Value these days.

By Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Saleem Dhorat Saheb (hafidhahullah)

Sayyidunā Suwayd ibn Ghafalah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that when Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu was suffering extreme hunger one day, he suggested to (his wife) Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā to approach (her father) Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam for some food. When she went to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, Sayyidah Ummu Ayman radhiyallāhu ‘anhā happened to be there. Hearing Sayyidah Fātimah knocking on the door, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “That is the knock of Fātimah. She has come at a time that we are not accustomed to having her come to us.”

“O Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam!” Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā said, “The food of the angels is to recite Lā Ilāha Illallāh, Subhānallāh and Alhamdulillāh. What is our food?”

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam replied. “I swear by the Being Who has sent me with the truth! For the last thirty days, no fire (to cook) has been lit in the house of the family of Muhammad. However, a few goats have come to us. If you please, I shall have five given to you. Alternatively, if you so please, I shall teach you five words (of supplication) that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught me.”

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā immediately said, “Do rather teach me the five words that Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām has taught you.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam then told her to say the following words:

Sayyidah Fātimah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā then left. When she came back to Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, he asked, “What happened?” She replied, “While I left you to get something of benefit in this world, I returned with something of benefit in the Ākhirah.” “This is the best of all your days,” remarked Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu. (At-Tabarānī)

Building Stamina

Right from the onset of the month of Rajab, we should begin to prepare for Ramadhān. By building up slowly over Rajab and Sha’bān, we will be in peak spiritual condition when Ramadhān arrives.

To do this we need to make a programme of ‘ibādah and set daily targets. We then need to fix a timetable so that we are able to achieve those targets. Thereafter, targets should be reviewed every week or every fortnight, and gradually increased until Ramadhān arrives. Then throughout Ramadhān this process should continue.

If we do not set targets and do not fix a timetable early on, we will not be able to progress. Consequently, we will not develop the necessary spiritual stamina required to maintain the level of performance in order to reap the maximum benefit from Ramadhān.

Memorable Ramadhan

Make this Ramadhān a memorable one. Make it a Ramadhān you will remember for the rest of your life. Make it such that, inshā’allāh, in Jannah you will say it was this Ramadhān from when my life changed forever and in which Allāh ta’ālā made me His walī (special friend).

To make this Ramadhān a memorable one, abstain from disobeying Allāh Our Creator. Do not even think about disobeying Allāh ta’ālā throughout the blessed month.

In order to safeguard yourself from disobeying Allāh ta’ālā; avoid gatherings and mixing with people as many sins such as backbiting and slandering take place when one mixes with people.

Safeguard your tongue by only saying what is good and rewarding. Always think before you speak.

Safeguard your ears and eyes from those things which are disliked by Allāh ta’ālā.

Virtues of Ramadhan

As soon as the month of Rajab begins we should commence daily readings from the book “Virtues of Ramadhān” by Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh. We should motivate ourselves, allocate time and sit daily with the family and read this book collectively throughout Rajab.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh was a saintly person and his words have an amazing effect on the heart which will help us spiritually prepare for the blessed month and also benefit from it.

 

 

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Ramadān

A Golden Opportunity to Become a Muttaqī

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Events and occasions give us an opportunity to track the passing of time; otherwise days, months and years would pass by without us realising. Whenever we look towards the future, it seems very distant; however, upon reflection over the past we realise how quickly time has elapsed. To understand the longevity of our future we have to evaluate it on our experience of the past.

As usual, the current Ramadān will also feel very long and the end will seem a long way away, but the reality of these days can be understood by the many Ramadāns we have experienced in the past; how short they were and how quickly they passed, and how after each Ramadān we felt that if only there were a few more days so that some beneficial action could be carried out. In order to save ourselves from such regret once again, it is of the utmost importance that we realise the great opportunity Ramadān is offering us and make the most of it.

The Objective of Ramadān

First and foremost we need to understand that Allāh ta‘ālā has granted us this great gift of Ramadān so that we may become muttaqīn – the people of taqwā.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may become people of taqwā. [2:183] 

My late Shaykh, Hadrat Hājī Fārūq rahimahullāh taught me the following supplication:O Allāh! You have given us this month so that we become people of taqwā; so make us from the people of taqwā.

What is Taqwā?

Now, the question arises what is taqwā? Once ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu asked Ka‘b Al-Ahbār radhiyallāhu ‘anhu the meaning of taqwā. In reply, Ka‘b radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, asked ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu if he had ever walked on a thorny path and if yes how he had passed through it. ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu explained that he gathered his clothes and ensured that his clothes didn’t get caught by the thorns. Ka‘b radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “That is taqwā.” The explanation of Ka‘b’s statement is that we too should pass through this world very carefully, ensuring we do not fall prey to nafs and Shaytān and commit a sin; be it minor or major.

Taqwā is a nūr (light) which enlightens and spiritually strengthens the heart to such an extent that the person finds a natural dislike for sinful activities. This becomes a barrier between him and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. This nūr of taqwā is acquired by forcing oneself to carry out the commands of Allāh ta‘ālā and stay away from His disobedience no matter what sacrifice one has to give. This sacrifice is called mujāhadah, and every time this is carried out a special nūr is created in the heart. The more the obedience the stronger the nūr, until eventually the heart is enlightened to such an extent that it will not tolerate the filth of any sin.

The similitude of this can be likened to a person who abhors dirt. If he needs to walk through a dirty path way, he will have a natural aversion for the dirt and will instinctively gather his clothes to ensure his clothes don’t get soiled. Similarly, once the heart has become filled with the nūr of taqwā, it will abhor sinful activities and places of evil and will develop an aversion to them, leading one to automatically safeguard himself.

On the other hand when a person disobeys Allāh ta‘ālā, the nūr of taqwā in the heart diminishes. The more sins a person commits, the more darkness engulfs the heart until a point comes when the heart becomes inclined towards disbelief. This very fact has been narrated in a hadīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Virtues of Taqwā

We can understand from the above that taqwā is one of the greatest favours Allāh ta‘ālā has granted us as it guarantees us success of both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Whoever fears the disobedience to Allāh, Allāh will create for him a way out (from difficulties), and provide him (with whatever he needs) from where he does not even imagine. [65:3] 

And whoever fears the disobedience to Allāh, Allāh will bring about ease for him in his affair. [65:6] 

Race with one another towards Forgiveness from your Lord and towards a Paradise the width of which spans the heavens and the earth. It has been prepared for the Muttaqīn. [3:133]

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has stated:

Verily the closest to me from the people are the Muttaqīn; wherever they may be and whoever they may be. (Ahmad)

Allāh ta‘ālā through His mercy, love and kindness has granted us this month of Ramadān which is full of blessings making it easy for us to carry out the commands of Allāh plus other spiritual deeds.

Ramadān and Taqwā

From the ahādīth and verses of the Qur’ān we can list some of the special blessings and virtues of Ramadān.

1.  This is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed.

2.  This is the month in which the doors of Jannah are opened and the doors of Jahannam are closed.

3.  The shayātīn are chained.

4.  There is a night in this month which is better than a thousand months.

5.  Allāh ta‘ālā calls out: ‘O desirer of good hasten forward and O the searcher of evil, stop.’

6.  Allāh emancipates people from Jahannam in thousands.

7.  The first ten days of this month are of mercy, the middle ten days are of forgiveness and the last ten days are for emancipating servants from Jahannam.

8.  Allāh ta‘ālā readily accepts du‘ā in this month.

Allāh through His kindness has granted us these great blessings which boosts our efforts towards the path of taqwā.  Let us therefore value this blessed month and resolve to carry out the following:

1.  Taqwā and tawbah: Carry out all the commands of Allāh and abstain from all disobedience. Sincerely repent and seek forgiveness for all past negligence with a firm resolution never to return to it again.

2.  Tilāwah: The month of Ramadān has a strong connection with the Qur’ān. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

The month of Ramadān is the one in which the Qur’ān was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong…[2:185]  

     Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would revise the Qur’ān with Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām during this month. The pious people gave much importance to reciting the Qur’ān in this month. The following few examples will suffice to make us realise how much effort we should exert.

•   Imām Abū Hanīfah rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān in the day and one Qur’ān in the night daily.

•   Imām Shāfi‘ī rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān in the day and one at night daily in salāh.

•   Imām Bukhārī rahimahullāh would recite forty one Qur’āns during the month of Ramadān.

•   Hadrat Shaykh, Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh would recite one Qur’ān daily.

3.  Abundance of Kalimah Tayyibah and Istighfār: In one hadith, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has directed us towards four things we should do in abundance during the blessed month: recitation of Kalimah Tayyibah, asking for forgiveness, asking for Jannah and seeking refuge from Jahannam. My late father taught me a du‘ā to be read in Ramadān when I was a child:

    

     Lā ilāha illallāh, astaghfirullāh, as’alukal jannah, wa a’ūdhubika minannār.

     There is no diety except Allāh, I seek forgiveness from Allāh, I ask from You (O Allāh) Jannah, and I seek Your refuge from the fire.

     It was only when I grew up and became a student of Dīn that I realised that this simple formula of du‘a was actually a way of practicing upon the instruction of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

4.  Du‘ā: There is much significance of making du‘ā in the month of Ramadān. Allāh ta‘ālā has discussed du‘ā in between discussing the rulings related to fasting in the month of Ramadān.

When My servants ask you about Me, then (tell them that) I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me. [2:186]

     In the hadīth of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam we find that du‘ā at the time of iftār is readily accepted. Similarly, at the time of suhūr du‘ās are readily accepted. We find in the hadith of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that Allāh ta‘ālā descends in the last portion of the night and calls out to His servants saying,

‘Is there anyone who will make du‘ā to Me so that I may accept it? Is there anyone who will ask of Me so that I may fulfil his request? Is there anyone who will ask My forgiveness so that I may forgive him. (Al-Bukhārī)

5.  Spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā: The month of Ramadān is also a month of charity. It is narrated that the generosity of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam would increase in this month. Spending in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā holds much virtue; just giving someone a sip of water or a mere date grants a person the reward of the fasting person. Therefore, one should make an effort to spend as much as possible. Zakāt is to be given on its appointed time whether in Ramadān or outside of Ramadān. The important matter is that one should try and endeavour to spend in charitable causes as much as possible. It should also be noted that when spending in the Path of Allāh ta‘ālā, a person should endeavour to find the most fruitful places for his Hereafter. A person should not give away his charity to the first person who knocks at his door; rather one should make an effort to spend in the most opportune of places. It should be remembered that spending is our need and not the need of the recipient; it is we who are in need of the reward of charity and therefore it should be our effort to find places to spend.

6.  I‘tikāf: A special significance is given to i‘tikāf in the month of Ramadān. The fuqahā have stipulated that i‘tikāf of the last ten days in the month of Ramadān is Sunnah muakkadah ‘alal-kifāyah. Hence, if the people of a locality leave this sunnah then the whole locality will be liable. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam carried out i‘tikāf in the last ten days of Ramadān throughout his life to the extent that he performed i‘tikāf of twenty days in the Ramadān before his demise. This was to compensate the i‘tikāf missed the previous year due to a reason and also to increase his devotion before departing from this world. I‘tikāf will go a long way in establishing taqwā and connecting one to Allāh ta‘ālā.

7.  Remembering Allāh ta‘ālā and doing good: Spend time in doing good as much as possible. Whilst standing, sitting and lying down – in every circumstance, keep the tongue moist with the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā.  

My dear readers! Occupy yourself in doing good and value every moment of this blessed month. Life is very short and this golden opportunity of Ramadān will very quickly slip away. If we pay heed then Inshā’allāh this Ramadān will become a golden Ramadān for us in which we will become people of taqwā, thus acquiring success in both worlds. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah

A Simple Step to Success

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

As believers, we all have the responsibility to lead our lives according to the commands set out by Allāh ta‘ālā. While some are guiltier than others, from time to time we all find ourselves in breach of His laws.

While advising the friends who had joined me in I’tikāf during the last ten days of Ramadān this year (1428AH), a thought came to my mind which I strongly felt would be helpful to a believer in keeping within the bounds of Allāh’s set commands. I would like to share this with my dear readers too.

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

Actions are judged on the final outcome (death). (Al-Bukhārī)

In light of this hadīth, every individual should imagine, before carrying out any action, that this may be his/her final action. If we carry out this exercise with full conviction, it will prove sufficient to keep us steadfast in abstaining from sins and fulfilling the commands of Allāh ta‘ālā. Furthermore, it will improve the quality of our good deeds and help us refrain from evil deeds.

Let us take an example to understand this better:

When a person stands for salāh, if he imagines that it could be his final action and that he may not get an opportunity to perform another salāh, he will be able to concentrate to a greater degree and develop greater sincerity. When another person, who intended to miss salāh out of laziness, imagines that these are his final moments, it will encourage him to perform his salāh.

Whenever an opportunity arises to sin, be it casting evil glances, backbiting, adultery or taking intoxicants, it should be imagined that these are one’s final moments. One should ask oneself: what if I was to die whilst in this state of sin? Rasūlullah sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said that every person will be resurrected in the condition in which he/she died, so how will I be able to face my Creator?

Inshā’allah, this exercise will prove helpful in keeping us on the path of Allah ta‘ālā’s pleasure and keeping us away from His displeasure.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 16 No. 10/11, Oct/Nov 2007)


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Making the Sunnah a Part of Life: a Three Point Plan

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Importance of Sunnah

Allāh ta‘ālā has commanded us to follow and emulate the life of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in the Glorious Qur’ān:

Say (O Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam): If you really love Allāh, then follow me, and Allāh shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allāh is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. (3:31)

Similarly this has been emphasised by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in numerous ahādīth:

Hold fast to Kitābullāh and my Sunnah… (Al-Hākim)

Indeed adopting the ways of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is the key to our success in both worlds. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has stated: 

Whoever loves my sunnah, loves me, and whoever loves me will be with me in Jannah. (Mishkāt) 

Regarding the importance of the Sunnah, Imām Mālik rahimahullāh has commented,“The Sunnah is like the Ark of Nūh ‘alayhis salām; whoever boards it will gain salvation and whoever stays aloof from it will drown.” (Tarīkh Dimashq)

Making Sunnah an Objective

In order to emulate the beautiful way of our beloved Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in every aspect of our lives, first and foremost we must make this a conscious objective. Without making this an objective, the goal will only remain on our tongues. When a person aspires to achieve something, he can only succeed when his aspiration becomes an objective, which he is passionate and determined to fulfil. Merely wishing and dreaming without any effort does not bring any progress or success.

Learn the Sunnah

After this objective becomes embedded in our hearts and minds, it is inevitable that we will want to strive to attain this. In this regard, it is essential that we first learn about the Sunnah. There are many good and authentic books from which we can learn about the ways of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. A few are listed hereunder:

  • Ash-Shamāil At-Tirmidhī authored by Imām At-Tirmidhī rahimahullāh, with commentary by Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh;
  • The Sublime Conduct of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, a translation of Shamāile Kubrā authored by Muftī Muhammad Irshād Qāsmī hafizahullāh.
  • Uswae Rasūle Akram sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, authored by Hadrat Dr. Abdul Hayy ‘Ārifī rahimahullāh.

One effective method of learning is to allocate a time of the day wherein we will learn the Sunnah. Fixing a time will ensure that we do not fall into the trap of deferring this important task. For example, allocate a time to study after supper or before going to sleep. If we can also involve our family and study the Sunnah together that will be far better, as not only will the Sunnah become a part of our lives, it will also come into the lives of our family. We do not need to allocate a lengthy period of time; if we merely aim to learn one Sunnah a day with the intention of practicing upon it, inshā’allāh, very soon we will begin to emulate the life of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Therefore, start immediately to learn and practice one new Sunnah a day.

Bringing into Practice

After learning the Sunnah, make a concerted effort to bring this Sunnah into our lives. The following three points will assist in bringing the Sunnah into practice:

a. Increase the love for Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam by reading and contemplating about his features and excellences. Ponder over his efforts, sacrifices and favours upon the Ummah.

b. Associate with and sit in the company of those whose lives are in accordance with the Sunnah, as this will have a positive effect on our lives.

c. Make du‘ā to Allāh ta‘ālā to assist and grant us the ability to practice. If we are struggling to bring a particular Sunnah into practice, turn to Allāh saying that you are weak and feeble and unable to make that genuine effort needed, however, He is all powerful and He is able to change this.

By making an effort in this manner it will surely bear fruit inshā’allāh and very soon we will be able to see a transformation in our lives. 

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the ability to practice. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Volume 24, Issue 9)


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