Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Have You Prepared for the Hour?...part 2


Asalamu alikum
On the other hand, the Prophet (saw) has also described to us those people who perform the deeds of Paradise until they are only a handspan away from Paradise and then they do the deeds of the Hellfire and they end up one of the inhabitants of Hell. Such a person will be able to do nothing but regret his later actions. He will wish that he had never changed his ways. His soul will refuse to leave from his body because it knows and recognises the good deeds that he used to perform and the bad deeds that he is now performing.

Having a weak faith and preferring this life over the Hereafter is another cause for an evil end. In this case, the person, at his death, will have to say goodbye to that thing that he loves the most - this world or some aspect of this world. In fact, his soul will not be willing or ready to leave what he loves. If he can resist meeting Allaah and the Hereafter to stay here with the things he loves, he would do so.
Some scholars have written about some people who, on their deathbeds, when being encouraged to say, "There is no true god except Allaah", could not respond. All they could think about or talk about was the things that they enjoyed of this world. For example, one person who was addicted to chess simply kept repeating the words, "Check, check", as the Angel of Death was coming to him. That was the real thing that was in his heart, the love of his life, what he lived his life for and that is what he could not wish to part from.

Sulaiman ibn 'Abdul-Malik asked Abu Hazm, one of the followers, "O Abu Hazm, why is it that we hate death?" He answered, "You have built up (constructed) this world and you have destroyed the Hereafter. You hate to leave the thing that you have constructed for the thing that you have ruined." Indeed, how many Muslims put all of their time and energy into getting ahead in this world and very little preparing for the Hereafter. What do you think will be their state when the Angel of Death comes to them? Do you think they will be willing to give up everything they worked for to meet their Lord?
Abu Hazm was also asked how the people will be presented to Allaah on that Hour and he said, "The pious person will be like the one who was gone for a while and is returning to his family. The evildoer will be like the runaway slave returning to his master". That is exactly how those who are disobedient to Allaah will be on that Day. They disobeyed their true and real master and now they have to meet Him. However, for the pious, it will be a joyous occasion, like that of a person returning to his family.
The Prophet (saw) has clearly stated that if a person hates to meet Allaah, Allaah hates to meet him. That person, who has an evil end to his life, will be sitting in his grave seeing his place in the Hellfire. He will beseech Allaah not to bring about the Day of Judgement. He does not want to meet Allaah. However, his pleas will not be listened to. Indeed, his time for praying, pleading, beseeching and repenting is over and now he can only wait and face the results of his deeds.

Dear believers, by preparing for that Hour, by making our deeds, beliefs and intentions righteous, our Hour can be completely different from what I have just described. Instead, it can be like the Prophet (saw) described it in another part of the hadith that I referred to earlier:
"When a believer is about to leave this world and go forward to the Hereafter, angels with white faces, as if their faces were the sun, come down to him from heaven with one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of the perfume of Paradise and sit from him as far as the eye can see. Then the angel of death comes and sits at his head and says, "Good soul, come out to forgiveness and acceptance from Allaah". It then comes out like a drop flows from a waterskin and he seizes it. And when he does so, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but they take it and place it in that shroud and that perfume, and from it there comes a fragrance like that of the sweetest musk found on the face of the earth."

In the Qur'aan, Allaah has also described the peaceful plight of the believers at the time of their death - those that are true to the faith, do good deeds and repent after doing evil deeds. Allaah says,
"Verily those who say, "Our Lord is Allaah (alone)", and then they stick to that, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear you not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised. We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for. An entertainment from (Allaah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Fussilat, 30-32)

This person will be shown his seat in Paradise while he is in his grave. He will ask Allaah to bring forth the Day of Judgement. This is the meaning of the Prophet's statement, "Whoever loves to meet Allaah, Allaah loves to meet him".

This will be our situation on that Hour - our own personal Hour that we all have to face at some time. We will either be from those whose souls will be taken easily from their bodies or from those whose souls do not wish to leave their bodies and this world. From now, however, this moment on, we must do our best to work to be among those who will have a wonderful end to their lives. We can do this by correcting our beliefs, removing any doubts, repenting from evil deeds and putting the Hereafter first in our hearts.
I leave you then, with the advice of 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Companion of the Prophet (saw). He said, "Go with this life behind you and go with the next life in front of you. Each life has its children so be from the children of the Hereafter and be not from the children of this world. Today are deeds without reckoning and tomorrow is reckoning without deeds".

I pray to Allaah to make us all from those people who will meet a good ending to this life. O Allaah, guide us all to the straight path and keep us firm along that path.

Have You Prepared for the Hour?


Asalamu alikum 

Have You Prepared for the Hour?

All of us are familiar with the Signs of the Day of Judgement. They are mentioned in numerous hadith of the Prophet (saw). However, there is another "hour" that is, on an individual level, just as important that we must be aware of. This hour is described in the following hadith of the Prophet (saw).
al-Bukhaari and Muslim record from A'isha (ra) that a bedouin came to the Prophet (saw) and asked him, "When is the Hour?" The Prophet (saw) pointed to a young boy and said,
"If this boy lives by the time he is old and decrepit, your hour would have already taken place."
This is the hour that each and every one of us will experience and must be aware of. This is the hour that is approaching us at every second of our lives. This will be the deciding time for us as our actions will come to an end. This is, in fact, OUR HOUR! It is the inevitable that every soul must taste. Allaah says in the Qur'aan:

"Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception." (al-'Imraan, 185)
This is when our deeds will come to an end. After that, we can just look towards our reckoning. Therefore, the question that we must ask ourselves and act upon before it is too late is: What have we prepared for our hour? What have we prepared for that moment when this life comes to an end for us?
Perhaps this should lead us to ask another question: What is it that we can prepare for that Hour? In fact, the only thing that we can prepare for that Hour is true faith (iman) and good deeds. The Prophet (saw) has advised us and taught us that we must take advantage of our life before death comes. That is, we must use this life to prepare for the Hereafter before death comes to us and this life will no longer be of any avail to us. If we do not use this life to prepare for the Hereafter, then, in fact, we have simply wasted this life - no matter how much it seems that we have achieved in this worldly life. Even if we have twelve degrees, three mansions, four cars, it has all been a waste if we did not stop, think and prepare for the Hour.

At the time of that Hour, three things will follow us to the grave. However, two of those three will leave us at the grave. Our wealth, family and deeds will accompany us to the grave. However, our wealth and family will return - they won't stay us with in the grave, we can't take them with us into our graves to use them in the Hereafter. We will be left with only one thing, as the Prophet (saw) told us. We will be left in our graves with our deeds only. Our deeds and nothing else will remain with us.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must think about our Hour and prepare for it before it comes. We must prepare for it before the Angel of Death comes to us to take our souls.
We should realise that if we prepare for that Hour, the angels will then come to us in a pleasing form, our souls will flow easily out of our bodies and the angels will be calling us to Allaah's pleasure and forgiveness.

However, if we do not prepare for that Hour - if we are heedless and we are like those who are about to go on a long trip and don't prepare anything in advance for that trip - our situation will be completely different. The angels will come to the disbeliever or the evildoer in a completely different fashion. They will come in a form that is very displeasing to the person. They will call the soul to Allaah's anger and His Punishment. The soul will not want to leave the body and it will have to be dragged out of the body. The angels will have to tear the soul out of the body. Is this what we want to face? This is the result of not thinking about and preparing for our Hour.

This is how the Prophet (saw) described that horrifying event:
"When an infidel (or, in some narrations, an evildoer) is about to leave the world and proceed to the next, angels with black (and harsh) faces will come down to him from heaven with a hair-cloth (of fire) and will sit away from him as far as the eye can see. Then the angel of death comes and sits at his head and says, "Wicked soul, come out to the displeasure of Allaah". Then it becomes dissipated in the body, and he draws it out as spit is drawn from moistened wool. He then seizes it, and when he does so they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but put it in that hair-cloth (of fire) and from it there comes forth a stench like the most offensive stench of a corpse found of the face of the earth." (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Khuzaima, al-Hakim and others. According to al-Albaani, it is sahih. See Sahih al-Jami' as-Sagheer, vol.1, p.436, hadith no. 1676)
In the Qur'aan, Allaah has also described the taking of the souls of the disbelievers in the following passage:

"And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death), they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): 'Taste the punishment of the blazing fire. This is because of that which your hands had forwarded. And verily, Allaah is not unjust to His slave.'" (al-Anfal, 50-51)
Why would the soul face such an evil end? Why would the soul not want to come out of its body to go toward his Lord and Creator? What would cause the soul to hesitate and want to cling to this world? I think the answers to those questions, are, for the most part, very clear to everyone. There are many reasons why a soul would not want to leave its body when the angels come to take it at its appointed Hour.

Perhaps the most important reason for such an evil end is holding false beliefs or having doubts about the truth of Islaam. Anyone who believes in something that goes against the Qur'aan or Sunnah, or has any doubt concerning the Qur'aan or Sunnah - on that day, at that hour, his soul will admit and recognise its wrong. When that Hour comes, such a person will realise what it is that he has to look forward to. Indeed, all of that person's deeds will be of no avail to him at that time if he held such beliefs or doubts that took him out of the realm of Islaam. Allaah says,

"Say: Shall We tell you of the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good deeds." (al-Kahf, 103-104)
Continually performing evil deeds and procrastinating when it comes to repentance may also lead the person to an evil end. At the time of death, the soul will not be able to think of anything, except the sins it committed and the wrong that it did. At that time, it will realise that it is too late to repent. He had his whole lifetime to repent from his evil deeds and change his ways - but he waited and waited. He waited too long. He waited until it was too late. The time of death - which no one knows except Allaah - has come to him and he has not yet repented to Allaah. The truth of Allaah's words will be very clear to him at that time:

"Allaah only accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allaah will forgive and Allaah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says, "Now I repent", nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment." (an-Nisaa, 17-18)

This is especially important for those people who consider themselves "young". Some people seem to think that being religious is for old people and that youth should be spent enjoying oneself. They think that they will have plenty of time to repent in the future. The fact is that they are not guaranteed that future. They may die in their youths and then realise that the time for repentance and doing good deeds is NOW no matter how old or young a person is. That person's soul will be very sorrowful and remiss when the angels take his soul in his youth before the time that he had set for himself for his repentance!

 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Trust In Allah (Tawakkul)

 Asalamu Alikum



بِالسَّنَدِ المُتَّصِلِ إِلَى الشَّيْخِ الجَلِيلِ ثِقَةِ الإسْلامِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ عَنْ عِدَّةٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ غَيْرِ وَاحِدٍ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَسْبَاطٍ، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ عُمَرَ الحَلالِ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ سُوَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَبِي الحَسَنِ الأَوَّلِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: سَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ قَوْلِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: ﴿وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ.﴾ فَقَالَ: التَّوَكُّلُ عَلَى اللهِ دَرَجَاتٌ؛ مِنْهَا أَنْ تَتَوَكَّلَ عَلَى اللهِ فِي أُمُورِكَ كُلِّهَا، فَمَا فَعَلَ بِكَ كُنْتَ عَنْهُ رَاضِياً، تَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ لا يَأْلُوكَ خَيْراً وَفَضْلاً وَتَعْلَمُ أَنَّ الحُكْمَ فِي ذَلِكَ لَهُ، فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ بِتَفْوِيضِ ذَلِكَ إلَيْهِ وَثِقْ بِهِ فِيهَا وَفِي غَيْرِهَا.
Muhammad ibn Ya’qub (al-Kulayni): from a group of our teachers, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid, from more than one transmitter, from ‘Ali ibn Asbat, from Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Hallal, from ‘Ali ibn Suwayd, from Abu al-Hasan al-’Awwal (A). ‘Ali ibn Suwayd says, ‘I asked him concerning the utterance of God Almighty: And whoever puts his trust in God, then God suffices him (65:3).’ The Imam (A) said: “There are various degrees of trust in God. Of them one is that you should put your trust in God in all your affairs, being well-pleased with whatever God does to you, knowing for certain that he does not cease in His goodness and grace towards you, and that the command therein rests with Him. So put your trust in God, leaving that to Him and relying upon Him in regard to that and everything other than that.”1

Exposition

Halal, with a shaddah on the lam, means the seller of hill, oil. Abu al-Hasan al-’Awwal is Imam al-Kazim (A), and it is he who is meant (in traditions) when just ‘Abu al-Hasan’ is mentioned. Abu al-Hasan al-Thani is Imam al-Rida (A) and Abu al-Hasan al-Thalith is Imam al-Hadi (the Tenth Imam). Tawakkul literally mean, admission of one’s inability and reliance on one other than oneself.
(إتَّكَلْتُ عَلَى فُلانٍ فِي أَمْرٍ) means, as the lexicographers ‘I relied upon him in a certain matter, the word (إتَّكَلْتُ)originally being (إوْتَكَلْتُ), which means considering someone sufficient.
(يَأْلُوكَ) derived from (ألا) and (ألواً) meaning ‘to fail’, ‘to neglect’, ‘to refrain’. In the transitive form, some have said, when it requires two maf’ul, the sense of preventing and depriving (man’) is assured ....
Tawakkul, is something other than tafwid; and the two are different from rida and wuthuq, as will be explained later on. We will now explain this noble tradition in a number of sections:

Tawakkul And Its Degrees

Know, that closely related meanings have been ascribed to tawakkul by the various definitions proposed by different schools, each according to its own approach. The author of Manazil al-sai’rin says:
التَّوَكُّلُ كِلَةُ الأَمْرِ كُلِّهِ إلَى مَالِكِهِ وَالتَّعْوِيلُ عَلَى وَكَالَتِهِ.
Tawakkul means entrusting all the matters to their Master and relying upon His trusteeship.2
Some urafa have said:
التَّوَكُّلُ طَرْحُ البَدَنِ فِي العُبُودِيَّةِ وَتَعَلُّقُ القَلْبِ بِالرُّبُوبِيَّةِ.
Tawakkul means throwing the body down (as in prostration) in servitude (to God) and attaching the heart to (His) Lordship.
That is, it means using one’s bodily powers in obedience to God and refraining from interfering in the matters (of the heart) and consigning it to the Lord. Some others have said:
التَّوَكُّلُ عَلَى اللهِ انْقِطَاعُ العَبْدِ فِي جَمِيعِ مَا يَأْمُلُهُ مِنَ المَخْلُوقِينَ.
Tawakkul upon God means the severance by the servant of all hopes and expectations from the creatures (and attaching, them to God).
The meanings mentioned are. closely related arid there is no need to delve further on the meaning of the word. However, that which should be mentioned is that tawakkul has various degrees in accordance with the stations of the devotees. Since the knowledge of these degrees of tawakkul depends on the knowledge of the various degrees of the devotee’s knowledge of their Lord, the Almighty and the Glorious, we cannot avoid discussing them here.
Let it be known to you that one of the esoteric principles of the wayfarers of the Path, without which no progress is possible, is the knowledge of God’s Lordship and Mastership and the quality of the sway of the Holy Essence over all affairs. We shall not discuss the theoretical aspect of this issue, for it calls for an examination of questions related to free will and predestination, which is not suitable for these pages. Here, we will only mention the different degrees of the people’s knowledge of it.
People are very different in regard to the knowledge of the Lordship of the Sacred Essence .of God. The commoners among the monotheists consider God Almighty the Creator of the general essences of things and their elements and substances; but they do not believe in the all-embracing Lordship of God, and consider His authority over things as limited. As a matter of verbal habit they may often declare that God decrees all matters and has power over all things, that nothing can come into existence without His sacred Will. Yet, their actual station is not at a par with their verbal profession, neither in respect of knowledge, nor faith, neither experience nor conviction.
This class of people, to which we also belong, have no knowledge of God’s Lordship; their faith in tawhid is deficient and the sovereignty of the Lord is concealed from their sight by the veils of apparent causation. Hence they do not occupy the station of tawakkul, which is our concern here, except on the level of mere verbal claim. Accordingly, they do not rely in their worldly affairs on anything except the superficial causes and material factors.
If sometimes they turn their attention to God and beseech something of Him, that is either on account of imitation or for reasons of caution; since not only they see no harm in it but allow a possibility of benefit. Thus there is a scent of tawakkul in them, although whenever they deem the apparent causal factors as favorable they totally forget God and His efficacy.
Now that which is staid regarding tawakkul, that it is not opposed to action and effort is quite right and in accordance with reason as well as revelation. But to fail to see God’s Lordship and His efficacy and to consider material causes as independent is contrary to tawakkul. Although this kind of people is devoid of tawakkul in respect to their worldly affairs, they make vigorous claims of tawakkul when it comes to the matters of the Hereafter. They justify their sluggishness and neglect in the matters of acquisition of transcendental knowledge, spiritual development and fulfillment of moral and devotional duties by easy professions of reliance on God and tawakkul on His beneficence.
With such verbal declarations as ‘God is great’ and ‘My trust lies in God’s beneficence’ they hope to attain the stations of the Hereafter. However, in regard to worldly matters, they declare, “Effort and endeavor are not contrary to tawakkul on God and reliance upon His munificence.” This is nothing except one of the guiles of the carnal self and the Devil. For this sort has tawakkul on God neither in the matters of the world nor in the affairs of the Hereafter. But since they consider worldly matters as paramount, they put their reliance on material causes, not relying on God and His efficacy.
On the other hand, since the affairs of the Hereafter are not important in their eyes and as they have no real faith in the Day of Resurrection and its details, they conjure up pretexts to conceal their neglect. Hence they say, ‘God is great’, and they declare trust in God and faith in the intercession of the Intercessors, although such professions are nothing but empty verbiage and meaningless oscillations of the tongue.
There is another class of people, who, having been convinced either by reason or revelation, affirm that God Almighty is the sole determiner of matters, the cause of all causes, efficacious in the realm of being, there being no limit to His power and influence. On the level of rational belief, they have tawakkul in God; that is the complete grounds of tawakkul have been furnished for them by reason and revelation.
Hence they consider themselves as mutawakkil and are able to supply rational proofs in justification of tawakkul, having confirmed rational conviction in all the essential preliminaries of tawakkul, which are: God’s knowledge of the needs of His creatures; His power and ability to satisfy those needs; His freedom from stinginess; and His Love and mercy for His creatures. On the basis of these, it is necessary to have trust on the Omniscient, Powerful, unniggardly and Merciful Lord, Who takes care to provide whatever is good for His creatures and in their interest, Who does not allow them to remain deprived of what is good for them, even though they themselves should be incapable of distinguishing between that which is beneficial or harmful for them.
This group, although they are mutawakkil on the level of rational knowledge, has not yet attained the stage of faith; they are shaky when confronted with the matters of life. There is a conflict between their reason and their heart, in which reason is dominated by the heart which has faith in material causes and is blind to God’s power and efficacy.
There is a third group in which the conviction in God’s sway over creation has penetrated into the heart, which has firm faith in God’s Sovereignty and Mastership over things. The pen of reason has inscribed all the essentials of tawakkul on the tablet of their heart. It is they who possess the station of tawakkul.
But the members of this group also differ from one another in regard to the level and degree of faith, whose highest degree is contentment (itminan) at which the most perfect degree of tawakkul appears in their heart. Then, their heart is detached from causation and attached to the Lordship of God, on Whom they rely and in Whom they-are content, in accordance with the words of the mystic who defined tawakkul as “casting the body away in servitude to God and attaching the heart to His Lordship.”
That which was mentioned above holds true in the case when the heart still dwells in the stage of plurality (kathrat al-af’ar) otherwise it leaves behind the station of tawakkul to attain to a higher station whose discussion lies outside the scope of this exposition.
Thus, it was seen that tawakkul has various stages and degrees, and perhaps the degree of tawakkul referred to in the hadith is the one pertaining to the second group, for it mentions knowledge as its preliminary condition. Or perhaps it refers to a degree of tawakkul according to some other mode of gradation, for tawakkul is amenable to another kind of gradation, as described in relation with the various stages of wayfaring by the experts of mystics knowledge and spiritual discipline, as a gradual gradation from plurality to unity; for absolute extinction (fana’ al-mutlaq al-af’ali) is not attained instantaneously but gradually. In the first stage, the wayfarer observes unity in his own self and then in all other beings.
The stations of tawakkul, rida, taslim and all the other stations are attainable gradually. The wayfarer may at first exercise tawakkul in some of his affairs and with respect to hidden and unobservable causes. Then, gradually, his tawakkul becomes general, in that it extends from hidden and inner causes to manifest and observable ones and from his own affairs to that of his relatives and associates. Accordingly, it is stated in the holy tradition that one of the degrees of tawakkul is trust in God in all one’s affairs.

Difference Between Tawakkul And Rida

Let it be known to you that the station of rida is different from the station of tawakkul, being higher and more luminous. This is because whereas the mutawakkil seeks his own good and benefit and entrust his affairs to God considering Him the provider of good, the radi (one who has attained the station of rida) is one who has annihilated his will in the Divine Will, having no more a separate will of his own. When a mystic was asked, “Matur’id?” (What is your wish?), he replied, “Urid an la urid” (My wish is not to wish at all). What he meant is the station of rida.
As to the words of the Imam (A) in the hadith, “that you should be well-pleased (radiyan) with whatever God does to you,” they do not refer to the station of rida. Hence, he (A) says thereafter, “Know for certain that whatever He does to you, your good and benefit lies therein.” It appears that the Imams (A) intended to bring about the station of tawakkul in the listener. For this he mentions certain preliminaries. First, he (A) says, “Know that He does not cease to be good and benign towards you.”
Then he (A) says, “Know that the authority therein lies with Him.” Of course, one who knows that God Almighty has power over everything and that He does not cease to be graceful and benign, he would attain to the station of tawakkul, because the two main pillars of tawakkul are the same as stated by the Imam (A); although he (A) does not explicitly state the other two or three pillars. After mentioning the explicit and implicit preliminaries - that whatever God Almighty does is welcome because in it lies one’s good and benefit - the preliminaries which guide to the station of tawakkul, he (A) draws the conclusion and says, “Then have tawakkul on God.”

Tafwid, Tawakkul And Thiqah

Know that tafwid is also different from tawakkul, and so also thiqah is different from these two. Hence each of the three has been considered a different station on the wayfarer’s path. The Khwajah says:3
التَّفْوِيضُ أَلْطَفُ إشَارَةً وَأَوْسَعُ مَعْنىً مِنَ التَّوَكُّلِ. التَّوَكُّلُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنْهُ.
That is, tafwid is subtler and more refined than tawakkul, for tawfid, means that the devotee should see no power and capacity in himself and that he should consider himself ineffectual and regard God as All-effectual. This is not so in tawakkul, for the mutawakkil makes God his own substitute, one in charge of his affairs, for attaining that which is good and beneficial. Tafwid is wider and tawakkul is a branch of it, because tawakkul is in regard to one’s interests and tafwid is in regard to absolutely all the affairs.
Moreover, tawakkul does not occur except after the presence of its cause, that is the matter in regard to which the devotee comes to rely upon God. An example of it is the tawakkul of the Apostle (S) and his Companions in regard to security from the evil of the idolaters, at the time when they were told:
﴿الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمْ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ.﴾
Those unto whom men said, ‘Lo! the people have gathered against you, therefore fear them’. But it increased them in faith and they said, ‘God is sufficient for us and an excellent trustee is He’ (3:173)
Tafwid, however, is mostly antecedent to its referent cause, as indicated by the supplication narrated from the Apostle of God (S):
اللَّهُمَّ إنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إلَيْكَ وأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إلَيْكَ.
My God, I surrender my self to Thee; I seek refuge with Thee, and I hand over my matter to Thee.
At times tafwid is subsequent to the occurrence of its cause, such as in the case of the tafwid of the believer belonging to the Pharaoh’s people. (40:44)
The account given above is a condensed translation of the exposition by the famous ‘arif ‘Abd al-Razzaq Kashani of the words of the perfect ‘arif Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, and that which the Khwajah says is also substantially the same. However, I have reservations about considering tawakkul to be a branch of tafwid, and there is an obvious lack of rigor in regarding tafwid as being the more general of the two. Also, there is no reason to regard tawakkul as being subsequent to the cause, for tawakkul can be both antecedent as well as subsequent.
As to the words of the holy tradition,
فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ بِتَفْوِيضِ ذَلِكَ إلَيْهِ.
Possibly, since tawakkul is accompanied by viewing oneself as being in charge of one’s affairs - because in tawakkul one makes God one’s wakil in an affair that he deems as pertaining to himself - the Imam (A) wished to lift the questioner from the station of tawakkul to that of tafwid, making him understand that God Almighty is not your substitute and deputy in regard to the charge of your affairs; rather, He is the master of His own realm and the Lord of His own kingdom (to which you and your affairs belong). In Manazil al-sai’rin, the Khwajah has also pointed out this while discussing the third degree of tawakkul.
And as to thiqah (reliance), it is different from tawakkul and tafwid, as the Khwajah says:
الثِّقَةُ سَوَادُ عَيْنِ التَّوَكلُِّ وَنُقْطَةُ دَائِرَةِ التَّفْوِيضِ وَسُوَيْدَاءُ قَلْبِ التَّسْلِيمِ.
Thiqah is the eye of tawakkul, the (moving) point of the circle of tafwid, and the inmost heart of taslim (surrender).4
That is, the three stations cannot be attained without thiqah. Rather thiqah on God Almighty is the soul of those stations, and the devotee cannot attain them without thiqah. This allows us to understand the Imam’s allusion to it, after the mention of tawakkul and tafwid, when he says:
ثِقْ فِيهَا وَفِي غَيْرِهَا.
  • 1. Usul al-Kafi (Akhundi), ii, 391, hadith 3.
  • 2. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.
  • 3. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.
  • 4. Khwajah ‘Abd Allah al-’Ansari, Manazil al-sa’irin.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Importance of Good Manners in Islam

Asalamu Alikum 


Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem
    1. Obedience to Parents
The Qur’an commands us to show kindness to parents in the following words:
Your Lord has decreed that you worship nothing but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word for contempt, nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them wing of humility, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherised me in childhood. (Al-Isra’ 17:23-14)
Obedience to Allah (s) Come First
If parents ask their children to do something which Allah (s) has forbidden, children should obey Allah (s) over the order of their parents. However, they should respectfuly explain to their parents the reasons for their disobedience. If the parents are not Muslims, Rasulullah (s) taught us to be kind and respectful to them. We should take care of them and continue to explain Islam to them.
    1. Cleanliness
Cleanliness is part of our Imaan (Faith)
Rasulallah (s) is reported to have said:
“(The religion of) Islam is clean. Hence, you should also keep yourself clean. No one will be allowed to enter Paradise except he who is clean. This cleanliness is of both the body and the mind.”
A’isha (r), Rasulullah’s wife, reported that he said:
“The Miswak (tooth stick) is a means of purifying the mouth, and is pleasing to the Lord.”
    1. Kindness to All People
In Islam, every good deed is an act of charity (Sadaqah) and has a a special reward from Allah (s). Abu Hurairah (r) reported that Rasulullah (s) said:
Enjoined on every part of Human body is charity, every day when the sun rises; doing justice between two people is charity; and helping a man onto his beast and leading it is charity; and a good word is charity; and removing harmful things from the road is charity.
Be Kind, as Allah has been kind to you. (Al-Qasas 28:77)
Ibn’Abbas (r) reported that Rasulullah (s) said:
He is not one of us who dies without having shown kindness to our young ones and repect to our older ones.
    1. Telling the Truth and Keeping Promises

Rasulullah (S) is also reported to have said:
If anyone is pleased to love Allah (S) and His Messenger, or rather to have Allah (s) and His Messenger love him, he should speak the truth when he says anything, and fulfill his trust when he is in position of trust.
The Qur’an tells us to be truthful and trustworthy in many places. For example:
“And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is) (Al-Baqarah 2:42)
O you who believe! Fulfill (all) obligations.(Al-Ma’idah 5:1)
O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Grieviously hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. (As-Saff 61:2-3)
    1. Modesty and Humility
Rasulallah (s) said: “Actions are judged by their intentions.”
Since modesty means purity of intention, it is also an essential aspect of Islamic ‘Tahdhib’. It is reported that Rasulallah (s) said:Every religion has its special characteristics: the characteristic of Islam is modesty.
Rasulullah (s) said: Modesty is part of faith, and faith leads to Paradise.
According to Rasulullah (s), on the Day of Judgement, among the seven types of people Allah (s) will take under his protection, the person who acts in accordance with the following Hadith:He is most charitable who gives so secretly that his left hand not know what his right hand has given.
    1. Controlling Anger
One day, a man met Rasulullah (S) and asked him to give him the most important rule of behaviour. It is reported that Rasulullah (s) replied:”Do not be angry,” and he repeated this several times.
Anger is another trap from the Shaytan to break our faith. Rasulullah (s) warned:”Anger comes from the Shaytan; the Shaytan was created from fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry he should perform Wudu”
Rasulullah (s) gave the following advice in regards to controlling anger.
When one of you is angry while standing, let him sit down; and if his anger goes away (it is good); otherwise let him lie down.
According to a Hadith, Rasulullah (s) asked his Sahabah (r):
“Who do you think is strong or powerful?”
They replied “He who throws people down.”
“No,” said Rasulullah (s), “It is he who controls himself when he is angry.”
Allah (s) has promised that on Day of Judgement, He will reward those who do not let their anger rule their actions. Rasulullah (s) said:”Whoever controls his anger, while he has the power to show it, Allah (s) will call him on the Day of Resurrection before all creation, and reward him greatly.”
The Qur’an promises that those who control their anger are among those whom Allah(s) loves:Those who spread generously in ease and in difficulty, and those who control their anger, and are forgiving toward people: Surely Allah loves those who do good.
    1. Backbiting and Slandering
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear God, verily, God is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (49: 12)
Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (17:53)
“I asked the Messenger of God : Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of God replied, “He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands.” (Muslim)
    1. Cursing
Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Do not curse one another, invoking curse of Allah or Wrath of Allah or the fire of Hell.’ [Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee]
Narrated Abu Darda (radhi allahu anhu), ‘Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) said, ‘When a person curses (La’nah; to ask that something be deprived of Allah’s Mercy) somebody or something, the curse goes up to the heaven and the gates of the heaven are closed. Then it comes down to the earth and its gates are closed. Then it turns right and left, and if it does not find an entrance to go anywhere, it returns to the person or thing that was cursed, if he or it deserves to be cursed; otherwise, it returns to the person, who uttered it.’ [Abu Dawood] Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu aliahi wa-sallam) also warned, ‘Those who frequently resort to cursing would neither be accepted as witnesses nor as intercessors on the Day of Resurrection.’ [Saheeh Muslim]
    1. 9.Preventing Jealousy
He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” [Abu Dawood]
Hasad is a disease of the heart and it causes impurity to the heart, when Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked who are the best of people? He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) replied: “the one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.” They asked: ‘We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?’ he answered: ‘It is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and Hasad.” [Ibn Majah]
Allah revealed verses of the Qur’aan to be recited as a protection from the jealous, “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn from the evil of envious when he envies.” [Soorah al-Falaq (113): 1]
In order to discourage envy, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Do not look to those above you. Look to those below you, as it will more likely remind you of Allah’s favors bestowed on you.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] On another occasion, he said: “If one of you looks at someone wealthier and better built than him, he should also look at someone of lower standard than himself.” [Saheeh Muslim]
    1. Stealing or cheating

‘A’isha reported that a woman from the tribe of Makhzum used to borrow things (from people) and then denied (having taken them). Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) commanded her hand to be cut off. Her relatives came to Usama b. Zaid and spoke to him (requesting him to intercede on her behalf). He spoke to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) about her.
‘Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Do you intercede regarding one of the punishments prescribed by Allah? He (s.a.w.) then stood up and addressed (people) saying: O people, those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high rank committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and if anyone of low rank committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.”
One of the worst forms of theft or cheating is cheating in prayer. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” The people asked, “O Messenger of Allaah, how can a person steal from his prayer?” He said: “By not doing rukoo’ and sujood properly.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Islamic Etiquette of dealing with people

Asalamu Alikum


Islamic teachings put great emphasis in how we deal with people in our daily lives. The prophet (S.A.W.S.) summed up his message by stating: “I have been sent to perfect the best of manners”. As Muslims, we, therefore, have to be aware of how each one of us deals with people in our circles. Our good dealings not only will ensure that we are not violating other people’s rights but can also make us accepted, loved and appreciated by others. Luqman once said to his son, “O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions.” – (Mentioned in the stories of ibn Kathir.)
Experience shows that life becomes pleasant when we can manage our work and relationships well. Quranic wisdom and the example of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)’s dealings with people should help us steer our relationships and keep them on the right track. This post highlights certain essential principles of Islam that guide us in this matter.

Not showing pride and arrogance


It is so easy to get carried away by whatever we may possess of wealth and the good things of life. It is so easy and common to credit ourselves with our achievements and feel proud of them, and then, as a matter of course, to look down upon others who haven’t been able to make the same effort or reach the status we might have achieved. What makes all this happen is our own ego and the ever opportunistic Satan who knows our vulnerability. And so The One Who cares for our well being the most, Allah the Most Merciful, has warned us against falling into the trap of pride and arrogance.
He Says in the Quran (interpretation of the Arabic meaning):

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. (Surah Luqman:18)
The way to avoid pride and arrogance is to remember Allah as much as we can till it becomes a habit to instantly thank Him for any good that comes our way. Thankfulness to Allah creates humility in us and makes us aware that we’re not entirely responsible for all the good things of life. We wouldn’t have gotten them if He hadn’t willed them for us, nor can we retain them if He decides to take them away from us.

Not to mock others


We often see people taking pleasure in making fun of others or mocking them. Is it that the ego craves for the satisfaction of proving oneself better than others by looking out for others’ weaknesses and laughing at them? But Allah admonishes us:

O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. (Surah Hujrat, 11)
Allah tells us that our knowledge is restricted by our limited perception. Since we’re not aware of any one’s real worth, wouldn’t it be foolish to laugh at those who might actually be better than us? We can curb this tendency by opening our eyes to the fact that when we think that others deserve to be ridiculed, we’re actually fooling ourselves and no one else (though we might find a few thoughtless and insensitive people to give us company in our foolish pastime).

Not addressing people with undesirable titles


A general misconception about sense of humor is the so called ‘ability’ to make others laugh. Giving nicknames to others on account of some negative characteristic that is noticed in them or even some disability that they might be suffering from is a crude form of entertainment. Making fun of those who stammer, or are very short or lean, is obviously some form of indecency practiced by callous people, and enjoyed by others who lack sensitivity to human feelings. Allah warns us against such behavior and practices. He says:

. . . Nor defame yourselves, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is the name of wickedness after faith. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed wrongdoers (Surah Hujrat: 11)

Refraining from ‘tajassus’ (spying)


Imam Al-Nawawi (rh) said that scholars have differentiated between ‘tahassus’, which means ‘snooping’ and listening to other people’s conversations, and ‘tajassus’, which means ‘spying’, seeking out other people’s faults and looking for secrets. Both activities are considered evil and have been forbidden. Allah Says:
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is sin. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Hujrat 49:12)
Is it for want of a better activity to keep ourselves busy, that we enjoy peeping into others’ lives?
Seeking out information about other people’s state of affairs, searching and disclosing their secrets has been strictly forbidden. (Hence, to eavesdrop upon somebody while hiding or pretending to sleep is like spying on others.) Spying done with the intention of exposing the faults or unveiling the secrets of others, is a sin. It also leads to backbiting which is Haram. Allah has closed every door that leads to the evil of backbiting and has made spying Haram.
Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!). (Bukhari)
Our relationships should always have only a positive outcome. That’s the only way to seek Allah’s favor when in the company of others. We should say what’s good or refrain from saying anything. We should also have the moral sense and courage to stop others from backbiting for even if we don’t contribute to it, we become guilty of the sin by being silent listeners and participants. The best means of avoiding it is by changing the topic or saying sensibly that we don’t really know the whole truth of the matter so that we shouldn’t be unfair to any one.

Resolving differences with people

According to Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) said:
The gates of Paradise will be opened on Mondays and on Thursdays, and every servant [of Allah] who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [About them] it will be said: ‘Delay these two until they are reconciled; delay these two until they are reconciled.’” [Muslim (also by Malik and Abu Dawud)]
As long as we nurture any kind of enmity in our heart and prolong any conflict with a Muslim brother, we’re giving evidence of the weakness of our faith. For Faith in Allah is expressed through obedience to Allah. And Allah has said this in the verses of the Quran:
The believers are but a brotherhood. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and have Taqwa of Allah so that you may receive mercy. (Surah Hujrat:10)
So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers. (Surah Aanfal:1)
Whatever be our differences in opinions or feelings, we’re expected to set them aside and maintain good relations with each other. Ego ‘nafs’ is never to be allowed to supersede true faith. The whole purpose of our life is to prepare ourselves for the hereafter, and with this long term goal in mind we have to overcome pettiness and trivialities. Our constant struggle is with two real enemies. One is Satan who keeps making the world and worldliness more and more alluring for us. The other is our own ego that inflates our importance in our eyes beyond any sensible measure. It is these that cause conflicts and misunderstandings.

Controlling your hands and tongue


How do we resolve differences that have unwittingly or even intentionally cropped up? The best way is to control our tongues and hands that might be too eager to express those feelings! Discretion in speech and actions is the hall mark of a sensible person. We need to consciously practice patience; we need to learn to talk to ourselves, to introspect, before we give freedom to our tongue to have its way. Especially when it comes to speaking about others or voicing our opinion about them, we need to be extra careful that we don’t mislead anyone. Speaking thoughtlessly, or on hearsay, amounts to slander about which we have been warned strictly. Allah Says:
And those who abuse believing men and women, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing. (Ahzaab33:58)

Giving the benefit of doubt – Attributing positive motives to others’ actions


It would help to keep away form slander if we could cultivate the habit of thinking well of others so that even when we hear something negative about them we don’t just get carried away by it but try to see what could have gone wrong. Attributing positive motives to others’ actions helps in understanding them better. Let us also remind ourselves whenever we attempt to judge others, that no one is perfect. We too have our own drawbacks which we wouldn’t like being mentioned or discussed. Hence fairness requires that we do unto others what we expect them to do to us. Moreover, we’ve been assured protection and covering of our faults by Allah the Most Merciful on the Day of Judgment, if we’ve been careful to cover the faults of a Muslim brother / sister here on earth.

Expressing gratitude to others


Expressing gratitude for favors done and help rendered is not only the basic requirement of social etiquette but has far reaching effects. It strengthens our relationship and adds warmth to it. On the other hand, taking others for granted, however close the relationship might be, causes disappointment and conveys the impression that we don’t know how to value people, that we just know how to use them! Thanks and appreciation expressed sincerely with a smile gives off a bright glow which is felt by the heart.

Smiling at others is charity

Allah All Knowing considers smiling at others a charity. We know very well what a smile can convey – absence of ill feeling, acceptance, warmth, and the willingness to share our time or space. Let us not be miserly about brightening our face with a cheerful smile.

Visiting the sick


Great merit has been attached to the act of visiting the sick. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) showed concern for a (Jewish) woman who’d throw waste on him whenever he passed her house. The day she failed to throw it, he enquired about her and came to know that she was sick. He tended to her through her sickness and when she recovered she instantly accepted Islam, seeing what character it develops in its followers.

Being kind, gentle, caring and concerned

The prophet (p.b.u.h) has given us excellent examples in forgiveness, kindness and tenderness. An old woman who intended to leave Makkah since she did not like the idea of a new religion being preached by a young man named “Muhammad” didn’t realize that he was the one helping her by carrying her belongings and accompanying her till the outskirts of the city. Complaining all the way about a new faith being preached, which required giving up old customs and practices, she finally asked the Prophet his name just before parting. On coming to know that this was the man on account of whom she was about to leave Makkah, she not only retraced her steps and changed her decision of leaving, but also accepted Islam seeing its exemplary representative and a living ideal!

Conclusion

Bad habits picked up over the years in dealing with people can sometimes be difficult to let go and may not even seem that bad. However, we need to strive in changing the undesirable so our families, friends, peers, and others can see the better of us.

Source

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Wisdom and Benefits behind Fasting and Virtues

Asalam wa alikum








The objective behind fasting is to restrain the soul from (its) desires and to prevent it from those things, which are beloved to it. And its purpose is to control the soul's strength, so that it can be prepared to attain what is found in it (the fast) from success and joy for the soul. Through the fast, one curbs his hunger and thirst and is reminded of the condition of the hungry stomachs of needy people.
Through fasting, one narrows the passages the Devil has inside the servant (of Allaah) by narrowing the passages of food and drink. Also, it prevents the forces of the limbs from getting too accustomed to things that are harmful to it in this world and the hereafter. And each of the soul's body limbs and energies can cease their rebelliousness (to Allaah) and be harnessed by its bridle.
So therefore, the fast is the bridle of those who fear and obey Allaah and the shield of those wage war (against desires). And it is a garden for the righteous and devoted servants of Allaah. And it is for the Lord of the worlds, over all other actions (done to please Allaah). This is since the person who fasts, in fact does nothing. He only abandons his desire and his food for the sake of the One whom he worships.
So fasting is an abandonment of those things that the soul loves and desires, preferring instead Allaah's love and contentment. And it is a secret kept between the servant and his Lord – no one else is aware of it.
Fasting has an amazing effect in preserving one's outer limbs and inner capacities as well as protecting the soul from being overtaken by destructive components, which can ruin and destroy it. And it has a remarkable effect in causing all the harmful things that prevent the soul from being healthy to be emptied out. So fasting guards and protects the health of the person's heart and body limbs. And it returns the soul all that the hands of the desires has taken from it. So it is from the greatest ways of improving one's Taqwaa, as Allaah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you attain Taqwaa." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 185]
The Prophet (saws) said: "Fasting is a shield." And he commanded those who had intense desires for marriage but were not able to marry, to observe fasting, making it a shield against those desires (of marriage).
Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118: Bukhari
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, 'I am fasting." The Prophet added, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), 'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times."

When the benefits of fasting are born witness to by sensible minds and upright intuitions, one will come to realize that Allaah prescribed it as a mercy for mankind, goodness to them and a protection and shield for them. The Prophet's (saws) guidance concerning it was the most perfect of guidance, and the best for reaching the desired objective and the easiest on the soul.
Since restraining the soul from what it loves and desires is from the most difficult and hardest of things, its obligation was delayed until the middle of Islaam, after the Hijrah. This was at the point when the Tawheed and the Prayer had become firmly established in the souls of the Muslims and when they loved the commands of Allaah. So their souls were lead to its obligation in gradual steps. It became obligatory in the second year of Hijrah.
When the Messenger of Allaah (saws) died, he had fasted nine Ramadaans in total. Originally, it was obligated as an option left to the people to choose whether they wanted to fast or to feed needy people for every day. Then that option was transferred into the final obligatory fasting. And the matter of feeding people was left only for the old men and women who did not have the ability to fast.
Fasting had three stages. The first stage was its being obligated with the option of fasting or feeding a needy person. In the second stage, only the fasting was allowed, but if the person fasting slept before breaking his fast, he was forbidden from eating and drinking until the following night. This was abrogated in the third stage. And this is the stage at which the Religion has settled with until the Day of Judgement.

Volume 3, Book 31, Number 120: Bukhari
Narrated Sahl:
The Prophet said, "There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, 'Where are those who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it."


Virtues of Fasting as Mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah

The Reward for Fasting is Immense
"Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk." [Al-Bukhari]
Also, Sahl ibn Sa'ad reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:
"Indeed there is a gate of Paradise called ar-Rayyan. On the day of Resurrection those who fast will enter through it; no one enters it except for them, and when they have entered, it is closed so that no one enters it, so when the last of them enters it, it is closed, and whoever enters it drinks, and whoever drinks never becomes thirsty." [Ibn Khuzaymah. Sahih]
Fasting is a Shield Against the Fire
"Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire." [Ahmad. Sahih]
"On the Day of Judgement, fasting will say: 'O My Lord I prevented him from food an desires so accept my intercession for him.' " [Ahmad, al-Hakim and Abu Nu'aym. Hasan]
Fasting is a Means for One's Sins to be Forgiven
"He who fasts Ramadhan, due to iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Supplication of the Fasting Person is Answered
"There are in the month of Ramadhan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim an supplication which he can make and will be granted." [Al-Bazzar and Ahmad. Sahih]
Fasting is an Expiation for Various Sins
"Perform the Pilgrimage and the Lesser Pilgrimage for Allah ... but whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head must pay a ransom, either by fasting or by charity ... " [Al-Qur'an 2:196]
"Never may a believer kill a believer unless by mistake ... and those who find this beyond their means must fast two consecutive months. Such is the penance imposed by Allah; and Allah is Knowing, Wise." [Al-Qur'an 4:92]
And more (5:89, 5:95 and 58:3-4).
The Fasting Person Will Be Among the True Followers of the Prophets and the Martyrs
A man came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what if I testify that none has the right to worshipped but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay the zakah, and I fast and stand in prayer in Ramadhan, then amongst whom shall I be?" He said:
"Amongst the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs." [Ibn Hibban. Sahih]
Fasting is a Shield Against One's Base Desires
"O youths, whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so, since it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts, and he who is unable, then let him fast because it is a shield for him." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Once we realise the greatness of fasting and what achievement it leads to, we must put all our efforts in performing fasting in the best manner possible. And since fasting is worship, it must be done solely for Allah's sake, and no intention is accepted, other than pleasing Allah and seeking His Face with all one's sincerity. Without a correct intention, no deed is of any value in the Hereafter. We Muslims must constantly verify our intentions and consider why we perform fasting. Do we do so merely because it is the practice of our parents and friends, or do we do so because it is part of our tradition, or perhaps because we simply want to conform to our environment in order to avoid any problems? A Muslim who realises that only that which is with Allah remains, and that He is the only One who grants and withholds, would not be of those to which the Prophet, upon whom be peace, alluded to in the hadith:
"On the Day of Judgement, a caller will cry out, 'Whoever performed a deed for someone other than Allah may seek his reward from that for which he performed the deed.' " [Sahih al-Jami']
Certain Aspects and Rulings Related to Fasting
  • For the obligatory fast in the month of Ramadhan, it is incumbent on everyone to have intention before the appearance of Fajr.
  • Fast is performed between the time of true Fajr (that which makes food forbidden for the fasting person, and makes Fajr prayer lawful, as explained by Ibn 'Abbas) and the time as soon it is seen that the sun has set.
  • The interval between the end of suhur (the pre-dawn meal) and the start of the obligatory prayer is the interval sufficient to recite fifty ayat, as indicated by the Prophet and related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
  • Eating suhur contains many blessings and the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered us to do take it, forbade us from leaving it and told us to take suhur to make a distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book. In spite of this, Ibn Hajr reports in Fath al-Bari that there is consensus that it is recommended. Allah knows best.
  • Falsehood, ignorant and indecent speech are to be avoided as they may render one's fasting futile.
  • A fasting person can begin fasting while in the state of janabah (major state of impurity that requires bath due to a sexual intercourse).
  • Use of siwak (tooth-stick) is permitted. Likewise, washing the mouth and nose is permitted, but it should not be done strongly.
  • The Prophet forbade a youth to kiss while fasting, while he allowed an old man since he is able to control himself.
  • Giving blood and injections which do not provide nourishment does not break the fast. Also, there is no harm in tasting food, provided it does not reach the throat.
  • Pouring cold water over one's head and taking a bath contain no harm to a fasting person.
  • It is from the Sunnah of the Prophet and the practice of his companions to break the fast as soon as the Sun sets even if some bright redness remains upon the horizon. Muslims are strongly encouraged to hasten breaking the fast. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: "The din will not cease to be uppermost as long as the people hasten to break the fast, since the Jews and the Christians delay it." [Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban. Hasan]
  • The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to break his fast before praying and he used to break it with fresh dates, if not then with older dates. And if not with dates, than with some mouthfuls of water.
  • The supplication of the fasting person when he breaks his fast is not rejected. The best du'a (supplication) is that reported from Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him. He used to say when breaking the fast, "The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is certain, if Allah wills." [Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaqi, al-Hakim and others. Hasan]
  • The Prophet said, "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward." [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban. Sahih]. Also, a fasting Muslim should not reject invitation of another Muslim to break fast.
  • Deliberate eating and drinking, making oneself vomit, menstruation, after-birth bleeding, injection containing nourishment and sexual intercourse all nullify the fast.
  • As for Laylatul-Qadr, the Night of Decree, it is better than a thousand months. The Prophet, peace be upon him, told us, "Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. That which is the most specific states, " ... seek it on the (twenty) ninth and the (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth." [Al-Bukhari]
  • The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to exert himself greatly during Laylatul-Qadr. He would spend the nights in worship, detaching himself from women and ordering his family with this. So every Muslim should be eager to stand in prayer during Laylatul-Qadr out of iman and hoping for the great reward.
  • The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul-Qadr out of iman and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • The supplication that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, taught 'Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, to say when seeking the Night of Decree is, "O Allah you are the one who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me." [At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. Sahih]
  • It is Sunnah to pray Tarawih in congregation and the one who knew the best the practice of the Prophet at night, 'A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger did not increase upon eleven raka'at in Ramadhan, or outside it." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • All who are capable should take advantage of the month of Ramadhan and perform i'tikaf, i.e. fully attach oneself to worshipping in the mosque. One should inquire how the Prophet performed i'tikaf.
  • Zakat ul-Fitr is prescribed by Allah as a purification for those who fasted from loose and indecent talk, and to feed the poor Muslims as a provision for 'Eid ul-Fitr. One should inquire further about rulings related to it, especially upon whom it is obligatory and what is its quantity.
The last but not the least, we should strive to constantly improve our worship and obedience of Allah, the Most High, including once the month of Ramadhan is over, if Allah wills