Sultan Bayazid II and his brother Jem Sultan

The events that took place between Sultan Bayazid II and his brother Jem Sultan openly reflect the courage of faith of our forefathers and the beauty and virtue that Islam bestowed upon them:

Becoming a sultan in the year 1481, Bayazid II (who was even known as Bayazid the Saint due to his piety) spent the first 14 years of his sultanate dealing with the problems that arose as a result of his brother Jem Sultan’s claims to the Ottoman throne. This situation hindered Bayazid II from active participation in the Christian world. Jem Sultan proposed the following to Bayazid II:

“Let us divide our country into two. You rule over half and I will rule over the other half”

Bayazid II replied, rejecting his offer:

“My brother, this country is the property of the people. If we divide it, the government will lose power. We will become a series of weak principalities. This will have grave consequences. I would divide my body but the land of my people cannot be divided”.

A short time after that Jem Sultan was invited to Rhodes by the Knights of Rhodes. He was impressed by their polite words and heedlessly accepted their invitation. However the Knights broke the promises they had made and sold him to the Papacy like a slave. The Papacy were planning to use the prince in the next crusade against the Ottomans. However, realizing that he was not going to be successful in this, Pope Innocent suggested that Jem Sultan become Christian. This offer greatly offended Jem Sultan. Deeply saddened he said to the Pope:

“Even if you give me the whole world, and not just the Ottoman Sultanate, I would never change my religion”.

The supplication that Jem Sultan made to Almighty Allah when he realized that the Crusaders wanted to use him against Islam is sufficient to show the aspiration of his efforts for his religion:

“O my Sustainer! If it is the case that the unbelievers wish to use me as a tool to bring harm to the Muslim world, then do not let this slave of yours live any longer. Take my soul to your honorable abode as soon as possible…”

His prayers must have been answered for at the age of 36 he passed away in Naples. In his last days, his last testament he made to those near him was as follows:

“Make sure to announce the news of my death all over the land. Do this for certain so that the games that the unbelievers wish to play with the Muslims, using me as a tool, can be over. After that, go to my brother Sultan Bayazid. Request that, however difficult it may be, he transports my body back to our country.

I do not wish to be buried in the land of the unbelievers. Whatever has happened until now has happened. Make sure that he does not refuse this request of mine. Ask him to pay all of my debts. I do not want to go the Divine Presence in debt. Let him forgive
my family, my children and those who served me. Let him make them content according to their states”.

His brother Bayazid II carried out his final testament.

These are the qualities that Islam bestows upon the human being. The reciprocal relationship between these two brothers displays their devotion to their faith and their love of their country. It is also a demonstration of sacrifice for the sake of the peace of
their people, and an example of tolerance, the accounting of the conscience that results after realizing one’s mistake, refraining from violating another’s rights, forgiveness and compassion amongst many other virtues.

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Ramadan Kareem


The moon has been sighted in Saudi Arabia. Ramadhan 1437 will begin tonight. 
May we all be blessed with Allah’s mercy on this first night of this month, may He forgive all of our sins, accept all of our fasts and worship, and may this month be a means of gaining nearness to Him and His beloved salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam. 

Please keep me and my loved ones in your blessed prayers.

#RamadanKareem #RamadanMubarak #Ramadan

An Introduction to Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a time for Muslims to submit themselves further to Almighty Allah whole-heartedly by way of fasting and worship. It is ultimately the month of divine guidance and mercy. The Arabic term ramadan literally means heat & dryness, which could be attributed to the struggle of fasting or sawm. Sawm of Ramadan was first prescribed in the second year of hijri.

Allah says: “Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain righteous.” [Qur’an 2:183]

And He, Most High, says: “That whoso of you find this month, necessarily, he should fast in it…” [Qur’an 2:185]

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Ramadan is also the month wherein the first revelation or wahi of the Qur’an was sent down to the Beloved Messenger of Allahﷺ, thus assigning the duty of Prophethood to him so the truth of la ilaha illallah, ‘there is no God but Allah’, could be established.

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an…” [Qur’an 2:185]

The first verse to have been revealed is: “Read, in the name of your Lord who created.” [Qur’an 96:1] It is interesting to note how the first word revealed of the Holy Qur’an was ‘Iqra’ meaning, ‘Read’. In this is a command for the people to read, to seek, to obtain knowledge. In this word alone is a great command of faith, and the verses following it confirm the guidance of Allah upon mankind:

“Read, in the name of your Lord, Who created; Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood: Read, and your Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught you to write, Taught man that which he knew not.”[Qur’an 96:1-5]

In this blessed month also comes that night of excellence i.e. Laylat al Qadr, or the Night of Power, which is the actual night when the firsr wahi was sent down to the Messenger of Allah whilst he meditated in the cave of Hira.

Allah says: “Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.” [Qur’an 97:1]
The significance of this night is so immense that it excels in virtue even a thousand months. Allah Most High says:

“We have indeed revealed this in the Night of Power, And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” [Qur’an 97:1-3]

This is part of the spiritual treasures of the blessed month of Ramadan. The gates of Allah’s Mercy are opened to the believers in a way unlike any other time of year. Allah’s love for His servants is so apparent in Ramadan that goodness is merited in abundance; with the duration of the believer’s fast, with the beginning of the fast (suhoor), with the breaking of the fast (iftaar), and even in the breath of the fasting believer. Anyone who ponders upon the love for Allah towards His believing servants should reflect upon the manifestations of this love during Ramadan.

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The Messenger of Allahﷺ said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell emitting 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.” [Muslim]

Ramadan is ultimately a time for reflection, forgiveness and seeking Allah’s Pleasure. It is a time to clear the heart of the distractions and weaknesses which have accumulated over the year, and renew the strength of the believer’s faith. Ramadan also brings communities together in a truly loving and harmonious way, strengthening the brotherhood of the Muslim Ummah. It is the time of year when every masjid is full, and every pure heart is quenching its thirst to please Allah. The believers share with each other in not just food and gifts, but in faith, in love and in good-hearted company.

The aspect of self-restraint during Ramadan is not just from food and drink. Sayyidina Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Fasting is a shield (or a screen/shelter). So the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting (Arabic: inni sa’im, inni sa’im).’” [Muslim]

Ramadan is a time for, as the above hadith indicates, sincere striving towards goodness and away from wrongdoing. Sawm or fasting screens us from ills, as it increases our awareness of Allah and inclines us towards only doing that which is pleasing to Him. This is why we are advised to react calmly to one who provokes us especially when we are fasting, by saying: “I am fasting.” This reminder is first and foremost for ourselves when we are being provoked into anger, as a way to restrain our temper and keep our fasting pure from evil.

A catalyst for personal development and the strengthening of community ties, Ramadan is also a huge asset for the believer striving for both external and internal purity. The act of sawm, packed with great spiritual virtue, is also a great medical aid which allows the body to detox and cleanse itself of excess and impurity. The 13th century Islamic scholar and sufi, Mawlana Jalal uddin Rumi (Alaihi Rahma) said, “Fasting is the first principle of medicine.”

Sawm also allows us to empathise with the struggle and difficulties of our impoverished brothers and sisters around the world, many of whom barely manage a meal a day due to circumstances. During Ramadan, many of us fast and look forward to a lavish iftaar yet the same cannot be said for those in deprived circumstances who cannot even break their fast at all. Sawm addresses us with the harsh reality of those less fortunate than us, causing us to humble ourselves and reflect upon how utterly dependant we are upon the generosity of Allah towards us. It opens our eyes to the truth of suffering and poverty which we are otherwise so oblivious to, commanding us to undergo a small share of this struggle first-hand. Through it, we may be humble before our Creator, and through it, we may be grateful to Him for our sustenance.

Due to the generosity of our Creator, this struggle does not go unrewarded. His kindness upon the fasting believer extends, as mentioned above, to meriting even the breath of the one observing sawm. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell emitting from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk.” [Muslim]

This is usually interpreted as: Allah’s love for his fasting servant is so immense that even the smell of his breath is sweeter and more fragrant to Almighty Allah than the scent of musk. It is also interpreted in two other ways; the second interpretation is that Allah will reward the fasting servant with breath as fragrant as musk, and the third interpretation is that Allah will cause the fasting servant to rise with breath as fragrant as musk on the Day of Judgement.

Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, also said: “When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of Mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.” [Muslim]

The hadith above elaborates further on the other favors bestowed upon us by our Lord in the month of Ramadan, mainly:

“The gates of Mercy are opened…”: indicates that, for those seeking forgiveness and mercy from Allah, is the opportunity to ask for it and to strive towards it so that they may be blessed with it through the open gates. Therefore, mercy and forgiveness is granted to those in search of it.

“…the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained”: indicates that the devils are locked up during this month so that the believer is protected from their evil. Some scholars say that the major devils are chained; others believe that all the devils are chained.

However this point often raises a curious question; if the devils are chained, why is evil still committed during this holy month? This is easily explained; those who have acquired the characteristics and ways of evil are not chained themselves. The ego or nafs is still present within each person, so the evil of it is still present. This is the battle which remains for each believer, the only battle which he must fight during the auspicious month. This struggle is completely within oneself. The devils may be locked up but the character and the ways of the people are still present with them.

This month should be spent in sincere effort to better ourselves, abandon bad habits and to improve our characters in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet of Mercy, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. True, this striving is not just for Ramadan, yet Ramadan is a perfect opportunity with which Allah has favoured His servants so that they may use it as a means to strengthen their faith further and turn their lives completely towards His Pleasure. It is up to us, as individuals, to accept this Divine Gift.

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The Merits of Rajab

By the bounty of Allah we have entered the blessed month of Rajab. Rajab is one of the four sacred months. It stands alone, unlike the other three which come one after the other. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.”

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Rajab is the key to the months of goodness which follow it. For that reason Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: “In the month of Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.” He also said: “Rajab is like a wind, Sha`ban is like a cloud and Ramadan is like rain.”

Good Deeds in Rajab

The reward of our good actions is multiplied in the sacred months, so it is recommended to do as many good deeds as possible. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ recommended fasting at least some days in each of the sacred months. Some of the Companions, among them Sayyiduna `Umar and his son `Abdullah and al-Sayyidah `A’ishah, liked to make `Umrah in Rajab. (may Allah be pleased with them all)

At the same time bad deeds are also more serious in the sacred months so we must do our utmost to avoid any wrongdoings.

A sacred month is similar to a sacred place. It is recommended to bathe and purify oneself before entering the haram of Makkah and while in it one is more conscious of the weight of one’s actions. Likewise with a sacred month – we try to enter it in a state of purity and we try to maintain that purity throughout through doing good and avoiding evil.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban and enable us to reach Ramadan. Peace and blessings upon the one who guided us to all good and warned us of all evil, our Master Muhammad and his blessed family and Companions and all those that follow his guidance until the end of time.

Rajab, the Month of Istighfar

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The best way of preparing the heart to receive divine gifts is purification and repentance. It has been narrated: “Seek much forgiveness from Allah in Rajab because in every hour (of the month) Allah frees people from the Fire.” For this reason the scholars say that Rajab is the month of seeking forgiveness, Sha`ban is the month of bestowing prayers upon the Prophet, and Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. Thus it is recommended to seek much forgiveness in Rajab.

The following is a compilation of istighfar, known in Hadramawt as Istighfar Rajab, compiled by Habib Hasan, the son of Imam `Abdullah bin `Alawi al-Haddad. It is traditionally read every night in the month of Rajab.

Download Link: Istighfar Rajab


 

Getting the Most out of Rajab

Advice from Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).
There are a number of ways to get the most out of Rajab. Some of the most important are as follows:

1. Seeking forgiveness in abundance and making sincere repentance;
2. Making a sincere resolve to seek to approach Allah through performing acts of obedience and avoiding acts of disobedience;
3. Assessing your state, rectifying it and striving to follow the Prophet ﷺin all that you do
4. Improving your performance of the prayer by making sure that you implement the sunnahs pertaining to the prayer and pray with presence of heart. Also strive to pray in congregation in the first row without missing the opening takbir;
5. Improving your relationship with the Qur’an by increasing the amount you read and reflect upon daily and seeking to acting upon it;
6. Being consistent in reading your adhkar in the morning and evening, after the prayer and in your varying states (such as eating, entering the house and preparing for sleep);
7. Improving your interaction with your family, friends, relatives, neighbours and with Allah’s slaves in general and the elect of His slaves specifically;
8. Fasting whatever days you are able to, especially Monday and Thursday and the White Days (13th, 14th and 15th days of the month);
9. Giving a portion of charity and doing what you can to help those in need and treating them kindly;
10. Worshipping Allah in these nights, especially in the last portion of the night. Improve your state at this time so as to enter into those who Allah praises in the Qur’an: Those who spend their wealth (in charity) and seek forgiveness in the last portion of the night.

We ask Allah to give us a great portion of the gifts bestowed in this month and that He makes us among those who attain acceptance and felicity in this life and the next.

O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha`ban, allow us to reach Ramadan and assist us in fasting and praying in the night.

A HEART OF GREAT TEMPERAMENT!

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ exemplified the nice character traits of the friends of God. Sometimes he would ask his Companions questions that would make the congregation pay greater attention, and in order to elaborate on certain matters. During one of these sessions, the Prophet ﷺ asked the Com- panions: “Is any one among you capable of being like Abû Damdam?” The Companions said: “Who is Abû Damdam?” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “He was a member of a tribe prior to your time, and he would say, ‘I have forgiven all those who have insulted and backbitten me.’” (Abû Dâwud, Adab 36: 4887).

This is an example of taqwâ: a heart of great temperament!

Hallâj-i Mansûr held his hands up to pray for those who were stoning him, taking refuge in Allah. He pleaded: “O Allah! They are unaware. Before you forgive me, forgive those who stone me!”

Taqwâ is such a great virtue that it brought the Companions close to the Prophet. Anas  reported that a person asked the Prophet Muhammadﷺ: “Who is the family of Muhammad?” and the Prophetﷺ replied: “Every pious person is one of my family.” Thus we see that a believer who reaches perfection in taqwâ is held in such esteem that they are considered to be a member of the Prophet’s family.