Category Archives: Ramadaan

Ramadan 1438H Preparation Lectures

Lecture 1 (Legal rulings and spiritual advice)

Whether it is a job interview, a presentation, an exam, a sports match, a ceremony, or any occasion of some significance, we always prepare. We just never show up without any preparation and hope to ace the occasion. Yet the sad fact is, Allah is about to bless us with the biggest month of the year, and majority of us are not exerting any effort whatsoever to prepare for it. We think we can simply show up and ace the month, but isn’t it sad that we only demonstrate such counter-intuitive attitude for religious matters and almost never for worldly matters?

My dear fellow Muslims! The month of Sha’ban is not over yet, and we still have 10 days left to prepare for the most generous month of the year. Here is a quick four step Ramadan preparation guide:

1. Repent: Repent from your past sins. Sins are like burden on your back. No runner can enter a race with a burden on his back and expect to win. Similarly, we cannot enter the month of Ramadan with a soul weighed down by sins and expect it to sprint in worship. Therefore, purify it now with repentance.

2. Learn: Learn the fiqh rulings pertaining to this month before the month begins.

3. Increase: Start increasing your level of worship. Fast a few days, read more Quran, and pray extra prayers so that you are acclimatized with increased level of worship before the beginning of Ramadan.

4. Make Ramadan planner: Ramadan should not be the month when you live every moment as it comes. Prepare a Ramadan plan so that you know beforehand what you will be doing at each time slot and thereby squeeze the most out of this month.

Finally my fellow Muslims, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you to listen to the following lecture by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi about preparing for Ramadan. The shaykh beautifully explained the fiqh rulings of Ramadan and followed it with some heart melting spiritual reminders about this month.

May Allah make this Ramadan the best Ramadan, and may He bless us with many more Ramadans, and may He make each Ramadan better than previous Ramadan!

Lecture 2 (How to make our hearts submit)

A beautiful lecture by Shaykh Omar Suleiman about how to submit our hearts to Allah during the month of Ramadan. The key points from the lecture are as follows:

(1) The word ‘taqwa’ linguistically means ‘to protect’ or ‘to shield’. In Islamic sense, ‘taqwa’ means to protect or shield yourself from the punishment of Allah.

(2) Taqwa can be defined in many ways, but generally, taqwa means that Allah is always obeyed, and never disobeyed, and that Allah is always remembered and never forgotten. Always remembering Allah does not meaning always doing literal dhikr of Allah, rather it means to be conscious of Allah during all our actions and interactions.

(3) ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz said: “None can reach the state of taqwā until he possesses neither actions nor words that can be exposed to his embarrassment, either in this world or the Hereafter,” and he was once asked: “When does the worshipper reach the peak of taqwā?” So, he replied: “If he puts all the thoughts and desires in his heart on a plate and then wandered around in the market, he should not feel ashamed of anything there.” [‘Min Akhlāq as-Salaf’; p. 56]

(4) Allah commanded the believers to strive to attain taqwa in numerous verses of the Quran, and the foremost verse among them is the following:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
O you who have believed, fear Allah as He deserves be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. [The Noble Quran 3:102]

When this verse was revealed, the companions were terrified, for it is not possible for any human to fear Allah and be conscious of him like He DESERVES to be FEARED. Thereafter, out of His Mercy, Allah revealed the following verse:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
So fear Allah as much as you are able [The Noble Quran 64:16]

Many scholars of the Quran said that while both verses (3:102 and 64:16) are still recited today, Allah abrogated the meaning of 3:102 with that of 64:16. However, the latter verse cannot be used as a leeway or excuse to commit sins. A Muslim is not allowed to say that he has tried his best to stay away from a certain sin but failed and thus committing the sin. Rather, the correct understanding of the verse is this: when it comes to executing the injunctions of Allah, Muslims must strive their best to fulfill them in the best possible manner, and when it comes to prohibitions, they must avoid them altogether. This is how the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) explained the verse in the following hadith:

“What I have forbidden for you, avoid. What I have ordered you [to do], do as much of it as you can.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Notice that when it comes to prohibitions, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to avoid them altogether, because Allah never burdens a soul beyond its capacity to withstand:

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. [The Noble Quran 2:286]

(5) Before we attend any training course, the objectives and learning outcomes are laid out. At the end of the course, if we attain those objectives, the completion of the course is considered successful. If we do not attain those objectives, our mere attendance and going through the motions of the course mean nothing. Similarly, the end goal for the month of Ramadan is to attain taqwa, as Allah has clearly mentioned in the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain taqwa [The Noble Quran 2:183]

While we are planning to do a lot of good deeds in the month of Ramadan, we must not lose sight of the end goal – to attain taqwa. I am not downplaying the importance of doing good deeds, but if at the month we fail to achieve taqwa, if we fail to eliminate certain disobedience and sins from our lives, our Ramadan mission will be a failure.

(6) The similitude of a heart that has no taqwa but is doing a lot of good deeds is that of jar with holes – no matter how much water is poured, it will never be filled.

(7) Remember that taqwa is primarily demonstrated in avoiding the prohibitions. Muslims and non-Muslims alike do good deeds. For example, an atheist occasionally donates to charity and shows kindness to his neighbor. However, you will never find a non-believer who gives up his desire or self-pleasure for the sake of God. Also, the primary motivation for not doing good deeds is laziness whereas the primary motivation for committing sins is self-pleasure. Therefore, you can only attain true taqwa and claim love of God when you can give up your sinful self-pleasures for the sake Allah.

(8) For those who are doing good deeds but have failed to attain taqwa and leave out Allah’s prohibitions, should be afraid of the following verse and hadith of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) :

يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَىٰ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ وَيَقُولُونَ حِجْرًا مَّحْجُورًا
وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَّنثُورًا
The day they see the angels – no good tidings will there be that day for the criminals, and [the angels] will say, “Prevented and inaccessible.” And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed. [The Noble Quran 25:22-23]

“I indeed know that some people from my Ummah will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds like the white mountains of Tihama, but Allah will make them scattered dust.” Thawban said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us, so that we may not be one of them without knowing it!’ He (ﷺ) said, “They will be your brothers, and from your people, and they will take from the night as you do (meaning prayers, etc.), but they are a people who, when they were alone with the prohibitions of Allah, violated them.” [Ibn Maajah]

Therefore my fellow Muslims! Beware of your end goal of Ramadan – attaining taqwa. Sincerely ask Allah to make you from the people of taqwa. Has time not come to be a person of true taqwa? And what opportunity can you have greater than the month of Ramadan to make that transformation in your life?

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? [The Noble Quran 57:16]

(Go through the lecture for more learning)

Ramadan 1435H: Discover Who You Are

Ramadan-2012
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O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient. [The Noble Quran 59: 18-19]

These are two very profound verses of the Quran. Allah is exhorting us to reflect and think about what we are putting forth for tomorrow, which is the eternal life of hereafter.

The month of Ramadan is back among us.  There cannot be a time of self-reflection better than the month of Ramadan. Therefore, we need to reflect what we have put forth since last Ramadan.

How many good deeds we have put forth? Have we kept the promises we had made with Allah in the last Ramadan? Will the good deeds of last year outweigh the sins we have committed? How many nights we took account of our deeds before going to sleep?

We need to think. We need to reflect.

This self-reflection is necessary to find out who we are and where we stand.

When we commit sins, we forget Allah. However, in the process of forgetting Allah, we forget our very own self. We forget our very purpose of existence, our purpose of life, our utter helplessness before Allah’s decree and His punishment, and our ultimate goal, which is Jannah.

That is why when we commit sins, we not only forget Allah, but we forget our own self. And this is very scary.

Think about it deeply. Allah created us for worshipping Him. There will come a day when we will face our end -the death. At that moment, we will see our whole life in a flashback. We will look back into our fond memories. We will look back at our loved ones -our parents, spouse, children, siblings, relatives, and friends. We will look back at our houses and our worldly achievements. But at the face of death, when someone will finally realize that he will have to leave it all, a really horrible feeling will overcome him. It is truly a horrible feeling. At that moment, the person will realize the value of standing before Allah with utmost humility in the darkest part of night and praying before Him. At that moment, we will all realize the worth of worship -all forms of legislated worship. At that moment, we will realize that it is submission and worship of Allah that truly defines a human being.

Undoubtedly, there is no tragedy for human beings greater than forgetting Allah, their Creator, and forgetting their own selves, which is a natural consequence of forgetting the Creator. Therefore, in this blessed month of Ramadan, let us all do a self-audit. Let us reflect about our deeds. Let us find out who we are and where we need to be. Let us assess the extent of damage we have done to our souls by committing sins. And after self-reflection, take actions to repair the damages. Let’s not be lazy in this Ramadan. Rather, let us strive a mighty strive to make the most of this month.

O Allah! Forgive our sins and give us the ability to make the most of the blessed month of Ramadan.

Heart Trembling Recitation: Surah Ale Imran (186-200)

Heart trembling recitation of the last part of Surah Ale Imran by three famous qurras of our time:

Shaykh Saud Ibraheem Al-Shuraim: This is a fajr prayer clip recorded in the good old days, when Shaykh Shuraim would lead the fajr prayer in the Haram everyday. The shaykh recited with his usual deep voice.

Shaykh Abdul Wali Al-Arkani: I had the fortune to hear this recitation live at Qatar State Mosque on the 4th night of Ramadan 1434 H. Absolutely amazing recitation.

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Sudais: I was blessed to hear this recitation live in the Haram on the 24th night of Ramadan 1433 H. The way the shaykh raised and lowered his voice was just heart melting.

Welcome Ramadan 1434 H


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Our life is full of problems.

We have health problems. We have family problems. We have troubles at job. We have problems that we cannot speak about to other people.

And we have spiritual wounds caused by numerous sins we have committed.

But the month of Ramadan is back.  And this is the greatest news of hope. All praise is to Allah who has made us witness another Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan is a mercy from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. This mercy can be viewed and understood from many different angles.

Personally for me, I want to view Ramadan 1434 as a solution to all of my problems. And I would advise the same to all of you who are having problems in life.


يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ

O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous [The Noble Quran 82:6]

Come back to Allah, the Ever Generous. Sincerely turn to the Most Merciful. Cry before Him like never before. Worship Him like never before. Make dua to Him like never before and never get tired of asking from Him. Ask for forgiveness and ask for solutions to your problems.

In-sha-Allah your problems will be solved. Because to Allah belong the solution of every problem.

Welcome Ramadan 1434 H.

Ramadan 1433 Umrah in Pictures

Please click on a picture to view in slideshow mode.

Eid Mubarak!

(Image Source)

I was listening to a lecture of Mufti Ismail Menk where he gave a beautiful analogy while describing how we go back to sins and pre-Ramadan mode as soon as the Ramadan ends. Suppose you have prepared a big report in Microsoft Word. If the computer crashes suddenly and after restarting, if you find that no back up copy has been saved, how would you feel? You will feel tremendous remorse. Post Ramadan Shaytan exactly wants us to feel that way. When Shaytan is set free at end of Ramadan, he comes out extremely angry. He is furious over the fact he was not allowed to lead human beings to astray for a whole month. Therefore, at the beginning of Shawwal, Shaytan implements all possible means to seduce us to a sin, preferably a big one that has the potential to destroy all the hasanaat that we have collected. Shaytan knows that if he can commit us to a big sin after Ramadan, we will feel a remorse that cannot be measured. Plus he also knows that our remorse will only compound when we will ponder over the fact that Ramadan comes once a year and there is no guarantee that we will experience another Ramadan. So it is up to us: Do we want to give up and allow Shaytan to win this battle?

Also we should remember that committing the first sin after Ramadan is always very difficult. Because our rejuvenated spirituality will strongly resist the urge to disobey Allah. However, Shaytan exactly aims to break that resistance of our spirituality. Once that barrier is broken by committing the first sin after Ramadan, seducing us to more sins becomes easier for Shaytan. Because he can then say, “Dude, you have already undone your Ramadan. So what is the problem if you commit sins again?”

I ask Allah to accept our good deeds that He enabled us to perform out of His mercy during the month of Ramadan. I also ask Him to grant us the ability to sustain the spiritual high that we have attained during the blessed month.

Eid Mubarak!

Welcome Ramadan 1433 H: Appreciate the Blessed Month

About what are they asking one another? [The Noble Quran 78:1]

About the great news – [The Noble Quran 78:2]

I remember it clearly. When the imam was reciting these verses on the 27th night of the last Ramadan, he was getting emotional.

I do not know why he was getting emotional. Surah an-Naba is a surah with a very strong message. It is one of the four surahs that caused some pieces of beard of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to become grey. This surah contains one of the scariest verses of the Quran. Allah subhanahu wat’ala said:

“So taste [the penalty], and never will We increase you except in torment.” [The Noble Quran 78:30]

For the people of Hell Fire, increase will be granted in nothing except in punishment. May Allah protect us from such predicament.

That night, I had suddenly felt a weight of the Quran in my heart. This overwhelming feeling was borne out of the appreciation that Allah had enabled us to listen to His entire Book while standing in front on Him on the glorious month of Ramadan.

The fact that I would like to highlight as we are about to embark on another Ramadan journey is appreciation.

Because how much we appreciate makes all the difference.

How much we worship Allah depends on how much we appreciate His blessings. How much we follow the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) depends on how much we appreciate his sacrifice. How much we learn the deen and teach it to others depends on how much we appreciate the deen of Allah.

Our problem is we appreciate the deen of Allah occasionally.

Appreciation is one the differences between us and the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). We are simply unable to truly comprehend their appreciation of the deen of Allah.

Why the companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would often cry? How were they so humble? How could they worship Allah so much? How were they able to give their life for the sake of Allah so easily?

Didn’t many of them receive the glad tidings of Jannah? They did. Many of them received multiple glad tidings of Jannah.

Yet their heart would never cease to tremble from the remembrance of Allah. And their eyes would never stop shedding tears.

Why?

The answer is appreciation. They were unlike us. They did not appreciate the deen of Allah occasionally. Their appreciation was 24/7. It was always there and each and every action of their life demonstrated this appreciation.

Because of their knowledge, understanding, consciousness, and genuine appreciation, the deen of Allah felt very heavy on their hearts.

When you appreciate something, it will feel heavy upon your heart. Because if you truly appreciate something, you will take it seriously. You will not take it for granted.

Did you see what happens to the worshippers when the imam becomes emotional while reciting the Quran? Did you see what happens to the believers when the imam reminds them from the mimabr? Their heads go down. Because when people are reminded, they wake up from their forgetfulness and they suddenly appreciate what they were oblivious about. This sudden appreciation feels heavy upon the heart and it causes their heads to go down.

There is a thought that crosses my mind sometimes. There will be no one on this earth who will understand any aspect of the deen of Allah more than the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). About any aspect of the deen, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was given the most knowledge and the most understanding. La ilaha illlahah? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had the most knowledge of it. A verse from the Quran? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was given the most knowledge of it. He (ﷺ) was brought to the presence of Allah subhanahu wat’ala where he talked with Him and he was made to witness the Paradise and the Hell fire.

With all this knowledge, can you ever imagine the appreciation the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had of this deen? Can you imagine the weight his sincere love and appreciation had produced in his heart?

And he (ﷺ) had to carry this weight upon his heart for 23 years. T-w-e-n-t-y t-h-r-e-e years.

He carried it in order to save us. He carried it so that we can appreciate the deen of Allah and earn paradise.

Later, his noble companions carried this weight to convey the message to us.

And the message has reached us. The deen of Allah has reached us. But unfortunately, we do not appreciate the deen as we should appreciate it.

Because of this lack of appreciation, we have become heedless and careless. Because of this lack of appreciation, the deen of Allah does not weigh heavy upon our hearts anymore. Because of this lack of appreciation, we forget that Allah is watching us. Because of this lack of appreciation, we can easily disobey Allah. Because of this lack of appreciation, our hearts have hardened. Because of this lack of appreciation, we have become lazy. Because of this lack of appreciation, we never have the time to learn Arabic. Because of this lack of appreciation, appreciation has become a lip service and is not transformed into acts of worship.

And because of this lack of appreciation, Ramadan comes and goes but we neither change nor achieve something meaningful and memorable.

When you help a person and he does not appreciate you, do you help him again? You do not.

But Allah is Al-Kareem. He is the Most Generous. We do not appreciate His blessings but he keeps giving us.

So as we are about to be blessed by another Ramadan, the onus is on our back. Because we do not know if this Ramadan will be our last Ramadan. Are we going to truly appreciate the month from day one and turn our appreciation into good deeds? We need to appraise ourselves honestly. Because Allah subhanahu wat’ala asked us the same question in the Quran:

So will you then be grateful? [The Noble Quran 21:80]

O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous [The Noble Quran 82:6]

Welcome Ramadan 1432 H and Ramadan Mubarak.