Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last

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Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 1)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani covers the key points of performing a sound and valid fast in Ramadan, through explaining the fiqh of fasting.

http://seekershub.org/podcast/?powerpress_pinw=11857-podcast

Fiqh of Fasting: How to Make the Fast Last (Part 2)

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani addresses some of the common issues and questions that come up regarding fasting. This lesson is the second of a two part talk Shaykh Faraz delivered on the fiqh of fasting.

http://seekershub.org/podcast/?powerpress_pinw=11858-podcast

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Ten Ways to Prepare for Ramadan From Now

With Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are looking for ways to make sure that this will be the year we change, writes Nour Merza. With this in mind, here are ten ways to prepare yourself for Ramadan.
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1. Make the right intention
Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).
2. Prepare your body
Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.
3. Review all medical situations before Ramadan
Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.
4. Observe voluntary fasts
Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.
5. Increase Quran recitation
Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”
6. Perform extra prayers
If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Hazrat Jibreel (AS), “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”
7. Give charity
Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes.Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”
8. Engage in service (khidma)
Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.
9. Focus on your character
Imam al-Ghazali (rah) discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.
10. Organize your life to minimize waste, over consumption and the ills that come with this
One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of over consumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.
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Article taken from seekershub.org

15th Ramadan: Birth of Sayyidina Hazrat Imam Hasan (‘Alaihi salaam)

Imam Hasan (‘alaihi salaam) Leader of the youth of Paradise, Grandson of the Prophet ﷺ, was born on the 15th of Ramadan.
Sayyidinaa Imam Hasan ibn Ali (‘alaihi salaam) the oldest son of Sayyidinaa Imam ‘Ali Asadullah Karam Allahu wajhahu and Khatuna Jannah Sayyidah Fatimah az Zahra ‘alaiha salaam, was born in Madinatul Munawwarah. He was extremely handsome (as his name suggests) and is known to have born a strong resemblance to the Holy Last Messenger Sayyidinaa Rasulullah Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim. When the Companions remembered and yearned for Rasulullah Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim, after his wisal, they would go and see Sayyidinaa Imam Hasan ‘alaihi salaam. After the martyrdom of Amir al Mu’mineen Sayyidinaa Imam ‘Ali al Murtadha ‘alaihi salaam, he succeeded his father in Khilafat, and then handed the reins to Amir Muawiya (Radi Allah Anhu) as foretold by Sayyidinaa Rasuli Akram (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim) thereby uniting two conflicting groups of Muslims. He performed Hajj 25 times. Like his honorable father Sayyidinaa Amir ul Mu’mineen Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib Karam Allahu wajhahu, he was honored with Martyrdom [Shahadat] a mark of distinction which would become one of the salient features of the Blessed Ahl ul Bayt [alaihumus salaatu was salaam] when he was poisoned. The believers secretly hope and pray for martyrdom, desiring to leave this world in the blessed month of Ramadhan. Along with Sayyidinaa Imam Hussain ‘alaihi salaam he is the leader of the youth in Jannat.

 #LeaderofJannah

Ramadan Mubarak

Allah says, concerning His Majestic Book:

The Month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, [containing] clear proofs of guidance, and the criterion of distinguishing right from wrong. (Al-Qur’an 2:185)

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We encourage all of the believers to refrain from all of the ruinations of the tongue during Ramadan. In his seminal work, “Quickening the Religious Sciences,” Imam al-Ghazali (rah) mentions them as the following:

a) Speaking in matters that do not concern one.

b) Excessive speech.

c) Speaking about sinful matters.

d) Disputation and contestation.

e) Argumentation.

f) Excessively embellished speech.

g) Lewd, insulting, or crude speech.

h) Invoking the Curse of God on someone.

i) Singing indecent songs, or relating immoral poetry.

j) Excessive joking.

k) Sarcasm and ridicule.

l) Revealing secrets.

m) False promises.

n) Lying and false oaths.

o) Backbiting and slander.

p) Instigating tense relations between people.

q) Being two-faced.

r) Praising someone who is either undeserving, or unable to remain humble when praised.

s) Speaking about involved subjects and ideas one lacks the necessary knowledge or eloquence to adequately convey.

t) Ordinary folk speaking in subjects that are the domain of specialists.

May Allah spare us from these ruinations both during and after Ramadan.

The Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Almighty God be upon Him, said: “Whoever fails to leave off ruinous speech, and acting on it [during Ramadan], God does not need him to leave off eating and drinking.” Al-Bukahri

We encourage the believers to avoid all arguments, disputes, and unnecessary worldly entanglements during this blessed month. This is a time for deep devotion and dedication to Allah.

We encourage the believers to work to restore any severed relations or kinship ties they may be experiencing. This is a time when the gentle breezes of Divine Facilitation are blowing. Any good we endeavor during this blessed month will come to bear its proper fruits, Insha Allah.

We encourage all of the believers to eat simply during this month. One should try to make a vow to give up unnecessary, and generally unhealthy fare during this blessed month. Pizza, ice cream, fast food, pastries, and soda should all go. We should make our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters in other lands real, and not something confined to speeches and pamphlets.

If one is in the habit of watching television, or listening to commercial music, one should also try to give these things up for Ramadan. They are things that divert us from the remembrance of God in any case. During this special month when every letter we recite from the Majestic Qur’an is tremendously rewarded, we should busy ourselves with recitation, and drop other pastimes.

Married believers should encourage their wives to engage in spiritual pursuits during this month, i.e. reciting the Qur’an, attending Tarawih, etc. They should especially avoid burdening their wives with long hours in the kitchen in order to host extravagant Iftars. While it is certainly virtuous to provide the wherewithal for the believers to break their fast, dates, water, and simple dishes suffice in that regard.

These are some of the things we wanted to convey to you. Hopefully, they will prove of benefit. Again, we wish you a very successful Ramadan and would like to thank all of you for past, present, and future support. May Allah bless us to serve you better in the future.

On behalf of the Zaytuna Staff,

Your Brother in Islam,

Imam Zaid Shakir

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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UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS ONE NOT OBLIGED TO FAST?

Islam is a religion that makes our life easier. Allah the Exalted does not hold His subjects responsible of the things they are not capable of. This condition holds for fasting as well. It is a sin not to fast during the month of Ramadan without an excuse. However, in some cases, it is permissible not to fast or break the fast that has   already started. After Ramadan, the fasts that are not performed are repaid as qada as soon as possible.

The following are the conditions that our religion considers valid excuses for not fasting or for breaking the fast in Ramadan:

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– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School”