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Friday, October 15, 2004

Virtues of Ramadhaan (part 1)

HADITH No. 1
Salmaan (RA) reports, "On the last day of Sha-baan Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) addressed us and said, '0 people there comes over you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made Fasting compulsory by day. And has made sunnah the Taraaweeh by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a fardh in any other time. And whoever performs a fardh, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy faraa-idh in any other time.

This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah ( paradise. It is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer's rizq is increased. Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell}, and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who Fasted (who he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least."

Thereupon we said, "0 messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast." Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) replied, "Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk."

"This is a month, the first of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness and the last of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahan-nam."

"Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam."

"And in this month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa llaaha illallaah) and make much Istighfaar beg Allah's forgiveness with Astagirfirul-laah)." And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah, entrance into paradise and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam." "And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from My fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah."Reported by ibn Khuzaimah in his 'Saheeh.

COMMENTARY
All the points which this Hadith draws attention have been further emphasized in numerous other Ahaadith on the great virtues of Ramadhaan. Quite a number of important points are brought to our notice.

Firstly, it should be noted that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) delivered this sermon at the end of the month of Sha-baan the bvious reason being that he intended to put into our minds the great importance of Ramadhaan so that we could remember and not allow one second of this month to go by without giving it the full importance it deserves.

Thereafter attention is drawn to Laylatul Qadr, about which more is said later. Then attention is drawn to the fact that fasting has been made compulsory by Allah who also made sunnah the Taraaweeh 'salaah by night.

From this Hadith it is noted that the command for Taraaweeh prayers too comes from Allah Himself. Besides this in all the Ahadith wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) says, I have made it sunnah", is mainly to emphasize its importance. All the authorities of the Ahlus sunnah wal Jamaa'ah are agreed upon the fact that Taraaweeh is sunnah. (Bur-haan mentions that only the Rawaafidh deny this.)

Maulana Shaah Abdulhaq Dehlawi wrote in his book: "Maa Thabata Bis sunnah" that should the people of any town fail to perform Taraaweeh prayers, the Muslim ruler should make them do so by force.

HADITH No. 2
Abu Hurayrah relates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, "My Ummah were given five things for Ramadhaan which were not given to anyone except them. For them, the smell from the mouth of a fasting person is more sweeter to Allah than the fragrant smell of musk. On their behalf the fish in the sea seek forgiveness for the fasting persons until they break their fast. Allah prepares and decorates a special garden in Jannah everyday and then says (to it), "The time is near when faithful servants shall cast aside the great trials of the world and come to you". In this month (for them) evil-minded Shaytaan is chained so as not to reach unto those evils to which they normally reach during other months besides Ramadhaan. On the last night of Ramadhaan they are forgiven".

The Sahaabah R.A. thereupon enquired, "0 Messenger of Allah, is that last night Laylatul Qadr? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) replied, "No. But it is only right that a servant should be given his reward on having completed his service". Reported by Ahmad, Bazzaar and Bayhaqi.

HADITH No. 3
Kaab bin Ujra relates, "Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, "Come near to the mimbar". And we came near to the mimbar. When he ascended the First step of the mimbar he said "Aameen". When he ascended the second step of the mimbar he said, "Aameen". When he ascended the third step he said, "Aameen".
When he descended we said, "0 Rasul of Allah, we have heard from you today something which we never heard before". He said, When I ascended the first step) Jibra-eel A.S. 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 thy name is mentioned and then does not read Durood (salaat alan Nabi) on you". I replied "Aameen". When I ascended the third step he said, "Woe unto the person in whose presence both parents or o ne of them attain old age, and (through failure to serve them) is not allowed to enter Jannah" I said "Aameen". Reported by Haakim.

HADITH NO. 4
Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radhiallaahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said one day when Ramadhaan had drawn near; "The month of Ramadhan, the month of blessings has come to you, wherein Allah turns towards you and sends down to you His special Mercy, forgives your faults, accepts prayers, appreciates your competition for the greatest, good and boasts to the angels about you. So, show to Allah your righteousness; for verily, the most pitiable and unfortunate one is he who is deprived of Allah's Mercy in this month.

COMMENTARY
In this Hadith, we read about the spirit of competition among the believers, each one trying to do more good deeds than the other. In our own home, I am greatly pleased on seeing how even the womenfolk vie with each other, the one trying to recite more of the Qur'aan than the others, so that, in spite of domestic responsibilities, fifteen to twenty 'juz' (Parts) of the Qur'aan are read by each one daily. I mention this only out of a sense of gratitude to Allah, mentioning His favour, and not to boast of it. May Allah accept their deeds and ours, and increase us all in good deeds.

HADITH NO.5
Abu Saeed Khudri (Radhiallahu anh) relates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: "During each day and night of Ramadhan, 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."

COMMENTARY
Apart from this Hadith, there are many others stating that the 'Du'aa' of a fasting person is accepted (Mustajaab). In one Hadith, we read that the 'Du'aa'is accepted at the time of 'Iftaar', but we are generally so absorbed in eating that we neglect this opportunity. The well-known 'Duaa' at 'Iftaar' is: "O Allah for You have I fasted, in You do I believe, and on You do I rely, and now I break this fast with food coming from you."

Abdullah bin Amr (Radhiallahu anhu) used to make the following 'Duaa' at 'Iftaar': O Allah I beg You, through Your infinite Mercy, which surrounds all things, to forgive me.'


In some books we read that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to say: "O You who are Great in Bounties, forgive me."


Many other prayers have been indicated for 'Iftaar', but no special 'Dua' is fixed. This time (at iftaar) is one when 'Duaa' is accepted; submit before Allah all your needs.

HADITH NO. 6
Abu Hurairah (Radhiallaahu anhu) reports: Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alaiyhi wasallam) said: "There are three people whose "Du'aa" is not rejected; the fasting person until he breaks the fast, the just ruler, and the oppressed person, whose 'Dua' Allah lifts above the clouds and opens unto it the doors of heaven, and Allah says: "I swear by My honour, verily I shall assist you, even though it may be after some time."

COMMENTARY
In 'Durr Manthur' it is reported from Aa'isha (Radhiallahu anha) that, when Ramadhan appeared, the colour of Rasulullah's face used to change. He then used to increase his "Salaat", become even more humble in his "Duaas" and exhibit even more fear of Allah. According to another report, he hardly ever lay down in bed until Ramadhan came to an end. Further, it is stated that the angels carrying the Throne are commanded in Ramadhan to leave aside everything else and recite "Aameen" to the "Duaas" of those who fast. Numerous are the Ahaadith stating that the fasting person's 'Du'aas' are answered. When Allah has so promised. and his truthful 'Nabi' (Sallallaaho alaihe wasallam) has informed us, there should be no doubt whatsoever about the truth of these reports. Yet it is strange that, in spite of this, we still find such people who apparently do not get what they pray for. They ask and do not receive; but this does not mean that their prayers have been rejected. One should at this point understand the significance of a 'Dua' being answered.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) has informed us that, when a Muslim prays for anything from Allah, on the condition that he does not pray for breaking off from his near of kin or for anything sinful, he definitely receives one out of the following three things: he gets the exact thing which he asked. If that is not received, then Allah either removes from his path some great calamity in exchange for what he desired, or the reward for that thing for which he prayed is stored for him in the Hereafter. Another Hadith states that on the day of "Qiyaamah", Allah will call his servant, and say to him: "O my servant, I used to command you to ask of Me and promised to answer. Did you beg of Me? The servant will answer: "Yes I did." Then Allah shall reply: "You did not put forth any prayer which has not been accepted. You prayed that a certain calamity should be removed, which I did for you in the wordly life. You prayed that a certain sorrow should be cast off you, but result of that prayer was not known to you. For that, I fixed for you such and such a reward in the Hereafter. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) says that the man shall again be reminded of each and every prayer and he shall be shown how it had been fulfilled in the world or else what reward had been stored for him in the Hereafter. On seeing that reward, he shall wish that not a single prayer of his had heen answered on Earth, so that he could receive the full reward only in the Hereafter.

Yes, prayer is indeed very important, and to neglect it at any time is a matter of great loss. Even when the outward signs seem to indicate that our prayer is not answered, hope should not be lost. Even from the lengthy Hadith at the end of this booklet, it is clear that Allah in answering prayers considers first of all our own good and welfare. Should Allah find that granting us what we beseech from Him is in our welfare and interest, He grants it, otherwise not. Actually it is Allah's favour on us that we do not always get what we ask for because very often, due to our lack of understanding, we beg for things that are not beneficial at a particular time.

Here I must draw your attention to the fact that men as well as women suffer from a bad habit of cursing their children in their anger and affliction. Beware of this. As preordained by Allah, there are certain occasions when whatever prayer be made is immediately answered. So sometimes, due to our own stupidity, the child is cursed and when the effect of that same curse comes upon the child and lands him into a calamity, the parents go about crying and wailing. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) commanded us not to curse ourselves, our children, possessions, or servants. It is just possible that the curse is uttered at a time when all requests are granted, especially in Ramadhan, which is replete with such special "Mustajaab" (accepted) moments. Hence, in this month, great care should be taken.

Ibn Masood(Radhi Allaho anhu) reports that on every night of Ramadhan, a crier from the heavens calls out: "O you seeker of good, come near; O You seeker of evil, turn away (from evil) and open your eyes." Thereafter that angel calls out: "Is there any seeker of forgiveness, that he may be forgiven? Is there any one with a prayer, that his praver may be heard? Is there anyone wanting anything, so that his wish may be fulfilled?"

Lastly, it should be borne in mind that there are certain conditions under which prayers are accepted; in the absence of these, prayers may be often rejected. Among these is the use of 'Halaal' food: When 'Haraam' is consumed, the prayers are not accepted. Rasulullah said: "Many a greatly distressed person lifts up his hands to the heavens. praying and crying: 'O Allah, O Allah.' But the food he eats is "Haraam", what he drinks is "Haraam", his clothes are of "Haraam"; then in such cases how can his prayer be accepted?'

A story is related about a group of people in Kufa, whose prayers used to be always accepted. Whenever a (bad) ruler was placed over them, they used to pray for a curse upon him, which quickly came to destroy him. When Hajjaaj became ruler there, he invited these people amongst others, to a feast. After they had all eaten, he said: "I am no longer afraid of the curse upon me from these people, because "Haraam" food has now entered their stomachs." (At this stage, let us ponder over how much "Haraam" is being consumed in these times, when people are even trying to make permissible the taking of interest money. We find out people going so far as to think that bribery and what is obtained through it is permissible, while our merchants very often justify their deceiving people when trading with them.)

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