Ramadan Lessons: Hope by Imam Zaid Shakir

?During the Month of Ramadan there are many avenues to God?s forgiveness. These include: Fasting the month; standing in prayer during its nights; the Night of Power; all of which have been previously mentioned.

via New Islamic Directions – Imam Zaid Shakir.

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Tips for Ramadan Taraweeh Tarawih Prayers

Over at MuslimMatters.org they have published an article on Tips for Tips for Ramadan Taraweeh Tarawih Prayers.

Also recording of The Fasting and the Furious: Ramadan Ilminar with Muhammad Alshareef below:

[audio:http://ds1.downloadtech.net/cn1086/audio/87841783931604-001.mp3]

Alternatively visit: Ilminar-The Fasting and the Furious Webcast Replay

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30 Common Mistakes During Ramadaan

Common Mistakes During Ramadan
Common Mistakes During Ramadan

By Sheikh Ahmad Musa Jibril (May Allah hasten his release)

Bismillah Wasalatu wasalam A’la Rasulillah. Ama Ba’ad

Common Mistakes During Ramadan:

  1. Focusing on food; to the extent that people begin to worry about eating more then actually fasting. This also goes along with spending tons of money on Iftars even though a person does not need to eat that much food.
  2. Making Suhr way before Fajr. Some people eat Suhr a few hours after Tarawih or Isha Salah, this is wrong. It should be eaten closer to the time of Fajr.
  3. People don’t make Niyyah [intentions] to fast for Ramadhan. This is something in the heart and does not need to be verbal. Also it only needs to be done once, at the beginning of Ramadhan and not every single day.
  4. If you find out late that Ramadhan started, you should stop eating and fast for that day, making that day up after Ramadhan/Eid ends.
  5. Many people don’t think you pray Tarawih on the first night of Ramadhan. They believe you pray it after the first day you actually fast. They forget that the Islamic calendar runs on the moon, maghrib is the start of the new day.
  6. Many people believe if you eat or drink on accident this breaks your fast. This is false, if you do this on accident then you continue fasting and do not need to make up the day.
  7. Some people take the opinion that if they see someone eating or drinking they should not remind the person that he/she is fasting. According to Shaykh Bin Baz [ra], this is incorrect and it is an order from Allah for us to ordain the good and forbid the evil. Thus we tell the person, because we are forbidding the evil this way.
  8. Many sisters believe they cannot use Hennah while fasting. This is incorrect, they are allowed to use it during Ramadhan.
  9. Some people believe when you are cooking you cannot taste the food to see if it has the right spices/flavors. This is false, and allowed in Islam as long as the person cooking is not eating the food. Rather they can taste it to see if it needs salt, or more spices.
  10. Many people think you cannot use a Miswak or toothbrush during Ramadhan. This is false, for the Prophet [saw] used to use a miswak during Ramadhan. Also you CAN use toothpaste; the reasoning by the scholars is that the Miswak has flavor, thus toothpaste is okay to use [if you are not eating it].
  11. Some people make the Fajr Adhan early. They do this so people will stop eating before Fajr and not invalidate their fast. This is wrong and something we should not do.
  12. Some people make the Maghrib Adhan late. They do this so people will start eating late, just incase Maghrib has not come in yet. This too is wrong and we should not do this.
  13. Many many people believe you cannot have intercourse with your spouse during the whole month of Ramadhan. This is false, you cannot do this only during the times when you are fasting. Between Maghrib and Fajr it is permissible to do.
  14. Many women believe that if their period has just ended and they did not make Ghusl, they cannot fast that day [considering their period ended at night, and they went to bed without Ghusl, waking up without having a chance to make it]. This is incorrect, if a women has not made Ghusl she can still fast.
  15. Many men believe that if he has had intercourse with his wife and did not make Ghusl [similar to the above] then he cannot fast the next morning. This is also incorrect, for he can fast even if he has not made Ghusl.
  16. Some people pray Dhur and Asr prayers together during Ramadhan. (mainly in Arab countries) This is incorrect and should be avoided.
  17. Some people believe you cannot eat until the Muadhthin is done calling the Maghrib Adthan. This is incorrect, as soon as he starts a person can break their fast.
  18. Many people don’t take advantage of making D?ua before they break their fast. This is one of the three times when Allah accepts a person D?ua.
  19. Many people make the mistake of spending the later part of Ramadhan preparing for ?Id, neglecting Ramadhan. This is incorrect and these people lose the concept of what Ramadhan is about.
  20. Many parents do not let their children fast during Ramadhan [young children]. This is something counter productive to a child. By allowing him to fast he will grow up to know he must do this act.
  21. Many people think Ramadhan is just about not eating and forget about controlling their tempers and watching what they say. In actuality we are supposed to control our tempers and mouths even more during Ramadhan.
  22. People often waste their time during Ramadhan. They go to sleep during the day and get nothing done. We should be taking advantage of this blessed month by doing extra Ibadat.
  23. Some people don’t go on trips or travel during Ramadhan. They think they have to break their fast when traveling. This is actually optional, if you want to break your fast while traveling you can [with making it up later], and if you don’t you can continue fasting.
  24. Many people who are able don’t make I?tikaf at the masjid. We should take advantage of our good health and spend lots of time at the Masjid, especially the last 10 days of Ramadhan.
  25. Some people believe they cannot cut their hair or nails during Ramadhan. This is also false.
  26. Some people say you cannot swallow your spit during Ramadhan. This too is false. However you cannot swallow mucus that has entered your mouth.
  27. Some people say you cannot use scented oils or perfumes during Ramadhan. This too is false.
  28. Some people believe bleeding breaks the fast. This is not true.
  29. Some people believe if you throw up on accident it breaks your fast. This is not true, however if you do it intentionally it does.
  30. Some people think you cannot put water in your nose and mouth during wudhu in Ramadhan. This too is incorrect.
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Five ways to make this Ramadan extraordinary

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

My dear friends and students,

Welcome to our long-lost friend: Ramadan. How we have missed the days of self-restraint and the nights of mercy and delight! After eleven months of sinning, we now have the opportunity to avail ourselves of a month of mercy and forgiveness. For those whose duas have not been answered, the month of answered duas has arrived. For those who have drifted away from the soothing night prayer, or who have never achieved it, the month of the blessed taraweeh has arrived. Welcome to our Lord?s mercy: the month of Ramadan. No doubt each and every one of us approaches Ramadan with a special excitement. Alas for many of us, however: the excitement is met with fear and dread instead.

Will this Ramadan be like the previous ones where I failed to truly take full advantage and mend my ways?

Will this Ramadan only demonstrate to me how far away from Allah I truly am?

Will it be yet another month that passes by without my taking full advantage of it?

If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Many of us feel this way and do not know how to tackle it. As a result, the fear and dread are enough for us to avoid setting new goals and higher aspirations for this month. As a result, we find ourselves at the end of the month in the situation of having failed to benefit from this opportunity and languishing in sorrow at the thought that we will never improve.

I too used to get these whispers and thoughts in my mind. However, I overcame these thoughts with the help of Allah. Here are five things that I have done to tackle these “Ramadan blues”. Let me share them with you; perhaps the suggestions may benefit you, and help you to overlook the past and focus on the future.

1) Good thoughts about Allah: I remind myself that my Lord is most Generous and Kind. He loves me sincerely. The proof is that even when I disobey Him He still provides for me. That is why He is giving me yet another Ramadan: yet another opportunity to get closer to Him again. He loves to forgive, and His best friends are those who seek His forgiveness the most. He has brought me to another Ramadan so that I can have yet another chance at Laylatul Qadr, and yet another chance to make my duas accepted at the time of iftar, and yet another chance to do Hajj with Rasul-Allah (sall-Allahu ?alaihi wa sallam) by doing umrah in this month. He has brought me to Ramadan to sooth the sorrows in my heart with His remembrance, and for me to be reminded of the nights in my grave by the solitude of i?tikaaf: by seeing how it feels to be alone with Him in the mosque. He wants me to lighten the load on my mind, so that is why He has given me the month of the Qur?an: so that I can relive the amazing Word of my Rabb (Lord and Master). The salaf (pious predecessors) would beg Allah for another opportunity for Ramadan, so how fortunate I am that He has given me this chance once again. How fortunate I am that He has given me the chance to know when this month is, so that I can take advantage of it. How fortunate I am that He has given me the yearning in my heart to meet my Lord in this month – and I know that the one who loves to meet His Lord, Allah subhaanahu wa ta?ala also loves to meet him.

2) Forget the past and focus on the future: I remind myself that past deeds are just that: a matter of the past. I live for the future, not the past. The past will be forgiven insha?Allah if I can mend the future. My concern should be the next deed that I do, because Allah loves to forgive; so I can have every confidence that He will forgive the past because I have nothing but regret for my past sins. The most important consideration for me is what sort of amends I make now. I remind myself of what Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahu-Allah) said in his Nooniyyah:

By Allah I am not afraid of my past sins,
For indeed they are upon the path of repentance and forgiveness;
Rather my real concern is that [in the next deed] this heart
Might cease to act upon revelation and upon the noble Qur?an.

3) Evaluate previous attempts in order to plan a strategy to make it work this time: I remember that it is illogical to think that my future chances of success are a reflection of my failures in the past. My past inabilities only show me what to do better this time so that I can increase my chances this time around. So if I tried to pray taraweeh every night but failed, I should look back at what happened in order to learn lessons from those failures. Was it that the Imam?s recitation was not good? If so, then let me try to find a mosque to go to whose Imam recites better. If I failed to complete reciting the whole Qur?an last year, let me look at why that was the case and how I can change it. Can I put up reminders to read the Qur?an, or shall I buy a few more copies of the Qur?an and put them in more convenient places, such as one in my car, another in my briefcase and another on my table, so that I have a mushaf always on hand? If I missed getting up for fajr last Ramadan, why did it happen and how can I change it? Perhaps I should buy more alarm clocks, so let me go to the store right now. Perhaps I should SMS my friends to start a fajr prayer-calling group so that each day one of us is responsible for waking the others up. Perhaps I should make my suhur my heaviest meal so that my body feels hungry at suhur-time and so I get up more easily.

4) Reward, challenge and penalise myself: I can plan and prepare to reward myself if I finish this Ramadan satisfactorily. So I tell myself that if I can make myself pray all my prayers at the earliest time this Ramadan and recite the Qur?an five times this month, then I will buy myself a new laptop; if I can recite it ten times then I will go away with my family for a holiday, or some other significant reward that I know I would definitely like to treat myself with. I warn myself that if I fail to at least recite the Qur?an five times in this month, then I will donate a thousand dollars to charity. I remind myself that even Allah?s Messenger sall-Allahu ?alaihi wa sallam used to give worldly rewards to those who excelled in battle: e.g. half the war-booty from the raids to the Muslim knights who had taken part in the raid; he (saw) would consider it a great sin upon the one who fails to join the obligatory battle. In the same spirit of reward, challenge and penalty, I would do this for my children and my wife as well by helping them with a reward if they do something extraordinary this month, and a penalty if they did not even do the minimum extra level. In this way I can give them an added incentive to do good in this limited time of Ramadan. I remind myself that ultimately we must do it for Allah and never for a physical prize, but associating an emotional desire with an action and fear of a punishment at the non-performance of it will cause that action to be foremost in the subconscious part of my mind. I remind myself that the worst thing about not making this Ramadan special is going to be something worse than the penalty I have stipulated. It will be the disappointment of a Ramadan wasted, and the risk of Allah?s wrath.

5) Create peer-pressure and responsibility: I remind myself that if I make my friends and family aware of some of my goals, then they might help me. So I share some of my goals with them, ensuring that I am doing it to engage their help in performing it, not in a spirit of boasting. I hope that this will give me added support and encouragement to ensure that they help me in achieving the good things I have set out to do. If they do not help, at the very least they should not mind when I excuse myself from their service or company in order to spend some time on working towards my goal.

I hope that some or all of these things will help you to look upon this Ramadan with a fresh outlook. Make lots of dua to Allah that this Ramadan will be special for you, for your family, and for the Ummah of our beloved sall-Allahu ?alaihi wa sallam. I am interested in hearing from you if you have other things that you do to focus positively at the advent of another Ramadan.

Jazaakumullahulkhair and my duas for you and your family for a fantastic and blessed Ramadan, insha?Allah;

wassalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Tawfique Chowdhury
Director General
AlKauthar Institute and Mercy Mission World

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Friday Khutbah (31 July 2009): Ways of obtaining baraqa – blessings in our lives

Friday Khutbah (31 July 2009/8th Shaban 1430) Makkah Friday Khutbah, Saudi Arabia, English translation

Ways of obtaining baraqa – blessings in our lives

Sermon given by Sheikh Shuraim

All praise is due to Allah the great, the might. We praise him for the blessings and we also praise him whilst in trial and tribulations. And I bear witness that no one has the right to be worshipped except Allah. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the leader of the pious and the master of those who came before us and those who come towards the end. May the peace and blessings be upon the prophet salAllahu alaihi wa sallam. And may the peace and blessing be also on the companions and those who followed them until the day of resurrection.

Indeed, to proceed, the advice that I would like to give to everybody including myself is to fear Allah Subhanau wa ta?ala. As Allah says, fear Allah and indeed He will teach you, and He is aware of all affairs. Indeed, we live in a time in which our civilisation has attained and developed in different spheres of life. These types of developments are unprecedented, which we haven?t seen in previous nations and previous civilisations. We find that we have a higher degree of worship whether it be related to life or technology. We see this advancement.

So we live in this contemporary life which really surprises and astonishes us. Despite all of these advancements, we see in society, we find that these advancements in our society, they do not guarantee happiness in the way we have seen people attain happiness in the past. And this is all due to the absence of a matter which is extremely important. And without this particular thing, there is no meaning to life. And we ask ourselves, what is this important thing , without which you can not attain happiness in life. It is indeed, Oh Servants of Allah, it is attaining baraqa ? benefit ? blessings in our life. There is no person who has a steadfast life and he does not receive blessings. And what is the benefit of time if it has no blessing in it? What is the benefit of knowledge if it has no blessing in it? And what is the benefit of having food that has no blessings in it?

So blessings is not just about attaining great amounts of wealth, rather it is a value which Allah Subhanau wa ta?ala has given to particular deeds. Rather it is a blessing which leads to tranquility in the soul and also to be content ed. These are the signs of baraqa. And likewise for a person to continue and remain good health, these are the effects of Allah?s baraqa in a person?s life. And so if you were to assume life to be like a tree, then the water that goes to the tree, this is the baraqa. The baraqa is the water which gives life to the tree and this baraqa is that which gives life to the soul itself. and by this baraqa, a person is able to live in a small hut, to him, it will be like a palace.

If a person does not understand baraqa and does not receive baraqa, if he was to live in a palace, then to him it would be like living in a prison. And this is the result of even attaining this blessing in life or being prevented from attaining it. So baraqa essentially is that which gives an increase in good, so for example a person wants to have blessings in his life then that would tell a person has long blood. this blessing could also occur in a persons wealth, that would mean that a person attains a sufficient amount of wealth until he dies and Allah makes his wealth go a long way. A person could be blessed in his food as well and the blessing in this food is that it fills a persons stomach even though it might be a small amount and likewise, a blessing in knowledge, the blessing in knowledge is that it leads to beneficial deeds. These are the effects of baraqa.

However, we live in a time where we suffer from lack of baraqa, and we live in a time where people really suffer in all aspects of life from the lack of baraqa from Allah Subhanau wa ta?ala. So people think that in reality, blessings is all about attaining great amounts o wealth and many children but you will find that there are many people with great amounts of wealth yet you find they have no blessings in their wealth. You find they earn hundreds of thousands of pounds yet you find that it does not benefit them and they lose their money quickly. People have many children yet you find there is no baraqa in their children.

We find, for example, in the developed world, they give loans to these developing and poorer countries. And they impose these loans on them, which incur interest. And in fact you find that these loans that these people take on, they do not benefit them. Rather it creates more hardship on the people. and so these countries and these poor nations that take these debts upon themselves, they sell their own products to the creditor. And they end up losing out on the benefit. It is as if the creditor is strangling the debtor. So what baraqa ? blessing is this? This is a result of involving yourself in these transactions. It is just like a person who keeps drinking salty water, ever time he gets thirsty, he tries to drink it more but in reality, he becomes more thirsty.

However, if you were to compare the era that we live in today to the era of the Prophet salAllahu alahi wa sallam and his companions, you will find a stark difference in baraqa. So for example, you will find that the Prophet sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam, he would find a great deal of blessings in just a small peice of bread that would suffice for him and all of his companions.

For example we see the companion, Uthman ibn A?afaan, Allah blessed his wealth and by his wealth, he was able to provide and sustain a whole army. And likewise we have the axample of zubair ibn Awaam, when he was on his death bed, he advised his son to pay back his debt. His debt reached one million and two thousand dinar, so he was in a great amount of debt. So in paying back the debt, he said that if you are unable to pay back the debt then seek help in my freed slave and he will help you. There was a peice of land he had which grew date palm trees and so his son was able to use this land and cultivate it and therefore the value of this land reached great amounts. In fact it reached millions of dinars and he was able to pay back his debt and he also left behind four wives and he was also able to give each wife a million dinar. So look at how baraqa occurs.

And likewise, it was reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, that the time of bani kudaiba, in the time of Imam Ahmad, that they found a piece of wheat and it was so large that it was written on it that this was grown in the time of blessings ? baraqa. So when we have this baraqa, it has an effect on our food and the way that it grows. And we find other examples of earlier generations where they would find for example camel loads of grapes and this was something very rare to find in Arabia . So these are examples of the previous generations and how much they attained great amounts of baraqa.

And this is SubhanaAllah, despite the advanced technologically in other areas of life. The Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wa sallam mentioned in Sahih Muslim that the Day of Judgement will not return until the land of the Arabian Peninsular will become green and lush again as it was before. And it is reported that a time will come when just a small fruit will be enough for a few people and a small piece of flesh of a camel will be enough to feed groups of people and this is a sign that we will have this baraqa. Though we have to ask ourselves two important questions: How do you attain this baraqa? and you need to think; Are we doing these things that will entail the securing of these blessings. And at the same time we have to ask ourselves; What are the things that prevent the baraqa from befalling upon us. And as Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says, indicating this, that if the people of the town had truly believed, then we would have sent rain in multitude gushing forth upon them.

2ND KHUTBA

All praise is due to Allah and may the peace and blessings be upon the Prophet salAllahu alaihi wa sallam. The person who wishes to attain the blessings in his life, then he must observe and be aware of those things which bring about these blessings. It is, if a person contemplates, he will find that he will be able to find the blessings in life by completing the following things. Firstly, by believing in Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala, and believing in his messenger and adhering to the law of Allah and his messenger. As Allah says and indeed if the people of the past had believed, then indeed we would have sent down the blessings from the skies. Secondly, a person has to be grateful towards Allah, for his blessings. As Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says, then indeed, if you were to be grateful to Allah, he will increase your blessings, but if you deny my favours then indeed my punishment is severe. And as the Messenger salAllhu alaihi wa sallam said, whatever blessings Allah sends down from the skies you will find a group of people denying this blessing.

The third cause of attaining benefit is having a halal source of income. As Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says he obliterates usury but he makes charity grow. And the fourth cause of obtaining benefit is by staying away from israaf ? extravagance in spending lavishly. As Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says, indeed those who spend lavishly and extravagantly, they are the brothers of the devils. And thus they will not be able to attain any baraqa. And that is why the prophet salAllahu alaihi wa sallam said, the best of women for marriage are those who are the easiest in terms of expenditure.

And likewise, another cause is by being truthful and straight as well. As the Messenger salAllahu alahi wa sallam said two people who are involved in a transaction they will have a choice to go back on their deal as long as they do not separate, if they are truthful then indeed they will be blessed in their trade.

And also from the other causes of attaining baraqa is a person, he engages in supplicating the Lord and invoking the Lord, making du?ah to Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala as we saw in the case of Zubair ibn Awaam before as well. And likewise another important reason for obtaining baraqa is by having contentment and being satisfied with what Allah has given us. And as Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says indeed he will give you a happy life. A happy life as many scholars say, is to be satisfied and have contentment with what Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala has given you. And these are the means by which we can obtain baraqa in our lives.

Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala says, oh you who believe, send your salat and salam upon the messenger salAllahu alaihi wa sallam. The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wa sallam said, who ever sends one greeting upon me, Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala sends ten greetings upon him. And may Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala also send greetings upon the four rightly guided khulafa, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and Ali and upon the rest of his companions. And likewise the successors and those who followed them until the day of resurrection. Oh Allah, give victory to Islam and to the Muslims, Oh Allah give victory to your book and to your Sunnah. Oh Allah, relieve the distresses of the believers and cure the ill. Oh Allah, give us peace and security in our lands, and rectify the affairs of our rulers and make the rulers those who fear Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala. Oh Allah, give the ability to fear you to our rulers. Oh Allah what ever there is of good then please grant it to us, even that which we are unaware of in terms of good then give it to us as well. Oh Allah, give us the good of this world and the good of the hereafter and save us from the punishment of the fire. And all praise id due to Allah Subhanahu wa ta?ala.

Written by UmmYumyum www.quidsin.wordpress.com from the translation (name unknown) ? Islam Channel. If you know the name of the brother who translated this Khutbah, please let me know.

All that is true and correct is from Allah, anything of error is from me and shaytaan.

source: http://quidsin.wordpress.com/

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