By Asma Bint Shameem

Wudu is such a beautiful thing. It is done so that we can purify ourselves before we stand for prayer in front of Allah. And all of us make wudu, because we know that without it our prayer will not be valid. But usually we do it routinely, swiftly washing our hands and feet, splish splash on the face, a quick wipe over the head and we are done, not thinking much of it. And sometimes we even get lazy and don’t do it properly, especially at times like Fajr, when we are sleepy and during cold weather.

But there is more to wudu than just being a condition for worship. Something that makes it more than just a routine thing before prayer…… something higher and more complete…. something that most of us neglect or overlook.

And that is…..that the very act of wudu is a form of worship in itself. By performing wudu you can get closer to Allaah….you can increase your Imaan and strengthen your faith. By performing wudu, you can intensify your love for Allaah and His Messenger (Sal Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam)…and you can have your sins forgiven. And how can one do all that ?

Every time you make wudu, be conscious of Allaah, your Rabb, and remember that it is Him, Who ordered you to perform wudu in the first place. And you are carrying out His Orders, His Command….you are obeying Him. And you love to obey Him. So be conscious of your obedience to Him and thank Him for enabling you to carry out His Command as He says:

(O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles) [Surah Maidah:6]

This will increase your love for Allaah, and strengthen your Imaan….and improve your relationship with Him. It will make you more conscious of Him when you stand in front of Him in prayer and give you more Khushoo.

And every time you perform wudu, be conscious that you are following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam). It is the same way he did wudu….. the Prophet that you love and honor and respect….and it is his Sunnah that you love to follow. Not only will Allaah will reward you for following His Messenger (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam), but it (the wudu) will also increase your love for the Sunnah as well.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “He who performs wudu like this wudu of mine and then offered two rakahs of prayer without allowing his thoughts to be distracted, all his previous sins are expiated.” (Muslim)

So the key to sins being expiated is performing wudu like the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and then praying. And every single time you perform wudu, do it sincerely for the sake of Allaah, expecting a reward from Him, asking Him to accept it from you, hoping that He will forgive you.

Because wudu expiates sins. “When the Muslim or believing slave does wudu and washes his face, every wrong thing that he looked at with his eyes comes out from his face with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his hands, every wrong thing that he did with his hands comes out from his hands with the water or with the last drop of water. When he washes his feet every wrong thing that he walked to with his feet comes out from his feet with the water or with the last drop of water, until he emerges cleansed of sin.” (Muslim)

And whenever you do wudu, think of the People who will have bright hands and faces on the Day of Resurrection and know that if you try to do your wudu properly, doing it sincerely for the sake of Allaah, then He will make you among those. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “(On the Day of Resurrection) You will have distinctive marks “Al-Ghurr-ul- Muhajjalun” which nobody among the peoples (except you) will have; you would come to me (at the Cistern of al-Kauthar) with blazing forehead and bright hands and feet on account of the traces of ablution.” (Muslim)

Try and maintain your wudu at all times as this is a sign of a believer. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Only the believer will remain with his ablution (sustaining it at all times).” (Saheeh al-Jamee) And even if you have difficulty in doing wudu, like cold weather, or any other situation that makes wudu difficult, still try your best to maintain it, since there is tremendous reward.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Shall I not tell you something by which Allah effaces the sins and elevates ranks (in Jannah)?” The Companions said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Performing the Wudu thoroughly in spite of difficult circumstances, walking with more paces to the mosque, and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer; and that is mindfulness”. (Muslim)

And don’t forget the Siwaak. It is something that Allaah and His Messenger love. He (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Siwak is a purification for the mouth and satisfaction for the Lord”. (al- Nisaee and Ibn Khuzaima -Sahih at Targheeb)

And when you finish wudu, be sure and say the Sunnah duas that the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) taught us to say AFTER we are done with wudu. Remember there are NO duas to be said during wudu. There is nothing proven about that from the authentic Sunnah. Just START your wudu with Bismillaah and when you are DONE, then say the following:

1) Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasooluhu. (Meaning: I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.) (Muslim)

2) Allaahumm ajalni min al-tawwaabeena wajalni min al-mutatahhireena (Meaning: O Allaah, make me one of those who repent and make me one of those who purify themselves). (Tirmidhi-Saheeh by Albaani)

3) Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bi hamdika, ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka (Meaning: Glory and praise be to You, O Allaah, I bear witness that there is no god but You, I seek Your forgiveness and I repent to You) (al-Nasaai, etc.- Saheeh by Albaani)

May Allaah make us among those who purify themselves for His sake, physically as well as spiritually. Ameen.

How is it possible that some people can call themselves Muslim yet they don’t pray?  Prayer is the second pillar in Islam after the declaration of faith.

If a Muslim is an alcoholic or a fornicator, scholars agree that these sins do not take that person outside the fold of Islam.  However, in regards to the prayer, the scholars disagree on this issue as the difference between a Muslim and kufr is the prayer.

Furthermore, often times, people think they are fulfilling their duty of prayer by praying five times a day.  However, we are not told to just pray, rather we are told to pray properly.  The Quran states, “So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 107:4-5).  Subhan’Allah, the one who prays yet is heedless in his prayer is condemned, then what about the one that doesn’t pray?!  Many of the scholars of the past held the opinion that if you miss one prayer during its time slot on purpose ONCE, then this is kufr (this is apparently the opinion of the Hanbali madhab).  Missing just one prayer outside of its time slot, if it is not kufr, is a major sin (other major sins include the likes of murder, adultery, etc).

The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer.  If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound.  And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [at Tabarani]

Next time you want to delay the prayer out of its time slot because of an exam or a meeting, take a step-back and think what’s more worthy of your time, the purpose for which you were created or anything else?  There is no excuse for praying “kaza,” period.

Allah (SWT) states in the Quran, “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me” (Translation of the Meaning of the Quran, 51:56).

Imagine going shopping and buying the most expensive Versace suit (for brothers) or the most expensive Louis Vuitton purse (for sisters).  Then imagine not ever taking it out in public and showing it off.  Rather, no one knowing that you owned that Louis Vuitton purse, Versace suit, Rolex watch, or Mercedes-Benz car.

Such was the case of one of the pious predecessors of this Ummah.  He bought amongst the most expensive clothes and these clothes were amongst the most beautiful and precious in his time, yet he never wore them in public.  You may ask, “what did he do with them then?”  Rather, this man wore these beautiful clothes when he stood in front of His Lord to pray in the night prayer when no one would see him except for His Lord, for indeed Allah (SWT) tells us in the Quran, “O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer” (Translation of the Meaning of the Holy Quran, 7:31). 

Indeed, we should beautify ourselves when we stand in front of our Lord.  Now ask yourself, “what did I look like when I prayed fajr this morning?”  And compare that attire with what you looked like when you last went to a dinner party you were invited to.

By Sheikh `Abd al-Majîd b. Sâlih al-Mansûr
 
Anas b. Mâlik relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Women and fragrance have been made dear to my affections, but prayer was made the sweetness of my eyes.”

This hadîth is related in Musnad Ahmad and Sunan al-Nasâ’î al-Kubrâ, among other sources. It is an authentic hadîth. It has been authenticated by al-Hâkim in al-Mustadrak and by Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî in Fath al-Bârî.

In some narrations it reads, “From your worldly life, women and fragrance have been made dear to my affections…”

However, the variant narration that begins: “Three things from your worldly life have been made dear to me…” is not authentic. It is not established in any of the primary hadîth source works. Moreover, it is a strange narration since its meaning is contradictory, as prayer is not a matter of our worldly lives, but rather off our spiritual lives.

This hadîth is rich in its benefits. It informs us of the relationship a believer should have with prayer as well as with the world. It shows how Islam balances our spiritual lives and our worldly aspirations.

For the devotees of Allah, prayer is the most beloved of all experiences. It is where they find peace and contentment. Without it, they cannot find harmony, balance, and satisfaction in their lives. They need the experience of reverence and awe before Allah that prayer affords them.

Ibn Hajar al-`Asqlânî explains: “The ‘sweetness of one’s eyes’ is the beloved that one hopes never to depart from to the bliss that this beloved brings and the happiness that it enriches one’s life with. This is experience with prayer only by those who are reverently patient.”

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had attained an unparalleled level of devotion, where worshipping Allah became something much more than beloved to him. Ibn al-Qayyim writes:
No pleasure in this world compares to the bliss of the denizens of Paradise except for this. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Women and fragrance have been made dear to my affections, but prayer was made the sweetness of my eyes.”

Here the Prophet (peace be upon him) tells us that two things of the world have been made dear to him – women and fragrance. Then he informs us that it is prayer which is the sweetness of his eyes. This is something far more than love. The “sweetness of the eyes” is the most beloved of all – that which is loved for its own sake. The object of this love is none other than Allah. Everything else that is loved is beloved for His sake and does not in any way contend with the love for Him…

Prayer is the sweetness of the eyes of Allah’s devotees in this world, since it is the communion between the worshipper and his Lord, and this is the only way that the heart finds contentment and the soul finds peace.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his caller to prayer: “O Bilal, give us our rest in prayer.” From this we know that prayer is what brought the Prophet relaxation and respite, just as it was the sweetness of his eyes.

We should, therefore, think twice before we say something like: “I offered so much prayer and then I took a rest from praying.” For a true devotee, it is within prayer that rest and contentment are to be found. Such a person will love to prolong the prayer so as not to depart from that which is beloved.

By contrast, the person whose heart is heedless of Allah will find prayer to be a burden. Standing for each prayer will be like standing on a hot coal, and the person will fidget until that prayer is over and done with – the shorter the prayer, the better.

What factors will make prayer the sweetness of your eyes?

1. Sincerity: Your reason for offering the prayer is the love of Allah and your desire to draw near to Him and seek His pleasure.

2. Devotion: Your heart is focused entirely on Allah. Your inner being is as fully involved in the prayer as your body which is going through the outward motions. Your mind is not distracted.

3. Proper performance: Your prayer must be carried out in accordance with the Prophet’s example. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed us, saying: “Pray as you have seen me praying.” Care should be taken to observe the prayer in all of its details as it was learned from the Prophet by his Companions. It also means that no additional rites or practices should be added to the prayer.

4. Perceptiveness: The Prophet said: “Worship Allah as if you see him, and though you do not see him, you know that He indeed sees you.” This is how the Prophet (peace be upon him) defined the perfection of faith.

5. Gratefulness: You should recognize that it is only by Allah’s grace that you are praying to Him. It is the greatest of privileges that He has blessed you to be offering this prayer. This is a key factor in prayer becoming the sweetness of your eyes. The more acutely privileged you feel to be offering your prayer, the more beloved that prayer will be to you.

6. Humility: We should never feel haughty and self-satisfied with our piety. Rather, we need to feel that the prayers we are offering are not enough. Though we may strive to do the best we can, our worship must always fall far short of the mark. Allah’s greatness far surpasses our ability to glorify Him. His kindness and mercy far outweigh our gratitude.
Our Worldly Desires

This hadith refutes the idea that piety means the renunciation of worldly pleasures or devotion to Allah requires monasticism. This is one of the benefits we derive from the Prophet (peace be upon him) telling us: “Women and fragrance have been made dear to my affections.” We are not called upon to forsake what Allah has made lawful and good. There is no piety in renouncing wholesome pleasures.

Some people think of asceticism in outward terms. They mistake a “pious image” that other people can see for true piety and Godliness. This is because they are ignorance of the Prophet’s guidance in this matter. He was the most God-fearing of all people, but he would fast on some days and eat on others. He would spend part of the night in prayer, but he would also sleep. He got married. After elaborating this to his followers, he said: “And whoever desires something other than my way is not of me.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

He never behaved like those conspicuously “pious” people who look emaciated and dress in rags. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us that piety is an inward quality. It is the relationship that we have with our Lord. The Propet (peace be upon him) took great care of his appearance. He was a clean person. He wore presentable clothes. He wore fragrance. This did not contradict with his asceticism in any way.

Ibn Rajab, while commenting on this hadîth, explains: Asceticism means to turn your heart away from being preoccupied with the world and to focus on seeking knowledge of Allah and nearness to Him. It means to long for Allah and to desire to ultimately return to Him.

These things are not of the world in the first place. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “From your worldly life, women and fragrance have been made dear to my affections, but prayer was made the sweetness of my eyes.” He did not count prayer among the worldly matters that were made beloved to him.

I conclude by beseeching Allah to make our words and deed righteous, and that He may bless us to be sincere to Him.

(Source: www.muslimlinkpaper.com)

Sajdah As-Shukr

October 25, 2008

Subhana’Allah, there are so many sunnahs out there now that are neglected.  One of these sunnahs is the sajdah as-shukr (the prostration of thankfulness).  The fact of the matter is we should go directly into sajdah whenever we hear any good news from a good grade on a test to recognizing any beautiful bounty Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us.  Sajdah as-Shukr is easy and takes seconds (if we want it to).  The place of sajdah is when we are closest to Allah (SWT) and it is the ideal position in which for us to make dua to Allah (SWT).  Let’s make this one sunnah that we revive, insh’Allah.  Below is Sayyid Sabiq’s collection of hadith with some commentary on Sajdah as-Shukr as found in his work, Fiqh-us-Sunnah:

The majority of the scholars say that it is preferred to make prostrations of thankfulness (shukr) when one receives a bounty or is rescued from some trial. Abu Bakr reports that, when the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam received something which pleased him or some glad tidings, he would make the sajdah in thanks to Allah. This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmizhi who says it is hasan.

And al-Baihaqi records, with a chain that meets al-Bukhari’s conditions, that when ‘Ali wrote to the Messenger of Allah, informing him that Hamazhan had embraced Islam, the Prophet prostrated, and when he raised his head, he said: “Peace be upon Hamazhan, peace be upon Hamazhan.”

‘Abdurrahman ibn ‘Auf relates that the Messenger of Allah went out once and he followed him until he entered a grove of palm trees and prostrated. His prostration was so long that ‘Abdurrahman feared that Allah had taken his soul. ‘Abdurrahman came to look at him and he raised his head and said: “What is wrong, Abdurrahman’?” Abdurrahman mentioned what had happened, and he said: “Gabriel alehi as-salam came to me and said: ‘Shall I not give you glad tidings’? Allah says to you, Whoever prays upon you, I pray upon him. Whoever salutes you, I salute him.’ Therefore, I prostrated to Allah in thanks.” This is related by Ahmad and by AlHakim who says: “It is sahih according to the criterion of al-Bukhari and Muslim. And I do not know anything more authentic than that.”

Al-Bukhari records that Ka’b ibn Malik made a sajdah when he received the news that Allah had accepted his repentance. Ahmad records that ‘Ali performed the sajdah when he heard the news that Zhul-Thudayyah of the Khawarij was killed. Also, as mentioned before, Sa’id ibn Mansur recorded that Abu Bakr made sajdah in thankfulness when Musailimah was killed.

The prostration of thankfulness is bound by the same requirements as the prostration in prayer, while some disagree as it is not a prayer. The author of Fath al-‘Alam remarks: “This latter opinion is closer to being correct.” Ash-Shaukani said: “There is nothing in the hadith to prove that ablution and purity of the clothes and place are required for sajdat-us-shukr. And that is the opinion of Imam Yahya and Abu Talib. And these hadith are silent about any takbir being made with the prostration. In alBahr it is stated that there is a takbir. Imam Yahya says: ‘One is not to make the prostration of thankfulness during a prayer as it is not part of the prayer.'”

Reference for Fiqh-us-Sunnah found at www.islamalways.com