Stomach growl while fasting?  Wish you could eat instead?  Consider the following hadith:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” This is related by an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.  Even though the hadith is mentioned in Ibn Majah’s book of hadith, there may be some question as to the authenticity of this specific hadith though its still something very strong to consider.

Anyways, next time you feel even the slightest bit of hunger coming from your stomach in the middle of the day, tell your stomach to “Bring it!”  That’s because you are fasting for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone and nothing can beat that.  Once your stomach realizes your intentions are pure, your hunger quickly submerges.  It’s food for the soul!

The Prophet (SAW) sometimes used to continuously fast to which he stated, “I am not like anyone of you. During the night, my Lord provides me with food and drink.”  Ibn Qayyim broke down this statement into two possible scenarios.  The first was that the Prophet (SAW) was literally provided with food and the second was that there was spiritually nourishment.  The second opinion seems stronger as Ibn Qayyim goes on to explain it in the following excerpt:

“…and those who have even the slightest bit of experience and longing know how little the body needs much physical nourishment when it is instead provided with the nourishment of the heart and soul, let alone when it comes to the one who is joyous, happy, and victorious because he has reached the One he has sought out, and whose eye is cooled by his Beloved, and feels blessed with His closeness, and is pleased with Him and the bounties and gifts of his Beloved.

And His protection showers him at all times, and his Beloved is constantly tending to his affairs, being as Generous as can be with complete Love towards him – is this not the greatest nourishment for the one who loves his Lord? So, how would it be when love of the Beloved – than Whom nothing is more exalted, and nothing is greater in might, and nothing is greater in beauty, and nothing is more complete, and nothing is greater in kindness – when love of Him fills the heart, and love of him takes over all regions of his heart and limbs, and love of Him is as firmly established as can be?

And this is his condition with the One he loves…

So, is such a person not nourished night and day by his Beloved?”

Subhan’Allah!

Reposted from last year.

Fasting Ashoora

December 26, 2009

We are now in a new Islamic Year, 1431, with the start of the month of Muharram. Muharram is one of four sacred months. It is also the best month to offer extra fasts outside of Ramadan. The Prophet (S) said, “The best fasting after Ramadan is the month of Allah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is the prayer at night.” [Muslim]. Therefore, in addittion to fasting the three white days, try and fast as many other days as you can, including Taasoo’aa and ‘Aashuraa (more on that below), which are the 9th and 10th of Muharram, respectively.

The Three White Days for this month – the 13, 14, and 15 – will be Wednesday, Dec 30 – Friday, January 1. So mark those down in your calendars to fast Insha’Allah. And the 9th of 10th of Muharram fall on THIS Saturday and Sunday, December 26 and 27.

In regards to Tasso’aa and ‘Aashuraa, Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R) said, “The Prophet (S) came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the Day of ‘Aashuraa. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a good day, this is the day in which Allah (SWTA) saved the Children of Israel from their enemy [Pharoah], and Musa (AS) fasted on this day.’ He (S) said, ‘We are closer to Musa then they.’ So he fasted on this day and commanded the people to fast.” [Bukhari].

Abdullah ibn Abbas (R) also said, “When the Messenger of Allah (S) fasted on the Day of ‘Aashuraa and told the people to fast, they said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, this is a day venerated by the Jews and Christians.’ The Messenger of Allah (S) said, ‘Next year if Allah wills, we will [also] fast on the 9th day.’ But by the time the following year came, the Messenger of Allah (S) had passed away.” [Muslim].

The reward for fasting the Day of Aashuraa is to have one’s minor sins from the previous year erased! So it’s not an opportunity that you want to pass up! The Prophet (S) said, “Fasting the day of Arafah, I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Aashuraa, I hope Allah will expiate thereby the year that came before it.” [Muslim].

For an additional look into Ashura: A Day of Joy or Grief? by Shaykh Imtiyaz Damiel (of the UK)

The Best Days of the Year

November 24, 2009

We are in the midst of the first 10 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah. Doing good deeds in them is better than in any of the other days of the year. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The companions asked: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything” (Narrated by Bukhari).
 
It is highly recommended that we all increase in doing good deeds and extra voluntary acts of worship during these 10 blessed days so we can make the best out of them and gain Allah’s reward.
 
These 10 days are so important and blessed that Allah swore by them in the Quran in the beginning of Surah Al-Fajr. It is in these 10 days that all the pillars of Islam are being performed, because it is the time of the year for Hajj, along with the other pillars like Salah, Fasting, and Zakah also being performed. So insha’Allah, we should strive to start that month with sincere repentance to Allah and exert ourselves in doing as much good deeds as we can.
 
Here are a few of the possible good deeds that one can do, along with a few other things to keep in mind:

1) Fasting:
We should try to fast as much of the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah as possible, since fasting is a virtuous deed, and even more so during these days. As prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.’” (Narrated by Bukhari).
It was the Sunnah of the prophet to increase in fasting during these blessed days. However, fasting all of the first 9 days is not compulsory, nor was it a constant sunnah that the prophet peace be upon him never dropped. But insha’Allah, increase in your fasting during these first 9days because the reward and virtues of fasting are numerous, such as the du’a or supplication of the fasting person is accepted, fasting is a means of attaining Taqwah, and it also is a protection from Hell-fire, as prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says: “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep his face seventy years’ distance away from the Fire because of it.”(Narrated by Muslim).
 
2) The Day of ‘Arafah:
The day of ‘Arafah is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26),and it is the day when the pilgrims (performing Hajj) stand in worship on the mountain of ‘Arafah.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’” (Narrated by Muslim).
Whether you decide to fast most of the first 9 days, or you decide to just fast only one day out of the nine, make sure that you fast on the day of ‘Arafah which is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah (which will be on Thursday, November 26), because when prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, he said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Narrated by Muslim). Therefore, it is highly recommended to fast on the day of ‘Arafah for those who are not going on Hajj. 
The day after ‘Arafah, the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, is the day of Eid Al-Adha which is also called the day of Nahr (slaughtering), and the next three days after Eid (the 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul Hijjah) are called the days of Tashreeq. The day of Eid and the three days of Tashreeq after it are days of celebration and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade fasting on these days and said: “Do not fast on these days, for they are the days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.” (Narrated by Ahmad; Classed as Saheeh by Sheikh Albani).

3) The Udhiyah (Sacrifice):
One of the righteous deeds that brings one closer to Allah is slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah, and this is highly recommended sunnah for those who can afford it (some scholars even said it is mandatory to offer the sacrifice for those who are able to afford it), because the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to offer a sacrifice every year for the 10 years while he was in Medina, as narrated by the companion Abdullah ibn Omar may Allah be pleased with them both. The time for slaughtering the animal begins after the Eid Prayer on the day of Eid and lasts until the end of the three days of Tashreeq after Eid.
For those who plan to sacrifice (usually, the head of the household), then they are prohibited to cut their hair or nails from the 1st day of Dhul Hijjah until they offer the sacrifice. This is only for the one who plans on performing the sacrifice and not for his entire family, and it applies the same to both men and women. As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Once the tendays start, for those of you who have the intention to sacrifice, let them not cut any of their hair or nails (until they sacrifice).” (Narrated by Muslim).
[Note: If you have the habit of biting your nails, this might be the perfect way to help you break that habit during these great 10 days!] 
If you plan on performing the sacrifice, also make sure to pick a mature and healthy animal that is free from any flaws that you will slaughter. When slaughtering the animal, it is sunnah to say: “Bismillah, wa Allahu akbar” (which means “In the name of Allah, Allah is most great).

4) Other Deeds:
Some other good deeds that we can do during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are:
*Increase in Dhikr and remembering Allah frequently, like saying the Takbeer at any time throughout the day. One of the forms of the Takbeer is “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lillahi’l-hamd” (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise).  Keep in mind that the Takbeer should be done out loud but on an individual basis and without saying it in unision as a group as this is not from the sunnah.
*Doing Istighfaar and repenting sincerely to Allah from all our sins, and staying away from committing any more sins during these 10 days.
*Increase in giving charity.
*Do more of the voluntary acts of worship like extra prayers throughout the day and at night.
*Pray the 5 obligatory daily prayers early on time and with tranquility, and if you are able to then pray them in congregation at the Masjid.
*Any other good deed that you can think of !!
*Remember to attend the Eid prayer on the day of Eid (the 10th day of Dhul Hijja), as the prophet ordered everyone, men, women, and kids, to attend the Eid prayer.

Fast the Whole Year?

September 23, 2009

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim that Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted for the whole year.”

We are currently in the first few days of Shawwal with less than four weeks remaining to take advantage of the hadith mentioned above (It appears Shawwal will end at or around October 18th, 2009).  Let us fast the fast of Dawud (every other day) or the Sunnah fast of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) (Mondays and Thursdays) so that we can accomplish this beautiful task.  Let us beat this Ramadan withdrawl!  Remember, the Lord of Shawwal is the same as the Lord of Ramadan and all the other months so let us strive for our best even now once Ramadan has ended.

Related:  Fasting Mondays and Thursdays

Spiritual Nourishment

August 27, 2009

Stomach growl while fasting?  Wish you could eat instead?  Consider the following hadith:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” This is related by an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.  Even though the hadith is mentioned in Ibn Majah’s book of hadith, there may be some question as to the authenticity of this specific hadith though its still something very strong to consider.

Anyways, next time you feel even the slightest bit of hunger coming from your stomach in the middle of the day, tell your stomach to “Bring it!”  That’s because you are fasting for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone and nothing can beat that.  Once your stomach realizes your intentions are pure, your hunger quickly submerges.  It’s food for the soul!

The Prophet (SAW) sometimes used to continuously fast to which he stated, “I am not like anyone of you. During the night, my Lord provides me with food and drink.”  Ibn Qayyim broke down this statement into two possible scenarios.  The first was that the Prophet (SAW) was literally provided with food and the second was that there was spiritually nourishment.  The second opinion seems stronger as Ibn Qayyim goes on to explain it in the following excerpt:

“…and those who have even the slightest bit of experience and longing know how little the body needs much physical nourishment when it is instead provided with the nourishment of the heart and soul, let alone when it comes to the one who is joyous, happy, and victorious because he has reached the One he has sought out, and whose eye is cooled by his Beloved, and feels blessed with His closeness, and is pleased with Him and the bounties and gifts of his Beloved.

And His protection showers him at all times, and his Beloved is constantly tending to his affairs, being as Generous as can be with complete Love towards him – is this not the greatest nourishment for the one who loves his Lord? So, how would it be when love of the Beloved – than Whom nothing is more exalted, and nothing is greater in might, and nothing is greater in beauty, and nothing is more complete, and nothing is greater in kindness – when love of Him fills the heart, and love of him takes over all regions of his heart and limbs, and love of Him is as firmly established as can be?

And this is his condition with the One he loves…

So, is such a person not nourished night and day by his Beloved?”

Subhan’Allah!

ALL praise is due to Allaah, and may He render our Prophet Muhammad safe from every derogatory thing, and exalt his mention, and the mention of his household and Companions.

Ibn Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: There are no days during which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days; meaning the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. They inquired: Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah? He said: Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah, unless one goes out for Jihad sacrificing both his life and property and returning with neither. (Al-Bukhaari)

In another version, Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhumaa) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam), said: There are no days during which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allah than these ten days. So recite more often the Tahleel (Laa Ilaaha Illallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah). (Imam Ahmad) Jaabir reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: The best day is the Day of Arafah. There are no days during which good deeds are greater or more beloved to Allaah than these ten days. So recite more often the Tahleel (Laa Ilaaha Illallah) , Takbeer (Allahu Akbar),
Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah).

Ten Kinds of Observances In These Days

With regard to the types of worship to be performed during these ten days: one must understand that these days are a great blessing from Allaah to His slave, which is appreciated properly by the actively righteous. It is the duty of a Muslim to appreciate this blessing and make the most of the opportunity, by devoting these ten days to paying more attention to striving hard in worship. Among His blessings to His slaves, Allaah has given us many ways in which to do good and worship Him, so that the Muslim may be constantly active and consistent in his worship of his Lord.

Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to
do during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are:

First: Performing Hajj and Umrah, which are the best of all observances. Its excellence is signified by many Prophetic traditions. The Prophet (sallallaahualaihi wa sallam) said: Performing Umrah and following it with another expiates sins that are committed in between. And the perfect Hajj would be requited with nothing other than Jannah. There are also many
authentic traditions to that effect.

Second: Observing fasting on all or some of these days, particularly on the Day of Arafah. There is no doubt that fasting is the best of observances; for it is one of the observances which Allah relates to Himself, according to the holy tradition (hadith Qudsi): Fasting is for Me, and I shall requite it. My
slave relinquishes his desires, food, and drink for My sake.

Abu Saeed al-Khudri (radiallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Any slave of Allah who observes fast of a day in the cause of Allah, Allah would separate between him and the Fire a distance of seventy years on account of observing that day. (Agreed upon).

Abu Qataadah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Observing fasting on the Day of Arafat; I expect Allah to expiate the sins that were committed during the preceding year, and the sins that will be committed in the year after. (Imam Muslim)

Third: Reciting takbeer, and Dhikr in these days according to the words of Allah, the Exalted: And mention the name of Allah in certain days [Al-Baqarah 2:203]. These certain days are said to be the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Therefore, scholars recommend Dhikr more often during these days, according to a
tradition which is reported by Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhumaa): Therefore, recite more often, tahleel, takbeer, and tahmeed. Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah (radiallaahu anhum) used to go out to the marketplaces during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and recite out loud the takbeer and people would repeat it after
them. Ishaaq (rahimahullah) reported that the jurists (rahimahumullah) used torecite during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa Ilaaha illallah, wallahu Akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd. It is commended to recite them out loud in marketplaces, at homes, roads, mosques and elsewhere. According to the commands of Allaah: That you may exalt Allah for having guided you, and that you may be grateful to Him. [Al-Baqarah 2:185]

Fourth: Repentance and relinquishing acts of disobedience and all sins, in order to acquire forgiveness and mercy. Acts of disobedience are means of banishing, while acts of obedience are means of gaining favour with Allaah. Abu Hurairah (radiallahu
anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: Verily Allah feels jealous, and the jealousy of Allaah is aroused when man violates what Allaah prohibits. (Agreed upon)

Fifth: Accomplishing more good deeds of voluntary observances, such as: salaat, charity, Jihad, Qur’ânic recitation, enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, and the like; for the rewards of such observances are multiplied during these days. Observances during these days are unsurpassed in
excellence and they are better and more beloved to Allaah than other excellent observances including Jihad, which is the best of deeds, unless one sacrifices both, his life and his steed.

Sixth: It is legal during these days the recitation of the takbeer in general at all times, day or night until Eid prayer. The restricted takbeer is that which is to be recited after the obligatory prayers. As for the non-pilgrims, the takbeer begins from the Day of Arafah, and for pilgrims it begins from the noon
prayer of the Day of Sacrifice and continues until Asr prayer of the last of the days of Tashreeq.

Seventh: Offering the sacrificial animal during the day of sacrifice and the Days of Tashreeq. It is the sunnah of our father Ibraheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, in commemoration of the occasion when Allaah ransomed Ibraheems son with a large ram. It has been authentically confirmed that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) sacrificed two black and white rams with horns. He killed them with his own hand, and invoked the name of Allaah upon them, recited the takbeer, and placed his foot on their sides, when he
killed them. (Agreed upon.)

Eighth: Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: When you see the new moon of Dhul Hijjah, and one of you wants to sacrifice an animal let him refrain from cutting or shaving his hair or clipping his finger nails, or toenails. In another version: Let him not cut his hair or his fingernails until he has slaughtered his sacrificial animal. This perhaps is enjoined on non-pilgrims to have something in common with the pilgrims who bring along with them their sacrificial animals. Allaah, the Exalted, says: And do not shave off your heads until the sacrificial animal is slaughtered. [Al-Baqarah 197] This prohibition seems to apply only to a person who is making the
offering, not his dependents, unless one of them has his own sacrificial animal. There is no harm in washing the head even if some hairs fall off.

Ninth: The Muslim must make sure to observe Eid prayer in its designated place, and attend the khutbah of the Eid. He should also know the purpose of the Eid, and that its a day of giving thanks and a chance for accomplishing good deeds. He should not turn it into a day of mischief, disobedience, or an excuse for violating the prohibited things; such as singing music, illegitimate amusements, consuming liquor, or the like. All of these things are detestable and nullify the good deeds that one may have accomplished during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Tenth: After knowing all the above observances, every Muslim, male or female, must utilise these days in obedience to Allaah, remembering Him, expressing gratefulness to him, fulfilling all the obligatory observances, avoiding the reprehensible things and
taking advantage of this season to acquire His mercy and the pleasure. It Allah alone who grants success and guides to the right path. May He exalt the mention of Muhammad, and his household, and Companions, and may He render them safe from every derogatory thing.

Source: www.allaahuakbar.net
Related: The Superiority of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah by Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymin

Fast the Whole Year?

October 17, 2008

It is narrated in Sahih Muslim that Rasoolullah (SAW) said, “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. it would be as if he fasted for the whole year.”

We are currently in the midst of Shawwal with less than two weeks remaining to take advantage of the hadith mentioned above (It appears Shawwal will end at or around October 29th, 2008).  Let us fast the fast of Dawud (every other day) or the Sunnah fast of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) (Mondays and Thursdays) so that we can accomplish this beautiful task.  Remember, the Lord of Shawwal is the same as the Lord of Ramadan and all the other months so let us strive for our best even now once Ramadan has ended.

Related: https://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2007/07/24/fasting-on-mondays-and-thursdays/