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Fasting New Muslims

All About Ramadan (1436/2015)

By Editorial Staff

All About Ramadan (1436/2015)

Upon becoming Muslim, one must fast the month Ramadan, the second act of worship that Allah enjoins upon us, every year.

During Ramadan one must abstain from anything that breaks the fast; eaing, drinking and sexual intercourse, from the time of fajr (dawn) until maghrib (sunset) as an act of obedience to Allah.

Like the Prayer, this act of worship has been part of the Shari`ahs given by all the Prophets. Their followers fasted as we do.

Ramadan is the month in which Muslims observe the obligatory fast which has been prescribed by God on those who believe in Him as it was prescribed on previous nations.

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain piety. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

The above verse explains the main purpose of fasting. It is to attain taqwa (God-consciousness) which means that every Muslim must be watchful of everything. He must watch out every word he utters and every action he does.

In this Special Folder (All About Ramadan), we will focus on fasting and its related issues.

 

Watch Taraweeh Prayer Live From Mecca

Watch Taraweeh Prayer Live From Mecca

Watch Taraweeh Prayer Live From Mecca…

Ramadan – 100 Muslims, 1 Question

Ramadan – 100 Muslims, 1 Question

Ramadan – 100 Muslims, 1 Question…

Tariq Ramadan : Chronicles of Ramadan 1436 2015 (Values)

Day 1: Peace

When it comes to Islam there are values that represent the core principles and guidelines we should stick to and live according to. Therefore, in efforts to be a better Muslim, we have to understand the true message and values of Islam.

On every day throughout the Blessed Month, we will ponder over one essential Islamic value, its true essence, and how to implement it in everyday life.

Read More »

Day 1: Peace

Read also:

Ramadan Pro Tips (Series)

Ramadan Pro Tips (Series)

Ramadan Pro Tips (Series)…

Your Health in Ramadan

Fasting and Overall Health

Fasting and Overall Health

In some cases, fasting could do more harm than good to some ill people, but could be beneficial to others, and even improve health. Who is exempted from fasting, who can decide this? How should fasting…

Read more »

Read also:

E-Books on Ramadan

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

With the coming of Ramadan, every Muslim has to prepare himself for that blessed month. This book tackles the most important issues that a Muslim has to be aware of before going on fasting. It tries to present the rulings of fasting as well as the spiritual objectives for which fasting was obligated. Take your time in going through this helpful book and we hope that we provided something that has been beneficial for you.

Read more »

Read also:

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

All About Ramadan (1437/2016)

By Editorial Staff

All About Ramadan (1437/2016)

Islam aims to transform the whole life of man into a life of worship. Fasting is the second act of worship that Allah enjoins upon the Muslim that help us come to that life of total worship.

Sawm or the fasting means abstaining from dawn to sunset from eating, drinking and sex.

Like the prayer, this act of worship has been part of the Shari`ah given by all the Prophets. Their followers fasted as we do. However, the rules, the number of days, and the periods prescribed for fasting have varied from one Shari`ah to another.

Today, although fasting remains a part of most religions in some form or another, people have often changed its original form by accretions of their own.

O Believers! Fasting is ordained for you, even as it was ordained for those before you. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Why has this particular act of worship been practised in all eras?

Ramadan is earmarked for all Muslims to fast together, to ensure similar results, turning individual into collective `badah, and suffusing the whole environment with a spirit of righteousness, virtue and piety. As flowers blossom in spring, so does taqwa in Ramadan.

The Prophet (peace be on him) said:

Every good deed of a man is granted manifold increase, ten to 0n hundred times. But says Allah: Fasting is an exception; it is exclusively for Me, and I reward for it as much as I wish. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

So, how do we fast in Ramadan? what is true spirit of fasting as an act of worship? And what is the wisdom behind fasting? How can we reap the benefits of witnessing the blessed month of Ramadan?

In this Special Folder (All About Ramadan), we will focus on fasting and its related issues.

Instagramadan (AbdelRahman Murphy)

Instagramadan

The primary function of the month of Ramadan is to gain taqwa (God-consciousness); meaning to have a true and meaningful relationship with Allah (Exalted be He), to fill your heart with true meaningful love we need.

We ask Allah to make this Ramadan a new beginning, a means for us to become closer to our Creator than we ever have been, and the bridge between us and our best selves….

Read More »

Instagramadan 1: Finding the Love That We Need

Read also:

Your Health in Ramadan

Fasting and Overall Health

Fasting and Overall Health

In some cases, fasting could do more harm than good to some ill people, but could be beneficial to others, and even improve health. Who is exempted from fasting, who can decide this? How should fasting…

Read more »

Read also:

E-Books on Ramadan

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

New Muslim Ramadan Guide

With the coming of Ramadan, every Muslim has to prepare himself for that blessed month. This book tackles the most important issues that a Muslim has to be aware of before going on fasting. It tries to present the rulings of fasting as well as the spiritual objectives for which fasting was obligated. Take your time in going through this helpful book and we hope that we provided something that has been beneficial for you.

Read more »

Read also:

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

Shawwal & the First Festive Moments of `Eid

Shawwal is the first of the three months named as ‘Ashhur Al-Hajj’ (i.e. the months of Hajj). Although the major acts of Hajj are normally performed in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, yet the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah is held to be the period of Hajj because some acts of Hajj can be performed any time during this period.

`Eid Prayer

After paying the Sadaqat Al-Fitr, Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the `Eid Prayer collectively.

For example, the Tawaf Al-Qudum ((Tawaf of arrival, for Hajj), followed by the Sa`i of Hajj (walking between Safa and Marwah) cannot be performed before Shawwal, while it can be performed any day after the beginning of Shawwal.

Similarly, an `Umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as the `Umrah of Tamattu`, while the `Umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated to the Hajj, making it a Hajj of Tamattu`. Moreover, ihram of Hajj should not be started before Shawwal, because it makruh (disliked). For these reasons these three months have been named as the ‘months of Hajj’ and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the first of these.

`Eid Al-Fitr

The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of `Eid Al-Fitr, one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari`ah. This happy day is designed by the Shari`ah as a sign of gratefulness by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan, and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of `ibadah (worship).

Instead of commemorating an event from the past, the Shari`ah has prescribed the first of Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims at an occasion when they themselves accomplish a great `ibadah. This approach reminds the Muslims that they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors, rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please their Creator.

In prescribing the ways to celebrate the happy day, Islam has adopted another unique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally comprise of some acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole happy day is normally spent in dancing, singing and playing.

In contrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the happy day. First of all, it is mandatory on all the well-off Muslims to start their day by paying Sadaqat Al-Fitr (obligatory charity at the conclusion of Ramadan) to the poor of their society, so that they, too, may enjoy the day along with others, and may not be worried for earning their livelihood at least on that day of happiness.

After paying the Sadaqat Al-Fitr, the Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the `Eid Prayer collectively. In this way, they are supposed to present themselves before their Creator and offer two rak`ahs of this special type of Salah, which makes them receive blessings from Allah and start their celebration by these divine blessings.

After the Salah also, they are supposed to rejoice the day in a responsible manner, without violating the limits prescribed for them and never indulging in the acts prohibited by Allah.

Keeping this point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observing the day of `Eid Al-Fitr.

The Night Preceding `Eid Al-Fitr

It had been the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of `Eid Al-Fitr. This night has been named in a hadith as the Night of Reward (lailat al-Ja’izah).

Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari`ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers in this night. The Prophet is reported to have said:

“Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two `Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die.” (Ibn Majah)

To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can, and should pray for all his needs and desires.

Before Going to `Eid Prayer

The following acts are prescribed as Sunnah at the beginning of the day of ‘Eid Al-Fitr before proceeding to the `Eid Prayer:

1- To wake up early in the morning.

2- To clean one’s teeth with a miswak or a brush.

3- To take a bath.

4- To put on one’s best available clothes.

5- To wear perfume.

6- To eat a sweet food, preferably dates, before the `Eid Prayer.

7- To recite the following Takbir in the low voice while going to the `Eid Prayer:

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Ila Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi Alhamd” (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no god but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and all praise is due to Allah)

Sadaqat Al-Fitr

Sadaqat Al-Fitr is an obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one’s normal needs. Every person who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr, not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children.

The prescribed amount of Sadaqat Al-Fitr is 1.75 Kilograms of wheat or its value in money. This amount is prescribed for paying Sadaqat Al-Fitr for one person only. If a person has some minor children, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must be remembered concerning the payment of Sadaqat Al-Fitr.

1-Sadaqat Al-Fitr is obligated on each adult male or female separately, and the relevant adult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed to pay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa.

However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for that purpose. In this case the Sadaqat Al-Fitr paid by him will be valid on their behalf. If he did not pay the Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.

2- It is a Sunnah that the Sadaqat Al-Fitr is paid before performing the `Eid Prayer. It can also be paid before the `Eid day, but it is not advisable to delay it up to the performance of `Eid Prayer. However, if a person has failed to pay on its proper time, he should pay it as soon as possible, whereby the obligation will stand discharged.

3- Sadaqat Al-Fitr is not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawn in the `Eid day, nor is it necessary to pay Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the `Eid day.

4- Sadaqat Al-Fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive Zakah.

The ‘Eid Prayer

The second obligation on ‘Eid day is to perform the ‘Eid prayer. Some rules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:

1- The `Eid Prayer is wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.

2- The `Eid Prayer can be performed any time between the ishraq and zawal (after sunrise and before zenith of the sun).

3- It is preferable that the `Eid Prayer is performed at an open field and not in a mosque. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a big mosque.

4- It is not advisable to hold the `Eid Prayer in every mosque, rather it is preferable that the people from several small mosques get together to either perform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big mosque which can accommodate a large number of people.

5- No nafl (supererogatory) Salah can be performed before the `Eid Prayer, neither in one’s home, nor at the place of `Eid Prayer. Similarly, nafl prayer cannot be performed after the `Eid Prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.

6- The `Eid Prayer has neither Adhan (call to Prayer) nor Iqamah  (second call to Prayer).

How to Perform `Eid Prayer

The `Eid Prayer has two rak`ahs to perform in the normal way, with the only addition of six takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first rak`ah, and three of them just before ruku` in the second rak`ah. The detailed way of performing the `Eid Prayer is as follows:

The Imam will begin the prayer without Adhan or Iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears, and reciting the Takbir, you give a little pause during which you should recite thana’ (praising God: Subhanak Allahumma…….)· After the completion of thana’ the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times, and after reciting each Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, you should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third Takbir, you should set them at the level of your navel as you do in the normal prayer.

After these three Takbirs the Imam will recite the Holy Qur’an, which you should listen quietly. The rest of the rak`ah will be performed in the normal way.

After rising for the second rak`ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Qur’an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three Takbirs once again, but this time it will be before bowing down for ruku’. At each Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears, and after saying Allahu Akbar bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three Takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another Takbir for bowing down into the ruku` position. At this Takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku` saying, Allahu Akbar. The rest of the Salah will be performed in its usual way.

Khutbah: The Address of `Eid Al-Fitr

In this Salah, khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the Salah, unlike the Salah of Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) where it is fard (obligatory) and is delivered before the Salah. However, listening to the khutbah of `Eid Salah is wajib or necessary and must be heard in perfect peace and silence.

It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutbah by reciting Takbirs (Allahu Akbar) nine times and the second Khutbah with reciting it seven times.

Note: The way of `Eid Prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Ash-Shafi`i, have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations from the Holy Qur’an in both rak`ah. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, being of the Shafi`i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Prophet.

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet has said:

“Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab (reward) of fasting for the whole year.” (Muslim)

This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.

_________________________

Source: albalagh.net-By Mufti Taqi Usmani

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Fasting New Muslims

New Muslims Filling Post-Ramadan Emptiness

Ramadan is over. The excitement of `Eid is over. You are a revert Muslim and maybe it was your first `Eid. There were times when you were not sure you were going to make it and even times when you were not sure of anything much at all. It was 30 days of extreme physical and mental tests, long nights of prayer and lonely hours (at least in my case) of a dry throat.

Ramadan

Remind yourself why you felt blessed during Ramadan and why you did it in the first place.

Now on completion you will never forget those 30 days; every year from now on will mean something more than you ever could have imagined. They will forever be embedded in your heart and mind as a testimony to your resolve and unshaking belief in the Shahadah, which you know beyond a doubt that you now firmly believe in.

And then in that joy comes the ‘crash’ – the sense of emptiness, of abyss. You climbed so high to achieve the long fasts and Tarawih of Ramadan and now everywhere you look is down. At the top, the climb seems nowhere near as bad as the descent. And if you are feeling like that, trust me I was the same in 2012 in China, knowing I would go back to Spain, which isn’t the most Muslim-friendly place. This thought then filled my heart with a little bit of dread and then the desperation set in.

What do I do now? What does Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) want from me? What do I do at iftar (not fasting)? How do I maintain that sense of community?

With the end of Ramadan, it was like my ‘Muslimness’ was draining away and no sense of scrambling would get it back. That sense of knowing Allah when refusing a cup of tea until the final bowel of Maghrib (sunset) because you’re a Muslim, or the near militant avoidance of the use of bad language or the refusal to listen to non-Muslim worship during Ramadan was gone. Even the wearing of the prayer hat (all Muslims in China wear it as part of their identity), at least not until next year.

And in that desperation, I did the only thing I could do. I turned to Allah (Exalted be He) once more. Not because I was a ‘good Muslim’ but because I didn’t know what else to do. I could not ask my family and within a short time the Muslims I had come to know in China were literally going to be on the other side of the world.

At this moment I knelt in my long prayer clothing with my hood up on my pink prayer mat and opened my ears wide. What did Allah need to say to me? It was my first Ramadan and it was all over. How could I fill the emptiness? The answers did not come all at once. One did but the others come later, some even during my second Ramadan.

First thing to remember is that you are not chasing a spiritual high but you are running after Allah, the One true God.

Any Muslim looking to emulate a spiritual high will be highly disappointed and will only be drunk in it. The ‘high’ is the blessing one gets for seeking Allah. The minute you stop seeking Him is the minute the food spoils and makes you sick. The blessing fades and turns abruptly into a nightmare because as writer Yasmin Mogahed says:

“You can only run in one direction. So you are either running to God, or you are running to something else…”

So with that in mind, how does one stay in the blessing of Ramadan?

1- Remind yourself why you felt blessed during Ramadan and why you did it in the first place. In my case I did not do it because it was a pillar of Islam, but I did it to feel closer to Allah and to understand my path better. So I read the Qur’an more comprehensively, prayed more frequently, actively bought Islamic books on family life and marriage (seeing as it is the other half of the deen) to read in Ramadan and after it.

In other words I surrounded myself with things that would allow me to have a better relationship with Allah and the Ummah. In doing so, I received Allah’s blessing and actively felt blessed. If I had to give one piece of advice this post-Ramadan I would say: write down or talk to a brother or sister about your blessings and how you wish to walk in them in the coming year. This means, at least it did in my case, a brainstorming session (or two or three) with your best friends or family.

2- Reflect on Allah’s greatness every time you say “Allahu Akbar” and what He inspired you to achieve. I am not one to write things down but rather a person who ‘meditates’ on such things. Doing my quiet times on the bus (which were not actually quiet, given how crowded a place China is), I made it part of my worship.

In this worship, I processed what had happened to me doing Ramadan and was happening to me now, after `Eid. I asked friends of mine what they thought of ‘my Ramadan’, which was a rather revealing though a not too comfortable experience that told me a lot about myself and my relationship with Islam (my good and bad attitudes).

If you are a revert or even a born Muslim it is actually very worthwhile to ask a non-Muslim person you trust to give their honest opinion as they see things that Muslims may not always notice, given that they are themselves focusing on prayer and fasting themselves! Allah’s greatness can be reflected everywhere (unless it is strictly haram) and in every person (obviously to a varying degree) so don’t make the mistake of only asking the holiest person you meet!

3- Ask Allah what He wants you to do with your new found skills of post-Ramadan (in my case more patience and a greater awareness of poverty and physical hardship). I did a lot of du`aa’ following Ramadan and asked Allah about the things I had read, the people I had meet and the skills I had learned. I also went out and actively did something about it.

Du`aa’ is only the beginning and changes little if you do not act on it. Du`aa’ is participatory; it is not a monologue and involves interaction with Allah and subsequently other people, in order that Allah can show you how to make your pure heartfelt desires a reality. Think Action Plan, in blocks or a series of steps (I prefer not to have a timeframe as I lose motivation.)

4- Remember your brothers and sisters are exactly that and did not just adopt you doing Ramadan. Invest time in building and maintaining halal (permitted by Allah) relationships with them. Frequent halal shops, buying only what you need that day so you have to return the next one. Make time, not excuses, no matter how far the mosque is, (trust me all of mine are far) to get there on a daily basis. Actively look for opportunities to interact or offer your support to someone.

5- Continue to frequently consult the new websites from where you obtained Qur’anic insights to live a highly productive and spiritual Ramadan.

blessing of Ramadan

Keep up any one of the routines you established during Ramadan

6- Keep up any one of the routines you established during Ramadan – continuity is key. If you made it your goal in Ramadan 2012 to pray all five prayers no matter where you were or to pray at the mosque daily in Ramadan 2013, keep up the habit! If you found time during Ramadan to go the gym and work a full-time job, you will still have that time when after Ramadan. It might mean, as it did in my case, that you make it your business to know every mosque in the city or that you book appointments and work schedule (or even leisure activities) around prayer times but believe me, it is worth it. I just think of all the exercise and fat I burn cycling to the masjid and the less time I have to sit wasting time on my computer.

7- Ask Allah what you need to work on after Ramadan which you didn’t have time to perfect during Ramadan. In my first Ramadan the focus was more physical, given the shock my body had. The focus of my second one was consistent masjid attendance. I am sure the next thing I must work on is patience. In this year’s post-Ramadan I will, in sha’ Allah, be looking at what frustrates me and how I can avoid that feeling of frustration. In my case prayer is the number solution and actually my best non-Muslim friend gives me my prayer mat when I am annoyed! Attack what you need to work on from two angles, find out the source or the reason behind the need to change, develop and/or grow and facilitate the solution.

Allah says:

O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

In your post-Ramadan, there will be times where you don’t feel spiritual at all. You might even feel fed-up and irritable, having slipped up and lost your newly created habits, be it gym attendance, masjid attendance, reduction in the number of swear words you allow to pass your lips etc. Pray about it, commit the issue to Allah. Make yourself accountable to a Muslim of the same sex (i.e. not your wife or husband though they should know you are doing it and who with), not to revel in it but to genuinely seek Allah’s Will on the matter. Ask him/her to commit to doing du`aa’ for you too and be patient and steadfast.

Lastly, remember if you forget to take prescribed medicine it normally says on the instruction leaflet, not to take a double dose but rather resume the medicine again as soon as you remember or as soon as you can. This is what I encourage you to do when and if you should slip up. Commit to prayer, be patient with yourself and as soon as you can resume your normal ‘Ramadan’ behavior. For this is now you, not the man or woman before Ramadan but the one after!

So with these tips, prepare yourself to have a different but equally enriching post-Ramadan experience until the next one, in sha’ Allah.

_________________________

Source: productivemuslim.com.

This article was written by Kai Ibrahim, a British revert who observed Ramadan on his own in Spain and Poland in 2013, and in Spain and China 2012, in the hope to inspire and encourage reverts and other Muslims to keep up the spirituality post-Ramadan until the next one. He also hopes that the article will encourage Muslim families to adopt a revert Muslim now that Ramadan is over and keep them smiling into the next one!

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Categories
Ethics & Values New Muslims

Make the Shift: Instill the Real Habits, Weed out the Guilty

sunrise and sunset

The beginning of a dramatically new habit comes with the burden of overcoming existing mental and physical programming.

Ever attend the talk on maintaining your Ramadan momentum? Seems to be everywhere at the end of Ramadan, but in my experience few, if any, are impacted because Ramadan time is treated as a time of binge worship rather than an occasion for strategic habit development. I believe our speaking capital is better invested in teaching habits of worship that are practically integrated in the life of the typical Muslim.

By doing so, Ramadan stops acting as a time of crash-and-burn binge worship and turns into a framework for building habits that should be at the core of every Muslim’s daily life. The first habit we look to develop is teaching the reader one method that has been successful in developing the ability to wake at 4 am daily – this is how I did it, but it’s not the only way to get the job done.

Real Goals vs. Guilty Goals

At the heart of every Muslim’s life priorities should be an aspiration to place in the highest level of Paradise. You’ll know the strength of that conviction by the conscious strategies you create to get there, and the active steps you take to making those strategies successful. You’ll likely fail many times, but oftentimes the intent and effort is just as important as attaining the goal itself. This is a ‘real goal’.

In contrast, when one says, “I should change”, but no real effort takes place, either in planning or doing, it’s what I like to call a ‘guilty goal’. Guilty goals are not true goals – they’re simply lip service placeholders in our minds, that allow us to acknowledge the virtue of some action while simultaneously making us feel guilty because, either we don’t really want to do them (lip service), or we don’t see a viable path forward to complete them.

For example, when asked, “Do you want to memorize the Qur’an?” in a lecture, all hands shoot up. Who wouldn’t want to? But were we to ask, “Who has a one-, two-, five-, or ten- year plan to get it done,” the number of raised hands would disappear faster than a palatable dish at an iftar (meal to break the fast).

Daily Habits

They are bridge from ‘guilty’ to ‘real’ goals. I’m often asked about my eating and training strategies because of the shape I maintain, especially since I’m not a fitness professional, but a 9–to-5 software engineer with a wife and three kids. The most important strategy for getting into shape is the same as for waking at 4 a.m. – it’s hardwiring neural pathways in your brain that converts new, frequent actions into lifelong habits.

Once those habits are firmly established, it becomes difficult to leave aside performing those habits. If you’d like to test it out, see how you feel when you don’t brush your teeth in the morning. Beyond avoiding close quarters in conversation and the gross feeling in your mouth, your subconscious mind will continually bang away at the walls of your mind letting you know something is wrong. There is so much negative reinforcement, you can’t help but go back and brush your teeth (at least, I hope so).

What if the pain of leaving a good action was more than the pleasure of leaving it? What if your mind rebelled and compelled you to go back and perform the action? Now you have a good habit established. We’ll discuss how to go about doing this, using the 4 a.m. wake-up as our example.

How to Establish Daily Habits

When you begin any new activity, be it waking at 4 a.m. or turning your health around, you’re both attempting to establish many new habits while breaking away from other established habits. That’s a tall order, and it’s why most people fail to change – it’s too much too soon.

It’s the same reason why almost no one maintains their Ramadan momentum, and why they crash and burn come `Eid day. The following strategy outlines how I bring about change in my daily habits with the 4 a.m. wake-up as the example.

1- What’s in It for Me? (Find Your Motivation)

Before changing your habits, you need one or more compelling reasons to change. In the case of waking at 4 a.m., one habit I wanted to establish was praying at least 2 rak`ahs of Qiyam Al-Layl (Night Vigil Prayer) every night. I chose 4 a.m. because when the winter months hit, I would still be within a half-hour time frame before Fajr, so no matter what time of year I was in, I could perform it.

But this isn’t the only reason I wanted to establish this habit. By waking early, I could also better prepare myself for the day, spend more time on other acts of worship (more dhikr, memorizing Qur’an), more learning (preparing for certifications related to my job), getting more work done (I could get more done in an hour in the morning than during normal office hours), and if my wife woke with me, spend quality time with her while the kids slept, and we would both be bright and fresh during that time.

Sure, there are some days when I oversleep and wake up at 6:30 a.m., and there are days when I wake up and just want to stand in the shower and veg out for more time since I have more time. It’s all fine because I have that time for myself to do just that.

For me, waking at 4 a.m. is the foundation for success in all other areas of life. In particular, during the brief periods of time I consistently performed Qiyam Al-Layl, I found my du`a’s (supplications) often answered with overnight delivery. All-in-all, this habit means a lot to me, and I believe very strongly in the benefit of establishing this habit and maintaining it for life.

a clock, time management

When you begin any new activity, be it waking at 4 a.m. or turning your health around, you’re both attempting to establish many new habits while breaking away from other established habits.

2- Anticipate the Unintended Consequences of the Habit

Changing oneself isn’t simply a matter of deciding you’ll act differently and then doing so. A number of areas of life should be addressed:

Relationships: If I wake and sleep earlier, what effects will that have on my family’s routine? If this causes me to go to the office earlier, how will that affect my team’s established routine? If you see the potential for conflict, you should speak with the affected parties and ensure they understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If they anticipate problems, work out those problems to the satisfaction of both yourself and the other person.

Energy Levels: Your own energy levels will be impacted by this change. On a daily basis, you’ll wake and want to go right back to sleep. If you stay awake, you may find performance deteriorates due to mind fog. I dealt with this by taking an energy drink first thing in the morning upon waking. I’m now at a point where I wake early without an alarm clock and don’t need the energy drink immediately.

Daily Schedule: When my day started and ended later, I spent more time relaxing in the evenings because rest was all I wanted after a long day at work. By flipping my hours around, I was working on all those ‘important’ priorities first thing daily, but I was no longer taking the time to relax and have fun. It was leading to a different type of mental burnout, and I didn’t anticipate that. If there are important activities in your life coming later in the day, make sure to find other times in your schedule to handle them.

3- Persevere through Initial Launch, Occasional Failure

The beginning of a dramatically new habit comes with the burden of overcoming existing mental and physical programming. If the change is too dramatic, then you’ll likely last anywhere between one day and one week before crashing.

To preserve through the initial launch, the change should be a challenge without being overpowering. If you’re already waking at 8am, then you would start at 7am in your first week, not 4 am. Your focus during this time is not Qiyam Al-Layl, studying, working out, or anything else.

The goal is simple: wake up and stay up. If you want to take a long shower, walk around the neighborhood, or veg out on Facebook, go for it. If you woke at 7 a.m. and stayed up all day, congratulations, you succeeded.

The last point cannot be overstated enough. The goal is simply waking and staying up, no more. Even if you sleep late, it doesn’t matter – your goal is consistently waking up at the same time and staying up. The next week, you’ll move to 6 a.m., the week after 5 a.m., and the week after that, you can push to 4 a.m. If one hour increments are too much for you, wake earlier in half-hour increments. If even that becomes too much, aim for 15 minute increments.

Once you’ve established the habit, you’ll find that your wake up time may fluctuate. Sometimes I wake at 3 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep, and other times I wake at 4:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. This range is acceptable for me, based on my own goals. If I were to wake up at 6am and beyond, I would consider that ‘oversleeping’.

In this case, I consciously attempt to discern what may have caused the problem (in one instance, I worked out late in the evening and then slept late), and make sure to focus myself on not repeating the mistake, or if I repeat the mistake, setting up other means of waking (like my alarm). The key is that occasional failure is ok (and expected), just determine that a failure doesn’t mean the end of the habit, it’s just a part of our human imperfection, and strive again to maintain better consistency.

Another point to keep in mind, sometimes I intentionally ‘fail’, meaning, I realize I’ve awakened too many early mornings in a row while sleeping an average of 5 hours. When this occurs, I allow myself a recovery day (usually on a Saturday or Sunday) to knock out until 9 a.m. (that’s just my time, others may have their own).

Exceptions

I know many of you are excited to get started and running on this, but there are some exceptions such as if you’re:

Pregnant or within 2 years of delivering a baby: Your schedule and hormones are far too upside down. Focus on a healthy delivery, and don’t try to force a sleep schedule with a new baby. In fact, set your expectations and don’t guilt yourself over not being able to achieve more during this time unless you have an awesome spouse who will help out and give you your own time.

You work the graveyard shift; you probably hit Qiyam every night, but really, the point is that you don’t wake up simply to get up and get ready for work. Use the techniques outlined above to wake up 2 hours earlier to get other types of work done.

People with medical sleep disorders: Seek the help of a competent professional. Let them know what you want to do and see how they can help you get it done.

Wrap Up

Becoming a consistent early-morning person isn’t about being a super duper tajweed (rules of Qur’anic recitation) master sheikh floating on a magic carpet. It’s all about focusing on the goal, keeping it simple, making conscious, gradual improvements, and moving forward until you hit the target.

Don’t worry about the days you fail, just keep trying until you get to enjoy the sweetness of front loading your day with all the most important things in your life. The gradual success that comes from it will snowball into this amazing feeling of accomplishment and happiness that honestly can’t be put into words.

_________________________

Source: muslimmatters

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Categories
New Muslims Reflections

A Day of Celebration: My First Eid

Regent’s Park Mosque in London, or London Central Mosque as it is more properly known, played a major part in my journey to Islam. It was the first mosque in the UK that I visited. It was there that I attended the Islamic Circle every Saturday afternoon to learn about Islam. And it was at this mosque that I declared Shahadah. London Central Mosque was also part of my first Ramadan as a Muslim and, subsequently, the scene of my first Muslim `Eid.

first eid

My first `Eid as a Muslim was an experience of all I had come to believe: that Islam is the world’s natural religion.

When someone is new to Islam, everything about it is both fascinating and, at the same time, strange. New Muslims want to do everything right. They want to perform the Prayers properly and they want to perform the ablution before Prayer in the right way. In fact, they want to know absolutely everything about the religion that has changed their lives and brought them such peace.

I remember during my first Ramadan, for example, going to Regent’s Park Mosque for some of the Prayers and being very conscious that I should perform them properly in front of other Muslims. Of course, as you become more accustomed to the practices of Islam, what other people think about how you are performing the Prayers becomes quite unimportant. You grow into being a Muslim. But, at the beginning, many new Muslims don’t know many people at the mosque, so they are cautious about how to act.

My first Ramadan had been a special time. Fasting from dawn to sunset was totally new. Breaking the fast at a prescribed time was also new. In England, of course, Friday is a work day, not a holiday, and since I was teaching at a school, it was never possible to attend Friday Prayers. As a result, visiting Regent’s Park Mosque to pray with other Muslims during Ramadan was especially meaningful.

Just when I thought I had understood Ramadan and got into the rhythm of fasting and praying, the holy month was over and it was time for something else that was new: `Eid al-Fitr. Of course, in those early days I was reading avidly to learn more and more about Islam, so I knew that `Eid al-Fitr was the feast of breaking fast. It was the feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan. No number of books, though, can replace the experience of `Eid. It was to be a learning experience and also another opportunity to grow.

Just before talking about the `Eid, we need to realize that in the UK there are a large number of religious and ethnic groups. These different groups have come to tolerate one another over the years and some people even speak of the UK as a multicultural society, where different cultures and traditions feed into the mainstream, enriching society as a whole.

Whether this is true or not, not much allowance is made for Ramadan. UK Muslims fast and pray while the rest of society goes about its business, rushing around with little thought of the eternal. What a shock the `Eid was to be!

I left home in what seemed the middle of the night and took the underground train to Baker Street, the closest station to Regent’s Park. I had been told that Muslims dress in their best clothes for the `Eid Prayers, so I had put on a suit and tie and polished my shoes until I could see my face in them. It was a very cold morning, so I also wore a new coat. How surprised I was with the sight when I reached Baker Street Station and began the short walk to the mosque.

Walking in throngs in the same direction were Muslims of every nationality, each in their own traditional dress. There were Arabs and Turks, Indonesians and Malays, Nigerians, Pakistanis, and Bengalis. In fact, it seemed as though every race on earth was represented. Young children, quite obviously in brand new clothes, clutched the hands of mothers and fathers. Elderly grandparents in their best attire, perhaps reminding them of a childhood in some foreign land, walked proudly by their side. It was an amazing sight. What was even more amazing was that British policemen were stopping the traffic so that this rich assortment of Muslims could cross the street to get to the mosque.

I had never seen so many worshipers in the Prayer hall. There were quite literally thousands, with mats outside for thousands more. In fact, the `Eid Prayers were staggered over different “sittings” to accommodate all those wanting to pray.

My First Congregational Prayer

Remember, I had never before been able to attend Friday Prayers in congregation, so this was the first time I had seen so many Muslims gathered together to pray. It was such an inspiration to be present and to know that Allah had called me to be a part of this great Muslim nation.

The Prayer hall was filled to capacity. My heart was full of emotion as the imam called out for the first time ” Allahu Akbar,” and all the worshipers repeated after him. I was at first disappointed that the khutbah (Friday sermon) was given in Arabic, since I couldn’t understand a word and I wanted to understand everything about Islam, but it was repeated in English and I ate up every word.

When the Prayers were finished there was a lot of handshaking and embracing. As-salamu `alaykum (peace be upon you) and `Eid mubarak (happy `Eid) could be heard from every corner. To add to the festivity of the occasion, everyone present was given the gift of a package of books about Islam, presented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I still treasure those small books as part of the journey which led me to where I am today.

I traveled back home feeling good, and had breakfast with my Muslim neighbors from Egypt. The children couldn’t contain their joy at showing off their new clothes. Their mother, already busy in the kitchen preparing for a festive lunch of lamb and rice, came out only briefly to exchange `Eid greetings, before going back to her kingdom of pots and pans, ready to serve a lunch fit for kings. The father of the family was so proud of his wife and children and so gracious in welcoming me into their home, another expression of the brotherhood of Islam.

Policemen directing traffic and cars stopping for the thousands of Muslims to cross a London street is one of my memories of that first `Eid. I also came away with two very distinct feelings. The first was a slightly sad feeling that I didn’t know many Muslims yet and still felt rather alone in my new faith. The second feeling, though, was an overwhelming feeling of celebration. As part of the great community of Islam, we had all fasted together for the sake of Allah. Now, together as a community, we were rejoicing and thanking Allah for all His blessings. My first `Eid as a Muslim was therefore special. It was an experience of all I had come to believe: that Islam is the world’s natural religion and that it knows no boundaries of race. Al-hamdu lillah (praise be to Allah).

__________________________

Source: idristawfiq.com-By Idris Tawfiq

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Categories
Articles of Faith New Muslims

8 Tips to Stay Connected to the Qur’an After Ramadan

As the days of Ramadan leave us, we get a feeling of emptiness. Many of us may have achieved a great deal this month whilst others may have been disappointed in how they spent their blessed Ramadan days. But, how could we stay connected to its good deeds, particularly our relationship with the Qur’an, after Ramadan?

The passing of Ramadan so quickly usually leaves the hearts of Muslims around the world saddened. But, what is it that truly saddens us? Is it the end of the iftar (breaking the fast meal) party invites? The rumbling belly at lunchtime? Or perhaps something much more important and frightening? The fear of not being able to maintain as much `ibadah and concentration on the faith as in the month that has passed, and the distractions of life that overwhelm us soon after `Eid?

Whilst this is the case, like in any battle, the soldiers must prepare themselves to win. Our battle in this instance is to maintain a relationship with the Qur’an and continue to build on whatever we have accomplished this Ramadan. Even if it was not as productive as you would have liked, to learn from the mistakes in Ramadan and kick start a solid relationship with the Qur’an in the coming months is equally as important.

`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The house in which the Qur’an is not recited is like a derelict (forsaken) house that has no one to maintain it.” (Al-Musannaf)

Never let your home become forsaken; so long as you have breath in your lungs, you are able to stay connected , hold tight to the Qur’an and its teachings. There are no excuses.

We all take time to ensure we smell nice, look good and eat well. So, give your soul as well the food it requires by nourishing it with the Qur’an, and never neglect it. Our bodies are finite entities, so feed the soul that will hold you up when your body is no longer strong. Feed the soul to keep your heart awake.

Here are 8 tips to help you start, develop and maintain a strong relationship with the book of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) even after Ramadan in sha’ Allah:

1- Treat every month as if it’s Ramadan

While the blessed days have passed, this does not mean our mentality should change. We make time in this month because we are aware of the blessings and importance of spending time in ibadah. However, this does not mean the time outside of Ramadan should be wasted.

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah. (Al-Baqarah 2:2)

This verse applies to everyday; Ramadan is a special time to spend with the Qur’an, get truly connected to it,  but that does not mean we should neglect it outside of this month.

Imagine every month to be like Ramadan and try to put as much passion into developing your relationship with the Qur’an as you can. The truth is, any day could be our last and therefore we should optimize our time spent in reading and pondering over the book that was sent as a guidance for us.

2- No excuses to get Connected!

We procrastinate with excuses as to why we cannot regularly recite and ponder over the Qur’an.

You might ‘lack time’ – but you are reading this which means you have time to surf the net! Cut out idle activities or wake up 15 minutes earlier.

You feel bad because ‘you don’t understand’ what you read – find a Qur’an teacher, read translations and tafseer (exegesis of Qur’an) or start learning Arabic.

You may think ‘you’ll do it on the weekend’ – give yourself the reality check of life. You may not have tomorrow so do what you need to today!

Sadly, it may just be a case of “I don’t know why, I just can’t get in the habit”. In order to make a habit, you must strive. The climb up the mountain is never easy but if you stop midway you will never reach the top. Small steps are better than no steps.

3- Have a monthly goal

At the beginning of each month, set a target for yourself. Do you want to complete the entire Qur’an or focus on particular surahs?

Is there a portion you want to successfully memorize? Or perhaps you want to focus on your recitation rather than a particular quantity?

Whatever the case may be, having an idea in mind about what your goal is will help keep you focused to achieve it in sha ’Allah. This is a personal goal for you, your abilities and what you are in need of to boost your iman. Write it down in your diary, phone or wall – keep it around you before your eyes so you always remember what the goal is.

4- Set a time for Qur’an

We can set as many goals as we like, but without being prepared or planning the journey to that destination, it can be extremely difficult.

On a weekly basis, work out when you will have the time to read the Qur’an and associated activities that you are focusing on. Are you able to have a set time? It is great if you can but if not, do not panic. Use whatever time you have to do as much as you can.

5- Catch up on what you’ve missed

Some days may be busier than others and you may not be able to read whatever portion you had planned for.

Hold yourself accountable for this and ensure to catch up with what you have missed on top of the planned activities for the next day. This is important in ensuring you have a regular habit in place that you try to maintain to attain the goals you have made for that month.

Even better, create a post-Ramadan Qur’an group with your friends to help you stay motivated and connected to the Qur’an even when you feel your enthusiasm dipping.

6- Focus on understanding

As well as reciting the Qur’an, make time to read the translation and tafseer. This could be by reading them on your own, or by attending classes at a local masjid or institute.

This is really an important part of developing an understanding of the Qur’an; many of us fall out of the habit of reading the Qur’an and stay connected to it because we fail to understand what it is that we are reading. Allah (Exalted be He) says that the Qur’an is “a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

We should not miss out on obtaining this guidance because we do not understand the language. Make it a goal to learn Arabic, however in the meantime, utilize the translated works available to understand, absorb and implement the message of the Qur’an in your daily life.

7- Implement what you learn

The stories in the Qur’an are full of lessons. Take time to ponder over them and ask yourself how you can implement what you have learned into your life?

The Qur’an highlights for us the imperfections we have, whilst giving us the ideas on how to change for the best. Listening to the Qur’an can be healing and soothing, however the fundamental reason for the verses to be revealed is to guide a person to the straight path. Whatever portion you read, ask yourself how you can change your life based on it.

Keep a journal with the points you have learned and how you will work towards developing a personality complementary to the Qur’an. Remember the hadith of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):

“The character of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was the Qur’an.” (Abu Dawud)

8- Make du`aa’

Lastly, but by no means least – always ask Allah to help you in your quest to understand His words. We are unable to achieve anything without Allah granting us the ability to do so. The beauty of this is that Allah can help us achieve that which everyone else thinks we are unable to do.

Never let the words or actions of others put you down; whatever your goals are concerning the Qur’an, getting connected to it and understanding it, put your trust in Allah (Exalted be He) that He will make it possible.

Whatever rocks, boulders or mountains come in your way, never forget that Allah knows your soul can handle the struggle. Break down whatever blocks that try to prevent you from grasping the Qur’an by always turning to Allah and asking Him to make the Qur’an the light of your life and heart!

Share with us your tips on maintaining a close relationship with the Qur’an post-Ramadan. What do you do to stay connected to it?

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Source: productivemuslim.com. – By Aishah Iqbal

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

Eid Al-Fitr: A Day of Joy

The end of Ramadan ushers in one of two major celebrations in the Islamic calendar. A day of festivities called Eid al-Fitr. In Arabic Eid means something which returns and is repeated every certain period of time. The word Eid, however, has evolved to mean a festivity.

The word Fitr is the root of the word iftar (breaking the fast) and denotes the end of the fasting month. It would be wrong to assume that Muslims celebrate the fact that they no longer have to fast, as Muslims indeed are saddened by the passing of the month of Ramadan. The reality is that Muslims celebrate because God has allowed them to participate in and complete the month of fasting and spiritual reflection. Muslims celebrate the fact that God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, may accept their deeds and reward them.

…that you should complete the number (of fasting days) and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks. (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The Eid (or celebration) is not carried out in the way you might expect. After the previous night’s moon sighting, indicating that the blessed month of Ramadan is over, Muslims wake for the dawn prayer and the beginning of a very special day. In the early morning Muslims bathe and put on their best clothes in preparation for the special Eid prayer. It has become customary to wear new clothes in celebration of Eid. “God is beautiful, and He loves that which is beautiful,” (Muslim) and Eid is a time to display the favors of God. It is an act of worship to eat a few dates before setting out for the prayer in emphasis of the fact that the fasting month has indeed ended, and thus, fasting on the Day of Eid is forbidden, as it is a day of celebration and remembrance of God.

The Eid prayer is to be held outdoors in a large open ground. In inclement weather, or due to a lack of adequate arrangements, Eid prayer is sometimes performed in the mosques. Muslims can be seen walking and driving to the praying area, carrying prayer rugs and glorifying God. His or her words ringing out – “God is great, there is none worthy of worship but God; God is great, Praise be to Him.”

As Muslim families begin to congregate at the prayer place, the praising of God is joined with words of congratulations such as, “Eid Mubarak” (a celebration full of blessings) and Happy Eid, as well as prayers for each other, “May Allah accept our righteous works”.

Children dart about in anticipation of gifts and feasts, older people reflect on the success of Ramadan and the Magnificence of God. A quiet hush then spreads across the crowd as the Eid prayer begins. It differs slightly from the normal prayers, and although it is not obligatory, it is highly recommended that Muslims attend. Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder and give thanks to God not only for the joy of Ramadan, but also for the countless blessings He bestows upon us every day.

Before the prayer begins a special charity is to be offered. It is called Zakat al-Fitr. Each adult Muslim, who is financially able, is expected to offer a small amount, roughly equivalent to $10 U.S, from which foodstuff is bought and distributed to the poor.

Ramadan was a time when Muslims attempt to give generously and the celebration at the conclusion of Ramadan is conducted with the same spirit of generosity, ensuring that all Muslims have the opportunity to enjoy the day with feasting and celebration.

At the end of the prayer, the congregation disperses and travels home or onto celebrations via a different route. Muslims try to emulate the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to travel to and from the Eid praying place using different routes. This and the fact of the prayer being held in open areas are done to show the strength of the Muslims, to induce pride on one’s faith, and to celebrate the praises of Allah openly. The actual Eid al-Fitr is one day, but in many Muslim countries, businesses and offices may close for up to a week.

Due to time constraints and the fact that this Muslim holiday is not always recognized in western countries, some Muslims are unable to participate in more than a few hours of celebration. Muslims in different countries and different families celebrate in different ways.

There are gatherings of family and friends for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It is an occasion for visits, greetings, love and good wishes. It is a time to heal lost bonds, make amends, and revitalize relationships. Special foods are prepared and often dishes are sent to neighbors and friends. Each country or community has its signature dish, and a special benefit to being part of a Muslim community in the West means being able to sample delicious cuisine from around the world. Gifts, money and sweets are usually given to children and some adults exchange gifts too. Celebrations differ from community to community. There are picnics and barbeques, fairs and neighborhood feasts, community events lasting into the night, and fireworks or laser light displays. New friends are made, old acquaintances renewed and families spend quality time together.

The celebration of Eid demands contact with relatives, kindness to parents, empathy for the poor and distraught and compassion for neighbors. It is a day of visiting and well wishing, and some Muslims take the opportunity to visit the graveyards. It is important not to make visiting the graveyards an annual Eid ritual. However, the remembrance of death and the hereafter is important at all times. Even at this time of celebration, one truly submitted to God understands that we are all but a breath away from death. In the midst of life is death and a Muslim realizes that this life is but a transient stop on the way to the final abode – Paradise or Hell.

Ramadan was a time of reflection and Eid is a time of celebration; however, lavish displays of wealth and materialism are to be avoided. Muslims who seized the benefits inherent in Ramadan are grateful for this time to celebrate and understand it is but one of the ways that God bestows His mercy upon us. Life can sometimes be full of tests and trials, but through the trying times as well as the celebrations God, there is with wisdom, mercy and forgiveness. A Muslim is encouraged to celebrate by glorifying God ,but reminded never to forget that the ability to love life and to celebrate, is but one of God’s bounties.

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Source: Islamreligion.com.

 

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

`Eid Al-Fitr: Prayer and Celebrations

For many of us, the ‘Eid Prayer is a simple ritual that we observe twice a year. However, if one recently accepted Islam, or is dealing with the responsibility of his first `Eid khutbah (speech), the ‘Eid Prayer begins to seem truly daunting.

With that in mind, I decided to compile a simple primer on the `Eid Prayer. I hope this facilitates its observance, making it easy for converts, their families, co-workers and first-time preachers.

What is `Eid Al-Fitr?

On the day of `Eid the entire Muslim community congregates in observance of the `Eid Prayer.

What is `Eid Al-Fitr?

The word `Eid in Arabic means holiday and the word fitr means to break. Since this holiday takes place the day after the month of Ramadan ends, this holiday is given the name “the holiday for breaking the fast”.

What Happens on That Day?

On the day of `Eid the entire Muslim community congregates in observance of the `Eid Prayer.

What Time Is the Prayer?

It can be prayed any time after sunrise until noon and must be done so in congregation.

Who’s Invited? Can I bring my non-Muslim friends and family members?

The entire community is encouraged to come, and you are definitely encouraged to bring all of your friends and family to the prayer and the celebrations thereafter!

How Does One Pray This Prayer? Is it different from the Friday Prayer?

The `Eid Prayer is similar to the Friday Prayer in its number of cycles (two), in that it is recited out loud, and that both have sermons. However, unlike the Friday Prayer, the `Eid Prayer’s sermon follows the prayer.

The second difference lies in its number of Takbirs (when the prayer leader says, “God is the Greatest” which starts the prayer). In the `Eid Prayer there are six additional Takbirs added to the original in the prayer’s first cycle, and five added to the second cycle of prayer (after one rises from the sitting position to stand for the second cycle).

How It’s Done

The first cycle: there is the opening takbir, then the prayer leaders says “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) six more times, and then recites the opening chapter from the Qur’an followed by a short reading from another chapter of the Qur’an.

After rising for the second cycle: one says “Allahu Akbar” to arise and stands for the second cycle of prayer then states  “Allahu Akbar” 5 more times before reading the opening chapter from the Qur’an.

Note: if one is following the Imam, it is much easier. Just follow him!

Are there any special chapters of Qur’an that should be recited during this prayer?

It was the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to read, after the first chapter of Qur’an, the 87th chapter in the first cycle of prayer and the 88th in the second cycle.  Others considered it commendable to recite the 50th chapter from the Qur’an in the first cycle and the 54th in the second. However, if one is unable to read those chapters, there is nothing wrong with reading whatever he knows from the Qur’an.

What if one comes late and misses the extra Takbirs?

If one comes after the preacher has already started (for example he has already stated Allahu Akbar three times in addition to the opening Allahu Akbar) then that person should begin the prayer by saying, “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) and join the Imam. However once the preacher begins to recite the Qur’an, the latecomer should keep saying “Allahu akbar” in a soft voice until he arrives to the total of 7 extra Takbirs (or 5 if he comes late for the second cycle of prayer).

Thus, in the above scenario where the preacher had already said three, the person would have said a total of 4 with him. However, once the preacher started to read Qur’an, the person should say an additional 4 Takbirs (saying God is the Greatest) making it a total of 7.

If it were the second cycle, the person, once the preacher starts reading Qur’an, should add 2 more to reach the total of 5.

If one arrived late and started their prayer with the second cycle, missing the first, then they should say 7 when they stand to complete the prayer after the preacher closes the prayer.

If the person comes late and finds the congregation at the end of the prayer, meaning he missed all of the Takbirs, he should arise, after the closure of the prayer, and say 7 Takbirs in the first cycle and 5 in the second.

Note: one may pray behind any preacher who observes the Takbirs in a different fashion recognized by Islamic ritual law. There is no problem to follow them in this; one should not make it a big issue.

What Is the Ruling for ‘Eid Prayer?

`Eid Prayer is a highly encouraged act for those ordered to pray the Friday Prayer and recommended for those who are not obligated to pray the Friday prayer, according to a group of scholars. However, there are other great scholars who hold it to be a religious obligation.

What Should the Preacher Talk about?

In addition to what constitutes the normal recognized procedures related to the sermon, one should insure that his sermon is relevant and provides the community with a feeling of empowerment and purpose. It is also good to channel the community into taking part in the different committees and programs that take place in the local mosque. One should also try and make the speech relevant to the attendees by addressing each in drawing valuable lessons that are practical and measurable.

I have a family member or friend who converted to Islam. Although I’m not Muslim, can I congratulate them and offer gifts?

Sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that religiously and no Muslim should take offense to it. If they do, please feel free to give their gifts to me!

Recommended Acts

– To keep night vigil the night before the `Eid Prayer.

Many consider this a commendable act, however the narration attributed to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Whoever brings to life the night of `Eid (with worship) his heart will be alive on a day when the hearts will die” is weak as noted in Tadhkirat Al-Mawdu`at, vol. 1, pg. 47.

– To take a ritual bath prior to the prayer.

– To apply perfume (for men only).

– To wear one’s best clothing.

– To return from the prayer using a different route.

– To eat something before the `Eid Prayer. It is best to eat a few dates and if proven difficult, then drinking some water as this is the Sunnah of the Prophet (note for `Eid Al-Adha the opposite holds true).

– To set out for the Masjid early engaging in Takbir. This is truly one of the greatest memories any family can have, so seize this moment and engage in Takbir with your families. If you’re solo, then know that you are engaging in Takbir with the angels!

– To pray in an open space.

– One should not pray before or after the `Eid Prayer.

May Allah bless you and give you the best `Eid ever!

 

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Source: suhaibwebb.com

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Categories
Fasting New Muslims

How to Prepare for Ramadan in Sha`ban

By Editorial Staff

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

Be a Winner in Ramadan

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

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

Ramadan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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