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July 26, 2010

LECTURE: PREPARING FOR RAMADAN

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

It seems people have started to prepare for Ramadan – with 15 more days to go.

Alright, here’s another lecture on how to prepare for Ramadan

Preparing for Ramadan by Yasir Qadhi (Download)

What I liked about the lecture: He made some points that I haven’t heard mentioned elsewhere.

What I did not like: He messed up on two points*. But that’s okay. I think he was jet lagged (he sounds tired in the lecture). And everyone has an off-day.

[* This is what I recall. If I made a mistake, please let me know.]

Point # 1: He states that Ramadan is one of the four sacred months.

No, it isn’t. Ramadan is the greatest month of the year (hey, that sounds like a great title for a website) but it is NOT one of the four sacred months. Proof? Here you go:

Narrated Abu Bakra: The Prophet said (salallahu alaihi wasallam): “The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Shaban.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 4, Hadeeth No. 419]

What is a “sacred month”? Please read this for a short answer.

Also, it seems many people seem to think that Shawwal is one of the four sacred months. It is not.

The reason people get confused is because: 1) Shawwal, Dhul Qaadah and Dhul Hijjah are the months of Hajj* and they are three consecutive months and 2) Dhul Qaadah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram are also three consecutive months and include two of the months of Hajj.

[*The actual rites of Hajj are done from 8th Dhul Qaadah until 13th Dhul Qaadah. However, the one who intends to do Hajj Tamattu or Hajj Qiran needs to assume ihram for Umrah during the months of Hajj and not before that.]

By the way, please note:

1) The greatest month after Ramadan is Muharram.

2) The greatest NIGHT is Laylatul Qadr. The greatest DAY is the Day of Arafah.

3) The ten greatest NIGHTS are the last ten nights of Ramadan (which includes laylatul Qadr). The ten greatest DAYS are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah (which includes the Day of Arafah which is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah).

Day = Fajr to Maghrib

Night = Maghrib to Fajr

Point # 2: He said that Ramadan was one of the ways with which we can forgive all our previous sins.

What’s wrong with this, you ask? After all, there’s a hadeeth to back this up. Yes, and this hadeeth needs to be understood in the context of another hadeeth. Perhaps the brother didn’t mean it the way I thought but I think he should have explained this hadeeth further.

These are the ahadeeth of Ramadan being a way to forgive your previous sins:

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 36]

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 37]

Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 125]

Now, you might say the ahadeeth all state that an accepted Ramadan removes one’s previous sins. Yes, but there’s a little something that everyone needs to know:

1) This hadeeth refers to the MINOR sins. Proof? Here you go:

Abu Hurairah reported: Verily the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadhan to Ramadhan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins.” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 450]

2) Major sins require repentance in order to be wiped away:

a) It is possible to have an accepted Ramadan wipe away all your previous sins as long as you 1) avoid major sins or 2) repent from them.

b) Repentance doesn’t mean just saying “Astaghfirullah”. It has conditions: 1) Stop the sin immediately 2) Feel genuine regret and 3) Intend to never do it again.

Another way to remove major sins is by entering Islam (so this applies only to those who were disbelievers).

What about an accepted Hajj? And hijrah (migration) for the sake of Allah? There is a hadeeth which implies that they forgive all sins. That’s what I used to think until I read a scholar’s words and he pointed out that they need to be accompanied by repentance in order to wipe away major sins.

What are the major sins? Here’s a book on this issue. [I have others if you want. If so, please ask. If you want lectures, you can ask for those too.] Also, please read this.

[By the way, we commit minor sins all the time so we should be happy that we have the chance to remove them. Also, “minor” doesn’t mean minor. These days, people unfortunately don’t even realise the danger of minor sins.]

Please note: If you need the proof for any of the above, please ask. You have the right to ask me for proof.

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