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Fasting New Muslims

Make This Ramadan Your Best Ramadan Ever

For every important event in our life it is useful to plan ahead and make needed preparations so that this occasion becomes an unforgettable event. Days are passing quickly as we are fast approaching the month of Ramadan. Can we make this our best Ramadan?

If you ask most Muslims about last Ramadan, they would tell you it feels very close, like only a few weeks or months ago.

Are you waiting for Ramadan and looking forward to its start?

Are you happy that Ramadan is nearly here, or are you worried about fasting in the summer?

Have you prepared yet your plan and program for the best month of the year?

A Gift From God

The month of Ramadan is one of those important occasions that we witness once a year. It is a gift from God. It is a golden opportunity for Muslims to get closer to God by increasing good deeds.

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.

The literal manifestation of fasting is to abstain from food, drink and intimate relations from dawn to sunset. But the real meaning of fasting goes far beyond that. It is about avoiding gossip, backbiting, evil and idle talks, arrogance, lying, breaking promises, dishonesty, severing social ties, etc. Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said:

“Whoever fails to leave off ruinous speech, and acting on it [during Ramadan], God does not need him to leave off eating and drinking.” (Al-Bukhari)

Fasting is an excellent training opportunity on self-restraint as the fast teaches patience and perseverance. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Fasting the month of patience and three days every month is equivalent to fasting the whole year.” (Ahmad)

The Prophet describes the month of fasting as the month of patience because fasting teaches how to control one’s inner self and its desires.

Every Muslim should do his best to make the coming month of Ramadan a landmark event this year. Put a target for yourself, like for example having all your sins forgiven by God and that you will be saved from Hellfire.

Ask yourself are you pleased with what you did last Ramadan? Will this Ramadan be the same as last year? Let this Ramadan be the beginning of real change. Make this Ramadan different from previous ones. Start to practice an act of worship that you never did before, or increase the acts of worship that you used to do before.

If you used to read the Qur’an once during the month of Ramadan, this year read it twice. If you used to do Tarawih (Night Prayers) alone, this year perform it in congregation. If you did not give charity, this year make it a daily habit to give to the needy what you can afford, even it is a small amount.

If you did not observe any voluntary fasting since last Ramadan, train yourself to observe fasting during the month of Sha`ban as the Prophet used to do.

I would like to also warn of negative preparations for Ramadan which some people do by storing too much food and drink, as if Ramadan is the month for eating not a month for abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset.

Fasting was prescribed two months before the obligation to fight to gain the rights of the oppressed. Those who are able to control their inner selves and their desires become stronger in the face of those who wrong them until they get back their rights.

Early Muslims used to read the Qur’an a lot in Sha`ban in preparation for Ramadan. They also used to give out in charity in Sha`ban to help the poor and the needy observe fasting during Ramadan. They also used to pray to God to bless the months of Rajab, Sha`ban, and Ramadan. This means that every Muslim should make du`aa’ a strong tool in making the best of Ramadan. Du`a should be recited before Ramadan that you witness this month, during Ramadan that God will accept your du`aa’ for yourself and for others, and after Ramadan that God will accept your fasting and reward you abundantly for it.

Suggestions and Useful Tips for Best Ramadan

It is said that: “Rajab is the month of planting seeds, Sha`ban is the month of watering the seeds, and Ramadan is the harvest season”. Therefore, think of what you want to harvest in Ramadan and start planting it and taking care of it in Rajab and Sha`ban.

A famous du`aa’ of Prophet Muhammad:

“Oh Allah give us the blessings of the month of Rajab and Sha`ban and allow us to reach Ramadan.” (Ahmad)

During Sha`ban remind yourself and your family of the virtues of fasting. Have at least a weekly session with your wife/husband and kids to talk about the significance of fasting. Get a booklet on fasting and read it with your children to make them love fasting. Focus on the virtues of Ramadan, that it is the month during which the Quran was revealed and that this month has the Night of Power which is better than a thousand months.

Always remember that in Ramadan rewards are multiplied, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of hell are shut, and sins are forgiven. Be sure of God’s mercy on Muslims who observe fasting faithfully and avoid committing sins completely.

To make Ramadan the best month of the year, remember the following:

– Strengthen your faith during this month by confirming your belief in the unity of God.

– Have the intention of pleasing God with all your acts of worship.

– Keep away from the things that nullify your faith.

– Follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad.

– Feed the poor and the needy. Feel the gift of giving in Ramadan.

– Before going out for `Eid prayer, make sure to pay Zakat Al-Fitr.

– Perform the daily prayers at their fixed times and in congregation as much as you can. Attend the Tarawih prayers constantly and perform extra prayers. Rediscover the power of prayer in Ramadan and concentrate much while praying. Leave this worldly life behind your back once you raise your hands and say Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest).

– Visit your family members and relatives.

– Observe i`tikaf (retreat in the mosque) during the last ten days of Ramadan, if you can.

– Make the Qur’an your companion in Ramadan and have the intention to finish reading it at least once.

– Have the intention to offer sincere repentance to God.

– Have the intention to refine your manners and the way you treat others.

– Make any da`wah effort during Ramadan if you can, like distributing Ramadan-related da`wah materials (CDs, booklets, videos, PDF files, etc.).

– If you have the financial means, make iftar for new Muslims in your community to help them integrate with their fellow Muslims. You can also invite non-Muslims to such events to get to know them and introduce Islam to them through fasting.

– Make iftar meals and gifts for orphans and marginalized children to make Ramadan a happy occasion for them.

– Prepare your du`aa’ (supplication) list. Write down the du`aa’ (supplication) that you want to recite throughout the month. You can ask God for anything and everything. Choose the proper times and occasions of offering the du`aa’. The best supplication is during prostration, while offering the late night prayer, in the last days of Ramadan, and during Laylat Al-Qadr (the Night of Power). Prioritize your list of supplications. Observe the etiquette of making supplication. Start your supplication with praising God and sending peace and blessings to the Prophet Muhammad. Face the qiblah (direction) and raise your hands. Be sure that God will never let your hands empty when you pray to Him. Do not forget the oppressed people, the people of Syria, and Muslims in Burma (Myanmar).

We pray to God to allow us to live till next Ramadan, and make it the best Ramadan ever.

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Source: onislam.com.

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Fasting New Muslims

Sha`ban: A Special Month with a Special Night

The month of Sha`ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which has a special significance and a special night as well.

The Messenger in Sha`ban

Our Mother `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that:

“The Messenger of Allah did not fast in any month of the year more than he did in Shaban. He used to fast all of Shaban.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i)

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked:

“Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?”

He replied:

“Fasts of Sha`ban in honor of Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi)

So, what is special about this month? And what is significant about its 15th night?

Watch the video below to learn more from Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem about the virtues and significance of the precious month, the month before Ramadan,  and the 15th night of this month…

 

 

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Fasting New Muslims

Merits and the Virtues of Sha`ban

Sha`ban is a month of good that introduces the great month of Ramadan. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast voluntarily during this month more so than in any other month.

One of the motivations for that, as we will mention below, is that Sha`ban is the month during which the deeds performed by the servant ascend to God. What follows is a discussion around fasting during the month of Sha`ban.

Usamah  ibn Zayd relates:  “The Prophet used to fast so many days in succession that we said, ‘He will never break his fast.’ At other times he would go without fasting for so long until we said, ‘He will never again fast;’ except for two days, which he would fast even if they occurred during the times he was not fasting consecutive days. Furthermore, he would not fast in any month as many days as he fasted during Sha`ban.

I said: ‘O Messenger of God! Sometimes you fast so much it is as if you will never break your fast, at other times you leave fasting for such a long stint it is as if you will never again fast (voluntarily); except for two days that you always fast.’ He asked: ‘Which two days are those?’ I replied: ‘Monday and Thursday.’ The Prophet said: ‘Those are two days in which the deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds are presented while I am fasting.’ I said: ‘I do not see you fasting in any month like you fast during Sha`ban.’ The Prophet said: “That is a month occurring between Rajab and Ramadan that many people neglect. It is a month in which the deeds ascend to the Lord of the worlds, be He Mighty and Majesty, and I love for my deeds to ascend while I am fasting.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

The narrations conveying this meaning are numerous. Among the important points conveyed by the tradition narrated by Usamah (may God be pleased with him) is that the Prophet frequently fasted during Sha`ban, as is supported by a tradition mentioned by `A’ishah (may God be pleased with her). She said: “I did not see the Messenger of God fast any month in its entirety except Ramadan, and I did not see him fast as frequently in any other month as he did during Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Among the reasons for that, as mentioned in the initial tradition, is that Sha`ban is the month in which the deeds done throughout the year ascend to God. The Prophet (peace upon him) wished for his deeds to ascend while he was fasting. This should be sufficient motivation for all of us to fast some days of this month.

Fasting purifies us of the physical dross that collects in our system and makes our spiritual faculties sharper. What could be a better state could we be in as our deeds are ascending to our Lord? However, there are other reasons to fast during this month, which we will present shortly.

Islam & Moderation

Another very important point that we can gain from these narrations is that the Prophet did not fast perpetually, even though it would not have weakened him to do so. In this is an important lesson for us. We should balance between the days that we fast and the days that we refrain from fasting. Ibn Rajab mentions many reasons for this. Among them are the following:

1- For many people, excessive fasting leads to languidness that in turn makes it difficult for them to supplicate or invoke God or to undertake intense study. All four of the Sunni Imams mention that studying sacred knowledge is better than supererogatory prayers, and that supererogatory prayers are better than voluntary fasting. Hence, pursuing sacred knowledge is naturally better than voluntary fasting.

2- Just as fasting may make some people languid and hence affect their worship, it may weaken them and thereby compromise their ability to provide for their families or jeopardize their ability to fully satisfy their wives. This latter meaning is implied in the saying of the Prophet: “Surely your wife has a right over you.”

3- Similarly, a person’s body has a right over him, as indicated by the Prophet’s saying: “Indeed your body has a right over you. Be sure to give everyone so deserving his right.”

4- Finally, a person’s life might be long, as indicated by the Prophet’s saying to `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas when the latter committed himself to fast every other day: “Perhaps you will live a long life”.

This means whoever commits to an overly strenuous regimen of worship during his youth might not be able to maintain that regimen during his old age. If he tries his utmost to do so he might exhaust his body.

On the other hand, if he abandons it he has left the best form of worship, that done most consistently. For this reason, the Prophet mentioned: “Undertake religious practices you can bear. I swear by God, God does not become bored with you, rather you bring boredom upon yourself”.

The important issue here is to understand that Islam does not demand that we torture our selves, and it places no virtue in doing so. When a desert Arab who had accepted Islam returned after a year’s absence to see the Prophet his entire appearance had changed to such an extent that the Prophet did not recognize him. When he finally realized who he was, the man said to him: “I have not eaten during the daytime since I entered Islam!” The Prophet asked him: “Who ordered you to torture yourself!?”  (Abu Dawud)

Another point mentioned by many of the scholars in that regard is that by fasting sometimes and then going some days without fasting, we never reach a state where we totally lose our appetite for food and thereby lose the physical challenge of fasting. For this reason the Fast of David, where the worshipper fasts every other day, is considered more virtuous than the fast of the individual who fasts perpetually, as the latter eventually feels no longing to eat during the day of his fast—he might even become sick were he to eat.

Sha`ban & Good Deeds

Sha`ban is the month in which the deeds done throughout the year ascend to God.

Therefore, the Prophet wished for his deeds to ascend while he was fasting.

The tradition of Usamah mentions that people’s deeds are presented to God on Mondays and Thursdays, and the Prophet loved to have his deeds presented while he was fasting. There are many narrations that affirm this reality.

Ibn Majah relates a tradition from the narrations of Abu Hurairah, where he mentions the Prophet saying: “God forgives every Muslim on Monday and Thursday, except those who have broken relations with each other. He says, ‘Leave them until they reconcile’.”

Imam Muslim mentions a similar narration from Abu Hurairah in which he mentions that the Prophet said: “The gates of Heaven are flung open on Monday and Thursday and every servant who has not ascribed partners to God is forgiven, except a man who harbors enmity against his brother. He (God) says, ’Leave these two until they makeup’”. A different version of this tradition mentions at the end of the narration: ”…and people who despise each other are left harboring their spite”.

These narrations emphasize the importance of maintaining good relations. There are other religiously significant actions where a reward is withheld from those who harbor enmity or have bad relations with their peers.

Therefore, it is extremely important that we work to maintain good relations with each other, and avoid petty bickering. The opportunity to do much good for our souls is missed when we fail to maintain good relations with each other.

The presentation of people’s deeds mentioned in these narrations is a specific one that occurs on these particular days. It does not contradict the general presentation that occurs on a daily basis, as related in the following tradition: “By night and by day the angels follow each other in visiting you. They gather (before God) at the time of the morning and evening prayers. God asks those who spent the night among you, and He knows best the answer, ‘In what state did you leave my servants?’ They say, ‘We came to them while they were praying, and we departed from them while they were praying.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

There are other reasons we are encouraged to fast in Sha`ban, Ibn Rajab mentions a few. Among them, in summary:

1- People tend to neglect Sha`ban as it occurs between Rajab, one of the sacred months, and Ramadan, the great month of fasting and Qur’an. Therefore, we are encouraged to fast it by way of reviving it and not neglecting it.

2- Fasting during it is easier to hide. All observant Muslims are fasting in Ramadan, and many place great emphasis on fasting during Rajab. Therefore, those who fast Sha`ban are doing so against the expectations of most people and can therefore more easily hide the fact that they are fasting.

There is great virtue, under normal circumstances in hiding our voluntary acts. One anecdote in this regard mentions a man who fasted voluntarily for forty years without anyone knowing it, even his family. Every morning he would leave home with two loaves of bread in his hand. He would give them away in charity. His family thought that he was eating them, and the people in the marketplace where he worked thought that he was selling them.

3- A third reason is related to the previous one. Because many people are fasting during Ramadan and Rajab, it is easier to fast then as large groups engaging in a particular act of worship make it easier for an individual to undertake that act. Hence, the increased difficulty of fasting during Sha`ban led the Prophet to place great emphasis on it.

In conclusion, we encourage everyone able to do so to fast as much as possible during this month. By so doing we will revive the Sunnah of our Prophet and bring much good to our souls and to our communities.

May everyone be blessed to use these days as a preparation for the great month of Ramadan, and may our deeds ascend to God while we are in the very best spiritual state.

_________________________

Source: newislamicdirections.com.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

New Muslims & Ramadan’s Last Precious Ten Days

By Amal Stapley

The last ten days of Ramadan are here. How do you find yourself, your heart and worship so far? How’s Ramadan going for you?”

It’s the perennial question on everybody’s lips at this time of Ramadan, and how are you answering it?

Insha’Allah you’re able to say that it’s going well for you and you’re achieving your targets and gaining the benefit from this blessed month. But don’t worry if you can’t say that fully yet, as the best has been saved for last!

We’re now on the final run down to `Eid, having passed through the ten days of asking for mercy and the ten days of asking for forgiveness, and now we’re into the ten days of asking for protection from the Fire. These last ten days are the most precious days of the most precious month.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) “would strive (to do acts of worship) during the last ten days of Ramadan more than he would at any other time”. (Muslim)

So this is the time to follow his beautiful example and really start to focus on your `ibadah (worship). So how can you, as a new Muslim, do that?

Be Generous in Thoughts…

“Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people in doing good, and he was at his most generous during the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This is the time to be generous in both your thoughts and your deeds.

It’s very easy as a new Muslim to be critical of other people, especially about other Muslim’s practice of Islam. Sometimes we get so carried away with our own striving to please Allah that we forget that Islam for others isn’t something new and exciting. It’s something they have been living with all their lives; they may not have sought knowledge as enthusiastically as you have been doing or they may be experiencing an iman dip.

So instead of criticizing other Muslims, who find it difficult to practice Islam as well as you’d like them to, try to understand them and then try to gently encourage them. The same goes for non-Muslims. Remember back to your pre-Islamic days and how you justified your behavior? Be generous in your thoughts of others and instead of criticizing, find an excuse and also ask Allah to guide them.

“…and there is no one who loves to accept an excuse more than Allah, and because of this He sent the bringers of good news and the warners…” (Al-Bukhari)

… and Deeds

Also strive to be generous in your deeds. Look out for any opportunities to do a good turn for your family, neighbors and friends. Use your initiative and show them the best face of Islam that you can. You could even invite them to join you in iftar (breaking fast) or just take some food round to them.

This is also a great time for giving extra in charity, as its reward is increased. Many people choose this time to give their zakat al-mal (obligatory charity on wealth) away to cleanse their wealth and to get the extra benefit. If you don’t personally know someone from the eight categories who is deserving of zakah, look out for charities that support people in your local area or country, and if there is no-one locally in need, seek out those in other countries in need. Many charities have special Ramadan drives to take advantage of this generous time, so choose the most reliable trustworthy ones, as far as you can.

The last ten days of Ramadan is a great time to clear out your cupboards. I make it an annual habit to go through mine and give away all my unwanted and unused items or send them to be recycled. If you have items in the back of your cupboards that you have no use for and that others might benefit from, give them away or find a local charity or charity shop to give them to. If you have clothes that you haven’t worn for a year, especially your old pre-Islamic ones, do you really need to keep them? And don’t just give away the tatty ones; give the good stuff away too:

Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend (in the way of Allah) from that which you love. (Aal `Imran 3:92)

I`tikaf or Qiyam

One of the best ways of really focusing on your worship is to spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in the mosque; cutting out all worldly cares and just concentrating on getting closer to Allah. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about the religion from good practicing Muslims and many mosques hold extra talks and classes at this time. If you’ve been able to plan for this and make arrangements to do this, do make the most of it, and do lots of du`aa’ that the rest of us will be able to do it next year with you!

If you can’t spend all the last ten days in the mosque, try to spend some time at least, even if it’s only over the weekend or maybe at night between Maghrib and Fajr. As long as you make your intention for i`tikaf (retreat in the mosque), your reward will be in accordance with the amount of time you spend there. The same applies to sisters too. If your local mosque has provision for sisters, follow in the steps of the Prophet’s wives and spend some time in i`tikaf too.

If you really can’t get to a mosque, make sure that you increase your efforts to worship at night either at home or with other new (or not-so-new) Muslims in your area. You could maybe organize Qiyam (Night Worship) gatherings, so those who live with their non-Muslim families can come and worship in a relaxed Islamic atmosphere.

Wherever you spend your time, find a quiet place where you can bury yourself in worship of your Creator, away from the internet, TV and family worries. If you have slipped in any of your targets of reading the Qur’an in your language or in Arabic, or memorizing Qur’an or new du’a`, this is the perfect time to catch up. You can get out your du’a` list and use this time to supplicate for everything you want Allah to help you or others with; especially for Him to guide your family to Islam. And you can read inspiring books and articles and make pledges about the changes you’re going to make in your life. And just take time out to contemplate on Allah’s blessings and mercy.

Last Precious Ten Days & Laylat Al-Qadr

“Look for Laylat-Al-Qadr (The Night of Power) in the last ten nights of Ramadan, on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari)

This is the most precious night of the precious days of the precious month. Whatever you do, make plans to spend the odd nights of the last ten (i.e. the night before the odd day, as Islamic days start from Maghrib) in deep worship, either in the mosque, with friends or at home. Set aside all other plans so you can get the reward of this night, which is worth that of a thousand months. Imagine one night’s worship being equivalent to worshipping consistently for 83 years and 4 months! How can you afford to miss it?

This is a great night to ask Allah to keep you on the path He has guided you to, to ask Him to strengthen your faith and your wisdom, and to ask Him to help you find the path by which you can best serve Him and His Ummah. And while you’re there, add this du`aa’ as well:

`A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Laylat-Al-Qadr was, what should I say in it?”

He said

“Say: Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee (O Allah! You are the One who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me).”

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Source: onislam.net.

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

The Prophet’s Tahajjud Prayer

How did Prophet Muhammad perform the Tahajjud (late night) prayer? How did he praise Allah? What du`aa’ did he say?

It is the middle of the night, or maybe a little before that time or a little thereafter. The Prophet wakes up. He sits in bed and wipes the sleep from his eyes. He picks up his tooth stick and brushes his teeth. He then turns his gaze to the heavens and avails himself of the peace and quiet at night to meditate on Allah’s greatness and how it manifests itself in the majesty of His creation. He recites a ten-verse passage from Surat Aal `Imran which begins with words:

Verily in the creation of the heavens and Earth, and in the alternation of night and day are signs for those who understand. (Aal `Imran 3:190)

He stands up and takes a water skin down from where it hangs on the wall. He opens it and pours out some water into a large cup. He uses this to perform ablution for prayer. He does not use much water for his ablution, though he completes them thoroughly.

Before he commences with the late night prayer (Tahajjud), he sometimes engages in the glorification of his Lord with the recitation of a number of remembrances. This prepares his mind for prayer. `A’ishah gives us an account of the things he says:

“When Allah’s Messenger got up at night to pray the Tahajjud, he used to extol Allah’s greatness ten times then praise him ten times. Then, he would say the words “Glory and praise be to Allah” ten times. Then, he would say “Glory be to the Holy King” ten times. Then, he would ask Allah for forgiveness ten times. Then, he would say “There is no God but Allah” ten times. He would conclude by saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of this worldly life and the tribulations of the Day of Resurrection.”

Then, he would commence his prayer.

He begins by offering two brief units of prayer. The prayer will become much longer. Though he prays quickly when he leads others in prayer, he is just the opposite when he prays alone. He prolongs every action in the Tahajjud prayer, form the opening recitations, to the recitation of the Qur’an, to the supplications. Tahajjud is the longest prayer he makes. He is following Allah’s specific command to him in the Qur’an:

Stand in prayer the night long, except for a little. (Al- Muzzammil 73:2)

If we consider the Prophet’s state of mind, we realize that he is totally immersed in prayer while offering Tahajjud. His every thought and feeling are engaged and his communion with his Lord is total. It is as if his spirit has ascended to heaven and is being bathed in divine light while looking upon the throne of his Lord. It is as if he is having a private audience with Allah, so he extols His praises in the most emphatic way and beseeches Him with the most perfect supplications. This is not surprising, since the Prophet really had such an experience on the night of his ascension above the seven heavens, where he was brought to a level where could hear the scraping of the pens as they wrote out the decrees.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) has greater knowledge of Allah and stronger faith than anyone else in creation. His faith is certain. He admits this to his Companions: “The most God-fearing and knowledgeable about Allah among you is none other than myself.” (Al-Bukhari)

He commences the Tahajjud prayer with a heart full of reverence, love and longing for his Lord. His words are full of invocations of awe and praise. Among the words he uses to commence his prayers are the following:

“O Allah! Lord of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, Creator of the heavens and earth, Knower of the seen and unseen, You will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me by Your Grace to the truth in what they differ about. Indeed, You guide whomever You please to a path that is straight.”

“O Allah! Our Lord, Yours is the praise. You are the light of the heavens and earth and all that they contain. Yours is the praise. You sustain the heavens and earth and all that they contain. You are the King of the heavens and earth and all they contain. Yours is the praise. You are the Truth. Your Promise is true. The meeting with You is true. Your Word is true. Paradise is true. Hell is true. The Prophets are true. Muhammad is true. The Final Hour is true. O Allah, to You I have submitted and in You I have believed, and upon You I rely. I repent my sins to You. For Your Sake I dispute and by Your Standards I judge, so forgive me for what I have done before and what I have left behind, for what I have committed secretly and what I have committed openly and what only You know that I have done. You are the One Who sends forth and You are the One Who delays. There is no God but You. There is no might or power except with You.”

“I turn my face to the Creator of the heavens and earth upon the pure faith, and I am not from among the polytheists. Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, Who is without partner. This is as I was commanded, and I am of those who submit. O Allah! You are the King. There is no God but You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. I have been unjust to myself and I confess my sins, so forgive me all of my sins, for indeed no one forgives sins but You. Guide me to the best conduct. No one guides to what is best except You. Keep me away from bad conduct, for no one can do this for me except You. Here I am. I heed Your Call, happy to serve You. All good is in Your Hands and no evil belongs to You. I exist by Your Will and shall return to You. You are Blessed and Sublime. I seek Your Forgiveness and repent unto You.”

 The Qur’an & the Tahajjud

Then, the Prophet begins to recite the Qur’an. He recites in a slow and melodious voice and is attentive to every word. When he recites a verse that speaks about Allah’s Mercy, he beseeches Allah. When he recites a verse that warns of Allah’s Wrath, he seeks refuge from it. When a verse of the Qur’an speaks of Allah’s Glory, he glorifies Allah.

He stands for a long time in recitation. Ibn Mas`ud tells us: “I prayed with Allah’s Messenger one night, and he stood for so long that I almost resolved to do a very bad thing.” When asked what that bad thing was, he says: “I considered sitting down and not continuing with the Prophet in prayer.”

Sometimes the Prophet prolongs his recitation and offers a few very long units of prayer. On other nights, he stands in recitation for a shorter time and offers more units of prayer.

When he bows, he remains bowing for a long time, almost as long as the time he spends standing in recitation. He says:

“O Allah! I bow to You. In You I believe, to You I submit, and upon You I rely. You are my Lord. My hearing, my sight, my flesh, my blood, my mind, my bones, my sinew, and what my feet bear up, all of them submit in humility to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Glory be to the Possessor of Might, Pride, and Greatness, the Glorified and Holy, the Lord of the angels and of the Holy Spirit.”

Near the end of his life, he will often say while bowing and prostrating:

“Glory and praise be to Allah, our Lord. O Allah, forgive me.”

`A’ishah asked him about this, and he said: “My Lord has told me that I will see a sign in my community, and if I see that sign I should start saying: “Glory and praise be to Allah. I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him.” I have seen this sign (which is found in the following verses of the Qur’an):

When the help of Allah and the victory come, and you see the people entering into Islam in droves, then glorify the praises of your Lord and seek His forgiveness. Verily, He is ever ready to accept repentance. (An-Nasr 110:1-3)

The Prophet understands from this verse that the end of his life is near.

The Prophet prolongs his prostration in Tahajjud. He spends almost as much time prostrating as he in his bowing. It is here that he asks of Allah’s Grace and beseeches Him in many ways. The Prophet tells us:

“The nearest we are to our Lord is when we are in prostration, so beseech Him often at that time.”  (Muslim)

He also says while in prostration:

“O Allah, to You I prostrate myself and in You I believe. To You I have submitted. My face is prostrated to the One who created it, fashioned it, and gave it the faculties of hearing and sight. Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators. O Allah! Forgive me all my sins, great and small, the first and the last of them, those that are apparent and those that are hidden. O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

This is how the Prophet relates to his Lord in the depths of the night, in communion filled with worship, exaltation, reverence and submission. His spirit is raised up to great heights from his devotion and longing for his Lord. It is as if the world with all its vast mountains and starry skies recedes and regards him from a distance, bearing witness to his compliance with Allah’s command:

“Remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with full devotion. (Al- Muzzammil 73:8)

The Prophet remains in worship throughout the night, reciting the Qur’an with reverence, beseeching his Lord in humility and praising Allah’s holy name, until only one-sixth of the night remains. At this time, he pauses from his Tahajjud prayers and wakes up his wife so they can offer the Witr Prayer together. He performs the Witr Prayer as three consecutive units. In the first, he recites Surat Al-A`la (87th chapter of the Qur’an). In the second, he recites Al-Kafirun (the 109th). In the last, he recites Al-Ikhlas (the 112th). Sometimes, in the final unit of prayer, he also recites Surat Al-Falaq and Al-Nas (the 113th and 114th chapters of the Qur’an).

At the end of the Witr Prayer, he says:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

After completing the Witr Prayer, he says three times: “Glory be to the Holy King.” He holds the words longer on the final repetition.

The Prophet prays Tahajjud in his small one-room house that is free from luxuries and worldly effects. Sometimes he has a mat to pray on that is just big enough to accommodate him in prostration. At other times, he only has the bedding that he shares with his wife. He prays while she lies sleeping in front of him. There are no lamps in his house, so when he wants to prostrate in prayer, he makes a gentle indication to her so she can move her feet out of his way. When he stand up again, she stretches her legs back out.

On rare occasions, he goes to the mosque to pray Tahajjud. He does so when there are extenuating circumstances, like when his wife is in extra need of rest and he wants to avoid disturbing her. On one occasion, `A’ishah realizes he is not in the house, and she reaches out of the door leading into the mosque and finds his foot. He is engaged in worship there and saying:

“O Allah! I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Anger, and in Your Forgiveness from Your Punishment. I seek refuge with You from You. I cannot count Your Praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.”

On another occasion, she finds him missing and fears he may be at the home of one of his other wives. She goes out searching for him and returns to find that he is deeply involved in prayer. She says to herself: “By my father and mother, O Messenger of Allah, my mind is on one thing and yours is on something else entirely.”

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The text is written by Sheikh Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Turayri

Source: islamtoday.net

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