"And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers."
(Al-Quran 51:55)

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Ramadan - Part Four

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Taraweeh are the prayers that Muslims pray after Isha during Ramadan. They consist of 20 rakahs, and are sunnah muakkidah, meaning they are extremely emphasised. They are close to Fardh – a person will be accountable and sinful if they are missed without a valid excuse.
Men pray in congregation at the mosque, and women pray them at home. They are prayed in pairs of 2.
There was no set number of rakats in the time of the Prophet (saw), so after he passed away, the second khalifa, Hazrat Umar (ra) passed a consensus saying that the Muslims should pray 20 rakats. He did this because he was afraid that the Muslims would argue etc over this.
There are 4 conditions to Taraweeh salah:
1.   It must be performed in Jamaat for men
2.  It should be performed in the beginning part of the night
3.  The whole Quran should be completed throughout the course of the month – for those praying in Jamaat
4. It must be performed as 20 rakats.
It is extremely sad to see that many Muslims today carry out the first 3 conditions but not the last one. This is because they give in to their own desires and laziness. The Prophet (saw) has instructed us in the Ahadith to hold on tight to the Sunnah of the Khulafa e Rashideen – the rightly guided Khalifas of this Ummah. This is Hadith should be enough for us.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to read Taraweeh in Jamat in the mosque. But then he was afraid that people would think it was compulsory, so he stopped doing that. Later after he (saw) had passed away, the second Khalifah (leader) Hazrat Umar (ra) decided to start praying Taraweeh in the mosque as a jamat again. Obviously, now everyone knew that it wasn’t compulsory but it was only Sunnah – highly emphasized. He also did it to bring unity to the Muslims.

Umrah in Ramadan
Performing umrah in Ramadan is like performing Hajj with the Prophet (saw). What a great achievement it would be for one of us to accompany the Prophet (saw) on Hajj! Think of standing beside him on the Plain of `Arafah. Imagine spending the night in his encampment in Muzdalifah and then getting up the next morning to go with him to Minâ. What would it be like to perform tawâf and sa`y alongside him. The apparent meaning of the hadîth is that our performing `umrah in Ramadan is really that significant. 
Going for Umrah in Ramadan is not compulsory on us – if we get the chance then we should go and if we don’t then it’s ok.

Itikaaf is a period of retreat in a mosque for a certain number of hours or days. During this time a person will worship Allah while maintaining certain conditions. It is most common during the last ten days of Ramadan – but can be performed as an optional worship any time during the year. A person can eat and sleep etc during itikaaf but must spend as little time as possible doing these things, and he should not leave his place of Itikaaf except in severe circumstances.
Women should perform itikaaf in their homes in a room where they won’t be disturbed.

Sadaqatul Fitr
Abdullah ibn 'Umar (ra) narrates:
'Allah's Apostle SallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the Eid prayer.'
Zakat ul Fitr and Sadaqatul Fitr are the same thing. Every Muslim has to give it and it should be given before the Eid prayer. Every member of the family has to pay it.
Sadaqat ul-Fitr establishes bonds of brotherhood and unity between the rich and poor of the ummah. Every person eligible to pay Sadaqat ul-Fitr should pay, not only for himself, but also for his dependents, such as his children.
Its rates are fixed by scholars according to the prevailing rates of wheat and dates in various Muslim countries. On such auspicious occasions as Ramadhan and Eid, Muslims are especially reminded of their obligations towards the poorer sections of society. Sadaqatul Fitr is approximately £3.00 per person.

Laylatul Qadr
Amongst the nights of Ramadan is one night called Laylatul Qadr. This night is famous for being great in blessings. There is a whole chapter of the Quran which is named after this night. It is called Surah Qadr. The translation is:

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

1.   We have sent down it (the Quran) down in the Night of Qadr.
2.  And what may let you know what the Night of Qadr is?
3.  The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months.
4. The angels and the Spirit descend in it, with the leave of your Lord, along with every command.
5.  Peace it is until the debut of dawn.

So, the Quran has described this night as being greater in blessings and spiritual virtue than a thousand months which in turn means that it is greater than 83 years and 4 months.
That person is so lucky and fortunate who gains the full blessings of this night by spending it in the worship of Allah, because he will have gained the reward of worship for 80 odd years – many of us cannot guarantee that we will live for this long. So, the granting of this night is a great favour and blessings for us Muslims.
Most narrations say that this night is among the odd last ten days of Ramadan.

Menstruation in Ramadan
When a woman is menstruating, she cannot pray namaz, Quran or fast. The fasts must be made up later. But she can still do zikr and make lots of dua – so she should do this a lot when menstruating. She should try not to eat or drink in front of a fasting person and she should try to help out with cooking etc for iftaar so that inshallah, she will get the reward of the ones who fasted. 

Developing spiritual habits in Ramadan
One of the main purposes of Ramadan is that whatever good habits and worship we do in this month, we carry it on after Ramadan. Make dua every day for Istiqamat. This means asking Allah for continuity and steadfastness in our worship – so that inshallah we remain firm upon it even after the month of Ramadan.

May Allah accept all our worship during this month of Ramadan, and make it the best Ramadan we have ever had - Ameen!


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