بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Recently, I attended a dawah course.
The teacher was talking about the things that the daee (caller to Islam) needs to do in order to strengthen themselves for the great task ahead i.e. calling people to Islam.
He mentioned quite a few things including qiyam al-layl (the night prayer). [For those who don’t understand how that could help, please read the explanation of Surah Al-Muzzammil.]
One of the things that he also mentioned was fasting. And he said something that really struck me:
[I’m quoting from memory.]
“Fasting doesn’t make you weak. It gives you strength.”
That’s what many of us think, isn’t it? We think that fasting tires us out (which is probably why we are so unproductive in Ramadan).
However, as the brother, may Allah reward him greatly, pointed out, it doesn’t tire us out, it actually does the exact opposite.
One of the main acts of worship of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Prophets (alaihimissalam) before him, and their companions (radiallahu anhum) was fasting.
Be honest: When you read their stories, do they seem like tired people or more like energizer bunnies*?
[*I hope you understand where I’m coming from. In our time, the energizer bunny is the epitome of the thing which just keeps going on and on.]
I get exhausted just reading their stories because…they were so active. They did more in one day than most of us do in a year.
There’s an ayah (verse) in the Quran that (for me) summarises why they were so full of life:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّـهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (salallahu alaihi wasallam) calls you to that which will give you life.” [Surah Al-Anfal (8) : 24]
The commentators point out that the life means 1) the life of the heart and the soul and 2) the eternal life (i.e. Paradise).
Now, you might say: “Wait, I thought you were talking about physical energy? The ayah talks about spiritual energy.”
Well, I don’t think that there’s any contradicition because:
1) When we get re-energised spiritually, we also feel physically refreshed.
There were many times in my life when I went to a hifdh (Quran memorisation) class, or an Islamic lecture, completely exhausted. I was so tired at the beginning of the class.
By the end? I felt like a spring chicken. It’s amazing. Because I felt spiritually recharged, I also felt physically recharged.
I think that many of you would also have gone through similar situations.
2) If we answer Allah’s call i.e. apply the Shariah, we WILL be physically fit.
Why? Well, because it calls us to pay attention to our bodies and also because acts of worship like fasting and the night prayer (the two main acts of worship in Ramadan) are not just good for spiritual health, they are known to be good for physical health as well.
3) If we want to get the eternal life, we need to start working.
That alone is enough to turn one into an energizer bunny.
4) Good only results in more good.
If we obey Allah in one aspect, that will only result in more good. How can one fast (do something good) and expect that to lead to a bad thing (exhaustion)? No, that can’t be, because good only results in more good, so that exhaustion is not coming from the fasting.
So, if we understand these points, we’ll be able to understand how the earlier generations were so full of life.
Now, what am I trying to say?
Well, every Ramadan, we all complain how we are also so tired due to fasting in the morning and praying at night.
Those acts cannot be tiring us out because they are the ones giving us life and energy so there has to be something else draining our energy.
Perhaps it’s our negative attitude? Allah knows Better.
Either way, we need to change our perspective and approach both of these acts (and the whole Shariah in general) in a better manner.
Perhaps after we do that, we’ll see a different (and better) Ramadan this year, insha-Allah, hopefully one where we’ll all be full of life.
Aashoora is the 10th of Muharram and is a special day.
By “special day”, I mean that it has some historical significance (Musa (alaihissalam). not Karbala) and there are some legislated deeds to be done therein (fasting, not whipping yourself and your little children like some highly deviant sects do, may Allah save us from such misguidance).
Here’s a lecture that gives us an insight into Aashoora:
Day of Aashoora – Lessons, Fasting and Merits by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah) (Download):
Here’s a lecture to help get you excited about The Best Days of The Year:
Hmmm….you’ve heard this tip before, you say?
Of course, you have. Right here.
What was the whole point of Ramadan? To make us more conscious of Allah.
And why did Allah prescribe fasting……?
So, in order to continue with our increased consciousness of Allah, we need to fast.
You’ll notice that I mentioned two things:
1) Start fasting
As soon as possible.
Otherwise, you’ll get lazy.
Note: If you have missed fasts, make those up first. Then, you can do the Shawwal fasts.
2) Continue fasting
Yes, because fasting was not just prescribed for Ramadan and Shawwal. It’s a deed that can (and should) be done throughout the year e.g. Mondays, Thursdays, Arafah, Ashoorah, etc.
Insha-Allah, I’ll explain the above points in more detail in our first Remember Ramadan post.
Last bit of advice: Brothers and Sisters, I would also advise you to encourage your children to fast as well.
Yes, yes, I know. You might think that they’ll get tired with all the fasting.
Erm…you know, children and teens are not like us oldies. They can starve all day and still have energy at night.
I remember my days in uni. I wouldn’t eat anything until 5pm (because I was too busy). Yet, I had energy to do all my work.
And no, I’m not asking you to do this! [It’s terrible for one’s health.] I’m just pointing out that Shaytan (the devil) might stop you from encouraging your children from fasting under the guide of “parental concern”.
So, don’t worry about them getting tired because they won’t, insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Ah, yes. Back to ibaadah. There’s still that huge mansion in Paradise that we want to occupy, correct?
The second thing that people start to discuss after Ramadan ends (the first thing being Eid) is the fasts of Shawwal.
Allow me to provide a summary (please check the links provided for more details):
[Here’s Part 1.]
[My apologies to anyone who might have been waiting for Part 2.]
Okay, I know this is quite late but it might be of benefit to someone out there.
In Part 1, I uploaded a health guide which mentioned the common problems that occur to those who are fasting. As I’ve suffered from some of them, I thought I’d share my experiences.
[Note: Please spare me your sympathy.]
Before I list the various problems, let me just point out one thing. No one should say that there is “no permanent cure” for a problem. This is not a statement that should come out of a Muslim’s mouth.
Allah can do ALL things and He has made a cure for every disease.
So, the first thing that we should do is turn to Him and ask Him to cure our bodies. The next thing is to use what the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) has prescribed.
Believe me, I used so many medicines. The three things that actually solved my problems were:
2) Black seed oil
3) Cupping (hijamah)
That’s it. Only the Prophetic remedies worked for me, subhan Allah.
[By the way, we are allowed to use other types of medicines. I’m just saying that they never really worked for me.]
[As I’m short of time, this is a summarised account of my experiences.]
1) Gastritis / Acidity / Heartburn:
This is a three-part series that Dr. Bilal Philips did before Ramadan. You can view the first two parts here.
This is the third and final part.
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.
[Okay, a little apology before I begin. It seems that some people really liked the last couple of reminders. However, one should not have high expectations for every post.
This is going to be a simple, possibly drab post and might be more negative as compared to the earlier ones. I say what I have to say and I’m not going to go out of my way just to please any readers who might be expecting great posts.]
[A note: I haven’t added any references for some of the things that I’ve mentioned because: 1) It’s already late and I’m tired and 2) These things are well-known. However, if you want the references then please feel free to ask because it is your right to do so.]
So, we’ve finished 8 days of Ramadan now (less if you’re in other countries).
Is it just me or does that sound like far too much considering the fact the Ramadan seemed to start just yesterday?
I had all these high aims but the first week of Ramadan has been a disappointment for me. I didn’t do all the things that I set out to do. Perhaps some of you might have the same issue.
So, what do we need to do?
We need to check and see what we did do, what we didn’t do, and what we need to do in the next 21-22 days.
If you’ve skimmed my blog, you might have noticed a category that states “Ramadan: Month of…”. There are lots of subcategories below that.
So, insha-Allah, I thought I would review our Ramadan in the context of these subcategories:
[Note: the subcategories are in alphabetical order but my list is not.]
[I’m just going to list a whole lot of questions that we need to ask ourselves.]