By Shazia Arif
Bath & Body
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
Bath & Body
Imagine you fell into a puddle of mud. Your skin is dirty right down to the pores, you cannot see the original colour of your clothes anymore. You stink. The first thing any person would do in this situation is, take a bath, but not just an ordinary bath, rather one with an amazing smelling body wash, and then after the shower they would still put on scented body lotion to make sure they do not smell like the dirt, and then they would put on a fresh clean pair of clothes to feel the cleanliness. Similar is the case with our souls,all year round we are constantly dirtying it with sins, sins and more sins. But alhamdulilah, Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has not left us to live with the filth; He has given us the blessed month of Ramadan wherein we can bathe from our sins. But is bathing enough? Or does one also need to make their soul smell good and clothe it nicely after being soiled with filth for an entire year? How does one go about doing that?
When one bathes their soul in Ramadan, it is by doing the basic ‘I will fast, pray 5 times a day, and read some Quran’. But to give it a pleasing scent you need to go the extra mile. And how do you do that? What to do in that extra mile? There’s no better way to learn (that) than from the pious predecessors, the Salaf, who followed the way of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam diligently.
Recite the Quran excessively throughout the month. The Quran is a huge blessing for the entirety of the Muslim Ummah, it is a manual on how to lead one’s life. This blessed book was revealed in the month of Ramadan, and Jibrael would visit the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in this month to review and recite the Quran with him. If the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam had to review it every Ramadan, then what about us? Now reciting it for a few minutes, every other day won’t get your soul that beautiful scent. Rather reciting it every day, will!
“Verily! We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the Night of al-Qadr.”
During this month the Salaf also read the Quran profusely. But how were their ways of reciting it?
- Uthman bin Affan radia Allaahu ‘anhu used to finish reciting the Qur’an once every day.
- Imam ash Shafii’ used to recite the whole Qur’an 60 times, in other than his prayers.
- When Ramadan would begin, az-Zuhri used to run away from reading books of hadith and (didn’t) stopped attending the gatherings of scholars. Instead he used to engage himself in reciting the Qur’an from the Mushaf.
- Sufiyan ath-Thawri used to leave all (voluntary) acts of worship and engaged himself in reciting the Qur’an.
- Al-Aswad used to recite the whole Qur’an every two nights of Ramadan.
- Qatadah used to recite the whole Qur’an every 7 nights and in Ramadan every three nights, and every night in the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Note: Although it is disliked to finish reading the Quran in less than 3 days, it is of the opinion of many Imams such as Ahmed and Ishaq that: Ibn Rajab said: “It is prohibited to recite the whole Qur’an in less than three days continuously [through the whole year] but in blessed times and places such as Ramadan or Makkah, for those who enter it from other than its people, it is preferable to recite the Qur’an profusely taking advantage of the blessing of the time and place.”
Qiyam refers to two things - taraweeh prayer, and tahajjud prayer in the third part of the night before Fajr. In Qiyam one stands for a long while reciting the Quran either in jama’ (congregation) or alone. The act of performing Qiyam in Ramadan is very virtuous. The Qiyam is not mandatory of course, however if you do want that pleasing scent on your soul to remain, this is definitely something we must strive to do.
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whoever establishes (nawafil, voluntary) prayers during the night of Ramadan, faithfully, out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah Rewards, all his past sins will be forgiven.”
(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith no. 36)
Of course, our amazing Salaf were not behind in wanting to attain this amazing barakah either. In fact they would even involve their families in this act, so that they could gain the reward themselves. Want for your brother what you want for yourself!
- Umar bin al-Khattab Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu used to offer the late night prayer till (the) midnight; then he used to awaken his family to offer the prayer, and he would tell them,“the prayer, the prayer,”
- Narrated Alqamah bin Qais: “I spent one night with Abdullah bin Masud Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu (in his house). He (Ibn Masud) woke up in the early portion of the night and offered the late night prayer. He used to recite the same recitation of an Imam (slowly with the Telawah) till a little before dusk (before dawn), then offered the Witr parayer.”
- Narrated as-Saa’ib bin Zaid: “The Imam used to recite hundreds of verses in the late night prayer, such that we were supporting ourselves with sticks, out of long standing (in prayer), and they used to leave at dawn.”
SubhanAllah, as always the Salaf went not one extra mile but two! Why? They understood the importance of cleansing the soul during this month and this is the reason why they were the Salaf.
Giving something to someone else from your own wealth is a very noble act to do especially in Ramadan. Why? Well first, everyone LOVES their wealth. They put in so much time and effort in acquiring it, that they become very careful in how they spend it, sometimes to the point where they become stingy, and that is going to an extreme. But Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala has told us that when we give money for the sake of Allah, our wealth will not decrease! But remember wealth is not only money; it is also feeding others, spending your time and energy, as well in the way of Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala. With that being said, let us relate to how it will beautify our souls
- Once we get in the habit of giving, we won’t have that stingy feeling in our heart.
- If we start giving in Ramadan, we will start giving outside of Ramadan as well.
- When you give, you’ll notice more room in your heart for others.
The Salaf preferred the act of feeding others, whether it was a hungry person or a righteous person (example iftar) over many other acts.
- Abu as-Siwar al-Adwi said: “The men of Bani Adi tribe used to pray in the Masjid. Never one of them breaks his fast alone. If he finds someone to eat with him, he will eat, otherwise he takes his food to the Masjid and eats it with the people and the people eat with him (i.e. share his food with the people.)
I’tikaf is when one leaves all the worldly distractions and busies himself in the worship of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala for a certain number of days, in our discussion during the last 10 days of Ramadan. I’tikaf is observed in the mosques. We can see many examples of this from the life of the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. When one engages himself in constant worship and remembrance of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala, they are adding more and more perfume to their soul.
Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu):
"The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to perform Itekaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death , he stayed in Itekaf for twenty days.”
(Sahih Al-Bukari, Book 33, Hadith no. 260)
Of course this act is not mandatory, and it should be done with the approval of his/her family members. It is of the opinion of many of the Salaf that I’tikaf is mustahab (preferred) while fasting.
Searching for Layla’tul Qadr
What to do during these nights?
Layla’tul Qadr is the night in which the Quran was revealed, it is the night in which the decree is written for the entire year! Yup ... the ENTIRE YEAR! One is to look for this night in the last 10 nights, especially the odd ones: 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th. This is that golden opportunity to make sure the perfume you have been spraying on yourself for the entire month remains throughout the year, and this can only be done with your duas.
What to do during these nights?
- Aisha (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha): I said, “O Allah’s Messenger, tell me, if I know which night Lailatul-Qadr is, what supplication should I say on it?” He said:“Say,“Allahumma Innaka ‘Afowwon Tuhibul-’Afwa fa’fou ‘Anni (‘O Allah, you are forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me’)" (At-Tirmdhi, Book 48, Hadith no. 3435).
- The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to keep his family awake for the salat (prayer) in order to get the blessing of Laylatul-qadar (Sahih Bukhari, Book 32, Hadith no. 241).
- The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to pray harder and earnestly in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he did in other nights of this month. (Multiple hadith in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim).
Now imagine, after putting in so much effort to get rid of the mud, would someone consciously step into a muddle puddle again? So after putting in so much effort to clean your soul and beautify it, will you let all your efforts to go to vain? Here are some practical tips on how to keep a clean soul even after Ramadan
- Make it a goal to give something in charity every Juma’.
- Wake up 10-15 minutes before the time of Fajr starts and pray two rakah Tahajjud.
- Fast every Monday and Thursday as it was the Sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
- After Isha sit in your room and have some alone time with Allah, and think about His blessings upon you; show your gratitude.
- Always, always, always repent from your sins, every single one of them; be it big or small, a sin is a sin.