Ramadan Seminar Q&A Session – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Originally posted on May 8, 2018

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani answers questions on the fiqh of fasting, including the nullifiers of fasts, expiation for broken fasts, and the spiritual retreat.

Among the many questions and points Shakyh Faraz addresses, he mentions that if one breaks fast deliberately or by accident, the time of fasting is not over, and one is able to fast, then one refrains from everything a fasting person refrains from until fasting ends. This is a sign of contrition and remorse.

Hasten to Break Fast

The Shaykh also mentions that one should not delay breaking fast excessively out of a mistaken sense of piety or fervor. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said:

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَحَبُّ عِبَادِي إِلَيَّ أَعْجَلُهُمْ فِطْرًا

Allah Mighty and Majestic said: “The most beloved among my servants are those who hasten to break their fast.” (Tirmidhi)

Be Tactful and Considerate with Others

But one must also remember that when in a group of people who believe they are in the right to delay, one must be discreet about the matter and not make disagreement a point of contention or rancor. If you consider breaking it in such a situation do it tactfully.

These and many others points and rulings are covered in this session. And you should listen to it even if you know all the answers as there is no harm and abundant good in reviewing what one knows and strengthening one’s knowledge.

May Allah grant us eternal success in the blessed month of Ramadan and in all the months He has decreed for each and every one of us until we are brought before Him. Amin.


Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al Kallas, may Allah have mercy on him, as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersHub in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

Support SeekersHub Global in our effort to bring the light of Prophetic Guidance to Muslims everywhere completely free of charge.


Jewels of the Quran Playlist – Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al – Azhari

Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari, explains and summarizes Imam Ghazali’s “Jewels of the Qur’an” (Jawaher al-Qur’an). Through it, he explains the different messages, themes and purposes of the Qur’an and shares keys of connecting to Allah through the Qur’an. This series was recorded in 2015.

Celebrate the Gift of Ramadan – Shaykh Qutaiba Albluwi

Shaykh Qutaiba Albluwi gives advice on how to enter Ramadan and how to make the most of it through the idea of celebrating this blessed month.

Praise be to Allah who granted us the health and the well-being so that we can come today and attend one of the circles of knowledge and remembrance. Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds, for every bounty that He has embraced us with, whether we are aware of it or not. Once a person reflects on the bounties and gifts that Allah Most High bestows upon each one of us every day, they see that every day there is a flood of a new gifts that Allah bestows upon us.

We just need to open our hearts such that we can witness them. One of the gifts today that He has given all of us is that He allows us to establish a means towards fulfilling one of His obligations, which is fasting the month of Ramadan.

They say that someone who establishes the means hopefully they will also establish the ends. If somebody is enlightened at the beginning, most likely they will also be enlightened towards the end. So if Allah gives you the tawfiq that you make good wudu, you come early to the Masjid, you walk and do not drive – these are means towards the end – then most likely your prayer is going to be good. That is how what we think of Allah Most High.

Be Grateful for Reminders

One of the beautiful aspects of our Shari‘a, our tradition, is the concept of a reminder. Many of you have attended many sessions about how to prepare for Ramadan. And if you did not attend one of them you wish you had. The imam might have given you some advice about how to prepare for Ramadan. So it’s a challenge for each one of us when we come to such topics which we are well acquainted with, or that we think, we perceive, we are well acquainted with – not to gain benefit, but to be interested. It’s a bit difficult to be interested in these topics become like a routine.

Now looking at the concept of a reminder and our Shari‘a can help us survive a reminder.Allah Most High ordered his Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to always give reminders. A reminder is not teaching you something, but for you be reminded of it. You know it already. It is not like learning from scratch, but yet Allah ordered the prophets to continually give people reminders, because that’s our nature.

We are humans. We forget. Actually we forget much much quicker than we even think. In the morning, your parents tell you to do something. Your spouse tells you to do something or get something. And at the end of the day you forgot to bring that thing. We get lost in routine.

How to Receive Gifts from Allah

It is from Allah’s mercy that we need continuous reminders. Now people receive it in two ways. One might say, “Well, you told me the first time. Are you being pushy?” Another person might say, “I am bored.” That is one way to look at the reminders, but the interesting part is that the Qur’an says:

يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding. (Sura al Baqara 2:269)

Those who have the core of intelligence. Those who are really, really smart. These are the ones who look at the reminders and say: “I need the reminder. Without the reminder I probably cannot survive.” These reminders are from Allah. These are His words:

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا

And those who, when reminded of the verses of their Lord, do not fall upon them deaf and blind. (Sura al Furqan 25:73)

This is how Allah describes the believers. Every time they are reminded of one of the gifts, one of the signs, one of the verses of Allah Most High, they don’t receive it with deaf ears and blind eyes. So we ask Allah to let us benefit from His reminders.

Celebrating the Gift of Ramadan

We should celebrate Ramadan. I started hearing this term celebrating Ramadan – Muslims celebrating Ramadan – honestly, I started hearing this more when I came to the West. In the East we don’t hear that term. The most commonly used term is a Qur‘anic term, which is “shuhud al shahr,” to witness the month. Allah says in the Qur’an:

فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ

Whoever witnesses the month, let him fast it. (Sura al Baqara 2:185)

Normally, whether it’s in the media or it’s in the writings, they use the term witness. Now, here, we started hearing the term celebrate. The term is not actually chain overriding that term witness, but it has an extra element. It’s actually a very beautiful element, which is the element of joy. There is some joy and happiness.

It’s not like month of Ramadan is coming by, I’m just passing that passage of time. Rather I am now in a ceremony. I am in a celebration. I am celebrating this month and the celebration of the month can be with the outward ceremonies. Our master Umar ibn al Khattab, Allahe be pleased with him, was passing by the masjid and he saw that it was full of people at night praying tarawih. He rejoiced. That’s a ceremony, a ritual that we have.

I’ve seen Muslims and non-Muslims look amazed by these long lines of iftar. Of people sitting and everybody’s holding their dates waiting for that signal, and when that event comes in and everybody eats, and you could see the smile and the happiness fill the room. It’s part of the ceremony. But celebration is more about something in the heart.

To prepare for the month and to go through the month, the concept that I am celebrating this month adds a great dimension to how we live that through the month of Ramadan. So, why should we celebrate?

The Universe Rejoices

First the skies, the universe, is celebrating and the question then is: Why am I not joining? That is the right question, because everything is celebrating. the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to tell the good tidings at the beginning of the month to his Companions. He would say: “A great month has arrived. The doors of paradise will be open.”

I can imagine how beautiful it would be, for the skies, the doors of paradise to be open. Imagine the breeze, the beauty, the fragrance of Paradise that opens to the skies and to the worlds.

And imagine the heat and the doors of hellfire, which is roaring. It is always roaring and whistling and breathing. There are angels watching over it who have never smiled since Allah created the Hellfire.

But in this month Allah orders them all to be closed. Moreover all of these demons that impact us and other creatures in ways that we don’t know much about, Allah orders the most evil of these demons to be chained. There are a lot of events that we don’t see, but they are happening.

It’s a big celebration. And generally if there is something magnificent happening in the skies then the believers should connect. A believer should connect. That is why we celebrate Laylat al Qadr. The skies celebrate it. The angels come down. And who else is coming? Jibril himself, the Ruh himself, comes down in person. Allah orders everybody to come down. They descend. It’s a big celebration, so the question is am I joining or not? Because everybody is celebrating.

The Two Friends in Paradise

There is another story. Our master Talha ibn Ubayd Allah, one of the ten Companions whom the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, promised would enter paradise. He says: I had two friends. They were from the same tribe. They were probably relatives since they were always competing for the good.

In one of the battles one of them was killed as a martyr. A year later his friend passed away, but not as a martyr. He just passed away. So Talha said, I saw in a dream that the door of Paradise was closed. Then there was some knocking and it was opened, and I saw the second friend inside. He looked around and then he found his companion and then he ordered him to come in.

In other words, the second one was in Paradise and he was inviting the person who was a martyr to come in. And then, he says, the door was closed. So the first friend, the martyr, knocked again just to make sure. And then offered his hand saying, Can you pull me in? They said, No, your time is not now.

So Talha says: “I woke up and I went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and I told him this is what I saw. Everybody was surprised that the second man who was not a martyr got into paradise before the first one. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Why are you surprised?” Did he not live to fast another Ramadan? And he prayed six thousand raka‘t. (Musnad Ahmad)

Increase in Rank and Station

Now, regardless of the theological questions that will come to your mind about why and how, we trust Allah’s wisdom and we trust Allah’s Justice. But there is a message here that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is teaching us. And that is to attend Ramadan. It is such a great bounty, such a great gift, that the more you attend Ramadan, the more likely it is that you will gain higher station in Paradise.

Every Ramadan that we pass through is a cause for joy. Rejoice in the fact that Allah has allowed us to come through it. We know friends who did not come through. All of us probably have loved ones who passed away. They are not about to witness Ramadan with us. So praise Allah for allowing us to witness Ramadan once more.

Ramadan is truly a cause for celebration.


Draw Near to Allah in Ramadan Through Service – Ustadha Umm Umar

Ustadha Umm Umar reminds us of incorporating the aspect of service in Ramadan as a means of drawing near to Allah Most High.

She advises to not make Ramadan just revolve around one’s self, rather to also be concerned with others and their needs. Ustadha Umm Umar gives key advice and practical methods on how to engage in service through Ramadan.

I wanted to talk about another aspect of Ramadan that sometimes we forget. Often people think of Ramdana as my month. It‘s between me and Allah. Then they sort of annihilate the idea of doing goodness to others. It’s about me and my time with Allah. About how much time I can put in with the Qur’an. And then when we talk about service some people get a little bit bitter.

Especially the sisters. They’re like, well, why do I have to be the one to do this? why do I have to be the one to cook the iftar? I’d like to spend all day reading Qur’an. It’s sort of losing sight of what Ramadan is really about. And what the the scholars today talked and emphasized a lot is the love of Allah Most High. And rectifying the self. Turning to Allah and asking for His forgiveness.

But these two concepts do not contradict each other. Rather they run in parallel. Because it’s when we turn help each other, help fellow believers, and it’s all done out of love for Allah, that we manifest that love. That we love to have His creation turned to Him. And if there is anything we can do to help other people turn towards Allah we should run to that opportunity. Whether that be to people in our own family, whether it be our children, whether it be members of our community. We should be avid to do what we can to help other people.

Balance Service and Self

That being said, it needs to be balanced of course, because you can’t just spend all of your Ramadan running around serving other people with neglect to oneself. One needs that personal time where you’re turning to Allah. Reading the Qur’an with reflection and understanding. Spending time reading other beneficial material or listening to beneficial lectures. Benefiting the self.

But there are a lot of things, there is a lot of extra time in the day, in which one can do things for other people. And as our teachers say, it’s almost as if there’s a sale during Ramadan, because now actions that you do are multiplied. Good actions that you do, even reading the Qur’an – all the good things that you can think of doing are multiplied. So it is best to take advantage of this time .

And doing what you can to help other people is also part of making the most of one’s time. It is not that one spends a little time in intensive worship and then closes the book and goes to relax, and just sort of vegetate for part of the day. Or one decides to go to sleep for another part of the day. One strives to make the most of every moment. As we should on every other day of the year.

We should make the most of all parts of our day on a daily basis. Even when we get up from this gathering we should be striving to make the most of our lives as believers. To make all of our moments count for us and not against us.

Primary Benefits of Service

There are three primary benefits of service. One is that it erases your past sins. When you do things for other people these things get erased. So there is nothing better you can ask for. We’ve all made mistakes in the past and would do anything to not face Allah with those on our record. And by His mercy He can forgive a lot of those things when you’re serving other people with that intention.

Another benefit of doing service at this time is that you get the dua of fasting people. When you’re doing things to benefit them you’re earning their dua. And Allah knows whose dua is accepted. When you’re doing it for a number of people, that includes even small children, know that when we do things for other people they make a dua for you.

The Hidden Secret of Service

And perhaps that single dua from one single person, child or adult, known or stranger, is the reason for your success. It might not be all of these customs that you’ve done in the past or all of these other things. It might be the dua of one elder in the community that you helped in a real time of need. Allah has this knowledge. It is with Allah Most High.

It’s a hidden secret in our service to other people that we don’t know where where our ultimate success will lie. And with what action and with what person. That leaves us continuously striving to do our best at every moment.

And finally the third aspect of service is that the deeds are multiplied during Ramadan. So one might be doing things for other people at other times of the year but in Ramadan these deeds are actually multiplied. They weigh heavier on your record. So strive in this regard and in sha Allah the reward for your service will be multiplied.

 

 

The Three Degrees of Fasting – Imam al Ghazali

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

It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special.

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 awliya, 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 in 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. (Sura al An‘am 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 from idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with 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. (Sura al Ma‘ida 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? (Sura al Ma‘ida 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. (Sura al Nisa 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.

Laylat 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.’ (Sura al Qadr 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 in 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.”


10 Ways of 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 you could otherwise do? As Nour Merza writes, there is much to look forward to.

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. Many women, when their menstrual period begins, 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 God has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salaat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying God, 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 God. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

menstruating women in Ramadan

1. Increase dhikr

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 subhanAllah, 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 God’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, inshaAllah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase du’aa

Du’aa 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 du’aa 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 du’aas of the Prophet or reaching out to God with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Du’as 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 salawat on the Prophet (pbuh) 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.  See also: “Manifesting Mercy: Feeding Your Way to God” – Nader Khan at Brampton Islamic Centre.

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 SeekersHub 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 programs like SeekersHub’s #SpreadLight campaign. 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 God, which makes them a type of worship. Ask God 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

menstruating women in Ramadan

Although the Hanafi schools holds that women cannot cannot touch the mushaf or recite Quran while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Quran. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such 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 God. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask God 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 God 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 taraweeh. 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?

Cover photo by Edward Musiak. Tasbih photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly. Quran photo by Mohmed Althani.

Resources for Seekers

Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadan From Now

With Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are looking for ways to make sure that this will be the year we change, writes Nour Merza. With this in mind, here are ten ways to prepare yourself for Ramadan.

1. Make the right intention

Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).

See What Is the Intention” in The Complete Guide to Fasting

2. Prepare your body

Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.

See: Ramadan Detox for a Healthy Ramadan – Dr. Rehan Zaidi of MysticMedicine

3. Review all medical situations before Ramadan

Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.

See: When Does an Illness Allow One To Break The Fast?

4. Observe voluntary fasts

Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.

See: Should I Fast on the White Days or Mondays and Thursdays?, and Merits of Sha’ban Muwasala

5. Increase Quran recitation

Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”

See: Our Relationship with the Quran – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

6. Perform extra prayers

prepare for Ramadan

Credits: Ccarlstead

If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Jibreel, “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”

See: Informative to Transformative: How to Upgrade Your Prayer, and Praying the Confirmed Sunnas with Make-Ups: I Feel Overwhelmed.

7. Give charity

Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes. These could be anything from sponsoring a Syrian refugee family, to  supporting scholars and students of sacred knowledge through SeekersHub’s #SpreadLight campaign. Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (pbuh) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”

See: How Much Should I Give in Charity?

8. Engage in service (khidma)

Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers  why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.

See: The Roots of Fruitful Service and Seven Counsels for Successful Service and Activism – Advice from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

9. Focus on your character

Imam al-Ghazali discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.

See: The Inner Dimensions of Fasting – Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

10. Organize your life to minimize waste, overconsumption and the ills that come with this

One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of overconsumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.

Imam Zaid’s mosque in Oakland, California offers a great model for doing this. With a little bit of extra organization and commitment, communal iftars are served on borrowed crockery and silverware (from friends, neighbors or a local Muslim restaurant) instead of their disposable variation. Washable handclothes are used instead of paper towels. The amount of trash saved by these actions – especially over the course of the month – is enormous, and embodies the Prophetic example of being, as the Quran describes, “a mercy to all the worlds.” See: Global Warming and Wasterfulness

Written by Nour Merza. Cover photo by Oliver Hegenbarth.

How Do We Know When Ramadan Starts? – Shaykh Rami Nsour

Shaykh Rami Nsour discusses how one determines when the month of Ramadan enters and the differences of opinions on the matter.

He brings up the debate concerning actual sightings versus calculation, and mentions that the discussion has a long history, but emphasizes that disagreements concerning these methods should not cause harsh words or the breaking of bonds.

Shaykh Nsour reminds us that the spirit of our faith is to accept differences of opinion in a broad range of subjects and to always seek conciliation and grace.

Our focus should be on the point of Ramadan which is to get closer to Allah through our worship.


With gratitude to Shakyh Rami Nsour and Tayba Foundation.


Ramadan: The Fortunate Ones, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Ramadan is a month of khair (blessings) and Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) chose it to be the month of the Qur’an, and He chose for it a special form of ibadah, fasting, which is one of the pillars of Islam.  As Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah Al-Baqarah (183):

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain piety.”

In prescribing fasting, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is not only telling us the history of fasting, rather, He is giving us direction; He is telling us that the means by which we may attain a connection with Him is fasting. 

Fasting is patience.  It is the avoidance of that which we want and enjoy. Fasting is controlling your desires rather than being controlled by them.

Fasting is freedom; absolute freedom from being under the power of your desires, your nafs, and this is the freedom that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) created you with. 

Fasting is a means of escape from everything other than Him to Him!  Firr-uLLAH!  Escape towards Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) described the exalted nature of fasting in a Hadith Qudsi, narrated by Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said: 

Allah (azza wa’jal) said every deed from the sons and daughters of Adam is for them, except fasting, which verily is for Me, and only I reward for this ibadah.  Fasting is a protection.  If anyone is fasting, they should show restraint and control what they say, and if anyone disturbs or perturbs them, they should say ‘Verily I am fasting.’  I swear by the soul of Muhammad, the bad smell that comes from the mouth of the one who is fasting is better than the smell of musk, and there are two moments of joy and happiness for those that fast, the first is when they break their fast, and the second is when they meet their Lord, pleased in their fasting.  [Bukhari and Muslim]

We can learn a lot from this Hadith. Firstly, the Hadith is “Qudsi”, which means that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) narrated these words from Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  Also, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) mentioned that we should share what we do, with regards to praying and other forms ofibadah, except fasting.  Only He knows!

The Quraysh used to worship their idols using forms of ibadah that resemble those of Islam, except for fasting!  They never worshipped their idols through fasting.

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) also made it clear that it is not only the stomach that fasts, but rather, it is all of our organs. In the Hadith Qudsi, we see that excessive eating and drinking can provoke our desires, therefore Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) tells us to exercise restraint and control in dealing with others, while fasting.  In case the environment around us, or any other trigger, pulls us towards our desires and our nafs, we should declare that we are fasting.  Therefore we see that fasting is more than just not eating and drinking; fasting encompasses all things from this dunya.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) swore by  Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) that what we see is not necessarily the absolute reality, and that which we smell may not be connected with the reality of the purpose of what we are doing and its connection, or result, in the sight of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).There are many people that we see, in the dahir (physical), that are undergoing trials and test, and we may even feel sorry for them, but it might be that by the means of those trials and tests they will achieve proximity (qurb) to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  Similar to the smell of the mouth of the one who is fasting, the test is increasing theirmaqam (station) to that which is even closer to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)! 

So what matters is not what we see; what matters is what Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) sees!

We have to leave our obsession of thinking about how others see and, instead, focus on the absolute meaning and pleasure of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and how He see things!

In the Hadith Qudsi, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) also says fasting is for Me. What about the rest of the forms of ibadah?  They are all for Him as well, but Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has honoured fasting, in particular, by relating it to Him directly! 

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has told and described for us the reward for the various acts of ibadah, except for fasting, for which only He knows the reward!  He loves our fasting so much that He did not relate or tell anyone about our fasting other than Himself!

Also, we know that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is Self-Sufficient, so in effect those who are fasting are getting closer to Him by way of His own attributes! Imam al Qurtubi (rehmatullah alaih) says that all forms of ibadah compliment the nature of human creation, except for fasting, as fasting is self-sufficiency and is from the attributes of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!  

Thus, those who fast are getting closer to Him by way of His own attributes

Even the Malaika (angels) are unable to record our fasting as they do with other actions!  As only He knows!

We are very fortunate to be in the month of Ramadan, and even more fortunate to be from the Ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) !

But who are the fortunate ones who find success in the month of Ramadan?

One:  Those who Know the Reality of this Dunya

The Fortunate Ones are those who know the reality of this life and dunya, that it is not a permanent abode, and therefore they make the most of it by using every moment as an opportunity to get closer to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  As Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said to Abdullah ibn Omar (radiallah anhu), “Live in this dunya as a stranger or wayfarer.”  In another Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam)  said in the evening do not wait for the morning, and in the morning do not wait for the evening, do in health before sickness, and in life before death (speaking of making the most of every moment).

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) described the life of this dunya in Surah Aal-Imran (185), when He said:  “…And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.”

Two:  Those who Choose Wisely

The Fortunate Ones are those who do not say or hear except for that which is wisdom and khair; they choose their words and their company as others choose what they eat and drink. 

Syedina Omar (radiallah anhu) used to say if it were not for two things he would not wish to live in this dunya: the first was salah; the second was to be in the company of people who choose their words as others choose the best of food!  Syedina Omar (radiallah anhu)  used to say this speaking to the Sahaba!  So what about us!  What do you think he might say if he saw us! 

In our history there have been great personalities that were described as deaf, while in actuality they were not, but it was as if they had a filter through which nothing could go through unless it was pleasing to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  That is taqwa (constant awareness and consciousness of Allah)!

Three:  Those who Remember

The Fortunate Ones are those who remember Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) while they are standing, sitting and laying down, and they ask forgiveness for all their sins and shortcomings; they are the Ones that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) describes in Surah Ahli-Imran (191):

“Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”

The Fortunate Ones are those that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) remembers, as He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (152): “So remember Me; I will remember you.” 

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) also told us who the Fortunate Ones are when he mentioned to the Sahaba,“Should I tell you the best of deeds,”  To which the Sahaba eagerly answered in the affirmative.  “Remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!”

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make us from among them!

Four:  Those who Account Themselves

The Fortunate Ones are those who remain busy their own introspection, and work hard in order to correct themselves, purify their hearts, and they look at their shortcomings and shameful acts with disdain, continually accounting themselves. 

The Fortunate Ones constantly look at themselves, as if they were a mirror that requires perpetual cleaning.  They look at every particle of dust on the mirror, and, therefore, do not have time to look at others. 

The constant worry, of the Fortunate Ones, is to make themselves presentable to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam)  confirmed the approach of the Fortunate Ones when he said in a Hadith that from the greatest forms of Islam is when someone leaves that which does not concern them! [Tirmidhi, ibn Majah]  

In the end, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will never ask anyone about anything except for themselves.  Not the kufr(disbelief) of the kafr (disbeliever) or the iman (belief) of the mu’min(believer)!  They will only be asked about themselves.

As Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an, in Surah Mariam (95):  “And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone,”  and He said in Surah Al-Muddathir (38):  “Every soul will be accounted for what it has done.” 

So the Fortunate Ones look at themselves and abandon everything besides looking at themselves; they stop looking at the faults of others, and thereby distance themselves from the attributes of the munafiqeen(hypocrites) who, as Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam)  mentioned, look at their own faults as minor and those of others as mountains!

Five:  Those who Follow

The Fortunate Ones are those who follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), as Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah Ahli-Imran (31):  “Say, if you really love Allah, follow me and Allah will love you!” 

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is making it clear to us that source of His love is Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), and if you want Him to be pleased with you, than follow him!

If you want to achieve more than your love for Him, which is His love for you, than follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam)!

Most of our saliheen (righteous ones) use to say that what matters is not your love for Him, but rather, His love for you!

Imam Hasan al Basri (rad) used to say some people claim they love Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) so He tested their love by this ayah, and made following Rasulullah (saw) the measurement and standard of His love!

In this ayah it does not say to obey him, or learn from him, but He said follow him!  You can obey someone wherever you are, but following is more than that, it is physical, mental, and spiritual; it is to connect and bind yourself to him. 

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is making it clear that following him is the manifestation of His love!  This is how the Sahaba and Saliheen were. Syedina Uthman (radiallah anhu), when he was sent to Makkah, the Quraysh saw that he was using miswak, so they asked him why he was doing so. Syedina Usman (radiallah anhu) responded that he was doing so because he saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) doing so.  He did not give any explanation; he was just following! 

You follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) as he is and as he did! Syedina Ali (alaih salam) said:  “If I were to use my logic, I would wipe the bottom of my sock (when making purifying and preparing oneself), but I saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) wiping the top, so I follow!”

Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) had many followers, but yet he wanted to visit and learn from the grandson of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), and hence he went and to visit Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam). After they had exchanged salams(greetings), Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam) asked who he was, to which he replied Abu Hanifah. Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam) had heard things regarding Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) so he asked him:  “Are you the one who has corrupted the religion of my Grandfather using ra’ee (opinion) and qiyas (analogy)?”  

Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) replied: “I love your Grandfather, but please hear what I have to say.  Your Grandfather’s religion says I have to give women half the mirath (inheritance) of men, but women are weaker (in society), so my logic would say to give them half, but I follow and say women take half of that of men. The religion of your Grandfather says if you urinate than you have to make wudu, but if you release seminal fluid, than you have to make ghusl (washing of the entire body).  If I were to use my logic, urine is najis (impure), and semen is not, so I was to do the opposite, but I follow your Grandfather.  The religion of your Grandfather says when women are in menstruation they repeat their fast, but are not required to repeat their salah, whereas my logic would say that salah would be easier to make up, rather than the fast, but I follow your Grandfather!”

After hearing this, Syedina Muhammad al Baqir (alaih salam) came down and kissed the forehead of Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih). 

Following is knowing Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) knows more than you, even if it seems that your logic or opinion make sense, seek refuge by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and follow him, for all the khair is in doing so! 

That is why Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah An-Nisa (65): 

But know, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.”

The submission that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is speaking of comes in stages: first, you turn to him for not only your major issues, but even your minor ones; then you do not keep anything in your heart; and thereafter you submit fully!

Those who submit are the Fortunate Ones and thereby revel in joy in happiness.

Six:  Those who are Optimistic

The Fortunate Ones are those who are always optimistic, because they believe that whatever has happened to them comes from Him; everything that is achieved is from Him; and everything they have not achieved, they know there is khair in not achieving it. 

It was narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) taught Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) to be certain that if the entire ummah (not individuals, not groups, tribes nor families) were to gather and try and benefit you, they would not be able to benefit you unless Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) wrote that benefit for you, and they would never be able to harm you except in something that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) wrote for you – all the pens have been raised and the book is dry! 

In this authenticated Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) is teaching us that everything that happens to us happens from Him!  As Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah At-Tawbah (51): 

Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.”

This is the core of our religion and ouriman

It was narrated by Walid, the son of Syedina Ubadah ibn as-Samit (radiallah anhu) , the great Sahabi, that he went to his father when he was on his death bed and said to him: 

“Oh my father, please give me wasiyah (will), and please give everything by way of effort in telling me the best of wasiyahs.” 

His father than asked to helped to sit up, to which Walid obliged.  Ubadah (radiallah anhu) then said:

“Oh son, you will never taste the sweetness of iman and you will never achieve, understand, or get Haqqiqutul-ilm (absolute real knowledge) by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) until you believe in qadr (decree of Allah), whether it be good or bad.” 

Walid replied:  “Oh my father, how can I know what is good and bad from qadr?”

 His father then gave him the example of an arrow being thrown; if that arrow was meant for you, it will never miss you, and if it was not meant to hit you, by the qadr of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), it will never hit you, not matter how great the archer, or the perfection of the aim! 

And Ubadah (radiallah anhu) continued and said:  “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) say that the first thing created was the pen, and He said ‘write’, and it wrote everything that will happen till Yaum ul Qiyamah; and if I die without believing this, I will never enter jannah” 

We know that whatever happens is from Him, and this causes us to be optimistic because we believe He is the source of khair and absolute Rahma. 

The Saliheen used to say, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) does not write except that which is khair for us, and even the things that make us upset and sad, there is a lot of khair behind them. 

Optimism because you trust your Lord, optimism because you know that it will be khair, optimism because you know that even when the trials are extremely difficult, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is rewarding you for that. 

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make us from the patient ones, grant us rida(contentment) and make us from the grateful.

Seven:  Those who find Peace and Tranquillity in His Remembrance

The Fortunate Ones are those that find tranquillity and peace of the heart in remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).  Their joy is His company and closeness!  When any difficulty arises, just by calling His name, their situation changes to joy and happiness, and these are the very people that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) clearly pointed out in the Qur’an when He said in Surah Ar-Raad (28):

 “Unquestionably, only by the remembrance of Allah  do hearts attain peace and tranquillity.”

In a Hadith, narrated by Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhu), he said that they were walking with Rasulullah (saw) in the way of Makkah near the mountain of Jamadan, and as they were approaching Rasulullah (saw) said“Keep walking, this is Jamadan, and the mufarridun have reached their before you!”  The Sahaba asked Rasulullah (saw) who the mufarridun were, to which he responded “Those who remember Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) abundantly, whether they be male or female. 

Imam al Manawi (rehmatullah alaih) said in Fayd ul-Qadir, the mufarridunare those who abandon everyone, and give everything they have for ibadah, and thereby attain the closest and highest of degrees with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!

When the Fortunate Ones in the company of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), not only do they get the baraka of peace and tranquillity of the heart, but they also receive the baraka of Him remembering them, as He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (152):  “So remember Me; I will remember you.” 

When Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is remembered, our existence is one and continuous, our mind, soul and heart, but when we forget to remember Him, we are in actually forgetting ourselves!

We should not be like the ones Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) mentioned in Surah Al-Hashr (19):  “And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.”

It was narrated in Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad and by Imam Hakim (rehmatullah alaihum), that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said to the Sahaba:  Should I tell you by the best of your deeds and that which is most beloved to your Lord and the one that will raise your maqam and that is better than spending gold and silver, better than facing your enemies, whether you kill them or they kill you?  Please tell us!  Dhikr-ULLAH!  Remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

So the Fortunate Ones are those upon whom Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has bestowed the sweetness of His remembrance and the joy in His company!

Ya Allah!  Make us from them!

In this very blessed month, we beg Him to make us from the Fortunate Ones, to change our haal and state to a better one, and to open the doors of Marifah!

 

Shaykh Faid SaidShaykh Faid Mohammed Said was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom.

 

 


Resources for Seekers: The Ramadan Reader: A Guide to Fasting, Prayer, Qur’an, and Spirituality in the Month of Ramadan

Join SeekersHub for Ramadan 2015 in Toronto or plug in online from wherever you are in the world. Find out more here.

SH_Global_webbanner

 

 

 

Review: The Divine Opening Explained by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Nurulain Wolhuter shares her excellent review of The Divine Opening: Surah al-Fatiha Explained, a course offered on SeekersGuidance by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.

 

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus takes the seeker on an insightful journey into the meanings of Sura al Fatiha. He commences by exploring its many names. It is called Fatih al- Kitab because it is the opening chapter of the holy Qur’an. It is also called Umm al – Quran because it is the source of the Qur’an; and it is al – Assaas, containing the Qur’an’s foundational meanings. Its names reflect its limitless meanings as well as its merits, most notably that it is regarded as the best of the Qur’an.

Against this backdrop, Shaykh Yahya engages in an extensive exegesis of Sura al Fatiha, starting with the istiaatha – the seeking of refuge in Allah from the accursed devil. He says we seek refuge because we know we’re in need, and the more we realise our need, the more Allah will grant us sufficiency. Thereafter, the sura commences with the basmala, invoking all its blessings and enabling us to encloak ourselves with them. These blessings flow because the divine name is the greatest word of all, deserving of all perfection, and it is coupled with the attributes of al – Rahman, the universally merciful to all creatures, and al – Raheem, the specifically compassionate to the believer. Both are emphatic words derived from rahmah, meaning softness of heart, and compassion that necessitates showing goodness and grace to someone.

Turning to the ayat of al – Hamd, Shaykh Yahya explains that we praise Allah with the intention of glorifying and exalting Him, because He is the Lord of the Worlds. Integral to this praise is deep gratitude to Allah for all His blessings.

The next ayat repeats Allah’s divine attributes of al-Rahmaani Raheem, emphasising His mercy.

We then move from praise to a focus on Allah’s sovereignty and possession in the next ayat: Maaliki Yawmid Deen. The word maalik comes from either of two verbal nouns. The first one, Mulk, refers to the kingly traits of dominion, rule or sovereignty. The second one, Milk, refers to possession. So Allah is al – Mulk, the king, or al-Maalik, the owner. We are His Mamluk, subjects or property, and we connect with Him by doing His will. Our hearts should be in a state of reverential awe and fear at the mention of Yawmid Deen. It is the day of resurrection, the day of reprisals, the day where wrongs will be righted. And our Lord is king or master of it.

Thereafter, the sura moves to us, the servants of Allah: Iyyaaka na’budu – we worship You alone. We’re commanded to worship with the utmost humility and a deep sense of exaltation. Allah has placed worship before Istiaana (seeking help) because it is the appropriate etiquette to follow this order, and also because supplicating after worship is more amenable to a response.

Next, we ask Allah to guide us to the straight path (Ihdinas Siraatal Mustaqeem). Shaykh Yahya explains that al – Siraat is a path, a traverse, a way – the bridge over hell that all people will cross on their way to Paradise. It is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword, and its length is 3,000 years. It is a straight path (al – Mustaqeem), involving outward compliance with the shari’a and inward submission. The way we adhere to the straight path in this world is the way we will cross the traverse in the next. This path is the path of those whom Allah has blessed (Siraatal latheena an’amta ‘alaihim), namely the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. There was a multitude in the beginning and there are only a few in the end times, but we can be people who move upwards in rank, if we have guidance and uprightness.

Finally, we ask to be spared the way of those who anger Allah or who have gone astray: ghayril maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad daalleen. It is said maghdoobi ‘alaihim are the Jews, or the disbelievers, or those who know what is right but don’t do it because of a blameworthy trait in their hearts. al – Daalleen are variously said to be the Christians, or the hypocrites, or those who go astray because they don’t know the truth.

Shaykh Yahya’s journey through the Mother of the Book gives us the opportunity to attain a deeper understanding of its meanings, and, concomitantly, a closer relationship with our Lord. May Allah grant us openings as we listen.


Click here to register for: The Divine Opening: Surah al-Fatiha Explained