Saturday, June 22, 2013

Easy Format for ‘ibadah on Blessed Nights


A brief Format for ‘ibadah on Blessed Nights

Our Beloved Nabi (sallallahu’alaihiwasallam) has mentioned:
“Indeed your Lord has reserved certain special moments in time (in which He bestows abundant/special mercy). Be sure to avail yourselves of these opportunities.” (Majma’uz Zawaaid)

We are usually aware of the significant occasions that present themselves each year. 
The crucial thing is how do we “avail ourselves” and maximize our benefit from these blessed nights?

Here is a suggested format for “What to do on Blessed nights?”
[Note: These are mere suggestions intended to make it easy for people. One may engage in whatever form of ‘ibadah one is comfortable with.]

1. Offer Maghrib, Esha & Fajr Salahs with the congregation (Jama'ah) in the Masjid.
Rasululllah (sallallahu’alaihiwasallam) said:
“One who performs Esha in congregation gets the reward of spending half the night in worship. And he who follows that up with the Fajr salah in congregation, will be as if he has stayed up all night in ‘ibaadah.
(Sahih Muslim & Sunan Abi Dawud)
2. Sleep in the state of wudhu
Hafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has mentioned a reliable narration that states: “The soul of one who sleeps with wudhu makes sajdah (prostrates) at the ‘Arsh of Allah
(Fathul Baari)
Imagine our souls making sajdah at the throne of our Creator on a night like Laylatul Qadr!

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Purify these bodies of yours and Allah will purify you. There is no slave who spends the night in a state of purity but that an angel remains close to him. He does not pass an hour of the night without saying, ‘O Allah, forgive your slave. He spent the night in a state of purity.’” [At-Tabarani related in Al-Awsat and al-Mundhiri said it's isnad (chain) is good.]

Trying to stay in a state of purity is a reason to have an additional angel be especially appointed to work for you. That angel is ordered to stay at your side and continually ask for your forgiveness. So immense is the good that comes out of Islam! So simple and beneficial are the ways in which to increase our reward!
3. Abstain from sin
It’s not logical to fill the bucket when it has a hole…

"Leave all sins, open or secret: those who earn sin will get due recompense for their "earnings." [6:120]
4. Clear your heart from ill-feelings towards fellow Muslims.
The ‘Ulama state that those who harbour ill-feelings are deprived of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on occasions like these.
A Hadith in Sahih Ibn Hibban, there is mention of four people that will be deprived on this night:
a) An Alcoholic.
b) One who disobeys his parents.
c) One who severes family ties
d) One who harbours ill-feelings in his heart for others.
5. Salatut Tasbeeh
This is very strongly recommended due to its huge reward. See here for detailed article and here for format.
6. Tawbah

Since the purpose of the turning to Allah on these nights is precisely to attain forgiveness from Allah, this act is  fundamental on such occasions.

The procedure for Tawbah is:
a. Perform two rak’aats of Salaah. (Salaatut tawbah-Optional)
b. Stop the sin that one is repenting from.
c. Regret the sin from the bottom of your heart.
d. Make a determined pledge with Allah never to repeat that sin.
Besides the two rak’aats of Salah, the remaining are all fundamental.

Furthermore, if the sin involved usurping the right of the next person, one needs to ask him/her for forgiveness too. Without this we are not guaranteed forgiveness.
If that person has passed away, we could make dua for him and repay the debt (if any) to his heirs.

Besides this, read 'astaghfirullah' in plenty.
7. Dhikr
There are many forms of dhikrullah. I would suggest the following:
A hundred times “Laa ilaah illallah”
A hundred times repeating the name of “Allah”
And a hundred times:
“Subhaanallahi wabihamdihi subhanallahil ‘Azeem”
The reason for the third one is the following:
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihiwasallam) said:
1. “He who recites this one hundred times will have all his sins forgiven even if it be equal to the foam of the ocean” (Sahih Bukhari)
2. “These words are beloved to Allah Ta’ala, easy on the tongue and weighty on the scales (of deeds on Qiyamah)” (Sahih Bukhari)
Furthermore, this is the form of dhikr that the entire creation is engaged in. (Al-Quran, Surah:17 ayah:44)
8. Salawaat on Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihiwasallam)

If it was not for our beloved Nabi (‘alaihiSalatu WaSalam) we would not have these Blessed occasions. Therefore we cannot afford moments like these to pass without remembering him. In fact by doing so we ourselves benefit.
One Hadith states:
“He who sends salutations upon me once, Allah Ta’ala sends ten salutations upon him.”
9. Tilawat (Recital) of Quran
This is considered as the best form of dhikr. One could recite even a quarter juz or just the masnoon Surahs that are to be recited every night. Like Surahs Waqi’ah, Mulk, Sajdah, Yaseen etc. (if doesnt have much time.)
10. Dua (Supplication)
“Du’a is the essence of Worship” and hence cannot be omitted when we engage in worship.
More so on occasions when Almighty Allah accepts duas such as on the night of Qadr. One should spend a lengthy duration in begging from Allah, as we are all in need of it.

In light of the current world crisis, do remember our oppressed brethren around the globe.

On the night of Qadr, the following Du’a should also be repeated as taught by Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihiwasallam) to his beloved wife Sayyidah ‘Aishah (radiyallahu ‘anha):

اللهم إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ العَفْوُ فَاعْفُ عَنِّيْ

Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘Anni”

O Allah! You are indeed Most Forgiving, so forgive me.

11. Give Charity (Sadaqah) on these blessed nights

Giving charity helps in decreasing Allah's anger, attracting His mercy and attaining purity and salvation.

The Quran says:

"Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with hurt, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” [al-Baqarah 2:261-262] 

And,
الَّذي يُؤْتي‏ مالَهُ يَتَزَكَّى وَ ما لِأَحَدٍ عِنْدَهُ مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ تُجْزى‏ إِلاَّ ابْتِغاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلى‏ وَ لَسَوْفَ يَرْضى
"he who gives his wealth to purify himself and does not expect any reward from anyone, but seeks only the pleasure of his Lord, the Most Exalted, and, surely, soon he will be well-pleased". (92:18-21)
********************************************************************************************
Notes:

Note 1: The above can all be achieved in about 1 hour.
Salatut Tasbeeh: 20 mins
Tawbah: can be incorporated in the du’a
Zikr: 10 mins
Salawaat: 5 mins
Tilawat: 15 mins
Du’a & Tawbah: 10 mins
However if one is short on time for whatever reason, my suggestion would be to at least do the first four and the last one. That would be:
a) Esha & Fajr with Jamat
b) Sleep with Wudhu
c) Abstain from sin
d) clean the heart
e) Dua and Astaghfaar
Note 2: The night commences at Maghrib, not after Esha or after Taraweeh or at Sehri time. Therefore one can and should commence ‘ibadah from Maghrib, although it is indeed best to do so at the last part of the night.
Note 3: These are mere suggestions intended to make it easy for people. One may engage in whatever form of ‘ibadah one is comfortable with.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us all complete forgiveness and steadfastness on guidance. Ameen.
Adapted (with slight changes) from:
http://www.al-miftah.com/2012/08/15/a-brief-format-for-ibadah-on-blessed-nights/
Original article by Moulana Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon (Allah protect him)

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Prophet's (SAWS) preparations for Ramadhan


Allah has made the month of Ramadhan a noble one in which opportunities for worship are opened to his fasting devotees, as are the doors of Paradise. Whereas, the gates of Hellfire are shut and the devils are chained.

 So it is with immense eagerness that believers welcome this glorious month. It is indeed a privilege for whomever Allah has enabled to live to meet it and experience its bounties.

 The Messenger of God (SAWS) used to prepare for the month of Ramaḍān and anticipate its arrival by saying at the start of Rajab, “O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Shaʿbān and enable us to meet Ramaḍān (Allāhumma bārik lanā fī Rajab wa Shaʿbān wa ballighnā Ramaḍān).” 

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان
[Narrated by at-Tabarani , Ahmad and Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p. 140]

He also used to prepare to meet Ramaḍān during the month of Shaʿbān through becoming abundant in his fasting and standing in prayer.

 He used to long for the arrival of Ramaḍān and would say upon sighting its moon, “O Allah, bring upon us the new moon [while we are in a state of] security and faith as well as of peace and Islam. My Lord and your Lord is Allah,” 

[Sunan al-Tirmidhī , vol.v/Kitāb al-daʿwāt 49, Bāb 51:h.3451.]

In another transmission he added: “a crescent of virtue and guidance, a crescent of virtue and guidance, a crescent of virtue and guidance.” 

[Sunan Abī Dāwūd: vol.5/ Kitāb al-adab 35, Bāb 111: h.5092.]

 The Messenger of God (SAWS) used to give his Companions the glad tidings of the arrival of the month of Ramaḍān and encourage them to be abundant in worship in it. 
 
He would say to them, “This month has dawned upon you and in it is a night superior to a thousand months.

Who is deprived of it, has been deprived of the entirety of goodness. And nobody is deprived of it except the destitute (al-maḥrūm).”

[Sunan Ibn Māja : vol.i, Kitāb al-ṣiyām 7/ Bāb 2:h.1644.]

He also said, “The doors of the Heavens open on the first night of the month of Ramaḍān and they do not close until its last night.”

[Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p.142.]

 It is related on the authority of ʿUbāda b. al-Ṣāmit saying, “The Messenger of God (SAWS) taught us [to say] these words when Ramaḍān arrived:

“O Allah, deliver me soundly to the month of Ramaḍān, deliver [the blessings of] Ramaḍān to me in soundness, and deliver it to me soundly with [my efforts] accepted.”

(Allāhumma sallimnī li-Ramaḍān wa sallim Ramaḍāna
lī wa sallimhu lī mutaqabbalan) .

[Kanz al-ʿummāl : vol. viii/ h.24277]

 In another transmission it is reported he (SAWS) said, “O Allah
 
deliver us soundly to Ramaḍān and accept it from us while You have forgiven us, had mercy upon us, and accepted our repentance.”

[Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p. 142.] 

It is reported on the authority of Salmān al-Fārisī (RA) saying, “The Messenger of God (SAWS) spoke to us on the last day of Shaʿbān saying:

‘O people, a great and blessed month has emerged upon you. In it there is a night that is superior to a thousand months.

 A month in which God has made its fast obligatory and its night vigil voluntary.

 Who strives to come close [to God] in it through doing a type of good [deed], it is as though he performed an obligatory act outside [of Ramaḍān].

 And whoever performs an obligatory act in it, it is as though he performed seventy obligatory acts outside of [Ramaḍān].

It is the month of patience and the reward for patience is Paradise. 
 
It is a month of kindness to others and in it the provision of the believer is increased.
 
Who arranges for breaking the fast of a believer in it, he is forgiven for his sins and he is freed from the Hellfire, and to him is a similar reward without diminishing the reward [of the fasting person] in any way.

God grants this reward to one who breaks the fast of another person by a bit of milk or a sip of water. And who feeds a fasting person to his fill will be granted drink from my pure spring after which one will never thirst until he enters Paradise.

 It is a month whose beginning is mercy (raḥma), whose middle is forgiveness (maghfira) , and whose end is salvation from the Hellfire (ʿitq min al-nār ).’”

[Kanz al-ʿummāl : vol.8/h.23714.]

Hence, if Ramaḍān is filled with so much reward and blessing, then what could be more pressing for us than to strive in welcoming it and preparing for its arrival in a way that is worthy of its rank and the blessings it encompasses?

 This is not possible without a determination to restrain one’s ego (nafs) and train it in order to reap the benefits of this season.

An awareness of the distinguishing characteristics of this month as opposed to other months will motivate us in achieving this goal.

 -Adapted from www.nursacredsciences.org

 

 

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why do we Neglect our relationship with Allah?

Is our bond with Allah Strong? (Part-2)

by Shaikh Maseehullah Khan Saheb (R.A.)

ONLY A LEGAL RELATIONSHIP IS NOT SUFFICIENT- -PERFECT RELATIONSHIP IS THE GOAL

One should understand, reflect and remember that one should not be satisfied with mere relationship. Social ties exist among us, but we do not content ourselves with the mere existence of such ties. On the contrary, the desire is there to perfect each bond or relationship.

Example of Marriage Relationship:

Thus, it will be realised that the mere concept of relationship with one's wife is extremely weak. It is given force by only two statements (of ijab and qubool proposal and acceptance), and the same bond of marriage is rent asunder by a single word, viz., talaq.

Notwithstanding this, no man contents himself with the mere legal relationship he has with the wife. Every man desires that his relationship with his wife attains perfection. Precisely for this reason no one stops at only the discharge of the obligatory rights, but in order to strengthen the bond and gain the pleasure of the wife, the husband by far exceeds the obligatory demands and rights of the wife and provides a variety of comforts and luxuries out of his own free will and accord.

This attitude of the husband is clearly motivated to strengthen and perfect the bond which exists between the wife and himself. Should the husband regard his wife with a constitutional (or legal) attitude and provide nothing more than her obligatory rights, then inspite of the existence of the legal bond between them, the relationship will be devoid of pleasure and love. In fact, in this attitude lies the danger of renting asunder the relationship.

A relationship will endure only if ways and means are devised to strengthen and perfect it:

Although the marriage bond (i.e. the mere legal connection) is extremely weak, every man finds unbearable and peace shattering its severance. Great pains are undertaken and many a scheme is devised to maintain the endurance of this marriage relationship.

Our Neglect of Relationship with Allah:

When this is the attitude towards a weak relationship, then indeed, it is most astonishing that we remain satisfied with the mere relationship which we have with Allah Taala.

The bond with Allah Taala is the strongest of all relationships. No relationship is comparable with man's relationship with Allah Taala.

What then is the reason for our indifference? Why do we have no fikr (concern and desire) to strengthen that greatest of all bonds? Why are we contented with the mere existence of relationship? And, why do we not regard the perpetuation of this bond to be based upon strengthening it like we do in regard to our worldly relationships?

The mere existence of a relationship is not sufficient for its perpetual endurance. In fact the danger of destroying and eliminating this bond is ever present. Is the elimination of the Divine bond existing between man and his Rabb bearable to anyone?

Never ! Why then is no concern shown for strengthening and perfecting this bond?

Maulana Rumi (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

"0 you who are perpetually engaged in pleasing the wife and

children! How is it possible that you never have time to please your

greatest Benefactor and Creator?"

And, again he says:

"In developing this contemptible world you have no moment to spare.

But, how unconcerned are you of the pleasure of that Creator Who

has arranged and assembled all these bounties? "

Alas! In worldly affairs we cannot bear nor countenance the slightest indifference and imperfection. We are unable to bear the slackening of weak and despicable ties. But in weakening our bond with Allah Taala we do not feel the slightest pang of regret and pain of heart.

Although even the mere relationship with Allah Taala is a great favour, nevertheless to be contented with a weak bond is a grave injustice.

Certain people are even satisfied with the non-existence of relationship with Allah Taala. But they are the kuffaar.

Some others are contented with a weak relationship with Allah Taala. This group is represented by us, the Muslims of today. The effect of this is that we do not value the Mustahabat (Sunnah and Nawafil).

Once Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) observed:

"In childhood I was in the habit of performing Nafl Salaat in abundance. Upon studying Muniyatull Musalli I learnt that non-observance of Mustahabat (nafil) is not sinful. Upon realising this, I discontinued the performance of Nafl. At that time I did not realise what I was doing. But, now I have realised that evil condition, for it implied the desire to maintain only a legal relationship with Allah Taala, hence the attitude to only discharge the compulsory duties and neglect those factors which are pleasing to Allah Taala".
 

 

Why do we ask, "Is it a kabeerah (big) sin or a sagheerah (small) sin"?



Is our bond with Allah Strong? (Part -1)


by Shaikh Maseehullah Khan Saheb (R.A.) 

Nature of our relationship with Allah:
 
We entertain the misconception that our relationship with Allah Taala is merely legal / constitutional, i.e. we are legally obliged to obey Him.

It is because of this misconception that we regard as sufficient the discharge of Fara'idh and Wajibat (compulsory duties of Islam), and neglect the Mustahabat (Sunnahs and Nafil), regarding them as unimportant.

If our link with Allah Taala was a bond of Muhabbah (love) and devotion, then we would never have been satisfied with only the Fara'idh and the Wajibat, but would have been in the constant search of Mustahabat (in order to get closer to Allah!).

We would then have hastened to everything which Allah Taala loves and which is pleasing to Him. And, on the other hand we would have remained miles away from acts which are displeasing to Him.

If our relationship with Allah Taala was a bond of love and devotion we would not have investigated whether an act is detestable in a higher or lower degree (as people are in the habit of asking if such an act is haraam or 'only makrooh'?, the motive underlying the enquiry being the desire to indulge in it if it is makrooh, a lesser detestation than haraam).

For the ashiq (lover of Allah) it suffices that he knows the things and acts which displease his Mahboob (beloved). This knowledge is sufficient as a deterrent against the commission of acts displeasing to Allah Taala.

The ashiq does not probe the degree of displeasure, i.e. whether an act is greatly displeasing or slightly displeasing. His disposition is to refrain totally from all factors of displeasure, be these slight or great. To the ashiq all cases of displeasure are grave regardless of whether such displeasure results in slight annoyance or severe punishment.

Why do we ask, "Is it a kabeerah (big) sin or a sagheerah (small) sin"?


Our condition now has degenerated to the degree of indifference where we enquire into the nature of the sin in view to practice it. Once it is known that a certain act is sinful, we pose the question: is it a kabeerah (big) sin or a sagheerah (smaller) sin?

 This attitude is a clear indication that our relationship with Allah Taala has weakened considerably, although not totally, for even this question (viz.. probing the degree of gravity of a sin) is proof of some bond (though weak) with Allah Taala. At least that much connection with Allah Taala remains that the perpetrator of the sin is not prepared to invite the greater displeasure of Allah.

If even this (weakened) bond was non-existent, then this question would not have occurred... the question of minor and major sin. It is therefore plain that there is yet fear for the major sins in view of considerable Divine displeasure ensuing in the wake of its commission.

However, because of the weakness of our bond with Allah Taala, displeasure of a lesser degree is considered acceptable and agreeable.

The question: "Is this a major or a minor sin"?, is evidence of the existance of our bond with Allah Taala as well as evidence of the weakness of that bond. 

Those who are in this habit of posing this question will be delighted from the aforegoing explanation that their relationship with Allah Taala has been acknowledged. To a degree this delight is justified since it shows the existance of Imaan (faith). But only a mere existance of a weak bond is not enough.

To be continued...
 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Do you want to be loved by both, GOD and the Creation- Hadith


 In today's world, everyone wants to be popular, be loved and liked (both online and in real life!) by all, have lots of good and faithful friends and followers, build a huge "fan following", etc.
Politicians, sportsmen, media people, actors, business groups, professionals, doctors, youth, religious leaders, parties, various groups, etc, - all are after this.

To achieve this, people try all sorts of things and take great pains and spend huge amounts of money. Still, not many are truly successful in earning real acceptance and sincere love of the people.

For a daiee (preacher) to succeed, it's very critical to gain people's love and acceptance. Without it, the dawah will not be very successful.

While becoming the beloved of human beings is in itself so difficult, how much more difficult must be to become the beloved of God and gain His acceptance? But the fact remains that these two are interlinked; the one who sincerely tries to become the beloved of God also becomes beloved of God's creation.

The last prophet of God, Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him), has given us golden advice to achieve this.

How to Become Beloved Of Both, GOD And Man!


It is related by Sahl bin Sa’ad R.A. that [once] a man came to the Prophet (SAWS) and said, “O Apostle of God! Tell me something on doing which I may be loved by God as well as His bondmen.”
The Prophet (SAWS) replied,

“Cultivate detachment to the world and God will begin to love you, and cultivate aloofness towards what people possess and men will begin to love you.” 
-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah

Commentary (from 'Ma'ariful Hadith' by Mawlana Manzoor Nomani R.A.):- 


Gaining Love of God:
Fundamentally, it is the attachment to worldly possessions which persuades a man to do things that make him unworthy of the love of God. The way to win the love of God, therefore, lies in self-denial. When the fondness for the material world will end, the heart will open up to Divine love and the bondsman will find it easy to submit to the will of God and to carry out His commands, and, thus, he will become the favourite of the Lord.

Gaining Love of Mankind:

Likewise, when people will be convinced that he is not envious of their wealth nor has he any desire for worldly goods or position, they will come to like him.

A Zahid (Ascetic) is not a man who practices self-denial for the reason that he is not in a position to indulge in material enjoyment, but one who has a full opportunity to gratify his inclinations and desires and yet refuses to do so and cares nothing for worldly gain or comfort. It is reported about Abdullah bin Mubarak that when someone called him a Zahid, he retorted, “Zahid was Omar bin Abdul Aziz who, in spite of being the Caliph of the day, shunned personal gain and worldly pleasure.” (End of 
Commentary from 'Ma'ariful Hadith')


How becoming the beloved of God makes one beloved of all creation (Mankind and even the Angels):



19:96
Verily, those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficent (Allah) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers). (19:96)

Abu Hurayrah R.A. related that God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said the following in this regard:
If God loves a servant He informs angel Gabriel that He loves so-and-so and tells him to love him, so Gabriel loves him.  Then Gabriel calls out to the inhabitants of the heavens: ‘God loves so-and-so, therefore love him.’ So the inhabitants of the heavens love him.  Then he is granted the love of the people of the earth.” (Abu Hurayra R.A. in Sahih Muslim)

Hadhrat Ka'ab Ahbaar R.A. says: "A person's good reputation is not established in the people's hearts unless it is first established amongst the dwellers of the heavens".
-Kitab al Zuhd of Imam Abdullah bin Mubarak P.153.

Love for the Sincere

It is reported that Harim b. Hayyān – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

"Never does the servant turn wholeheartedly to Allāh except that Allāh turns the hearts of the believers to him, providing him their love."

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:49.

(Harim b. Hayyān was one of the Taaba'een (Successors), deputized by ‘Umar, رضي الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ عنه  and known for his devoutness.)



These then are the ways of gaining real popularity and people's love...Start to work on gaining Allah's love!