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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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Ten Blessed Days: Don’t Miss

By His wisdom, God gave preference to some places and times over others. For Muslims, Friday is the best day of the week, Ramadan is the best month of the year, “Laylat al-Qadr is the best night in Ramadan, the day of “Arafah” is the best day of the year. Likewise the first ten days of the month of “Dhul-Hijjah” are the blessed days for Muslims.

God says in the Qur’an what means:

By the daybreak, by the ten nights, by the even and the odd, by the passing night – is this oath strong enough for a rational person? (Al-Fajr 89:1-5)

Early Muslim scholars differed on what is meant by the “ten nights”. But most of them agreed that the ten nights refer to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

In another verse God says:

… to attain benefits and mention God’s name, on specified days. (Al-Hajj 22:28)

Most of the Qur’an commentators view that the specific days are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

What a great virtue attached to those days which pass unnoticed by many people nowadays.

On the merits of the first ten days, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)

In what follows are suggested ideas on how to make the best use of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

Repent to Allah

Make a sincere repentance to God and promise Him that you will not do bad deeds again. This may be your last chance. You are not sure if you will live till next year.

Pray at the Mosque

Try to perform the five daily prayers in the mosque. If you have time after Fajr prayer, try to sit in the mosque, read a juz’ (part) of the Quran, make du`aa’, or recite some Adhkar (remembrance of Allah). Then offer two rakahs before you go home. If you do so, you are reviving a tradition that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do, a tradition which these days has been neglected by many Muslims.

Observe Fasting in the First Nine Days

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri said: I heard the Prophet saying, “Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.” (Muslim)

Do not observe fasting on the tenth day because it is an `Eid day and it is prohibited to fast that day.

Good deeds are rewarded abundantly in these first ten days; and as fasting is a good deed, it is recommended to fast these nine days.

Do not Miss Fasting the Day of `Arafah

On the day of `Arafah, non-pilgrims are highly recommended to maintain fasting. It is reported that the Prophet was asked about fasting on the day of `Arafah, whereupon he said: “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year.” (Muslim)

He also said: “There is no day in which Allah frees a greater number of His slaves from the Hellfire than the Day of `Arafah.” (Muslim)

Make a Lot of Supplications (du`aa’) on the Day of `Arafah

The Prophet said: “The best supplication is that of the Day of `Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said, is: La ilaha illa allahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa `ala kulli shai’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.) (Al-Tirmidhi)

Try to Do Something New this Year

If you used to recite a part of the Qur’an last year, try to finish reading the whole Qur’an this year. Try to pick some verses everyday and check the books of Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) to reflect on their meaning in order to derive lessons from them in your daily life.

If you do not read Arabic, I recommend Muhammad Asad’s translation of the Qur’an. If you are well-versed in the Qur’an recitation, try to teach a group of new Muslims how to read the Qur’an correctly.

Maintain your Family Relations

Visit your relatives even for a few minutes. If they live far away, give them a call. Do not forget your parents. Be kind to them, visit them, and attend to their needs. Some new Muslims think that after their conversion, they should cut off their family members. God orders Muslims to be kind to their parents even if they are non-Muslims. This occasion might be a good opportunity to talk about Islam to your non-Muslim parents.

Give to Charity

Make it a daily habit to help the needy. Look for humanitarian organizations in your neighborhood and help them in any way you can.

Don’t Miss Offering at Least Two Rak`ahs of “Tahajjud” at Night

Offer many extra prayers, as much as you can. God promised a great reward for offering extra acts of worship. The Prophet said: “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Reciting the Takbir

It is an act of Sunnah to say “Takbir” (Allah is the Greatest) in the first ten days.

The “Takbir” should be pronounced everywhere; in the mosque, at home, in the streets, etc. It is reported that: “Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbir, and the people would recite Takbir when they heard them.” (Al-Bukhari)

There are many forms of Takbir, but the most common one is: Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbaru, la illaha illa Allah, Allahu akbaru, Allahu akbar, wa lillahi al-Hamd.

In another version of the Hadith mentioned above on the merits of the ten days, there is this addition: “… so increase saying Tahlil (saying la-illah illa Allah), Takbir (saying Allahu akbar), and Tahmid (saying Al-hamdullilah)” (Ahmad) Therefore, these kinds of “dhikr should be recited day and night.

The Best Good Deed in These Days is to Offer Hajj

Go to Hajj, if you are physically and financially able to perform it. If not, try to offer a sacrifice if you have the means. By doing this you are commemorating the story of sacrifice of both prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`il (peace be upon them). The poor and the needy have a share in the sacrifice and feeding them is one of best deeds that can be done on the day of `Eid.

I pray to Allah to accept our good deeds in these days of Dhul-Hijjah and throughout the year. When our good deeds are accepted by God, we will be admitted to Paradise, by His Mercy.

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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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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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Objectives of Fasting and Ramadan

By Jamaal Diwan

Discussing the objectives of our actions is an important thing because to do so is to discuss the actions in a true and deep way. It is possible that if we do not know why we are doing certain things, we could miss the entire point behind the action itself. So, what are the objectives of fasting in Ramadan?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this concept, “Maybe a fasting person gains nothing from his fast except hunger and thirst. And maybe a person who prays in the night gains nothing from their Prayer except staying up late.” (At-Tabarani) So this is a person who does an action but gets no result from it.

This is because if someone does an action without knowing why they are doing it or what the objective behind it is, then it is possible that the action will be useless. This is because, as Imam al-Shatibi said, “Actions without objectives are like bodies without souls.” So in this article we will discuss some of the general objectives of fasting and Ramadan.

1. Attaining Taqwa

This is the major objective of fasting in Ramadan as clarified by the Qur’an. God said,

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (muttaqun). (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Fasting also teaches a person how to have taqwa because while one is fasting they are careful about all kinds of things. They watch what comes out of their mouth, what they look at, and all that they do. As a result, the person learns how to have a certain level of restraint regarding their actions. This helps them build their taqwa by making them watchful over everything that they do.

As to the definition of taqwa, the clearest way to understand it is through the definition that was provided by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him).

Someone came to him and asked, “What is taqwa?” He responded by asking the man if he has ever walked through a thorny road. He said, “Yes.” He asked, “What did you do?” He replied, “Whenever I saw thorns I would avoid them or adjust my clothes to keep them safe.” Abu Hurayrah told him, “That’s taqwa.”

2. Fasting is a Shield

The Prophet said in an authentic hadith (narration) that “fasting is a shield.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Even the word shield in Arabic has the connotation of protection and this is one of the meanings of the word taqwa. The Prophet also said, “O youth! Whosoever amongst you can afford to get married, let them get married. And whoever cannot afford to do so then they should fast because it will help him control his desires.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This protection that fasting gives cannot be accomplished by just reducing one’s food intake because it is the material and immaterial elements of fasting that aide one in controlling themselves. For this reason Imam al-San`ani said about this, “It is for a secret that God put in fasting, so just reducing how much food you eat will not be enough.”

3. Fasting and Patience

Another thing that we should learn in Ramadan is to be patient with what we face in our daily lives. The Prophet said in a hadith, “Fasting the month of patience, and three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the entire year.” (Al-Nasaʾi and Ahmad) In this hadith, the Prophet refers to the month of Ramadan as the month of patience, emphasizing the importance of patience in this month.

It is also said that fasting is half of patience. This is because patience basically consists of staying away from bad deeds and persisting in good deeds. In the month of Ramadan, one of the major things that we seek to do is stay away from as many bad deeds as possible so that our fasting is half of patience.

4. Ramadan is the Month of the Qur’an

In the month of Ramadan, we spend more time with the Qur’an than in any other part of the year. We spend time reading it by ourselves, we spend time studying it, we spend time listening to it during Tarawih Prayers, and so on. In this month, the revelation of the Qur’an began and a civilization of learning and knowledge was born.

5. A Month of Generosity

It is narrated that the Prophet was the most generous of people and his most generous time was Ramadan. In doing this, the Prophet was combining between a personal act of worship, like reading the Qur’an, and a social act of worship, charity. Thereby, he showed what it means to live a comprehensive existence as someone who worships God. In doing so, he shows that our responsibilities are not only limited to ourselves but also include those around us.

6. The Importance of Time

We also learn in Ramadan that time is one of the most important blessings that we have in our lives. The Prophet said, “Two blessings, many people are at a loss regarding them: health and free time.” (Al-Bukhari) The major acts of worship in Islam are all related to specific times. We pay our zakah at a particular time. We pray at specific times. We start fasting at a particular time, in a particular month, and we break our fast at a particular time. We go on hajj at a particular time. All of these specifications are meant to teach us, among other things, the importance of time.

For this reason al-Hasan al-Basri said, “O son of Adam! You are nothing but a compilation of breaths, so every time you inhale and exhale, a piece of you is lost.” The believer is strict with their time and the more a person’s faith increases, the more their observance of their time increases. The responsibilities we have are more than the time we have to carry them out, so we should try to be as strict with our time as possible.

These are just some of the objectives of fasting and Ramadan that we should seek to actualize. We can use these as a measuring stick for our month and see how we add up. If we look throughout and see that we are improving in these aspects then we should thank God for His bounties upon us, and if we find that we are not, then we should seek His forgiveness and grace and work harder.

May Allah accept from us all our good deeds in this month and forgive us for our shortcomings. Ameen.

Note: Most of the this article is taken from an article on the topic that was written by Shaykh al-Raysuni.

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Why Do Muslims Fast during Ramadan?

Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan? What are the spiritual goals of fasting? Why do Muslims pay attention to the Qur’an during Ramadan?

Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Watch this video by Imam Suhaib Webb to know why Muslims fast during the Month of Ramadan…

 

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New Muslims Zakah

Rights of the Poor and Needy in Islam

poor and needy

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to the poor and the needy.

Allah (Exalted be He) praises those who spend for His cause in order to help the poor and the needy in the Islamic society. This is based on the instructions of the verse in the  Qur’an:

And in their wealth is a recognized right. For the (needy) who asks and the one who is deprived. (Al-Ma`arij 70:24,25)

As a matter of fact Islam regards the charity given to the poor and the needy as one of the most virtuous deeds. Moreover, Islam warns those who conceal and save up their wealth and do not spend for the cause of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But the righteousness is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Prophets, and to give of your wealth out of love for Him, to your kin and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves… (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

The ones who accumulate the wealth without giving the due right of the poor and needy as commanded by Allah, are promised by Allah that they will receive a severe punishment on the Day of Requital. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend in the Path of Allah then warn them of the painful torment. (At-Tawbah 9:34)

For this reason Zakah was prescribed as one of the basic tenets of Islam. Zakah is a set percentage (2.5%) of the accumulated wealth over a period of one year.

On Whom & To Whom?

Muslims willingly offer the due amount in obedience to Allah’s commands. They pay it to  the poor and the needy. Zakah is obligatory upon those who possess the appropriate amount on which Zakah is due. Allah states in the Qur’an:

And they were commanded not except to worship Allah, offering Him alone sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular Prayer; and to give calculated Charity; and that is the right Religion. ( Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

Zakah is prescribed with the following principles and conditions:

1- The person to pay Zakah must possess “nisab” (the appropriate amount as stipulated in the Islamic Shari`ah).

2- A period of one-year must pass while the owner maintains this amount in his possession. If less than a year passes, Zakah will not be required.

Islam defines the types of people who are entitled to receive Zakah. This is based on the verse in the Qur’an:

Verily alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer (the funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allah, and Allah is All- Knower and All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)

Why We Pay It!

Islam imposes Zakah in order to uproot poverty from the Islamic society, treat the resulting problems stemming from poverty such as: theft, murder, attacking people and taking their property unjustly. In addition, it revives the mutual social welfare and support among members of the Islamic society.

Furthermore, Zakah is used to fulfill the needs of the needy, the destitute, and to pay the debts of those who have debts and are not able to pay their debts due to a sound and legitimate reason.

Moreover, the payment of Zakah purifies one’s heart, soul and  wealth as well. An owner of a wealth will become less selfish and greedy when he/she pays this charity with a pure heart. The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity. (At-Taghabun 64:16)

Zakah purifies the hearts of those who are less affluent since they will have less hatred, jealousy and bitterness against the rich and wealthy class of people of the society because they see that they are paying their just dues and the rights to their poorer brethren.

The Almighty Allah warns those who refuse to pay their due Zakah against a severe punishment:

And let not those who covetously withhold of that which Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them. Nay, it will be worse for them; soon shall the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar on the Day of Resurrection. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do. (Aal `Imran 3:180)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions.

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Sadaqah: Its Virtues and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

The legitimacy of giving sadaqah other than that of zakah is not restricted by a time limit or definite nisab. The amount designated for expenditure need not be a certain percentage (for example, a tithe, a one-quarter tithe, or a one-tenth tithe). It is an open-ended matter that is left to the beneficence, generosity, and condition of the one who gives. The protection of a revered man from destruction and harm is an obligation upon whoever can help him, but more than that, it is left unquantified.

People overlook most of the public rights which the Qur’an supports, for these rights seek to establish an honorable and just social life. People spend only a small amount on the needy and even less for beggars because they are considered the least deserving nowadays. This is due to the fact that beggars have made begging a profession, even though most of them are well-to-do.

Ibn Hazm says: “It is enjoined upon the rich of every country to support their poor, and the ruler has the authority to force them to do so. This is called for when the prescribed zakah or the holdings of other Muslims are not enough to meet the needs of the poor. In that case, their food and their clothing to protect them from the elements and the eyes of the passer-by would be provided by the rich.”

The proof for this is in the saying of Allah:

Give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the wayfarer. (Al-Israa’ 17:26)

Allah also says:

Show kindness to parents, to near kin and orphans, to the needy, to relatives, to neighbors who are not related to you, to fellow travelers and wayfarers, and (to the slaves) whom your right hand possesses. (An-Nisaa’ 4:36)

Generosity urges support for the above-mentioned people and forbids harming them.

Referring to the guilty in the life to come, the Qur’an says that they would ask each other: “What brought you to this hellfire?” They will answer: “We were not of those who prayed, nor did we feed the needy”. (Al-Muddaththir 74:42-44)

Thus, Allah links feeding the needy with performing prayers.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “He who does not have mercy upon people, Allah’s mercy will be kept from him.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Thus, anyone upon whom Allah bestowed His grace and who sees his Muslim brother hungry, in need of clothes, and miserable, and still does not help him, he will, indeed, deprive himself of Allah’s mercy.

`Uthman An-Nahdi reported that `Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr informed him that the Companions of As-Suffah were poor and that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “He who has enough food for two, let him invite a third, and he who has food for four, let him invite a fifth or a sixth.”

It is related from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “A Muslim is a brother of another, and he should neither do injustice to him nor betray him.”

Thus, anyone who lets a needy Muslim go without food or clothes while, in fact, he is able to feed and clothe him would have betrayed him.

It is related from Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said: “He whose holdings exceed his needs, let him support the one whose holdings do not, and he whose food exceeds his needs, let him share it with him who does not have food.” Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri says: ”Then he mentioned so many kinds of property that we thought no one of us had the right to have anything surplus with us.” This is the consensus of the companions, as it was reported by Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri.

Concerning this tradition, it is reported on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and ransom the prisoner.”

There are many verses in the Qur’an and numerous sound hadiths on this subject. `Umar says: “If I were to live again the past which I have already lived, I would take the surplus from the rich and distribute it among the poor immigrants (muhajirun).” This is considered to be the most authentic report.

`Ali said: “Allah (the Exalted be He) has placed a due upon the properties of the rich to meet the needs of the poor. Thus, if the poor go hungry or naked or struggle because of the neglect of the rich, then Allah will hold them (the rich) accountable on the Day of Judgment and will punish them.”

Ibn `Umar is reported to have said: “There is a due on your property other than zakah.” It is related from `A’ishah (the mother of the believers), Al-Hasan ibn `Ali, Ibn `Umar that all of them replied to those who had asked them: “If you are asked for help in cases of blood money, heavy debt, or desperate poverty, then it is a must for you to give them from your holdings.”

It was accurately reported by Abu `Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah and 300 Companions that (once) when their provisions had run very low, Abu `Ubaydah ordered them to collect what was left and place it into two bags and then allot it to each one equally. Then he said: “It is not permissible for a hard-pressed Muslim to eat the meat of a dead animal or a pig when he can find surplus food from either a Muslim or a dhimmi (non-Muslims living under the protection of the Islamic State). It is an obligation of the one who has food to feed the hungry.”

Allah says:

And if one party of them does wrong to the other, fight those who do wrong until they return to the ordinance of Allah. (Al-Hujurat 49:9)

Thus, one who withholds a right is an oppressor of his brother. The latter is the possessor of that right.

On this basis, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq waged war against those who refused to pay their zakah.

From the preceding, one can see the degree of compassion and commiseration that Islam has for the deprived. Islam, in fact, excels over all other faiths and systems. They are like weak, sputtering candles when placed next to the bright and steady light of the sun of Islam.

Voluntary Sadaqah

Islam calls upon the individual to spend freely in ways that please the heart of the donor, and evoke generosity, goodness, reverence, and obedience to Allah.

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Qur’an

Allah says:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; Allah cares for all and knows all things. (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely of that which you love, and whatever you give, Allah knows it well. (Aal `Imran 92)

And spend from what We have made you heir. For those of you who believe and spend, for them is a great reward. (Al-Hadid 57:7)

Voluntary Sadaqah in the Hadith

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Sadaqah appeases the anger of the Lord and wards off the agony of death.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is similarly related that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The sadaqah of the Muslim increases during his lifetime. It also softens the agony of death, and through it, Allah takes away arrogance and vanity.”

The Messenger of Allah said: “’There is not a day in which the obedient servants rise in the morning or two angels descend, and one of them says: ‘O Allah! Compensate the one who spends freely.’ The other angel says: ‘O Allah! Let an annihilation come upon the one who is niggardly.’” (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah said:

“Acts of kindness protect one from ruin wrought by evil. Sadaqah given secretly appeases the anger of the Lord, and a gift to strengthen the ties of relationship increases one’s life span. All good deeds are sadaqah, and those who do acts of kindness in this world are also the same people in the other world. Those who do misdeeds in this world are the same people in the other world. The first of those who shall enter Paradise are the people who do acts of kindness.” (At-Tabarani)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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