بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Remember this series? The last part discussed khushoo (humility) in prayer.
Salaah (prayer) is the second pillar of Islam. After this comes the zakaah (the obligatory charity).
[Note: It is zakaah and not zakaat. And while we’re having a language lesson, I’d also like to point out that “namaz” is an Urdu/Farsi/Turkish word, not an Arabic word so could we please stop using it in the English language? Baarakallahu feekum.]
Prayer is the right of Allah, whereas zakaah is the right of the slaves of Allah.
Allah has mentioned salaah and zakaah together 82 times in the Quran (according to Shaikh Saleh Al-Fawzan), thereby showing how intertwined these two really are.
So it’s strange to find people who pray but do not give zakaah. [Of course, it’s even stranger to find people who give zakaah but do not pray!]
If one wants to be a complete Muslim, one should fulfill both the rights of Allah and the rights of creation. Safeguarding one’s prayers and paying the zakaah are the first steps towards that.
I’m completely useless with the fiqh (jurisprudence) of zakaah so I won’t even go there. [I studied it 4 times and it just keeps going above my head.] You may find many resources here though.
However, I’d like to point out the following important points:
1) Zakaah is obligatory but sadaqah (charity) isn’t.
Zakaah is a bit like the five obligatory prayers and sadaqah is a bit like the voluntary prayers, in the sense that you have the obligatory part for everyone and you also have the voluntary part for those that want to go the extra mile.
2) Zakaah is not necessarily due in Ramadan. It is due when one (lunar) year passes on the wealth.
You might have multiple times where you pay zakaah during the year as you might have zakaah due on different things.
4) Zakaah and Zakaatul fitr are two totally different things.
The former is due after one (lunar) year. The latter is due at the end of Ramadan and is paid in the form of food.
5) Zakaah is not due on everybody. It is only due on those who fulfill the required conditions .
6) The one who doesn’t pay the zakaah out of stinginess is a major sinner. However, the one who doesn’t pay the zakaah because he doesn’t think it it obligatory is a disbeliever.
7) Zakaah can only be given to one of eight categories of people, whereas there is no restriction on who sadaqah can be given to.
Apart from the fasts and the night prayers, what also distinguishes Ramadan from the other months is the brotherhood (which is shown through the zakaah and sadaqah). So we need to extend this brotherhood to the other months as well.
Unfortunately, one of the issues that we’re facing today as an ummah (nation) is that the money flows in during Ramadan and all the people in need get enough.
However, in the other 11 months, the well seems to dry up.
Why is that? Well, I guess it’s the same reason that some people pray only in Ramadan but not outside of it.
The reason is that they don’t understand the Names and Attributes of Allah, nor do they know about His Rights. Due to this, they cheat themselves by only worshipping Him during Ramadan.
So, it is incumbent for the one who is truly sincere in worshipping Allah that he does so 12 months a year, not just one!
So we not only need to work on improving our prayers but we also need to be more consistent in giving charity.
An amazing story of consistency in giving charity would be Shaikh ibn Baz (rahimahullah). I heard that he gave so much charity that he never paid zakaah (because his wealth did not fulfill the conditions as he gave it away before the year passed), subhan Allah.
Insha-Allah, in the next post of this series, I’ll clear up some misunderstandings that people have about charity.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Yes, they’re almost upon us – the best nights of the year.
No more napping. We need to take some action.
This Ramadan, I haven’t posted many resources because I did that last year.
I thought I would just link to the useful ones:
[All of these link to the post which contains the resource.]
Last Ten Days, Laylatul Qadr, Itikaf, Zakaatul Fitr and Eid
Articles / Books
1) When is Laylatul Qadr? [Don’t forget to read this one!]
6) Resources for Itikaf – Umm Muawiyah’s very own guide as to what you REALLY need for itikaf.
[Note: It seems that some people get confused between Zakaah and Zakaatul Fitr. They are two totally different things.]
Is this the last post for this Ramadan, you ask?
I wish but no. A few more to go, insha-Allah…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Last year, I had linked to the summarisation of the first 12 ajzaa (plural of juz) of the Quran.
That was by Brother Abu Taubah.
Last year, he had another series on summarising each Juz which was aired on some channel.
That series is being uploaded on this website juz by juz on a daily basis so that everyone can get a chance to view it before the taraweeh prayers of that day*.
[For the newbies: The Quran has 30 ajzaa, so the imams generally recite 1 Juz a day so as to complete the whole Quran in Ramadan.]
The summaries should help both with the taraweeh and understanding of the Quran, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[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:
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.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Are there more prayers to pray, you ask?
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).
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[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.
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.
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…
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]
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Note: Due to the fact that I’m half-asleep at the time of writing this, I won’t be putting up the evidence for the prayers. They’re all fairly well-known though.
If anyone wants the evidence for any of the points, please say so and I’ll put it up later, insha-Allah.]
Okay, so we’re working on our khushoo (humility) in the fard (obligatory) prayer.
What’s next? Well, that would be doing some of the other voluntary prayers on a regular basis. One of the virtues of the voluntary prayers is that, on the Last Day, they will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.
[Does a person sin if they do voluntary prayers one day and not the next?
NO, because they are voluntary not obligatory. However, one of the characteristics of the believers is regularity in doing the voluntary acts.
Proof? It’s all over the Quran and the Sunnah. Just look at how many times Allah mentions those who give charity or those who pray at night. Aren’t both of these acts voluntary?
Too often, many Muslims just stick to doing the obligatory acts. Whilst this is permitted, it is not a great thing. If we want to get closer to Allah, we need to start doing the acts which are voluntary and do them on a regular basis.]
On the Last Day, the voluntary prayers will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.
Okay, so which voluntary prayers can we offer?
Well, I would suggest starting with the 2 sunnah rakaahs before the (fard) Fajr prayer.
After this, one could add the witr (the time of which is from after the Isha prayer until before the adhan of Fajr). The witr prayer consists of at least ONE rakaah.It could also be 3, 5, 7, etc.
So, that’s 2 at the beginning of the day and 1 at the end.
You could do the rawatib prayers (there’s a nice house in Paradise for those who pray these).
Which ones are the rawatib prayers, you ask?
Well, the 2 rakaah of Fajr is one of the 12 rawatib prayers. The rest are mentioned below:
[Fard is in blue and Rawatib is in red.]
Fajr: 2 2
[That means that Fajr has two rakaahs of sunnah (rawatib) followed by the 2-rakaah fard prayer.]
Dhuhr: 2 2 4 2
[Some narrations imply that there are only 2 rawatib before Dhuhr but other narrations imply that there are 4.]
[The 4 rakaahs before the Asr prayer are nawafil, not rawatib.]
Maghrib: 3 2
Isha: 4 2 W
[W = Witr]
Okay, some people might say “Oh, there are so many prayers!”
Well, nobody said that you had to start doing all the rawatib at once. This is a big misconception that many people have. They assume that you have to do all 12 or else leave all 12.
Yes, in order to get that house in Paradise mentioned in the hadeeth, you need to do all 12 on a regular basis. However, suppose you regularly pray the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib. You are still going to get the reward for those.
So, don’t leave all 12 just because you can’t do all 12.
You could aim to pray all 12 on a daily basis but then make sure that you try to do a portion of them regularly.
For example, suppose that tomorrow you decided you would never miss the Fajr rawatib.
You try this for one month. During this month, you pray some of the others but not consistently.
In the next month, you decide that you are going to be consistent with the Maghrib rawatib.
So, for this month, you pray both the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib regularly. As for the others, you might do them but not consisently.
Then, in the third month, you decide you’re going to pray two rakaahs before the Dhuhr prayr. So, you pray this and the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib consistently for this month.
And on this goes until you are consistent with all 12 rakaahs.
When I say “consistent”, it means that you do them every single day and never leave them* even if you are very tired.
[*An exception to this would be whilst traveling because the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) only prayed the Fajr rawatib and one rakaah of witr (along with the fard prayers, of course) at this time.]
Obviously, if you are very ill, you might have difficulty doing them. If you are unable to, then at least be sure to be regular with them when you get better. Don’t let this habit go.
In the next part, insha-Allah, I’ll talk about the tahajjud, dhuha, nawafil, etc prayers.
To be continued…