بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
5) To call to it
It’s not enough to just apply the Quran ourselves, rather we also need to invite others to apply the Quran as well.
After all, what was the main role of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? He was sent to call the people to worship Allah alone. So his primary role was dawah (calling to Islam).
Sadly, in these times, we have become very lax in fulfilling this right.
How does one do dawah?
Well, I hope to discuss that in greater detail in a future post, insha-Allah. For now, the following points should suffice:
a) Start with tawheed (worshipping Allah alone).
And no, not everyone knows about tawheed. If they did, I wouldn’t have come across as many dropped jaws as I did.
Tawheed is the most important thing and everything else is based upon it. Only the people of tawheed will exit Hell and only the people of tawheed will enter Paradise.
b) Talk about what you know
This one sounds obvious but given the amount of people who talk about matters in which they have zero knowledge, I guess it’s not that obvious….
c) Talk with proof
[Yes, I know that this particular post does not have any proof. Forgive me, it’s midnight at the moment.]
“I said”, ” I think”, “My shaikh said”, “My parents said” and “I heard someone say” are not counted as proofs, I’m afraid.
Proof = Allah said, Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said and the Companions of Allah’s Messenger said. This is what Islam is based on.
d) Be nice.
I repeat: Be nice.
I repeat yet again: BE NICE.
The above might sound like simple steps but they do make a lot of difference.
6) To do the above all the time
This is the last right and it entails fulfilling all the rights of the entire Quran consistently.
Failure to fulfill these rights would mean that we have abandoned the Quran. So we need to make sure that we try our best to do as much as we can.
May Allah make us of those who fulfill the rights of the Quran.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Part 1.]
Okay, this post is quite late but it’s okay. You can use the ideas for post-Ramadan projects as well.
I’m just mentioning a few right now. I’ll mention the rest in another post later on, insha-Allah.
Some dawah ideas
[Here’s a nice website for dawah: http://www.dawahdesk.com/ It’s a virtual one stop thingy for aspiring daees.
Oh and it takes every possible opportunity to talk about tawheed (worshipping Allah alone). I like that.]
1) Give Hisnul Muslim (Fortress of the Muslim dua book) to every Muslim that you can find. They’ll love you for it.
And if you give it to them in their own language, they’ll love you even more.
However, if you don’t care about their love, then at least think about all the rewards you’ll get every time they read from the book.
2) Download some nice authentic lectures or the recitation of the Quran with the translation, and burn it onto a CD and then pass it on.
People can listen to it in their cars (and most people do, believe me).
3) Help the ill to pray by giving them books about prayer for ill people.
This one is my professor’s idea.
He pointed out that rather than giving an ill person (in hospital) sweets or gifts, it would be better to give them a small booklet showing them how they could pray in their current state.
4) Buy some small Islamic books and give them to people who might read them.
If you work in an office, you can just keep some books on your desk, so that anyone who comes to talk to you can spot them. After they ask about them, you innocently ask them if they want to read the books…
5) Start a blog.
It works. Trust me.
6) I heard of a sister that sends dates and other Ramadanish stuff to Muslims in South American countries.
I thought that this was a great idea and a real heart softener.
7) Good at designing? Well, why don’t you make some nice dawah posters? Everyone loves well-designed stuff.
Some charity ideas
1) Compile a list of the needy and send an email to all your contacts out asking for donations.
Oh and this only works if people are convinced that you won’t embezzle their money.
2) Send an SMS to your contacts asking them to help out a certain poor person.
If they don’t reply, send them another SMS.
3) You could help everyone out by collecting people’s zakaatul fitr for them and then passing it on to the poor.
4) Forward emails about authentic charity cases. Believe me, you have no idea who might be willing to help.
5) Collect a dirham each day from all your family members and then distribute it at the end of the month to the poor.
Some health project ideas
1) Visit the ill people in the hospital who have no relatives in town.
Many of these people aren’t critically ill but they are very depressed. [Hospitals are enough to make the happiest people depressed. They’ve got the most awful smell.]
2) Perhaps you could find out which people in your area has some health issues and then try to collect money for their cause.
3) Distribute black seed oil. It’s wonderful and it’s from the sunnah.
4) Donate blood.
Okay, that’s it for now. I know the ideas were simple but hey, we have to start somewhere, right?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
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.
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.
Yes, I have plenty, alhamdulillah, but that’s for Part 2, insha-Allah.
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Here’s Part 1.]
The Month of Istighfar (Seeking Forgiveness), Prayer, Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) and Dawah (inviting to Islam)
إذا دخل رمضان فتحت أبواب الجنة وغلقت أبواب جهنم ، وسلسلت الشياطين
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 123]
[Here’s an explanation of how the devils are chained up.]
الصلوات الخمس . والجمعة إلى الجمعة . ورمضان إلى رمضان . مكفرات ما بينهن . إذا اجتنب الكبائر
Abu Hurairah reported (radiallahu anhu): Verily the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Five (daily) prayers and from one Friday prayer to the (next) Friday prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals) provided one shuns the major sins.” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 450]
[Want to know more about major sins? I’ve provided two resources here.]
كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا دخل العشر شد مئزره ، وأحيا ليله ، وأيقظ أهله
Narrated Aishah (radiallahu anha): “With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 241]
سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول لرمضان : من قامه إيمانا واحتسابا ، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): I heard Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 226]
من قام ليلة القدر إيمانا واحتسابا ، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه ، ومن صام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever established prayers on Laylatul 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.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 3, Hadeeth No. 125]
“We sent it (this Quran) down on a blessed night (i.e. the night of Qadr). Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].” [Surah Ad-Dukhan (44) : 3]
An entire surah (chapter) was revealed concerning this great night:
“Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) “
“And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?”
“The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, (i.e. 83 years and 4 months).”
“Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees.”
“Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.”
[Surah Al-Qadr (97) : 1-5]
Yes, Ramadan is a little over six months away.
So, we need to ask ourselves two main questions:
1) How much progress have we made since the end of Ramadan 2010?
2) What are our goals for the end of Ramadan 2011 and how much progress do we need to make before we reach them?
Some of the questions that we could ask ourselves before we make a list of goals for the next Ramadan are:
a) Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)
Has our knowledge and application of tawheed increased?
What else do we need to do to strengthen our aqeedah (creed)?
b) Salah (prayers)
How is the quality of our prayers?
Have we started doing any new prayers (e.g. Dhuha or Tahajjud) on a regular basis?
Has our Arabic improved?
Will we be able to understand the Taraweeh prayers come Ramadan?
d) The Quran
Has our relationship with the Book of Allah improved?
Do we recite it daily? And with tajweed (rules of recitation)?
How much can we understand without the use of a translation?
Have we memorised any new surahs? How much do we plan on memorising before next Ramadan?
Have we read the tafsir?
How much of the Quran do we apply?
Do we spend more on charity now?
Do we help the needy on a regular basis?
f) Adhkar (remembrance)
Have we increased in the remembrance of Allah?
Have we memorised any new adhkar?
Have we made up our missed fasts from previous Ramadans?
Do we do any of the optional fasts?
h) Seeking knowledge and doing dawah (calling to Islam)
Do we regularly attend Islamic lectures/classes?
Do we read beneficial books?
Do we spread this knowledge to others?
i) Akhlaq (Character)
Has our character improved?
Are our tongues more restrained?
Has our health improved?
Are we better equipped to handle the long qiyam al-layl prayers next Ramadan?
We don’t need to wait for Ramadan to make a change, nor should we wait for it. Rather, we should always be eager to improve no matter what time of year it is.
“Spread the good because the good only results in more good.”
Or so said my teacher (in Arabic), Ustadh Khalid Ismail while teaching us the Seerah. He was talking about how the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was reciting the Quran in prayer one night in front of the Kaabah. Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu), who was quietly listening, become affected and embraced Islam as a result of this.*
[*This is the more authentic story of Umar’s (radiallahu anhu) conversion. The one where he beats his sister is not a very authentic story (it has weakness in its chain).]
Then he pointed out that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) had just been reciting the Quran. He hadn’t intended to convert Umar (he didn’t even know that Umar was lurking around). So, Ustadh Khalid Ismail, may Allah reward him immensely, advised us to spread the good (“Intashirul Khair”) because it will only result in more good, as this story clearly proves.
This sentence really struck me. Subhan-Allah, we give up doing the good deeds so easily.
But why? They’ll only result in better things, both in this world (even if we cannot see it at present) and in the hereafter.
[By the way, “good” = whatever is good according to the Quran and the Sunnah.]
And it’s strange, you never know who will benefit from that good that we may do.
Once I remember a sister (who wasn’t practicing at the time) saying how she had seen a fully covered sister coming in to the masjid. This sister’s appearance had struck her, and she had gone home to her husband and said: “We have to change!”. Subhan Allah, that’s what we call “dawah through practicing Islam”.
Also, many years ago, I saw two sisters doing itikaaf in Ramadan. I had no clue what itikaf was at the time. I was so struck by seeing them that I had wanted to do it too (and I got permission to stay for one night, alhamdulillah). That’s when my addiction to itikaf started.
And in subsequent years, I’ve managed to encourage a few people to go as well, alhamdulillah. So these sisters don’t even know that they managed to get others to do itikaaf !
So, I say to you as our teacher said to us: Spread the good, because the good only results in more good.
Depressing, isn’t it? Almost makes you want to cry, huh?
Okay, let’s put it another way:
Half of Ramadan is still left!
I was so busy berating myself the last few days for my not-so-great Ramadan that I almost missed the fact that I STILL had a chance to make it an awesome Ramadan.
The days that are gone are GONE. There’s no point in moaning and groaning about them.
Don’t think about the past that you can’t change, think of the future that you CAN.
We’re all still alive so we still have a chance to increase in our good deeds. And we still have about 2 weeks left to make a difference (and Laylatul Qadr hasn’t come yet.)
I remember Ramadan 2008. My first 20 days were soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad. I wasn’t feel well so I felt like sleeping the whole day.
The last ten days though were a different story. They were wonderful. I even got to do Itikaaf for 4 days.
So, come on. We all need to wake up. Otherwise, it’ll be Shawwal soon.
What about working on the following small (attainable) goals:
[Remember: We want to keep this going BEYOND Ramadan]
1) Improve the quality of our salah (and quantity as well).
2) Increase our time with the Quran (recitation, some tafsir and maybe some hifdh as well)
3) Give in charity and help the poor
4) Increase in dua (supplication) and istighfar
5) Try to be well-mannered (smile, control our tongues, try to help others, etc)
Oh and we try to avoid sinning, of course.
Yes, these are very simple goals but:
1) Simplicity is always the key.
2) Complicated does not equate to greatness
3) How many of us are regular in doing these “simple” deeds?
I think it’s best to live from (fard) prayer to prayer. So, first we work on that prayer and then we try to do as much of Nos. 1-5 as we can before we reach the next prayer.
What do you think?
So, let’s get going!
PS. Sorry about the lack of teensie-weensie reminders. I’ll post one tomorrow, insha-Allah.
That’s what happens to many a woman when that time of month strikes her at this time of month. They think that Ramadan is over and start to twiddle their thumbs.
Two sisters asked me what a menstruating woman could do during Ramadan so here goes:
It’s that time of the year again.
Which time of year, you ask?
The time of year where we wake up and realise that one third of Ramadan has ended and we have nothing to show for it.
We’re so used to this happening, aren’t we? You’d think that we would have figured out the solution by now.
Here’s a good article that should motivate us not to let Ramadan slip away from us again. He also has some nice pointers at the end.
Before the Sand Slips Away
by Muhammad Alshareef
Hasn’t there come upon man a period of time when they were nothing remembered (Al-Insaan 76/1).
Imagine that you are four years old and on the beach. The camp leader has told you that you have five minutes to build a great castle. “Quickly,” your three-year-old Ameer tells you, “the sand here is too soft. Run closer to the water and get better sand!”
Off you run and grab, with your tiny hands, as much sand as you can hold. But, as you run back, plop, plop, plop, you feel the sand slipping through your fingers and you can do nothing about it. In your haste, all the sand has slipped away. Bang. The competition is over. This is the analogy of our lives; this is the analogy of our time in Ramadan.