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Al-Siyam (Fasting)

The imposition of fasting, which means complete abstention from food and drink and sexual intercourse from sunrise until sunset during the month of Ramadan, is the third basic tenet of the Islamic religion. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Arabian calendar, which consists of twelve lunar months. Therefore, the Arabian lunar month is either twenty-nine or thirty days but never thirty-one days. Fasting in Ramadan, besides being a religious duty, is no doubt of great benefit as it trains one to be patient, wise, well disciplined and to share the feelings of others. Ramadan, traditionally held to be the month in which the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, received his first revelation and the month in which the Holy Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet, is considered particularly holy by Muslims.



Ramadan Checklist– a must read…By Imam Faisal Ahmed

Here are some tips to help you take advantage of this golden opportunity “Blessed Month of Ramadan.”

1. Intend to fast every day with Iman and pure intention seeking the reward from Allah alone.

“The Prophet peace be upon him said, "Whoever fasts in Ramadan with Iman and seeking reward (from Allah) his past sins will be forgiven". (Bukhari) “

2. Read the whole Qur'an at least once as the Prophet peace be upon him did.

3. Have Suhoor as the Prophet peace be upon him said, "Have Suhoor because it is blessed".

4. Make Du'a during the fast because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that three people's supplication is not rejected, one of them is the fasting person.

5. Make Dua before opening the fast. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The fasting person has a supplication

   that is answered when he opens his fast".

6. Give Sadaqah and be good to people. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people and

     he was most generous in Ramadan.

7. Avoid anything that diminishes the fast such as, lying, backbiting, cheating, getting angry. The Prophet peace be

    upon him said "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad

    words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink." [Bukhari]

8. Ask for forgiveness since this is the month Allah frees people from the fire.

9. Pray At-Tarawih until the Imam finishes the Witr prayer, for the Prophet peace be upon him said, "Whoever prays               with his  Imam until he goes(leaves) it’s written as if he prayed the whole night.

10. Feed the poor and invite others for Iftar. The Prophet peace be upon him said, "Whoever gives Iftar to someone fasting he will have the same reward without decreasing the reward of the person fasting".

11. Try harder the last ten nights especially the odd nights. The prophet would strive in Ramadan more than he would in any other month and more so in the last ten days. The best is to apply the Sunnah of Itikaf (to stay in the Masjid) these days or at least partial Itikaf in the odd nights.

12.  Say this Dua in the nights that Laylatul-Qadr is likely to fall on:

Allhumma innaka afuwun tuhibbul-afwa fa'fu anni   (O Allah you are Forgiving and love forgiveness so forgive me).



{Spiritual Thoughts and Commitments}

 

 


I have decided the Primary GOAL for this Ramadan to:

 

·        Be  Allah consciousness and Increase Taqwa

·        Build my character

·        Increase my spirituality

·        purify my soul

 

 

To improve my Salah (Prayers), I have decided to:

 

·        Be punctual for prayers

·        Avoid talking before Salah

·        Improve concentration

·        Increase my prostrations

To improve my relationship with Quran, I have decided to:

 

·        Read the whole Quran at least once (Tilawat)

·        Memorize a few Surahs (Aayaat)

·        Learn to recite the Quran correctly 

·        Understand & ponder on its meanings

 

 

I have decided to shun the following Munkar:

 

·        Telling lies

·        Speaking ill of others

·        Losing my temper

Vain talk

Fasting and Your Health…


 

Iftar:

This meal could include dates, following the Prophetic traditions. Dates will provide a refreshing burst of much-needed energy. Fruit juices will also have a similar, revitalizing effect. The meal should remain a meal and not become a feast!  Try to minimize the rich, fatty dishes that traditionally celebrate the fast.

 

Suhoor:

The pre-dawn meal should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is therefore particularly important to include slowly-digesting foods in the suhoor.

 

 

Healthy Food:

Complex carbohydrates are foods that will help release energy slowly during the long hours of fasting. Complex carbohydrates are found in grains and seeds, like barley, wheat, oats, millets, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, basmati rice, etc. Fiber-rich foods are also digested slowly and include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit, including apricots, prunes, figs, etc.


 

O Allah help me...

 

·       Control my eating and sleeping habits

·       Quit smoking

·       Not over eat

·       Eat healthier (prefer fruits & vegetables over fatty foods)

·       Exercise to keep fit



Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan


Most Muslims who fast Ramadan focus on the benefits and rewards of it. But in doing so, we often make mistakes that instead of adding to our experience actually detract from it. Mistakes that can make us commercialize Ramadan as so many other religions have commercialized their sacred days. Insha Allah the following serves as a reminder to myself first and to all Muslims. May Allah help us to spend our time wisely this Ramadan and help us to avoid these mistakes. Aameen!

1. Taking Ramadaan as a ritual

For many of us Ramadaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil….we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that's about all.

Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
'Jibreel said to me, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,' and I said, 'Aameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, 'Aameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,' and I said, 'Aameen.'' (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)

2. Too much stress on food and drink

For some people, the entire month of Ramadaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Quraan and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD. So much so that they turn the month of 'fasting' into the month of 'feasting'. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks.. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.

'…..and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance) ' [al-Araaf :31]

3. Spending all day cooking

Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quraan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!

4. Eating too much

Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to 'make up for the food missed.' However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air..' (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. saheeh by al-Albaani).

Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.

It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.

5. Sleeping all day

Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) 'sleeping away their fast'. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot 'bear' to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.

6. Wasting time

The month of Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month 'Ayyamum Ma'doodaat' (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allaah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subha an Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah by DISOBEYING him!

7. Fasting but not giving up evil

Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah.

'O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)' [al-Baqarah 2:183]

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.' (Bukhaari)

8. Skipping Suhoor (sehri)

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.'(Bukhaari, Muslim).
And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.' (Muslim)

9. Stopping Suhoor at 'Imsaak'

Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe 'Imsaak'.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bid’ah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah allows us to eat until dawn: 'and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)' [al-Baqarah 2:187]

And the Prophet (pbuh) said: '….eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes.'

This 'imsaak' which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
'Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.' (Muslim)

10. Not fasting if they missed Suhoor

Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is a kind of cowardice and love of ease. What is the big deal if you missed a few morsels of food? It's not like you will die. Remember, obedience to Allaah overcomes everything.

Saying the intention to fast 'out loud' or saying a specific dua to start fasting:

The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari'ah for us to say out loud, 'I intend to fast', 'I will fast tomorrow' or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever 'dua' you may see on some papers or Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid'ah.

11. Delaying opening fast

Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be 'on the safe side'. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to open the fast, which means opening the fast the moment the sun sets. Aa'ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to open the fast.' (Bukhaari, Muslim)


Inspite of the above Hadith being so clear, the Azaan in many of the mosques is given 5 minutes after sunset. You can check the newspaper everyday and see the exact time of sunset that is mentioned there.. You can also check it on the net and then check for yourself when the Azaan is given).

Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul (trust) on Allaah swt and break your fast exactly on time.

12. Eating continuously until the time for Maghrib is up

Some people put so much food in their plates when breaking their fast and continue eating, enjoying dessert, drinking tea, etc., until they miss Maghrib. That is obviously not right. The Sunnah of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, he would hasten to the prayer. Once you are done with the prayer, you can always go back and eat some more if you wish.

13. Missing the golden chance of having your Dua accepted

The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.' (al-Bayhaqi, saheeh by al-Albaani).

Instead of sitting down and making Dua at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it….Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Duas.

14. Fasting but not praying

The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.' (Muslim)

In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.

'Whoever does not pray 'Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.' (Bukhaari)

15. Fasting and not wearing Hijaab

Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.

16. Not fasting because of exams or work

Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shariah to not fast. You can do your studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do that during the day. Also remember that pleasing and obeying Allaah is much more important than 'good grades'. Besides, if you will fulfill your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allaah will make it easy for you and help you in everything you do.
'Whosoever fears Allah, He will appoint for him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect, Allaah is Sufficient for whosoever puts his trust in Him.' (Surah at-Talaaq 2-3)

17. Mixing fasting and dieting

DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allaah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.

18. Praying ONLY on the night of the 27th

Some people pray ONLY on the 27th to seek Lailat ul-Qadr, neglecting all other odd nights, although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: 'Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadaan.' (Bukhaari, Muslim).

19. Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid

Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid, buy before Ramadaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadaan to the max..

Aa'ishah (RA) said: 'When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.' (Bukhaari and Muslim).

20. Iftaar parties

Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish 'Iftaar parties' with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah and Taraweeh. Some even resort to music and dancing.

It's not too late to rectify ones mistake and do good for the sake of Allaah.
[15:49] Inform My servants that I am the Forgiver, Most Merciful.

ABOUT RAMAZAN....
In Ramadan Paradise opens its doors, Hell closes its and Satans are chained
Arfajah said "We were with `Utbah ibn Farqad while he was discussing Ramadan. A companion of the Prophet entered upon the scene. When `Utbah saw him, he became shy and stopped talking. The man [the companion] spoke about Ramadan, saying "I heard the Messenger of Allah say during Ramadan: "The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out : 'O you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain, until Ramadan is completed. [Ahmad and an-Nasa'i]
Fasting in Ramadan; a shield from Hell

The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : "When Allah created Paradise and Hell-fire, He sent Jibreel [Gabriel] to Paradise, saying: Look at it and at what I have prepared therein for its inhabitants. The Prophet (S) said: So he came to it and looked at it and at what Allah had prepared therein for its inhabitants. The Prophet (S) said: So he returned to Him and said: By your glory, no one hears of it without entering it. So He ordered that it be encompassed by forms of hardship, and He said: Return to it and look at what I have prepared therein for its inhabitants. The Prophet (S) said: So he returned to it and found that it was encompassed by forms of hardship. Then he returned to Him and said: By Your glory, I fear that no one will enter it. He said: Go to Hell-fire and look at it and what I have prepared therein for its inhabitants, and he found that it was in layers, one above the other. Then he returned to Him and said: By Your glory, no one who hears of it will enter it. So He ordered that it be encompassed by lusts [or desires]. Then He said: Return to it. And he returned to it and said: By Your glory, I am frightened that no one will escape from entering it. [at-Tirmithi and al-Hakim among others].

Therefore, when you know, O Dear Sister, that fasting subdues the desires and reduces their severity, and that it is these desires and lusts that lead to Hell Fire, then you will see how fasting comes between a fasting person and Hell Fire and you will rush to fast in Ramadan and after Ramadan in the best possible way.

Al-Qur'an rather talks about the reward of fasting and there are verses which general meaning infers that those who obey Allah will be saved from Hell, and fasting is a form of obeying Allah. We will leave the verses that talk about the reward to the section related to Paradise. However, the Ahadith of our beloved Prophet Mohammad, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, are clear in this regard;

Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face." [Bukhari and Muslim] Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : "Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire" [Ahmad, Sahih]

`Uthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : "Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like that between heavens and the earth". [at-Tirmithi and at-Tabarani, sahih]

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah's Messenger, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." [Bukhari]

The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : "When it is the first night of Ramadan the evil devils are chained. The gates of Fire are locked- not a single gate is opnened, and the gates of Paradise are opened- not a single gate is locked, and a caller calls out :'O seeker of good come forward, and O seeker of evil withhold, and there are many whom Allah frees from the Fire - and that is every night. [at-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Khuzaimah : Hasan]

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, climbed upon the mimbar (pulpit) and said: "Aameen [O Allah grant it], aameen, aameen". So it was said, "O Messenger of Allah, you climbed upon the mimbarand said : "aameen, aameen, aameen"? So he said :"Jibraa'eel, `alaihi assalam, came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have [his sins] forgiven and so enters Fire, then may Allah distance him, say aameen". So I said "aameen". [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad and al-Baihaqui : Sahih]

Jabir,radhiya Allahu `anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said :"In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted". [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih]

In the famous hadith of Mu`ath ... I said O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and keep me away from Hell-Fire. He said: you have asked me about a major matter, yet it easy for him for whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. You should ..., You should fast in Ramadan .... Then he (the Prophet) said : shall I not show you the gates of goodness ? Fasting is a shield ...[at-Tirmithi]

We pray to Allah to make for us this Ramadan a shield from Hell Fire.