Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Sites in 3-D
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Working on all the days of the week is permissible, in Ramadaan and at other times. Saturdays and Sundays are not days when working is forbidden for Muslims.
The Muslim’s main concern should not be earning money and working at the expense of his prayer and fasting. So if a Muslim can reduce his worldly work without that causing harm to him or anyone else, then this is wise and is a good idea, to free the Muslim during this month to worship Allaah by fasting, praying qiyaam and reading Qur’aan.
And Allaah knows best.
Zakaat al-fitr should be given to poor Muslims even if they are sinners so long as their sin is not something that puts them beyond the pale of Islam. What is meant by poor is those who appear to be poor, even if they are in fact rich. The one who is paying the zakaah should seek out good poor people as much as possible. If he finds out later that the one who took it was actually rich, that does not affect the one who gave it, rather he has discharged his duty, praise be to Allaah.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.
The one who does not pay zakaat al-fitr has to repent to Allaah and seek His forgiveness, because he is sinning by withholding it. He also has to pay it to those who are entitled to it, but after Eid prayer it is simply regarded as ordinary charity.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Praise be to Allaah.
The oxygen that is given to some patients does not invalidate the fast, because nothing else is added to this oxygen, so it comes under the same ruling as breathing natural air.
Hence in a statement of the Islamic Fiqh Council it says:
The following things are not regarded as things that break the fast: … oxygen. End quote.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible to use the musical tunes on telephones or any other kind of gadget, because listening to musical instruments is haraam as is indicated by the evidence of sharee’ah. We should do without them and use the regular ringing. And Allaah is the Source of strength.
May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.
This post is especially for those living in or near Islamabad, Pakistan. Today, there's a lecture by Dr. Israr Ahmed at a mosque in F-10 Markaz, Islamabad at the finish of the Holy Quran in taraweeh. I will try to record it and upload it on the internet.
Topic: The Message of Quran
Update: The lecture was given and it will be uploaded soon.
Download lecture (Urdu): The Message of Quran, Paigham-e-Quran, Quran ka Paigham
Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Arabic: يوسف القرضاوي Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwiy), (born September 9, 1926) is an Egyptian Muslim scholar and preacher best known for his popular al Jazeera program, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat ("Shariah and Life"), and IslamOnline (a website that he helped to found in 1997), where he offers opinions and religious edicts ("fatwa") based on his interpretation of the Qur'an. He has also published some fifty books, including The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam and Islam: The Future Civilization.
Although al-Qaradawi has long had one of the more prominent roles within the thought leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, he has twice turned down offers for the official directorship role of the organization. Among many Muslims, he is considered a moderate conservative, who seeks to explain and adapt the ideals of the Islamic lifestyle with those of modern society. Others consider him as a staunch Islamist, who rejects universal human rights and some of the fundamentals of democracy, and note his endorsement of Palestinian suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilian targets.
Al-Qaradawi was born in Egypt. Following his father's death, the two year old Qaradawi was raised by his uncle. His family urged him to either run a grocery store or to become a carpenter. Instead, he read and memorized the entire Qur'an by the time he was nine years old. Qaradawi was a follower of Hasan al-Banna during his youth and was imprisoned first under the monarchy in 1949, then three times after the publication of Tyrant and the Scholar. He attended the Al-Azhar Theological Seminary before moving to Qatar.
During his time at al-Azhar, al-Qaradawi oversaw the Muslim Brotherhood's (Wafd-government-approved) paramilitary training camp there, alongside fellow Muslim Brothers Ahmed al-'Asal and Abdallah al-'Aqil. The camp, along with others like it at other Egyptian universities, taught university students how to use weapons and explosives, and drilled them in a doctrine of religious war against the occupying British and Israelis.
He worked in the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments, was the Dean of the Islamic Department at the Faculties of Shariah and Education in Qatar, and served as chairman of the Islamic Scientific Councils of Algerian Universities and Institutions.
He was a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has turned down offers to be the Brotherhood's leader various times. Qaradawi is the head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research.
Qaradawi has been an avid caller to what he calls "Islamic Sufism", praising those who practice it as pious.. He has also been a staunch defender of the Ashari school of belief within Islam, going so far as to claim that the whole Muslim world follows this school as well as all Muslim religious schools in the world.
Qaradawi strongly supports Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets, including against civilians, believing they are legitimate form of resistance. Qaradawi claims that hundreds of other Islamic scholars are of the same opinion.
Defending terrorist bombing against off duty soldiers Qaradawi told BBC Newsnight that:
- "An Israeli woman is not like women in our societies, because she is a soldier."
- "I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an evidence of God's justice."
- "Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do".
At the press conference held by the organizations sponsoring Qaradawi's visit to London, Qaradawi reiterated his view that Suicide attacks are a justified from of resistance to Israeli occupation. In the past, Qaradawi has justified such terrorist actions on the basis that all Israel civilians are potential soldiers since Israel is a "militarized society."
Due to this, Qaradawi has been accused of supporting terrorism.
However, he is opposed to attacks outside of the Palestinian territories and on other than Israeli targets. For example, on March 20, 2005, Qaradawi issued a condemnation of a car-bombing that had occurred in Doha, Qatar the day before. One Briton, Jon Adams was killed. Qaradawi issued a statement that said "Such crimes are committed by insane persons who have no religious affiliation and play well into the hands of the enemies." and "I urge all Qataris to stand united in facing such an epidemic and uproot it to nip the infection in the bud, otherwise it will spread like wildfire. I, in the name of all scholars in Qatar, denounce such a horrendous crime and pray that it would be the last and implore God to protect this secure country.".
See also his comments here.
Opinion on the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
In response to Muslim scholar 'Abdullaah ibn Jibreen's fatwa declaring that it was forbidden for Muslims to support or pray for the terrorist group Hezbollah because they are Shia, Qaradawi issued a contrary fatwa, stating that it was mandatory for all Muslims to support Hezbollah in its fight against Israel, claiming that "Shias agree with the Sunnis in the main principles of Islam while the differences are only over the branches." In this fatwa, he also called upon the Sunnis and Shia of Iraq to end the civil war.
According to IslamOnline, Qaradawi released a fatwa on April 14 2004 stating boycott of American and Israeli products was an obligation for all who are able.The fatwa reads in part :
"If people ask in the name of religion we must help them. The vehicle of this support is a complete boycott of the enemies' goods. Each riyal, dirham …etc. used to buy their goods eventually becomes bullets to be fired at the hearts of brothers and children in Palestine. For this reason, it is an obligation not to help them (the enemies of Islam) by buying their goods. To buy their goods is to support tyranny, oppression and aggression. Buying goods from them will strengthen them; our duty is to make them as weak as we can. Our obligation is to strengthen our resisting brothers in the Sacred Land as much as we can. If we cannot strengthen the brothers, we have a duty to make the enemy weak. If their weakness cannot be achieved except by boycott, we must boycott them.
American goods, exactly like "Israeli" goods, are forbidden. It is also forbidden to advertise these goods. America today is a second Israel. It totally supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without the support of America. "Israel's" unjustified destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American money, American weapons, and the American veto. America has done this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment or protests about their oppressive and prejudiced position from the Islamic world."
In 2001, Saudi Arabia banned the game of Pokemon as a Zionist plot; Qaradawi issued a fatwa endorsing this in December 2003, saying that Pokemon not only uses Jewish and Masonic symbols, but teaches evolution. Not only do Pokemon evolve, they do so "in battles where the survivors are those who adapt better to the environment; another of Darwin's dogmas." In addition, both depiction of imaginary animals and card-games are contrary to the Koran. Qaradawi also notes that some Japanese expressions squeaked and gibbered by Pokemon may mean "I am a Jew" and "Become a Jew," but admits the matter is controversial and he isn't certain.
In April 2008, at a conference in Qatar titled "Mecca: the Center of the Earth, Theory and Practice", Qaradawi advocated the implementation of Mecca Time to replace the Greenwich Meridian as the basis of the world time zone system.
Controversy and Criticism
Criticism from conservative Muslims
Qaradawi urged the Taliban to reconsider its decision to tear down the Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001. He was quickly criticized for supporting "idol worship". Upon meeting with leaders from the Taliban, Qaradawi reversed his position and praised the act of the destruction of the statues.
The late Muhammad Naasiruddeen al-Albaanee disagreed with Qaradawi's stance that photography and pictures were lawful, even authoring a book in response to those positions.
Qaradawi also came under heavy criticism for a comment during a sermon in which he stated, regarding Benjamin Netanyahu's victory as the Prime Minister of Israel by a large margin, that "Allah himself would not achieve this." Fellow Muslim scholar Muqbil bin Haadi al-Waadi'ee also authored a book criticizing Qaradawi titled Silencing the Hounding Dog in which he questioned this statement as possible disbelief. Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen reacted similarly when the statement was played for him from an audio tape, stating that it was obligatory for Qaradawi to repent from the statement or otherwise he should be "killed as an apostate."
Qaradawi has at times spoken in favor of democracy in the Muslim world, speaking of a need for reform of political climates in the Middle East specifically. However, his statements and positions have been criticized as essentially incompatible with democracy, or even contrary to democracy.
Allegations of Anti-Semitism
Qaradawi is currently president of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research. In August 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Council had used the infamous anti-Semitic forgery known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its theological deliberations.
Danish cartoon controversy
Qaradawi called for a "Day of Anger" over the cartoons, but condemned violent actions in response to them.
On June 5 2006, on the Al Jazeera "Sharia and Life" programme he regularly features on, al-Qaradawi reiterated orthodox views on homosexuality. When asked about the punishment for people who "practise liwaat (sodomy) or sihaaq (lesbian activity)", al-Qaradawi replied: "The same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator." (MEMRI translation)
After the September 11 attacks, Qaradawi, urging Muslims to donate blood for the victims of the attacks, stated,
- "Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is backed by the Qur'anic verse which reads:
- Who so ever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and who so ever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind," (Al-Ma'dah:32).
- "The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, 'A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person illegally'"
- "Islam never allows a Muslim to kill the innocent and the helpless." He denies that Palestinian suicide bombing attacks constitute terrorism, claiming that "when Palestinians face such unjust aggression, they tend to stem bloodletting and destruction and not to claim the lives of innocent civilians", but qualifies that with "I do agree with those who do not allow such martyr operations to be carried out outside the Palestinian territories."
Qaradawi said it was a duty upon Muslims to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks: "It is a duty on Muslims to participate in this (War in Afghanistan)effort with all possible means".
In modern times, Yousef al-Qaradhawi has suggested the legitimate use of suicide bombings against enemy combatants if the defending combatants had no other means of self-defense.
In the context of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, al-Qaradhawi has argued that killing innocent Muslims, being used as human shields by the enemy, is permissible. He considers the sacrifice of a few Muslims, in order to save the entire Muslim community, as a legitimate tactic. However, the statements made by al-Qaradhawi are not true to the ethics of Islamic military jurisprudence. The killing of innocents, regardless their beliefs, is prohibited in Islamic law. Therefore, sacrificing the lives of few Muslims is prohibited as well as the killing of non-Muslims civilians. Hence, al-Qaradhawi's ideology is incorrect to the Islamic principles.
Entry into western countries
Qaradawi has been banned from entering the United States of America since 1999 and the United Kingdom since 2008, though he visited London in 2004. In July 2003 he visited Stockholm, Sweden, for a conference at the Stockholm Mosque arranged by the Muslim Association of Sweden. During the conference al-Qaradawi expressed his support for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians which he called a "necessary Jihad".
Fatwa controversy with MEMRI
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), citing Asharq Al-Awsat, alleges that Qaradawi issued a Fatwa following the Iraqi insurgency, saying,
"...all of the Americans in Iraq are combatants, there is no difference between civilians and soldiers, and one should fight them, since the American civilians came to Iraq in order to serve the occupation. The abduction and killing of Americans in Iraq is a [religious] obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately. The mutilation of corpses [however] is forbidden in Islam." 
Qaradawi, however, denies this allegation, having "disowned" that which was said in my name in the media on the subject of the killing of American civilians in Iraq":
I have not published a Fatwa on this issue. At the Egyptian Journalists' Union a few days ago I was asked about the permissibility of fighting against the occupation in Iraq, and I answered that it is permitted. Afterwards I was asked concerning the American civilians in Iraq and I merely responded with the question – are there American civilians in Iraq? It is a matter of common knowledge that in Fatwas such as these I do not use the word "killing" but rather I say "struggle," which is a more comprehensive word than the word "killing" and whose meaning is not necessarily to kill. In addition, I have condemned the taking of hostages on a number of occasions in the past and have demanded that they be released and that their lives not be threatened."
According to MEMRI, this alleged fatwa raised a wave of reactions. Certain Islamic scholars issued similar verdicts. Shaker Al-Nabulsi called for the creation of a petition to the UN calling to put Qaradawi and his like on trial for incitement and support of terrorism. 
Alcohol fatwa controversy
Qaradawi issued a fatwa in recent months stating that the consumption of small amounts of alcohol (<0.5% class="external autonumber">. The statement was made regarding energy drinks, where fermentation occurring naturally as part of the production process. This contrasts with the widespread view that consuming alcohol is totally forbidden to Muslims. (chapter 5: verses 90-91).
Books (will be uploaded soon)
- Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase
- Towards a Sound Awakening
- The Status of Women in Islam
- Islamic Awakening between Rejection and Extremism
- The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam
- Diversion and Arts In Islam (in progress)
Friday, September 26, 2008
It was revealed to Musa that there was a sinner amongst the tribe of Bani Israel whom had disobeyed Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) for more than forty years of his life. �Let him separate himself from the congregation,� Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) told Musa (Alahi salaam). �Only then shall I shower you all with rain.�
Musa (Alahi salaam) then called out to the throngs of humanity, �There is a person amongst us who has disobeyed Allah for forty years. Let him separate himself from the congregation and only then shall we be rescued from the drought.� That man, waited, looking left and right, hoping that someone else would step forward, but no one did. Sweat poured forth from his brow and he knew that he was the one.
The man knew that if he stayed amongst the congregation all would die of thirst and that if he stepped forward he would be humiliated for all eternity.
He raised his hands with a sincerity he had never known before, with a humility he had never tasted, and as tears poured down on both cheeks he said: �O Allah, have mercy on me! O Allah, hide my sins! O Allah, forgive me!�
As Musa (Alahi salaam) and the people of Bani Israel awaited for the sinner to step forward, the clouds hugged the sky and the rain poured. Musa (Alahi salaam) asked Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala), �O Allah, you blessed us with rain even though the sinner did not come forward.� And Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) replied, �O Musa, it is for the repentance of that very person that I blessed all of Bani Israel with water.�
Musa (Alahi salaam), wanting to know who this blessed man was, asked, �Show him to me O Allah!� Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) replied, �O Musa, I hid his sins for forty years, do you think that after his repentance I shall expose him?�
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) revealed the Qur�an in the most blessed month; the month of Ramadan, the month in which the Qur�an was sent down.
On the most blessed night, the Grand night: Laylatul Qadr; �Verily, we revealed the Qur�an on the night of Qadr.�
Ibn Jareer narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid that there was a man from Bani Israel who used to spend the night in prayer. Then in the morning he would fight the enemy in the Way of Allah during the day, until the evening and he did this for a thousand months.
And so Allah revealed the Surah: �Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr� until the verse �The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months� That is, standing in prayer on that night is better than the actions of that man.
Sufyaan ath-Thawree reports, on the authority of Mujaahid (also), that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed on it, fasting on it, and standing in prayer on it are better than a thousand months� good deeds, prayers and fasting. (Narrated by Ibn Jareer)
It is reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: �When the month of Ramadan came, the Messenger of Allah said: �The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable.�� (Narrated by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasaa'i).
It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Allah�s Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: �Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven.� (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadan. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, the believer remembers the Prophet�s (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like �seek�, �pursue�, �search� and �look hard� for Laylatul Qadr.
Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. The Mu�min should search for it in the last ten nights of Ramadan, passing the nights in worship and obedience.
For those who catch the opportunity, their gift is that of past sins wiped away.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) illustrated for us some of the things we should be doing on this Grand Night. From his blessed Sunnah we find the following:
Praying Qiyaam (night prayer):
It is recommended to make a long qiyaam prayer during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many ahadeeth, such as �Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylatul Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah�s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.� [Al-Bukhari and Muslim; the addition �and it is facilitated for him� is recorded by Ahmad from the report of �Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.]
It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night. �A'ishah reported that she asked Allah�s Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) �O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul Qadr, what should I say during it?� And he instructed her to say: �Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee - O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me.� [An authentic Hadith recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi.]
Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship:
It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr is likely to fall. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala).
�A'ishah reported: �When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer) and wake up his family.� [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And she said: �Allah�s Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights.� [Muslim]
Have we estimated Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) correctly?
The opportunity of Laylatul Qadr is coming in the next few days. Life is about people that take advantage of their opportunities to win the love of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala), and this is indeed one of those chances. Abu Dah Daah was one of those who found an opportunity and won that which is greater than the heavens and the earth. An adult companion of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) cultivated his garden next to the property of an orphan. The orphan claimed that a specific palm tree was on his property and thus belonged to him. The companion rejected the claim and off to the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) went the orphan boy to complain. With his justness, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) measured the two gardens and found that the palm tree did indeed belong to the companion. The orphan erupted crying. Seeing this, the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) offered the companion, �would you give him the palm tree and to you is a palm tree in Jannah?� However, the companion in his disbelief that an orphan would complain to the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) missed the opportunity and went away angry.
But someone else saw the opportunity, Abu Dah Daah - radi Allahu �anhu. He went to the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and asked, �Ya Rasul Allah, if I buy the tree from him and give it to the orphan shall I have that tree in Jannah?� The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, �Yes.�
Abu Dah Daah chased after the companion and asked, �Would you sell that tree to me for my entire garden?� The companion answered, �Take it for there is no good in a tree that I was complained to the Prophet about.�
Immediately, Abu Dah Daah went home and found his wife and children playing in the garden. �Leave the garden!� shouted Abu Dah Daah, �we�ve sold it to Allah! We�ve sold it to Allah!� Some of his children had dates in their hand and he snached the dates from them and threw them back into the garden. �We�ve sold it to Allah!�
When Abu Dah Daah was later martyred in the battle of Uhud, Rasul Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) stood over his slain body and remarked, �How many shady palm trees does Abu Dah Daah now have in paradise?�
What did Abu Dah Daah lose? Dates? Bushes? Dirt? What did he gain? He gained a Jannah whose expanse is the heavens and the earth.
Abu Dah Daah did not miss his opportunity, and I pray to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) that we do not miss our opportunity of standing to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) on Laylatul Qadr.
Dear brothers and sisters, we do not obey, worship and revere Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) in a way befitting of His Majesty.
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) revealed: �No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him. On the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand: Glory to Him! High is He above the partners they attribute to Him� (Surat al-An�aam, Ayat 91).
Everything that we have belongs to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala). When someone dies we say, Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji�oon, Indeed to Allah we belong and indeed to Him we shall return. This is not a supplication just for when a soul is lost. It is a supplication for every calamity that befalls a believer, even if his sandal were to tear. Why? Because everything belongs to Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) and everything shall come back to him. Sit and try to count the blessings Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) has bestowed upon you. Have you ever tried to count stars?
�And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude� (Surat Ibrahim, Ayat 34).
We have not understood the weight of this Qur�an that we rest on our high shelves, this Noble book that was sent to give life to the dead. For even if our hearts were as solid as rock they would have crumbled to the ground in fear and hope of Allah�s (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) punishment and Mercy. Could it be that our hearts are harder than that mountain?
�Had We sent down this Qur�an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and split asunder in fear of Allah (Surat al-Hashr, Ayat 21).
Dear brothers and sisters, as you fill the Masajid for Qiyamul Layl in the last ten nights of Ramadan, remember what Allah (Subhanahu wa ta�ala) wants you to know:
Know ye that Allah is strict in punishment and that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.�
There shall be a night, some night in your life that you shall awaken in Jannah or Hell fire. Anas ibn Malik, on his deathbed, prayed to Allah, (Subhanahu wa ta�ala), �O Allah, protect from a night whose morning brings a journey to hell fire.� Think about that morning.
Peace shall descend on Laylatul Qadr until the dawn. It may be that you shall leave the Masjid after Fajr one day soon forgiven by Allah, Glorious and Most High.
Why should you, a young Muslim, be helping to bring your friends closer to Allah?
After all, you've got your own struggles to deal with: trying to explain why you pray to hostile teachers, Hijab discrimination, standing up in class when the professor attacks Islam, dealing with parents who think you've gone nuts because you're growing a beard, or all the other difficulties faced by a number of practicing Muslim youth?
Islam was never meant to be an individualistic faith, reserved for the "chosen few". Muslims have a duty to spread the Deen, and practicing Muslim youth, whether beginners, activists or leaders have a crucial role to play.
"Allah has put them in a position that perhaps no one else is in," notes Sheema Khan, former Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA) advisor for eastern Canada. "They have the means to communicate with their peers, they have an understanding of what they're going through plus they have the guidance of Islam."
Who is your childhood friend, who would rather spend Fridays at MacDonald's than the Masjid, or your classmate who is Muslim in name and only knows that "Muslims don't eat pork" going to listen to: the nice Imam of the Masjid who would freak out if he saw the way they were dressed and talked or you who may have grown up with them, joked with them, or see them everyday in school?
The answer is obvious: you.
Don't panic. Here are some tips and advice which can help from other Muslims, many of whom have been there and done that:
Tip # 1 : Make Your Intention Sincere
All work we do should ideally be for the sake of Allah. That includes the task of bringing someone closer to Allah. That of course means this should not be connected to arrogance, thinking you're the teacher and everyone else should be lucky you've embarked on a crusade to save them. Guidance is from Allah. Make Dua and make sincere efforts and remember Allah can also misguide you if He wills (we seek refuge in Allah from that).
Tip # 2 : Practice What YOu Preach
Not practicing what you preach is wrong and you will lose the confidence of anyone, young or old, once they figure you out. Don't do it.
Tip # 3 : Use The Quran & Seerah (biography of the Prophet peace be upon him) As Dawa Guides
Read and understand those chapters of the Quran which talk about how the Prophets presented the message of Islam to their people. Read the Seerah (for some good Seerah books)to see especially how the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) brought Islam to so many different people, including young people.
As well, talk to Dawa workers, and check out manuals they may have written, like Yahiya Emerick's How to Tell Others About Islam.
Tip # 4 : Talk To People As If You Really Dont Know Them
Don't assume you know someone just by looking at them. You don't know that the Muslim girl in your homeroom who walks through the school's hallways as if they were fashion show catwalks (see Ambe Rehman's perspective on this) is not someone you can talk to about Allah because she looks like a snob. Or that the Muslim guy who you've never seen at Juma at your university is a "bad Muslim". Maybe he was never really taught Islam and has no idea what importance Friday prayers have in Islam, especially for Muslim men.
Tip # 5 : Smile
Did you know the Prophet was big on smiling? But many "practicing" Muslims seem to have "their faces on upside down" as one speaker once said-frowning and serious.
Smiling, being polite and kind are all part of the manners of the Prophet, which we must exercise in our daily lives. If we want to approach others with Islam, we have to make ourselves approachable. Smiling is key to this.
But note that being approachable does not mean being flirtations with the other gender. There are Islamic rules for how men and women should deal with each other which have to be respected. Dawa is no excuse to have long and private conversations and meetings with the other sex, for example. Set up a system where someone expressing an interest in Islam is referred to someone of the same sex.
Tip # 6 : Take The Initiative & Hang Out With Them
Take the first step and invite someone you may have spoken to a couple of times to sit at lunch together, to check out a hockey game or invite them over for Iftar in Ramadan. Also, share difficulties, sorrows and frustrations. Help with homework, be a shoulder to cry on when depression hits, or just plain listen when your friend is upset, discuss common problems and KEEP THEIR SECRETS. There are few things as annoying as a snitch and backstabber. But an important note: if the problem is of a serious nature,(i.e. your friend is thinking of committing suicide or is taking drugs), notify and consult an adult immediately.
Tip # 7 : Show Them Islam Is Relevent Today, Right Here, Right Now
Young people may think Islam is too "old fashioned" and not in tune with the modern age. Prove this wrong. Show how Islam is really about relating to Allah, which any human being can do, anywhere, anytime. Allah is always closer to you than your jugular vein and He hears and knows everything. Encourage friends to ask Allah's help during tests, exams, and in dealing with problems at home with parents and siblings. Also point out how Islam relates to teenagers: Islam gives you focus and an understanding of who you are and where you are going, which most of "teen culture" does not.
Tip # 8 : Get Them Involved In Volunteer Work With You
If you are already involved in the community, get your friend to help out. Ask them to make a flyer for one of your youth group's events or brainstorm for ideas about activities to hold this school year. This involvement makes them feel part of the Muslim community and deepens your friendship, since you are now working together on something beneficial for both of you. Make sure you thank them for their contribution.
Tip # 9 : Ask Them 4 Fundamental Questions
As your friendship develops, you will notice the topics you discuss may become more serious. You may be discussing, for instance, future goals and plans. Khan recommends four questions to ask that can steer the topic to Allah and Islam:
a. Where am I going in life and what would make me really happy deep down inside?
b. What do I believe?
c. Who should I be grateful to?
d. Did I get to where I am today without the help of anyone?
Tip # 10 : Emphasize Praying 5 Times A Day Before Any Other Aspect Of Islam
A person's main connection with Allah, on a daily basis, is through the prayer five times a day. Don't emphasize any other aspect of Islam until your friend starts making a real effort to pray five times a day. Emphasize the direct connection one has with Allah in prayer. If they are facing a problem, tell them to pray, and to ask Allah for help in Salah and outside this time. When possible, make it a point to pray together during your "hang out time". If your friend begins to pray, that is the first step to other aspects of Islam like giving up swearing, treating parents with respect or dressing Islamically.
Tip # 11 : Help Instill Confidence In Adults
Adults, like Bart Simpson's dad Homer, are considered bumbling idiots in the eyes of "teen culture". Your job as a young Muslim is to help turn the tables on this false and unIslamic belief. All you have to do is this: when a Muslim adult does something good (i.e. saving someone's life, donating money to a worthy cause, the Imam gives a good speech, taking good care of his/her family) bring it up in the course of your conversations with your friend and praise the adult in question. Doing this regularly may not only change your friend's perspective, but could lead to them seeing their own parents in a more respectful way.
Tip # 12 : Support Them Even When They Become More Practicing
Remember, just because a person starts practicing Islam more regularly, this does not mean everything will be okay from this point onwards. There will still be hard times, difficulties. There may be times when your friend may have doubts about his or her newfound practice of Islam. Be there to reassure them.
One time a scholar asked one of his students, "You have spent a long time with me, what have you learned?
He said I learned eight things:
First, I looked to the creation. Everyone has a loved one. When he goes to the grave, he leaves his loved one. Therefore, I made my loved one my good deeds; that way, they will be with me in the grave.
Second, I looked to the verse, 'But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust,' and, therefore, I struggled against my desires so I could stay obeying Allah.
Third, I saw that if anyone has something with him that is worth something, he will protect it. Then I thought about the verse, 'That which you have is wasted away; and that which is with Allah remains,' therefore, everything worth something with me I devoted to Him so it would be with Him for me.
Fourth, I saw the people seeking wealth, honor and positions and it was not worth anything to me. Then I thought about Allah's words, 'Lo, the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most aware of Allah,' so I did my best to become aware of Allah in order to nobility in his sight.
Fifth, I saw the people being jealous towards each other and I looked at the verse, 'We have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world,' so I left jealousy.
Sixth, I saw the people having enmity and I thought about the verse, 'Lo, the devil is an enemy for you, so take him as an enemy,' so I left enmity and I took the Satan as my only enemy.
Seventh, I saw them debasing themselves in search of sustenance and I thought about the verse, 'And there is not a beast in the earth but the sustenance thereof depends on Allah,' so I kept myself busy with my responsibilities toward Him and I left my property with Him.
Eighth, I found them relying on their business, buildings and health and I thought about the verse, 'And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him,' therefore, I put my trust only on Allah.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The worst-case scenario in the event of being inflicted with a disease is when the one involved refuses to believe that he has been inflicted with that disease. The way this phenomenon is accepted and recognised in diseases and illnesses that affect the physical body, it is also true with regards to spiritual diseases and ailments.
When a person commits a sin (May Allah save us all) believing that a sin is being committed and feels regret and remorse in the heart, then this is far better than committing the sin and believing it to be lawful (halal). In the former situation, only one sin is being committed, and it is very likely that the individual may repent out of the remorse felt in the heart. In the latter case, however, in addition to the sin being committed, there is the greater sin of trying to justify it. Normally, such an individual does not receive the guidance to repent from his sin. (May Allah save us all, Ameen)
Music and Singing
The case with music and unlawful singing is the same. It has been decisively prohibited in Shariah, as the evidences mentioned further along will illustrate. Yet there are individuals who are not ready to believe that it is unlawful (haram).
In the modern era, music has spread to such an extent that nobody is free from it. Individuals are confronted with situations where they are forced to listen to music. It is played nearly in all department stores and supermarkets. If you sit in a taxi, make a phone call or even walk down the street, you will not be saved from this evil. Young Muslims drive around in their cars with the music fully blasted. The increasing popularity of music, which is prevalent in our society, poses a great threat to the Muslims.
Music is a direct ploy of the non-Muslims. One of the main causes for the decline of the Muslims is their involvement in useless entertainment. Today we see that Muslims are involved, and at the forefront perhaps, of many immoralities and evils. The spiritual power which once was the trait of a Muslim is nowhere to be seen. One of the main reasons for this is music and useless entertainment.
Harms and effects of music
We should be aware that nothing has been prohibited by the Almighty Creator except that which is harmful to the Muslims and the society as a whole. There are great harms and ill-effects of music.
Islam totally forbids adultery and also those things that lead to it. Allah Most High says:
“And do not (even) come near to adultery, for it is a shameful deed and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” (al-Isra, 32)
Islam does not only prohibit adultery and fornication, but also those things that may lead to it. This is the reason why the Qur’an orders Muslim men and women to lower their gazes. It prohibits one from being alone with someone of the opposite sex (khalwa). Informal interaction with the opposite sex has also been made unlawful.
This is also one of the main reasons for the prohibition of music, as it effects one’s emotions, creates arousal, passion and excitement, and also leads to various physiological changes in the person. It is a psychological proven fact that two things are instrumental in arousing the human sexual desire, one being the voice of a female (for males) and the other music.
This is the reason why Allah Most High says:
“O wives of the prophet! You are not like other women, if you are god-fearing. So do not be soft in speech. Lest in whose heart is disease should be moved with desire.” (Surah al-Ahzab, v. 32)
Thus, Islam forbids listening to the female voice with lust and desire. The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“It is permissible for women to converse with non-Mahram men at the time of need (and vice versa). However, what is not permissible is that they stretch, soften and raise their voice in a melodious way.” (Radd al-Muhtar, V.1, P. 406)
Similarly, it is also unlawful for women to listen to the voice of non-Mahram men with lust and desire. One of the great western thinkers said: “The voice is one of the quickest ways that make a woman fall in love with a man. This is the reason why many women adore singers.”
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was also wary of this fact when he said to the Companion Bara ibn Malik: “O Bara! Let not the women here your voice.” (Kanz al-Ummal, 7/322) The same has also been reported from the Companion Anjasha (Allah be pleased with him).
Physical Effect of Music
Experiments carried out by doctors and researchers confirm that music is such that it does not only affect the brain, but each and every organ of the body. There is a close relationship between music and bodily movements.
It is also proved that music affects one’s emotions, increases arousal in terms of alertness and excitement and also leads to various psychological changes in the person. In a psychological experiment, it was found that listening to moderate type of music increased one’s normal heart beat, whilst listening to rock music the heart beat increased even further, yet people claim that music has no effect.
In conclusion, music and the instruments used for singing are a cause for arousing the sexual desire of an individual. It could lead a person to adultery and fornication. Therefore, Islam takes the preventive measure rather than suffer the consequences. This is also one of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, namely ‘blocking the means’ (sadd al-dhara'i). This is based on the idea of preventing an evil before it actually materializes, and is taken from the heart of the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah that, “Preventing harm is given precedence even to achieving possible benefits.”
Becoming Heedless of Allah
One of the harms of music is that it distracts one from his Creator. It serves as a temporary means of pleasure and satisfaction, which makes one forget who he really is and why he was created. This is the reason why musical instruments are known in the Arabic language as ‘malaahi’ meaning instruments that prevent one from the remembrance of Allah Almighty.
Human has been created for a noble purpose. Allah Most High says:
“I have created jinn and humans only that they serve (worship) me.” (Surah al-Dhariyat, 56)
Music and temporary entertainments sink the human in physical pleasures and prevent him/her from true spiritual gains. In conclusion, music has a great role to play in preventing a human from realising the purpose of creation.
Another harm of music is that it instils the ideologies of the non-Muslims in the heart and mind. The messages of today’s music follow a general theme of love, fornication, drugs and freedom.
We find that the whole world is obsessed with the Kufr idea of unrestrained freedom, i.e. freedom of speech and movement, etc… This idea of freedom, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want” is a predominant theme of music today. It is used as a means of drilling western ideologies into the hearts and minds, which are totally contrary to Islamic values and teachings.
The Difference between Legal Wisdom and Legal Reason
The above are just some of the harms and evil effects of music. One must remember here that these are the wisdoms for the prohibition of music and not the reason (illah). The Shariah ruling is based upon the reason, and not the wisdom. In other words if the harms for the prohibition of music are taken care of, it will not make music permissible.
An example for this is that the wisdom behind the prohibition of wine and alcohol is that it creates enmity and hatred between people and it hinders one from the remembrance of Allah. The reason, however, is that it is an intoxicating substance. Now, if one was to say that wine will be Halal for me, as I will lock myself up after drinking wine, thus no destruction will be caused. Any sane person will conclude that he is wrong, as wine is Haram whether you cause any destruction and damage to others or not. The reason being is that the cause (illa) for the prohibition of wine is intoxication, regardless of whether the wisdom (hikma) is present or not.
The same is with music. If one is saved from the abovementioned harms, even then music will still remain Haram. It can not be held lawful even if one is saved from its harms. This is a well established principle in the science of Usul al-Fiqh.
Ruling on musical instruments and unlawful singing
In light of the evidences that will be mentioned shortly, the following are unlawful in Shariah:
a) Musical instruments that are exclusively designed for entertainment and dancing, and create charm, pleasure and bliss on their own (even without the singing), such as the drum, violin, guitar, fiddle, flute, lute, mandolin, harmonium, piano, string, etc are all impermissible and unlawful (haram) to use.
There is a consensus of the whole Ummah on this. Since the first century, the Companions (sahaba), their followers (tabi’in), jurists (fuqaha) and the scholars have been generally unanimous on this ruling.
b) Singing that is a cause for a sin is also unlawful with the consensus of all the scholars, such as songs that prevent one from the obligatory (fard & wajib).
c) Any singing that is accompanied by other sins, such as songs that consist of unlawful, immoral, and sexual themes, or it is sang by non-Mahram women, etc will also be unlawful. This ruling is also with the consensus of all the scholars.
There are numerous evidences in the Qur’an and Sunnah which support this view. We will attempt to look at a few:
1) Allah Most High says:
“And there are among men, those that purchase idle tales, to mislead (men) from the path of Allah and throw ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.” (Surah Luqman, V. 6)
The great Companion Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) states in the explanation of the word “idle tales”:
“By Allah its meaning is music.” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/223 & authenticated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, 2/411)
Imam Ibn Abi Shayba related with his own transmission that he (Ibn Mas’ud) said: “I swear by Him besides Whom there is no God that it refers to singing.” (132/5)
The great Companion and exegete of the Qur’an, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) states:
“The meaning of the word is music, singing and the like.” (Sunan al-Bayhaqi, 1/221& Musannaf Ibn abi Shayba, 132/5)
1. IntroductionThe five Islamic prayers are named Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha. The timing of these five prayers varies from place to place and from day to day. It is obligatory for Muslims to perform these prayers at the correct time.
The prayer times for any given location on earth may be determined mathematically if the latitude and longitude of the location are known. However, the theoretical determination of prayer times is a lengthy process. Much of this tedium may be alleviated by using computer programs.
2. Definition of prayer times
- FAJR starts with the dawn or morning twilight. Fajr ends just before sunrise.
- ZUHR begins after midday when the trailing limb of the sun has passed the meridian. For convenience, many published prayer timetables add five minutes to mid-day (zawal) to obtain the start of Zuhr. Zuhr ends at the start of Asr time.
- The timing of ASR depends on the length of the shadow cast by an object. According to the Shafi school of jurisprudence, Asr begins when the length of the shadow of an object exceeds the length of the object. According to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, Asr begins when the length of the shadow exceeds TWICE the length of the object. In both cases, the minimum length of shadow (which occurs when the sun passes the meridian) is subtracted from the length of the shadow before comparing it with the length of the object.
- MAGHRIB begins at sunset and ends at the start of isha.
- ISHA starts after dusk when the evening twilight disappears.
|Fajr||When whitishness begins to appear on the horizon (dawn)||At beginning of sunrise|
|Zuhr||After sun's trailing limb crosses meridian||Start of Asr|
|Asr||When length of shadow =2x length of object + noon shadow (Hanafi) or|
When length of shadow = length of object + noon shadow (Shafi)
|Maghrib||Sunset||Reddishness in the sky|
|Isha||After reddishness in sky (dusk) ends||Midnight (afzal), next fajr (makruh)|
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Prophet stated," Whoever observes night prayer in Ramadan as an expression of his faith and to seek reward from Allah, his previous sins will be blotted out."(Muslim)
However, the Propher did not practice Taraweeh daily in the nights of Ramadan in the masjid because he feared that it would become mandatory (fardh) on his Ummah."The Messenger of Allah (saas) observed Taraweeh prayer in the Masjid one night and people prayed with him. He repeated the following night and the number of participants grew. The companions congregated the third and fourth night, but the Messenger did not show up. In the morning he told them, "I saw what you did last night, but nothing prevented me from joining you except my fear that it might be made mandatory on you in Ramadan."
Number of Raka'ats in Taraweeh
As for the number of raka'ats in Taraweeh and Witr, the worthy ancestor, Salaf as-Saalih disagreed on the amount of Raka'ats. These numbers are mentioned for raka'ats: 39, 29, 23, 19, 13, and 11 raka'ats. Of all the numbers mentioned, none is sounder than 11 raka'ats. 'Aishah (raa) was asked how was the prayer of the Prophet (saas)? She replied: "He did not pray in Ramadan or some other times more than eleven raka'ats." (Muslim/Bukhari)
However, there is nothing wrong with praying more than 11 raka'ats. Perhaps that is why different numbers are observed. The Prophet himself was asked about night prayer and he said: "It may be done in two raka'ats, and if anyone fears the appearance of morning, he should pray one rak'ah as a Witr for what he has already prayed." (Bukhari/Muslim)
As this hadith indicates, if a person is to pray individually at night, by daybreak he would have prayed one hundred and one raka'ats, or more.
In their desire to pray more raka'ats, some people make Taraweeh in extreme speed. That is wrong, especially when the speed leads to a breach of certain rules of prayer. In that case, the prayer will not be valid. Similarly, it is undesirable for an Imam to pray with such speed whereby the followers will have difficulty observing the necessary deeds in Salaat.
Everybody should attend the Masjid prayers, including women, provied they are properly covered. The Messenger of Allah said: "Prevent not the women servants of Allah, from going to the Masjid of Allah." However, when they attend the Masjid they should wear no perfume, nor raise their voices, and or show their beauty. Allah (SWT) states: "...they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof..." (Al-Qur'an, 24:31)
What ordinarily appears, refers to the outer garments, for when the Messenger (saas) commanded women to attend Eid prayer, Umm 'Atiyah (raa) said: "O Messenger of Allah, some of us do not have the outer garment (jilbab). The Messenger of Allah told her to let a sister (who has more than one) give her one to wear." (Agreed upon)
It is Sunnah that they pray behind the men in the rear lines. The Messenger has been reported as saying: "The best lines for men are the front lines and the worst lines for men are the rear lines. The best lines for women is the rear and the worst lines of women are the front line. (Muslim)
The women should leave the Masjid as soon as the Imam says: As-Salaamu 'Alaikum. They should not delay without a valid reason. In a hadith by Umm Salmah, she said: "When the Messenger of Allah (saas) saluted to end prayer, the women would stand up to leave and the Messenger would remain in his place for a while." Umm Salmah (raa) said: Allah is the best knower, but perhaps the Messenger did that so women would leave before men could overtake them". (Bukhari)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Adapted from a lecture
In the month of Ramadaan it is very important that we spent a few moments to understand some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of fasting.
Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Let it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal." Meaning, one's behaviour, attitude and outlook are the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has no effect upon that person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these lessons.
LESSON 1: Gaining Taqwaa
Allaah legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa, "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain taqwaa." (meaning of SoraatulBaqarah (2):183) Taqwaa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allaah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear Allaah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?
LESSON 2: Drawing closer to Allaah
This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’aan during night and day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allaah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for those who can, making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allaah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allaah (SWT). When one sins, one feels distant from Allaah. That is why one might find it heard to read the Qur’aan and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allaah and wants to worship Allaah more, because he is not shy from his sins.
LESSON 3: Acquiring patience and strong will
Allaah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’aan and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs man and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allaah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.
LESSON 4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riyaa’ (showing off)
Ihsaan means to worship Allaah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, "By Allaah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allaah love this action? Is Allaah pleased with this action?' So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadeeth qudsee, "Fasting is for Me and I reward it." (al-Bukhaaree) Allaah singles out fasting from all other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allaah. For example, when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyaan ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allaah? He said, ‘No.’ They said, "Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?" He said, ‘No. It is not the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been worshipping Allaah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allaah.’"
LESSON 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related totruthfulness and discharging trusts.
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allaah (SWT) has no need that he should heave his food and drink." (al-Bukhaaree) What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "was sent to perfect good manners." (Maalik) So we must check ourselves, are we following the behaviour of the Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him)? For example: Do we give salaam to those we don’t know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islaam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?
LESSON 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those whorepent." (Ibn Maajah) Allaah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.
LESSON 7: Being more charitable
Ibn `Abaas said, "The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadaan till the end of the month…" (al-Bukhaaree) The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person’s reward." (at-Tirmidhee)
LESSON 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims
The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "…Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khaleefahs. Hold fast to it and stick to it." (Aboo Daawood) In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salaatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allaah and His Messenger.
LESSON 9: Learning discipline
The Prophet (ma Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allaah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allaah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.
LESSON 10: Teaching the young to worship Allaah
It was the practice of the people of Madeenah, that during the fast of `Aashooraa (which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. (as mentioned in al-Bukhaaree).
So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allaah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet (may Allah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do not pray." (Haakim)
LESSON 11: Caring for one’s health
Fasting has many medical benefits and it teaches Muslims to take care of their health and too build strong bodies. The Prophet (may Allaah send His blessing and peace upon him) said, "A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone." (Muslim)