Sunday, 30 August 2009

Virtues of fasting during hot days

...By Ibn Rajab alHanbali in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 272-273):

And from the acts of worship whose reward is multiplied during the heat is fasting, and this is because of the thirst that one experiences in the mid-day heat.

This is why Mu’adh bin Jabal expressed regret on his deathbed that he would no longer experience this mid-day thirst, as did other early Muslims.

And it was related that Abu Bakr would fast in the summer and not fast in the winter, and ‘Umar advised his son ‘Abdullah on his deathbed: “Try to obtain the characteristics of faith,” and the first one he mentioned was fasting in the intense summer heat.
And al-Qasim bin Muhammad said that ‘A’ishah would fast in the intense heat, and he was asked: “What drove her to do this?” He replied: “She would take advantage of the days before death.” And some of the righteous women would choose the hottest days and fast them, saying: “If the price is low, everyone will buy,” meaning that she wanted to do those actions that only a few were capable of due to how hard it was to do them, and this is indicative of the high aspirations these women had.

And Abu Musa al-Ash’ari was on a boat, and he heard someone calling out: “O passengers, stand up (i.e get up for suhoor to fast)!” And he said this three times. So, Abu Musa told him: “How can we stand up? Don’t you see where we are? How can we stand up?” So, the caller said: “Let me tell you of a rule that Allah made upon Himself: whoever makes himself thirsty for Allah’s sake on a hot day has the right upon Allah to have his thirst quenched on the Day of Resurrection.” So, Abu Musa would search out the days that were so hot that one would feel he was being cooked, and he would fast those days.

Ka’b said that Allah Said to Musa: “I made it incumbent upon Myself that whoever is thirsty for My sake will have his thirst quenched on the Day of Resurrection,” and others said that it’s written in the Torah: “Glad tidings for whoever makes himself hungry in anticipation of the Great Day where he will have his hunger satisfied, and glad tidings for whoever makes himself thirsty in anticipation of the Great Day where he will have his thirst quenched.”

al-Hasan said: “A maiden of Paradise will speak to the wali of Allah while he is laying with her on the shore of a river of honey in Paradise while she hands him a glass of the sweetest drink, and she will ask him: “Do you know what day Allah married me to you? He Saw you on a long summer day while you were thirsty in the mid-day heat, and He called the Angels and Said: “Look at My slave. He has left his wife and pleasure and food and drink for Me out of his desire for what I have for him. Bear witness that I have Forgiven him,” and He Forgave you on that day and married you to me.”"

And when ‘Amir bin ‘Abd Qays went from Basrah to Sham, Mu’awiyah would ask him to tell him what he needed. He refused to ask of him, and eventually said: “All I need is for you to return the heat of Basrah to me to make the fasting a bit harder, as it is too easy in your lands.”

And al-Hajjaj was on a journey between Makkah and Madinah. He pulled out his dinner and invited a bedouin to eat with him, and the bedouin said: “I have been invited by One who is better than you and I have accepted the invitation.” He asked: “And who is this?” The man replied: “Allah invited me to fast, and I fasted.” al-Hajjaj asked: “On this very hot day?” The man replied: “Yes. I am fasting it in anticipation of a much hotter day.” al-Hajjaj said: “So, eat today and fast tomorrow.” The man replied: “Only if you can guarantee that I will live until tomorrow.” al-Hajjaj said: “This isn’t in my hands.” The man said: “How can you ask me to do something now when there is something of the future that isn’t in your hands?”

And Ibn ‘Umar went on a trip once with some companions, and they saw a sheep-herder who they invited to eat with them. He said: “I am fasting,” and Ibn ‘Umar said: “You are fasting in heat like this, and while you are between all these plants and sheep?” The herder replied: “I’m taking advantage of my remaining days.” Ibn ‘Umar was impressed by this reply and said: “Can you sell one of your sheep to us? We’ll feed you from its meat when you break your fast, and we’ll also pay you for it.” The herder said: “It doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to my master.” Ibn ‘Umar said: “What would your master say if you told him that it was eaten by a wolf?” The herder raised his finger to the sky and said: “What about Allah?” Ibn ‘Umar kept repeating this phrase that the herder was saying, and when he got to the city, he went to the herder’s owner and bought him and his sheep from him. He then freed the herder and gave him his sheep as a gift.

And Ruh bin Zinba’ was traveling between Makkah and Madinah on a very hot day. A herder living on a mountain approached him, and he said to him: “O herder, come eat with me.” The herder said: “I’m fasting.” Ruh said: “You’re fasting in this heat?” The herder replied: “Should I let my days pass by in vain?” So, Ruh said: “You have used your days wisely, O herder, while Ruh bin Zinba’ has wasted his.”

And Ibn ‘Umar used to fast extra days until he would almost faint, and this wouldn’t cause him to break his fast. And al-Imam Ahmad would fast until he was about to pass out, and would wipe water over his face. He was asked about fasting very hot days, and he replied: “There is nothing wrong with wetting a towel to squeeze the water on himself to cool down with.” And the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam would pour water over his head while fasting.

And Abu ad-Darda’ would say: “Fast the very hot days in anticipation of the Day of Resurrection, and pray two rak’at in the darkness of night in anticipation of the darkness of the grave.” And it’s reported in the two ‘Sahih’s that he said: “You have seen us with the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa salam on some of his journeys on very hot days, and a man would hold his hand against his head due to the intensity of the heat, and none of them would be fasting except the Messenger of Allah and ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah.” And the narration of Muslim states that Abu ad-Darda’ said: “This was during the month of Ramadan.”

When those who fast for Allah in the heat are patient despite their intense thirst, He will set aside a specific gate of the gates of Paradise for them. This is the gate called Rayyan, and whoever enters through it will drink, and whoever drinks after entering it will never be thirsty again. When they enter through it, it will be locked for those after them, and none will enter through it except them…”

Monday, 24 August 2009

A daily requirement: A secret deed between you and Allah alone‏

Benefit for today:

Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in his Fatawa: Every person must have a deed that is done daily – that is secret between him and Allah alone. This is required because we do not know whether the deeds we do in front of mankind have ikhlas or not nor can we say that we do with any level of certainty. So ask yourself – what deed do you have that is completely secret between you and Allah alone – not even your wife, children – absolutely no one at all knows about it except you and Allah. It could be charity that you give secretly, or a prayer that you pray in the depths of the night whilst your family is asleep, or even a tear that you shed from the fear of Allah the Great. This is the deed that is beloved to Allah and will perhaps be the cause to bring on Allah’s forgiveness on the day of Judgement.

5 ways to make this Ramadan extraordinary!‏

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
My dear friends and students,
Welcome to our long-lost friend: Ramadan. How we have missed the days of self-restraint and the nights of mercy and delight! After eleven months of sinning, we now have the opportunity to avail ourselves of a month of mercy and forgiveness. For those whose duas have not been answered, the month of answered duas has arrived. For those who have drifted away from the soothing night prayer, or who have never achieved it, the month of the blessed taraweeh has arrived. Welcome to our Lord’s mercy: the month of Ramadan. No doubt each and every one of us approaches Ramadan with a special excitement. Alas for many of us, however: the excitement is met with fear and dread instead.
Will this Ramadan be like the previous ones where I failed to truly take full advantage and mend my ways?
Will this Ramadan only demonstrate to me how far away from Allah I truly am?
Will it be yet another month that passes by without my taking full advantage of it?
If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Many of us feel this way and do not know how to tackle it. As a result, the fear and dread are enough for us to avoid setting new goals and higher aspirations for this month. As a result, we find ourselves at the end of the month in the situation of having failed to benefit from this opportunity and languishing in sorrow at the thought that we will never improve.
I too used to get these whispers and thoughts in my mind. However, I overcame these thoughts with the help of Allah. Here are five things that I have done to tackle these "Ramadan blues". Let me share them with you; perhaps the suggestions may benefit you, and help you to overlook the past and focus on the future.
1. Good thoughts about Allah: I remind myself that my Lord is most Generous and Kind. He loves me sincerely. The proof is that even when I disobey Him He still provides for me. That is why He is giving me yet another Ramadan: yet another opportunity to get closer to Him again. He loves to forgive, and His best friends are those who seek His forgiveness the most. He has brought me to another Ramadan so that I can have yet another chance at Laylatul Qadr, and yet another chance to make my duas accepted at the time of iftar, and yet another chance to do Hajj with Rasul-Allah (sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) by doing umrah in this month. He has brought me to Ramadan to sooth the sorrows in my heart with His remembrance, and for me to be reminded of the nights in my grave by the solitude of i’tikaaf: by seeing how it feels to be alone with Him in the mosque. He wants me to lighten the load on my mind, so that is why He has given me the month of the Qur’an: so that I can relive the amazing Word of my Rabb (Lord and Master). The salaf (pious predecessors) would beg Allah for another opportunity for Ramadan, so how fortunate I am that He has given me this chance once again. How fortunate I am that He has given me the chance to know when this month is, so that I can take advantage of it. How fortunate I am that He has given me the yearning in my heart to meet my Lord in this month - and I know that the one who loves to meet His Lord, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala also loves to meet him.
2. Forget the past and focus on the future: I remind myself that past deeds are just that: a matter of the past. I live for the future, not the past. The past will be forgiven insha’Allah if I can mend the future. My concern should be the next deed that I do, because Allah loves to forgive; so I can have every confidence that He will forgive the past because I have nothing but regret for my past sins. The most important consideration for me is what sort of amends I make now. I remind myself of what Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahu-Allah) said in his Nooniyyah:
By Allah I am not afraid of my past sins, For indeed they are upon the path of repentance and forgiveness; Rather my real concern is that [in the next deed] this heart Might cease to act upon revelation and upon the noble Qur’an.
3. Evaluate previous attempts in order to plan a strategy to make it work this time: I remember that it is illogical to think that my future chances of success are a reflection of my failures in the past. My past inabilities only show me what to do better this time so that I can increase my chances this time around. So if I tried to pray taraweeh every night but failed, I should look back at what happened in order to learn lessons from those failures. Was it that the Imam’s recitation was not good? If so, then let me try to find a mosque to go to whose Imam recites better. If I failed to complete reciting the whole Qur’an last year, let me look at why that was the case and how I can change it. Can I put up reminders to read the Qur’an, or shall I buy a few more copies of the Qur’an and put them in more convenient places, such as one in my car, another in my briefcase and another on my table, so that I have a mushaf always on hand? If I missed getting up for fajr last Ramadan, why did it happen and how can I change it? Perhaps I should buy more alarm clocks, so let me go to the store right now. Perhaps I should SMS my friends to start a fajr prayer-calling group so that each day one of us is responsible for waking the others up. Perhaps I should make my suhur my heaviest meal so that my body feels hungry at suhur-time and so I get up more easily.
4. Reward, challenge and penalise myself: I can plan and prepare to reward myself if I finish this Ramadan satisfactorily. So I tell myself that if I can make myself pray all my prayers at the earliest time this Ramadan and recite the Qur’an five times this month, then I will buy myself a new laptop; if I can recite it ten times then I will go away with my family for a holiday, or some other significant reward that I know I would definitely like to treat myself with. I warn myself that if I fail to at least recite the Qur’an five times in this month, then I will donate a thousand dollars to charity. I remind myself that even Allah’s Messenger sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to give worldly rewards to those who excelled in battle: e.g. half the war-booty from the raids to the Muslim knights who had taken part in the raid; he (saw) would consider it a great sin upon the one who fails to join the obligatory battle. In the same spirit of reward, challenge and penalty, I would do this for my children and my wife as well by helping them with a reward if they do something extraordinary this month, and a penalty if they did not even do the minimum extra level. In this way I can give them an added incentive to do good in this limited time of Ramadan. I remind myself that ultimately we must do it for Allah and never for a physical prize, but associating an emotional desire with an action and fear of a punishment at the non-performance of it will cause that action to be foremost in the subconscious part of my mind. I remind myself that the worst thing about not making this Ramadan special is going to be something worse than the penalty I have stipulated. It will be the disappointment of a Ramadan wasted, and the risk of Allah’s wrath.
5. Create peer-pressure and responsibility: I remind myself that if I make my friends and family aware of some of my goals, then they might help me. So I share some of my goals with them, ensuring that I am doing it to engage their help in performing it, not in a spirit of boasting. I hope that this will give me added support and encouragement to ensure that they help me in achieving the good things I have set out to do. If they do not help, at the very least they should not mind when I excuse myself from their service or company in order to spend some time on working towards my goal.
I hope that some or all of these things will help you to look upon this Ramadan with a fresh outlook. Make lots of dua to Allah that this Ramadan will be special for you, for your family, and for the Ummah of our beloved sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. I am interested in hearing from you if you have other things that you do to focus positively at the advent of another Ramadan.
Jazaakumullahulkhair and my duas for you and your family for a fantastic and blessed Ramadan, insha’Allah;
wassalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Tawfique Chowdhury Director General AlKauthar Institute and Mercy Mission World

The Month of Mercy...

Welcome, dearest friend and guest - come come, the doors are wide open for you and our hearts skip a beat everytime we hear your name! Where have you been? Come on - why only ever after so many months - maaaan we miss you sooooo much - but now that you're here - please stay with us and share with us - atleast for 29 days - if you can't make the whole 30! Welcome!
Now this is a typical type of convo you would have with a dear friend of yours or a guest (ok maybe not all friends n guests stay for a whole month) - for friends and guests are truly Allah's blessings! And moreover one of Allah (swt) blessings towards His servants (yes, that's us!) is the Month of Mercy!
Welcome Ramadhan - and Ramadhan Mabrook to each and every eye who is reading this! May Allah (swt) shower is mercy and blessings on you all and answer all your duas - ameen! "O You Who Believe! Fasting Has Been Prescribed For You As It Was Prescribed For Those Before You So That You May Learn God Consciousness" (Holy Qur'an).
The Month of Mercy is truly merciful! It is one of the five pillars of Islam - and in this month Muslims fast for 30 days - no food, water, conjugal relations from dawn til dusk - pay their zakat - which is charity to those needy in our communities - read, recite study and reflect on the teachings of the Qur'an - as it was revealed in the Month of Mercy - pray qiyam ul-layl (the night prayers and taraweeh) and abstain from the temptations of one's own nafs - the soul. This month is also like a reminder! Throughout the year we busy ourselves with the 'life of this world' - you know our education, work, family etc - which ofcourse is also our duty as human beings - but we sometimes forget the most important issues in our life - preparation for the next world - the eternal life.
Ramadhan also helps us to leave the wrong doings - bad habits, bad characteristics - and to purify and better ourselves - for ramadhan and beyond - so in fact we should be observing all the above throughout the year - evening fasting Mondays and Thursdays and the 13, 14 and 15th of every month.
Man by nature is forgetful - we all need reminding - even me! Allah (swt) through His infinite mercy blesses us and gives us another chance - chance to repent for all our wrong actions and make a promise with ourselves - that we will live by His laws and truly fulfil the reason for our very existence - the worship of Allah (swt)!
Ramadhan is also a month which reminds us of our fellow brothers and sisters in Islam and Humanity who are less fortunate than ourselves and who are suffering oppression or hardship. Ramadhan is a month about being conscious of the food we eat - appreciation of it and also not forgetting water! I personally get very thirsty - especially when i'm presenting on the radio - and it is a constant reminder for me - about those who don't even have clean water to drink and die from polluted water and dehydration.
This month is for us all - the past nations from time immemorial had to observe fast - in one way or another - why? to learn God consciousness - to be aware of Allah (swt) and His mercy!
In this month the doors of heaven are opened and doors of hell are locked! The devils are chained for a whole month - and don't forget REMINDER - when he is set free on eid - he will have more enmity towards us - why? because he was locked away for a month and could not lead us astray - he will be back to his old tricks - but we will not let him - deal? cool!
Its the third day of ramadhan - and i'm on a serious buzz - what about you? Loads more blog updates in this month - three for today - wow you lucky peeps! Also we will be looking at the three parts of ramadhan and what they are all about and don't forget for more inspiration all about ramadhan tune into 'Be Inspired' on Unity FM 93.5FM in Bham UK and streaming LIVE across the universe on - every Saturdays from 12 til 2pm!
Thank You Allah for blessings us with another chance - chance to repent - seek your forgiveness and mercy and get all our duas answered - make abundant dua whilst breaking your fast - for no dua will go unanswered - and please keep me in your duas! We don't even know if we will make it to eid - as the Angel of Death can come for us at any time - let alone next ramadhan - so lets all be truly grateful!
Keep it locked to turBo flow - you all know by now - its not your average flow - its turBo flow - a blog with a difference - invite all to read - and please leave your comments (on the right of this blog - scroll down, you have a feature to leave your messages n feedback).
Enjoy your Ramadhan! :)