Finding Allah Through Fasting – Dr Umar Faruq Abd Allah

Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminds us of the ultimate purpose of fasting Ramadan: to find Allah Most High.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

I did not create jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Sura al Dhariya 51:56)

So we were created to do this. We were created to fast. We were created to pray. We were created to pay zakat. We were created to make Ramadan and Hajj and to do other types of worship like dhikr and like vows that bring us close to Allah, and so forth.

Ramadan: The Great Guest

The month of Ramadan is a great month. It is the great guest that we all welcome every year with fervor. And it’s an amazing thing that although this is the time of the year which physically is the most demanding on the Muslims as an Umma, it is the time of the year that we all welcome with great joy and great fervor. And may you find that joy in your heart every single day and every single night of this month.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, that patience (sabr) or endurance is half of faith. People who do not have sabr, they cannot believe in Allah. We have got to be able to do the things that the belief requires, and we have to be able to avoid the things the belief requires us to avoid. And that is an act of sabr, of patience and perseverance.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, said that fasting is half of sabr, so therefore that also makes fasting one-quarter of Iman.

The Gate of Worship

And the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, said that fasting is the gate of worship (bab al ‘ibada). And he urged his blessed wife Aisha, Allah be pleased with her, to always keep knocking at the door of God. So she asked what is that door. And the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, said it is hunger. That is, it is fasting.

So we ask that we utilize this month properly. This is a great month. This is a unique opportunity. And this is what our lives are all about. The month of Ramadhan is of course conspicuously the month of fasting, because that is the main thing that we do during the daylight hours. Of course also it is the month of prayer because during this month standing up in prayer doing tarawih is one of its important elements.

We want to join these two together with the same intensity and never forget that the same wisdom that is there in the divine legislation for fasting is also there in the divine imperative that we pray special prayers in Ramadan.

Making Up for Lost Prayers

Of course we need to remind ourselves that some of us may have had lapses in our lives and there may have been days and years when we didn’t pray. And if that’s the case, then in Ramadan and also at other times of the year, you should have a very diligent program to be making up all the prayers that you missed.

Because this is a debt that you owe to Allah. And in the month of Ramadan, if you have prayers that you haven’t made that’s what you should be doing. You should be making them up and not praying tarawih when others are praying tatarawih. You should be making up your prayers.

This is very, very important: until the obligatory prayers are made up there is no room for voluntary or for supererogatory prayers. You have to focus just on the obligatory prayers and then making up those prayers that have been missed.

You need to sit down you need to make a list. You need to determine reasonably how many prayers did you miss and then begin to work at that. Keep a record of what you’re doing in any case. This is a great month. The act of worship, of prayer, is one that is in its entirety and act of heedfulness.

Practice Heedfulness with Each Breath

In prayer we go into the prayer with Allahu Akbar. We invoke Allah to envelop us in the Hadra, in the presence of His absolute greatness that makes all creation fade in His glory and greatness.

And when we pray we aspire to attain that kind of prayer that the great Sahaba and the great Salaf had in which they would not even be aware of who was on their right hand or their left hand as they prayed and they wouldn’t be thinking about anything but Allah until they came out of it. That’s the nature of prayer.

One of the amazing things about fasting is that fasting doesn’t require that kind of total
heedfulness. The more heedful that you are in fasting then the greater the fast is, the more lofty it becomes, the more fulfilling. So we should be heedful of every breath we take in the days of Ramadan. Every moment that we spend.

The mere fact of giving up our passions for food and drink and marital relations and the other things that are not allowed during the time of fasting, this in itself is sufficient to plant the seed of heedfulness, so that it grows into a great tree that bears fruit.


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Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part 5 by Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people. In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women.

In the fifth and final installment of the series, Habib Kadhim speaks about the qualities that gave these people their strength and courage. heroes and heroines of Islam

Returning to Allah

As an example, we have Umm Salama, who was faced with difficult times. She made a duaa to Allah, asking that her losses be replaced with something better.  For many people, it is difficult to think of finding fulfillment after suffering a loss. However, it is important to remember that Allah can, indeed, make that happen. The Prophet promised us that even the smallest test, such feeling the pain of a thorn, is a chance for believers to return to their Lord and be rewarded for their patience.

Using Our Talents

Habib Khadhim concluded the lecture by encouraging everyone to use their particular talents for the benefit of Islam. Whether it is a good memory, deep empathy, or good speaking skills, we can bring great benefit if we use these qualities well. We may or may not be recognized for our efforts, but we can be sure of our reward with Allah.

In the next life, we will see many great women who we did not know about on this Earth, but caused great light to be brought to Islam. For example, the mothers of Imam al-Bukhari and Imam al-Shafi, were both single mothers who likely did not have a lot of resources. However, through their piety, commitment, and righteous parenting, they were both a means for reviving many Islamic sciences.

This concludes the series “Heroes and Heroines of Islam,” by Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf. 


Resources for Seekers

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Umm Ma‘baad

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Umm Ma‘baad, whose real name was Atiqah bint Khalid al-Khuzaiya, was a very fascinating woman. She is most famous for being the first woman to narrate a comprehensive description of the Prophet in a hadith.

Unexpected Guests

Umm Ma‘baad was an archetype of the Bedouin people. She was strong, intelligent, and possessed a mastery of the Arabic language, which the Bedouins were known for. She lived in a tent outside of Mecca, and she would make a living by operating a “rest stop.” She would distribute dates, meat, and milk to the travellers passing by.

One day, she was sitting in her tent, when two men appeared. They seemed to be in a rush, but Umm Ma‘baad saw something very special.

Because all her sheep had gone out to pasture, there was no milk to feed to the guests. One of the men asked for an old sheep, which was not giving milk. He passed his hand over her udder and it became filled with milk, which everyone drank from.

The Hadith of Umm Ma‘baad

Of course, these two men were the Prophet and Abu Bakr, on their migration from Mecca to Medina. When her husband returned, she told him what had happened. She described the Prophet as very radiant, and handsome. She described his luminous eyes and beautiful speech, and how the ones in his company deferred to him with so much respect.

Umm Ma‘baad was just trying to tell her husband about her visitors, but her description became one of the most famous hadith about the Prophet. Anyone learning about the characteristics of the Prophet, or learning about the Prophetic biography, is sure to come across her narration.

Although this was the first and last time she met the Prophet, her description was so concise and eloquent that it became immortalized in history.

Resources for Seekers

Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part 4 by Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people. In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women.

In the fourth segment of this series, Habib Kadhim continues to speak about the great women of Islam.

Umm Salama

Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet, was an extremely wise woman. The Prophet would seek her advice, such as the time when the Companions were heading to Mecca to make Umra. When the Meccans prevented them, the Prophet commanded his Companions to shave their heads and sacrifice their animals, to release themselves from the state pf ihram.

However, they were in a state of shock, because they though that the promise of them entering Mecca was specific to that year. When they did not begin to release themselves from Ihram, the Prophet came to Umm Salama to seek her advice. Rather than jumping to conclusions and blaming anyone, she immediately realized that they were still in shock, and she suggested to the Prophet that he begin the sacrifices himself. Once he did, the Companions immediately jumped to follow him.

This story teaches us an important lesson. When analyzing historical events, we should take care to see them from an illuminated perspective, rather than an egotistical perspective. An egotistical perspective will inherently be biased and flawed, and using it can lead to misjudging the people in question.

We live in a time where everyone wants others to follow their opinions. When calling to Allah, we should avoid trying to convince people to follow our particular sect, perspective, or school of thought. Rather, we should help the person to find their way to Allah, and not harm to speak ill of, or condemn, anyone.


Resources for Seekers

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Sumayyah

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Sumayyah bint Khayyat was a truly inspiring woman who sacrificed so much for her faith. She was a slave, and a socially outcast woman. Unlike some of the other Companions, she had absolutely no wealth or social standing to protect her.

In other words, she went in knowing that she would have to sacrifice everything. She was one among a small handful of people to openly declare their faith during the early days of Islam.

Her Sheer Courage

She and her husband Yasir were both slaves. After they had their son Ammar, it is said that they may have been freed. Regardless, the family was still treated as outcasts of society. Not only that, but the family boldly announced their faith, which made the Meccans decide to make others an example of them.

They dragged the three of them out to the desert, and tortured them under the heat. Her body was encased in iron armor which, under the sun’s rays, began to burn her body.

First Martyr of Islam

Sumayyah’s faith was so strong that even as she was being beaten, she would defy her capturers by smiling and saying the name of Allah. This exasperated the Meccans, because no matter what they tried to do, she still stayed strong.

Eventually, Abu Jahl lost his temper and drove a spear into her abdomen, ending her life. Thus, Sumayyah bint Khayyat became the first martyr, male or female, to die in the way of Islam.

Sumayyah is an example for us as Muslims. She was proud of her faith and found peace and liberation in it, even though it came at a great cost. She remained patient through great hardship. And because of her faith and dedication, she was promised paradise.


Resources for Seekers

https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/inspiring-women-inspire-us/

Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part Three – Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people. In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women.

In this segment, Habib Kadhim turns our attention to some of the heroines of Islam. He begins by speaking about Maryam, the mother of Isa, who underwent many challenges in her life. After her miracle pregnancy and the subsequent birth of Isa, she moved to Egypt, and then, when he was twelve years old, she moved back to their hometown.

She met life’s challenges with strength and faith, and after his ascension, she remained on Earth in worship for another six years.

Aminah, mother of the Prophet

Of course, when discussing heroines of Islam, we should never forget about Aminah, mother of the Prophet Muhammad. She is the means of the coming of the Prophet, and the connection we have to Allah. She was a very intelligent woman, and she was a poet with mastery of the Arabic language.

When she became pregnant, her face became illuminates with this light. She regularly saw various Prophets of previous generations. They would congratulate her, telling her that she was carrying the last Prophet.

Aisha, the Scholar

Our Lady Aisha was extremely intelligent and a scholar and eloquent. She was also very learned in the field of medicine, which she had learned from the Bedouin tribes, and was able to prescribe and prepare medications.

In addition, she was known as a scholar of Hadith, and after the death of the Prophet, many of the Companions would come to her, seeking her teachings about the Prophet and the Islamic sciences.


Resources for Seekers

https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/inspiring-women-inspire-us/

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Amazing Muslim Women: Khadija

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 5-part series about the amazing Muslim women who paved the way for others after them.

Khadija bint Khuwaylid was a trailblazer in the early Muslim period. She is considered to be one of the first Muslims, the first female Muslim, the first wife of the Prophet and the first mother of his children. All these qualities truly make her from the amazing Muslim women.

The Nobility of Khadija

She was a noblewomen of the tribe of Quraysh, and was considered the “Leader of the Women of Quraysh.” Although she received many proposals from the wealthy elite of Quraysh, she declined them all.

She was also an entrepreneur. She hired the Prophet to work in her caravans that traveled to Syria to trade. She proposed marriage to him after observing his noble character and honesty. In doing so, she broke some barriers for the Muslims that would follow. She normalized the practice of women proposing marriage to men, even to those who were younger or less wealthy than them.

Her Strength and Wisdom

The Prophet would engage in regular spiritual retreats, where he would go into the cave of Hira and reflect. During that time, Khadija continued to support him, and did not discourage him. One day, he returned in a state of fear, and told her that he was seized by a presence who squeezed him and commanded him to read. Through her immense wisdom, she immediately knew exactly how to reassure him, and believed in him without hesitation.

The Prophet never forgot what she did for him. Years after her death, he would constantly remember her, saying, “She believed in me when everyone else rejected me, she believed in me when everyone else called me a liar.” His love for her was truly undying.


Resources for Seekers

https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/inspiring-women-inspire-us/

Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part Two–Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people. In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women.

In the second segment of the series, Habib Kadhim speaks about the lesser-known heroes and heroines of Islam; those who struggled behind the scenes. We might not know their names, however we definitely feel their influence on us.

The Unknown Teacher

There were some companions around the Prophet, whose work was famous although their names remain unknown. For example, Abu Huraira, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  is famous in the Muslim world for his great legacy in the transmission of Hadith, or Prophetic narrations.

However, we do not know much about the Companion who taught Abu Huraira about Islam, and supported him in becoming Muslim. Whoever this man was, we know that he is receiving the like of Abu Huraira’s rewards, because of the knowledge and help he gave.

The Famous Poet

Another example occurs later on in Islamic history. Imam al-Busiri is well-known for his work, Qasida Burda (the Poem of the Cloak), one of the most famous poems in praise of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Imam al-Busiri was an extremely talented poet, well-known among royalty and kings at the time, whose praises he used to sing. However, he soon became paralyzed and could not move.

When one of his close friends visited him, he said, “You are a skilled poet, why don’t you write a poem in praise of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace?” Imam al-Busiri asked him, “I am paralyzed, what use will it be?” His friend said, “What use is this mastery of the Arabic language and rhetoric that you possess?”

Imam al-Busiri spent the rest of the night writing the poem, and when he woke up in the morning, he was completely healed. Not only that, but the poem of praise is frequently recited in Muslim communities all over the globe, because of the friend of Imam al-Busiri that supported him.


Resources for Seekers

Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part One–Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people.

In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women. In the first segment of the series, Habib Kadhim begins by speaking about the greatest of all people; the Prophets, who were sent to communities throughout time, until the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

We regularly hear mention of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. These people were so beloved to Allah, that He caused their stories to be remembered, thousands and thousands of years after their departure from this world.

Their influence was spread in many ways. For example, the Companions of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ all inherited different aspects of his character. They inherited these traits for two reasons. Firstly, due to the inherent nature that Allah had created them with. And secondly due to their individual readiness and aptitude to develop in that area.

However, the greatest of the qualities are found in the lives of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, of when the Prophet ﷺ said, “The gentlest of this Umma is Abu Bakr, the strictest (or most scrupulous) is Umar ibn al Khattab, the most modest is Uthman ibn Affan, and the most knowledgeable was Ali ibn Abi Talib.”


Resources for Seekers

What Were The Prophet Muhammad’s Forefathers Like? by Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

In the Qur’an, God Almighty has sworn upon the land of Makkah. Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explains what the scholars understand to be the significance this oath, and the importance of the people who dwelled upon this land before and during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Resources for seekers

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