While looking up du’as today, I came across the following du’a that could be said upon the arrival of the bride:
“O Allah, I seek the good in it from You and the goodness in the habit and character in it/her and seek refuge in You from its/her evil habits and character”.
It is suggested that this dua be recited while holding the bride’s forehead. (Mishkat from Abu Dawood and Ibn Maja)
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) addressed the Muslims on the last day of Sha’ban (the month preceding Ramadan) and said:
“People, a great blessed month has come upon you, a month containing Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) which is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting during it an obligation, and steadfastly observing its nights in worship a voluntary act. Whoever undertakes an act of obedience to Allah during this month with a righteous deed, it is as if he has performed an obligatory act at other times; and whoever performs an obligatory act during it is as one who performed seventy obligations at other times. It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise. It is the month of goodwill, during which provisions are multiplied. Whoever feeds a fasting person will be compensated with forgiveness of sins and salvation of his soul from Hell. He will also receive a reward equal to that of the person he feeds, without causing him any reduction (in his good deeds).”
(The Companions) said:
“Not all of us can find something to feed a fasting person.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied:
“Allah gives this reward to whoever feeds a fasting person even with just a taste of milk or dates, or a drink of water. Whoever quenches the thirst of a fasting person, Allah the Almighty makes him drink from my pond such that he will never feel thirsty again until he enters Paradise. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is emancipation from Hell.”
Fasting is not a diet about burning calories. It is about “burning out ego, pride and sins”. The month of Ramadan is the best possible expression of anti-consumerism: to be and not to have, to free ourselves of the dependencies that our consumption-based societies not only stimulate but magnify. Ramadan is the month to fast, pray, read Qur’an and do charity and in return receive rich rewards from Almighty God. But it is not only a time for introspection. Every day on our streets we see persons who are obviously homeless and in need of care. But just as important are the well-groomed clean individuals who go about their daily activities on a diet of water, crackers and sardines, and sometimes not even that. This is a month in which those Muslims who have three square meals a day (as well as those who don’t) physically feel the hunger pains of all of those persons who do not. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions went many nights without a meal. It is a time when we experience the joy of fast breaking, and encourage ourselves and others to ensure that those persons really in need enjoy that experience too.
“(The righteous are those) who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.'”
Psychologists postulate about different time frames that it takes to make or break a habit. Ramadan is the best time to make or break a habit.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained”.
Although there is this hiatus from the devil’s whispers and temptations during Ramadan, many of us still do wrong. Why? Because we have to overcome the bad habits that we have developed and strengthened over the past 11 months. The spirituality of Ramadan lies in reining in the natural/baser urges for self-indulgence, and gently, carefully and consistently nurturing the spiritual force within our hearts. This is best done with prayer, good deeds, consideration of others and turning away from materialism. It is quite a challenge for us to battle this inner struggle, dedicating time for prayer and remembrance of God, while denying oneself food and drink on very little sleep, all within a remarkably secular daily schedule.
They who spend their wealth for the sake of God and do not thereafter mar their spending by stressing their own benevolence and hurting (the feelings of the needy) shall have their reward with their Sustainer, and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.
Here is the definition of real charity in Islam; it must be given solely for the sake of God. It is easy to find persons in all societies engaged in works of charity. They may do it to feel good, to advertise their generosity, to show their superiority over the receivers of their help, or just enjoy the praise it will bring. What is difficult is to give in charity to please the Almighty Creator alone without any of these incentives. The Qur’ān is emphatic that such tainted charity will bring not reward but punishment in the Hereafter. The Prophet reminds that charity is not limited to the spending of money.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:
“To smile in the company of your brother is charity. To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity. To guide a person in a place where he cannot get astray is charity. To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity. To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.”
Health is an emphasized aspect of Islam. During fasting, your digestive tract is given a rest, production of insulin is reduced, burning of fats increases to release energy, and overall detoxification is attained. As a result, you become less tired and more able to concentrate-the physical effect of fasting. The frugality of the fast should not be offset by being a foodie during the non-fasting hours. This is evident in the saying
“Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure”
(Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him).
The fast compels empathy with those less fortunate and thus, humility is increased as is the zeal to help others, an integral part of Islam. Did you know that giving charity is one of the five pillars of Islam? Every year, Muslims owning over a particular threshold of wealth must pay a 2.5% tax to the needy and at the end of Ramadan must give ‘Sadaqatul Fitr’, charity to the poor.
“Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness.”
: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Fasting is deprivation from food, drink and sexual relations during the hours from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. Its purpose is
the attaining of God-consciousness
During Ramadan, we traditionally spend more time in acts of worship – refocus on faith, recitation of scripture (Qur’an), extra nightly prayers (taraweeh), supplication and increased charity. Over-consumption and wasting of resources are ills loathed by the Almighty Creator and we are urged to rectify within ourselves these faults in the hope of pleasing our Creator and bettering ourselves. Self-regulation and discipline are to be developed and strengthened during the month of Ramadan so that our ties with the Almighty Creator are strengthened through one’s desire to obey His commands
There are a series of Ramadan messages being published in our local newspaper. I am posting some of them here.
“He who does not give up uttering falsehood and acting according to it, God has no need of his giving up his food and drink.”
:Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Fasting during Ramadan does not just consist of refraining from eating and drinking and marital relations, but from every kind of selfish desire and wrong-doing. It is a time of disciplined self-purification, and reflection, and a renewed focus on spirituality.
Fasting is deprivation, but the benefits of fasting in self-improvement are many. The fasting person develops and strengthens:- self-control to resist wrongful desires and bad habits, self-restraint in curbing one’s appetite, refraining from usurping other’s rights and property, compassion for those with lesser access to basic amenities, and intensifying the consciousness of God in our hearts.
Next post as promised – Nikah Part II. Ha! That suggests that the Nikah had begun in the last post. No, no that post was merely the prelude, the sampler, the taster.
See the white and silver colour scheme we were supposed to follow? And, no that is not Bride’s hand holding the bouquet. Continue reading Next Post – an additional HM