Tag Archives: fasting

Ramadan Challenge: It’s All Good!

By Fiza Khan

Today was one of those days when I really….I mean reallyyyy….felt drained out by fasting.
As I walked back home from the bus stop, in the peak heat of noon, all I could think of was, ‘Water. Water. Water.’

As I came closer to home, I heard myself saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ out loud.

‘For the heat?’ I asked myself.

‘No, no, for the means that await so close by! For being blessed to have the blessing, even if it was delayed for a time, and for being reminded of all His favours which I was failing to recognize!’

Today was one of those days when, as your throat stings with dryness, you plead to Allah for a drink at Hawd-e-Kauthar*, after which there will be no more thirst, ever. Ah, I thought, I love making this dua with sincerity each Ramadan, the kind of sincerity that doesn’t come otherwise.

As I cooled off, hours before iftaar, I wondered would I have ever thanked Him for this unnamed (2)simple yet immense blessing had it not been for the little difficulty I felt today? Would I have realized how needy I am for the deeds that will help me make my way to the Hawd-e-Kauthar on a day that will be immeasurably more hotter than today? Would I have thought twice about my responsibility towards those who don’t get access to water at a distance of a few miles from me, and then turned off the tap upon realization before I wanted to, because it wasn’t only mine to use excessively?

If Allah did not send us reminders to jolt us back into realization from straying into daily illusions of this worldly life, how would we ever save ourselves? What a kind Rabb that He places such benefit in every little difficulty, Ya Rahman!

The Kind Rabb who rewards even for as much as the prick of a thorn (Bukhari 5641), who multiplies each good deed between 10 to 700 (Bukhari 7062) and when you and I go without food and drink all day, He exceeds it beyond any given standard and says “fasting is for me and I shall reward for it” (Bukhari 1761). Yes, He knows the effort and the struggle that we go through!

What a pity that we waste these precious moments of rewards and reminder in jest and complaint!

Let’s take it up as a challenge this month, or week or even a single day to find the goodness in everything that comes our way!

Let’s not throw a tantrum next time a desired item is missing from the iftaar menu, for it may give us a chance to try something new!

Let’s not distract ourselves from the thoughts of hunger with videos and memes, but utilize those moments of weakness for heartfelt duas and gratitude for what we have all year round.

Let’s accept the weather for how it is, realizing that it is causing for our rewards of this month a much needed increase.

Let’s come up with better questions to ask each other this Ramadan than “Roza lag raha hai?” Let’s smile wide in the face of the one who asks us this and tell them “ji bohot acha lag raha hai, Alhamdolillah!” (P.S. If you can come up with a better reply, leave it for us too in the comments below!)

Let’s actively seek, when struck with hardship, the promised ease!


*Hawd-e-Kauthar: It is a great cistern – a tank for holding water – which will be set up in the place of gathering on the Day of Resurrection, to which the ummah of Muhammad ﷺ will come. The water of this cistern will come from the river of al-Kawthar which is in Paradise, hence it is called the Cistern of al-Kawthar.
“…Its water is whiter than milk and its scent is better than musk. Its drinking vessels are like the stars of the sky and whoever drinks from it will never thirst again.”
Read details here

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Chapter 3: The Waning Dusk (series)

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Myth: Can’t handle it.

Take this– if you have been whining about your growling stomach or super-conscious about your dry throat.

“Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (02:286)

The verse is deep even in its literal translation with many implications. Every nafs (self) has its own capacity and every nafs will be burdened and judged according to its aptitude. There is a reason why you were born into the family you did, why you have the education you do, why you are exceptionally good at some things and why you are the person that you are now. Allah has given you all your life experiences for a reason- so you can wield your Excalibur and put yourself to good use in His way; that you exhaust yourself in His cause in every way that you can. There is no perfect time for it nor is there a stage where you attain some sort of an elusive perfection to start. Contribute your bit in your capacity whatever it may be– intellectual, artistic, analytical, vocal or a bit of everything.

Suffice it to say, you can’t back out of your obligations thinking they’re beyond your “capacity”. The verse demands you keep the drama to yourself. If you find any commandment hard to carry out, you can’t opt out of it. Allah knew you could handle it and hence He ordained it. This is the other implication of this verse. So it’s either you weaseling out of tight spots or there’s something wrong with the statement.

For anyone who has suffered physical or emotional trauma, there is great comfort packed behind the words. And by trauma, I mean any life-altering event that metamorphosed you in some way or the other. Lost someone, some thing or lost a part of you…

You were put through your crucible because you could have handled it better than someone else in the same situation.

The greater your strengths are, the greater the trials and greater the reward for your patience. Also, this statement is a snippet from the last verses of Al-Baqarah that were given to the Prophet (pbuh) on the highest protocol denied even to the angels. Imagine the sheer magnitude of emphasis that comes with it. You have your parents constantly telling you to do your chores on a daily basis. Then there is “the talk” that they have on rare occasions in your room- just with you. About anything they deem important. This is exactly the case here. Allah (swt) called the Prophet up to meet Him on the Seventh Sky so He could gift his Ummah the five prayers and these verses—and to let you know that can pull through whatever the circumstances.

Chapter 2: The Waning Dusk (series)

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Myth: The ban is lifted at iftaar

Allah (swt) says,

“O, you who believe! Fasting has been made obligatory upon you as it was made upon those before you so that you become fearful of God.” (02:183)

Maleficent. Captain America- Winter Soldier. X-men.

TV series returning after a mid-season break. New episodes airing tonight.

And it’s Nigeria vs France today!

So much to watch, so little time, damn- you’re fasting and too bad you can’t binge-eat while you’re at it. But you’ll be watching anyway, or maybe you decide to wait till iftaar. So you load your stuff to stream while you sleep the day away. For smokers and music devotees, it is a different story. You can’t wait to get high again. And sometimes, both of you think it is okay to take a whiff while you’re fasting.

It is common knowledge that Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan and Ramadan is the month of the Quran. The common denominator, that many people miss here, is “taqwa”. Quran guides the Muttaqun (as mentioned in the opening verses of Al-Baqarah) and fasting helps you attain that taqwa (piety).

So fasting does not merely encompass starving yourself from dawn to dusk—it is a concept that includes, but is not restricted to refraining from everything that warrants an “Astaghfirullah” from anyone who catches you doing your stuff. So if you fail to achieve even a speck of piety, then you have not fulfilled what was required of you through fasting.

And to believe that the bans are lifted at iftaar, you couldn’t be more wrong. Unless you think there is some reverse logic in spitting out the medicine after taking it. Ramadan nights are those combos, multipliers and bonuses you score in video games. And are as short-lived. Don’t waste them watching Jolie take the screen or a football match that you could read about later. Get back in your game and beat your previous score.

“Whoever stands the month of Ramadan out of faith and seeking its reward will have his sins forgiven.” (Bukhari)

My Ramadan Diary: Do Yourself a Favour, Please?

 

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By Umm Ibrahim

We’re funny people, aren’t we?

We get lost in rituals and forget the rationales. We get lost in words and ignore the meanings.

Ramadan has embraced us once again. Suhoor, Iftaar, Taraweeh. Eat, Drink, Sleep.

Different people have different intentions, and they will, accordingly, reach different levels.

Some are planning to sleep through the long days and surf through the short nights. Some are planning their menus and parties.

And some are planning to milk this month of mercy and forgiveness! To make the most of every moment. And to emerge as winners in the sight of Allah.

What’s so special about Ramadan anyway? Is it special because we fast in it? No! Rather, we fast in it because it is special! Think about that.

It is special because:

“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting..” (Surah al-Baqarah: 185)

So, if you have one goal this month, let it be this: Connect with the Quran like never before.

It is the Speech of Allah addressed to YOU. Recite. Read the translation. Learn. Teach. Extract gems. Put into practice. Feed your soul. Let your heart be cured.

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And if you can join a Quran study circle, please do it. Chuck all your excuses in the bin this year. Do yourself this one favour. The payback will be way too precious inshaAllah.

“No people gather in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, but tranquility descends upon them, mercy overshadows them, the angels gather around them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.” (Sahih Muslim)

Ramadan: Muslims and their Forgotten Empathy

From Youth Club's Ramadan Food Project Last Year. See Link Below.
From Youth Club’s Ramadan Food Project Last Year. See Link Below To Donate.

Brilliant piece of poetry submitted by a sister.

Today while making Iftari, a sudden image struck me,

As I fried the Pakorey,

And brewed the tea.

Somewhere, a boy sits under a tree,

Staring at his mud caked hands; holding a bruised knee.

And the sound of a gunshot echoes again,

And he gets up and runs, forgetting his pain.

Back there in Homs, clinging to dear life,

Who knows who fasts, and still survives?

I shake my head and set the plates,

The spoons and glasses, and the dates,

And as I pour cold water in a jug,

I am reminded of the water shared, and a cherished hug,

From a Palestinian girl, some years ago.

Through a forced smile behind tears that flowed,

She held my hands just to say:

“Do remember us, whenever you pray.”

And finally when the call for prayer is heard,

I gaze at the table set, with a vision now blurred.

How can I stuff myself with scrumptious feasts,

When another Muslim child, lies starved, in this heat?

As his helpless mother rocks him to sleep,

And in her heart, silently weeps,

For all hungry mouths to feed, five,

And another son who could not survive.

While we look up deals on “All you can eat,”

Not many out there can afford a treat.

So have a heart, when you bloat at Iftar,

For those who fast in the midst of a war.

Hold on, make prayer, and raise your hands,

If Ramadan can’t unite us, then nothing can.

This Year’s Ramadan Charity Project

Month of Sha’baan

Sha’baan is awesome and here’s why – find out!

I heard fasting in Sha’baan is supposed to be awesome. What’s the deal?

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Check it out! So the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast in the month of Sha’baan quite regularly. Here are the details:

* ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allaah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’baan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1833; Muslim, no. 1956).

* Usaamah ibn Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, page 425).

* Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Fasting in Sha’baan is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadaan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawaatib which are prayed before and after Fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadaan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawaatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadaan are better than fasts at other times.

The phrase “Sha’baan is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan” indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha’baan. Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha’baan, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case.

In the Hadeeth quoted above there is an indication that even though certain times, places and people may be commonly thought to possess a particular virtue, there may be others that are better than them.

It also indicates that it is Mustahabb to make good use of the times when people tend to be negligent, by doing acts of worship. There are a number of benefits that come from making good use of times when people are often negligent, and using these times for worship, including the following:

It is more concealing of one’s good works and hiding and concealing Naafil actions is better, especially fasting, because it is a secret between a slave and his Lord. Hence it was said that there is no element of showing off in fasting.

By the same token, doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. Muslim (no. 2984) narrated from the Hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yassaar: “[The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:] ‘Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.’”

Great, but here’s more:

Another benefit of fasting in Sha’baan is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadaan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadaan starts; if he fasts in Sha’baan he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadaan comes. Sha’baan is like an introduction to Ramadaan and it has some things in common with Ramadaan, such as fasting, reciting Qur’aan and giving in charity. Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’baan is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” Habeeb ibn Abi Thaabit used to say, when Sha’baan came, “This is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” When Sha’baan came, ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Malaa’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur’aan.

Cutting it short, Sha’baan acts like a warm up to Ramadan. Imagine starting your car’s engine when it’s 20 below zero. The car engine needs to run for a bit before you can take off. Similarly, fasting in Sha’baan helps you to warm yourself up for fasting in the coming month of Ramadan.

Like always, some people overstep the mark and introduce self-innovated practices into the pure religion of Allah. Here is a brief look at some Bida’hs practiced in Sha’baan.

Debunking some myths:

Among the Bid’ahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan), and singling out that day for fasting. There is no evidence (Daleel) for that which can be regarded as reliable. Some Da’eef (weak) Ahaadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reports which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion are all Mawdoo’ (fabricated), as has been pointed out by many of the scholars.

Al-‘Allaamah al-Shawkaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Fawaa’id al-Majmoo’ah:

“The hadeeth: ‘O ‘Ali, whoever prays one hundred rak’ahs on Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan, reciting in each rak’ah the Opening of the Book [Soorat al-Faatihah] and Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad ten times, Allaah will meet all his needs…’ This is mawdoo’ (fabricated) [i.e., it is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)]. Its wording clearly states the reward that the person who does this will attain, and no man who has any common sense can doubt that this is fabricated. Also, the men of its Isnaad (chain of narrations) are Majhool (unknown). It was also narrated via another Isnaad, all of which is Mawdoo’ (fabricated) and all of whose narrators are Majhool (unknown).

In al-Mukhtasar he said: The hadeeth about the Salaah for the middle of Sha’baan is false, and the Hadeeth of ‘Ali narrated by Ibn Hibbaan – “When it is the night of the middle of Sha’baan, spend that night in prayer and fast that day” – is Da’eef (weak).

If it were prescribed to single out the night of the middle of Sha’baan, or the night of the first Friday in Rajab, or the night of the Israa’ and Mi’raaj, for celebration or for any special acts of worship, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have taught his Ummah to do that, and he would have done it himself. If anything of the sort had happened, his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) would have transmitted it to the Ummah; they would not have concealed it from them, for they are the best of people and the most sincere, after the Prophets, may blessings and peace be upon them, and may Allaah be pleased with all the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Now we know from the words of the scholars quoted above that there is no report from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) concerning the virtue of the first night of Jumu’ah in Rajab, or the night of the middle of Sha’baan. So we know that celebrating these occasions is an innovation that has been introduced into Islam, and that singling out these occasions for acts of worship is a reprehensible Bid’ah.

In Al-Saheehayn it is reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected.”

So folks, give it up. What’s the use of spending the entire night in worship but having it REJECTED? In religion, follow and do not innovate for you have been given that which is sufficient.

Any Fiqh related stuff which I need to know?

About fasting the end of Sha’baan:
*The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha’baan with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadaan. This is forbidden.

*The second scenario is when a person fasts with the intention of fulfilling a vow or of making up a day of Ramadaan that he missed or as an act of expiation (Kafaarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.

*The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as Makrooh by some who said that we should differentiate between Sha’baan and Ramadaan by not fasting for a while, among those who said this was al-Hasan. If it happens to coincide with a day when a person habitually fasts, Maalik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shaafa’i, al-‘Oozaa’i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.

Bottom line:
Well, happy fasting!