Imam’s Corner

Rules of I’tikāf

As-Salāmu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakātuhu,

InshāAllah, anyone who would like to perform the Sunnah I’tikāf at ICCL should make sure to be in the Masjid by Asr on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Please fill in the I’tikāf form in the ICCL office before doing so. May Allah SWT accept all of our good deeds. Ameen.

Rules of I’tikāf

How to Spend Ramadan

Night of Power

How to spend Ramadan?

The month of Ramadan is the season of divine blessings. It is the month of purification, it is meant for annual renovation of the inner spiritual qualities. It is a golden opportunity for every Muslim to strengthen his ‘Imān, to purify his heart and soul and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.

This month invites a Muslim to minimize his other mundane involvements and maximize the acts of worship. One should plan his schedule for this month, before-hand, so as to spare maximum time for ‘ibadah.

Here is a brief list of the acts which should be carried out in Ramadan with due care:

1. To offer every prayer with jama’ah in a masjid.

2. To rise up a little earlier than the exact time of suhoor and to offer the salah of tahajjud. There is no prescribed number of the Tahajjud prayer. Yet, it is better to pray 8 Rak’at.

3. To offer the nafl prayers of Ishraq (two rak’at after sunrise) Duha (Four rak’at which may be performed at anytime after Ishraq before noon) and Awwabīn (six rak’at after maghrib).

4. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an. No specific limit is prescribed. But one should recite as much of it as he can.

5. Dhikr or Tasbeeh, specially the following recitations:

(a) سبحان الله وبحمده سبحان الله العظيم

(b) سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله اكبر

(c) استغفرالله ربي من كل ذنب وأتوب إليه

(d)اللهم صل على محمد النبي الأمي وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

(e) لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم

Apart from reciting these words, one hundred times each, at a particular time, they may also be continued frequently throughout the day, even if one is engaged in some light work, when walking and when in bed.

6. Prayers and supplications: No particular prayer is prescribed. One can pray for everything he needs both in this world and in the Hereafter. However, the supplications of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم are so comprehensive that they encompass all that a Muslim can need in his life and after his death. It is, therefore, much advisable to pray Allah Almighty in the prophetic words used by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

There are several books where these prophetic supplications have been compiled. Here is the name of two books which should be kept by every Muslim in his home and be used for praying daily:

(i) Al-hisnul-hasin الحصن الحصين By Allamah aljazri.

(ii) Munajat-e-Maqbool مناجات مقبول  By Maulana Ash-raf Ali Thanvi.

7. Sadaqah (charity): Apart from paying zakah, which is obligatory, one should also pay optional sadaqah in Ramadan according to his best ability. It is reported in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to pay special attention in Ramadan to look after the poor and to help them financially. Therefore, a Muslim should give as much money in sadaqah as he can afford.

 

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IN RAMADAN

All sinful acts should be avoided completely during the month of Ramadan. Although the sinful acts are totally prohibited in Shariah, whether in Ramadan or at any other time, but their prohibition becomes more severe in this month. It is evident that every Muslim avoids certain lawful acts, like eating and drinking, during the fasts. If he continues to commit sins in Ramadan, it will be a mockery to avoid lawful things and yet be engaged in unlawful acts never allowed in Shari’ah. Thus, the abstinence from sins becomes all the more necessary in this month.

Specially the following acts should be avoided totally:

(1) Telling a lie.

(2) Gheebah or backbiting i.e. condemnation of a person in his absence.

(3) Quarrelling.

(The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has particularly forbidden from it when one is in the state of fasting. He has directed us that, if someone wants to quarrel in Ramadan, we should tell him that we are fasting, hence we are not prepared to indulge in any quarrel.)

(4) Eating unlawful things.

(5) Earning through unlawful means.

(6) Any act which may harm a person without a valid cause.

(7) Burdening one’s servants or employees with a toilsome job beyond their ability, without providing them facilities to carry it out.

In short, one should try his best to refrain from all kinds of sins, and protect his eyes, ears, tongue and all other organs from indulging in an unlawful activity.

Once a Muslim spends the month of Ramadan in this way, he will insha’allah, find himself equipped with a spiritual strength which will facilitate for him to conduct a good Islamic life in accordance with the pleasure of Allah.

Five Reminders on the Night of Power

The Night of Qadr is so valuable that the Qur’ān devotes a special surah to it “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months” [97:3]  This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, odd numbered nights of Ramadān, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29. We should strive to stay up at least on the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. If we can’t manage that then let us pray at least on the 27th night. If one prays on all of the last odd numbered nights then there is more chance that one may have caught this most powerful night and the reward is of over 83 years of worship! Subhanallah! Most will not even live up to that age! It is a night that we cannot miss out on so here is how we can maximize this blessed night:

1. Recite the Qur’ān abundantly

Az-Zuhri used to say upon the coming of Ramadān, “It is only about reciting the Qur’ān and feeding the poor.” Abdur-Raziq said, “When Ramadān came, Sufyan Ath-Thawri would give up all acts of (voluntary) worship and devote himself to the recitation of the Qur’ān.” Laylatul Qadr is the night the Qur’ān was revealed so we should spend much of the night reciting it for we will gain 700 hasanah or more by reciting each letter!

2. Strive to gain forgiveness

One should strive and do their utmost to gain the mercy of Allah especially in the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. If one leaves Ramadān without gaining the mercy of Allah then surely they are the most unfortunate ones and are the biggest losers in this world and the next. The main duā for Laylatul Qadr is the following: Aisha (Ra) said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: “O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.” “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi). Also gaining forgiveness on laylatul Qadr should be the goal. Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim). We should sincerely repent for past and present sins with the intention of not repeating them again and ask of Allah Ta’aala to help us prevent ourselves from doing them again and ask Allah to perfect our characters and to help us improve ourselves in everyway possible.

3. Do much Superogatory Prayers (Nafl)

Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet said:”Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).” (Muslim) The Prophet peace be upon him said: “Whoever draws near to Allaah during it (Ramadān) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” – Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887.  In this most blessed month of Ramadhan all good deeds are multiplied by 70 or more. Every Nafl one prays one will gain the reward of a Fard Salaah and every Fard Salah is the reward of 70 Fard salaah. Subhanallah what other time of the year is this possible? None! So let us make the best of these precious seconds and pray as many Nafl prayers as is possible! Here are some Nafl prayers we can pray on Laylatul Qadr:

1. Two Rakat after performing Wudu (Ablution)-Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Bilāl (may Allah be pleased with him): “Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilāl (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.”(Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)”

2. Tahajjud-Imam Abu Sa’id al-Khadimi said, “There is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that among the best of virtuous acts is the night vigil prayer.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya] The scholars derived the following in regards to Tahajjud from the Qur’ān and prophetic hadiths:

1. The minimal night vigil prayer is two rakats. [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]

2. Its optimal recommended amount is eight rakats, because this was the general practice of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions). [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]

3. Lengthier recitation is superior to a larger number of rakats prayed. [Durr al-Mukhtar, Radd al-Muhtar]

4. It is recommended to start the night vigil with two short rakats, because of the hadith of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “It you get up for night prayer, start with two short rakats.” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud] Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “I cannot pray at night.” He said, “Your sins have prevented you.”

4. Increase in Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)

We should glorify Allah night and day, especially in the last odd nights. Here are some easy and very beneficial Dhikr and glorification we can do throughout the last ten odd nights:

1. Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee

2. Subhanallah

3. Alhamdulillah

4. Allahu Akbar

5. Laa ilaha ilallah

6. La Hawla Wa La Quwwata Illa Billah

7. Asthaghfirullah

8. Subhānallah hil azīm wa bi-hamdihi,

9. Subhāna-llāhi, wa-l-hamdu li-llāhi, wa lā ilāha illā-llāhu, wa-llāhu akbar. Wa lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi-l-aliyyi-l-azīm

10. Lā ilāha illā-llāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-ḥamdu yuhyi wa yumītu wa huwa ḥayyu-llā yamūtu abadan abada, ḏū-l-jalāli wa-l-ikrām, biyadihi-l-khayr, wa huwa alā kulli Shay-in qadīr or the shortened version:

11. Lā ilāha illal-lāhu wahdahu lā sharīka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alā kulli shay-in qadīr

One can also recite the durood that one recites in one’s Salāh or a Sallāllahu Alayhi Wasallim

5. Make much duā

We should be very busy in Duā as much as we can especially in the last 10 odd numbered. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’ān: “When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [2:186]  The place of duā is so high to Allah, that the Prophet(Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim) had said:”Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than du`a.” [Sahih al-Jami` no.5268].  Almighty Allah also said: “The most excellent worship is duā.” [Sahih Al-Jami` no. 1133] Therefore let us devote much of the night of Qadr in duā asking of Allah for his mercy and forgiveness for all of our past sins and making firm intentions to Allah that we will change for the better and strive to become closer to him as well as make our deen a full part of our lives and not just a little part of our life as Allah says: Allah tells us in the Qur’ān to enter fully into our deen and not partly: O believers enter into Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan, surely he is your clear-cut enemy…. (Surah Al-Baqara, Ayah 208-210) So then will we not make Islam a full part of our lives? This is our best opportunity and if we don’t take it and death comes to us then surely we will regret it for eternity! And Allah knows best in all matters.

Khatmul Qurān and Duā

As Salāmu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakātuhū,

With the taufīq, grace and mercy of Allah SWT, inshaAllah, this years’ Khatmul Qurān and Duā will be on the 27th night of Ramadan Mubārak, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Tarāwīh will continue for the rest of Ramadan as normal.

Jazākumullahu Khayran

Ramadan Reflections 2017

As-Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

Ramadan Mubarak to the entire ICCL community!

With the grace and mercy of Allah SWT the blessed month of Ramadan has initiated with great success and we all hope to become better in all facets of life, especially our relationship with Him, the Almighty. May Allah SWT give us the divine guidance and ability to build our faith, perform good deeds, and bless us both in this world and the hereafter.

This Ramadan we will be presenting a daily synopsis of the Qurānic recital and explain a Qurānic supplication before Isha prayer. This will be done 15-20 minutes before the prayer so we encourage you to arrive earlier than usual.

Jazakumullahu Khayran

Parts 1-30 of the Quran:  https://docs.google.com/a/icclmd.org/document/d/1Q1vNOhJWs0GKVOUsKg_kgWC1i-bvuHhHcDFQ_b2Wq2g/edit?usp=sharing

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