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Ramadan Review 2013-1434

[This is a series of posts to chart how well I do with my Ramadan goals. Last week’s review is here.]

OMG – Ramadan is half way over!! How did this happen so fast?! Ugh, it’ll be gone before we know it! 😦 And worse, I’m not happy with the way that this week has gone. I’ve been on my praycation for most of it, and so I was hoping to really get ahead on a lot of things. Well, I haven’t. The only things I’ve done this week that I’m really proud of are to keep up with the exercise and the blogging. We went out for Iftar at my grandma’s on Sunday and went to Bab Ezzouar shopping centre yesterday, so I basically have no routine whatsoever at this point. I need routine. Routine is how I meet my goals. No routine = lazy Sarah. It’s not good. This is what my week has looked like with regards to my Ramadan goals:

Things I will do:

  1. Pray Taraweeh: 2/2 I’m now on my praycation, so this is as much as I could do.
  2. Read the whole Qur’an: 19/30 I am so not happy with this. I have basically read just one juz’ since Sunday. I’m glad that I was ahead on this, and I know that the last 4 Juz’ will be easy for me to read because I either know them, or am very familiar with them, so I would really like to finish the last 11 Juz’ this week. It’s definitely possible, I just have to get on with it.
  3. Pray 2 rakat before/after every prayer: 5/5 Alhamdulillah, for the few days I was praying this week, I had no problem doing this at all.
  4. Blog a minimum of 3 times a week: 3/3 YAY! I actually managed this one! Alhamdulillah, Inshallah I’ll keep it up.

Things I’d like to do:

  1. Revise at least 4 hizbs of Qur’an: 0/0 I did start on this one, but then I stopped. So I haven’t done anything on it.
  2. Exercise 3-4 times a week: 3/3  Alhamdulillah, this one’s going strong! 😀
  3. Say extra duas / adhkar along with my daily dhikr: 1/2 Unfortunately, I haven’t been all that great with this one. I’ve said my extra dua & adhkar about half the time, but I’ve also started to slip on my regular ones in the morning. I feel like I really need to clean up my act on this one. 😦
  4. Listen to Qur’an: 0/0 You know how I said I’d download some Qur’an last week? Yeah, still hasn’t happened.

Things I won’t do:

  1. Watch crappy TV (except The Biggest Loser): 7/7 Like last week, I’ve had no time to even consider doing this.
  2. Spend hours in the kitchen: 7/7 This one’s also going really well. Alhamdulillah our menu planning thing has really worked. 🙂
  3. Overeat: I’m a little unsure about this one as I haven’t been logging my food diary since I stopped fasting. Worse, I’m  eating quite a bit at night, but eating a meal in the day too.  :/

So for this week I need to focus on:

  • Reading the Qur’an. Inshallah I’d like to finish this week.
  • Revise one hizb. I’m really shooting for two, but I’m trying to be moderate.
  • Sort out my morning adhkar because it’s ridiculous that I’ve done so well for so long, and now it’s Ramadan I’m not saying them. Grrr.
  • Resume food diary, because stuffing myself is not Islamic.

I would still like to download the Qur’an to listen to it, but it’s not as much of a priority as the other things. What about you – how’s you’re week gone?

Ali-Imran, 133

Bargain Duas

Bargain Duas, Adhkar

Being as it is Ramadan and the Prophet (pbuh) really encouraged us to make dua (He said: “There are in the month of Ramadhan in every day and night those to whom Allah  grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication  which he can make and will be granted.” [Ahmad, Saheeh]), I’ve compiled a list of dua / adhkar that I want to make this month in addition to my usual ones. (I’m trying to keep my Ramadan goals going!) I’ve picked ones that I consider to be absolute bargains (I’m a shopper, shopping analogies work for me. Roll with it.), that is Duas / Adhkar that are short, easy and pack serious rewards. The ones I have picked are:

  1. Seek Forgiveness for Muslims, dead and alive: The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and believing women, Allah will write for him a good deed for each believing man and believing woman.” (Al-Albani declared it Hasan.) Ask forgiveness for believers alive today and you get 1.75 BILLION rewards instantly. If you pray for the living and the dead, then, allowing for exponential growth, I conservatively estimate around 3 Billion rewards. One dua: 3 billion rewards. See why it’s top of the list? 😉
  2. سبحان الله وبحمده Subhanallah wa bihamdih x 100 am & pm: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ[peace be upon him] said: ‘Whoever says subhan Allah wa bi hamdih (praise and glory be to Allah) 100 times, morning and evening, his sins will be erased even if they are like the foam on the sea.” (Bukhari & Muslim) And in another hadith he (pbuh) said “Whoever recites this one hundred times in the morning and in the evening will not be surpassed on the Day of Resurrection by anyone having done better than this except for someone who had recited it more.” (Bukhari) Need I say more?
  3. سبحان الله Subhanallah x 100: According to a hadith in Muslim, if a person says, “Subhan Allah (glory be to Allah),” 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away. (Muslim) Again, enough said.
  4. لا إله إلا الله، وحده لا شريك له، له الملك وله الحمد، وهو على كل شيء فدير La Ilaha Ila Allah, wahdau la sharika lahu, lahu almulk wa lahu alhamd, wa huwa ala kuli shayin qadir x 1o am: Abu Hurayrah narrated that the messenger (pbuh) said: “Allah will write one hundred hasanat for whoever says ‘There is no God but Allah alone, He has no partner. To Allah is possession of everything, and to Him all praise is due. He is Capable of all things.’ ten times in the morning, and forgive him one hundred sins. he will have the reward of freeing a slave and will be protected from Satan throughout the day unto dusk. Whoever says it in the evening will have the same reward.” (Ahmad, Ibn Baz declared it Hasan). I was doing this last Ramadan, but 100 times, and it was just too much to maintain after Ramadan – I had to sit down and concentrate to do it and that doesn’t work very well for me, long term. 😦

And that’s it! Nothing too complicated, nothing too difficult. Simple, easy and hugely beneficial Inshallah on the scales of the next life.

What extra dua / adhkar are you saying in Ramadan?

Ramadan Review 2013-1434

The first week of Ramadan is over and it feels like was an eternity. Alhamdulillah I don’t feel tired out or beat yet, I just can’t believe it’s only been one week! At the same time, I can’t believe that this is ¼ over. 😥 No likey. Last week I set myself some goals (and so did my friend!), and here I’d like to review them to see how I’m getting on and what needs to change and what needs to stay the same. Here goes:

Things I will do:

  1. Pray Taraweeh: 7/7 Alhamdulillah I’ve done this every night all week, and, because the mosques are reading one hizb a night and I’m doing 2, I’m actually ahead of them. This means that even when I have my praycation (seriously ❤ that word 😀 ) I’ll still be ahead. Booyah!
  2. Read the whole Qur’an: 14/30 I didn’t read any  Qur’an the first day, and then made up for it the next by reading 5 juz’      in one day. To be honest, I’ve done well with this because it’s easy for me to read the surahs that I know, but now that I’m in unchartered territories I’m talking it much slower – just the normal one juz’ per day. Alhamdulillah, I’ve still completed 14 Juz’, so I’m nearly half way there. Yay!
  3. Pray 2 rakat before/after every prayer: 4/5 Well I always do this for at least 4 prayers out of 5. Dhuhr, Asr and Maghrib (<– I thought this would be a challenge) are no problem, so it comes down to whether or not I pray Taraweeh immediately after Isha or delay it until before Fajr (I’m counting Qiyam in the last part of the night for Fajr, too). Either way, I need to sort this one out. From now on, even if I delay Taraweeh, I don’t take off my hijab after Isha until I’ve prayed 2 extra rakat, and I always leave Shaf’ & Witr until Fajr.
  4. Blog a minimum of 3 times a week: 1/3 (I’m counting last week’s ramadan plan post.) This I really need to pick up. I have 2 topics in mind, plus this post I’ll have three, but I have to write them within the next 24 hours and then I can schedule them for Friday and Sunday inshallah.

Things I’d like to do:

  1. Revise at least 4 hizbs of Qur’an: 0/0 Although I originally said that I’d do this after I’d finished reading the Qur’an, I’ve now changed my mind. I’m so ahead with my reading, and I’ve slowed down to a more manageable amount, so I have the time and focus to do this too Inshallah.
  2. Exercise 3-4 times a week: 3/3  I did this!!!! I’m soooo proud of myself for doing this Alhamdulillah. I work out for 25mins on the evenings when it’s my sister’s turn to do the washing up and that’s working for me so far. (Watching the Biggest Loser motivates me too 😉 .)
  3. Say extra duas / adhkar along with my daily dhikr: 0/0 I went through the dua app on my phone and picked out the ones I want to say, but I haven’t looked at it since. I need these on a list. Inshallah I’ve decided to put them together and publish them as a post. (NB: I have been doing my regular adhkar – it’s just the extras I keep forgetting.)
  4. Listen to Qur’an: 0/0 I haven’t even downloaded it to my phone ( I don’t like the reciter I have). Inshallah I’ll do this today.

Things I won’t do:

  1. Watch crappy TV (except The Biggest Loser – whilst stuffing my face): 7/7 I haven’t had time to watch anything else.
  2. Spend hours in the kitchen: 7/7      Alhamdulillah this one’s been easy to keep up. The most I’ve ever spent was 2hrs (and part of that is due to how slow I move just before Maghrib – seriously, it’s like slow mo). A major factor was in having a meal plan which divides the work fairly evenly between my mum, sister and I.
  3. Overeat: 7/7 I reckon I’ve done this one really well. I haven’t been that hungry at iftar time, but I snack during the night, and I’ve got that taken care of as well      Alhamdulillah. There have been times when I’ve felt uncomfortable, but that was liquids, as I’ve been drinking about 3litres every night.

Okay, so this week I mostly just want to keep up the good work, and add the following:

  • Focus on praying 2 rakat after Isha if I delay Taraweeh, and always pray 2 before Fajr if I don’t.
  • Write 2 blog posts and schedule them for Friday and Sunday.
  • Revise one hizb of Qur’an. (I’m starting bottom up, because they’re much neglected by me)
  • Actually write my dua list and make time to do them.
  • Download Qur’an recitation and put it on my iPhone. (I’ll listen when in the kitchen.)

Over to you guys: How’s Ramadan been for you and your goals so far? What has gone well? What do you need to work on?

Ramadan Plan 2013 / 1434

Tis that time of year again. Not the New Year, nor the Islamic New Year, but Ramadan: the month where good deeds are worth more, the devils are locked up (good riddance) and by sheer necessity all routines are adapted, modified or completely redone. As is my habit, I’ve got some goals for this Ramadan. Like last year, I’m going to break my goals down according to what I want to do (like, really really want to do), what I’d like to do and what I won’t do Inshallah.

To be honest, my goals feel very repetitive – it’s like I do the same things every year. But then again, I guess that’s what I do. 😀

Things I will do:

  1. Pray Taraweeh. (I’ll do this at home – the mosques in my area aren’t that good – after Isha or before Fajr or between the two.)
  2. Read the whole Qur’an. (I take advantage of the early enthusiasm at the beginning by reading extra, which keeps me motivated, which helps me to finish.)
  3. Pray 2 rakat before/after every prayer. (Taraweeh after Isha is included in this.)
  4. Blog a minimum of 3 times a week. <– This is important to me because I really need to blog more often Inshallah, and if I find a blogging groove then I hope that it’ll last outside of Ramadan too. I’m hoping to write three posts in one go and schedule them throughout the week Inshallah.

Things I’d like to do:

  1. Revise at least 4 hizbs of Qur’an. I think I’ll probably start this after I’ve finished reading the Qur’an. Also, I’ll be praying with the same hizb / juz throughout the beginning of Ramadan which will help me to revise them.
  2. Exercise 3-4 times a week. (Side note: I’m so unfit these days 😦 ) I can only do this at night, probably on the nights when it’s my sister’s turn to do the washing up.
  3. Say extra duas / adhkar along with my daily dhikr. (which I have kept up from last Ramadan 😀 ) I have a list of Duas / dhikr I want to say, and I’m going to stick it to my bedroom wall to remind me Inshallah.
  4. Listen to Qur’an. I’ve gotten out of the habit of this and it’s important as it helps me revise / memorise. I’m going to download a recitation I like and put it on my iphone Inshallah.

Things I won’t do:

  1. Watch crappy TV (with the exception of The Biggest Loser – don’t ask, it’s a weird Ramadan family tradition). I will maybe watching documentaries, but I need to catch up on my blog reading first. I simply haven’t downloaded anything to watch, so that’s pretty much taken care of.
  2. Spend hours in the kitchen. I tend to get caught up in Ramadan with all the food I’d love to eat, and then I spend ages in the kitchen cooking, experimenting or washing dishes, so I’d like to cut back on this, just to keep it in proportion. To do this, we’ve got a Ramadan menu so that we know what we have to do and it’s planned so that nobody has to be in there all day.
  3. Overeat. I did well on this last year, and I so want to keep it up this year Inshallah. I’m going to be using myfitnesspal.com to track my meals Inshallah.

Ok, there we have it: this year’s Ramadan plan. May Allah make it easy.

Do you have any goals for Ramadan this year? How do you intend to fit them in Inshallah?

Ramadan Rulings Refresher

A few years ago I read Hilali’s book Fasting in Ramadan (which I highly recommend) and took a load of notes. Over the following years, I’ve just read through those notes as a reminder of the rulings concerning Ramadan and to refresh my memory. It’s worked well for me, so I thought I’d share them with my Aqeedah class (which I teach once a week in English)and it was a success with them, so I thought I’d share it here too. Here goes:

Ramadan was only made obligatory in the year 2H, 15 years after the start of the revelation, as Allah Ta’la said:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

(Surah Al-Baqarah: 185)

I broke down the rulings regarding fasting into three groups: before fasting, while fasting and after fasting, because it just makes it easier to keep track of.

Before fasting:

1)     It’s important to have the intention to fast before fajr. You don’t say it out loud, and basically if you plan on fasting the whole month, your intention is already sorted.

2)     Suhoor (aka: breakfast / brekkie / nom-nom am / etc):

This is a meal that is recommended for fasting people to eat just before fajr prayer. The reason for it’s importance is that it distinguishes us from the people of the book, as the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) : “The distinction between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is the taking of the pre-dawn meal (suhoor).” (Muslim)

Also, the reward of this meal is pretty great, the Messenger (pbuh) said: “The suhor is a meal of blessings, so do not leave it, even if one of you just takes a (gulp) of water, since Allah sends mercy and His angels seek forgiveness for those who take suhoor.” (Ahmad). So basically that means: Blessings + Mercy + Forgiveness = Suhoor. I like that equation.

While fasting:

1)     Things that nullify your fast:

These are the things that if you do, you eat and drink the rest of the day and make up the fast after Ramadan. They are:

a)    Eating & drinking (duh!)

b)    Periods / post-natal bleeding.

c)    Intercourse.

d)    Injections that provide nourishment (note: anaesthetic doesn’t nourish, so dental work is ok!)

e)    Making yourself vomit. This is gross, I know, but if you vomit unintentionally and you swallow some of it back down, then that also breaks your fast. Throwing up unintentionally and not swallowing any of it doesn’t break the fast.

2)     Things that are allowed while fasting:

Basically, everything is allowed except that which the evidence dictates is not allowed. Common causes of confusion (could I get anymore C’s in? lol) that are A-ok, include:

a)    Starting fasting before doing Ghusl for Jannabah / after a period.

b)    Having showers.

c)    Using a siwak.

d)    Washing your mouth and nose out – but do it gently. No industrial gargling. Heck, no gargling at all: you run the risk of accidentally swallowing it.

e)    Tasting food – just be sure to spit it out afterwards.

f)       Using Kohl, and putting anything in the eye, providing it doesn’t leave a taste in the throat.

g)    Toothpaste, provided you don’t swallow it and you spit it out very thoroughly.

3)     Things we’re not allowed to do, but don’t require us to make up the days:

a)    Lying

b)    Ignorant / indecent speech, which includes swearing, gossiping, etc.

Obligatory acts of worship are done for two reasons: obligation and reward. Someone who does either of the things above loses the reward for fasting, but has still fulfilled their obligation. This is the person of whom the Messenger (pbuh) said: “It may be that a fasting person attains nothing but hunger and thirst from his fasting.” (Ibn Majah & Ahmad)

After fasting:

It is sunnah to break the fast before praying Maghrib, but after the Adhan obviously. It’s also sunnah to rush to break the fast because, like Suhoor this distinguishes us from the people of the book, as well as being a sign that we’re still following the Sunnah and doing good. As the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The people will not cease to be upon good as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

While it’s ok to break the fast with anything (my brothers have been known to pick a few chips to break their fast with, the gits), Anas said: “The Prophet (pbuh) used to break the fast with fresh dates before praying, and if not with fresh dates then with older dates, and if not with dates then with some mouthfuls of water.” (Ahmad & Abu Dawud)

The dua for breaking the fast is:

ذهب الظمأ، وابتلت العروق، وثبت الأجر إن شاء الله.

Thahabadhdhama’u wabtallatil-‘urooqu, wa thabatal-‘ajru ‘inshaa’Allaah.

The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is confirmed, if Allah wills. (Abu Dawud – no 176 in the Fortress of the Believer)

And don’t forget that this is a great time to make Dua generally, as the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are three whose supplications are not rejected: the fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just ruler and the supplication of the oppressed.” (Tirmidhi). This means that while you’re breaking the fast you can ask for anything – just don’t make it too long, remember you still have to pray Maghrib.

In addition to this, I just want to include a note about the hadith that states that the first ten days of Ramadan are for mercy, the second for forgiveness, and the last for salvation from the fire. You see, this hadith is, at best, weak. But more accurately, it’s a fabrication. It ain’t true people! When I first found this out, it really shook me – I’d heard it for so long, subhanallah! And then it’s like duh! Allah’s mercy and forgiveness are timeless, and people are saved from the fire throughout Ramadan.

May Allah make this a blessed Ramadan, in which all our sins are wiped clean, many good deeds are written for us and we come closer to Allah.

Ameen.

Yay!!! Fireworks!!! Why can’t we use them in HALAL celebrations? 😦

Meaning:

The Arabic term ‘Mawlid’ is used to refer to the birthday of someone important. Sufi’s use it for their Sheikhs’ birthdays, and it’s most common use is for the birthday of the prophet: al-Mawlid an-Nabawi.

Timing:

The sunnis celebrate it on the 12th of Rabi’ al-awwal, while the Shiites celebrate it on the 17th, which also happens to coincide with the birth of their 6th Imam (Jafar As-Sadiq – so it’s sort of a double celebration).

However, according to the almanac, his birthday was on the 9th of Rabi al-awwal. And, until not that long ago, his birthday was called “Bara Wafat” by some, which means “Day of Death”. This is because it’s a celebration of what is commonly held to be the day of his death. If you want to know more about the whole timing of the birthday (and how utterly unimportant it was in Arab culture at the time, and to the prophet’s companions) read this fantastic article on the topic. Or skim through it, like I did.

History:

At the end of the 11th Century AD (so about the 400 years after the death of the prophet), in Egypt, the ruling Fatimid dynasty (who were Shiite, fyi) started to observe 4 Mawlid celebrations throughout the year. They were for:

1)     The Prophet (pbuh)

2)     Fatimah (AS)

3)     Ali (AS)

4)     The Ruling Khalif

Essentially, the Khalif decreed his birthday to be a special holiday, and he knew that the only way he was gonna get away with it was to include Allah’s messenger and – because he was Shiite – Ahl al-bayt (the prophet’s family).

The celebration itself consisted of a grand procession of the courtiers during the day, with three khutbahs preached at the end in front of the khalifah. It is part of Islamic tradition to have two khutbahs on days of celebration (the two Eids and Jumuah), so they’re instituting three goes above and beyond the sunnah. It’s like “woah!”

The first recorded Sunni festival was at the beginning of the 13th Century in Iraq. People travelled to attend two months in advance, with the partying starting a month before. And by ‘partying’ I mean partying: they had jugglers, musicians, entertainers, etc all out on the streets of the city. Then the evening before there was a torchlight procession which passed through the town and on the actual day there was a Khutbah and a super-lavish feast. Super-lavish, I tell ya. Thousands of sheep, oxen, etc were slaughtered for dinner. I bet they had Shawarma back then…

Anyways, the tradition spread across the Muslim world mainly because of Sufis, who liked to celebrate the birthdays of their Sheikhs too, as this was in their heyday.

It is Haram for several reasons:

1)     It isn’t from the sunnah, nor from the Salaf.

Allah’s messenger (pbuh) said:

“Stick to my sunnah and the sunnah of my rightly guided Khalifs, cling to it firmly with your molar teeth. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation and every innovation is misleading.

[Ahmad 4/126 & Tirmidhi No 2676]

So basically, doing something new is essentially ignoring and disbelieving in Allah’s statement:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي

… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, and completed My Favour upon you …

(Surah Al-Maidah:3)

Also, just because you have a good intention about something doesn’t make it halal. Trust me, I could have a lot of great intentions about eating a haram Big Mac, but it still wouldn’t be Halal.

2)     It is an imitation of Christmas.

In the early days it was celebrated in the same way that Christians celebrated Christmas – a sermon and a feast. Why is this wrong? Because the Messenger (pbuh) said:

“Be different from the Mushrikeen (those who associate partners with Allah)”.

[Saheeh Muslim]

He also said:

“Whoever imitates or resembles a people is one of them.

[Ahmad 2/05 & Abu Dawud 4/314]

3)     It’s exaggerating in honouring the prophet.

He (pbuh) said:

“Do not exaggerate (i.e. in praise and honour) in me, as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say ‘the slave and messenger of Allah’.

[Bukhari 4/142, no 3445]

He also said:

“Beware of exaggeration for those before were destroyed due to exaggeration.”

[Nasa’ee no 2863]

4)     It opens the doors to other innovations.

Such as mixing, celebrating other innovative days, Sufism, etc.

Regarding Omar Ibn Al-Khattab’s statement “What a good bidah this is!”

Ibn Taymiyyah explained it by saying that the word ‘Bidah’ has two meanings:

1)     Linguistic: which is anything new or original. So you could say “Ooh! The design of that skirt is a beautiful Bidah.”

2)     Technical (i.e. in the Shariah): which means anything for which there is no basis in the Shariah. So any new laws, rules, prayers, etc.

Regarding the following Hadith:

Abu Qatadah Al-Ansari narrated, ‘There came a man to Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and said: “Oh Messenger of Allah, why do you fast on Mondays?” He (pbuh) replied, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.”

[Saheeh Muslim]

Some people use this hadith as an argument for the celebration of al-Mawlid an-Nabawi, which is amusing given that it’s actually an argument against it, because:

–  Fasting on Mondays is an act that has been allowed and encouraged by the Messenger (pbuh) on a weekly basis. If a blowout celebration once a year were permissible and good, don’t you think he’d have been the first to do it? Who knew more about what’s good in terms of remembering Allah’s messenger: you or him?

– His (pbuh) ‘celebration’ (if that’s what you want to call it – but really? What’s so fun about NOT eating? Doh!) involves worship – one of the most beloved acts of worship before Allah that is done only for His Sake alone, and is, in fact, a form of worship that we are expressly forbidden from performing on days of great celebration (i.e. the two Eids, and – not quite forbidden, but almost – on Fridays). So what this means is that what this hadith is referring to is not a celebration, but rather a symbol of gratitude to Allah that He created the Messenger (pbuh) and sent His Revelation.

–  If these people don’t fast on Mondays (and let’s be real – very few do), then they have no claim of following the Messenger’s way or of honouring him especially, as Allah Ta’la said:

أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَىٰ بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ

… Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? …

(Surah Al-Baqarah:61)

And as a final point, I’ll leave with Albani’s words on this:

“So, where are the scholars who defend Mawlid, why don’t they enlighten the people that fasting on Monday is the legislated celebration of Mawlid (i.e., birthday of Allah’s Messenger)? And why don’t they encourage the people to it instead of defending the unlegislated celebration?”

So, to summarise:

–          Mawlid – not really the Prophet’s bday.

–          Shiites first came up with it, about 400 years after the Prophet (pbuh) died. It took another 200 years for the Sunnis to start.

–          It’s not allowed.

–          If you really want to show your love for the prophet and gratitude to Allah for creating him and sending the revelation, fast Mondays.

It’s Dhul Hijjah, yo!

Eyes on the prize, people 😉

I know, that’s a terrbile blog post title. But I’ve seen so many serious ones that I simply decided to take a different route. Anyways, this post is more a summary than a detailed analysis, but Inshallah it serves as a reminder.

Ibn Hajr said in Al-Fat’h Al-Bary (His explanaintion of Sahih Al-Bukhari):

It appears that the reason for the specialness of the 10 (days) of Dhul Hijjah is due to the possibility of uniting the mothers of worship during them, and they (the mothers of worship) are: prayer, fasting, charity and Hajj, and this does not come about in any other time.

 What is recommended for us to do during these days:

1 – Prayer:

Thawban (RA) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:

“You must frequently prostrate to Allah, for you do not prostrate to Allah a single prostration except that Allah raises you with it a level and removes from you a wrongdoing with it.” (Muslim) – This is a general Hadith that applies to all time, not just Dhul Hijjah.

2 – Fasting:

Imam An-Nawawi said regearding fasting during these ten days that it is strongly recommended.

From Hunaidah Bin Khalid, from his wife from some of the wives of the Prophet (saw) said:

“The messenger of Allah (saw) used to fast nine (days) of dhul hijjah, and the day of Ashura, and three days of every month.” (Ahmad, Dawud and Nasai).

3 – Takbir, Tahmid and Tahlil.

That is, saying Allahu Akbar (Takbir), Alhamdulillah (Tahmid) and La Ilaha Ila Allah (Tahlil). Also, it is recommended that takbir is said aloud.

Manner:

– Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbaru Kabria.

– Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ila Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahi Alhamd.

– Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la ilaha ila Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahi Alhamd.

4 – Fast the day of Arafat:

He (saw) said:

“I hope for Allah to wipe out (the sins of) the previous year and the following year.” (Muslim) This is specific and unique to Arafat.

5 – The blessing of slaughter.

He (saw) said:

“The greatest day to Allah is the day of slaughter, then the day of Al-Qar.” (The day of Al-Qar is the day when the pilgrims stay in Mina on the 11th of Dhul Hijjah.)

What should we focus on during these blessed days?

1 – True and sincere Tawbah.

2 – Honest and serious determination to make the most of them with what pleases Allah.

What is to be avoided by the one who wishes to slaughter:

He (saw) said:

“ If the ten (days) begin and one of you wishes to slaughter, then he should withhold from (cutting) his hair and nails.” (Ahmad and Muslim)

Note: this only applies to the actual person who will slaughter the sheep – not the entire household. The reason/wisdom behind this is that the slaughterer shares with the pilgrim in some of the rites of Hajj, specifically the sacrifice.

Some interesting links on this topic include:

Productive Muslim came up with 6 simple ways to try to gain Allah’s pleasure during these 10 days for all the family.

Here is an excellent summary of the virtues of these ten days, with a longer, more detailed version here.

And in the interest of not forgetting that this is the time for Hajj, here’s a great list of ways to get kids learning about the pilgrimage (ugh! Why is that word so hard to spell?!), and for those actually going (I actually think that most have left by now, so this is kinda late, but whatevs.) there’s this list of 106 tips to help your hajj go well.

Have you read any interesting / novel / useful posts about Dhul Hijjah lately? If so, please share! Do you have any specific plans to make the most of these ten days?

 

No monthly goals. Sorta.

A baby cardigan, pair of mittens, and pair of booties I knitted for a relative.

So, I’ve been a little absent recently trying to figure out more goals, whilst getting my actual life (as opposed to the fantastical fake life I live in my head) into some kind of gear. As a result I’ve decided to scrap the whole monthly goals thing for this month, which of course is handy given that we’re nearly half way through the month. My only intentions are to keep doing what I’ve been doing. So that means:

– Keep up with my morning / evening dua.

– Pray 4 rakat 4 times a week.

– Read / memorise / revise some portion of the Qur’an every day. (Basically: PICK. THE. BOOK. UP. every day.)

– Keep blogging twice a week.

– And keep up with healthy stuff (food diary, exercise, etc).

And would you look at that! I have goals people! Exactly what I said I wouldn’t have.

Hmmmm.

Well, in that case I might as well add in these two:

– Finish reading the whole Qur’an again.

– Seriously make the most of Dhul Hijjah.

Et voila! October goals.

What you been up to lately?

Well, this is the last post of September. It’s been a so-so week – for some reason I haven’t been sleeping well (a reason that may or may not include watching TV) and it’s hard to stick to anything when you’ve no willpower, because you’re too tired. 😦 Generally speaking, this week was simply more of the same: it was very like last week and the one before that, as you can see:

Things I will do Inshallah:

1) Finish reading the Qur’an.

2) Perform 4 Rakat of voluntary prayer a day 4 times a week.

Done! Alhamdulillah I did this. I find that praying two rakat of the Duha prayer (mid-morning) helps to set me up for the rest of the day. I often have prayed the four rakat before Asr, which is nice.

3) Morning and evening Dua.

I’ve kept up with this almost every day, Alhamdulillah.

4) Work on my thesis for 2 hours a day, 4 days a week

Again, nothing.

5) Read the Qur’an again in its entirety.

Nope.

Things I’d like to do, but might not:

1) Blog twice a week.

Mission accomplished! Which is really surprising to me, because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do this.

2) Revise three hizbs from the end of the Qur’an.

Nope.

3) Keep a food diary.

7/7 – Hey hey!

I still feel a bit meh about this week, although I do feel it was better than last week. I’m trying to psych myself up for October now, because the Lord knows, I need to pick some of these things up. In addition to the above, I’ve also sort of got back to teaching, but it’s yet to cement, I’ve had knee problems, so I haven’t been exercising like I should and I’ve been reading magazines online more than books (not crap magazines, FYI, just not generally Islamic ones).

I don’t think this month went anywhere near as well as Ramadan, and I’ll probably post up a short review soon, as well as deciding what to focus on for October (bearing in mind Eid-Al-Adha will be at the end of the month).

How about you? How’s your week been?