The Spiritual Purpose of Fasting: Closeness to Allah

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful. May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon His Beloved Messenger, his folk, and companions

Ramadan isn’t the “Month of Fasting.” It is a month of seeking closeness to Allah. Fasting is a means. Prayer is a means. Zakat is a means. Reciting the Qur’an is a means. Taqwa is a means. Thankfulness is a means. Guidance and actions are means. The purpose is Allah, and Allah alone.

Allah Most High tells us of this powerfully, “All the actions of people are for them, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and it is I who reward it.” [Bukhari 5927]

Spiritually, the purpose of fasting is closeness to Allah. After the verses dealing with fasting and the month of Ramadan, Allah Most High makes this purpose clear: “If My servants ask you about Me, then I am indeed near. I answer the call of those who call upon Me when they call. So let them heed My calls and let them truly believe in Me in order that they become rightly guided.” [Qur’an, 2:186]

Fasting and Spiritual Realization of Divine Oneness

In fasting, one experiences one’s neediness to Allah, which opens one’s heart to spiritual understanding. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “O people, you are the ones absolutely in need of Allah; and Allah is the One free of all need, worthy of all praise.” [Qur’an, 35.15]

This neediness (faqr) that one realizes when fasting opens one’s heart to the absolute richness (ghina) of Allah—His being absolute, and absolutely free of the need for any other. Ibn Ata’illah said, “Become realized in your neediness, and He will assist you through His richness.”

This is at the very heart of true understanding of Divine Oneness, for the Qur’anic understanding of Allah, the one alone worthy of worship, is that He is the Rich (ghani), absolutely free of need of any other, and others are absolutely in poverty and indigence before Him. He is the Independent (samad) to whom all turn in need, and who is absolutely independent and beyond need. And He is the Sustainer (qayyum) who sustains all things at every moment, in every way, and who needs none to sustain Him.

In short, Allah is “the One free of any other, whom all are absolutely in need of.” [Sanusi, Umm al-Barahin]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) expressed this beautifully at a time of intense drought when he addressed them before performing the drought prayer:

الحمد لله رب العالمين ، الرحمن الرحيم ، مالك يوم الدين ،

لا إله إلا الله يفعل ما يريد ، اللهم أنت الله ، لا إله إلا أنت الغني ونحن الفقراء

“All praise is due to Allah; the Merciful, the Compassionate; Lord of the Day of Reckoning; there is no god but Him, He does what He wills. O Allah, You are Allah, there is no god but You. You are the One free of all need, and we are the ones in absolute need.”

Then he asked for rain and prayed two rakats. [Abu Dawud]

The scholars mention that this (or similar supplication, followed by two cycles of prayer, is both a powerful expression of neediness (faqr) and a powerful means of fulfilling one’s worldly or spiritual needs.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Ten Ways to Benefit for Menstruating Women in Ramadan

Dread your period during the blessed month of Ramadan? Feel like you’re missing out on all the worship? Nour Merza gives women ten practical ways to spiritually benefit from this blessed month.

Every Ramadan, most women will have about a week in which they are unable to join in the major religious practices of the holy month: fasting and praying. When their menstrual period begins many women find that their level of engagement with the high spiritual atmosphere of the month drops. The same goes for those whose postnatal bleeding coincides with Ramadan. For many of these women, frustration and a sense of lacking spirituality sets in. This, however, shouldn’t be the case.

Menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and other uniquely feminine concerns are all part of Allah’s creation, which He created in perfect wisdom. They are not a punishment for women wanting to draw near their Lord. They are just part of the special package of blessings, opportunities, and challenges that Allaj has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying Allah, it earns women good deeds.

In order to take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan, however, menstruating women and those with postnatal bleeding can do more than refraining from ritual prayer and ritual fasting to draw near Allah. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

1. Increase the Remembrance of Allah

In the Hanafi school, it is recommended for menstruating women to make wudu, wear their prayer clothes, and sit on their prayer mat while doing dhikr during the time they would normally be praying. This would be especially good to do in Ramadan, a time of special focus on worship. In addition to the adhkar that are well-known sunnas – such as subhan Allah, alhamdulliLlah and Allahu akbar. If you have a litany from a shaykh and are allowed to repeat it more than once a day, try to do it twice or three times for increased blessings. Dhikr has a special way of touching the heart, and by invoking Allah’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, insha Allah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase Supplication 

Supplication (dua) is something we do very little of these days, but speaking directly to your Lord is one of the most intimate ways to connect with Him. The beauty of supplication is that you can make it in any place or time. Take this opportunity to ask your Lord for all that you need in your life, and to draw near Him through either repeating the beautiful supplications of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, or reaching out to Allah with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Duas That Will Change Your Life

3. Feed Others

Whether it be your family, neighbors, community members, or the poor, use the time you are not fasting to make meals that fill the stomachs and souls of those around you. Recite the peace and blessings  (salawat) on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while making the food, as this imbues the food with spiritual benefit as well. Consider sponsoring iftar at your local mosque one evening with some other women who are in your situation, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. 

4. Gain Islamic Knowledge

Use the extra time and energy you have from not fasting and praying to increase your knowledge of the faith. Listen to scholars discussing timely issues on our SeekersGuidance podcasts, form a small circle of non-fasting women who can commit to reading a book on Islam and discuss it together, or take some time to read articles on the religion from trusted online sources, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s article collection at masud.co.uk. See also: Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge.

5. Increase your Charity

We are surrounded by countless blessings, so make sure to spread those blessings in the month of Ramadan. Give money to a good cause, such as supporting Syrian refugees, helping a local poor family with school fees, or supporting students of Islamic knowledge through SeekersGuidance. In a very busy world, we may have little opportunity to give our time to help others in charity – giving money takes minimal time, but brings great benefit. See: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations.

6. Make Your Responsibilities a Form of Worship

Sometimes, women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the home and young children, and cannot make time to do things like study or sponsor an iftar. In these circumstances, renew your intention regarding your role as a mother and a wife. See these demanding and time-consuming roles for what they are: responsibilities that you are fulfilling to please Allah, which makes them a type of worship. Ask Allah to accept all your work as worship, and approach all that you do in this way. This will make even the most mundane of tasks, such as changing another diaper, cleaning up another spilled cup of apple juice, or making yet another dinner a way for you to gain the pleasure of your Lord. See: Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child.

7. Listen to the Quran

Although the Hanafi school holds that women cannot touch the mushaf or recite the Qur’an while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such a heavy emphasis on reciting the book. You can take special time out of your day to listen to it, such as while children are napping, or you can listen to it while in the midst of cooking or cleaning the house. See also: Listening to Qur’an While Occupied With Other Tasks

8. Increase Repentance

Ramadan is an excellent time to increase repentance to Allah. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask Allah to forgive you and your loved ones and to keep you from returning to sin. All we have is a gift from Allah, so even forgetting that for a moment is a deed worth asking forgiveness from. Know that Allah is the Forgiving, and trust that, as our scholars have said, the moment you ask for forgiveness you are truly forgiven. See also: Damaged Inner State? Imam Ghazali on Repentance

9. Babysit to Help Mothers Worship

Mothers with young children often find it difficult to go to the mosque because they worry that their kids will disturb others who are praying. Since you don’t need to be at the mosque, volunteer a night or two (or more) to babysit the children of a young mother who would love to go pray tarawih. If you have young children of your own, you can tell the mother to bring her kids to your house before the prayer. By helping this woman worship, you will gain the same good deeds she gets from going to that prayer. See: I Love Being A Woman.

10. Spread Love and Light

Use the extra time and energy you have to share the joys of Ramadan and Eid with your non-Muslim friends, peers, and neighbors. Invite a work colleague for an iftar, make a special Ramadan dish and give it to a neighbor, or take time to make special cookies or gift bags for peers at the office or in school to hand out during Eid. By sharing these happy moments with friends and colleagues in the non-Muslim community, you counter the negative narratives about Islam in the media. More than that, however, you become someone who creates bonds in an increasingly isolated world, reflecting the beauty of the Prophetic light to all those around you. See: How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

 

The Three Degrees of Fasting – Imam al Ghazali

This is a translation of the passage on the three degrees of fasting from the Ihya of Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al Ghazali. Translation by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, extraordinary, and perfect.

Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink, and sexual satisfaction.

Extraordinary Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.

Perfect Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world.

Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true saints, and the intimates of Allah. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists of utmost dedication to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than Allah, Exalted is He.

It is bound up with the significance of His words:

قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say: “Allah,” then leave them to their vain play. (Qur’an 6:91)

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment.

See Not What Displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be Allah’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of Allah will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.”

Jabir relates from Anas that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.”

Speak Not What Displeases Allah

Guarding one’s tongue against idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing, and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with the recitation of Qur’an. This is the fasting of the tongue.

Said Sufyan: “Backbiting annuls the Fast.” Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: “Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.”

The Prophet, on him be peace, said: “Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: ‘I am Fasting, I am Fasting!’”

According to Tradition: “Two women were Fasting during the time of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst, that they were on the verge of collapsing.

They, therefore, sent a message to Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.”

One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”

Hear Not What Displeases Allah

Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible, for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer. In His words, Exalted is He:

سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ

Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain. (Qur’an 5:42)

Allah, Great and Glorious is He, also said:

لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ

Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit? (Qur’an 5:63)

Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Exalted is He, said:

إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ

You are then just like them. (Qur’an 4:140)

That is why the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “The backbiter and his listener are partners in sin.”

Guarding the Limbs

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast – to abstain from lawful food – only to break one’s Fast on what is unlawful.

A man who fasts like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food is injurious in quantity not in quality. Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison.

The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation.

Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!” This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food.

Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering Allah’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods?

It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety.

If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

The Secret Nature of Fasting

The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting.

No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.

One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven.

Layla al-Qadr

The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Exalted is He:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

We surely revealed it on the Night of Power. (Qur’an 97:1)

Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He.

That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

Look To God With Fear And Hope

After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

It is related of Al-Hasan ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Basri, that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: “Allah, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By Allah, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.”

Rather it is the one whose fast is accepted who should be too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while one who has suffered rejection laughter should be precluded by remorse.

Of Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder. Fasting would enfeeble you.” But he replied: “By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.”


Prayer on the Fifteenth Night of Shaban – Muwasala

* Courtesy of Muwasala.org

It is the practice of many of the pious people of the Ummah to recite Surah Ya Sin three times on the 15th night of Sha`ban.

The first time they read it with the intention of being blessed with a long life spent in obedience to Allah, the second time with the intention that calamities are diverted and the third time with the intention of not being in need of people and being blessed with a good ending.

After each reading of Surah Ya Sin they read the following supplication:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين

اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد و آله و صحبه و سلم

اللهم يا ذا المَنِّ ولا يُمَنُّ عَلَيْهِ يا ذا الجَلالِ والإكْرام ياذا الطَوْلِ والإنْعام لا إلهَ إلا أَنْتَ ظَهْرَ اللاَّجِينَ وجَارَ المُسْتَجِيرينَ وأَمَانَ الخائِفِينَ

اللهم إِنْ كُنْتَ كَتَبْتَنَا عِنْدَكَ أَشْقِياءَ أَوْ مَحْرومينَ أَوْ مَطْرودِينَ أَوْ مُقَتَّراً عَلَيْنَا في الرِّزْقِ فَامْحُ اللهم بِفَضْلِكَ شِقَاوَتَنا وحِرْمَانَنا وطَرْدَنا

وإِقْتَارَ أَرْزَاقَنَا وأَثْبِتْنَا عِنْدَكَ في أُمِّ الكِتابِ سُعَداءَ مَرْزوقينَ مُوَفَّقِينَ لِلْخَيْراتِ

فَإِنَّكَ قُلْتَ وقَوْلُكَ الحَقُّ في كِتابِكَ المُنْزَل على لِسَانِ نَبِيِّكَ المُرْسَل (يَمْحُو اللهُ ما يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الكِتَابِ)

إلهَي بِالتَّجَلِّي الأَعْظَمِ في لَيْلَةِ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعَبانَ المُكَرَّمِ الَّتي يُفْرَقُ فِيها كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ وَيُبْرَمُ نَسَأَلُكَ أَنْ تَكْشِفَ عَنَّا مِنَ البَلاءِ ما نَعْلَمُ

وما لا نَعْلَمُ وما أَنْتَ بِهِ أَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الأَعَزُّ الأَكْرَمُ

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

Translation:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate.All praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.

O Allah, the Bestower of favours. No one has favour over You. O Possessor of Majesty and Nobility, the One Who constantly bestows His bounties. There is no god but You, the One who grants safety and refuge to those that seek it and to those in fear.

O Allah, if You have recorded us as being wretched, deprived, cast out or if You have recorded that our provision be restricted then erase this by Your bounty. Instead record us in “the Mother of the Book” as being felicitous, as having plentiful provision and grant us the ability to do good works. Truly You have said, and Your word is true, in Your revealed Book, on the tongue of Your Prophet: Allah erases and confirms what He wishes and with Him is the Mother of the Book.1

O Allah, through Your most mighty manifestation on the fifteenth night of Sha`ban the Ennobled, in which every decreed affair becomes distinct and unchangeable, we ask You to remove all tribulations, those that we know and those that we do not know and those about which You know more, truly You are the Most Mighty, the Most Generous.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.

Resources for Seekers:
The Fifteenth Night of Shaban – Muwasala
Merits of Sha’ban – Muwasala
The Blessings of the Night of Mid-Sha’ban | Nur Sacred Sciences
It is Recommended to Perform Extra Worship on the Night of the 15th of Sha’ban?

Perfect Mercy – The Prophet as a Friend

Perfect Mercy Program by SeekersGuidance

The Prophet as a Friend

During the first twelve days of Rabi Al Awwal, SeekersGuidance put together a 12-day live program beaming with scholars and artists from around the world. They united to celebrate and commemorate our beloved Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Each day was dedicated to exploring the legacy the Prophet left during his lifetime in the many roles he embodied. 

On day two, we explored the Prophet as a friend. Speakers included Imam Dawud Wahlid and Shaykh Muhammad Carr.

We were reminded by Shaykh Muhammad Carr from South Africa that we should choose our friends wisely, as they leave an imprint on our hearts. At the same time, we should strive to be interdependent, meaning to lean on each other, as Allah has created us to be dependent on one another. How can we have friends that will benefit in this world and the Hereafter? Did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have a khalil? Watch the video to learn more: 

 

Watch the full program from day 2 – The Prophet as a Friend: 

Begin Your Search for Knowledge with a Free Course: The Islamic Studies Curriculum 

 

The Blessings of Sending Salawat upon our Beloved Muhammad

Friday Reminder with Imam Yama Niazi 

The Blessings of Sending Salawat upon our Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him)

If sending just one prayer of peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) grants us ten in return from Allah himself, what is our excuse for not filling our time with sending abundantly more?
In this week’s Friday reflection, Imam Yama Niazi, shares the many blessings and benefits of sending Salutations upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).


 

The Best of Actions for the Best of Days

One of the great scholars remarked, “the best of actions – for the best of days.” This is to send salutations and blessings on our master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

It is a duty upon us to recognize that Friday is not like any other day, but it is of the best of days, so we should strive to treat it with importance. And of the great actions, we should be oft in reciting on this great day is salutations upon our beloved Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “So send many blessings upon me therein [i.e. Fridays], for indeed your blessings are presented to me.” (Abu Dawud)

“Verily Allah and all of his angels send their blessings upon the prophet Muhammad. Oh you who believe, send your blessings and peace upon him.” (Qur’an, 33:56)

 

The Happiness of the Prophet 

There has come to us a tradition in which the prophet Muhammad came upon the companions and their gathering. They observed him to be extremely happy and very lit up with a big smile. So they asked him, “Oh Rasul Allah, may Allah always keep you so happy, what makes you so happy today?” He said, “How could I not be so joyous and happy when Jibraeel has just left my company and informed me that not one of any of the Muslims of your community; they pray upon you one time except that Allah will send upon his blessings and his peace upon them ten times.”

 

What Amount of Salutations Should We Recite?

One of the great companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) by the name of Ubay ibn Ka’ab once asked the prophet, “Oh prophet of Allah, how much of my extra time should I pray upon you?” he said, “as you like.” He said, “how about if I commit to a fourth of my time?” He said, “that is good, but if you do more it’s even better for you.” He said, “how about half of my time?” He said, “that is good, but if you do more it’s even better for you.” He said, “how about three-fourths of my time?” He said, “that is good, but if you do more it’s even better for you.” So then he said, “how about if I devote all of my extra time to pray upon you?” The prophet said, “then if you do so, Allah will forgive all of your sins and take care of all of your worries.” and in another narration, “he will take care of all of your worldly matters and your otherworldly matters.”

All praise to Allah, what a gift and mercy to us all. These are opportunities from Allah Most High for us to draw closer to him! 

 

The Virtues of Sending Salutations 

The Prophet taught us that whoever prays upon him just once would have 10 good deeds allotted to them, 10 of their sins erased and 10 degrees raised in their degree with Allah Most High.

Furthermore, by praying upon him, we will be the closest to him on the Day of Judgment! The Prophet said in another hadith, “prayer upon me is light in the grave and light on the bridge (sirat).” The bridge (sirat) that everyone will have to cross over through the hellfire to get to paradise. It is at that point that the prayers that you sent upon him will come and benefit and rescue you.

 

The Action Plan

The recitation of salutations then has many folds of virtue. And all of it comes back in its benefit for ourselves. Every time we recite salutations upon him, we are rewarded, we are forgiven our sins, we are raised in closeness to Allah, our graves are filled with light and we get to be close to our beloved on that day where everyone else will be filled with worry.

Prayers upon the Prophet have an immense amount of good that we cannot enumerate in a short article. The scholars have written many works and volumes of works on the virtues and benefits and reasons for us to recite salutations upon him (peace and blessings be upon him).

The salutations can be recited in any format, whichever of them you may prefer.

But let us commit to starting on these blessed Fridays to take a certain amount of our time to give for the sake of Allah Most High, but ultimately, as an investment for our own good. Regardless of whether it is eighty salawat after the ‘Asr prayer that would erase from you 80 years of your bad deeds, or if it is a hundred or five hundred or a thousand or more. Do take advantage of this blessed day knowing that your prayers and your blessings will be conveyed to him (peace and blessings be upon him) and he will receive it.

 

Donate today
Become a monthly donor today from as little as $10 per month and help to spread Prophetic light and guidance to millions across the globe.

The Prophet’s Smile: The Special Supplication

The Prophet’s Smile Series Part Four: The Special Supplication

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should put in effort towards connecting with our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).  In this series, we discuss the things that brought a smile to his blessed face and made him laugh. We pray that by applying these lessons, we can gain his pleasure. What can we learn from this special supplication our Beloved Prophet Muhammad made?

 

The Prophet’s Special Supplication 

Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Aqil al-Thaqafi narrates that he came to visit the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) with the delegation of the tribe of Thaqif.

He said: “When we entered into his presence there was no one that we hated more than him. We entered, greeted him, and pledged allegiance to him and when we left there was no one that we loved more than him.

I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, did you not think of asking your Lord for a kingdom like the kingdom of Sulayman?’

The Prophet smiled and said: ‘Perhaps Allah has given your companion (meaning himself) something better than the kingdom of Sulayman. Whenever Allah sent a Prophet he gave him a (special) supplication. Some of them used it for something worldly and they were given what they asked for, and some used it to pray for the destruction of their peoples, and their peoples were duly destroyed.  Allah gave me this special supplication and I have kept it in reserve with Him to use as a means of  intercession for my nation on the Day of Judgement.’” (Narrated by al-Hakim)

The tribe of Thaqif were the noblemen of the city of Ta’if. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to call them to Allah, they rejected him in the most offensive manner. In spite of that rejection, the Prophet refused to command their destruction but rather hoped that they would be guided. If they were not guided, he hoped that their children and descendants would.

The Muslims later defeated Thaqif at the Battle of Hunayn and unsuccessfully laid siege to Ta’if. The tribe eventually sent a delegation to the Prophet to reluctantly announce their acceptance of Islam. The narrator admits that he hated the Prophet when he first met him but during the course of one sitting, that hatred was transformed into love. Instead of bearing a grudge against them, the Prophet welcomed them with open arms. We can only imagine the wise words and the beautiful character that the Prophet showed in order to win over their hearts.

The narrator began to get a glimpse of the Prophet’s status. He began to realize that in front of him was Allah’s Beloved and he could ask whatever he wanted from his Lord. He thought that the greatest thing someone could ask for was a vast kingdom, but the Prophet corrected that notion with a gentle smile. He showed that the greatest thing you can ask for is what benefits people the most in their hour of greatest need. This is one of many narrations which tell us about the intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgement.

His mercy surpassed the mercy of other Prophets and he will not be content until as many members of his nation as possible are in Paradise. May none of us be deprived of his intercession on that day.

A Deeper Understanding of the Prophet’s Life 

The Practical Application of His life (peace and blessings be upon him)

 

“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.” (33:21)

We are in the blessed month of Rabi Al Awwal. An opportunity has presented itself yet again to connect with Allah’s beloved (peace and blessing be upon him). A Deeper Understanding of the Prophet’s Life is a podcast series by one of SeekersGuidance internal scholars – Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat.

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat covers the science of “Fiqh al-Sirah,” which is the lessons from the noble life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) and their practical applications in our lives. 

Studying his life is one of the greatest ways of developing one’s love for him, which in turn, is a means of drawing closeness to God Almighty. To embody his excellent character, we must have deep understanding of it, we must have a desire to be like him and we must have a deep want to live him in our hearts.

Learning about the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) allows us to learn about the personality of the Prophet, how he responded to situations and how we should respond to situations. Knowing the Beloved of Allah allows us to embody the spirit of Islam and the spirit of his teachings (peace and blessing be upon him).

This podcast draws lessons and wisdom from the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) and explores the reason why being connected to him is a source of great pride for believers – both past and present.

Listen to the podcast now.

 

About the teacher:

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul Rahim for Qur’anic studies. Since his return, he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

 

The Prophet’s Blessed Name: Muhammad

In this short video, Shaykh Ruzwan Mohammed gives a brief insight into the blessed name Muhammad

 

Compilations of the Names of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have been an art and tradition for centuries: Qaḍi Abu Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabi relates in his commentary on Kitab al-Shamaʾil, that some have claimed the Prophet has a thousand names. Ibn al-Faris includes over two thousand in his Tafsir Asma al-Rasul. Abu al-Ḥasan al-Subki states there are four thousand. Qasṭallani relates just over five hundred in al-Mawahib al-ladunniyya. Dalaail u’l Khayraat, composed by Imam Muhammad bin Sulayman al-Jazuli, glorifies the Prophet Muhammad with two hundred names. However, the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), the only one used in the testification of our faith, is Muhammad. A name that can only be unique to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The only name to be used in khutbas to fulfill the criteria (according to majority of schools). That is his blessed name: Muhammad. 

Abu Talib (the Prophet’s uncle) wrote poetry about him in which he speaks of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him). In one poem he mentions that Allah Most High extracted his name (Muhammad) from His name (Allah Most High), because the one that possesses the grand throne is Mahmudun: The one that deserves praise. (And he said) my nephew is called Muhammad. (peace and blessings be upon him).

Ibn Imad mentions an interesting narration from the time of Sulayman (may Allah be pleased with him), that he controlled demons through the name Muhammad. He also mentions that the Ark of Nuh (may Allah be pleased with him) was guided through the name Muhammad.

After the Prophet’s death (peace and blessings be upon him) –  during the battle of Yarmouk – Khalid bin Walid and Ikrimi ibn Abi Jahl used “wa Muhammada!” as their battle cry when the battle was intense.

Furthermore, Prophet Adam (may Allah be pleased with him) will be known as Abu Muhammad. From all his progeny and successors, he will be honoured by being referred to as the father of the Best of Creation: Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

May Allah Most High bless, sanctify and grant peace to one named Muhammad – the Praised One (peace and blessings be upon him).

As Rabi Al-Awwal approaches, let us celebrate the birth of the beloved by knowing him better. By taking the opportunity to connect ours hearts to Allah’s beloved.

Other resources related to the Prophet’s names:

Names from the Dalail-al-Khayrat

Key Hadiths on the Names of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)

Why did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) have many names? by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Recitation of the Names of the Prophet from the Dalail-al-Khayrat by Shaykh Idris Watts (author of Heavenly Guide to the Beacon of Pure Light)

 

The Prophet’s Smile – Special Rabi Al Awwal Series: Part One

The Prophet’s Smile

Part One by Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should spend time learning about our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and grow closer to him.

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing. 

By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character.

By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

His Blessed Smile

If we go to the well known books of Shama’il, which bring together the description of the Prophet’s physical appearance as well as his noble character, we find several accounts of companions describing his smile. Sayyiduna al-Husayn asked his father, Sayyiduna Ali (peace be upon them both), to describe how the Messenger of Allah Most High interacted with his companions. He said: “He was always cheerful and smiling, gentle in character.”

The commentators say that this does not negate the fact that he is also described as being constantly in a state of sadness, out of concern for the well-being of his nation. Outwardly he was cheerful, but his inner state was one of sadness.

Sayyiduna Ali went on to say that the Prophet would laugh at the same things his companions would laugh at, and would marvel at the things which they marvelled at. He did this to make them feel comfortable and at ease.

One of the companions said that he had never seen anyone who smiled more than the Messenger of Allah Most High.

Another companion narrates that since he became Muslim, the Prophet would always smile at him when he met him.”

Several narrations tell us that “his laugh was his smile”or that “most of his laughter was smiling”, which is understood to mean that generally he would smile when amused and only rarely would he actually laugh out loud. The same applies to the Prophet Sulayman, peace be upon him, who smiles broadly in amusement at the words of the ant, as recounted in the following verse:

So [Sulayman] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.” (Sura Naml, 27:19)

Like A Piece of the Moon

When he was happy, the Prophet’s face would light up as brightly as a piece of the moon. When he opened his mouth to laugh, his teeth would shine as brightly as lightning and were as brilliantly white as hailstones. Imam al-Lahaji says that this metaphor is appropriate because lightning strikes very quickly and the Prophet would not keep his mouth open for more than an instant. Also lightning is followed by rain, which is a manifestation of Allah’s mercy, and the Prophet’s laughter would invariably be followed by a kind word or a gift or some other manifestation of his mercy.

Imam al-Busiri perfectly sums all this up in the Burdah:

أكرم بخلق نبيّ زانه خلق

بالحسن مشتمل بالبشر متّسم

How noble is the form of a Prophet whose character further adorns him

So full of beauty is he, so full of cheer.

كأنّما اللّؤلؤ المكنون في صدف

من معدني منطق منه ومبتسم

It is as if precious pearls protected in their shells

Poured forth from the treasury of his speech and smile.

May we all experience the tranquility of being close to him (peace and blessings be upon him).