Ramadan Muslims

As people, we make mistakes, going about our day to day live’s doing things that we may know are completely wrong or forbidden, enticed by the ‘sweet’ whispers of the Shaytan. However, when it comes time to Ramadan, the sudden opportunity for change presents itself. Where you didn’t pray or perhaps wear hijab you find that you start to change, praying your five times in Ramadan, putting that hijab on to ‘try it out’. However, what usually happens after the hype of the blessed month wears off, most of us who have grasped this chance may find ourselves slipping and turning back, doing the things we used to or not to do. Perhaps, you are going through this yourself, or know someone who is experiencing this. It was only recently that I discovered that this ‘slipping’ is often referred to as ‘Ramadan Muslims’

In Ramadan the thing we’re trying to accomplish is change as it is the most blessed month and we should show gratitude to Allah, striving to get closer to Him, for He is the All Knowing, the All Seeing.  That being said, the key to change is doing good deeds consistently, keeping it up throughout the year.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” Sunan Ibn Majah, 4240 (authenticated by al-Albani)

Why is it that we act a certain way or do a certain thing during Ramadan and outside Ramadan? It could naturally be due to the fact that we are aware that Ramadan really is a blessed month, a month of striving, so we’re on our best behavior as we try to accomplish as many good deeds as possible. However, even when the motivation is low, we need to wake up and push ourselves to turn the things we’ve accomplished or worked on this Ramadan into habits, realizing that Allah is the All Seeing the All Knowing, the Judge of all things.

If we know He sees and hears all things, then we must fear His punishment, staying away from bad deeds and displeasing Him. It is sad to say, but also true that some of us are good Muslims during Ramadan and then at soon as it ends we find it as a free pass to stop praying, let that hijab slip, be rude to our parents, talk in a bad way, fight with our siblings, listen to music, etc. the list goes on and on.

We have to motivate and help each other, when we fall back and do something wrong don’t give up! Repent and move forward and remind yourself that: “I’m going to try and be the best Muslim I can be!” Repeat this mantra in the mirror everyday when you wake up if you feel it’ll help.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Sunan Ibn Majah, 4251 (authenticated by As-Suyuti)

Repentance is beloved to Allah, as He says: “Verily, Allah loves those who repent and those who purify themselves.” [Al-Qur’an 2:222]

Going forward we need to develop an awareness of how we act outside Ramadan vs. the way we act during Ramadan. The way we act during Ramadan is how we should strive to be all year round. This is because we want to change ourselves for the better, pleasing Allah, not to show off or please others. If you do a good deed such as finishing the Quran, or make a delicious iftar for your family, reaffirm your intentions that at the end of the day you’re doing this for the sake of Allah.

“And your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God – Allah), Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” [Al Qur’an 2:163]

We’re human and we all make mistakes and slip up. Now that Ramadan is coming to an end, use this time to evaluate yourself and where you stand. Take responsibility and make attainable goals to continue your progress outside of Ramadan, and hit the ground running rather than lagging behind.  It’s important to note, and remind yourself when the motivation is running low and you feel like lapsing back, that the next Ramadan is never guaranteed. Therefore, take this moment to return in gratitude to Allah for giving you a golden opportunity that you may not experience next year, reaffirming your belief, as you use the Ramadan as stepping stones to getting closer to Allah throughout the rest of the year.

Narrated by Abu Dhar, that Allah’s Messenger said that Allah said: “He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.” Reported by Muslim.

Choosing Allah

The Miracles of the Prophets: Part 3 – Prophet Mohammed

Prophet Isa and Musa were given miracles distinct to their time, that amazed the minds of those around them, their stories forever etched in history. However, this begs the question. What about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who was sent not merely to convey the message to a certain people, but rather the people until the last day, ourselves included? What miracle was he given that could entice the minds of the people today? It’s true that just like both Musa and Isa he too had miracles that he performed that amazed his people. However, his biggest miracle, the one lasting even until this day is that of a literary miracle.

The Arabs were widely known for and took great pride and treasure in their oratory skills. Eloquence was considered the highest quality that man could possess. Language had reached its peak of development and they would often hold yearly contests in which lines of speeches and poetry were recited from memory. Language was so revered that they even went as far as to etch the ten most famous poems in gold and hang them on their sacred place of worship, the Kabah. Even today, Arab societies pride themselves on their skills of poetry and word.

Therefore, in order to tantalize the minds of the Arabs and create a lasting miracle that even the people of our time could clearly see, Allah, exalted is He, blessed the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with the Quran. It is a miracle that stretches even farther than just a literary miracle, being one of scientific miracles, historical miracles and the like. However, for the sake of this article I will focus merely on the literary aspect of this miracle.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was a man who was known for his complete honesty and could neither read nor write, never partaking in poetry or the like. The people of his time were so overtaken by the literary miracle of the Quran that despite opposing him, it was impossible for them to deny. One such case was that of when a man of Bani Makhzum (a noble tribe in the city of Makkah) heard the verses he said:

“Today I have heard from Mohammed a speech which does not belong to the category of the speeches of the human beings and the genii [spirits;jin]. It is very melodious and possesses a special beauty. Its branches are full of fruits and its roots abound with blessings. It is an outstanding narration and no other narration is as outstanding as this.” (Majma’ul Bayan)

The Arabs fell in love with the unusual rapture, attraction, sweetness and melody because they could not find such an elegance in anything other than the Quran. The earthquake it caused in their hearts was not merely for this man alone but also for the leaders, who greatly opposed the Prophet, not wanting to change their lifestyle. The key figures of the Quraysh (the tribe of the Prophet) would go in the darkness of the night and keep hidden just to listen to the recitation of the Quran, standing there until dawn, completely mesmerized; only to find the other leaders and make a promise amongst themselves not to partake in such a thing again. However, due to its beauty they still were unable to keep away and continuously returned, catching each other again and again, making the same promises. (Ibn Hisham)

The Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him said: “All prophets were given something which would cause people to believe in them. The thing which I was given is none other than a revelation (the Quran) which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that I will have the most followers among them on the Day of Judgment.” Al Bukhari

The Quran is a guidance, a book that brings man out of darkness and into light, a map that clearly outlines the right and wrong, the best path to follow, giving clear directions to the ultimate treasure, Allah’s pleasure and Paradise. It is such a lasting miracle, that even today, more than fourteen centuries after the revelation of the Quran, the captivating sound of the recitation can still be heard in all different parts of the world, leaving an impression on the hearts and minds, and transforming those who listen to it, preserved in its original form not a single verse having changed.

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears, because of the truth they recognize. They say, “Our Lord we believe; so register us among the witnesses.” al-Maaida (5):83

“…and We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as a guidance and mercy…” an-Nahl (16):89

“… a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…” al-Baqarah (2):185

“And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them onto Our ways”. al-Ankaboot (29):69

Unlike most scholarly and scientific texts, the Quran is a book that has not needed to be updated for over 1400 years. It is a work that has been preserved in its original living language without a single changed word over time nor lost to translation. The Quran itself testifies to its own literary miracle in the verse:

“And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant (Mohammed), then produce a Surrah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.” al-Baqarah (2):23-24

To this day, it stands up to the test of time and no one has ever met that challenge, despite their best efforts. The Quran is indeed the biggest literary miracle of all time and with it comes the proof of its divinity as it was first spoken to the Arab community by a chosen man who could neither read nor write, yet was obviously divinely inspired to our beloved Prophet.

Tahajjud: its excellence and benefits

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “The best month for observing fast after Ramadhan is muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night”

As servants of Allah, we should be always seeking ways of getting closer our Lord, and Islam teaches us that one of the easiest ways in which we can ignite a connection with Allah and grow closer to Him, is through the night prayer. When is the last time any of us left our beds for the sake of Allah, and stood in the depths of the night to pray? Last Ramadhan? Before an exam? Maybe there hasn’t even been a first time, and yet it is a beautiful act of worship with a huge amount of reward.

Salah, in general, is one of the most important actions a servant must perform in our religion, we know, it is the second pillar of Islam after the shahada (testimony), and this highlights its significance. Tahajjud is one of the supererogatory prayers we are constantly advised to perform, it is one of those actions that, when performed, enables us to become amongst the individuals mentioned in this beautiful qudsi hadith: Narrated on the authority of Abu Dhar: Allah’s Messenger said that Allah said: “He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.” [Muslim]

This act is a beautiful deed which Allah swt loves. Just imagine, during the night when the world has settled and people are caught up in their sleep, you arise and begin to pray, you’re one of the very few servants of Allah who do this. Calmness and serenity settles within you because you are alone with Allah, you worship Him, remember Him, make dua to Him. Due to the night’s calm atmosphere and silence, you genuinely feel a sense of comfort. The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?”. What an incredible hadith subhanAllah! It is sad to think that so many of us miss this amazing opportunity because we choose sleep over prayer, and contrary to what Muslims believe, this act of worship is not tiring or difficult in anyway, in fact once it becomes a habit, it will be something you will find difficult to live without.

Praying tahajud is also one of the most excellent ways of manifesting your gratitude towards Allah swt and the uncountable blessings He has bestowed in your life. One of the best hadith that illustrates this is the one that follows: Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This hadith teaches us so much, the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, despite not possessing much, acknowledged the blessings of Allah swt upon Him, and stood in prayer until his skin got affected to show his gratitude to His lord, what excuse do we have? Our blessings are so much that it is impossible to count them,  “If you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely humanity is very unjust, very ungrateful.” [Sūrah Ibrāhīm: 34] this verse should soften our hearts, and make us feel ashamed when we compare our ungrateful attitude towards Allah’s generosity towards us. Even though it would realistically impossible to thank Allah for all His blessings, let us implement the action of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, and pray tahajud as way of showing some gratitude towards Allah.

Preparing for Ramadan

So Ramadan is almost here! It is such a blessed and amazing time of year. I find it is during this month I feel the most connected to my religion and Allah, and I really want to do as many good deeds as I possibly can. Of course we should be doing that all the time, but I find that I tend to get back into things and it really helps me to stay on track for the rest of the year.

Sometimes it is easy to fall into thinking that we are starving ourselves but what we really need to ask ourselves is, why are we fasting? The fast is intended to bring us closer to Allah. Also, fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj, pilgrimage, in Mecca.

Try to plan your days beforehand and also getting into a routine before Ramadan starts, so if you get into good habits before it starts, inshaAllah you’ll be able to continue doing them.

A great habit to have is to read Quran after every prayer, that way you’re reading the Quran at least 5 times a day! Even if it’s just a few ayas or surahs, every and anything counts.

Doing good deeds for others is something I really love to do, and especially in Ramadan there is so much you can do to help others, whether it is your family, your friends, your neighbors, the poor, everyone!

And really try to stay away from bad behavior and arguments-“If one of you is observing Saum (fast), he should avoid saying words that contain sexual matters, and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am observing Saum (fast).’”(Muttafaqun ‘alaih)

Being grateful is very  important because remember, no matter how hungry or thirsty or tired you get, there’s always going to be someone somewhere who doesn’t even have food to break fast with! Imagine that??

So, to summarize: do as many good deeds as you possibly can, stay away from bad behavior and upsetting others, be grateful for what you have and those around you and read the Quran!!

May we all have a blessed Ramadan. Ameen.

Ramadan is near – Stay active and keep worshiping

As children, the phrase: “Ramadan is coming” brought joy to our hearts. Knowing that Ramadan was a month where we have guest, delicious food, night trips to the mosque; where family and friends come together to fully appreciate this unforgettable month. As children we didn’t pay much attention to what we were supposed to do and not to do, but as we’re getting older, we’re realising that Ramadhan is much more than Maghrib  countdowns and good family vibes, and sometimes we may be confused with what to do as we become young adults.

Many of us are focused on the food and inviting guests during this month, to the point that we miss the actual benefits of Ramadan. We get caught up in an everyday routine and we forget the actual purpose; to praise Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, in Ramadan, which is a widespread problem in our Ummah today .

Things to do in Ramadan

  • Sleep at night, not the day

It’s easy to get your nights and days turned around as you get up to prepare Suhur before Fajr and pray Taraweeh in the Masjids after Isha’. Make it your goal to not be amongst those who waste precious hours in the day and find ways to keep yourself occupied during the daytime i.e reading Quran, make dua, etc.

  • Try to be active during the day by worshiping Allah and increasing your deeds

When preparing for this Ramandan make a goal list. Think about the type of person you desire to be and pick a few characteristics or deeds and break it down into obtainable goals and work on them this Ramadan. One such goal may be to indulge in less screen time and social media. Choose goals that will help you fill your day and try and stay off that phone until after iftaar.

  • When you cook, try to spend less time in the kitchen. Eat light foods and make easy meals so that Taraweeh isn’t difficult and you can worship Allah at night

Remember that Ramadan is not the month of ‘feasting’ but rather a month of training and endurance against your Nafs, self/desires, a vital stepping stone for helping you build your relationship with Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, throughout the year. Eating a lot and ‘feasting’ will leave you tired and overly full making Taraweeh extremely difficult. This can lead to missing out on such a golden opportunity for gathering rewards.

  • When the last 10 day have approached, don’t spend all your time preparing for Eid.

The greatest rewards are in the last ten days, espically Laylatul Qadr, a day that is better  than a thousand months – that is longer than most people live. As stated in Surrah al-Qadar(97):3: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months”

A night wherein Allah sent down the Qur’ân to the lowest heavens. Our good deeds on this special night are magnified in value, so that it is as if we have been offering those deeds for 1000 months.

  • Increase in kindness to those around you. Give your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters their rights.

Use this blessed and beloved month as your training ground to becoming a better version of yourself and choose take the high road when provoked by others.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and satisfied when eating and drinking (make soups to maximize on hydration) and help your mum in the kitchen or around the house.

Staying active during Ramadan

Health! We all spend time trying to get to a body size, that we wish to be, or just want to eat healthy in general. Making time to workout during Ramadan can be difficult especially when you’re fasting and want to make time to sleep before getting up for suhoor.  The following is a solution that you can implement during this Ramadan:

  1. You can workout 1-2 hours before Isha  or before Fajr
  2. After taraweeh you can rest until 1-2 hours before suhoor and then you can workout.

It’s important to remember that spiritual and physical health are both vitally important and therefore we should strike a balance, all the while not forgetting the true purpose of Ramadan. Use this beautiful and blessed month as your training ground to prepare both and insha’Allah, by the end of the month you will see the fruits or your hard work.

 

The Miracles of the Prophets: Part 2-Prophet Isa (Jesus)

After Prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him passed away, those who had witnessed the divine miracles sent to him also passed. Thus, the tales of those miracles faded into stories told by the people of old, not holding the same weight as it did when observed in person. Therefore, Allah, Exalted is He, in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy sent another Prophet, Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, to the people as a reminder and to incite the return of submission back into the people’s hearts.

Isa, peace be upon him, was sent to witness to the Jews, who at that time were noted for their exceptional abilities in the field of medicine. They were highly respected and revered for their seemingly magical abilities to mend bones, heal wounds and cure the sick. Thus, Allah, Exalted is He, favored Isa, peace be upon him, with the divine miracles that made the masters of that time submit to the truth of Allah’s Unity due to the undeniable miracle that defied all human comparison. An example of this can be illustrated in a few single verses from the Quran:

She said [Mary], “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” [The angel] said, “Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.

And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel

And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah. And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed, in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.

Aal Imran(3): 47-49

Isa’s birth was a divine miracle in itself, as he was born to a mother who was chaste and pure. Likewise, during his lifetime, by the permission of Allah, Exalted is He, he was able to make the blind see, the lame walk, heal lepers and bring the dead to life. These abilities were clearly beyond that of the Jewish doctors. You can imagine that when they saw this it was clear enough proof that he was a prophet of Allah and they too, like the great magicians in Musa’s time, submitted to the worship of Allah alone, Exalted is He and free of partners.

The miracle of the last prophet, Mohammed, peace and blessing be upon him, will be made clear and evident just as the miracles of these two great prophets that proceeded him, in part three, the final part of this series.

Read The Miracles of the Prophets: Part 1-Prophet Musa (Moses)

 

Ramadan: Practical Tips

Oh you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious.)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

Throughout the year, Allah blesses His servants with numerous opportunities to get closer to Him. Sometimes through a special day such as the day of Arafat before Eid, or a special time such as the hours before Maghrib on a Friday. Coming upon us is the month of Ramadhan, a month in which Allah forgives His slaves for their sins and enables them to grow closer to Him. A month in which we can rectify all our negative traits and abide by the laws prescribed by our Lord, and taught to us by his prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhu wasalam. Although we have a whole month to get the maximum benefit out of Ramadhan, we must be conscious of the fact that time goes very quickly, and before we know it, Eid will be announced. It is for this reason that we should try our best to fulfill as many as the obligatory and supererogatory acts of worship during Ramadhan to achieve the objective for which Allah has bestowed upon us. I will state some of the necessary acts of worship we must perform and fulfill to, insha’Allah, get the maximum benefit out of this blessed month.

Fixing our intention:

No matter what we do in life, we must always make sure that our intentions are present, sincere and correct. Many of us may neglect the importance of intending to fast during Ramadhan, and doing so for the sake of Allah.
It was narrated by Ibn ‘Umar from Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not have the intention of fasting before Fajr, there is no fast for him.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad, the authors of al-sunan etc. SubhanAllah! From this significant hadith, we learn about the importance of intending to fast to ensure that Allah swt accepts it from us. Remember, you can intend to fast the whole month, or have a fresh intention to fast every day of Ramadhan before Fajr. The former might be easier to achieve in case any of us are forgetful.

Fulfilling obligatory acts of worship:

Fasting: This may seem obvious, but sadly, many Muslims actually refuse to fast during Ramadhan for whatever reason. Fasting is not a choice during Ramadhan, it is obligatory. It is a pillar amongst the five pillars of Islam and those of us who do not fulfill it are committing a grave, grave sin. Some of the pious predecessors even held the view that those who do not fast during Ramadhan have disbelieved. If you have exams during this month or you are not used to fasting, do not allow your fears to deter you from obeying this important command of Allah.

Salah: Also, some may fast during Ramadhan because the rest of the Ummah is doing the same, we are swayed by the Ramadhan vibe and enjoy the spirit of it, all the while neglecting something even more important than fasting such as the prayer. Know, that your fast won’t be of much use to you if you are not fulfilling other obligatory actions. Unfortunately, many Muslims fast and do not pray not realizing that prayer is the second in the pillars of Islam whereas fasting the month of Ramadhan is the fourth, this in itself, illustrates the significance of the prayer. If you’re not consistent with your prayers, do not enter the month of Ramadhan telling yourself that there is no point in fasting since you do not pray; rather make this the time you finally train yourself to obey this imperative command of Allah.

Develop a relationship with the Quran: Sadly, for many of us, the Quran has become a book we simply place on shelves as a manifestation of our Islamic identity. We no longer read, ponder or implement what is in it. If you are amongst these people, Ramadhan is the opportunity for you to rectify your relationship with the Quran, the literal speech of Allah. Keep in mind that it is during this blessed month that Allah revealed it, and the Sahabah would dedicate hours and hours on end reading and pondering over the speech of Allah during this month. Try and complete the Quran at least once by reading twenty pages a day. This may seem overwhelming, but all it takes is for you to read four pages after each of your five daily prayers. The Quran has about six hundred pages, Ramadhan is roughly thirty days, divide six hundred by thirty and you have twenty.

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

Remembrance of Allah: Ramadhan is a month about remembering Allah, separating your mind from all that it is distracted with throughout the year, and focusing solely on your Creator. Contemplate His Greatness and Perfection. Ponder over all that He has blessed you with. When you break your fast at Maghrib, remember that there are people around the world remaining hungry with their throats dry. Engage in lots of dhikr, as taught to us by the prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasalam, and continuously praise your Lord.

Being good to others: As human beings, we are prone to hurting those around us; either verbally, physically, emotionally or mentally. Many of us fall short during the year and neglect the rights of our fellow human beings, the rights of our parents or our neighbors. The rights of our friends or family members. If you have wronged someone and you know it, Ramadhan is the time to swallow your ego and make peace with that person.

If someone has wronged you, now is the time to tell the person and forgive them instead of holding a grudge. If our minds and hearts are focused on the harm we have been inflicted with by others, we will not be able to focus on Allah properly. Likewise, always take care to use the best words when addressing people during and after Ramadhan, but take special care during this month. Fasting isn’t only about restraining ourselves from eating, but also restraining ourselves from committing evil deeds.

The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasalam, said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” Narrated by al-Bukhari.

Praying extra prayers: Praying taraweeh, the night prayer after isha, is one of the gems and beauty that comes with the month of Ramadhan. Muslims all around the world come together in the Masajid to pray these extra raka’at, it was a practice of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam and his companions, and the reward for it is great: Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard the messenger of Allah saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari]. Try and engage in extra prayers during the day too, as well as taraweeh, such as the Sunnah prayers after or before each obligatory prayers.

Giving charity: Being charitable during the month of Ramadhan is something extremely virtuous. We have been blessed with so much from Allah, if it is only to give from what He has given to us: “Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” [al-Baqarah 2:261-262]

If you do not have the means to give money to those less fortunate than us, then there are many alternative ways in which you can be charitable such as offering food, giving away genuine compliments or helping your fellow muslim brothers and sisters.

Seeking the forgiveness from Allah: Ramadhan is the month in which Allah forgives His repentant slaves extensively. We should continuously make istughfar throughout the day, and sincerely repent to Allah while we are praying or making dua, and always remember that no sin is too big for Allah to forgive.

“Lest a soul should say, “Oh [how great is] my regret over what I neglected in regard to Allah and that I was among the mockers.” [az-Zumar 39:56]

Dua: Dua is one of the weapons a believer has been blessed with. Dua can change Qadr (the divine decree). It is the way through which we can ask Allah swt everything and anything we desire in this life and in the next. Make dua consistently to Allah during Ramadhan, ask Him to bless you and give you what is good in this life and in the next. Remember our brothers and sisters are suffering around the world, and ask Allah to send His help their way. Pray for those whom you know and do not know, ask Allah to change the state of our Ummah and to help the Muslims to regain their strength. Never underestimate the power which your silent requests to Allah may have.

I once heard someone say that it takes thirty days to develop or break a habit. When you take into consideration that Ramadhan is thirty days, you realise that this is a blessing Allah has bestowed upon us, as it gives us enough time to develop or break a habit. SubhanAllah. Ramadhan is present given only once a year, and none of us are guaranteed to witness the next. If Allah has made you amogst those blessed and alive to be able to witness this Ramadhan, make sure you strive not to waste this golden opportunity.

The Miracles of the Prophets: Part I-Prophet Musa (Moses)

Man has a natural distaste towards submitting to another and only does so if he is forced by the latter’s physical strength, mental superiority or if he has shown feats far beyond the abilities of other men. In the first two cases he yields reluctantly, while in the third he yields because of his belief in a higher force or power defying all human comparison. For this reason, Allah, Exalted is He, has favored His messengers, not only with revelation but with miracles, clearly proving the divine origin and truthfulness of their messages. The inability for people to imitate these divine miracles of the Prophets made their societies willing to bear witness to Allah’s Unity and obey the commandments of the Prophets.

The early Prophets were sent to a specific time and people due to the difficulties involved in communication and transportation. Thus, their miracles were particularly suited to the areas of knowledge in which their people excelled in, in order for the miracle to have maximum effect. There are three main examples which I would like to share that clearly demonstrate this point. First of Prophet Musa (Moses), the other of Prophet Isa (Jesus), and lastly that of Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon them. Their examples go into great length and therefore I will divide them into three articles.

Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, was raised amongst the Egyptians, a civilization that was far advanced in its time and home to some proud and mighty people. It was ruled by Firaoun (Pharaoh) who thought he was mightier than God and greatly oppressed his people. In this time the people were well noted and versed with the knowledge of occult arts, sorcery and magic. Hence, Allah, Exalted is He, bestowed upon Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, related miracles that would prove to these people the truth of his message.

The following is a clear example, right from the pages of the Quran: Prophet Musa, after having received his message was ordered by Allah, Exalted is He, to return to his people, despite being a fugitive, to confront the vicious Firaoun and implore him to follow the truth.

[Pharoah] said, “If you take a god other than me, I will surely place you among those imprisoned.”

[Musa] said, “Even if I brought you proof manifest?”

[Pharoah] said, “Then bring it, if you should be of the truthful.”

So [Musa] threw his staff, and suddenly it was a serpent manifest. And he drew out his hand; thereupon it was white for the observers.

[Pharaoh] said to the eminent ones around him, “Indeed, this is a learned magician. He wants to drive you out of your land by his magic, so what do you advise?”

They said, “Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers.”

So, magicians were assembled for the appointment of a well-known day. And it was said to the people, “Will you congregate That we might follow the magicians if they are the predominant?”

And when the magicians arrived, they said to the Pharoah, “Is there indeed for us a reward if we are the predominant?”

He said, “Yes, and indeed, you will then be of those near [to me].”

Musa said to them, “Throw whatever you will throw.”

So, they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, “By the might of Pharaoh, indeed it is we who are predominant.”

Then Musa threw his staff, and at once it devoured what they falsified. So, the magicians fell down in prostration [to Allah]. They said, “We have believed in the Lord of the worlds, The Lord of Musa and Harun [Aaron].”

[Pharoah] said, “You believed Musa before I gave you permission. Indeed, he is your leader who has taught you magic, but you are going to know. I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite side, and I will surely crucify you all.”

They said, “No harm. Indeed, to our Lord we will return. Indeed, we aspire that our Lord will forgive us our sins because we were the first of the believers.” Ash-Shu’araa 29: 29-59

These magicians, who were the best and most powerful in their land, had clear motivation to win and gain the favor of the tyrannous Firaoun, yet when they saw the miracle of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, his message was clearly and undeniably the truth. They displayed this by falling in prostration, disregarding and having no fear of the Pharaoh’s punishment, bearing witness to Allah’s unity. The Pharaoh’s plan of gathering the people and having them bear witness that Musa was a joke and a mere magician completely backfired as they must’ve watched in awe and amazement as these great sorcerers abandoned the Pharaoh and bore witness to the truth.

In the coming article, I will discuss another example, that of Prophet Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, and how he too had a miracle that was tailored to the areas of knowledge in which his people excelled. Afterwards I will move on to the last Prophet’s, peace be upon him, miracle, a miracle that is still at work and can be seen in our lives today.

Staying away from Music

Music. Something that the youth is freely hearing these days, sometimes we come up with excuses like: “it is just a song” or “what is the big deal?”, ignoring the fact that it’s haram without exception in Islam.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed that Music is something which both adults and youth listen to, which is a shame considering Saudi is a Muslim country.

I’ve spoken to people who talk about Allah and the Quran, prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings he upon him) but at the same time they’ll say things like “I’m not sure why when I was growing up my teacher would say Music is haram” eventhough Islam provides a clear explanation for this issue.

The point is, as Muslims we have to try our best to obey the rules of Islam, not taking the ones we agree with and leaving the ones we disagree with. It is not a matter of opinion, but it is what Allah has told us to do.

So if you are somewhere or with someone, and music is being played, do not be afraid to say: “can you please turn that down” or “can you please turn that off” and explain why you are making this request. Dawah is something we are obligated to do, and it is not solely for non-muslims, we too are in need of the remembrance. Do not feel embarrassed or awkward, and do not feel concerned about them judging you, we are here to worship Allah swt, and we should continuously strive enjoin the good and forbid the evil regardless of the situation we are in.

We should encourage ourselves to develop a relationship with the Quran, as when we have the words of Allah with us, we will find that they suffice and we need nothing more.

This is an Ayah that always sticks with me when I am thinking or talking about this subject –

﴿شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed.

The Noble Qur’an – Luqman 31:6

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).

And this hadith:

Hadith – Bukhari 7:494

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saaws saying,

“From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”