Showing posts with label fasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fasting. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Laila-tul-Qadr and I'tikaaf

The Night of Destiny and Spiritual Retreat

In His infinite Wisdom, Allah (swt) has prescribed unalterable rules for His creatures ensuring them a dignified life in this world and blissful happiness in the hereafter.

Among these rules is fasting which He has ordained to successive communities of believers. Far from being reduced to abstinence from food, fasting must be accompanied by a mastery of the senses and more particularly of the tongue.

The spiritual exercise of fasting must demonstrate to man his ability to deprive himself for a [period of] time of what seemed essential to him. It must reveal to him that, in this domain, as in many others, he can have the power to do it [when there is a will, there is a way!] provided that the intention is firm and that the aim sought is the pleasure of Allah.

The purpose of such an act of worship has been clearly defined as the search for the state of reverential fear of God (piety, Taqwa) criterion of superiority of one individual over another. This quality is only measured by that of the works that bear witness to it.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Value of Fasting in Islam

The blessed month of Ramadan is a favour of Allah for Muslims, but it would be a great benefit [to us] only when it is taken into account. Otherwise it would be nothing for us. It is foolish to shout “Ramadan, Ramadan!” and then that’s all. In a Hadith it is said, “If people knew what Ramadan is, then they would want the whole year to be Ramadan.”

It is also said in another Hadith that fasting during Ramadan and in addition three days of each month keeps bad intentions and doubts away from the heart.

Now it had to bring great blessings, especially the fast of Ramadan - so that the Sahaba (ra) even in wartime during Ramadan would take all the precautions to observe the fast.

Hazrat Salman (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) at the end of the month of Shabaan, gave them a speech saying: “O people! You are going to enter an important month, a blessed month, a month that contains a night that is better than a thousand months. Allah has made its fast compulsory and the prayers made during its nights supererogatory. Anyone who does a good supererogatory deed in it is like someone who observes a compulsory action outside this month. 

Anyone who performs a compulsory action in it is like someone who performs 70 compulsory actions outside of Ramadan. It’s a month of patience. Patience will be rewarded with admission to paradise. It is a month of mutual consolation, a month in which the subsistence granted to the believer is increased. Anyone who gives a faster something to break their fast in it will get forgiveness of their sins and freedom from hell. He will be rewarded for this act without his initial reward being reduced.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Virtues of Ramadan Fasting

Why Fasting ? 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ۝

“O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2 :184)

Each year, for a month, more than a billion Muslim believers around the world fast between dawn and dusk. During these fasting hours, they are strictly prohibited from consuming any food, drink, or having intimate relationships between spouses, among other deprivations. Why?

First, what Ramadan fasting is not: it does not have the character of penance, as in other religions.

From the Muslim perspective, it enjoys with God an unparalleled grace with other acts of piety. It is an abstinence which concerns the body and the spirit and/or mind. Indeed, God has given us a brain, a marvellous mind in wonder; our body itself is a perpetual miracle. Our body, our ideas, our decisions are led by our spirit. The better the food of the spirit, the better our faculties and capacities of judgement, of evaluation, the better will be our initiatives. Fasting is thus perceived as total submission to God.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

On How to Stop 'Smoking'


The Dangers of Tobacco

A person should take care of his health not only during the month of Ramadan but also all life-long. Ramadan is a golden opportunity to stop smoking. 

Most smokers are aware that they may have lung cancer, but few suspect that they are even more vulnerable to heart attacks. Most people who suffer from heart attack in the age group of 30-45 years are smokers. But what is more serious is that a smoker who has a heart attack is more likely to lose his life. I hereby mention a list of the damage caused by smoking.

Cigarette Smoking: Health Effects
  1. Accelerates the blockage of the arteries.
  2. Deprives your blood of at least 15% of its oxygen.
  3. Pulses the heart while narrowing the blood vessels, causing overstrain in the circulation.
  4. Increases the risk of malformation of babies whose mothers smoke.
  5. Children of parents who smoke are more exposed to flu and bronchitis.
  6. Pollutes the atmosphere and cause harm to your family.
  7. Decreases sperm count and is responsible for sperm malformations.
  8. Causes lung cancer.
  9. Increases the risk of coronary thrombosis, paralysis, and gangrene in the legs.
  10. Delays the healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
  11. Causes acute and chronic bronchitis in the lungs.

Even ‘mild’, low tar cigarettes increase the risk of heart and lung damage, so do not be fooled by advertising.

In Mauritius 58% of men are heavy smokers while among women the percentage is in the 7% range - which is very high and it is not surprising that Mauritius breaks all records in cardiovascular diseases, especially among men.

One must stop smoking, but how?

First,  decide to stop. Make a firm decision. If you are not mentally prepared, you will not succeed.  

Second, Make a plan of action.

Third, Fight against this evil. Join a group of non-smokers. Do a lot of sport.

Forth, Take the month of Ramadan as a starting point. It is truly a golden opportunity to stop.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ramadan Days: Rules of Conduct


O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

In Islam, the fasting of the holy month of Ramadan has been ordained for the believers to completely adhere themselves to God Almighty and to revive each parcel of faith, love, kindness and humanity which resides in the profoundness of their selves. Ramadan comes as a motivator, a catalyst for the steadfast servant of God, to propel him to follow the divine commandments and change his life and habits to reflect that of a true Muslim.

If God Almighty has ordained fasting for all humanity and for all faiths since the dawn of time, it is most certainly for their own benefit. In Islam, God has perfected the practice of fasting and established it for an obligatory one month period to incite all healthy Muslim believers to leave behind all negativities of their lives and to start afresh, giving them the necessary guidelines through the Holy Quran and the Sunnah (practices of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)).

FASTING & TRAVELLING

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “(Fasting is) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that you fast, if you only knew.” (Al-Baqara 2: 185).

Indeed our Almighty Allah has our goodwill in mind. For the travellers such as for someone taking a short or long flight [or travelling long distances by train etc.], they have the option to pay the Fidya if they are not able to fast, due to their health problems and the inconvenience that travel may bring. But, if they feel completely able (completely healthy) to fast even in these situations, they may fast.

Now what do we understand by ‘FIDYA’? It is a religious obligation for every Muslim who has reached puberty and is unable to fast for the required number of days and who is also unable to make up for the missed fast.

The Fidya or compensation for missed fasts is important for people who for very valid reasons cannot observe the fasting of Ramadan. It represents the value of the same type of meal you consume. For example, for each day of fasting missed, an equivalent of Rs. 100 (Mauritian rupees) – or the value of meals for a day (at least 2 meals a day) – should be given to the poor. The latter will then be able to buy adequate food to observe the fast.

Do not confuse Fidya and Fitra. The Fitra is a one-time payment – for one day only – that you make and that is based on the same value and quality of food that you consume. The Fitra is payable only once on each head. It is obligatory for everyone, even for the baby who has just been born. It is even obligatory for this poor Muslim believer who is fasting. You fast or not (even if you are travelling, sick, students, pregnant women, etc.), the Fitra is mandatory. It is not the same as Fidya which represents compensation for the missed day/s of fasting.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ramadan: Moon-sighting Controversies


In his Friday Sermon of 10 May 2019~04 Ramadan 1440 AH, Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius spoke on the recurring controversies in the Muslim world surrounding issues of Moon-sighting on the occasions of announcing big events such as starting of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, creating confusion among the believers. The existential reality of the Muslims being found everywhere in the world also means that in the absence of unity under a widely-recognized central leadership, Islamic practice is bound to mutate with local communities differing on correct interpretation of theological questions. The 'trouble' now is the deepening sectarianism- that even within small/ provincial Muslim communities, there is lack of consensus- among the believers on issues like Moon-sighting ahead of sacred religious events. The recent round of debates in Pakistan on the issue- the annual controversy over the decisional accuracy of the Clerical committee- even led a Federal Minister in the Imran Khan administration to advocate the establishment of science-based lunar calendar to calculate the start of the Holy Month.  

In this important discourse, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) exhorts the Muslims to use their minds and find a collective solution to avoid this embarrassing parade of sectarian divisions and  the consequential predicament facing Muslim families in different national communities. Hadhrat Saheb (atba) further reminds everyone that 'according to Islamic precepts, in countries where the moon can be easily seen, then the visibility of the moon is a must to start and to end the sacred month of Ramadan, bearing also in mind that an Islamic month can only be 29 or 30 days and not more'. With a spirit of unity; collective well-being and welfare of all Muslims in mind, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) offers practical advices for the Jamaat to deal with the situation and thereby indicates that it should be possible for the Ummah to device local/national solutions for coordinating the Moon-sighting phenomenon across States and communities and thereby avoid the predicament of family members being divided on sectarian lines as to when they commence fasting in Ramadan and or celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr

Read the Friday Sermon Below: 

The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan), he must fast (observe the 'Saum' during) that month. (Al-Baqara, 2: 186).

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, Ramadan has once again greeted us with its arrays of blessings and invites us to partake it all so that we may accede to the pleasure of Allah.

In the aftermath of a question which I received from one of my disciples in Tamil Nadu, I would like to shed some light – for the entire Muslim Ummah – on the issue of moon sighting and fasting in the month of Ramadan.

The Qur’an, the blessed words and commandments of Allah, as well as Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) have called our attention to moon sighting for the beginning of the fast of Ramadan, and the same applies when breaking the last fast before the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations.

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: I heard Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saying, “When you see the crescent (of the month of Ramadan), start fasting, and when you see the crescent (of the month of Shawwal), stop fasting; and if the sky is overcast (and you can’t see it) then regard the month of Ramadan as of 30 days.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

'Ramadan': Some Advices

Insha-Allah, in a few days (either next Tuesday the 7th of May or Wednesday the 8th of May), we will observe the month of fasting of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan does not only mean fasting. The ultimate goal is to attain piety as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. So, it is up to us to make sure to increase our Taqwa and get closer to the Creator during this blessed month. All Muslims must devote more time to acts of worship (Ibadat) such as: Zikr-i-Ilahi (remembrance of Allah through meditation), and Tilawat-i-Quran (reading the Holy Quran).

Do not waste time in the kitchen to prepare several cakes and other foods and therefore letting a precious time go to waste. You should instead use this time to connect to Allah in the mandatory and supererogatory prayers. There are good numbers of Muslims who prepare “Iftaar parties” and thus do not really know the philosophy of fasting Ramadan. A crazy time is lost in the preparation of dishes of all kinds, and this concerns not only women but also men. They invite a large number of people to Iftaar as if this sacred moment is a feast, a moment of enjoyment that is far from the spirit of Ramadan!

It is true that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had advised Muslims to share Iftaar with a faster, but one should not go beyond limits, losing time by preparing great kinds and large quantity of food, and foregoing the time of prayer etc.

What are Iftaar Parties? It is rather an innovation because the philosophy behind the fast of Ramadan is that we must devote ourselves more and more in the spiritual field by making sacrifices for the pleasure of Allah (twa). Muslims are called by divine order to fast for the pleasure of Allah, and to make certain sacrifices that will make them feel a closeness to Allah and also to all of humanity, especially the poor.

Take Care of Your Physical & Spiritual Health

Ramadan is a sacred month, and it has a great importance in the lives of all Muslims, without exception. Wake up a little earlier than usual, before the Sehri / Suhur, and enjoy supererogatory prayers such as Salat-ul-Tahajjud and remember Allah a lot. Even for the elderly who cannot fast or who are sick and who must take medication, they are advised not to take any risks. But they (those who cannot fast) should not forget to pay Fidya. And the elderly must benefit more in this blessed month in terms of doing Tawba which is also an act through which one gets closer to Allah. Even if you do not fast, then you should maximize this blessed month in the obligatory and supererogatory prayers, the Zikr, the Tilawat-i-Quran and if you cannot read Arabic, then you can also read them in your own language, and also recite the Darood Shariff.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

'Shabaan': Marking 'Shab-e-Baraat'


The Month of Shabaan

Like you are aware, we are in the month of Shabaan and this is the second Friday Sermon that I am doing during this month, and so I chose Shabaan and its importance as subject of my sermon for today.

Shabaan is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. And after the month of Shabaan, we have the blessed month of Ramadan. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) gave Shabaan all its importance.

On the authority of Hazrat Aisha (ra), “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah’s Apostle fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Shabaan.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In another Hadith on the authority of Usama Ibn Zayd (ra), he reported asking the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting during any month as much as you do in Shabaan.’ He said: “That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, which is found between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.” (An-Nasa’i).

We learn from these Hadiths that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to maximize this month in acts of worship. Through him, through his Sunnah, we have learned that our actions are presented to Allah, and therefore we must do our utmost best to make sure that Allah accepts our good deeds and forgives us our sins and mistakes. And Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had such a deep love for Allah that he used to sacrifice himself a lot for Him so that Allah would be pleased with him.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Muharram: On 'Ashura' Fasting


A new Islamic Year

Best wishes for the Islamic New Year to all my followers and the entire Muslim community in the world. Alhamdulillah, we begin the New Year of the Islamic calendar and therefore, the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam presents to all Muslims and Muslims its best wishes for the New Year. We hope that this year we can continue to do good deeds with solid faith (Iman) in Allah and the will to fulfill His instructions and commands in the best way possible.

The month of Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. This month is not only sacred but also full of blessings. Even in the pre-Islamic era, the Arabs respected this month, stopped fighting and prevented themselves from harming each other. It’s a month dedicated to Allah.... 

10th of Muharram: Yaum-e- Ashura

When talking about Muharram, we also recall Ashura, the 10th of Muharram which also reminds us of the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra). In this month devoted to Allah, Islam has given Muharram its true value because the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) revealed to us the greatness of the Yaum-e-Ashura which is found in this month. On this day, one of the greatest acts of worship (Ibadat) is to fast or do a lot of duahs, Istigfaar, and reading the Qur’an with translation and also make Nafil Salat. Many major events took place on this date.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beyond Ramadan: 'Strive to Remain with Allah'


For this last Friday in the month of Ramadan (30th day of Ramadan/ 15 June 2018), I would like to give some advices (for you all) to follow so that these Ramadan days are not wasted and that the good habit developed during this blessed month remains (strong as ever). First of all, after Jumu’ah prayer, read 2 cycles of additional prayer (A 2-Rakat Nawafil Salat). In the first cycle, after the Surah Al-Fatiha, read the Surah Al-Ikhlaas 10 times and in the second cycle after the Surah Al-Fatiha, read the Surah Al-Kafirun 3 times. And after the prayer, read the Darood Shariff 10 times.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “The supplications of a faster are never rejected.” This is because the heart of the faster is in a state of repentance. In fact, he has reached close to Allah and has obeyed Him. He has abandoned his food and drink for fear of Allah, his King, his Sustainer and Supreme Donator. The faster has restrained his desires in obedience to the Lord of the Heavens and Earth.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “Supplication is worship.” Thus, if you see a servant (of Allah) seeking charity (i.e., the charity/ mercy of Allah) by praying a lot, doing long prostrations with lots of duas, then know that he/ she is close to Allah and trust (and confiding) in Him.

The companions (Sahaba) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, is our Lord near to us, so we can secretly talk to Him, or is He far, so we should call upon Him (loudly)?” Thereupon Allah the Almighty revealed this verse: 

And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqara 2: 187).

Moreover, the Messenger of Allah has said: “Truly, you do not call to one deaf or absent, but truly to One who hears and sees; and He is with you; and He to whom you pray is nearer to you than the neck of your camel (riding beast).”

Allah (swt) requires us to ask of Him, to call upon Him. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” (Al-Arraf 7: 56).

In another verse of the Quran, Allah says: “Your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to you. Verily, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell in humiliation.” (Ghafir 40: 61).

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Larger Meaning of 'Eid-ul-Fitr'

For the Muslim believer, Allah (God Almighty) has given him two great celebrations, moments of joy (Eids) in his life: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. Whereas the Eid-ul-Adha is the Eid of Sacrifice, commemorating the great sacrifice of Prophet Abraham (as), the Eid-ul-Fitr commemorates the intense sacrifices which the Muslim believer has done for His Lord (Rab) during the fasting month of Ramadan.
MUNIR A. AZIM
HAZRAT IMAM MUHYI-UD-DIN
JAMAAT UL SAHIH AL ISLAM
If fasting has been prescribed by the Lord of the World (Rab’ul Aalamin) as a way to draw His sincere believers to Himself, to enable them to get Himself as reward, Allah has also given them a day of rejoice for fasting a whole month for Him. This day is the Eid-ul-Fitr, and is filled with extraordinary blessings for the Muslim believers who truly and sincerely complied with all requirements of the fasting days of the holy month of Ramadan.
Fasting in Ramadan is not like fasting any other day. It has certain restrictions and limitations which if followed, opens the door of Divine Pleasure. If fact, God Almighty draws closer to such people and pours down His mercy and love upon them. That is why also, all true Ramadan fasters strive to acquire the intense blessings of this month because of the Most Cherished Treasure (i.e. Allah) they shall acquire at the end of their fasting.
If Ramadan is both a sweet and sour trial for the believer, Eid-ul-Fitr comes as a liberation from all limitations imposed by God Almighty during the blessed month and it also acts as a reminder and an encouragement for him to pursue the same good habits till the next Ramadan and this, till the end of his temporal life. Thus, Ramadan is a month of intense training for the physical, moral and spiritual growth of the believer. Every Ramadan is meant as a training for his body, mind and soul to rid themselves from all darkness and to greet light with open arms. All negativity, all stress, all evil-mindedness, and all intrinsic and extrinsic problems of the believer fade away to let in pure divine light which gives him a most needed boost for his very own well-being and that of his family, friends, neighbours, his environment and society as a whole. Everybody shall be at peace with him when he is himself at peace. And if evil try to get in the way, the peacefulness, serenity and the spirit of goodness he has developed and/ or acquired during that month makes him strive to combat it by peaceful means and with Divine Succour.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Many Blessings of 'Lailat-ul-Qadr'


From among the many signs of God Almighty – referred to by the Muslim as: « Allah » which literally means such a Being Who has no associate, no partner – there is His exquisite love for mankind. That is why He sends prophets and reformers from time to time to consolidate His commandments, to reform the lives of people and to direct them to Him in all humility and with such a fear filled with intense respect and love for Him (i.e. Taqwa).

For all people/nations, God decreed fasting as a means of purification for them. With the advent of Islam, Muslims also received the commandment to fast. Fasting is beneficial to the body and the spiritual soul involved in each and every human being. When witnessing the month of Ramadan and complying with the commandment of God Almighty (Allah) to fast, the Muslims are in fact, if I may say so, signing a contract with Allah to let go of their past lives, which may have been filled with mistakes and sins, and to reform their lives in such a way that they get the intense joy of being Muslims in every facet of the word and meaning. The month of Ramadan gives them a second chance for a new beginning. In the life of a long-lived Muslim, he therefore gets many such “second chances” to shed away his past errors and to return to Allah repentant and as a new individual with the good intent to serve Allah in the best way possible.

Ramadan is an opportunity for him to reform himself, and to control his temporal desires, so when such a good-natured Muslim is really willing to reform himself with a true and repentant heart, Allah gives him the reward of such a Night which is known as Laila-tul-Qadr”.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Ramadan: 'Cultivate Good Manners'


The month of Ramadan leads us to cultivate good manners. In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) said:

(1)  Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.) (Bukhari).

(2) Fasting does not just mean giving up food and drink, rather fasting means giving up idle speech and obscene conduct. If anyone insults you or treats you in an ignorant manner, then say, ’I am fasting, I am fasting.’ (Bukhari).


These two narrations point to the importance of truth and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teaches us not only to abstain from food and drink but also to refrain from such connexions and actions that can hurt people and violate their rights.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, when describing a true believer: “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.” (Bukhari).


Therefore, it is up to us as individuals to examine our shortcomings, and seek improvement and bring ourselves closer to the way (Sunnah) of our Prophet (pbuh) as well as to aspire to the excellence that is mentioned in the following words (of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)): “I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” (Abu Dawud).

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Roza: The Wisdom of Fasting


In this blessed month of Ramadan, it is very important for us to understand the wisdom and lessons we need to draw from this month, so that these blessings will continue even after the month of Ramadan. There are wisdoms and important lessons at all levels, but unfortunately many Muslims do not take this month into consideration and do not give it the value it deserves, while it is a blessing for us (for our own well-being) even in its physical, moral, spiritual and/ or worldly aspect. It reminds me of a Hadith where a companion (Sahabi) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Do not let it happen that your fasting day and the day you do not fast be the same.” [as if a normal act for you, reaping no benefits whatsoever].

Which means that your behaviours, attitudes, and appearances must be similar, whether you fast or not, and that the bad actions you used to do when you were not fasting, such as, watching TV, backbiting, spying, fighting, swearing (saying foul words), talking a lot, not praying at the prescribed time, not reading the Quran, not doing the Zikrullah (i.e. not remembering Allah), playing computer games or games of chance/ gambling etc. Well, in the month of Ramadan you have to get away from all that and replace them with good deeds that will please Allah. Remember Allah often, read the Holy Qur’an, make additional prayers, help the poor, control your tongues so as not to say nonsense/ foul words, and not to lie, otherwise your fasting will be rejected by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “The month of Ramadan (is that) in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it!” (Al-Baqara 2: 186).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): bearing witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing prayer, paying Zakah, Hajj and fasting Ramadan.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

And he (pbuh) also said: The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah the Exalted has obligated you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened, and in it the gates of Hellfire are closed, and in it the devils are chained, and in it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Thus, whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived. (An-Nasai).

Fasting helps us to acquire piety, as Allah commands us in the Qur’an: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

When chaos (fitna) appears, extinguish it with piety (Taqwa). What is Taqwa? It is to abandon disobedience to Allah, out of fear for Him (Allah). This is the best definition of piety towards Allah (Taqwa).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

'Roza': Three Levels, Divine Rewards

The greatness of Fasting in Islam

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

You must know that in Sawm (Roza / Islamic fasting) there is a special quality that is not present in the other fasts of other religions. Allah (swt) gave the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) a special fast, which is not found in the fasts of the other prophets (as).

Even though Allah (swt) says in this verse: ʻdecreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you’, but conditions and regulations regarding observance of fasting were taught / prescribed in the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). It is written (It has been taught) that a fasting person will have a great amount of blessings and rewards for every good deed he shall do during this blessed month of Ramadan, where every good deed will be multiplied by 70, more than in normal times; for example: the observance of Farz, Sunnah and Nafl Salat (the obligatory, Sunnah and voluntary prayers). These rewards will be larger compared to those good deeds accomplished in normal days and every good deed you will make will also reap other great rewards. Even in the morning when you eat the Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and also at the time of Iftaar (breaking of the fast), everything you eat to enter the state of fasting and to break the fast will have great rewards.

A fasting person (a true and sincere faster) strictly follows the fasting regulations during Ramadan and puts them into practice, and through this he demonstrates complete obedience to his Creator, and then he even receives the Creator of the Universe as reward. Alhamdulillah. The greatest reward of fasting that a person receives then is proximity to Allah. Is there any such reward in the observance of fasting in other Ummat (communities) of other prophets (as)? Allah (swt) says:

“Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it” (A Hadith-e-Qudsi reported by Imam Bukhari & Muslim).

This connection is sufficient to demonstrate the greatness of fasting (Sawm) in the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). In the same way, the Holy Ka’aba receives all its honour thanks to its connection with Allah. Allah says: And Sanctify My House. (Al-Haj 22: 27).

Indeed, fasting (Sawm) is virtuous because of two important concepts:

(1) It is a secret action and a hidden one; because of this, no one from among the creation can find it. And then, ʻriya’ (ostentation) just cannot touch it!

(2) It is a means to subjugate (dominate) the enemies of Allah. It is because the path that the enemies of Allah embark on to deceive the sons of Adam (as) is desire. Food and drink give them the strength to fulfil their desire. That is why they find fasting difficult to observe and seek all kinds of pretexts (so as) not to fast.

Know that there are 3 levels of fasting observance: (1) General Fasting, (2) Precise Fasting, and (3) Most Accurate Fasting.

(1) The General Fast is to prevent the stomach and the private parts from fulfilling their desires. And you will notice that it is during the month of Ramadan itself, during the very fast that Satan tries to influence you through these desires.

(2) Precise fasting is to prevent (a) the eyes from looking at forbidden things (where this can induce you to commit serious sins), (b) the tongue from saying bad things (such as unnecessary/ vain words, palavers, fights, arguments because it is with that very tongue that you swear etc.), (c) the hand/s from doing bad things (for example, raising your hand over others (beating them), stealing, cheating, etc.), and (d) the ears from committing forbidden things (like listening to things that will not bring you any divine reward, and lending an ear (to listen) to conversations that do not concern you, etc.), and (e) the other members of the body from committing wrongful acts.

(3) The Most Accurate Fasting is the abstention - by the heart - from running behind this ephemeral world, and directing our thoughts towards the distance between us and Allah. An important characteristic of fasting is to lower the gaze and control the tongue. Think a lot before talking; be careful that during your conversation you do not let out a word that may harm others. In short, a control over the members of your whole body is important. This is what the verse I recited before you refers to, where Allah (swt) says, “that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

To receive Allah as reward is not easy. There is a lot of struggle to be done against yourselves. It’s not just that you stay without food and drink that you say you are fasting. No! It does not work that way. Fasting must be accompanied with all these good deeds. It is only after the fulfilment of all these good actions that your fasting - without food and drink - will gain all its value, all its merit before Allah (swt). The one who does not give up his bad deeds, such as: gossiping, quarrelling, spying, doubts, jealousy, lying, etc., then, Allah does not need that person, does not need you to deprive yourself of food and drink as it is reported in the Hadiths.

Another characteristic of fasting is that the person does not fill his stomach with food during the night. Instead, he eats the right measure, because indeed the son of Adam (as) does not fill a container worst than his stomach. If he has enough to eat at the beginning of the night, he will not be able to use it (that is, his body) for the rest of the night. Similarly, if he eats a lot at Sehri (the meal before dawn that signals the beginning of the fast), he will not behave well till the afternoon. This is because eating excessively brings about weakness and lethargy (that is, laziness), and the purpose of fasting disappears because of an excess of food, because the goal of fasting is to make the person (the fasting person) relish the taste of hunger and encourage him to give up his desires.

You must understand that an intelligent individual (that is, one to whom Allah has given intelligence) knows the purpose of fasting. So he takes on himself a burden of such a level where he feels capable (able) to do it, and that is especially to his advantage. (A companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) Ibn Masud (ra) observed very little (optional) fasting and it was reported that he was accustomed to saying, “When I fast (i.e. the optional fasting), I feel weak in my Salat and I prefer my Salat to the (optional) fast.” In other words, he prefers a compulsory act, and gives it priority over an optional, additional act.

Some of the companions were weakened during their concentration in the recitation of the Quran while fasting. Thus, they fast (in this case, the additional fasts) less until they were able to have an equilibrium in their recitation. Each individual is aware of his own condition (health, capacity etc.) and knows the best way to recite (the Quran - and to perform other acts of worship).

A companion (Sahabi) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) relates: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say during Ramadan: “The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out : ʻO you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain, until Ramadan is completed’.” (Ahmad & Nasai).

A shield against hellfire 

Fasting the month of Ramadan is a shield against hellfire. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “When Allah created Paradise and Hell, He sent Jibreel to Paradise and said, ‘Look at it and at what I have prepared for its people therein.’ So he went and looked at it and at what Allah had prepared for its people therein. Then he went back to Him and said, ‘By Your Glory, no one will hear of it but he will enter it.’ Then He commanded that it should be surrounded with difficult things. Then He said, ‘Go back and look at what I have prepared for its people therein.’ He went back and saw that it was surrounded with difficult things. He came back and said, ‘By Your Glory, I am afraid that no one will enter it.’ Allah said, ‘Go and look at Hell and see what I have prepared for its people therein.’  [He saw it] with parts of it consuming other parts. He came back and said, ‘By Your Glory, no one who hears of it will enter it.’ So Allah commanded that it should be surrounded with desires. Then he said, ‘Go back to it.’ So he went back, then he said, ‘By Your Glory, I am afraid that no one will be saved from it and that all will enter it.’” (Tirmidhi, Hakim & other Hadiths reporters).

So, dear brothers and sisters of Islamic faith, when you realize that fasting kills desires and reduces its severity, and that desires lead you to hell, then you will see how fasting shall be placed (like a protection) between you (the faster) and hell, and you shall observe fasting during the month of Ramadan and after Ramadan also (i.e., in the form of additional/ surerogatory fasts) in the best possible way.

The Quran tells us about the rewards of fasting and there are verses (ayat) about those who obey Allah to be safeguarded against hell, and about fasting being a form of obedience to Allah. Several Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) enlighten us in this context.

Abu Said al-Khudri relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire.” (Ahmad).

ʻUthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like (the distance) that (there is) between heavens and the earth”. (Tirmidhi & Tabarani).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “When the first night of the month of Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious Jinns are chained up and the gates of Hell are closed, and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. A caller cries out, ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist.’ Allah saves some people from Hell - and that happens every night.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah & the other Hadiths reporters).

Jabir (ra) relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication (dua) which he can make and will be granted.” (Ibn Majah, Ahmad).

Finally, we call on Allah to make this Ramadan an armour/ shield/ protection for us against hellfire. Ameen, Summa, Ameen, Ya Rabbal Aalameen.

Salat-ul-Janaza Gha’ib

And Insha-Allah, after the Salat-ul-Jumu’ah, we will pray the Salat-ul-Janaza Gha’ib/ Salat-ul-Gha’ib (funeral prayer in absentia/ prayer of the absent) of a dear and highly respected disciple of mine from Kerala, Shareefa Beevi Sahiba (1951-2018), who was the first wife of the Amir, in South Kerala, India (Mukarram Jamaluddin Sahib). May Allah illuminate Her way to Him, so that she receives Allah as Reward. Ameen.

Insha-Allah, you can read a glimpse of her life and work on the blog of the Jamaat under the charge of and written by her dear son, Fazil Jamal Sahib.

May Allah bless all members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam in the world and help you all to reach Him in a state where Allah is pleased and happy with you all, especially through your obedience to Allah and His Messenger Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and the Khalifatullah He has sent you in this era (in your epoch). Insha-Allah, Ameen.

On this end-note, I wish you all: all my disciples and all the Muslims of the whole world, Ramadan Mubarak!

--- Friday Sermon of 18 May 2018 (02 Ramadan 1439 AH) delivered Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.