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31
Jul

Ramadan is here…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Okay, technically we in the Emirates still have an hour to go but it’s already Ramadan in the Far East.]

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone.

[Last year, for the first time ever, I said “Ramadan Kareem” and then I came across a fatwa of Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) stating that it is not correct to say this.]

Now what?

Well, we need to:

1) Start increasing in our ibaadah from the first MINUTE of Ramadan (that would be the Adhan of Maghrib).

2) Take it hour by hour and day by day. Don’t think about tomorrow. Think about NOW.

3) Pace ourselves so that we are in peak form by the time the last ten days roll around (Sorry, I watched too much sports as a youngster.)

4) PLAN and then act according to the plan as best as possible.

5) Try to worship Allah best in whatever situation we are in. If we are stuck in traffic for example, we could do istighfar (seek forgiveness), do dhikr (remembrance), review our Quran memorisation, listen to an Islamic lecture, etc.

Remember: Any situation can be turned into a good situation and a good situation is the one where Allah is remembered, not forgotten.

What about the blog?

Well, I need to:

– Reply to all the comments (no, I haven’t forgotten).

– Continue with the remaining series.

– Mention some common Ramadan scenarios (e.g. pregnant woman, university student, man stuck in office, woman stuck with many kiddies and even more dishes, etc)

– Put up some Ramadan lectures.

[I’ll be posting more than once a day, insha-Allah.]

Nothing special for Ramadan, you say?

Well, there is a little series I had in mind for this blog and for the Tafsir and Haafidh blogs as well.

The series will start tomorrow, insha-Allah.

May Allah make it easy for us and accept our Ramadan.

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30
Jul

Arabic lectures during Ramadan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

For those like me, who prefer to listen to Arabic lectures, here are two places which will have lectures in Arabic (after the Taraweeh prayers).

[Want English? I’ve mentioned some here.]

[Note to those outside the Emirates: All the lectures are being broadcast live so you can listen in. We are +4 GMT and the adhan of Isha is at 8:40pm so Taraweeh might tend at 10:30 pm, insha-Allah.

The broadcast link is mentioned in each flyer. The link in the second flyer (www.drosuae.com) will probably upload all the lectures the day after they take place, insha-Allah.]

[Click on the images to enlarge their sizes.]

30
Jul

Post-Ramadan Teensie-Weensie Tip #5: Start learning Arabic (if you haven’t already) – Part 6

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here are Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.]

[Okay, this series sure took a long time. This is the last part, alhamdulillah.]

11) Don’t be stagnant. Take the next step.

I’ve met many sisters who have told me that they can understand a lot of Arabic. Unfortunately, they don’t take advantage of this fact and attend ARABIC lectures.

[I’ve learned one thing after 2 years of attending mostly Arabic lectures: there is a huge difference in level between English and Arabic lectures.

If the English speakers knew just how much the difference was, they would have wept.]

I recall an advice that I read when I first started studying Arabic. The brother suggested cutting off all ties with English.

I finally understand why. If you stick to English (or whatever your language is), you will continue to depend on it. However, if you start to attend Arabic classes and read Arabic books, you will become dependent on the Arabic language.

It might be difficult at first but it gets easier. Pretty soon, you’ll find it easier to attend Arabic classes than English ones.

12) It’s a life long journey.

Arabic is a deep language. We won’t become experts at it overnight.

13) Turn learning Arabic into an act of worship.

Yes, you could learn this language for worldly matters but then you won’t get much out of it.

However, if you do it intending to earn the pleasure of Allah, you’ll get a lot, insha-Allah.

14) Do dua (supplication).

Do it again and again and again.

Don’t just ask Allah to help you learn Arabic. BEG Him.

To those of you who haven’t learnt much Arabic between last Ramadan and now, I say: Don’t give up. Start now and keep going until you get there.

I hope that this series was beneficial, insha-Allah.

May Allah make it easy for all of us to learn the language in which His Book was revealed.

29
Jul

Seriously Short Reminder No. 25: Remember to use the siwak…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Siwak = Miswak]

What’s a “siwak”, you ask?

Well, it looks like this:

Why should we use it?

Well, some of the reasons would be:

لولا أن أشق على أمتي ، أو على الناس لأمرتهم بالسواك مع كل صلاة

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “If I had not found it hard for my nation or the people, I would have ordered them to clean their teeth with Siwak for every prayer.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 2, Hadeeth No. 12]

السواك مطهرة للفم ، مرضاة للرب

Aishah (radiallahu anha) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Siwak is a means of purification for the mouth and is pleasing to the Lord.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 5. Graded “sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 5]

One should use it at the time of wudhu (ablution).

And yes, we can use it whilst fasting.

This is one of those “easy” good deeds that we can do all the time, and especially in Ramadan.

28
Jul

Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip #5: Increase in the voluntary prayers – Part 3

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here are Parts 1 and 2.]

Are there more prayers to pray, you ask?

Of course.

Salah (prayer) is the primary way of applying tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) so there are LOTS of occasions to pray.

Many times, we get overwhelmed by the different types of prayers but we shouldn’t.

Let’s just think of them as even more ways of worshipping and pleasing the Lord of the Worlds.

So what are the other prayers?

Well, at this point, it would be better for a person to read a book on the fiqh (jurisprudence) of salah.

However, I’ll give you a rundown of some of the prayers that we can do in Ramadan:

a) Prayer done after doing wudhu (ablution)

It’s 2 rakaahs and can be done after every new wudhu.

b) Tahiyyatul Masjid

This is the 2 rakaahs that one does after entering the masjid (“mosque”) and before sitting down.

Even if one walks in during the middle of the Friday khutbah (sermon), one should do this prayer and then sit down to listen to the khutbah.

Note: Some scholars consider it obligatory to pray this once one has entered the masjid.

c) Salatul Istighafar / Taubah (Prayer of Repentance)

This is not a condition of repentance being accepted* but it’s always nice to do this after one repents from any sin.

Try it. You’ll feel like a newly hatched chicken.

[*Generally speaking the conditions of repentance from any sin are: 1) Regret committing the sin 2) Stop committing the sin immediately and 3) Decide never to do it again.]

d) Salatul Istikhara (Prayer for guidance)

Once upon a time, people did this for all occasions. At present, it seems that many Muslims only do it when they are making up their minds about the big M.

Note: You need to decide on the issue and THEN pray Salatul Istikhara.

Insha-Allah,  I might mention more about this prayer in a future post because many people have misunderstandings about it.

e) Salatul Janazah (Funeral Prayers)

This one is done in the masjid and it has no rukoo and no sajdah (prostration).

[Those who go to Makkah or Madinah can pray this frequently because Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid An-Nabawi always seem to have funeral prayers after every prayer.]

A small bit of advice: If you pray in a masjid where they pray Salatul Janazah, then try to do it as well. These prayers are one of the things that cause the sins of the dead person to be wiped away (to some degree).

Which one of us would not like our sins to be reduced after we die? So, let’s do this for our brothers and sisters.

[This prayer is really easy.]

What about Taraweeh, you ask?

That goes under Qiyam Al-Layl.

So, let’s make this a Ramadan where we pray more and where we pray better i.e. with more khushoo (humility).

27
Jul

Article: The Importance of Learning the Arabic Language

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Reminder: Productive Ramadan is back up.]

Okay, so I said that I wouldn’t be linking to any more articles at present, and after that post, I haven’t.

Today, I came across this heart-warming and thought-provoking article on the importance of learning Arabic and I think it is something that everyone needs to read, especially now that Ramadan is almost here.

Here’s the article.

Read it carefully because it has SO MANY points of benefit. [Read the footnotes as well.]

Note to the sisters: Read the last part very, very carefully. [Umm Zakee’s notes can be downloaded here.]

Insha-Allah, I hope that those who don’t know Arabic ponder over this article and then decide to start learning Arabic ASAP.

26
Jul

A Pictorial Summary of some of the things that we might need to bid farewell to during Ramadan…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

So, let’s say:

Oops. Wrong Language.

One more time then.

Let’s say:

To what, you ask?

Well, to:

And to:

And to:

[That Reese peanut butter chocolate is really tasty.]

And to:

[Actually, we could ditch this one permanently. I think all the husbands will celebrate and so will all the poor people who can get this money as charity.]

That’s all we need to leave, you ask?

Erm no. This was just a summary. You can find all our resolutions here.

[Oh and here’s my memorable rant from last year.]

25
Jul

Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip #5: Increase in the voluntary prayers – Part 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here’s Part 1.]

[Note: I haven’t mentioned the ahadeeth in this part either. If anyone wants a particular reference, please feel free to ask.]

Okay, suppose you’re already doing the fard and rawatib prayers.

What else can you do?

Note: Once again, you don’t have to do all of them at once. Start step by step and increase in them as much as you are able to do so.

1) Nawafil

These are the supererogatory prayers. [Look, this is what they’re officially called. I don’t even know the meaning of that word.]

They are less important than the rawatib. The four rakahs before Asr fall under this category, as do the two rakah before Maghrib.

The two rakahs after the two rakahs of rawatib after the Dhuhr (that was a mouthful) are also nawafil.

Are there more nawafil? I think so and I also read about there being some differences of opinion on which ones they are. However, these are the only ones that I am sure of.

As for the four rakahs that many people pray before Isha, I tried to find the evidence for it, but thus far have been unable to do so.

There is evidence for two of those rakahs, if they are prayed between the adhan and the iqaamah (as there is a well-known authentic hadeeth on this issue).

If anyone has more information on this issue, then please do share it with us.

2) Dhuha

This prayer starts about 20 minutes after sunrise and ends about 15-20 minutes before Dhuhr.

The minimum number of rakahs is 2.

What about the maximum, you ask? Well, there is a difference of opinion on this. Some scholars say 8, others say 12 and yet others say that there is no upper limit.

If you’re not sure, don’t exceed 8 rakaahs.

The best time to pray Dhuha is in its latest time.

Here’s a short article on the Dhuha prayer.

3) Tahajjud / Qiyam Al-Layl

Yes, they’re both the same prayer.

The time starts after Isha prayer* until the adhan of Fajr. [Witr is part of Qiyam al-Layl.]

[In two places, I’ve heard that it starts after Maghrib. I need to do more research on this issue though, insha-Allah.]

When is it best to do it? Well, in the last third of the night. [The night lasts from Maghrib until Fajr.]

Qiyam Al-Layl is the best prayer after the fard prayers. It’s also one of the most difficult prayers because of its timing.

However, I think everyone will agree that it is also the most satisfying prayer (when we actually manage to crawl out of bed and actually do it, I mean).

These days, we seemed to have singled out Ramadan for Qiyam Al-Layl which is most unfortunate.

The early Muslims were OBLIGATED to spend the WHOLE night in prayer. [Please read the explanation of Surah Al-Muzzammil.]

Why? In order to strengthen them.

Subhan Allah, we are so worried about not getting enough sleep. Due to this, we don’t pray Qiyam Al-Layl and we sleep after Fajr.

And we really don’t have much time in the day nor do we have that much energy.

All of this, despite us “taking care of our sleep”.

The early generations on the other hand, seemed to be more concerned about worshipping Allah. Because of this, it seems that the little sleep that they got was more blessed than the huge amount of sleep that we get.

Despite their “little” sleep, they didn’t have to sleep after Fajr, they had lots of time and lots of energy.

So, perhaps this Ramadan, we should worry less about our sleep and more about worshipping Allah and pleasing Him, and insha-Allah, we will see a big difference.

To be continued…

24
Jul

So, who are you helping out in Ramadan? – Part 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Once a upon a time, Ramadan was a month of giving. Today, it seems to have become a month of taking.

During Ramadan, we all become so busy with our own ibaadah (worship) like fasting, praying and reciting the Quran, that we sometimes forget that helping others is also a great act of ibaadah.

It was something that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) practiced all the time and he increased in it during Ramadan.

كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن ، فلرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة

Narrated Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu): “Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 5]

Here are some pointers for those who want to follow the sunnah (way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)) of helping out others:

1) Please don’t look at the size of your project.

Even if you’re helping out just ONE person, then go ahead and do it. Too often, we mislead ourselves into thinking that bigger is better and due to this, we don’t do anything because we think that it’s pointless to start such a small project.

NO!

If each of us helped just one person, then believe me, everyone would be taken care of!

2) Today it could be one, tomorrow it might be two.

I remember something that a friend of mine told me. She pointed out how each person has a circle of influence. As a person does more, his/her circle of influence will grow.

So, today you might just be helping out one person. In time, you might start helping out more people so perhaps in a few Ramadans time, you could be helping out a thousand people, insha-Allah. You never know.

[And anyway, the point is not how many people we help. It’s whether or not Allah accepts our efforts because that is the most important thing.]

3) Do something that YOU are interested in.

You’d be amazed at how any people work on things that they’re not interested in.

[Don’t ask me why they do that because it does not make any sense to me.]

Note to parents: Don’t bully your children into doing projects of YOUR choice. Let them choose what they want to do. This way, you won’t have to push them into working on the project.

4) Be practical.

Yeah, we all want to save the world but Ramadan will be over in 40 days.

We’ll try to save the world next year, insha-Allah. In the meantime, we’ll work on a nice doable, project this year.

5) Work with others. Don’t compete with them.

For example, suppose you want to prepare Eid gifts for the orphans in your area, and you find out that there are a few people already doing that.

Why not try to find out if you can work with those people rather than doing something on your own?

Too often, we don’t want to work with others because of our huge egos. [Sorry, but it’s the truth.]

6) Don’t overdo it.

“How can one overdo helping others”, you ask?

Well, some people become so involved in this that they forget their own ibaadah and their own priorities. So, for example, they help every poor person that they can but forget their own priorities.

I recall a sister asking me about a man who gave charity to everyone that he possible could yet did not give his own wife enough money for her needs!

7) You could work on dawah, charity, health, etc projects.

Ideas?

Yes, I have plenty, alhamdulillah, but that’s for Part 2, insha-Allah.

To be continued…