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How to Prepare for Ramadan in Sha`ban

By Editorial Staff

To get the best of Ramadan, insha’Allah, one needs to prepare well and put the plan before the precious month knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

Be a Winner in Ramadan

It is the month of the year, and the actual loser is the one who witnesses Ramadan without being forgiven in it as narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The tips below discuss how to make actual and useful preparation for the precious month without dumping into details.

Ramadan

To get the best of Ramadan one needs to prepare well and put the plan before Ramadan knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

1- Supplicate Allah to prolong your life to attend Ramadan, bless it for you, accept your good deeds in it and forgive your shortcomings.

2- Make a sincere repentance from all sins and evil deeds, regret them, and ask Allah to help you not to turn again to them.

3- Keep away from the misdeeds that displease Allah and incur his Wrath upon you.

4- Always renew your repentance to Allah and your commitment with Him.

5- Strive to observe the obligatory prayers at their due times in congregation so that it will be easy for you to continue on this in and after Ramadan.

6- If you are not in the habit of offering the supererogatory prayers, try to do some of them and move on to do all of them.

7- Rectify your intention, make all your actions sincerely to Allah, the Almighty, Alone.

8- As the utmost goal of fasting is attaining Taqwa (righteousness and fear of God), facilitate its realization by the different means of Taqwa, such as remembering Allah, reading about the stories of the earlier generations, contemplation on the Qu’ran, thinking about death and the Hereafter, and so on.

9- Abandon TV series and movies that include prohibited scenes.

10- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. use up most of our free time. From now on, give Qur’an, dhikr, Salah, etc. the greater time to prepare for the month of the Qur’an and Salah; Ramadan.

11- Recitation of the Qur’an in Ramadan is the month’s worship, so make the Qur’an your companion by starting recitation from now and learning the rules of Tajweed.

12- If you have a missed fast from the former Ramadan, make up for them in Sha`ban, as Lady `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to do.

13- Accustom yourself to long du`aa’ (supplication), memorize some of the reported supplications of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and remember that the supplication of the fasting person is accepted.

13- Accustom yourself to long stay in the mosque after each Prayer, in preparation for i`tikaf in the month.

14- Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

15- Follow the Prophet’s example in fasting in Sha`ban, as he used to fast most of the month of Sha`ban. Do not forget that this makes fasting in Ramadan easy for you.

To get the best of Ramadan, in sha’ Allah, one needs to prepare well and put the plan before Ramadan knocks the door without being ready to receive it.

Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

16- Save some money to give in Sadaqah (charity) in Ramadan and start from now.

17- Start offering 2 rak`ahs (unit of Prayer) daily and increase the number from time to time during the night in preparation for tarawih (supererogatory night prayer).

18- Prepare yourself to make `Umrah in Ramadan, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “`Umrah in Ramadan equals Hajj with me (in reward).” (Al-Bukhari)

19- Among the best acts in this precious month is feeding the fasting persons, prepare yourself for it.

20- Map out your time and put a schedule to commit to it during the month in order to help you achieve the acts of worship you aim at.

21- Find righteous companions who would assist you in getting closer to Allah.

21- If you are a smoker, you should bear in mind that Ramadan is a good chance for you to quit. Start from now and minimize the number of cigarettes until you rid yourself of this bad habit that devour your money and health and incurs the displeasure of God.

23- The month of Ramadan is the month where the Qur’an is revealed. Thus, it is the best time to memorize the Qur’an. Let’s start from Sha`ban.

24- We all know that people use in Ramadan a lot of the types of food and drinks, we do not mind this on a condition of avoiding wastefulness. I suggest that you buy these things in Sha`ban to be free for worship only in Ramadan.

25- Maintain the ties of kinship before the coming of the blessed month and remember that Allah does not accept the deeds of those who disrupt these ties.

26- Some people simulate poorness despite that they are not so. Thus, find the actual poor people to be the right place for your Sadaqah.

27- Some people pay their Zakat in Ramadan to take the reward multiplied.

28- Accustom yourself to good manners, because the fasting person is not expected to react violently or indecently.

29- Bring your youngsters and tell them about the merits of Ramadan and the virtues of fasting in it so that they prepare themselves for fasting as much as they can.

30- Congratulate each other with the coming of the Holy Month.

These are 30 tips about the preparation for the blessed month of Ramadan that every one of us can do while receiving this month.

_________________________

 

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A Closer Look at the Virtues of Sha’ban

Sha’ban is the month when people’s actions are presented before Allah

Sha’ban before and after Islam

Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The name is derived from the root word ‘sha’ab’ which means to scatter or disperse. During the pre-Islamic period, Arabs used to scatter in this month in search of water. It is also said that they did that to make predatory incursions. This is because Sha’ban is preceded by the month of Rajab, one of the four sacred months of the Islamic lunar year, during which Arabs who lived before Islam did not use to commit such crimes. Sha’ban is followed by the month of Ramadan in which Muslims perform the fourth pillar of Islam i.e. Siyam (Fast). There are many other acts of worship whose performance is far more recommended in Ramadan such as performing the night prayer in congregation, reciting the Gracious Qur’an, giving to charity, etc. Thus, Sha’ban, the month that the Prophetic traditions point out that it receives less attention by most people, comes between two very important months whose virtues are very well known to many Muslims.

Actions of people are submitted to Allah on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. That should help and encourage Muslims to increase their worship and overcome any shortcomings affecting their worship. It should be noted that Allah does know everything that happens in the earth and in the heaven. Nothing escapes His knowledge as He is all-aware of all that people do.

Actions are presented before Allah twice a day:

Abu Huraira reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Angels take turns among you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn and afternoon prayers. Those (of the angels) who spend the night among you, then, ascend, and their Lord asks them, though He is the best informed about them: How did you leave My servants? -they say: We left them while they were praying and we came to them while they were praying. (Muslim)

Scholars said that this hadith is a proof that actions are presented to Allah daily. As for the reason for the question asked by Allah to the angels, it points out that there always are people who worship Allah sincerely along with the angels. Before Adam (peace be upon him) was created as a successor upon the earth, the angels thought he would spread corruption and shed blood. It becomes clear that those who worship Allah and refrain from committing mischief are the successful ones in his regard.  This means they have succeeded in being good human successors upon the Earth.

Actions are also presented before Allah twice a week:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “People’s deeds are presented before Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and then every slave (of Allah) is granted forgiveness (of minor sins) if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother, will not be pardoned. With regard to them, it is said twice: ‘Hold these two until they are reconciled’.”

This Hadith stresses the importance of worshipping Allah alone and warns against committing any actions that are related to shirk (polytheism). It also encourages Muslims to maintain close links, to love each other, to care for each other, etc. This is how the Muslim community should look like. In Islam, there should be no room for heart’s bad qualities such as hatred, spleen, jealousy. Having purified their hearts and souls from shirk and other diseases, Muslims will have their sins forgiven and Allah’s mercy will shower them.

Actions are presented before Allah yearly:

Usamah bin Zaid said:

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Shaban.’ He said: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.”‘ (Sunan an-Nasa’i 2357)

Although his actions are perfect, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) liked that his actions are presented when he is fasting. Many of the Muslims’ actions may harbor clear deficiencies. To make up for such deficiencies, Muslims are encouraged to observe those recommended acts of worship. Moreover, Muslims should be keen on emulating Prophet Muhammad so that they can have their sins forgiven.  In fact, it is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays and to fast many days of Sha’ban. Some scholars hold the opinion that the recommended fast during Sha’ban before the obligatory fast during Ramadan resembles the recommended prayer performed by Muslims before the obligatory congregational prayer. ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) used to fast in Sha’ban the obligatory days she could not fast during the last Ramadan.

There are other Hadiths that highlight that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast most days of Sha’ban. However,  as for the hadith that reads:

Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“When it is the middle of Sha’ban do not fast (until it is Ramadan).”

There is a disagreement among scholars of Hadith concerning it. The great scholars Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in, ibn ‘ady and Al-Shawkany declared this Hadith as weak. Other scholars such as Imam ibn al-Qayim and Imam Al-Albany hold the opinion that the Hadith is sound. In the latter case, the hadith is interpreted as to disallow the person to start to fast after the middle of Sha’ban. There is no problem to fast after the middle of the month so long as the person fasts regularly on Mondays and Thursdays or has fasted before the middle. The preferred opinion is the first one as the above mentioned Hadith is contradicted by the Hadith that prevent a Muslim to fast the last day or last two days of Sh’aban.

The 15th night of sha’ban

There are many misconceptions and innovations in religion people practice at that night. According to scholars of Hadith, There is no authentic hadith concerning the 15th night of Sha’ban. However, Imam Al-Albany is of the opinion that a very few number of Hadith are Hasan (good) because they are related through many weak chains of narrations that strengthen one another making the hadiths acceptable. The Hadiths have almost the same meaning. So, it will be enough to quote one of them:

“Allah looks down on the night of the middle of Sha’ban and forgives all His creation, apart from the idolater and the Mushahin (the person in whose heart there is rancour against his brother).”

Another thing is that some people also have a misconception about the following aya (verse of the Qur’an):

(In that blessed night, every wise affair is determined) (Qur’an: 44:4)

They think that this is the 15th night of Sha’ban. This is not correct as the context makes it clear that this is the Ramadan’s Night of Majesty that marks the revelation of the Gracious Qur’an.

 

In short, there are no special acts of worship that should be performed during that night or the following day the 15th. All the Hadiths that are mentioned in this regard are weak. If there is anything to be observed, it will be to fast most days of Sha’ban, avoid committing any acts of shirk and to purify one’s heart from hatred, grudge, enmity, and so on.

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The Best 10 Virtues of Fasting in Islam: What Are They?

After few days, Muslims all over the world will be witnessing the blessed month of Ramadan, the 9th month of the lunar calendar.  In some Islamic countries, people celebrate this month of fasting through decorating streets and houses with lanterns and ribbons.

May the new moon of the month of Ramadan be bringing guidance and good! They say that the night just before the first day of the month.

The many names of the month of Ramadan highlight its importance to Muslims. It is called the month of Fasting, the month of the Gracious Qur’an, the month of the night prayer, and the month of patience.

The night of Decree is better than a thouthand month

Lailat al-Qadr, the night of Decree, is in the last ten days of Ramadan. It is better than a thousand months.

What is fasting?

It means abstinence from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset during Ramadan. This must be accompanied by the niyyah, intention.

The great commentator Al-Qurtubi, the author of Al-jami’ li Ahkam Al-Qur’an, adds to this definition that the perfect and complete Fasting is that in which acts of disobedience are avoided and acts of worship are maintained.

Applying the niyyah here means that you observe fasting as an act of worship only for the sake of Allah and out of obedience to Allah. (look at virtue 6 below)

The legal ruling concerning fasting:

It is obligatory to fast the month of Ramadan; however, the following criteria should be met:

The person must be:

1- Muslim

2- Adult (it is recommended for young boys to fast if they have the ability to observe fasting)

3- Sane

4- Able to observe fasting (sickness and old age can be legal excuses for one to break their fast)

5- Resident (not travelling)

Women experiencing menstruation or post-natal bleeding are forbidden to observe fasting.

If fasting causes any harm to the worshipper, they do not fast and feed an indigent person instead.

The virtues of the Month of Ramadan

1- It is easier for Muslims in this month to do good and live in good as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. That is why in most Islamic countries, people are more active and keen on doing all the acts that bring them closer to Allah.

2- The voluntary night prayer may be performed in congregation in this month.

Abu Hurairah narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Whoever prays during the night in Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking its reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

3- The Gracious Qur’an was first revealed in Ramadan at the night of Decree. So, it is recommended to read the Qur’an and give to charity during this month.

Narrated Ibn `Abbas:

The Prophet (ﷺ) was the most generous of all the people and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) then used to be more generous than the fast wind. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

4- Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to perform I’tikaf (seclusion in the mosque) for the last ten days of Ramadan. This is because the night of Decree, which is better than a thousand month, occurs in these days. The worship at this night is better than the worship in more than 82 years.The reward for performing the night prayer at this single night is the forgiveness of all past sins provided that this is done out of sincere faith and in anticipation of Allah’s rewards. This is a great favour from Allah for Muslims.

The virtues of Fasting

1- Fasting is a shield or a screen from the Hell-Fire.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

He who observes fast for a day in the way of Allah He would remove his face from the Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

2- Fasting is a shield that protects or helps the worshipper to withstand temptations

Abdullah (b. Mas’ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to us:

O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

3- Those who perform fasting are the al-sāiḥūna

Allah says:

” Such are the repentant, the worshipful, the praise-giving; al-sāiḥūna, who bow to Him alone and who bow their faces down to the ground in Prayer to Him; those who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and who diligently observe the ordained limits of God. So give glad tidings to the believers of everlasting delight in Paradise”. (Quran 09:112)

The great commentator, Al-Tabari, explains the meaning of al-sāiḥūna as those who fast.

4- There is nothing equal to Fasting as it is a means to be admitted into the Paradise.

It was narrated that Abu Umamah said:

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action (I should do).’ He said: ‘Take to fasting, for there is nothing equal to it.”‘ (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

5- Fasting intercede on behalf of its observers on the Day of Judgment. This is mentioned in Hadith collected by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in is Musnad.

6- Fasting is means to expiate sins and to have all one’s past sins forgiven.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

7- Fasting is a reason for happiness in this life and Afterlife.

Abu Hurairah narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said: “There are two joys for the fasting person: the joy when he breaks his fast, and the joy of when he meets his Lord.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

8- Allah’s reward for Fasting is high and it highlights how great fasting is!

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

9- The virtue of the smell of the mouth of the person observing fasting

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

10- The supplication of a fasting person when he breaks his or her fast at sunset is not rejected.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
There are three whose supplications are not turned back: A just ruler, and a fasting person until he breaks his fast. And, the supplication of one who has been wronged is raised by Allah up to the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the gates of heaven are opened for it, and Allah says, ‘By My Might I will help you (against the wrongdoer) even if it is after a while.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
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The Fiqh of Fasting: Recommended Acts – Part 4

The recommended acts of worship are those acts whose performance is rewarded by Allah. However, there is no punishment if they are not performed.

The recommended acts of fasting:

Although there are many recommended acts concerning fasting, we will discuss here those ones related to fiqh. These are as follows:

1. Hastening to break one’s fast at sunset

It is recommended to break the fast with fresh dates. If there are no fresh dates, then one should break the fast with dried dates

When one feels sure it is sunset and the Maghrib (Sunset Prayer) announces, it is recommended for one to hasten to break the fast in both obligatory and supererogatory fasting.

Sahl bin Sa’d (RAA) narrated That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “People will always be fine (on the right path, or following the Sunnah) as long as they hasten to break their fast.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. Starting with fresh dates, dried dates or water

It is recommended to break the fast with fresh dates. If there are no fresh dates, then one should break the fast with dried dates. If there are not any, then one should break his or her fast with water.

After that, one can have the main meal of the day called iftar (the breaking of the fast).

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to break his fast before praying (the sunset prayer) with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water. (Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi)

3. Supplicating Allah when one breaks the fast

Supplication (du’aa) to Allah is always recommended. However, there are certain times on which du’aa is far more recommended. One of these times for the fasting person is at sunset. In addition, du’aa at this time is never rejected as long as the etiquette and prerequisites for making du’aa are observed.

Ibn Umar said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said when he broke his fast: Thirst has gone, the arteries are moist, and the reward is sure, if Allah wills. (Abu Dawud)

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

4. Having Suhur direclty before dawn

In addition to the blessing in it, suhur gives the person observing fasting the energy to better perform the other acts of worship. It is recommended to eat suhur and to finish eating it 10 or 15 minutes before the time of dawn.

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Eat Suhur (predawn meal). Surely, there is a blessing in Suhur.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

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The Fiqh of Fasting: Prohibited Fasts – Part 5

The true meaning of worship is achieved through the true submission and obedience to Allah’s commands. This is very obvious here, but how?؟

When it is obligatory to fast, Muslims hasten to obey Allah through observing it. Also, when it is forbidden to fast, they do not. This article highlights those days on which fasting is prohibited.

When it is obligatory to fast, Muslims hasten to obey Allah through observing it. Also, when it is forbidden to fast, they do not.

What are the days on which fasting is prohibited?

1. Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking)

This festival marks the end of Ramadan and based on proofs from the Sunnah, it lasts only for the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month in the lunar calendar. Traditionally, it can last for up to three days.

2. Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice)

This is the Muslims’ second festival that marks the end of the most important pillar of the pilgrimage to Makka (mecca), namely, standing on Arafat. It lasts only for the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar calendar. Usually, it can last for up to four days. The three days that follow the first day of the festival will be discussed below.

Scholars unanimously agree on the prohibition of fasting on those two days, that is, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Ad-ha. Moreover, celebrating on these two days is an act of worship as long as acts of disobedience are avoided. This is supported by the proof from the Sunnah:

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (RAA) narrated. ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has prohibited fasting on two days; the Day of Fitr (breaking the fast of Ramadan) and on the Day of sacrifice (‘Eid al-Ad-ha).’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. The days of Tashriq

These are the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah. It is also prohibited to fast on these days except for the pilgrim who cannot offer a sacrifice.

‘A’isha and lbn ‘Umar (RAA) narrated, ‘Nobody was allowed to fast on the days of Tashriq except for those, who could not afford the Hadi (sacrifice).’ (Al-Bukhari)

Nubaishah Al-Hudhali (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“The days of Tashriq (the three days following ‘Idul Ad-ha, i.e. 11th , 12th and 13th of Dhul Hijjah) are days of eating, drinking and remembering (dhikr) of Allah, the Most Great and Glorious.” (Sahih Muslim)

4. The day of doubt

This is the 30th day of Sha’ban, the 8th month in the lunar calendar.

On the 29th night of Sha’ban, it is sometimes impossible or to see the new moon. This makes people doubt the beginning of Ramadan and whether the following day is the 30th of Sha’ban or the first day of Ramadan. That’s why it is called “the day of doubt”.

According to the opinion of the majority of scholars, Muslims are allowed to fast only if the sight of the new moon is proven.

Scholars differ on whether fasting on this day is reprehensible or prohibited. The preferred opinion is that it is prohibited to fast on the day of doubt. This is in agreement with the meaning of the following hadith:

‘Ammar ibn Yasir said: “Whoever fasts on the day concerning which there is doubt has disobeyed Abul-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” Al-Bukhary related this Hadith as Mu’allaq1  (Suspended).

However, fasting on this day is only allowed if it happens to be on the usual days a person usually fasts. For example, the person observing fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is allowed to fast on the day of doubt if it happens to be on Monday or Thursday.


1: Mu’allaq Hadith is a hadith in which one or more narrators is removed from the beginning of the isnad i.e the chain of narration. Scholars consider Mu’allaq hadiths found in Sahih Al-Bukhary to be authentic.

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Legal Excuses for Breaking the Fast

If fasting causes any harm to the person or he or she is unable to observe it, this can be a legal excuse that allows him or her to break the fast. There are a lot of excuses; however, this article will discuss the most common issues, i.e. illness, old age, pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Illnesses are temporary or chronic. Temporary illnesses may cause a person to break their fast. In this case, they must make up the missed days after they recuperate. As for chronic illnesses, there will be no chance to make up the missed days. This raises the following questions:

What is the legal ruling regarding an old man or woman who cannot fast or make up the missed days?

What if the person suffers from a chronic disease such as diabetes or kidney failure?

But one among you who is sick or is on a journey shall then fast the same number of other days.

To answer these questions, let us first look at the interpretations of the following ʾaya (verse of the Qurʾan): Allah says:

“It is for a specified number of days. But one among you who is sick or is on a journey shall then fast the same number of other days. Yet for those who are (yuṭīqūnahu) (hardly) able to endure it, and do not fast, the redemption for each day, is feeding an indigent person “instead”.” (Quran 2:184)

Ibn ʿAbbas’s opinion

Ibn ʿAbbās (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) holds the opinion that the word yuṭiqunahu means that if a person finds it very difficult to fast or cannot fast, they should break their fast and feed an indigent person instead.

The majority of the Companions’ Opinion

However, the majority of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with all of them) say that the above mentioned ʾaya is abrogated.

In fact, the obligation of fasting was gradual. At first, it was optional for a person to fast or to feed an indigent person. Then, fasting became obligatory and the option of feeding was abrogated.

Thus, in the majority’s opinion, the word yuṭīqūnahu means if a person who can fast but chooses not to fast, they must feed an indigent person.

In short, Ibn ʿAbbās (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) disagrees with the other Companions (may Allah be pleased with all of them) in the following two points:

1. Ibn ʿAbbās interprets the word (yuṭīqūnahu) ‘those who are able to endure it’ as ‘those who are hardly able to endure it.

2. He uses the verse as a proof while it is abrogated.

The Majority of scholars hold the opinion that the abrogating verse is the following:

Allah says:

“So whoever among you bears witness to the month shall then fast it. Yet if one among you is sick or is on a journey (such a person shall then fast,) the same number of other days.” (Qurʾan 2:185)

Another proof that supports Ibn ʿAbbās’s opinion:

Some scholars also hold the opinion that old age and sickness are legal excuses for breaking one’s fast but the person must feed in indigent person instead.

This is the proof for that:

In a Mu’allaq Hadith (Suspended Hadith) related in Saḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī, Al-Bukhārī said,

“After growing old, Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) (was not able to fast and he) used to feed an indigent person bread and meat every day”

In short, there are two opinions regarding the answer to the two questions mentioned above:

1. Feeding an indigent person is a substitute for fasting in case of long-lasting inability. This opinion is more popular as it is better to avoid disagreement.

2. There is no substitute for fasting in case of inability. Feeding is only recommended if a person wants to emulate Anas (may Allah be pleased with him).

Breast-feeding and pregnant women

If pregnant women and those who breast-feed fear that fasting may cause harm to them or to the fetus or baby, they should break their fast.

What should breast-feeding and pregnant women do if they break their fast?

There are here a number of opinions:

First, Some scholars treat pregnancy as illness. Allah says,

“One’s mother bore one in feebleness upon feebleness” (Qurʾan 31:14)

In this case, they are treated as sick people who break their fast and make up the missed days later.

Second, scholars who adopt the opinion of Ibn ʿAbbās mentioned above say that they should break their fast and feed an indigent person for every day.

Third, other scholars like Ibn Ḥazm al-Ẓahirī say that they should break their fast without making up the missed days later or feeding an indigent person for every day.

Ibn Ḥazm used the following Hadith as a legal proof to support his opinion:

Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

A man from Banū ʿAbdullahh ibn Kaʿb brethren of Banū Qushayr (not Anas ibn Malik, the well-known Companion), said:

A contingent from the cavalry of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) raided us. I reached (for he said went) to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who was taking his meals.

He said: Sit down, and take some from this meal of ours. I said: I am fasting, he said: Sit down, I shall tell you about prayer and fasting.

Allah has remitted half the prayer to a traveller, and fasting to the traveller, the woman who is suckling an infant and the woman who is pregnant, I swear by Allah, he mentioned both (i.e. suckling and pregnant women) or one of them. I was grieved for not taking the food of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

(Related by Al-Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Mājah)

Other scholars say that this hadith allows the pregnant and breast-feeding women to break their fast. However, it did not disallow them to make up the missed days. Thus, it is a weak opinion.

The preferred opinion is the first one as it is in agreement with the explicit meaning of the verses related to fasting.

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Excellence and Rulings of the Last Ten Days of Ramadan

Ramadan is the best of all the months because of the many blessings, favours, mercies, forgiveness and protection from the Hell-fire bestowed upon worshippers during it. One of the best favours ever bestowed upon people is, however, the revelation of the Gracious Quran.

It was the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was first sent down

The best book, the Gracious Quran, was revealed to the best of all messengers, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) through the best of all angels, Gabriel (peace be upon him) in the best of all the months, Ramadan. Hence, Prophet Muhammad’s Ummah (Community) is the best of all people. Allah says,

“You (believers) are the best Community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind: You enjoin what is right. And you forbid what is wrong. And you believe in God.” (Quran 3:110)

Having known that Ramadan is the best of all months, you should know that the last ten days and nights of it are the best of these days and nights of the month. On the other hand, there are the first ten days of the last month in the lunar calendar, the month of Dhul-hijjah. The virtues of these days are very well-known in the Gracious Quran and The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Which is better, the last ten days of Ramadan or the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah?

In reply to this question, Shaikh al-Islam, Ibn Taimiyah said,

“The daylight time is better in the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah than the last ten days of Ramadan. However, the nights are better in the last ten days of Ramadan than those of Dhul-hijjah.”

The nights are better in the last ten days of Ramadan because there is Lailat al-Qadr (the Night of Decree). On the other hand, the daylight is better in the first ten days of Dhul-hijjah because of the 9th day, the Day of Arafat, and the 10th day, Eid Al-Ad-ha. On these two days, Muslims perform most rites of Hajj (Pilgrimage).

The last ten nights of Ramadan

It is highly recommended that people spare no effort in worship during these nights so that they can be among those who worship Allah at the Lailat al-Qadr. The worship of Allah during this night is better than the worship during a thousand months without that night.  Also, it is a sunnah of the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to increase worship during those nights.

‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year; and he would devote himself more (in the worship of Allah) in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he strove in earlier part of the month. (Muslim)

It is also recommended that family members encourage each other to spend most of the night worshipping Allah.

‘A’isha (RAA) narrated, ‘With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. keep away from his wives) and used to stay up praying all night, and he would also wake his wives (to pray and recite Qur’an etc..).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Lailat al-Qadr (the Night of Decree)

Lailat al-Qadr is one of the last ten nights of Ramadan. It’s not known which specific night it is. Allah concealed it to test people so that it can become clear who is keen on seeking its virtues and blessings. To pass the test, Muslims strive to do more acts of worship during these nights. These acts of worship include performing the night prayer, reciting the gracious Quran, making du’a (supplication), etc.

Moreover, Allah concealed it to shower His servants with His Mercy. This means that if people increase their worship during these blessed nights, this will bring them closer to Allah besides the greater reward they shall get.  The reward for worship and the virtues of this night is the greatest of all the year. Allah says,

“I swear by the Quran, the clear Book! Indeed, it is We (alone) who have sent it down in a blessed night. For, indeed, it is We (alone) who are giving (humanity) forewarning (of a nearing Judgment). In that (blessed night) every wise affair is determined.” (Quran 44:2-4)

The Quran describes Lailat al-Qadr as a blessed night because of the many virtues and blessings bestowed upon the believers on this night. Moreover, the revelation of the gracious Quran is one of the blessings of this night.

The meanings of “al-Qadr

First, al-Qadr means decree. So, on Lailat al-Qadr, every wise affair or decree is transferred from the Preserved Tablet of Heaven- the timeless record of all things- to the angelic scribes who write down the decrees of the coming year including life span, provision, and what will happen until the end of the year.

Second, it also means very valuable. Hence, the reward for worship on that night is better and has more value than any other night of the year. It is even much better than the worship during over 83 years.

The reward for performing night prayer on lailat al-Qadr

Muslims spend more time praying on the last ten nights. They perform night prayers after Salat al-‘isha’ (the evening prayer). Because it usually takes a long time, they take a break before they continue to perform Salat Al-Tahjjud (another name for night prayer) usually after midnight.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whosoever performs Qiyam (night prayer) during Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Decree), with Faith and being hopeful of Allah’s reward, will have his former sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Surat al-Qadr

Allah says,

“Indeed, (it is) We (who) have sent this (Quran) down (from on high) on the Night of (Empowering) Decree. And do you realize what the Night of (Empowering) Decree is. The Night of (Empowering) Decree is better than a thousand months! Therein do the angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend, by the permission of their Lord, with every (divine) commandment. Peace it is till the rise of dawn!” (Quran 97)

This is the 97th chapter of the Gracious Quran which also stresses that the Quran was first revealed on that night. The angels descend on this night with goodness, blessings and mercies. Lailat al-Qadr is a night of peace to the believers as a great number of them are freed from the punishment in the Hell-fire. This continues till dawn.

The best du’a (supplication) made during those nights

Du’a is one of the best acts of worship made especially during those nights. Everyone can make his own du’a or plea. However, the following du’a should be made often:

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ) replied, “You should supplicate:

Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [Al-Tirmidhi].

Going on a ritual retreat in a mosque (I’tikaf)

I’tikaf is one of the recommended acts of worship observed for the last ten days of Ramadan. People remain in the mosque to worship Allah. They do not go out of the mosque except for necessary needs. It starts when the sun sets on the 20th day of Ramadan till the end of the month.

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to seclude himself (in the mosque) during the last ten nights of Ramadan. He would say, “Search for Lailat al-Qadr (Night of Decree) in the last ten nights of Ramadan.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

If a person cannot observe I’tikaf, they should spend as much time as they can in the mosque especially during the night.

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Etiquette and Legal Rulings of the `Eid Day

‘Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and ‘Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) are the only two main festivals in Islam.

There are certain acts of worship and etiquette Muslims should observe on those days to express their gratitude to Allah.  Among these acts of worship is the ‘Eid prayer. Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

There are certain acts of worship and etiquette Muslims should observe on those days to express their gratitude to Allah.

The legal ruling regarding the `Eid prayer

Scholars hold different opinions concerning performing the ‘Eid prayer. There are three rulings as follows:

1. Individually obligatory

This means that every Muslim must perform it. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah. They quoted the following Hadith to support their opinion:

Umm ‘Atiyya reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to bring out on ‘Eid al-Fitr (festival of fast-breaking) and ‘Eid al-Ad-ha (festival of sacrifice) young women, menstruating women and purdah-observing ladies, menstruating women kept back from prayer, but participated in goodness and supplication of the Muslims. I said: Messenger of Allah, one of us does not have an outer garment (to cover her face and body). He said: Let her sister cover her with her outer garment. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

They interpret the commandment in the hadith to mean obligation. Although it is not obligatory for women to perform the prayer in congregation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered them to witness the ‘Eid prayer. This, in turn, means that it is obligatory for men.

2. Collectively obligatory

This means that the ‘Eid prayer must be performed. Here, not every single person falls under the obligation. A group can perform the obligation on behalf of others.

This opinion is, however, not that strong. If the ‘Eid prayer is collectively obligatory, women won’t fall under the obligation which is in contradiction with the above mentioned Hadith.

3. Sunnah or recommended

If we take the following Hadith into consideration, we can understand the commandment in the above mentioned hadith to mean recommendation. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil (voluntary) prayers (you can).” … And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).”  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The time of ‘Eid prayer

The ‘Eid prayer has the same time as Duha prayer. Duha means the morning sunshine. In the technical usage it refers to a specific time that starts about 10 or 15 minutes after the sunrise and finishes 10 or 15 minutes before the Dhuhr (noon) prayer or before it’s high noon i.e. when the sun starts to move from its highest point in the sky towards the direction of the sunset.

The place of its performance

It is recommended that the ‘Eid prayer be performed in the open, namely, outside mosques in a wide place. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to perform it in the desert. However, the place should be near so that it can be easy for people to attend.

It is reprehensible to perform the ‘Eid prayer in mosques without any legal excuse.

The recommended acts of the Day of ‘Eid

1. Eating before ‘Eid prayer on ‘Eid al-Fitr and after it on ‘Eid al Ad-ha

On ‘Eid al-Fitr, it is recommended to eat dates or something else if there is not any before going out to perform the prayer. This shows how obedient Muslims are in hastening to fulfill Allah’s commands by breaking the fast.

On ‘Eid al-Ad-ha, it is recommended to eat after the ‘Eid prayer. If a person offers a sacrifice on this day, it is recommended to eat from what they offered.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of ‘Eid al-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to eat odd number of dates.

2. Going out for the ‘Eid prayer in the early hours of the morning

One can go out after performing the fajr (Dawn) prayer. Only the Imam can come on the time of the prayer.

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to proceed to the Musalla (the place of the prayer) on the days of ‘Eid al-Fitr and ‘Eid al-Ad-ha; the first thing to begin with was the prayer… (Al-Bukhari)

3. Going to the place of the prayer on foot

Legal excuses such as sickness, the place for prayer is far, etc. allow the person to ride.

4. Taking a ritual bath and to putting on perfume

Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to take a ritual bath before proceeding to perform the ‘Eid prayer.

5. Wearing clean and nice clothes

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Buy this cloak and adorn yourself with it on the ‘Eid festivals and on meeting the delegations.” (Al-Bukhari)

6. Going through one route and returning through another one

Scholars say the wisdom behind that is to emulate Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). There are other opinions regarding this, however, this is the preferred one.

Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

On the occasion of the ‘Eid, the Prophet (ﷺ) would proceed to the prayer place taking one route and returning from another. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7. Reciting Takbir in a loud voice

Allah says,

“Rather, (He wills) for you to complete the number (of prescribed days) _ and that you shall extol God for (the blessing of faith to) which He has guided you, so that you may give thanks (to Him alone for easing its way and establishing you therein).” (Quran 2: 185)

‘Extol God’ means to say takbir. One starts to recite takbir when he comes out of his house and after he reaches the place of the prayer. This continues till the time of the prayer.

The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the time for takbir on ‘Eid al-Fitr starts from after the dawn prayer until the time for performing the ‘Eid prayer. Others say that it starts immediately after seeing the new moon of the month of Shawwal.

On ‘Eid al-Ad-ha, there are two kinds of takbir with regard to the time of saying it: The first kind, which is recited at any time, starts from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah until the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah. Moreover, the second kind, which is recited after every obligatory prayer, starts from the Fajr (dawn) prayer on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah until the ‘Asr (afternoon) prayer on the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah.

There are many forms of takbir. The following is one of the most famous:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, and for Allah is all praise).

8. Offering congratulations

Different expressions can be used here such as ‘may Allah accept our and your good deeds’ or ‘Eid Mubarak’ (I wish you a blessed ‘Eid), etc.

 

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Ramadan Is Not the End! It’s a New Start!

By Editorial Staff

Kinds of people after Ramadan

1. The successful ones

The Blessed month of Ramadan during which Muslims have performed many acts of worship is now over. It acts as a witness for or against people.

Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment.

Those who spared no effort to observe as many acts of worship as they could must be ecstatic with happiness. This is because they have successfully completed their fasting. They hope that the month is not only a witness but that it is also their intercessor on the Day of Judgment. Moreover, they have got rid of their past sins.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The same reward is granted to those who also performed the tarawih (night prayer). Every Muslim who observed fasting and tarawih prays to Allah to accept their good deeds.

2. The Most successful ones

Out of precaution, good people fear that their actions are not accepted because of likely shortcomings that may be there in their worship. That’s why they ask Allah to accept their fasting, tarawih, recitation of the Quran, giving in charity and the other good deeds they have performed.

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah,

“And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear.” (Quran 23:60)

Is this the one who commits adultery, steals and drinks alcohol?’

He said: ‘No, O daughter of Abu Bakr’ – O daughter of Siddiq – rather it is a man who fasts and gives charity and prays, but he fears that those will not be accepted from him.’” (Ibn Majah and Al-Tirmidhi)

Ibn kathir and Al-Albany declared this Hadith as authentic.

3. The unsuccessful ones

On the other hand, there are others who are happy because Ramadan is over. They do not like it to perform fasting and other acts of worship. Those lazy people often neglect performing the compulsory acts of worship. That’s why one can find the number of Muslims observing prayer in mosques decreases after Ramadan.

Such people should ask themselves whether their deeds are accepted. They should be truthful if they really seek Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.

Signs of acceptance

There are signs that denote that one’s good deeds are accepted. One of these signs is that one finds themselves more steadfast and unwavering in abiding by the rituals of Islam. The progress in worship and behavior Muslims make by the end of Ramadan denotes their success in benefitting from Ramadan.

On the contrary, there are people who have not made any progress. They are still lazy to do acts of worship. Thus, their condition after Ramadan is the same as or even worse than before it. This denotes non-acceptance of their worship.

In fact, they have not seized the opportunity to gain the great rewards of the blessed month. They may not have the chance to live until the next Ramadan. We ask Allah, Almighty, to guide such people to repentance and to shower them with His mercy.

Worship is not over after Ramadan

If the month of Ramadan is over, this does not mean the time of worship is over. Allah says,

“And worship your Lord (thus) – until the certainty (of death) comes to you.” (Quran 15:99)

We can understand from this aya that one should continue to worship Allah as long as he is alive because no one knows the specific time of his or her death. It’s everyone’s hope to die while they are in the best state of maintaining the rituals of Islam and closeness to Allah. To achieve this goal, one should consider the following aya. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Be ever God-fearing, with a fear justly due Him. And do not die, except while you are muslims, in willing submission to God (alone).” (Quran 3:102)

When interpreting this Aya, Imam Ibn Kathir, the great commentator of the Quran, said, “Preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.”

In fact, good deeds should still be observed all the year round. Fasting, performing night prayer, reciting the Gracious Quran, giving in charity, making du’aa (supplication) and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil are just a few examples. Let us look at one or two of these kinds of worship!

Fasting

Although fasting is compulsory in Ramadan, it is still recommended in the other months. In Shawwal, it is recommended to fast six days.

Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who observes Al-Sawm (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes Al-Sawm for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed Al-Sawm for the whole year.” (Muslim)

One can start to perform those six days from Shawwal 2 because it is prohibited to fast the first day of Shawwal. They may be observed consecutively or separately during the month.

The other supererogatory fasts

The other recommended fasts during the year include fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and for three days every month, the 13th, the 14th and the 15th.

The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would also encourage Muslims to do more acts of worship on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month in the lunar calendar. This includes fasting on those days. Moreover, the reward for fasting on the Day of Arafat, the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, is the forgiveness of the sins of two years, one before and one after that day. It should be noted that it is not recommended for the pilgrim to fast the Day of Arafat. The reward of the pilgrim for standing on Arafat and doing other acts of worship is the forgiveness of all past sins. So, the pilgrim does not fast on that day to be better able to do more acts of worship.

It is also highly recommended to fast a lot of days of Al-Muharram, the first month in the lunar calendar. Fasting the 10th day of Al-Muharram forgives the sins of the previous year. Also, Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to fast most days of Sha’ban.

The night prayer

The night prayer is not exclusively recommended in Ramadan. It can still be performed at every night of the year.

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying: The most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah’s month al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after the prescribed prayer is the prayer during night. (Muslim)

The night prayer is one of the best acts of worship that brings the Muslim closer to Allah. In addition, it is a symbol of goodness and excellence. Allah says,

“Little of the night did they lie down. For at night’s end they were seeking (God’s) forgiveness.” (Quran 51: 17-18)

Reciting the Gracious Quran

Reciting the Gracious Quran should be part and parcel of the Muslim’s everyday life. There are several ayat (verses) from the Quran and many hadiths that encourage Muslims to read the Quran, study its meanings and reflect upon its admonitions. The Muslim should spend some time to do this even if it is ten minutes. Allah says,

“Indeed, those who recite the Book of God, and who (duly) establish the Prayer, and who spend (charitably) from what We have provided them, secretly and openly- they have hope in a (blessed) transaction that shall never come to ruin- that He may give them their rewards (in full) and increase them evermore from His bounty. Indeed, He is all-forgiving, ever-thankful.” (Quran 35: 29-30)

There are a lot of other acts of worship which every Muslim should do a share of it. May Allah accept our and your good deeds! Ameen!

 

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