Quarterly: Issue No 63
RAMADAAN – A SPECIAL MONTH
With the advent of another Ramadaan, a mixture of feelings overwhelm the hearts of Muslims all over the world. The hearts are full of hope, based on truthful promises and glad tidings given by Allah, Glorified be He, the Most High, and His Messenger Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), of great bounties and endless bliss. We have been promised that our past sins will be forgiven for those whose fast is based on Belief (Imaan), sincerity (Ikhlaas) and on truly expecting the rewards from Allah (Ihtisaab).
We also have been promised that past sins will be forgiven for those who offer night prayers (Qiyaam) during the entire month, specifically those who do the qiyaam with the same two conditions of Imaan (Belief) and Ihtisaab (truly expecting the rewards from Allah).
We have further been told that there is one night in this month which is better (in rewards) than a thousand months of worship, and that all sins will be forgiven for those who spend that night offering Qiyaam with both Imaan (Belief) and Ihtisaab (truly expecting the rewards from Allah).
We have been told that the devils (shayateen) will be chained down, that the gates of Hell will all be shut and that the gates of Paradise will all be open throughout this blessed month of Ramadaan.
We have been told that Allah will free (from punishment) some of his worshippers (Ibaad) on every single night of the month of Ramadaan.
We have been told that Allah answers the du'aa (supplications) of the fasting person at the time of iftaar (fast-breaking).
We have been told that Allah multiplies the rewards of fasting beyond the limits of imagination.
We have been told that the fasting person will be joyous and happy when he meets his Lord.
We all hope to:
- be amongst those who will offer the fast in the correct way, in order to reap its maximum benefits
- be granted forgiveness for our previous sins, to be able to do much more good and to overcome all our weaknesses
- be among those who receive the gifts from Jannah, whose gates are opened
- humiliate our enemy (Satan), who is chained down, by rejecting any of his deceitful suggestions and whisperings
- be amongst those who will receive full atonement for their sins by the end of Ramadaan
- be amongst those who will be most happy with their fasts when they meet their Lord.
We further hope that all of us will be pleasing to Allah in order to deserve His Mercy and Victory.
However, although we have hope, we should also have some concerns in our hearts because there are certain conditions for the fast to be acceptable and to get the desired results. These are Imaan (Belief with sincerity) and Ihtisaab (truly expecting the reward from Allah).
Let us therefore keep our fast with true belief and full surrender to Allah. Let our fasts not just be an exercise for us to lose some weight? Are we going to fast because Allah prescribed it upon us, or just because we have been used to it from childhood? Are our intentions to fast solely to please Allah or just to please our friends and families? Let our intentions be very clear because all our actions will be judged according to our intentions.
And even when we feel that we satisfy the conditions for an acceptable fast we should still be concerned that our deeds may not be accepted because of some deficiency that we may have overlooked. This is the way of the Sahabas, the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and their true followers, some of whom were reported to have said: "I will not feel safe even if I see one of my feet is in Jannah - not until both of them are in there".
We ask Allah to make the fasting easy upon us, to help us to perform it in the perfect way that pleases Him, to reward us with all the bounties that He promised to those who fast. We also ask Him to grant victory and supremacy to the Muslim Ummah, and to make our most pleasant and happiest day the Day when we shall meet with Him. Ameen!
GIFT OF RAMADAAN
Each year we count our blessings to be fortunate to experience this blessed Month of Ramadaan; a month of utter peace, forgiveness, and breathtaking moments of Ibaadah; including selfless generosity and destiny changing opportunity for all, insha Allah. The love and comradeship amongst Muslims is so peaceful and sublime that it almost tears our heart when we hear or see the complete opposite in other months for the rest of the year.
One of the best gifts of Ramadan is the purpose it carries. This purpose in building our Taqwa stimulates in each individual the best Ramadaan ever. And it is this purpose that is carried on in our ibaadah (both with regards to Allah and His creation) for the rest of the year until we are fortunate - insha Allah - to witness another one in the following year. Some recommended activities during the month of Ramadaan are as follows:
1) Do not miss the three golden hours of each day of Ramadaan:
a) The first hour is the hour before Salatul Fajr. This is the hour of forgiveness and an hour for dua. Ask Allah for EVERYTHING. Nothing is too little to ask for. Allah has ordered us that we do so. Let us take the opportunity and humiliate ourselves before the only ONE that we are allowed to, in this Blessed Month.
b) The next hour is the hour immediately after Salaatul Fajr. It is the hour for tilaawah and dhikr. Make dhikr of Allah, read the Noble Qur’an and then perform the two raka’aat nafl salaah of Ishraq. It is reported that the Prophet (SAW) said that when one performs this nafl salaah, one gets the reward of one Hajj and one Umrah provided we do this without leaving the spot we had perform our Salaatul Fajr until 20 mins after sunrise.
c) Finally, the third hour is the hour before iftaar (breaking our fast). This is yet another time - time to ask from Allah. We cannot stress the importance of this task enough. Be generous with your dua, ask from the smallest to the biggest, and pray for this Ummah. After all, the Lord of the Alameen has a full purse that can never be empty in any way.
2) Share our iftaar. This is very important. We all know the hadith of gaining the reward of another’s fast? Well this is a sure way to get it. If it’s enough for one, it’s definitely enough for two. Share the breaking of the fast with one another and increase the love this wonderful month brings amongst us.
3) Do not forget our family. Pay attention to ensure that our families avoid falling into any haraam thing or whatever may lead to that - in a wise manner - such as preparing a programme for them as well; or taking them out for leisure trips to Islamic places; or keeping them away from bad friends; or looking for good friends for them. Take them for taraawih. Let us plan together and therefore reap the rewards together as well.
4) The last ten days of Ramadaan: The last ten days of Ramadaan include Laylat al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. Hence it is highly recommended for a person to observe i’tikaaf (“retreat” for the purpose of worship) in a nearby musjid during these ten days, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to do, seeking Laylat al-Qadr. Whoever can observe i’tikaaf at this time; this is a great blessing from Allah. Whoever cannot observe i’tikaaf for the entire period should do as much as he is able to. If he is not able to do i’tikaaf at all, then he should try to spend additional hours of the nights in worship with qiyaam, reading the Qur’an, remembering Allah and making du’a.
We ask Allah to shower us with His choicest blessings in this holy month of Ramadaan, and to help us fast and pray qiyaam throughout the whole month, and to accept (these acts of worship) from us, and to forgive us for our shortcomings.
SOME SERIOUS CONCERNS
Today Muslims pass this month of Ramadaan in transgression and crises.
Capitalism is rife with greed. It directs its hostility against the Islamic world with intellectual onslaughts. The foremost means toward this is through women, wine and other enticements, distractions, luxuries and unlawful amusements. Secularism calls for the separation between the religion and worldly affairs. It seeks to oust Islam from life's stage on the pretext that religion distinguishes between people. In effect, secularism is an atheist ideology that disregards all religions and, therefore, excludes Islam in its entirety from playing any role in human life. Freemasonry, the Jewish creation, has come to destroy religions including Islam. On the surface it appears to be calling for the unity of all people. It has its own means, taboos, emblems and cliques. It operates in secret, has world-wide influence and springs from Zionist origins.
Hence today the Muslim Ummah is suffering from some very intense wounds:
- Palestine has been stolen from it, Al Aqsa mosque remains a hostage while old men, women and children are slaughtered morning and evening. Yet, Palestine will never be returned to Muslim lands except by an Islam with the rage of Umar ibn al Khattab and the boldness of Salaahud-Din Al-Ayyubi.
- The Muslim woman is fought against because of her covering, modesty, purity and religion.
- Our youth are seduced by destructive means, satanic enticements and sensual delights.
- Evangelism is penetrating the Islamic world from all four directions.
- Divisions and schisms are widespread among Muslims except those whom Allah has shielded.
In such circumstances, Muslims should live with a resolve to eradicate these great issues with their sentiments, wealth and prayers. They should strive to increase awareness among their Muslim brothers of these dangers. Muslims should work relentlessly to bring about unity within the ranks of their own community. More importantly, the Islamic nation must avoid disputes and internal wrangling that only cause failure; particularly when the news of these calamities that afflict the Islamic world are exposed and become the issues of the day. As a result, no Muslim should despise himself because in every Muslim there is goodness.
They should, at the end of each prayer, in the early hours of the morning, and other times when prayers are answered, implore Allah to establish and grant victory to the Muslims. We must also call upon Allah to increase us in piety and strive to be conscious of Allah at all times because the disasters and calamities that have befallen us are all on account of our own sins and wrongdoings.
Allah says: ‘And do you, now that a calamity has befallen you after you had inflicted twice as much [on your enemies], ask yourselves, "How has this come about?" Say: "It has come from your own selves" And Allah has power over all things.’ (Surah Ale-Imraan: Chapter 3: Verse 165).
O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Kyalami Glen, Gauteng
Johannesburg, South Africa