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Monday, September 28, 2009

Taqwa - part 2 of 2

A true Muttaqoon is a person who strives to possess a solid understanding and knowledge of the rulings of Allah (swt) through the Qur’an and Sunnah. Without proper knowledge of the Islamic rulings, a person would not know what is asked of him/her. Therefore, it is a must to understand Islam properly as well as to have the proper intention of pleasing Allah (swt) in carrying out these actions.

Imam Ahmad mentions a Hadith, narrated by a Sahabi, whereby a person once asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, give me some advice.” The Prophet (saaw) responded, “I advise you to fear Allah (swt) because it is the head of everything.” In another occasion the Prophet (saaw) replied, “Fear Allah (swt) because it is the collection of all goodness.”

The Sahabah, may Allah be pleased with them, demonstrated this on many occasions. This can be demonstrated through the incident of Abu Dharr Ghaffari and Bilal al-Habashi.

Abu Dharr was once engaged in an argument with Bilal. In the heat of the disagreement, Abu Dharr addressed Bilal as “You son of a black woman!” Bilal’s response was not to insult Abu Dharr as some Muslims might do today. He immediately went to Rasullallah (saw) and relayed what Abu Dharr had said. The Prophet addressing Abu Dharr said “You have exceeded the limit O Abu Dharr ! You still have traces of Jahilliyah in your mind. There is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab except by Taqwa “

Upon hearing this Abu Dharr (ra) immediately placed his head on the ground and urged Bilal (ra) to stamp Abu Dharr’s face in the ground with his own Abyssinian feet. Bilal did not do so.

Thereafter, Allah revealed the verse: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” [49:13]

Allah (swt) also promises to be with those who have Taqwa. Allah (swt) says,

Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him (have Taqwa), keep their duty unto Him, and those who are Muhsinun (doers of good for Allah’s sake only.) “[An-Nahl 16: 128]

Also Taqwa constitutes a reason that Allah (swt) has provided in order to help one who is experiencing hardship and distress. Allah (swt) promises,

“Whoever fears Allah, Allah will grant him a way out of hardship.” [At Thalaaq 65: 2]

Allah (swt) had also promised forgiveness of sins to those people who are Muttaqoon.

“And whoever fears Allah, and keeps his duty to Him, He will forgive his sins from him and will enlarge his reward.” [At-Thalaaq 65: 5]

Allah (swt) has given the glad tidings for those who have Taqwa. The news of paradise is assured to such people, giving hints at the vast rewards to those who take Allah (swt) as their Lord in their actions.

“Verily those who are fearful of Allah (have Taqwa) are the people who, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember Allah and indeed they then see aright.” [Al-Araf 7: 201]

Hence, from what Allah (swt) has outlined through the Wahi, we can see that a person who possesses Taqwa is not one who lives an isolated life, only praying, fasting, and maintaining good character alone. Instead, the Muttaqoon are those who fear Allah (swt) and look to what Allah (swt) has commanded in carrying out his actions to avoid His (swt) displeasure and anger. These people are involved with the Ummah, active in his/her life, concerned with the affairs of the Muslims, while at the same time praying, fasting, spending in Allah’s cause, having good morals, and are forgiving. All these descriptions can be attributed to a person who has Taqwa.

Taqwa - Part 1 of 2

Allah says “Alif Laam Meem. This is the book, in it is guidance sure without doubt, for those who have Taqwa” [2:2]

Taqwa is one of the most important concepts in Islam. Taqwa is an avenue by which Muslims relate to one another in society and a means to channel their actions. Because of the great importance of Taqwa, it has been referred to numerous times in the Qur’an and Sunnah in order to emphasise its relevance and significance to the Muslims.

Allah (swt) strongly emphasises the rewards of people with Taqwa in this life and the Hereafter. It is these Muttaqeen that Allah (swt) grants assistance, victory, and provides for. Thus, understanding the concept of Taqwa is vital and mandatory for every Muslim.

Unfortunately, this is the very concept which the Muslims have left behind, as a result of faulty education. The disbelievers in the distant past, as well as in present times, have understood the importance of Taqwa and the Islamic creed, and how it could jeopardise their interests. They realised how Taqwa and the Islamic creed (Aqeedah) were the roots of power to the Muslims. Thus they began to warp and dilute it by adding Greek, Persian, and Hindu ideas and philosophies to it. Eventually, the Muslims began to incorporate the false ideas of the body and soul, and their inter-relationship, into the original, pristine Islamic Concept of Taqwa.

As a result, Muslims started portraying a person possessing Taqwa as soft-spoken, elevated, calm, pious, spiritual, and adorned with a certain type of holy attire (clothing). A picture of a person who shows prayer, fasting, and things such as donating to the Masjid, while living a secluded and isolated life would be the one with Taqwa, even though the same person might deal with usury, lie, and sell alcohol. They began manufacturing their own version of Taqwa and fed this false sentiment to the Ummah.

In contrast to this distorted picture the Qur’an and Sunnah defines the idea of Taqwa as protecting oneself from the Hellfire by following the orders of Allah (swt) by doing what He (swt) has commanded and avoiding what He (swt) has forbidden. Many Ayat in the Qur’an point up these ideas,

“And unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. And, verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah (have Taqwa), and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich, Worthy of all praise.” [An-Nisa 4: 131]

Also, in the Prophet’s (saw) last Khutba he said, “I ask you to fear Him (swt), listen to Him (swt), and obey.” Both the Ayah, as well as the Hadith, are commanding Muslims to have Taqwa. A person should have Taqwa as a barrier between himself and the Anger and Displeasure of Allah (swt). Through Taqwa, the Muslim strives to obey Allah (swt) and abstains from His prohibitions.

The son of Ali (ra), Al-Hasan (ra) once said, “The people who have Taqwa (Al-Muttaqoon) are the people who avoided whatever Allah (swt) has prohibited and have done whatever Allah (swt) has ordained.”

‘Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (ra) once said, “Taqwa is not by fasting the day and not by praying the night. And its not by mixing between the two of them. But Taqwa is leaving what Allah (swt) has made Haram and by doing what Allah (swt) has made Fard. After one has done this, Allah (swt) will provide good things for that person.”

How can we undertake this if we do not know what Allah likes or dislikes? (‘Ilm Daroorah)

...to be continued ( Inshallah )

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fasting in Syawal

It is the month of Syawal: a month of joy and a month of freedom. We should also not consider Ramadhan as the only month for us to perform ibadah.

If in Ramadhan we had controlled our tongues from talking or conversing inappropriately, we should continue to do so for the rest of our lives. If in Ramadhan we had controlled our eyes from looking at things most despicable, it does not mean that after Ramadhan, we could return to our old ways.

Perhaps there are among us who feel that there were many shortcomings done in the last Ramadhan. Perhaps the ibadah were not performed perfectly and perhaps missed the opportunity to get the benefits of the 1000 months.

Verily Allah, The Almighty offers us the opportunity to His servants. It is up to us to seize the opportunity.

In this month, there are many acts which can be performed to complement and continue from our acts in the past month.

The complementary ibadah referred to is the six days fast in the month of Syawal - whether it is performed continuously or alternately in Syawal. The fast of 6 days in Syawal has many benefits. Amongst them, as reported in a hadith which means: He who fasts in the month of Ramadhan followed by 6 days in Syawal, it is as if he has fasted for 1 year.

It means that if you complete the fast of 1 month of Ramadhan and continue with 6 days of fasting in Syawal, you will be rewarded with the rewards of someone who has fast for 1 full year.

If we analyse that hadith, we can conclude that it corresponds to Allah’s commands in Surah Al An’am verse 160 which means: “He that does good will have ten times as much to his credit. He that does evil shall only be recompensed according to His evil. No wrong shall be done unto any of them.”

From this verse, we can see that the 30 days of fasting that we have endured in Ramadhan equates to 10 months of fasting! And the 6 days of fasting in Syawal would equate to 2 months. Thus, we will complete 12 months of fasting, which would equate to fasting for 1 whole year!

This is explained in another hadith which means: “Allah will reward every good act ten times over. And so 1 month of good deeds will sow the equivalent of 10 months of rewards. And 6 days after ‘Eid Fitr completes the 1 year.”

This is the benefit Allah has offered to us for us to reap. For those who may have missed the benefits from the previous months, this is an opportunity which you should not miss. The 6 days of fasting in Syawal is like a Rawatib prayer that completes any incomplete prayer. And surely in the course of our fasting in Ramadhan there must have been numerous mistakes that we have made. By fasting 6 days in Syawal, it creates an opportunity for us to atone for those mistakes in our fasting.

Let us increase our ibadah in this significant month in Islam. And may our good deeds be rewarded and accepted by Allah, The Almighty.

… excerpts taken from MUIS’ Friday Sermon dated 21 December 2001

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Story of a Beautiful Woman's Marriage

There was this beautiful woman, who wanted to get married, but she wanted a very pious husband, so she said that she’ll marry the man who recites the whole Quran every single day, fasts for the whole year and stays awake and worships Allah all throughout the night.

She was a very beautiful woman, and a lot of suitors wanted to marry her, but they knew they couldn’t fulfil the conditions she set. Until this one man stepped forward and said he could fulfil them. So the Imam got both of them married.

After the first night of the marriage, the wife sees that the husband doesn’t recite the whole of the Quran, nor does he fast, nor does he stay awake in the worship of Allah, she decided to let it roll on for a few weeks to see if there were any changes, there weren’t, so she filed a complaint and asked for a divorce.

They are both taken in front of the judge, and the judge asked, ‘What were the conditions of the marriage?’ the man replied ‘They were for me to recite the whole Quran daily, keep fast for the whole year and to worship Allah all throughout the night.’

The Judge asked, ‘ did you fulfil them? The man calmly answered, ‘…yes.’

The judge answers, ‘you lie, your wife has said that you don’t, that’s why she’s asking for a divorce’.

But the man insisted that he had fulfilled the conditions, so the judge asked, ‘did you recite the full Quran everyday?’ The man answered yes. The Judge, baffled asked, ‘how? How can you do that?’ The man coolly answered, ‘I recite Surah Ikhlas three times a day and according to Prophet Muhammad (saw), reciting Surah Ikhlas three times is equivalent to reciting the whole Quran.’ The Judge was intrigued, so he asked, ‘how did you fast the whole year?’ The man answered, ‘ I fasted for the whole month of Ramadan, then kept another six fasts in the month of Shawwal, according to Prophet Muhammad (saw), keeping all of the fast of Ramadan then keeping six fasts in the month of Shawwal, is as if you have fasted for the whole year.’

The Judge remained silent, he couldn’t give a reply saying the man was wrong, so finally he asked, ‘ how did you stay awake all night and worship Allah, when your wife saw you sleeping?’ The Judge thought the man wouldn’t be able to answer this one, but the man, cool as a cucumber answered, ‘I prayed Salatul Isha with jamaat, then the next day prayed Salatul Fajr with jamaat, according to Prophet Muhammad (saw), the one who prays Salatul Isha and Salatul Fajr with jamaat, it is as if he had stayed up all night worshipping Allah.’

The Judge sat there looking at the man; the final verdict was about to be released…

He said to the man and his wife, ‘…go, just go, there is nothing wrong with this marriage’…

Monday, September 14, 2009

If Devils are chained in Ramadan, why do people commit sin?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

HAPPY EID / 3eedkum Embarak...OKKK look @ my face do i look like i'm enjoying EID...HMMMMMMM ???

Itikaf

Itikaf is a form of worship. It is formed by staying in a Mosque for a certain time. It is Ehtiyat that one should stay with the intention to worship Allah by praying formal or informal prayers although prayer is not a condition therein.

The time for this form of worship could be anytime when one is allowed to fast. The best time is the month of Ramadan, especially, the last ten days.

Conditions:

1. Intention as in the rest of the worship acts. It is necessary that the intention be made at the beginning of Itikaf so that the rule, requiring the worship act to be completed with intention, be followed thoroughly from the beginning to the end. The decision made at the beginning of the night to start Itikaf from the beginning of the following day will be open to objection. However, if one decides to start it from the beginning of the night it is not an offense to do so.

One is not allowed to change one's mind from one Itikaf to another of the same qualities or different.

2. Belief in Islam.

3. Freedom from mental illness.

4. Fasting; thus the Itikaf of one who cannot fast for some reason is not valid.

5. Duration; which is three continuous days at least. It could be more but not less than three days.

If it is started from the beginning of a day the two nights in between will be part of the duration. Less than three days is not considered Itikaf.

That it must take place in one of these Mosques: (a) The holy Mosque in Mecca, (b) the holy Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, (c) the holy Mosque of Kufa, (d) the holy Mosque of Basrah, and (e) the Mosque which is assigned for the Friday prayer in any town or city. It is Ehtiyat, however, to complete it in any of the first four Mosques.

The roof and basement of a Mosque is part of the same and it is valid to complete Etikaf in such places of a Mosque.

Permission of the people whose permission are required such as the master for the slave, husband and parents for the wife and children if this will be against the right of the husband or causes trouble to the parents.

6. Completing it in the Mosque where it was started. Thus, going out of the Mosque without an acceptable reason will invalidate the Itikaf, regardless, one knows the rule or is ignorant or has gone out because of forgetfulness, except in the case of an emergency or one being forced or it is because of some need such as using wash room or having Taharat.

One is allowed to come out of the Mosque during Itikaf to take part in the burial of a deceased or to visit an ailing one; Going out of the Mosque for a time long enough to cause the Itikaf to become as non-existing will be considered as invalidating the same, even if one has not done it out of one's own choice.

If one needs to have Ghusl/bath during the Itikaf and it is possible for him to have it inside the Mosque, and is not allowed to go out unless the reason for Ghusl requires him not to stay inside the Mosque.

Etikaf is originally an optional worship act but it may become obligatory because of a vow etc.

Things to avoid during Itikaf:

1. Having sex and also according to Ehtiyat kissing or playing with one's wife;

2. According to a necessary Ehtiyat causing a semen discharge,

3. And smelling perfumes for enjoyment; it is not an offense if one cannot enjoy the perfume because of some defect in his smelling ability.

4. Selling or buying in the form of a business deal, according to a necessary Ehtiyat; there is no offense to be occupied with allowable activities as sewing or writing etc., although it is a Mustahab Ehtiyat to avoid them too.

If one needs to buy something for food and there is no one to do the buying for him, it is not an offence for him to do it.

5. Expressing bitterness in talking about worldly or religious matters in order to prove one's ability, not the truth which is one of the best worships.

The contracts of buying or selling during Itikaf invalidate Itikaf, but such contracts will be valid.

If Itikaf is invalidated because of having sex even, during the night, expiation will be due; if it is invalidated by other things, there will be no expiation, although it is a Mustahab Ehtiyat in this case too.

The expiation for invalidating an Itikaf is to set free a slave or if this is not possible, fast for two consecutive months or if this also is not possible, feed sixty poor people.

Inshallah, if you wish to perform ItiKaf, you may consult you nearest mosque to check if they have special prayers thru the nite till subuh. Inshallah.. may Allah accept our prayers and doa this Ramadan. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Prophet's(PBUH) Manner of Performing Prayers

All praise be to Allaah alone, and may His peace and blessings be upon His messenger and bondsman our Prophet Mohammed, his family and his companions.

The objective of this concise pamphlet is to explain how prophet Mohammed (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to perform his prayers. I would like to present this explanation to every male and female Muslim so that they may strive to take up the Prophet's manner in performing their prayers as a model for them. It was narrated by Al-Bukhari that Prophet Mohammed (Peace and blessings of Allaah be on him) had said: "Perform your prayers in the same manner you had seen me doing."

Therefore, here is the explanation for the Prophet's manner of prayer:

1. To perform completely the ablution, adopting the method commanded by Allaah in the Qur'aan:

"O ye who believe, when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows, rub your heads(with water) and (wash) your feet to the ankles."

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be on him) said: "Prayer without ablution is invalid."

2. To turn one's face and whole body towards the Ka'bah, The Holy House at Makkah, intending by heart to perform the prayer which he wants to fulfill, whether it is an obligatory prayer or a supererogatory prayer, the worshipper in all cases, should not pronounce his intention openly, because neither the Prophet nor his companions used to utter the intention for prayer. Thus, pronouncing the intention for prayer in audible voice is a heresy and an illicit action. Whether the individual be an Imaam or performs his prayer individually, he should make (A Sutra) i.e. a curtain for his prayer. Directing the face towards the Qibla (The Ka'bah at Makkah) is an imperative condition for every prayer. However, there are few exceptions for this rule explained in authoritative books for whom who wish to refer.

3. To pronounce "Takbirat Al-Ihram" that is to say "Allaahu Akbar" celebrating by that the greatness of Allaah and looking meanwhile, downwards to the place where he will prostrate.

4. To raise one's hands up to the level of the shoulders or near to the lobes of his ears, while pronouncing "Takbirat Al-Ihram."

5. To put one's right hand over his left hand and left wrist, and put them both over his chest, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do.

6. It is advisable that the worshipper recite this opening supplication saying:

"Allaahumma bald bayni wa bayena khatayaya kama boadta bayena almashriki wal maghribi, Allaahumma naqqiniy min khatayaya kama yonaqa al thawbo alabyndo min aldans.. Allaahumma igysilniy min khatayaya bilmai wathalgi walbarad." This supplication means: "O Allaah, separate me from my sins as You have separated the east and west. O Allaah, cleanse me of my sins as the white rope is cleansed from dirt. O Allaah, wash off my sins with water, snow and hail."

Or, may say instead: "Sobhanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika watabaraka Ismoka wata'la jaddoka wala ilaha ghayroka" "Praise and glory be to Allaah. Blessed be Your Name, exalted be Your Majesty and Glory. There is no god but You."

Or he may say any other supplications which the Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allaah be on him) used to say in his prayers.

It is better to recite these supplications alternately, the first one in the morning prayer "Fajr", the second in the noon prayer "Zuhr", each one by turn. in conformity with what the Prophet used to do.

After reciting the opening supplication, the worshipper says: "Aouzo billahi min alshaytanirragim" Which means: "I seek protection of Allaah against the accursed Satan."

Then says: "Bism illahi Rahmani Raheem" Which means: "In the name of Allaah, the All Merciful, the All Compassionate." And recites the Fatiha (The opening Sura of the glorious Qur'aan). Prophet Mohammed, may peace and blessings be upon him, said: "Prayer without reciting the Fatiha is invalid". The worshipper should say "Ameen" after reciting the Fatiha loudly if the prayer is said loudly, and whisper it in inaudible prayers.

To be in conformity with the traditions of the Prophet, the worshipper is advised to recite verses from medium size Suras of the Qur'aan in the Zuhr (noon), Asr (late afternoon), and Isha (night) prayers. As for the Fajr (morning) prayer, the worshipper is advised to recite a passage from the long Suras of the Qur'aan. He has the choice in Maghrib prayer (Evening prayer) either to recite passages from the long Suras or from the short Suras 6 of the Qur'aan.

7. Then, the worshipper bows in "Ruku" raising his hands up to the level of his shoulders or ears while saying "Allaahu Akbar" "Allaah is Great" then bends down, making his head and back on one level and putting his hands with the fingers spread on his knees. The worshipper should feel serenity and tranquillity while bowing, he should say thrice at least: "Subhana Rabbiayl A'zim" Which means: "Glory be to my Lord, the Almighty."

It is advisable to say while bowing in addition to that: "Subhanak Allaahumma Rabbana wa bi hamdika, Allaahumma Ighfir liy" Which means: "Glory be to Thee, O Allaah, and I praise Thee, forgive me my sins."

8. To raise one's head up from bowing, raising one's hands to the level of his shoulders or ears, saying, in case of being Imaam or praying alone: "Sami'a Allaahu liman hamidah" Which means: "Allaah listens to him who praises Him" While resuming the standing position, he should say: "Rabbana wa laka al hamdu hamdan katheera'n tayyiban mobarakan feehiy mil'a ssamawati wa mila alardhi wa mil'a ma baynahoma wa mil'a ma Shita min shiyin ba'ad" This supplication means: "Our Lord, praise be fore Thee only, praises plentiful and blessed as to fill the heavens, the earth, what in between, and fill that which will please Thee besides them."

But if the worshipper is a follower, and led in his prayer by the Imaam he should say when rising up "Rabbana wa lake alhamd... etc. It is advisable for the Imaam, the follower, or who prays alone to add also: "You Allaah who deserve all praises and all glory, your praising is the best and most true of whatever Your servant can say, we all are Your servants, Our Lord, no one can ever deprive aught of what You have bestowed and no one can ever give aught of what You have deprived."

The worshipper is advised to put his hands on his chest, as he had done before he bowed. Both Wa'il Ibn Haggar and Sahl Ibn Sai'yd reported that this was the manner of the Prophet when he used to raise his head up after bowing.

9. To prostrate saying "Allaahu Akbar" "Allaah is Great".

He should touch the ground with his knees before touching it with his hands, if that is possible to him. If not, he is permitted to touch the ground by his hand before his knees. His fingers and toes should be directed towards the Qibla Makkah, and his hands should be stretched, and the fingers close together and not separated. In prostration, the worshipper should use these seven organs: The forehead, the nose, both hands, both knees and the internal parts of the toes. These seven organs should touch the ground.

Then the worshipper should say thrice or more: "Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala" Which means: "Glorified is my Lord, the Exalted." It is advisable to say: "Subhanaka Allaahuma Rabbana wa bi hamdika, Allaahuma Ighfir liy." This means: "Glory be to Thee, Our Lord, and I praise Thee. Our Lord, forgive me my sins." It is recommendable for the worshipper to exceed more and more in supplications and ask for more from his Lord, because the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, said: Which means: "As for bowing "Ruku" you should glorify your Lord during performing it, as for prostration, you should do your best to supplicate and ask for more from Him, because your supplications during prostration are more worthy to be accepted." The worshipper should ask his Lord for prosperity both in this worldly life and in the Hereafter.

Whether it is an obligatory prayer or an optional prayer, the worshipper, while prostrating, should neither bring his hands close to his sides, nor stick his abdomen to his thighs, or his thighs to his legs. The worshipper's arms should be raised up from the ground because the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, prohibited putting the arms and stretching them on the ground, ordering that "adjust your prostration, keep straight in it, and stretch not your hands on the ground as dogs do."

10. He should raise his head from prostration saying: "Allaahu Akbar" and lays his left foot flat on the ground and sits upon it, keeping his right foot erected, his hands on his thighs and knees, and says: "O my Lord, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, provide me with your blessings and console me." The worshipper should feel tranquility during this pause.

11. To prostrate again saying "Allaahu Akbar" and repeating during his prostration what he did and said in the first prostration.

12. Then the worshipper raises his head saying "Allaahu Akbar" taking a pause similar to the pause between the two prostration; this is called "the pause for rest." It is recommended for the worshipper to do such a pause, but there is no sin if he desists from it.

Then the worshipper rises up and stands supporting on his knees, or on the ground if he cannot support himself on the knees, reads the Fatihah (The opening Sura of the glorious Qur'an) and some other verses of the Qur'an and do as just as he did in the first Rakaah (unit of prayer). Those who pray behind the Imaam should not compete with him in the prayer actions as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Which means: The Imaam is to be followed, if he says: "Allaahu Akbar" which means "Allaah is Great" then say the same after him. If he bows in "Ruku" bow after him. If he says "SamiAllaahu liman hamidah" which means "Allaah hears him who praises Him", then say: "Rabbana wa lakalhamd" which means "Our Lord! All praises are for Thee"; and if he prostrates, then prostrate after him". (Bukhari V:1 P.37)

13. If the prayer consists of two Rakaat (two units of prayer) as the morning prayer "Fajr", Feast prayer "Eid", or the Friday prayer "Jumu'a", the worshipper sits after the second prostration, with his right foot erect, sitting on his left foot laid down, putting his right hand on his right thigh, all his fingers close fisted save the index finger which he uses to point out as a sign for his monotheistic belief, and his left hand is put on his left thigh. There is nothing in the way, if the worshipper keeps both the little and ring fingers closed, while rounding his thumb and middle finger in a ring shape and uses his index finger to point out as a sign for his monotheistic belief. It has been related that the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, had practiced both of these ways, thus, it is advisable for the worshipper to perform the first way once and the other on the second time.

The worshipper reads the Tashahud while sitting and says: "Altahiyatu lilahi wasalawatu watayibatu Assalamu alayha ayuhan nabiyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Assalamu alayina wa ala ibad illahis salalihiyn. Ashadu ala ilaha ila lahu wa ashadu anna Muhammadan abdoho wa raswuloh. Allaahuma salliy ala Muhammad wa ala aali Muhamad, kama salayata ala Ibrahima wa aali Ibrahim. Inaka Hamidon Majid. Wa barik ala Mohammad wa ala aali Muhammad kama barkta ala Ibrahima wa aali Ibrahima. Inaka Hamidon Majid." This means: "Greetings, prayers and the good things of life belong to Allaah. Peace, mercy and blessing of Allaah be on you, O Prophet. May peace be upon us and on the devout slaves of Allaah. I testify that there is no god but Allaah and I testify that Mohammed is His slave and messenger. O Allaah, bless Mohammed and his family as You blessed Ibrahim and his family. You are the Most Praised, The Most Glorious. O Allaah, bestow Your grace on Mohammed and his family as You bestowed it on lbrahim and his family. You are the Most Praised, The Most Glorious."

After reciting the Tashahud, the worshipper asks Allaah's protection from four evils, he should say: "My Lord, I ask your protection from torment of the Hell, torment of the grave the trials in life time and after death, and from the impostor Antichrist." The worshipper may ask Allaah for prosperity in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, supplicate Allaah to bestow His favors on his parents and other Muslims. He could do this in both obligatory and optional prayers. It has been reported by Ibn Masood that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, taught him how to recite the Tashahud and told him that the worshipper should invoke Allaah and ask Him for the more beloved wishes which he likes, or, as it has been related in other wordings, the worshipper should ask Allaah for whatever he wishes. In this manner, the servant can ask Allaah for all the prosperity of this worldly life and the life to come.

The worshipper terminates his prayer by turning his face to the right saying: "As salamu alai kum wa rahmatu Allaah" and to the left saying this salutation which means "Peace and mercy of Allaah be on you."

14. In case of a three Rakaat prayer (prayer consisting of three units) as that of Maghrib prayer, (evening prayer), or a four Rakaat prayer like that of noon prayer (Zuhr), Asr prayer (late afternoon prayer) or, Isha prayer (night prayer), the worshipper stands up after reciting the Tashahud according to the manner stated before, and raises his hands up to the level of his shoulders saying (Allaahu Akbar).

The worshipper puts his hands over his chest as it had been explained before, and recites only the Fatiha. There is no objection if he adds to the Fatiha some other verses of the Qur'aan while performing the third or fourth Rakaat (units of prayer) of noon prayer (Zuhr), because this was stated to be one of the manners adopted by the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, according to the tradition reported by Abi Saied.

After the third Rakaah of Maghrib prayer (evening prayer), and the fourth Rakaah of Zuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon) and Isha (night) prayers, the worshipper recites the Tashahud and terminates his prayers by saying: "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allaah" while turning first to the right, and second to the left as it has been explained before.

It is not an obligatory duty, but it is a recommendable prophetic tradition to invoke Allaah after terminating the prayer by asking Him forgiveness thrice and saying before turning one's face towards his followers if he is the Imaam: "O Allaah, Thou art peace and from Thee is peace, Thou art blessed, O possessor of Glory and Honour." It is advisable for the worshipper to say: "There is no god but Allaah. He is the One. He has no partner. His is the dominion and to Him alone is the praise. He has power over all things. O Lord, none may withhold what You have given and none may give what You have withheld and the riches cannot avail a wealthy person with Thee. There is no might or power except by the support of Allaah, There is no god but Allaah and we do not worship but Him alone. To Him alone belong all bounties, to Him alone belong all grace, and to Him worthy praise is accorded. There is no god but Allaah, to Whom we are sincere in devotion, even though the unbelievers may detest it."

It is also advisable to the worshipper to extol Allaah 33 times by saying (Subhana Allaah). Praise Him by saying (Al Hamdulillaah) 33 times also by saying "Allaahu Akbar" and the worshipper completes his supplications to be one hundred by saying once: "There is no god but Allaah. He is the One. He has no partner. His is the dominion and to Him alone is the praise. He has power over all things." The worshipper adds to that the recitation of the verse of the Throne "Ayat Al Kursiy", Surat Al Ikhlas, Surat Al Falaq, and Surat Al Nas. It is recommendable to recite these Suras thrice after the Fajr prayer (Morning prayer), and the Maghrib prayer (evening prayer) because this was reported to be one of the traditions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allaah be on him. As it had been stated before, all these after prayer supplications are optional and not obligatory.

Every Muslim, whether be male or female, is recommended to pray 12 Rakaat of supererogatory prayers every day: four of these Rakaat (units of prayers) are before noon prayer, two after it, two after Maghrib prayer, two after Isha (night) prayer and two before the morning prayer. These supererogatory prayers are called (Rawatib) which means: "Certain supererogatory exercises of optional prayers." The Prophet peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, preserved the performance of these optional prayers wherever he settled.

During his travels, he used to practice the two optional Rakaat before the morning prayer and also the Witr prayer (after the Isha prayer). There is no objection to perform these optional prayers in the mosque, but it is better to perform it at home, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, said "The best of the prayers are those which are fulfilled at one's own home, with exception to obligatory prayers which should be performed in congregation at the mosque." Observance of fulfilling these optional prayers is a means for gaining admission to paradise.

The Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allaah be on him, said: Which means: "Whoever prays optionally twelve Rakoat every one day and night, Allaah will reward him by an established dwelling in the paradise." It is also advisable to the Muslim to pray four optional Rakaat before Asr prayer (afternoon prayer), two before Maghrib prayer (evening prayer), and two before Isha prayer (night prayer), because this manner was reported to be one of the traditions of the Prophet.

Allaah, the Almighty says: "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allaah an excellent exemplar" (33:21). And the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: Which means: "Perform your prayer in the same manner as you had seen me doing."

Allaah is He Who is Able to render us success and prosperity, and may Allaah give His blessings and peace to our Prophet Mohammed son of Abdellah(pbuh), his family, his companions and whoever follows his way till doomsday

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bad Breath During Ramadan Fasts

During the holy month of Ramadhan, Muslims all over the world will be fasting. One of the most common complaints during fasting is the bad breath that people experience. This condition, in medical terms, is called halitosis. What causes bad breath and how can it be prevented?

Causes of bad breath can be broadly classified into local causes and systemic causes. Causative factors within the mouth are termed local causes. Causes due to factors or diseases of the body, such as diabetes, smoking, kidney disease and stomach upset are known as systemic causes. We will be limiting our discussion to local causes only.

Local Causes: Within the human mouth there are numerous kinds of bacteria, which, as by-products, give out sulphides and ammonia which are the main causes of bad breath. Hence the amount of bacteria has to be controlled, and conditions that cause them to thrive have to be eliminated.

These factors are:

Poor oral hygiene caused by not brushing or improper tooth brushing technique.
A dirty tongue.
Cavities in the teeth.
Gum disease caused by plaque and tartar.
Dirty dentures, false teeth and other fixed appliances in the mouth.
After having identified the causes, we can now deal with how to prevent bad breath, especially while fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan:

Brushing one's teeth after every meal, preferably early morning (at Sehri time).
Flossing one's teeth which mean cleaning between the teeth using special thread called dental floss. Use of toothpicks is not advisable for this purpose.
Use of a tongue or using a toothbrush to clean the tongue.
Use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. A non-alcoholic mouthwash should be used as alcohol causes a dry mouth which can aggravate the problem.
Cavities in the teeth should be filled promptly to prevent food accumulation within them.
Removal of tartar on teeth by a dentist at least once every six months.
Drink at least 2-3 glasses of water at Sehri time.
A bad stomach can also cause bad breath so one would have to check on his diet during the holy month of Ramadhan to prevent a stomach upset and halitosis.

Foul-smelling mouths are offensive to other people therefore it is important to spend some time and follow the simple precautions and methods mentioned to prevent this problem.

Islam urges its followers to be clean, decent, and pleasant in their appearance and smell. In this respect, you can have a mouth wash and gargle it but be careful not to allow the water goes into your stomach as best as you can. During the Holy Prophet's lifetime, he (pbuh) and his Companions (Sahabah) used to have Siwak (Miswak or Tooth stick) to keep their mouth fresh and clean.

Many people avoid brushing their teeth during the day in Ramadhan. This is a mistake, since there is no contradiction between observing the fast during Ramadhan and brushing one's teeth. Moreover, Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Were it not for the hardship that I would be placing upon my people, I would have ordered them to engage in Siwak for every prayer." [Sahih al-Bukhari (887) and Sahih Muslim (252)]

We must understand that the word "Siwak" does not just refer to the tree branches that are used as tooth sticks, but to the act of brushing the teeth itself. It is derived from the verb sak, meaning to rub, clean, buff, or polish.

So, we should keep our mouth and body clean and free of any bad or horrible smell, especially when you are working with a non-Muslim who may accuse Islam or insult Muslims because of Ramadhan fasting. Allah says: "Keep you duty to Allah (SWT) as far as you can." (Holy Quran, 64:16)

Note: Some people assume that brushing the teeth while fasting during the month of Ramadhan is discouraged on the basis of the hadith where Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, the Khaluf of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah (SWT) than the scent of musk." [Sahih al-Bukhari (1893) and Sahih Muslim (1151)]

The assumption that this hadith discourages brushing one's teeth while fasting is incorrect. Because the Khaluf is the smell that comes from the stomach when it is empty of food and is not a smell emanating from the mouth.

The Power of Dua During Iftarr (breaking of Fast)

Once Prophet Moosa / Musa / Moses (peace be upon him)asked Almighty Allah (SWT): O Allah! You have granted me the honor and privilege of talking to you directly, Have you given this privilege to any other person?

Almighty Allah (SWT) replied, O Moosa / Musa / Moses during the last period I am going to send an Ummat / Ummah (Community or Nation), who will be the Ummat / Ummah (Community or Nation) of Muhammad (SAW) with dry lips, parched tongues, emaciated body with eyes sunken deep into their sockets, with livers dry and stomachs suffering the pangs of hunger - will call out to me (in dua) they will be much much closer to me than you.

O Moosa / Musa / Moses! While you speak to me there are 70000 veils between you and me but at the time of iftaar there will not be a single veil between me and the fasting Ummati of Muhammad (SAW).

O Moosa / Musa / Moses I have taken upon myself the responsibility that at the time of iftaar I will never refuse the dua of a fasting person!


KEEP YOURSELF OCCUPIED WITH DUA BEFORE BREAKING YOUR FAST