Monday, February 25, 2013

The Five Categories of People regarding Salah: Ibn Qayyim

 
By Shaykh Ibn Qayyim (RA)
 
The first: The category of the oppressor to himself, the negligent one, one who is deficient in performing ablution for it, negligent with its appointed time periods, its boundaries and its pillars.

The second: One who preserves it appointed time periods, its boundaries, its outward pillars and ablution for it. However, he forsakes striving against his own self from whisperings and thinking to himself, and so is preoccupied with whisperings and thoughts.

The third: One who preserves its appointed time periods, its pillars as well as strives against himself in repelling whisperings and distracting thoughts that overcome him, he is busy in striving against his enemy in order to prevent him from stealing his prayer, he is in prayer as well as Jihad (struggle).

The fourth: One whom when he stands for prayer perfects its rights, its pillars and its boundaries. His heart is occupied with preserving its boundaries and preventing anything of it being lost, rather all his attention is directed to performing it as it should be, in its most complete and perfect form, his heart is occupied with the prayer and worshiping his Lord the Elevated with it.

The fifth: One who performs the prayer like the previous person, but in addition to this, he has taken his heart and presented it to his Lord. He looks at his Lord with his heart, fully concerned with Him, in utmost obedience out of love and reverence for Him, it is as if he sees and witnesses his Lord. All distracting thoughts and whisperings fade away and the veil between him and his Lord is removed. The difference between this person in his prayer and others, is greater and better than all that is between the heavens and earth, he is fully occupied and overjoyed with his Lord in his prayer.

Results of the above types of Salaah:

The first category is punished, the second is held accountable, the third is pardoned, the fourth is rewarded and the fifth is brought close to his Lord, because he gains a portion of what made the prayer a delight to him.

 For whoever is delighted with his prayer in the life of this world, will be delighted by being close to his Lord in the afterlife as well as being delighted with his Lord in this life, and whoever is delighted with Allaah, everything would be delighted with him, and whoever is not delighted with Allaah, his soul will be torn apart for the life of this world in loss.

'Turning away' from Allah during Salah!

It is narrated that when a servant stands for prayer, Allaah the Glorified says; “Remove the veil.”, and if the servant turns away He says: “Replace it.”

This ‘turning away’ has been explained as the turning of the heart away from Allaah the All-Mighty to other than Him. So if he turns away, the veil is replaced between him and his Lord and Shaytaan enters and presents worldly affairs to him, he shows them to him in the image of a woman.

But if he turns with his heart to Allaah and does not turn away, Shaytaan would not be able to come between Allaah and that heart, he only enters if the veil is replaced. If he returns to Allaah with his heart, the Shaytaan would escape, and if he turns away, the Shaytaan would return, such is his state with his enemy in prayer.

-From his book 'Al Waabil as Sayyib'

Grades of worshipers in Salah: Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi


 
Of all the A’maal (actions) in Islam, Salah requires our first and foremost attention and care.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated, “The first thing one will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment is Salah (prayer).” (Sunan Abu Dawud, al Nasa’i: Kitab al Salah Bab al Muhasabati `ala al Salat #469-471; Al Hakim also narrated it and said it is sahih)

In another Hadith it is mentioned, “On the Day of Judgement, the very first question that will be asked to man out of his deeds will be about Salah; if his Salah is correct he will succeed but if it is incomplete, he will be disgraced and will suffer loss.- Tabarani

Depending upon the inner and outer quality of Salah, the worshipers have different grades.

Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (RA) writes:
 
“There is nothing dry or mechanical about Salah. It is not a soulless ritual, frozen into rigidity, in which there is no scope for development and everyone is compelled to stay at the same level. On the contrary, its field is very vast in which the devotee is carried forward from state to state, from advancement to perfection and from perfection to heights that are beyond the imagination of man.

In it, the position of one is different from that of the other. The grade varies from person to person. A Salah performed with negligence and ignorance cannot be treated as equal to that of attention and awareness. In the same way, the Salah of the general body of Muslims cannot match the Salah of the enlightened men of God in virtue and excellence. It is also not necessary that a devotee always maintains the same standard and the Salah he offered today was identical in quality to what he had offered up yesterday or a few months or years earlier.

Thus, we find that two categories of Salah are mentioned in the Quran, praiseworthy and blameworthy.

Of the later type of Salah it says:
“Ah, woe unto worshippers who are heedless of their prayer, (and) who are hypocrites and refuse even small kindnesses.”
(Surah Al-Ma’oon- cvii: 4-7)
 
And, of the former:
“Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers.”
(Surah Al-Muminoon- xxiii: 1-2)

 The Holy Prophet (SAWS), also, has spoken of two kinds of Salah, one of reverence, sincerity and humbleness  and the other of negligence, hurry and carelessness.

 Concerning the Salah of the first category Uthman bin Affan [RA] relates that “He [the Prophet SAWS] performed the Wudhu, and performed it well, and then, he remarked, he who performs the Wudhu like me and performs two Rakahs of Salah in such a way that he thinks of nothing else during it, all his previous sins will be forgiven”. –Bukhari and Muslim 

It is related by Hazrat Uqba bin Aamir (RA) that the Prophet (SAWS) once said, “Paradise becomes the right of a Muslim who performs the Wudhu properly and then stands up and offers two Rakahs of Salah and remains attentive in it both with his face and his heart”. -Muslim

 About the Salah of the other kind, it is related by Ammar bin Yasir (RA) that once he heard the Prophet (SAWS)  saying, “A person completes his Salah and yet only one‐tenth, and sometimes, one‐ninth, one‐eighth, one‐seventh, one‐sixth, one‐fifth, one‐fourth, one‐third or one‐half of it comes to his lot.”- Abu Dawood and Nisai.

It is, again, related that the Prophet once said, “The worst of men is he who steals his Salah”. The Holy Companions, thereupon asked, “O Prophet of God! How can a person steal his own Salahs?” The Prophet replied, “He neither performs the Wudhu properly nor the Sajda”. - Muslim

 It is related by Hazrat Anas (RA) that the Prophet (SAWS), once said, “He is a hypocrite who keeps on looking at the sun till it turns pale and comes between the two horns of the Devil and then gets up and hurriedly offers up four Rakahs of Salah like a hen pecking at the grain in which the remembrance of God is only nominal.”- Nisai

In Salah the grades of the devotees are different. The Salah of one devotee cannot be judged by the Salah of the other. The Salah of the sacred Prophet (SAWS) was of the highest order, higher, superior and more perfect than that of any one, and it also held the greatest weight in the Scales of God. Closest to his Salah was the Salah of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA).
 
It was for this reason that Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) was commanded by the holy Prophet (SAWS), during his last illness, to lead the prayer‐service in his place though Hadhrat Ayesha (RA) had suggested the name of Hadhrat Omar (RA). But the Prophet insisted on it and, so, it was done. [Bukhari] 

Salah is an indicator of one’s level in the Deen:

Further, there is no better measuring‐yard of one’s place and position in Islam than Salah. The quality of person’s prayers tells more about his inner state than any other thing.

Thus, all the outstanding personalities of Islam, whose names are still cherished in history, have attained that lofty position and immortality by paying the greatest attention to Salah and carrying it to the highest stage of perfection which, in the Islamic parlance, is referred to as Ihsan.”

{See his book ‘The Four Pillars of Islam’}

 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Missing Ingredient In Our Salah!

The Missing Ingredient In Our Salah!
Imagine the inconvenience one would have to undergo in arranging to meet the country’s president? Imagine the numerous phone calls to parliament and the influence of the rich and ‘powerful’ people that would be required just to arrange a simple meeting with him? And finally, when the scheduled time does arrive after hours of anticipation, how alert and ecstatic wouldn’t one be? Yet, the ‘prominent’ man, hard-pressed for time, would give one an inattentive hearing and will be eager to conclude the meeting. How disappointing?
 
Now compare all this effort with just a ‘simple’ wudu, donning of clean respectable clothing, and there you are, in the Majesty’s court. With no hassle and no appointment, you have the distinguished opportunity of conversing with your Beloved Creator, The King of Kings with His full attention focused on you. Yet ironically, this time round, we are the ones ‘too busy’ in our thoughts to dedicate a few attentive moments to our Allah!
 
Allah Ta’ala states that an intoxicated person should not perform salāh until he is aware of what he says, that is, until he is sober. However, while commenting on this verse and the deplorable state of our salāh, Imām Ghazali رحمه الله mentions, “There are many who despite not being intoxicated are yet ‘unaware’ of what they utter in their salāh (due to being inattentive).”1

Moulānā Dhul Fiqār دامت بركاتهم has also very aptly compared our salāh to a passenger aboard an aeroplane. The passenger is asleep and therefore totally oblivious of his surroundings. It is only when the aircraft prepares for landing and the wheels forcefully strike the runway, does he awaken and realise what is happening around him. He states that, so too is the pitiable state of our salāh. That is, during our salāh, we are so unmindful of Allah; it is as though we also ‘fly’ in our own world of thoughts (touring countless destinations with neither a visa nor a passport at hand!). It is only when the imām makes the salām, do we ‘awaken’ from our ‘slumber’ only to realise that the salāh has terminated!
These comments really serve as a perfect reflection of our daily salāh. So in truth, isn’t it time for us to improve on the ‘outdated version’ of salāh which we have been performing ever since!

The Perfect Salah:
 
In the Quran, Allah  constantly reminds us of the need to improve our salāh by saying, “Establish your salāh (i.e. perfect it)”. The Úlamā have defined a perfect and attentive salāh to mean that when one stands before Allah, being conscious of his Divine presence, (a) one should be motionless i.e. avoiding all unnecessary movement, while (b) divorcing oneself from worldly thoughts - worldly thoughts should not be voluntarily imported to the mind. Yes, if they arise naturally, one should just ignore them and continue with the salāh.

Our salah!

Disregarding this vital ingredient of concentration has led to our salāh becoming somewhat ‘bland, boring and mechanical’. What did I just recite? Which rakat am I in? Do I have to stand up now, or sit for tashahud? are questions which haunt one in nearly every salāh. Remember that salāh is in reality a great gift from Allah which keeps us connected to Him despite our numerous involvements. However, as long as we don’t make an effort to improve our concentration, salāh will continue to be regarded as a burden. For, Allah states, “(Salāh) is difficult and burdensome except for those who are mindful.”2
 
The ahādīth also explicitly state that concentration in salāh is the factor which determines the amount of reward one receives for the salāh. Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam has mentioned, “Whoever makes a thorough wudu and then performs an attentive salāh, while being mindful and conscious of what he says, will complete his salāh with all his (minor) sins erased like the day his mother gave birth to him.”3 A similar narration has it as, “Jannah becomes wājib (guaranteed) for this person.”4 Note again that, these benefits depend on the level of one’s concentration in the salāh. So why deprive ourselves when a little effort will make for a better, as well as a more enjoyable, salāh!
 
The ‘Secret Ingredients’ to a Better Salāh
 
ADVANCE PREPARATION –Try and complete all needs and duties before the approach of salāh, or at least leave them in such a condition that would not distract the mind during the salāh. It is sinful to perform salāh in an uneasy distracted state of mind when one is able to avoid it. A distracted mind also refers to performing salāh when in need of relieving oneself or of even passing ‘wind’ (i.e. flatulence). In fact, if such an acute need does occur during the salāh, the salāh should be terminated and only resumed once at ease (irrespective of whether, by doing so, the salāh with congregation is missed or not).5
 
A meticulous WUDU Perform a thorough wudu maintaining the fard, sunnah and mustahab aspects. Utilise a moderate amount of water and desist from all worldly talk. Involvement in such talk ruins the spirituality of the wudu totally. Remember! The key to salāh is wudu. So, a better wudu will surely lead to a better salāh.
 
SWITCH THE MIND OFFThe stepping stone to an attentive salāh is to ensure one commences it with a tranquil and relaxed mind. To achieve this, try and be seated in the Musjid (or the place of salāh) before time and recite a little amount of zikr. Just as how the blades of the fan continue to rotate well after the switch is turned off, so too is the effect of all activities on one’s mind. Coming early for salāh will also secure the good fortune of performing the salāh with the first takbīr (takbīr ūlā) which is extremely meritorious.
 
CLEAR THE AREA Perform the salāh away from any distractions such as the T.V, radio, nasheeds which are playing, discussions of people, noise etc., as these naturally distract and divert the mind during the salāh. If possible, try to perform salāh on a plain printed musalla instead of a heavily designed one. Otherwise, one would be concentrating on the designs and counting of the domes and minarets instead of counting the number of rakats.
 
TIPS Some Úlama have recommended a simple though effective technique to achieve concentration. In every posture of salāh, one should meditate on only three things. These are: (1) My Allah is watching me, (2) My Allah is listening to me, and (3) My Allah is aware of me. With this frame of mind, one should recite the various tasbīhāt, qirat etc. of the salāh. Those who are well versed in Arabic should ponder over the meanings of the verses while others should try to learn the meanings of a few sūrahs, especially Sūrah Fātihah, since it is recited most often. Many of us have our set sūrahs for a 2, 3 and 4 rakat salāh. Hence, on completion of Sūrah Fātihah, before even thinking and realising what sūrah to choose and recite, we are already half way through these sūrahs. In this case, we should recite other sūrahs such as Sūrah Yasin, Tabarak etc. Pronouncing the letters loud enough as to hear it yourself (but not loud enough as to disturb others) is also extremely useful in focusing one’s attention in the salāh. We should also try to perfect the outer postures of salāh including the focusing of one’s gaze in each posture. If greater concentration is achieved by closing the eyes during the salāh, then in this case only, one may close the eyes.6 However, the ideal would be to achieve this concentration by keeping them open as was the Sunnah (practice) of our Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
 
THE YAWNS... More often than not, yawning is the result of one being absent-minded during the salāh. Nonetheless, if it does occur, one should first try to suppress it (by closing the mouth). If one is unable to do so, then the right hand should be used to cover the mouth, if one is in the standing position. Otherwise the left hand should be used if in any other posture of the salāh.
NOTE: It is makrūh to use the hand to cover the mouth when yawning during salāh if one is able to suppress it by doing so with the mouth only.7 Sounds such as ‘Ha...’ etc. should not be uttered while yawning as this has been prohibited in the Ahadith.8
 
fiddlING The most obvious and apparent sign of an inattentive mind is that of fiddling and fidgeting. Saeed Ibn Musayyib رحمه الله, a great Tābi’ī, once saw a man who was fidgeting with his beard during the salāh and commented, “If this man was attentive, his body would have (also) being motionless.”9 If the mind is alert and attentive, subsequently, the physical body also becomes composed and tranquil. Let us avoid all unnecessary movement during the salāh.
 
SHORT AND SWEET Initially, concentration should be developed by performing shorter (not quick and hasty) salāhs while trying to focus in each posture. Once the desired concentration is achieved, one may then perform lengthier rakats of salāh. This was the practice of many of our pious elders.
 
A GROSS MISUNDERSTANDING A common understanding of an attentive salāh is that, one should be totally absorbed and oblivious of one’s surroundings during the salāh. This is incorrect. Experiencing such a condition is simply a gift from Allah and is in no way a requirement of salāh. In fact, at times this may even be a subtle scheme from Shaytan to sway us away from mustering up courage and attempting to perform a perfect salāh. Since, one would think that such a salāh is out of my reach and impossible for me to perform, so I’ll just carry on with my old inattentive one. Nevertheless, an attentive salāh simply means that one should be aware and realise what one is doing during the course of the salāh. For example, one should be conscious of the fact that now I am reciting Sūrah Fatiha, or now I am going into ruku, sajda etc. this much is sufficient when initially correcting our salāh.

If still you have problem concentrating...
 
If after carefully practicing on these points, one still does not achieve the desired concentration, one should not be disillusioned. Remember that concentration comes through practice while salāh has to be performed in all circumstances, with or without concentration. Shaytan will find this to be an ideal opportunity to sway us away from salāh with thoughts such as, ‘what good is your salāh if your mind is wandering all over the place?’ The Úlama state that our effort is to ‘try’ to concentrate in the event of not having achieved concentration. Allah  wants to see our sincere attempt in developing that better salāh. If one entertains stray thoughts during the salāh, repent sincerely and make a resolute intention of improving the salāh. In addition to this brief compilation, the following books should also be consulted:
1) IS YOUR SALAH CORRECT by Moulana Fadlur Rahman Azmi دامت بركاتهم
2) And especially, the transcribed bayans of Moulana Abdul Hamid Ishaq دامت بركاتهم entitled, ANWAARUS SALAH (also available on audio).
 
 References: 
          
(1) Ihyā v.1 p.200
(2) Surah 2, verse 80
(3) Mustadrak Hākim #3508
(4) Sahih Muslim #552
(5), (6) & (7) Raddul Muhtār v.1 p.641
(8) Sahih Bukhari #3289, Sunan Abi Dawud #5028
(9) Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah # 6854]
 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Laziness in worship is due to a diseased Heart!


The heart is the machine that drives all acts of worship. It is what moves the entire body! As long as the heart is alive, then the limbs will be alive, and the soul will open itself up to worship. However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship will become too heavy on the soul, leading to it eventually disliking and hating - and we seek refuge with Allah from this - worship. Because of this, Allah - the Glorified and Exalted - said, regarding the prayer:

"...and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except on those who are submissive..." [al-Baqarah; 45]

The prayer is heavy, because one's legs and hands are not what get up for the prayer. What gets up for the prayer are the heart and the soul.

"Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for the prayer, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little." [an-Nisa'; 142]


Because of this, it is the heart that stands up for worship. The limbs are simply slaves of this heart, carrying out what it commands them. If the heart is alive, then the soul will be alive, and worship will become beloved and sweetened to the hearts and the souls, and they will open up for it.
However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship becomes too heavy on it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Deeds that equal the reward of Haj


Deeds that equal the reward of Haj

 
 Since Haj is among the most virtuous deeds in Islam, and not everyone can afford it (especially on a continuous basis) Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has attached the reward of optional (nafil) Haj to certain other deeds for the benefit of all.
These deeds are:
 1.   Wudhu at home before proceeding for Salaah with Jamaat.

عن أبي أمامة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال
 من خرج من بيته متطهرا إلى صلاة مكتوبة فأجره كأجر الحاج المحرم ومن خرج إلى تسبيح الضحى لا ينصبه إلا إياه فأجره كأجر المعتمر وصلاة على إثر صلاة لا لغو بينهما كتاب في عليين
 رواه أبو داود (559)

Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “One who purifies himself (i.e, makes wudhu) and leaves his home to attend the fardh salaah in congregation receives the reward of a Haji in the state of Ihram,
And if he leaves for the salaatu-Dhuhaa (Chaast) he gets the reward of ‘Umrah…
(Sunan Abi Dawud, hadith:559)
 2.    Salatul Ishraaq.

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
 من صلى الغداة  في جماعة ثم قعد يذكر الله حتى تطلع الشمس ثم صلى ركعتين كانت له كأجر حجة وعمرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : تامة تامة تامة
 رواه الترمذي وقال حديث حسن غريب (586)
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Maalik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever offers his Fajr salaah in congregation, and then remains seated making the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah until (approximately 15 mins after) sunrise after which he offers two rak’aats of salaah (Ishraaq), will receive the reward of one complete Haj and one complete ‘Umrah”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith:586 with a sound chain)
N.B. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) repeated the words: “complete” thrice.
 3.   Going to the Masjid to acquire Knowledge.

عن أبي أمامة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال
من غدا إلى المسجد لا يريد إلا أن يتعلم خيرا أو يعلمه، كان له كأجر حاج تاما حجته.
رواه الطبراني في الكبير(7473)  بأسناد لابأس به. كذا في الترغيب 1/104، وقال العراقي في تخريج الإحياء(4253): وإسناده جيد. وانظر المستدرك للحاكم 1/91.

Sayyiduna Abu Umaamah (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever goes to the Masjid for the purpose of learning or teaching Knowledge, receives the reward of a Haji whose Haj was perfect.
(Tabarani, hadith:7473 with a sound chain. See Targheeb vol.1 pg.104 & Takhreejul Ihyaa, hadith:4253)
4.   Umrah in Ramadhan.

عن ابن عباس أَنَّ النبى -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال لاِمرأة من الأنصار يقال لَهَا أُمُّ سِنَان « ما منعكِ أَنْ تَكُونِى حَجَجْتِ معنا ». قالت ناضحان كانا لأَبى فلاَنٍ – زَوْجِهَا – حج هو وابْنُهُ على أحدهما وكان الآخر يسقى عليه غلامنا. قال « فعمرة فى رمضان تقضى حجة. أو حجة معى ».
 رواه مسلم (1256)
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallahu’anhuma) has reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) passed by Ummu sinan while on his way to haj. “Why didn’t you accompany me for Haj?” he enquired. She said: “We only have 2 camels, one my husband has used to be with you in Haj, and the other is needed for transporting water.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “ ‘Umrah in Ramadhan equals the reward of Haj with me”. (Sahih Muslim, hadith:1256)
5.   To recite “Subhaanallah” 100 times in the morning and evening.

عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما قال قال رسول الله صلى الله علي وسلم:
من سبح الله مائة بالغداة ومائة بالعشي كان كمن حج مائة مرة…الخ
رواه الترمذي (3471) وقال: حسن غريب.
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radiyallahu’anhuma) reported That Rasulullah said: “He who recites Subhaanallah 100 times in the morning and another 100 times in the evening is like one who performed Haj 100 times!”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith:3471 with a sound chain)
 6.   Serving one’s Parents:

عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال أتى رجلٌ رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال إني أشتهي الجهاد ولا أقدر عليه قال هل بقي مِن والديك أحدٌ قال أمي قال فاَبْلِ الله في برها فإذا فعلت ذلك فأنت حاج ومعتمر ومجاهد.
رواه أبو يعلى(2760) والطبراني في الصغير والأوسط، وإسنادهما جيد. كذا في الترغيب. 3/315، ومختصرالإتحاف للبوصيري (5721)
Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that a man came to  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said: “I wish to participate in Jihaad, but I cannot afford it” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) enquired if any of his parents were alive, to which he said: “Yes! My mother is alive” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Show Allah how you serve her. If you do so (duly) you will be like a: Haaji, a Mu’tamir (one doing ‘Umrah) and a Mujaahid (One striving in Allah’s way).”
(Abu Ya’la, hadith:2760, and Tabarani with good chains.-Targheeb, vol.3, pg. 315 & Mukhtasar Ithaaf, hadith:5721)

  •  Hafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hambali (rahimahullah) has quoted other deeds that yield the reward of Haj from various Predecessors (i.e, not necessarily from the hadith). All of the following have been extracted from his priceless work: Lataaiful Ma’aarif, pgs.357-359.
7.   Attending the Jumu’ah Salaah.
Sa’eed ibnul Musayyab (rahimahullah) said: “Attending the Jumu’ah is better according to me than a nafl (voluntary) Haj.”
Hafidh Ibn ‘Asaakir (rahimahullah) has quoted a similar virtue via Imam Al-Awza’i (rahimahullah)[1]
8.   Attending the Eid Salaah.
Some of the Sahabah [RA] have said: “Attending the Eidul Fitr Salaah equals the reward of ‘Umrah, and the Eidul Adha Salaah equals that of Haj.”
9.     Esha Salaah in Congregation.

A reliable Tabi’e, Uqbah ibn ‘Abdil Ghaafir (rahimahullah) said: “Offering the Esha salaah[2] in congregation equals the reward of Haj, and the Fajr in congregation equals ‘Umrah”
 10. Fulfilling the need of a fellow Muslim.
Imam Hasan Al-Basri (rahimahullah) said: “Your proceeding to fulfil the need a fellow muslim is better for you than one Haj after another!” (Also quoted By Zabeedi (rahimahullah) in Sharhul Ihyaa, vol.6 pg.292)
  •  The fulfilment of all obligations.
After citing the above, Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) writes:
The fulfilling of all obligatory deeds is considered better than  Nafl (voluntary) Haj and ‘Umrah. This is due to (the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari which states that) the best way of attaining nearness to Allah is via the obligatory acts. However many people find it easy to carry out nafl Haj and ‘Umrah, but feel it difficult to fulfil the other responsibilities (Wajib acts) like repayment of debts and other such duties.

  •  Abstinence from the haraam (forbidden) acts are also more virtuous than Nafl Haj etc.
Some of the Pious predecessors said: “To abstain from an iota of wrong is better than five hundred (Nafl) Haj”
Fudhail ibn ‘Iyadh (rahimahullah.) –the great sage of his age- said: “There is no Haj or Jihad that is more important than protecting one’s tongue” i.e, against sin.

  •  Any act of Good during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.
Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has rightly pointed out:
“If the hadith has promised that any act of good done in these 10 days supersedes even the reward of Jihad, which is considered better than optional Haj too, that means all good done in these days will also supersede the reward of optional Haj.” (Pg.390)
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Notes:
1. The promises of “gaining the same reward as Haj” that are mentioned above, are restricted to the reward only. It does not mean that one upon whom Haj is obligatory can merely suffice on these deeds. (Sharh-Nawawi ‘ala muslim, hadith:1256 & Fathul Mulhim, vol.6, pg.123)
2. Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has quoted Imaam Is-haq Ibn Rahuyah (rahimahullah) as saying that this reward should be understood in the light of the hadith that explains surah ikhlaas to be equal to one third of the Quraan. (Sunan Tirmidhi, after hadith:939) i.e, one who recites it will receive the reward of reciting one third, but since he hasn’t physically done so the reward will not be multiplied. (Sharh Nawawi, vol.1 pg.271) The reward for physically doing an act is multiplied ten times and more in accordance to the sincerity, and sacrifice that accompanies it.
Mufti Mahmudul Hasan Gangohi (rahimahullah) has also highlighted this in his Malfuzat.
Furthermore, by memorizing/reciting surah ikhlas thrice, one does not become a hafidh of the entire Quran..!
3. The purpose here is not to discourage one from the actual Haj. Like they say: “There’s nothing like the real thing..”
Allah Ta’ala knows best, and may He grant us all the tawfeeq (ability) to practice on the above, as well as afford us the opportunity to perform the real Haj repeatedly. Ameen.

References:

[1] Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) also supported this content with 2 ahadith.
[2] A narration of Baihaqi’s Shu’abul Iman states: Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever offers his Maghrib Salah in congregation, receives the reward of one accepted Haj and ‘Umrah” (Shu’abul Iman, hadith:9304 & Ad-Dailami, hadith:5676. ‘Allamah ‘Iraqi (r.a.) has classified the chain as weak. (Takhreejul Ihyaa, hadith:1168) However, when viewed in the light of the above narrations and the explanation of Hafidh Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) which follows, it acquires enough support. Also see Sharhul Ihyaa, vol.5, pg.127.
 
http://www.al-miftah.com/2012/09/17/deeds-that-equal-the-reward-of-haj/

The spiritual efficacy of Tahajjud Salah- Shaikh Abrarul Haqq


 


The reviver of Sunna, Shaikh Mawlana Abrarul Haqq (Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘The tahajjud salah in itself has the property to make an individual righteous, pious and a friend (wali) of Allah.’
‘There are some medicines that have the property of working both at preventing the disease (prophylaxis) and eradicating it (treatment). Similar is the case of tahajjud. It  eradicates the sinful deeds and nurtures the resistance for indulgence in sinful.’
[Ma’arif al Abrar ra, page 238]
source- http://www.ashrafiya.com/2012/11/06/tahajjud-prayers-2/

Greatness and significance of Ayat al-Kursi [2:255]

Greatness and significance of  Ayat al-Kursi [2:255]
    

اللّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَاء وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَلاَ يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
Allah: There is no god but He, the Living, the All-Sustaining. Neither dozing overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Who can intercede with Him without His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them; while they encompass nothing of His knowledge, except what He wills. His Kursiyy (Chair) extends to the Heavens and to the Earth, and it does not weary Him to look after them. He is the All-High, the Supreme.

Imam Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Tafseer of Ayat
al-Kursiy from Soorat al-Baqarah:


The greatest verse of the Quran!

This is Aayat al-Kursiy, which has a high status. It was reported in a saheeh
hadeeth from the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that it
is the greatest aayah in the Book of Allaah… It was narrated from Ubayy, i.e.,
Ubayy ibn Ka'b that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
asked him which aayah in the Book of Allaah was the greatest. He said, "Allaah
and His Messenger know best." He repeated it several times, then he said, "Aayat
al-Kursiy." The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,
"Congratulations upon your knowledge O Abu'l-Mundhir. By the One in Whose hand
is my soul, it has a tongue and two lips, and it glorifies the Sovereign (i.e.,
Allaah) at the foot of the Throne." This was also narrated by Muslim, without
the phrase "By the One in Whose hand is my soul…".

Imaam Ahmad narrated: Muhammad ibn Ja'far told us, `Uthmaan ibn `Itaab told us,
he said: I heard Abu'l-Sulayl saying: a man from among the companions of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) addressed the people until a
large number had gathered around him, then he climbed onto the roof of a house
and addressed the people, saying: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) said, `Which aayah of the Qur'aan is the greatest?' A man
said, ` "Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but
He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…"
[al-Baqarah 2:255 _ Aayat al-Kursi _ interpretation of the meaning].' He said:
he put his hand between my shoulders and I felt coolness in the centre of my
chest, or he put his hand on the centre of my chest and I felt coolness between
my shoulders, and he said, `Congratulations on your knowledge, O Abu'l-Mundhir."

It was narrated that Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "I came to
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst he was in the
mosque and sat down. He said, `O Abu Dharr, did you pray?' I said, `No.' He
said, ` Get up and pray.' So I got up and prayed, then I came and sat down. He
said, `O Abu Dharr, seek refuge with Allaah from the devils of men and jinn.' I
said, `O Messenger of Allaah, are there devils among men?' He said, `Yes.' I
said, `O Messenger of Allaah, what about salaah?' He said, `It is the best, so
let whoever wants to, do a little of it and let whoever wants to, do more of
it.' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, what about fasting?' He said, `It is
obligatory and it is good, and the reward with Allaah is greater.' I said, `O
Messenger of Allaah, what about sadaqah (charity)?' He said, `Allaah multiplies
it many times over.' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, what (charity) is best?' He
said, `What a person gives at times of hardship, or what he gives in secret to a
poor person.' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, which of the Prophets was first?'
He said, `Adam.' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, was he a Prophet?' He said,
`Yes, a Prophet to whom Allaah spoke.' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, how many
Messengers are there?' He said. `Three hundred and umpteen [sic], a great
crowd.' And once he said, `(Three hundred and) fifteen.' I said, `O Messenger of
Allaah, what is the greatest thing that has been revealed to you?' He said,
`Aayat al-Kursiy, "Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be
worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that
exists…" [al-Baraqah 2:255 _ interpretation of the meaning].'" (Narrated by
al-Nasaa'i).


Protection from Jinn and devils:

It was narrated from `Abd-Allaah ibn Ubayy ibn Ka'b that his father told him
that he had a vessel in which he kept dates. He used to check on it and found
that the number was decreasing. So he kept guard on it one night and saw a beast
that looked like an adolescent boy. He said: "I greeted him with salaams and he
returned my greeting, then I asked him, `What are you, a jinn or a human?' He
said, `A jinn.' I said to him, `Show me your hand.' So he showed me his hand,
and it looked like a dog's paw with dog's fur. I said, `Do all the jinn look
like this?' He said, `I know no one among the jinn who is stronger than I.' I
said, `What made you do what you did [i.e., taking the dates]?' He said, `We
heard that you are a man who loves charity, and we wanted to have some of your
food.'" Ubayy asked him, "What will protect us from you?" He said, "This aayah,
Aayat al-Kursiy." Then the next day he [Ubayy] went to the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) and told him (about what had happened) and he
said, "The evil one spoke the truth."…

Al-Bukhaari narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) appointed me to guard the Ramadaan zakaah.
Someone came and started taking some of the food. I grabbed hold of him and
said, `I am going to take you to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him)!' He said, `Let me be, for I am in need and I have children
and am in great need.' So I let him go. The following morning, the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, `O Abu Hurayrah, what did your
prisoner do last night?' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, he complained of being
in great need and having children to look after, so I took pity on him and let
him go.' He said, `But he was lying, and he will be back.' So I knew that he
would come back, because of what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) had said. I lay in wait for him, and he came and started
taking some of the food. I grabbed hold of him and said, `I am going to take you
to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)!' He
said, `Let me be, for I am in need and I have children. I will not come back
again.' So I took pity on him and let him go. The following morning, the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, `O Abu Hurayrah, what did your
prisoner do last night?' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, he complained of being
in great need and having children to look after, so I took pity on him and let
him go.' He said, `But he was lying, and he will be back.' So I lay in wait for
him on the third night, and he came and started taking some of the food. I
grabbed hold of him and said, `I am going to take you to the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)! This is the third and last time.
You said that you would not come back, then you did come back.' He said, `Let me
go, and I will teach you some words by which Allaah will benefit you.' I said,
`What are they?" He said, `When you lie down in your bed, recite Aayat
al-Kursiy, "Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped
but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…"
[al-Baraqah 2:255 _ interpretation of the meaning] until the end of the aayah,
then you will have a protector from Allaah and no shaytaan (devil) will come
near you until morning comes.' Then I let him go. The following morning, the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, `What did your
prisoner do last night?' I said, `O Messenger of Allaah, he claimed that he
would teach me some words by which he said Allaah would benefit me, then I let
him go.' He asked, `What are they?' I said, `He told me, when you lie down in
your bed, recite Aayat al-Kursiy, from the beginning to the end of the aayah,
"Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the
Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…" [al-Baraqah
2:255 _ interpretation of the meaning]. And he told me, you will have a
protector from Allaah and no shaytaan (devil) will come near you until morning
comes.' And they [the Sahaabah] were always keen to do good.' The Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: `He indeed told you the truth,
although he is a liar. Do you know who you have been speaking with for the past
three nights, O Abu Hurayrah?' I said, `No.' He said, `That was a shaytaan (a
devil).'"

According to another report, "… `I was taking food to a very poor family among
the jinn.' So he let him go, and he came back on the second night and then the
third night. I said, `Did you not promise me that you would not come back? I
will not leave you today until I bring you to the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him).' He said, `Do not do that. If you let me go, I will
teach you some words which, if you say them, no one among the jinn, great or
small, male or female, will come near you.' He said, `Will you do that?' He
said, `Yes.' He said, `What are they?' He said, `"Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa
(none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who
sustains and protects all that exists…" [al-Baraqah 2:255 _ interpretation of
the meaning], and recited Aayat al-Kursiy until the end. So he let him go and he
went away and did not come back. Abu Hurayrah told the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) about that, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him: "Did you not know that
before?" This was narrated by al-Nasaa'i from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn
`Ubayd-Allaah from Shu'ayb ibn Harb from Ismaa'eel ibn Muslim from
Abu'l-Mutawakkil from Abu Hurayrah. We have noted above that something similar
happened to Ubayy ibn Ka'b, so these are three separate incidents. Abu `Ubayd
said in Kitaab al-Ghareeb: Abu Mu'aawiyah told us, from Abu `Aasim al-Qaffi,
from al-Shu'bi from `Abd-Allaah ibn Mas'ood, who said: "A man from among the
humans went out and was met by a man from among the jinn, who said, `Will you
wrestle with me? If you throw me to the ground I will teach you an aayah which,
if you recite it when you enter your house, no shaytaan will enter.' So he
wrestled with him and threw him to the ground. He said, `I see that you are very
small and your forearms are like the front paws of a dog. Are all the jinn like
this, or only you?' He said, `I am strong among them. Let us wrestle again.' So
they wrestled again and the human threw him to the ground. So he (the jinn)
said, `Recite Aayat al-Kursiy, for no one recites it when he enters his house,
but the Shaytaan leaves, farting like a donkey.'" It was said to Ibn Mas'ood,
"Was that man `Umar?" He said, "Who else could it have been, other than `Umar?"


It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "In Soorat al-Baqaraah there is an aayah
which is the best of all the aayahs of the Qur'aan. It is never recited in a
house but the Shaytaan leaves: Aayat al-Kursiy." This was also narrated via
another isnaad, from Zaa'idah from Hakeem ibn Jubayr. Then he said, its isnaad
is saheeh although they [al-Bukhaari and Muslim] did not narrate it. It was also
narrated by al-Tirmidhi from the hadeeth of Zaa'idah, with the wording,
"Everything has its pinnacle and the pinnacle of the Qur'aan is Soorat
al-Baqarah. In it there is an aayah which is the greatest in the Qur'aan: Aayat
al-Kursiy." Then he said: (it is) ghareeb, we do not know it except from the
hadeeth of Hakeem ibn Jubayr. Shu'bah discussed it and classed it as da'eef
(weak). It was also classed as da'eef by Ahmad, Yahyaa ibn Mu'een and other
imaams. Ibn Mahdi classed it is matrook and al-Sa'di classed it as false.

It was narrated from Ibn `Umar that `Umar ibn al-Khattaab went out one day to
some people who had prepared a meal. He said, "Who among you can tell me which
is the greatest aayah in the Qur'aan?" Ibn Mas'ood said, "You are asking one who
knows. I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) say, `The greatest aayah in the Qur'aan is `Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa
(none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who
sustains and protects all that exists…' [al-Baraqah 2:255 _ interpretation of
the meaning]."


Concerning the fact that it includes the greatest name of Allaah

 Imaam Ahmad said: "It was narrated that Asmaa' bint Yazeed ibn al-Sakan said: `I heard the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say about these
two aayahs (interpretation of the meanings) — "Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa
(none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who
sustains and protects all that exists…" [al-Baraqah 2:255] and "Alif-Laam-Meem.
[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'aan, and none but Allaah
(Alone) knows their meanings.] Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right
to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyoom (the Ever Living, the One Who
sustains and protects all that exists)" [Aal `Imraan 3:1-2] _ that they contain
the greatest name of Allaah.'" This was also narrated by Abu Dawood from
Musaddid and by al-Tirmidhi from `Ali ibn Khashram, and by Ibn Maajah from Abu
Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah, all three of them narrating from `Eesa ibn Yoonus from
`Ubayd-Allaah ibn Abi Ziyaad . Al-Tirmidhi said: it is saheeh hasan.

It was narrated in a marfoo' report that Abu Umaamah said: "The greatest name of
Allaah, which if He is called by it, He responds, is in three (soorahs): Soorat
al-Baqarah, Aal `Imraan and Ta-Ha." Hishaam, i.e., Ibn `Ammaar, the khateeb of
Damascus, said: "In al-Baqarah, it is `Allaah! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has
the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and
protects all that exist' [al-Baraqah 2:255 _ interpretation of the meaning]. In
Aal `Imraan it is `Alif-Laam-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the
Qur'aan, and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Allaah! Laa ilaaha
illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyoom (the
Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists)' [Aal
`Imraan3:1-2 _ interpretation of the meaning]. And in Ta-Ha it is `And (all)
faces shall be humbled before (Allaah), Al-Hayyul-Qayyoom (the Ever Living, the
One Who sustains and protects all that exists)' [Ta-Ha 20:111]."


Concerning the virtue of reciting this aayah after the prescribed prayers (salah):

 It was narrated that Abu Umaamah said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever recites Aayat al-Kursiy
immediately after each prescribed prayer, there will be nothing standing between
him and his entering Paradise except death."
This is how it was narrated by
al-Nasaa'i in al-Yawm wa'l-Laylah, from al-Hasan ibn Bishr. It was also narrated
by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh from Muhammad ibn Humayr, who is al-Homsi, and is
also one of the men of al-Bukhaari. The isnaad meets the conditions of
al-Bukhaari.

And Allaah knows best.
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(Reference: http://books.google.co.uk/books?vid=ISBN1861791542)