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We would like to welcome all the brothers and sisters who have taken the decision and found their way to Islam. We welcome you all to the fold of Islam.

At this critical and turning point in your life, we present you this “New Muslim Guide” which will help you live your life as a true Muslim and embrace Islam in your daily life.

Have taken the courageous step of submitting to the will of God, you , through devotion to Him alone, are truly free and able to fill the void in your life; to lead a life of devotion to Him, and still enjoy life.

The New Muslim Guide includes materials in the form of PDF books, audio and video files which will help you get to know more about Islam.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

The Neglected Value of Greeting

How important is greeting? What moral and social impacts does it have? How do Muslims greet each other?  How can we make it a habit?

In this age of technology and science, moral values and religious teachings taught in order to promote a refined society largely are neglected by all nations, and most unfortunately, Muslims are one of them.

Islamic greeting

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’

These moral downfalls are leading the Ummah toward the ditch of destruction; thus, it’s time we examine our attitude and improve it. Each community has words of greeting that are used when members of a community meet. Such greetings are to express courtesy and promote positive feelings.

The Islamic Greeting

The greetings granted to Muslims by the Qur’an hold the highest spiritual as well as moral values among the greetings of other nations.

Prior to Islam, it was common among the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula to say, “Hayak Allah” (May Allah grant you life) and “Sabah Al-khair” (Good morning).

A person once came into the presence of Al-Husayn ibn `Ali and said, “Kayfa anta? `Aafak Allah” (How are you? May Allah keep you safe). Al-Husayn immediately corrected him in the best manner, nicely giving him the basic teaching of Islam and responding with the following words, “Assalamu qabal al-kalaamu, `aafak Allah” (Say Salam prior to talking, may Allah protect you). He then taught: Don’t give permission to anyone until he says Salam.

At another place, Al-Husayn described the reward of Salam very precisely in these words: “There are 70 good deeds in Salam: 69 for the one who says it and only one for the person who responds. One who doesn’t reply to Salam is a miser” (Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol. 17, Qum).

The Qur’an directs us to respond Salam in a more courteous manner:

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it; surely Allah takes account of all things. (An-Nisaa’ 4:86)

Proud and arrogant people never initiate saying Salam, considering it below their dignity to reply. They only slightly move their head and smile instead of saying “Wa`alaykum assalam” They are misers of the worst class, as per Prophetic traditions.

Al-Husayn said, “The greater miser is the one who displays misery in reciting Salam”. Not only this, but the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) declared in crystal clear terms, “Whoever does not reply ‘Salam’ is not from us,” while one hadith notes, “The principal of humility begins with Salam.”

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer) for Muslims. Additionally, As-Salam is one of the Names of Allah.

Salam is highly recommended when visiting the graves:

Salaam upon you, O people of the graves, from the believers. You preceded us and we shall meet you, Insha’Allah).

How to Say Salam?

One hadith recommends reciting Salam in a manner that each one can hear clearly. The one who initiates the Salam first is closest to Allah. Hadith literature provides us with glorious teachings in this regards.

When someone questioned who should initiate Salam, the Prophet answered, “The one who (wish to) is closer to Allah. A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting and a small group should greet a large number.”

Salam should be offered to all Muslims, irrespective of whether they are acquaintances or strangers. Saying Salam aloud to everyone in a gathering is sufficient, as it’s unnecessary to greet each person individually. However, it’s incorrect to greet only a particular person in a gathering. Additionally, always convey Salam cheerfully.

In this regard, the following conversation is worth mentioning and available in the sacred scriptures. When Yahya met Isa (peace be upon them), he began by saying, “Salam,” and was answered with, “Salam.” Whenever Yahya met `Isa, Yahya always was happy and smiling, but `Isa was sorrowful, as if he resembled a crying person.

`Isa asked Yahya, “You smile like a happy person, as if you’re secure and protected,” to which Yahya replied, “You display such sorrow, as if you’ve given up all hope.” Then the commandment appeared, “The one who smiles the most is the dearest to Me.”

If a person is at a distance where Salam may not be heard, then Salam can be offered with a hand signal.

When?

However, it’s undesirable to recite Salam when a person is engaged in the following activities:

  • While performing salah (prayers)
  • While one is engaged in tasbeeh (glorifying and praising Allah) or dhikr; gathering for remembering and thanking Allah.
  • During khutbah (sermon), sitting together to study or listen to lectures.
  • While one is busy in reciting the Qur’an
  • During adhan; to repeat the wordings of adhan at the beginning of each prayer. It is a call to pray together in the Mosque.
  • While doing du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer)
  • While occupied in discussion or research of religious sciences
  • While a judge is delivering a verdict
  • While eating or drinking
  • While reciting talbiyah during the Hajj .

Unpleasant Practices

If one says, “Convey my Salam to your parents,” don’t reply on behalf of your parents, as you aren’t authorized and have no right to do that. An amazing practice prevalent on written invitations is, “Salam from our late parents.”

Does anyone have the power to visit, meet and hear Salam from the deceased and then forward it to others? All credit goes to the silly writer who designed such a text and which others blindly follow.

Another unpleasant practice very common today is using “Hi” instead of Salam in email and SMS prior to beginning a conversation.

Salam is also done by embracing a person and drawing him close to you upon meeting him after returning from a journey or after a long absence. Using both arms, hug the person around the neck and shoulders and draw him toward your chest. Men may practice this Sunnah with men and women can do it with women.

Always say Salam when visiting or telephoning others and care should be taken not to visit or phone anyone during times of rest or salah.

Additionally, never enter a home – no matter whose it is – without permission. To ask permission to enter, ring the bell and when the person of the house enquires as to who’s there, say Salam aloud and give your name, instead of saying, “Me,” as the Prophet instructed.

If you realize the one inside has heard your ring or voice and is purposely ignoring it, then repeat the ring three times. If there’s no permission or answer, then as per the Hadith, you must return.

_________________________

Source: www.irfi.org

Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany is an attorney, a religious scholar and a member of Pakistan’s Ulama Council. He received a doctorate in the United States at NDI and a Shahadat Al-Aalamiyah in Najaf, Iraq.

 

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

First Muslim Community in Madinah & the Groundwork for Hijrah

It was 620, a year after the deaths of Muhammad’s wife, Khadijah, and his uncle Abu Talib, and the time of the yearly pilgrimage to the Ka`bah and Makkah’s annual market period was drawing near. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was still dispensing his teachings in a climate of rejection, exclusion, and persecution.

Toward Exile

About a hundred Muslims now lived under protection in Abyssinia, but no solution seemed to present itself for the faithful who lived in Makkah.

The pilgrims, coming from all areas of the peninsula, started to settle in the Mina area, to remain there throughout the festival period. Muhammad often went there and conveyed his message to women and men who, in their distant dwelling places, had heard about it but did not know its actual contents. He was far from always receiving a favorable response.

At Al-`Aqabah, not far from Mina, the Prophet met a group of people from Yathrib. They were from the Khazraj tribe, one of the two great rival tribes in Yathrib (the other being the Aws), and he began to deliver his message to them. They had already heard of the message from the Jewish tribes who lived in their city, and they wished to know more about it. They listened to the Prophet and eventually accepted the message of Islam: they promised to inform the members of their tribe of the substance of the message and to keep in permanent contact with the Prophet. They went back home and started preaching in Yathrib.

In Makkah, conversions kept increasing, and Muhammad carried on with his public call. As far as his private life was concerned, many advised him to think of remarrying. Proposals had been made, but the Prophet had never pursued the matter. He had, however, had two dreams in which the very young `Aa’ishah, Abu Bakr’s daughter, who was then six years old, was offered to him in marriage.

When Khawlah, who had taken care of the Prophet’s needs since Khadijah’s death, advised him to remarry and suggested two names-Sawdah, a widow in her thirties who had very recently come back from Abyssinia, and `Aa’ishah, Abu Bakr’s daughter- Muhammad saw in this strange coincidence a sign of the truthfulness of his dreams, and he asked Khawlah to do what was necessary to find out whether the two unions were possible.

Polygamy was the norm in Arabia then, and the Prophet’s situation was the exception, since he had remained monogamous for twenty-five rears. The union with Sawdah was particularly easy to concretize: Sawdah immediately, and most favorably, answered the proposal made to her, and they married a few months later.

`Aa’ishah had already, in keeping with Arabian customs, been promised by Abu Bakr to Mutim’s son, and her father had to negotiate with Mutim in order to break the engagement. `Aa’shah then officially became Muhammad’s second wife, though the union would not be consummated for several years.

A year later, pilgrims and traders were again flocking to Makkah for the celebrations of 621. A second meeting was organized at Al-`Aqabah between the Prophet and the Yathrib delegation that had come to report on the evolution of the situation in their city. Twelve people from Yathrib, two of whom belonged to the Aws clan, took part in the meeting. They pledged allegiance to the Prophet, stipulating that they would worship only the One God, no others, and that they would honor the duties and interdictions of Islam.

They were therefore to constitute the first Muslim community in Yathrib. Muhammad sent back with them a Companion, Mus`ab ibn `Umayr, who had just returned from Abyssinia and who was known for his calm, his wisdom, and tile beauty of his recitation of the Qur’an.

Message of Brotherhood

Back in Yathrib, the delegation kept spreading the message and Mus`ab taught Islam, recited the Qur’an, and answered questions. In spite of age-old and still very sharp divisions between the Aws and Khazraj, members of both tribes converted to the new religion and realized that their former rivalries had become pointless: ’Islam’s message of brotherhood united them.

Clan chiefs nevertheless remained very reluctant to embrace Islam. Mus`ab never reacted to their attacks nor to their aggressive attitude; rather, he invariably answered: “Sit down and listen to the message: if you like it, accept it, if you do not, leave it.” As a result, the number of conversions was high, even among leaders.

During the following year’s pilgrimage, the Prophet met an important delegation of Yathrib. Muslims, composed of seventy-three people, two of them women. They belonged to both me Aws and the Khazraj, and they had come to bring the Prophet the good news of their commitment to Islam. After a few discussions about the nature of their future relationship, they concluded a second covenant stipulating that the Yathrib.

Muslims pledged to protect the Prophet, as well as Makkah’s Muslim women and children, against any aggression. This second covenant, granting refuge and protection and a commitment of Yathrib Muslims to support their Makkan brothers, opened before the Prophet the prospect of a promising future.

From then on, Muhammad encouraged Muslims to emigrate to Yathrib discreetly, while his closest Companions still remained by his side.

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The article is an excerpt from Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Etiquettes and Rulings of `Eid Al-Adha

`Eid Al-Adha is the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Hijri or Islamic calendar. It is, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The greatest day in the sight of Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, the Day of Sacrifice . . .” (Abu Dawud)

`Eid Al-Adha is the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Hijri or Islamic calendar.

`Eid Al-Adha is the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Hijri or Islamic calendar.

It is also the greatest day of Hajj, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us.

The reason why it is described as the greatest day of the year is that it combines so many acts of worship which are not combined on any other day, such as the `Eid prayer, offering the sacrifice, reciting Takbir (glorifying Allah), and widespread remembrance of Allah.[1]

The recommended acts of Sunnah on the day of `Eid are as follows:

1 – Taking a Bath before Going out to the Prayer

Al- Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is recommendable to take a bath for the `Eid prayer.

The reason why it is desirable is the same reason as that for taking a bath before Jumu`ah and other public gatherings. Rather, on `Eid the reason is even stronger.

2 – Eating after the Prayer on `Eid al-Adha

On `Eid al-Adha it is recommended not to eat anything until one comes back from the prayer, so he should eat from the udhiyah (sacrifice) if he has offered a sacrifice. If he is not going to offer a sacrifice, there is nothing wrong with eating before the prayer.

3 – Takbir on the Day of `Eid

This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of `Eid because Allah says:

(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Most Great) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The time for Takbir on `Eid Al-Adha begins on the first day of Dhul-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of Tashriq.

The time for Takbir on `Eid Al-Adha begins on the first day of Dhul-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of Tashriq.

Al-Daraqutni and others narrated that on the morning of `Eid al-Fitr and `Eid al-Adha, Ibn `Umar would strive hard in reciting Takbir until he came to the prayer place, then he would recite Takbir until the imam came out.

Saying Takbir when coming out of one’s house to the prayer place and until the imam came out was something that was well known among the Salaf (early generations). Nafi’ ibn Jubayr used to recite Takbir and was astonished that the people did not do so, and he said, “Why do you not recite Takbir?”

Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say, “The people used to recite Takbir from the time they came out of their houses until the imam came in.”

The time for Takbir on `Eid Al-Adha begins on the first day of Dhul-Hijjah and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of Tashriq.

4 – Offering Congratulations

The etiquette of `Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another “Taqabbala Allah minna wa minkum” (May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “`Eid mubarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.

It was narrated that Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: When the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) met one another on the day of `Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.”

Undoubtedly these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.

5 – Adorning Oneself on the Occasion of `Eid.

It was narrated that Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two `Eids and on Fridays. (Ibn Khuzaymah)

So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for `Eid. With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for `Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-Mahram men. It is also haram for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.

6 – Going to the Prayer by One Route and Returning by Another.

It was narrated that Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “On the day of `Eid, the Prophet used to vary his route.” (Al-Bukhari)

It was said that the reason for that was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on the Day of Resurrection and say what was done on it, both good and bad.  And it was said that it was in order to manifest the symbols of Islam on both routes, or to manifest the remembrance of Allah.

[1] Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

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Source: Islamqa.com.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Rulings and Conditions of Udhiyah

By Editorial Staff

Udhiyah refers to the animal slaughtered during the days of `Eid Al-Adha as an act of worship, intending to draw closer to Allah thereby. It is one of the rituals of Islam prescribed in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him), and according to the consensus of the Muslims.

The Muslims are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed in Islam, as was narrated by more than one of the scholars. But they differed as to whether it is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (a confirmed Sunnah) or it is obligatory and it is not permissible to omit it.

The majority of scholars are of the view that it is Sunnah Mu’akkadah. This is the view of al-Shafa`i, Malik and Ahmad according to his most well-known view. Others were of the view that it is obligatory. This is the view of Abu Hanifah and one of the views narrated from Ahmad.

Conditions of Udhiyah

There are six conditions for the Udhiyah:

1- It should be one of these kinds of animals: camels, cattle, sheep or goats, because Allah says:

And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. (Al-Hajj 22:34)

The beast of cattle includes camels, cattle and sheep. This is what is well known among the Arabs, and this was the view of Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others.

2- It should have reached the age stipulated in Shari`ah, which is six months for a sheep, five years for the camels, two years for the cattle, and one year for the goat.

3- It should be free of any faults that would render it unsuitable for sacrifice, of which there are four:

  • An obvious defect in one eye
  • Obvious sickness whose symptoms are clearly apparent in the animal
  • Obvious lameness which prevents the animal from walking normally
  • Emaciation that leaves no marrow in the bones

These four faults render an animal unsuitable for sacrifice, and they include similar faults or more severe faults.

4- The animal should belong to the person who is offering the sacrifice, or he should have permission for that either on the grounds of Shari`ah or from the owner. The sacrifice is not valid if the animal slaughtered does not belong to the person who is sacrificing it, such as one that has been taken by force, stolen, or taken on the basis of a false claim, etc, because it is not permissible to draw closer to Allah by means of sin.

5- It should be slaughtered at the time specified in Shari`ah, which is from after the `Eid prayer on the Day of Sacrifice until sunset on the last of the days of At-Tashriq, which is the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. So the days when the sacrificial animal may be offered are four: the day of `Eid after the prayer, and the three days after that. Whoever slaughters it before the `Eid prayer is over, or after sun sets on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah, his sacrifice is not valid, because of the hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari from Al-Bara’ ibn `Azib (may Allah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever slaughters (his sacrifice) before the prayer, it is meat that he has brought to his family, but that is not the sacrifice.”

But if he has an excuse for delaying it beyond the days of Tashriq, such as if the animal ran away, without there being any negligence on his part, and he could not find it until after the time was over, or he appointed someone else to slaughter it and that person forgot until the time was over, then there is nothing wrong with slaughtering it after the appointed time. This is by analogy with the one who sleeps and misses a prayer, or forgets it – he should pray it as soon as he wakes up or remember it.

It is permissible to slaughter the Udhiyah at any time, night or day, but it is better to slaughter it during the day, and it is better to slaughter on the day of `Eid after the two sermons of `Eid.

The Best Udhiyah

A sheep is good enough as a sacrifice for one man and the members of his household and his children, because of the hadith of Abu Ayyub: “At the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), a man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and they would eat from it and give some to others.” (Ibn Majah)

However, a camel or cow is enough for seven people, because of the report narrated by Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “We sacrificed at Al-Hudaybiyah with the Prophet (peace be upon him), a camel for seven and a cow for seven.” According to one version: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) commanded us to share camels and cattle, each seven men sharing one animal.” According to another version: “So a cow would be sacrificed on behalf of seven men and we would share it.” (Muslim)

Honoring the Udhiyah

The Sunnah for one who wants to slaughter the Udhiyah is to say when slaughtering it:

Bismillah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahumma hadha minka wa laka. (In the name of Allah, Allah is most great. O Allah, this is from You and to You.)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Anas said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) sacrificed two horned rams that were white speckled with black. He slaughtered them with his own hand and said “Bismillah wa Allahu akbar,” (In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest) and put his foot on their necks.

It is preferable for the one who has made a sacrifice to not eat anything on that day before he eats from it, if this is possible, because of the hadith, “Let every man eat from his sacrifice.” This eating should be after the `Eid prayer and sermon. This is the opinion of the scholars, including `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Malik, Al-Shafa`i and others.

It is better for a person to slaughter the sacrifice himself, but if he does not, it is recommendable for him to be present when it is slaughtered.

The scholars agreed that it is not permissible to sell anything from the meat, fat or skin of the sacrifice.  In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever sells the skin of his Udhiyah, there is no Udhiyah for him (i.e., it is not counted as Udhiyah).” (Sahih Al-Jami`) The butcher should not be given anything of it by way of reward or payment, because `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) commanded me to take care of the sacrifice and to give its meat, skin and raiment (covering used for protection) in charity, and not to give anything of it to the butcher as a compensation. He said, ‘We will give him something from what we have.’” (Agreed upon).

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Source: Islamqa.com.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah: Do’s and Don’ts

By the Editorial Staff

Among the great seasons of worship are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah has favored over other days. There are numerous hadiths indicating that these ten days are better than all other days of the year, with no exception. The Muslim should hasten to utilize this opportunity by offering sincere repentance to Allah, and multiplying the good deeds in these blessed days.

First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

These ten days are better than all other days of the year.

Regarding the superiority of these days of Dhul-Hijjah, Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymin said, “Indeed it is a great favor and blessing from Allah that He has made for His righteous servants periods of time within which they can increase in good deeds to attain great rewards. One of these opportunistic periods is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

The excellence of these ten days has been mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

By the dawn and by the ten nights… (Al-Fajr 89:1-2)

Ibn Kathir said that “the ten nights” referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubair, Mujahid and others.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions) said, “Not even Jihad?” He said, “No, not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.” (Al-Bukhari)

Also, Allah says:

…and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days. (Al-Baqarah 2:203)

Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Kathir said: this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

The Messenger of Allah said: “There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlil (to say la ilaha ill Allah “No one worthy of worship but Allah), takbir (to say allahu akbar “Allah is the Greatest”) and tahmid (to say alhumdulillah “praise be to Allah”).” (At-Tabarani)

It is reported that the noble companion Sa`id ibn Jubayr, when the days of Dhul-Hijjah began he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity to the extent that no one can do like that. (Ad-Darimi)

Ibn Hajar says in Fat-h Al-Bari: “The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.”

What Are the Recommended Acts in These Days

Prayer

It is highly recommended to perform the obligatory acts at their prescribed times and to increase oneself in the supererogatory (nawafil) acts, for indeed, this is what brings a person closer to their Lord.

The Messenger of Allah said: “Upon you is to increase in your prostration to Allah, for verily you do not prostrate to Allah with even one prostration, except that He raises you in degrees and decreases your sins because of it.” (Muslim)

Fasting

This has been mentioned as one of the acts of righteousness where Handabah ibn Khalid reports on the authority of his wife who reports that some of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The Prophet would fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of `Ashura and three days in every month.” (Abu Dawud)

Imam An-Nawawi said that fasting in these ten days is extremely recommended.

Takbir, Tahlil and Tahmid

In the aforementioned narration of Ibn ‘Umar, the Prophet said: “So increase yourselves in saying la ilaha illa Allah, Allahu akbar and alhamdulillah.”

Imam Al-Bukhari (may confer mercy on him) said: “Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to go out to the markets in the ten days saying the takbir causing the people to follow them in this action.”

He also said: “`Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to say the takbir in his minaret in Mina, whereupon the people of the mosque hearing `Umar, would start to say the takbir as would the people in the markets until the whole of Mina was locked in glorifying Allah.”

Ibn `Umar used to say the takbir in Mina during these ten days and after prayers, whilst on his bed, in his tent, in his gathering and whilst walking. What is recommended is to say the takbir aloud due to the fact that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, his son and Abu Hurayrah used to do likewise, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Muslims has to strive with in reviving this sunnah that has become lost in these times and it was almost forgotten, even amongst the people of righteousness and goodness all of which is unfortunately in opposition to what the best of generations were upon (preserving and maintaining the supererogatory acts).

Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah

Fasting has been affirmed on the day of `Arafah, where it has been authentically reported from the Prophet that he said regarding fasting on the day of `Arafah: “I hope that Allah will expiate for you your sins for the year before (the day of `Arafah) and the year after (the day of `Arafah).” (Muslim)

However, whoever is at `Arafah as a pilgrim then fasting is not expected of him, as it is reported that the Prophet stopped at `Arafah to eat.

What Should Be Avoided during Them?

Sheikh `Abudl-`Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah confer mercy on him) said: “If anyone wants to offer an Ud-hiyah, and the month of Dhul-Hijjah has begun, then it is haram for him to remove anything of his hair or nails or skin until he has slaughtered the Ud-hiyah, because of the hadith of Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet said: “When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah – according to another version, When the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) begin – and any one of you wants to offer an Ud-hiyah, let him refrain (from cutting) his hair and nails.” (Muslim) According to another version, “Let him not remove anything from his hair and nails until he offers the Ud-hiyah.”

The reason for this prohibition is that when the person who wants to offer the Ud-hiyah joins the pilgrims in some of the rituals of Hajj – namely drawing closer to Allah by slaughtering the Ud-hiyah – he also joins him in some of the features of ihram, namely refraining from cutting his hair etc.

This ruling applies only to the one who is going to slaughter the Ud-hiyah. It does not apply to the one on whose behalf an Ud-hiyah is offered. Based on this, it is permissible for the family of the person who is going to offer the Ud-hiyah to remove things from their hair, nails and skin during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

If one has to remove them because of necessity, there is no blame on him, such as if a nail breaks and it annoys him, so he cuts it, or if a hair gets in his eye and he removes it, or he needs to cut his hair in order to treat a wound and the like.” (Fatawa Islamiyyah)

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First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah: Special Season of Worship

With the start of Dhul-Hijjah less than a week away, Muslims all over the world are preparing to embark on a journey of a lifetime. However, if you are among those who will instead be watching them on TV and wishing you were with them, you must be asking yourself: What do I do during these days?

Dhul-Hijjah

There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days.

Let us remind ourselves of some specific and other general deeds which will in sha’ Allah maximize our benefit from the best of all days!

The Superiority of These Days

The immense importance of these days is shown by the fact that Allah (Exalted be He) swears an oath by them in the Qur’an: “By the dawn; And (by) ten nights.” (Al-Fajr 89:1-2)

In Tafsir Ibn Kathir it is mentioned that the “ten nights” in the verse above refer to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

The reason righteous deeds are more rewarding during these days, according to Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf, is because they are Hajj days in the sacred season of pilgrimage. Because of their excellence and importance, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swore by them.

So what can you do to honor these days?

1- Take Special Care of Your Obligations

Before talking about any voluntary actions (and bonuses), it is important to remind ourselves that we must first take care of all our obligations. How can we think of building and beautifying a house without constructing its pillars? Thus, we have to pay special attention to the pillars of Islam and strive to perfect our obligations.

a- Pray on time (and in congregation, for men)

The Messenger of Allah said, “Verily, between a man (i.e., a Muslim) and between shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief) is the abandoning of As-Salah (prayers).” (Muslim)

b- Give your zakat if it is due!

c- If you have not yet fulfilled the obligation of Hajj, make special du`aa’ to Allah to grant you the opportunity to do so soon and in the best of manners.

2- Supplicate for Sighting of the New Moon

Start the month with this supplication:

‘Allah is the Most Great. O Allah, bring us the new moon with security and Faith, with peace and in Islam, and in harmony with what our Lord loves and what pleases Him. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah.’ (Fortress of the Muslim)

3- Repeat Tahleel, Takbir and Tahmeed

These remembrances have a special connection to these ten days:

Our Prophet said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (saying La ilaaha illa Allah, here’s no god but Allah), takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greatest) and tahmeed (saying Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah) during them.” (Ahmad)

The Companions would go to the marketplace and recite the takbir out loud and people would also recite after hearing them. Let us follow their footsteps and encourage others to recite the takbir as well, as an act of worship and a proclamation of the greatness of Allah (Exalted be He)! You might find it uncomfortable to constantly remind your family members, but if you simply play an audio file from your laptop, mobile, etc., you’ll notice others will join in with the recitation naturally, in sha’ Allah.

One of the forms of takbir you may recite is:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise.”

4- Renew Your Taqwa

After the fasting of Ramadan whose main purpose was “…that you may become righteous” (Al-Baqarah 2:183), Allah makes a special connection between sacrificing animals (which has to be offered on the days of `Eid) with taqwa:

Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. (Al-Hajj 22:37)

The people of taqwa (piety and fear of Allah), as explained in Dr. Muhsin Khan’s translation of the Qur’an, are “the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).”

Thus, let us repent from all our sins and try our level best to attain taqwa.

5- Earn the Reward of a Hajj without Going to Makkah

Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two rak`ahs, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and `Umrah.” He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Complete, complete, complete.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

That’s a small deed with such an immense reward! Allahu Akbar! However, this would not mean that you will be free from the obligation of Hajj (the fifth pillar of Islam) of course.

6- Observe Voluntary Fasts

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘(The person observing sawm) has abstained from food and drink, and sexual pleasures for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward.’” (Al-Bukhari)

In addition, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever observes fast for a day in the way of Allah (non-obligatory fasting observed for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking His blessings), Allah will remove his face from the Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance.” (Muslim)

So imagine the reward for keeping fasts during these grand days, In sha’ Allah! This applies only for the first nine days. The 10th of Dhul-Hijjah will be `Eid, in which fasting is prohibited.

                                                                                                                                                                To be continued…

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Source: productivemuslim.com

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Du`aa’: the Essence of Worship

 

Du`aa’ is essentially submission to God and a manifestation of a person’s need for God.

Du`aa’ is essentially submission to God and a manifestation of a person’s need for God.

Du`aa’ is an Arabic word written here in English letters. Three small letters that make up a word and a subject that is large and breathtaking. This word du`aa’ could be roughly translated to mean supplication or invocation, although neither word adequately define du`aa’. Supplication, which means communicating with a deity, comes closer than invocation which is known to sometimes imply summoning spirits or devils.

In Islamic terminology du`aa’ is the act of supplication. It is calling out to God; it is a conversation with God, our Creator, our Lord, the All Knowing, and the All Powerful. In fact the word is derived from the Arabic root meaning to call out or to summon.

Du`aa’ is uplifting, empowering, liberating and transforming and it is one of the most powerful and effective act of worship a human being can engage in. Du`aa’ has been called the weapon of the believer. It affirms a person’s belief in One God and it shuns all forms of idolatry or polytheism. Du`aa’ therefore is essentially submission to God and a manifestation of a person’s need for God.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “A slave becomes nearest to his Lord when he is in prostration. So increase supplications in prostrations.’’ (Muslim)

“The supplication of every one of you will be granted if he does not get impatient and say: `I supplicated my Lord but my prayer has not been granted’.’’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

At this point in understanding exactly what du`aa’ is, it would be easy for someone from a Christian background to think that du`aa’ is prayer. Du`aa’ certainly holds certain similarities to the prayer of Christians; however it should not be confused with what Muslims call prayer. Prayer, or in Arabic salah, is one of the pillars of Islam, and in performing the five daily prayers a Muslim actually engages in a physical form of du`aa’ asking God to grant them Heaven through their actions. Throughout the prayer one also supplicates to God directly.

For Muslims prayer is a set of ritual movements and words performed at fixed times, five times per day. God says in Qur’an:

Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours. (An-Nisaa’4:103)

Muslims pray in the early morning before sunrise, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. Prayer is an act of worship, in which a Muslim reaffirms his belief in One God and demonstrates his gratefulness. It is a direct connection between God and the believer and it is an obligation.

Du`aa’ on the other hand is a Muslims way of feeling that connection to God at anytime, in any place. Muslims call on God frequently throughout the day and night.  They raise their hands in supplication and ask for His help, mercy, and forgiveness. Du`aa’ incorporates praise, thanksgiving, hope, and calling on God to assist the one in need and grant his or her requests.

Du`aa’ can be made for the individual, their family, friends, strangers, those in dire circumstances, for the believers, and even for the whole of humanity. When making the du`aa’ it is acceptable to ask for good in this worldly life and in the hereafter. A person making du`aa’ should not hold back, but ask God to grant both the largest and smallest requests.

Prophet Muhammad encouraged the believers to make du`aa’. He said:

“The du`aa’ of a Muslim for his brother in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial du`aa’ for his brother the appointed angel says: Ameen. And may you also be blessed with the same’”. (Muslim)

Although making du`aa’ is not an obligation, there are many benefits to making du`aa’ to God frequently and with full submission. Feeling the closeness to God that comes with sincere du`aa’, it increases faith, gives hope and relief to the distressed and saves the supplicant from the despair and isolation.

Throughout the Qur’an, God encourages the believer to call on Him, He asks us to lay our dreams, hopes, fears and uncertainties before Him and to be sure that He hears every word.

You alone do we worship and You alone do we ask for help. (Al-Fatihah 1:5)

And your Lord says, Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer). But those who are too arrogant to worship Me will surely find themselves in Hell, in humiliation. (Ghafir 40:60)

Say, O My slaves who have transgressed against their souls; despair not of the Mercy of Allah: For Allah forgives all sins; for He is oft Forgiving, most Merciful. (Az-Zumar 39:5)

Say, Call upon Allah, or call upon Ar-Rahman (The Most Beneficient): By whatever name you call upon Him, (it is well): For to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Al-Israa’ 17:110)

And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the supplications of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Prophet Muhammad called du`aa’ the essence of worship. (At-Tirmidhi)  He also  suggested that the believer  be humble, yet firm when making du`aa’ and said: “When one of you supplicates, he should not say: ‘O God, forgive me if You will’, but be firm in asking and make the desire great, for what God gives is nothing great for Him.” (Muslim)

When we make du`aa’, when we call upon God in our hour of need, or express our gratefulness, or for any other reason including simply to feel the comfort of being close to God, we must remember to examine our sincerity and to check our intention. Du`aa’ must be addressed to God Alone, who has no partners, sons, daughters or intermediaries. Our intention when making the du`aa’ must be to please God, obey Him and trust Him completely.

When a person makes du`aa’ God may give him what he asked for or He may divert a harm that is greater than the thing he asked for, or He  may store up what he has asked for, for the Hereafter. God has commanded us to call upon Him and He has promised to respond to our call.

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Source: islamreligion.com

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Mosques in Islam: Purpose and Role

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

As the primary religious institution, the masjid has the greatest role in community building, and its success in performing this role is essential for the wellbeing of the community, particularly where Muslims live as minorities.

Sadly, the role of the masjid in many Muslim communities around the globe has recently been reduced to being a physical place where prayers are offered. It is time to reverse that trend and revive the role of this institution to what it was in the early history of Islam. Such a revival cannot be fully realized without first developing a clear understanding from the revelation, the Qur’an and Sunnah, about the importance, virtue, and role of the masjid in Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best patches (of earth) are the masajid (mosques) and the worst are the markets.” (Ibn Hibban)

Thus, Allah chose His Prophets to establish them, He said:

And (mention) when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and (with him) Ishmael. (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

And He commanded them to purify them and keep them clean, He said:

And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, (saying), “Purify My House”… (Al-Baqarah 2:125)

Furthermore, Allah made the reward of building the masajid most abundant. Regarding this, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, though it be the size of the ground nest of a sand-grouse, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)

Refuge for Hearts

Allah made the masajid a refuge for the hearts of His righteous servants, as the Prophet said:

“There are seven (types of people) whom Allah will protect with His Shade, on the Day (of Resurrection) when there will be no shade except His Shade.” Of them is, “A person whose heart is attached to the masjid.”

It should suffice the caretakers of the masajid that Allah praised them with this description,

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the (rightly) guided. (At-Tawbah 9:18)

It was not a coincidence that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) started his mission in Madinah by building the masjid, which he made in its center.

The masjid takes its name from one of the actions of salah (prayer), which is sujud (prostration). It is the action wherein the believer shows the utmost humility to Allah. The salah is the best of our actions, as the Prophet told us in the hadith of Thawban.

Beyond Prayer

However, the role of the masjid is not limited to the performance of salah. The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah, and not only their bodies. They are places of tarbiyah (refinement) of the Muslim character.

To the Prophet  and his Companions, the masjid was not only a place where they prayed, but it was also a place where they learned, recited the Qur’an, made dhikr (remembrance) and du`aa’ (supplication), met with each other, socialized, received the delegations, prepared the expeditions and raised funds for various good causes.

In fact, it was sometimes even a place for tending to the sick, and a shelter for the homeless. In the physical world, it was at the center of their lives. At the same time, it was the cradle of their learning and spiritual growth.

Whatever can be said about the importance of the masjid for Muslim communities throughout the world it is even more magnified when we talk about the Muslim minorities, to whom the masjid is truly the ark of Noah. In America, for example, Muslims are a small minority scattered throughout a large continent. For some of them, weeks or months may pass by without getting a chance to see another Muslim except in the masjid.

The masjid, therefore, constitutes the link between them and their deen (religion). In it, they develop that emotional bond with their community, which is vital to the wellbeing of their allegiance to the Ummah and faith in Allah. Many youth may find in the masjid the role models they lack at home.

In addition to this, for Muslims to see a masjid– especially the youth who did not grow up in Muslim countries– is vital because it’s the most evident symbol of Islam in their tangible world.

What Else?

The pressing question now is how to revive the role of the masjid in our times, particularly where Muslims live as minorities? Here are some of the things we need to do as a community.

We need to educate ourselves regarding what may be done at the masjid…

To begin with, one must emphasize that the primary actions in the masjid are salah (prayers), dhikr (mention of Allah), du`aa’ (supplication), tilawah (recitation), and education.

In light of that, priority must be given to the main jama`ah (congregants) of the masjid and activities led by the designated imam. Those who do anything else, or do something other than what the main jama`ah does, should not cause disruption. Abu Sa`eed narrated that the Prophet was in i`tikaf and heard them raising their voices with recitation, so he said:

“Each one of you is in munajah (soft conversation) with his Lord, so don’t bother one another, and don’t raise your voices above each other in recitation (or salah).” (Abu Dawud)

If it is prohibited for someone who is praying or reciting the Qur’an to bother the other worshipers, then it is more prohibited for someone doing something inferior to that to bother them.

Having said that, there is still room for much to be done at the masjid, and while many actions are prohibited in it, such as conducting business, advertising, announcing lost items, many other practices are thought to be prohibited when they are not.

Some of us Muslims have this mental image of the masjid as a sterile, extremely quiet place where people pray together and disperse thereafter. This causes some to enforce many restrictions in the masjid that would eventually make it an unwelcoming place for children and families, and even to adult men. However, a tour through the masjid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his time may help us rid ourselves of this false conviction.

To be continued…

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Source: muslimmatters.org

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The Five Pillars of Islam: Their Meaning and Priority

By Jamal Badawi

What are the Five Pillars of Islam and what is the origin of this expression?

The term and the specification of the number appear in more than one saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). One of the most famous sayings is narrated in the collection by Muslim and says that “the infrastructure of Islam is based upon the Oneness of Allah, the performance of regular prayers, the payment of Zakah or the poor’s due, the fasting, and the pilgrimage”. (Muslim) The term was based on the mention of this hadith.

More specifically the first pillar on the Oneness of Allah means that in order for a person to be Muslim they would have to confess with conviction of the heart and mind that there is no deity but one God and that is Allah who is the One and Only universal God of all. One is required to mention this a minimum of one time in their lifetime in order to be Muslim.

The second pillar is the performance of regular prayers and these are also specified as five specific prayers which follow a specific format during the day and night. This is not prayer in terms of supplication, I use the term prayer in English because it is the closest translation. It is not prayer in the sense of sitting and making supplication but requires lots of preparation.

The third pillar is the payment of poor’s due and is called Zakah in Arabic.

The fourth is fasting and this refers to observing the fast from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan which is the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar.

Finally is the pilgrimage to the Holy places in Makkah (Mecca) at least once in a life time if a person is able to.

When non-Muslims write about Islam and mention these Five Pillars quite often one is under the impression that these Five Pillars is all that Islam is about. Is this correct?

Unfortunately, it is not. The problem with many non-Muslim authors, writers, film producers, and narrators is that they try to interpret Islam from the point of view of their own background which is like placing Islam in an alien framework and this is where the mistake occurs. Most writers in films and so on and many who pose as experts on Islam come from a background which views religion as a large set of dogmas or rituals or something that focuses on the spiritual aspect of life with some kind of separation from the secular or mundane activities.

True Islam is an all embracive comprehensive way of life, it is a way of looking at life and taking it as a totality not making an artificial separation between religion and secularism.  The lack of understanding of this particular point makes many people view the pillars of Islam in the sense that doing those five things is all that Islam is about.

Any particular structure pillars are not everything but essential for a building’s support. In addition to the pillars one needs a roof, walls, partitions, insulation heating system and furnishing. The same thing applies to Islam. Many people think that once we talk about the Five Pillars of Islam that they’ve got everything. No they have not.

If we look at Islam the same way we look at the structure of a building as a functioning religion as a faith that is not limited to the spiritual aspect but is a complete way of life. One doesn’t have a functional building just with the pillars one has got to have all the other things that go along side with the pillars.

The pillars are essential and are the create the base but they are not everything. There is a difference between saying the pillars are everything and between saying the Five Pillars are the basis of everything. This is the way a Muslim looks at the Pillars of Islam.

In fact Islam addresses spiritual, moral, social, economic and even political aspects of life. When those writers refer to the Pillars of Islam they do not even depict it in sufficient depth. It is depicted as a formal ritual, whereas if one looks very closely in depth at the nature of those pillars one finds that they give lots of lessons which regulates social, moral, economic and even political life. In a way Islam goes far beyond the simple notions of rituals or formalisms.

Is there any significance as to the order in which these pillars appear and if so which come first and why?

Yes, there is a hierarchy. For example the first pillar which we mentioned which is the corner stone of Islam is the belief in the one universal God of all. Belief in God and faith in Him and acceptance of his prophets represents the very foundation upon which any good deeds can be accepted by God. This is the source of all virtue.

One notices that the second Pillar is the keeping of regular five daily prayers which is the most noble act of communicating directly with God without an intermediary. This is a reflection of how a Muslim after accepting God tries to nourish this direct relationship with his creator.

The second pillar is followed by the poor’s due which is an instrumental pillar in building social equity and justice in society. This is followed by the fourth pillar which is fasting. This is a method to discipline one’s self and control our desires and as such lead a virtuous life. Finally is the pilgrimage for those who are able to. As I understand it there is a hierarchy of relative importance.

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Source: jamalbadawi.org

 

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