thus enable one to get up in the night and stand in front of his Lord. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen (pl. of Shaytan) do not take naps.” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. Al-Saheehah (2647)]

4: Sleeping according to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger

(a) Sleep early: Sleeping early is a healthy habit and it was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) to sleep directly after performing the Isha prayer. Abu Barzah al-Aslami (radhi allahu anhu) said that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to prefer to delay Isha, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

(b) Sleep in a state of taharah (purity): Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the Angel] says, ‘O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’” [Reported by at-Tabaranee. See Saheeh al-Jamee (3831)]

(c) Choose a suitable bed: Excessive luxurious or soft bed provokes laziness and makes one sleep more and become negligent. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) narrates that the pillow of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibers.” [Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad. Saheeh al-Jamee (4714)]

Once Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) entered upon the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibers that had left marks on his side. Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a traveler on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.” [Musnad Ahmad and al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (5545)]

(d) Cleaning the bed and lying on the right side
Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “When any one of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side…” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

(e) Reciting the Adhkaar (supplications) mentioned in the Sunnah before sleeping

There are a number of Adhkaar prescribed in the Sunnah before going to bed, amongst them are reciting the last verses of Soorah al-Baqarah, reciting Soorah al-Falaq and Soorah al-Nas and Soorah Ikhlas blow in the palms and wipe as much of the body possible, starting from the head, face and then the front of the body doing it three times. [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radhi allahu anhu) reported that when the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima (radhi allahu anha) came to him and asked him for a servant, he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to her and Ali: “Shall I not teach you something that will be better for you than a servant? When you go to bed, say ‘SubhanAllah’ thirty-three times, ‘Al-hamdulillah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-four times. This is better for you than a servant.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim]

5: Avoid too much food and drink

Too much food or drink is one of the main obstacles that make one lazy and negligent of Qiyaam al-Layl. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” [Reported by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah. Saheeh al-Jamee (5674)]

Abu Juhayfah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to a man who burped in his presence: “Stop your burping, for the people who eat the most in this life will be the most hungry on the Day of Resurrection.” [Reported by al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (1190)]

6: Striving against oneself:

Striving against oneself to get up and pray and suppressing one’s desires bring about Allah’s help and His Pleasure for the slave. Allah says in the Qur’aan: “Strive in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive…” [Soorah al-Hajj (25): 78] “And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers).” [ (29): 69]

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The Mujahid (one who strives in way of Allah) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allah.” [Reported by al-Tirmidhee. See al-Saheehah (549)]

He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) also said: “When a man from my Ummah gets up to pray at night, striving against his own self to get up and purify himself, there are knots on him. When he washes his hands in wudhu, one knot is undone. When he washes his face, another knot is undone. When he wipes his head another knot is undone. When he washes his feet, another knot is undone. Then Allah says to those who are veiled (in the Unseen):‘Look at this slave of Mine, he is striving against his own self and asking of Me. Whatever My slave asks of Me shall be his.” [Musnad Ahmad. See Saheeh al-Targheeb (627)]

7: Rebuking one’s self for not praying Qiyaam al-Layl

Qiyaam al-Layl is a great blessing from Allah, the Exalted, and He has placed in it numerous spiritual benefits and rewards for the believer. Therefore, one should rebuke one’s self, if he misses this great opportunity of achieving rewards and Pleasure of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’aan: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” [(59): 18]
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: “If the slave is responsible and accountable for everything, even his hearing, sight and innermost thoughts, as Allah says, “…Verily, hearing, sight, and the heart of each of you will be questioned by Allah.” [Soorah al-Isra (17): 36], then he should check on himself before he is brought to account.”

Taken from the book – ‘The Night Prayers’ by Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen al-Albanee (rahimahullah)

As-Sunnah Islamic Newsletter Issue 15

The guidance of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding i’tikaaf

Praise be to Allaah.

The guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with regard to i’tikaaf was the most perfect and moderate of guidance.

Once he observed i’tikaaf in the first ten days of Ramadaan, then in the middle ten days, seeking Laylat al-Qadr. Then he was told that it is in the last ten days, so then he always observed i’tikaaf during the last ten days, until he met his Lord.

On one occasion he did not observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days, so he made it up in Shawwaal and observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days thereof. This was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

In the year in which he died, he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2040.

It was said that the reason for that is that he knew his life was drawing to a close, so he wanted to increase his good deeds, to show his ummah how to strive hard in doing good deeds when the opportunity for doing so drew to close, so that they could meet Allaah in the best way. And it was said that the reason was that Jibreel used to review the Qur’aan with him once each Ramadaan, but in the year in which he died, he reviewed it with him twice, which is why his i’tikaaf was twice as long as usual.

A more likely reason is that he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days in that year because the year before he had been traveling. This is indicated by the report narrated by al-Nasaa’i and Abu Dawood, and classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan and others, from Ubayy ibn Ka’b who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan, but he travelled one year and did not observe i’tikaaf, so the following year he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days. Fath al-Baari.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to order that a kind of tent be pitched for him in the mosque, and he would stay in it, keeping away from people and turning to his Lord, so he could be on his own with his Lord in a true sense of the word.

On one occasion he observed i’tikaaf in a small tent, and put a reed mat over the door. Narrated by Muslim, 1167.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 2/90:

All of this to achieve the spirit and purpose of i’tikaaf, and is the opposite of what the ignorant do, whereby the place of i’tikaaf becomes a place of gathering and meeting with people and chatting to them. This is one thing, and i’tikaaf as observed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is something else.

He used to stay in the mosque the whole time, and not leave it except to relieve himself. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “He would not enter his house for anything except for a need when he was observing i’tikaaf.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2029; Muslim, 297.

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Except for human needs.” Al-Zuhri interpreted this as referring to urination and defecation.

He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made sure he remained clean. He would lean his head out of the mosque into ‘Aa’ishah’s apartment so that she should wash his head and comb his hair.

Al-Bukhaari (2028) and Muslim (297) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to lean his head towards me when he was observing i’tikaaf in the mosque, and I would comb his hair, when I was menstruating.”

According to a report also narrated by al-Bukhaari: “And I would wash it.”

Al-Haafiz said:

This hadeeth indicates that it is permissible to clean oneself, put on perfume, wash oneself, comb one’s hair etc (when in i’tikaaf). The majority of scholars are of the view that nothing is makrooh except that which it is makrooh to do in the mosque.

When he was in i’tikaaf, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not visit the sick or attend funerals. This was so that he could concentrate fully on conversing with Allaah and achieving the purpose of i’tikaaf, which is to cut oneself off from people and turn to Allaah.

‘Aa’ishah said: The Sunnah is for the person in i’tikaaf not to visit the sick or attend funerals, or to be intimate with his wife. But there is nothing wrong with his going out for essential needs.

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

“or to be intimate with his wife” means intercourse. This was stated by al-Shawkaani in Nayl al-Awtaar.

Some of his wives used to visit him when he was in i’tikaaf. When she stood up to leave, he would take her home – that was at night.

It was narrated from Safiyyah the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that she came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and visited him when he was in i’tikaaf in the mosque, during the last ten days of Ramadaan. She spoke with him for a while, then she stood up to leave. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up with her to take her home. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2035; Muslim, 2175.

In conclusion, his i’tikaaf was moderate and not harsh. He spent all his time remembering Allaah and turning to Him in worship, seeking Laylat al-Qadr.

See:  Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn al-Qayyim, 2/90; al-I’tikaaf Nazrah Tarbawiyyah by Dr ‘Abd al-Lateef Balto.

Can You Guarantee Your Next Ramadaan?

We praise Allah for having blessed us with Ramadhan, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, the Truthful one, the one who informed us that in Ramadhan:

“…the gates of heaven are open, the gates of the Hellfire are closed and the evil devils are chained…”[i]

May the Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him, his family, his companions and all those who follow his way till the day of Judgement. Ameen

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, did you know:

You can die by next Ramadhan

How would you feel if this was to be the case, since no soul knows when and where their death is written and each souls time is appointed; how sure are you that you will be here next Ramadhan?

If you could see when the wrongdoers taste the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, [saying], ‘Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment.’[ii]

Hundreds of Muslims that were present last Ramadhan have now given up their souls and departed into the next realm. For those who neglected Ramadhan, deep regret is their destiny.

How many wail, screaming in the bottomless pit of the fire, pleading to Allah for one prostration in these blessed nights? How many cry tears of blood to witness one Night of Power- Laylatul Qadr? How many would cut off their limbs, sell their beloved ones, jump out of their graves with eyes full of hope, tears full of regret, when told that fasting is a shield that can protect one from the hellfire?[iii] Many, who have left this world, will do anything to witness one more Ramadhan.

O you who are in need of Allah! Take heed from the words of Ibn Umar (rah) when he said:

“When you survive till the evening, do not expect to live until the morning; and when you survive until the morning, do not expect to live until the evening; (do good deeds) when you are in good health before you fall sick, and (do good deeds) as long as you are alive before death strikes.”[iv]

O Believer, remember the day when the graves will turn out their contents and all that was buried in the bosoms will be revealed. On the Day of Judgement everyone will wish they had done more righteous works; a day when even a mother will throw her new born baby and run, screaming ‘Nafsy! Nafsy!’ (Me! Me!).

For many this Ramadhan will be a source of regret, whilst for others a source of happiness and joy. How will you feel, o servant of Allah, when your fast pleads to the Lord of the worlds,

“O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [v]

On that day, those who fasted with sincerity and hope, will neither grief nor remorse. This is because fasting with sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah erases past sins.[vi] On a daily basis, Allah multiplies our good deeds manifold; some rewards receiving ten times its like, others seven hundred. Yet for fasting, Allah says:

“.. it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.’ [vii]

O Believer, indeed the time of opening the fast is a joyous one, yet know with certitude that there will be yet another time of joy – when you meet your Lord, the Almighty. [viii]

Make your choice

Join the caravan of those who love Ramadhan and Ramadhan loves them. Attune your heart with Allah; polish your heart and set its gaze focused towards the heaven. The Prophet (saws) said,

“Have no desire for this world, Allah will love you; and have no desire for what people possess, and the people will love you.”[ix]

Free your mind from the concerns of a world that is not even worth a mosquitoes’ wing in Allah’s sight, as the Prophet (saws) said:

“Were this world worth a wing of mosquito, He would not have given a drink of water to an infidel.”[x]

Let your heart rest in the remembrance of the Paradise, under which rivers flow beneath the feet and all that which your heart desires awaits you. In these days and nights: “…the gates of heaven are open…””[xi] Drink from its valleys, eat from its fruits; how true the words of the Prophet are,

“The world is the believer’s prison and the disbelievers Jannah”.[xii]

This month is a delight for the pious and a hardship for the sinners. The month is blessed, the days are beautiful, and the nights are fragrant.

O you who Believe! Know that if you do not avail Ramadhan, and you allow it to pass – without having attained the forgiveness of Allah – then destruction will be your lot. Once the Prophet (saws) was ascending the mimbar, on each of the three steps he said “Aameen”. The Companions, curious, said to the Prophet (saws) “We have heard from you today something which we never heard before”, the Prophet (saws) said:

“When I climbed the first step, the angel Gibraeel appeared before me and said: “Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramadhan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness.” Upon that I said ‘Aameen’…”[xiii]

Let your heart shake out of fear and worry. Gibraeel, a angel of such high mark, cursing and the Beloved of Allah, RasoolAllah (saws), saying “Ameen.”

O sinners! Rejoice! as do the righteous; a beloved friend has arrived, don’t miss her; she has gifts and she waits to give them to whomsoever asks. Within her womb lies a night better then a thousand nights. She is a guest for whom the righteous predecessors would prepare 6 months before and cry 5 months after her departure- the month that the other months hold in awe. She holds the hand of the sinner, a safe haven from the flames of the hellfire. The Prophet (saws) said:

“When it is the first night of Ramadhan the evil devils are chained. The gates of Fire are locked- not a single gate is opened, and the gates of Paradise are opened- not a single gate is locked, and a caller calls out :’O seeker of good come forward, and O seeker of evil withhold, and there are many whom Allah frees from the Fire – and that is every night.” [xiv]

Ramadhan ensures Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. Your spiritual state lies in disarray, the Beloved, the Lord of the Worlds and all that it contains, obligates his medication & remedy for the ailment of your heart. Allah will draw you close, Allah (az) says: “The most beloved deeds with which my slave comes closer to Me are the obligatory deeds.” [xv]

This month is blessed, its blessings drop, as does the snow. Its days are full of light and wisdom; its nights are like the twinkling stars on the open sky within the deserts of Arabia. Ramadhan has changed the lives of many and blown them towards the path of Paradise. The secrets of the blessed nights of Ramadhan wrapped themselves around their hearts, making them acquire such lights and realities – that few since the time of creation have witnessed. The Muslims of the past would use their empty stomachs for the purification of their hearts.

The fast should represent the triumph of a Muslim over desires and predominance over his inner self. It is time to atone for your errors and wrongdoings before a day that a mother will throw her new born baby and try to save herself. Be not of those whose doom will be witnessed by all to have ever existed from the time of Adam (as) till the last day. A day when the scene will be bigger than any cinema screen can hold – there will be no entertainment on that day. How sure are you that you will be alive next Ramadhan? Or will the dust have filled your mouth and nose; your corpse below the ground, alone, and damp. The insects and worms your friend, the soil your close companion.

Make your choice- will this Ramadhan stand as a witness for you or against you.

Oh Servant of Allah, the decision is yours. Allah has appointed from within the Muslims, a group whom the angel of death is to visit, just as he did last year this time.

I end with the question:

Can you guarantee your next Ramadhan?

1] This hadeeth is reported by Ahmad and An-Nasaa’ee. See Ahmad Shaakir’s checking of the Musnad (no. 7148) and Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb of al-Albaanee (1490) as well as Tamaam-ul-Mannah (395)
[2] Qur’aan: 6:93
[3] Ahmad, Saheeh
[4] Al-Bukhari
[5] Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan
[6] Saheeh al-Bukharee
[7] Saheeh al-Bukharee
[8] Saheeh al-Bukharee
[9] Ibn Majah
[10] At-Tirmidhi
[11]This hadeeth is reported by Ahmad and An-Nasaa’ee. See Ahmad Shaakir’s checking of the Musnad (no. 7148) and Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb of al-Albaanee (1490) as well as Tamaam-ul-Mannah (395)
[12] Muslim
[13] Hakim, Baihaqi
[14]At-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Khuzaimah : Hasan
[15] Saheeh al-Jami’

Written by Bintus Sabeel
Source: idealmuslimah

Jazaak Alllah Khair for reading.

What Would You Do if You Knew This Was Your Last Ramadan? A Reminder for Us!!

We have 30 days of Ramadan each year. Some of us look forward it because of its bountiful benefits to our spiritual self. It makes us stronger inwardly and this helps us face another new year.
But sometimes, even though we know of its many benefits, we still feel weary and tired of fasting and keeping up with our many spiritual obligations from praying to reading and studying the Quran daily, and even watching how we speak and interact with people. No one ever said that fasting would be easy – it is not simply abstaining from food and water from daybreak to sunset. It is a whole lot more. Most of us know this.

And yet, being human, we start consciously or unconsciously slacking off, be it from duties such as praying or reading the Quran. Instead, we spend our day sleeping, might eating and talking instead of prayer and relection. If we feel guilty, then we tell ourselves that we will fast “properly” the next day. In some cases, when a bad cycle begins, it can be difficult to break it. And before we know it, Ramadan has ended. We celebrate Eid and another year begins. Well, maybe next year, we’ll do it “properly”.

But what if we do not get another chance to fast “properrly” so that God forgives all of our sins? We may be healthy and fit right now, but what is the guarantee that we will remain healthy and fit tomorrow? If you knew that this was your last Ramadan, that something might prevent you from ever experiencing Ramadan again, would you not want to observe it the right way today, the best you can? So that you can reap of its benefits while you are still able to?

One of our writers’ relative suffered a small stroke while fasting recently. The stroke was not fatal, nor will it be permanently damaging. But it was serious enough that she is not expected to be able to fast the rest of the month. Perhaps since she is of advanced age, she might not be able to fast any more for the rest of her life.

But that should give us all pause. We do not know what the future holds. We may be young and healthy, and have all of bodily and mental functions intact. But that can change in an instant. It is only when we think of our own mortality that we know how limiting we as human beings actually are. And how precious time is.

Do not waste your time. Use it well. And make this Ramadan count because we do not know what the future holds, if we are lucky enough to observe another one.

“Man does not weary of asking for good (things), but if ill touches him, he gives up all hope (and) is lost in despair.”

When we give him a taste of some Mercy from Ourselves, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say, “This is due to my (merit): I think not that the Hour (of Judgment) will (ever) be established; but if I am brought back to my Lord, I have (much) good (stored) in His sight!” But We will show the Unbelievers the truth of all that they did, and We shall give them the taste of a severe Penalty.

When We bestow favours on man, he turns away, and gets himself remote on his side (instead of coming to Us); and when evil seizes him, (he comes) full of prolonged prayer!”

(Quran, 41:49-51)

If we were to step back a moment and realize that this is the last Ramadan we will see in our lifetime, how would we spend it? Death we know can come to us at any time, yet we still remain so ignorant of the time now given to us to be utilized by Allah the Almighty.

I pray Allah gives, first of all me, and all Muslims the ability to utilize the month of Ramadan..May this Ramadan be our best so far, for we know not if we will witness the next, Aameen..

Jazaak Allah Khairan for reading.

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