Saturday, August 25, 2012

Can a person start fasting six days of Shawwaal when he still has days to make up from Ramadaan?

If a person fasts six days of Shawwaal after Ramadaan when he has not yet completed the Ramadaan fast because he did not fast ten days of Ramadaan for a legitimate reason will he have the same reward as a person who fasted all of Ramadaan and followed it with six days of Shawwaal, i.e. will he be like a person who fasted for a lifetime? Please explain to us, may Allaah reward you with good.

Praise be to Allaah.

The precise rewards for the deeds which people do for the sake of Allaah is something which is known only to Allaah. If a person seeks the reward from Allaah and strives to obey Him, his reward will not be lost, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“We shall not make the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner to be lost.” [al-Kahf 18:30]. If someone has missed some of the days of Ramadaan, he should fast them first, then fast six days of Shawwaal, because he cannot follow the fast of Ramadaan with six days of Shawwaal unless he has completed his Ramadaan fast.

And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/392

When should a Muslim start fasting six days of Shawwaal?

When can I start fasting six days of Shawwal, since we have annual leave right now?

Praise be to Allaah.

You can start fasting six days of Shawwaal from the second day of Shawwaal, because it is haraam to fast on the day of Eid. You can fast the six days at any time during Shawwaal, although the best of good deeds are those which are done soonest.

The standing committee received the following question:
Should fasting the six days be done immediately after Ramadaan, following the day of Eid or is it permissible to do it a few days after Eid in the month of Shawwaal or not?

They replied as follows:
These days do not have to be fasted immediately after Eid al-Fitr; it is permissible to start fasting them one or more days after Eid, and they may be done consecutively or separately during the month of Shawwaal, according to what is easier for a person. There is plenty of room for maneuver in this matter, and this is not obligatory, it is Sunnah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/391

Monday, August 20, 2012

Age of 40

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي ; وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي ; وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي ; يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الأَرْحَامِ وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ مَاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَداً وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

"Verily Allah, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and know that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware."

(Aayah No. 34, Surah Luqman, Chapter No. 31, Holy Qur'an).

The time and place of death of every human is appointed, no one knows about it except Allah. No one knows how many years he (she) is going to live.

Lifespan of this Ummah

The average age of this Ummah is sixty to seventy; have a look at following narration:

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "The lifespan of my Ummah is from sixty to seventy (years)."

(Hadith No. 2331, Chapters on Zuhd, Jami' At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4).

According to following hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived up to 63 years of age:

Narrated Aishah (RA): Allah's Messenger (PBUH) died when he was sixty-three years of age.

(Hadith No. 4466, Book of Al-Maghazi, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 5).

Some narrations tell us that Abu Bakr (RA), Umar (RA) and Ali (RA) all died at the age of sixty to seventy.

The average lifespan is told to be 60-70, but some die at an age much younger than that, while some remain alive up to many years more than that. It is all up to Allah, only He knows how much lifespan He has appointed for whom.

Significance of reaching 40 years of age

40 years of age is a very important milestone in the life of a man (woman). Keeping in mind the average lifespan of sixty-seventy years, one who reaches 40 years of age completes about two-thirds of his (her) average lifespan; thereby meaning that he (she) enters into the last third of his (her) life.

Apart from achieving this percentage of lifespan, a man becomes strong (both mentally and physically), he reaches to a stage of maturity, and is able to understand and tackle the highs and lows of all spheres of the life in a reasonable and wise manner. We know that Allah started sending the revelations to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he reached 40.

Allah has emphasized this stage of human life very clearly in Qur'an. Please go through following verse of Holy Qur'an:

وَوَصَّيْنَا الإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَاناً حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهاً وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهاً وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلاثُونَ شَهْراً حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحاً تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

"And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims."

(Aayah No. 15, Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur'an).

The verse above confirms that a man attains full strength at the age of 40. Moreover, this glorious verse tells about some of the responsibilities of a man when he reaches the age of forty.

The most important thing to be done when one reaches the age of forty is that he/she should make a re-assessment of his own personality, thank Allah for His favours and pray for parents & off-springs. The repentance to Allah should be renewed. One should recite the supplication mentioned in the verse above and abandon all his (her) wrong acts (if any) from that point onwards.

Thus, one should ask Allah to forgive all his/her previous sins and a renewed effort should be made by every individual to ensure that he/she leads his/her remaining life as per Qur'an and Sunnah.

This is a great responsibility for each of us. In fact, it is like a last opportunity for everyone to get his sins forgiven and start anew towards the ultimate goal of entering the Paradise. Do not be shocked when I say it is like a last opportunity. The verse that follows the above mentioned verse explains this statement:

أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ نَتَقَبَّلُ عَنْهُمْ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَنَتَجاوَزُ عَنْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ فِي أَصْحَابِ الْجَنَّةِ وَعْدَ الصِّدْقِ الَّذِي كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ

"They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise – a promise of truth, which they have been promised."

(Aayah No. 16, Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur'an).

It is very clear from this verse that whoever is good with his/her parents, and whoever after reaching the age of 40 supplicates to Allah (as mentioned in Aayah No. 15 earlier), renews his repentance and make efforts to ensure that he leads a righteous life (as per Qur'an and Sunnah), then such are the only people from whom Allah accepts their repentance. Allah forgives the sins of such people and takes in to account only the good deeds of such people. And above all, Allah promises Paradise for such people.

Now give a thought to how important this milestone is. And at the same time those who have already crossed this age should ask themselves: did they act accordingly?

We should be thankful to Allah that he has given us an opportunity of forgiveness at this stage of our lives. Whoever ignores this and keeps himself busy in his usual wrong-doings then there is a chance that it might get too late for such a person, and he may reach a stage in his life where Allah will no longer accept his repentance. Inspiration should be drawn from following narration:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Allah will not accept the excuse of any person whose instant of death is delayed till he is sixty years of age."

(Hadith No. 6419, Book of Ar-Riqaq, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8).

Concluding remarks

Sadly, we all are living in false hopes; busy trying to fulfill our worldly ambitions. While doing so, we ignore our primary duties ordained by Allah. We forget that all these worldly plans at the cost of our duties as a Muslim (ordained by Allah) shall come to an abrupt end when death strikes. This is beautifully explained in following hadith as well:

Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) drew a few lines and said, "This is (man's) hope, and this is the instant of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to him."

(Hadith No. 6418, Book of Ar-Riqaq, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8).

Then we shall move to a never ending world, the Hereafter, with our actions of this world to decide our fate: Heaven or Hell! May Allah keep all of us away from Hell!

But for that we need to act. So, whoever has reached the age of 40 should get his (her) act together and utilize this opportunity given by Allah. Those who shall be reaching that stage in days to come (Insha'Allah), be prepared.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eid Al-Fitr

As Ramadan comes to end, Muslims start preparing for the month of Shawwāl. The month of Shawwāl is marked by the festival of Eid, known as Eid Al-Fitr. As per authentic narrations found in ahadith, Al-Fitr is the day that the people break fast. So, Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on the day just after when the month of fasting ends i.e. the first day of the month of Shawwāl. This day is confirmed by sighting of moon. Following hadith explains to us the Sunnah way of confirming the day of Eid Al-Fitr.

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) mentioned Ramadan and said, “Do not observe fasting unless you see the crescent moon (of Ramadan), and do not give up fasting till you see the crescent moon (of Shawwāl); but if the sky is overcast and you can’t see the moon, then act on estimation (i.e. count 30 days each for Shaban & Ramadan).”

 (Hadith No. 1906, Book of As-Saum, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3).

This hadith emphasizes the importance of moon-sighting for confirming the day of Eid Al-Fitr. And this criterion is followed by whole Muslim community till date.

Eid Al-Fitr is one of the two festivals of Muslims (other being Eid Al-Adha) and all are encouraged to celebrate it with full enthusiasm. It is recommended to present ourselves with clean (or new) dresses; go out to social gatherings and meet relatives, friends and neighbours; embrace fellow Muslims (embracing is a widely accepted gesture among Muslims on the days of Eid); cook delicacies (your favourite foods) at home; invite people to your homes over meals; exchange gifts with your children, family members and others, etc. However, it should be kept in mind that no act of our celebrations on Eid should violate any Islamic ruling. For example, when attending gatherings, women and men should maintain Hijab; it should be ensured that we do not end up doing extravagance; manners of entertaining guests are not forgotten, etc. Above all, one should not forget Remembrance of Allah while busy in celebrations of Eid.

Now let us shift our attention to the Sunnah way of celebrating Eid Al-Fitr. This is very important for each one of us that we celebrate our Eids as our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and his companions used to.

1. No fasting on Eid Al-Fitr

It is not allowed for a Muslim to observe fast on the day of any of the Eids (Eid Al-Fitr as well as Eid Al-Adha). This is clearly mentioned in following hadith.

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (RA) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) prohibited two fasts: Fasting the ‘Day of Adha’ and the ‘Day of Fitr’.

(Hadith No. 772, Chapters on Fasting, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

2. Paying Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (or Zakat-ul-Fitr)

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is obligatory and is to be paid by every Muslim who falls under the Nisāb, before leaving the house for Eid prayers. Rasool-Allah (PBUH) was very particular about this, as is evident from the hadith given below:

Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) would order paying Sadaqat-ul-Fitr before going to Salat on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

(Hadith No. 1509, Book of Zakat, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 677, Chapters on Zakat, Jami’-At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

3. Salat on the day of Eid Al-Fitr

The first thing on the morning of Eid Al-Fitr is to offer Salat of Eid. This is one of the voluntary Salats, but the significance associated with this Salat shall be obvious in due course of our discussion. Let us understand this in further sub-classifications.

3.1. It is recommended to eat something before leaving for Salat on the morning of Eid Al-Fitr.

 Narrated Anas bin Mālik (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) never proceeded for Salat on the Day of Eid Al-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet (PBUH) used to eat odd no. of dates.

(Hadith No. 953, Book of The Two Eid Festivals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

This narration highlights the act of eating before proceeding for Salat, in order to prove that this is the ‘Day of breaking fast’. This is yet another example of Hikmah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH).

3.2. Women are encouraged to join Salat of Eids (Eid Al-Fitr as well as Eid Al-Adha).

Islam encourages all of us to offer Salat of Eid in congregation and take our families along with us. This is very important in the essence of unity of Muslims. Refer to following hadith:

Narrated Umm Atiyya (RA): We were ordered to go out (for Eid) and also take along with us the menstruating women, mature girls and virgins staying in seclusion. The menstruating women could present themselves at the religious gathering and invocation of Muslims, but should keep away from their Musalla.

(Hadith No. 981, Book of The Two Eid Festivals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

The very fact that all family members, even the menstruating women, are supposed to go out for Eid gatherings, highlights the importance of Eid prayer. However, it is clear that menstruating women may join in invocation but cannot offer Salat.

3.3. Time of Salat for Eid

It is recommended not to delay Eid Salat and offer it on the morning of Eid, as early as the time for voluntary prayers starts (i.e. just after sunrise). This is the Sunnah way, as is clear from following hadith:

Yazid bin Khumair Ar-Rahabi said: Abdullah bin Busr, the companion of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), once went with the people on the day of Eid (Fitr or Adha). He criticized the delay of Imam and said, “We used to be finished at this hour (and that was the time one could pray voluntary prayers i.e. just after sunrise).”

(Hadith No. 1135, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

3.4. No Salat just before or after Eid prayer

Narrated Ibn Abbas (RA): The Prophet (PBUH) offered a two raka’at Salat on the day of Eid Al-Fitr and he did not offer any Salat before or after it. Then he went towards women along with Bilal (RA) and ordered them to give alms and so they started giving their ear-rings and necklaces (in charity).

(Hadith No. 964, Book of The Two Eid Festivals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

In other places it is mentioned that Ibn Abbas (RA) disliked offering any Salat before Eid prayer. Therefore, we should not pray any other prayer just before or after Eid prayer. It is not a prohibition, but a disliked thing.

3.5. There is no Adhan and/or Iqamah for Eid prayer.

It is very clear from almost all collections of ahadith and there is a consensus of all scholars about this ruling. Refer to following hadith:

It was narrated from Ibn Juraij, who said: Atā informed me from Ibn Abbas (RA) and Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari (RA), who said: ‘There was no Adhan called on the day of Al-Fitr or Al-Adha’. I asked him about that later on and he said: ‘Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari (RA) informed me that there was no Adhan for the prayer on the day of Al-Fitr, neither before the Imam came out nor afterwards, and there was no Iqamah or call or anything; no call on that day and no Iqamah.’

(Hadith No. 2049 (886), Book of The Two Eid Prayers, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

3.6. No. of raka’at and Takbirs in Eid prayer

The hadith mentioned in Section 3.4 above tells us that Eid prayer comprises of two raka’at. However, there are some additional Takbirs in this prayer, the details of which are evident from following narration:

Kathir bin Abdullah narrated from his father, from his grandfather: “The Prophet (PBUH) said the Takbir in first (raka’at) seven (times) before recitation, and in the last, five (times) before recitation.”

(Hadith No. 536, Chapters on The Two Eid, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 1).

The jurists of Al-Madinah, Imam Mālik and Imam Ahmad are of the view that there are seven Takbirs including the opening Takbir in the first raka’at before recitation, and five Takbir in second raka’at before recitation. Now if others disagree and chose a different procedure of Takbirs, which is not authenticated by ahadith, it cannot be justified.

3.7. There is a Khutba after Eid prayer.

Salat of Eid is followed by a Khutba (i.e. a religious sermon).

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to offer As-Salat of Eid Al-Adha & Eid Al-Fitr, and then deliver the Khutba after As-Salat.

(Hadith No. 957, Book of The Two Eid Festivals, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2).

3.8. What shall one do if he misses Eid prayer?

Whoever misses Eid prayer, should offer two raka’at his place or anywhere he/she can. This is another ruling that highlights the importance of Eid prayer, as there is no such requirement of offering any other voluntary prayer if someone misses that on prescribed time.

3.9. A special case when Eid falls on Friday

If Eid falls on a Friday, then it is permissible for a person not to offer Friday prayers if he has already offered the Eid prayers in congregation. This is a very noble exception for us and there probably cannot be a better narration to support the importance of Eid prayer. It gives an insight to the beauty of Islam, for the one who wish to understand. Others will keep arguing about authenticity of this exception. It is to be understood clearly that there are several authentic ahadith that proves this ruling. I shall quote few of them.

It was reported that Ilyas bin Abi Ramlah Ash-Shami said: I was present when Muawiyah bin Abi Sufiyan asked Zaid bin Arqam: ‘Did you witness two Eid (i.e. the Eid and the Juma’a) being combined on one day during the time of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)? He replied, ‘Yes.’ So he said: ‘He (Prophet, PBUH) prayed the Eid then he was lenient about Friday prayer, for he said: “Whoever wishes to pray can pray.”

 (Hadith No. 1070, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

Are there doubts still about this ruling? OK, let us see one more hadith to clear our doubts.

Al-A’Mash reported from Ata bin Abi Rabah that he said: Ibn Az-Zubair (RA) once led us in the early morning in the Eid prayer, and it happened to be on a Friday. Then we went to attend Friday prayer, but he did not come out (to give Khutba etc.). So we prayed by ourselves (without congregation). And Ibn Abbas (RA) at that time was in Al-Ta’if, so when he came back we informed him this. He said: ‘He has followed Sunnah.’

(Hadith No. 1071, Book of Salat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 1).

This should clear all the doubts. Therefore, we should not be surprised if we see anyone doing so.

4. Amusements are a part of Eid celebrations.

It is unanimously accepted that indulgence in amusements like music, games etc. in exceeding limits is considered to be wastage of time and is discouraged in Islam. And the limits for indulgence in such things are very strict. However, Eid is one of the occasions on which it is allowed to indulge in these amusements etc., for the sake of celebrations, but in such a manner that they do not make us forget any of the obligatory duties of us as a Muslim. Go through the following narration:

It was narrated that Aishah (RA) said: “Abu Bakr (RA) entered upon me and there were two of the young girls of the Ansar with me who were singing the verses that the Ansar had recited on the day of Bu’ath.” She said: “But they were known to be singers.” Abu Bakr (RA) said: “Wind instruments of the shaitan in the house of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)?" That was the day of Eid. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “O Abu Bakr! Every people have their Eid and this is our Eid.” In another narration it is said that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “Let them be O’ Abu Bakr, for these are the days of Eid.”

 (Hadith No. 2061 (892), Book of Two Eid Prayers, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2).

Concluding remarks

There are several lessons to be learnt for us after having gone through so many narrations related to this auspicious festival of Eid Al-Fitr. Let me name a few of them:

1.      It teaches us to start our festival by praying to Allah.

2.      It teaches us to be tolerant. This is evident from the narration regarding Abu Bakr (RA) being angry on Ansar girls who were singing near Allah’s Messenger (PBUH); the Prophet (PBUH) asking Abu Bakr (RA) to let them enjoy as it was Eid.

3.      Another important thing to learn is that Islam encourages unity among its followers; this is evident from the narrations related to encouragement of all family members to attend Eid prayers out in congregation.

4.      Another lesson to be learnt is that Islam is not against joy or celebrations. But all these have to be observed in a correct manner i.e. Sunnah way. Muslims should be very careful about their actions on days like Eid, so that they give a positive image of Islam to the people of other religions. This is very important for Muslims who live in places where there are inhabitants of other religions also in abundance (for example India).

I wish to emphasize the message of unity a little bit more, and let me quote a hadith in this regard:

Aishah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Al-Fitr is the day that people break fast and Al-Adha is the day that the people sacrifice.”

 (Hadith No. 802, Chapters on Fasting, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2).

This hadith gives an insight that we all should maintain unity in celebrating the days of Eid; one should not be stubborn about one’s personal and individual opinion. As much as possible, Muslims should start fasting together and celebrate Eid(s) together. It is Allah’s ita’at and His Messenger’s (Mohammad, PBUH) ita’at that matters; leave all other reasoning behind and stick to following verse of Qur’an:

وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنْ كُنتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

 “Do ita’at of Allah & Rasool-Allah (PBUH), if you are Mu’mineen.”

(Aayah No. 1, Surah Al-Anfal, Chapter No. 8, Holy Qur’an).

May Allah make the day of Eid Al-Fitr beneficial to all of us in terms of His Blessings, His Mercy and His Rahmah. May we all celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with full vigour and enthusiasm, keeping in mind that we follow the Sunnah way, while doing so. May Allah help us keeping ourselves away from all types of wrongs which may tarnish our Eid(s). May we all be blessed by Allah to see more Ramadan(s) and enjoy many more Eids to come in our lives….Ameen.

Happy Eid Al-Fitr to all.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

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