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
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).
Yes indeed. We are what our salah is.
What do I mean by that?
It means that our level of righteousness can be checked by the quality of our prayers.
Allah has mentioned many traits of the believers in the Quran. The first action of the limbs that is usually mentioned is the salah.
Also, the believers don’t just pray, rather they establish the salah and pray with khushoo (humility).
What are the proofs? The Quran is replete with references to the salah. This time I’m not going to provide the references because I’d like you to open up the Quran and search for yourself, insha-Allah.
So, what does all of this mean? Well, if we want to determine how “pious” we are, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
1) Do we consistently pray the five obligatory prayers at their proper times? Do we try to pray them at their earliest times? Do we do the adhkar (remembrances) after the salah?
2) Do we consistently pray the rawaatib (sunnah) prayers?
3) Do we ever pray tahajjud (the night prayers)? Are we consistent? Do we ever pray any of those long Ramadan-type Qiyam Al-Layl prayers outside of Ramadan?
4) Do we ever pray any of the other prayers like Dhuha, the 2 rakahs after entering the masjid, the 2 rakahs after doing wudhoo, etc?
5) Does our prayer resemble the prayer of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)? Do we pray according to the Quran and the Sunnah, or the way that “we were taught”?
6) How much focus do we have in the salah? Do we feel a sense of contentment and joy during our salah? Do we look forward to praying or is it a drag for us?
Yes, I know. These questions are very depressing. It depressed me just to write them but I had do because we all need to ask ourselves these questions.
I’ve noticed that when my salah quality is good, everything in my life is going well. And if the quality sucks, then my life seems very bad.
Think about it and you might realise that it is the same case with you.
One of the reasons that Ramadan is such a nice month for us is because we are so focused on the prayers. Our day revolves around them and we have more khushoo in them as compared to outside Ramadan.
So, we all need to work on our salah.
Why? Because we are what our salah is.
Yes, two important topics that are often ignored: salah and death.
Please watch the following lecture and don’t chicken out because of the contents (i.e. death).
Unfortunately, many people tend to avoid serious topics because it “distresses” them. What will they do on the Day of Judgment when they see all the “distressful” things taking place?
Remember: The righteous ones prepare for the Last Day, whereas the unrighteous simply avoid thinking about it and ignore it. Due to this, they fail to prepare for this important day.
So, please watch this lecture and don’t avoid this topic.
And don’t say that you’ll watch it later because there might not be a later.
Pray before you are prayed upon by Abdur Raheem Green
Still looking for ways to focus in salah and get that wonderful feeling of khushoo (humility)?
Try this book by Imam Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah): Humility in Prayer.
I haven’t had a chance to read all of it but I learnt a lot by just skimming through the book.
Also, Imam Ibn Rajab is a fantastic author. Too bad he lived centuries ago…
Yes, Ramadan is the Month of Salah.
And when we pray, we should make sure that we pray PROPERLY.
It’s amazing how many people make mistakes in the salah.
Just a note: If you see someone making a mistake in prayer, you are OBLIGATED to tell them.
One of my classmates had asked one of our teachers if she was sinful if she saw a person (who spoke a different language to hers) making a mistake in prayer and she didn’t correct her. Our teacher pointed out that yes, she was sinful because she could tell the person via movements! Subhan Allah.
And for those who find it embarrassing to correct others, then my teacher’s words should be enough: “It’s better to be embarrassed in this world than to be embarrassed on the Day of Judgment.”
And really, what exactly is so embarrassing about it? We’re just afraid of what this person will think of us. Why should we be worried? We’re telling the person his/her mistake because 1) we want to be able to say (on the Day of Judgement) that we did our duty and 2) so that this sister/brother can worship Allah in a better way.
Remember that dawah is an act of ibaadah. So by correcting them, we are trying to come closer to Allah.
[A word of advice: Please don’t just jump on the person and scream at them. Show wisdom and manners and then you’ll see the good results. Use stupidity and harshness and you won’t know what hit you.]
Yes, the Month of Night Prayer is here.
However, is it the only month where we’re supposed to pray at night?
Short answer: No.
Ramadan helps to train us pray the night prayer so that we can continue for the rest of the year.
So, here’s an article (from one of my favourite authors) to help us understand the importance of this prayer: The Superiority of the Night (Tahajjud) Prayer in Increasing Iman by Shaikh Hussain Al-Awaaishah.
17 rakaahs. That’s the minimum no. of units of prayer that a Muslim is supposed to pray per day, and many Muslims do pray all 17, alhamdulillah.
Yet, if you ask them to translate what they say in prayer, many of them will give you a blank look and say: “I don’t know what it means”.
Now, how do I know that many of them will say that? Because I’ve taught quite a few classes on prayer and I realised that many of the non-Arabs really had no idea what they were saying in prayer. If I translated something as simple as “Subhana Rabi Al-Alaa”, the looks I got suggested that this was Brand New Information to the audience.
How terribly sad. We’re supposed to say “Subhana Rabi Al-Alaa” at least once* in every sajdah (prostration) and we have no clue what we’re saying??? And how is it that we expect to focus on the salah when we don’t understand the words that we’re reciting?
[*Yes, once is obligatory. Thrice is recommended.]
**Umm Muawiyah stops making reader feel ashamed of himself/herself and puts on her (virtual) “I’m going to be positive” hat**
Alright then, so we don’t know. Fine, we’ll learn, insha-Allah.. And we’ll start TODAY so that by the time the first week of Ramadan ends, we’ll know exactly what we’re saying in salah.
How’s that? A dream? NO! That’ll be the reality, insha-Allah. I had the same problem many years ago but I can understand everything I say now, alhamdulillah. You will be able to as wellone day, insha-Allah (assuming that you cannot already do so).
So, first thing that we need to do: dua. For what? Well, we need to ask Allah to teach us and make things easy for us.
After this, we need to start studying. The following lecture series looks really good:
[For those who prefer reading, there are more resources at the end of the post.]