Sunday, August 22, 2010

Repenting in Ramadhan

Repenting to Allah

Telling Allah about your situation

A mention of the mercy of thy Lord unto His servant Zakhariyyah—when he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret, saying, “My Lord! Lo! The bones of me wax feeble and my head is shining with grey hair, and I have never been unblest in prayer to Thee, my Lord. Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me, since my wife is barren. Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor who shall inherit of me and inhereit of the house of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, acceptable (unto Thee).” (Maryam:2-6)

Al-Yaqeen and full awareness (“presence of the heart”)

The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “Ask Allah with certainty that He will answer your prayers, and know that Allah will not accept the supplication from an absent heart.” (hasan, at-Tirmidhi)

Asking Allah three times

“If you ask Allah for the jannah three times, the jannah will say, ‘O Allah, make him enter jannah.’ And if you ask Allah to protect you from hellfire three times, hellfire will say, ‘O Allah, protect him from the hellfire.’”

NB. Not every supplication should be performed thrice.

Having patience

Man prayeth for evil as he prayeth for good. [Isra:11]

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (s.A.w.s.) said, “The person’s supplication will be answered unless he asks for sin or severing the ties of kinship, except if the person is hasty.” Then the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) was asked about hastiness. So the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) described it as, “The person says, ‘I asked, and I have not seen the answer.’ Then he leaves dua.” (Sahih Muslim)

NB. It is not considered haste in dua to ask for a speedy answer.

Asking with persistence (Al-Ilhah ala Allah)

The Prophet (s.A.w.s.) said, “When you ask Allah, ask with confidence.”

Some of the early Muslims used to say that the suppliant should be like a child when you ask Allah, crying until you are answered.

Asking in secret

An example of this lies in the dua of Zakariyyah,

“A mention of the mercy of thy Lord unto His servant Zakhariyyah—when he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret.” (19:2)

Benefits of this secrecy include sincerity and belief in Allah’s attributes (Hearing, Seeing, Closeness).

Mentioning the result you expect from the fulfillment of the du’a

As in the surah,

“(Moses) said: My Lord! Relieve my mind and ease my task for me; and loose a knot from my tongue, that they may understand my saying. Appoint for me a henchman from my folk, Aaron, my brother. Confirm my strength with him. And let him share my task, that we may glorify Thee much, and much remember Thee. Lo! Thou art ever Seeing us.” [Ta Ha:29-34]

Omitting details in the actual request

Such as in the ayah,

“Our Lord, give us good in this world, good in the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.” (2:201)

Aisha narrated that the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) used to like comprehensive supplications, and he would leave others. (Sahih, Abu Dawud)

One of the Sahaba saw his child asking, “O Allah, give me the right palace on the right side of jannah.” So he told his child, “Do not do that. Rather, ask Allah to enter you into jannah and to protect you from the fire.”


It is better to have wudu when making dua.

Facing the qiblah

The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.), when he climbed the Saffa and the Marwa, he would face the qiblah and make du’a.

To ask Allah by His names and attributes

Allah’s are the fairest names. Invoke Him by them. (7:180)

Raising the hands

Salman narrated from the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.), “Surely Allah is Hayyee, and He loves to conceal the shortcomings of His servants. If His servant raises his hands, He does not let him go empty handed.”

NB. It is inappropriate to raise the hands in certain occasions of dua (i.e. during Friday khutbas) and sunnah upon other occasions (i.e. the dua for rain).

Not consuming Haram

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, The Messenger of Allah said,

“Allah the Almighty is good and accepts only that which is good. Allah has commanded the faithful to do that which he commanded the messengers, and the Almighty has said: ‘O ye messengers! Eat of the good things and do right.’ And Allah the Almighty has said, ‘O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you.’”

Then he (s.A.a.w.s.) mentioned [the case of] a man who, having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky [saying] : "O Lord! O Lord!" Meanwhile, his (the traveler’s) food is unlawful, his drink unlawful, his clothing unlawful, and he is nourished unlawfully; so how can he be answered!

(Related by Muslim)

Thinking well of Allah (Husnu thun bi’llah)

When the wife of Imran said, “My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me, Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower!” (3:38)

And your Lord hath said: Pray unto Me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! Those who scorn My service, they will enter hell, disgraced. (40:60)

An unto Thamud their brother Salih. He said, “O my people! Serve Allah, ye have no other God save Him. He brought you forth from the earth and hath made you husband it. So ask forgiveness of Him and turn unto Him repentant. Lo, my Lord is Nigh, Responsive. (11:61)

Hadith Qudsi: “I am as my servants thinks of me, and I am with him whenever he mentions me.”

Asking Allah by one’s good deeds

Bukhari and Muslim relate the hadith of the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) of the story of three men, who each supplicated to Allah by a good deed they had done earlier in their lives. As the story goes, “Three persons of a people before you were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm and therefore they took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the exit from the cave. One of them said, ‘The only way for deliverance left is to beseech Allah in the name of some virtuous deed.’” One of the men mentioned a good deed which they had done for Allah, and supplicated, “O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only Thy pleasure, then do Thou relieve us of the distress wrought upon us by this rock.” The rock moved, but not enough to free the men. So, the other two made similar supplications by their good deeds until the rock moved enough to free them.

Asking Allah in times of ease

The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “Whoever is pleased that Allah answers his prayers during hardships and difficulties, let him make much supplication in times of ease.” (Hasan, at-Tirmidhi)

Choosing favored places.

For example, the Saffa and Marwa in Mecca are favored places, since the Prophet (sA.a.w.s.) made dua there.

Choosing favored times

The last third of the night is a favored time because Allah descends to the lowest heaven in that time and says, “Is there anyone asking for something so that I may grant him.”

Another favored time is between the adhan and iqamah, as the Prophet (sA.a.w.s.) told Anas, “Supplication between adhan and iqamah will never be rejected. So call upon Allah at that time.” (Authentic, Ibn Khuzaimah).

Another favored time is in sujud, as the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “The servant is closest to his Lord while in sujud, so ask Allah in that time.”

Friday is also a preferred, especially in the last hour before maghrib.

Also, while the roosters crow, since the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “When you hear the crowing of the rooster ask Allah from His favors because it saw an angel. And if you hear the braying of a donkey, seek refuge with Allah because it saw a devil.”

Since the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “Two supplications will not be rejected: the supplication during adhan and under rain,” (hasan) then these two times are preferred for dua.

Supplication on Laylat’ul-Qadr, since it is a blessed and honored time. Aisha asked the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) “What should I say on Laylat’il-qadr?” And he replied, “O Allah, indeed you are a Pardoner, and you love pardon; so pardon me.”

Umm Salamah said, the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) entered when Abu Salamah was dying and he was looking at the heaven. So the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) closed his eyes and said, “When the soul is being seized, the eyes follow it.” Then some people from his relatives panicked. The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s) said, “Do not make du’a except for good. Indeed the angels will say, ‘Ameen’ for whatever you say. O Allah, fogive Abu Salamah, and raise his rank, and forgive us and forgive him, O Lord of the Universe, and expand his grave and illuminate it.”

Always remembering whom you are asking

You are asking Allah, Who loves to be asked, Who does not tire of suppliants, and He is Closest to you.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ramadan guide for Single Muslims

For most Muslims, Ramadan is family time. You get up together, eat Iftar together, pray together, etc. But what if you don't have your family near you?

Waking up in a lonely apartment and eating food you've sometimes burnt in an effort to catch Suhur in time are some of the realities of being a single Muslim in Ramadan. But there are ways to make Ramadan special when you're on your own. Here are a couple of ideas. Please feel free to post yours at the bottom of this article.

1. Establish a Suhur telephone tree

Get a couple of friends together and establish a telephone tree to wake each other up for Suhur. Establish a time to call and a schedule of who will call whom. Make it a little exciting by adding some funny phrases every week that will really wake everyone up (e.g. "ASSALAMU ALIAKUM" This is the Suhur Sister/Bellowing Brother calling. Rise and shine y'all for some morning grubÓ).

2. Invite people over for Iftar

Even if even you couldn't eat the food the last time you cooked, invite people over for Iftar. Make it a potluck, order pizza or if you can afford it, get it catered. The food isn't the thing. The blessing is in the company, and you'll be rewarded for feeding everyone. Make sure to especially invite those who are away from their families.

3. Attend prayers at the local mosque/MSA

Even if the Imam's recitation isn't the best and the behavior of other Muslims can be more than annoying, try to attend Tarawih prayers organized by your local mosque or your Muslim Students' Association (MSA). While praying alone in peace and quiet is great, praying shoulder-to-shoulder with other Muslims with whom you have nothing in common except your faith is a unique and uplifting experience.

4. Get involved in community programs

It may seem hard to squeeze in time for anything else in Ramadan, but try, at least once, to do some volunteer work. Cook a meal for those who attend the MSA Iftar; volunteer for a day at a soup kitchen; help make or distribute flyers for a Ramadan program; make Ramadan Mubarak loot bags of candy for the kids at your local mosque. The possibilities are numerous. The point is to give to others so you can get back what's priceless.

5. Keep the Quran playing when you are alone at home

It's often tempting to keep the TV or radio on when we're alone at home to avoid the silence. This Ramadan, find a CD or cassette of a Quran reciter you like and play it during those moments when you want to fill your place with some sound. Choose selections you'd like to memorize, like the 30th part of the Quran.

6. Eat properly- don't resort to burnt toast and egg

Not eating Suhur and Iftar properly will make you crabby, irritated and sick (as opposed to healthy, wealthy and wise). Establish a personal Ramadan meal plan. Choose healthy, easy-to-make recipes so you're not scrambling at the last minute for something to eat.

7. Keep in touch with family and friends back home

Send Ramadan e-cards, thoughts, reflections, questions, etc. via phone or email to family and friends. Keep in contact at least once a week and share three Ramadan-related things you've done in the last ten days of Ramadan.

8. Take care of others

Know a new person at the school/office? Is a friend who lives nearby having problems with their spouse? Or is someone you know having money problems? This Ramadan, reach out with an attentive ear, a generous hand, and most importantly, an open heart to others. Don't let these small opportunities for gaining blessings slip you by.

9. Decorate your crib

Add some festivity to your spare surroundings by dressing the place up with a Ramadan banner, balloons and streamers. Even after a rough day, coming home to a decorated home is a boost to the spirits.

10. Pick and pursue Ramadan goals

Choose at least three goals to pursue this Ramadan. Whether it's curbing a bad habit or starting a good one, doing this will help you focus and work harder this month to change for the better. It takes 21 days to establish a good habit. With Ramadan, we've got 30. Why not make the best of it by picking up the good?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Relationship Between Supplication and Ramadhan

Yousuf Jaafar Idris
Reprinted from

Making dua is a part of the month of Ramadhan. The connection between the noble practice of supplicating to Allah and the honored month of Ramadhan is shown in the following ways.

The ayah of supplication is preceded and followed by ayaat of fasting (2:183-187).

183. O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,-

184. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.

185. Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, 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, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.

186. When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.

187. Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are Limits (set by) Allah. Approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.

The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said that the du’a of the fasting one is accepted.

“Indeed for the fasting person, when he brakes his fast, is a supplication that will never be rejected.”

“Three people’s supplication will not be rejected: a just ruler, a fasting person until he brakes his fast, and an oppressed person.”

It is encouraged to make du’a in laylat’ul-qadr.

Aisha asked the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) “What should I say on Laylat’il-qadr?” And he replied, “O Allah, indeed you are a Pardoner, and you love pardon; so pardon me.”

The Prophet (s.A.w.s.) supplicated all night before the battle of badr, which occurred during Ramadhan.

Manners of Supplication
Asking Allah alone

Do not make dua to anyone alongside Allah. (70:18)

Say (O Muhammad): I make dua unto Allah only, and I ascribe unto Him no partner. (70:20)

The Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) said, “Dua is worship.” Making dua is an act of worship; and directing one’s worship to other than Allah alone is major shirk, a sin which nullifies the person’s islam altogether.

Praising Allah at the beginning of the dua

The primary example of praising Allah before beseeching Him-subhanahu wa ta’ala- is in Surah al-Fatiha,

All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds

The Beneficent, The Merciful,

Owner of the Day of Judgement

You alone we worship

And You alone we ask for help

Guide us on the straight path,

The path of those You favored,

Not of the on whom is wrath, nor the astray.

The Prophet was sitting in a masjid and a man came, and prayed, “O Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me.” So the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.) told him, “You were hasty. When you pray, praise Allah and send the salah on me, then ask Allah.” Another man came and he praised Allah and he sent the salah on the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.); so he (s.A..a.w.s.) said, “O suppliant, ask Allah and your prayer will be answered.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi)

Sending the salah on the Prophet (s.A.a.w.s.)

“Every supplication will be denied until the suppliant prays upon the Prophet.” (hasan) NB. Not every dua should contain the salah upon the Prophet. In fact, he (s.A.a.w.s.) instructed his companions with several dua without the salah upon him (such as the dua of istikhara).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

O You Who Are About to Marry, Any Last Words? Any First Words? p.2

Specific topics and questions to consider — an outline to build on:

Air and Water
–What are the roles of a husband?
–What are the roles of a wife?

This is a separate category because no other topic was so identified in research by Muslims and non-Muslims as a cause of divorce. Huh? Divorce? Yes, couples that have completely different ideas about these roles, and lacked the ability to concede or compromise — they often end their marriages.

“Air and Water” are essential for life, but we hardly ever have to talk about them. You might have additional topics that are “air and water” for you, but these two are different: they will affect everything else. If you are honest with each other now about your expectations, and if you can both breathe easily (accommodate each other), then later on, bi’idhnillah, you will only talk about these roles when you need to clear the air or get through murky waters. You can start the conversation in the abstract, what is the role of “a” husband and “a” wife, but you’re talking about each other.

Bread and Butter
–Finances including expectations of income and spending, who will work, what kind of work/income you would seek or refuse.
–Kids including how many and when, and how to raise them.
–Parents (ie., your kids’ grandparents, bi’idhnillah), other family, friends, socializing.
–Living arrangements including with or without parents and city/neighborhood and expectations of how big and how much.

Unlike “air and water” you can have as many bread and butter topics as you want. All of these things are important, and they may become the subject of arguments in a marriage if you do not discuss your expectations before marriage. But one thing that makes this category different from the others is that all the items are material or external in some fashion. Numbers, sizes, other people, stuff: how much of it do you want, by when, where, and does it even matter to you — assuming the other person has the same answers as you would be a mistake.

Veiled Gems

If you pay close attention to the discussions you and your potential spouse have during bread and butter topics, you will not only address each other’s expectations, bi ‘idhnillah, but also learn a lot about each other’s character.

For the same reason have conversations about goals and accomplishments, past and future — find out how each of you defines an accomplishment. See how much your goals, expectations, and priorities match with each other.

Have conversations about people in need — to find out whether the person cares about others or is more self-interested. Also to find out whether the person really listens to you, or is just waiting for his/her turn to speak. Finally, remember that marriage will have challenges, too, and these conversations will help you figure out whether you are talking to someone that you can rely on if times are tough. Or naudhobillah, someone who would run at the first sign of trouble.

Note: see “poison pills.” When it comes to any conversation, but especially for a veiled gem, you are not digging for faults, but searching for genuine understanding. Allah is ar Rahman nir Raheem — you can be forgiving and merciful to each other without being judgmental, while thinking seriously about your compatibility.

Poison Pills

Anything at all about which you yourself do not care while you speak. Even a noble subject, if you talk about it when you do not care what you or the other person are saying could become ghafla. There is also the disastrous possibility that the other person will see you do not care about the conversation and believe you do not care about them — (perhaps) mistaking your attitude.

Immodest conversations in general. Imagine the two of you were sitting in a room with the woman’s father, and the man’s mother. if you think the topic would cause the mother to look away or the father to pull out a sword, then you’re probably thinking of a topic that should not be discussed. Maybe the problem is only that immodest words are being used to discuss a topic that is permissible for you — so exercise good judgment.

What happened to deen?
Fasabrun jameelun.

The Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam praised the quality of deen in a future spouse above wealth, beauty, family, and nobility.

Yet, you should realize that finding a religious person is not enough. You should have other things in common before marriage. Do look for a religious spouse, and choose one who is more compatible with you.

And a word of wisdom from past TDCs spoken by multiple shuyukh and advocates: when you search for a religious spouse, ask yourself if she would be happy with your religiosity, too! As Shaykh Yaser puts it, “Would you marry you?” — in this context would you be satisfied with a spouse who was only as religious as you?

Specific sources used in developing this handout: Fiqh of Love and (with Shaykh Yaser Birjas), 10 Conversations You Must Have Before Marriage by Dr. Guy Grenier, 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married by Monica Mendez Leahy, Article posted in the Al Maghrib forums by Rabbi Mordecai Rottman, MA, “Four things to look for in a spouse.”