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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ramadaan - Coming to a close

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "Every day at the time of iftaar, Allah sets free one thousand such souls from the fire of Jahannam who had previously been found deserving Jahannam. On the last night, he sets free as many more as had been set free throughout the month. On the night of Laylatul Qadr, Allah commands Jibra'il to descend to the earth with a large group of angels. They descend carrying a green flag, which is then planted on top of the Ka'bah. Jibra'il alayhis salaam himself has one hundred wings, two of which are spread out on this night only. He spreads out these two wings so that their width extends from east to west. Jibra'il alayhis salaam then sends out the angels in all directions to offer salutations to anybody they find standing in prayer or sitting, performing Salaat or celebrating the praises of Allah. They shake hands with them and say 'aameen' to all their prayers until dawn. When dawn comes, Jibra'il alayhis salaam calls out: "Depart angels of Allah, depart."
The angels then inquire: "O Jibra'il, what did Allah do regarding the needs that the faithful ones from among the Ummah of Ahmad sallallahu alayhi wasallam put before Him?" Jibra'il alayhis salaam replies: "Allah looked at them with mercy and pardoned them all, except four kinds of people." Thereupon, we the Sahaabah inquired: "Who are they, O Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam?" Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam replied: "They are the ones who are addicted to wine, those disobedient to their parents, those who cut themselves off from their near relatives, and those who harbour ill-will against their fellow beings and break off relations with them."

And then the night of 'Eedul Fitr, the night is called "Laylatul Jaa'izah" (the night of prize giving), comes along. On the morning of Eed, Allah sends down the angels to all the lands of the Earth, where they take their positions on all the streets and lanes, calling out with the voice that is heard by all except men and Jinn: "O Ummah of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam, come forth from your houses towards the Lord, who is noble and gracious, who grants abundantly and pardons the major sins." When they proceed for their Eed Salaat, Allah says to the angels: "What indeed is the reward of that employee who has rendered full service?" Allah then says: "I call you to witness, O my angels, that for their having fasted for me during the month of Ramadhaan, and for their having stood before me in prayer by night, I have granted to them as a reward of my pleasure and have granted them forgiveness. O my servants, ask now of me, for I swear by my honour and greatness, that whatsoever you shall beg of me this day in this assembly of yours for the needs of your hereafter, I shall grant you; and whatever you shall ask for your worldly needs, I shall grant what is to your advantage. My honour do I swear, as long as you shall obey my commands, I shall cover up your faults. By my honour and my greatness do I swear, that I shall never disgrace you in front of the transgressors and disbelievers. Return now from here: you are forgiven.
You have indeed pleased me, and I am pleased with you."

The angels, on seeing this great reward bestowed upon the Ummah of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam on the day of 'Eed become greatly pleased and happy. (O Allah, make us also from those fortunate ones. Aameen.)

Commentary: We also note that there are a few people who are deprived of the general forgiveness in Ramadhaan and are unfortunate indeed in not being able to get a share even on the morning of Eed. Among them are those who fight and quarrel among themselves and those disobedient to their parents. One may well ask them: "You have displeased Allah, and having done so, what other refuge do you now have?" We feel indeed sad that, for some worldly gain or honour, you have made yourselves the target of the curse of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and Jibra'il alayhis salaam while at the same time being excluded form Allah's freely granted forgiveness. You may have gained a temporarily victory over your adversary and gained some worldly honour, but this short-lived gain will avail nothing when the Prophet's sallallahu alayhi wasallam curse is on you, confirmed by Jibra'il, and you are being refused Allah's forgiveness and mercy. I implore you, my dear brothers and sisters, think about your position at this moment and desist from all your quarrels. There is still time to repair and repent today. Tomorrow you shall have to stand before a judge, before whom no rank, no honour, position, or wealth shall avail you- a judge before whom only your actions shall count and who is aware of your every movement. Remember that Allah may forgive our failings as far as our relationship with him is concerned, but will not forgive, without equivalent penalty, the transgressions in our relations with our fellowmen.

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "The bankrupt one from among my Ummah is that person, who shall appear on the Day of Qiyaamah, bringing with him righteous deeds like Salaat, Sawm (Fast) and charity: but he had also sworn at someone, falsely accused someone else, and hurt somebody, with the result that all these people shall come forward with complaints against him bearing witness against him. As a penalty his good deeds shall be taken away and given to the injured ones. And when his good deeds are exhausted in this manner, their sins shall be loaded upon him (when he is not able to pay the full penalty through lack of good deeds); because of this load he shall enter Jahannam". So we see that in spite of many good deeds, he shall be in great despair. (O Allah, save us from that).

This Hadeeth also states that the night before the day of 'Eed is called the night of prize giving, the night when Allah gives a reward to His servants who should also properly value this night. It is usual that, once an announcement is made that the next day is 'Eed, the majority of us (including the good Muslims) feel fatigued because of Ramadhaan and prefer on this night to enjoy rest and sleep, whereas this too is a valuable night that should be spent in 'ibaadah. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, "Whoever stays awake for 'ibaadah on the night preceding either 'Eed, with the aim of gaining reward, his heart shall not die on that day when hearts shall wither". The meaning here is at that time when evil have overpowered every body, his heart shall stay alive (guarded against evil). It may also perhaps refer to the time when the trumpet shall be blown to hold the Day of Qiyaamat on that day his soul shall not become unconscious.

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam is reported to have said, "Whoever stays awake for prayers ('ibaadah) on the following nights shall enter Jannah; Laylatul tarwiyah (the night after the seventh Zil Hijjah), Laylatul Arafaat (the night after the eighth Zil Hijjah), Laylatul Nahr (the night after the ninth of Zil Hijjah), the night preceding 'Eedul Fitr, the night preceding the 15th of Sha'baan."

The jurists of Islaam have written that it is mustahab to remain in prayers ('ibaadah) on the nights of both 'Eed.
Imaam Shafi'i is reported to have said that prayers are answered on the nights of Friday, the nights before the two 'Eed and on the night preceding the 15th of Sha'baan.

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