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Ramadhaan is a month of countless blessings and virtues. The word Ramadhaan is derived from "ramdh' which means "burning of the feet from heat" This is because of the fast, which burns the sins of a Muslim into ashes. Ramadhaan has been given the name of blessed month because: 1. In this month, the whole Qur'aan was sent down to the first sky from Lawhe Mahfooz. 2. In this month, there is the night of Qadr which is better than 1000 months. 3. In this month, the thawaab of good deed is equal to the fardh of another month. 4. This is the month of patience and the reward of this patience is Jannah. 5. This month teaches the lesson of kindness towards others. 6. In this month, the daily-bread of Muslims is increased. 7. In this month, the first ten days are of mercy, second ten days are of forgiveness and the last ten days are of being freed from Hell.
8. The month of Ramadhaan is a month in which the Mercy and Blessings of Allah Ta'ala descend upon us continuously. This month is so precious that one should fast, recite Qur'aan and keep himself engaged in worship (Ibaadah) day night. One should perform Taraaweeh, Nafl Salaat, make du'aa, etc. In this way, by giving preference to religion over self-desires, a person can acquire the Pleasure and Nearness of Allah. Each day and night of this blessed month can bring the reward of Ibaadah of years.
RAMADHAAN IN THE LIGHT OF AHAADEETH
Ka'b Ibne 'Ujrah radhiyallahu anhu relates that the Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, "Come near the pulpit," and we came near the pulpit. When he ascended the first step of the pulpit, he said, "Aameen." When he ascended the second step, he said, "Aameen." When he ascended the third step, he said, "Aameen." When he descended, we said, "O Prophet of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, we have heard from you today something which we never heard before." He said, "When I ascended the first step, jibra'eel appeared before me and said, 'Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadhaan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness.' Upon that I said: Aameen. When I ascended the second step, he said, 'Woe to him before whom your name is mentioned and he does not read Durood (Salaat) on you. 'I replied: Aameen. When I ascended the third step he said, 'Woe to him in whose presence his parents or either one of them attains old age, and (through failure to serve them) he is not allowed to enter Paradise.' I said: Aameen." (Bukhaari) Salmaan radhiyallahu anhu relates that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, "Ramadhaan is a blessed month. In this month is a night better than a 1000 months. Fasting has been made compulsory and Taraaweeh Sunnah. Whosoever tries drawing nearer to Allah by performing any virtuous deed in this month, for him shall be such reward as if he had performed a 'Fardh' in any other time of the year. And whoever performs a 'Fardh' for him shall be the reward of seventy 'Fardh' in any other time of the year. This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise; it is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen; this is the month wherein a true believer's Rizq is increased." Bayhaqi In this month the doors of Paradise are opened and the doors of hell are closed. And the Shayaateen are chained. Bukhaari, Muslim This is a month, the first part of which brings Allah's Mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last part of which brings emancipation from the fire of Hell. Bayhaqi During each day and night of this month, Allah sets free a great number of souls from Hell. And for every Muslim during each day and night, at least one prayer is certainly accepted. (Bazzaa)r In this month, the Ummah of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam are given these things specially. 1. The smell from the mouth of a fasting person is more sweeter in the sight of Allah than the fragrant smell of musk. 2. On their behalf the fish in the sea seek forgiveness until they break their fast. 3. For them, paradise is decorated everyday. 4. For them, the evil minded shaytaan is chained. 5. On the last night of Ramadhaan they are forgiven.
THINGS TO DO IN THIS MONTH
Four things have been instructed in the Hadeeth which one should continue to practice in abundance: 1. Recite the Kalimah Tayyibah. 2. Make Istighfaar. 3. Ask for Jannah. 4. Seek refuge in Allah from Hell. In this month one should fast, perform all Salaat with congregation, engage in recitation of the Qur'aan, perform Taraaweeh, give charity and do whatever is possible to acquire the Pleasure of Allah. One should make sure that he does not do anything contrary to the Command of Allah and the teachings of His beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
In Ramadhaan, Allah has made fasting compulsory. It is one of the five pillars of Islaam. Just like the flower which outsmarts other flowers in its smell and colour, and like the fruit which surpasses the other fruits in its taste, the Ibaadah of fasting outweighs the other forms of devotions in reward. A person gives up everything whilst fasting, only to please his Almighty Creator. It is one of the most accepted forms of Ibaadah, because Allah Himself will give the reward for fasting.
Allah and His Angels send Mercy upon those who eat Sehri. Allah has made Sehri full of mercy and blessings. People of other religions also fast, but they do not eat Sehri, therefore, to differ from them, it is advisable to have at least a sip of water with the intention of Sehri
Many virtues have been narrated for those who feed others when breaking fast. A person who feeds another who fasted in order to break the fast (at sunset), for him there shall be forgiveness and emancipation from the fire of Hell. Allah grants the same reward to him who gives a fasting person a mere date or a drink of water to break his fast.
In Ramadhaan, Allah has made w0 Rak'at Taraaweeh Sunnah. It is also Sunnah to complete the full Qur'aan in Taraaweeh. Taraaweeh is Sunnah for women too.
This is a night of great blessings. It is better than a thousand months. The people of the past had very long lives compared to the much shorter lives of this Ummah. If this Ummah then wished to compete with them in doing of the good deeds, it would mean that because of the shorter lives it would be impossible for this Ummah to either emulate or surpass them. For this reason, Allah in His Infinite Mercy granted this Ummah, this night of great blessing. This night has great virtues i.e.
1. The Qur'aan was revealed in this night. 2. The reward of worship in this night is better than the reward of 1,000 months. 3. On this night, Jibraeel descends to the earth with a group of angels, reciting salaam and praying for the blessings for those they see in Worship and Praises Allah. 4. This is a night of peace. The blessings and mercy descends right until the break of day. The author of Mazahir-e-Haqq states the following significance and virtues of this auspicious night: * On this night, the angles were created. * On this night, the matter from which Adam alayhis salaam was created had been collected. * On this night, Jannah and Jahannan were created. * On this night, 'Eesaa alayhis salaam was raised up bodily into the heavens. * On this night, the repentance of Banoo Israa'eel was accepted. * It is stated in a Hadeeth: "Whosoever stands in Ibaadah on this night with sincere faith and with genuine hopes of gaining reward, his previous sins will be forgiven." Bukhaari, Muslim
WHICH NIGHT IS LAYLATUL QADR
There is a difference of opinion amongst the Ulamaa about this night. According to the vast majority of them, the Laylatul Qadr falls on the odd dates of the last ten days of the month of Ramadhaan - i.e. 21, 23, 25, 27, 29. However, one should strive to search for this great night in all nights of the month of Ramadhaan, particularly in the last ten nights.
It was the general practice of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam to perform I'tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadhaan. The women should also try to perform I'tikaaf in their homes. It is stated in a Hadeeth: Whoever performs I'tikaaf in the final ten days of Ramadhaan, for him is the reward of Hajj and Umrah.
Moulana Muhammad Uthmaan Ghani
SOME HEALTH GUIDELINES FOR RAMADHAAN
This article provides useful advice on how to avoid some common problems encountered in Ramadhan. If followed, it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual benefits of Ramadhan. During the holy month of Ramadhan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadhan is an ideal time to normalise one's weight.
In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours. Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates). Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates). Fibre-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc. The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.
Fried and fatty foods. Foods containing too much sugar. Over-eating especially at sehri. Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day. Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.
Complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry. Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food. Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium. Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat. Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.
Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling. Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.
Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.
INDIGESTION AND WIND
Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas. Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.
LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')
Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon. Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake. Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake. Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadhan. They should consult their doctor.
Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar. Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.
LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar. Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhur (sehri). The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop. Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks. Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.
Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods. Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates. Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.
PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIA
Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend upto the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions. Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadhan.
Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.
Causes: During Ramadhan, when extra salah are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort. Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadhan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.
Dr. Farouk Haffejee Islamic Medical Association of South Africa - Durban
Ramadhaan 1419 WHY FAST?
It has been related from Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiallaahu Anhu), he says that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Whomsoever fasts during the month of Ramadaan out of deep sincere faith, with hope for an abundant reward from Allah, all his past sins will be forgiven, and he who passes his nights in devotions out of deep sincere faith, with hope for an abundant reward from Allah, and also he who keeps awake on the sacred night (Laylatul Qadr) their previous sins will be forgiven."
IMPORTANCE OF MOTIVE AND NIYYAT
Everybody knows that a voluntary murder is abhorred by all civilisations and that all religions condemn such a murderer to Hell, whereas the innocent victim in question, the martyr merits Jannat. Everybody also knows that the defence of a rightful cause (against an aggressor) is a duty: and the one who kills an aggressor is considered to be a hero who merits all the rewards in this world and the hereafter. Is not the difference between these two killings of merely the intention? Similarly if one abstains from eating and drinking only on the prescription of a doctor, will he not be doing the same act as the one who gives up eating and drinking in compliance with the command, and for the sake of Allah? Allah is our Creator, Lawgiver who is going to revive us after death and to demand accounts of our actions in the present world. Whoever will have obeyed Him, shall obtain His pleasure, even if we have not understood the underlying secrets of His commandments. The fasting enjoined by a religion, by a revealed law must entail Divine pleasure if we accomplish it. And what spiritual and worldly benefit can be greater than the eternal pleasure of our Lord? Material motives should not be allowed to mar the purity of the intention. Let our fast be wholly and solely for the pleasure, and in compliance with the commands of Allah. Hence the celebrated saying of Rasuluilah SAW. "Indeed acts are judged according to their intentions."
Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, a predominant personality of the 18th century, a great scholar and also a great saint, respected on all hands, In his celebrated work "Hujjatullah ul Baalighah" has made some penetrating remarks on the spiritual aspects of fasting:"Since the excess of animality hinders the emergence of angelic aspects, it was necessary that one should try and dominate one's animality. Since the excess of animality and the accumulation and abundance of its stratas have their origin in food, drink and indulgence in carnal pleasures, a fast accomplishes what abundant food cannot. Therefore the method of dominating the animality is the diminishing of causes (of the excess of animality). That is why there is a uninamity among all those who desire the emergence of the angelic aspect in man as to diminish and reduce these. (eating, drinking etc.) There is no difference among the peoples of the world in spite of the difference of their religions and the distance between their respective countries. Moreover the ultimate goal is that the animality of man should become submissive to mans angelic side, so that the animality acts according to the inspirations and dictates his angelism, take colour from its colour, and his algelism prevents his animality from taking mean and lowly colours and getting abject impressions-like a wax getting the impression of a seal. To attain this, there is no method other than this. The angelic side of man should select something according to its own exigencies and should inspire and suggest this to the animal side of man; and that the animality should submit to this inspiration, not, act obstinately or rebel against it. Angelism should continue again and again to inspire its exigencies to the animality, and the animality should continue to submit to these exigencies, so that it becomes accustomed to them and proficient in them â€¦"
Students learn for several months continuously, then they get a vacation. Employees work for six days a week, the seventh day being a holiday for leisure and rest. Men exert mental and physical energy the whole day, where after the repose of sleep renovates their faculties for the next day. Even machines and tools require relaxation, and we observe this for motor cars, aeroplanes, locomotives, etc. Is it therefore not reasonable to think that the stomach and the digestive organs also require rest? In fact modern medicine has also reached the same conclusion, and a large number of doctors in Europe, America, etc. prescribe, for various chronic diseases, forced hunger and thirst for longer or shorter
periods according to the exigencies of the sickness and the physical capacities of the sick person. They have also found various glands that secrete certain acidities in the stomach on account of hunger and thirst, and that these acidities kill many a germ which produce different diseases. Statistics have also shown that several digestive and other diseases are less abundant among people who have the habit of fasting every year. We know that man requires a change of climate, air and water from time to time. Doctors send the person recovering from sickness for convalescence to a place other than his habitual living place. The more fortunate pass a time for vacation outside their home. In other words, it is necessary to change the normal habits from time to time. This is also a kind of rest. We see, for instance, that cultivators use their fields alternatively and give "rest" to the ground also. Continuity being harmful, Islam has forbidden the fasting during the whole year, even for those who want spiritual benefits thereby. Experience has also shown that if one fasts for ever, it becomes a habit, a second nature and therefore such a person does not profit by it as does the one who fasts with intervals. In fact, if one fasts for more than forty days consecutively, it becomes a habit; and if one fasts for less than a month, it has not much effect. Those who fast on medical prescription or even under compulsion - as a discipline or such - do get the material benefits inherent in fasting; but there being no intention of a spiritual search, they do not benefit thereby spiritually. Muslims fast with the intention of complying with the order of Allah. They therefore have a piety and its reward; and at the same time they do not loose the physical and material benefits of the fasting. From whichever point of view one may study the Muslim way of fasting, it compares favourably with its counterparts in other civilisations.
By Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah Waterval Islamic Institute
A FEW IMPORTANT DIRECTIVES FOR THE MONTH OF RAMADHAANUL MUBAARAK
By the Late Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Badre Aalam I write these few important words to Muslims generally and especially to my associates, be they menfolk or womenfolk. The Mubarak fasting month of Ramadaan comes but once a year, and this is a month bestowed with a lot of Barakat. One of its special qualities is that if this time is spent in righteous devotion then the Barakat of this month will remain for the full year, and if this time is unfortunately wasted negligently then no Barakat will remain until the next Ramadaan. Because of this it is urgent that all my Muslim brothers and associates should make a programme for the month of Ramadaan in which, according to inclination and opportunity, they set aside a special time for devotion in this month.
1. When one awakes for Sehri, and by eating prepares for the following day, similarly should it be considered necessary to prepare spiritually for the same period, by making at least 8 rakats or the full 12 rakats of Tahajjud, and if there is time, by sincerely reciting Tasbeeh (Subhanallah), Tahleel (La ilaha illallah), Tahmeed
(Alhamdulillah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and Istighfaar (Astaghfirullah). In the same way these 5 praises should not be forgotten after each of the 5 Fard Salaats. This should in earnestness, be the daily schedule. In the second ten days devotion should be increased, and in the last ten days of Ramadaan-ul-Mubarak, in search of Laylatul Qadr, devotions should be further intensified. For obtaining this Sawaab, if possible, the whole night or most of the night should be spent in Tilaawat (recital of Quraan) and repeating of Kalima Tayyeba, Kalima Tamjid, Kalima Tawheed, Istighfaar, Towba and performing Salaat etc. During this time there is no objection in taking food and drink or discussing religious matters to assist in staying awake, but it should be borne in mind that by staying awake, the Fajr Salaat should not be jeopardised. For these devotions, sacrifices have to be made; for instance to stay awake one should eat less. To eat one has the remaining eleven months. Hadhrat Anas RA. relates: "Once with the approach of Ramadaan Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said. 'On you has come such a month in which there is a night which is superior to one thousand months. That unfortunate person who has missed this night has deprived himself of all good and only that person is excluded from the bounty of this night who is in fact very unfortunate"'. In many Ahadeeth, mention has been made about the auspiciousness of this night. 2. During this month of Barakat Kalima Tayyeba, Durood and Istighfaar should frequently be read even whilst sitting, walking etc. This month is important for the Tilaawat of Quraan, for it was revealed in this month. It is our duty to read Durood on Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and this should be read and repeated as many times as practicable. 3. Fasting during this month is just as obligatory as the five Fard Salaats. No Muslim should be lax with his Sawm and should be more mindful of his five Fard Salaats than at other times. More attention must be given to Tahaarat (Paaki), Jama'at and modesty in this month. To neglect the Sawm and make Salaat is as sinful as to observe fast and be careless with ones Fard Salaat. 4. In this Mubarak month it is more important to stay away from evil than to do good deeds. As much as possible one should endeavour to save the eyes, ears, tongue, heart
and all parts of the body from the slightest sin. One should especially refrain from slander and harmful talk. Kindness, good manners and the remembrances of Allah are the ornaments of this month of Barakat, and these should not be destroyed by vulgarity and bad manners. 5. This is the month in which sympathy should be shown to the needy and poor. Therefore one should give as much as can be afforded in Sadaqa, Khayrat, Iftari, Sehri etc., and preparation should be made for the Hereafter. It is stated in the Hadeeth that anyone who provides a fasting person with Iftari, it will assist him in having his sins forgiven, save him from the fire, and he will receive as much reward (Sawaab) as the person who has fasted. When giving charity. It must be clearly borne in mind that ones Niyyat should be free of attaining fame and publicity, for this will nullify the reward. 'A good way of making charity is to send some money at the end of every ten days with the niyyat of Sawab to the homes of the poor and needy (those who do not go out to beg). In this way one could sympathise with them. 6. Especially on the night of Eid, staying awake, being aware of its importance, and knowing that it is the end of the Mubarak month, one should ask for whatever one wants and seek forgiveness for ones sins. Similarly on Eid day make Miswaak, change into clean clothes and use Itr. All this should be done with the Niyyat of observing Sunnat and not in imitation of other unbelieving people. If unfortunately on this Islamic occasion one takes part in cinema shows and places of evil, then it so much resembles the ways of the unbelievers that it is difficult to call it an Islamic festival. Therefore people who regularly do these undesirable things during the year should refrain from these acts, so that non-Muslims can see the difference between the Eid of Muslims and the festivals of non-Muslims. The happiness of Muslims on this day should be because of the completion of the important Ibaadat of Roza. Contrary to this on Eid day Muslims are indulging in all sorts of unlawful activities. How wonderful will it be if Muslims could show other nations what a true Islamic Eid should be.
Note:- With regard to Ramadaan, Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zakariya Saheb of Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur, India has written a book entitled 'Faza'le Ramadaan' (Virtues of Ramadaan) in which he has selected Ahadeeth with translation and
commentary. It is important to obtain and read or listen to it as opportunity allows, so that it includes a yearning for devotion during this Mubarak month.
It is my sincere Duaa that Allah make this Mubarak month bountiful for all Muslims and especially for my associates and bless them to obtain as much of its Barakat as possible and guide them according to the Sunnat and His wishes. I appeal to all gracious readers and all my associates to include me in their Isaale Sawaab and Duaas.
Waterval Islamic Institute