Life after Ramadaan

by Imâm al-Madîna al-Munawarrah â??Abdul Muhsin Ibn Muhammad al-Qâsim

All praise is due to Allaah. We thank Him, we seek for His help and forgiveness. We also seek His refuge against the evils of our souls and that of our deeds. Whoever Allaah guides, nobody can mislead him, and whoever He misleads will never have no guide. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. May He bestow Peace and blessing upon this noble Prophet, his family and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah as He should be feared for, the fear of Allaah is the best treasure for you.

Dear Muslims! Months, days and years are made to determine lifespan and to afford people the oppurtunity to perform good deeds. Further, death do patrol day and night to take the souls of those whose time is due and you shall be addressed on the Day of Ressurection on account of your deeds. It is then that your Lord will say:

“These are only your deeds that has been recorded for you and for which I am going to reward you. So, whoever gets a good reward should be thankful to Allaah and whoever gets otherwise should only blame himself.”

Dear brothers! Your month of Ramadan has now gone with your deeds. Let those who have committed wrong among you quickly repent and mend their ways before Door of Repentance is closed and let those who have done good continue on the same for, the best of all acts of obedience are the the ones followed up with its like. Be concerned more over the acceptance of your deeds than over the deeds itself for, Allaah does not accept deeds except from the pious ones. Also, beware of following up good deeds with bad ones because, if we say that good deeds eradicate bad ones, it is also not impossible that bad deeds destroy good ones.

Brothers in faith! You were – during the just concluded month of righteous – fasting in the day, praying in the night and doing different kinds of sacrificial acts in oder to get reward and to be saved from the Fire. With the depature of this month, a stage of our live has passed. Such is how we pass days of this life in stages on our way to the everlasting abode. Indeed, continuation of good deeds at all time is character of righteous people for, acts of obedience do not have a specific time; it is rather Allaahâ??s unconditional right upon His servants as long as they are alive. Though, month of Ramadaan is an opportunity for the faithfuls to race with one another towards good deeds and an opportunity to direct oneâ??s soul towards meritorious acts and keep it from vices; yet, it is quite incumbent on Muslims to remain on the path of righteousness even after Ramadaan. Worshipping Allaah should not be restricted to Ramadaan alone for, there is no end to Muslimâ??s worship except when he dies. What evil people those who worship only time and do not know Allaah except in Ramadaan!

Dear Muslims! Certainly, the acceptance and rejection of deeds in this month have signs. Among the signs of acceptance of good deed is when it is followed up by good deeds and it is among the signs of rejection to follow up oneâ??s good deeds with evil ones. Therefore, follow up the good deeds with its like, it will be a sign of acceptance of that good deed and follow up your evil deeds with good ones, that will indicate that those evil deeds have been overlooked. Allaah says:

“Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful (those who accept advice).” (Hood 11:114)

The Prophet saws also said:

“Fear Allaah wherever you are, follow up the evil deed with good one it will remove it and relate with people with good conduct.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhee)

Let those who are determined to go back to sins after Ramadaan know that Allaah is always pleased with those who obey Him regardless of the month the obedience takes place and is angry with those who disobey Him irrespective of the month the disobedience takes place. The essence of posperity lies in long life and good deeds and a personâ??s continuation of good deeds without restricting it to a certain period, particular month or special place is a sign of oneâ??s righteousness and acceptance of his good deeds.

Fellow Muslims! Though Ramadaan season is now gone, yet, fasting is still recommended in other months. The Messenger of Allaah saws has recommended fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. He said:

“Deeds are presented to Allaah on Mondays and Thursdays and I would like that my deeds be presented while I am fasting.”

It is also reported that he admonished Aboo Hurayrah ra thus:

“Fasting for three days in every month is (equal to) fasting forever.” (Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).

He also said:

Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadaan and then follows it with six days fasting in Shawwaal has done as if he has fast for live.” (Reported by Muslim)

Though, night prayer during Ramadaan might have gone; yet, the night prayers throughout the year is also recommended. It has been authentically reported from the Prophet saws that

“Allaah use to descend to the nearest heaven to this world when it is the last third of the night and say: â??Who is going to call Me that I may answer him? Who is going to ask from Me that I may give to him? Who is going to seek for my Forgiveness that I may forgive him?”

Therefore, the most pleasing to Allaah of all acts are the ones that are continuously done.

Fellow Muslims! While there are a set of youths who during the noble month of Ramadan were busy passing their time in lustful things, sins and acts of obedience, there are others who were busy doing deeds of righteousness such as Iâ??tikaaf in the Houses of Allaah severing all ties with fellow creatures and meditating with the Creator. They gave obedience of their Lord preference over their own desires. You would see them bowing, prostrating and reciting the Glorious Qurâ??aan. Such youths are the hope and pride of this Ummah.

Dear Muslims! Fear Alllaah for fear of Allaah is the head of all matters. Obey Allaah and keep away from His restrictions, you will achieve His pleasure and be saved from His torment. Do not go back to sins and disobedience so as not to be entitled to His punishment.

Dear brothers, thank your Lord for making you complete the fasting of this month. Enjoy your Eid by remaining consistent on the those good deeds and keep away from undesirable things that are capable of removing Allaahâ??s favors from you. One of our righteous predecessors said:

“Each day in which no act of disobedience to Allaah is committed is Eid and each day a believer spent in acts of obedience to his Lord is Eid”

Friday Khutbah (11th April 2008): Adhering To The Quraan And Sunnah Is The Way To Salvation

Adhering To The Qurâ??aan And Sunnah Is The Way To Salvation
By Sh Salaah Al Budair – Imaam of Haram

These days, Islamic societies are being relentlessly attacked by Christianisation campaigns, impudent temptations and open war through misleading mass media controlled by callers to evil and corruption in order to westernise these societies and to divert them from their religion and path.

Indeed, the unbelieving nations live a disgraced life, suffer in infected sludge and move in moral and religious darkness. While some are alcoholics, others are addicted to music and another large number of them are enslaved by their lust. Their statutes are full of oppressive and unjust laws which they use to decide matters relating to their lives, chastity and properties.

“And he for whom Allaah has not appointed light for him there is no light.” (An Noor: 40).

However, it is very saddening that some Islamic societies have been affected by this westernisation so much so that it has attacked their established concepts, changed their customs, weakens their strength and destroys many aspects of their lives. Allaah says: “And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can.” (Al-Baqarah: 217).

Brothers in Islaam! There will be no religious stability nor actualisation of Divine promise or safety from retribution and calamities except by holding fast unto the Book of Allaah which He revealed to His Messenger; for that is real protection, the astounding evidence and the ever-illuminating light. It is a revelation that whenever it was revealed to the Prophet it weighed heavily on him, he would lower his head, his face would become morose and his forehead would sweat profusely. â??Aaâ??ishah said: “I have seen while he was been revealed to on a very cold day ad when the revelation ended, his forehead would sweat profusely.” He, himself, used to say: “Sometimes, revelation comes to me like a clattering of bell and that is the most trying experience I get when the revelation is being revealed to me. It would then leave me until I have comprehended the revelation.”

The Qurâ??aan is a great sign and a weighty Word. Allaah commanded His Prophet to hold fast unto it and never deviate from it. He says “Then We put you on a (plain) way of (Our) commandment. So follow you that and follow not the desire of those who know not.” (Al-Jaathiyah: 18).

The Prophet himself informed his nation that the only guidance lies in clinging unto the Qurâ??aan when he said: “I am leaving for you two things if you hold fast to them you will never get astray: The Book of Allaah and my Sunnah.”

His companions used to receive the Revelation with honour and acceptance. They would abide by its commandments, surrender to its judgment and guidance without hesitation or preference to other options. Ibn Buraidah narrated from his father that he said: “While we were sitting at our drinking place on the sand and we were three or four persons with a jug with us and drinking liquor for it was then lawful, then I left for the place of the Prophet and greeted him.

The verse that prohibited alcohol drinking was then revealed: “O you who believe! Intoxicants, Gambling, Al-Ansaab (i.e. animals that are slaughtered on stone-altars for idols) and Arrows (that are used for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of the Satanâ??s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that in order that you may be successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from Salaah (the Prayer). Will you then not abstain?” (Al-Maaâ??idah: 90-91).

I afterwards went to my companions and read the verse to them. One of them was holding his alcohol in his hand having drank some and the rest was still in his cup, but he turn the cup just below his upper lip. They all poured away what was in their jug and said: “We abstain, Our Lord! We abstain, Our Lord!”

The verse was revealed when they were holding their cups in their hands and it was the command of Allaah that prevented them from reaching their lips. Those who were holding cups of alcohol broke them and those who have taken a mouthful coughed it out. Containers of alcohol were broken in al-Madienah. Such is the commandment of Allaah. One should have no option except to submit and surrender to it.

Also, when Allaah revealed the verse: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies.” (Al-Ahzaab: 59) the Ansaar women came out as if there were sieves on their heads because of their garments.”

Ibn `Abbaas also narrated another incident of the companionsâ?? total submission to the commandments of Allaah and His Messenger. He said: “The Messenger of Allaah saw a golden ring in the hand of a man so he pulled it off and threw it away and then said: “Will one of you knowingly take a burning charcoal and put it in his hand!” When the Messenger of Allaah left the scene, the man was told: â??Take your ring and make use of it (in something else)â??. The man replied: “No, by Allaah! I will never take it since the Messenger of Allaah has thrown it away.” (Muslim).

Fellow Muslims! The only safe way and protection from the trials and temptations of this age is fast adherence to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and then the path of the righteous predecessors of this Ummah. That is the only way out of tribulations. Jundub Ibn Abdullah Al-Bajalee told the people of Basrah about the two revelations (the Qurâ??aan and Sunnah): “Hold fast unto the Qurâ??aan for it is the guidance during the day and light during the night. Take them into practice however hardship and poverty that may cause you. When any calamity befalls you sacrifice for it your money rather than your religion. If the calamity is beyond what your money can bear, sacrifice your blood for it, for the actual deprived person is the one deprived of his religion. There is no poverty after entrance into Hellfire.”

Huthaifie Ibn Yamaan told Aamir Ibn Mitr: “What will be your position if people take a single way and the Qurâ??aan takes another way?, which of the ways will you follow? He answered “I will be with the Qurâ??aan, die with it and be resurrected with it.”

Brothers in Faith! Hold fast unto this revelation sincerely you will be shown its effects in your deeds, sayings dealings and all your affairs and you will live a prosperous life and die for your religion and loyalties.

Let each and every one of us present himself before the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah and see whether he is among the obedient ones or among the negligent ones. Let everyone beware and reform himself. Hasan Al-Basrie said: “May Allaah have mercy on a slave who places himself and his deeds in front of the Book of Allaah, if his deeds are in accordance with the Book of Allaah he praises Allaah and asks Him for increase and if the deeds are contradictory to the Book of Allaah he rebukes himself and amends immediately.”

Fellow Muslims! You have in your possession an infinite treasure that is the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah but yet where are those who follow their injunctions? Where are those who submit themselves to them? Where are those who answer their call?

The Glorious Qurâ??aan has given us admonitions, warned us as the Prophet also warned against falling in the abyss of ignorance and disobedience. Were these admonitions useful for us? Everyday we pass on evenings and mornings a threat that frightens the hearts; are we heedful to this threat?

Abu Dardaaâ?? narrated that the Prophet said, “We were with the Messenger of Allaah one day , when he cast a look at the sky and said: This is a time in which knowledge will be withdrawn from people so much that they will not be able to withhold any thereof. Ziyaad Ibn Lubaid Al-Ansaarie then asked, â??O Messenger of Allaah! How can it be withdrawn from us while we recite the Qurâ??aan, for by Allaah, we read it as well as our wives and children.â?? The Prophet answered, â??O Ziyaad! I have been counting you among the knowledgeable people of Al-Madienah! Are these not Jews and Christians reading the Torah and Gospel with working with anything thereof?â?? (Ibn Maajah).

Some scholar commented on this Hadeeth and said, â??As their recitation of their book did not benefit them because of their non-practising of their injunctions, so also will be you.â??

Fellow Muslims! Attacking the texts of Qurâ??aan and Sunnah by dishonouring and desecrating them or feeling that it cannot fulfil the needs of ever-changing life or subjugating it or twisting it in order to make it fit the modern age in matters that some irreligious people wrongly feel that Islaam is the obstacle to their progress likes issue of equating women with men in every aspect of life, taking usury, perpetrating forbidden acts, exterminating the concept of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil and vice, giving the disbelievers opportunity to damp their ideological wastes in the name of literature, art, freedom of opinion and other issues that the texts of Islamic law has decided on as clearly and broadly as daylight. This attack may lead to this Ummah losing its identity, honour and religion which Allaah favours it with.

It is then incumbent on us, fellow Muslims, to honour the two revelations (i.e. the Qurâ??aan and Sunnah) in such a way that will prevent us from disobeying them or befriending those who deny them or keeping silent when they are attacked or laughed at what they contain. Whoever insults Allaah or His Messenger or dishonours them or says or does anything that explicitly ridicules them or makes jest with the religion (of Islaam), or dishonour the Qurâ??aan or desecrate it has become a disbeliever in what is revealed to the Messenger of Allaah and went out of the Fold of Islaam. The Prophet said, â??whoever apostates kill him!â??(Bukhaarie).

Dear Muslim! Fear Allaah as regards your religion into which He guided you and with which is by abstaining from all that contradict it or contaminated it., You should carry out your duty towards it in all your affairs in order to be saved from the threat that is in this verse, “And if you tune away (from Islaam and the obedience to Allaah), He will exchange you for some other people and they will not let your likes.” (Muhammad: 38).

Brothers in faith! Fear Allaah, be conscious of Him and do not disobey Him, â??O you who believe, fear Allaah and be always with the truthful.â?? (At Tawbah: 119).

Brothers in Islaam! The Prophet was compassionate with his Ummah. He is full of pity, kind and merciful to them. He feared for them ignominy and disgrace; and sins and disobedience. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said, â??The likeness of me and my Ummah is like that of a man who kindled a fire, then when it lighted all around him butterflies and other flying insects keep on falling into it, while the man keeps on preventing them from falling into it. But they overpower him and fall into the fire. Such is the likeness of me and you. I am preventing you from falling into the fire and saying, â??Come away from the fire.â?? But you overpower me and insist on falling into it.â?? (Muslim).

Such is how the ignorant and the disobeying men with their sins and lusts will fall into hellfire on the Last Day in spite of the Prophetâ??s efforts in preventing them from doing so. They therefore will fall into fire because of their weak intelligence, just as the butterflies fall into the fire of this world, for both are striving to destroy themselves out of ignorance. So beware and be on guard before a day comes in which no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before not earned good through his faith.

Brothers in Islaam! Hold fast unto the rope of Allaah, even if people leave it and escape to Allaah from temptation of this age. The Prophet said, â??Verily, in front of you are days of patience. Being patient in those days will be like holding a live coal. Whoever does good deed then will have the reward of fifty men who work as he does. The companions asked, â??The reward of fifty men among them?â?? He answered, â??The reward of fifty men among you!â??

Friday Khutbah (12-Jan-2007): Light & Darkness

“The person who takes a bath then comes to the group prayer (Friday Jummah/Khutbah), then offers the prayer that was destined for him, and then keeps silent till the Imam finishes the sermon, and then prays along with him, his sins between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven, and even of three days more” (Reported in Sahih Muslim, with similar hadiths in Abu Dawood,Ibn Majah, and Ahmad bin Hanbal).

â??When it is a Friday, the Angels stand at the gate of the mosque and keep on writing the names of the persons coming to the mosque in succession according to their arrivals. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel (in sacrifice). The one coming next is like one offering a cow and then a ram and then a chicken and then an egg respectively. When the Imam comes out (for Jummah prayer) the Angels fold their papers and listen to the Khutba. (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)

â??Whosoever recites Surah Al-Kahf on Friday will have a light illuminated for him between the two Fridaysâ? (Narrated by Nasaâ??i Bayhaqi & others)

Anyway….Subhan Allah the Khutbah today, as always was very good..very informative. The Imam talked about the concept of light and darkness (in the Qur’an), and how it applies to our lives as Muslims, both in this dunya, and in the Hereafter. In Surat An-Nur it’s described:

“…Light upon Light! Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of Everything (24:35).”

“Or [the state of a disbeliever] is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light (24:40).”

This concept of light and darkness can be viewed as Heaven and Hell, it can be viewed as guidance and misguidance, or Success with Allah verses ‘success’ with shaytan. There are many ways to look at it, but the bottom line for us as Muslims, is to strive in Allah’s Cause, and reach for the light. How unlucky we’d be if we were (or are) among those who are in the darkness. SO, what can we do to stay away from this darkness? the Imam said foremost: let not shaytan influence you. You can choose to be amongst those who Iblis influences, or you can be amongst those who follow the Word of Allah [swt]:

“(Iblis) said: “By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, Except Your chosen slaves amongst them (i.e. faithful, obedient, true believers of Islamic Monotheism) (38:82-83)”

“(Iblis) said: “See this one whom You have honoured above me, if You give me respite to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few! (17:62)”

“(Iblis) said: “Because you have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. not be dutiful to Allah Ta’aala) (7:16-17).”

Allah has a plan for us all, and if we are amongst those chosen to stay in the Path of Allah, then that’s what will happen. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work for it though, because shaytan still has the power to influence those who forget about Allah. Anything associated with Shaytan is definitely NOT good for us as Muslims. If we associate ourselves with Haraam things or situations, then we are associating ourselves with shaytan…if we associate ourselves with the disbelievers, then we are associating ourselves with shaytan. The Qur’an clearly tells us to stay away from these things and these types of people, yet we still (not excluding myself) continue on in this manner. I find this ayat to be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!::

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers) they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you take them (as Auliya), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those pople who are the Zalimun (5:51).”

It is stated SO clearly, that I find it impossible to disregard the message. I know how hard it is to understand or apply it to our lives (especially since many of us live in a place dominated by non-Muslims). I feel it personally, especially since my own blood family is Christian. My mother, who converted from Christianity, has a relgious Christian family. My own half brother and half sister are Christians (my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, etc.) I love them very much, and it’s hard to know that I cannot change their beliefs. Also, my friends….the majority of them are non-Muslims, so what am I to do in that situation? I don’t think I can completely disregard all of them, but I can just try my best to keep these relationships very basic. What is most important to me, is what Allah Commands, and He knows what is best for all of us. I guess the message is not to let this life get the best of you. Ask Allah to always make you remember Him, and to remind you of what your purpose in this life is (that is to worship Him Alone, and to spread the Word of Islam in a manner that pleases Allah). Once again, easier said than done, but as Muslims, I think it’s so important that we stay close together–this way we’re not influenced by the Mushrikun, and that we become more knowledgeable, and worship Allah in a more perfect manner. If our Ummah was united, I think it would be easier to apply the teachings of Islam to our lives, because we would only be surrounded by other Muslims who would be trying to do the same thing. It’s hard…but of course, Allah did not intend that we lead an easy life, and enter Paradise just like that. This is our calling..our Jihad: to live life in accordance to the teachings of Islam, no matter how many obstacles stand in our way, and no matter how impossible it may seem. Also, we can’t just pick and choose the parts that we feel apply to our lives. If we submit ourselves as Muslims, we have to submit completely and whole heartedly–submit our entire self: mind, body and soul, and live our lives exactly how Allah has prescribed for us. It may take time to do that, but we should all be on that road, attempting to change our lives–tweak out the bad and find goodness in Islam and Allah’s Straight Path Insha Allah.

Ameen Ya Raab

source: halabissa‘s journal

The Five Pillars Of Islam

From www.islamworld.net

Shahadah

The first pillar of Islam is that a Muslim believe and declare his faith by saying the Shahadah (lit. ‘witness’), also known as the Kalimah:

La ilaha ila Allah; Muhammadur-rasul Allah. ‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’
This declaration contains two parts. The first part refers to God Almighty, the Creator of everything, the Lord of the Worlds; the second part refers to the Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) a prophet and a human being, who received the revelation through the Archangel Gabriel, and taught it to mankind.
By sincerely uttering the Shahadah the Muslim acknowledges Allah as the sole Creator of all, and the Supreme Authority over everything and everyone in the universe. Consequently the Muslim closes his/her heart and mind to loyalty, devotion and obedience to, trust in, reliance on, and worship of anything or anyone other than Allah. This rejection is not confined merely to pagan gods and goddesses of wood and stone and created by human hands and imaginations; this rejection must extend to all other conceptions, superstitions, ideologies, ways of life, and authority figures that claim supreme devotion, loyalty, trust, love, obedience or worship. This entails, for example, the rejection of belief in such common things as astrology, palm reading, good luck charms, fortune-telling and psychic readings, in addition to praying at shrines or graves of “saints”, asking the dead souls to intercede for them with Allah. There are no intercessors in Islam, nor any class of clergy as such; a Muslim prays directly and exclusively to Allah.

Belief in the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) entails belief in the guidance brought by him and contained in his Sunnah (traditions of his sayings and actions), and demands of the Muslim the intention to follow his guidance faithfully. Muhammad (pbuh) was also a human being, a man with feelings and emotions, who ate, drank and slept, and was born and died, like other men. He had a pure and upright nature, extraordinary righteousness, and an unwavering faith in Allah and commitment to Islam, but he was not divine. Muslims do not pray to him, not even as an intercessor, and Muslims abhor the terms “Mohamedan” and “Mohamedanism”.

Salah

Prayer (Salah), in the sense of worship, is the second pillar of Islam. Prayer is obligatory and must be performed five times a day. These five times are dawn (Fajr), immediately after noon (Dhuhr), mid-afternoon (‘Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and early night (Isha’). Ritual cleanliness and ablution are required before prayer, as are clean clothes and location, and the removal of shoes. One may pray individually or communally, at home, outside, virtually any clean place, as well as in a mosque, though the latter is preferred. Special is the Friday noon prayer, called Jum’ah. It, too, is obligatory and is to be done in a mosque, in congregation. It is accompanied by a sermon (Khutbah), and it replaces the normal Dhuhr prayer.

There is no hierarchical clerical authority in Islam, no priests or ministers. Prayers are led by any learned person who knows the Qur’an and is chosen by the congregation. He (or she, if the congregation is all women) is called the imam. There is also no minimum number of congregants required to hold communal prayers. Prayer consists of verses from the Qur’an and other prayers, accompanied by various bodily postures – standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting. They are said in Arabic, the language of the revelation, though personal supplications (Du’ah) can be offered in one’s own language. Worshippers face the Qiblah, the direction of the Ka’bah in the city of Makkah.

The significance of prayer lies in one’s maintaining a continuous link to God five times a day, which helps the worshipper avoid misdeeds if he/she performs the prayers sincerely. In addition it promotes discipline, God-consciousness and placing one’s trust in Allah alone, and the importance of striving for the Hereafter. When performed in congregation it also provides a strong sense of community, equality and brotherhood/sisterhood.

Fasting (Sawm)

The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting. Allah prescribes daily fasting for all able, adult Muslims during the whole of the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar calendar, beginning with the sighting of the new moon. Exempted from the fast are the very old and the insane. On the physical side, fasting is from first light of dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. On the moral, behavioral side, one must abstain from lying, malicious gossip, quarreling and trivial nonsense.

Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant, or nursing are permitted to break the fast, but must make up an equal number of days later in the year. If physically unable to do so, they must feed a needy person for each day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayers) from puberty, although many start earlier.

Although fasting is beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly pleasures and comforts, even for a short time, the fasting person gains true sympathy for those who go hungry regularly, and achieves growth in his spiritual life, learning discipline, self-restraint, patience and flexibility.

In addition to the fast proper, one is encouraged to read the entire Qur’an. In addition, special prayers, called Tarawih, are held in the mosque every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur’an (Juz’) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed. These are done in remembrance of the fact that the revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was begun during Ramadan.

During the last ten days – though the exact day is never known and may not even be the same every year – occurs the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr). To spend that night in worship is equivalent to a thousand months of worship, i.e. Allah’s reward for it is very great.

On the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted, a special celebration is made, called ‘Id al-Fitr. A quantity of staple food is donated to the poor (Zakat al-Fitr), everyone has bathed and put on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

There are other fast days throughout the year. Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan, Mondays and Thursdays, and the ninth and tenth, or tenth and eleventh of Muharram, the first month of the year. The tenth day, called Ashurah, is also a fast day for the Jews (Yom Kippur), and Allah commanded the Muslims to fast two days to distinguish themselves from the People of the Book.

While fasting per se is encouraged, constant fasting, as well as monasticism, celibacy, and otherwise retreating from the real world, are condemned in Islam. Fasting on the two festival days, ‘Id al-Fitr and ‘Id al-Adha, the feast of the Hajj, is strictly forbidden.

Zakah

The third pillar of Islam is the alms-tax (Zakah). It is a tax on wealth, payable on various categories of property, notably savings and investments, produce, inventory of goods, salable crops and cattle, and precious metals, and is to be used for the various categories of distribution specified by Islamic law. It is also an act of purification through sharing what one has with others.

The rationale behind this is that Muslims believe that everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by man as a trust. This trust must be discharged, moreover, as instructed by God, as that portion of our wealth legally belongs to other people and must be given to them. If we refuse and hoard this wealth, it is considered impure and unclean. If, for example one were to use that wealth for charity or to finance one’s pilgrimage to Makkah, those acts would also be impure, invalid, and of course unrewarded. Allah says:

“Of their wealth, take alms so you may purify and sanctify them.” [9:103]
The word Zakah means purification and growth. Our possessions are purified by setting aside that portion of it for those in need. Each Muslim calculates his or her own Zakah individually.
For most purposes this involves the payment each year of 2.5% of one’s capital, provided that this capital reaches a certain minimum amount that which is not consumed by its owner. A generous person can pay more than this amount, though it is treated and rewarded as voluntary charity (Sadaqah). This amount of money is provided to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, and can be used in many useful projects for the welfare of the community.

Historically the pillar of Zakah became mandatory on Muslims form the second year after the Hijrah, 622 C.E. It is mentioned more than thirty times in the Qur’an, usually in the same breath as Salah. So important is this pillar that one is not considered a part of the Islamic brotherhood if one ignores this obligation.

Hajj

The fifth pillar of Islam is to make a pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in one’s lifetime. This pillar is obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, provided that he/she is physically and financially able to do so. Prerequisites for performing the Hajj are to be a Muslim, to be free, to be an adult or mature enough, to be of sound mind, and to have the ability to afford the journey and maintain one’s dependents back home for the duration. The reward for the Hajj is nothing less than Paradise.The Hajj is the ultimate form of worship, as it involves the spirit of all the other rituals and demands of the believer great sacrifice. On this unique occasion, nearly two million Muslims from all over the globe meet one another in a given year. Regardless of the season, pilgrims wear special clothes (Ihram) – two, very simple, unsewn white garments – which strips away all distinctions of wealth, status, class and culture; all stand together and equal before Allah (God).

The rites of Hajj, which go back to the time of Prophet Abraham who built the Ka’bah, are observed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth day of the last month of the year, named Dhul-Hijjah (pilgrimage). These rites include circumambulating the Ka’bah (Tawwaf), and going between the mountains of Safa and Marwah, as Hajjar (Abraham’s wife) did during her search for water for her son Isma’il. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafah and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment. The pilgrims also cast stones at a stone pillar which represents Satan. The pilgrimage ends with a festival, called ‘Id al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers, the sacrifice of an animal, and the exchange of greetings and gifts in Muslim communities everywhere.

Friday Khutbah (15 December 2006): The Value of Patience in Life

Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
Friday Sermon
15 December 2006 / 24 Zulkaedah 1427
The Value of Patience in Life

Friday Khutbah (15 December 2006) Download

Maâ??asyiral Muslimin rahimakumullah,

Together, let us improve and raise our level of taqwa to Allah s.w.t. by doing everything that He as commanded us to do and to refrain from all that He has forbade us from doing. And hopefully; by doing so, we will be able to get His blessings and His acceptances for all our actions here on our short stay on earth.

During these times, we see one very important quality in those who are pious. This quality will help us get through the challenges and setbacks that we face in life with perseverance that is strong and robust. This quality, is called patience

Brothers,
In the context of life which we currently live in, it does not matter where we are; we are constantly being tested by Allah s.w.t. with a lot of challenges and setbacks. Allahâ??s tests are major. He tests each and every one of His creations, whether they are Prophets or just any other human being on earth.

In this case, Allah s.w.t. has mentioned in the holy Al-Qurâ??an:

Which means: â??We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives and crops. But give good news to those who are patient.â? [Al-Baqarah-155]

Brothers,

In the verse that was just mentioned. It is clear that Allah s.w.t. the Almighty is Most-able to test us, and He will continue to do so. Allah s.w.t. will constantly test the level and value of our patience.

When we talk about patience, have we ever asked ourselves what is the true meaning of patience in Islam?

Brothers,
Patience, as defined by Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali in his well-known book Ihyaâ?? Ulumuddin, is likened to a group of religiously influenced people fighting against another group which is influenced by emotions and desires.

In Islam, there are three types of patience:

Firstly: Patience in handling challenges and Allahâ??s tests
Let us look back at the history of our Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah azza wa jalla. From as early as the days of Adam a.s. till the blessed days of our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., they were strong and patient when being challenged and tested and were steadfast throughout their lives.

As an example, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. during his glorious lifetime was often famished and in hunger. He never ever had a full meal. There were times when he even tied his stomach with a few rocks to hold his agony in hunger

Secondly: Patience in obeying to Allahâ??s commands.
In our daily lives, especially when performing our ibadats and rituals, we are taught to be patient and to be steadfast to Allahâ??s orders.

Saiyiduna Umar bin Abdul Aziz r.a. once said : â??The best kind of act is one that is forced upon oneself. (To train one selfâ??s patience)â?.

The obedience of a Muslim towards Allah s.w.t. and his Messenger s.a.w. must be based and backed by a strong character of patience. This is because without patience; it is hard for us to consistently perform all our religious obligations with complete sincerity.

With related to being patient when performing our obligations to Allah s.w.t. A verse in the Qurâ??an states:

Means: â?And be patient to Allahâ??s commandments, for you are under our observance, and celebrate the praises of Thy Lord the while Thou standest forth,â? [At-Thur : 48]

Thirdly: Patience in refraining oneself from doing bad and unlawful acts which have been prohibited by Allah s.w.t.

In the context, when trying to stay away from bad and unruly acts, our patience can really be tested. To refrain from doing things that attract Allahâ??s wrath is especially hard.

For example, it is very hard for a man to avoid the urge of wanting to look at a beautiful lady, especially if she is not fully covering her modesty.

Patience is also needed for us to not hurt others; especially our wives, our children and our parents.

Also, to refrain from saying anything bad about another person, to backstab, to condemn and criticize others, to talk about another personâ??s weaknesses for no apparent reason. Patience is very much required to be part of ourselves, as our values and principles in life.

Without patience, some of us may have put ourselves in a very lowly position as Allahâ??s slaves by becoming a slave to our own urges and desires.

In relation to this, Allah azza wa jalla had mentioned in the Qurâ??an in Surah Yusuf, verse 53:

Meaning: â??I do not pretend to be blameless, for manâ??s very soul incites him to evil unless my Lord shows mercy. He is Most Forgiving, Most Mercifulâ?.

Brothers,
As Muslims, we must be aware that to have patience is very important for all human beings. It is an extremely respectful character for us to have.

As Muslims we have to believe that patience is a quality that is very important for all of us to have in ourselves. And humans cannot afford to abstain themselves from this precious character.

Most importantly, for some of us who are trying to get through our rigorous lifestyles. There is a challenge for us to try and understand the true meaning of Islam. And there is also the challenge to present Islam as a religion that is a blessing to all of mankind. These challenges have to be faced with a great amount of patience as well as intelligence. If we are able to do so; Insya Allah, our community will be one that is strong in its principles, and also as one that can contribute positively for its religion and nation.

By making patience as part of our character; may we be able to succeed in this lifetime and in the hereafter. Amin Ya Robbal â??alamin.