By Editorial Staff
The Four Sacred Months
Out of Allah’s wisdom, He gives preference to some of His creatures over others. This applies to almost all creatures. The Islamic lunar months are not an exception. There are four lunar months which Allah favored and made sacred. Allah says,
“Indeed, the (ordained) number of the months with God is twelve (lunar) months, (as was decreed) in the (Preserved Heavenly) Book of God on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred – (and) that is the upright religion- so do not wrong yourselves (or others) in them.” (Quran 9:36)
The term Rajab is derived from a word that means glorification. It was so called because in the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, Arabs used to respect and glorify this month especially the tribe of Mudar.
The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) makes it clearer which four months they are. These are the last two months of the year, Dhul-Qa’dah and Dhul-Hajjah (or Dhul-Hijjah), the first month, Al-Muharram, and the seventh month, Rajab. Narrated Abu Bakrah:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’da, Dhul-Hijja and Al-Muharram, and (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar (named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month) which stands between Jumada (Al-Akhirah) and Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
These months are sacred so that people can perform the rites of Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) and ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) safely. Committing a sin in such months is much more severely punishable than other months. On the other hand, the reward for acts of obedience performed in them is greater. Also, starting a fight in these months is prohibited except only in case of defense.
The Month of Rajab
In his book, Tabyin al-‘Ajab bi-ma Warada fi Shahr Rajab[i], the great Imam and scholar Ibn Hajar mentioned eighteen names for the month of Rajab. The term Rajab is derived from a word that means glorification. It was so called because in the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, Arabs used to respect and glorify this month especially the tribe of Mudar.
Speaking or writing about the month of Rajab, some people claim some characteristics or acts of worship specific to the month. However, many of the acts of worship that they mention are based on weak evidence.
“Concerning the excellence of the month of Rajab, fasting it (in full) or specific days of it, or performing the night prayer at a specific night of it, there is no authentic hadith to serve as evidence,” Ibn Hajar said[ii].
To better understand the words of Ibn Hajar, we can say that no act of worship to be performed in Rajab on its own. However, the four sacred months still share a few virtues.
Now, Let us discuss if there is an act of worship specific to the month of Rajab. The reason why we do this is that the acceptance of deeds depends on two main prerequisites: sincerity and emulating the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in worship. So, we should learn which acts of worship are authentic and which are not.
There is no specific or extra prayer to be performed only in Rajab. All the hadiths that prove this are not authentic. Rajab is like all other months regarding this.
Some people claim that it is recommended to perform Salat Al-Ragha’ib on the first Thursday of Rajab between Maghrib (Sunset) and ‘Isha (Evening) prayers. Indeed, it is one of the innovations in religion which scholars have warned against.
It is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, three days of every lunar month (i.e. the 13th, 14th and 15th days), etc. However, this applies to all lunar months.
Concerning Rajab, fasting the whole month, the first three days, the first Thursday, etc. are mentioned in weak hadiths.
Moreover, ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas and other companions (Allah be pleased with them) were reported to have commanded people not to fast the (whole) month.
Offering a Sacrificial Animal (Al-‘Atirah)
During the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance, people used to offer a sacrificial animal in Rajab and they called it Al-‘Atirah. Some scholars say that this custom continued for a while after the advent of Islam.
Scholars have divergent opinions concerning it. However, the correct opinion is that the ruling of offering Al-‘Atirah is abrogated. Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Neither Fara’ nor ‘Atira (is permissible)”. Al- Fara’ was the first offspring (of camels or sheep) which the pagans used to offer (as a sacrifice) to their idols. And Al-`Atira was (a sheep which was to be slaughtered) during the month of Rajab. (Al-Bukhari)
‘Umrah (The Lesser Pilgrimage)
Performing the ‘Umrah is recommended all the year round especially during the months of Hajj and the month of Ramadan. So, it is wrong to think that performing it in Rajab is better. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never performed ‘Umrah in Rajab. Narrated Mujahid:
`Urwa and I entered the Mosque and found `Abdullah bin `Umar sitting beside the dwelling place of `Aisha.
`Urwa asked (Ibn `Umar), “How many `Umras did the Prophet (ﷺ) perform?”
Ibn `Umar replied, “Four, one of which was in Rajab.”
Then we heard `Aisha brushing her teeth whereupon `Urwa said, “O mother of the believers! Don’t you hear what Abu `Abdur-Rahman is saying? He is saying that the Prophet performed four `Umra, one of which was in Rajab.”
`Aisha said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) did not perform any `Umra but he (i.e. Ibn `Umar) witnessed it. And he (the Prophet (ﷺ)) never did any `Umra in (the month of) Rajab.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Night Journey and Ascension
There are divergent opinions concerning the exact date of the miracles of Al-Isra’ wal Mi’raj (the Night Journey and Ascension).
The first opinion is that it occurred a year before the Hijrah. Concerning the month, Ibn Hajar said that some storytellers had claimed that Al-Isra’ occurred in Rajab. “It’s a lie,” he commented.
Furthermore, He reprted that Abu Ishaq ibn Harbi said Al-Israa occurred at the 27th night of Rabi’ Al-Awwal[iii].
The second opinion is that Al-Isra’ wal Mi’raj occurred a year and a half before the Hijrah. This opinion can be understood from the words of Ibn Qutaibah[iv].
In sum, there is no authentic evidence to prove the night or month when it occurred. I think the Companions (Allah be pleased with them) kept silent about such date so that people would not attach specific acts of worship to such night. This, in turn, would be an innovation in religion.
[i] HajarAl-‘Asqalani, A. i. (852). Tabyin al-‘Ajab bi-ma Warada fi shahr Rajab (Vol. 1). (T. i. ‘Awad-Allah, Ed.) Cairo, Egypt: Mu’assasat Qortobah.
With mosques closed, prayers are moving online and video conferencing apps will be used for iftar parties at sunset.
Finsbury Park mosque, north London. Islamic centres across the country have suspended activities during lockdown.
At Finsbury Park mosque in north London – once a byword for extremism, now a model of tolerance and community outreach – the first night of Ramadan heralds a month of communal praying, eating and charity work. About 2,000 people attend prayers each day. Volunteers cram into its kitchen to prepare iftar, the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast at sunset, for 300 people each night.
Not this year. “We will miss all that,” said Mohammed Kozbar, the mosque’s general secretary. The building’s gates are locked, with only security guards patrolling its prayer halls and community spaces. “I visited last week. It was heartbreaking to see it empty and silent,” said Kozbar.
The world’s 1.8bn Muslims are facing the most important period of the Islamic year, the holy month of Ramadan, which starts this week, under lockdown because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Mosques in most countries are shut and gatherings forbidden. The holy sites of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are under curfew. The al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City are closed and prayers suspended.
In the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for the suspension of all congregational activities at mosques and Islamic centres on 16 March, a week before the government announced all places of worship must close under the lockdown order.
On Friday, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board said Islamic buildings would remain closed during Ramadan until the lockdown is lifted. “It would be deemed extremely irresponsible to congregate for night prayers or hold religious gatherings during this Ramadan in any mosque or houses with people who are not members of the immediate household,” said Qari Asim, a Leeds imam and chair of the board.
“During the epidemic, the desire to perform prayers with a congregation in a mosque comes second to saving lives.”
For Muslims, to be unable to take part in congregational prayers and break the fast with family and friends during Ramadan was “emotionally challenging, frustrating and culturally alien”, he added.
Shelina Janmohamed, the author of Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World and vice-president of Islamic marketing at Ogilvy Consulting, said: “This is going to be the most unusual Ramadan of my lifetime and I think in the living memory of Muslims across the UK.”
The Islamic holy month was “a time of togetherness and spiritual congregation. Those are the two anchors [of Ramadan], and built into that is a nostalgia around traditions and rituals. Even those who might not normally classify themselves as observant Muslims feel drawn to Ramadan because those feelings of togetherness and community are built into us from childhood.”
Like other faiths, Muslims are using technology to meet the challenges of lockdown. Ramadan prayers and the nightly recitation of the Qur’an will move online, and fundraising for charities will also be digital. Platforms such as Zoom are expected to host iftar parties.
Guidance is being drawn up by Islamic scholars on exemptions from fasting for people who are vulnerable to coronavirus. Muslims working long shifts in essential services will “need to be pragmatic in their approach” to fasting, said Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB.
“This Ramadan will be at a slower pace. It will give us more time for reflection and the opportunity to be closer to God,” he said. Instead of visiting different mosques every day, Khan will be spending Ramadan at home with his immediate family.
According to Asim: “There is likely to be a tiny group of zealous people who may try to organise iftar events or congregational night prayers in their homes. My message to them is that selfishness has no place with God.”
He also warned that extreme rightwing groups were “trying to use the pandemic to create division” and were scapegoating Muslims for the spread of the virus.
At Finsbury Park mosque, there are plans to distribute iftar meals to people in need or alone who would normally come in person. “People who volunteer with us every Ramadan are calling to say, ‘Please, how can we help?’,” said Kozbar.
The mosque will be streaming lectures and prayers, offering online counselling and organising members to take food to staff at nearby hospitals. “This lockdown is something new for us, like everyone else. It’s a very difficult time, but we want to do our bit.”
Source: The Guardian
By Craig Considine
My encounters with Muslims over the years have taught me that criticizing and condemning faiths and religious groups is futile.
This only exacerbates the strength of the so-called “clash of civilizations.”
My fasting is about the spirit of Ramadan and how this period brings me and others closer to the Almighty.
Instead of fanning the flames of arrogance and ignorance, I do what Jesus called on me to do – engage with humanity and offer a hand of peace to people who have been branded “enemies.”
It is in this spirit that I decided to participate in something that is both inherently Christian and Islamic – fasting during Ramadan.
I broke the Ramadan fast with the Clear Lake Islamic Center and Muslim American Society in Seabrook, Texas. This gathering included people of diverse social backgrounds.
I had the opportunity to speak on Prophet Muhammad’s model of social integration and how this model can be implemented in society today. I heard others speak about the Prophet’s legacy of social justice activism and the importance of doing good deeds for mankind in the U.S. and beyond.
Though I had previously participated in fasting with Muslims, the Clear Lake gathering was special because it included many non-Muslims who gathered to show support for their Muslim neighbors, and to learn more about Islam.
Muslims believe that fasting is an essential pillar of the Islamic faith – indeed, fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Muslims during this holy month focus not only abstaining from food and impurities in body/mind, but also the awareness of a Higher Being and His expectations of us as human beings.
Awareness of God, or taqwa in Islamic terms, is cultivated by Muslims during Ramadan through charity and service to mankind.
It is also nourished when Muslim communities worldwide invite their neighbors to break bread with them and spread the message of peace.
Christians like myself also believe that fasting is paramount to the Christian tradition. Jesus practiced fasting on many occasions, especially when he was tempted by evil (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-12; Luke 4:1-4).
The purpose of Jesus’ fasting was simple – to draw nearer to God for guidance. Ramadan allows me – a follower of Jesus – to draw closer to God and all of His creation, which includes a wide range of races, ethnicities, cultures, and nations.
In the context of encounters with Muslims, Ramadan also teaches me that my well-being is dependent upon the well-being of my neighbors and enemies.
If Muslims suffer, I suffer too because we are part of the same community.
Our well-being depends on our shared commitment to social harmony and unity.
While solidarity and interfaith dialogue may not be obviously linked to fasting, they do certainly capture the spirit of Ramadan.
The Qur’an (2:185) states:
“It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed from on high as a guidance for humanity and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false.”
This passage focuses on humanity and righteousness, not closed-knit communities and wrongdoing. This universalist message calls on human beings to be compassion and just, not divisive and cruel.
Prophet Muhammad reiterated these egalitarian messages when he warned mankind not to fast if fasting does not improve one’s community.
He stated: “If anyone does not refrain from lies and false conduct, God has no need for him to abstain from his food and drink.”
Muhammad’s statement reveals that Ramadan is about more than abstaining from food – it is also about spiritual nourishment and how good relations between groups of people is expected of us by God.
My fasting was more than a simple gesture of friendship in order to build bridges of understanding between Muslims and Christians.
My fasting is about the spirit of Ramadan and how this period brings me and others closer to the Almighty.
I observed Ramadan not because I am Muslim, but because I am a Christian and a human being who cares about my fellow man.
Each and every Ramadan is an opportunity for us all to engage in the “dialogue of civilizations,” where people of various faiths come together and unite under the banner of humanity.
This is the formula to cure our world of its many ills. This is the commandment of Muhammad and Jesus.
This article was originally shared on Mvslim.com on the 27/05/18.
About the author:
Craig Considine (Irish: Carrig MacConsáidín) is a Catholic American and native of Massachusetts. As a sociologist, he focuses on religion, Islam, Christianity, interfaith, race and ethnicity, identity as well as comparative research and ethnography.
Islam aims to transform the whole life of man into a life of worship. Fasting is the second act of worship that Allah enjoins upon the Muslim that helps us come to that life of total worship.
Sawm or the Fasting means abstaining from dawn to sunset from eating, drinking and sex.
Like the prayer, this act of worship has been part of the Shari`ah given by all the Prophets. Their followers fasted as we do.
However, the rules, the number of days, and the periods prescribed for fasting have varied from one Shari`ah to another. Today, although fasting remains a part of most religions in some form or other, people have often changed its original form by accretions of their own.
O Believers! Fasting is ordained for you, even as it was ordained for those before you. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Why has this particular act of worship been practiced in all eras?
Ramadan is earmarked for all Muslims to fast together, to ensure similar results, turning individual into collective i`badah, and suffusing the whole environment with a spirit of righteousness, virtue and piety. As flowers blossom in spring, so does taqwa in Ramadan.
The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said:
Every good deed of a man is granted manifold increase, ten to seven hundred times. But says Allah: Fasting is an exception; it is exclusively for Me, and I reward for it as much as I wish. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
So, how do we fast in Ramadan? what is true spirit of fasting as an act of worship? And what is the wisdom behind fasting? How can we reap the benefits of witnessing the blessed month of Ramadan?
In this Special Folder (All About Ramadan), we will focus on fasting and its related issues.
The Fiqh of Fasting
(1) The Best 10 Virtues of Fasting in Islam: What Are They?
The many names of the month of Ramadan highlight its importance to Muslims. It is called the month of fasting, the month of the Gracious Qur’an, read more..
Prayers of the Pious (With Sh. Omar Suleiman)
In the first episode of the Prayers of the Pious series, we cover the righteous dua that Abu Bakr (r) made at the end of his lifetime.
Prepare Yourself for Ramadan
Looking ahead to your first Ramadan as a Muslim? How do you expect it to be? What plans do you have for the Holy Month? How achievable are they?
What Is Meaning & Significance of Fasting?
Devotion and piety can themselves become habits. When a person starts concentrating in prayer, it is difficult at first to keep focus. The mind is easily distracted. However, after years of persistence, devotion
Overview of Night And Witr Prayers
Learn about the virtues of the night prayer, the number of rak’ahs, and when and how to perform it. What is the meaning of and what to recite during witr?
Your Health in Ramadan
In some cases, fasting could do more harm than good to some ill people, but could be beneficial to others, and even improve health. Who is exempted from fasting, who can decide this? How should fasting…
Last Ten Days of Ramadan
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylat al-Qadr…
E-Books on Ramadan
With the coming of Ramadan, every Muslim has to prepare himself for that blessed month. This book tackles the most important issues that a Muslim has to be aware of before going on fasting. It tries to present the rulings of fasting as well as the spiritual objectives for which fasting was obligated. Take your time in going through this helpful book and we hope that we provided something that has been beneficial for you.
By AMJA Resident Fatwa Committee
The following are some rulings that we would like to bring to your attention and remind you of, which are relevant in the midst of the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. States and cities all over North America are dealing with the spread of this disease amongst their residents on different levels. Therefore, these factors must be taken into consideration in the application of the following rulings.
May Allah accept our good deeds.
The Legal Ruling Regarding the `Eid Prayer
In those states and municipalities where residents have been ordered or advised to avoid crowds and/or not to leave home except in the case of necessity, the Eid prayer can be performed with the minimum requirements; this would include an imam as well as two or three adult males, all the while maintaining physical distancing and wearing face masks. This is because Eid is one of the manifest Islamic rituals, and scholars have varying opinions on whether or not its performance is a communal obligation, an individual obligation, or a confirmed Sunnah.
Furthermore, because of the principle which states, “What is doable (as far as obligatory actions) does not stop being an obligation due to the presence of what is not doable,” the Eid prayer should be performed to the best of our ability, even if it is within the narrow and limited scope that we have described. It would not be befitting for us to be negligent in this matter (i.e., not performing the Eid prayer at all).
And similar to how Jumuah prayer is to be established within the limits of the maximum permissible number of congregants in one building, even if that means limiting the congregation to the administrative members of the mosque, the same can be said about the Eid prayer.
When it comes to the performance of the Eid prayer in the home, for the one who was not able to pray it in congregation, the matter is not so restricted.
What Is the Legal Ruling Regarding the ‘Eid Sermon?
Whereas the khutbah (sermon) is a condition of validity for Jumuah prayer (even though the one who catches one rak’ah [unit] of the prayer is considered to have caught the prayer), the khutbah is voluntary in the two Eid prayers. This is proven by what has been narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn as-Sa’ib who said, “I attended the Eid prayer with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). When he finished the prayer, he said: ‘We shall deliver the sermon; he who likes to sit and listen may do so, and he who wishes to leave may do so’.” Therefore, the khutbah is not a condition of validity for the Eid prayer, nor is listening to it.
Where to Perform the ‘Eid Prayer?
And though the Jumuah prayer, by default, is to be performed inside the mosque, the Eid prayer on the other hand should be performed outdoors rather than inside the mosque. It is for this reason that the majority of scholars from the Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali schools permit the performance of Eid prayer in the home for the one who was not able to attend it in congregation, though the Hanafi’ scholars disagree. The evidence on the side of the majority is what has been narrated to us about Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who, whenever he missed Eid prayer with the imam, would gather his family members and servants. He would then have ‘Abdullah ibn Abi ‘Utbah lead them in two units of prayer while performing the customary takbeerat.
Based on this narration, there is no harm in performing the Eid prayer at home individually, or together with the members of one’s family, if someone is unable to perform it in congregation due to a hindrance. In addition, we have the choice in performing this prayer in congregation or individually. And whether we choose to pray it in its normal form (reciting out loud with the additional takbeerat), or as two units with a silent recitation and without the additional takbeerat (similar to the two units of duha’ prayer), or four units with a silent recitation (similar to dhuhr prayer), then that is all permissible and correct, with each of the aforementioned forms being traceable to a narration attributed to our righteous predecessors (salaf).
The Ruling on Performing ‘Eid Prayer through Broadcast
It is not permissible to pray in one’s home while being led by an imam who is elsewhere, for example via modern means of communication and broadcast such as internet, television, etc. However, there is no harm in listening to an Eid khutbah being broadcast live (even if it is prerecorded) from the mosque after having completed the Eid prayer at home, and the speech in this case would be considered a general admonishment. There is also no harm if it is followed up by a broadcasted supplication (du’a) afterwards.
Some Recommended Acts of the `Eid Day
And for the one who will be praying at home, it is a Sunnah to break the fast after the Eid prayer and not beforehand (in contrast to Eid al-Fitr). It is also recommended to perform the other Sunnahs of Eid, such as performing a ritual shower (ghusl), applying good scents, dressing nicely, etc.
What If It Is Permissible to Gather?
As for the states and municipalities where the virus is under control and it is permissible to gather therein, then people may congregate while following the guidelines set by health officials and after having consulted the experts, so as to ensure the safety of those coming to pray as well as the community at large, all the while establishing the ritual of Eid and preserving this Sunnah. The congregants, and all those attending, are to avoid shaking hands with one another and/or hugging, in order to avoid the possible spread of the virus – as we are still dealing with this pandemic.
It would be permissible for congregants to perform the Eid prayer while standing next to their own vehicles in a parking lot while maintaining a safe distance from others, if this is the only way the community would be permitted to gather and perform the Eid prayer. We do not, however, deem it permissible to pray sitting inside one’s vehicle, because that would change the required form in which the prayer is to be performed and because doing so can be used as a pretext for permitting, by default, this form of prayer in the future even once the dire need caused by the pandemic is gone, and even with the availability of other options such as praying in small groups, praying at home, or to the side of one’s vehicle, as we have just mentioned.
The Legal Ruling on Udhiyah
Sacrificing an animal (udhiyah or qurban) is a Sunnah and is not considered an obligation. If a Muslim does not perform it due to a financial constraint, then there is no blame on them.
It is not sufficient to give money (in charity) instead of having an animal sacrificed out of fear of contagion that can be caused by mixing with others during the time the animal is slaughtered. It would be invalid to make a deductive analogy (qiyas) of replacing the udhiyah with giving money in charity as one might do with one’s Zakat al-Fitr. This is because the udhiyah is an act of worship that hinges on two components that make it incomparable with Zakat al-Fitr:
(1) the act of slaughtering the animal, which, in and of itself, is considered an act of worship by which one gains nearness to Allah, and
(2) the charity and goodness that reaches the poor and needy as a result of the act.
The presence of the virus does not provide us with a valid concession in changing the act of offering the udhiyah to simply offering monetary charity as a replacement. Doing so would be an innovation in the religion of Islam, and we do not know of any support for such a view offered by any of our esteemed scholars from the past. If someone were to do this (donate money instead of offering an udhiyah), their act would be considered a general charity (sadaqah) and would not count for them as a valid alternative for the udhiyah.
By default, the sacrifice should be performed in the land one is residing in, and it is prescribed for one to witness the sacrificial act and eat from the meat of the udhiyah. However, it is permissible to appoint someone who will perform the sacrifice on your behalf, even if that is done outside the country where you reside. Given the circumstances of this pandemic, if it is not possible (to perform the sacrifice locally), or if doing so involves hardship or a risk of exposure to harm, there is no blame in forgoing these aspects of the ritual and having the sacrifice performed by someone you appoint.
The Best Days a Year
In conclusion, we would like to remind the Muslim community of the importance of benefiting from the blessed seasons of worship, especially the most virtuous days of this worldly life, as it has been related to us in the hadith of Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, in which he reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The best days of this world are the ten days (i.e., the first 10 of Dhul-Hijjah)…” [reported by al-Bazzar and ibn Hibban and classified saheeh (authentic) by al-Albani]. And, as taught to us by the Prophet (PBUH): “The greatest day in the sight of Allah is the day of Sacrifice (al-Nahr), followed by the day of Remaining (al-Qar)” [reported by Abu Dawood and al-Nasa’i and classified as authentic by al-Albani].
Ibn Hajar said in Al-Fat-h “The apparent reason as to why the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah stand out in their virtue is the fact that they combine in them the performance of the most essential acts of worship, which are salah, fasting, charity, and Hajj (pilgrimage), and we do not find this trait present in any other set of days.”
And given these are the most virtuous days of the year, the recompense for good deeds performed in them is magnified and the rewards are multiplied. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “”There are no days during which righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even striving in the cause of Allah?” He (PBUH) replied, “Not even striving in the cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of them.” [reported by al-Bukhari]
Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah
So it is incumbent upon Muslims to strive hard in performing prayers as well as fasting during the day of ‘Arafah (the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah), given that the Prophet (PBUH) was extra keen on fasting the day of ‘Arafah out of the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. He (PBUH) mentioned the virtue of fasting it (‘Arafah) specifically when he said, “Fast the day of Arafah, for I anticipate that by doing so Allah will forgive the sins of the coming year as well as the previous year” [reported by Muslim].
Remembrance of Allah
In these blessed days, Muslims should also be keen on increasing their remembrance of Allah, as well as their Quran recitation, and chanting takbeer (saying “Allahu Akbar), tahleel (saying “La ilaha illa Allah”), tahmeed (saying “al-Hamdulillah”), and tasbeeh (saying “Subhan Allah”). It has been narrated by Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah, nor are righteous actions performed in any other days more pleasing to Allah, than these ten days. Thus, increase therein in your performance of tahleel, takbeer, and tahmeed” [reported by Ahmad]. Al-Bukhari states “Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with them, used to go out to the marketplace during the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) and perform takbeer (saying “Allahu Akbar”) out loud, and the people in the marketplace would hear them and likewise raise their voices with takbeer.” Maymoon ibn Mihran (from amongst the Successors [Tabi’een]) said, “I remember a time when the people would perform their takbeerat so much during the ten days that I would compare it (the sound of their voices) to waves.”
Confined and General Unrestricted Takbeer
And it is legislated to perform the takbeerat starting from the first of the ten days until the end of the days of Tashreeq (which, according to the more correct of the two scholarly views in this matter, are the three days following Eid al-Adha).
It is more emphasized to perform the takbeerat after completing each of the five daily prayers, even if the prayer is performed at home. The takbeerat following the daily prayers are what some scholars refer to as “confined takbeer” as opposed to the general unrestricted takbeer. These confined takbeerat are performed by those not performing Hajj, and they are done after each of the five daily prayers, starting from fajr on the day of ‘Arafah until ‘asr on the third day of Tashreeq.
How to Perform the Takbeerat?
As for how the takbeerat are performed, the matter is not so restricted. It is incumbent upon Muslims, especially in these times, to strive in teaching our children this Sunnah, which is among the honored rituals of our religion, in order to ensure it does not die out as a practice amongst them in the coming generations.
Ibn al-Qayyim said in Al-Hadyi: “it has been reported that the Prophet (PBUH) used to perform takbeerat from fajr prayer on the day of ‘Arafah until ‘asr on the final day of Tashreeq, and he would chant:
‘Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Allah, wa-Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa-lillahil-hamd’.
And though this chain of narration is not strong, the Ummah as a whole has applied it (this form of takbeer).
In this mentioned form, “Allahu Akbar” is repeated in pairs of two. As for it being repeated in sets of three (Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar), that is based on what has been narrated solely from the actions of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and ibn ‘Abbas. And both forms (whether saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in pairs of two or sets of three) are fine.”
Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in Al-Fat-ḥ : “As for the form of the takbeer, the most correct version has been reported by ‘Abd al-Razzaq in an authentic (saheeh) chain on the authority of Salman, in which he said, ‘Proclaim Allah’s Greatness: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbaru Kabeera.’ This form has also been reported to be the choice of Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Layla. It is also the choice of Imam al-Shafi’i, who would add to it ‘wa-lillahil-hamd’.”
It has also been mentioned in the form of saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ three times and adding ‘La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la shareeka lahu.’
It has also been mentioned in the form of saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ twice, followed by ‘La ilaha illa Allah, wa-Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa-lillahil-hamd,’ and this form is traced to ‘Umar and Ibn Mas’ood, and it is the choice of Ahmad and Is-haq.”
Al-Nawawi reported in his Al-Majmoo‘ that al-Shafi’i said in Al-Mukhtasar: “Whatever increase comes in the form of Allah’s mention is good.” Though it would be more suitable to confine the forms of takbeer to only that which has been reported to us, the matter is not so restricted. And to Allah all Praise is due.
Source: amjaonline.org with some modifications
How do we carry the torch of Ramadan forward; continue the spirit of Ramadan for the entire year, and throughout our lives?
How do we continue the spirit of Ramadan for the entire year, and throughout our lives?
Ramadan has passed. Our Qur’ans have shut. Our mosques have emptied. And our hearts have once again filled with the love of life, the hatred of death, and the desires that consume us.
The Satan that was once banned has again taken his place in our minds, our homes, at our front, and at our back. Once again he has kept his vow of assault:
(Satan) said, ‘Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful (to You).’ (Al-A`raf 7:16-17)
And so while we find ourselves again vulnerable to the very same struggles that plagued us before Ramadan, let us not forget the very purpose of our efforts during that blessed month. Let us not allow the fruits of Ramadan to be lost. And let us not miss out on the very purpose of our fasting.
When commanding mankind to fast, Allah says:
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.(Al-Baqarah 2:183)
Ramadan Torch .. God-Consciousness
It is that consciousness of Allah which is essential for the fulfillment of our purpose in this life. It is that fear of Allah which provides the muscle for our struggle to remain on the straight path. And if taqwa (God consciousness) is the muscle, Ramadan was our personal trainer.
If, during Ramadan, we were able to keep ourselves from an essential physical need (of eating and drinking) out of fear of Allah, are we not able to keep ourselves from forbidden things after Ramadan, out of that same fear? None of us would dare sneak a glass of water while we are fasting. And yet, the very same Lord who could see us sneak in that drink during Ramadan can see us commit haram outside of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, we could wake up before sunrise to feed our bodies. But after Ramadan we sleep through Fajr and starve our souls. Let us not allow ourselves to be conquered. Yes, Satan can call us again. But all he can do is call. The power and choice is ours. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, ‘Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah ] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.’ (Ibrahim 14:22)
And so there are some who will allow Satan to reign over them. But there are others over which Satan has no power. Addressing Satan, Allah says:
Indeed, My servants – no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators. (Al-Hijr 15:42)
But how do we become among Allah’s servants, over which Satan has no authority? How do we continue the spirit of Ramadan for the entire year, and throughout our lives?
The following are some ways:
1. Guard your prayers. During Ramadan, many of us make sure to pray every prayer on time — often at the mosque. Continue to guard your prayers, because surely they will guard you. Allah says in the Qur’an:
Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)
2. Remember Allah by staying close to the Qur’an. During Ramadan, many of us spend our nights and days reading Qur’an. Remembering Allah by staying close to the Qur’an everyday will protect you from Satan and keep your heart polished. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of Allah” (Al-Bukhari). The Prophet has also said: “Read the Qur’an, for verily it will come on the Day of Judgment as an intercessor for its companions.” (Muslim)
3. Think more and talk less. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Sometimes a person says a thing which pleases Allah, and in return Allah raises his status; and sometimes a person says something which displeases Allah, and it takes him to hell.” (Al-Bukhari)
Ibrahim an-Nakh`i, a pious predecessor, once said: “Whoever reflects will find that the noblest and most dignified person of every gathering is the one who is most silent, because silence beautifies the scholar and conceals the faults of the ignorant.”
4. Repent often. Many of us seek forgiveness from Allah during Ramadan, but abandon this practice once Ramadan is over. Keep in mind that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to repent to Allah a hundred times every single day. Repenting often keeps our hearts clean and always connected to Allah.
A dear colleague of mine said that with the passing of Ramadan one feels as though they have lost a relative. Indeed. But in our grief, let its passing not be in vain.