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Jul 31, 2012

Productive Period During Ramadan

By Khadeejah Islam

Bismillah

Menstruation is a normal phase in every woman’s life. Apart from certain rituals, such as prayer and fasting, most of the other acts of worship are permissible and can be performed as usual during menstruation. However, due to the emotional and physical difficulties which accompany menstruation, many women prefer to undertake tasks which either provide relaxation or involve less effort. This article aims to suggest few acts of worship which can be performed easily during menstruation.

  • Patience: Since menstruation is a stressful time for women, it is indeed a challenge to practise patience. However, remember that the Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When God loves a people, He tests them. Whoever accepts this, wins His Pleasure.[1]
  • Supplication: (Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28): “...Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” By supplicating to Allah, you will not only gain rewards, but you will also notice that your level of stress has subsided. You can choose various supplications from the book – Fortress of the Muslim (http://www.islamawareness.net/Dua/Fortress/).
    Furthermore, Aishah (radiaAllahu anha) said, “The Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) used to remember Allah in all circumstances.[2]
  • Reading translation of Qur’an: This will ensure that you are constantly reminded of the commands of Allah (subhaana wa ta'aala). (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:55): “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” 
  • Reading books: Apart from Islamic books, you can also read beneficial religiously-neutral books which provide tips on time management, creativity, confidence, home-gardening, etc. This will not require you to spend out of your budget because most of these resources are available online in PDF for free-download. 
  • Watching beneficial videos/channels: Gone are the days when we did not have enough Islamic channels. Peace TV, Huda TV, Guide Us TV, etc. have provided us with many options of halaal channels. Islamic videos are widely available online for free. You can also watch beneficial religiously-neutral programmes on current affairs/news, cooking, education, etc. 
  • Listening to halaal audios: You can listen to lectures of renowned scholars or soothing nasheed for relaxation. All of these resources are widely available on the Internet for free. 
  • Upholding ties of kinship: (Surah At-Tahrim 66:6): “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…” Anything beneficial that you do for the family may earn you rewards even during menstruation. This will also distract your mind from the discomfort of menstruation. After breaking the fast, you can enjoy intimate moments (excluding sexual intercourse) with your husband. Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Do everything except intercourse.[3].
    You are also responsible for your children, as the Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” [4]. Therefore, impart beneficial knowledge to them in a creative way. For instance, you can read a book with illustrations together. You can organize a private study-circle for the family.
    In addition, do not neglect your parents as well as in-laws. (Surah Al Isra’ 17:23-24): “And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], "uff," and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.’
    Remember your other relatives, too! 
  • Engaging with the wider community: Visiting your neighbours should not be too difficult for you during menstruation. (Surah An Nisa’ 4:36): “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away…” Moreover, you can catch up with your friends as well as invite guests at home for tea-and-snacks (you do not need to prepare anything elaborate).
    Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honour his neighbour; whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honour his guest as he is entitled.[5]
  • Seeking knowledge: (Surah Fatir 35:28): “...only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge.” It is indeed a mercy from Allah that we do not have to travel far and wide, on foot or on camels, in search of authentic knowledge. Alhamdulillah! Various courses and Islamic events are taking place everywhere. In addition, nowadays, many websites offer free online courses. 
  • Pampering yourself: You can wear nail-polish as you like throughout the week, and you will not have to worry about removing them for ablution! You can indulge in extra grooming. All of these acts can earn you rewards insha’Allah if your intention is to please the husband or even to please yourself, to be healthy, to increase concentration, and/or to relax from the stress associated with menstruation. 
  • Community involvement: There are many activities of community-service which do not require much strength. For instance, planting a tree or feeding a cat is indeed simple. Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “If any Muslim plants a tree or sows a field, and a human, bird or animal eats from it, it shall be reckoned as charity from him.[6]. Furthermore, in some organizations, you will be required simply to contribute an article/photograph or to manage a site. 
  • Developing hobbies: You can pursue halaal hobbies, such as gardening, reading, writing, sewing, cooking, etc. Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “If he is working to support his small children, then it is for the sake of God. If he is working to support his elderly parents, then it is for the sake of God. If he is working to occupy himself and keep his desires in check, then it is for the sake of God. If, on the other hand, he is doing so to show off and earn fame, then he is working for the sake of Satan.[7]
  • Administration: You can be in charge of many things even while you are sitting at home during menstruation. Many of these acts will not require too much strength. For instance, you can calculate the zakat. You can monitor your official work. You can direct those who work for you in the home to complete certain chores, such as preparing iftaar, properly. If you have a lot of e-mail and Facebook comments to reply to, then this is the time you can do them all. You can make a note of your future plans. 
  • Shopping: Complete your Eid shopping. If you have to buy gifts, do it now, instead of disrupting your prayers and fasts later. To avoid exhaustion during shopping, you can shop for less than an hour everyday, visit stores nearby, or take frequent breaks for sitting, eating, and relaxing. 
  • Charity: You can donate from home and earn great rewards. (Surah Ali Imran 3:92): “Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love...
  • Inviting people to Islam: You can organize a small gathering at home, explain the basics of Islam via phone, e-mail, or social networking sites, write Islamic articles, manage Islamic websites, and distribute Islamic books and tapes. The options are endless! (Surah Fussilat 41:33): “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’” 
  • Refrain from sins: Even if you do not engage in any act of worship, the least you can do to achieve rewards is to refrain from haraam activities.
    Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “When one of you sleeps with his wife, it is an act of charity.[8]. If you look at this hadeeth, you may not notice any apparent act of worship which Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam had commanded. However, if you analyze it, you will realize that the fact that the man channeled his God-given ability into something halaal and positive, and the fact that he refrained from channeling it into something haraam, such as adultery or fornication, gained him rewards. 


Conclusion

The list above is by no means a comprehensive one. There might be many other simple tasks which, if combined with the correct intention, can earn you rewards easily during menstruation.

Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Helping a person or his belongings onto his mount is an act of charity. A good word is charity. Every step taken on the way to performing prayers is charity. Removing an obstacle from the road is charity.[9].

What do you do to have a productive period during Ramadan?


Footnotes:
1. Narrated by At-Tirmidhi.
2. Narrated by Muslim, al-Hayd, 558.
3. Narrated by Muslim, 302.
4. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 583, and Muslim, 1829.
5. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5560.
6. Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
7. Narrated by al-Mundhiri and as-Suyuti.
8. Narrated by Muslim. Narrated by al-Bukhari

Jul 30, 2012

Breaking Tradition (A take on iftaar parties)

By Amatullah Aminah


Bismillah

The issue I am about to address will surely open a thread of contentions (it did in my family), but after attending a Ramadan workshop I couldn’t ignore my urge to share it.
Ramadan begins with much enthusiasm and conscious preparations and with it also comes a well planned and rehearsed tradition of iftaar parties. Iftaar parties are treated as a celebration of Ramadan, but do we really want a celebration that tampers the spirit of the month? Is it right to give primacy to a gathering which severely interferes with our ibaadat and at times threatens to dampen the ardour of fasting?

I have deliberately chosen the word ‘parties’ because I am not referring to the iftaar gatherings we have in masjids, I specifically mean the extravagant social gatherings we have at home. One may argue that it is thawaab to share food with the fasting person and thus such parties are inevitable. Indeed the reward for offering food to a fasting person is abundant, but the point here is not the act of offering iftaar but the mannerism in which it is executed.

The host’s end
The lavish preparations start at least a day before the party. Usually, the women in the family extensively engage in cooking, cleaning and decorating the house. Ohh!! Everyone is so excited! What should be the menu?
“We must have Chinese wanton rolls on the menu, no one had them at their party this year”
“And please make sure the kebabs are not cold when you serve them, they got cold at Seema’s iftaar party and no one really enjoyed them”
“We should atleast have three kinds of drinks!”
“Do we have wood polish? Oh! We may have to go shopping before the party”
“We should have blue orchid’s arrangement for the dining table”
“Darling, don’t forget to pick up the linens from the dry cleaners”

yada yada yada the list of Ramadan-distractions goes on...

Seriously? Should all those precious hours be wasted checking the table linens and taking out your best China? Should you be harbouring negative unacknowledged competition with your fellow brothers and sisters, and getting into an unconscious social race. It is Ramadan! The month, in which we should transcend all negativity, grab on to every precious moment and make best of our time.

The Day
The day dawns with abnormal hustle bustle, decorating, changing cushion covers, arranging the table, and on and on ... even the kitchen opens up early. I remember reading an article, ‘turn off your stove this Ramadan’ it is very popular, and you couldn’t have missed it. The central idea of the article was that how in Ramadan cooking should take the back burner and ibaadah should be given priority. The lady of the house should prepare in advance and keep things simple during Ramadan so she may get more time to recite Quran, make extensive duas, stand in qiyaam and fully exploit the blessings of this month. Contrary to the best ideas, year after year, we find the prime focus of Ramadan to be food! It seems incurable...

Moving on...
Guests start pouring in before maghrib, (of course!) that dear precious time before maghrib is spend in idle talks and last minute arrangement of food and drinks. The time, in which the sound of quran recitation should be dominant, is overtaken by echoes of loud laughter, chatting and squealing of little children! The time which should find us humbled in sujood and imploring in dua, is replaced with things which will not benefit us in the least but on the contrary are injurious to the blessings and opportunities we get exclusively in Ramadan.

Sad!

Finally the time to break the fast arrives and a moment of silence is observed when everyone suddenly realizes they have fleeting moments left before they pop a date in their mouth and lose a very precious time when duas are answered. It is a historical fact.

The process of iftaar continues for a good twenty-thirty minutes, after the maghrib break, people return to the dining table for dinner. And honestly even after a hearty iftaar who can pass over biryaani and kebab parathey! So overeating becomes excusable (doesn’t matter if your audible burps in taraweeh disturb/annoy/repulse your neighbours)

What is worth missing Isha for?
Socializing continues till isha, and then everyone quickly exchange farewell pleasantries and rush to the masjid. Often people end up getting late for isha or missing it altogether (If you leave late don’t expect a reserved spot in the parking lot, you will probably park your car two blocks away and run to the masjid to discover you have missed two rakahs of isha)

And the darling host, who gave his guests such a great time, will probably miss isha and taraweeh both. When the guests leave the house needs another round of cleaning, the process starts immediately, and the women happily volunteer to stay back and clean up and not to forget they are too tired to go for taraweeh. So maybe (?) the men rush for isha and women end up staying back, cleaning and making a home of the mess left behind by the iftaar party.

Don’t we think this through? What in the world is worth missing isha or taraweeh for? How can we encourage a gathering or a tradition which makes you miss your taraweeh-A blessing we get once in a year.

The guest’s end
My dear (poor) guest,
You are not spared of all the responsibility in contributing to this tradition. There are five things you suffer from:
a) A social obligation to return the invitation by another iftaar party. A vicious circle of parties is born hence forth.
b) You too participate in an event where you miss your time of making dua and indulging in other forms of ibaadah
c) You, sometimes, miss isha too
d) Before you leave for the party a good 30-40 minutes are devoted in getting dressed, dolling up and making sure your children are ready and looking handsome.
e) And oooooh you cannot forgo the post party gossip. Discussing the party, people, and events is an after effect which hits all of you dear guests.

Save yourselves!

Sincerely yours,
A rehabilitated victim.

A cure
An alternative can be to sponsor iftaars at your local masjids and/or giving money or sending food to deserving families. You can sponsor iftaar for one day or you can just sponsor water for the whole month or you can even make a group and sponsor jointly. There are many ways to offer iftaar and reap benefits why should we choose one method which threatens our sincerity. May Allah reward our efforts, where we won’t be compromising our time and forms of worship for anything.

Our social circle is made of several inner circles and you are a small part of one of the inner circles, you hold a very important place, you have the strength to stand up and say ‘no!’

If each one of you focus only on your inner circle and firmly resolute to politely refuse iftaar parties, soon you’ll be turned into an example to be followed. Gradually we can cure the society.

You don’t have to be harshly critical, just put forth your point politely and explain why you won’t be attending or throwing parties this year. If you fear being tagged rude simply tell them about a great article you read and forward them this link ;)

Ok. Bury me now.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Learning from Our Mistakes: Discussion on Taking Kids to the Masjid in Ramadan

by Umm Amin

Bismillah

Imagine that it’s a hot evening during Ramadan, like this last August as you wipe the perspiration from your brow. The women are lined up in rows for taraweeh prayers. Little Tarek tries his best to pray next to his mother, but he is excited about the bright colors. Tarek keeps sneaking away to investigate and ask questions. Another sister yells out, “Sister, could you PLEASE keep your child quiet! We need to concentrate on our salah!” Umm Tarek is suddenly furious. She might have needed some understanding or support. Umm Tarek might have come hoping to pray to Allah and connect with other sisters in the community. Maybe she came to the masjid to befriend some more experienced mothers, or learn tips for motivating her child. In that moment of embarrassment, the whole experience of bringing her son to pray and creating a positive Ramadan vibe dissipates.

Irritated and humiliated, Umm Tarek starts yelling and screaming, “Stop Tarek! Just stop it!” She embarks upon a lengthy lecture to her five year old son, “Why did I even take you? I am so angry...” She drones on and on before finishing, “…I don’t even know if I am going to take you to the masjid again!” As Umm Tarek frowns and spouts out these complaints, her cheeks grow ruby. Tarek is vividly aware that he did something displeasing, but the exact inappropriate behaviors are unclear and his positive successes go unnoticed. Umm Tarek goes home frustrated, ruminating about how hard it is to try and pray with her son during Ramadan. Tarek goes home feeling like everything he did at the mosque made people upset.

As good sisters in Islam, we should help our sisters in Islam when they encounter issues with their children by offering compassion and stepping forward to offer assistance in a beneficial way. I am not advocating for a Lord of the Flies, anything goes parenting style. Sometimes, a smile and encouraging words goes a long way and opens avenues for community building. If you pave the foundation of a friendship, you might be able to offer solutions or discuss how other women have encouraged, motivated, and disciplined their children so that they have proper behavior in the masjid.

We all struggle with parenting and each child is individual. There are many parenting strategies and tips to meet a wide variety of temperaments. One option is a more focused, straightforward approach. If we allow frustration to set in, we lose the opportunity to learn from a difficulty. Expressing annoyance with a long, excessive talk might be therapeutic to Umm Tarek, but the teaching opportunity is lost long before they reach home. It is better to simply and succinctly state which behaviors are wrong, and let it go (Regalado et al., 2004; Banks, 2002). Once the undesired behavior is easily identified, we can move onto correcting it and teaching the behaviors we want them to embody. We should limit the negative attention, and instead spend more time acknowledging when they display the behaviors we want to see. We can also encourage children to replace mistakes with good behaviors, as it says in the Qur’aan, “…Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” (Hud, 114) Alhmdulillah Islam teaches us that rather than dwelling on our shortcomings, we have the opportunity for a second chance by doing good.

While most people think of discipline as punishments, discipline is also teaching your children appropriate behaviors. We all make mistakes – adults and kids alike. It is essential to point out what is wrong without rehashing the mistake excessively. Then encourage the good behaviors you envision. It is important to communicate the expected behavior outcomes in a positive manner and take time to explain why these behaviors are important. You can even practice at home so that your son or child sees your example and has a chance to model the behavior you expect.

Next time Umm Tarek goes to the mosque, she might try setting expectations and limits in advance. She can also instill confidence by telling about the behaviors she knows Tarek is capable of achieving while fashioning a visual image he can strive to meet. Imagine that Umm Tarek explains the importance of salah while holding him on her lap at home. She makes an agreement with Tarek that insha’Allah they will pray two rakah at the mosque rather than a whole night of taraweeh. Umm Tarek also talks about how pleasing it will be to Allah to stand in prayer and remaining silent without disturbing others. She reminds Tarek everyone is asking Allah for forgiveness. This time Tarek is very excited. He tries his best in the first rakah, but he is fidgeting a bit in the second rakah. Tarek manages to stay quiet since he knows the importance of asking for forgiveness. Nonetheless, Tarek is confident he can complete the prayer because he has accomplished it at home. After Umm Tarek returns home, she compliments Tarek, pointing out the specific positive traits he displayed during the prayer. She asks Tarek about his favorite part of their visit to the mosque, and reads him a special story before bed. As Umm Tarek tucks little Tarek into bed, they both feel thankful that Allah has blessed them with a great evening!


I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Ramadan A Time For Family

By Bint Ali


Bismillah 

As Muslims, we do everything for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Every action we do should somehow be a form of worship to our Creator. Doing anything for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives you a warm and joyous feeling. Doing things for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala with friends gives you positive vibes and increased ties of friendship. Doing things for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala with your family?

Priceless.

Yes, really. Priceless.


Every year, during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world are united in their worship for Allah, through observing the daily fast. Families surround the sufra*, or dining table (depending on the culture), and break their daily fast together. Sure, it was a hard day, and fasting was difficult, but it's okay. Your family went through the same thing with you. Why? Only for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. You, along with your family, and over a billion other Muslims around the world, went through the same thing. Why? Only for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Ramadan should be a time we get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, that is a given. But why not use it to get closer to our families as well? It is one of the few times of the year they will be doing the same ibaadah as us, at the exact same time. We should use this month of mercy to exercise some mercy on our nearest and dearest. They will be going through the same difficulties as you during the month, so it’s a perfect time to open up to them, to befriend them, and, hopefully, help each other get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the One who made us family in the first place.

Practical Suggestions For Families In Ramadan


Before Ramadan:
- The training for Ramadan starts before Ramadan. It was said that the Sahaabah radiyAllahu 'anhuma spent the six months after Ramadan asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to accept it from them, and the six months before Ramadan preparing for it.
- Sit with your family and listen to some lectures about the fiqh of Ramadan, and attend lectures together.
- Learn to read Quran together, so you can enjoy reading the Quran both individually and with your family when the month comes.
- If you have any issues with any of your family members, do your best to make amends.

During Ramadan:
-In the month of Ramadan, help sleepy family members wake up for Suhur (pre-dawn meal). Take it one step further if you can, prepare it for them! 
-Same goes for iftar (breaking fast). Turn on the radio to the Islamic station, so everyone can await the adhan together. 
-Help the home-maker of your household. Whether it's your mum or dad, your sister or your grandmother, make sure you help whoever needs helping around the house. Prepare the salad, watch the cooking while they pray, help with the clean-up afterwards. Remember, even the chef of the house needs to get some ibaadah done during this blessed month. Many hands make light work, so offer yours. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make your work on the day of Judgement light!
-Encourage your family members to read Quran together and attend Taraweeh as a family. If this means helping them out extra during the day so they can go, then do it! It's only one month of the year; you should make an effort!
-Eat together. Do not sit huddled up in your room, even if you are studying hard. If you're really pressed for time, take at least 10 minutes out and eat with them. It is worth it.
-Forgive any and all who test your patience during Ramadan. Blood sugars are low, stomachs are grumbling, and iftar time might seem too far away for some of your family members. Do not take it personally if they snap during that time. Remember, “I'm fasting, I'm fasting!” Forgive them and be understanding of any difficulties they are facing.

After Ramadan: 
-Once Ramadan has ended, commit to continuing all the things you did during the month. If you ate with your family the whole month, keep it up. If you held your tongue with your husband, keep holding it! If you made the effort to hug your parents each day, do not stop! These little things will help bring a family together, and who knows what great strides you can make the following Ramadan if you manage to implement the habits you performed the previous one.

Ramadan is a time to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and what better way to get closer to Him than by assisting the ones we love most. Ya Allah, help us and our loved ones reach Ramadan and bless us in it! Ameen.

*sufra: a mat used to serve food upon on the floor.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Jul 29, 2012

Istimewa Ramadan: Ibubapa – Mencintai Dia adalah Mencintai Mereka

By Umm Sulaym
Translated by Siti Manisah Ngalim
Read the original article HERE


Bismillah

Di satu bahagian diriku yang paling dalam, daripada teras dalam diriku yang paling dalam, terpacur Pancaran Cinta Mu

Pada waktu-waktu yang paling suram dalam hidupku, dari ruang-ruang masa yang paling muram, aku sentiasa bangkit dalam Cinta Mu

Bagaimana mungkin aku tidak mencintai mereka yang telah Engkau ciptakan untukku dan hanya untuk aku cintai?

Bagaimana mungkin tidak aku berusaha untuk mengukuhkan hubunganku dengan-Mu dengan menceriakan mereka yang memupukku dengan kasih saying?

Kerana mencintai-Mu adalah dengan mencintai mereka …

Dan menyembah-Mu adalah dengan mentaati mereka …

Asalamu`alaikom wa rahmatullah Saudara-saudara Perempuanku Yang Dikasihi,

Ramadan datang mengetuk. Kita teragak-agak membuka pintu, untuk menyambut mesra kedatangan Tetamu Baru. Untuk membuka pintu itu, kita bebaskan tangan-tangan dengan melepaskan apa sahaja yang ada di dalamnya. Kita merasa bangga dengan diri sendiri apabila kita berjaya khatam seluruh Al-Qur’an tetapi kita tidak menyedari bahawa kata-kata Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala menyumpah kita kerana tidak peduli untuk mengikut Arahan-Nya. Kita berpuasa, tetapi kita hilang kesabaran. Kita bersedekah untuk mereka di luar tanpa meminta balasan tetapi kita susuli dengan menyakitkan hati apabila bersedekah kepada mereka yang berada di bawah bumbung rumah kita. Kita sudi untuk bersegera melaksanakan arahan ketua kumpulan kita di tempat kerja atau apabila kita menjadi sukarelawan tetapi apabila ibubapa kita meminta bantuan ketika kita di hadapan komputer, kitalah makhluk yang paling lembab di atas muka bumi. Dan jika antara kita tidak suka akan suruhannnya, kita dengan senangnya menolak tanggungjawab tersebut dengan berkata:

“Alah, ibuku tidak membantu di saat aku amat memerlukannya. Mengapa perlu aku peduli?

“Ayah tidak mengizinkan kami berkahwin walaupun dia seorang lelaki yang bertaqwa. Dia tidak mengindahkan perasaan ku. Bagaimana mungkin aku memaafkannya?”

“Ibubapaku mendera perasaanku dan tidak membina keyakinan dalam diriku ketika aku membesar. Aku tidak rasa seperti ingin menghormati mereka.”

Kita mungkin tidak menyatakan semua ini tetapi kata-kata ini ujud dan menjalar dalam fikiran sesetengah dari kita yang menghalang daripada menjalankan tanggungjawab kita. Mengapa ianya satu beban dalam mencintai mereka yang Allah minta untuk kita cintai? Kerana kita tidak mencintai mereka hanya kerana Allah subhaanahu wa ta’alaa. Kerana kita hanya mengambil berat tentang apa yang kita dapatkan dan tidak kepada apa yang kita berikan. Kita terlupa bahawa kita akan dipertanggungjawabkan atas apa yang kita lakukan dan bukan bagaimana sikap orang lain terhadap kita.

Abu Bakr bin ‘Ayyash berkata:
“Aku sering duduk bersama Mansur (seorang ulama) dalam rumahnya dan akan mendengar ibunya, seorang yang lantang dan biadab, menjerit kepadanya, ‘Wahai Mansur! Ibn Hubairah (seorang gabenor Iraq ketika itu) melantik kamu sebagai seorang hakim, tetapi engkau menolak.’ Mansur tidak akan sesekali memandangnya pada mata kerana menghormatinya.” 

[Al Birr was-Silah, Ibn al Jauzi, pp. 85]

Ramadan adalah bulan dimana kebanyakan kita berusaha untuk melakukan sebanyak ibadah yang mungkin untuk diselitkan dalam jadual seharian. Kita melayan saudara sesama Islam dengan lebih baik dan lembut. Sementara semua itu adalah terpuji, amat penting untuk kita ingat bahawa individu yang paling layak menerima keperihatinan dan kasih-sayang adalah kedua ibubapa kita. Saya tidak akan bermain dengan emosi untuk menggalakkan anda agar berlaku baik terhadap mereka. Saya hanya akan menyatakan beberapa fakta yang menggerunkan. Percayalah, anda tidak akan mahu untuk terlepas daripada apa yang akan dibentangkan seterusnya dalam artikel ini.

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala berkata dalam al-Qur’an:
“Dan Tuhanmu telah memerintahkan supaya kamu jangan menyembah selain Dia dan hendaklah kamu berbuat baik pada ibubapamu dengan sebaik-baiknya. Jika salah seorang antara keduanya atau kedua-duanya sampai berumur lanjut dalam pemeliharaanmu, maka sekali-kali janganlah kamu mengatakan kepada keduanya perkataan ‘ah’ dan janganlah kamu membentak mereka dan ucapkanlah kepada mereka perkataan yang mulia. Dan rendahkanlah dirimu terhadap mereka berdua dengan penuh kesayangan dan ucaokanlah: “Wahai Tuhanku, kasihilah mereka keduanya, sebagaimana mereka berdua telah mendidik aku waktu kecil” [Surah Al Isra’, 17 : 23-24]

Kita membaca sekian banyak artikel dan penyelidikan serta merancang untuk mendapatkan Ramadan yang terbaik tetapi adakah kita berfikir dua kali tentang hubungan kita dengan ibubapa kita? Ironinya, sesetengah wanita Islam kelihatan berangan-angan untuk membina rumahtangga Islam mereka sendiri (berkahwin, mendapat anak dsb.) sedang mereka tidak mampu untuk menangani dan berlaku Ihsan dalam hubungan yang dengannya, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala telah sedia merahmati mereka.

Mengapa saya mengaitkan antara Ramadan dan sikap tanggungjawab terhadap ibubapa kita?

Disebutkan dalam Tafseer Ibn Kathir berkaitan dengan ayat di atas bahawa:

Terdapat banyak hadis yang bercakap tentang memuliakan ibubapa, seperti hadis-hadis yang disampaikan melalui beberapa rangkaian sanad daripada Anas dan lain-lain, yang menyatakan bahawa Rasulullah sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallaam menaiki mimbar, dan kemudian berkata, ‘Amin, Amin, Amin.’ Telah dikatakan, “Wahai Rasulullah, mengapa engkau mengatakan Amin?” Baginda bersabda: “Jibrail telah datang kepada aku dan berkata, “Wahai Muhammad, celakalah kepada sesiapa yang mendengar namamu disebut dan tidak berselawat ke atasmu.” Dia berkata, “Katalah Amin,” lalu aku berkata Amin. Kemudian dia berkata, “Celakalah sesiapa yang melihat bulan Ramadan datang dan pergi, dan dia tidak diampunkan.” Dia berkata, “Katalah amin,” maka aku katakan Amin. Kemudia dia berkata, “Celakalah sesiapa yang membesar dan kedua ibubapanya atau salah seorang daripada mereka masih hidup, dan mereka tidak menjadi sebab dia memasuki Syurga.” Dia berkata, “Katalah Amin,” maka aku berkata Amin.”

Ingin tahu mengapa ianya penting untuk bersegera dalam melaksanakan tanggungjawab terhadap ibubapa sebelum melakukan kerja-kerja sukarelawan? Kerana: jika dilakukan sebaliknya, perbuatan tersebut adalah SIA-SIA!

Rasulullah sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallaam telah bersabda: “Tiga perbuatan yang akan menyebabkan perbuatan baik seseorang itu sebagai sia-sia: (1) mensyirikkan Allah, (2) ‘Uquq terhadap kedua ibubapa dan (3) melarikan diri daripada medan perang.” [At-Tabarani]

Maksud ringkas ‘Uquq adalah bersikap tidak menghormati, tidak berlaku baik dan tidak bertanggungjawab. Beberapa jenis ‘Uquq termasuk: menyebabkan kesugulan dan kesedihan terhadap ibubapa dengan sebab perkataan atau perbuatan (membuat mereka menangis), berlaku jahat dihadapan mereka (perbuatan-perbuatan yang haram dan tidak bermoral), tidak mengakui atau mengabaikan ibubapa, menahan diri daripada mengekalkan hubungan yang kerap dengan mereka, mengharapkan kebebasan daripada kedua ibubapa yang tegas dalam mendisiplinkan kita dalam hal-hal yang membawa kepada ketaqwaan.

Dua kebaikan yang kita dambakan daripada Allah subhaanhu wa ta’aala dalam bulan Ramadan, yang mana dapat digandakan dengan memenuhi tanggungjawab terhadap kedua ibubapa:

1. Kita semua mahukan do’a-do’a diterima terutama dalam bulan Ramadan ini. Ingin tahu tentang individu-individu yang mana Rasulullah sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallaam iktiraf sebagai mereka yang do’a-do’anya diterima?

Asir ibn Jaabir radiallahu ‘anhu berkata: Setiap kali orang ramai datang dari Yemen, ‘Umar radhiallahu ‘anhu akan menanyakan kepada mereka, “Adakah Uwais b. Amir di kalangan kamu?” sehingga, dalam tahun tertentu, beliau bertemu Uwais. Beliau berkata, “Adakah kamu Uwais b. Amir?” Dia berkata, “Ya.” ‘Umar menyambung, “Daripada Muraad, kemudian Qaran?” Dia berkata, “Ya.” ‘Umar kemudian bertanya, “Adakah kamu pernah sekali menderita penyakit kusta dan kulitmu sembuh kecuali satu bahagian sebesar satu dirham?” Uways berkata, “Ya.” ‘Umar akhirnya bertanya, “Adakah kamu mempunyai seorang ibu (yang masih hidup)?” Dia berkata, “Ya.” ‘Umar kemudian berkata, “Aku mendengar Rasulullah sallallaau `alaihi wa salaam bersabda, ‘Uwais b. Amir akan datang kepada mu bersama delegasi daripada Yemen, dari Muraad, kemuduan dari Qaran. Dia pernah menderita penyakit kusta dan kulitnya telah sembuh kecuali satu bahagian sebesar satu dirham. Dia punyai seorang ibu, dan he melayani ibunya dengan baik. Jika dia bersumpah dengan nama Allah (untuk sesuatu) Allah akan penuhi sumpahnya. Jika dapat, kamu mohonlah agar dia meminta keampunan untuk mu.” ‘Umar kemudian memohon daripada ‘Uwais, “Mintalah keampunan untuk ku.” Dan dia (Uwais b. Amir) memenuhi permohonanya. [Sahih Muslim, Buku 31, Hadith No. 6172]

Perhatikan bahawa Uwais b. Amir Al-Qarni mempunyai peluang untuk meninggalkan ibunya dan pergi menemui Rasulullah sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam tetapi beliau tidak berbuat demikian. Apakah yang lebih penting daripada pergi menemui Rasulullah sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallaam? Begitupun, beliau tetap bersama ibunya! SubhanAllah!

2. Kita mencari Syurga dalam menghormati hak-hak manusia dengan memprotes dan berhimpun untuk keadilan. Bagaimana jika kita menghormati hak-hak mereka yang berada di dalam rumah kita?

Rasulullah sallalaahu `alaihi wa sallaam menganggap perbuatan itu sebagai yang terbaik selepas solat, dan Rasulullah sallalaahu `alaihi wa sallaam mendengar bacaan Haarith ibn al-Nu’man dalam Syurga dan bersabda: “Dia telah mencapai tahap ini (dalam Syurga) kerana menghormati ibunya.” [Daripada Ibn Wahb dalam al-Jaami’ (22); dikelaskan sebagai sahih oleh al-Albaani dalam al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (913).]

Beberapa perkara yang boleh dilakukan Ramadan ini untuk memperbaiki hubungan kita dengan ibubapa:

Secara lalai: kita sepatutnya memenuhi semua keperluan dan permintaan mereka kecuali yang menyalahi agama kita. Mohonlah kemaafan daripada mereka terutamanya di dalam bulan Ramadan ini. Jika mereka marah atau berkecil hati, jangan tinggalkan mereka sehingga kita meminta maaf, bertaubat dan buat mereka tertawa (gembira) semula. Jangan lakukan perkara-perkara yang akan menyebabkan mereka merasa susah hati seperti berpergian sedangkan mereka tidak mahu kita berbuat demikian dan seterusnya. Lakukan kebaikan-kebaikan secara sembunyi bagi pihak mereka seperti mengagihkan bahan bacaan Islami. Terdapat beberapa hadis yang menyokong perbuatan ini maka marilah kita lakukan sedikit penyelidikan!

Jika kita tinggal bersama mereka:

• Siapkan hidangan bersahur yang baik untuk mereka dan hidangkan dalam bilik mereka.
• Pakaikan wangian ke atas bapa kita apabila dia pergi bersolat Tarawih dan ibu kita apabila dia bersolat di rumah.
• Minta mereka untuk mengajar kita sesuatu tentang Islam walaupun kita seorang ulama. Ini akan membuatkan mereka merasa diri mereka penting. Atau tanyakan kepada mereka sesuatu yang kita rasa mereka tahu tentang Islam walaupun kita tahu jawapan kepada soalan itu, hanya sebagai penyebab. Dan dengarkan jawapan mereka seolah-olah kita tidak pernah mendengar jawapan itu sebelum ini. Mereka akan merasa dimuliakan kerana kita mendengar jawapan mereka dengan teliti dan merasa kita menghormati ilmu mereka walaupun kita bukan lagi anak kecil.
• Urut bahu dan kaki mereka terutama selepas Tarawih. Sapukan krim atau losyen pada kaki mereka untuk membuatkan mereka rasa yang kita sanggup merendahkan diri kita dalam menunjukkan keperihatinan kita.
• Gosok baju-baju mereka dan susun atur ruang kerja mereka tanpa pengetahuan mereka (sudah tentu tanpa melanggar batas hak peribadi)
• Peruntukkan masa di waktu siang untuk berbicara dengan mereka tentang perkara yang mereka ingin bualkan. Ini akan menunjukkan bahawa kita berminat dengan kehidupan mereka.
• Berikan mereka pelukan secara rawak dan tidak teragak-agak untuk berbicara dari hati-ke-hati dengan mereka (tentunya dengan berhemah).

Jika kita tidak tinggal bersama mereka:

• Hantarkan kad atau e-kad Ramadan yang dipenuhi dengan do’a untuk mereka dan ucapkan terima kasih kepada mereka untuk masa lalu yang telah mereka gunakan bagi membantu kita mendapatkan Ramadan yang baik di waktu kecil. Ingatkan mereka tentang perkara-perkara baik yang mereka telah lakukan untuk kita dan yakinkan mereka yang kita tidak pernah melupakan perkara-perkara kecil tersebut.
• Hantarkan bunga kepada mereka beserta ucapan Ramadan yang hebat untuk mereka atau lawati mereka secara mengejut dengan membawa bersama juadah berbuka.
• Telefon mereka sekerap mungkin dan pinjamkan telinga untuk mendengar luahan mereka. Jangan sakiti kemuliaan mereka dengan perasaan simpati.
• Muliakan rakan-rakan karib serta keluarga ibubapa dengan menalifon mereka. Ini akan meningkatkan rasa hormat terhadap ibubapa kita di mata mereka dan akan meningkatkan rasa cinta antara ibubapa kita dan mereka.
• Jika kita mempunyai anak-anak, ajarkan mereka untuk mengasihi datuk dan nenek mereka. Minta mereka untuk membuat kraftangan yang pelbagai dan hantarkan kepada datuk nenek mereka melalui pos.
• Jika kita mempunyai ibubapa bukan Islam, kita boleh berdakwah kepada mereka dengan bersikap lebih baik dan memberitahu mereka bahawa Islam menggalakkan berbuat kebaikan kepada ibubapa tanpa mengenal batas agama.

Jika mereka telah meninggal dunia:

• Panjatkan do’a untuk mereka (kita mesti berdo’a untuk mereka walaupun mereka masih hidup)
• Amir bin Abdullah bin Az-Zubair berkata: “Selama setahun selepas kematian ayahku, apa yang aku lakukan hanyalah memohon kepada Allah untuk mengampunkan dia. [Birr-ul-Walidain, Ibn al Jauzi, pp. 78]
• Penuhi janji dan sumpah mereka (wasiat mereka dan sebagainya)
• Lakukan haji bagi pihak mereka.
• Mulakan amal jariah bagi pihak mereka, seperti menggali perigi, membina Masjid, Pusat Islam, perpustakaan, hospital, rumah anak-anak yatim dan sebagainya.
• Bersikap pemurah kepada rakan-rakan mereka, memberi mereka hadiah dan menjemput mereka berbuka puasa bersama
• Ajarkan anak-anak kita dan anak-anak orang lain untuk menghormati ibubapa.

PALING PENTING: Lakukan semua ini kerana Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala tanpa meminta timbal balas dan persiapkan mental kita bahawa jalan taqwa sentiasa hadir bersamanya ujian emosi yang mana dengan itu mereka yang benar dan ikhlas akan dapat dibezakan daripada mereka yang menipu dan berpura-pura.

Adakah manusia itu mengira bahawa mereka dibiarkan (saja) mengatakan: “Kami telah beriman”, sedang mereka tidak diuji lagi? Dan sesungguhnya Kami telah menguji orang-orang yang sebelum mereka, maka sesungguhnya Allah mengetahui orang-orang yang benar dan sesungguhnya Dia mengetahui orang-orang yang dusta. [Surah Al Ankaboot, 29:2 – 3]

Rabbir-Ham-humaa Kamaa Rabba-yaani sag-heera [Surah Al Israa, 17:24]

Marilah perkukuhkan hubungan dengan ibubapa kita agar semua perbuatan baik kita diterima di bulan Ramadan inshaa’Allah!

Dan Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala Maha Mengetahui

P.S. Untuk membaca lanjut tentang berbuat baik kepada ibubapa, sila rujuk e-book yang baik ini.

Saya suka untuk mendengar pandangan anda semua tentang artikel ini. Sila tuliskan di bahagian komen di bawah :)

Jul 28, 2012

Simple Solution : Ensure Good Deed Are Accepted This Ramadan


Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

Ever had that situation in which you've filled up your water bottle, only to find that it was leaking later on? It happened to me once when I was a child. I had forgotten to ensure that the cap of the bottle was properly screwed on tight...so by the time I got to school that very fine day, my notebooks were swimming in water and the level of water in my bottle had decreased...I was shocked. I didn't expect that to happen. Funny? Yes.

But we don't want that to happen to us in terms of Akhira, now, do we?

In the race of accumulating good deeds this Ramadan, how do we ensure that our good deeds are REALLY accepted?
~

What do I mean by 'accepted'? Afterall, doing a good deed is enough, one may think.

Umm...No, not really.

After finishing off Fard salah, we are supposed to say 'Astaghfirullah' three times...even though we've done the greatest act of worship, i.e. offering Salah!

Thawban reported: When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) finished his prayer, he begged forgiveness three times and said: Thou art Peace, and peace comes from Thee; Blessed art Thou, O Possessor of Glory and Honour. Walid reported: I said to Auza'i: How Is the seeking of forgiveness? He replied: You should say:"I beg forgiveness from Allah, 1 beg forgiveness from Allah." [Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Hadith no. 1226]

Scholars say that this is precisely why we should seek Allah's forgiveness even after doing any good deed. It is very possible that our good deed is not accepted or we may not have performed it in the manner/time that was pleasing to Allah SWT. Or we may have had made our intentions impure in the process of performance of good deeds.


Amazing Duaa of Prophet Ibrahim AS
When building the foundations of the House of Allah SWT with his son Ismaeel AS, Prophet Ibrahim AS said a duaa of which part of it, is:

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

"Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.And accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. [Suratul Baqarah, 2:127-128]

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Wuhayb bin Al-Ward recited, (And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma`il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us'') and cried and said, "O Khalil of Ar-Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of Ar-Rahman (Allah), yet you are afraid that He will not accept it from you!'' This is the behavior of the sincere believers, whom Allah described in His statement,

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَآ ءاتَواْ

(And those who give that which they give) (23:60) meaning, they give away voluntary charity, and perform the acts of worship yet,

وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ

(with their hearts full of fear) (23: 60) afraid that these good deeds might not be accepted of them.
[Taken from: Tafsir ibn Kathir]


So next time you feel that you've done the biggest act of 'Ibadah (like we usually do when we're done Tarawih/reading the specific portion of Qur'aan, or being nice to someone ...we usually tend to think we're a gift to this Dunia but that's a diff. topic altogether), please don't forget to conclude/finish off that good deed with some Istighfaar. Inshaa'Allah that'll not only increase your sincerity but also protect your good deed.

And Allah SWT knows best.



We'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell us in the comments section below :)

Our Baskets in Ramadan

By Aziza Khanom

Bismillah

To honour the holy month of Ramaḍān, we try to fast in Sha’bān
Though these fasts are supererogatory, they help strengthen our resolve and our īmān.
To honour the holy month of Ramaḍān, we fast, we recite and we pray;
Recollecting that this is the month when Shaitān is kept at bay,
Remembering that the Qur’ān was revealed on Lailatul Qadr,
And not forgetting that in this blessed month our rewards our multiplied, we must do all we can to get more ajr.

And so, after the waxing crescent moon has been sighted,
When Ramaḍān, the month of blessing comes upon us, and it feels like the ummah is united,
By our hunger and thirst, our perspectives have not been blighted
– To strengthen our īmān and gain the pleasure of Allah, we are prepared.

Buzzing with excitement, a sense of community spirit fills the air,
And instead of grandiosity, fasting helps us to understand
That a great action doesn’t have to be so grand;
And so, to the helpless and destitute, we must always remember to lend a helping hand.

Remember, “Charity extinguishes the sin, just as water extinguishes the fire.”
So paying Zakat al-Fitr is important to those whose circumstances are most dire.
Therefore in ‘Eid everyone can celebrate, even the poor and needy,
So be generous and don’t be greedy!

“Every good deed is an act of charity”.
Whilst fasting we see this with greater clarity.
With our hunger and thirst,
We glimpse at the life of the poor and needy.
This also creates a sense of gratitude and humility,
As well as a state of inner peace and tranquillity.

For a limited number of days every year, we are given a great opportunity
To fill our shopping baskets
Not with food for Sehri and Iftār or clothes for ‘Eid, for this leads to aridity,
But with good deeds that we can take to our caskets;

This dunyā is temporary, it will not last,
And so to prepare for our akhirah, we must fast.
Our lives and possessions are ephemeral
So to draw nearer to Allah and please Him, our profligate ways must remain in the past.

So purify your wealth by paying Zakat al-Mal every year,
And fulfil your duties without fear, for Allah is always here.
With pure and sincere hearts, pray and fast,
And try to establish Sadaqah Jariya so the benefits, to you and others, always last.

To honour the blessed month of Ramaḍān, we fast, we recite and we pray.
As it’s a continuous training to strengthen our īmān, make the most of it, that’s what I say,
For this dunyā is temporary, it will not last;
So in our faith, we must remain steadfast.
Try to always gain more ajr,
And for a good start to the day, wake up for Fajr!

Jul 27, 2012

The Wisdom of As-Sahoor

By Bint Mohib

Bismillah

Many of us would have heard of the virtues and benefits of fasting as a whole, but very rarely is sahoor singled out as a topic of its own. We all know that sahoor is the “breakfast” we have before Fajr so that we don’t feel too hungry throughout the fasting day, but what else do we know?

The definition
What does sahoor mean?
In Arabic, sahoor is derived from the word sahr, which means “the later part of the night.” Sahoor is a meal which is taken just before the break of dawn, which is why it is translated as “predawn meal”. The act of taking sahoor, however, is called suhoor.

Previous ummahs - been there, done that
As we know from the Qur’an, Islam is just a new and improved, updated version of the original Judaism and Christianity. We are prescribed many of the same things the People of the Book were, including fasting:

“O you who have believed, prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those before you, 
that you may become righteous...” [Al-Baqarah 2: 183] 

As the last ummah and the ummah of Muhammad sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam, we have been given a lot of ease and laxity in our Deen compared to the previous ummahs. This is a special mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala, because He has lifted the difficulties from us that the people before us used to bear. 

One such difficulty was having to fast without suhoor. The Prophet sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam said:

“The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.” [Sahih Muslim] 




A fast of 24 hours!
Yes! Till the time Allah did not send clear and direct instructions in the Qur’an, the fasting tradition that had earlier been practiced by the People of the Book was still followed by all, even the early Muslims - which was to fast without suhoor. 

They would have to have iftaar immediately after sunset - but, once they slept, their fast had begun, whether they liked it or not: they would not be allowed to have anything until after the next day’s sunset.


Historical significance of Suhoor
Let’s have a look at a Sahaabah’s story, which brought about Allah’s merciful command, the aayah that changed the face of fasting once and for all!

Abu Ishaq reported that Al-Bara bin Azib said:

"When the Companions of Allah's Messenger observed fast but would sleep before breaking their fast, they would continue fasting until the following night. Qays bin Sirmah Al-Ansari was fasting one day and was working in his land. When the time to break the fast came, he went to his wife and said, 
‘Do you have food?’ 


She said, ‘No. But I could try to get you some.’ 

His eyes then were overcome by sleep and when his wife came back, she found him asleep. 
She said, ‘Woe unto you! Did you sleep?’ 

In the middle of the next day, he lost consciousness and mentioned what had happened to the Prophet. 

Then, this aayah was revealed: 

‘It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]..... And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]...’ [Al-Baqarah 2: 187] 

Consequently, they were very delighted.”


Get one concession, get another free 
SubhanAllah! Not only was eating made permissible into the night, but also sexual relations (which, too, had been forbidden previously). It is well-known that satiating one’s hungry stomach, in turn, whets the sexual appetite. Some Sahaabah had become guilty of this, but how understanding is Allah!:

’Ali bin Abu Talhah narrated that Ibn ’Abbas said:

“During the month of Ramadaan, after Muslims would pray ’Ishaa, they would not touch their women and food until the next night. Then, some Muslims, including ’Umar bin Al-Khattaab, touched (had sex with) their wives and had some food during Ramadaan after ’Ishaa. They complained to Allah's Messenger. 

Then Allah sent down: 


‘... Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them...’” [Al-Baqarah 2: 187] 


The virtues of taking sahoor
First of all, we must appreciate the fact that Allah has specially given us Muslims this rukhsah (concession) - or else, imagine having to go without food or drink for 24 hours! Our ummah has it so easy compared to the previous ummahs, and yet we are ungrateful!

Many of us have memories of our mothers repeatedly trying to wake us up, urging us to get up to eat so that we don’t go hungry throughout the day - but, according to the Sunnah, there is more to it than just the threat of going hungry. There is blessing in suhoor: 

The Prophet (sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is barakah (blessing).”  
[Sahih Bukhaari, Book 15, Hadith no. 146] 

The Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Blessings are found in three things: the jamaa'ah (congregation), Ath-thareed (a type of food) 
and as-sahoor (the predawn meal)."  
[Silsilah As-Saheehah, Vol.3, Hadith no.1045]

The Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Blessings are in two things: the suhoor, and in just measurement.” 
[Silsilah As-Saheehah, Vol.3, Hadith no.1291] 


Having sahoor is highly encouraged
Many youngsters prefer having a heavy dinner late at night and skipping the suhoor altogether because of laziness in getting up. What they don’t realize is that they’re missing out; missing out on the reward of following the Sunnah, and missing out on Allah’s blessings - and, of course, an easier fast.

It doesn’t mean you have to wake up a full hour early and have a full meal. Islam is easy. Look at the following hadeeth and imagine Rasoolullah sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam advising you directly, earnestly:

Allah's Messenger (sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Sahoor is a blessed meal. Hence, do not abandon it, even if one just takes a sip of water. Indeed, Allah and His angels send salaah (blessings) upon those who eat sahoor.”  
[Musnad Ahmad, Book 6, Hadith no. 10969] 

SubhanAllaah, Allah and His angels specially send blessings upon us, simply for eating? That, my friends, is something that should be more worthy to us than winning the lottery.


No harm in getting up at the last moment
Sahoor can be had any time between midnight and the break of dawn, when there is redness in the sky and the adhaan for Fajr is called. According to ahaadeeth, we must stop eating as soon as we hear the adhaan being proclaimed - but, if there is a bite or a morsel of food or a sip of drink left, one can finish that quickly.

And yet, we are encouraged to eat and drink right till the break of dawn:

Allah's Messenger (sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:
“My ummah will always retain goodness as long as they hasten in breaking the fast and delay the suhoor.” [Musnad Ahmad, Book 6, Hadith no. 20530] 


Embrace Allah’s grace
So really, suhoor is a ni’mah (blessing) of Allah. A mother’s love and mercy when forcing us to eat before leaving for school or college comes to mind; she does not want us feeling overburdened throughout our working day, and wants us to have full functionality and achieve our optimum best.

Allah’s love is seventy times more; not only does He ensure our ease while worshipping Him, but He also bestows His blessings upon us.

Yes, having sahoor is a form of worship, as following anything that the Prophet sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam encouraged is worship. It is a rukhsah (leave) that the people before us could not enjoy - embrace it, and be thankful, and anticipate Allah’s promised blessings.


Actions are rewarded according to intentions
Let’s make a new intention for this Ramadaan. Let’s make an intention to have sahoor solely to seek the blessings of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, rather than only due to the fear of starving. And if we’re one of those people whose sleep is more important at that time, let’s make an intention to get up and at least have a sip of water, because that is the earnest advice of our beloved Prophet sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam.

In sha Allah, we will be rewarded for the intention.
In sha Allah, we will be blessed for the action.


I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section :)

Nullification of Sins and Ramadan

By Umm Adil
Bismillah

Everyone is talking about Ramadan. It was barely two months away and people were so excited. But something inside you is not letting you share their happiness....What could it be?... Guilt....Years and years of sins piled on top of one another. Hoping for change every Ramadan, but not quite getting there. You almost feel like you don’t deserve to be blessed by this beautiful month.

First, let us all realize that we are the sons & daughters of Adam and each of us commit sins.

“On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say: Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Book 48, Hadith no. 3463)

Once we realize that we have sinned, the next step is repentance, along with a firm resolve not to do it again.


Mercy of Allah
Allah’s Mercy is much too vast for our limited minds to comprehend. There are so many ahadith which talk about the immense Mercy of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala in this month, but these should convince us.

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained” (Sahih Muslim, Book 6, Hadith no. 2361)

Don’t we all feel it? Don’t we feel that our inclination to commit sins are much less in Ramadan than other times. That should be proof of hoping for the Mercy promised to us.

And here’s the perfect hadith that should remove all doubt from your mind that if you truly want to be forgiven, just ask Him.

“Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward (from Allah) all his past sins will be forgiven. Whoever prays during the night in Ramadan with faith seeking his reward (from Allah) all his past sins will be forgiven. And whoever passes Lailat-ul-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward (from Allah the Most Exalted) all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 32, Hadith no. 231)

The scholars have said that these refer to the minor sins. For the major sins, we must acknowledge them and seek sincere repentance and InshaAllah we will be forgiven.

Now, this isn’t going to be of much help if we repent for our old sins and keep adding new ones. Yes, we all occasionally slip, but we should sincerely try not to. Even if we do, we should not lose hope of Allah’s Mercy and immediately turn to repentance. A hadith says that the best among the sinners are those who repent.

Haven’t you always wanted more time to devote to Islam? So, every Ramadan try to kick an evil habit, like watching movies or listening to music. Once you do, you’ll have more time for things your soul has been pleading you to do for years- like joining a Qur’an memorization or Arabic class, or reading the volumes of Tafseer ibn Kathir which have been decorating your shelf for years.


Special Times for Making Dua
Ramadan is a special time for making dua, compared to other months and within this month there are specific times which are recommended for making dua. So we should try to utilise them as best we can.

‘Three men whose dua is never rejected (by Allah) are: when a fasting person breaks fast (in another narration, the fasting person until he breaks his fast), the just ruler and the one who is oppressed.’ (Tirmidhi)

So, don’t spend all your time before iftar slaving away in the kitchen. Try to finish work earlier, so you could spend the last moments making dua, before breaking your fast. Try to get the whole family involved, so everyone gets into the habit of making dua before iftar.

We all know the recommendation of dua in the last third of the night, because the Lord descends to the lowest heavens and wants us to ask Him. Combine this with the most powerful night of the year-Laylatul Qadr-the night which has the power of 1000 months - a once in a year opportunity not to be missed.

Another hadith speaks about the three parts Ramadan is divided into. The first ten days are for Mercy, the middle are for Forgiveness and the last are for freedom from the Fire. They all relate to the nullification of sins and forgiveness. So, let’s utilise each part appropriately and make dua.


Duas from the Qur’an
The Qur’an has many beautiful duas and what better way to beg your Lord than by using the very same words revealed by Him?

Here are some duas of seeking forgiveness from the Qur’an:
  • رَبَّنَآ إِنَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا فَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ
    "…Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire," (3:16) 
  • رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَآ إِصْرًۭا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦ ۖ وَٱعْفُ عَنَّا وَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَٱرْحَمْنَآ ۚ أَنتَ مَوْلَىٰنَا فَٱنصُرْنَا عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْكَٰفِرِينَ
    "…Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people." (2:286) 
  • رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْخَٰسِرِينَ
    "…Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers." (7:23) 


Duas from the Sunnah
Here are some duas for forgiveness from the Hadith:
  • اللَّهُمَّ اعْفِرْلِى ذَنْبِئ كُلَّهُ، و جِلَّهُ، وَ أوَّلَهُ وَ آخِرَهُ عَلا نِيَتَهُ وَ سِرَّهُ
    (O Allah! Forgive me all my sins, great and small, the first and the last, those that are apparent and those that are hidden) (Sahih Muslim) 
  • “Astaghfirullaah wa atoobu ilayh”
    “I seek the forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him” (Bukhari, Muslim). This dua is recommended to be recited 100 times during the day. 
  • Sayyid al-Istighfar
    Shaddad ibn Aws (radiAllahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said that the (Sayyid al-Istighfar) most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is to say (the below du'a). That "If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise."
    اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
    O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.” (Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ahmad) 


Best Dua for Laylatul Qadr
Now, what’s the perfect dua to recite on the last ten days, one of which is Laylatul Qadr? Aishah (radhiAllahu anha), said: "O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?" He said 'Say اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي . (O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.)” (At-Tirmidhi, Book 48, Hadith no. 3435)

Our Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallam taught this to his favourite wife. What can be a better dua on that Night? These are by no means the only dua. There are many more from the Qur’an and Sunnah that you can recite not only in Ramadan, but any other time too, and not just for forgiveness, but for virtually any problem you may have.

Let’s not miss this opportunity, for only Allah knows if we can make it to the next Ramadan. Let’s repent sincerely from the sins that make us cringe inside, and get rid of the guilt that burdens our hearts, and end the blessed month with a light and joyous soul, InshaAllah. May Allah bestow His Mercy and Forgiveness on us and the entire Ummah.

Jul 26, 2012

Be grateful to Allah that you can hear recitation of the Qur'an

By Umm Husam


Bismillah

At first when I received this title I wasn’t sure what to write. I guess like many I take this sense for granted. I know there are people who can’t hear but sometimes we just don’t think outside of our comfort zone.

A few years back I got the privilege of being invited to a deaf muslim iftar dinner at Gallaudet University. What a life changing experience! I walked into a room full of people, over 50. It was completely silent. People were having a great time eating, socializing and watching the speeches. It was the first time I realized how hard it is to communicate without speaking. I had a paper and a pen with me; which was the only way I knew how to communicate. Talking to my new found muslim friends, I was amazed at the achievements.

Important issues that were brought up at this iftar; that we as hearing members of society don’t always pay attention to the needs of our non-hearing members. They talked about the need for a translator during jummah so they also could benefit from the jummah khutba, an ASL(American Sign Language) translated Qu’ran, and things like having subtitles on independent muslim movies so they can also enjoy them.

This brings me to the topic I was asked to write about; being grateful for hearing the Qu’ran. Alhamidullah for everything we are given. We will be tested in this life and we must remember that Allah doesn’t test us more than we can handle. I invite you , this Ramadan , to learn more about the deaf muslims by going to http://www.globaldeafmuslim.org/. If there is a deaf muslim in your community please reach out. Ramadan Mubarak.


I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Balancing Dunya and Deen in the Month of Mercy

By Sabina Giado

Bismillah

Ramadan is here!
We all rejoice at the sight of the new moon that signals the beginning of the month of mercy. But many of us come to its end feeling guilty, aware that we could have done so much more. InshaAllah, as the blessed month approaches again, let us make a sincere intention to put that feeling away for good and strive to make the very most of the holy month this year and every year.

There are a few simple steps you can take to make the most of the blessed month. Mash Allah, the skills you use in planning Ramadan can be used to address any problem area in your life.

Go into the Natural Planning Mode
The Natural Planning Mode is a method of time management espoused by efficiency expert David Allen. It encourages you to get creative with your problems, identifying all resources you could possibly mobilize to solve it. The Natural Planning Mode requires you to ask yourself some simple questions. It helps to get a little quiet time to yourself when doing this exercise as constant interruptions will break your train of thought. Insha Allah, try to be as honest as possible when answering these questions. Truly confront your nafs and the pleasures of this world that it really clings to.

What is the purpose of my fast?
Ramadan is a bootcamp for our nafs. In this month, we check our egos at the door. In this month, we purify the intention of our existences. In this month, we retrain ourselves to submit our will to Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala because all of our deeds are for ourselves, except fasting, which is for Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala.

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "Allah said, 'All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.'

Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relations with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, 'I am fasting.

By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. 

There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting."

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 31, Hadith no. 128)



What would it be like to have a truly successful Ramadan? How would I know?
When it comes to our faith, we cannot know how truly successful we have been in this life until the Last Day, where the ultimate reward is meeting our Lord.

In the same hadith mentioned above, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 128: Narrated by Abu Huraira:
"...There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting."

There are however material and spiritual benefits that are sure-fire markers of a successful Ramadan.

It takes 30 days to form a habit. If your main goal this Ramadan is to get into the habit of reading a page of Qur’an every day or praying your Sunnah prayers, if by the end of the month of Shabaan, you still have that habit, you know your Ramadan has been successful.



What is my current reality?
When aiming for a truly successful Ramadan, we should always keep in mind the elements that are likely to distract us from our objective. Do we have a house full of toddlers? Friends who are not necessarily the best company? A gruelling schedule at work with a project deadline smack dab in the middle of the last ten days?

When we recognize your likely stressors, we can better prepare to reduce or eliminate them in the blessed month.

It is equally important however to recognize the resources Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has blessed us with as well – resources like youth, time, energy, money, knowledge, books, understanding colleagues, a healthy body, a loving Deen-tastic husband and family, a circle of loving friends we can rely on, etc. Of course, the most important resource is a pure intention and Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala as our Wali’.


What needs to happen to bring this project together?
This is where you break things down into action items. If something seems like too big a task, that’s probably because it is. We should try and break most of our tasks into as tiny chunks as possible so that the elephant can be eaten inshaAllah before we need to stop eating for Ramadan.

At this point, we should start to think how we can mobilize your resources to deal with our stressors. For example, if you have a huge deadline at work and you know that your colleague is relatively free in the month of Ramadan, you could ask him or her to help you with the research for that project or to handle the smaller tasks to leave you free for the smaller ones.



What are the next steps and who will carry them out?
Last but not least, assign each task to either yourself or someone you trust.

A word on work
Ask any professional in the Middle East what Ramadan is like for business and they will say that the whole region seems to go to sleep for a month.

SubhanAllah, fasting in the workplace is a visible act of worship, like performing your five daily prayers, observing hijab or growing a beard. Suddenly your co-workers notice that you are not eating lunch and you are not taking a cookie when a box is being passed around. Just imagine – more than a billion people the world over are partaking of this beautiful act of faith with you, waking up before dawn to eat and pray tahajjud, staying awake to pray and read Qur’an, extending their night prayers and their hands to Allah  subhaana wa ta'aala in du’a, waiting with bated breath for the gift of the Night of Power to cleanse their sins, and afterwards, for the true celebration of Eid. And the world watches as we go through these phases, perhaps wondering about the significance of these practices.

However, many in the Muslim world completely waste this excellent opportunity for Dawah. The pace of business slows to a crawl as we struggle to keep up our energy levels. We snap at our co-workers as hunger and thirst makes us irritable. When asked questions, we do not have satisfactory answers. All in all, not a great statement to make about our beautiful religion.

Insha Allah, it is up to us to be armed with the right answers and the right attitude to combat the mischief of our nafs.



How to ace Ramadan in the workplace:
  1. We should educate ourselves on the reasons and the rewards of Ramadan – not simply to answer our curious colleagues, but to uplift our own spirit in struggling against our desires this month.
  2. We should maintain watchfulness of our tongues. As one should in all months, we should avoid backbiting, foul speech and anger. However, as we are strained physically, this consciousness becomes even more important in the blessed month.
  3. Go into the Natural Planning Mode for projects at work in order to balance one’s work commitments with spiritual commitments, such as taraweeh and itikaf.
  4. Remember the countless ajr we are earning in our daily struggles and strive to maintain an attitude of focus and consistent industry.

Jul 25, 2012

Two Occasions of Joy for the Fasting One

By Anum Ali

Bismillah

Last year at one of our iftaars, I asked my younger brother who is very fond of sweets and treats, “What are the two occasions of joy for those who fast?” and his somewhat correct and humorous answer was, “Suhoor and iftaar!”

Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alayhi wa aalayhi wasallam conveyed to the Believers:
The fasting person has two occasions for joy.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 6, hadith no. 2566)

Sheikh Riyad Al-Musaymiri, a professor at Al-Imam University, Riyadh, explains that Iftaar, the fast-breaking meal, is the first joy for the fasting believer. The second is the greater part of the deal gifted to us by Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. It is experienced when the Believer meets Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, after fasting during the course of his life, as an honorable Muslim worthy of great rewards. The two occasions are auspicious for a Muslim because they signify some of the greatest achievements known to Mankind. Iftaar is a Muslim’s victory over the evil of his/her nafs (psyche or self), a victory over Satan, and attainment of his Lord’s Good Will. And meeting the Lord Himself on Judgment Day, as His noble guest, is a merit beyond imagination.

The Joy of Obedience
Allah  subhaanahu wa ta’aala is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the beauty of His Gifts could be assessed from the fact that He has promised great joys in exchange of obedience. In exchange for holding oneself from food, water, sexual desires, and evils, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has promised the expiation of all sins and limitless bounties in this world and the next. He exalts His obedient Believer to such great levels that the smell from his/her mouth, of stale breath on a hungry stomach and thirsty mouth, is called to be more fragrant than musk.

The Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alaayhi wa aalayhi wasallam said:
Allah said: “The fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food, and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness of joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight that the smell of musk.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 93, hadith no. 584)

So, at suhoor time, when the fast is over, a Muslim has all the reason to believe that he/she has been blessed by Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. A Muslim has all the reason to believe that his/her good supplications will be granted, his/her rewards shall be multiplied, and sins would be forgiven.

Victory over Nafs-i-Ammara
I have been writing Habibi Halaqas’ Self-Esteem Series for two years and I have discovered a lot about personal psychology and spirituality during the process. From research I have learned that the greatest of all struggles is the struggle with the self. I have referred to the nafs as a ‘raging bull’ in my article ‘Train the Bull that Satan Rides’ simply because it is the very loophole that becomes the striking point for Satan.

Ramadan is about putting a leash on nafs-i-ammara, the inciting nafs, which provokes a person to commit wrong. As a Muslim makes an intention after suhoor, the meal before starting the fast, that he/she is committing to fast the day of Ramadan in the way of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala he/she submits wholeheartedly to controlling his/her sinful desires.

The entire day is a struggle, in Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's way , to tame that inciting, provoking nafs that keeps urging a person to commit major or minor sins. A Muslim fights the urge to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, and other felonies that seem to be okay in routine life. At the end of the day when the obedient servant of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala sits down to break his/her fast, the nafs-i-ammara has been defeated for the day.

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala conveys to the Believers, in the Quran:

O! You who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 183)


Successful Activation of the Nafs-i-Lawwama: Attaining Taqwa
It is very easy to stand up against others. But it is very, very challenging to stand up against one’s own self. Nafs-i-Lawwama is the self-accusing nafs in which a Muslim snaps out of self-denial, confronts his/her ego, and commits to self-improvement. Fasting triggers this nafs on and puts the believer in the self-correction mode in obedience to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. The fear of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala anchors itself in the hearts of believers and it keeps them steadfast in their duty.

Great prophets of Islam, may Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's blessings be upon them, worked strenuously and tolerated great pains to switch this mode on in people of the dark times. Very few true Muslims were able to question their own selves and were able to embark on a journey towards attaining Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's great rewards. Only Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alayhi wa aalayhi wasallam’s Ummah was gifted with Ramadan to help them stay on the right track, the sirat-i-mustaqeem. Only a Muslim has the ability to trigger his/her nafs-i-lawwama. And at the end of the day, the joyous occasion of personal victory awaits him/her who has fasted successfully.

The Greater Victory
As a Muslim fasts dedicatedly for 30 days of Ramadan, incorporates the Ramadan lifestyle in his/her routine life; without fasting even, and continues to commemorate Ramadan fasts each year in full spirit and obedience to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, then he/she is heading for the greater victory. Nobody is perfect and not everyone can achieve the state of absolute peaceful and perfection of faith as the auwliyaa (people who became very close to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala and attained His friendship) did. However, each Muslim has the ability to reach the stage of nafs-i-mutma’inna, the peaceful nafs, to some extent. These are the Muslims who are entitled for the greater of the two joys, the joy of meeting Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala as His friend, His noble guest, in Paradise.

Stand Up! For the Champions, Stand Up!
That’s the spirit with which the champions of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala - the ones who have fasted and maintained the dignity of their worship, will be greeted by all the angels of Paradise on Judgment Day. 

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alaayhi wa aalayhi wasallam said:
The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: “O! Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.”” (Musnad Ahmad, Book 5, hadith no. 6337)

Therefore, a fasting Muslim will stand as a victorious warrior over Satan, having shunned his/her worldly desires, having attained taqwa and nafs-i-mutma’inna, and having attained the two joys of fasting.


References
Al-Musaymiri, R. (n.d.). The fasting person has two occasions for joy. Retrieved from http://nur-ar-ramadan.tripod.com/id160.html