Rajab is the Month of Allah – Habib Umar

Rajab, the seventh month of the Muslim calendar, is the month of Allah. It is singular as it is neither preceded nor followed by another holy month. For this and many other reasons Habib Umar encourages the Umma to ask for forgiveness and strength in this blessed month.

Habib Umar’s Message

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz, may Allah protect him and benefit us by him, said:

We would love for our brethren in faith, male and female, young and old to plead with Allah during the blessed month of Rajab by reciting the following Qur’anic prayer for forgiveness which also contains a prayer for the Muslims.

ربَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَإِسْرَافَنَا فِي أَمْرِنَا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Rabbana ’ghfirlana dhunubana wa israfana fi amrina wa thabbit aqdamana wa ’nsurna ‘ala ’l-qawmi ’l-kafirin

Our Lord, forgive us our sins and our transgressions, make our feet firm and assist us against those who reject faith. (3:147)

We hope that we will swiftly see the results of this prayer, as Allah mentioned in the Qur’an regarding the followers of previous Prophets:

So Allah gave them both the reward of this world and the best reward of the Hereafter: “Allah loves those who act with excellence” (3:148).

We should aim to recite this verse at least 3,000 times this month. Better than this would be 5,000 or even 7,000 and the best would be 10,000 and those who do more will be given more.

May Allah accept us all.

Some Virtues of Rajab

The virtues of Rajab are many. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha‘ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Umma.” (Suyuti)

When Rajab entered he, Allah bless him and give him peace, would say:

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajabin wa Sha‘ban wa ballighna Ramadan

O Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha‘ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. (Ahmad, Bayhaqi, Tabarani)

May Allah bless this Umma with forgiveness and strength and deliver it to Ramadan in the best of health and faith.

Source: Muwasala.org


Resources for Seekers

Regarding Sincerity: A Conversation About Truthful Intention and Self Accountability – By Dr. Mahmoud Masri

There’s a story in ‘al-Risala al-Qushayriyya’ of a young man who regularly attended a gathering (majlis), when he heard a shaykh discussing sincerity: how is it, how should it be when performing actions, etc. The young man found this heavy upon himself, and from that day forward he made a firm intention that he would not attend the gathering anymore, and refrained from going until the point he was harmed because of that. The Shaykh noticed his absence and asked regarding him. He eventually met with him and asked him why he was absent; he answered, “I heard from your words and was afraid for myself”. The Shaykh replied to him, “My son, that’s not the solution. We point you to sincerity (ikhlas) in actions, not to abandoning actions!”

Act! Thoughts such, “I’m doing this pious act and I fear the interest of people and their interest in my actions” may come to a person. One must not pay attention to this and should correct their intention. Even if he is actually one of the ostentatious, he should remain upon the action, and continue the deed. Like when they said, “We sought knowledge for other than Allah, and knowledge refused to be for any but Allah.”

Every action is such! Just like prayer may not be perfect because of what comes to the person of thoughts and notions; the solution isn’t to abandon prayer all together. Rather, the solution is in rectification, and this is done with training.

It is upon the person to adhere to actions, even if notions, whispers, or thoughts come to him. Thoughts of the self are like whispers of Devil: their remedy is to disregard them.

Section:

In the issue of the person who doesn’t like notoriety, and in this state, thoughts of people noticing this come to him.  This is from the hidden and intricate matters that are warned against in spiritual training.  As mentioned earlier, the approach here is to disregard these thoughts and to continue the actions he was doing. This is how these thoughts and things which resemble them go away.

One thing that helps the person in this is clarity (as-Safaa) and of the means of obtaining it are:

  • remembrance of Allah (dhikr)
  • good companionship (suhbah)
  • self striving (mujahadah)
  • self training and exercise (tadreeb wa riyadhatu-nafs)

You cannot remove darkness, but you can bring light. When light becomes present, darkness disappears. 

Whoever knows Allah is not the slave of fame nor of obscurity; rather, he will be a slave of Allah. Whatever state Allah places him in he submits to Him, outwardly and inwardly, and he doesn’t pay attention to anything else.  If he places him in one situation he is content, if he places him in another, he is content. He doesn’t look back on these matters.

As for the issue regarding people venerating a person for his work in da’wah while he doesn’t see himself deserving such treatment from them since there are people more knowledgeable than him, deserving something comes from Allah. If we were to look at worthiness then none of us would actually qualify by ourselves. What occurred is that which the divine will selected, so it’s from Allah’s decree and we have no control over the matter.

Furthermore, don’t look at the external and apparent. Rather, look at the fact that Allah is the one who moves them and their hearts; and that you are similar to them in that you are in Allah’s possession. You exchange the same love and respect. See in everything that it is from Allah, and say, “All praise is due to Allah” and this will push you to many things.

It is said, “Whoever has good opinion of you, work towards realizing it.”

Not by saying, “You spoke the truth” or “What you said regarding me and your good opinion of me is true, I am exactly what you say and think of me”.

Rather, the meaning is to act in accordance with their good opinion, make them truthful by actually doing the actions; that you are actually like that!

It has also been said:

When a rumor spread that Abu Hanifah used to pray Fajr with the wudu of ‘Isha he forced that upon himself and took it as a sign for himself from Allah. 

O Allah grant us sincerity.

 

Taken from the words of Shaykh Dr. Mahmoud Masri, click here to read the Arabic original.

Translated by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Muharram: Mankind’s Memorial – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

* Originally Published on 3/10/2016

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why Muharram, the first in the Islamic calendar, is an especially auspicious month on many levels.

 

The Prophets Before Muhammad ﷺ

For one, it celebrates the achievement of the prophets who preceded Prophet Muhammad, – on him peace and blessings, in particular the struggle and victory of Moses. Following the Migration, the Prophet – and on him salutations – discerned that the Jewish tribal federations in Madinah observed a ritual fast annually on the tenth day of Muharram. The Jews’ claim to commemorate the day in gratitude for Moses’ victory over Pharaoh prompted the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – to assert, “The obligation is greater on us [the Muslims] to be grateful to God for Moses’ victory.”
This emphatic statement reveals, on one level, the spiritual connection between the Seal of the Prophets – on him peace and blessings – and his ‘brother-prophets’ who preceded him; on another level, through his innate ability to connect with every God-centred tradition, Muslims are at once given to understand the need to learn from others. And the elemental lesson here is that all prophetic traditions, rites and customs – past and present – actually form a composite whole: remembrance and gratitude to God, – cherisher of mankind, all praise to Him.

Mankind’s Achievement

Furthermore, the achievement of every prophet is universal, that is to say, their sacrifice and striving is mankind’s achievement. The victory God granted to Moses was not based on material strength or logistical superiority, but on the strength of faith that Moses possessed. Moses’ armour cladding was his Faith, and Truth his spear of submission; he won through despite Pharaoh’s vast resources in men and materiel. Faith, as embodied by Moses, persuaded first Pharaoh’s sorcerers and then many other reasonable minds, whilst the snake of Unfaith, quite literally, was swallowed up.

Truth over Falsehood

Muharram, which commemorates Moses’ achievement, is therefore our achievement, insofar as it is a timeless commemoration of the victory of Truth over Falsehood. It should be obvious that ‘victory’ does not at all relate to feat of arms, economic gain or tribal boast (after all, Pharaoh’s dethroning was not, strictly speaking, a battlefield victory; Moses and his people, instead of gaining mastery in Egypt, actually became exiles in the desert for 40 years). Rather, Muslims must understand ‘victory’ as standing firm in Faith, to prevail in the face of adversity.
For this reason, the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya a great victory; this, despite his not accomplishing what he had initially set out to do in the events leading to the famous treaty: namely, the performance of Umrah, the opportunity to visit the Sacred Mosque. On the other hand, the Prophet – and on him salutations – discerned in the bitterness of defeat at ‘Uhud and at Hunayn the sweet fragrance of victory. How so, when he suffered great personal loss at ‘Uhud and humbling at Hunayn? On both occasions, despite the temporary impediments, God’s Religion was preserved. Faith defeated unfaith because Truth strove on whilst Falsehood briefly strutted but ultimately vanished.
Victory, therefore, is to prevail after enduring the test. It is the natural outcome of firm conviction, of standing firm, regardless of the intensity or even duration of adversity. It is the absolute conviction that God is present all along.
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The Triumph of Faith

The sacred month of Muharram, celebrating the advent of the Islamic New Year, provides Muslims with a direct linkage to the triumph of Faith – and even more deep connections to the Prophet – on him peace and blessings. And in all God’s Creation, none embodied Faith as did the Prophet, – on him the finest salutations! For Muharram also commemorates the Hijra, the Prophet’s Migration from Makkah, then the seat of Unfaith and irrational pride, to Madinah, the emergent site of Faith and reason.
Oppressed by Unfaith, in Makkah the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – would say, “Leave me to call upon God alone.” But he was denied even this basic human right, as was his dignity, his person and his property. The Prophet’s Hijrahas yet to be fully appreciated by even his own people. It was not a simple matter of relocation: in making Hijra, the personal sacrifice of the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – remains a thing of wonder: his daughters Fatimah, Zaynab, Ruqaiyya and Umm Kulthum were left behind. One can only begin to understand the scale of his sacrifice if there is an appreciation of the wider social context of Makkah’s tribal society, then dominated by the most ruthless of enemies. The Prophet – on him peace and blessings – in wrenching himself from his daughters, sacrificed all that was dear to him in this world. How could such a man, the epitome of parental love, sacrifice so? As if to say, “My daughters are safer under God’s Gaze than under my wing,” he could so sacrifice because he knew intimately the nature of God’s Protection. Great was his sacrifice, yes, but his trust in God was still greater.
What special influence can cause such repeat action, on such scale? It was repeated by the Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet – on him the finest salutations. Like his father and grandfather before him, the Imam Hussain strived hard against the oppression of the weak by the strong, against social injustice and against aggression in all its forms. Sallying out from Madinah, like his grandfather had done on so many occasions, the Imam Hussain died the desired death on the dusty plains of Kerbala, but his spirit of sacrifice lives on. The Imam Hussain’s death must not be reduced to the heroic end of ancient epics, although certainly true; it was the supreme sacrifice that is for God’s Sake. Sacred sacrifice indeed. Muharram may just as easily be called the ‘month of sacrifice’.

The Prophet’s Migration

And yet the story of Muharram has no ending, for our commemoration of its sanctity and significance has so many deep spiritual channels and confluences.
The Islamic calendar self-consciously celebrates the Hijra of the Prophet – on him peace and blessings. And Arab tradition, hitherto without a universal calendar, in so doing, itself migrated from culture to civilization. Confused by conflicting despatches, the despair of regional governors compelled the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab to initiate a systematic Time Record. Far more edifying and significant is the process that led to the institution. A brilliant example of democratic counsel ended with agreement over the Muslims’ need for a calendar, but there remained uncertainty over the precise start date. Three proposals were championed, each possessing enormous meaning: the birthday of the Prophet, on him peace and blessings; the day that he died; and the beginning of the Hijra.
The very fact that the Prophet’s birthday was cause celebre in the eyes of his Companions has great significance of its own. In fact, some of the Companions clamoured for the month of Rabi Awwal to become the first month of the new Islamic calendar, citing the Prophet’s birth, his anointment to the office of prophet, the actual commencement of the Hijra, and the Prophet’s death in Rabi Awwal.
The day of the Prophet’s departure from this world remains, of course, the single greatest distress to all Muslims in all times, and the argument for the Islamic calendar to be pegged to the Prophet’s death was a powerful one.
However, the third option – the case for the Hijra as the start of the Islamic calendar –reveals much about the intellect of ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib. The man recognised as the last of the rightly-guided Caliphs quite rightly surmised that the Hijra marked an epochal change, ushering in a new dawn for humanity that swept away the cobwebs of dead history. The Hijra-Migration was nothing short of a new world order, and this one could be precisely pinpointed in time.
Although the Arabian months pre-dated Islam, Uthman ibn Affan made a powerful intervention: he cited the long-held sacred status of Muharram and explained that its position in the calendar of Islam’s rites and rituals, coming after the Hajj climax, represented a new beginning after individual purification, thus symbolically mirroring the fresh start for humanity after the purification of Religion itself. Uthman’sintervention was decisive and the ‘Hijri Calendar’ was thus founded.
As Islam makes no sharp distinction between the prophets – God in His Book expressly forbids otherwise – both the achievements and sacrifices of Moses and of Muhammad – on them peace and blessings – are symbolically bound by the month of Muharram. And we have seen how the inheritors of faith, such as the Imam Hussain, have emulated and preserved the spirit of sacrifice. This sacrifice has a name: ‘Islam’. And ‘Islam’ is trust in, and submission to, the Divine Will. And as their inheritors in faith, our lives are thus connected by the commemoration of Muharram.
May God gather us in the company of the Family of Prophets and preserve the faithful, and peace and blessings upon Muhammad, mercy to all the worlds.

Are You Making the Most of Your Wuḍūʼ? (Podcast Transcript) – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The following is a transcription of “Are You Making the Most of Your Wuḍūʼ?” podcast.

 

People ask: “What are the spiritual meanings of our ritual ablution?” – the wuḍūʼ. 

Very often people forget that the ritual ablution – wuḍūʼ – is an act of worship. Very often our wuḍūʼ turns into a routine: “I need to pray, so let me do my wuḍūʼ, let me finish my wuḍūʼ.” So sometimes it just becomes routine: “I’m doing this, so I can now go and pray.” 

And this is true, in that wuḍūʼ is a means to be able to pray, but it is at the same time an act of worship. So one needs to pay attention to it. 

Other people make a mistake with respect to the wuḍūʼ, in that they become excessive and fall into misgivings about it. They put all their focus on worrying and that is a mistake, because the Prophetic teachings give us a balance, that we do things in a right way, as best we can, but we attach our hearts not to our actions but to the One we are doing the actions for. 

So what is the wuḍūʼ? The word wuḍūʼ in Arabic, comes from waḍā’a, from radiance, and naẓāfa, cleanliness. So the purpose of wuḍūʼ is to clean oneself in a ritual manner to be ready to pray, and it is a means of radiance, because the outward washing has a sense of spiritual purification and spiritual illumination. 

So when we make wuḍūʼ we have to keep in mind that we begin the wuḍūʼ with intention: “Why am I making wuḍūʼ?” For the sake of Allāh. This is an act of worship. It contains a beautiful reminder that God loves purity, God loves beauty. So you are readying yourself for the encounter with your Beloved. 

So you begin with the intention. In fact, some of the great masters of spirituality, like Imām Aḥmad Zarrūq, he says that presence of heart in prayer begins with presence of heart in the ritual ablution, in the wuḍūʼ. So you begin with intention: “I am seeking Allāh through this action,” and you behold the meaning that each of the limbs that you wash, that you are seeking to rid it of blameworthy qualities, and to adorn it with the qualities of spiritual illumination, the qualities beloved to Allāh. So that when you wash your hands, intend to wash yourself of all acts that are sinful that you may have committed with your hands, in your dealings, in your actions. And to acquire with your effort, and your actions all those qualities that are beloved to Allāh. When you rinse your mouth, you intend to rid yourself of vile speech, and the consumption of anything that is displeasing to Allāh, and to characterize yourself with speech that is beloved to Allāh, of remembrance and supplication and recitation of Qur’ān, and speech that inspires others, that encourages others, that assists others. Likewise, when wash your face, you intend to wash away directing yourself in life towards all that is displeasing to Allāh, and to characterize yourself with those radiant concerns, the concerns for God Himself and for all that is beloved to Allāh in your life. When you wash your arms, the same meanings, that you be of those who receive their book of good deeds in their right hand, the hand in which the righteous receive their book of good deeds on the Day of Judgment, not to be of the people of perdition, those who receive their book of deeds in their left hand. That you perform the actions of the servants of good, not the actions of those who turn away. Likewise, with your feet, that you direct your feet towards all that is pleasing to Allāh, and that you rid yourself of directing yourself in life towards all that is displeasing to Allāh. 

In the ritual ablution, in the wuḍūʼ, not only is it from the Prophetic example to begin in the name of Allāh, by saying bismiLlāh, but it is also from Prophetic practice to remain in remembrance of Allāh throughout the wuḍūʼ, So with each of the actions that we perform, before you wash your mouth engage in remembrance, before you wash your face engage in remembrance. You can say lā ilāha illa Allāh, or subḥān Allāh, or to make a du’ā, make an interactive wuḍūʼ. With each action ask Allāh for meanings related to that particular action. This was not only from the broad Prophetic practice, but the early Muslims used to engage in frequent supplication at each of the stages of wuḍūʼ. In some of the great books of Islām, like the Beginning of Guidance by Imām al-Ghazālī, are suggested particular supplications that you can recite at each stage of your wuḍūʼ, and this is the kind of wuḍūʼ that results not just in physical cleanliness and then to be outwardly ready to pray, but it results in inward purification, inward radiance, and a spiritual readiness to pray. And this is why when we finish the wuḍūʼ, we take a sip of the water source from which we are making wuḍūʼ, and then we look up to the Heavens, we raise our finger, and we make the testification of faith, and we make the du’ā: 

“رَبِّي اجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ التَّوَّابِيْنَ وَ اجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِيْنَ”

Oh Lord, make me of the oft-repentant and make me of those who purify themselves completely!” 

And these are the two meanings of the ritual ablution: complete repentance and complete purification, illumination, and readiness for the prayer.

What is Special About the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah? – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

* Originally Published on 1/09/2016

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why the first ten days of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah are so special, and what actions we can take to benefit from them.

The life of a Muslim is very special as it is full of opportunities to get closer to Allah ﷻ‎ by doing the various forms of worship that Allah ﷻ loves.  These forms of worship turn the life of a Muslim into a life of righteous action, speech and continuous activity for the benefit and goodness of everyone.  This means that the life of Mu’mins should be devoted to worship, obedience, righteous deeds and absolute connection with Allah ﷻ in every part of their life, and in all their affairs.  They do not need to go to the mosque, in particular, to approach Allah ﷻ, as He is with them all the time, as He said in the Qur’an (Surah Qaf: 16):  “…and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.”
From this we know that our life cannot be cut off from the Mercy of Allah ﷻ.  So, from having this connection, during the five prayers that are spread over twenty-four hours, the special day of jummah once a week, fasting during the month Ramadan once a year, fasting the six days of Shawwal, fasting on Monday and Thursday every week, fasting the three bright days every month, and then, add to this, the ten days of Dhul Hijjah; those days in which every good deed we do, not only are we rewarded, but Allah ﷻ loves good deeds in these days more than any other time of the year.

What is Special About the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah?

The special worship, hajj is particular to these ten days, and Rasulullah ﷺ said if Allah ﷻ accepted the hajj of someone, they go back from their Hajj as a new born baby. Umrah is also performed in these days.  For those who do not go for hajj, they can fast for the first nine days, give charity, and they can do a lot of forms of worship. Ibn Hajr (radiallah anhu) said that “during these ten days you can do all the major forms of worship, but this is not possible to gather in any other set of days.”
So our life and our striving does not stop anywhere, and neither does are ability to get closer to Allah ﷻ.  There is no limit to qurb!
Speaking of having no limit to closeness with Allah ﷻ, Surah Alam Nashrah alludes to the station of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ:

Did We not expand your breast? – the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is absolutely Rahma (mercy)!

And raised high for you your repute. – Whenever Allah ﷻ is mentioned the name of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is mentioned

And to your Lord direct [your] longing!  Keep striving in your connection with Allah ﷻ as there is no limit to closeness

The Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah in the Qur’an and Sunnah

Qur’an

In Surah Fajr (1-2), Allah ﷻ swears by the time of fajr and by the ten days, and for Allah ﷻ to swear by something is to make it great.  Ibn Abbas, ibn Zubayr, Mujahid and others (radiallah anhum) all agree that the mention of the ten days is those first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
In Surah Al-Hajj (28), Allah ﷻ says:  “…remember the name of Allah ﷻ in the known days…”  ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) mentions that the days referred to in this ayah are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

Sunnah

In a Hadith narrated by ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that “The best days that Allah ﷻ loves good deeds the most in are these days, meaning the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.” (Abu Dawud 2438)
And in a Hadith narrated by Syedina Jabir (radiallah anhu), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:  “[of] the ten best days, the tenth is the day of  sacrifice (Adha), and the uneven numbered day is the day of Arafah, and these are the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.”  (Imam Ahmad)
And in another Hadith, Syedina Jabir (Radiallah anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that there are “no days better than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.”  (ibn Hibban 3853)
Ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:  “the best of deeds to Allah ﷻ, that which He loves and rewards greatly and generously, are those actions performed in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.  (Sunan al Darimi 1774)
In a Hadith, the Sahaba (radiallah anhum) asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ if the mujahid could compare to the one who worships in these ten days, to which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ responded that no one can compare to the person who worships in these ten days except for the mujahid who gives away everything he owns and takes what remains with him and leaves it all on the battlefield, including his life.  Only this person can compare to the one who worships in these ten days!

Best Actions for the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah

1)      Nawafil: try to do as many supererogatory prayers as you can, as it is a mentioned in a Hadith that a person’s station is raised and that bad deeds are erased with each prostration.
2)      Fast as much as you can.  It is mentioned in a hadith, when a companion asked what the best of deeds was, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to fast.
3)      Qiyam ul Layl.  Night prayers should be encouraged in these ten days.  Abdullah ibn Salam (radiallah anhu) mentioned that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to Madinah with all his radiance he mentioned three things to the community:  spread peace, feed people, and pray while others are asleep.  Normally, after such a migration, people would be sceptical and cautions of others, but instead the Messenger of Allah ﷺ summarized the deen upon his arrival in Madinah al Munawarrah.  The great tab’ee Said ibn Jubayr (radiallah anhu) said in the first ten nights of Dhul Hijjah, do not turn off your lights!
4)      Tahlil, Tahmeed, Takbeer:  To repeat La ilaha illallahAlhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar – La ilaha illallah – wAllahu Akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd.  Abdullah ibn Omar and Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhum) were known for reciting takbeer in the market place.  Abdullah ibn Omar (radiallah anhu) would keep reciting his dhikr, and would only return salam in these ten days.
5)      Day of Arafah:  The day of Arafah should be occupied with dua and tawbah.  The life of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was dua, to remember Allah ﷻ with every action in every moment.

Dua on Day of Arafah of Sayyidina Ali 

In making dua on the day of Arafah, Sayyidina Ali (RA) used to repeat the following dua:

Oh Allah! Free me from the hellfire.

Ya Allah! Grant me abundant halal rizq.

Ya Allah! Keep away from me the disobedient ones, whether they be jinn or human.

Practically, on the day of Arafah, you should try to take off from work if possible, that way you can spend your day in dua.  In addition, sleep directly after isha the night before, and wake up a hour before fajr in order to be present at the time Allah ﷻ loves to accept dua.  Make the intention to make this a different day of Arafah; make it a day that is different from all the rest.
In closing, it is important to remind ourselves of the purpose of our deen, as is stated in Surah Anbiya:  “We did not send you other than to be a Mercy to all the Worlds,” speaking about the Messenger of Allahﷺ.  So we can never stop striving, we must be that mercy.
May Allah ﷻ grant His Mercy and the company of His Mercy ﷺ, and may He make these ten days those of forgiveness and acceptance of our duas.

Imam al-Haddad’s Counsels on Hajj and `Umrah – Muwasala

* Originally Published on 14/09/2013

COUNSELS ON TRAVELLING

You must hold fast to all the acts of devotion which you perform regularly when you are not travelling. Do not make light of leaving any of them. You should make up any acts of devotion which you are unable to perform due to travelling when you are able to do so, if they are of the sort which can be made up. If it is not possible to make them up, then remember that Allah has made things easy for people travelling. The hadith states: “If a believer travels or becomes sick, Allah orders His angels to record for him the same actions that he would perform when he was not travelling and was in good health.” This is a blessing, a mercy and ease from Allah. All praise be to Allah – He is so merciful and kind to His slaves!
Imam Hadadd's Mosque, Tarim, Yemen
Beware of belittling the dispensations of shortening and joining one’s prayers when it is permissible to do so, for “Allah loves for people to take His dispensations just as He loves people to perform that which has normally been made compulsory for them.”
Be consistent in reading the supplications that it is recommended to read while travelling, such as the supplication you read upon mounting (your horse) or dismounting,  or the supplication you read upon entering a town. You will find a large amount of these in al-Adhkār [of Imām al-Nawawī] so look for them and memorise them.
When you travel, make your spiritual ambition drive your feet forward and make your heart travel with your body. Let reliance upon Allāh be your provision, having a good opinion of Him your support, truthfulness your vehicle and neediness and brokenness your inner and outer garments. Let your contentment with Him to the exclusion of all others be your companion.

HAJJ

You must purify your intention to go to Allah’s Sacred House, to perform the rights of Ḥajj, to venerate the things which He has made inviolable and sacred and to visit the grave of His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace. In your journey to those places you should have no other purpose or aim except this and any other praiseworthy intention connected to this. Beware of combining these noble intentions with the desire for recreation or trade.
You must make ṭawāf (circumambulation) of the Ancient House in abundance, for the one making ṭawāf is immersed in mercy. While you are doing so, your hearts should be overflowing with veneration and magnification for the Lord of the House. Do not busy yourselves with anything other than recitation of the Qur’ān, remembrance of Allah and supplication. Beware of idle speech.
Be consistent in reading the adhkār and supplications which should be read during ṭawāf and sa`ī and in other places on the Ḥajj. You should also have the utmost concern for visiting all the sacred places.
You should perform `umrah in abundance, especially in the month of Ramaḍān, for performing one `umrah in Ramaḍān is equal in reward to performing Ḥajj with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Family and grant them peace.
You must have veneration for the two Sacred Precincts and observe the correct etiquette in them. You must also honour those living there, and give them the right due to them for living in proximity to those blessed places. Maintain a good opinion of them specifically and of the Muslims generally. If you see or hear something you dislike, be patient and remain silent. However, if you are able to openly speak the truth then do so, for no one has any excuse to remain silent unless he is absolutely certain he is unable to change a wrong that is being committed.
One of the best states to be in is to focus fully on Allah and on worshipping Him such that you are unaware of the state of those around you, since the people of this time have contravened the way of the pious predecessors and left behind their praiseworthy teachings. The one who Allah guides is rightly guided; but the one who Allah causes to go astray – for him you will find no protector to guide him.
Masjid Ul Haram Mekka (16)You must perform abundant pious acts in the Sacred Precinct in Makkah, for one good deed therein is rewarded one hundred thousand times over. This multiplication is narrated specifically regarding the prayer by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) but some scholars regard it to apply to all acts of obedience. Just as the reward for acts of obedience is far greater in the Sacred Precinct, likewise acts of disobedience are far graver therein. One of the pious predecessors said: “There is no place where someone is taken to account for wishing to commit an act of disobedience other than Makkah.” The scholars use as evidence for this Allah’s saying: If Anyone wishes therein to do wrong out of deviance We will cause him to taste a painful punishment.
Ibn `Abbās, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “I would prefer to commit seventy sins outside the Sacred Precinct than to commit one sin in Makkah.” May Allah protect Makkah, and increase it in greatness, stature and nobility.
When you reach His inviolable House and your eyes gaze upon it, make your heart gaze upon the Lord of the House. Ḥajj has an outer element and an inner element. The outer element is the Sacred Law (sharī`ah) and the inner element is reality (ḥaqīqah). Do not focus on one element to the exclusion of the other, but rather combine the two.
Know that there is a house inside you that belongs to Allāh, which is your heart. He has ordered Ibrāhīm (your knowledge) and Ismā`īl (your intellect) to purify it for the angels and spirits who wish to make ṭawāf (circumambulation) of it, seclude themselves in it, bow and prostrate in it.[6 – See below] Anyone who possesses neither Ibrāhīm nor Ismā`īl is ignorant and foolish, and the Fire will consume him. Anyone who possesses them both but does not allow them to purify the house so that it is fit for those who wish to make ṭawāf (circumambulation) of it and seclude themselves in it, is a representative of the Devil. An example of such a person is a heedless scholar who does not act according to the dictates of his knowledge and intellect.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Zamzam water is what it is drunk for.” This means that if someone drinks it for a sickness, Allah will heal them; if someone drinks it for hunger, Allah will cause them to be satiated and if someone drinks it for a need, Allah will fulfil that need. This is because the well was brought forth when Allah’s aid was sought and Allah gave relief to Ismā`īl by it. The great Imāms have tried this with their own needs and found the Prophet’s words to be true. However, it requires a correct intention and sincerity and it is not for everyone.

CONCLUSION: STORIES OF THE PIOUS

This conclusion is somewhat appropriate to the counsels which preceded it, and someone of intellect and intelligence may derive etiquettes from these narrations which he should observe in those sacred places.
Mentioning the pious predecessors and their lives gives comfort to travellers on the path to the next life, for they are the examples which we should take. Looking at their striving helps seekers to realise their shortcomings. If someone looks at the people of his time and their heedlessness and procrastination, he will most often become proud of himself or harbour a bad opinion of them, both of which are blameworthy. The felicitous one is someone who emulates the pious predecessors, uses them as a proof against himself and drives himself to walk in their footsteps and to follow their straight path.

  • The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his Family and Companions and grant them peace) made Ḥajj riding on a shabby-looking saddle, under which was a rug worth less than four dirhams. On his return he said: “O Allah, make it a blessed Ḥajj. Let there be no ostentation in it, nor reputation-seeking.”
  • `Umar made ṭawāf around the House. He placed his hand on the Black Stone, kissed it and then cried. Then he said: “By Allah, I know that you are a Stone that cannot harm or benefit anyone. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allah doing this, I would not have done it.” Then he turned round and saw `Alī (may Allah ennoble him) behind him. He said to him: “O Abū al-Ḥasan, this is the place where tears flow.”`Alī said to him: “On the contrary, O Leader of the Believers, this Stone harms and benefits people. When Allah took the covenant with the progeny of Adam and said to them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’, He recorded this and this Stone swallowed this document. It will then bear witness to anyone who touches it with truthfulness.”
  • A man met `Abdullāh bin `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) while making ṭawāf. He asked `Abdullāh bin `Umar for something but he did not respond. `Abdullāh bin `Umar met the man again later and said to him: “Perhaps you were upset when I did not respond to you. Do you not know that when we make ṭawāf we present ourselves to Allah? In any case your need has been answered.”
  • Ṭāūs said: “I saw `Alī (Zayn al-`Ābidīn) the son of Imām al-Ḥusayn in the depths of the night standing in prayer in the Ḥijr [7 – See below] so I came close to him, saying to myself, ‘This is a pious man from the People of the House. Perhaps I will hear him say something that will benefit me.’ I heard him saying while in prostration: ‘A beggar is at Your door, a poor man is at Your door, Your needy slave is at Your door.’ [8 – See below] Whenever I called upon Allah using these words, my prayers were answered.”
  • It was said that when `Alī (Zayn al-`Ābidīn) the son of Imam al-Husayn entered into iḥrām he wished to say ‘labbayk’, but instead he started shaking, his colour changed and he fell off his camel. When he was asked what happened he said: “I feared that I would say labbayk – responding to the call of my Lord – and it would be completely rejected.”
  • Sālim bin `Abdullāh bin `Umar met Hishām bin `Abd al-Malik who was then the governor of Makkah inside the Ka`bah. Hishām said to him: “Ask me, that I may fulfil your need.” “I would be ashamed to ask other than Him, when I am in His House.” When they were outside the House, Hishām said to him: “You are now outside, so ask what you wish.” Sālim said: “Do you mean from the things of this world or the next world?” “All I possess are the things of this world.” “I did not ask for worldly things from the One Who possesses them, so why would I ask them from anyone other than Him?”
  • A pious man said: “I once saw a man performing ṭawāf and sa`ī. His slaves were around him driving people out of his way to make space for him. I later saw him in Baghdad begging. I asked him what had happened and he said: ‘I showed arrogance in a place where people show humility so Allah humbled me in a place where people show arrogance.’”
  • Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī once stood at `Arafāt in the sun on an extremely hot day. He was asked: “Why do you not move into the shade?” He replied: “I did not realise I was in the sun. I recalled a sin that I had committed and I did not feel the heat of the sun.” It was so hot that had someone wrung out his clothes, sweat would have run forth from them. This sin that he recalled was probably a mere thought that had it come to anyone else’s mind, they would not have even considered it a minor sin. This is the veneration the pious predecessors had for their Lord and their distance from acts of disobedience.
  • A man once took seven stones from `Arafāt and made them bear witness to his testimony that there is no god but Allāh. He then saw in a dream that he was standing in front of Allāh to be judged. He was taken to account and then ordered to be taken to the Fire. However, whenever he was brought to one of the seven gates of the Fire, a stone came and blocked his entrance. He realised that these stones were the same stones that had born witness to his testimony. Then his testimony was brought and the gate of Paradise was opened to him.
  • `Ali bin al-Muwaffaq said: “On the eve of the Day of `Arafah I saw in my dream two angels who had descended from the heavens. One said to the other: “Do you know how many people have come to our Lord’s House to perform Ḥajj this year?” “No,” said the other. “Six hundred thousand,” he said. “Do you know how many have been accepted?” “No.” “Six people.” So I remained in a state of sorrow and distress. I said to myself, ‘What chance do I have of being among those six?’ The following night, the eve of the Day of Slaughter, I saw the two angels again. One said to the other: “Do you know what the judgement of our Lord was?” “No,” said the other. “He gave one hundred thousand people to each of the six (and thus accepted them all.” Upon hearing this, I woke up in a state of joy that was indescribable.

TURNING TO THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH

We round off these counsels with Imām al-Ḥaddād’s address to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ on his visit to him.

أَتَيْنَاكَ زَوَّاراً نَرُومُ شَفَاعَةً إِلى اللهِ في مَحْوِ الإِسَاءَةِ و الذَّنْبِ
و في النَّفْسِ حَاجَاتٌ و ثَمَّ مَطَالِبُ نُؤَمِّلُ أَنْ تُقْضى بِجَاهِكَ يا مُحْبِي
تَوَجَّهْ رَسولَ للهِ في كُلِّ حَاجَةٍ لنا و مُهِمٍّ في المعَاشِ و في القَلْبِ
و إِنَّ صَلاحَ الدِّينِ و القَلْبِ سَيِّدي هُوَ الغَرَضُ الأَقْصى فَيَا سَيِّدي قُمْ بِي
عَلَيْكَ صَلاةُ اللهِ يا خَيْرَ مُهْتَدٍ و هادٍ بِنُورِ اللهِ في الشَّرْقِ و الغَرْبِ

We have come to you as visitors, aiming to attain your intercession with Allah in wiping out our sins and wrongdoings
In our souls are needs and requests that we hope to be fulfilled through your status, O Giver
Turn (to Allah), O Messenger of Allah, regarding every need and concern of ours in our worldly lives and in our hearts
The rectification of my religion and my heart is my utmost goal, my Master, so assist me.
May Allah’s blessings be upon you, for you are the best one who guides by the light of Allah in the East and West.

[Taken from Imām al-Ḥaddād’s al-Waṣayā al-Nāf`iah, from his Dīwān and from al-Fuyūḍāt al-Rabbaniyyah by Ḥabīb Zayn bin Sumayṭ]

* Originally sourced from Muwasala

Intentions For After Ramadan – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

What intentions should we make for after Ramadan?

 

We intend to be among those whose entire year is Ramadan

We intend that our connection with Allah is expressed in our actions throughout the day and the night

We intend to serve the Ummah in the best way by focusing on the Three Objectives (knowledge, devotion and service)

We intend to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make His Messenger ﷺ happy in all that we do

We intend to attain an increase in presence of heart with Allah at all times but especially during the prayer and recitation of the Quran and the adhkar

We intend to establish gatherings with our brothers and sisters who we love for Allah’s sake

We intend to fast the Six Days of Shawwal and other blessed days such as Tāsūā’ and Ashura (9th and 10th Muharram) and the Day of Arafah and at least three days in every month

 

* Courtesy of Muwasala.org

Playing Kids, Praying Adults: A Taraweeh Lesson – Saad Razi Shaikh

Ramadan is a good time to teach children. And to learn from them.

 

Those who spend (of that which Allah hath given them) in ease and in adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind; Allah loveth the good. (3:134)

Sometime in early Ramadan, our blessed mosque was hit with an expected Taraweeh problem. This was a menace many foresaw, but few had the stomach to tackle it. The problem was of children. Yes, children running around Taraweeh, screaming their lungs out, creating a racket not unlike birds on an early morning. Elders were distraught, they were bound by the obligation to be kind to children, while at the same time they desired a hassle-free Taraweeh. It took two spirited warnings from the Imam to cut the din out and restore some normality. Save for the odd kid, still merrily gliding from the stair rails, the prayers went about with little disturbance.

My own thoughts on the matter were torn between two urges. The first was to show patience and mercy to the kids. The next, more pressing desire, was to send them back home. Surely, there had to be some decorum in the mosque? Kids need to be taught by their parents as much, I reasoned. Otherwise, how on earth were the worshipers supposed to pray? The mosque would not be reduced to a child’s playground.

But this line of argument couldn’t hold for long. If the children were not praying, rather playing during the prayers, it was because they did not know any better. Their nature was not attuned to silence and attention, and they fell easy prey to distraction. One mischievous glance would bounce off from one child to the other, an elbow jab, a back slap, all before it would spread into a full-blown pandemonium. The children were just acting upon their distractions.

Acting upon their distractions. These words stuck to my mind, for they made me uncomfortable. As an adult, I knew the importance of the prayers. I knew the importance of attention. I had been taught the manners regarding the prayer. Yet my prayers were far from perfect. At the spiritual level, particularly retaining to attention and reflection, I knew my prayers fell well short of the desired levels. Was it not true that my mind wavered often? On particularly tiring days, did my attention not slacken? The more I reflected on my own shortcomings, the more the noise of the children receded away from my mind. For while both the children and I were distracted, falling woefully short in our prayers, the distraction of the children was visible. Mine wasn’t. That was the lone difference between us.

Imam Ghazali, in his characteristic brilliance, mentioned in ‘The Beginning of Guidance’ that one shouldn’t see oneself as being superior to anyone else, even children. He writes:

‘If you see a child, you should say [to yourself], “This child has not transgressed against Allah, and I have, so certainly he is better than me.”

‘If you see an ignorant person, say, “This person has transgressed against Allah most high in ignorance, while I have done so knowingly, so Allah’s evidence against me is greater. And what do I know about what my final state [at death] will be and what his state will be?’

This short piece is not intended as a manual on how to go about dealing with children in mosques. Rather, it is about how the pulls and the triggers of everyday can serve as a means to check ourselves, who we are and where we are in our standing with our Lord. We often fall prey to the slightest provocations, the slightest turn away from the expected norm. Things often ‘rub us the wrong way’. Ire is predictable as the first line of reaction. But if we restrain for a moment, and prevent the worst of our impulses from bursting out, we could look into the clues the situation is providing us.

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, I was sent to perfect good character.Ramadan is the perfect month to better ourselves, to begin anew, to hold our tongues, to watch what we do, to reflect on what can be the better course of action. If the kids are creating a racket, perhaps it’s a test to see which one of us will show mercy to them, which one of us will rise to the Prophetic ethos and show the best of character. It’s easy to lose our patience, if not our minds. But as the Prophet ﷺ reminded us, ‘Circumspection brings nothing but the good.’ We need to remember this, in thought and action. We need to be those who remember the rank of forbearance, as ‘forbearance (hilm) is the best of character’. And that’s a struggle. But without the inner struggle, how will we improve?  

These are reflections, meant as a reminder, a ‘pull-up-your-socks’ moment first and foremost for my own self. Would I be more comfortable with silence during prayers? Certainly. Would I have improved as a person if the calmness of my own mind overcomes the noises outside it? Most certainly. This is the aim, Inshallah. And Ramadan is a great time to intend it sincerely, in thought and practice. May Allah make us those who are patient, who are kind, who are attuned to the Prophetic ethos, particularly in showing mercy, to ourselves and to others.


Saad Razi Shaikh is a journalist based in Mumbai. He writes on popular culture and community initiatives. He can be reached on Twitter @writweeter


 

Keep Good Company In The Last Ten Nights Of Ramadan, by Imam Khalid Latif

*Originally Published on 25/06/2016

In these last nights of Ramadan, gatherings unlike any other time of the year are taking place. We should make sure we are a part of them, writes Imam Khalif Latif.

Gatherings are taking place in which no individual is turned away. The rich, the poor, the strong, the weak, young and old, male and female, skins of all color, complexions of every shade — gatherings that server as reminders of and truly encompass the presence of the Divine. No one is left out, and everyone is welcomed in.
Men and women from all walks of life remove from themselves the shackles of the material and for a moment seek to feed only their spirits. The pursuit of the world becomes a fleeting thought and in its place is the pursuit of a tranquility and contentment that could never be satisfied by the possession of anything worldly.
Titles and ranks and social class are left at the door. You simply stand as yourself. The worth of your standing is not assessed by anything other than the heart that you bring and how willing you are to let its presence define the moment instead of the tyrannical ego you have battled with for almost a month’s time prior to this moment.
Hearts will tremble. Tears will be shed. Bodies will feel a sense of strength unlike any other as they are relenting towards a soul that they no longer control yields them not weakness, but a power unlike anything experienced before.
Indeed, in His remembrance do hearts find rest.
Our Lord, ya Allah, bless our gatherings and all those who are in them. We stand for your sake, do not turn us away.
Answer our prayers and grant us the courage, wisdom, sincerity and compassion to be the answer to the prayers of others — You Are One Who Responds, Al-Mujeeb, The All-Hearing, As-Sami’.
Free our hearts of any anxiety, anguish, or unwarranted anger, from any bitterness, jealousy, or envy. Detach them from loving anything that causes us harm or gives us simple complacency and fill them instead with a lightness strengthened through gratitude, understanding, tranquility and contentment — You are The Source of Peace, As-Salaam, The One Who Enriches, Al-Mughni.
Envelop us in your Divine Love and help us to build a love for ourselves. We are weak and imperfect, but the perfection of Your Love stems from its embracing of us despite our being imperfect — You Are The Loving One, Al-Wadud, The Compassionate, Ar-Rahman.
Free from us oppression, including oppression by our own selves, and keep us from being oppressive, including oppression against our own selves. Grant justice and ease to all those who are held down, peace and stability to those in conflict. Make us satisfied with all that You have given to us, and make us not amongst those us who unjustly take from others — You Are the Most Just, Al-‘Adl, The All-Seeing, Al-Baseer.
Make us amongst the honest, the truthful, the kind, and the conscious. Help us to honor the rights of all those around us, our families, our neighbors, and the societies in which we live. Free us from arrogance, hatred, and racism and endow us with a sense of respect for the diversity of Your creation — You Are the Creator, Al-Khaliq, the Most Generous, Al-Karim.
Give us leaders who are actually leaders, and make us followers who are deserving of great leaders. Grant us knowledge, wisdom, patience, and sensibility as well as good intention and a strong sense of passion. For organized evil will always triumph over disorganized righteousness, and it is time for us to stand better for those who need to be stood up for. Let our serving be not for our own selves but simply because it is the right thing to do. And forgive us, oh Lord, for not doing everything that we are able to — You Are The Most-Wise, Al-Hakim, the Patron and Helper, Al-Wali.
Shower upon us Your Divine Mercy and make us amongst the merciful ones who are merciful to all people, all creation, and to the earth we walk upon — You Are the Most Merciful, Ya Raheem.
Help us to be gentle with each other. Forgive us for our harshness and the mistakes we have made, and let kindness be found in all of our deeds and decisions. Give us a character that is beautiful in its nature and make us amongst who remind the world that hope, mercy, and compassion do exist. You Are Ever-Gentle, Ya Latif.
Make not the pursuit of this world our goal, but let our goals be for the best in the next world. Help us to sustain the lessons learned in this blessed month and let us not turn back to being those who we were prior to its advent.
Give us confidence that helps us to see our strength as well our weaknesses and protect us from arrogance which lets us only see weakness in the world around us.
Give us the courage to reach our potential and protect us from the fear that keeps us from doing so. Let our growth be gradual and consistent and help us to strive every day, even if it is very little and enrich our lives with a richness of our souls.
Grant us companionship that helps us to reach our best and keep us from companions who hold us back. Grant us friends who encourage us towards all that is good, and keep us from friends who take us towards that which is not. Arrange our hearts with those hearts that are gentle and tender, and make us amongst those whose presence brings benefit and relief.
Accept from us our prayers and our fasting, our bowing, our kneeling, our standing, our prostrating. Grant us and our loved ones only the best in this world and the best in the next.
Forgive all those who love us and those whom we love, all those who have wronged us and all those whom we have wronged.
Protect us from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise, and eyes that have forgotten how to cry.
Make the best of our deeds the last of our deeds and let us not leave this world other than in a state that is most pleasing to You.
Our Lord, ya Allah, accept from us, forgive us, and guide and bless us all. Ameen.

On That Mid Ramadan Slump – Ustadh Salman Younas

Originally Published: 22/06/2016

With half of Ramadan gone, does your worship feel routine and stale? Is feeling this way making you lazier and less excited about performing more acts of worship? Ustadh Salman Younas says this is not uncommon.

This is a challenge that every one of us faces when it comes to our acts of worship. As humans, we have been created weak and part of this weakness are the fluctuations we experience in our states. Sometimes we feel good, excited, and spiritually high; other times we feel stale, lazy, and lacking in presence. Ramadan is no exception when it comes to this.
Before giving you specific advice, the first thing you need to recognize is that feelings are ultimately inconsequential. We worship because we believe God is worthy of worship. Whether it makes us feel good or excited is not the main focus. However, since these feelings become impediments to worship itself for most people, it is important to take some concrete steps in overcoming them when possible.
In this noble month, I would advise you to do the following to reignite the spark:

1. Renew Intentions & Seek God’s Aid

This may sound obvious but it is not so for many people. When we begin to wane in our worship and do not feel the same presence we used to, it is a good time to pause, analyze one’s intention, and turn to God in assistance. Often times, these states are sent precisely as a test to see whether we try to lift ourselves up, turn to Him, and continue striving to do our best. So, perform ablution, pray two cycles, and renew your intention to be in the worship of God to the best of your ability.

2. Don’t Miss Suhur

This is one of the first actions that people stop doing as Ramadan progresses. But suhur is not simply done to keep us somewhat satiated for the long day ahead. Rather, it is a spiritual act which when done the right way with the right intention fills one’s day with blessing (baraka). As the Prophet (God bless him) said, “Partake in suhur for indeed there is blessing in it.” [Bukhari, Muslim] Force yourself to wake up with some time to spare, eat a healthy breakfast, and engage in some worship – no matter how little – before Fajr. When you start your day in a blessed manner, chances are that it will continue in that manner.

3. Freshen Up & Dress Well

If you’re at home, don’t lounge around in your nighties. This is almost asking to be lazy and unproductive. Stay fresh by taking a shower (ghusl) or at the least remaining on ablution (wudu’), keep yourself well-groomed, and dress well. Studies show that clothing can systematically influence an individual’s psychological processes and effect productivity. Additionally, taking care of one’s appearance is part of the sunna.

4. Change Up Your Worship

Often times, breaking out of a stale state requires modifications to one’s daily habits. If you are not finding presence in your supererogatory prayer (nawafil), try to replace some of it with Qur’an or dhikr. Perhaps introduce some reading of tafsir or listening to a lecture by a scholar you enjoy. If you worship mostly at home, visit the masjid for spiritual upliftment; if you do dhikr in your room, go out for a quiet walk with your misbaha (prayer beads); if you usually pray by yourself at home, start praying with other family members.

5. Be Diplomatic & Balanced

The self (nafs) is not an easy thing to tame. Sometimes, we need to approach it diplomatically. Demand worship from it but let it breath a little a bit too. If it wants to check Facebook or Twitter or relax for a bit, then do so in moderation but make sure you tell it to read some Qur’an or perform a few cycles of prayer after. As one of my teachers said, “Give your nafs what it wants from the halal and then take from it what you want from good actions and worship.” This will hopefully ensure that you don’t burn out. As the Prophet (God bless him) said, “This religion is ease and none makes it difficult except that it will overwhelm him. So, perform your deeds properly and in moderation…” [Bukhari]

6. Good Company & Collective Worship

There is a reason why the larger community is so stressed upon in our tradition. Believers feed off each others’ states and push each other towards something higher than themselves. They uplift each other and provide motivation to engage in the good. The mosque is an obvious place to meet others and engage in collective worship, but so is your home. Keep the Ramadan excitement going in your household by making the family have iftar together, praying together, watching your favorite lectures, going to talks/events, and visiting/inviting people over for iftar. The same can be done with your friends.
While there are a number of other points that can be mentioned, the most important thing is to keep at it. Do not give up on your worship simply because you are not feeling it anymore. Rather, try your best and recognize that worship transcends the temporal feelings that we may experience. These ups and downs are part of the test that God has laid out for us to see who among us “will excel in good deeds.” (11;7) Hopefully, by following some of the above points, the excitement of worship will be reignited. That is what we require at this point: a little spark that we can capitalize on so as to fully benefit from this month.
And God alone gives success.