بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, it seems that most of us are in for a (full?) lunar eclipse tonight.
So, what do we do? Take out the binoculars and watch the eclipse whilst munching on Pringles?
No, this is what the people who disbelieve in Allah and the Last Day do, so we shouldn’t follow them in their misguidance.
The people who believe in Allah and the Last Day should follow the best guidance i.e that of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
What did he do? Well, he prayed two really long rakaahs, each rakaah containing TWO really long rukoos. Here’s why.
How do we do it? Here’s how. Note: It says “as long as Surah Al-Baqarah” but it really depends on the length of the eclipse as Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) said.
[What if you don’t know many surahs? Well, firstly, try to pray even if you can’t make it a long prayer. A short eclipse prayer is better than no prayer. Also, perhaps you could carry a mushaf and recite from it? This fatwa (in Arabic) says it’s allowed.]
It’s not for everyone, just for those who actually have an eclipse in their land.
[Note to my fellow UAE residents: It seems that it starts tonight at 10:22pm to 2:02am, insha-Allah. I would advise peeping out of the windows to confirm that the eclipse has started before praying.]
What else can you do? Well, the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) ordered us to do dua (supplication), dhikr (remembrance of Allah), do takbeer (say Allahu Akbar), istighfar (seek forgiveness), give charity and seek refuge in the punishment of the grave. Proof? I’m too tired to post each hadeeth but all of them can be found in the Chapter of Eclipses in Sahih Al-Bukhari which you can read here.
What if you read this after the eclipse has already occured?
Well, you should remember:
1) That solar and lunar eclipses do happen quite a bit so make sure that you don’t miss it the next time (if you’re alive, of course).
2) Apart from the eclipse prayer, all the other things should be done on a regular basis not just when there is an eclipse.
3) Remember the point of the eclipse: Allah wants to frighten His slaves. Why? For us to be aware of His great power and so that we can turn back to Him in repentance.
So, remember the purpose and act accordingly.
4) Remember that we need to prepare for some of these occasions beforehand so we need to seek knowledge about our religion and inform others about these events beforehand, not just at the last minute.
For example, if we study about Islam, we’ll realise that the ten best days are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Many people are unaware of this so we need to tell them and we need to tell them at least a week in advance so that they will be prepared for it.
To all those who read this before or during the eclipse, try to pray and do the above mentioned things. We don’t know if we’ll get another chance to apply this sunnah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Ask for what, you say?
Paradise, of course.
من سأل الله الجنة ثلاث مرات قالت الجنة : اللهم أدخله الجنة ، ومن استجار من النار ثلاث مرات ، قالت النار : اللهم أجره من النار
Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever asks for Paradise three times, Paradise says: “O Allah, admit him into Paradise,’ and whoever seeks refuge from the Fire three times, the Fire says: ‘O Allah, save him from the Fire”. [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2572. Graded ‘sahih” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2572.]
Let’s make this a daily habit, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Question: How’s Habit No. 1 coming along? What difficulties are you encountering along the way?
Tip: Set yourself a short task after Fajr and tell yourself that you cannot go back to sleep until you do it. You can start with a small 10-15 minute task in the beginning (e.g. read a few pages of tafsir or a few ahadeeth).
After doing this for a few days, you could increase the time for the chosen task to 20 mins and so on.
The task doesn’t have to be the same every day.]
However, I’ve noticed that most of the people that I meet seem to be depressed. So I thought that another article on depression might be in order.
[Note: In addition to the ways mentioned in the article below, I would also add the following three ways: 1) Drowning yourself in seeking Islamic knowledge especially tawheed and tafsir of the Quran 2) Helping the needy on a regular basis and 3) Drinking “talbeenah” (check the botton of the article).
Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee hafidhahullaah
Mankind comes across many afflictions and trials, sometimes in overwhelming sequences. Removing the darkness of these worries, distresses, depression and grief is a very important matter to which Islaam gives serious attention…
Indeed the greatest darkness to envelope mankind and surely his greatest affliction is disbelief in Allah and to associate partners with Him in any form (kufr and shirk).
Allah is the Protector of those who have faith He will lead them from the depths of darkness into light. . As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are the devils: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (for ever). AL-BAQARAH 2.257
Whereby Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure to paths of peace and safety. He brings them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guides them unto a straight path. AL-MAAIDAH 5.016
Those who deny Our revelations are deaf and dumb in darkness. Whoever Allah wills He sends astray, and whom He wills He places on a straight path. AL-AN’AM 6.039
The scholars of Islaam have extracted from the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah many remedies and cures to help us in our daily affairs and remove our problems.
Singling out Allah alone, Glory be to Him, for all types of worship and recognising His Lordship and having faith in the unity of His Lofty Names and Attributes. There would be anarchy if there was more than one deity.
If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there would have been confusion in both! But glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! AL-ANBIYA’ 21.022
Allah strikes a comparison between a Muslim and a mushrik (disbeliever). The man with one master (i.e. upon Tawheed) has no worries as to who to obey, so he has no confusion nor dilemmas. The second man is confused as to who to obey first, in whom he must put his trust especially as they are quarrelling amongst each other. The mushrik is left to Shaitaan and his desires to direct him out of his confusion. However the Muslim who recognises his Lord as One, knows that Allah is the One who rescues His slave when he is in grief.
Allah puts forth a parable; a man belonging to many partners quarrelling with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them have no knowledge. AZ-ZUMAR 39.029
In the beautiful story of Yusuf (alayhe as-salaam) his fellow prisoners were in distress to know the meaning or interpretation of their dreams.
Now with him there came into the prison two young men. Said one of them: “I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” The other said: “I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head, and birds eating it.” (They said) “Tell us the meaning of the dreams, for we see that you are a good doer.” YUSUF 12.036
o what was the first thing that this noble prophet of Allah (alayhe as-salaam) said to his companions? What was his reply? He called them to that which will provide them with immediate relief – the b lief that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah – at-Tawheed.
“O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah, the Supreme and Irresistible?” YUSUF 12.039
Mankind without Tawheed is astray, captured by Shaitaan and there lives in chaos as explained in Allah’s statement:
Don’t you see that We have set the devils on the disbelievers to confound them with confusion? MARYAM 19.083
So the one upon true Tawheed, Allah helps him and removes grief from him. There are many verses which eludes to this but suffice us for the moment the story of Yunus (alayhe as-salaam). He (alayhe as-salaam) had lost hope in his people who were not responding to his call to Islaam. So he (alayhe as-salaam) left them and eventually Allah caused him (alayhe as-salaam) to be in the belly of a large fish.
So wait with patience for the Command of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish, when he cried out in deep sorrow. AL-QALAM 68.048
In his sorrow and anguish, Yunus (alayhe as-salaam) cried out, but to whom? He (alayhe as-salaam) called his Lord.
And remember Dhun-Nun (Yunus), when he went off in anger: He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried through the depths of darkness, “There is no deity worthy of worship except You, glorified and exhalted be You, indeed I was from the wrong-doers!” AL-ANBIYA’ 21.087
Darkness upon darkness enveloped him (alayhe as-salaam):
a) the darkness of the depths of the ocean,
b) the darkness of the belly of the fish,
c) the darkness of the night.
He (alayhe as-salaam) called upon Allah, the One who can remove all distresses, he called upon Him with correct at-Tawheed and Allah removed his worries immediately.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the last Recover Ramadan post, I spoke about how important the salah (prayer) is.
There are two aspects of the salah: the outward actions and the inward actions.
The outward actions (i.e. that of the limbs and the tongue) all have to be in accordance with the salah of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
What about the inner actions? Well, that would be the actions of the heart.
That’s where the khushoo issue comes in. Khushoo, simply put, is the humility that one feels in salah.
You know, it’s that feeling. We all read about it and dream of attaining it. The key word here is dream.
Many people just think “Insha-Allah, one day I’ll pray with khushoo” and don’t take the steps that are necessary to achieve it.
What kind of steps do we need to take?
Well, I think that can be divided into two parts:
1) Just before and during the salah.
2) Outside the salah.
As for the first part, that involves many steps. I’ll just mention one.
Pay attention to what you are saying.
Yes, that’s it. Just focus and try to ponder over what you’re saying. Remember that Allah is watching you.
Just try this simple step and see how it goes. Whenever I focus on the salah, I get a different feeling.
In order to do this, you’d have to 1) understand the words of salah and 2) mix it up once in a while.
Mix up what, you ask? You know, vary the short surahs after Al-Fatihah (it doesn’t always have to be Surah Al-Ikhlaas, you know) and the various adkhar (supplications) in rukoo (bowing) and sujood (prostrating).
That was the easy part. The second step is much more difficult.
See, khushoo in salah is ultimately attained by having khushoo outside of it.
The reason that it’s so difficult for us to remain focused on Allah for a mere 15 minutes is because many of us don’t focus on Him the entire day.
How is it that we can forget about Allah for the whole day and then expect to be close to Him in prayer? Do we really think it’s as easy as flipping a switch?
No, it isn’t. The person who has forgotten Allah outside of prayer will not be allowed to remember Him in prayer. It’s as simple as that.
We all claim that the salah is very important to us so let’s ask ourselves some questions:
1) Do we constantly supplicate to Allah to grant us khushoo in our salah?
2) Have we made attaining khushoo in salah a priority in life?
3) Did we try to figure out how we can improve the quality of our salah?
4) Did we try to do some research on some ways that we can attain khushoo?
5) When we pray without khushoo, does it leave us feeling saddened and disgusted with ourselves? Or do we just let it go?
6) Does our entire day revolve around the salah? Do we plan all our days according to the prayer times?
7) Has our salah improved us as people? Has it brought us closer to the Lord of the Worlds?
We need to remember one thing: it is possible to attain khushoo. However, we need to change our attitudes, put in the required effort and keep slogging away until we get there, insha-Allah.
And even if we don’t get there, then at least when we are questioned on the Day of Judgment, we can say that we tried.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Note: There are more adhkar that you can recite, apart from the aforementioned one.]
Is it time for the coffee now?
Of course not.
Now you head to the bathroom (or whatever you call it at your end of the world).
Now, what did the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) do before he entered the bathroom?
كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا دخل الخلاء قال : اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الخبث والخبائث
Narrated Anas: Whenever the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) went to answer the call of nature, he used to say, “Allah-umma inni audhu bika minal khubuthi wal khabaith i.e. O Allah, I seek Refuge with You from all offensive and wicked things (evil deeds and evil spirits).” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No.1, Hadeeth No. 144]
So, the dhikr is:
[Yes, you can say bismillah before this dua. That’s mentioned in another narration.]
[Note to those who can’t read Arabic: All the transliterations can be found in this book.]
Then, you enter with your left foot.
So, here you are. Now what?
Erm, well, now you can do whatever it is that you do in the bathroom…
After you finish doing whatever it is you were going (and I really hope that brushing your teeth was part of the agenda), you do wudhu (ablution).
Well, I’m assuming that the time is either:
b) Before Fajr
If it’s after Fajr, then it means that you missed Fajr.
And that’s a no-no.
So, if it’s Fajr time, you need to do wudhu so that you can pray Fajr. If it’s before that, there’s time to pray some rakaahs (units) of tahajjud.
So, you do wudhu the prophetic way.
What’s the “prophetic way” of doing wudhu?
Well, that’s for part 3, insha-Allah….
[Check out this post on the difference between the major and minor signs of the Last Day.]
So, which minor sign is the title referring to?
They seem to be getting more frequent and more intense. Japan, of course, had the most recent one and before that they appeared in Pakistan, Chile (not too much damage with these two, alhamdulillah) and Haiti (this one was a disaster).
In the past two decades, I recall there being earthquakes in Turkey, Iran and the USA (in LA) as well.
And of course, who can forget the tsunami in 2004?
The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) predicted that this would happen:
لا تقوم الساعة حتى يقبض العلم ، وتكثر الزلازل ، ويتقارب الزمان ، وتظهر الفتن ، ويكثر الهرج ، وهو القتل القتل ، حتى يكثر فيكم المال فيفيض .
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The Hour (Last Day) will not be established until (religious) knowledge will be taken away (by the death of religious learned men), earthquakes will be very frequent, time will pass quickly, tribulations will appear, Al-Haraj will increase – and it is killing – and money will overflow amongst you.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 2, Hadeeth No. 146]
Someone might ask: what is the wisdom behind there being so many earthquakes?
Well, here’s an insightful article on this topic:
If only we would ponder over it…
Here’s another article on what one should do at the time of earthquakes.
We should use these disasters to get closer to Allah. It’s not just Ramadan or Hajj which are supposed to increase us in iman.
So, let us all strive to improve because we don’t know where the next earthquake will be…
The Greatest Month is 4.5 months away so we need to start preparing.
Before we start preparing, we need to know what our goals are.
Firstly, what kind of shape (spiritual, emotional, physical, etc) do we want to be in by the end of Shabaan?
Secondly, what goals do we have for the month of Ramadan itself?
For example, someone might want to memorise Juz Amma (30) and Juz Tabarak (29) by the end of Shabaan. In Ramadan, they might want to memorise Juz Qad Samia (28).
Or a person might want to get up for Fajr on time everyday. In Ramadan, their goal might be to wake up 40 minutes before the adhan of Fajr so that they can do a few rakahs of tahajjud (night prayer) and then eat suhoor (the pre-dawn meal).
So, we could take the following steps:
1) Get a dedicated notebook for this. (Check out last year’s post on keeping a Ramadan journal.)
2) Ask yourself what kind of position you want to have in the hereafter. Please be very ambitious and aim for the top!
3) In order to attain that position in the hereafter, what do you need to do in this dunya (wordly life)? What’s stopping you from doing these things and how can you deal with them?
4) What goals do you need to set this year in order to get that high level of iman in this dunya?
5) How do you see yourself at the first day of Eid? What would you liked to have achieved?
6) In order to have that awesome Eid, what must you have done in Ramadan?
7) In order to have had an awesome Ramadan, what must you have done in the months preceding Ramadan?
8) In order to attain all the above, where do you need to be NOW?
Phew…that was exhausting, wasn’t it?
We do need to think backwards though. It makes things clearer.
So, we need to visualise and then write.
After this, we need to do dua 1) that we reach Ramadan 2) for all the things that we want to attain. (Please read this post on preparing a dua list.)
Ramadan 2011, here we come, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Do dua for who?
The Muslims around the world.
We need to realise three things:
1) In Islam, nationalism is a despised thing.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Muslims in Iraq, or the Muslims in Pakistan, or the Muslims in China, or the Muslims in Palestine, or the Muslims in Egypt or the Muslims in Libya, etc, we need to do dua for ALL of them because they are ALL our people.
It’s very sad to see many Muslims just get upset when other Muslims of their “own” nationality get hurt or killed, and not worry when the same thing happens to Muslims of “other” nationalities.
I’m sorry but that goes against the whole concept of loving for the sake of Allah.
2) We need to remember to do dua for all our brothers and sisters in need.
One day, we’re sad about Palestine. A few months later, we’ve forgotten about them and moved on to Pakistan. A few months after that, we’ve forgotten about them and moved on to Egypt.
Now, we’re all thinking about Libya.
Yes, they need our duas at the moment but so do the Uyghurs in China, the people who suffered the floods in Pakistan, the people of Iraq who are still in bad shape, the people of Somalia who still don’t have a stable government after all these years, the Muslims in many European countries who cannot practice their religion freely and are losing ground day by day, etc.
I could go on and on.
By the way, the most important dua that we should do for ourselves and them is dua for guidance, because guidance is more important than anything else as only the guided ones will enter Paradise.
3) We need to help ourselves and help them.
Dua is just one way. We also need to educate ourselves and others about the tawheed of Allah, as this is the solution to all our problems.
Also, many of our brothers and sisters don’t have basic necessities like food, shelter, etc.
We need to do things step by step. We should start with those around us and then work from there.
If each of us did this, we’d see a big change in our ummah, insha-Allah.
Yes, we all have our times of distress.
So, what should we do in those times?
Do we turn into:
Unfortunately, most of us turn into sulks, and this is not what is required.
Believers get distressed but they don’t sit around and sulk. Proof? Read the stories of the Prophets (alaihimissalam) and the Sahaabah (radiallahu anhum).
What did these great people do in times of distress? They turned to Allah, of course.
One of the ways that we turn to Allah is by doing dua.
Here’s an explanation of one of the duas that is said during the times of distress:
The dua for relieving distress, worry and sadness by Shaikh Abdur Razzaq Al-Abbad