Category Archives: Ramadan

I’TIKAAF, LAILATUL QADR & EID UL FITR

[Darul Uloom Sabeelur Rashad]

I’TIKAAF

Ramadaan is a time of Ibaadah to Allah and gaining closeness to Him. Among the many ways leading to His closeness is the act of I’tikaaf. I’tikaaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid with the intention of I’tikaaf (seclusion) for the sake of Allah.

I’tikaaf can include such seclusion for which the period is fixed as well as when it is not fixed. Based upon this the scholars have considered three types of I’tikaaf; Wajib, Sunnah and Nafl.

Wajib I’tikaaf refers to that essential seclusion in the Masjid which comes into effect through a vow/promise/oath, or as the Qadaa of a Sunnah I’tikaaf which became null. The least period for this type of I’tikaaf is one day and its night, and must be accompanied by fasting of the day with expressed intention.

The Sunnah I’tikaaf refers to that seclusion in the Masjid during the last ten days of Ramadaan which must also be observed along with fasting of the days. It begins before the sunset of the 20th day of Ramadaan, i.e. before the 21st night, and ends when the moon of Shawwaal is seen.

Nafl I’tikaaf refers to optional seclusion in the Masjid for any amount of time. The period is not fixed and fasting is not a condition for its observance.

So long as a person remains in the Masjid with the intention of seclusion as a form of worship to Allah it will constitute I’tikaaf.

I’tikaaf is indeed a great and significant form of worship to Allah for which He bestows an abundance of rewards and benefits. It was also an established practice of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) which he used to perform frequently, especially in the Holy month of Ramadaan. Sometimes, he would even remain in I’tikaaf for the entire month of Ramadaan in order to achieve rewards of Lailatul Qadr and closeness to Allah. This has been mentioned in an authentic Hadith narrated by Abu Saeed Khudri who said that “Rasuulullah (SA) once performed I’tikaaf in a tent (inside the Masjid) for the first ten days of Ramadaan and then extended it to the middle ten days. Thereafter, he put his head out of the tent and said: ‘Verily in search of Lailatul Qadr did I perform I’tikaaf for the first ten days and extended it to the next ten days for the same purpose; then I was told that this night is in the last ten days, so those with me should also continue the I’tikaaf.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

Every year after the Hijrah (migration) to Madinah until his departure from this world, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) remained in I’tikaaf for the last ten days of Ramadaan. In fact, in the last year of his blessed life, he remained in I’tikaaf for the last twenty days of Ramadaan.  This is seen from several Ahaadith as follows:

Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha), the blessed wife of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) relates that, “Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform I’tikaaf regularly during the last ten days of Ramadaan until he passed away. Then his wives observed this practice after him.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

It has also been reported by Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) that, “Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed I’tikaaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadaan. In the year he passed away, he observed it for twenty days.” (Bukhaari)

Therefore, in conformity with the continuous practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and those after him, the Jurists of Islam have considered I’tikaaf performed in the last ten days of Ramadaan as ‘Sunnah Muakkadah ‘alal Kifaayah’, i.e. an Emphasized Sunnah upon a sufficing basis. Therefore, if at least one sane, adult Muslim, male or female, observes it in a locality, then all the other Muslims would be saved from the sin of neglecting this emphasized Sunnah. If however, no one from the locality performs it, then all would be guilty of neglecting the emphasized Sunnah of I’tikaaf.

The author of Hidaya (an authoritative text on Fiqh) writes, ‘It is correct to say that it is Sunnah Muakkadah because Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) regularly performed I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadaan, and doing something with regularity is a proof of it being Sunnah.” (Hidaya Vol. 1 Pg. 229)

The Sunnah I’tikaaf would not be fulfilled for a period less than ten days and must be accompanied with fasting. Therefore, if one remained in I’tikaaf only a few days of the last ten days and did not remain for the other days, the Sunnah will not be achieved. Likewise, if one did not fast in these days whether out of negligence or because of valid excuses like sickness or journey, the Sunnah I’tikaaf will also not be achieved and in both cases it will be regarded as Nafl I’tikaaf.

REWARDS AND VIRTUES

There are many traditions which have mentioned the excellent virtues and benefits of observing I’tikaaf. In one Hadith, Ibn Abbas (Radhiyallahu anhu) said, “The person performing I’tikaaf remains free from sins, and he is indeed given the same reward as for those who do righteous deeds.” (Ibn Majah)

By remaining in the Masjid, the right atmosphere is created for doing good actions, and at the same time, it serves as a protective shield for the person against the evils and sinful temptations that lurk outside. The one observing I’tikaaf has been prevented, by the Shariah, from performing other good actions out of the Masjid, like Janaazah, visiting the sick, etc. The Hadith gives the good tidings to those in I’tikaaf, of the rewards of these actions in spite of not doing them. This is because the person in I’tikaaf remains in the house of Allah as His guest to engage in His worship, and to seek His pleasure only. As such he does not leave the Masjid for his own needs or desires. Thus Allah, Who is the Giver of rewards to those who engage in actions outside the Masjid becomes pleased with those inside the Masjid in I’tikaaf and may give them the same rewards, out of His great bounty and mercy.

In another narration, it has been reported by Hazrat Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whosoever performs I’tikaaf for a day (thereby seeking Allah’s pleasure), Allah will place three trenches between him and the fire of Hell, the width of each trench being greater than the distance between the Heaven and the Earth.” (Tabrani, Baihaqi, Hakim)

Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) narrates that Rasuulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If a Muslim performs I’tikaaf with the hope of gaining reward, then all his previous sins are forgiven.” (Dailami)

In another Hadith reported by Hazrat Husain (Radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever performs I’tikaaf for the final ten days of Ramadaan, for him is the reward of two Hajj and two Umrahs; and whoever performs I’tikaaf from Maghrib until Ishaa, doing nothing except performing Salaah and reciting the Holy Quraan, Allah will prepare a place for him in Jannah.” (Baihaqi and Tabrani)

Besides these virtues, I’tikaaf creates a bond between a servant and Allah. This has been elucidated by Allaamah Ibn Qayyim as follows: “The basic purpose of I’tikaaf is that the heart gets attached to Allah, and with it, one attains inner composure and self-control; pre-occupation with the mundane things of life ceases; absorption in the eternal reality takes its place. The state is reached whereby all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by the love and remembrance of Allah; every anxiety is transformed into the anxiety for Him; every thought and feeling is blended with the eagerness to gain His nearness and to earn His good favour;  devotion to the Almighty is generated instead of devotion to the world, and it becomes a provision for the grave where there will be neither a friend nor a helper. This is the high aim and purpose of I’tikaaf which is the speciality of the most sublime part of Ramadaan, i.e. the last ten days.”

The similarity of the person in I’tikaaf is like a beggar who has knocked at the door of someone very generous and is determined not to leave and not to stop knocking until he receives what he desires. The author of Maraqiul Falah has mentioned that, ‘what actually takes place in I’tikaaf is that the heart is drawn away from everything else except the Creator, while his soul is actually laid at His door-step.’

Allah, Who is Most Merciful and Relenting, will surely fulfill the needs of His servants, answer their calls, and quench their thirst for forgiveness, rewards and mercy while they are in this state of devotion and worship during I’tikaaf.

While in I’tikaaf, one receives the additional benefits and virtues of: Lailatul Qadr (better than one thousand months in rewards); congregational Salaah (25 to 27 times more reward); performance of Salaah in the first row (great rewards so much so that people would fight for it if it is known); waiting for Salaah before its time and from one Salaah to  the other (angels supplicate for mercy and forgiveness for him); a person’s heart becomes attached to the Masjid (one of those who will be shaded on the Day of Judgement from the burning sun); and it becomes easy to perform other Sunnah and Nafl acts of I’baadah like Tahajjud, Ishraaq, recitation of Quraan, Dhikr, etc., for which there are  special rewards.

PLACE OF I’TIKAAF

I’tikaaf of males must be performed in the Masjid. The most preferred place for I’tikaaf is Al Masjidul Haram in Makka, then Masjid an Nabawi in Madinah, then Masjidul Aqsaa in Jerusalem, then the Jami’ Masjid (main congregational Masjid) in one’s town, then the Masjid with the most amount of worshipers where the five daily Salaah are performed in congregation. If the five congregational Salaah are observed only during the days of I’tikaaf, then I’tikaaf will be allowed in it. To do I’tikaaf in Masaajid in which the five congregational Salaah are not performed even during the days of I’tikaaf is not preferred.

It should be noted that the Masjid refers to the area of the building which was fixed as Masjid by the persons or organization who erected the Masjid and demarcated its boundaries. Any extended hall, annexed building, etc. even under the same roof of the fixed Masjid area will not be considered as Masjid. If one who is performing I’tikaaf goes to that area knowingly or unknowingly, without a valid Shariah excuse, the I’tikaaf is rendered null. It is therefore important for those intending the performance of I’tikaaf to enquire and know the boundaries of the Masjid where he is performing his I’tikaaf.

I’tikaaf by women will be performed in the prayer room/area of their home. If such a place is not fixed then she should demarcate an area fixed for the purpose. It is Makruuh (disliked) for women to observe I’tikaaf in the Masjid.

LAWS PERTAINING TO LEAVING THE MASJID

A person performing I’tikaaf must spend all his time in the Masjid and should not venture outside for even a moment except to fulfill those religious/Shariah and natural necessities which cannot be fulfilled within the Masjid.

The valid reasons for leaving the Masjid which will not nullify the I’tikaaf are as follows:

To answer the call of nature.

One should go to the nearest facility which can fulfill his need. If the toilet is occupied then it is permissible to wait until it is vacant. However to delay unnecessarily after using it  would render the I’tikaaf null. It is permissible to talk briefly, to give or return Salams, to enquire of the sick, on one’s way to and from the toilet without halting for these reasons. It is also permissible if incidentally, on the way, without intent, there was Janaazah Salaah being performed and he joined its performance.

To take an obligatory bath.

It is not allowed to leave the Masjid with the intention of taking a bath for Jum’ah or to refresh or cool oneself. If however one leaves the Masjid for a valid reason, like answering the call of nature, and washes himself or takes a refreshing bath while using the toilet, not taking additional time, it will be allowed.

To make Wudu.

It is not allowed to leave the Masjid for Wudu only for recitation of Quraan since one can read Quraan without touching it. If however, Wudu is performed for the performance of any Salaah, the reading of Quraan by touching it will also be achieved. If facilities are provided inside the Masjid for Wudu then one is not allowed to leave for that reason, but should ensure that droplets do not fall onto the Masjid floor while making Wudu.

To call the Adhaan.

It is permissible for the Muadh-dhin,  as well as for another person desirous of calling the Adhaan, to leave the Masjid to call the Adhaan, but they must return immediately.

For organizing meals.

If no one is available to organize food and drink for the person in I’tikaaf he is allowed to leave, organize quickly his meals, and thereafter return in the Masjid to eat and drink therein. If someone is available then it is not permissible for him to leave. It should be noted that to assist someone in I’tikaaf brings great rewards.

Proceeding to another Masjid.

If Jum’ah is not performed in the Masjid where I’tikaaf is being performed then one in I’tikaaf is allowed to leave for another Masjid in which it is being observed. He must leave his Masjid at such a time that would allow him to reach and perform his Sunnah Salaah at the next Masjid just before the commencement of the Khutbah.

BREAKERS OF I’TIKAAF

Only Wajib and Sunnah I’tikaaf are rendered invalid. Nafl I’tikaaf is not considered null by any act.

–  To leave the Masjid without a valid Shariah reason for even a moment, whether intentionally, unintentionally, by mistake or under compulsion will render the I’tikaaf null.

–    If the fast is broken during the day of I’tikaaf, whether for a valid or an invalid reason, the I’tikaaf will become null. If one forgot that he was fasting and ate or drank something then neither the fast nor the I’tikaaf will be broken, provided that he did not continue eating or drinking when he remembered.

–   Having intimate relationship with a woman/wife with or without emission, as well as kissing, fondling and other such acts which leads to emission will nullify the I’tikaaf.

PERMISSIBLE FACTORS TO BREAK THE I’TIKAAF

The following are factors/reasons which may occur which makes it permissible to break the I’tikaaf. However the Qadaa of it must be performed.

–   To seek medical treatment if a disease emerges which cannot be cured except by leaving the Masjid

–   To save a person who is drowning or burning or to prevent a fire (or other great disasters)

–   To take care of one’s parents, wife or children if they are afflicted with an extreme sickness and have no one to tend to them

–   If one is compelled to leave such as in the case of a government’s warrant of arrest

–   If a Janaazah arrives and there is no one else to perform it.

MAKRUUH (DISLIKED) ACTS WHILE OBSERVING I’TIKAAF

–    To maintain total silence

–    To indulge in waste and idle talks

–   To engage in excessive sleeping so as to waste away the time

–  To unnecessarily pass wind in the Masjid

–    To read books or magazines which are not Islamic in nature

–   To set up the partition for those in I’tikaaf in such a way that it inconveniences others

–  To engage in worldly activities unnecessarily

LAILATUL QADR

THE NIGHT OF POWER

Allah in his infinite mercy has showered his bounties and favors upon the Muslims in the holy month of Ramadaan.

Not a day or night goes by except that Allah multiplies the reward for the one who performs good deeds in this holy month.

From among the special nights of this month, there is one which is known as Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power). A person who engages in  worship on this particular night will be given a reward better than that one who has performed worship for one thousand months.

Allah has named a Surah after this night in the Holy Quraan, and in it He mentions the great virtue of this night when He says: “The Night of Power is better than one thousand months.” (Surah 97.V 3)

Allah has been very kind to the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whereby because of the virtue and blessings of this night we are able to compete with the previous nations in doing good deeds even though our life span may be shorter.

In this regard, Ibn Abi Hatim has reported from Mujahid that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was told about a person from among the Bani Israeel who used to worship Allah throughout the night and fought in the path of Allah during the day for one thousand months.

Upon hearing this, the Sahabas, (Radhiyallahu anhum) though amazed at the actions of such a devout servant became despondent, as it would have been impossible for them to attain such rewards. Allah then revealed Surah Qadr as a mercy and consolation to the believers that whosoever stands on the Night of Power in the worship of Allah will be given a reward better than that one who worships Allah for one thousand months.

Another great significance of the Night of Power as mentioned in Surah Qadr is that the Holy Quraan was sent down from the Preserved Tablet to the lowest Heaven and then revealed to the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in that very month. On this night, Angel Jibraeel along with other angels descend, making Dua of mercy for those believers whom they find busy in the worship of Allah.

Lastly, Allah mentions in this Surah that on the Night of Power, one will be able to experience a sort of peace and tranquility until the break of dawn, a night of complete goodness having no evil in it.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whosoever stands in worship on the Night of Power with sincere faith and hope of gaining reward all his previous (minor) sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhaari and Muslim)

The commentators mention about this Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) exhorts the believers not only to stand in Salaah but also to perform all other types of worship.

Therefore, one who performs worship on this night solely to gain the pleasure of Allah and not for any worldly gain and benefit with the belief and hope that Allah will reward him for his good deeds will Inshallah have his previous (minor) sins forgiven.

It should also be noted at this point that this night does not have any specific form of worship nor does it have a fixed amount. We should therefore exert ourselves on this night in Nafl Salaah, recitation of the Holy Quraan, doing the Zikr of Allah, making Dua etc. to the best of our abilities.

As for the actual date of the Night of Power, it lies only in the knowledge of Allah Ta’aala. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself searched for this night as it is mentioned in a tradition, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) secluded himself for the first ten nights of Ramadaan. Then he secluded himself for the middle ten nights. Then he raised his head and said, “Verily I secluded myself in the first ten nights of Ramadaan seeking this night. Then I secluded myself in the middle ten nights. Then I was approached and told that it is in the last ten nights.” (Bukhaari)

He (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has also stated in another tradition: “Search for the Blessed Night in the odd nights from the last ten nights of Ramadhan. (Bukhaari)

The scholars are of different opinions as to which night is actually the Night of Power because of the various traditions that have reached them from the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and his Companions (Radhiyallahu anhu). However, it is necessary for us to search for the Night of Power in the odd nights from the last ten nights of Ramadaan as indicated to us from the above mentioned traditions.

One should therefore not think that the Night of Power must be on a particular night but one must search for it, as this is what the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  has taught us to do.

While we do not know which night is the Night of Power, there are some signs given to us by the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in a narration of Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radhiyallahu anhu) reported by Imam Baihaqi, which can give us an indication to it.

They are as follows:

The night will be very quiet and serene.The moon will be bright and radiant.The temperature of the night will be neither too hot nor too cold.No shooting stars will be flung at the Shayateen until the break of dawn.The sun will rise in that morning without any radiant beams of light.

In an authentic tradition Hazrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu anha) said, “O Messenger of Allah, inform me what I should say if I recognize the Night of Power. He said, “Say : Al-laa hum-ma in-naka ‘afuw-wun kariimun tu hib-bul ‘afwa fa’fu an-ni.” (O Allah! You are forgiving. You love to forgive, so forgive me. ) (Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmizi)

We as believers, in trying to find the Night of Power should also say this Dua in abundance acting upon the advice of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) hoping to gain the forgiveness of Allah.

Finally the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said in a tradition, “The one who has deprived himself of this night has deprived himself of everything good. And none is deprived of its good except he who is completely unfortunate.” (Ibn  Majah)

This means that if Allah has given us an opportunity to gain the reward which is more virtuous than eighty-three years and four months, and due to our negligence we are devoid of the blessings of this night, then surely we are from among the unfortunate ones.

May Allah give us the ability to search for and find the Night of Power. Ameen.

EID UL FITR

Eid ul Fitr (Festival of the Breaking of the Fast) is the first day of the 10th lunar month, Shawwaal.  It marks the end of the holy month of Ramadaan.

Eid ul Fitr is one of the two days of festivity in Islam. The other being Eid ul Adhaa. This has been established from an authentic Hadith narrated by Anas (Radhiyallahu anhu) that upon arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  found its people celebrating two days, which were upheld from the Days of Jaahiliya (Ignorance).  The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When I came upon you, you had two days that you continued to celebrate from Jaahiliya. Indeed Allah has substituted them for you with what is better, the Day of Sacrifice and the Day of Fitr.” [Ahmad, Abu Daud]

In another Hadith, the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said referring to Eid ul Fitr: “Certainly for every community there is a day of Eid and this is our Eid”. [Bukhari, Muslim]

The word Eid literally means ‘recurrence’.  Thus Eid is, an occasion, which returns and recurs at specified times with renewed happiness and joy.  Muslims will return to the gathering of Eid with renewed zeal and enthusiasm and Allah returns to His servants with renewed bounties and rewards.

Even the nights which precede the Days of Eid, have also been marked as a time of great virtue and the scholars have considered it Mustahab (desirable) to do lbaa-dah on these nights. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The heart of the person who remains awake (in lbaadah)- during the night of Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adhaa will not die on the Day when hearts will be dead, i. e. the Day of Qiyaamah “[Tibrani]

The Day of Eid follows its night with the blessings, forgiveness and mercy of Allah to His servants who fasted during the day and who stood up at night in prayer.  Allah rewards them immensely for having fulfilled their duties to him by adhering to restraint and guarding against evil; who endeavored in acts of piety and righteousness; who became engrossed in dua, dhikr and recitation of Quraan; who displayed kindness, love and compassion for others, and who spent the month of Ramadaan seeking His pleasure.

The Day of Eid is also spent in thankfulness to Allah.  Muslims will perform the Eid Salaah, which is Wajib (incumbent) and listen to the Khutba (sermon), which is Sunnah (commendable).

To give general charity on this day is commendable and rewarding.  However, Sadaqatul Fitr (Charity of Eid) is Waajib (incumbent) and must be given before the Eid Salaah.  It is especially meant for the poor and the needy so that they too can celebrate Eid.  It becomes binding to be given by all adults for themselves as well as all their dependents when one possesses  wealth beyond his needs for the day.

SOME COMMENDABLE ACTS FOR THE DAY OF EID

To rise as early as possible;

To perform Ghusl (bath);

To use miswaak;

To apply ‘Itr (Halaal, non-alcoholic perfume);

To wear ones best clothes;

To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for Eid Salaah;

To give Sadaqatul Fitr before leaving for the Musallah (Eid­ Ghah or Masjid);

To walk to the Musallah.  However, there is no harm in using any means of conveyance if the Musallah is a distance or there is an excuse;

To go to the Musallah using one route and to return by another route;

To recite the Takbeer while going to the Musallah. The takbeer is –

Al-laa hu akbar, al-laa hu akbar, laa ilaaha il-lal­laa hu wal-laa hu akbar, wa lil­laa hil hamd

The Day of Eid is indeed a joyous day and one should beware of his action not to displease Allah.

Congregational Witr Salaah during Ramadan

Question:

Asalaam u Alaikum
I have heard and read many hadiths that supports praying Witr prayer during the latter part of the night especially after Tahajud,,, however during the Month of Ramadaan the Witr is prayed in congregation after Salaatul Taraweeh. I have seen many people leave the masjid after Taraweeh assuming that they are leaving off the Witr to pray after Tahajud. Can you offer some advice as to the importance of praying Witr in congregation during this month or is it still advisable to leave it off till later in the night..
Jazaak Allah

Answer:

Wa Alaikum As Salam,
Performing Witr in congregation is a specialty of the month of Ramadan, and this is what is more virtuous. From the time of the Sahabahs until today, the Witr Salah has always been performed in congregation during the month of Ramadan. This has been the firm practice of the Sahabahs, the Tabi’een, the atba’ut Tabieen and all the generations of rightly guided scholars after them. Alhamdulillah, until today it is the well established practice in Holy Kaaba and the Prophet’s mosque.

The great Jurists and Muhaditheen of the early period have unanimously agreed that performing Witr Salah in congregation in Ramadan is more virtuous and more superior than performing it at the latter part of the night (after Tahajjud Salah).

This does not contradict the words or actions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) but in reality it is in accordance to what the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did, as was seen and understood by the Sahabahs (Radhiyallahu Anhum). For indeed, it is morally unacceptable for any Muslim to assume that the Sahabahs would have agreed on any matter that contradicted or opposed the teachings and practices of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

The amount of rakaats that the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed on the nights were known and witnessed by the Sahabahs. They were there with him in his Salah. They saw what he did and were fully aware of how many rakaats he performed in congregation. It was with this full understanding and knowledge of the practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that the Sahabahs unanimously held on to the performance of 20 rakaats of taraweeh as well as the Witr Salaah in congregation. If this act of theirs was in opposition to the practice of the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), then they would have been corrected by others who would have reprimanded them for changing the Prophet’s practice. However, no one not even the wives of the Prophet, his sons-in-law, his grandchildren, daughters, family members or devout followers opposed or spoke against the 20 rakats of taraweeh with Salaah Al Witr in jamaah. It is based on this Ijma of the Sahabahs, it is inferred that 20 rakats of taraweeh Salaah along with the performance of Witr Salaah in jamaah is in accordance to that which was endorsed by the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). It is for this reason; the early jurists of Islam have clearly stated that in the month of Ramadan, it is more virtuous to perform the witr Salah in congregation.

In the regard, the famous book of Fiqh, Nurul Idhaah states,

‘And a person’s witr Salaah in congregation in Ramadan is more virtuous than performing it individually at the latter part of the night, as stated as the preferred verdict of Qazi Khan’.

While commenting on the above statement, the great jurist and author of Mariqi’ul Falaah states,

‘the performance of the witr in congregation is virtuous because of the fact that since congregation is allowed for it, it becomes virtuous (to do it in this manner,) and also due to the fact that Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) used to have the witr performed in congregation……………and in ‘Al Fath’ and in ‘Al Burhan’ (both of which are sound and authentic books of Islamic Jurisprudence), it is evident that the opinion of the grand jurist Qazi Khan is preferred since the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) performed the witr salaah in congregation with the sahabahs, and then he explained his reason for leaving it out since he feared that standing by night in Ramadan may become essential upon them. The righteous Khalifahs also performed witr Salaah in congregation.’  [Mariqiul Falaah].

Similarly, the great jurist Allama Khwarzimi (rahimahullah) has written,

‘and in Ramadan, the correct and sound opinion is that witr in congregation is more virtuous because Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) used to have the witr performed in congregation.’ [Al Kifayah].

The recent scholar and jurist expert Mufti Syed Abdur Raheem has also stated,

‘During the time of Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), Ubai bin Kaab (Radhiyallahu anhu) and other sahabahs used to lead 20 rakaats of Taraweeh Salaah. From that time until today, the practice of the (Salafus Saliheen) Pious Predecessors and the latter scholars have always been to perform witr in congregation in the month of Ramadan. Hence, for those who are performing Tahajjud Salaah, it is more virtuous (for them) to perform the witr salaah in congregation.’ [Fatawa Rahimiyyah Vol 4 Pg. 421]

In view of all these quotations and explanations, it becomes evident that in the month of Ramadan, it is more virtuous for one to perform the witr salaah in Jamaat.

And Allah knows best,
Mufti Waseem Khan

Darul Uloom Trinidad & Tobago

The 8 Raka’ts Dilemma and Debacle of the Salafi Juhhala

[By Zaheer Mangera – [(A Madrasah Student)]

I’m sure that by now we are accustomed to the 8 rakaat brigade slinking out of the Masaajid after 8 rakaats. This unfortunately has become a common aberration in many Masaajid throughout South Africa and other parts of the world. Some Masaajid in Johannesburg have actually made a separate parking area for the 8 rakaat gang of deviates. Hence I felt the need to comment on this matter. In reality the matter is quite simple. The complications arise as always from the side of the dim-witted Salafis who can’t grasp simple issues of the Shariah

WHY 8 RAKAATS??

I’m sure this is the question running through the minds of all and sundry who, for the pleasure of Allah, diligently uphold the Sunnah Taraaweeh of 20 rakaats. The reality is that no Aalim on the surface of this earth had declared Taraweeh to be 8 rakaats except a man who popped up in the last century, and who believed that he could interpret Hadith narrations better than the entire fraternity of Aimmah Mujtahideen and Fuqaha from the Sahaabah running all the way down over 1400 years. This person who had deviated from the Way of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah was Albaani, the recent Imam of the Salafis.

It is unfortunate that Salafis vigorously try to justify the deviation of their Imams from the Path of the Sahaabah and the Aimmah Mujtahideen. In complete conflict with the Sahaabah and the Ummah, they adamantly adhere to Albaani’s view and audaciously label anyone who opposes his view as one who is “disuniting the ummah”, when in fact they are the ones guilty of sowing discord in the Ummah with their baseless 8 raka’t stunt.

Quite hilarious I’d say, the man deviated from the interpretation of every single Aalim and the Ijma’ of this Ummah. When the ummah speaks and opposes his deviation then it is said that we causing disunity?

The main Hadith they present as proof is a Hadith with regards to Tahajjud Salaat which they take out of context and interpret only as Albani had understood. However, they are blind to the fact that Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alayh) himself, from whose Kitaab they obtain their baseless daleel, is proven to having performed 20 Raka’ts.

The books of the Muhaditheen and Fuqaha are replete with discussions regarding Taraaweeh. None of these great authorities of the Shariah related to Taraaweeh the Hadith which Salafis usually quote, as ALL KNEW that the Hadith did not pertain to Taraaweeh, and that it referred to Tahajjud Salaat.

The Ummah always performed 20 rakaat and regarded it to be Sunnah. Some even performed extra as Nafil such as the Maalikis who performed extra rakaats whilst those in Makkah made Tawaaf after every four rakaats hence the people in Madinah used to performs 36 raka’ts. However, the Sahabah by consensus deemed Taraweeh to be 20 rakaats, and this elevates the 20 Raka’ts Taraaweeh to the status of Sunnatul Muakkadah.

Imaam Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah alayh), died 279 AH, states that ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), ‘Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), Sufyan Thawri (Rahmatullah alayh) and Imam Shafi’i (Rahmatullah (alayh), all accept that Taraaweeh Salaat is Twenty Rakaahs. He quoted Imam Shafi’i as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing twenty raka’ts. (Tirmidhi, v.1 p.99)

The Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayh), reads:

“We go by this (twenty rak’ats Taraweeh)….because the Muslims (the Sahaabah) were unanimous about it and saw it to be a good act. It has been reported that Rasulallah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever the Muslims (the Sahaabah) regard as a good act, it is indeed a good act in the sight of Allah as well.”

Hafiz Abu Zur’ah Al-’Iraqi stated,

“They (the Ulama) have regarded the approval of the Sahaabah [when Sayyiduna ‘Umar did so] as Ijma’“.

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari stated that the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) have enacted Ijma’ on the practice of twenty rak’ats. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and many others have also claimed Ijma’ of the Sahaabah on this issue.

SALAFIS BECOME RETARDED WHEN READING THIS HADITH

“You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided Khulafa” [Abu Dawud]

Many other Ahaadith emphasize that the Ummah should follow the Khulafah and more specifically, Shaikhain i.e.  Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma).

The errant Salafis say absurdly that it means that we should follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It seems they can’t understand simple issues.

Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] equated the Sunnah of his Sahabah to his own Sunnah. Thus he mentioned that out of the 73 sects only the one that holds on to both his way and the way of his Sahaabah would be saved. Since Salafi’ism is a sect of baatil, it’s no wonder that they so abortively justify their conflict with the Ijma’ of the Sahaabah.

Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] said:

“A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.”

[Al-Bukhaari, Book 71 no. 3641 Sahih Muslim, no. 1920]

Now on the basis of this Hadith, Taraaweeh of less than 20 raka’ts and the Salafi malpractice of 8 raka’ts are manifestly baatil, because from the time the blessed Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) left this world until the last century NO ONE EVER PERFORMED 8 RAKAATS.  It was only with the advent of this miscreant Salafi group that it began to be propagated that Taraaweeh is 8 raka’ts. Thus, one does not require intelligence to understand that the innovated 8 rakaats can never be the Sunnah.

TRUTH ON THE TONGUE OF ‘UMAR (Radhiyallahu anhu)

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has placed truth on Umar’s tongue and heart.” [Abu Dawud]

We ask the Salafis when Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) said with his ‘tongue’ that Taraweeh should be 20 rakaats, was this the Haqq or not? What these Salafis don’t understand is that when they negate Ijma’, they automatically imply, like Shiahs, that they and their Imam, Albaani who died just yesterday, have understood the Sunnah better than the Sahaabah. It follows from this implication that the Sahaabah and Taabieen had erred in their Ijma’ of 20 raka’ts. These Salafis are opening the doors of fitnah – the fitnah of blatantly contradicting the Sahaabah in their understanding of the Sunnah, yet Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly said:

“The best of people are my generation, then those who follow after them, then those who follow after them, then there will come after them a people who will be fat, and they will love obesity, bearing witness before being asked to.”  [Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim]

These Salafis are in diametric conflict with this clear declaration of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

FURTHER WARNING FOR THOSE NEGATING IJMA’

An old man dressed in woollen garments came to Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) and said: “May I ask a question?” Imaam Shaafi’i gave him permission. He then asked: “What are the Shar’i proofs in the Deen of Allah Ta’ala?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Kitaab of Allah Ta’ala.” He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ replied: “The consensus of the Ummah.” He then asked: “What is your proof for this?” Imaam Shaafi’i thought for a while. The old man then said: “I give you respite for three days, either you bring me proof from the Qur’aan or seek forgiveness and repent to Allah Ta’ala.” The facial complexion of Imaam Shaafi’i changed. He then went and did not come out for three days. On the third day between Zuhr and ‘Asr, weak and sick, he emerged from his seclusion. As he was about to be seated, the old man appeared, greeted and sat beside him. He then asked for his proof. Imaam Shaafi’i said: “Yes”, and he recited the Qur’aanic verse:

“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is. [Surah Nisa, 115]

The man said: “You have spoken the truth.” The man then left. Imaam Shaafi’i said to those seated around him: “I recited the entire Qur’an thrice daily for three days, until the proof finally dawned upon me.”

It is no wonder that Salafis become blind and deaf to the Haq and can’t understand simple concepts because they have contradicted Ijma’. The warning of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in this verse is true. The stated calamity has overtaken the Salafis.

“We shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is.”

Allah Ta’ala has abandoned them in their waywardness and deviation, and if Allah does not guide than who can guide one?

Despite all this Salafis will still monotonously ramble on. One should not waste one’s precious time, no matter what ‘daleels’ are put forward. The fact of the matter is that they will never accept the Haqq. Just deliver the message of Haqq. It is about such people that the Qur’aan mentions:

“Do you not see those who take their nafs  [also their own intellects and reasoning] as gods besides Allah [by giving preference over truth or making that the yardstick] how we lead them astray even though they possessed knowledge; how we sealed their hearts and ears and cast a veil over their eyes? Who can guide them besides Allah? Will you then not take heed?”

May Allah protect us and guide one and all and protect us from becoming part of the 8 rakaat brigade which contradicts the Sunnah of the noble Sahaabah.

THE BASELESS FOCAL DALEEL OF THE SALAFIES

As mentioned earlier on it was clearly proved that for over the past 1400 years, 20 rakaats Taraweeh were considered Sunnah by the Ummah. However, their main daleel which is a misinterpretation shall be neutralized. Hypothetically, we shall assume that the tooth fairy exists and that the Hadith and its interpretation were not known to any Sahaabi or Faqeeh. And that Imaam Bukhari himself became somewhat lacking in vision when he came across this Hadith, and that only Albani was raised up this past century to correct all the Sahaabah and those who followed them with regards to what the true SUNNAH is.

THE MISINTERPRETED HADITH

Narrated Abu Salama Bin Abdur Rrahman (Radhiyallahu anhu):

“I asked Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the Salaat of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during the month of Ramadan. She said that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months. (First) he used to offer 4 rakats. Do not ask me about their beauty and length, then 4 Raka’ts. Do not ask me about their beauty and length. Then 3 Raka’ts.”

Aishah further said: I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Do you sleep before offering Witr salat?’ He replied: ‘O Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”

[Bukhari, Book of Tahajjud Salaat, chapter: the Salaat of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at night in Ramadan and in other months. 2:248]

REFUTATION

1. The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite Muhaddith, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH) said: ‘In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud Salaat is meant. Abu Salama’s question and Hadrat Aishah’s answer concerned the Tahajjud.’ He adds further: ‘If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this Hadith will be in conflict with the Hadith that states that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) led twenty Rak’ats  for each of two nights, and in the case of such clash the Hadith of twenty Rakat’s which is  affirmative (Muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (Nafi)”  — [Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156].

Let’s for one minute exercise some common sense, we all know and even Salafis agree that Taraaweeh was performed in JAMAAT IN PUBLIC for a number of days before Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] desisted for fear of it becoming obligatory.

Now if it was performed in jamaat and in public what was the need to ask Aishah [Radiallahu anha]? Wouldn’t the number of raka’ts of Taraaweeh have been common knowledge to the Sahaabah?  It is quite obvious that the Sahaabi was asking Hadhrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the private ibaadat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Sahaabi was not asking her about Taraaweeh which was being performed in public in the Musjid. She confirmed that Rasulullah’s Tahajjud remained 8 raka’ts throughout the year even in Ramadhaan. This Hadith does not refer to Taraaweeh Salaat.

While the deviant Salafis cite Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu), they are either ignorant of his standing practice regarding Taraaweeh or they are conveniently ignoring it, or they attempt to conceal it in a vain bid to justify their 8 raka’t fallacy. Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) himself performed 20 rakaats Taraaweeh like the rest of the Sahaabah. Thus, in a conflict between his words and his practice, the latter takes precedence and is given preference. But the Salafis are too stupid to understand the operation of the principles of the Shariah.

For more detailed Analysis on this issue read:

1. NUMBER OF RAK’ATS IN TARAWIH: A DETAILED ANALYSIS

2. THE BID’AH OF 8 RAK’ATS OF “TARAWEEH”

Explaining Ramadan Fasting to a Non-Muslim

Why do Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan??

This is a common but interesting question which a child may ask his/her parents. Non-Muslim may also pose it to a Muslim.

Here are some possible reasons why Muslims observe a marathon one-month fast during Ramadan.

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(i) To obey Allah’s injunction

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Fundamental to a Muslim’s faith (or belief) are six articles:

(i) belief in Allah,

(ii) belief in Angels,

(iii) belief in divine Books of Allah,

(iv) belief in all Prophets,

(v) belief in the Day of Judgement, and

(vi) belief in Pre-destination.

Articles (i) and (iii) demand that a Muslim must believe in, obey and implement, all the words of Allah contained in the Holy Qur’an.

This is because …His (Allah) word is the truth…” [Chapter 6: Verse 73] and

the truth is from your Lord, so be not at all in doubt” [Chapter 2: Verse 147]  and

“…whose word can be truer than Allah?” [Qur’an].

Thematically, Qur’an contains injunctions for mankind, allegories, stories of past events, accounts of future events, and a lot of lessons especially for Muslims. Of importance the injunctions are sometime directed to all creatures (men and jinns), or sometime to specific gender (men or women), or sometime to specific tribes (eg “Bani Israel”), or sometime to the progeny of Adam (i.e mankind), or sometime to Ahl-ul kitaab (the people of the book), or sometime to Muslims (i.e those who believe in One Allah) etc. In most cases, the injunctions of Allah to Muslims can be regarded as blessing and mercy and when fully obeyed often lead them to His straight path. Without mincing words, there is no compromise with Allah’s injunctions: every sincere and God-fearing Muslim must obey them; this is a necessary pre-condition for being a Muslim. One of His injunctions, directed to Muslims (men and women), is:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you…”  [Qur’an Chapter 2:Verse 183]

The phrase “O you who believe” is referring to: (i) those who submit to Allah’s wills and commands, (ii) those who believe in the six articles of faith, (iii) those who testify that “La ilaha illa llaha Muhammadur Rasulullah”, (iv) those who practise the five pillars of Islam, and (v) those who implement and obey Allah’s injunctions in the Qur’an and follow the sunnah of His Prophet, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

No followers of any religions satisfy these criteria of “O you who believe” except the Muslims. It is they (Muslims) that Allah is directing His injunction in 2:183 to.

The injunction prescribed fasting as a compulsory duty for them thus:

“…fasting is prescribed for you (Muslims)…” [Chapter 2: Verse 183]

and

“…whoever witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it…”  [Chapter 2:Verse 185]

Clearly, Ramadan fast is a divine injunction mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims who are free from compelling excuses. Whoever deliberately forgoes fasting in Ramadan, should know that (s)he has disobeyed Allah’s injunction and no amount of fasting thereafter can give her/him a reward equivalent to one misssed Ramadan fast as obvious in this hadeeth:

Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “whoever did not fast one day of Ramadan without a genuine excuse or a disease then even if he fasted for a complete year, it would not compensate for that (missed Ramadan) day”

_[Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3,p.88]

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(ii) To practice the tradition, and way of the pious people.

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Fasting is not new to Islam; it is, indeed, as old as Adam (Alaihissalaam) who was the first creature and the first Muslim to submit to one Allah. No one knows precisely when fasting began among Adam’s progenies but it is the practice of all the Prophets of Allah and their followers. Qur’an mentions that Musa (Alaihissalaam) fasted for 40 days (see 2:51) (this is what the Jews termed “Jewish Passover”) and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told us that Dawud (Alaihissalaam) used to fast for half of the year (this involves fasting on every alternate day). ‘Isa (Alaihissalaam) (or Jesus) was also reported to have fasted for 40 days (this is what the christians termed “the Lent”, usually observed before Easter festival). Since these Prophets were Muslims, it can be seen that by asking Muslims to fast, Allah intends to draw their attention to the practice and tradition of those pious predecessors who attained piety (in His sight) through fasting.

“O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for people before you …” [2:183]

This verse shows that fasting was observed by the people (i.e “ahl-ul kitaab”) who came to the scene before the Muslims and so it is a “sunnat Allah” (i.e a tradition approved by Allah) for those who lived aforetime and for the Muslims who are now the best generation ever raised for mankind (3:110). Qur’an says:

“(As for) the sunnat Allah (approved) for those who lived aforetime, no change will you find in (such) sunnat-Allah” [33:43]

Therefore, Ramadan fast should be seen as a propagation of the tradition approved by Allah for all those who submit to Him.

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To learn how to attain piety

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By the very nature of human beings, they are susceptible to sins and transgression of Allah’s limits. This may be due to their ignorance, worldly struggle for ephemeral and tantalizing things, or satan’s handiwork.

In particular, Muslims are warned against gossiping, backbiting, slandering, hypocrisying, lying, cheating, duping, hatring, nursing grudge, keeping malice, fornicating as these vices negate the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

But since Muslims are like any human beings created to err as a result of forgetfulness, they need to be reminded and coached against any social vices from time to time. This will requires a fixed training period where Muslims will know and learn how to put an end to vices, learn virtues and get nearer to Allah. That training period is chosen by Allah to be the Ramadan fast which occurs once in every year.

During Ramadan:

(a) compulsory five daily salaat are observed regularly and timely (this is to remind and train the mindless Muslims that salaat is an all-time duty for them);

(b) Zakat-ul fitr is paid on or before the ‘id al-Fitr (the festival that commemorates the end of Ramadan fast) (Zakat-ul fitr is to teach Muslims to do sadaqah and to remind them that after zakat-ul fitr they should not forget to pay on time their annual divine obligatory Zakaat, the fourth pillar of Islam);

(c) Tarawih and Tahajjud prayers are observed in the evening and night of Ramadan (this is to teach Muslims to observe nawafil (i.e additional) prayers after Ramadan so as to increasetheir iman and get their supplications to Allah accepted promptly);

(d) Doubtful hobby such as smoking is stopped (this is to train Muslims to be frugal as Allah hates extravagancy and to save themselves from diseases such as Tuberclosis, Cancer, and heart attack known to be associated with smoking and premature death);

(e)  Videos/pictures are avoided and kept away (this is to free Muslims’ hearts and eyes from corruption and from shaitan’s whisperings to do evil deeds);

(f) Excessive intake of food is avoided (this regulates the stomach from being pot-bellied and distinguishes Muslims from kaafir whom Qur’an describes as those who eat like cattle (47:12)); etc. All these good things which Ramadan fast teaches Muslims are the means to attain piety.

This is why the verse on Ramadan fast says: “O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you…so that you will (learn how to attain) piety”  [Quran Chapter 2:Verse 183]

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(iv) To reap the full reward of the Night of Power (Layltul Qadr)

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The last book of Allah to His creatures, Al-Qur’an, was revealed in the night of Ramadan. What this means is that the first divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) took place in the Night of Ramadan. Allah chose the night because of the special blessings in it. It is called the night of Power (Laylatil Qadr) or the night of blessing (Laulat-ul mubarak). The deed in this night is better than the rewards of deeds of 1,000 months (about 83.3 years). Let suppose that a man survived up to 100 years and he consciously witnessed 93 nights of Power, he would have in his account more than 7,750 rewards which exclude all other rewards he earned from doing virtuous deeds. It is this night that all Muslims are invited by Allah to look for in the month of Ramadan. Specifically, the night is in the last ten days of Ramadan and usually in one of the odd days (i.e. 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29th). A Muslim is expected to perform naafilah, recite the Qur’an, do dhikr etc in the night. Since no one knows precisely which of the odd days is the night, Muslims are expected to be in seclusion (i’tikaf) during the last 10 days of Ramadan and the best place to do so is in the mosque.

It should be mentioned that the Angels descend in succession during the night of Power and they go round with special greeting of “peace” till day break when they will move back to their position. The number of these angels is uncountable and they descend with special command of Allah. The following chapter of the Qur’an details the event of the night of Power thus:

“Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what the night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) Peace” (continuously) till the rise of Morning!”  [Chapter 97: Verse 1-5]

Who will like to miss the Night after reading this description?? It is this very reason that every Muslim wants to witness and reap its full blessing by fasting during the days of the month of Ramadan. As Ramadan fast is inextricably tied to the Night of Power (see Qur’an2:183) it follows that any Muslim who wishes to benefit from the Night of Power must fast during the month of Ramadan. Qur’an says:

“Ramadan is the (month) in which Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and a clear guidance and judgement (so that mankind will distinguish right from wrong). Whoever among you witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it…”  [Chapter 2: Verse 183]

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(v) To show to Muslims how to get their past sins forgiven

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Islam is a religion that stresses equality: both the poor and the rich (men or women) are equal as slaves in the sight of Allah. In Islam the surest way to obtain Allah’s forgiveness for one’s past sins is Pilgrimage (the fifth pillar of Islam) which unfortunately is easy for the rich to afford the cost of the journey. The All-wise, Allah, did not put the poor Muslims in limbo, rather He made fasting during Ramadan as a means of placing the poor and the rich on equal footing in terms of asking for forgiveness for their past sins. If a Muslim has no means of going for hajj, there should be a way to compensate him/her. The All-wise has chosen Ramadan for all Muslims to get their past sins forgiven as evident in this hadith:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “…whoever fasts during Ramadan with sincere faith and hoping for his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven”  [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.3 p.70].

Therefore, Ramadan fast unites Muslims and bring them together as equal slaves who can be forgiven of their past sins devoid of discrimination in the sight of Allah.

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(vi) To show that Fasting is the epitome of the five pillars of Islam

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Islam is built upon five pillars. The third pillar is siyam (i.e fasting during Ramadan). The wisdom behind its third position is because it is a fulcrom upon which the other four pillars (Tawheed, and salaat are in first and second positions while zakat and Hajj are in the fourth and fifth positions) are balanced. It is the only pillar that encompases all the four other pillars in the sense that:

(a) before one observes fast, s(he) must be a Muslim, sane, matured, and free from excuses (such as menstruation, illness, travelling long-distances, child-birth bleeding, etc). And since a Muslim is required to proclaim Shahada (i.e Tawheed, the first pillar of Islam), fasting is directly tied to shahada.

(b) Salaat is the second pillar of Islam that delineates a Muslim from one who is not; this means that a Muslim must observe salaat regularly to become a true Muslim. It follows that fasting during Ramadan without regular salaat is like using a spoon to fill a porous basket with water.

(c) Zakat (the compulsory divine tax) is aimed to redistribute the Muslims’ wealth so that the gap between the rich and the poor is bridged to a certain extent. In Ramadan, every fasting Muslim, who is free from insanity, bondage etc, must pay Zakat-ul fitr on or before the ‘Id al-Fitr day. Zakaat-ul fitr is in some sense a low-profile zakat, though aimed to achieve similar result, is completely different from zakat. Hajj is a duty which Muslims owe to Allah and it is to help the pilgrims to get their past sins forgiven. Coincidently, fasting during Ramadan has the same result. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that fasting is an epitome of the pillars of Islam. Therefore, every able-bodied Muslim must fast to learn how the other four pillars operate.

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Conclusion

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This article has discussed some reasons why Muslims do Ramadan fast.

It is not intended to delve into the subject of fasting but to help Muslims answer often repeated question: “why do Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan??.”

May Allah give us His support in this world and in the hereafter and give us strength and good health to be able to fast during the month of Ramadan.

The Mubarak Month of Ramadan – Its Virtues, Blessings, Rulings & Acts of Worship

[Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani D.B]

The Ninth month of the Islamic calendar is called “Ramadan” and it is the most meritorious month of the whole year. Since there are many specific rules peculiar to this month, we would like to deal with its characteristics in a rather detailed manner under different sections.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF RAMADAN

The Holy Qur’an has expressly told us that the basic objective for which man is created by Allah is that he worships Him:

And I did not Create Jinn and Human beings  except that they should worship Me.

The word used by the Holy Qur’an for the worship is ‘ibadah which has a much wider sense than “worship”. In English, the word “worship” normally indicates to some specific acts or rituals meant exclusively to show one’s reverence to his Creator. But the word ‘ibadah is not restricted to such acts or rituals, rather, it embodies any act done in submission to Allah’s commands and to seek His pleasure. Therefore, many acts which seem to be mundane in nature are included in the word of ‘Ibadah like earning one’s livelihood through halaal (permissible) means and in order to fulfill one’s obligations towards his dependants.

However, ‘ibadah is of two kinds. At the first place there are acts meant exclusively to worship Allah, having no worldly objective, like Salah, fasting, etc. These are direct acts of ‘Ibadah while the other kind of ‘Ibadah includes the acts which are primarily mundane, but they are converted into an ‘ibadah when they are performed in full conformity with Shariah and with an intention to discharge one’s obligations. Therefore, these acts are treated as ‘ibadah in an indirect manner. It is obvious that the direct acts of ‘ibadah should be superior to the indirect ones.

Now, while prescribing very few acts of direct ‘ibadah in one’s daily life, like the salah which is performed five times a day, Islam has left its followers mostly with the indirect acts of ‘Ibadah like eating, drinking, earning the livelihood and association with one’s wife, parents, children, parents, relatives, friends and other human beings. But the primary nature of these acts being mundane, one becomes so absorbed in their worldly pleasures that their material aspects prevail on their spiritual aspect. Therefore, these acts have less spiritual strength than the direct acts of worship.

Since the direct acts of ‘Ibadah are very few in one’s daily life as compared to the indirect ones, his spiritual progress becomes slow visa vis his material progress. The month of Ramadan has been designed to maintain a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of human life. This month is meant to maximize the direct acts of ‘ibadah and to minimize the pure mundane activities, so that one may accelerate his spiritual progress to make up the distance and to repair the spiritual loss one may have sufferred through his deep involvement in the mundane activities during the year. The days of Ramadan are designed to keep fast which is an act of ‘ibadah for the whole day, and depriving oneself from any material food for many hours, it lessens the bad spiritual effects, if any, of the material pleasures. The nights of Ramadan, on the other hand are spent in offering Tarawih and waking up for Tahajjud and suhur, reducing the time of one’s sleep much less than in the normal age. Moreover, apart from the prescribed acts of worship, one is supposed to offer as much optional (nafl) ‘ibadah in this month as he can. In this way the level of one’s spiritual activities in this month is raised up much higher than in other days of the year.

This philosophy of the month of Ramadan makes it clear that this month should be devoted to the direct acts of worship as far as possible. That is why the reward of the virtuous acts in this month has been multiplied. This is to encourage the Muslims to the maximum possible acts of ‘Ibadah.

THE MERITS OF RAMADAN

The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has mentioned the merits of Ramadan in a large number of ahadith. Some of them are reproduced here:

Salman, the Persian (radhiyallahu anhu) has reported the following: “The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) addressed us on the last day of Sha’ban wherein he said:

“O men!, a great, blessed month has cast its shadow upon you. It is a month which contains a night far better than one thousand months, a month Allah has made it obligatory to fast therein and made it commendable to stand up praying in its nights. If someone seeks Allah’s nearness by offering an optional act of worship in this month, it will be as rewarding as to offer an obligatory act of worship in this month, it will carry as much reward as the reward of performing seventy obligatory acts of worship in other days. It is the month of patience and the reward of patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy, a month in which the provision for a believer is increased. If someone provides another person with food to make iftar (terminate one’s fast by eating or drinking something) it will cause forgiveness to his sins and freeing his necks from hell and he will be awarded the same thawab as the fasting person will be rewarded for his fast, without decreasing his own thawab.

The Companions of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “O Messenger of Allah, everyone of us does not have enough food to offer for iftar to another fasting person”. The Holy Prophet said – “This Thawab will also be given to a person who offers to a fasting person one date or a drink of water or a little milk for his iftar. And this is a month the first part of which is mercy from Allah, the middle of which is the forgiveness from Allah and the last part of which is liberation from hell. If someone relaxes the burden of work from his slave in this month, Allah will forgive him his sins and will free him from the Fire. In this month you should do four acts frequently. Two acts are such that you will please your Lord through them and two are such that you can never claim to be need-free of them. As for the two acts you please Allah through them, they are: to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to seek forgiveness from Allah. And the two acts you can never be need-free of them are: to pray Allah to give you Jannah (the Paradise) and to seek refuge to Allah from the Fire. And if someone serves a drink to a fasting person. Allah will make him have such a drink from my canal (the Kauthar) that he will never get thirsty after it until he enters the Jannah“. 

This hadith gives us a detailed account of the peculiar merits of the month of Ramadan and of what we should try to do in it. The upshot of the hadith is that one should not restrict himself to fasting in this month; rather he should maximise the number of his virtuous acts and take this opportunity to seek forgiveness for his sins and to secure as much thawab as he can, by offering the nafl acts of worship including charitable acts.

In another hadith, reported by Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said:

My Ummah has been given characteristic honours in the month of Ramadan which have not been given to any other ummah before.

1. The smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk

2. fishes (in the waters) keep praying Allah to forgive the fasting persons until they make iftar.

3. In every day of Ramadan, Allah decorates the Jannah and addresses it saying, “It is not too far that my righteous servants shall throw away the burdens (of the worldly life) and shall proceed towards you”.

4. The rebellious satans are shackled in this month, and they cannot do in it what they do in other days (i.e. intigating men and women to commit sins).

5. In the last night of this month, they (the fasting persons) are granted amnesty.

In a hadith narrated by ‘Ubadah bin Samit (radhiyallahu anhu) the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has been reported to have said:

Ramadan has come to you. It is the month of blessing in which Allah envelops you (with His kindness). He makes His mercy descend upon you, He forgives your sins and accepts your prayers. Allah witnesses you when you race with one another (in virtuous deeds) in this month and becomes proud of you before His angels. Therefore, show Allah the best of deeds from your side, because unfortunate is that person who deprives himself from Allah’s mercy in this month.

These ahadith are sufficient to explain the great merits Allah has invested this month with.

HOW TO SPEND RAMADAN

The month of Ramadan is the season of divine blessings. It is the month of purification. It is meant for annual renovation of the inner spiritual qualities. It is a golden opportunity for every Muslim to strengthen his ‘Iman, to purify his heart and soul and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.

This month invites a Muslim to minimize his other mundane involvements and maximize the acts of worship. One should plan his schedule for this month, before-hand, so as to spare maximum time for ‘ibadah.

Here is a brief list of the acts which should be carried oit in Ramadan with due care:

1. To offer every prayer in jama’ah in masjid.

2. To rise up a little earlier than the exact time of suhoor and to offer the salah of tahajjud. There is no prescribed number of the Tahajjud prayer. Yet, it is better to pray 8 Rak’at.

3. To offer the nafl prayers of Ishraq (two rak’at after sunrise) Duha (Four rak’at which may be performed at anytime after Ishraq before noon)  and Awwabin (six rak’at after maghrib)

4. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an. No specific limit is prescribed. But one should recite as much of it as he can.

5. Dhikr or Tasbeeh, specially the following recitations:

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Apart from reciting these words, one hundred times each, at a particular time, they may also be continued frequently throughout the day, even if one is engaged in some light work, when walking and when in bed.

6. Prayers and supplications: No particular prayer is prescribed. One can pray for everything he needs both in this world and in the Hereafter. However, the supplications of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) are so comphrehensive that they encompass all that a Muslim can need in his life and after his death. It is, therefore, much advisable to pray Allah Almighty in the prophetic words used by the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

There are several books where these prophetic supplications have been compiled. Here is the name of two books which should be kept by every Muslim in his home and be used for praying daily:

1. Al-Hisnul Hasin by ‘Allamah al-Jazri

2. Munajaat-e-Maqbool by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

7. Sadaqah (charity): Apart from paying zakah, which is obligatory, one should also pay optional sadaqah in Ramadan according to his best ability. It is reported in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to pay special attention in Ramadan to look after the poor and to help them financially. Therefore, a Muslim should give as much money in sadaqah as he can afford.

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IN RAMADAN

All sinful acts should be avoided completely during the month of Ramadan. Although the sinful acts are totally prohibited in shariah, whether in Ramadan or at any other time, but their prohibition becomes more severe in this month. It is evident that every Muslim avoids certain lawful acts, like eating and drinking, during the fasts. If he continues to commit sins in Ramadan, it will be a mockery to avoid lawful things and yet to be engaged in unlawful acts never allowed in the shariah. Thus, the abstinence from sins becomes all the more necessary in this month.

Specially the following acts should be avoided totally:

(1) Telling a lie

(2) Gheebah or backbiting i.e. condemnation of a person in his absence.

(3) Quarelling

(The Holy Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam has particularly forbidden from it when one is in the state of fasting. He has directed us that, if someone wants to quarrel in Ramadan, we should tell him that we are fasting, hence we are not prepared to indulge in any quarrel.)

(4) eating unlawful things.

(5) earning through unlawful means.

(6) Any act which may harm a person without a valid cause.

(7) Burdening one’s servants or employees with a toilsome job beyond their ability, without providing them facilities to carry it out.

In short, one should try his best to refrain from all kinds of sins, and protect his eyes, ears, tongue and all the other organs from indulging in an unlawful activity.

Once a Muslim spends the month of Ramadan in this way, he will Insha Allah, find himself equipped with a spiritual strength which will facilitate for him to conduct a good Islamic life in accordance with the pleasure of Allah.

RULES OF FASTING

Fasting in the days of Ramadan is obligatory (Fardh) on every Muslim. The one who does not believe it to be obligatory is not a Muslim, and the one who, without a valid excuse, does not fast in a day of Ramadan is a sinner.

“Fast” means “to refrain from eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse throughout the day, right from break of the dawn upto sunset, with a clear intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah.” If somebody refrains from food, drink and sex for any reason other than seeking the pleasure of Allah, it cannot be called a “fast” in the terminology of the shariah. It is thus necessary that there should be an intention which is called the “Niyyah”.

For the fasts of Ramadan, it is advisable that the “niyyah” be made in the night i.e. before the commencement of the fast. However, if a person had no intention of keeping fast before dawn, he can also make “niyyah” in the morning at any time before midday i.e.  about 1 1/2 hours before zawal (noon). But this rule is applicable only for the fast of Ramadan and for the Nafl (optional) fasts. As for the fasts of qada’ it is always necessary to make niyyah before dawn.

Since the niyyah means intention, it is an act performed by one’s heart. It need not be pronounced in words. However, it is not permissible to express this intention in spoken words, but those who take it as ‘necessary’ to pronounce the words of ‘Niyyah’ are not correct.

Acts nullifying the fast

Acts nullifying the fast are of two kinds. In the first place there are some acts which not only nullify the fast, but also make one liable to both qada’ and kaffarah. The number of these acts is only three, namely:

(a) Eating something.
(b) Drinking something
(c) Having sexual intercourse.

These three acts are liable to kaffarah when they are committed deliberately after one has started a fast, provided that the person committed them knows that they render the fast broken.

In such cases, both qada and kaffarah are obligatory on him. Qada’ means to keep another fast in lieu of the broken one. And kaffarah means to perform an act to expiate the sin of having broken the fast.

Kaffarah may be given in the following three ways respectively:

(a) Freeing a slave.

(b)
Fasting for two months constantly.

(c) Giving food to sixty persons.

Since slavery has come to an end in our days, only the latter two ways can be adopted today. But the person who has strength enough to fast for two months constantly has been bound to fast. He cannot adopt the third way, i.e. giving food to sixty persons.

In the second place there are some acts which nullify the fast, but do not make the relevant person liable to kaffarah. In such cases only qada’ is obligatory. These acts are:

(1) Eating or drinking unintentionally, for example, while making wudu, if a drop of water slips into the throat unintentionally, the fast stands broken, but only the qada’ would be enough to compensate for the mistake.

(2) Dropping medicine or anything else in the nose or the ear.

(3) Smoking

(4) Emission of semen while touching, kissing or carressing a women.

(5) Eating or drinking under the wrong impression that the dawn has not yet broken, or the sun has set, while otherwise was true.

(6) If someone eats or drinks while he does not remember that he is in the state of fasting, his fasting is not broken. He should continue with his fast after he remembers. However, if he eats or drinks after he remembers, his fast will stand broken, and if this eating or drinking was due to his wrong impression that his fast stood broken by his first eating or drinking, he will be liable to qada’ only.

Acts rendering the fast makrooh

The following acts do npt nullify the fast, but render it makrooh in the sense that they lessen the reward of the fast. Hence, it is not advisable to indulge in any of the following acts when one is in the state of fast:

(1) Chewing something or tasting it with the tongue without eating it.

(2) Using toothpaste or toothpowder. However, cleaning teeth with a miswak or a brush (without paste or powder) is allowed.

(3) Remaining in the state of Janabah major impurity for the whole day.

(4) Giving blood to anyone.

(5) Quarelling with someone or abusing him.

(6) Gheebah i.e. to abuse or to blame someone in his absence.

(7) Telling a lie.

The latter three acts are absolutely prohibited even when one is not in the state of fasting, but they become all the mpre prohibited when one keeps fast.

Acts which are allowed

The following acts are allowed in the state of fasting:

(1) Cleaning teeth using a miswak or a brush and ears with cotton swabs

(2) Applying oil or henna to the hair.

(3) Using eye-drops or kohl (kajal/surma)

(4) Wearing perfume or feeling it.

(5) Taking a shower.

(6) Vomiting unintentionally

(7) Entrance of smoke or dust into the throat unintentionally.

(8) Ejaculation while dreaming.

(9) Bleeding from the teeth unless the blood slips into the throat.

(10) Delaying the ghusl of janabah upto the sunrise.

Cases in which fasting is not obligatory

In the following cases it is allowed for the Muslim to avoid fasting in Ramadan and to compensate it by fasting on some other days:

(1) If a person suffers from a disease which has rendered him unable to fast, or a competent doctor has expressed his apprehension that fasting may increase the disease, he can avoid fasting until when it is clear that fasting is no more injurious to his health. But after recovery he is under an obligation to perform qada’ of all the fasts he has missed due to his sickness.

(2) If a women is pregnant, and it is seriously feared that fasting may harm her or her baby, she can postpone fasting in Ramadan and may fast after delivery as qada’.

(3) If a women breast-feeds her baby, and it is seriously feared that, in case she fasts, she cannot feed her baby or her fasting may harm her or her baby, she can avoid fasting in Ramadan and perform qada’.

Fasting in Journey

(4) The one who travels to a distance of atleast 48 miles from his hometown can also postpone fasting during his journey. But if he resolves to stay in a town for more than 14 days, he is not treated as a traveller  for this purpose and he is obligated to fast in the days or Ramadan. However, if he has not made up his mind to stay in a place for more than 14 days, and he is doubtful whether he will stay for 14 days or less than that, he can also avail of the concession, unless he decides to stay for the prescribed period, i.e. more than 14 days. If he remained uncertain about his stay but stayed at a place for more than 14 days in this state of uncertainity, he will remain entitled to this concession until he resolves positively to stay for another 15 days.

Although this concession is available to every traveller who leaves his hometown to a distance of atleast 48 miles, yet if the journey is comfortable and the fasting is not very burdensome on him, it is more than advisable for him to fast for two reasons. Firstly, because such a traveller gets more thawab (reward) in case he fasts during his journey, and secondly, because if he avoids fasting while on travel, he will have to fast after Ramadan which can be more difficult for him.

But if the journey is a difficult one, and it is much burdensome to fast in such a difficult journey, then, it is more advisable for him to avoid fasting, but if fasting seems to be nearly unbearable for him, it is not lawful to keep fast in such a journey.

If someone has started fasting, then he had to travel during the day, he cannot avail concession during that day, rather he will have to complete his fast unto sunset. However, if his journey continues on to the next day, he can benefit from the concession the next day.

Conversely, if someone was on  travel in the beginning of a day, and he did not keep fast for that reason and began to eat and drink but he reached his hometown during the day, he must avoid eating or drinking after reaching his hometown unto the sunset. This abstinence from eating and drinking will not be counted as a fast, and he will have to perform qada’ of that day also, but he is directed to abstain from eating and drinking only to honour that part of the day of Ramadan which he has passed in his hometown.

(5) Fasting is prohibited for women during their monthly periods (menstruation) and during partition (i.e. normal bleeding after child-birth), but they have to perform qada’ for the fasts they have missed in such a state.

(6) Those who are allowed a concession (of not fasting) in Ramadan can eat and drunk during the day, but they should honour the day or Ramadan and should not eat or drink as far as possible at a public place or before other Muslims who are in the state of fasting.

Those who can break their fasting during the day

It is a major sin to break the fast during the day without a valid excuse. It makes one liable to kaffarah as explained earlier. However, there are situations where it becomes lawful to break a fast. These situations are as under:

Concessions given to a sick person

(a) Where a person is attacked by a severe disease, and a competent doctor opines that, if he continues with his fast, it will bring a serious danger to his life. In such a situation breaking of the fast is not only allowed, but it is obligatory.

(b) A person feels such an extreme hunger or thirst that further abstinence from eating or drinking may endanger his life. In this situation also, breaking of the fast is obligatory.

(c) In any situation where refraining from eating or drinking may create a serious danger to one’s life, it becomes lawful to break the fast.

In all these cases, the person breaking the fast is not liable to kaffarah, but he has to perform qada’  whenever the danger is removed.

Suhoor or Sehri

“Suhoor” is the meal one takes in the last hours of the night before the commencement of a fast. It is a sunnah to have suhoor. If someone has no appetite at that time, it is advisable for him to have something light. Even by having a few sips of water the sunnah of suhoor can be fulfilled. Although the suhoor can be had anytime after midnight, but it is more advisable to have it in the last hour of the night immediately before the break of dawn.

The suhoor can be continued upto the break of dawn. But in order to be on the safe side, it is advisable to refrain from eating or drinking a few minutes earlier than the break of dawn. Eating or drinking after the dawn even for a single minute renders the fast void.

If one is doubtful whether the dawn has broken or not. He should refrain from eating or drinking. However, if he eats or drinks in this state of uncertainity, his fast is valid unless it is proven later that he had eaten or drunk after the break of dawn, in which case, he will have to observe another fast.

Iftar

Iftar means to conclude a fast after sunset by eating or drinking something. It is also a sunnah to make iftar soon after sunset, and it is makrooh to delay iftar after sunset without a valid excuse. However, if someone is doubtful whether the sun has set or not, he should not make iftar unless he is sure about it, because if it is proved at any time that he had made iftar even if half a minute earlier than the sunset actually took place on his horizon, his fast will be rendered nullified and void. Similarly, if the whether is cloudy, it is advisable to delay iftar for a few minutes after the time of sunset.

No particular meal is prescribed for iftar but it is advisable to make iftar using dates because the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) generally used dates for Iftar.

It is also sunnah to recite the following dua’ (prayer) while making iftar:

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O Allah! For you I have fasted, and in you I have believed and in You I have placed my trust and with Your provision I make my Iftar.

And after having recited the dua’ and drinking water, it is advisable to say,

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Thirst has gone; and veins have become wet and the reward (of the fast), God-Willing, been established.

FAST OF QADA’

Whoever has missed a fast of Ramadan is liable to compensate it with fasting after Ramadan. This fast is called ‘the fast of Qada’.

Fast of Qada’ may be observed any day during the year except for the following days:

(a) First of Shawwal (Eid al-Fitr)

(b) Tenth of Zul-Hijjah (Eid ul Adha)

(c) Eleventh, Twelfth and thirteenth of Zul-hijjah. On these days fasting is strictly prohibited, so the fast of Qada’ cannot be observed on these days.

Fast of Qada’ should be observed as soon as possible after one has missed a fast of Ramadan. Delaying the performance of Qada’ without a valid reason is not desirable. If someone has missed more than one fast, he can perform qada’  for all of them continously, or with intervals. But the fasts of kaffarah should necessarily be continuous – without any interval. Any intervals makes the previous fasts nullified for the purpose of kaffarah, and one has to begin the fasts all over again.

Unlike the fast of Ramadan and optional (Nafl) fasts, in the fast of Qada’ it is necessary to make niyyah before the dawn.

If a person has an obligation to keep a large number of the fasts of qada’, he should write down the exact number of the fasts due on him. He should also make a will that if he could not fast during his lifetime, his heirs should pay fidyah (redemption from obligation not carried out) from his left over property. The amount of fidyah for one fast is one kilo and six hundred and sixty two grams of wheat or its price. If the amount of fidyah can be paid from one-third property of a deceased person who has made a will to pay fidyah, the heirs are bound to pay it from his left over property. But if the deceased made no will to pay fidyah, the heirs are not bound to pay it from his property. Similarly, if the amount of fidyah exceeds one-third of the property left by the deceased, the heirs are not liable to pay the excess, unless they wish to do so by their free-will.

TARAWIH

Another important feature of the month of Ramadan is Tarawih. It is a special salah (prayer) consisting of 20 rak’ats which is performed immediately after ‘Isha prayer. This salah is Sunnah Mua’kkadah (repeatedly emphasized), and should not be missed. The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

“Allah has made fasting in Ramadan obligatory, and I have made the special prayer of Ramadan (i.e. Tarawih) a Sunnah.”

It is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah ‘alal kifayah to perform tarawih in jama’ah. It means that it is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah for the people of every mosque to arrange for the jama’at of the tarawih. If a person after being sure that the jama’ah of the tarawih, is being held in his mosque, performs the Tarawih in his home without jama’ah, the sunnah of the Tarawih is discharged, but he will be deprived of the great thawab (reward) of praying with the jama’ah. So, one should perform the Tarawih  in the mosque as far as possible.

It is also a Sunnah to complete the recitation of the whole Qur’an in Tarawih in Ramadan. It is thus advisable to request a hafiz (one who has memorized the Holy Qur’an by heart) to lead the prayer of Tarawih. However, paying any fee to the hafiz for this purpose is not allowed. If no such hafiz is available, the  Tarawih should be led by any Imam, and he can recite in it whatever Surahs of the Holy Qur’an he remembers.

As a general practice, the Holy Qur’an is completed in most of the mosques a few days before the end of Ramadan, on the 27th night or even earlier. In such a case, Tarawih should be continued till the last night of Ramadan with recitation of different surahs. Those who leave Tarawih after the completion of the Holy Qur’an are not correct, because Sunnah of the Tarawih remains unchanged unto the last night.

The time of Tarawih begins after the performance of the obligatory (Fard) prayers of ‘Isha. Therefore, the one who has not performed the Fard prayer of ‘Isha cannot join the prayer of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of ‘Isha first, then join the Tarawih. If he missed some rak’at of tarawih, he can complete it after witr. For example, a person came to the mosque when the Imam has performed four rak’at of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of ‘Isha first, then join the Jama’ah for Tarawih. If he has missed 4 or 6 rak’ats of Tarawih, he should also perform the witr prayer with the imam, then pray 4 or 6 rak’ats he has missed on his own, individually.

Laylatul Qadr

One of the most meritorious aspects of the month of Ramadan is that it contains Laylatul Qadr, the most blessed night of the year. It is the night which Allah Almighty chose to reveal the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an has mentioned that this night is better than one thousand months . It means that the worship performed in this night brings more rewards than the worship performed in one thousand months. The authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mention that, in this night, Allah Almighty directs His special mercy towards the people of earth, accepts the supplications made by His slaves and forgives a large number of people who repent and pray.

Laylatul Qadr falls in one of the last five odd nights of Ramadan i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th. According to the authentic sources, Laylatul Qadr falls in any one of these nights alternately. The purpose of this alternation is that one should spend all the five nights in worship and prayers, so that he may find Laylatul Qadr with certainty.

No special kind of worship is prescribed for Laylatul Qadr. The night should be spent by offering as much nafl prayers as one can offer, in the recitation of Holy Qur’an, in dhikr and tasbeeh, in supplications and in making sadaqah (charity).

It is not advisable in this night to hold ceremonies or meetings or delivering long lectures or illuminating the mosques. This is a night meant for developing a special connection with one’s Creator, for offering acts of worship in solitude and seclusion, for having constant and exclusive vontact with his Lord, who is the Lord of the universe, for minimizing the diversity of thoughts and actions and for devoting oneself to Allah Almighty with his heart and soul.

This purpose can seldom be achieved in congregations and assemblies. That is why the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) never tended to celebrate this night by lectures, meetings, illumination or even by offering prayers in jama’ah. Instead, he used to perform acts of worship individually, and in solitude.

Sayyidah ‘Aaysha (radhiyallahu anha) once asked the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as to what dua’ (supplication) she should recite in Laylatul Qadr. The Holy Prophet taught her the following dua’:

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Allah, you are surely most forgiving and You like forgiving. So, forgive me.

The best way to benefit from the blessings of this night is to keep awake for the whole night and spend it in worship and prayers. But people who cannot do so for any reason should spare atleast a considerable part of the night for  acts of worship. Atleast 8 rak’at should be prayed after midnight as tahajjud, some part from the Holy Qur’an should be recited and the supplications of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) should be offered. Dhikr or tasbeeh should be constantly recited, specially the follow dhikr has numerous merits:

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Even when one is not in the state of wudhu, the dhikr and the tasbeeh may be recited. Similarly, the dhikr may also be performed during other states, while walking or in bed.

I’TIKAF

Another unique form of worship in this month is i’tikaf in which a person gives up all his activities, abandons his attachments, associations and routines amd enters the mosque for a specific period.

Islam does not approve monasticism which is based upon the concept that Allah’s pleasure cannot be attained without abandoning all worldly activities for ever. The Holy Qur’an has expressly condemned this concept. Islam has, instead, emphasized on earning one’s livelihood through permissible means, on one’s mingling with his family members and on discharging all the obligations toward his wife, children, relative, neighbours and other acquantaints. But at the same time, as explained earlier in more detail, sometimes one’s deep involvement in these activities slows down his spiritual progress. In order to repair this loss, a Muslim is required to spare a time in which he separates himself from the normal routine of worldly activities and to sit in seclusion, devoting his heart and soul for pure spiritual acts. I’tikaf is a beautiful way to carry out this objective. In I’tikaf one leaves his home and family and undertakes to remain in the mosque for a limited period. This unique mode of worship can be done any time in the year. However, it has been declared as a Sunnah Mu’akkadah in the last ten days of Ramadan, because Ramadan is the most suitable time to carry out this worship. Moreover, the last ten days of Ramadan are the days in which Laylatul Qadr normally occurs and as explained earlier, its definite time is unknown. It may occur in any one of the odd nights of these days. When one is in the state of I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan, he can surely benefit from its infinite merits, because even if he is sleeping in the laylatul Qadr, while he is in the State of I’tikaf, it will be credited to his account as ‘worship’ in the laylatul Qadr, because each and every second in the state of i’tikaf is ‘ibadah, even if one is eating, drinking or sleeping. This extraordinary privilege cannot be attained in one’s home. That is why the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform i’tikaf every year in Ramadan.

The detailed injunctions and regulations of i’tikaf are explained in my book ‘The Rules of I’tikaf’ and it is not proper to reproduce all of them here. However, some fundamental rules of I’tikaf are summarized here:

Some Rules on I’tikaf

1. I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan is sunnah ‘alal kifayah. It means that in each mosque, atleast one person should sit in I’tikaf. If he does so, the requirement of Sunnah is fulfilled for the whole locality. However, of no person performs I’tikaf, the whole locality is responsible for not observing the sunnah. Therefore, the residents of the locality should make sure that some person is performing i’tikaf in their mosque. If no such person is available, they should prepare someone to do so.

2. The time of this i’tikaf comences immediately after the sunset of the twentieth day of Ramadan. Therefore, a person who wants to sit in i’tikaf, must enter the mosque before sunset on that day. So that the sunset takes places while he is in the mosque.

3. The main requirement for the valid I’tikaf is that one remains in the limits of the mosque throighout the period of I’tikaf and never comes out of it, except for the necessities like easing oneself by attending the call of nature.

4. The “limits of the mosque” for the purpose of I’tikaf are restricted to the places meant for offering salah and determined as such by the founders of the mosque or by its administration. Therefore, the places like the place of ablution, toilets etc, are not included in the “limits of a mosque” for the purpose of i’tikaf. Therefore, if a person enters these places without the aforesaid necessity, his i’tikaf shall terminate.

5. One can go out of the mosque during i’tikaf only for the following needs:

(i) to answer the call of nature

(ii) to make obligatory ghusl, i.e. in the state on impurity (janabah) (it should be remembered that it is not allowed during i’tikaf to go out of the mosque for having a non-obligatory bath, like the bath of Friday etc).

(iii) to bring food where no other person is available to bring it. In this case it is allowed either to bring food to the mosque or to have food elsewhere outside the mosque.

(iv) to offer the jumu’ah prayer, if no Jumu’ah prayer is offered in the same mosque in which he is sitting in the I’tikaf.

(v) to move to another mosque in the event of a serious danger to one’s life or property.

5. It is advisable that a person performing I’tikaf avoids all necessary activities and spends the most of his time in the acts of worship, like salah, recitation of the Holy Qur’an or making dhikr or tasbih. However, it is makruh to remain silent totally.

6. The following acts results in terminating the I’tikaf:

(i) To leave the mosque even for a moment without the aforesaid needs

(ii) To remain outside the mosque after fulfilling the aforesaid needs.

(iii) To have sexual intercourse or emission through some other intentional acts like kissing, cuddling etc. which are totally prohibited in I’tikaf.

(iv) Any act which breaks one’s fast, like eating, drinking etc. (Since fasting is a pre-condition for a valid masnun I’tikaf, the ‘itikaf is automatically terminated by breaking of the fast).

7. If the I’tikaf is terminated for any reason, it becomes obligatory on the relevant person that he makes qada’ of the I’tikaf for one day only (He need not to perform I’tikaf for ten days), for example, A started a masnun I’tikaf on 21st night of Ramadan with intention to sit in i’tikaf for ten days, but on the 25th of Ramadan he came out of the mosque mistakenly or unconsciously. His i’tikaf is thus terminated. Now, he has to make qada’ of one day only. He needs not to repeat the i’tikaf for ten days, nor for five days. He is required to make qada’ only for one day. Therefore, he can discharge this obligation by starting i’tikaf for one day, either in the same Ramadan or after Ramadan by keeping a nafl fast, or in the next Ramadan. If he elects to perform qada’ in the same Ramadan, he can sit in i’tikaf before the sunset of 25th Ramadan (in which his i’tikaf was terminated) and observe i’tikaf upto the sunset of 26th. His obligation will be discharged. Then, he is at liberty to either go home or to continue his i’tikaf as nafl (and not as sunnah or wajib).

[Taken from the Book: Islamic Months by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani]

Further Reading: Fiqh of Siyam [Fasting]

Refuting the Jaahil Atabek Shukurov’s Baatil Fatwa regarding Smoking not invalidating the Fast

By Majlisul Ulama

THE MUDHIL’S BAATIL SMOKING VIEW 

According to the U.K. Zindeeq, Faasiq, deviate Atabek Shukurov, who has  set himself up as an ‘authority’ of the Hanafi Math-hab,  smoking tobacco and using an inhaler do not  invalidate the fast. This jaahil has  disgorged some absolutely spurious and stupid arguments to bolster his corrupt view which is in  diametric conflict with  the Fatwa of all Four Math-habs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah

The Fuqaha of all Four Math-habs have unanimously  ruled that smoking breaks the fast. According to the Hanafi Math-hab, intentionally smoking  during Ramadhaan necessitates the obligations of Qadha as well as the 60 day Kaffaarah. Seeking to overturn the Ijma’ of the Four Math-habs, this modernist Zindeeq exhibits his jahaalat  which confirms that he is ignorant of the Shar’i concept of  Saum. He does not  know even the  proper meaning of Fasting. 

His article of jahl portraying his  jahl-e-murakkab (compound ignorance), is bereft of even a shred of  Shar’i evidence for his haraam view. He has miserably failed to  cite even a single text from any of  the Fuqaha of any of the Math-habs to bolster his  haraam fallacy structured  on the basis of corrupt personal opinion.  Fasting is an injunction of the Shariah

Fasting  has been ordained for Muslims since the era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).  Its definition  cannot be re-interpreted  on the basis of  the logic of a copro-jaahil whose brains are  operating within the constriction of the straightjacket of  western  modernity. In his article he has presented absolutely no Shar’i daleel for his haraam view. He abortively attempts to  prove his  baseless view in terms of  analogies which are fallacious.  His fallacies shall, Insha-Allah, be dissected and demolished  further on in this article. 

HANAFI MATH-HAB 

He who inhales medicine, then  perceives the taste of the smoke  in his throat, should make qadha of  the fast.” (As-Sulaimaaniyyah) 

If water drawn into the nostrils reaches the brains, then qadha is obligatory.” (Al-Khazaanah, narrating from Imaam Abu Hanifah – Rahmatullah alayh) (The same ruling will apply to smoke inhaled intentionally). 

If he  (intentionally)  causes smoke to enter into his throat, his fast is invalidated, regardless of  the type of smoke it may be. Thus, if he brings  the incense close to him and smells its smoke, hence causing it to enter into his throat whilst he  is aware of his fast, then his fast is broken. Whether   (it be the smoke of) oudh, ambar or anything besides these two because it is possible to  refrain from causing  the muftir from entering the stomach. (Muftir is something which invalidates the fast.) Numerous people are oblivious of this fact.”  (Haashiyatut Tahaawi ala Duraril Hukkaam) 

Or he intentionally  causes smoke to enter his stomach or his brain, then the fast is invalidated  because of the presence  of something which breaks the fast. This applies to the smoke of  substances other than ambar and oudh. And, in these two  Kaffaarah also becoming incumbent is not far-fetched. Likewise  (is the ruling) regarding  the latest type of smoking which has been innovated in this age. (i.e. smoking tobacco and cigarettes)” (Maraaqil Falaah)

On this basis, regarding the bid’ah which has been innovated  presently—when it is smoked, Kaffaarah becomes obligatory. We supplicate to Allah for forgiveness and protection.”  (Maraaqil Falaah Sharh Noorul Eedhaah) 

If he causes smoke to enter his throat, the fast is invalidated regardless of the type of smoke even if it is of oudh or ambar whilst he is aware (that he is fasting), for it is possible to  abstain from it.” (Durrul Mukhtaar) 

From this, the ruling pertaining to smoking (tobacco) is  known. In  a poem Ash-Shurumbulaali said in his Sharah  of Al-Wahbaaniyyah: “Its smoker during  the fast, there is no doubt in the fast  being invalidated.”  (Raddul Muhtaar)  

If he inhales medicine and perceives its taste in his throat, he  has to make qadha of the fast.”   (Binaayah) 

If he causes it to enter into his throat, his fast is invalid. Thus if  he inhales  its smoke and causes it to enter into his throat, his fast breaks.”   (Majma’ul Anhaar) 

MAALIKI MATH-HAB

The reaching of smoke in the throat by burning (something), e.g. oudh, similarly the  smoke from  a boiling pot of food, invalidate the fast just as  the vapour by smoking a pipe.”          (Manhul Jaleel Sharh Mukhtasar Khaleel) 

It is obligatory to abstain from whatever reaches the throat, be it a substance which dissolves or not.”   (Manhul Jaleel) 

“He who inhales smoke or anything besides it whilst fasting, verily the fast is invalidated, for verily, the nose is the upper passage-way reaching the throat. On him is qadha (of the invalidated fast). And if it is during Ramaadhan, then (also) he will be liable for azaab (punishment)  if he  deliberately does so.  …….Al-Lakhmi said: ‘Snuffing is prohibited. The snuffer is able to prevent  it reaching the throat. There is no difference  (of opinion) in the invalidation (of the fast).” 

“What  do you say regarding  a person who smokes during the day of Ramadhaan? Is Kaffaarah obligatory?”  

Answer:  “Yes, Kaffaara is obligatory  if  it reaches in  his stomach………In  Al Mukhtasar  (it  appears):  Regarding  the  smoke  which  (is  acquired)  by  smoking, it  invalidates (the  fast)  because  it  is  a  physical form.  It  reaches  the throat. In  fact sometimes it reaches even the stomach.”

“What  do  you  say  regarding    the  placement  of  smoke  in the  mouth  between  the  lower  lip  and  the  teeth  and  spitting out  the  saliva  tainted  with  it?  Will  the    fasting  person’s fast  be  invalidated,  and  will  Kaffaarah  be  incumbent  if this  was  do ne  intentionally  during  Ramadhaan valid reason?”

Answer:  Placement  of  smoke    in  this  manner  in without the  mouth is  in  conflict  with  the reality  of  fasting  which  is  to withhold  from  the  lusts  of  the  stomach  and  private  organs  from the  rise  of  Fajr  Saadiq  until  the  completion  of  sunset with  an  intention……Its taste  reaches  the  throat,  for  verily, the  brain  derives  enjoyment    from  it  just  as  the  enjoyment of  the  smoke  derived  by  sucking    a  pipe  or  by  snuffing with  it  from  the  nose,  or  (this  described in  the  question)  is  worse.  There  is  no  doubt  in  the  invalidation  of  the  fast and  the   obligation of  the  Greater  Kaffaarah  if  this  is  done intentionally  during  Ramadhaan  without  valid  reason. Fitr  (the  fast  breaking) is  more  confirmed  by it (i.e the smoking)  that  the fitr  resulting  from  oiling  the  head  and the  taste  reaching  the  throat  from  the  pores,  and  (more confirmed)  that  inhaling  the  vapours  from  a  (boiling)  pot (of  food).  This  is  well known  to  the  masses. When  they hear  that someone  saying  that  the  fast  is  not  broken  or that  he  hesitates  in  saying  this  (i.e.  that  the  fast  is  broken), then  they  are    surprised  by  it,  and  they  attribute  such  a statement  and hesitation  to  ignorance  and little  awareness (of  reality).   (Such  as  the  ignorance  of  this  copro-jaahil, Atabek)……… Therefore,  how  is  it  possible  to  aver  that  it does  not  invalidate  the  fast.  Or  to  hesitate  (in  saying it breaks the  fast)?

Abdul  Haqq  has  narrated  in  Tahzeebut  Taalib  from  As Sulamaaniyyah: ‘He  who  inhales medicine  and  perceives its  taste  in  his  throat,  then  most  certainly  his  fast  is broken…….They  (the  Fuqaha)  have  said  that  one  who inhales  vapour  from  a  pot  of  food,  very  his  fast  is  broken, for  verily,  the  vapours  of  food  have  a  physical  form  which strengthens  the  brain.  Thus,  the  resultant  acquisition  is like  that  acquired  by  eating.  It is  not hidden  that  the  mouth is  the  nearer  to  the  throat  than  the  nose  and  the  pores  of the head, and it (the  mouth) is wider than  both………” (Fathul  Ulal  Maalik fil Fataawa  ala  Mathhabil  Imaamil Maalik)

When the vapour of  a  pot of  food reaches  the throat, the fast  is  invalidated  and  qadhaa  is  incumbent.  From  this (i.e. the  same  ruling  applies)  is  the  vapours  of  smoking with a reed (or pipe).

When  the  vapour  of food) reaches bukhoor or  the  vapour  of  a  pot  (of the throat,  then  qadha  become  obligatory because  both  of  them  are  is  physical  body  formed.” (Bulghatis  Saalik li Aqrabal  Masaalik)

Vapours arising from lighting a pipe, and similarly the vapour of a pot—when it reaches the throat, qadha is compulsory. And from this is also with a pipe, etc., for verily, it reaches the throat. In fact (it reaches) the stomach.” (Haashiyah Ad-Dusooqi ala Sharhil Kabeer)  

SHAAFI’ MATH-HAB 

In Baijurmi: The smoking which has now developed, which is called At-tatun,-May Allah curse the one who has initiated it – verily it is of the evil innovations. Our Shaikh Az-Ziyaadi used to  issue fatwa in the beginning that the fast does not break because at that time he was not aware of its reality. However, when he saw its effect from the pipe with which it is smoked, then he retracted (his earlier view) and issued fatwa that it breaks the fast.”     (I’aanatut Taalibeen) 

And from it (i.e. the things which invalidate the fast) is the popular kind of smoking.”   (Nihaayatuz Zain) 

But, smoking tobacco is excluded (from the things which do not break the fast), for verily, from it physical form is acquired.”   (Bushral Kareem) 

The popular smoking invalidates the fast just as the smoke of a wick.” (Tuhfatul Habeeb ala Sharhil Khateeb)

If the vapour is from the popular smoking of this time, then it breaks the fast.”       (Futuhaarul Wahhaab)  

HAMBALI MATH-HAB 

He who swallows smoke intentionally, his fast is  invalid.”  (Mataalib Ulun Nuha fi Sharhi Ghaayatil Muntaha) 

He who swallows smoke intentionally, his fast is invalid.”         (Kashful Qinaa’ ala Matnil Iqnaa’) 

In the Kitaab, Al-Mausooatil Fiqhiyyah, the following is mentioned:  “The Fuqaha are unanimous that the popular smoking during fasting breaks the fast because it is among the mufttariyaat (the things which break the fast).” 

As his basis for his fallacy, Atabek citing from Hanafi texts, says:     

The red box states that dust particles, smoke, the taste of remedies/medicines and the smell of perfume do not break the fast. This evidence can also be found in the other  authoritative  works  of  the  Hanafis  such  as  Bahe ur Taiq, An Nahr, Fath al Qadir and Wilayah.

It  is  also  to  be  found  in  a large  number  of  Hanafi  texts that  using  a  steam  room  whilst  fasting  does  not  break your  fast.  In  a  steam  room  you  are  breathing  in  water vapour  which also potentially  enters  your oesophagus (food),  with  a  much  larger  volume  or  ‘dose’  of  water  than is given by  an inhaler  (albeit not  pressurized).

The  abovementioned  trash  is  the  only  ‘daleel’  which Atabek  has managed  to  hallucinate  for  his fallacious  view that smoking does  not  break the fast.

Either  he  has  deliberately  and  conveniently  ignored  the explicit  texts  stating  the  breaking  of  the  fast  with intentional  smoke  inhalation  to  be  found  in  the  large number  of  Hanafi  texts,  or  he  is  unable  to  understand what  is  written  in  these  authoritative  kutub  of  the  Ahnaaf and  of  the  other  Math-habs.  The  very  same  kutub  from which  he  has  cited  the  above,  clearly  state  that  intentional smoke  inhalation  breaks  the  fast.  Refer  to  the  references from  the Hanafi texts quoted above.

There  is  absolutely  nothing  in  the  “red  box”  to  bolster  the trash  disgorged  by  Atabek.  Since  he  is  not  all  that  stupid to  have  understood  the  reality  in  the  “red  box”,  he conveniently  refrains from  presenting  the  translation  of the text from Al-Muheetul Burhaani. The  text  states:

When dust, smoke, the taste of medicine and the fragrance of perfume is perceived in the throat, it does not invalidate his fast because abstention from it is not possible.” 

This refers to the taste, dust, etc. entering the throat involuntarily and of its own accord, not by an act of the Saa-im (Fasting person). This distinguishing factor shall be explained further on. 

Explaining the issue which appears to be an unfathomable conundrum for the deviate Atabek, the Kutub of the Ahnaaf state: 

“It is said in  Al-Burhaan: His fast does not break if dust enters his throat or the effect of the taste of medicine, because it is not possible to abstain from it as is mentioned in Al-Fath. I say that from this stems that when it is  possible to abstain from dust which enters the throat, then the fast will be invalidated if he does so (i.e. if he intentionally  casues it to enter into his throat). Az-Zaylai said: ‘When dust or a fly enters his throat (i.e. of its own accord) whilst he is aware of his fast, his fast does not break because he is unable to prevent this. Thus it resembles smoke (which enters of its own accord, not intentionally inhaled). This (ruling) is according to Istihsaan (application of discretion). However, according to Qiyaas the fast breaks because of a muftir reaching the stomach.  …The reason for (adopting) Istihsaan is the inability to prevent it, hence  it  is  like  the  moisture  which  remains  in  the  mouth after rinsing (the  mouth).

In Fathul  Qadeer it  is  mentioned:  “When  vapour  and  dust enter  the  throat  (of  their  own  accord),  the  fast  does  not break,  for  verily,  abstention  from  their  entry  is  not possible from  the nose  when the  mouth is closed.”  I say: On  this  basis  when  he  causes  smoke  to  enter  into  his throat  regardless  of  the  type  of  smoke  whilst  he  is  aware  of  his  fast,  then  his fast  breaks. Whether  it  be  (the  smoke) of  oudh or  ambar  or  anything  else  because  of  the possibility  of  abstention from  causing a muftir to enter in the stomach. Numerous people are  oblivious  of  this.”

The  deviate  Atabek  conveniently  or  ignorantly  overlooks this  categorical  statement  in Haashiyah  Shurumbulaalui as well  as in all other Hanafi texts.

In Maraaqil  Falaah,  it  is  mentioned:  “…Or  if  he  causes smoke  to  enter  into  his  stomach  or  brain  by  his  intentional action  (then  the  fast  will  break)  because  of  the  presence of fitr………The  same  (ruling  applies) to  the  smoking  (i.e. of  tobacco) which has  been innovated in this  era.”

In Raddul  Muhtaar it  appears  as  follows:  “(The  fast  does not  break  if)  dust  or  a  fly  or  smoke  enters  the  stomach whilst he is  aware of  his fast because of the impossibility to  abstain  from  it.  This  is  in  terms  of Istihsaan. The benefit  (i.e. the  logical  conclusion)  of  this  is  that  if  he causes  smoke  to  enter  his  throat  whilst  he  is  aware  of  his fast,  the  fast  will  break  regardless  of  the whether  it  is  oudh or ambar type  of  smoke   because  of  the  possibility  of abstaining from  it.  Therefore be aware (and ponder) over this as Ash-Shrumbulaali has elaborated.”

Elaborating  on  the  entry  of  dust  or  a  fly  or  smoke  which does not invalidate the fast, it is said in Raddul  Muhtaar:i.e.  It  (the  dust,  fly  or  smoke) with the entered  of  its  own  accord action of the fasting person.

From all the  Hanafi  texts,  it  is  abundantly  clear  that  the Fuqaha  have  made  a  clear  and  categorical  distinction between   involuntary and voluntary inhalation  of  smoke. All  the  Hanafi  kutub  explicitly  mention  that  while involuntary inhalation  of  smoke  does  not  invalidate  the fast,  voluntary  and  intentional inhalation  does  invalidate the  fast.  The  deviate  has  utilized  the  ruling  applicable  to involuntary  inhalation  to  cigarette-smoking voluntary  and  intentional  inhalation  of  smoke   which  is  laden  with harmful  substances  such  as  tar,  nicotine,  etc.  which  end up as solid   formations inside the  body.

In  having  ignored  the  ruling  of  the  Fuqaha  pertaining  to voluntary  and  intentional  inhalation  of  smoke,  and  deceptively  and  stupidly  utilizing  the  ruling  of  involuntary  inhalation  for  extravasating  his  copro-fatwa of  baatil,  Atabek  has  committed  chicanery  and skulduggery.

All  the  Fuqaha  are  unanimous  in  proclaiming  the invalidation of  the Fast  if  the fasting person intentionally inhales smoke.

In  his  three-page  trash  article,  in  more  than  two  pages  he abortively  attempts  to  logically  ‘prove’  that  an  asthma inhaler  does  not  invalidate  the  fast.  His  stupid  ‘proofs’ towards  this  end  have  already  been  refuted  an demolished  in  the  aforegoing discussion.  Towards  the end  of  his  article  of ghutha he  arbitrarily,  without  making even  an  attempt  to  present  any  Shar’i  daleel,  claims  that smoking  cigarettes,  tobacco,  pipe  and  the  like does  not  break  the  fast.  Since  he  is  totally  bereft  of  Shar’i  dalaa’il for  his  haraam  excretion,  he  has  miserably  failed  in  his attempt.  It  is  difficult  to  believe  that  he  is  unaware  of  the Consensus  of  the  Fuqaha  on  this  issue,  namely,  mal’oon smoking  invalidates  the  fast.  Smoking  tobacco  is  not  an act  which  has  been  innovated  yesterday.  Muslims  have been  smoking  the  accursed  substances  for  several centuries,  having acquired the accursed practice from  the western kuffaar

As  explained  above,  the  Fuqaha  make  a  clear  distinction between  involuntary  inhalation  o f  smoke  and  intentional inhaling.  Whilst  the  former  does  not  break  the  fast,  the latter  does  invalidate  the  fast.  It  is  indeed  mind-boggling to  believe  that  the  intentional  inhalation  and  consumption of  a  physical  substance  with  all  its  poisonous,  harmful and  haraam  effects  does  not  render  the  fast  invalid.  The deviate jaahil treats  this  serious  issue  with  extreme insignificance.  Lacking  in  fear  for  Allah  Ta’ala  he  is prepared to destroy  the  Ramadhaan  Fasts of  innumerable stupid  Muslims  who  are  addicted  to the  shaitaani  practice of  smoking  in  the  style  of  the  inmates  of  Hell.  He  appears to  have  no  Imaani  idea  of  accountability  and  the assumption  of  the  burdens  of  the  sins  of  others  whom  he is satanically  misguiding.

Indeed  it  is  only  a  brain    deranged  and  destroyed  by the affliction  of RIJS  divinely  inflicted  on  the  followers  of shaitaan  that  fails  to  understand  that  the  intentional inhalation  of  clouds  of  poisonous  smoke  filled  with poisonous  tar,  nicotine,  etc.,  which  gather  and  block  the lungs,  arteries and  the  other    organs  of  the  body  do  not invalidate  the  Fast.  The  inhalation  of  tobacco  smoke which  travels  from  the  mouth  and  nose  down  the  throat into  the  lungs  and  other  organs,  including  the  stomach, causes  all  these  organs  to  rot  with  cancer.  The  throat  rots, the  lungs  rot,  the  heart  rots  the  liver  rots,  the  pancreas rots,  the  kidneys  rot  and  the  rest  of  the  body putrefies.  The smoke enters the brain  and causes it to also rot.

All  substances,  be  it inedible , which  are  intentionally ingested  and  which  reach  the  throat  or  the  brain  or  the stomach, nullify  the Fast. Only zindeeq juhala deny  this Shar’i  reality.  The  Fuqaha  state  that  even  ignoramuses wonder at  the jahl of the one who holds the  view that the intentional  ingestion  of  smoke  via  the  mouth break the fast.

The Fatwa of the Fuqaha, viz., smoking invalidates the Fast,  has not been designed  for deterring people from  this haraam poison as the deviate seeks to convey. The objective of the Fatwa is to save the  Ramadhaan Fasts of  people – stupid people – who may be misled by  moron Haatibil Lail Zindeeq so-called ‘scholars’ who are bereft of  valid Ilm of the Deen.

Laylatul Qadr – Its Origin & Virtues

[By Maulana Zakariyyah Kandhlawi (rahimahullah)]

Amongst the nights of Ramadan there is one called “Laylatul Qadr” a night that is noted for its great blessings. The Qur’an Kareem describes it as being greater in blessedness and spiritual virtue than a thousand months which in turn means that it is greater than eighty three years and four months.

Fortunate indeed is that person who attains the full blessings of this night by spending it in ‘ibaadah of Allah, because he has then attained reward for ‘ibaadah of eighty three years and four months and even more. Indeed the granting of this night to the faithful Muslim is a great favour.

THE ORIGIN

Regarding this night, in a Hadith reported by Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Durre Manthoor Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Laylatul Qadr was granted to my ummah and not to any other ummah before this“. Regarding the reason for the granting of Laylatul Qadr. various-reasons are mentioned. One reason, according to some Ahaadith is given thus: Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to look at the longer lives of the earlier people and was suddened when pondering over the much shorter lives of his own ummah. If his ummah had wished to compete with the people before them in the doing of righteous deeds, because of their shorter lives it would be impossible for them to either emulate or surpass them. To compensate for this difference in their life span, Allah in His infinite mercy granted them with this night of great blessing. This means that if any fortunate one of this ummah spends during his life time ten such nights in the worship of his maker, he would have gained the reward for ‘ibaadah of eight hundred and thirty years and even more. Another report states that: Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once related to the sahaabah the story of a very righteous man from among the Bani Israa’il who used to spend one thousand months in ibaadah. On hearing this, the sahaabah envied that person because they could not attain the same reward.
whereupon Allah granted tliem the Night of Power as a recompense. 

Still another report states that our Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) once mentioned the names of the fout most pious people from among the Bani Israa’il who each spent eighty years in Allah’s sincere service, worshipping Him, and not sinning in the least. They were Nabi Ayyub (alayhis salaam), Zakariyya (alayhis salaam), Hizqeel (alayhis salaam) and Yu’sha’ (alayhis salaam). The sahaabahs heard this with astonishment. Then Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) appeared and recited Surah Qadr, wherein the blessing of this night was revealed.

Apart from these reports, there are others too, explaining the origin of the Night of Power. This type of difference in narration arises because, after occurrence of several incidents only one ayat is revealed. That aayah then is relevant to anyone of the incidents that took place. But no matter which of them we accept, the important fact that remains is that Allah has granted the ummah of Prophet Muhammad this night. This is a great favour and gift of Allah. To devote yourself on this night is also a blessing from Allah. How worthy of envy are those Mashaa’ikh who say they did not miss the ‘ibaadah of one Laylatul Qadr since they became of age. Now, as to which night it is, here again approximately fifty different views of the ‘ulama are mentioned. It is not easy for me to enumerate them all. But the most accepted versions, as well as further discussions on this night shall follow in the ensuing paragraphs of this article. The numerous excellences of this night are mentioned in various books of Hadith, These will also be mentloned. For the reason that the Qur’an Majeed itself mentions this night, we shall commence with a short commentary on Surah Qadr. (The translations are from A. Yusuf Ali).

In the name of Allah the beneficient, the’Merciful”.
“We have indeed revealed this {message} in the Night of Power“. (Suratul Qadr: 1).

Reference here is made to the fact that on this special night, the Qur’an was sent down from AI Lowhul Mahfuz (The preserved Tablet) to the heavens (above the earth). Because a great book like Qur’an was revealed in this night is in itself sufficient to explain its excellence, needless to mention all other blessings and virtues which are included. In the very next verse by way of drawing and increasing our interest in the matter under discussion, a question is asked:

And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is“. (Suratul Qadr: 2).

In other words, the question asked here is: Have you any knowledge as to the greatness and the great importance of this night? Have you any knowledge as to the great favours and bounties that are placed in it? The next verse proceeds to enumerate someof that greatness:

The Night of Power is better than a thousand months” (Suratul Qadr: 3).

The true meaning here is that reward for spending this night in ‘ibadah is better and more than having spent one thousand months ‘ibadah, it is in fact more but as to how much more rewarding it is, we are not told here. )

Therein come down·the Angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission on every errand“. (Suratul Qadr: 4)

A fine explanation is given in this verse by Imaam Raazi (rahimahullah) Commenting on this verse he explains that when man first appeared on earth, created by Allah as His vicegerent on earth, the Malaa’ikah looked on him with scorn. When Allah informed them of His intention of placing man on earth, they even ventured to ask: “Will you place in this earth one who shall commit evil therein and shed blood?

Similarly, when his parents noted his original form as a mere drop of mani (sperm), they too looked upon it with scorn and resentment, so much so that they considered it as something which polluted clothing and had to be washed away. But later when Allah made that same despicable sperm into a fine form of man, they began to love and cherish him. So far have things now progressed that when on this Night of Power we see that same man worshipping Allah and adoring Him, those very same Malaa’ikah who had previously looked down on him with scorn, descend towards him, obviously repentant for the thoughts they had once harboured against him.

In this verse mention is made  “and the spirit“. Reference is clearly to Jibraeel (alayhis salaam). Commentators of the Qur’an have given various versions of this word. Let us look at some of them:

(a) The vast majority of the commentators are agreed that Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) is meant here, and according to Imaam Raazi (rahimahullah) this is the most correct meaning. Allah first makes mention of the Malaa’ikah and then because of Jibraeel’s (alayhis salaam) status among them, special mention is made of him.

(b) Some commentators hold the view that “Spirits” here means one angel of such extra ordinary gigantic proportion that before him heavens and earth appear as almost nothing (as a morsel).

(c) Another group of commentators opine that “Spirit” here means one such group of Malaa’ikah who never appear and only on this night are they seen by other Malaa’ikah.

(d) Some commentators.again believe that the “Spirit” here designates one such creation of Allah which although it partakes of food and drink, still is neither man nor angel.

(e) There is also a view that “Spirit” here refers to ‘Isaa (alayhis salaam) who on this night comes down with the Malaa’ikah to view the righteous deeds of this ummah.
(f) The last view we wish to mention here is that “Spirit” means Allah’s special mercy which comes in the wake of the angels descent. But already stated the first opinion is the most acceptable.

In this respect Imaam Bayhaqi (rahimahullah) reports a hadith by Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) wherein Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said, “On Laylatul Qadr Jibraeel (aIayhis salaam) comes down with a group of angels and make dua’ for mercy for every one whom they. find busy in ‘ibadah“. This same verse under discussion says,

” … By Allah’s permission on every errand…”

The Author of Mazhaahire Haq writes that on this night ages ago the Malaa’ikah were created on this night long ago the creation on Aadam (alayhis salaam) was begun as the matter from which he was created had been gathered; on this night trees were planted in Jannah and large number of Ahaadith bear witness to the fact that on this night dua’s are granted. Similary we read in the kitaab Durre Manthoor, that according to a Hadith it was on this night that ‘lsaa (alayhis salaam) was lifted up bodily into the heavens and also it was on this night that the towbah (repentance) of Bani Israa’il was accepted.

Peace be until the break of dawn” (Suratul Qadr: 5).

Yes, this is the very embodiment of peace. Throughout its hours the Malaa’ikah recite salaam upon faithful believers adoring their Lord. As one group descends another ascends as is explained in the Ahaadith. Another interpretation is that it is a night of complete safety from evil and mischief.

These blessings remain throughout the night until the break of dawn and are not confined to any specific haul. And now having noted a few virtues of this night as explained in the words of Allah, there is no further need to quote any Ahaadith. However, since many virtues have been in numerous Ahaadith we mention a few here.

HADITH NO.1

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) reports Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said. “Whoever slands in prayer and ‘ibaadah on the night of Power with sincere faith and with sincere hope of gaining reward. his previous sins are forgiven“. [Reported in At Targheeb from Bukhaari and Muslim].

COMMENTARY

In the above Hadith ‘standing’ refers to salaah as well as any other form of ‘ibaadah, as for example thikr, tilaawah etc. The phrase ‘ with sincere hope of gaining reward‘, means that one should be sincerely occupied with ‘ibaadah solely for the pleasure of Allah and to receive reward from Him. This should not be done for others to see or to deceive them. According to Khattaabi it means that one should have complete faith in the promise that any deed shall be rewarded and thus one must stand before Allah with earnestness and enthusiasm. Neither should one think of this ‘ibaadah as a burden, nor should there be any doubt about the reward which will be granted. After all it is a known fact that when one aims at a high goal and desire to have a great reward, while at the same time having complete certainty of receiving it, the burden of striving hard along an arduous path to attain that goal becomes easy. Similary the burden of standing for long hours becomes easy. This is the reason why those who had become spiritually elevated in Allah’s sight find it easy to remain in ‘ibaadah almost at all times.

It will be noted that the Hadith speaks about previous sins being forgiven. The ‘ulama‘ have said that this forgiveness are mentioned in the hadith above and other Ahaadith refers only to minor sins. Major sins can only be forgiven according to the Qur’an after sincere repentance with the vow and promise never to return to such sins again. This is the reason why the ‘ulama are unanimous that major sins are not forgiven except by sincere repentance. Hence whenever forgiveness of sins mentioned in the Ahaadith the ‘ulama specify it to be minor sins.

My late father (May Allah bless him and grant him light in his resting place) used to say that the word ‘minor’ has been omitted here for two reasons,

Firstly, he says a true muslim is one on whom major sins should not rest, because whenever a major sin has been commited, he will never rest or find peace until he has sincerely repented to Allah (begging) for forgiveness and promising not to do the same in future.

Secondly, my late father used to say, when such great and blessed days and nights come along, when a true muslim stands before Allah in prayer and adoration hoping to gain reward, it is a fact that the true muslim in his conscience should feel greatly grieved for previous sins. This grief over sins and the resolution not to return to such acts are the most important requirements of towbah. This means that on such days and nights the repentance for major sins is automatic. (leaving only minor sins to be forgiven). It is best however that when a night like Laylatul Qadr comes along. one who has committed major sins should first of all verbally repent with a heart full of sincere longing for forgiveness so that Allah in His infinite mercy may forgive all forms of sins. And when you do, remember me too in your dua’s.

HADITH NO.2

Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports: Once when Ramadan commenced, the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘A month has verily dawned over you wherein lies a night better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its blessings has indeed deprived of (almost) all good. And none is deprived or its good except he who is complelely unfortunate”’. [Reported by Ibn Majah].

COMMENTARY

Who can have doubt as to the misfortune of the person who deprives himself of the great good of Laylatul Qadr? (Who can doubt the misfortune of the one who misses all the bestowed favours? Indeed there are so many of us). There are those who during the course of their services and duties of employment have to stay awake throughout the year at night. What difficulty can there be for people like these, should they for the sake of gaining the reward of over eighty years lbaadah, stay awake at night for this month in the way of Allah’s service?

For them the task should not be too difficult, but, because of lack of Interest, there is no urge in the heart. If that was present. then not one night but a thousand nights in worshipping Allah would become exceedingly easy.

It is that urge and desire that we must create. After all there must have been some reason why Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had performed such lengthy salaah that his feet even became swollen. This he did despite having firmly believed the promises and glad tidings which Allah had given him. We also profess to be his followers. Those who really appreciated these opportunities of lbaadah did what was necessary and set an example to the ummah. They left no room for the critics to say. “Who could do it better or who is more capable of following.. these examples“. It is a matter of convincing the heart, that for these who desire doing things the most difficult task presents no hardship; This could only be achieved by remaining with a recognised Shaikh for spiritual guidance.

Let us look at the example of the following illustrious sons of Islam. One such man was ‘Umar ❤ (radhiyallahu anhu) who, having performed his Ishaa’ salaah used to return home and then remain in ‘salaah throughout the night until the athaan was heard for fajr. Then there is the example of the pious Khaleefa Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) who, after fasting the whole day (almost throughout the year) used to spend the whole night in salaah, apart from having a little sleep during part of the first third of the early night. It is well known about him that he used to recite the whole Qur’an during one Rak’ah. In the Ihya ‘Ulum Ad Deen by lmaam Ghazaali (rahimahullah). Abu Taalib Makki makes mention about forty men from among the taabi’i, who used to perform fajr salaah with the same wudhu with which they had performed their Ishaa’ salaah. This had been reported by many authentic narrators.

Shaddaad (radhiyallahu anhu) was one of the sahaabah who used to lie awake throughout the night turning from side to side until fajir. Then he used to say, “O Allah, the fear for the fire of Jahannam has driven away sleep from my eyes‘. Aswad bin Yazeed (radhiyallahu anhu) apart from sleeping a little between Maghrib and lshaa‘, used to remain in ‘ibaadah throughout the night during Ramadan. Now let us look at a man like Sa’id ibn Musayyib (radhiyallahu anhu) it is said that he used to perform lshaa‘ and fajr with the same wudhu for fifty years. Then there is the example of ‘Sila bin Ashyam (radhiyallahu anhu) who after spending a whole night in Allah’s worship, used to say at the break of day, “O Allah. I am not fit to beg of You Jannah but all I beseech from You now is that You save me from Jahannam“.

Qataadah (radhiyallahu anhu) was a man who used to finish the recitation of the Qur’an every three nights of Ramadan but during the latter ten nights he used to complete the whole Qur’an every night. About Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) it is well known that for forty years he performed Ishaa‘ and the following morning’s fajr1 with the same wudhu. To doubt or disbelieve is the denial of true historical facts. When his companions inquired of him as to where he had obtained the strength for that, he replied. “It is in answer to a special du’a’ which I made to Allah in the name of the blessedness of His special names“, He merely slept a little in the afternoons about which he said, “In the Hadith we are advised to do that“. In other words, even in the afternoon sleep he used to follow the sunnah. This same Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), while reciting the Qur’an used to cry so much that his neighbours used to feel pity for him. Once he wept the whole night, crying while reciting the following verse time and again:

Nay the Hour (of judgement) is the time promised for them (for their recompense) and that hour will be most grevious and bitter“. (Suratul Qamar: 46).

Ibrahim Ibn Ad’ham (rahimahullah) went so far not to sleep in Ramadan neither by night nor by day. Imaam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) used to recite the Qur’an about sixty times in his ‘salaah in the days and nights of Ramadan. Apart from these few there were countless others saintly souls who used to act diligently on the injunctions of the verse:

I have only created jinn and human that they may serve Me“. (Suratuth Thaariyaat: 56).

Nothing is difficult for those who have a will to practice. These are examples of those who have gone before. But today too there are many who with the same devotion, serve Allah and according to their own times turn night into day in the service of Allah. Even in these times of evil and iniquity there are those who in their saintly manner follow the example of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Leisure and comfort should not prevent one from deligent devotion. Nor are worldly errand obstacles.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah says, ‘O son of Aadam, spend your time in my service and I shall enrich you with independence and freedom from want. and I remove poverty from you. Otherwise I shall fill you with obligations and duties while your poverty and needs shall not disappear“. How true, and we see the truth of this daily.

(There are people who serve only Allah while having no apparent means of earning anything and yet they need nothing. On the other hand we see people striving hard to earn worldly things and necessities. They become so engaged in their task that no time is left for ‘ibaadah. Then too, inspite of spending all their time seeking material needs, they remain full of wordly desires, necessities and obligations).

Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “On the Night of Power Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) decends to the earth with the group of angels, praying for blessings on every servant of Allah they see standing in worship or sitting and celebrating Allah’s praises, Then on the day of ‘Eid. Allah boasts about them to the angels, “O angels, what is the reward of that employee who had fully completed his service?” They reply. ‘O our Sustainer, his reward should be given in full’. To this Allah replies; ‘O My angels, verily My servants. the males among them as well as the females have performed the obligatory duty upon them, thereafter they set forth to the ‘Eidgah raising their voices in prayer to Me, swear by My honour, by My Grace, by My High position of greatness, that I shall surely answer the prayer ofthose people”. Thereafter Allah says (addressing the people) “Return. certainly I have forgiven your sins and have exchanged your evil deeds with righteous ones”, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said “those people then return from the eidgaah in forgiven state“. [ Reported by Bayhaqi in Shua’bul lmaan].

COMMENTARY

In this Hadith it is clearly mentioned, that jibraeel (alayhis salaam) comes down with the angels. The author of Ghaaliyatul Mawaa’ithz quotes from the Ghunyah of Shaikh Abdul Qaadir jilaani (rahimahullah) that in a hadith reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) it is mentioned that jibraeel (alayhis salaam), after his descent commands the angels to proceed to the house of everyone busy with ibaadah, and to shake his hand, Thereupon the angels spead forth visiting every house whether big or small, whether in the jungle or on a ship wherein a believing worshipper resides, to shake his hand. However, certain houses are not entered. The house in which there is a dog or a pig. The house in which there is a person in state of janaabah, which has resulted from adultery or fornication, and a house wherein pictures of men and animals are displayed. How unfortunate it is that many Muslim houses do not have the angels entering simply because there are pictures of men and animals being displayed, solely for the sake of adding what appears to be a bit of adornment.

Only one picture may have been hunged by one careless member of the household and the whole house (dwelling) is completely deprived of blessings.

HADITH NO.4

Aa’ishah (radhiyalIaahu anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Seek Laylatul Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of the month of Ramadan“.
[Reported in Mishkaat]

COMMENTARY

We come to the question: “When is Laylatul Qadr? The above Hadith commands us to seek it among the last ten nights of Ramadan. According to the vast majority of authorities, the last ten nights commence on 21st night. Such is the case that whether the month of Ramadan consists of 29 days or 30 days, one should seek Laylatul Qadr on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. If the month is 29 days then too, these will be termed as the last ten (Akheer Asharah) Ibn Hazm has a different opinion, saying that the word Asharah as used in the Hadith means ten. As such the above calculation will only be correct where the month of Ramadan consists of thirty days. However, when there are only twenty nine days in the month (as often happens), the last ten days in the month will commence with the 29th day and the night being the 20th night. According to this calculation it will mean that the unevenly numbered nights will be the 20th, 22nd. 24th, 26th and 28th night. (With due respect to a greatly learned Aalim like Ibn Hazm, the majority of ‘ulama do not agree with him, the reason being that I’itikaaf is sunnah during the last ten days of Ramadan). All the ‘ulama are unanimous that when Rasulullah went into I’itikaaf in search of haq, he entered the Musjid to commence seclusion on the 21st night of Ramadan.

ADVICE

Though there is great possibility of Laylatul Qadr being on the odd nights from the 21st onwards, there does also exist the likelihood that it could fall during. the last ten nights. The best advice one can give here is that one should spend each night from the twentieth onwards in Ibaadah, so that one may be sure of having acquired the blessings of Laylatul Qadr. Ten or eleven nights is definitely not so difficult if one looks at the great reward that is granted.

HADITH NO.5

‘Ubaadah bin ‘Saamit (radhiyallahu anhu) said. ‘Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came out to inform us the true date of Laylatul Qadr. (Unfortunately at that time) an argument took place between two muslim men. whereupon he said, “I came out in order to inform you as to when Laylatul Qadr was, but because two people argued (the fixing of the correct date) was taken away. Perhaps that is better for you. So seek it among the ninth, seventh and fifth nights“. [Reported in Mishkaat].
COMMENTARY

Three important points are referred to in this Hadith. Firstly. there is mention of an argument which resulted in the knowledge of Laylatul Qadr being withheld from us. Arguments are always the cause of loss of blessings. Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) inquired of the companions, “Shall I inform you of some action that is better than ‘salaah, fasting and charity?” The companions replied. “Certainly” Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then said. “Maintaining peaceful and good relations amongst yourselves is most virtuous for verily arguments among yourselves eliminates faith“. This means that just as the razor removes hair from the head so does arguments amongst yourself remove faith.

This is indeed an illness among us. Even those among us who appear exceptionally religious and busy with their are victims of these arguments and strife. Firstly we should carefully study Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying, then check our conduct in which pride prevents us to submit towards natural conciliation.  Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has taught us: “To insult a muslim is the most despicable and obnoxious type of achievement“. We often go to such extent that when we cross words with muslims in arguments. we do not even care for a muslim’s or refrain from insults. In such cases no notice seems to be taken of the injunctions of Allah and His Messenger. The Holy Qur’an says:

Argue not among yourselves. otherwise your courage will go and your strength deport and be patient and persevering for Allah is with those who patiently persevere“. (Surah Anfaal: 46)

It is now the duty of those who always seek to injure and destroy the honour and dignity of others to sit back and think how much harm they have done to themselves. They should think how much they have through these despicable deeds, themselves become despicable in Allah’s sight and in the sight of those around them. The person who serves relationship with his brothers for more than three days and dies in this state will go straight to Jahannam. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that on every Monday and Thursday the actions of servants are brought before Allah. Then through His Mercy (as a result of certain pious deeds) forgiveness is granted except to the idolators. However, regarding any two people between whom an argument had taken place and friendship is cut off it shall be said “Leave their affair aside until such time that they become reconciled“.

Another Hadith states that when actions are presented before Allah. every Monday and Thursday. repentance is accepted from those who repent, and forgiveness is granted to those who seek pardon. As for those who had arguments. they are left as they are. Another Hadith further teaches us that on Shab e Bara’at (the night of the 15th Sha’baan) the mercy of Allah
is directed at all Allah’s creation and forgiveness is freely granted except for two types cf persons. One, a kaafir (disbeliever), and the one who harbours bad thoughts against others, in another Hadith it is stated, There are three kinds of people whose Salaah does not ascend one hand span above their heads for acceptance. Mentioned among these are the ones who argue among themselves.

In the above paragraphs I have digressed from the point under discussion. It was not my intention to mention all these Ahaadith on arguments. I merely did it to bring to our notice this great evil which we underestimate, so much so that even those whom we consider to be noble and righteous are guilty of it. To Allah is my plea, and He is the One we. seek assistance from. On the other hand, be informed that this fighting, use of harsh words and cutting oneself off from another, will only be regarded as a crime and evil in Islam, when done out of enmity and hatred over worldly matters. It is permissible to break off relations with somebody because of evil deeds or because of some religious matters (wherein he is in the wrong and blameable). Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) once quoted a saying of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to which his son said something, which outwardly appears as if he objected to it. The result was that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) never again spoke to that son for as long as he lived. There are numerous  similar instances reported of the sahaabah.

Often we too Cut off relations with people and claim that it is for the sake of the Deen. Allah as All-knowing, All-seeing and He alone knows the true state of affairs. He knows which relationships are broken off because of the Deen and which are cut off because of the hurt to our honour, pride and dignity.

The second point to which the Hadith under discussion draws attention is the fact that man should be satisfied and accept Allah’s ruling in all matters. For example, even though it seems that the loss of the knowledge as to when Laylatul Qadr actually falls, is a great loss of blessing, it has to be accepted because it is from Allah. For this reason Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) says, “It is better for us that way“. One should ponder over this, Allah is at all times merciful to His servants.

Even when someone is overtaken by a great calamity because of his own evil deeds. He needs only appeal to His Creator, admit his own weakness. and that same calamity becomes. the cause Of greater good. Nothing is impossible for Allah.

Our ‘ulama have mentioned several advantages in not knowing the proper time for Laylatul Qadr. Firstly, had we known the actual time for this blessed night, there would have been so many who would not have served Allah at all during the year or on other nights. They would only wait for the prescribed night in which to perform their ibaadah. As things are now. one has to stay awake and be in Ibaadah for quite a number of nights hoping that each night is perhaps the night. (This means more nights in Allah’s service and reward for the same).

Secondly, there are among us those who just do not seem to be able to avoid evil. How extremely dangerous and unfortunate for them wouid it be. when in spite of knowing that such and such night is Laylatul Qadr and then still spend it in sin and evil? Once Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on entering the musjid saw one of the sahaabah sleeping on one side. He said to Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) “Wake him up so that he can make wudhu“. This Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) did and then addressed the Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) thus asked ‘O Messenger of Allah, you are always first to hurry towards any good deed. Why did you not wake him up yourself? To this Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied. “I fear on his behalf that this man may refuse. and refusal to my command is kufr. If he refused your command. it would not be kufr (disbelief). Similarly Allah in His mercy does not approve that in spite of knowing which night is the real one, one should still spend it in sin and evil.

Thirdly, there are amongst some who find it possible to spend one, two or three nights in Ibaadah while we do not know which is the night of Power. Now say for arguments sake. we did not know which night Laylatul Qadr would be and inspite of that, for one reason or another, within or outside our control we allowed that night to go by without Ibaadah, it is an almost certain fact that thereafter for the rest of Ramadan. no other night would have been spent in Ibaadah.

Fourthly, every night spent in ibaadah in search of Laylatul Qadr is night for which a separate reward is granted.

Fifthly, We have read that Allah boasts to His angels about those believers who exert themselves in ibaadah during Ramadan. Now when they spend more nights in Allah’s worship, more such chances of boasting arise.

In spite of not knowing when it is the night of Laylatul Qadr and although they have only a vague idea about its fixed time, still they exert themselves to the utmost in Allah’s service night after night. If such is their exertion when they do not know then how more will they exert themselves whenit is known to them? .

There are sure to be advantages. Due to such blessings Allah often keeps certain things secret to Himself, as for example, the “Ismul A’zam” (the great name of Allah. whereby if we call upon Him, He answers). Similarly there is a special moment on the day of Jumu’ah when prayers are answered. This time too is not known with complete certainty. There are numerous other things which are included in this category. It is possible that because of the argument that took place the fixing of Laylatul Qadr during that Ramadan was caused to be forgotten. However because of the other benefits the knowledge of the fixed date was not revealed.

The third point to which attention is drawn is that Laylatul Qadr should be sought among the 9th, 7th and 5th. By reading these in conjunction with the.other Ahaadith. we come to know that this refers to the last ten nights of Ramadan, which nights are these? If we start from the 20th. Counting up then these three nights are the 25th. 27th and 29th. If, on the other hand we start counting from the 28th down, where Ramadan has 29 days, these nights .are the 21st, 23rd, and 25th. And in the case where the month has 30days it would be 22nd 24th and 26th.

From the above one can see how much uncertainty there is about the correct date. Among the learned ‘ulama there are approximately fifty different opinions. Because of this reason, some ‘ulama have said that Laylatul Qadr does not occur on one and the same night every year. If in an year it occurred on one night then the following year it occurred on another night. There are times when Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded the companions to search among a number of nights, whereas at other times again he used to fix a certain night.

Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that once during a conversation with the companions, mention was made of Laylatul Qadr. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) asked “What is the date today?” They replied, “The 22nd of Ramadhaan. The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Search for Laylatul Qadr in the night following this”. Abu.Tharr (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that he inquired of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whether Laylatul Qadr was only granted for the time of the duration of Rasulullah’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) life, or whether it continued to come after him. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “It continues until Qiyaamah“. I then inquired “In which section of Ramadan does it come? The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied. “Search for it in the first ten and in the last ten days“, Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) became busy with other work. I waited and finding another chance inquired, “In which section of those ten does Laylatul Qadr come? Upon this Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) became so angry with me as he had never been before or after, and he said, “If it had been Allah’s object to make it known, would He not have informed? Search for it among the last seven nights, and ask no more“. In another Hadith again Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have told one sahaabah that Laylatul Qadr was on 23rd night.

Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) related, “While sleeping once, somebody said to me in my dream. ‘Rise up, This is Laylatul Qadr’. I woke up and proceeded in haste to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. There I found him in salaah. That was the 23rd night“. According to other reports again the 24th is Laylatul Qadr. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “Whoever remains all nights of the year in lbaadah can find Laylatul Qadr“. (In other words the blessed night moves throughout the year and does not necessarily have to come in Ramadan only). Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) reports this view from Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) Durre Manthoor when this was mentioned to Ubay bin Kaab (radhiyallahu anhu) he said “Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) meant people will stay awake only on this night and become contented“. Thereafter he swore by Allah that Laylatul Qadr comes on 27th. This is also the view held by numerous sahaabah as well as tabi’ieen.

Among the Imaams, the well known opinion of Imaam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) is that Laylatul Qadr moves throughout the year while another view of this is that it moves about throughout the month of Ramadan. His famous student followers, Imam Muhammad and lmam Abu Yusuf. however, were of the opinion that this night is fixed on one special night which is unknown, during the Holy month. While the Shafi’i’s believe that it occurs probably on 21st. Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) and lmaam Maalik (rahimahullah) hold view that it comes only among the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, moving from year to year and is not fixed. But as for the vast majority of ‘ulama, their hope lies in Laylatul Qadr coming annually on 27th night.

Ibn Arabi (rahimahullah) says, “In my opinion the view of those who believe that Laylatul Qadr comes on various nights throughout the year is most correct, because twice have I seen it in Sha’baan once on the 15th and once on 19th and twice have I seen it in the middle ten nights of Ramadan, the 13th, and the 18th. And I have also seen it on every odd night of the last ten. For this reason I am certain that it could occur on any night of the year but comes mostly in Ramadan.”

Shah Waliullah (rahimahullah) of Delhi believed that Laylatul Qadr comes twice every year: (a) One Laylatul Qadr is that one on which Allah’s commands are revealed (to the angels). This is also the night on which the Holy Qur’an was sent down from the Al Lowhul Mahfuz to the heavens. This night does not come in Ramadan alone but moves and can come on any other night of the year. However. the night on which the Holy Qur’an was revealed fell in Ramadan and mostly falls during Ramadhaan. (b) The second Laylatul Qadr is the one of tremendous spiritual value. when angels descend in large numbers, while shayateens are held back and a time when prayers and ibaadah are accepted. This comes only in Ramadan during the ‘uneven’ nights of the last ten days. (This view of Shah Waliullah used to be most acceptable to my late father).

Anyway, whether there are two Laylatul Qadr’s or whether there is only one, the fact still remains that one has to search for it according to ones courage and ability. If not throughout the year, then in Ramadan. If that should prove difficult, then during the last ten days. When that too seems a bit too much to be expected, then only the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. When one has wasted these opportunities too, then by no means should the 27th be allowed to go by; If by AlIah’s blessings and your good fortune that is Laylatul Qadr, then in comparison all the prosperity and pleasures of the world would be meaningless. Thus, even though that may not be the much searched for night, then at least the reward for ibaadah is received.

The salaah of Maghrib and ‘Isha throughout the year should be performed with jama’ah; because if it is Laylatul Qadr the reward for both is so much more. It is a great blessing of Allah that when one endeavours for religious aims and cannot make it success, he is still rewarded for the effort. And inspite of this, there are those who do not leave a stone unturned in their services for Deen. On the contrary; in worldly affairs when one does not break even his efforts are also written off as a loss. Then too in this latter case numerous people spend their lime, efforts and wealth in worldly things that are fruitless and without purpose and do not hold any reward or consolation.

HADITH NO.6

‘Ubaadah bin Saamit (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that he asked Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about Laylatul Qadr. He replied “It is in Ramadan during the last ten days, on the unevenly numbered nights, either the 21st. 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th or the last night of the month of Ramadan. Whosoever stands in ibaadah on this night with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward his previous sins will be forgotten. Among the signs of this night is that it is a serene, quite, shining night, not hot, nor cold and (as if through the amount of spiritual light) the moon remains clear. without any rays. No stars are flung (at the shayaa’teen) on that night until the break of dawn. Another sign is that the sunrises without any radiant beams of light, appearing rather like the moon in its fullness. On that day Allah prohibits the shayaa’teen from rising up with the sun“. [Reported in Durr Manthoor]

COMMENTARY

Part of what has been mentioned in this Hadith has already been dealt with. Some signs are mentioned about the actual night; These signs are clear and need no further explanation. Apart from these signs, however, there are other signs too, as found in the Hadith and in the experience of those who had the fortune to encounter Laylatul Qadr. The sign that is, however, most common in the Hadith and generally witnessed is the rising of the sun ‘without any radiant beams of light’. The other signs besides this are not necessarily always found. One sahaabi, Ab’da bin abi Lubaabah (radhiyallahu anhu) says, “On the evening of the 27th, I tasted the water of the sea and it was sweet“. Ayoob bin Khaalid (rahimahullah) said. “When I once had to perform ghusl (bath) with sea water, then on tasting it found it sweet. This was on the 23rd night“. Some of the Mashaa-ikh wrote that on the evening of Laylatul Qadr everything prostrates on the ground then return to their positions. These are however things that are only shown to the extremely pious ones and are not seen by the ordinary person.

HADITH NO.7

Aa’isha (radhiyallahu anha) reports; “O Messenger of Allah, when I find myself in Laylatul Qadr, what shall I say?” The Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘Say a Allah Thou are One who pardons. Thou lovest to pardon, so grant me forgiveness“. [Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmizhi].

COMMENTARY

This is indeed  an all inclusive prayer, wherein one begs Allah in His infinite grace should forgive sins, What else would one require? Imaan Sufyaan Thawri (rahimahullah) used to say that to keep oneself busy on this night with dua‘ is better than any other forms of Ibaadah, Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says that one should not only remain busy with dua‘, but should also take part in all other forms of ‘ibaadah as well, such as the recitation of Qur’an, ‘salaah, dua‘, prescribed devotions etc. This latter opinion is considered correct and close to what Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said, as already mentioned in previous Ahaadith.