Equality in Gifting

Gifts

There is something my mother has always said, “I love my children equally,” it may seem controversial, or impossible, but my mother has never shown affection or given one of us more than the other. She has always maintained the position that a child may be distanced from his parents if they do so, or may feel rejected. It has been her principle to ensure justice between us, so as not to damage self-esteem, and at the same time instil in us the values of justice, as children learn by example, and the mother is the primary role model, and first teacher.

With Ramadaan and Eid coming, many of us will go shopping. For many parents, this will be a pain in their pockets, and some unfairness may arise, if you have more than one child. Let me caution you, therefore, before it unintentionally happens. Many parents do not realise the devastative consequences that may arise from such favouritism.

Allah instructs us in the Qur’an, “Be just, that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah…” (05:08)

Justice is one the inherent teachings of Islam. Fairness and equality are at the core of Islam, a muslim is to give everyone their due rights; the Almighty Creator above the heavens, and the tiny insects that crawl around the earth. A muslim has obligations to fulfil our duties towards each, and each one is considered a shepherd in this regard responsible for their flock. For parents; their flock are their children, and it is upon them to deal with justice between them.

In the hadith of Nu’man ibn Bashir, whose father brought him before Rasulullah (peace be upon him) and said, “‘I have give this son of mine a slave that I had.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, ‘Did you give all your children a similar gift?’ He replied, ‘No.’ The Prophet then said, ‘then take it (the gift) back.’” (Bukhari) In another report also in Bukhari the Prophet said, “Fear Allah, and be fair to your children.”  This was the extent of the Prophet’s justice. Each child is equal unless one has a greater need, or if given as a reward for a specific achievement, which will then serve as a motivation to the others to try to succeed.

Favouritism can have many negative effects. It may cause jealousy and sow the seeds of hatred between siblings. It can cause children to withdraw, feel deficient, and uncared for. Even if a parent harbours more love for one child, they should be careful not to openly exhibit it, and make other children feel left out. This Eid, make a change and show all your children you care, love and believe in each one.

I will end with this rhetorical question of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said, “Do you not want all your children to respect you equally?” (Ahmad 4/269)

May Allah help us to establish justice through following His laws.

 

Zainab Bint Jahsh

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It is as if the fragrance of Ramadan is near. The night descends with its habitual calmness and tranquility, while the voice of the imams reverberate throughout the city, the voices sweet and endearing to us.

Oh, what a beautiful sight, that I am envisioning. Imagine: the iftar laden down with delectable dishes, the devils locked up, people scurrying towards the masjid, hastening towards good deeds and indeed why not, since the rewards are going to multiply and multiply. It is as if a beautiful period of peacefulness and tranquility is descending upon us.

Islam is in the air, it is as if we can feel it, see it, and breathe it. People hurrying up, giving iftar to the poor, sending iftar to the masjid, standing for the taraweeh and then the standing in the night prayer (qiyam ul layl)…the time for Ramadaan is coming!

A paragon of generosity and righteousness is our Mother of the believers, Zainab bint Jahsh (May Allah be pleased with her).

Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated; “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to his wives: ‘One who has the longest hands amongst you would come after me’. She further said: ‘after his death, we would stretch our hands on the wall to measure their length. We never ceased doing that until Zainab died and she was a small woman so she could not have been the one with the longest hand. It is at that point we realised that what he meant (by the longest hand) was charity. She used to work with her hand, she used to tan (leather) and pierce leather and she would spend (that income) on charity”.

And once again,

Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her ) said, “I have never seen a woman who was better in her religion, who feared Allah more, who was more truthful in speech, who strengthened the ties of kinship more and was more benevolent in charity than Zainab. May Allah be pleased with her.”

Why don’t we learn from this paradigm of a lady and increase in our ibadah and good deeds. She stands as an outshining example throughout the sands of times, up to the very present and will continue to inspire in the upcoming future till the very end of time.

Friends, what a great incentive for us and what better time than the approaching of Ramadan, which we know is the month of sale to proliferate our rewards. Why not avail this opportunity and spend our time performing enormously good deeds.

A greater motivation still is,

Ibn Abbas narrates, “the prophet (saw) was the most generous person and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan because jibril would come to him every night and he would study the Quran with him. Truly when Allah’s messenger would meet jibril he would be more generous than a fleeting wind.” Agreed upon.

So my dear friends roll your sleeves, tie your waist bands and get ready to take complete advantage of this blessed month. It is soon here; it’s fragrance is in the air.

Bint Hasan
Writer, AAT

Fasting not Feasting!

 

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“A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and a kafir (unbeliever) or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much).” (Bukhari)


As the blessed month of Ramadan rapidly approaches us, we begin to prepare for it in many ways. Some have already written out a “game plan” for the 30 days of fasting and the intense worship they want to do, others have decided to start increasing in good deeds, and some, well, they have only started to prepare for nothing but a schedule for iftar gatherings with recipes of savoury and sweet meals. Yes, breaking your fast is very important and a must, but we should remember that Ramadan is something more than just fasting the entire day and then meeting with friends and family to do nothing but feasting. Since I reverted to Islam, I have met a fair share of born Muslims who are very cultural. Surely there is nothing wrong with incorporating your culture into your daily life but it should never supersede your religion and it should never be the driving force for your actions. Islam is a complete religion and it is a way of life. The Qur’an guides us and the Sunnah helps us understand how to live our daily lives. We all know that Islam is a religion of moderation and that Allah does not like extravagance and those who waste.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” (At-Tirmidhi, Sahih by Albaani)

The month of Ramadan is no exception. In fact, during this blessed month, we must remember that it is a month to purify ourselves and our intentions and to strengthen our relationship with Allah the Almighty. Our priority should not be counting down the minutes until Maghrib and then rushing over to our friend’s or family’s home to stuff our faces at iftar to the extent that we are so full that we cannot even stand and pray taraweeh. Ramadan is about fasting, not feasting. In Ramadan, we should be losing weight (not intentionally) and we should not be gaining weight. We should be gaining spiritual guidance and purity.

During Ramadan we should focus on taking selfies of our character, instead of taking selfies with our food. We should be thinking of ways to help the needy and poor during and after Ramadan. We should reflect on how blessed we are to be given another chance for Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness to be showered upon us. We should remember that there are many starving people all around the world and we should not overeat and waste food. I never realised how many Muslims waste food until I met some who eat and eat and eat and then waste and waste and waste! Can you imagine how many poor people all the wasted food could feed? If you can’t finish something, pack it home and eat it the next day, even if you aren’t a “I don’t eat leftovers” kind of person, at least think about the blessings Allah has blessed you with and do it for His Sake. Also, remember that because you wasted so much food, Allah could easily test you with hunger and poverty somewhere in the near future.

“And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)” [al-A‘raaf 7:31]  

The blessed month of Ramadan, is a month where we recharge our iman battery and to pick up on certain obligatory acts and worships that we were not able to during the year. Fasting is something that is done solely for the sake of Allah and it should be done sincerely. If we really want to earn reward and please Allah, we will remember that once we break our fast, we should not overindulge and stuff our faces until nothing but belches come from our mouths.

Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “A man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and he said: “Keep your burps away from us, for the one who eats his fill the most in this world will be hungry for the longest time on the Day of Resurrection.” (At-Tabaraani, Sahih)

Let us remember what the purpose of Ramadan is and let us work hard and strive to not waste food and to overindulge in extravagance. As we want to take that extra bite of food, let us remember that extra bite may hinder us from making a long sujood which could earn us the Forgiveness of Allah, the Almighty. Let us remember, before throwing away that plate of food, those who are fasting all year around because they are too poor to eat a warm meal every day.

Remember that Ramadan is a month of giving and not taking. Ramadan is a month for us to change what is within ourselves and to turn back to Allah and seek His Mercy and Forgiveness. Ramadan is a month where we learn to give up bad habits and try our best to come out fuller and stronger, not with food but with iman, wisdom, and taqwa.

Ramadan is a month of fasting, not feasting.

Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “He who observes the fast during Ramadan out of sincerity of faith and in hope of earning merit will have his past sins forgiven him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

May Allah bless us with many opportunities to fast during Ramadan and may He give us success and a chance to change for His Sake and to come out of this Holy month, better, kinder, wiser, and adhering to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Ameen!

Umm Abdur-Rahman

Reflection: Ramadaan Past

Oh it’s amazing how fast time flies by and it is already Sha’ban. Ramadaan is just around the corner, and let us reminisce our past Ramadaan. How did we do last Ramadaan? Did we do ‘good’? Was there any changes in our act of worships? How did we do during the past year?

What I love most about Ramadaan, is how everyone comes together and puts a halt to everything that goes on in their life. I love how we make time to double and triple our ibadaah during this month. I love how everyone seems to respect each other during Ramadaan. I love how the mosques will get crowded. It really is an amazing feeling.

In spite of all this, there will always be a joy-killer. There will always be someone who questioned, who mocked, who disapproved. They say “why are the women covering themselves only in Ramadaan?”, “these are hypocrites, they only go to the mosque during Ramadaan”, “they’re not being sincere, after Ramadaan they will go back to who they were before”. Well, we don’t know about that for sure, do we?

I would like to share my story, on how my life changed in the span of five Ramadaan.

Five Ramadaan ago, the workplace decided to have, what we call ‘tadarus’ here. We gather in a circle, everyone will start reciting Qur’an one by one, with one person checking our recitation. I was a cocky young woman, so I signed up my name under the average category. Here’s the thing, I hadn’t been reading Qur’an for over 10 years! Imagine that? Just so I wouldn’t be embarrassed at work, I decided to come prepared. At home, I picked up the Qur’an that had been collecting dust on the shelf. And that was where my journey began.

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Four Ramadaans ago, I was just starting to change my life. I had been reading Qur’an, on and off all throughout the years. That Ramadaan, I focused on covering myself, praying five times a day and reading the translation of Juz Amma.

Three Ramadaans ago, I was an enthusiastic muslimah. A duracell bunny. My energy might be off the chart, but when it comes to Qur’an, I was still weak. My recitation was like a road trip with pot holes all over the road. To overcome my weakness, I decided to spend my Ramadaan reading the Qur’an slowly. After every page, I would read the translations. I wasn’t able to finish the entire 30 chapters. I managed to read 1/3 of the Qur’an.

Two Ramadaans ago, I was determined to finish all 30 chapters. I would wake up at odd hours to pray and read Qur’an. I would spend every spare time during Ramadaan trying to read Qur’an. I wasn’t able to finish the entire 30 chapters, but, I was close. I managed to read 2/3 of The Qur’an

Last Ramadaan. I was fully prepared. I attended Qur’an class for couple of months, and I was improving. Alhamdulillah, with Allah’s will, I managed to finish the entire 30 chapters a few days before Ramadaan ended.

It is easy to judge others. It is easy to mock and point fingers. What we might not know is that one Ramadaan might be their first step toward changes. That Ramadaan might be their last. That Ramadaan might be the one that change others around them. Instead of judging, instead of mocking, why don’t we help them out and support them?

“Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness. And do not assist each other in acts of sinfulness and transgression. And be aware of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment” (Al-Ma’idah 05:02)

Now we are done looking back at the past, let’s plan for Ramadaan!

Anisah Matasim,

Writer,AAT

Befriending The Quran

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Ramadaan; the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed, hence it is only natural that there should be a connection between Ramadaan and the Qur’an. This connection is beyond what we can imagine it to be.

Allah says,

“The month of Ramadaan, in which was revealed the Qur’an…” (Al-Baqarah 02:186)

This relationship is deep and it should extend to us. During this month we should utilise our time to read the Qur’an and ponder upon its meanings, and take lesson from it.

Moreover, the night of Decree, Layla-tul-Qadr, the specific night on which the Quran was revealed, occurs during this month, as Allah says, “We sent it down on a blessed night.” Ibn Abbas was of the opinion that the entire Qur’an was revealed in its entirety on the night of Decree to Bayt-Al-Izzah in the heavens. Also on this night was its first revelation to the Prophet peace be upon him in the cave.

To strengthen the relationship of Ramadaan with the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to study the Quran during it, and he was the most knowledgeable with regards to it. Ibn Abbas narrated that, “Jibril would come to him (peace be upon him) every night and he would study the Qur’an with him.” (Agreed upon) Many scholars say this was the time when the Prophet would learn the tafseer.

The Qur’an is not limited to the recitation in Taraweeh or Qiyam-ul-layl prayers. It should be recited throughout the day of the fast, and if one is capable at night too. In comparison to the salaf, our state is pitiable, and shameful. It is said Imam Ash-Shafi’ used to recite it sixty times in the month of Ramadaan. We have become disconnected from the Qur’an, and it is reflected in our state as an ummah. As an ummah we have little or no standing, we bicker amongst ourselves, and are equivalent to prey for the hunters. This is because we have neglected the words, and commands of Allah, and as a result sealed a fate of continuous downfall. It is only when we reconnect with the Qur’an and obey the commands of Allah, can we gain honour and restore our dignity.

Our distance from the Qur’an is proof as to why the Prophet will testify against us. As Allah says in the Qur’an, “And the Messenger has said, ‘O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as a (thing) abandoned.” (Surah Furqan 25:30) Imagine the greatest of all people, the Messenger, who we claim to follow bearing witness against us, that we were neglectful in our duty towards this Qur’an!!! What more motivation do we need for us to change our ways?

Many of us struggle to recite the entire Qur’an once in Ramadaan, yet this is a time when the salaf, would halt their usual routines, in order that they may secure the advantages of this month. They understood the value of Ramadaan, and how it affects one’s akhirah. They understood that this month has high significance, and they utilised every second of it. They would prepare months before its arrival, mourn its passing, and make duaa to live to see the next one. How amazing were they! And how far we have strayed from their ways!

The stories of the salaf and their connection with the Qur’an are endless, and perhaps beyond our scope, though we should aim to imitate them. The question remains, what can we do to establish that broken link?

Begin, before Ramadaan comes. Just like the salaf would anxiously prepare, follow in their footsteps and prepare yourself for its coming. Sadly, Ramadaan only lasts a month, and it will quickly pass. It is essential that one prepares in advance. Now, I don’t mean stocking up the fridge, or filling samosas and spring rolls are preparation for Ramadaan. Many of us miss the essence of fasting, because we are only geared up for iftaar! We can’t wait till the mu’athin says, “Allahu Akbar” or till the clock strikes the minute. All some of us can think about is food! May Allah help us, this is the state of the ummah today. Millions of brothers and sisters are dying on a daily basis from lack of nutrition, and here we are, a few hours without food, and our minds cannot think about anything else. No, this is wrong. What I mean by preparation, is that we begin a routine suitable for Ramadaan. Start reading extra Qur’an in the month of Sha’ban so that it is easier for Ramadaan, and that it lasts even after Ramadaan.

Learn the value of Ramadaan, not just in terms of food. Ramadaan is not about losing weight in time for Eid, or starvation. The benefits of Ramadaan begin in this life, and continue in the hereafter. Whilst one may lose weight, one will also increase their Taqwa, and indulge in more righteous deeds which will by the mercy of Allah, grant us a place in Jannah. Understand the significance of this month in the sight of Allah, and come to grips with what rewards lie in store for those who make use of its days.

Contemplate on the meanings of the Qur’an. When one is hungry and thirsty, the heart is softer, as arrogance and pride diminish and humility is enhanced. Hence it is more receptive, and the verses of the Qur’an will have a more profound impact on the heart, which will result, in more Taqwa and more good deeds, Inshallah.

Remember the importance of the Qur’an in this month, and also throughout the year. For who can get enough of the Speech of Allah? The Qur’an needs close friendship, and dedication in recitation for it to affect our hearts. Allow the Qur’an to penetrate your heart, and reach the depths of your soul. Recite it so that it will be for you and not against you,

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of resurrection, it will come as an intercessor for its companion.” (Muslim)

May Allah allow us to benefit from Ramadaan, and may He allow us to become companions of the Qur’an.

 

Fasting In Shabaan

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In preparation for Ramadaan, it is good habit to begin fasting. Firstly, you begin piling up the rewards, and building your iman ahead of time. Furthermore, one’s body becomes accustomed to a day without food or drink. This is especially useful for those who experience stomach cramps, and ‘unbearable’ pangs of hunger on the first of Ramadaan.

Ai’shah narrated, “The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to fast all of Sha’ban; he used to fast Sha’ban except a few days.” (Muslim)

This hadith explains that is Sunnah to fast in the month of Sha’ban. Not only do you get the opportunity to prepare for Ramadaan, but also that of reviving and performing a Sunnah.

However, it is preferable to fast in the first half of the month of Sha’ban. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “when Sha’ban is half over, do not fast,” (collected by Tirmidhi, Sahih by Albani) This indicates that one should refrain from fasting the sixteenth day onwards of Sha’ban. To fast after the middle of Sha’baan is considered disliked (makrooh) by scholars.

Nonetheless, there are other narrations, which give exception to this ‘rule.’ Muslim and Bukhari both report that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not anticipate Ramadaan by fasting one or two days before it begins, but if a person habitually fasts, then let him fast.”

This makes it clear that if a person is in habit of fasting Mondays and Thursdays, or the white days, they may continue to do so, even in the second half of Sha’ban. What a person is prohibited from doing is fasting the days before Ramadaan, in anticipation of its arrival. This prohibition is even more applicable today or two prior to the beginning of Ramadaan. We should not fast on the thirtieth day of Sha’baan also known as the day of doubt because it may fall as the last day of Sha’baan or the first day of Ramadaan. Ammar ibn Yasir is reported to have said, “whoever fasts on the day of doubt has disobeyed Abul-Qasim,” meaning has disobeyed the Prophet peace be upon him, (this tradition is authenticated by Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban). In another narration, Ibn Abbas said that Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “don’t meet the month fasting,” in a similar narration, do not meet Ramadaan with a day from Sha’baan.” (Authenticated by Ibn Khuzaymah). From these narrations we learn that it is impermissible to fast on the day of doubt, the day before Ramadaan begins. We should not converge Sha’baan and Ramadaan together, by fasting continuously through them.

May Allah, helps us to practice the Sunnah correctly and in its totality.

For more information on this matter please visit:

http://islamqa.info/en/13726

Read in the Name of Your Lord!

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The Qur’an has about 6,236 ayahs. But one of the 6,236 ayahs has caught my heart. It is quite endearing to me. And that ayat is:

Read! In the name of your Lord who created.”

The Holy Qur’an is a divine mercy for the nation of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is a light for us, a solution for all our troubles, the spring of our hearts. It is a miracle given to the Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The first word sent down by Allah from the heavens to Rasul (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was “Read!” Allah’s wisdom behind revealing the first word ‘Iqra’ is glorious and monumental. Allah (Glorified He be) could have sent many other significant words but He preferred to send the word ‘read’.

Have you ever marvelled over the fact that why Allah had sent the first word as ‘read’? Weren’t you ever curious to know about this? Allah has shown the superiority of reading by announcing it as the initial word because reading helps us to seize the Islamic knowledge. It is a way to accumulate it. It is a way to discover Islam and to apprehend it.

If you’re one of the people who don’t make a habit of reading/reciting Qur’an, you might be missing out. Reading has a significant number of benefits, and just a few benefits of reading are listed below:

1) Mental Stimulation:

Staying mentally stimulated reduces the chances of Dementia. Qur’an is an effective remedy for mental illnesses. By constantly reading Qur’an your mind is stimulated, not only by the recital, but by pondering upon its verses, and meanings.

2) Stress Reduction:

No matter how much stress you have at work or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in reciting Qur’an. When reciting the Qur’an, one realises the bigger picture of life; that it is merely a test and we have to bear patience with whatever comes our way. Various ayahs in the Qur’an also cause Taqwa (God-fearing) in our hearts.

3) Knowledge:

When you go through the beautiful ayahs of the Qur’an, you actually gain knowledge. And when you read more, you accumulate a great amount of beneficial knowledge.

4) Tranquility:

Qur’an is indeed the spring of our hearts. It is a great tranquilizer. Reciting Qur’an brings immense peace and serenity. As Allah says, “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28)

When reading/reciting the Qur’an has so many benefits, then how can we neglect its significance in our lives?

To sum up, I would like all my brothers and sisters in Islam to ponder upon the first ayat and start implementing it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have conversation with your Lord? Then go, fetch a Qur’an and start comprehending it.

May Allah (Glorified He Be) assist us in understanding the Qur’an. Aameen.

 

Bint Nayeem

Writer, AAT

Softer Carpets

Ways to Jannah #7

“Can you please shift towards your right, brother.”

“Umm, I am not so sure, you see, the air seems cooler and more pleasant at this spot.”

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Pleasant air in in this case, softer carpets in other cases and laziness in yet another case. As a matter of fact, the excuses that people come up with, just to fill the gaps whilst standing for prayer are so incorrigible, that the whole situation approaches the brink of absurdity.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to make the rows straight and to close the gaps in them, and to complete the first row, then subsequent rows. That is mentioned in well-known hadeeth, such as that narrated by al-Bukhaari (690) and

Muslim (433) from Anas, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Make your rows straight, for straightening the rows is part of the perfection of prayer.” According to the version narrated by al-Bukhaari: “… is part of the establishing of prayer.” 

Moreover, I am certain that as Muslims we certainly abhor the Shaytaan (devil), yet were we aware that if there were gaps left between us then it is the Shaytaan who fills them up. This occurrence is evident from the following hadith

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Make your rows straight, stand shoulder to shoulder and close the gaps, and do not resist your brothers’ hands. Do not leave any gaps for the Shaytaan. Whoever complete a row, Allah will reward him, and whoever breaks a row, Allah will forsake him. 

Abu Dawood said: What is meant by “Do not resist your brothers’ hands” is that a man should be easy-going if his brother pushes him forwards or backwards to make the row straight. (‘Awn al-Ma’bood). 

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 666; al-Nasaa’i, 819. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 620. 

My dear friends, please fear Allah!! Truly what will be the fate of one whom Allah forsakes, the above ahadeeth are authentic! and it shakes one’s heart as one even tries to fathom the destiny of such a person

Henceforth I beg of you my dear friends, let us take heed of the above ahadeeth, and believe me it isn’t a herculean task to fill the gaps, so let’s resolve to do so from now itself.

However, this is an article from the “ways to Jannah” series, therefore I arrive at the climax.

The Messenger of Allah  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said);
“Whoever fills the gap, Allah will raise him a level and build for him a house in Jannah”

[Saheeh at-Targheeb v. 1 p. 336 Shaikh al-Albaani said this hadeeth is Saheeh li Ghayrihi]

Baffling, isn’t it, yet it’s true, and yet another easy way to Jannah, but my dear friends don’t forget that we have to undertake this act (i.e. filling in the gaps) with true determination and steadfastness.

Moreover, it’s a way to Jannah! So it is an essential that we educate ourselves with the  etiquettes of filling the gaps,  the worshipper should stand in a moderate fashion, neither standing with his feet together nor making them too far apart, because the further apart he makes them, the further his shoulders will be from his neighbour’s shoulders. Making the rows straight and compact is achieved by standing foot-to-foot and shoulder-to-shoulder.

However, there are more mannerisms that one should adopt whilst filling the gaps, so please visit http://islamqa.info/en/21502 ,   http://islamqa.info/en/34160  and other authentic resources that you can find.

So finally my dear friends the next time we think of softer carpets whilst filling the gaps remember the carpets of Jannah, carpets of such superiority that it isn’t within the perimeter of human imagination…

Bint Ayesha

Writer

AAT

Repentance 3

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It’s not for no reason that we begin every prayer with the phrase, ‘Allah is the greatest!’ It serves as a constant reminder to us, that He truly is grander and more magnificent than anything we can ever conjure up. We as humans have a bad habit…well, we have lots of bad habits, but there is one in particular that I am referring to, and that is our tendency to sin. Attached to that, is a problem. When we sin we are in a different mind frame. (Though that’s no excuse for the sin!) The problem with our mind set at the time of sin, is that we believe Allah is far, even though we know He is closer to us than our jugular veins. We also tend to undermine the greatness of Allah at the time of sin. Think about it, if we did not undermine the greatness of Allah, and we were fully aware of His Lordship over us, would we ever fall into sin in the first place? No, because we would be afraid of His Might, and motivated by His Grandeur.

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Allah has strategically allocated the timings for Salah as a reminder for us; that is He is the Greatest and we are in servitude to Him. Every prayer is an opportunity for repentance, and a time for us to humble ourselves before the Lord of the worlds.

Our inability to grasp the greatness of Allah may act as a barrier preventing us from repentance or hindering our repentance. We have to be aware of Allah, and get to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we comprehend His greatness, the more we will humble ourselves before Him and seek out His forgiveness and pleasure.

Repentance is a duty upon us for every sin we commit, and every ungratefulness that we exhibit. We are blessed by Allah in countless ways, and yet we are not thankful to Him. Being repentant illustrates that we submit to Allah and are subservient to Him.

Shaytaan deceives us into thinking, later…but later may never come, or one may forget, or the remorse and regret may leave the person’s conscience. Thus it is important to repent immediately. The disease of procrastination can affect you, without you even realising.

Allah says in the Qur’an, “And you were deceived by false desires, until the command of Allah comes to pass, and the chief deceiver deceived you in respect to Allah,” (Surah Hadid 57:14) Meaning you procrastinated with regards to righteous deeds, until death overtook you, and Shaytaan deceived you.

It is no wonder that the prayer of repentance can be prayed at any time of the day, even at the disallowed times. Salaat-at-Tawbah is one of the best means of repentance; it is an act of Ibadah, one of the most beloved acts to Allah, a good deed, which wipes out the bad deed, a means by which the sinner draws close to Allah, and a reminder that Allah is the greatest.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no one who commits a sin, then purifies himself well, and stands and prays two rakaats, then asks Allah for forgiveness, but Allah will forgive him.” (Abu Dawud)

The doors of repentance are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a door that doesn’t shut until the soul reaches the throat, or the sun rises from the West. Whilst the door is open, turn back to Allah with humility. Crush your arrogance and remember Allah is the Greatest!

Get Re-energized

Our Character #7

“My exams are coming up, I need to study, I need to focus, I need to make a time-table, I need to set a routine, I need to get healthy, I need to plan my meals and workouts and…and…”

Before any major event in our life we prepare and try to make everything best of the best, aiming high and still wanting to do better next time.

ramadan-recharge

Approximately 45 days left until Ramadan. It’s far; no need to think about it yet, but think again. Time never waits and Ramadan will come to you in no time. Ramadan is an opportunity for muslims to boost their iman, to attain the highest levels of Jannah by doing good deeds which are multiplied several times. Islam teaches us a way of life.

Most of our life is full of dealing with ourselves and dealing with the people around us. So, it is important to have a good character which implies we need to be a person with the best character in Ramadan.  Many of us know someone close or far who was with us last Ramadan and now s/he is with Allah. This is a great chance for all of us who are alive and healthy Alhamdulilah! We may never get the chance again. Think about those people who were very good in character and had good relations with others around them, they are mostly remembered in our prayers and vice-versa, so think about in which group of people you would want to be a part of after your death.

What many of us do is try to get energized when Ramadan starts. We start our engines to correct ourselves, do ibadah and by mid-Ramadan we are charged. However, that means we have lost most of Ramadan adjusting to our new selves and new routine. Lost time is never found. So in order to get the best and utilise every day and every minute of Ramadan, we need to train ourselves beforehand. Practice will make us perfectly fit for the new routine, Inshallah.

Firstly, let’s organize ourselves, and this is the most important. Fix your personality: anger management, attitude, rude comments and remarks etc. (we all know what is wrong with ourselves) get rid of all these bad traits. Reduce the number of times you sin every passing day. For example; if you get angry four times a day, the next day try to reduce it to three, and so on. This will require lots of patience; which is also needed for fasting, so this is a great way to gain patience. Mending your character in advance, and ridding yourself of bad habits will help you to gain the patience needed in Ramadan to get through a long day without the necessities of nutrition and water. Hence, whilst fasting you will be able to smile, spread happiness and gain more good deeds. Even if you are tired, good deeds like helping out your mother, family , neighbors etc. will also help you gain characteristics of patience, kindness and will build a better neighborhood. Remember to BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”

As we can conclude from this hadith that it is very important to get ourselves away from not only bad deeds, but also we have to be very cautious about our character. Once you have, identified problem areas in your character begin immediate work on them. But don’t get stuck only on character; you may remain there forever, work on other things too.

Next, set a list of good deeds you would like to implement in your life. Ramadaan is not a one month boot camp. It’s the beginning of a new lifestyle; an opportunity to integrate more reward-able deeds into our lives. By these simple ways you can gain good deeds now and if you continue this in Ramadan your good deeds will multiply making a you a better person for the rest of your life.

 

Start finding your lost time. That means time management; assigning time periods for ourselves and daily tasks, you will find that you have lots of spare time even if you take 5 minute breaks after each activity. In the spare time you need to do ibadah of any kind, whether it be reading Qur’an, praying or remembering Allah. So organize your time now and you will see that in Ramadan it won’t be very hard for you to balance work and ibadah. Again remember having a proper schedule and organizing time is an important part of character as this will make you a punctual person which is highly appreciated in Islam as well as in the world.  Organize your work place at home and office so that it doesn’t take much time to find and work on things. For women they should make it simple so that dishes and meal prepping doesn’t take most of their time. Remember Ramadan isn’t about feasting it’s about eating just enough to be healthy enough to do ibadah. Also try completing your shopping beforehand whether it be clothes or food, so that you don’t miss the blessed nights of Ramadan.

So, start preparing your character and your body for Ramadan and you will see that this Ramadan will be different; it will be easier for you to do good deeds, stay away from the bad control yourself and be in the best of iman and character. You will see that these little tips will make a huge difference. In Shaa Allah.

Fatima Damad

Writer, AAT