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What After Ramadan? – Adapted from “Wa maadha ba`da Ramadaan”, by Dar Al-Watan

What After Ramadan?
Adapted from “Wa maadha ba`da Ramadaan”, by Dar Al-Watan (120)


AlHamdulillahi wa kafaa, was-Salatu was-salamu `alaa `ibaadihi-lladheena Stafaa

We leave the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of the Qur’an, taqwa, patience, jihad, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire…

Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from the Ramadan school with the diploma of the god-fearing?

Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs and blind imitations?

Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?

Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness.
What Have We Gained From Ramadan?

Ramadan is a school of Iman and a ‘stop to recharge one’s spiritual batteries’ – to acquire one’s provision for the rest of the year…

For when will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the month of Ramadan?

The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the Law of Allah ‘azza wa jall. “Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Ar-Ra`d, 11]

If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against you soul, then praise and thank Allah, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death.

Be not like one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it… Have you seen one who sewed a shirt or thawb, so when she looked at it, she liked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for no reason. What would people say about such a person?! Or have you seen one who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned, dirham by dirham. What would people say about such a person?!

This is the condition of one who returns to sinning and evildoing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after he was favored with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah he returned to the blaze of sins and evil actions. How evil are the people who know Allah only in Ramadan!

My dear ones,

falling short in one’s commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including:

1 – Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after they filled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the masjid for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones.

2 – Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing etc.

This is not thankfulness for blessings and favors, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one’s actions, rather this is opposition to favors and absence of thankfulness.

These are from signs of one’s deeds not being accepted – and Allah’s refuge is sought – for one who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of `eid, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah may not accept his fasting, just as the Salaf would continue asking for acceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it.

From signs that one’s deeds are accepted is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah `azza wa jall. “And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” [Ibrahim, 7] Increase you in good, faith and righteous actions. So if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from sinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said.

“And worship your Lord until there comes you to the certainty [i.e. death].” [al-Hijr, 99]

The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah, firm upon His Sharee`ah, steadfast upon His Deen, so that he or she is not of those who worship Allah only during one month or only in one place. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places, so he is steadfast upon the Sharee`ah of Allah until he meets Him while He is pleased with him. Allah ta`ala said, “So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].” [Hud, 112] And, “So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Fussilat, 6] And the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “Say ‘I believe in Allah’, then be steadfast.” [Muslim]

— If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary fasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays and Thursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of `Aashoora and `Arafat, and others.

— If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year. “They used to sleep but little of the night.” [Adh-Dhaariyaat, 17]

— If the charity in Ramadan and zakat ul-fitr have ended, then there is the obligatory Zakat, and also there are many other open doors to charity, voluntary actions and jihad.

— Reading of the Qur’an and contemplating it is not only for Ramadan, rather it is for all times.

Righteous actions are for all times and all places, so strive – O my brother and sister – and beware of laziness. And remember that it is not allowed for us to leave the obligatory actions or delay them, such as the five daily prayers on time, in congregation etc.

And do not fall into forbidden actions, such as forbidden sayings, food and drinks, or by looking at or listening to what is forbidden.

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of Allah at all times, for you do not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. “O Allah, Who turns the hearts, keep our hearts steadfast upon Your Deen.”

I ask Allah to accept from us and you our fasting, our prayers and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a better one, that the state of our Ummah improves, that we are granted honour and that we truly turn to our Lord…Ameen

Remaining Steadfast After Ramadhaan – ‘Abdullaah bin Saalih Al-Fawzaan

Remaining Steadfast After Ramadhaan

‘Abdullaah bin Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Ahaadeeth As-Siyaam: Ahkaam wa Adaab (pg. 155-157)
Al-Ibaanah.com

Sufyaan Ibn ‘Abdillaah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) said: “O Messenger of Allaah, tell me something about Islaam of which I will not ask anyone else besides you (after that).” He said: “Say: ‘I believe in Allaah’ and then be steadfast (on that).” [1]

This hadeeth is proof that the servant is obligated, after having Eemaan in Allaah, to persevere and be steadfast upon obeying Him by performing the obligatory acts and avoiding the prohibited ones. This is achieved by following the Straight Path, which is the firm Religion, without drifting away from it to the right or to the left.

If a Muslim lived through Ramadaaan and spent its days in fasting and its nights in prayer, and in that month he accustomed himself to doing acts of good, then he must continue to remain upon this obedience to Allaah at all times (after that). This is the true state of the servant (‘abd), for indeed, the Lord of the months is One and He is ever watchful and witnessing His servants at all times.

Indeed, steadfastness after Ramadaan and the rectification of one’s statements and actions are the greatest signs that one has gained benefit from the month of Ramadaan and that he struggled in obedience. They are tokens of acceptance and signs of success.

Furthermore, the deeds of a servant do not come to an end with the end of a month and the beginning of another. Rather they continue and extend until one reaches death, for Allaah says: “And worship your Lord until the certainty (i.e., death) comes to you.” [2]

If the fasting of Ramadaan comes to an end, then indeed the voluntary fasting is still prescribed throughout the entire year, and all praise is due to Allaah. If standing in prayer at night during Ramadaan comes to an end, then indeed, the entire year is a time for performing the night prayer. And if the Zakaat-ul-Fitr comes to an end, then there is still the Zakaah that is obligatory as well as the voluntary charity that lasts the whole year. This goes the same for reciting the Qur’aan and pondering over its meaning as well as every other righteous deed that is desirable, for they can be done at all times. From the many bounties that Allaah has bestowed upon His servants is that He has placed for them many different types of acts of worship and He provided many means for doing good deeds. Therefore, the enthusiasm and the zeal of the Muslim must be constant and he must continue to remain in the service of his Master.

It is unfortunate to find some people performing worship by doing different types of righteous acts during Ramadaan – they guard strictly their five daily prayers in the masjid, they recite the Qur’aan abundantly and they give in charity from their money. But when Ramadaan comes to an end, they grow lazy in their worship. Rather, sometimes they even abandon the obligations, both generally, such as praying in congregation, and specifically, such as praying the Fajr prayer!

And they (even) commit forbidden acts such as sleeping over the time of prayers, indulging in places of foolishness and entertainment, and mingling in parks, especially on the day of ‘Eed! Obtaining help from these evils is only through the Grace of Allaah. Thus, they demolish what they have constructed and they destroy what they have established. This is an indication of deprivation and a sign of perdition. We ask Allaah for His safeguarding and protection!

Indeed, these types of people take the example of turning in repentance and ceasing from committing evil deeds as something specific and restricted to (only) the month of Ramadaan. So they stop doing these (good) acts when the month stops. Thus, it is as if they have abandoned sinning for the sake of Ramadaan, and not out of fear for Allaah! How evil are these people who do not know Allaah except in Ramadaan!

Truly, the success that Allaah grants His servant lies in the fasting of Ramadaan. And Allaah’s assisting him to do that is a great blessing. Thus, this calls for the servant to be grateful to his Lord. And this understanding can be found in Allaah’s saying, after having completed the favor of the month of fasting: “(He wants that you) must compete the same number of days, and that you must magnify Allaah (by saying Allaahu Akbar) for having guided you, so that you may be grateful to Him.” [3]

So the one who is grateful for having fasted, he will remain upon that condition and continue to perform righteous deeds.

Indeed, the true manner of a Muslim is that of one who praises and thanks his Lord for having been bestowed the ability to fast and make qiyaam (night prayer). His condition after Ramadaan is better than it was before Ramadaan. He is more ready to obey, desiring to do good deeds and quick to implement the obligatory acts. This is since he has acquired benefit from this prominent institute of learning. It is that of one who fears for having his fast not accepted, for indeed Allaah only accepts from those who have Taqwaa.

The righteous predecessors would struggle to complete and perfect their deeds, hoping afterwards, that they would be accepted and fearing that they would be rejected. From the reports of ‘Alee (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) is that he said: “Be more concerned with having your deeds accepted than with the deed itself. Did you not hear Allaah say: ‘Verily Allaah only accepts from those who have Taqwaa’?” [4] [5]

‘Aa’ishah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) concerning the aayah: ‘And those who give away that which they give (i.e., charity and other good deeds), while their hearts tremble with fear.’ Are they the ones who drink alcohol and steal?” He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, O daughter of As-Siddeeq. But rather, they are the ones who fast and pray and give in charity, yet fear that it won’t be accepted from them. They are the ones who rush to do good deeds and they are the first to do them.” [6]

So be warned and again be warned – of turning backward after having attained guidance, of going astray after persevering! And ask Allaah to provide you with endurance in doing righteous deeds and continuity in performing good acts. And ask Allaah that He grant you a good end, in order that He may accept our Ramadaan from us.

Footnotes:

[1] Saheeh Muslim (no. 38)

[2] Surat-ul-Hijr: 99

[3] Surat-ul-Baqarah: 185

[4] Surat-ul-Maa’idah: 27

[5] Lataa’if-ul-Ma’aarif (pg. 246)

A Successful Ramadaan

By the Shaykh, ‘Allaamah Saalih Al-Fawzaan
Ithaaf Ahlil Eemaan bi Duroos Shahr Ar-Ramadaan pg. 119-120
Title and sub-titles have been added

Translated by Hassan As-Somali

[The piety and humility of the Salaf]

When Ramadaan came to a close, the rightly guided predecessors (As-Salaf As-Saalih) used to frequently seek forgiveness, repent to Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic – and fear that their (deeds) would not be accepted. They used to exert themselves (in worship) in Ramadaan and outside of Ramadaan, afterwards they would be fearful that none of this will be accepted.

[How the Salaf behaved when Ramadaan was approaching and when it left]

They used to seek the forgiveness of Allaah and repent. So much so that it was reported that they would supplicate to Allaah for six months that He would allow them to reach Ramadaan. If He allowed them to reach Ramadaan, they would fast, pray at night and supplicate for the next six months that He accepts the month of Ramadaan from them.

[Signs that Ramadaan has been accepted]

Following good deeds with good is a sign that (an act) has been accepted, whether it is pertaining to Ramadaan or other than it. If the Muslim is in a good state after Ramadaan, performing many good deeds and righteous actions, then this is a proof of acceptance.

[Signs that Ramadaan hasn’t been accepted]

If the opposite is true, and he follows good with evil, and as soon as Ramadaan is over he follows on from this with sins, heedlessness and turning away from the obedience of Allaah, then this is a proof that it hasn’t been accepted.

Every person knows their true situation after Ramadaan. So let them look, if they are in a better state, then let them thank Allaah, as this shows (that it has been) accepted.
If their state is worse, then let them repent to Allaah and seek the forgiveness of Allaah, as this is a proof that it hasn’t been accepted and it is a proof of negligence and carelessness.


[Do not despair of the Mercy of Allaah]

But the slave should not lose hope of the mercy of Allaah. He should not close the door that is between him and Allaah and despair of the mercy of Allaah.

“Say: O my slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins). Do not despair of the Mercy of Allaah: verily Allaah forgives all sins. He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar: 53)

It is upon him to repent, seek the forgiveness of Allaah and return to Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic.
Allaah – The Mighty and Majestic – accepts repentance from those that repent.

“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.” (Ash-Shura:25)

And the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad.

Source : http://www.salafitalk.net/st/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=24&Topic=4991

Conditioning oneself to fast and other good deeds after Ramadan

Few excerpts from wonderful work (Lataif al Maa’rif) of Al Hafith ibn Rajab –may Allah have mercy on him.
Taken from Mustafa George’s (Hafidahullah) Blog


Al Hafith Ibn Rajab (died 795h) stated:


Benefits obtained in conditioning oneself to fast after Ramadan

1. Fasting the six days of Shawwal completes the reward for fasting a full year.

2. Fasting these six days and previously fasting in the month of Shabaan (prior to Ramadan) is similar to the sunan ar rawaatib (voluntary prayers associated to each obligatory prayer). These prayers proceed and succeed the obligatory prayers, and correct the deficiency and insufficiency present within them. Indeed voluntary prayers strengthen and perfect any deficiency present within obligatory prayers as has been mentioned by the Messenger –salAllahu alayhi wa salem- in several narrations. Most people possess fault and defect in their obligatory prayers, and because of this the Messenger –salAllahu alayhi wa salem- forbid a person from stayin: I have fasted and stood (in prayer) the full month of Ramadan. (Abu Dawud, Nisaee) A companion upon hearing this hadith said: I don’t know if this forbid dance was due to dislike of praise or due to defect present in the act of worship.

3. Conditioning oneself to fast these days of Shawwal is a sign of acceptance of Ramadan. If Allah accepts an action from His servant He gives that individual the tawfeeq (success) to perform another righteous action thereafter. Some (of the Salaf) used to say: The reward for a good deed is the good deed that follows it. Therefore, whoever performs a good deed, and follows it up with another, this is considered a sign of acceptance of the first deed performed. Likewise, if one were to perform a good deed, and thereafter perform an evil deed, this is considered a sign that the first action was rejected and not accepted from that person.

4. Fasting the month of Ramadan warrants forgiveness for previous sins, as has been mentioned previously. In addition to the fasting individuals being rewarded for their completion of the month on the day of Eid, which is also titled: The Day of Prizes. With this being the case, fasting the (6) days of Shawwal is done to show appreciation for this great blessing (forgiveness of sins), for indeed there is no greater blessing than it.

The Messenger –salAllahu alayhi wa salem- used to stand in prayer at night until his feet bled. Upon doing so he was asked, would you perform such an action while Allah has forgiven you your past and future sins?! The Messenger –salAllahu alayhi wa salem- replied: Should I not be a grateful servant? Allah –The Most Glorified and The Most High- has ordered His servants to glorify Him in appreciation for fasting the month of Ramadan. This is done through remembrance of Him and other forms of gratitude. Allah said:

{And in order for you to complete the prescribed days and magnify Allah for having guided you, and so that you may be grateful to Him} al Baqarah:185

And from those forms of gratitude of the servant to his Lord for having given him success to fast Ramadan, assisting him in doing so, and forgiving him of his sins and faults, is the servant fasting (6 days of Shawwal) upon the completion of Ramadan as a means of appreciation. If the Salaf were given success to pray night prayer on a particular night, they would fast the following day in show of gratitude.

Wahb bin al Ward was asked about the reward for performing a particular action, such as Tawwaf (encircling the Ka’ba), he responded: Don’t ask about the reward for performing such an action, but instead ask about what is upon the individual of gratitude in appreciation for the success and assistance in performing the action.

(Poetry)

If you have not increased in actions (of piety) in appreciation for the blessings upon, then verily you are not grateful.

One must show gratitude for every blessing that Allah has bestowed upon him in his religion and in worldly affairs. Once a person is given this tawfeeq to (actually) show gratitude, then it is once more upon him to show gratitude in appreciation for this tawfeeq. This is a continuous cycle of gratitude, and because of this, a servant will never be able to fully show thankfulness (for the blessings granted to him). The reality of gratitude is that an individual confesses to his inability to (completely) show thankfulness. It was said: (Poetry)

If showing thankfulness to Allah for a blessing bestowed on me is (itself) another blessing, then it is incumbent upon me to show further gratitude. (With this being the case), how can one (truly) show gratefulness except with His (Allah’s) favor, when days continue and life persists (constantly on going).

Abu ‘Omrin as Shaybani said: Musa –alayhi salam- said on the day of his visit to Mountain Turr: Oh Allah, if I pray, then I do so by Your favor, if I give charity, then I do so by Your favor, and if I spread Your message, then I do so by Your favor. How can I show (complete) gratitude to You!? Allah responded: Oh Musa, now you have showed gratitude.

As for the one who repays the blessing of being able to fast Ramadan, by indulging in sin upon completion of the month, then this person is from those who have repaid the blessings of Allah with ungratefulness. If this individual is certain that once the month is over, he will return to sin, then his fast is not accepted and the door of mercy is shut in his face.

The author further stated:

5. The actions of obedience that were performed during Ramadan do not end at the conclusion of Ramadan, rather these actions continue as one has life. This is similar to the previously (early in chapter) mentioned hadith: “The one who fasts after Ramadan is like the one who fled from the battle field and later (after realizing the tremendous sin he committed) returns to fight in the way of Allah.”

This is because, many people rejoice at the conclusion of Ramadan due to the difficulty, boredom and length of fasting. A person who views fasting Ramadan in such a way will more than likely not immediately return to (voluntarily) fasting. Therefore, the person who immediately begins fasting after completing Ramadan (Shawwal) is displaying his strong desire to fast and he is demonstrating that he did not become bored nor did he dislike fasting the month of Ramadan.

The author further said:
It was said to Bishrin: Indeed the people are worshipping and diligently (performing good deeds in Ramadan). He replied: How terrible are the people that only acknowledge the rights of Allah in Ramadan. Verily the pious individual is one who worships and is diligent throughout the year.

The actions of The Messenger –salAllahu alayhi wa salem- were constant. ‘Aisha –may Allah be pleased with her- was asked: Did The Messenger choose a specific day (for the performance of righteous deeds)? She replied: No, his actions were constant. She also stated: He would never increase in Ramadan nor in other than Ramadan over 11 units (in voluntary night prayer).


The author later stated: The (righteous) actions of a believer do not end until death befalls him.
Hasan al Basri said: Indeed Allah did not indicate an end to the actions of a believer except at the time of death. Then Hasan recited the verse of Allah:
{And worship your Lord until death approaches} surah hajr:99

The author continued:

These months, years and days are all limited durations and times of actions, then they (time) will quickly pass and end. But The One (Allah) who created this time and duration, and designated within them merits, He will always remain and never end, He is everlasting and unchangeable, and He is at all times one Lord. He is always a watcher and seer over the actions of His servants. Glory is to He who has revolved His servants at various times, through actions of obedience. He bestows great merits upon them during these various times, and upon completion (of these actions) He rewards them with generosity and kindness. Once the three precious forbidden months (ashur al hurm) are complete, the first of them being the forbidden month, and the last of them being the fasting month, these three months then approach the month of Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of Allah (bayti Allahi al Haram). So just as “Whoever fasts Ramadan and stands within it with faith and seeking a reward, all his past sins will be forgiven for him”, similarly: “Whoever performs Hajj to the House of Allah and does not have sexual relations nor commit indecent acts, he will return (from Hajj) similar to the day his mother gave birth”

Therefore, there is not a time that passes in the life of the believer except that there are specific actions of obedience designated by Allah upon His servants during that time. The believer revolves between these various times seeking a means of closeness to his Lord while in a state of hope and fear. The one who loves Allah does not become bored from seeking nearness to Him through voluntary actions, nor does he desire other than His nearness and pleasure.

He (author) later stated:

Ask Allah to make you firm upon (His) obedience until death approaches you, and seek refuge with Him from the changing of one’s heart and from wickedness after piety. How strange is shamefulness of sin after worthiness of obedience, and how strange is poverty of greed, after wealth of contentment!

He (author) later stated:

Oh youths of Tawbah (mature individuals who perform tawbah): Do not return to suckling from the breast of desire (hawaa) after you have weaned from it. Indeed breastfeeding is only befitting for babies and not for (grown) men, but one must be patient upon the bitterness of weaning. If you are patient in this matter the taste of desire (hawaa) will be substituted with the sweetness of faith (eman) in your hearts. Whoever abandons something for the sake of Allah, he will not miss that thing, and Allah will substitute it with that which is better. Allah says:

{If Allah knows that you have good present in your heart, He will give you better than what was taken from you and forgive you your sins} surah al Anfal:70

It is stated in a hadith: “Verily the look (at what is haram) is an arrow from the arrows of Ibless (Shayton). If one abandons this look out of fear, Allah will replace it with sweetness in the heart” (recorded by Hakim and declared to be weak)

The youth are being addressed in this hadith, but as for the elder person, then he committing sins after completion of Ramadan is worse and more repulsive. This is because a young person may intend to repent toward the end of his life, and this is also dangerous because death may suddenly approach him, but concerning the elder person, his boat (of life) has docked at the pier of Manun (death), so what does he intend?!

These were just a few excerpts from this wonderful work (Lataif al Maa’rif) of Al Hafith ibn Rajab –may Allah have mercy on him.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His last Messenger Muhammed, and upon his family members and companions.

Important note:

In yesterdays gathering with Sheikh Alee bin Yahya al Haddadee (senior student of Sheikh Yahya an Najmee), the Sheikh informed: Being that the 6 days of Shawwal are specific voluntary days, one must make the intention to fast before fajr. This can be done on each individual day, or if one is fasting 6 consecutive days, then they can make the intention at one time upon beginning the fast. If a person does not make his/her intention to fast the 6 days of Shawwal before fajr, then he/she will not receive the reward of fasting Shawwal.

Mustafa George
http://salafee.multiply.com/journal/item/34/Fasting_6_days_of_Shawwal_Al_Hafith_ibn_Rajab

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