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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