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New Muslims Society

Punctuality: The Norm of Muslim

punctuality is respectful of people's time

Punctuality is respectful of people’s time

 

You might think that because the day of a Muslim is built around prayers which need to be performed at specific times, that Muslims would be fairly punctual people as a rule.

But this seems not to be the case, even though I’ve heard several scholars remind listeners of the importance of being on time. I remember Sheikh Yaser Birjas indicating to students at a seminar that they should arrive for class like a muezzin arrives for prayer. (He has to arrive early enough to be ready to call as soon as the time for prayer comes in.) This suggests that Muslims should be acutely aware of time as part of their preparation for prayer, or class, or anything else.

After becoming Muslim, though, I started hearing plenty of jokes about a tendency of Muslims towards tardiness. Although, the observation relates mostly to religious and social functions as late arrivals to work or school often result in disciplinary action. I find American society generally to be less tolerant of tardiness than Muslims (so kudos to the Muslims for being so forgiving) but this can result in some confusion for the American Muslim community.

I heard the story of a convert who made the observation, on his first visit to Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer, that when he arrived- at the indicated time- only a few people were present, but during the sermon people continued arriving until the hall was filled by the time of the prayer. Yet I don’t think this experience is rare.

Similarly, I’ve noticed that when attending Islamic lectures and classes, most respected teachers endeavor to begin and end on time. While helping to organize a 4-week da`wah training program a few years ago, I learned an important lesson regarding punctuality.

The class was supposed to begin early on a Saturday morning, and though a few people showed up early, there were crowds coming through the door even after the ‘start’ time. I wanted to wait for the students to settle in, and that was a mistake. The imam of the masjid (mosque) told me that even if some people were still arriving, I should still start on time, and end on time.

To start with, punctuality is respectful of people’s time; if they showed up on time, they shouldn’t have to wait for the program to begin. Moreover, ending on time allows people to leave for other engagements they may have planned, instead of detaining them longer than they expected. And also, if an event fails to start on time, what incentive is there to arrive on time?

Since my own lesson on punctuality, I’ve made a point of observing when speakers (scholars, imams, community leaders, teachers, etc.) deliberately start on time- or as best they are able, when faced with logistical delays- and end on time.

I understand it to be a part of the etiquette of being a speaker; of being a teacher, or an imam, and have found that the more knowledgeable, respected, and elder teachers usually strive for punctuality, even when students are late. For that reason, I don’t accept that tardiness is religiously appropriate behavior since it’s not from the etiquette which I have witnessed from religious scholars.

I’ve even seen some scholars who seem to be as strict about punctuality as my high school band director. For us, it was an enforced rule. Students late to rehearsal would have to perform push-ups or run laps. Arriving late for a trip would mean getting left behind; nobody would wait. And if our rehearsals ran over schedule, even by as little as five minutes, the director would shorten the next day’s rehearsal by the same amount. Breaks came regularly, and if they were delayed, then they were extended also. (Noting that breaks were usually barely 3-5 minutes, enough time to sit and drink water.)

When I’m in a class or a lecture where the speaker goes on- beyond an hour, sometimes beyond two, I find myself becoming irritated and even resentful towards the speaker, while my concentration plummets, especially when scheduled breaks have been neglected by the speaker.

How is a student supposed to feel after arriving on time and waiting over an hour or more for an instructor, who then proceeds to lecture for an hour or two without giving students a break? I think the only way a student can feel, in that situation, is that the instructor lacks respect for his time, leading the student to not respect the instructor.

So I’ll emphasize again why tardiness is not something seen in the most erudite of scholars, and why I don’t believe that it is religiously appropriate. And I maintain that view despite the prevalent disregard for time in some Muslim cultures.

Unfortunately, punctuality can even be an inconvenience in a culture with more lenient and flexible schedule. My husband stresses the importance of arriving promptly to dinner parties, that is, he wants to arrive at the time indicated on the invitation. However, I find myself stalling our departure in order to avoid inconveniencing the hostess. Since most guests tend to arrive 30 minutes or more late, she might not be fully prepared for guests if we arrive ’on time’, and she might struggle trying to make conversation with me while still cooking and cleaning, leaving me in an awkward position while he goes off to another room with the host.

On the other hand, an American crowd might be expected to arrive 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time. That’s why there can be some confusion.

Of course, punctuality should be the norm for all events, but I’m not sure what it would take for people to accept that on a wide scale. It’s not easy to enforce it with other people, but the least we can do is enforce it on ourselves and make punctuality a fixed attribute for which we are known.

_________________________

Source: ibnatalhidayah.blogspot.com.

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New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: The Healthy Structure of Your Life

By Amy Klooz

prayer

Prayer gives you a spiritual retreat at key points during the day, to help you break up the day and to refresh you.

My Lord! Make me one who establishes regular prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring, O our Lord! And accept my prayer.

O Our Lord! Cover (us) with Your forgiveness: me, my parents, and (all) believers, on the day that the reckoning will be established! (Ibrahim 14:40, 41)

One of the first du`aa’s (supplications) I learned to make in my salah was one from the Qur’an, a du`aa’ of Prophet Ibrahim. In it, Ibrahim asks Allah to make him someone who establishes prayer- although the translation I learned inserted the word “regular”, i.e., “establishes regular prayer”. This du`aa’ reminds me, at the end of every salah, the important of salah, of establishing it and praying it regularly.

On just about every prayer timetable I’ve seen, part of an ayah (Qur’anic verse) is listed somewhere on the page. One translation of the part of the ayah is “Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:103) The idea is to remind whoever reads that prayer table about the importance of praying regularly at the appropriate times.

Now a person can view the idea of regular prayer as either a burden, or a blessing. I have a hunch most non-Muslims, and plenty of Muslims, probably see it as a burden. And undoubtedly Satan would rather us see it as a burden, so he can easily distract us from it, urge us to procrastinate it, and eventually even convince us to abandon it altogether. May Allah protect the believers from his whispers.

There are benefits in having the prayers spread throughout the day. It gives you a spiritual retreat at key points during the day, to help you break up the day and to refresh you. And the times of the salah are intricately connected with ideal daily behavior.

We learn the prayer times from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who learned them from the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) over two days.

According to Ibn `Abbas, the Angel Jibreel visited the Prophet Muhammad at the beginning of the each of the prayer times on the first day to lead him in prayer, and on the second day led him in prayer at the end of the prayer times, except for Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer. The times have been further specified by `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas, based on the sun and sky, and scholars have differed slightly in their opinions as to the exact timing.

What’s clear however is that the prayers are based on the timing of the sun, indicating that our days should follow a similar schedule. It also keeps us Muslims aware of the motion of the sun throughout the day, as it crosses the sky, and throughout the year as the time it takes to traverse the sky changes. In this way the timings of prayers keeps you alert, and it keeps you from forming a lazy habit or tradition when it comes to the prayer–your schedule will have to be flexible somewhat throughout the year. The beginning and end times for each prayer vary between some schools of thought, though not drastically so and not without evidence.

The first prayer of a waking day is Fajr, and there is unanimous agreement regarding its start and end times. It begins at the time of the ‘second dawn’ or ‘true dawn’. While the sun is at one particular angle below the horizon, there will appear the ‘first dawn’ known as the “’false dawn’, when the light spreads vertically. That is not the start of Fajr time, which actually comes later, when the sun is high enough for the dawn light to spread laterally across the horizon. It ends when the sun rises. This means that our day should begin before the sun comes up. There’s also a special blessing in the Fajr time before the sun rises. While our minds and bodies are refreshed, it can be a very productive time of day before the worries and business of the day start to clog our minds.

The start time of Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer is also unanimously agreed upon- that it is when the sun declines from its zenith. Geographically, unless a person is at the equator he will have a small amount of shadow, even when the sun is at its zenith, but the zenith is when the shadow has reached its minimum size.

There are two opinions about the end time of Zhuhr, though they all agree that Zhuhr ends at the time when asr begins. The first opinion, the Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali opinion, is that Zhuhr ends when the length of an object’s shadow is equal to its height (plus the ‘extra shadow’ just mentioned.) The second opinion, the Hanafi opinion, is that dhuhr ends when the length of an object’s shadow is twice its height (plus the “extra shadow.”) This is based on a hadith that dhuhr is to be delayed on hot days until the day begins to cool off.

The start time of `Asr (Afternoon) is agreed by all to be the end time of Zhuhr, and the same differences just mentioned apply. There is also agreement as to the end time of `Asr, that it be when the sun has completely set. Scholars also agree that it is better to pray `Asr earlier (than later) as long as it is in the specified time. Hanafi scholars prefer it to be delayed as long as the sun hasn’t started to change color.

By unanimous agreement, Maghrib (Sunset) time begins when the sun has set, though there are basically three opinions regarding its end time. The first is the Maliki and new Shafi’i opinion, that basically the time for Maghrib ends once enough time has passed to actually make wudu’, adhan, iqamah, and pray five rak`as (3 for obligatory, 2 for sunnah (voluntary). In other words, Maghrib needs to be prayed right away with no ‘extended time’. The Hanbali and old Shafi`i opinion is that Maghrib needs to be prayed by the time the red twilight has faded, while the Hanafi opinion is that it may be prayed until the white twilight has faded. But they all pretty much agree that it’s best to pray Maghrib at the beginning of its time.

When it comes to `Isha’ (Night), there is unanimous agreement that it begins when the twilight has faded, but there are the same differing opinions about which twilight that means. The Maliki and Shafi`i opinions, for which there is no extended time, also say isha starts after the twilight has faded. When the sun sets, the first twilight is the red twilight, followed by the white twilight, followed by the blue twilight, just as a point of reference. There are two opinions about the end time of `Isha’. The first is the Hanafi opinion, which allows for `Isha’ to be prayed up until the time for fajr arrives. The Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali opinions are that `Isha’ may be prayed until the end of the first half, or first third of the night. This is calculated as the time between the beginning of `Isha’ and the beginning of Fajr, then split into thirds or halves and added to the time `Isha’ begins.

The salah itself is an organizational tool, to help you structure your life. Sometimes people will say that time is money. But no, time is life. Whenever a day passes, part of you goes with it. Following the salah forces you to begin your working day with Fajr time- you shouldn’t go to bed after Fajr Prayer.

You also see that there is time to take a break, for Zhuhr, a good time to eat lunch, and maybe take a nap. `Asr time, when the day starts to draw to a close, is the time to stop working and see to your family. Eat dinner and prepare for bed, these are things to do in the evenings.

Even the prohibited times of prayer reminds us of the appropriate structure for the day, so we don’t turn into monks and try to pray the entire day- there are times that we should spend doing other things as well. But the larger point of regular prayer is to prevent other things, our life in this dunya, from stunting our relationship with Allah.

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Source: ibnatalhidayah.blogspot.com.

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New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: The Natural Human Instinct

prayer

The act of prayer at its highest is much more than abstract reflection.

 

Religion is not satisfied with mere conception; it seeks a more intimate knowledge of and association with the object of its pursuit. The agency through which this association is achieved is the act of worship or prayer ending in spiritual illumination.

The act of worship, however, affects different varieties of consciousness differently. In the case of the prophetic consciousness it is in the main creative, i.e. it tends to create a fresh ethical world wherein the Prophet (peace be upon him), so to speak, applies the pragmatic test to his revelations.

In the case of the mystic consciousness it is in the main cognitive. It is from this cognitive point of view that I will try to discover the meaning of prayer. And this point of view is perfectly justifiable in view of the ultimate motive of prayer. I would draw your attention to the following passage from the great American psychologist, Professor William James:

‘It seems to probable that in spite of all that ‘science’ may do to the contrary, men will continue to pray to the end of time, unless their mental nature changes in a manner which nothing we know should lead us to expect. The impulse to pray is a necessary consequence of the fact that whilst the innermost of the empirical selves of a man is a ‘self’ of the social sort, it yet can find its only adequate ‘Socius’ (its ‘great companion’) in an ideal world.

‘. . . Most men, either continually or occasionally, carry a reference to it in their breast. The humblest outcast on this earth can feel himself to be real and valid by means of this higher recognition. And, on the other hand, for most of us, a world with no such inner refuge when the outer social self failed and dropped from us would be the abyss of horror. I say “for most of us”, because it is probable that individuals differ a good deal in the degree in which they are haunted by this sense of an ideal spectator. It is a much more essential part of the consciousness of some men than of others. Those who have the most of it are possibly the most religious men. But I am sure that even those who say they are altogether without it deceive themselves, and really have it in some degree.’

A Natural Human Inclination

Thus you will see that, psychologically speaking, prayer is instinctive in its origin. The act of prayer as aiming at knowledge resembles reflection. Yet prayer at its highest is much more than abstract reflection.

Like reflection it too is a process of assimilation, but the assimilative process in the case of prayer draws itself closely together and thereby acquires a power unknown to pure thought. In thought the mind observes and follows the working of Reality; in the act of prayer it gives up its career as a seeker of slow-footed universality and rises higher than thought to capture Reality itself with a view to become a conscious participator in its life.

There is nothing mystical about it. Prayer as a means of spiritual illumination is a normal vital act by which the little island of our personality suddenly discovers its situation in a larger whole of life. Do not think I am talking of auto-suggestion. Auto-suggestion has nothing to do with the opening up of the sources of life that lie in the depths of the human ego.

Unlike spiritual illumination which brings fresh power by shaping human personality, it leaves no permanent life-effects behind. Nor am I speaking of some occult and special way of knowledge. All that I mean is to fix your attention on a real human experience which has a history behind it and a future before it. Mysticism has, no doubt, revealed fresh regions of the self by making a special study of this experience. Its literature is illuminating; yet its set phraseology shaped by the thought-forms of a worn-out metaphysics has rather a deadening effect on the modern mind.

Concrete Satisfaction

The quest after a nameless nothing, as disclosed in Neo-Platonic mysticism – be it Christian or Muslim – cannot satisfy the modern mind which, with its habits of concrete thinking, demands a concrete living experience of God. And the history of the race shows that the attitude of the mind embodied in the act of worship is a condition for such an experience.

In fact, prayer must be regarded as a necessary complement to the intellectual activity of the observer of ‘nature’. The scientific observation of Nature keeps us in close contact with the behaviour of Reality, and thus sharpens our inner perception for a deeper vision of it. I cannot help quoting here a beautiful passage from the mystic poet Rëmâ in which he describes the mystic quest after ‘reality’.

The Sëfi’s book is not composed of ink and letters: it is not but a heart white as snow. The scholar’s possession is pen-marks. What is the Sëfi’s possession?

The Sëfi stalks the game like a hunter: he sees the musk-deer’s track and follows the footprints. For some while the track of the deer is the proper clue for him, but afterwards it is the musk-gland of the deer that is his guide. To go one stage guided by the scent of the musk-gland is better than a hundred stages of following the track and roaming about.

The truth is that all search for knowledge is essentially a form of prayer. The scientific observer of ‘nature’ is a kind of mystic seeker in the act of prayer. Although at present he follows only the footprints of the musk-deer, and thus modestly limits the method of his quest, his thirst for knowledge is eventually sure to lead him to the point where the scent of the musk-gland is a better guide than the footprints of the deer. This alone will add to his power over ‘nature’ and give him that vision of the total-infinite which philosophy seeks but cannot find.

Vision without power does bring moral elevation but cannot give a lasting culture. Power without vision tends to become destructive and inhuman. Both must combine for the spiritual expansion of humanity.

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”.

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New Muslims Prayer

How to Wake up before Fajr Prayer Every Day

fair prayer

To wake up for Fajr prayer, having a consistent morning routine can be quite challenging.

One of the challenges that a Muslim faces when trying to wake up for Fajr every day is the constant shifting of the Fajr prayer. Depending on the season you’re in, it constantly shifts either few minutes forward each day or few minutes back each day. Thus, it can be difficult to keep up with a varied Fajr schedule throughout the year.

This varied schedule poses three challenges for a productive Muslim:

1- It’s difficult to “train” your brain to wake up at a certain time each day. When you read productivity books, their advice is to always wake up early around the same time each day, e.g. 5 a.m. This helps train your brain to wake you up early regardless of how late you slept the night before.

However, for a Muslim, this is not realistic, especially with the shifting time for Fajr prayer, which can start as early as 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. or as late as 7 a.m., depending on the season and which part of the world you’re in.

2- It’s difficult to maintain a regular “night” prayer routine. If you want to benefit from the last third of the night and get up and pray, you cannot have a consistent schedule. In some seasons, this will require you to wake up as early as 1am or 2 a.m. and in some seasons, you’ll need to wake up at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Again, it can be difficult for you to stay consistent.

3- You cannot maintain a consistent schedule or morning routine. Since your morning keeps expanding and contracting depending on what time you have to wake up for Fajr prayer, having a consistent morning routine can be quite challenging.

So How Do You Overcome This Challenge?

The solution is in a new routine I’ve developed recently. By Allah’s permission and help, I have been able to consistently wake up 45 minutes before Fajr Adhan, regardless of the season and time of year I’m in.

This has helped me train my brain to wake up in sync with Fajr prayer Adhan, as well as in sync with the seasons. It has also helped me maintain a regular night prayer + witr routine, since I now have a 45-minute window before the Fajr Adhan .

So here’s my solution: This is a 3-step process that has worked for me and I hope and pray that it works with you.

Step 1: Get the Right Alarm

I got myself a desk Fajr clock. The clock has  a unique feature i.e. it has an alarm that goes off in sync with the Fajr Adhan  and you can set it to wake you up at least 10 minutes before Fajr, every day. Therefore, regardless of the time of Fajr Adhan, it’ll go off exactly 10 minutes before Fajr.

Step 2: Develop Your Alarm Habit

Every person has a unique “alarm habit” whether you’re consciously aware of it or not. For some, it’s the classic ‘hit the snooze button and sleep until it’s too late for you to hit the snooze button again’ habit. For others, it’s to simply shut the alarm and sleep for another 20-30 minutes before waking up scared that they’ll miss their morning commute.

I used to have quite a funny alarm habit myself. My alarm clock (the Fajr clock I mentioned above) was placed at the other end of my room. When it went off, I got up, walked across the room, turned it off and then walked straight back to bed for a snooze before my phone’s alarm woke me up. Normally, it worked for me. But, sometimes it didn’t and that bothered me.

Thinking about that routine, I realize it didn’t make sense. “Why am I heading back to my bed after waking up and walking across the room?!”. So I decided to change my routine to change my habit.

I simply changed the direction of my walk after I turned off the alarm. Instead of walking back to bed, I walked straight to the bathroom to get ready for salah. Initially, making that conscious shift of walking to the bathroom instead of the bed was quite challenging because I was trying to overcome an old habit.

However, after a few days, this habit has become ingrained in me. Now, I find it much easier to get up at any time the Adhan clock goes off and walk straight to the bathroom and get ready for salah.

Step 3: Tweak and Re-arrange

When I first changed my alarm habit, I used to have the Fajr alarm set at least 5 minutes before Fajr Adhan. Of course, this gave me no time to pray Tahajjud (late night prayer) or Witr on time. So what I wanted to do was gradually train my mind to wake up earlier and earlier each day. I knew that if I “jerk” my brain to wake up half an hour before the time it’s used to wake up, I might be tempted to go back to my old routine and walk straight into bed for a snooze.

To make this transition smooth, I followed a simple procedure. Each week, I set my alarm to go off 5 minutes earlier than the previous week. This small tweak of the alarm each week allowed me to gradually train my mind to consistently wake up 45 minutes before Fajr each day. This helped me overcome two of the challenges I mentioned earlier:

1- Training my brain to wake up at “same time” each day.

2- Staying consistent with night prayer.

What about the third challenge i.e. maintaining a consistent morning routine? To overcome this challenge, I would review my morning routine every three months. Normally, three months is enough time for Fajr prayer to have moved significantly to require me to tweak my morning routine.

The way I tweak my morning routine is by either adding or removing “optional” morning activities to/from my “core” morning activities to have an optimal morning routine, depending on the season.

What are My Core/Optional Morning Activities?

4-6 rak`ah Tahajjud

2 raka`ah Tahajjud

Witr Prayer

Istighfar (asking Allah’s forgiveness)

Repeat after the Fajr Adhan with the nearby mosque muezzin (one who calls the Adhan)

Fajr sunnah

Fajr Prayer

Remembrance after salah

Morning remembrance

Qur’an recitation

Writing, Brainstorming

Reading

Gym (swimming, weights, running)

7-30 minutes of home exercise

Breakfast

An Advance Tip

I want to go a level deeper with you and give you a really pro tip. This is for the productivity professionals out there.

You can play with the above system so you reduce the variance between your earliest summer wake-up time and earliest winter wake-up time. This way, you don’t go through massive swings during the year. For example, if Fajr gets as early as 3am and as late as 7 a.m. in your area (depending on the season), following my 45-minute routine before Fajr tip, the earliest you’ll wake up in the summer is 2.30 a.m. and the earliest you’ll wake up in the winter is 6.30 a.m. However, that’s a 4 hour swing/variance in one year, which can be quite hard to adapt to.

What if during winter, instead of waking up at 6.30am, you wake up at 4.30am and give yourself a longer period to pray Tahajjud.

This way, the gap between your earliest winter wake-up time and summer wake-up time is 2 hours, which won’t be as difficult to adjust to, In sha Allah.

I hope the above has helped you in some way to develop a powerful wake-up routine that not only allows you to never miss Fajr, but also keep up with the Fajr timings throughout the year and get a chance to keep up with your night prayer each night. Of course, I must mention that waking up early for Fajr and Tahajjud is a blessing from Allah and can only happen by His permission.

Hence whenever applying the above techniques, remember you’re simply taking the means, but your heart and hopes should be connected to Allah in Whose Hands is your ability to wake up. Pray that you wake up early and worship Him and remember: “You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help”.

_________________________

Source: Productive Muslim.

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New Muslims Prayer

The Muslim Prayer: Its Rules and Timing

What are the rules of Muslim prayer? How do we shorten the prayer? And when is it applicable? When should we make for the missed prayer? Are there times when it is wrong to pray?

Shortening the Prayer

When a person is travelling with the intention of proceeding forty eight miles or over from his home he should shorten the obligatory prayers of four units to two each.

What are the rules of Muslim prayer?

As a rule, every Muslim, male or female, should offer the prayer in its due time.

The curtailment is applicable to the Noon (Zhuhr) Prayer, the Mid-Afternoon (`Asr) Prayer, and the Evening (`Ishaa’) Prayer. The Early Morning (Fajr) Prayer and the Sunset (Maghrib) Prayers remain unchanged.

This advantage remains effective even after the traveler arrives at his destination, if he does not intend to prolong his stay there for fifteen days or more. Otherwise, he should offer the reducible prayers in their original and complete number of units.

While traveling under these circumstances, he is exempt from all supererogatory prayers (sunnah) except the two sunnah units of the Early Morning (Fajr) and Witr which follows the Evening (`Ishaa’) prayers

There are some minor differences of interpretation between the various schools of law regarding the travel distance and the travel duration.

Times When Muslim Prayer is Forbidden

The Muslim is forbidden to offer either obligatory or supererogatory prayers at:

1- The time when the sun is rising;

2- The time when the sun is at its zenith;

3- The time when the sun is setting;

4- The period of menstruation or confinement due to childbirth

5- The time of impurity, partial or complete

It must be clarified that if a person forgets, oversleeps or misses a prayer, he must perform it immediately when he remembers regardless of the position of the sun.

Making up for Delayed Prayers

1- As a rule, every Muslim, male or female, should offer the prayer in its due time. Failing to do so is a punishable sin unless there is a reasonable excuse for delay.

2- With the exception of women in confinement or menstruation and any who remain insane or unconscious for some time, every Muslim must make up for his or her delayed obligatory prayers.

3- When making up for the delayed prayers one must offer them in their original form, e.g., if they were due shortened they should be offered so and vice-versa.

4- Order between the delayed prayers and between these and the present ones should be maintained, i.e., the first in due-ness is offered first unless the missed prayers are too many to remember their exact dates, or the time available is not sufficient for both missed and present prayers.

In this case, the present prayer comes first and the missed ones may be offered later. At any rate, the Muslim must make certain that his record is clear to the best of his knowledge, and that there are no missed prayers.

The Taraweeh Prayers

These prayers are special characteristic of the month of Ramadan. They follow the Evening (‘Ishaa’ ) Prayers. They consist of eight to twenty units (Rak’ ahs) offered two by two with short break between each two units. It is much more preferable to say them in a congregational form and before the Witr, which is the last part of the Evening Prayer.

Invalidation of Prayers

Any prayer becomes invalid and nullified by any act of the following:

1- To anticipate the Imam in any act or movement of prayer;

2- To eat or drink during the prayer;

3- To talk or say something out of the prescribed course of prayers;

4- To shift the position away from the direction of qiblah in Mecca; unless it is

impossible to the worshipper to face the qiblah;

5- To do intentionally and unnecessary any noticeable act or movement outside the acts and movements of prayer;

6- To do anything that nullifies the ablution, e.g., discharge of urine, stool, gas, blood, etc.; unless due to a medical condition not in the worshipper’ s control, in this case the worshipper needs to perform ablution only once for every fard (obligatory) prayer, and he should not repeat the ablution to perform the Sunnah prayer relative to that Fard prayer

7- To fail in observing any of the essential acts of prayers, like standing, reciting the Qur’an, ruku’, sujud, etc.; unless for reasons of disability or physical ailment.

8- To uncover the body between the navel and knees during the prayer in the case of males; and in the case of females, to uncover any part of the body, except the face and the hands.

Any prayer which becomes invalidated must be repeated properly.

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the author’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

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New Muslims Prayer

Friday Prayer: Its Rules & Manner

The obligatory (fard) Prayer in Islam includes the five daily prayers and the weekly noon congregational prayer; Friday Prayer. Failure to observe these prayers on time is a serious and punishable sin.

Friday prayer

It is a convention for the Muslims to reassure themselves, confirm their religious bonds and social solidarity.

The Islamic congregation is a positive answer to the acutest problems of humanity rising from racial discrimination, social castes and human prejudices.

In the congregational service of Islam, there is no king or subject, rich or poor, white or colored, first or second class, back or front benches, reserved or public pews. All worshippers stand and act shoulder to shoulder in the most disciplinary manner regardless of any worldly considerations.

The Friday Prayer (Salatu Al-Jumu`ah)

This weekly convention of Friday Congregation is compulsory upon every Muslim who is required to observe the other prayers and has no reasonable excuses to abstain.

It falls on Friday of every week and is especially important because:

1- It is the occasion earmarked by God for the Muslims to express their collective devotion.

2- It is an appointment to review our spiritual accounts of the week gone by and get ready for the following week just as people do in any other business.

3- It is a convention for the Muslims to reassure themselves and confirm their religious bonds and social solidarity on moral and spiritual foundations.

4- It shows how the Muslims give preference to the call of God over and above any other concern

Muslim of the Daylight Saving time zones seem to run into some difficulties and confusion over the proper time for the Friday Congregational Prayer (Jumu`ah). The problem can be solved easily by setting the prayer time between 1:15 to 2.30 p.m. throughout year.

In this way there will be no need to change the time from winter to summer. We strongly recommend this to our brethren so that they may work it into their weekly schedules as a permanent arrangement.

The Highlights of the Friday Prayer

This prayer of Friday is marked by these features:

1- Its time falls in the same time as that of the noon prayer (Zhuhr Prayer), and it replaces the very same prayer.

2- It must be said in a congregation led by an Imam, no single person can offer it by himself.

3- If any person misses it, he cannot make up for it; Instead, he has to offer the noon prayer, the original prayer which this service normally replaces

4- All kinds of normal work are allowed on Friday as on any other week day. For Muslims there is no Sabbath. They can carry on with their usual duties and activities provided they come to the congregational service in time. After the service is over, they may resume their mundane activities.

5- This Friday prayer must be performed in a mosque, if there is one available. Otherwise, it may be said at any gathering place e.g. homes, farms, parks. etc.

6- When the time for prayer comes, the adhan is said, the Imam stands up, facing the audience and delivers his sermon (khutbah) which is an essential part of the service.

Muslims are recommended to offer Sunnah prayers before the sermon. As for those who will arrive at the mosque during the sermon they should offer the two brief units of the Sunnah prayer “Tahiyatu Al-Masjid” (Mosque greetings) and then sit down to listen.

While the Imam is talking nobody should talk, everyone present should take a sitting position and listen to the sermon quietly to the end

7- The sermon (khutbah) consists of two parts each beginning with words of praise of God and prayers of blessing for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the first part some Qur’anic passage must be recited and explained for the purpose of exhortation and admonition.

At the end of the first part the Imam takes a short rest in the sitting posture, then stands up to deliver the second part of his sermon. General affairs of the Muslims may be stated in either or both parts of the sermon. In the second part, especially, the Imam prays for the general welfare of all Muslims

8- After that, the Iqamah is made and the two obligatory units are offered under the leadership of the Imam who recites Al-Fatihah and the other Qur’anic passage in audible voice. When this is done, the prayer is completed. After that, Sunnah prayers may be offered individually in a low voice.

The Sunnah prayers may be offered at home. Also they may be replaced with some obligatory prayers that one has missed in the past and for which one has to make up.

Any participant in the Friday weekly congregation or `Eid Prayers should do his best to be neat and tidy.

Though there is no compulsory reason for a complete ablution, a bath is strongly recommended as it makes one fresher and more pleasant.

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the author’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

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New Muslims Prayer

Night Prayer Negligence and Its 13 Losses

The Night Prayer or Qiyam Al-Layl stands for the practice by Muslims as they stand in the night in prayer. This prayer extends from the time immediately after `Isha’ Prayer until the Fajr (i.e., Dawn) Prayer.

Merits of Night Prayer

Many hadiths (narrations) by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as well as verses of the Qur’an show the significance as well as importance of the Night Prayer and the merits attributed to those who regularly and properly perform it.

Night Prayer Negligence and Its 13 Losses

“You should pray Qiyam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord”

Allah the Almighty says what may mean,

“O you who wraps himself (in clothing), arise (to pray) the night, except for a little – half of it – or subtract from it a little or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation.” (Al-Muzammil 73: 1-4)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said: “You should pray Qiyam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.”(At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

Given this, what is it really that a Muslim loses if s/he abandons and/or neglects the Night Prayer?

At least, one will lose thirteen (13) precious things; foremost among which are what follows:

The First Loss

One will lose the entitlement to the title or description of `Ibad Al-Rahman (i.e. Servants of the Most Compassionate), as Allah the Almighty says,

“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them (harshly), they say (words of) peace. And those who spend (part of) the night to their Lord prostrating and standing (in prayer).” (Al-Furqan 25: 63-64)

The Second Loss

He will lose entitlement to the title or description of “the Righteous”, as Allah the Almighty says,

“Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs. Accepting what their Lord has given them. Indeed, they were before that doers of good. They used to sleep but little of the night. And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness.” (Al-Dhariyat 51: 15-18)

The Third Loss

He will lose entitlement to the title or description of “the Devoutly Obedient” or “the People of Understanding”, as Allah the Almighty says what may mean,

“Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing (in prayer), fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, (like one who does not)? Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only they will remember (who are) people of understanding.” (Al-Zumar39: 9)

The Fourth Loss

He will lose the “high unique station” designated for those standing in prayer at night, as Allah says,

“They are not (all) the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing (in obedience), reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating (in prayer).” (Aal `Imran 3: 113)

The Fifth Loss

He will lose the chance that “supplication may be answered” such as that of Prophet Zakariya, as Allah the Almighty says what may mean,

“So the angels called him while he was standing in prayer in the chamber, “Indeed, Allah gives you good tidings of John, confirming a word from Allah and (who will be) honorable, abstaining (from women), and a prophet from among the righteous.” (Aal `Imran 3: 39)

The Sixth Loss

He will lose the chance to “be protected and assisted” by Allah the Almighty, Allah says,

“O you who wraps himself (in clothing). Arise (to pray) the night, except for a little – Half of it – or subtract from it a little. Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation. Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word. Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence (of heart and tongue) and more suitable for words.” (Al-Muzammil 73: 1-6)

The Seventh Loss

He will lose the opportunity that his “good deeds do away with misdeeds” as one of the preconditions for this is that one performs the prayer at the approach of the night. Allah the Almighty says what may mean,

“And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” (Hud 11: 114)

The Eighth Loss

He will lose the opportunity to “be resurrected to a praised station in Paradise”. Allah says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

“And from (part of) the night, pray with it as additional (worship) for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.” (Al-Isra’ 17: 79)

The Ninth Loss

He will lose “Allah’s Satisfaction” with him, as Allah says,

“So be patient over what they say and exalt ( Allah ) with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night (exalt Him) and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.” (Taha20: 130)

The Tenth Loss

He will lose “Allah’s constant care” about him. Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

“And rely upon the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. Who sees you when you arise. And your movement among those who prostrate.” (Al-Shu’ara’ 26: 217-219)

The Eleventh Loss

He will lose the opportunity to be among those regarding whom Allah says “You are in Our Eyes”. Allah says in the Qur’an what may mean,

“And be patient, (O Muhammad), for the decision of your Lord, for indeed, you are in Our eyes. And exalt ( Allah ) with praise of your Lord when you arise. And in a part of the night exalt Him and after (the setting of) the stars.” (Al-Tur 52: 48-49)

The Twelfth Loss

He will lose the “good that is hidden” for those who stand in prayer in the night. Allah says,

“And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes as reward for what they used to do.” (Al-Sajdah 32: 17)

The Thirteenth Loss

He will lose the chance to “follow the sunnah” of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an,

“Indeed, your Lord knows, (O Muhammad), that you stand (in prayer) almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and (so do) a group of those with you.” (Al-Muzammil 73: 20)

Given this, will a sane Muslim do without, neglect or abandon standing in prayer in the night or the Night Prayer? I doubt it!

Again, the Prophet  said:

“Verily, there is one hour during the (entire) night when any Muslim (submitting to the Will of Allah the Almighty) may call upon Allah and request anything of Him, regardless of whether the matter be worldly or of the hereafter. Allah, the Almighty will grant and fulfill the request. This is the case every night.” (Muslim)

_________________________

The article is taken from truth-seeker.info written by Dr. Ali Al-Halawani

Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator and researcher. You can reach him at alihalawani72@hotmail.com.

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New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: Sayings and Acts of the Prophet

By Editorial Staff

Prayer is the daily ritual act of worship enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. A constant reminder throughout the day keeps believers mindful of God in the daily stress of life. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.

prayer

“Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).”

Jarir bin `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

“I pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to establish Salah, to pay the Zakah and to have the welfare of every Muslim at heart.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Any Muslim who fails to observe his prayers and has no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and a heinous sin.

The Messenger of Allah  said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).” (Muslim)

Obligatory

The obligatory (fard) Prayer in Islam includes the five daily prayers and the weekly noon congregational prayer; Friday Prayer.

It was narrated that `A’ishah said:

“The first time the Salah was enjoined it was two rak`ahs, and it remained as such when traveling, but the Salah while resident was made complete.” (An-Nasa’i)

Times of Prayer

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about the times of prayers. He said: The time for the morning prayer (lasts) as long as the first visible part of the rising sun does not appear and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from the zenith and there is not a time for the afternoon prayer and the time for the afternoon prayer is so long as the sun does not become pale and its first visible part does not set, and the time for the evening prayer is that when the sun disappears and (it lasts) till the twilight is no more and the time for the night prayer is up to the midnight. (Muslim)

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with a rak`ah of the prayer, then he has caught up with the prayer.” (An-Nasa’i)

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “There is no prayer after the morning prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the `Asr prayer till the sun sets.” (Al-Bukhari)

In Congregation

A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a salah performed individually.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

The Messenger of Allah said: “If anyone goes out from his house after performing ablution for saying the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for hajj pilgrimage after wearing ihram (robe worn by the hajj pilgrims).

And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs `Umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in `Illiyyin (the highest levels of Heaven). (Al-Albani)

Friday Prayer

This weekly convention of Friday Congregation is compulsory upon every Muslim man who is required to observe the other five daily prayers and has no reasonable excuses to abstain. It falls on Friday of every week.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, with four exceptions; a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person.

Abu Dawud said: Tariq Ibn Shihab had seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) but not heard anything from him. (Al-Albani)

Women’s Prayer at Mosques

One of the wives of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to offer the Fajr and the `Isha’ Prayer in congregation in the mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that `Umar disliked it, and he has great self-respect. She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Messenger: ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slaves from going to Allah’s Mosques’ prevents him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Night Prayer

Many hadiths by the Prophet show the significance as well as importance of the Night Prayer and the merits attributed to those who regularly and properly perform it.

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

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing sawm (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best salah (prayer) next after the prescribed salah is salah at night (Tahajjud prayers).” (Muslim)

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

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing fasting after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said: “You should pray qiyam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.”(At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

Special Du`aa’

Ibn `Abbas narrated:

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up at night to offer the tahajjud prayer, he used to say:  (O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever   is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. (Al-Bukhari)

Midmost Prayer

Zaid ibn Thabit said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer the Zhuhr Prayer in midday heat; and no prayer was harder on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah than this one. Hence the revelation came down: “Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer” (Al-Baqarah 2:238). He (the narrator) said: There are two prayers before it and two prayers after it. (Abu Dawud)

Fajr Prayer

Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A prayer performed in congregation is twenty-five times more superior in reward to a prayer performed by a single person. The angels of the night and the angels of the day are assembled at the time of the Fajr (Morning) prayer.” Abu Hurairah added, “If you wish, you can recite:- “Verily! The recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn (Morning prayer) is ever witnessed (attended by the angels of the day and the night” (Al-Israa’ 17:78)” (Al-Bukhari)

Sunnah Prayer

Narrated `Abdullah Ibn `Umar:

I offered with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a two rak`ahs prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs after the Zhuhr Prayer, two rak`ahs after Jumu`ah, Maghrib and `Ishaa’ prayers. (Al-Bukhari)

`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) never omitted four rak`ah prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs prayers before dawn (Fajr) Prayer. [Al- Bukhari]

Narrated Hafsah:

When the muezzin pronounced the Adhan for Fajr Prayer and the dawn became evident the Prophet ordered a two rak`ahs light prayer (sunnah) before the iqamah (second call to Prayer) of the compulsory (congregational) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There is a salah (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salah between every Adhan and iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prohibited Actions in Prayer

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

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the Iqamah is called, no prayer should be performed except the obligatory prayer.” (Muslim)

 

 

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Fulfillment of Promise: The Muslim’s Conduct

An essential Part of a Muslim’s Conduct

Fulfillment of Promise: The Muslim’s Conduct

No promise and covenant is proper and correct except in rightful matters.

When a Muslim undertakes a thing, he should respect the undertaking. When he enters into any contract he should honor it till the last.

This is the demand of the faith that when a man talks of any enterprise, he should have the intention of taking it to completion, like the water which does not rest till it flows down to the lower level. He should be known among the people as a man of reliable promises, and there should be no fear of any breach of promises or of any dubious dealings from him.

Fulfillment of the promise is necessary. Similarly when an oath is taken, it should be redeemed. But this fulfillment of promise or the redeeming of the oath and pledges is necessary when the dealing is legitimate and concerns truth, otherwise honoring the promise in connection with something sinful and disobedience to Allah has no value, and there is no importance of oath in sin.

Allah’s Messenger has said:

“If someone has taken an oath, but saw an aspect of goodness in another thing, he may break his oath and pay compensation (atonement), and should perform the act which is better and has goodness.” (Muslim)

It is not proper for a man to insist on redeeming the oath. On such occasions it is better to break the oath. In a hadith it is stated:

“It is sinful for a man among you to go to his wife with his oath (unredeemed) compared to his paying the compensation (atoning) which He has fixed for breaking the oath.” (Al-Bukhari)

Covenant with Allah

For this reasons no promise and covenant is proper and correct except in rightful matters. When a man has promised to do a certain good thing, then he should try his best to fulfill it, as long as it appears good to him. He should very well know that he should stick to manly talk, faith and belief. There is no room in this for breach of promises or doubts and hesitation.

Anas ibn Malik says that his uncle Anas ibn Nadar could not take part in the Battle of Badr, and he said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of Allah! In the first battle that you fought with the polytheists I could not take part. If Allah kept me with the Prophet then they will definitely see my achievements in the second battle against the polytheists.”

When in the Battle of Uhud, there was fierce fighting and the Muslims were retreating. He prayed to Allah: “O Allah! I ask your pardon for the mistake that they have committed, and I declare myself innocent of the transgression of the polytheists”.

Saying this he rushed into the battle. In the way he met Sa`d ibn Mu`adh whom he said: “O Sa`d ibn Mu`adh! By the God of Nadar, Proceed towards Paradise. I smell its fragrance , in the valley of Uhad.”

Sa`d said: “O Messenger of Allah! The love for martyrdom, which he showed, cannot be expressed. Then he advanced.”

Anas says that we found more than eighty wounds on his body, which were caused by swords, the points of lances and the shower of arrows. The polytheists had disfigured his body and it was difficult to identify him. With great difficulty his sister identified him with the help of a mole on his fingers.

Anas says that he thinks that the following verses were revealed about him or about persons like him:

Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have completed their vow to (the extreme), and some (still) wait; but they have never changed (their determination) in the least. (Al-Ahzab 33:23)

The Requirements

Fulfillment of promises depends on two essential factors: memory and determination. With these two things, fulfilling one’s promises would be easy. Allah had taken a promise from Adam that he would not go near the forbidden tree, but Adam forgot the promise within a few days. He became a prey to weakness and broke his promise:

We had already beforehand taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot,. and We found on his part no firm resolve. (Ta-Ha 22:115)

It shows that deficiency in memory and weakness of determination are two obstructions, which come in the way of performance of duty. And this is a strange thing that man, being overwhelmed by the hardships of the times, various difficulties and different pressing problems forgets the open and clear realities. To him the clear figures appear blurred, and the realities which are as striking as the light of the sun disappear from his sight.

There the necessity of a reminder becomes very pressing, to overcome the negligence and 3

forgetfulness, and to keep this important thing before men’s eyes. There are a number of verses of the Qur’an which were revealed for safeguarding the memory:

Follow the revelation given to you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is you remember of admonition. (Al-A`araf 7:3)

This is the way of your Lord, leading straight; We have detailed the signs for those who receive admonition. (Al-An`am 6:126)

And the raiment of righteousness-that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition. (Al-A`raf 7:26)

Thus shall We raise up the dead; so that you may remember… ( Al-A`raf 7:57)

Alive and wakeful memory and remembrance is essential for fulfilling promises. A man who forgets his promises and covenants, how can he fulfill them? That is why the following verse has been ended on a note of admonition after giving command of fulfilling them:

And fulfill the Covenant of Allah; thus does He command you, that you may remember. (Al-An`am 6:152)

Determination

If a man has a strong memory in respect of fulfilling his promise, it is also necessary that he should have a determination to do so, a determination which should not have any laxity or slackness in this matter a determination which should be able to overcome all the rebellious desires, and which should lighten the coming burden of difficulties.

It should be a determination which should be able to cross all the difficult valleys and blocks and should be able to set an example of selfless sacrifice for others.

The measures for weighing and appraising people are different with different people. The price one has to pay for remaining faithful sometimes is very high.

At times one requires to sacrifice all the wealth, property and the most desired thing in this respect.

The Reward

But these difficulties, sacrifices and trials of determination prove in the end to be the steps for achieving greatness and honor, as the poet says: “Why he, who considers his life and heart dear, should go to (seek) the beloved in her street.”

The Qur’an has severely criticized those who seek to achieve heights of success and glory in the shadow of comfortable living:

Do you think that you will enter paradise without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They experienced suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the prophet and the faithful who were with him cried: ‘When will Allah’s help come ?’ Ah ! Verily, Allah’s help is near. (Al-Baqarah 2:214)

When a man develops in himself the combined forces of a conscious and wakeful mind and a heart full of determination, then he can be considered to have been qualified to enter the group of the faithful people.

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Muslim Character”, a translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s “Khuluq Al-Muslim”.

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Ethics & Values New Muslims

Trustworthiness: The Characteristic of a True Believer

The Broader Sense of Trust

straight way-nature

Trust is the sense of responsibility, the sense of having to appear before Allah and to account for one’s actions

Islam expects of its followers that they will be masters of live hearts and wakeful conscience, which would ensure the protection of the rights of God and humanity and which would also protect their action: from the commitment of excesses. Therefore it is necessary that every Muslim should be “ameen” (trustworthy).

In the eyes of the Shari`ah, trust has a very broad sense. This word contains an ocean of meaning, but underneath it all is the sense of responsibility, the sense of having to appear before Allah and to account for one’s actions, the details of which are given in the hadith:

“Every one of you is a guardian and everyone will be asked about his subjects. Imam is a guardian. He will be asked about his subjects. A man is the guardian of the persons in his household. He is answerable about them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house. She will be asked about her responsibility. The servant is the guardian of the articles of his master. He is answerable about this responsibility of his.“ (Al-Bukhari)

The narrator of the hadith, Ibn `Umar, says that he heard these things from the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he thinks that the Prophet also said: “A man is a guardian of the stock of his father and is answerable about that.”

Faith-based

The people take trust in a very limited, sense and consider it to mean the protection of others’ deposits, although in Allah’s religion this has a very broad and unlimited sense.

This is a duty for safeguarding which a Muslim advises another Muslim and in this connection seeks the help of Allah.

When a Muslim prepares to go on a journeys his brother prays for him in this way: “I pray to Allah for your religion, your trust and for the happy ending of your work.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Anas narrates that whenever Allah’s Messenger addressed a sermon to us, he invariably repeated this sentence:

“The man has no faith who cannot keep trust and the man who does not respect his promises has no religion.” (Ahmad)

Since the zenith of achievement and the highest limit of success is to be protected against the hardships of this world and the bad consequences in the Hereafter, the Prophet prays for safety from both the conditions. He has said:

“O Allah! I seek your shelter from the pangs of hunger, because it is a very bad companion, and I seek your shelter from dishonesty because it is the worst friend.” (Abu Dawud)

God’s Guardians

Hunger is the name of deprivation in the world and dishonesty is the name of destruction of religion, therefore the Prophet had prayed for being spared from both. Before attaining prophethood he was known among the people as AL-Ameen (The Trustworthy).

Similarly the trustworthiness of Musa (Moses) was observed when he fetched water for the flock of the two daughters of the good old man, had helped them, had respected their womanhood, and had treated them in a decent and gentlemanly way:

So he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: “O my Lord I truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that you do send me !

Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: “My father invites you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: “Do not fear; (well) have you escaped from unjust people.

Said one of the (damsels) :“O my (dear) father I engage him on wages; truly the best of men for you to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty. (Al-Qasas 28:24-26}

This event took place when Moses had not been made Prophet, and was not sent to Pharaohs.

And this is not at all surprising because Allah chose only those individuals for being appointed as His Messengers who were the most decent, most honest and righteous, among the people.

The self which continues to be attached to the high moral character even after undergoing the extremes of the hardship of poverty and helplessness must be belonging to a very powerful and trustworthy man; and the protection of the rights of God and His slaves demands such character only as does not change in good or bad conditions, and this is the spirit of trustworthiness.

Appointment to High Offices and Posts

There is also another sense of trust, and that is: everything should be placed at its proper and deserving place. An office or a post should be offered only to the deserving person; and responsibility should be given only to that person who is able to shoulder it and who has the capability to do justice to the trust placed in him.

Governorship, responsibilities of the party, nation or country, which are granted placing confidence in the persons concerned, are trusts, about which they are answerable. A number of proofs can be advanced in support of this statement.

Abu Dhar (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that he asked the Prophet whether he would not make him a governor somewhere. Hearing this the Prophet tapped his shoulder and said:

“O Abu Dhar ! you are weak, and this responsibility is a trust. On the Day of Judgment it will be a cause of loss of honor and ignominy. However, those people will be spared who will have accepted it with all its responsibilities and would have fulfilled whatever responsibilities they had in this connection.” (Muslim)

It is a fact that mere excellence of education or experience does not make a person most suitable for some office. It is also possible that a man may have good moral character and a righteous person, but he may not have the capabilities to fulfill the responsibilities of a certain office.

Yusuf (Joseph) was a Prophet. He was the living example of righteousness and virtuousness, but he had not offered his services to shoulder the responsibilities of the country on the basis of his righteousness and prophet-hood.

He had taken the reins of office in his hand on account of his learning and memory.

(Yusuf) Said.. ‘Entrust to me the treasures of the country. Verily, I am protector and learned’. (Yusuf :55)

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The article is an excerpt from the book “Muslim Character”, a translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s “Khuluq Al-Muslim”.

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