Islam does not draw a distinction between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ aspects of life, between belief and actions
No Muslim can accept the categorization of Islam as merely an “idea”. Islam is based on the word of God, revealed syllable by syllable to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. Thus, it is not merely idea; rather it is an idea, ideology, the truth and a complete way of life. As the Qur’an states:
Whoever wishes for a way of life other that Islam, never will it be accepted from him and in the Hereafter he will be amongst the losers. (Aal `Imran 3: 85)
God mentions that this religion has been completed and perfected, and has no need for alteration or adjustment:
This day I completed your religion for you and perfected My favor upon you and chosen for your way of life Islam. (Aal `Imran 3:85)
The Prophet also said: “There is not one thing that shall bring you closer to the Paradise and away from the Fire without me having informed you of it, and there is not one thing that will take you away from Paradise and towards the Fire except that I have warned you about it.” (Musnad Ash- Shafi`i and others)
It is true that Islam does not draw a distinction between the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ aspects of life, between belief and actions, religion and politics; in reality, such distinctions are fallacious. Man’s beliefs are the foundations and prime motivators for actions, for what is held to be true on the inside must manifest itself outwardly.
Indeed, the very first task given to Prophet Muhammad was to correct the false beliefs. It was not that the pagan Arabs did not believe in God, the Creator. In fact, the Qur’an tells the Prophet:
If you ask them who sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death? They would certainly say ‘Allah!’ Say: ‘All praise and thanks be to Allah!’ Nay! Most of them have no sense. (Al-`Ankabut 29:63)
The pagan Arabs used to worship Allah, pray to Him and sacrifice to Him in times of need and distress, as did the Jews and Christians, and they even claimed to love Him, but Allah rejected their actions and referred to them as ‘senseless’, ‘astray’ and ‘disbelievers’. Hence, this is the reality concerning most of the men and Jinn; they claim to believe in Allah and worship Allah, but what they believe about Him is incorrect and the way they worship Him is incorrect.
Most of them do not believe in Allah except while joining partners with Him (Yusuf 12:106)
There is one common cause for this rejection, that is, thinking and speaking about God without knowledge, and thus ascribing to Him that which should not be ascribed to Him, such as sons, or daughters, or human qualities and weaknesses; claiming that some of the creation possess His powers and abilities, or by claiming that He, the Majestic, is pleased by some action that in fact angers Him, or that He is angered by some action that in fact pleases Him.
Thus, the idol worshippers call upon that which can neither benefit nor harm them; the Christians call upon Jesus ; the Jews believe their racial origins guarantee His good pleasure; and there are those who believe that power and wealth are means of success — all have put their faith and trust in something in vain. This in itself is a great evil, for they have only wasted their time and effort, yet this is least of the evil consequences.
As for that which is most severe- those who have fallen into associating partners with God, have earned His anger and wrath, and upon them shall fall humiliation in this life and a most terrible fate in the next:
Surely Allah will not forgive al-Shirk (the association of partners with Him), but He forgives sins less than that of whomever He wishes. (An-Nisaa’ 4:48)
So Shirk or ascribing partners to God (whatever form it may take) is an unforgivable sin, because it is the source of all evil, the greatest injustice, the worst oppression and wrongdoing. For, if one is unafraid of speaking about Allah without knowledge (and this knowledge is attained only through Him, for He is the best knower of Himself and His will) and that which pleases and displeases Him, then what will one be afraid of speaking about ignorantly?
Witnessing the destructive forces of nature and the untold misfortunes and miseries over which God alone has ultimate power and control, both in this life and the next, anyone would realize that God is the most worthy of being feared. Similarly, anyone contemplating the miraculous order, precision and symbiosis within the earth and universe, must realize the unparalleled knowledge and wisdom of its Creator.
If one is heedless of transgressing the laws of Allah, and attaches little or no importance to them, or worse considers them bad, evil, and outdated, then what of the laws conceived in the limited minds of men? If one is ungrateful to his Lord, the Provider of all, then of what little consequence to such a one is ingratitude to the creation? If one denies the rights and dues of Allah, which are the most worthy of being fulfilled, then what rights and dues will such a person be fearful of denying?
Imagine the case of a fictional worker in a company owned and run by you, who believes you are the lavatory cleaner and the lavatory cleaner is the director! Would there not be evil results? Would you tolerate such a person? If so, for how long?
Now envisage this fool teaching this to others and insisting on it, so that the majority of the company came to believe it, ignoring your orders and prohibitions and inventing their own rules, making the lavatory cleaner who is deaf and dumb their guide!
The true causes of the evils that beset mankind are disbelief, sinfulness and ingratitude to God:
And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much. (Ash-Shura 42:30)
The Prophet said: “There is none who has a greater sense of ghayrah (a feeling of great fury and anger when one’s honor and prestige is injured or challenged) than Allah, and so He has forbidden shameful deeds and sins. And there is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does.” (Al-Bukhari)
Allah is more infuriated by the disobedience of His slave than a man of honor who finds his wife fornicating with another man. So how is His fury with those who insult Him by ascribing rivals and partners with Him, while He is Glorious above such things! In addition, the evil consequences are not limited to this life, as the Qur’an says:
Verily, those who disbelieved and die while they are disbelievers, the whole earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers. (Aal `Imran 3:91)
The Prophet explained:
“On the Day of Judgment, the disbeliever will be asked: ‘Suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself from the hell-fire?’ He will reply: ‘Yes!’ Then it will be said to him: ‘You were asked for something easier than that; that you should join none in worship with Allah, and submit yourself to Him, but you refused.’” (Al-Bukhari)
The message of all the Prophets (peace be upon them) is one and the same:
Verily, We have sent to every nation a Messenger, saying: ‘Worship Allaah and avoid false objects of worship.’ (An-Nahl 16:36)
Indeed this is the very purpose for which Allah created mankind, as He says:
I did not create the Jinn and mankind except for My worship (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
Hence, shirk (ascribing partners to God) is in contradiction to the reason for which we exist- which is to single out God for worship, avoiding all false deities and to worship Him completely, with sacrifice, supplication, submission, subjugation, obedience, compliance; and with love, fear, hope, trust and reliance upon Him, seeking only His pleasure and not the admiration of His creatures; and to do all of that according to that which was revealed to His last and final Messenger Muhammad and not according to whims, desires and mere conjecture.
Furthermore, of immediate relevance to the discussion, are those qualities unique to Allah that single Him out, such as Al-Hakam (The Judge); Al-Hakeem (The Wise) and Al -‘Alim (The All-Knowing). Not only is Allah the Creator, Controller and Sustainer, He is also the Sole Possessor of the wisdom and knowledge, to legislate for mankind and to determine what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is prohibited; thus extending to the laws we should judge by and the social, economic and political system we should utilize:
And no partner in legislating has He – He is Alone. (Al-Kahf 18:60)
Allah admonished the Jews and Christians and called them disbelievers:
…taking their priests and rabbis as lords besides Allah. (At-Tawbah 9:31)
If God blamed the Jews and Christians for accepting changes and alterations made by the men learned in the Scripture and Divine legislation, for making the forbidden allowed and vice versa, then how about those who accept such actions from every Tom, Dick and Harry, who have no scripture, no wisdom and only pure speculation, whims and desires?
Islam makes no distinction between outward and inner, private and public life. People should not adopt ways of the worst error: disobedience to and rebellion against Allaah and not commit the unforgivable sin of ascribing partners to Him.
Allah has ordained the good treatment of parents.
If you type the words, “kindness to parents” in Google, six of the first ten results are Islamic articles stressing the importance of being dutiful and kind to one’s parents.
Why is this so?
Islam is a beautiful religion that stresses the qualities of mercy, tolerance and respect among human beings. Allah has ordained the good treatment of parents and warned us against treating them with disrespect. There are several verses in the Qur’an where kindness to parents is even coupled with the most important aspect of Islam; worshipping Allah alone. This indicates that being kind to parents, honoring and respecting them, is extremely important in the way of life that Islam stipulates.
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)
It is crystal clear in this verse that no word of disrespect should be uttered toward a parent, nor even a look of resentment or contempt. Honoring parents can be considered a form of worship if the intention is to please Almighty Allah by respecting His commands.
Allah continues this verse by reminding us that parents are deserving of kindness because they raised their children with gentleness and often made great sacrifices for their wellbeing. His use of the word wing invokes the image of a mother bird tenderly shielding her young and calls to mind the gentleness that parents have for their children.
And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.’ (Al-Israa’ 17:24)
The love and mercy that emanates from the Most Merciful Allah is manifest in the kind treatment existing between parents and their children. Allah clearly prohibits the bad treatment of parents, and in another verse of the Qur’an He enjoins on us the need to show gratitude to Him, our Creator, as well as our parents. Again, Allah clearly links the rights owed to Him to the rights owed to parents.
And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” (Luqman 31:14)
Prophet Muhammad reinforced the duty to be kind to parents. A companion of the Prophet once asked him which of the many good deeds a man can do is the most loved by Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) answered him by saying, “To offer the Prayer in its proper time”. The companion then asked, “And what is next?” to which Prophet Muhammad replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents…” (Al-Bukhari). The responsibility to be kind and good to parents comes right after the greatest duty in Islam, the prayer.
More than Goodness
The Arabic word that is used in the Qur’an and the narrations of Prophet Muhammad to denote this kindness to parents as bir, and more often than not, it is translated as goodness. However, as is the case with most Arabic words, a direct translation into English often fails to explain the true depth of meaning. Bir does not only mean goodness; it contains shades of meaning that indicate kindness, compassion, respect and even patience. Islam, the way of life, encompasses all these qualities, and Muslims must strive to model this behavior in all dealings, particularly in the relationship between parents and their children.
With hardship and endurance, most parents care for and nurture their children their entire lives, but at one point this duty reverses, parents become old and feeble and in need of this care and nurturing themselves. The child is obligated to care for the parents by displaying all the qualities of bir and knowing that the reward for this is with Allah. Prophet Muhammad said, “If anyone possesses these three characteristics Allah will give him an easy death and bring him into His Paradise: gentleness towards the weak, affection towards parents, and kindness to slaves.” (At-Tirmidhi)
One Man’s Devotion
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) was a close companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He is credited with remembering and transmitting many of the Prophetic sayings. The life of Abu Hurairah also contains many demonstrations of his love and devotion to his mother. When he first embraced Islam, no amount of pleading could convince his mother to do the same. Weeping and afraid, Abu Hurairah approached the Prophet and begged him to make supplication to Allah asking that his mother be guided. Prophet Muhammad complied with this request and within a very short period of time Abu Hurairah’s mother uttered the words, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his slave and Messenger”, thus embracing Islam.
Throughout his life, Abu Hurairah remained kind and courteous to his mother. Whenever he wanted to leave home, he would stand at the door of her room and say, “Peace be on you, mother, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.” She would reply, “And on you be peace, my son, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.” He would also say, “May Allah have mercy on you as you cared for me when I was small,” to which she would reply, “May Allah have mercy on you as you delivered me from error when I was old.”
Abu Hurairah always encouraged other people to be kind and good to their parents. One day he saw two men walking together and enquired of the younger one, “Who is this man to you?” to which the young man replied, “He is my father”. Abu Hurairah advised him by saying, “Do not call him by his name, do not walk in front of him, and do not seat yourself before he does”.
Therefore, this gentleness and affection Abu Hurairah demonstrated to his mother teaches us that mutual respect and love is a duty. A Muslim is obliged to show respect towards parents even if they are non-Muslim, and the greatest love he can show towards them is to supplicate to Allah in hope that they will be guided to Islam. At the time of the Prophet, many of those who embraced Islam found that it conflicted with the beliefs and requests of their parents, but they were taught to be kind and to obey their parents, except if the parents demanded they disobey Allah.
But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do. (Luqman 31:15)
Being dutiful to parents, obeying them and treating them with kindness is embedded in the teachings of Islam. However, obedience to Allah is always the first and foremost duty in Islam.
This article was originally published on islamreligion.com. It has been taken with modifications from onislam.net
By Editorial Staff
Shortening the Prayer means to perform the regularly four-rak’ah prayer, namely, the Dhuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (Evening) Prayers, as only two-rak’ah prayer during travel.
Shortening the Prayer means to perform the regularly four-rak’ah prayer, namely, the Dhuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (Evening) Prayers, as only two-rak’ah prayer during travel.
The Legal Ruling Concerning Shortening the Prayer
The majority of scholars including the shafi’i School of Fiqh believe that a traveller may shorten the four-rak’ah prayer to only two. On the other hand, some scholars of the Zahiri School of Fiqh believe it is obligatory. The Zahiri Scholars base their opinion on the fact that there is no authentic proof that shows that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) completed the Prayer during travel.
In addition, ‘A’isha, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), reported:
The prayer was prescribed as two rak’ahs, two rak’ahs both in journey and at the place of residence. The prayer while travelling remained as it was (originally prescribed), but an addition was made in the prayer (observed) at the place of residence. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, this is the wording of Muslim)
The majority of scholars’ opinion is that shortening the Prayer is permissible but some of them believe it is recommended. Allah says,
Now, when you strike out in the land, then there shall be no blame on you if you shorten (something) of the Prayer, should you fear that those who disbelieve will assail you. Indeed, the disbelievers are to you a clear enemy. (Quran 4:101)
The sentence “there shall be no blame on you” does not denote obligation. On the other hand, you may say that according to the apparent meaning of the verse shortening the Prayer is allowed only when one feels unsafe. “People are now safe!”, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab wondered upon reciting the above mentioned verse. “It is an act of charity which Allah has done to you, so accept His charity”, said Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). (Muslim)
According to the Shafi’i school of Fiqh, there are five prerequisites for shortening the Prayer. Let us consider these prerequisites.
Prerequisites for Shortening the Prayer
1. Travel must not be for committing any acts of disobedience
The purpose of shortening the Prayer is to lighten the travel burden for people. That’s why travelling for theft or robbery for example can never be a reason that allows a person to shorten the Prayer. However, there is another opinion which does not differentiate between travels whether they are legal and for fulfilling permissible deeds or not. Moreover, there is no explicit evidence for such differentiation.
2. An outward journey (without return) must be 16 Parasangs long or 80 km
So long as an outward journey is about or more than 80 or 82 km in length, you may, then, shorten your prayer and break the fast. “Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) used to shorten the Prayer and break the fast when they travelled for four barids[i] which are equal to 16 parasangs”, related Al-Bukhari as part of a Mu’allaq (Suspended) Hadith in his Sahih Al-Bukhari.
Discussing this opinion, some scholars believe that neither this hadith is Marfu’ (elevated) to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) nor they used to measure distances at that time. That’s why there are lots of different opinions on this issue. In addition, Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) were reported to have expressed opinions different to what is mentioned above. Yahya ibn Yazid al-Huna’i reported:
I asked Anas ibn Malik about shortening of prayer. He said: When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had covered a distance of three miles or three farsakh (parasang) (Shu’ba, one of the narrators, had some doubt about it) he observed two rak’ahs. (Muslim)
Although this hadith is related by Imam Muslim, the majority of scholars do not act according to it. This may be due to the doubt the narrator had. Moreover, some scholars of hadith regard the chain of narration of this hadith as defective.
Due to these differences and the lack of evidence which is free from defects or oppositions, it appears that what counts here are the people’s customs.
3. Performing the Four-Rak’ah Prayer in its Prescribed Time
If you miss one or more prayer before setting off for a journey, you must make up for such prayer in full during the journey. This is because the time of performance for this or these prayers is up before travelling.
On the contrary, if you start your journey within the prescribed time for a certain prayer, you may shorten that prayer. For example, if the time for Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer is due at 12 noon and you set off for your journey at 2 p.m., you may shorten the Dhuhr Prayer.
4. Intending to shorten the Prayer just before or at the beginning of the Prayer
If you perform the Prayer in congregation and you do not know whether the Imam will shorten the Prayer or not, you may depend in your intention on the Imam’s intention. Not knowing which kind of Hajj Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had performed, Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) depended on the intention of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
5. The traveller must not be following a resident Imam
This is also a prerequisite to follow the imam of prayer. If the imam is a traveller and will shorten the prayer, you must do the same. On the contrary, if he is a resident, you should perform your prayer in full even if you come late and join the prayer in the middle or last rak’ah of it. “Why do we perform prayer in full when we join the congregational prayer with you and shorten it at our camp?” Musa ibn Salamah Al-Hudhali asked ibn ‘Abbas. “This is the Sunnah of Abu Al-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace)”, he replied.
How many days may the traveller shorten the Prayer?
Scholars differentiate between travellers who do not know exactly when they will return home and others who may be considered domiciled residents. The first kind of travellers shortens the prayer even if the journey takes a long time.
The second kind who knows how long the journey will take may shorten the prayer for only three or four days.
[i] Barid (pl. burud) is an ancient Arabic unit of distance of about 22 or 23 km.
By Aisha Stacey
Suicide or hara kiri is part of the ancient Japanese honor code and is noted in Asian cultures. It is not something confined to Western civilization and is even found in Muslim majority countries even though it is well known that it is something clearly prohibited in Islam.
And do not kill yourselves. Surely, God is Most Merciful to you. (Quran 4:29)
The Gift of Life
In the Quran there are sanctions against suicide.
And do not kill yourselves. Surely, God is Most Merciful to you. (Quran 4:29)
And do not throw yourselves in destruction. (Quran 2:195)
The Quran makes it clear that human life is sacred. Life cannot be taken without justification and the right to life is inherent in the tenants of Islam. Life itself is a gift from the Creator that we are obliged to care for.
Suicide out of despair of God’s mercy or worldly problems is strictly forbidden. Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, said:
Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It is a major sin and its punishment is subject to the will of God. If He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it.
Life is an unending succession of moments. At the two extremes there are joyful moments that make our hearts soar and dark moments that plunge us into sadness and worry or even despair.
Gladness and its opposite sadness are part of the human condition, however when we lose control over our emotions we can easily fall into despair. Despair is the feeling that we get when all hope has disappeared and it is a very dangerous situation.
Do not Despair of Allah’s Mercy
God tells us not to despair and particularly not to despair of His mercy. God has not abandoned us in face of the temptations and trials we face in this world; He is ever merciful and has equipped us with potent weapons.
God, the Most Merciful, gives us clear guidelines and promises two things, if we worship Him and follow His guidance we will be rewarded with Paradise and that after hardship we will find ease.
But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall admit them to the Gardens under which rivers flow (i.e., in Paradise), to dwell therein forever. [It is] the promise of God, [which is] truth, and whose words can be truer than those of God. (Quran 4:122)
So verily, with hardship, there is ease. (Quran 94:5)
When Prophet Jacob was grieving and sad, he turned to God, and the Quran tells us that he beseeched God for relief.
He said: ‘I only complain of my grief and sorrow to God… (Quran 12:86)
Prophet Muhammad also said:
No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but God will expiate for some of his sins because of that. (Al-Bukhari)
The religion of Islam is primarily concerned with making and keeping a connection with the One God. One of the biggest mistakes that people can make is to separate their worldly life from their religious life.
The Sin of Ending One’s Life
The stressful situations that cause us to despair and feel unconnected to God always originate in the affairs of this world, such as emotional issues, financial stress, substance abuse or health issues.
Especially in this new century one of the most common reasons for despair is a sense of isolation or detachment from others.
God has promised us that He is well aware of the situations that we face and He has given us weapons with which to face them.
When it comes to despair, the condition that could in some situations lead a person to contemplate taking his or her own life, we need to dig a little deeper, we need to remind ourselves first and foremost that God is Merciful and that no matter what situation we find ourselves in He is ready to forgive and help.
God the most merciful, compassionate, and beneficent has instructed us to inculcate these attributes and treat each other with respect and fairness. This includes not leaving anyone alone with their problems and worries.
How Important Support and Care Are!
A little bit of support and care might help someone avoid the sin of ending their own life. God also tells us not to mock, scorn, insult, abuse or put down one another.
O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Quran 49:11)
Both God and Prophet Muhammad remind us that He will punish those of us who commit injustices or oppress others.
And whoever oppresses (commits injustice) among you, We will make him taste a great punishment. (Quran 25:19)
Prophet Muhammad said: A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults on the Day of Resurrection. (Al-Bukhari)
Thus there is certainly a benefit in treating others well, especially in coming to the aid of friends or family members who are overwhelmed by life’s cruelties and injustices.
However what of the people who feel alone, crushed by circumstance and are teetering on the edge of despair.
How can a person suffering from suicidal thoughts bring themselves back from the brink?
This can be achieved in many ways; firstly by strengthening one’s relationship with God. This is achieved by reading the Quran, being mindful of Him and making lots of du’a (supplication) to God.
Next a person would do well to recognize Satan’s hand in this matter. He whispers frightening scenarios of poverty and helplessness. They are not true for God’s mercy conquers all. Cling to Him and to Islam even in the darkest hour and the longest night.
Along with the weapons mentioned earlier God also gave us Prophet Muhammad, a mercy to all the worlds, to all the people. Trying to emulate him, this will make a despairing person calmer and closer to God.
If we are mindful that God has control over all things and that He ultimately wants us to live forever in Paradise, we can begin to leave our sadness and worry behind.
If we face our fears and anxieties with complete trust in God and if we show patience and gratitude with all our circumstances, sadness and worry will disappear or at least feel lighter. Prophet Muhammad said:
Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him. (Muslim)
Alex Lickerman M.D.
Though I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide, I have lost a patient. I have known a number of people left behind by the suicide of people close to them, however. Given how much losing my patient affected me, I’ve only been able to guess at the devastation these people have experienced. Pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which I’ve seen take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.
The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting.
The one question everyone has asked without exception, that they ache to have answered more than any other, is simply: why? Why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life? Even when a note explaining the reasons is found, lingering questions usually remain: yes, they felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they feel that? A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise (only accentuating survivor’s guilt for failing to see it coming).
People who’ve survived suicide attempts have reported wanting not so much to die as to stop living, a strange dichotomy, but a valid one nevertheless. If some in-between state existed, some other alternative to death, I suspect many suicidal people would take it. For the sake of all those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, I wanted to describe how I was trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves. They’re not as intuitive as most think.
In general, people try to kill themselves for six reasons:
1. They’re depressed.
This is, without question, the most common reason people die by suicide. Severe depression is almost always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like, “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense.
They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain; it’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often, people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts, in my experience, almost always yields an honest response. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.
2. They’re psychotic.
Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression, and is arguably even more tragic. The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1 percent and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, are often derailed from their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be treated for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all. Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission until the voices lose their commanding power.
3. They’re impulsive.
Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. This is when, they are taken to huntington beach rehabs in order to get them out of addiction. Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel emphatically ashamed. The people who have taken treatment at iop rehab miami, often confess that the remorse is often genuine, but whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable. They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime. Hospital admission is, therefore, not usually indicated. According to drug rehab LA, substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.
4. They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it.
These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to call attention to their challenges, but they are sometimes tragically misinformed. For instance, a young teenage girl suffering genuine angst because she feels lonely or has gotten into a devastating fight with her parents, may swallow a bottle of Tylenol—not realizing that in high enough doses, Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage. I’ve watched more than one teenager die a horrible death in an ICU days after such an ingestion when remorse has already cured them of their desire to die and their true goal of alerting those close to them of their distress has been achieved.
5. They have a philosophical desire to die.
The decision to die by suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision, often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to die by suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.
6. They’ve made a mistake.
This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far. The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.
The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain. Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings, I’ve offered the preceding paragraphs in hopes that anyone reading this who’s been left behind by a suicide might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger, and find closure. Despite the abrupt way you may have been left, guilt and anger don’t have to be the only two emotions you’re doomed to feel about the one who left you.
By Editorial Staff
As well as being the second pillar of Islam, the Salah (performing prayer) is the first practical pillar. Muslims perform five obligatory prayers a day at different prescribed times. The five obligatory prayers are al-Fajr (the Dawn Prayer), al-Dhuhr (the Noon Prayer), al-‘Asr (the Afternoon Prayer), al-Maghrib (the Sunset Prayer), and al-‘Isha’ (the Evening prayer).
For almost every obligatory prayer, there are other supererogatory prayers which are recommended to be performed before and/ or after it. These supererogatory prayers are divided into sunnah mu’akkadah, whose performance is stressed or highly recommended, and sunnah ghair mu’akkadah, whose performance is less recommended or not stressed.
Of these supererogatory prayers which are regarded as sunnah mu’akkadah, there are ten or twelve rak’ahs (units of prayer) that are highly recommended to be performed on a daily basis.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The two rak’ahs before the dawn (Fajr) prayer are better than this world and all it contains.”
Al-Fajr (The Dawn Prayer)
When the time of al-Fajr Prayer is due, it is recommended to perform two rak’ahs individually between Adhan (the call to prayer) and Iqamah (the second call to prayer).
Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never missed performing them whether he was resident or travelling. ’A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The two rak’ahs before the dawn (Fajr) prayer are better than this world and all it contains.” (Muslim)
This hadith highlights the virtue of these two rak’ahs. Furthermore, if this is the case regarding the reward of this supererogatory prayer, how great, then, the reward of the obligatory prayer of al-Fajr is!
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (Al-Bukhari)
What verses to recite during the two supererogatory rak’ahs of Al-Fajr?
It is an act of the sunnah to recite surat al-Kafirun (Chapter of The Disbelievers) after reciting surat al-Fatihah (Chapter of the Opening) at the first rak’ah and surat al-Ikhlas (Chapter of the Pure Sincerity) at the second one.
In another narration related by Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would recite the following verses:
At the first rak’ah after reciting surat al-Fatihah, he would recite:
Say, (O believers): We believe in (One) God, and (in) all that has been sent down to us (in the Quran); and (in) all that has been sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and (to) the (prophets of the) Tribes (of Israel); and (in) all that was given to Moses and (to) Jesus; and (in) all that was given to (all) the (other) prophets from their Lord. We do not differentiate (in faith) between any of them. Thus are we muslims, in willing submission to Him (alone). (Quran 2:136)
At the second rak’ah after reciting surat al-Fatihah, he would recite:
(O Muhammad,) say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an equitable word between us and you: That (together) we shall not worship other than God. And (together) we shall not associate anything (at all) in (our worship of) Him. And (together) we shall not take one another as lords apart from God. Yet if they turn away, (O believers), then say (to them): Bear witness that we, indeed, are muslims, in willing submission to God (alone). (Quran 3:64)
A Muslim can choose to recite either the two surahs or the two verses. However, reciting the two surahs is more common.
Should the two rak’ahs be short or long?
They are recommended to be short. Narrated `A’isha:
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to make the two rak`at before the Fajr prayer so light that I would wonder whether he recited Al-Fatiha (or not). (Al-bukhari and Muslim)
It should be noted that a person should be aware not to perform them so quickly to an extent that they become invalid. Feeling at rest in every pillar of the prayer is a must.
The legal ruling concerning lying down after performing them
‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to offer eleven rak’ahs of optional Salat (prayers) in the latter part of night. When it was about dawn, he would offer two short rak’ahs and then would lie down on his right side till the Mu’adhdhin (one who calls for prayer) would come to inform him that the congregation had gathered (for prayer). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Scholars hold different opinions regarding lying down after performing the two supererogatory rak’ahs of al-Fajr. There are three opinions as follows: obligatory, recommended and allowed.
Scholars who adopt this opinion use the following hadith to support it. Abu Hurairah narrated that:
Allah’s Messenger (S) said: “When one of you prays the two (supererogatory) Rak’ahs of Fajr then let him lay down on his right (side).” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)
To explain how they deduced this legal ruling, they say that this hadith contains the form of imperative which denote obligation in Arabic.
Discussing this opinion, scholars of hadith consider this narration, which contains the form of imperative, as shadh (anomalous). Secondly, supposing it is authentic, the form of imperative here should not be understood to mean obligation because there are other proofs that clearly denote that lying down is not obligatory.
The following hadith denotes that lying down is not obligatory. Narrated `A’isha:
After offering the two (supererogatory) rak`ahs, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) used to talk to me, if I happen to be awake; otherwise he would lie down. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Lying down was the practice of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), however, he did not command Muslims to do that. Furthermore, had it been common among the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), they would have reported it.
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The supplication made between the Adhan and the Iqamah is never rejected.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)
The legal ruling concerning the person who misses the two supererogatory rak’ahs of Al-Fajr
If a person arrives at the masjid (mosque) and finds out that Muslims are performing the obligatory congregational prayer of al-Fajr, he must join them.
As for the missed prayer, there are two opinions concerning the time when a person can make it up.
1. After sunrise
The person should wait till about 10 or 15 minutes after sunrise to be able to make up the sunnah (supererogatory) of al-Fajr.
Abu Huraira is reported to have said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prohibited to observe prayer after the ‘Asr prayer till the sun is set, and after the dawn till the sun rises. (Muslim)
2. After performing the obligatory prayer
Scholars who support this opinion say that making up the missed prayers is an exception.
Qatada narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
He who forgets the prayer, or he slept (and it was omitted), its expiation is (only) that he should observe it when he remembers it. (Muslim)
Um Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) said, “I sent a slave-girl to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asking her to stand by his side and say to him that Umm Salama says:
Messenger of Allah, I heard you prohibiting these two rak’ahs, whereas I saw you observing them; and if he (the Holy Prophet) points with his hand (to wait), then do wait.
The slave-girl did like that. He (the Holy Prophet) pointed out with his hand and she got aside and waited, and when he had finished (the prayer) he said:
O Daughter of Abu Umayya! You have asked about the two rak’ahs after the ‘Asr prayer. Some people of ‘Abd al-Qais came to me for embracing Islam and hindered me from observing the two rak’ahs which come after the noon prayer. So those are the two I have been praying. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Both the time after al-Fajr Prayer and the time after al-‘Asr Prayer have the same ruling. This makes the second opinion more preferred.