Ramdan 2010 – Alexandria, Egypt

An amazing video of stillness amid the rush of everyday living.

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Laylatul Qadr – The Night of Power

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.”

[Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]

The Beloved Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) told the companions about four persons of the Bani Israel who had worshipped Allah for 80 years. They were the Honoured Ayuub, Zakarriyya , Hizqil and Yusha ibne Nun. The companions were amazed by this, and saddened that their short life spans did not permit such lengthy devotion, so the Angel Gabriel (عليه السلام) came to the Prophet    (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said, “O Beloved of Allah, Allah has sent you something better than that.” Then he recited Sura Qadr. 

“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit(Gabriel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace!… This until the rise of Morning!”

Fasting and the Month of Ramadan

Prepared by: Khalil Abu Asmaa (Christopher J. Moore)

Taken from “Reflect on This“.

Fasting is a tradition known to many of the world’s religions. In its essence it is to temporarily deny oneself some of the pleasures and comforts of this earthly life in order to achieve a higher, loftier goal. Fasting is a spiritual exercise that helps us learn what it means to be human. It teaches the soul discipline and brings us to a greater awareness of our neediness in front of the Creator. It brings to the forefront of our consciousness that primal attribute which so adequately describes the human condition, namely, that of weakness. If we are denied the basic necessities of food and water for just a short period of time, it will ultimately lead to our demise. Part of the purpose of fasting is to remind ourselves of this stark reality.

 Fasting in the month of Ramadan is an essential part of being a Muslim. During this great month, Muslims fast from the break of dawn until sunset. During the observance of the fast it is required to abstain from food and drink, as well as from marital relations. It is a time to be more conscious of those less fortunate in the world, as well as to increase in vigilance concerning the destructive qualities of character, speech, and behavior.

 Since Islam is truly a practical and merciful religion, those who are sick, elderly, or traveling, as well as women who are pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year (unless they are chronically ill, in which case they would not have to do so). Children are only required to begin fasting and the performance of ritual prayers at the age of puberty, although most children start much earlier on their own. 

 God states in the Quran (2:183): 

 O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you, in hopes that you may achieve greater awareness (of God).

 Although fasting is primarily a means for self-purification, spiritual discipline, and self-restraint, it is also beneficial to one’s health and it engenders empathy for those less fortunate. By withholding oneself from certain worldly comforts, even if only for a brief period of time, the fasting person is able to focus on his or her purpose in this life by being aware of God more continuously, thereby becoming more cognizant of the meaning of life and the great importance of our final destination after life. 

 Ramadan is a special time for Muslims everywhere; a time for clearer reflection and heightened spirituality. Special prayer services (called taraweeh prayers) are held in mosques and other places of gathering all over the world, each and every night of Ramadan. Although not obligatory, many Muslims flock in large crowds to fill these places of gathering with sincere prayers, passionate supplications, and intimate words of invocation, often late into the night.

 The end of Ramadan is ushered in by a holiday called Eid al-Fitr, or simply Eid. On this day Muslims all over the world celebrate with prayers, gatherings with family and friends, and in many cases, a joyous exchange of gifts and the giving of sweets to children. Although saddened to see the month come to a close, they rejoice in the fruits of the fast and look forward to next year’s blessed harvest.

A Ramadan Message

Here is Habib Omar’s Ramadan Message to the Muslims of Australia.

Welcome O Ramadan!

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

“Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.”

(At-Tabaraani)

Preparing for Ramadan

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah bless and grant peace to our liegelord Muhammad as well as his folk and companions

 Dear brothers and sisters from the nation of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),

 As we wait in eager anticipation of the noble guest who approaches, the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, we undoubtedly are making physical and spiritual preparations therefore.

 Among the preparations that the scholars of Islam have encouraged is preparing our hearts for Allah’s gaze. Baihaqi relates, “When it is the first night of the month of Ramadan, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, gazes to them and the one to whom Allah looks, He does not punish him, ever.” The place to which Allah looks is the heart. So what will Allah see in your and my heart if He were to look to us on the first night of Ramadan?

 One of the qualities that would prevent us from this blessed gaze (and from many other opportunities for forgiveness) is malice. The Prophet, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us of the Night of Power and the Half Night of Sha’ban that those who harbor rancor, mistreat parents, severe bonds of kinship or drink are prevented from Allah’s merciful gaze. Do we want Allah to look to His servants on the first night of Ramadan and overlook us because we are bearing ill will against each other? Is whatever anyone has done to hurt us so important that we can not overlook it in exchange for an opportunity for eternal salvation from Allah’s punishment? What about all of those whom we have wronged? Do we not need Allah’s pardon as well as theirs?

 We can purify our hearts in preparation for this gaze from our Merciful, Forgiving Lord and also expose ourselves to an opportunity for His pardon when we need it most, by pardoning His servants. Allah said, “The one who pardons and reconciles his reward is upon Allah;” Quran (42:40). Tabarani relates that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A caller will call [on the Day of Rising], ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ Then he will call a second time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ It will be said, ‘Who is the one whose reward is upon Allah, Mighty and Majestic?’ He will say, ‘Those who pardon people.’ Then he will call a third time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise.’ Then so and so many thousand will stand and enter paradise without reckoning.” Imagine being among that fortunate group and having all of our many sins forgiven and receiving our reward directly from Allah!

 In preparation for the blessed first night of Ramadan, Insha’Allah, and that day in which each of us will meet Allah, let us pardon one another and all of Allah’s servants. I will begin with my own sinful self. O Allah, if any of Your slaves have transgressed the rights You have prescribed to me, they are excused. I ask you to grant them and me Paradise, and that You make us among its dwellers whom You have described in Your saying, “We have removed what was in their breasts of rancor, brethren on couches facing one another;” Quran (15:47). I also ask anyone who I have wronged to seek their due from me and to forgive me.

 “Our Lord forgives us and our brethren who preceded us in faith and do no place in our hearts ill will towards those who believe. Our Lord, indeed you are compassionate and merciful.” Quran (54:10)

 And Allah alone grants tawfiq (success),

Abdul-Kareem Yahyaa

Interpreter’s Path

Ramadan Moon

This is one of my daughter’s (and my) favourite songs about Ramadan, it really captures the excitement we feel in the days leading up to the moon-sighting, and some beautiful aspects of the month itself.

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