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::Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu:::Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings::

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hasan al Basri- His knowledge on Tasawwuf

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,
Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

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Taken from part of the article on Hasan al Basri Rahmatullah Alayh found on
His Knowledge of Tassawuf

Of all his mastery in the Islamic sciences, Hassan al Bisri rahmatullahi alayh was particularly known for his knowledge in 'Ilm ut Tassawuf', (science of purifying the heart). This science deals with the inner spiritual state of individuals, and so it is also the most difficult.

The concept of Tassawuf seems strange nowadays too many people because it is seen with so many changes and corruptions attached to it. As written in the earlier article, labels can be misleading. People flee due to misconceptions and lack of understanding. And naturally, if people observe a phenomenon that is forbidden according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, then indeed that particular practice should be rejected.

Unfortunately, people reject the entire concept of Tassawuf based on a few deviant individuals or sects. It is just like how some people may look at us and see our ill behaviors. Upon this, they exclaim, "You are a Muslim! If that is Islam, then I want nothing to do it" and then they turn away from Islam. Looking at our mistakes, they think Islam is awful and reject the whole concept of Islam based on our actions. Of course, this is incorrect.

Tassawuf is referred to in the Qur'an as "Tazkiya" (purification of the heart). Allah (swt) mentions this in the Qur'an as one of the four responsibilities of Rasulullah (saw): "And purify them! (Wa you Zaki him)" The study of this field is called "'Ilm ut Tazkiya" and in hadith, it has been called "Ihsaan."

Let me present a simple example regarding Tassawuf. Imagine that you love sweets and have heard people speak highly about a particular dessert. One day, this irresistible dessert is presented before you. You are ecstatic and get up to quickly wash your hands to eat. However, upon returning you are surprised to find many flies sitting on the dessert trying to taste its sweetness. Now you've lost your appetite. You don't even want to look at this sweet anymore because all the flies around it have ruined it.

Finally, one day you see the same dessert in a bakery, preserved from all the filth and flies. You quickly run inside the store, purchase the dessert, thank Allah (swt) for the blessing, and start enjoying its sweetness. So, seeing the dessert with flies made you turn away from it, and seeing it pure and clean, made you love it. And this is exactly what happens today in the field of Tassawuf.

Ilm ul ihsaan is a necessary part of our deen and discussed in hadith. In a hadith narrated in Sahih al Bukhari, Rasulullah (saw) was once asked by Jibreel (al) different questions about Islam. One of those questions was, "What is Ihsaan?" Rasulullah (saw) responded, "Worship Allah as if you see Him."

Subhanallah; imagine the dedication and focus it takes for a person to reach that level of Imaan where he feels he is in the presence of Allah (swt), looking at Him directly.

Rasulullah (saw) further went on to say, "And if you can't do that, then at least be aware that he is watching you." Even arriving at this realization, which is of the lesser degree than the former is a difficult task for many of us. Most of the time, we forget that Allah (swt) is watching us and we go on to commit great mistakes. Developing this feeling is the main goal of Tassawuf. Hassan al Bisri rahmatullahi alayh was on the true and correct path (Sulook). And he specialized in the true Ilm ut Tassawuf. He wasn't, nauzhobillah, committing bida'ah or going away from deen. This is why many of the greatest people of their time (who even knew more hadith than him) were sitting around him, benefiting from his company (sohba).
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah,
Allahuma Sali'ala Muhamaddin Nabiyil Ummiyi wa 'Ala Sahbi wa Salim.
Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan. Ameen.

All praise is due to Allah, The most Compassionate, The Most Merciful, The Ever-Lasting, The Most High, The Greatest. All praise is due to Him who gives man wisdom and understanding. All praise is due Allah who creates life after taking it away. All praise is due to Allah who listens to our troubles and fears in the most quiet and dark places. All praise is due to Allah who guides along the path that no one else can guide us upon..

There are situations in life that catch us off guard and can bring us down. To others it may seem so small and worthless but to you it can mean so much more. The behaviour of others can have such a huge impact on our emtions and our daily life, and whats more you tend to just lock it up inside which can make things a whole lot more difficult. Dealing with something on your own can be one of the hardest things ever, it can either 'break you or make you'- however as muslims it shouldn't stop there. Whatever happened to us learning to put our trust in Allah subhana wa ta'ala? Where did our faith go?

Subhana'Allah, if we learnt just to let go of things and lift our hands in praise and turn to Allah, the Lord of All things, The Greatest, The Most High. Allah is always there waiting for our prayers, waiting for us to call unto Him. We are His servants and He is our Lord, whenever we are afflicted with unhappiness and sadness, know that He is there. If we are able to put our trust in Allah subhana wa ta'ala, then we have conquered a hurdle and we have accepted that whatever hardship we have become faced with, we have turned to The One Who can make it all better.

Sorry to keep it short. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

May Allah give me the ability to act upon what has been said in this post. Ameen wa thuma ameen.
Duaas greatly needed.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Postrate and whisper, for only He can hear you..

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan. Insha'Allah.
Just found something that summarises my thoughts over the past few days..

Develop patience against sufferings, calamities, and adversities. This virtue of patience is one of the high values of morality and nobility of character, and is the best habit that one can develop. Trust in Allah and let your mind seek His protection in every calamity and suffering. Because you will thus entrust yourself and your affairs to the Best Trustee and to the Mightiest Guardian.

Do not seek help and protection of anybody but Allah. Reserve your prayers, your requests, your solicitations, your supplications, and your entreaties for Him and Him alone. Because to grant, to give, to confer, and to bestow, as well as to withhold, to deprive, to refuse, and to debar lie in His and only His Power. Ask as much of His favors and seek as much of His guidance as you can.

Try to understand this advice, ponder it deeply, do not take it lightly and do not turn away from it. The best knowledge is that which benefits the listener. The knowledge that does not benefit anyone is useless and not worth learning or remembering. Remember that the Lord, who is the Master of death, is also the Master of life. The Creator is the Annihilator. And the One who annihilates has the power to bring everything back to existence again. The One who sends you calamities is the One who will bring you safely out of them. [When you hear hoof beats think of a zebra]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Words of wisdom I

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

Some words of wisdom for your thoughts to ponder over..

It is best to refrain from sins than to seek forgiveness later - Hadhrat Ali (r.a.)
Be for Allah as He wants you, He will be for you better than you want.
We love the beauty of the creation,Imagine the creator of it loving you.
Allah gives and forgives, man gets and forgets..
The purification of our inner being is directly related to our avoidance of blameworthy acts. Examine and test yourself against this standard. Prostrate with humility in the court of Allah subhaanahu wa ta 'aala. Tears flooding from the eyes purify the heart. - Hazrat Zulfiqar Ahmad (db)
The heart is the soil of Allah, Laa ilah illallah is the seed.
It is useless to have a learned tongue but an ignorant heart. - Shaykh Abdal Qadir al Jilani
The heart is comforted by true words,just as a thirsty man is comforted by water- Rumi
When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Worry about Allah and what He wants you to do and He will take care of your worries.

- Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller
Life is always fair, and the reason for that is the hereafter. For anyone who believes in the hereafter will realize that every hardship will hit a dead end. And that dead end will have a door, beyond the door is the reward. When one accepts fate, situations, hardships, pain, they have already passed 50% of the trial by accepting it. Then it's about getting through it. Knowing that Allah is the only one who can give it and also clear us of it will make us turn to Him and then we will find is so much easier. What makes it hard is the fact that we think "life isn't fair", "why me?" "why do i deserve this?" etc. We are tiny tiny creations and we can NEVER question our Lord. - Br. Yasin
The love of this world is the root of all evil. - The Beloved Prophet Muhammad salialahualayhi wassalam
If we are not living for our Lord, relying on His guidance and help, and trusting in His wisdom, we will find it very difficult to negotiate our way through this world. - Imam Zaid Shakir
Go after knowledge;
Should you become poorit will be your wealth.
Should you become rich it will be your embellishment.
Never consider sin to be small. Regard sin as great. He who thinks slightly of sin has considered Allah to be insignificant. -
Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi
You are not superior to a white, or black-skinned person, unless you excel him in piety. -

Sunday, November 05, 2006

If only..

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Iman. Ameen.

I apologise for the lack of posts on this blog, even though a Barakah-ed Ramadhan has come to end. I wanted to post this post as my previous one but I never got time to write up anyway here it is..

As I mentioned in an earlier post of mine before Ramadhan, Ramadhan is a time for personal and spiritual developement. It is a time for us to see all the wrong that we have done and repent to Allah for our sins, keeping our repentence consistent through the Holy month keeps us in touch with our roles- we are the servants of Allah subhana wa ta'ala and we will always have faults, and when we repent to Allah subhana wa ta'ala we are showing that we ackowledge Allah subhana wa ta'ala as the only one who can forgive our sins and He is The Only One we turn to for guidance.

I would just like to add to the above that even though we should see Ramadhan as a time for spiritual developement, it should be carried on throughout the year. Every year Ramadhan is an opportunity to gain closer to Allah and carry that on throughout the year.

As I was saying..During the holy month of Ramadhan I contemplated alot on my past and present actions, my character and the way I behave and treat other people. I realised that I am so far from the way of the Prophet salialahualayhi wasslam and the Mothers of the believers, and if I were to die in such a state, how would I face Allah with all my actions? How would I account for all my sins? It was a wake up call for me to realise that this life is like a drop in the ocean compared to the hereafter and instead of going backward I need to walk forward, and walking on the path of Allah.

Unfortunately in life, no matter how careful we may be at avoiding something, we can end up facing that same thing. It doesn't hit us until afterwards or sometimes it doesn't hit us until later wrong, that the scenario we were faced with and the way we reacted could have been the wrong one. It could have been something so small and so petty, but we begin to question our actions, over whether we responded in the correct Islamic behaviour. Brothers and sisters I'm talking about regret, that awful feeling that taunts you for days on end, and doesn't let you sleep.
It is a common feeling in all of us, and we often ponder if we could turn back the hands onthe clock for just a few hours, or just a day.

If we begin to regret over things that are world related, for example if we start regretting over buying a pair of shoes rather than another pair of shoes that were cheaper, we should know that there is a day of Judgement and things that we should have done in life for the sake of Allah were missed out, how will we feel? How will a pair of shoes compare to something with greater magnitude such as this?

The first step to getting over regret is turning to Allah subhana wa ta'ala for forgiveness over those things that we are regretful over, the second thing is to know that Allah subhana wa ta'ala is always watching us and always ask yourself before you do anything 'If I do this will Allah subhana wa ta'ala be pleased with me or will He be angered by my action?', and thirdly when we speak we should speak only that which is good. Every time we feel the need to backbite or talk nonsense, use that time to read words of Dhikr, this way we will increase our love and awareness for Allah rather than move away.

I hope to insha'Allah post more on my experiences with you..I have to go. Please keep this sinner in your duaas, I am in need of them.

May Allah give us the ability to think before we speak and to think before we act. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give me firstly the ability to act upon what I have understood and what I have said. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give you and I the ability to strive hard in His path and seek His pleasure. May He be pleased with us on Qiyam ul layl and may we die in the state He is most pleased with us. Ameen wa thuma ameen.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah,

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Maintaing the correct balance..

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan. Ameen

It's funny how in everyday communication, one of the main moans of conversation are the fact that there aren't enough hours in the day, I for one am very guilty of it. Today I took a step back and realised how ungrateful I sounded; I realised that even though we feel that there isn't enough time to do what we please, we have still been given that time, 24 hours.
24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds. Doesn't sound like alot of time for most of us, but as I said atleast we have been given that, surely it's alot better than having 12 hours? We should see time as another one of the billion billion gazillion mercy's from Allah subhana wa ta'ala.

Everything in life is about maintaing the right balance to do things, and it's because of the way some people chose to lead their lives, they find that there is no balance and time is lost, wasted gone. I sometimes feel that I spend too much time doing one thing, rather than using that extra time to do what I had originally intended to do, what I should have been doing.

In life our purpose is to worship Allah subhana wa ta'ala, however we have been put on this Earth with needs and activities to carry out on a regular basis. It is essential in life that we do these things for our survival, in order for us to carry out our ultimate purpose. However it is at this point that things start to 'kick in' and life becomes tough. Is it as this point that things become a test from Allah subhana wa ta'ala, and it is how we are able to maintain that balance that we will be judged upon by Allah subhana wa ta'ala.. (Except, that 'point' that we meet, is not something that we face with every once in a while it is everyday).
Maintaining the right balance is crutial. Doing our chores with the intention of pleasing Allah subhana wa ta'ala and doing it in the correct manner, more to the point, living our life according to the sunnah of our Beloved Rasool salialahualayhi wassalam.

Helping out our parents, cleaning, washing up, eating, taking a bath, teaching, etc, are all acts of Ibadah(Worship) if they are done in the right way possible. Subhana'Allah isn't that amazing? The beauty of Islam is found in so many places, we just don't look hard enough. At the same time, even though all of the above verbs are needed in our life, we should it make it such that our Ibadah is a priority and it should be done without even a second thought.

..Just a random thought that was floating around. It can be seen similar to the pH value of things, anything that is too acidic is bad for us, anything that is too alkaline is bad for us, keeping ir around about neutral is just right.

May Allah give us all the ability to establish the right balance of our everyday activities. May we remember and worship Him in everything that we do.Ameen wa thuma ameen.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Eid Mubarak

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh..

To all the readers of this blog, Eid Mubarak. Wishing you a happy Eid ul Fitr. Please keep me in your du'aas.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

The Messenger of Allah P.B.U.H had addressed the people:
"O people! shadowing you is a great month, a blessed month, a month in which is a night greater than a thousand months. Allah has made compulsory fasting in this month and has made standing (in prayer) at night rewarding.
"Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any deed of good in it (Ramadan), he is as one who has performed a Fard in any (time) other than it. And whoever performs in it a Fard, he is as one who has performed seventy Fara'id in any (time) other than it.
Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Bayhaqi

The Messenger of Allah P.B.U.H has said:
“Whoever stands through Ramadan (in prayer) with faith and hope of reward will be forgiven his past sins.”
al-Bukhari and Muslim

Abu Hurayrah t narrates that the Messenger of Allah P.B.U.H would (strongly) encourage people to the standing (in prayer) of Ramadan, just short of ordaining it as a great (Fard) act. He (the Messenger P.B.U.H) would say:
“Whoever stands through Ramadan (in prayer) with faith and hope of reward will be forgiven his past sins.”

Some scholars are of the opinion that the reward of the standing (in prayer) of Ramadan is applicable to all the Salahs of Ramadan. Most scholars including Imam an-Nawawi are of the opinion that Tarawih is meant here.
Fatwul Bari

Aishah narrates:
“The Messenger of Allah went out and performed the night prayers of Ramadan and people followed him in prayer. In the morning people spoke about this and the number of people increased. He then went out on the second night and offered prayers and people offered behind him. In the morning people spoke about this and the number of people increased. Then he went out on the third night and offered prayers and people offered behind him. In the morning, people spoke about this and the number of people increased until the Masjid could not hold so many people. He did not go out on that night. People started to say Salah! Salah! But he did not go out to them until the time came for him to go for the Fajr prayer.
“After he completed the Fajr prayer , he faced the people, praised Allah and then said that he was not afraid of their state (numbers) the night before, ‘But I was afraid that it would become a Fard upon you.’
“People were discouraged, then he would (strongly) encourage people to the standing (in prayer) of Ramadan, just short of ordaining it as a great (Fard) act. He (the Messenger P.B.U.H) would say, ‘Whoever stands through Ramadan (in prayer) with faith and hope of reward will be forgiven his past sins.’”
The narrator of this Hadith (`Urwah ibn Zubayr ) mentions that this was the state of this prayer when the Messenger of Allah P.B.U.H passed away, and it was like that under the Khilafah of Abu Bakr and also the initial part of the Khilafah of `Umar . Thereafter `Umar gathered everyone behind Ubayy ibn Ka`b . And this was the first time people were gathered (through instruction) behind one Imam in Ramadan.
al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn ibban (The words of this narration are that of Ibn ibban)

Abdur-Rawman ibn `Abdul Qari narrates:
“I went out with `Umar ibn Khabbab one night in Ramadan to the Masjid. There, the people were dispersed. (Here was) a person performing Salah alone, (there was) a person performing Salah with a few people following him. `Umar t said, ‘I think that if these (people) gathered behind one reciter (Imam) it would be best.’ He was determined on this and thus gathered them behind Ubayy ibn Ka`b . “I then went out with him on another night, and the people were performing Salah with one reciter (Imam). `Umar said, ‘this is a commendable innovation. And those who sleep from this are better than those who stand.’ He meant from this, those who sleep (early) to offer Salah late are better than those who offer Salah early.”

Imam al-Bayhaqi states:
“It is clear that the Nabi P.B.U.H prevented (himself from) the offering of Salah with people (i.e. as a group) on the fourth night because of the apprehension that Allah may make it a Fard upon them (the Muslims - which might prove difficult for them). When Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, took his soul to His mercy, its (possibility of) becoming Fard ended. Thus `Umar t did not have the apprehension that the Prophet P.B.U.H had (i.e. its possibility of becoming Fard). And he thought that the gathering of all behind one reciter would be best. He thus instructed this. What he did was not against the Book nor the Sunnah nor even the consensus of the Ummah (i.e. none of the other Sawabah objected to or even questioned this) and it was not a misguiding innovation but it was a good invention, based on the Prophet’s example of leading the congregation.”
as-Sunan al-Sughra of al-Bayhaqi

  1. Tarawih Salah is Sunnah Mu-akkadah for both men and women.
  2. To perform Tarawih in jama`ah is Sunnah Kifayah for men, which means that there should be in a locality/Masjid at least one group of people who perform Salah in jama`ah.
  3. It is permissible for a person to perform Tarawih alone while others perform it together. However, it should not be such that due to everyone reading alone, no jama`ah is made, in which case all will be responsible for disregarding the sunnah.
  4. The time for Tarawih is from after Isha Salah to a little before as-Sub as-Sadiq. It can be performed either before or after the Witr Salah, although it is common practice that Witr follows Tarawih.
  5. If one has missed a few raka`at of Tarawih and the Imam has commenced the Witr, then one may join the Witr and complete the remainder of the Tarawih thereafter.
  6. Tarawih of 20 raka`at in groups of two is not only the example of the Sawabah, (other number of raka`at - 8, 12, 28, 36, 40, etc - have also been mentioned by various scholars) but it is also what is practised upon by the ummah in general.
  7. One should have a niyyah for 2 raka'at of Tarawih each time. After every four raka`at it is Mustawabb to sit a while and take a rest.
  8. One may remain silent or recite the Qur'an or tasbiw in a low voice or offer Nafl Salah separately during the period of rest after every four raka`at.
    It is makruh to perform Tarawih sitting if one has the strength of qiyam (standing).
    While performing Tarawih some people do not join the jama`ah from the beginning but join the Imam when he prepares to go into Ruku`. This is makruh. They should join at the beginning.
  9. If one does not get the jama`ah for the Fard of Isha’, he should first perform his Fard alone and then join the jama`ah for Tarawih.

Taken from

Duaas greatly requested.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ramadhan Mubarak :D

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan. Ameen.

Just a quick post to say Ramadhan Mubarak/Mabrook! Alhamdulilah by the will of Allah we have now left Sha'ban and entered the Holy month of Ramadhan. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala accept all our fasts for His sake only, keep us steadfast in Ibadah and give us the ability to strengthen our Imaan. Ameeen!

As we have entered the Holy month we must ensure that our time is used efficiently in Ibadaah and spent in the path of Allah. Every moment is precious so let us use our time wisely! Insha'Allah may we all see this month as an opportunity to better ourselves for the sake of Allah and to become closer to Him.

I regret to tell you that there will be fewer posts on this blog as I have a firm intention to utilise every second I can. I intented to post more posts on here but unfortunately there were a few posts I wanted to write on that were left as half drafts..alhamdulilah there are many useful links at the top of my side bar which I recommend you read. Please also have a look at the blogs on my side bar.

To receive any updates via email when new posts are posted you can subscribe to this blog by simply entering your email address subscription box on the right. If you feel that you'd like to be notified that way so that it can save on time, feel free. Please note that all email address's are kept strictly confidential and will not be passed on to any third parties.

As it is Ramadhan, I wanted to make a request for both those who know me personally and who don't to forgive me for any of my shortcomings or for anything that I have said or done that may have offended you. Please keep me in your duaas and also remember those muslims around the world who are less fortunate than we are, and those muslims who are suffering at the hands of the kuffar.

A beautiful duaa courtesy of Muslimah Ukhti :D (as always in my duaas sis);

May Allah grant us success in these blessed days and nights of this beautiful month and throughout our life time, to follow the path of our Beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam.
May Allah shower His Mercy and Blessing on the entire muslim ummah.

Ya Allah protect us from the punishment of the grave, hellfire, all harms, the evils of our nafs and shaytaan.
Ya Allah protect us from every sin and accept our Ibaadah and Fasts in this blessed month.

Ya Allah! grant us the taufiq to carry on doing good deeds in Ramadhan and throughout the year.
Ya Allah! I ask You for Your love and the love of those who love You, and for the love of every action which will bring me closer to Your love.

Praise and gratitude be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be on Prophet Muhammad Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam, his family, his Companions, and those who rightly follow them.

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fasting in Ramadan - A Muslim Pharmacist's Perspective

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan. Ameen. I found an interesting article on fasting- a muslim pharmacists point of view. This post is dedicated to my dear sister Mujahidah an Nafs - self explanatory :).

Please note that this article was written just before last years Ramadhan so if the dates in the article don't make sense you'll know why.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast from just before sunrise to sunset each day, is upon us again. This year it begins in mid-November. Special issues that may arise in a pharmacy during Ramadan include providing advice on appropriate diet and on medical compliance among the Muslim population. In this article, I provide a personal perspective of why Muslims fast and, as a Muslim pharmacist, what advice I consider may be appropriate for fasting customers both healthy and those on medication, such as diabetic patients

The observance of fasting during Ramadan constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. The experience of fasting is intended to teach Muslims self-discipline and self-restraint, and understand a little of the plight of the less privileged (e.g., the hungry, thirsty and the poor). Furthermore, Ramadan fasting is not just about disciplining the body to refrain from eating and drinking from predawn until sunset but is also about exerting control over the mind. This involves restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing oneself to serve as a good Muslim and a good person. Ramadan is a month of peace and love in which individuals are encouraged to bury differences, to forget and forgive and to renew both human and spiritual relationships. Therefore, it contributes to the overall principle of making the individual more humane, more considerate and generally a more responsible member of society. In this way, the month of Ramadan ultimately benefits society not just the individual. It does this, in part, by setting a standard for behaviour not only in this month but during the rest of the year and, indeed, every year of a Muslim's life. These principal tenets of Ramadan are important when considering our intentions and subsequent actions during this spiritual month, including those pertaining to the health of the individual.

Fasting during Ramadan is prescribed for every healthy, adult Muslim whereas the weak, the sick, children, travellers and menstruating women are among those exempt. Muslims observing the fast are required to abstain not only from eating food and drinking water but also from consuming oral medicines and injecting intravenous nutritional fluids. However, not all Muslims who are ill seek this exemption and insist on fasting in any case. Fasting by Muslims during illness can cause problems if not supervised by health professionals. However, health problems during Ramadan can develop in otherwise healthy individuals and such patients could benefit from receiving advice on their diet.

When does Ramadan begin?

Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Koran were revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammed. It traditionally begins when the new crescent moon (hilal) of Ramadan, the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar, is sighted. The period of fasting starts the morning after the birth of the new moon and ends with the sighting of the birth of the next new moon.

If the new moon is not visible due to cloud or fog, then the beginning and end of Ramadan are determined by counting the days of the month. Fasting begins the morning after the 30th day of the previous month. Similarly, the fast is broken the morning after the 30th day of Ramadan is complete.

This year, Muslims throughout the world will begin to search the sky for the new crescent moon from 15 November.

Advice on diet

During this year where Ramadan falls in the winter, and we do not have the very long days of the summer heat to contend with, most health problems are likely to arise from inappropriate diet or as a consequence of over-eating and insufficient sleep.

There is no need to consume excess food at iftar (the food eaten in the period immediately after sunset to break fast), dinner, or sahur (the light meal generally eaten about half an hour to one hour before dawn). The reasons for this are two-fold. First, and most importantly, such a lifestyle contradicts the principal aims and spirit of Ramadan. Over-eating can be seen as a reflection of weak discipline and irresponsibility. Secondly, the body has regulatory mechanisms that reduce the metabolic rate and ensure efficient utilisation of body fat. Furthermore, most people assume a more sedentary lifestyle while fasting. The net result is that a balanced diet, that consists of less than the normal amount of food intake, is sufficient to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan.

To remain healthy during Ramadan, one should consume food from the major food groups: bread and cereal, milk and dairy products, fish, meat and poultry, beans, vegetables and fruits. (Vegetarians and vegans should amend this list as appropriate.) Intake of fruits after a meal is strongly suggested. Diet in Ramadan should not differ much from the normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that normal weight is maintained, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is overweight, Ramadan is an ideal time to try to normalise one's weight.

In view of the long hours of fasting, the so-called "complex carbohydrates" or slow digesting foods should be consumed at sahur so that the food lasts longer (about eight hours) resulting in less hunger during the day. These complex carbohydrates are found in foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour and unpolished rice.

In contrast, refined carbohydrates or fast-digesting foods last for only three to four hours and may be better taken at iftar to restore blood glucose levels rapidly. Fast-burning foods include those that contain sugar and white flour. Dates are an excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium and have been recommended since the days of the Prophet Mohammed as a good way of breaking the fast.

Fried foods, very spicy foods and foods containing too much sugar, such as sweets, can cause health problems and should be limited during Ramadan. They cause indigestion, heart-burn and weight problems. Fasting can often increase gastric acidity levels causing a burning feeling, a heaviness in the stomach, and a sour mouth. This can be overcome by eating foods rich in fibre such as whole wheat bread, vegetables, hummus, beans, and fruits. These foods trigger muscular action, churning and mixing food, breaking it into small particles, and thus help reduce the build up of acid in the stomach.

Drinking of sufficient water and juices between iftar and sleep to avoid dehydration, and for detoxification of the digestive system, should be encouraged in fasting individuals. However, the intake of large amounts of caffeine-containing beverages should be avoided, especially at sahur. For example, drinking too much tea will increase urine output and inevitably cause the loss of valuable mineral salts.

Fruits such as bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates. However, bananas can cause constipation and their intake has to be balanced with adequate fibre intake.

It is recommended that everyone engage in some kind of light exercise, such as stretching or walking. Overweight people should increase the amount of exercise and reduce the amount of food intake to help reduce weight.

It is also important to follow good time management procedures for Ibada (prayer and other religious activities), sleep, studies, work, and physical activities or exercise. A good balance in the amount of time attributed for each activity will lead to a healthier body and mind in Ramadan.

Advice for the sick who fast during Ramadan

Ramadan fasting is obligatory for the healthy adult but, when fasting might significantly affect the health of the fasting individual or when one is genuinely sick, Islam exempts him or her from fasting. "God intends every facility for you, he does not want to put you into difficulties" (Koran 2:185). From an Islamic point of view, this exemption represents more than a simple permission not to fast. The Prophet said: "God likes his permission to be fulfilled, as he likes his will to be executed." Another saying suggests that "a gift that God gives you, you have to accept". In the light of these sayings, many believe that any Muslim who is sick, or whose sickness would adversely affect his well-being during the fasting period, should either not fast or at least break his fast accordingly. An additional argument often used is that if the fasting by a sick Muslim would jeopardise his health further, then this ultimately will neither benefit himself nor his role in society (Ummah) and he should be discouraged from observing the fast.

However, a significant number of patients, for whatever reasons, do decide to observe the fast. It is these patients who need to seek the opinion of health professionals on an individual basis.

Those suffering from minor ailments do not really have any problems fasting. Those suffering from acute conditions may need advice about altering their dosing regimen. Drugs that are normally required to be taken frequently, such as antibiotics, can be problematic for fasting patients. However, the increasing availability of alternative drugs with long half-lives as well as the increasing formulation of short-acting drugs as sustained release preparations, have offered much needed assistance to fasting patients.

For example, patients suffering from acute upper respiratory infections, such as a severe sore throat, may still be able to fast. Such a patient might be prescribed antibiotics that have to be taken three or four times a day and would not be able to fast. However, in order to facilitate fasting, the patient could be given a long-acting antibiotic, such as co-trimoxazole, which only needs to be taken 12- hourly, or azithromycin, which only needs to be taken once daily. This can be done only when the infecting organisms are susceptible to the alternative antibiotics, and needs to be discussed with the patient's doctor.

Alternative routes of drug administration can help fasting patients. Some patients suffering from mild forms of angina pectoris could benefit from taking glyceryl trinitrate as a patch rather than sublingual tablets. The drug would enter the blood stream through the skin, and not orally (which would break the fast). Again, this may only be possible in specific patients and needs to be discussed with the patient's doctor. Pharmacists should be willing to advise patients and practitioners on the availability of alternative dosage forms for medication during Ramadan.

There is a school of thought among medical practitioners that those patients who have mild to moderate high blood pressure and are also overweight should be encouraged to fast as this may help to lower their blood pressure. Such patients should see their physician to adjust their medication. For example, the dose of diuretics should be reduced to avoid dehydration, and sustained release formulations can be given once a day before the predawn meal.

An increasing area where practitioners are likely to advise patients on fasting is in those suffering from diabetes mellitus. Many Muslims, especially of Asian descent, have an increased risk of suffering from some form of diabetes. The International Journal of Ramadan Fasting Research has suggested the following guidelines for health professionals treating Muslim patients with diabetes: "Diabetic patients who are controlled by diet alone can fast and hopefully, with weight reduction, their diabetes may even be improved. Diabetics who are taking oral hypoglycaemic agents along with the dietary control should exercise extreme caution if they decide to fast. These patients should consult their medical doctor for dose adjustment. If they develop low blood sugar symptoms in the daytime, they should end the fast immediately."

In addition, diabetic patients taking insulin should consult their doctor to see if their dose can be adjusted to allow fasting during Ramadan. In all cases of fasting with diabetes, blood sugar levels should be closely monitored, especially before and after meals.

In summary, Islam offers an exemption to the sick from observing their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. However, some patients may be able to fast if their health is not adversely affected during the period of fasting. In such cases, advice from pharmacists and doctors about changing prescriptions to equally effective drugs that have reduced dosing, such as sustained release formulations, may be beneficial to the fasting Muslim. In all cases of illness, it is recommended that Muslim patients, if they do fast, do so under medical supervision. Pharmacists, doctors and other health professionals are undoubtedly keen to help.

Written by Professor Akhtar (University of Kuwait)

Duaas requested
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunnah of fasting

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan, Ameen.
Just a quick post on the 6 sunnahs of fasting:

i. To partake of Suhr (sehri) or pre-dawn tiffin

ii. To break fast immediately after sunset

iii. To read Tarawih prayer at night

iv. To feed the poor and hungry

v. To increase the Quran reading

vi. To observe I’tikaf within the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadhaan.

May Allah give us the ability to try and put these sunnahs into our time during the month of ramadhan. Ameen wa thuma ameen. Sorry for the short post.

Duaas greatly needed!
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Useful Ramadhan audio

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan. Ameen.
Here are a few audio that I have found on Ramadhan. This post will be updated with more additions so keep watching insha'Allah. Please make some time to listen to them insha'Allah.

Kamal Uddin Ahmed:
Purpose of Ramadhan
Laylatul Qadr and the mercy of Allah
Retaining the blessings of Ramadhan

Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf:
Kitab as-Sawm:
Dars 1
Dars 2
Dars 3
Dars 3(Questions and answers)
Dars 4
Dars 5(Questions and answers)
Dars 6
Dars 7

Shaykh Ibrahim Memon Madani:
Itikaaf and Laylatul Qadr

Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar:
Path to Ramadhan
Checking into Ramadan
Welcoming Ramadhan 1427
Making the most of Ramadhan

Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadul Haq:
Surah al Alaq & al Qadr- Tafseer of Surah al Alaq & al Qadr
The Virtues & Blessings of Ramadhan
The Virtues & Blessings of the Qur'an
Ramadhan: The Spiritual Month
Taraweeh 8 or 20 Rakaats?

Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ramadhan in my own words.

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan. Ameen.

In about two weeks time the Holy month of Ramdhan will be upon us all insha'Allah; this month has numerous blessings and it was in this month thatthat the Holy Qur'an was revealed to our Beloved prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم .

Ramadhan is the ninth month on the Islamic calender, it falls in between the Islamic months of Sha'ban and Shawwal. It is during this month that muslimsall over the world prepare for fasting from Dawn till dusk. Allah subhana wa ta'ala says in the Holy Qur'an:

"O Muslims fasting is prescribed for you just as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become fearful (of Allah)" - Qur'an 2:183

It is from this ayah that we know that it is obligatory for muslims to fast during Ramdhan and it was also made obligatory to people who have lived before us.

During this month Allah subhana wa ta'ala locks away the Shaytaan so that this time may be a source of Barakah, spiritually aswell as physically. Fasting enables us to hold self control over ourself; whilst in urge for food and water we turn towards Allah subhana wa ta'ala, this brings us closer towards Him. It is during the moments of fasting we realise the struggle to with stand without food or water for virtually the whole day.

It is when feeling this struggle that we learn to turn towards Allah for help and for the will power to go on throughout the day; during these moments of dhikr we find that we are turning more and more towards Allah and we feel a deeper connection compared to our normal everyday lives.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"Truly, it is by the rememberance of Allah that hearts find rest" - Qur'an 13:28

When we turn to Allah, when we praise Him, when we are engaged in total Ibadah we realise that we seek comfort and solace in just remembering our Lord. Subhana'Allah it is at times like these that we should realise that we do not need to turn to anyone else except Allah.

The holy month of Ramadhan is an extremely spiritually uplifting time for all muslims around the world. The prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم said,

"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." -Bukhari

Allah subhana wa ta'ala has blessed this month so much that the Shaytaan are all locked up; this gives man the inner ability to reflect on his own nafs. As the Shaytaan are locked up and we are not allowed to touch food for the major portion of the day it allows muslims to have maximum restraint over their nafs. We are able to detect our inner strength to withold from that which our Nafs desires, we are also able to steer clear away from those things that the shataan tempts us with to misguide us from the Siratul Mustaqeem. We can use this month to help us get rid of the razail-worthless qualities (please note that to actually rid oneself of the Razail is to weaken it-this will be discussed in another post insha'Allah).

My teacher at school used to tell me that during this month we can see ourselves for who we really are; meaning as the Shaytaan are locked away, we can see what our personality is like because there is no influence over our actions. Masha'Allah she was/is right, because it is during this time that we need to reflect on our bad deeds on we can also reflect on those people who we have hurt.

We as muslims are constantly at war with shaytaan and the inner nafs; our spiritual state when we sin is such that our hearts become black from the sin, however due to Allah subhana wa ta'alas infinite mercy, when we remember Him and engage in Dhikr a portion of that sin is wiped away. If our Dhikr becomes focused, regular, meaningful and we are able to block out the sin, we find ourselves spiritual higher than we were before.

Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is a sheild; it is a shield from Shaytaan and it is also a sheild from falling under Allah's anger and going to Jahanam. Whilst in the stateof fasting actions such as lying, backbiting, stealing, cheating, making one angry, disobedience to parents, disobedience to elders, hurting somone, make the fast worthless. The reason being is because the whole purpose of fasting is to shield ourselves from actions such as these. Allah subhana wa ta'alamakes it clear in Surah al-Baqarah:

"The object is that you may guard against evil…" - Qur'an 2:183

It is important to bear this in mind when fasting. When thinking about this I picture myself in a bee hive with the white outfit on protecting myself from the stings of the bee, each time you commit a sin a piece of protective clothing is removed and the bees come and sting you at the place exposed. The more sinning you do the more stings you get, except the stings aren't on our physical bodies, they're on our spiritual ones..and what happens when a person suffers from excessive stinging..they die- becoming spiritually dead is as though we have given our souls to shaytaan. Let us try to make an effort and refrain from getting stung by our tongue. Our tongues are witholding from food, let it also hold back from words evil.

Important notes about fasting:
- It is the fourth pillar of Islam
- Fasting is Fard (obligatory) on every muslim man and woman who is sane and mature
- Allah subhana wa ta'ala has declared a great reward for those who fast for His sake and not for show
- Fasting is not just obstaining from food and drink, it is also for the rest of the organs of the body to refrain from that which is forbidden. For example the tongue must refrain from bad talk and the hands must refrain from haram things. Fasting means for the whole body to be fasting.
- From fasting we can see the unity of the ummah; we are all of different races, backgrounds, languages, habits, way of life, accents, however when we fast we all recite the same thing at Iftaar, we all do it for Allah only, we all feel the hunger in our stomachs, we all feel what those people who do not have food feel.
The prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم said:

"The believers are to one another like a building-each part strengthening the others"

From the above hadeeth it shows us that when we fast, it is as though we are feeling what those muslims who do not have food feel. When we feel hungry our stomachs cry for food, you realise that people who lesser off than us feel like this all year round. It is important to see that Allah is constantly showering His blessings on us, yet we are so forgetful of it!
Ramadhan should also be a time for us to give thanks for all that He subhana wa ta'ala has blessed us with.

Some Hadith regarding fasting:
*It is stated in a hadith that Allah subhana wa ta'ala says:
"It is for Me and I shall certainly compensate it." The Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم also stated, "The fragrance of the mouth of a fasting manis more pleasant to Allah than the smell of musk" -Mishkaat

*Hazrat Abu Hurairah radiallahu anhu reported that the Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "Whosoever fasts in Ramadhaan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven; and whosoever stands up (in prayer) in Ramadhaan out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven and whosoever stands up (in prayer) at the Blessed Night out of faith and hopeful of reward, all his past sins will be forgiven."- Bukhari and Muslim

*It is related on the authority of Sahl bin Sa'd radiallahu anhu that the Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "There is a special Gate of Paradise, which is known as Rayyan (and) only those who observe fasting will be allowed to enter through it on the Day of Resurrection. On that day, it will be called aloud, ‘Where are the bondsmen who used to fast for the sake of God and endure the pangs of hunger and thirst?' Such of the bondsmen will respond to the call and save them, no one will be permitted to enter by this gate. When they have entered paradise through this gate, it will be shut,(and), after it, no one will be able to enter by it." -Mishkaat

Commentary: Thirst is the most severe hardship one has to bear during a fast and the greatest sacrifice a man who is fasting makes is that he remains thirsty. Complete satisfaction from thirst should as such form the most prominent part of the reward on fasting. Hence, the distinguishing quality ofthe gate has been set apart for the entry of those who fast is satiety. Rayyan, literally, means satiation.

*It is related on the authority of Abdullah bin ‘Amr radiallahu anhu that the Apostle of God صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "The fast and the Quran will both plead on behalf of the bondsman (who will keep fast in the day and recite or listen attentively to the recital ofthe Quran in the night, standing in the presence of the Lord). The fast will say: ‘My lord! I had held him back from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness)’. And the Quran will say: ‘I had held him back from taking rest and sleeping in the night. O God! Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness)’. The intercession of both, the fast and the Quran will be accepted for the bondsman and he will be treated with exceptional kindness." -Baihaqi

I feel that it neccesary for each and every muslims to spend their time wisely and efficiently during ramadhan, only Allah subhana wa ta'ala knows when our last day will be thus we should make the most of it, as it could be our last.
During ramadhan we should try and spend more time in dhikr and ibadah as during this month our rewards are multiplied 70 times. Talking of wordly affairs should be the last thing on our tongues and dhikr should be the first.

See ramadhan as a time for a step onto self reformation and also for reflecting on the nafs. Enjoy every moment of ramadhan and ask for forgiveness for the sins that we commit knowingly and unknowingly, day in and dayout. I hope to post more on Ramadhan insha'Allah.

Remember the muslim ummah in your duaas and if you have space please remember me :).
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sha'ban: Merits, Do's, and Dont's

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that you are all in the best of health and Imaan. Ameen.

In my last post I copied a beautifully written post from the Simply Islam blog, and as we all know Ramadhan is about 3 weeks away from us...excited?I know I am :)
Although it is Ramdhan in a few weeks, many of us forget the merits of the month before- Sha'ban. I found something on
Al-Balagh written by Mufti Taqi Uthmani on the month. Please take the time out to read this beautiful article..I know it may look long for some people..but please do have a read insha'Allah.

Also, due to the fact that Ramadhan is on its way, I thought that it would be best if I should spend a majority of my blogging time between now and then on posts preparing us for Ramdhan insha'Allah; as I'm using blogger posts are automatically categorised according to months and thus majority of the Ramadhan posts will be under the 'September' category (see further down the side bar). Other links on the blessed month will be added to the top right hand of my side bar, may we all benefit from them insha'Allah (I know I haven't added many so far, but I'll be adding them as I go along).

Sha'ban: Merits, Do's, and Dont's

Sha'ban is one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is reported in the authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast most of the month in Sha'ban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Sha'ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Some of these are given below:

1. The blessed companion Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Shaban in honor of Ramadan."

2. The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam: "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha'ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, replied: "That (Sha'ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."

3. Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, says, "Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast the whole of Sha'ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Sha'ban your most favorite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting."

4. In another Tradition she says, "Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha'ban."

5. In another report she says, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha'ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month."

6. Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah, Radi-Allahu anha, says: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha'ban and Ramadan."

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha'ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, did not like to miss it.

But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Sha'ban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Sha'ban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in Sha'ban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Sha'ban. That is why Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, "Do not fast after the first half of the month of Sha'ban is gone."

According to another report Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam has said: "Do not precede the month of Ramadan with one or two fasts."

The essence of the above-quoted ahadith is that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, himself used to fast most of the month of Sha'ban, because he had no fear of developing weakness or weariness before the commencement of Ramadan. As for others, he ordered them not to fast after the 15th of Sha'ban for the fear that they would lose their strength and freshness before Ramadan starts, and would not be able to welcome the month of Ramadan with enthusiasm.

The Night of Bara'ah
Another significant feature of the month of Sha'ban is that it consists of a night which is termed in Shariah as "Laylatul-bara'ah" (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha'ban. There are certain traditions of Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine mercy. Some of these traditions are quoted as follows:

1. Ummul-Mu'mineen 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, is reported to have said, "Once Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, performed the Salah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: 'I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: 'Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know which night is this?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Sha'ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'"

2. In another Tradition Sayyidah' Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, has reported that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said, "Allah Almighty descends (in a manner He best knows it) in the night occurring in the middle of Sha'ban and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibers on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb."
Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.

3. In yet another Tradition, she has reported Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, "This is the middle Night of Sha'ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of kinship, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine."

4. Sayyidna Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said: "Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha'ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)".

Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

What Should be Done in this Night?
In order to observe the Night of Bara'ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:

(a) Salah. Salah is the most preferable act to be performed in this night. There is no particular number of Rak'at but preferably it should not be less than eight. It is also advisable that each part of the Salah like qiyam, rukoo' and sajdah should be longer than normal. The longest surahs of the Holy Qur'an one remembers by heart should be recited in the Salah of this night. If someone does not remember the long surahs, he can also recite several short surahs in one rak'ah.

(b) Tilawa. The recitation of the Holy Qur'an is another form of worship, very beneficent in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur'an as he can.

(c) Dhikr. One should also perform dhikr (recitation of the name of Allah) in this night. Particularly the following dhikr is very useful:
One should recite Salah (durood) on Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as many times as he can. The dhikr can also be recited while walking, lying on bed and during other hours of work or leisure.

(d) Dua. The best benefit one can draw from the blessings of this night is prayers and supplications. It is hoped that all the prayers in this night will be accepted by our Lord, insha-Allah. Prayer itself is an 'Ibadah, and Allah Almighty gives reward on each prayer along with the fulfillment of the supplicator's need. Even if the purpose prayed for is not achieved, one cannot be deprived of the reward of the prayer which is sometimes more precious than the mundane benefits one strives for. The prayers and supplications also strengthen one's relation with Allah Almighty, which is the main purpose of all kinds and forms of worship.

One can pray for whatever purpose he wishes. But the best supplications are the ones made by Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. These are so comprehensive and all-encompassing prayers that all the human needs, of this world and the Hereafter, are fully covered in the eloquent expressions used in them. Actually, most of the prophetic prayers are so profound that human imagination can hardly match their greatness.

Several books in various languages are available which provide these prophetic prayers, and one should pray to Allah Almighty in accordance with them, whether by reciting their original Arabic text or by rendering their sense in one's own language.

(e) There are some people who cannot perform any additional Salah or recitations for any reason, like illness or weakness or being engaged in some other necessary activities. Such people also should not deprive themselves completely of the blessings of this night. They should observe the following acts:

(i) To perform the Salah of Maghrib, 'Isha' and Fajr with Jama'ah in the mosque, or in their homes in case of their being sick.

(ii) They should keep reciting the dhikr, particularly the one mentioned in para (c) above, in whatever condition they are until they sleep.

(iii) They should pray to Allah for their forgiveness and for their other objectives. One can do so even when he is in his bed.

(f) The women during their periods cannot perform salah, nor can they recite the Qur'an, but they can recite any dhikr, tasbeeh, durood sharif and can pray to Allah for whatever purpose they like in whatever language they wish. They can also recite the Arabic prayers mentioned in the Qur'an or in the hadith with the intention of supplication (and not with the intention of recitation).

(g) According to a hadith, which is relatively less authentic, Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, went in this night to the graveyard of Baqi' where he prayed for the Muslims buried there. On this basis, some of the fuqaha hold it as mustahabb (advisable) in this night to go to the graveyard of the Muslims and recite Fatihah or any other part of the Qur'an, and pray for the dead. But this act is neither obligatory nor should it be performed as regularly as an obligatory act.

What Should Not be Done in This Night
As mentioned earlier, the Night of Bara'ah is a night in which special blessings are directed towards the Muslims. Therefore, this night should be spent in total submission to Allah Almighty, and one should refrain from all those activities, which may displease Allah. Although it is always incumbent upon every Muslim to abstain from sins, yet this abstinence becomes all the more necessary in such nights, because committing sins in this night will amount to responding to divine blessings with disobedience and felony. Such an arrogant attitude can invite nothing but the wrath of Allah. Therefore, one should strictly abstain from all the sins, particularly from those mentioned in the Hadith No. 3 quoted earlier in this article, because these sins make one devoid of the blessings of this night.

2. In this night some people indulge in some activities which they regard as necessary for the celebration of the Night of Bara'ah, like cooking some special type of meal, or illuminating houses or mosques, or improvised structures. All such activities are not only baseless and innovated in the later days by ignorant people, but in some cases they are pure imitation of some rituals performed by non-Muslim communities. Such imitation in itself is a sin; performing it in a blessed night like the Night of Bara'ah makes it worse. Muslims should strictly abstain from all such activities.

3. Some people spend this night in holding religious meetings and delivering long speeches. Such activities are also not advisable, because these acts can easily be performed in other nights. This night requires one to devote himself for the pure acts of worship only.

4. The acts of worship like Salah, recitation of the Qur'an and dhikr should be performed in this night individually, not collectively. The Nafl Salah should not be performed in Jama'ah, nor should the Muslims arrange gatherings in the mosques in order to celebrate the night in a collective manner.

On the contrary, this night is meant for worshipping Allah in solitude. It is the time to enjoy the direct contact with the Lord of the Universe, and to devote one's attention to Him and Him alone. These are the precious hours of the night in which nobody should intervene between one and his Lord, and one should turn to Allah with total concentration, not disturbed or intermitted by any one else.

That is why Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, observed the acts of worship in this night in total seclusion, not accompanied by anyone, not even by his favorite life companion Sayyidah 'Aishah, Radi-Allahu anha, and that is why all forms of the optional worship (Nafl Ibadah), are advised by him to be done in individual, not in collective manner.

Fast of the 15th Sha'ban
On the day immediately following the Night of Bara'ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha'ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. Although the scholars of hadith have some doubts in the authenticity of this report, yet it is mentioned earlier that the fasts of the first half of Sha'ban have special merits and Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to fast most of the days in Sha'ban. Moreover, a large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha'ban. This constant practice indicates that they have accepted the relevant hadith as authentic.

Therefore, it is advisable to fast the 15th of Sha'ban as an optional (nafl) fast. One can also keep a fast of qada on this day and it is hoped that he can also benefit from the merits of this fast.

May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give us the ability to act upon what has been said in the article above during the month of Sha'ban. Ameen wa thuama ameen.

Duaas requested.
Wassalamu'alaykum warahmatullah

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Upcoming of the Blessed Month of Ramadhan- Post1

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

I pray that the readers of this blog are in good health and Imaan, insha'Allah.

Alhamdulilah with ramadhan only a few weeks away I thought I'd share a very beautifully written article by
Maulana Zain on the blessed month. I'm sure many of you have read it but for those of you who haven't here it is, and also please do take time out to visit the blog.

The Upcoming of the Blessed Month of Ramadhan- Post1
The month of Ramadhan is by far in need of any introduction to its merit, status and significance in Islam. It is a month that excels and surpasses all the other months in its excellence and superiority.
However, it is a merit on its own to introduce the many qualities of this month with the intention of preparation for this month; for it was also the practice of our Beloved Nabi صلي الله عليه و سلم to prepare for this month, physically, spiritually and also verbally.
Insha Allah, in attempt to ready ourselves, a series of posts will be written regarding Ramdhan. A few of the topics will include:

-Purpose of Ramadhan
-Methods of preparations,
-Acts of worship that should be carried out in this month,
-Rulings regarding Ramadhan,
-Supplications that one can make during this month,
-A true farewell of this month.

The Merits of Ramadhan
Ramadhan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar and is well known as the month of fasting. It is in this month that fasting is made obligatory upon Muslims all across the globe.
The month of Ramadhan brings along with it a new height of mercy from Allah Ta’ala; it allows a believer to reach levels that he may not have been able to reach in other months. The month of Ramadhan is a gift from Allah to the believers due to their short span of life; it allows them to reap benefits in this short period similar to that which previous nations acquired.
The commencement of any Islamic months is indicated by the sighting of the moon, and similarly its end is also known by the sighting of the moon for the month of Shawaal. The Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم once mentioned in regards to Ramadhan and said:
"لاَ تَصُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوُا الْهِلاَلَ، وَلاَ تُفْطِرُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْهُ، فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْدُرُوا لَه"
"When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can't see It) then regard the crescent (month) of Ramadan (as of 30 days)".
[Saheeh al-Bukhari]
It is narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:
إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانَ فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ
"When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened."
[Saheeh al-Bukhari]
It is also narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:
إِذَا دَخَلَ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ، وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ جَهَنَّمَ، وَسُلْسِلَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ
"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."
[Saheeh al-Bukhari]
In this month Allah Ta’ala opens the gates of paradise to denote that during this month access to Jannah is made simple for the believers, it is during this month that believers can enter this garden prepared by Allah for the believers.
The opening of the gates encourages a believer to excel in worship, and Allah through His mercy makes it easier for him to do this by chaining the devils and locking the doors of Hell.
To any ordinary person, it would seem that fasting is the name of leaving one’s food, drink and desires from sunrise till dawn. However, the reality of fasting and the month of Ramadhan is far greater. It is for this reason that many Ahadeeth have been narrated from the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم regarding this auspicious month.
It is narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ، يَتْرُكُ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ وَشَهْوَتَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، الصِّيَامُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ، وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا
"By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times."
In this Hadith the rank and status of the fasting person is mentioned and Allah declares His love and appreciation for that person who fasts for His sake. He proclaims and announces that the fast is such an act which is done for Him and He will personally reward that person for this act.
In another Hadith it is reported by Hadhrat Sahl رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:
إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ بَابًا يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ، يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ فَيَقُومُونَ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ، فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ، فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ
"There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, 'Where are those who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it."
This is the honour given by Allah to all those that fast for His sake. They will be given the honour of being called separately on the Day of Judgement and will be made to enter Jannah from a door that will be specifically for them.
In a lengthy Hadeeth, the Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم addressed the Sahaba رضي الله عنهم on the last day of Sha’ban and mentioned many qualities and virtues.
Extracts have been taken from this Hadeeth which is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Salman رضي الله عنه. He states:
خطبنا رسول الله عليه و سلم في اخر يوم من شعبان فقال: "يا أيها الناس قد أظلكم شهر عظيم مبارك شهر فيه ليلة خير من ألف شهر، شهر جعل الله صيامه فريضة وقيام ليله تطوعًا، من تقرب فيه بخصلة كان كمن ادي فريضة في ما سواه و من ادي فريضة فيه كان كمن ادي سبعين فريضة فيما سواه، وهو شهر الصبر، والصبر ثوابه الجنة، و شهر المواساة، و شهر يزاد في رزق المؤمن فيه، من فطر فيه صائما كان مغفرة لذنوبه وعتق رقبته من النار وكان له مثل أجره من غير أن ينقص من أجره شىء... وهو شهر أوله رحمة وأوسطه مغفرة واخره عتق من النار، من خفف عن مملوكه فيه غفر الله له و اعتقه من النار... و من سقي صائما سقاه الله من حوضي شربة لا يضمأ حتي يدخل الجنة".
On the last day of Sha’ban Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم addressed us and said, "O people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day. And has made Sunnah the Taraaweeh prayer by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a Fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a Fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy Faraidh in any other time.
This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer's sustenance is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell), and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least…
This is a month, the first of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahan-nam.
Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam…
And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from my fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah."
[Saheeh ibn Khuzaimah]
In this Hadeeth there are many virtues that have been mentioned regarding the month of Ramadhan. It is a month within which Allah increases the rewards of acts carried out by a believer; he is able to get close to Allah through Nafl (optional) acts and is given the reward of seventy Fardh (obligatory) acts for a single Fardh act in this month.
Feeding or giving water to a fasting person in this month is also shown to be an act of great reward and merit, one of the reasons being that the fasting person is fasting for the sake of Allah and Allah Himself shown appreciation for this act of a believer. A person who quenches the thirst of a fasting person will also be given the honour on the Day of Judgement by being from those fortunate people who are given water from the fountain of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم, known as al-Kauthar. A person who is given this water shall not feel thirst until during the day of Judgement until he enters Jannah.
This month is divided into three portions; the first portion being that which contains the mercy of Allah Ta’ala, the second portion containing the forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala and the final portion being a part within which there is freedom for the believers from the fire of Hell.
It is narrated that in this month is the Night of Power, Laylatul Qadr, which is more better than a thousand months of worship. It is a night which can be the medium for a persons forgiveness and success. It is narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:
مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ، وَمَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
"Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
[Saheeh al-Bukhari]
One who performs in the month of Ramadhan in a manner shown by the Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم he will be subject to the mercy and forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala. He will achieve the true purpose of Ramadhan, a new start and the closeness of Allah Ta’ala.
Insha Allah an effort will be made to present posts relating to the month of Ramadhan as an effort to prepare ourselves for such an exhilarated and rewarding month. The posts will include the necessary rulings and important information pertaining to this blessed month.
Life cannot be trusted, and I pray to Allah that He grants us all the life to be present in this Ramadhan and also grant us the wisdom and inclination to reap the benefits within. May He accept this effort and make it a source of salvation. Aameen.
Let us all make an effort to commit this Du’a to our memory and make a habit of reciting it daily until the day of Ramdhan.
‏ اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان
"O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan".
May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give us the ability to utilise our time well during the blessed and Holy month insha'Allah. Ameen wa thuma ameen.
Duaas are kindly reqeusted.
Wassalamu'alaykum warahmatullah