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Ramadan Challenge: Rise & Shine at Fajr!

By Zahra Nayyer

We have spent more than half of Ramadan, and by now we’re used to getting up for suhoor, albeit with difficulty, but as soon as we’re done with our prayer, many if not all of us dive back headfirst into our comfortable beds. As I researched on this topic I came to realize that an essential sunnah is being eradicated from our routines by sleeping at Fajr; one which the Companions engaged in even though they too had busy work/life routines.

In the hadith of Sammaak ibn Harb, who said: “I asked Jaabir ibn Samurah, ‘Did you used to sit with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ?’ He said, ‘Yes, frequently. He would not get up from the place where he had prayed Subh (Fajr prayer) until the sun rose. When the sun rose, he would get up. They used to talk about things that had happened during the Jaahiliyyah (times of ignorance), and they would laugh and smile.’” (Sahih Muslim :1/463)

How many of us can say that we have revived this sunnah today in our routines? Let’s motivate ourselves to stay up after Fajr by looking at some of its amazing benefits first:

Recitation of the Quran at Fajr

“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:78)

We learn from the explanation of this verse that at the time of Fajr the angels are audience to our recitation and we are among those who are in honourable mention when Allah asks about us from the angels (though He is Most-Aware of what we do) (Ibn Kathir)

The Huge Reward

Al-Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in jamaa’ah (congregation), then sits and remembers Allaah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” He said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Complete, complete, complete.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 480)

The word “complete” being mentioned here thrice emphasises the enormity of the reward and that it is a sure thing that a person will receive this much reward if he adopts this sunnah.

Apart from these, there are other benefits as well: it is your one-on-one time with Allah with no interruptions and no worries about the looming work related commitments. Post-Fajr time is a peaceful time where it feels like time has almost slowed down or stood still, till the rising sun signals the start of a new day and you find that you’ve rejuvenated your iman (faith), sought protection from the evils and challenges that lie ahead and spilled your heart out to the One who is All-Hearing, All- Knowing. Staying up after Fajr gives you that head-start you need to be successful not only in this life but in the next one too.

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To reap such awesomeness, there are a few steps we can take to truly benefit from this special time:

The Core Ingredient – “Dua”

We need Allah’s Help in all that we do because it is only with His Help and Mercy we are given the opportunity and the ability to worship Him. So, make a lot of dua for yourself to be able to inculcate the habit of staying on the prayer mat after Fajr and fully benefit from this time.

Managing Sleep

Staying up unnecessarily at night can ruin your chances of availing this time properly. Try sleeping a bit early then you usually do and if possible take a short nap in the afternoon, this will also help in making you feel fresh at Fajr time.

Have a Prayer Corner

Dedicate a corner in your room for this purpose where there are zero distractions. Make sure you have you favorite dua book and copy of the Qur’an next to you so that when you are done with prayer, immediately you can pick them up and start reciting and gaining the rewards.

Make Things Interesting

When it comes to adopting lifelong habits, we tend to slack off when it becomes a routine thing for us. So, instead of always reciting the same duas, azkaar and verses, aim to add new duas to your post-Fajr routine. Explore new Chapters of the Quran by reading the translation or explanation after you recite them. This will motivate you to actively participate in the process and keep your mind alert. Alternatively, you can also keep a small journal where you can pen down a small reflection from the verses you have recited.

Challenge yourself to stay put on the prayer mat after Fajr these last few days of Ramadan!

May Allah grant us all the ability to stay on the prayer mat after Fajr and pray those 2 rak’ahs to reap its numerous benefits for life! Ameen.

Ramadan Challenge: What to do in the Masjid?

By Fatima Sajid

A masjid is considered a place of worship and learning in Islam. It unites the community of Muslims five times a day. Bigger Masajid hold khutbahs (lectures) and other Islamic educational programs for children and adults alike. Since it’s the month of Ramadan and most of us are frequently visiting the masjid, I would like to remind you all of 5 things you can do in a masjid.

Understand some Arabic

Arabic is not our mother tongue and naturally the Qiyam (standing in prayer) is a hard time for most of us especially during the Taraweeh (night prayer in Ramadan). I have observed many ladies and young girls staring at the beautiful ceiling of the masjid, but that’s not what you are here for. A healthy tip would be reading some Quran with translation while you have time. Understanding what the Imam is reciting helps us develop khushu’ (concentration and focus in prayer).

Switch off your Cell Phones

Yes, there are chances that you will get a call, maybe an important one too, but you won’t pick up your phone while you are praying so it’s only right that you switch it off. Many of us keep musical tones that are a huge distraction to the public. Trust me the Imam’s Khutbah doesn’t need any background music.

Smell Good

This is very important. Here is a little tip: sniff yourself before you leave for the masjid. If you smell like onions or garlic or sweat, you need a shower. Also if there are flies buzzing around you, you need a double shower. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Quran:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (7:31)

Dressing well and smelling good is an important etiquette for masajid.

Keep your Masjid Clean

A dirty place is not suitable for prayer. It’s important that we keep the masjid clean and teach that to our children too. Throwing used tissue papers and water bottles in the dustbins makes a great example of cleaning a masjid. One should also organize the chairs used by elderly people and return the Quran to their respective places on the shelves.

Maintain your Manners

A masjid is the heart beat of an Islamic community. It’s only right that we maintain politeness and good behaviour during our time there (that of course doesn’t mean you go abnormal outside a masjid). Try to remain calm even if someone steals your spot or takes up too much space. Bear with it if your neighbour forgot to shower or reads louder than the Imam. Spread positive energy around you by being simply accepting and forgiving. If they need to be corrected, do it politely and wisely.

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Ramadan Challenge: Pray For Them!

By Yasha Humayun

When we make dua we often fail to realize how powerful it is. You’re calling on to the One Who’s the Most Glorious (Al-Majeed) and The Responsive (Al-Mujeeb), what act can be more powerful and more beautiful than this?

Dua is the best gift you can ever give; it’s undoubtedly the only gift that benefits the one who receives it and the one who gifts it. What other gift can you think of that would fulfill this criteria? None!

I’ve often stumbled upon quotes that say that if you truly love someone, you pray and make dua for them and also that if you want to know who you really love, look at who you pray for in your duas. Undeniably, both of these ring true.

Often, by the grace of Allah, when we set out to help our loved ones, we are only able to do so much, for us humans are limited in our capabilities, in our influence over things. The time then is to call to the One who is Al-Muqtadir (The Powerful) and Al-Qaadir (The Able), the one whose power and control encompasses everything, and to say to Him, ‘Ya Allah, this person is in dire need of Your help, You’re the only One that ever helps us, You’re the only One that can help us, please be merciful to him and aid him.’

Often we do pray for our friends and relatives, but what about those loved ones who’ve left this world? They’re in as much need of our duas as those who are with us.

Once when I was sitting after prayer, I wondered, ‘Ya Allah, are there people who have died, passed away in a calamity, and no one knew they existed? Are there people on this Earth that have no one to make dua for them, no one to cry for them in sujood (prostrations), no one to ask for forgiveness for them?”

Make dua for them too, their book of deeds has closed and one can only pray for their  forgiveness. Especially, making dua for parents who’ve passed away is a very rewarding act.

Sahih Muslim

The Prophet  said: “When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no 1376)

He  also said: “A man’s status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, ‘How did I get here?’ He will be told, ‘By your son’s du’aa’s (prayers) for forgiveness for you.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, no 3660; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1617)

The beauty of dua is that you can ask for anything, as long as it’s halal, and you can add as much people as you want to it. It’s best to add the entire Ummah. It’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love the dua of Ibrahim A.S, especially the second part of the dua, “O Lord, make me and my children steadfast in prayer, Our Lord accept the prayer. Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day of Judgement.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:40-41)

Make a list of the individuals you want to pray for and what you want to pray for for them; it doesn’t strictly have to be a written one, it can be a mental list too. A list will allow you to be more specific.

This is the blessed month so make your duas for your loved ones today, make them right now. You never know, this could be the hour of acceptance of duas!

If you have true concern for your friends and relatives, if you make abundant and consistent dua for them, then with the Will of Allah, He will open doors of blessings and mercy for you, because He loves those who love His creation.

 

Solar Eclipse on 3rd November- Do’s and Dont’s

Solar Eclipse on 3rd November- Do’s and Dont’s

La foto por la que me odia el 99% de ASAAF

A solar eclipse can be seen on the Earth when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.

It is expected that tomorrow (i.e. 3rd November),

“A total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa…. The eclipse will be partial for people in some parts of Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

The partial eclipse will begin over the Indian Ocean and end over eastern United States.

This is a hybrid eclipse because it is both a total and an annular eclipse.”

(Source: http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2013-november-3)

According to astrology experts, the eclipse is expected to begin at 3:05 pm in Pakistan; its total phase will be at 4:06 pm here; and the eclipse would start ending at 5:49 pm Insha Allah.

At this point, it feels appropriate to know what exactly Islam says about the solar eclipse. Does it really occur due to the death of anyone? Does the myth of wearing red undies with a safety pin or carrying something metallic to ward off the eclipse-harm hold any truth? Or is it simply one of the signs of Allah?

There are numerous ayaat in the Quran regarding the sun and moon. Allah says:

“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him” (Fussilat 41:37)

A solar eclipse occurred in Madinah during the Prophet’s (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) lifetime as well.  When people attributed it to the recent death of his son Ibrahim, he clarified:

“These signs that Allah sends are not for the death or life of anyone, but Allah makes His slaves afraid through them, so if you see anything of that [eclipses], then hasten to remember Allah and call on Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Bukhari]

The prayer offered at the time of the eclipse is called Salat al-Kusoof and it is Sunnah Muakkadah (a confirmed Sunnah).  It is better to perform it in congregation, but it is permissible to perform it individually as well.  The scholars have stated that this is one of the exceptions which can be prayed after the ‘Asr prayer as well.  Salat ul-Kusoof is unique in that it is offered as two rakahs, but with four rukoo’s!

Ummul Momineen Aishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) narrates the method of Salat ul-Kusoof:

“The sun was eclipsed at the time of the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam), and the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) went out, stood up and said Takbeer, and the people formed rows behind him. The Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) recited a lengthy recitation and did a lengthy rukoo’, then he raised his head and said, ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa laka’l-hamd.’ Then he stood upright and recited another lengthy recitation, shorter than the first. Then he said ‘Allahu akbar’ and did another lengthy rukoo’, shorter than the first. Then he said, ‘Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbanaa wa laka’l-hamd.’ Then he did sujood. Then in the second rakah he did likewise, until he had completed four rukoo’s and four sujoods, and the eclipse was over before he had finished.” (Bukhari and Muslim).”

We, as Muslims, should ditch all superstitions and should trust Allah. We should follow the Prophetic guidance which requires us to offer the eclipse prayer, give in charity, seek Allah’s forgiveness and increase in good deeds during an eclipse.

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