At Barclays Park, East Cost, Barbados
Photo compliments SAJPICS – our Barbados flora
Another Ramadan is upon us.
Ramadan Mubarak to all.
May we each be blessed with the ability to engage in additional acts of worship and rendering of good deeds.
May we be blessed to be grateful for what we have and blessed to share with others who may have less.
May we smile at our brother and sister.
And our children.
May we be kinder, more compassionate, less thoughtless.
May we be more attuned to our Creator.
And to His revelation.
The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: We have been made to excel (other) people in three (things): Our rows have been made like the rows of the angels and the whole earth has been made a mosque for us, and its dust has been made a purifier for us in case water is not available.
So, from left to right (yes, I admit it, I forgot how to get text/captioning done on picmonkey) are beaches in Barbados, where you can pray in solitude or saffs, and purify in water:): Bathsheba Bay, Carlisle Bay (top & bottom images), Bathsheba again (top), and Little Bay (bottom right and visit HIS CREATION for the symphony of images from this bay)
Congregational prayers can be offered anywhere and at any time for any and all of the five daily obligatory prayers. On Fridays, however, Muslims are commanded by the Almighty to attend what is known as the ‘Jummah salaat’:
” O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah (God), and leave off business (and trade): That is best for you if you only knew!”
Qur’an (62:9). It is at this Friday prayer that the weekly sermon is delivered to the congregants.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“The five daily prayers, and praying one Friday prayer and the next, and the fasting of Ramadan, result in the expiation of the sins committed between them, so long as major sins are avoided.”
This does not, however, mean that the Muslims should come to the mosque only on Fridays, neglecting it at other times, nor does it mean that Muslims should indulge in sins at will, thinking that they will be forgiven anyhow. In this Ramadan, there are likely to be five Fridays or days of ‘Jummah’ (Assembly).
The last of Almighty God’s Scriptures, the Holy Qur’an was sent down in the month of Ramadan. Yet the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) took place over the course of 23 years. Is this a paradox? No. The Qur’an was revealed in two stages. In Stage One the Qur’an was brought by the Angel Gabriel from the Preserved Tablet (in the Seventh Heaven) down to the First Heaven (sky) and placed in the ‘Place of Power or Honor’. Two verses in the Qur’an indicate that it was revealed in a single blessed night in the month of Ramadan that is called the ‘Night of Power, or Decree’. Stage Two of revelation lasted for about 23 years in which the Qur’an was sent down in response to the development of events and in accordance with the sequence needed to complete the delivery of the Message to the illiterate Prophet Muhammad.
“ (It is) a Quran which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order that you (O Muhammad) might recite it to people at intervals: We have revealed it by stages (in 23 years).”
Any good deed that a Muslim starts during his lifetime, and that is of renewed benefit and ongoing use for others, will continue to benefit him and augment his record of good deeds, even after his departure – as long as its benefits continue to reach others.
“We record that (deeds) which they have put forward and their traces (that which they have left behind).” [Qur’an 36:12]
It is reported that
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), said, “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah (charity), a knowledge from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a (supplication) for him.”
The reason that one continues to receive rewards for these deeds even though they are done by other people, is that he had initiated them during his life or contributed to them to a certain degree, whether little or large. Since Almighty God does not neglect an atom’s weight of deeds, He records these contributions for a person even after his death. Ramadan is an excellent month to earn more rewards by doing good deeds and by doing such actions that will be of benefit for years to come and even after one passes from this earth. In Ramadan the rewards for all good actions are multiplied manifold.
I`tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. This was the practice of the Prophet during the last ten days of Ramadan especially. He would do it during other months as well. I’tikaf generally, can be done for any period of time. Males in the mosque, females in a specific space in the home.
Aishah reported that the Messenger of Allah used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say,
“Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari]
Abu Hurairah said:
“Allah’s Messenger used to perform i`tikaf for ten days every Ramadan, then when it was the year in which he was taken (died), he performed I`tikaf for twenty days.”
Aishah reported that the Prophet used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice I`tikaf after him.
`Aishah also reported that the Prophet :
“Used to perform i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah , took him.
[Bukhari and Muslim]
Al-Bukhari records from Abu Said that the Prophet (S) said:
“Whoever makes I`tikaf with me is to make I’tikaf during the last ten (nights).”
Last night signalled the start of the last 10 days and nights of Ramadan (which could be nine days and nights by the way). It is the hastening to the end of the blessed month, when the Rasool saws woke his spouses during the nights to pray, when Aishah r.a. reports that the Prophet saws would tighten his waist belt, pray all night, and keep his family awake during the night. The increase in acts of ibaadah is not to be confused with itikaaf – that time of seclusion which the Prophet saws, as he did with the taraweeh, took particular care to ensure was not considered a fard (compulsory) act. Please note that this is only my interpretation – others have interpreted it to mean only that one can leave itikaaf even though one has made the intention to spend the time in itikaf.
“When I saw that, I ordered my tent to be set up, and some of the Prophet’s wives followed suit. When he [the Prophet] prayed the morning prayer, he saw all of the tents, and said: “What is this?” They said: “We are seeking obedience (to Allah and His Messenger).” Then he ordered his tent and those of his wives to be taken down, and he delayed his i`tikaf to the first ten days (of Shawwal).”[