Remove the roof of your Du’aa and ask for the unimaginable.


dua baqarah

Five consecutive verses from chapter 2 have been dedicated to the topic of Ramadan. Take a look at their summaries below, listing verse number and topic, and something will become apparent;

Verse 183: Rulings about fasting
Verse 184: Rulings about fasting
Verse 185: Rulings about fasting
Verse 186: Du’aa
Verse 187: Rulings about fasting

It sticks out, doesn’t it? The flow of Ramadan-related verses is suddenly interrupted with the topic of Du’aa, before then returning to the topic of Ramadan. Allah wants us to spill our hearts out in requests.

This year, however, do something different; Remove the roof of your Du’aa and ask for the unimaginable.

Consider the Du’aa of the prophets before us. They went for it without looking back, asking Allah for what many would describe as an utter impossibility.

Consider the Du’aa of Sulayman, when he set his ambitions loose, saying:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَهَبْ لِي مُلْكًا لَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ بَعْدِي إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْوَهَّابُ

“My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom that will not belong to *anyone* after me, certainly, You are the Bestower.” (Al-Qur’an, 38:35)

As you just read, his request wasn’t for any average kingdom, but one that would be crammed with “impossibilities”. His confidence in his Lord was enormous and his expectation of Him was beautiful, and so Allah did not let him down.

What happened?

Sulayman was gifted with (1) prophethood, (2) knowledge, (3) sound judgement, (4) control of the wind, animal world, mankind and Jinnkind, (5) and a kingdom that shall never be replicated on planet earth ever again.

Righteousness isn’t about making humble requests in Du’aa.

Raise your hands this Ramadan, and as you do so, raise the ceiling of your ambitions to a brand new height as well.

Don’t just ask for ease on the day of Judgement, but beg for entry to Paradise without *any* prior accountability, even if you feel that you don’t deserve it.

Don’t limit your requests for paradise, but beg Him for the very highest of its stations – Al-Firdows – even if you feel that you don’t qualify.

Don’t limit your Du’aa for “the guidance of friends and relatives”, but also beg to turn them into revivalists, even if you really can’t see it happening at present.

When making Du’aa for yourself, go all out and beg for the torrents of iman to be released upon you, torrents that will change your appearance in public, social media, finances, mode of Hijaab, and ambitions of your life forever.

This month, every one of us is bowing, prostrating, fasting, and reciting. This Ramadan however, we want to exercise another act of worship that Allah loves so much, but is missed all too often;

Displaying the best of expectations from Allah.

Allah hasn’t capped you, and so

“call upon Allah whilst you are certain of the response” (Prophet Mohammad PBUH) and realise that “I (Allah) will be to my servant just as he expects of Me.” 💗

– Written by Ali Hammuda (Ramadan 1440/2019)

Arafah – A day of acceptance of du’as


Arafah2

‘Arafah is a day of acceptance of du’as and du’a is the cord that connects the human to the Almighty and according to a Hadith: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Hasan Al-Albaani in Saheeh Al-Jaami’1102)

So make a list of the du’as closest to your heart and then pray to Allah on the best day of the year with sincerity and humility. Talk to Him like you would talk to a friend and confess your fears and expectations. He is Al-Sami (The Hearer) and Al-Mujeeb (The One who responds) so He will surely listen and respond to what He Knows is best for you. Imam Shawkani (rahimahuAllah) rightly said: “To know your du’a is accepted is to have your heart ready, cry and shed tears to Allah, being persistent, and after that feeling, a burden taken off your shoulders.”

https://questforparadise.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/2330

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The best du’aas are from the Qur’an and Sunnah but here’s a list of some duas (I received on whatsapp) that you can include in your lists as well Insha Allah:

1. Ya Allah grant me Ultimate Success -safety from the Fire and entry into Jannathul Firdous

2. Ya Allah make me and my family of those companions of the Right. Who receive the book of deeds in our right hands.

3. Ya Allah, Grant me a blessed death. Let me utter the shahada before I die. Grant me the intercession of Prophet (Sal).

4. Ya Allah grant me the companionship of Prophet (Sal), his family and the Sahaba’s in Jannathul Firdous.

5. Ya Allah save my non Muslim friends from the Fire. Guide them to Islam.

6. Ya Allah, reunite me in Jannathul Firdous with those whom I love for Your sake alone.

7. Ya Rabb, perfect my Deen and my Worship. Save me from Faahisha and let me complete half of my Deen.

8. Ya Allah accept my good deeds and increase me in reward and Your Mercy. Wipe away my sins and pardon me completely. Shower your Mercy upon me and save me from disgrace on the Day of Reckoning.

9. Ya Allah, when I die, let my soul and my record of Deeds be with the Illiyeen.

10. Ya Allah grant me, my parents, family and children guidance, steadfastness and increased Imaan.

11. Ya Allah, make me of the few You love, You Pardon and You shade on a Day when there is no shade but from Your Majestic Arsh (Throne).

12. Oh my Lord, increase me in Yakeen and Tawakkul in you. Let there be no doubt in my belief in Your Oneness, Your Majesty and Power.

13. Ya Allah increase me in my love for You and Your Prophet (Sal).

14. Ya Allah forgive me and increase me in Your Blessings and Provisions.

15. Ya Allah lead me to more opportunities to do good and seeking Your Pleasure.

16. Ya Rabb, Purify my intentions for Your Sake alone and let me not show off or take false pride. Save me from arrogance, pride, showing off and reminding of favors.

17. Oh my Creator and Sustainer, do not leave me alone. Bless me with a righteous spouse and children who will be the coolness of my eyes.

18. Oh my Lord, make me of those who are patient and obedient to You and to my parents.

19. Save me from the Fitnah of Dajjal.

20. Save me from the punishment of the grave and the punishment of the Hell Fire.

21. Ya Allah, increase me in Sadakathul Jariya work.

22. Ya Allah, bless me with good health, so I can make sajdah with ease till my dying day.

23. Ya Allah, protect me and the Muslim Ummah against wicked oppressors. Save us from Fitnah and give us ease in our times of trial.

24. My Lord, bless me with the best in this world, the best in the Hereafter and save me from the fire. I am indeed in need of the good You have in store for me.

25. Ya Allah increase me in gratitude towards You alone.

26. Oh my Rabb, save me from hypocrisy.

27. Ya Allah, let me and my spouse be among the pilgrims to perform Hajj

28. Ya Allah protect me against Evil Jinns and Spirits. Safeguard me from their evil incitements and plots.

29. Ya Allah forgive and have Mercy upon my parents, as they looked after me when I was young.

30. Ya Allah, I pray and beg of you for the guidance of the Muslim Youth and Ummah. Save us all from Kufr, Despair, Misdeeds and Shirk.

31. Ya Allah grant me the strength to battle laziness and sleep, so I may wake up for Tahajjud and Fajr daily.

32. Ya Allah forgive n protect the Muslim Uammah through out the world .

33. Ya Allah make us among the one who is on the right path .
.
Allahumma Ameen

May Allah accept and respond to our heartfelt du’aas and give us more than what we expect of Him! Aameen! 

Feel confident about your murmured du’aas


murmur duaa2

A new Muslim in the time of the Prophet ﷺ once heard the Prophet supplicating in low tones after one of the prescribed prayers. When he found himself unable to retain all that the Prophet ﷺ had prayed, he went to the companion Mu’adh ibn Jabal hoping to hear an easier du’aa. To his dismay, he heard Mu’adh repeating a du’aa similar to that of the Prophet ﷺ. Somewhat frustrated, he went back to the Prophet ﷺ who asked him:  “What do you say when you pray?” He said: “I recite the tashahhud, then I say: 

“اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّارِ”

(Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-jannah wa a’oodhu bika min an-naar) O Allah, I ask You for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire. I cannot murmur like you and like Mu’aadh.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “It is about this, that we were murmuring.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 792; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, taken from the book, “Lasting Prayers” by Ahmad Zaki Hammad)

Whether you know Arabic, or you don’t. Whether you have memorized some duas or none at all – when you ask of Allah that which is good, feel confident about your murmuring. You are asking The All Hearing, The All Seeing, and He hears you in whatever language you use and He sees the meanings emanating from within your heart. :)

 

Deprivation leads to Du’aa


araf

Allah will keep testing His servants until the sincere believers can be clearly differentiated from the weak ones and the hypocrites. The children of Israel were weak and oppressed waiting for years for the help and mercy of Allah so when Allah drowned Fir’awan and his people to save them, the Children of Israel took the calf as God, forgot Allah and started worshiping it.

It’s clear from this, that whenever Allah deprives someone of something, it is only so that he can come closer to Him by ways of du’a and worship asking Allah to fulfill that need. And Allah finally fulfills that need according to his own timing, his own way, it’s so that the servant can rise in eeman and gratefulness. But then insan gets the name ‘insan’ due to his forgetful nature. So when there’s no longer a need that needs to be fulfilled, he forgets Allah’s favors, disobeys Him and gets involved in Shirk. Reflect over this…and correct your affairs.

-Lessons from Surah Al A’raf

The Blessed Day of ‘Arafah


Praise be to Allah alone, who guides His servants to worship Him and blesses them with special seasons, days and nights as opportunities to draw closer to Him and His Pleasure. The 9th Day of Dhul-Hijjah is one such day and it is known as the Day of ‘Arafah. It is the day when millions of pilgrims gather at the plain of ‘Arafah as an obligatory ritual of Haj.
Almost anyone who has performed Haj agrees that the standing on ‘Arafah is the greatest part of Haj, as it is the place where a person can begin to truly know himself, his deficiencies and weaknesses. And in acknowledging his faults he also can come to know of the presence of His Creator in his life, of His limitless forgiveness and generosity. He recognizes that all he can do at that moment is turn to Allah, seek His mercy and forgiveness.

Just as those on Haj are blessed with the opportunity to turn to Allah, repent and “come out as sinless as a newborn child” (Al-Bukhari), the ones not on Haj also get a somewhat similar opportunity.

fast-9th-dhThe Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (9th Dul-Hijjah) is an expiation for (the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)

Not all of us can perform Haj, but almost all of us can race for Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness by fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah which is the day of salvation from the Fire. Allah frees from the Fire those who gather in ‘Arafah, as well as those Muslims in their home cities who can’t gather there. However, the day which follows is an Eid celebration for all the Muslims in the world, whether they were on Haj or not, because they were still included in the salvation and forgiveness of the Day of ‘Arafah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’” (Muslim)
The Almighty made the Day of ‘Arafah the best day of the year just like He made the Night of Qadr the best night of the year. While no one knows for sure which night is the Night of Qadr from the last ten nights of Ramadan, Allah has made the Best Day of the year known and this is His special favor on His believing servants and a chance for them to improve their relationship with Him by way of doing all kinds of good deeds and du’a.
‘Arafah is a day of acceptance of du’as and du’a is the cord that connects the human to the Almighty and according to a Hadith: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Hasan Al-Albaani in Saheeh Al-Jaami’1102)
1238382_10152035760762652_955815536_nThe Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah, and the best that I and the Prophets before me  said is ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulku wa lahu’l-hamdu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the dominion, to Him be praise, and He has power over all things).” (Tirmidhi-3585)
Another Hadith also mentions that whoever says these words with a sincere heart, attesting to the truth of that with his tongue, then Allah will surely tear open the sky until He looks at the person from amongst the people of the earth who said it. And the right of the servant whom Allah looks at is that He grants him whatever he asked for.” (An-Nisaee – Saheeh Al-Albani)
arafah-2
So make a list of the du’as closest to your heart and then pray to Allah on the best day of the year with sincerity and humility. Talk to Him like you would talk to a friend and confess your fears and expectations. He is Al-Sami (The Hearer) and Al-Mujeeb (The One who responds) so He will surely listen and respond to what He Knows is best for you. Imam Shawkani (rahimahuAllah) rightly said: “To know your du’a is accepted is to have your heart ready, cry and shed tears to Allah, being persistent, and after that feeling, a burden taken off your shoulders.”
The day of ‘Arafah is among the most blessed times of the year in Islam. It commemorates the finality of revelation (Qur’an 5:3) and the completion of the Ḥaj pilgrimage. It is also the day when the Prophet delivered his last khutbah — A gem and a reminder of our responsibility and accountability to Allah, so read about it, reflect and strive to implement the advice. Main guidelines from the last khutbah included:
• Sacredness of a Muslim’s life and property
• The importance of propagating this message to all others (A Muslim’s responsibility thus does not end by following the religion)
• A reminder that everyone is fully accountable for their deeds and Allah (God) will take every person into account. If everyone heeded to this fact alone, the world would be a much better place today.
• “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” These words of the prophet are self-explanatory.
• The prohibition of dealing with interest (Numerous accounts in Qur’an and Hadith prohibit taking, giving or being a part of any transaction dealing with interest).
• “You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity.” These words of the prophet are self explanatory.
• The awareness of shaitan and how he can work to deviate us from the right path and doing evil things.
• Rights of women over men and rights of men over women.
• Treatment of women with kindness.
• Modesty and chastity in women.
• The importance of worshiping Allah (offering the five daily prayers, fasting Ramadan, giving charity (Zakat) and performing Haj.
• Equality among all (blacks, white, Arabs, non-Arabs, etc.)
• The need to establish justice.
• Islam is the final divine religion (Last Prophet and Last Book).
May Allah guide us in doing our part in following the Prophet’s message and propagating the message to everyone we know and accept from us the tiniest of good deeds that we do on the best of days! Ameen.
-Mariam Anwer
Originally posted in Arab News

Istikharah – A Special Prayer


At certain stages of life we often find ourselves at crossroads, impelled to make important decisions that would have huge impacts on our future. These decisions could be about choosing a career, getting married to someone, buying a car or a house, relocating or moving to a foreign land and the like. Despite considering all the positives and negatives and consulting family, friends or other qualified people, this task of reaching a sound decision leaves us doubtful and nervous. Praise and thanks to our Creator who doesn’t leave us fretting and worried during these crucial times. He has taught us, a special prayer for guidance in making decisions called Salat Al-Istikharah. When performing this prayer one asks Allah to guide him to the right choice concerning a certain essential matter.
 
The prayer of Istikharah was described in a hadeeth narrated by Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Salami, who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to teach his companions to make Istikharah in all things, just as he used to teach them surahs from the Qur’an. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:
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Allaahumma ‘innee ‘astakheeruka bi’ilmika, wa ‘astaqdiruka biqudratika, wa ‘as’aluka min fadhlikal-‘Adheemi, fa’innaka taqdiru wa laa ‘aqdiru, wa ta’lamu, wa laa ‘a’lamu, wa ‘Anta ‘Allaamul-Ghuyoobi, Allaahumma ‘in kunta ta’lamu ‘anna haathal-‘amra-[then mention the thing to be decided] Khayrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati ‘amree – [or say] ‘Aajilihi wa ‘aajilihi – Faqdurhu lee wa yassirhu lee thumma baarik lee feehi, wa ‘in kunta ta’lamu ‘anna haathal-‘amra sharrun lee fee deenee wa ma’aashee wa ‘aaqibati ‘amree – [or say] ‘Aajilihi wa ‘aajilihi – Fasrifhu ‘annee wasrifnee ‘anhu waqdur liyal-khayra haythu kaana thumma ‘ardhinee bihi’
 
O Allah, I ask for Your decision by Your knowledge and Your decree by Your ability, and I ask of You from Your great favor. For You are able and I am not able, and You know and I do not know, and You are the Knower of things concealed. O Allah, if You have known that this matter [naming it here] is good for me in my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affair, then decree it for me, make it easy for me and then bless it for me. And if You have known that this matter is bad for me in my religion, my livelihood and the outcome of my affair, then turn it away from me and turn me away from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it may be. And then make me content with it.’ (Al-Bukhaari, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).
 
The result of Istikharah is known by being inclined to do something and continuing to feel positive about it. In addition, if the decision one is about to take is good for him (in both worlds), the paths to it will open up and if it’s not, then the paths will become obstructed and Allah will direct him somewhere else.
The beauty of the Istikharah is that the person who sought the guidance of Allah will be content with Allah’s decision for him even if it diverts him from what he thought was good as he will know that this is the result of his Istikharah. This is because, Allah, the Creator knows what is best and will definitely guide His servants to what is best for them within His vast knowledge and infinite wisdom. rely
  We need to understand that Istikharah does not guarantee the absence of tests and trials in life. Since Istikharah is a du’aa, Allah’s response to it may come in any of the three ways as stated in the hadeeth: “There is no Muslim who offers a du’aa in which there is no sin or severing of family ties but Allah will give him one of three things in return: either He will answer his du’aa soon, or he will store it up for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an equivalent evil away from him because of it.” (Ahmad)
 
So if one goes through a bad marriage even after performing Istikharah or suffers loss in his business, etc., it might be that Allah wants him/her to draw closer to Him by way of patience and du’aa and send His blessings through some other way. Allah says: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an 2:216)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It is from the happiness of the son of Adam to practice Istikharah and be pleased with what Allah had ordained for him. And it is from the misery of the son of Adam to drop the Istikharah of Allah and be displeased at Allah’s decrees.” (Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
 
Unfortunately, many people nowadays ignore this beautiful Sunnah and resort to baseless or forbidden ways to make important decisions. Seeking omens (faal) is one of these ways and it has been strictly forbidden in Islam, because it comes under the same heading as divination with arrows (mentioned in the Qur’an 5:3).
There are some other people who do follow the Sunnah of praying Istikharah but have added weird myths and unreasonable expectations to it. They ask some stranger or religious personality to do it for them and expect the results of Istikharah to be shown to them in dreams, visions, some special sign or color while all of this is nothing but acts of ignorance.
 
Firstly, it is a form of innovation to ask someone else to do istikharah for you or do it for others and secondly, it doesn’t give one instant results like giving a green signal to proceed in a certain affair.
 
Istikharah is a du’aa which one needs to make himself, at any time of the day and then execute the matter (for which he prayed). And if it is good then Allah will make it easy for him and bless him in that, and if it is not good for him, then Allah will turn it away from him and will make easy for him that in which there is good by His permission. For without doubt, the person who makes Istikharah, seeking guidance from his Creator and advice from His creation never regrets, as Allah said to His Messenger (peace be upon him) in the Qur’an (3:159): “Consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”
 
-Mariam Anwer
Originally published at Arab News
AN Istikharah

Racing to Good Deeds in Ramadan


ramadan

Praise and thanks to Allah who has made us reach the blessed month of Ramadan yet again this year. He made it a month of mercy, forgiveness, du’aa and multiplied rewards. Every night of this blessed month, He invites the fortunate ones who witness it, to race and compete with each other in doing righteous deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the devils are chained, the jinn are restrained, and the gates of Hellfire are closed and none of its gates are opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and none of its gates are closed. A caller announces: O seeker of good, come near! O seeker of evil, stop short! Allah will save them from the Hellfire and that is during every night of Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi-682)

How amazing is that? Could our names be among the ones whom Allah removes from the list of people going to Hell? Insha Allah, Yes! With the devils being chained and the entrance to Paradise made so easy, racing to do all that Allah has commanded and trying our best to avoid all that He has forbidden has been made easy for us in this blessed month. Ramadan is without doubt a golden opportunity for all of us who hope to be saved from the Hell fire and yearn to dwell in Paradise, where we will have all that we desire. This is not a month of socializing and feasting even though it is common to see this around us. This is a month of competing with each other in improving our relationship with our Creator – A month where we ignore all distractions and race to him by doing lots of good deeds. Allah says, “And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden [i.e. paradise] as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:133)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There has come to you the month of Ramadan, a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with grace, sending down mercy, forgiving sins and answering supplication. Allah looks at your competition in doing good therein, and boasts of you before His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for truly the wretched person is the one who is deprived of the Mercy of Allah during this month.” (At Tabarani)

The Messenger (peace be upon him) and his companions would pray, fast, spend time with the Qur’an and be obedient to Allah all year round but in Ramadan, they would maximize their efforts to excel in various good deeds. Nothing can be better for us than following their footsteps in this world and then being rewarded by having their company in the Hereafter. The Messenger (peace be upon him) mentioned many actions which, if performed sincerely, grant us great rewards.

The best of such actions in Ramadan is fasting, which has been made obligatory by the Almighty. The exact reward for fasting has not been specified but it is expected to be tremendous because of the way this hadith describes it: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied between ten and seven hundred times. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, said: Except fasting. It is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desires and his food for My sake.” (Muslim-1151) SubhanAllah! We need to perfect our fast by not just avoiding food and drink but also false and hateful speech and deeds so the rewards can be maximized. According to another hadith, there is a gate to Paradise that is called Ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one who fasted] has passed through the gate, it will be locked. [al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The blessed month of Ramadan is a celebration of the Qur’an as the blessed Book was revealed in it. Striving hard to spend the month in reading, reciting and listening to the Qur’an carries huge rewards. Regarding reciting it, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Laam, Meem’ is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Laam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” (Tirmidhi-2910)

While for the one who listens to the Qur’an attentively (in prayer at the masjid or elsewhere), it was said that mercy does not come quicker to anyone than the one who listens to the Qur’an according to the words of Allah: “So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” [Qur’an 7:204] The words “you may” make it mandatory for Allah! (Tafsir Al Qurtubi)

In addition to studying the Qur’an, there is a narration by Ibn Abbas that emphasizes the need to be generous in giving all kinds of charity in Ramadan: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people and he was the most generous in the month of Ramadan, when Jibril would meet him. Jibril used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an.” (Bukhari-1716, Muslim-4268)

Speaking of charity, you can also easily get the reward of fasting not just 30 fasts in the blessed month, but 60, 90 and so on! Surprised? Well, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Whoever gives a fasting person (food or drink to break their fast), they will have similar to the reward of the one who fasted, without any decrease for the one who fasted.” (At-Tirmidhi-Authenticated by Al Albani) Buy some dates and hand them over at some masjid, for the worshippers at the time of breaking the fast or hand over bottles of cold water and small packets of dates on the road sides at the time of Maghrib. If you are unable to do any of that, then just helping out in the kitchen and setting up Iftar with dates and cold water for your family will bring a similar reward insha Allah.

Making extra voluntary prayer along with the 5 obligatory ones is another way to race to Paradise according to the narration of Rabi’a b.Ka’b who said: I was with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) one night and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: ‘Ask (for anything you like)’. I said: I ask for your company in Paradise. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Or anything else other than it?’ I said: That is all (what I require). He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself to frequent sujood [prostrations].’ “(Muslim-990) Let’s rush to the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise by spending the nights of Ramadan in prayer as whoever prays qiyaam – i.e., Taraweeh – with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.”  (Hadeeth classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)

According to a hadeeth, performing an Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying the Prophet (peace be upon him) on Hajj.” (Bukhari-1764) But as for those who live far away from the blessed land of Makkah and feel sad because they cannot perform Umrah in this blessed month, well you can get the ultimate rewards of Hajj and Umrah, from right where you are. According to a hadeeth, whoever prays Fajr Prayer in congregation, and then sits and remembers Allah until the sun rises, and then prays 2 units of voluntary prayer (Al-ishraq), he will gain a reward equal to that of performing a perfect, perfect, perfect Hajj and Umrah. (Al-Albaani, Saheeh Al-Jaami’-6346)

“Race to [all that is] good.” says Allah in the Qur’an (2:148) and one can think of no better time to do this except in the blessed season that we find ourselves in. Restraining our temper and our tongues from evil or idle talk, helping those in need, being patient in upholding ties with relatives even if they are rude to us will make us gain not just tremendous rewards but also the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise in this blessed month. Some short but beautiful and meaningful phrases of praising, glorifying and exalting Allah taught by the Prophet should also be recited in Ramadan to get those extra rewards. He (peace be upon him) said:

  • “Whoever says Subhaan Allaah il ‘azeem wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah the Almighty), a palm tree will be planted for him in Paradise.”(Tirmidhi)
  • “There are) two words which are dear to the Most Merciful (Allah) and very light (easy) for the tongue (to say), but very heavy in weight in the balance. They are: Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, Subhan-Allahil-Azim (Glory and praise to Allah, and Glory to Allah the Almighty)’. (Bukhari)
  • “Glorify Allah a hundred times by just saying Subhanallah (Glorified is Allah) and a thousand good deeds will be written for you, or a thousand sins will be wiped away.” (Muslim)
  • “Say ‘Laa Hawla Wa Laa Quwwataa Illaa Billaah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah) in abundance, for indeed it is from the treasures of Jannah.“ (Bukhaari) This means that this phrase is a treasure that will be preserved and rewarded to the servant in Jannah if he utters it.

How Merciful is our Lord, Who enlightened us to countless good deeds that lead to His pleasure and Paradise – Alhamdulillah! Regardless how much we do and how much we offer we will always fall short fulfilling Allah’s rights upon us, therefore we must increase in seeking His forgiveness and always seek His guidance and help in doing good for His sake. He says: “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways (the means to attain the acceptance and pleasure of Allah). And indeed Allah is with the doers of good.” (Qur’an 29:69)

May Allah grant us the strength and tawfiq to make the most of this blessed month and be winners in this race to be among His beloved ones. Ameen.

– Written Mariam Anwer

A condensed version of this article originally published in Arab News

Why are the people of ‘Eeman happy on the arrival of Ramadan?


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Ramadan is here! But why are the people of ‘Iman happy?

1 – They’re happy because the Prophet (PBUH) would be!

When Ramadan would arrive, he would ascend the pulpit and announce,

قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَمَضَانُ شَهْرٌ مُبَارَكٌ
‘Ramadan has come to you! A blessed month!!’

2 – They’re happy because Allah creates the most perfect conditions for worship

Thus, in Ramadan, ‘all of the gates of Paradise open, and all of the gates of the hell-fire are closed, and the devils and rebellious Jinns are chained up’ Why? In order to set the perfect scene of worship for all those who really wish to draw closer to Allah like never before. Thus a caller calls out in Ramadan, ‘O you who wants goodness, come! And O you who wants evil, enough!’

3 – They’re happy because it’s a chance to scoop unprecedented amounts of good deeds

Bearing in mind how short our lives are compared to those who lived before us, we need this month to compensate for our far shorter lives. Thus ‘Laylatul Qadr’ is ‘greater than a thousand months!’ It really couldn’t get any better.

4 – They’re happy because it’s a golden opportunity to drop some of our heavy luggage of sins once and for all

Thus the Prophet (PBUH) would say, ‘May his nose be soiled in dust! (may he be humiliated and disgraced); the one who witnesses Ramadan but then isn’t forgiven from his sins!’ From Allah’s part, He has made the offer to forgive. From our end, it’s up to us to accept the offer and start serious repentance.

5 – They’re happy because ‘Allah frees people who were destined to the fire every single night of Ramadan!’

As you break your fast in the Masjid or at home, think to yourself, have I been set free from the fire yet? Or am I still waiting?

6 – They’re happy because Allah has taken it upon His Magnificent Self to reward those who fast

Imagine your employer saying, ‘Give so and so their wages. As for so and so, leave their wages to me. I will take care of them.’ Clearly, a massive reimbursement is on its way! With that in mind, Allah said, ‘Fasting is for me and *I* shall reward for it!’ Thus, only Allah knows what awaits them!

7 – They’re happy because the one who fasts experiences two joys which none other experience

‘When he breaks his fast, he is happy with his food. And when he meets His Lord, he will be happy with his fast’ (Prophet Mohammad PBUH) Why is this? Because, ‘Fasting and Qur’an will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement.’

8 – They’re happy because this Ramadan could be the one that makes all the difference

Two men came to the Prophet (PBUH) and embraced Islam. One of them went on to die as a martyr whilst the other died a year later. Amazingly, one of the companions – Talha – saw in his dream that the one who died a year later entered paradise before the martyr. How could this be?! The Prophet (PBUH) told Talha, ‘Did he not fast an extra month of Ramadan?!’ Yes, this month could be the life changer!

9 – They’re happy because, at a time when the sun is out, fasting is major protection

Thus the Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Fasting is a shield’ Sins which we would have otherwise been far more susceptible to are now largely pushed aside.

10 – They’re happy because happiness upon Ramadan’s arrival is a real sign of ‘iman

Thus Allah said, speaking about the reactions of the believers when verses from the Qur’an were revealed,

وَإِذَا مَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَذِهِ إِيمَانًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ

“And whenever a surah is revealed, some of the hypocrites say, “Which of you has this increased in faith?” As for those who believed, it has increased them in faith, while they are rejoicing!” (Al-Qur’an)

 

-Written by Ali Hammuda

Repentance is the Cure to Guilt


Allah Almighty has made human beings weak; they need to be guided and are prone to making mistakes and committing sins. Some do so out of ignorance of the laws set by Allah while; yet there are some, who even though blessed by knowledge, are led to sins because of their desires, emotions or the conditions around them. When a person sins and realizes that he has done something wrong he is overcome by remorse and an overwhelming feeling of guilt. If not dealt with in the correct manner, these feelings of guilt can greatly affect one’s self-esteem, may weigh him down and make him lose interest in doing good deeds.

Fortunately, one of the many treasures of Islam, is that Allah doesn’t leave His servants to rot in their remorse and guilt, once they realize their sin. Mentioned as Al-Ghafoor (the most forgiving) in more than 90 places in the Glorious Qur’an, He offers every sinner chances of redemption and repentance. He says: “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful’.” (Qur’an, 39:53)

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Al-Ghafoor comes from the root ‘ghafara’, which means to cover, conceal, and shield. Some of us might have committed sins that are too many, and at times too shameful, to even think about. But when Allah forgives a sin, He covers it and conceals it. Al-Ghafoor is the One who does not expose the sins of His servants. He protects His servants from the consequences of their sins, screens them and forgives them even though He is All-Knowing of the wrong they committed.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified this when he narrated in a Hadith Qudsi, “Allah the Exalted said: ‘O son of Adam, if you call upon me and place your hope in me, I will forgive you without any reservation. O son of Adam, if you have sins piling up to the clouds and then ask for my forgiveness, I will forgive you without any reservation. O son of Adam, if you come to me with enough sins to fill the earth and you meet me without associating a partner with me, I will come to you with enough forgiveness to fill the earth’.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, 3540)

For the one who believes in the mercy of the Almighty, guilt is a powerful means to direct his heart back to the one whose doors of tawbah (repentance) are always open. Allah says: “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow…” (Qur’an, 66:8)

Even if a person commits sin time after time, his sin is forgiven every time if he follows his sin with repentance – if his repentance each time is sincere. There are three conditions of sincere repentance: Giving up the sin, regretting it and resolving never to go back to it. If one of these three is missing, then one’s repentance is not sincere.

It was said to Al-Hasan: Shouldn’t one of us feel too shy to ask his Lord to forgive his sin, then do it again, then ask for forgiveness, then do it again? He said: ‘The Shaytaan wishes that you would have this attitude so do not tire of asking for forgiveness. I do not think this is anything other than the attitude of the believers, i.e., every time a believer sins, he repents.’
Umar ibn Abd Al-Azeez said: ‘O people, whoever commits sin, let him seek the forgiveness of Allah and repent. If he does it again, let him seek the forgiveness of Allah and repent, and if he does it again, let him seek the forgiveness of Allah and repent. For it is sin, which hangs around a person’s neck, and doom comes from persisting in sin.’

Knowing that Allah forgives should give us much hope. But we should balance fear and hope so that we do not purposefully disobey Him and say that we will repent later. We need to stop doing wrong deliberately and rush to repent from the greatest sins which are disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy, as well as sins like neglecting religious duties like prayer, charity, obedience to parents, spreading the message of Islam and also for sins like backbiting, slander, envy, suspicion, cheating and wasting time in useless things.

The Prophets and Messengers being so righteous and pure used to acknowledge their mistakes too and turned to Allah in repentance all the time. Prophet Adam and his wife accepted their mistake and said: “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers..”” (Qur’an, 7:23). Similarly Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) said: “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” (Qur’an, 28:16) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Sometimes I perceive a veil over my heart, and ask Allah for forgiveness one hundred times a day.” (Muslim, 2702)
If this was the practice of the messengers of Allah (peace be upon them all), then what about the rest of us, whose lives are full of shortcomings and sins? Certainly we have a greater need to accept our mistakes, stop and turn to the One who loves the repentance of his disobedient servants and invites them to seek forgiveness every single night.

Every night
Almost 28 companions narrated, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) 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?’” (Bukhari 1145/Muslim, 1261)

Indeed, Allah is the Most Merciful and Most Kind. He gives respite even to the worst of sinners so that they realize their mistakes and turn back to Him. His rights are too great for His servants to be able to fulfill them. And indeed, His favors and blessings are too many for them to be able to enumerate them. The only way to safety and relief then, is for us to wake up from our sinful slumber, and let our guilty hearts lead us to repent to Al-Ghafoor every morning and every night.

-Mariam Anwer

Originally posted in Arab News