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Tips for Ramadan Taraweeh (Tarawih) Prayers

Gateway to all Ramadan related posts on MM

Here are a few things that I have learnt over the past few years of attending Taraweeh prayers, masha’Allah:

Tip number one: Do not fill your belly to bursting point at iftaar time! I’m sure you’ve heard that many times already, but it’s worth repeating; it’s that important to remember. If the masjid is too warm, you’ll get sleepy during Qiyam. If you go for all 20 rakaat, you’ll likely get a stitch! Would you eat a full meal an hour before swimming? The same logic applies here.

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Tip number two: Try to avoid spicy/smelly foods at iftaar time. Instead, indulge your chilli and garlic tastebuds when you return home. Even if you brush your teeth real well before leaving for the masjid, your breath will still smell of digesting curry, and it’s simply not good manners to inflict others with that kinda hardship! Especially when they’re trying to worship Allah in peace.

Tip number three: Don’t sit or lie down after Iftaar. Get ready to leave for the mosque straight away, as otherwise you’ll just get lazier, and more tired as the seconds tick by. Also, leave the dishes and cleaning until you return home, because it’s just a waste of your precious time at that moment, and it will make you late to get that good spot in the front row!

Tip number four: Take someone with you to the mosque. Having company on your journey has many benefits: one, there is safety in numbers (especially important for sisters travelling late at night); second, if you’re car-pooling, you’ll get the reward of helping fellow Muslims in their worship (and of course, saving the environment); third, it may give you, or your companion, greater encouragement to fulfil the Sunnah of attending the Taraweeh prayers. Basically, it’s all good, insha’Allah!

Tip number five: Read an English translation of the Qur’an, bit by bit, every day. I, personally, do not know very much Arabic; just a few words that are oft-repeated in the Qur’an. Therefore, I tend to easily lose concentration during the recitation, and more importantly, I do not fully appreciate the wisdom, warnings, and lessons that are being shared with me through Allah’s words. IMO, that’s like, 70% of the value of Taraweeh lost, right there! Therefore, this year I decided to take a few minutes out in my day to read the English translation of the part of the Qur’an that I predict the imam will recite the same evening. I’ve asked around, and most imams usually get through a Juz n’ a bit per night, in their aim to complete the Qur’an by the 27th night.

So with this new plan in mind, for the first four nights of Ramadan, I simply read the translation, and went to the mosque empty-handed, and waited for random familiar words to jog my memory. Alhamdulillah, it worked around 50% of the time, and my concentration improved greatly as I intensely listened out for my ‘cues’. However, there were still chunks of recitation where my face was all screwed up in confusion, as I had little idea of what was being said. On the fifth night, I decided to take the translation with me, so I could read short passages during the breaks in between each prayer unit. Alhamdulillah, this drastically improved my rate of recall, and I felt I had a good idea of what was being recited about 90% of the time! Though, admittedly, it does depend on the speed of the reciter.

For best results, calmly read the entire portion that you think will be recited (or as much as you can) before arriving at the mosque. Then, during the rest breaks, speed-read through the few paragraphs that you predict will be recited in the following two rakat.

Of course, if you’re ‘in’ with the imam, you could simply ask him for the exact bits of the Qur’an that he will be covering each night – I don’t have that luxury, hence all the ‘predictions’. :)

If you’re already blessed with a working knowledge of Arabic, masha’Allah, then try to read the tafseer regularly instead, for a deeper appreciation of the recitation.

Tip number six: Save up some dua. Depending on how many rakat your mosque completes per night, you will have multiple opportunities to make dua during the blessed moments of sujood. Pick a few ‘faves’ and try to fit them in when you can.

Tip number seven: A special one for the laydeez. If you’re not in a state to pray Taraweeh due to menses or nifaas (post-childbirth bleeding), you can still benefit from the community spirit of worship, by sitting in a place away from the masallah (i.e., the place where people make sujood), with a copy of the English-Arabic Qur’an, and silently follow the imam as he recites. Make sure not to touch the words of Allah directly in an impure state – wear gloves, or use some other clean barrier to touch the pages.

Disclaimer: I am aware of differences of opinion in this matter, so please consult with your imam or other local knowledgeable person if you’re not sure. If you don’t wish to attend the masjid, then you can always watch an online transmission of the Taraweeh from Masjid-al-Haram in Makkah Mukarramah.

I haven’t been attending Taraweeh for very long, but I aim to make it my own Ramadan tradition, insha’Allah. Employing such small tips helps make the experience more productive and enjoyable. I invite the more seasoned Taraweeh-goers to add your own tips below, for the benefit of all. JazakumAllah khair in advance!

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Dr Mehzabeen b. Ibrahim joined MuslimMatters as a blogger in late 2007 under the handle 'iMuslim', whilst still a struggling grad student. Since then, she has attained a PhD in Molecular Biology and a subsequent Masters in Bioinformatics, and now works as a specialist in this field for a well-known British, medical charity, masha'Allah. Somewhere in between she found the time to get married, alhamdulillah. She likes to dabble in photo and videography, a sample of which can be found on her personal blog:



  1. Avatar


    August 29, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    Jazakallah for the advice! Sometimes you get into so much of a routine, it’s good to shake things up a bit.

  2. Pingback: Tips for Ramadan Taraweeh (Tarawih) Prayers |

  3. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    August 29, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Great, practical advice!

    My biggest source of irritation is the constant belching that is heard during tarawih – and if you’re unlucky to be next to the guilty party, Allahul musta`an

    Actually, to each his own I guess; sometimes I do lie down for half an hour after iftar, to feel more energized for tarawih. I find that it gives me that ‘boost’ that I need (but only do this if you have had a light iftar!)

    Also, when I was a kid (and didn’t understand Arabic), one of the best ways that I found to retain my concentration was to follow along with the Imam, holding a Quran in hand. There is no problem doing this in tarawih prayer, insha Allah. But holding a translation would present other problems – because then you would begin to read the English and divert your attention away from the Arabic Quran. Your solution would work best (to read in between); or you could combine and read the English before the salat begins and then follow along with the Arabic.

    But for me, the single best way to enjoy tarawih is to find an Imam who recites Quran flawlessly, with a beautiful voice. There is no substitute for that!

    • Avatar


      August 29, 2009 at 12:14 PM

      But for me, the single best way to enjoy tarawih is to find an Imam who recites Quran flawlessly, with a beautiful voice. There is no substitute for that!


      I used to lie down, but it’s only because there is so little time here between Iftar and Isha, that I feel the need to get ready straight away; I find that I only have 30-40 minutes in between the two – and I only live a few mins away from the masjid. Plus, this year the sisters’ section of the small mosque I attend is packed – if you don’t get in early, you’ll be suffering all night. Though alhamdulillah that more and more sisters are attending the Taraweeh prayers.

      Btw, it is hard to avoid burping a little when you pray straight after eating – even a light meal – but belching?! That sounds like they’re not even trying to cover it up. Don’t they feel embarrassed? I’d be mortified! Or is this a guy thing?

    • Avatar


      August 31, 2009 at 12:35 AM

      Perhaps the advice can be read not necessarily as don’t lie down (energy boost), but rather don’t lie around (set up for laziness).

      JAK for the article!

      • Avatar


        August 31, 2009 at 8:54 AM

        Well, in the end, they’re ‘tips’ not ‘rules’, so apply whichever you find beneficial for you, insha’Allah. (I actually was originally going to label each point “Rule number 1, 2, 3 before I realized that not everything applies to everyone, hehe)

    • Avatar

      Abu Rumaisa

      August 31, 2009 at 9:55 AM

      I grew up doing this in Saudia but I realised later (in US), not to do so in a masjid where the Imam is Hanafi. He’s likely to be frustrated at u, especially if u give him luqma by reading from the Quran.

  4. Avatar


    August 29, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    If you really want to be able to understand more of the recitation, I’d suggest you go over what ever is to be recited on a particular day – not just the translation, but go over it on a word-to-word translation, whilst listening to your favorite qari reading the same verses. Since it’s just over one chapter a day, it’d take 45-50 mins max.

    This gives you a more in-depth understanding of the words themselves, and you’re struck with just how beautiful the qur’an is – in terms of depth, and yes, even just to listen to.

    Plus, it’d be a real treat. Personally for me, any reason to listen to Sh.Mishary al-Afasy!

    On a serious note, it makes a HUGE difference – whether you read the translation verse-by-verse or word-by-word.

    Check out

    • Avatar


      August 30, 2009 at 9:48 AM

      Jazakallah khair for the link to the word-to-word translation resource. I was thinking about it just the other day, so alhamdulillah, my inner prayers have been answered! :)

  5. Avatar


    August 29, 2009 at 2:34 PM

    A great tip for taraweeh: start learning Arabic and its application to Qur’an starting today so that by next Ramadan, so the need for a translation is not there. Alhamdulillah, this is THE best preparation for Ramadan.

    See for a great Arabic language course.

    • Avatar


      August 30, 2009 at 9:12 AM

      JAK soo much

      i just check out the link , its a great tool for beginners. Learning Arabic for me at this point is very important

  6. Avatar


    August 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM


    Excellent suggestions. Some extremely handy tips and tools on concentrating in Taraweeh also exchanged here:

    Do you concentrate in Taraweeh?

    • Avatar


      August 30, 2009 at 9:53 AM

      Jazakallah khair. :)

  7. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 1:14 AM

    Jazakom Allah Khairan for these suggestions

  8. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 4:31 AM

    SubhanAllah there is nothing to lift your eman like a beautiful recitation from someone who you can tell himself is feeling the verses he is reciting in taraweeh.

    My biggest external distraction BY FAR is kids gone wild during taraweeh and handling this delicate issue without offending is very challenging in many masajid I am sure. Perhaps someone can put up a post giving tips on how different masjids deal with this issue.

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      August 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM

      Such a post is coming up in the next few days, insha’Allah.

  9. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 5:19 AM

    jazakAllah kheir : ) there’s also

    • Avatar


      August 30, 2009 at 9:41 AM

      Cool link, masha’Allah! Watching Islam Channel now. :)

  10. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    August 30, 2009 at 8:06 AM

    Salam aleikum,

    One thing I really appreciated about tarawih at Abu Huraira masjid in Scarborough was the fact they were handing out water bottles to everyone because it was getting so hot! I know some other masajid do this but may Allah bless these brothers, to put in such ikhlas into the house of Allah. Really these small things make you really feel welcome and valued as a brother in Islam. They have daily halaqas too, and they record it and stream it online for the sisters! I also like their idea of a Parking pass to deal with Jumuah parking congestion- coordinated with the other buildings in the neighborhood. This is what I call ihsaan! A great example for other masajid! Ma sha Allah la quwatta illah billah, very impressive!! Here is there website:

    One other tip for tarawih: SMILE LOTS! Its contagious. People get pooped out and tired in Ramadan–headaches, hunger, long worship so you need to smile and be amicable with everyone, just to keep the spirits high, even with strangers– if all they see of you is you smiling goofily from far, it will improve their tarawih experience. Otherwise, everyone seems to look like they are attending a Janaza so put your positivity on steroids! :P

    Baraka Allahu feek
    Jazaka Allahu khayran for the article and alhamdulillah, good to see this sort of discussion happening on bettering ourselves in small, but practical ways that reflect proper intentions.

    • Avatar


      August 30, 2009 at 9:39 AM

      Jazakallah khair bro for the great tips!

      Parking coordination would be great in general. In my area of London, there are many mini-mosques, masha’Allah (about five in the same high street, and more scattered in side streets). So most brothers walk from home, alhamdulillah. Unless they are bringing female family members, and of course sisters drive themselves for security reasons.

  11. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    Aha! And my tip for attending Taraweeh…

    Leave your negativities at home!

    What do I mean by negativities? Scowling, rude behavior, turning people off from your “exclusive” prayer spot, arguing with people whose children are creating nuisance. The whole experience can go a bit sour when you witness people scowling and telling off others for what can be managed with a lot less negative reaction!

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      August 30, 2009 at 12:34 PM

      Tell me about it! And the way the places right in front of the pedestal fans are fought over! Astaghfirullah!

    • Avatar


      October 15, 2009 at 11:56 AM

      SubhanAllah, thinking about your comment makes me laugh now that I remember the times people at the masjid I attended got upset.

      I remember I accidently turned off the ceiling fan once thinking that I put it at max and boy did I getting an ear full of yelling from sisters dripping of sweat. I apologized profusely but they wouldnt even accept it.

      At the end of the day- I totally love the masjid during Ramadan even with the drama (apparently it prevalent in the sisters side). Smiling back at people who are yelling at you, or even those people who came in with just a negative mood is interesting/fun.. mostly after the fact though.

  12. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    i usually drink water to relief dehydrated muscles, use bathroom to answer call of nature, so that i feel much lighter. Brush my mouth 4 dat extra freshness – and go to a mosque where tajweed is sweet and rakats are not too long. Thats me. I guess ppl use their own techniques. Prepare body and spirit.

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      August 30, 2009 at 12:33 PM

      Brushing teeth, flossing, miswak – any form of oral hygiene….is a very, very important tip for attending prayers in congregation.

  13. Avatar

    Everyday Muslimah

    August 30, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Jazzak Allah for sharing this helpful article during this blessed month. I love the tip about “saving some duas for sujood” I always try to keep that in mind.

    I came across this website today and MashahAllah very impressed. Keep up the good work–May Allah bless your efforts. Ameen!

    I’m new to the blog world and would like to invite you all to visit my blog:

    I’m looking for followers so please do subscribe. Thank you!

  14. Avatar


    August 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    niice, I liked the “save up du’a” part.

    It’s so much easier said than done eh? Allahumusta’an.

    Here’s a burp tip: (i know, it’s weird we’re discussing this but I smelt the other end of 12 biryani belches few days ago. I avoided looking the brother in the face to not know who it was)

    –> Eat IT

    Instead of blowing it all out and polluting the place, ‘swallow’ the air back — exhale thru nose — inhale with your mouth to ‘swallow’ it further.

    • Avatar


      August 31, 2009 at 1:05 AM

      Not sure how that would work… considering when this is attempted with carbonated drinks, you get mixed results. :S

    • Avatar


      August 31, 2009 at 6:26 AM

      haha, cool.

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  16. Avatar

    Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    August 31, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    Praying behind an Imam whose recitation is melodious always helps.

    Tajweed is important, at least for me.

    Slow, measured recitation is what I prefer.

    Another Taraweeh tip I have is don’t burn yourself out if you aren’t used to long qiyaam.

    Pace yourself so that once the last 10 are here you can give it your all.

  17. Avatar


    August 31, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    JazakAllah khair for the tips.
    I gotta agree on getting a qari you really love to hear so it can better help you concentrate.
    One thing I’d do differently is wash the dishes before leaving. If you divide up your time accordingly, you’ll have enough inshaAllah. It’s better to go to the masjid stress free and then you can come home without dreading to do dishes when yo’re so tired.

    • Avatar


      September 1, 2009 at 1:04 PM

      Assalamo elikuim
      I agree with Sr.Saleha to do dishes before you leave for taraweeh .
      By the time we come back from taraweeh its a mad rush to get everybody to sleep for suhoor , school and job next day.


  18. Avatar


    September 1, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    Aslamaleikum wrwb

    Personally I would suggest something that is rarely done by people which is to follow the recitation with the quran in your hand. Read the quran as it is being recited for ultimate focus, for learning tajweed (if it is being recited properly) and for memorisation (hifz). I’m not sure if there is a difference in opinion on this matter but I know some people do it and I wouldn’t see anything wrong with it because you are doing it with intentions of learning.

    The question may arise about what to do with the quran when in sujood and the solution is to simply hold the quran in one hand without having to place it on the floor. I know for a fact that when a person is learning to pray – salaah, it is permissable for the person to have the text written in transliteration or otherwise on a piece of paper which they can hold and read while praying to help them learn.

    Take a compact version of the quran for ease when holding.

    Waleikumaslam wrwb

  19. Pingback: [Ramadan Series] 11 Tips to Help You Enjoy Taraweeh This Ramadan! :: Productive Muslim

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  22. Avatar

    Prayer Times Perth

    June 10, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    Jazak’Allah for the advice!

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Help! I Can’t Make Dua For More Than 30 Seconds On The Day Of ‘Arafah

Much emphasis has been given on the importance of fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, but don’t forget, this was a day the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) “made du’a from the time of Dhur til the time of Maghrib on the day of ‘Arafah while STANDING.” (Sahih Muslim)

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “The best du’a is that which is made on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Sahih Muslim)

If we can develop the capacity to binge watch on Netflix 5-6 for hours a day, we can develop the capacity to make du’a longer than 30 SECONDS on the day of ‘Arafah.

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I used to be a person who couldn’t make du’a longer than 2 minutes.

3 things changed

1. I started writing my personalized du’as on a mini-notebook

2. I started reading du’as using Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim)

3. I started following the etiquettes of making du’a.

As an Imam, I have numerous meetings with members of my community. Sometimes, at the end of my meetings, I asked the community member to end our meeting with a du’a. It is surprising that many of them do not know the etiquettes of making du’a. By following the above etiquettes of making du’a, you can make du’a longer than 2 minutes inshAllah!

Here are 16 etiquettes of making du’a from the Qur’an and Sunnah

1) Have 100% conviction that Allah will answer you

2) Find a way to praise Allah before making your request

3) Use the proper names of Allah

4) Send salutations upon Muhammad (upon him be peace)

5) Raise your hand like a beggar

6) Face the qibla

7) Be in a state of wudu

8) Cry

9) Be a lone wolf (Be alone)

10) Ensuring that your food is pure

11) Acknowledge your sins (Privately)

12) Repeat the du’a 3 times

13) Start the du’a by praying for yourself

14) Expand your heart, pray for everyone (in particular those Muslims in China who wish they could fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but they are prohibited from doing so.)

15) Say Amin after making du’a.

16) Make du’a during the “prime-times” (From Dhur till Maghrib on the day of Arafah is primetime!)

Bonus tip: If you’re like me, you may get stuck when making du’a. An excellent tip given by our master Muhammad (upon him be peace) is to use the “filler du’a”. This “filler du’a” was actually what Muhammad (upon him be peace) and all of the Prophets made on the day of Arafat!

He said, “The best invocation is that of the Day of Arafat, and the best that anyone can say is what I and the Prophets before me have said:

Lā ‘ilāha ‘illallāhu

wahdahu lā shareeka lahu,

lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu

wa Huwa ‘alā kulli shay’in qadeer.


None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

Alone, Who has no partner.

His is the dominion and His is the praise,

and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Tirmidhi)

To recap, here are 5 action items you and your family can perform on the day of Arafah.

1. Go over the following hadith with your family members.

“Allah frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day, and Allah comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels, ‘What do these people want and seek?’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

2. Say to your family members or whoever you have influence over,

“The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made du’a on the day of Arafah from Dhur till Maghreb. How long do you think we can make du’a for on this day?”

3. Go over the 16 etiquettes mentioned in this post.

4. Challenge your family members to make a 10 minute du’a.

     Materials needed

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • A Creative mind
  • Brainstorm with your family members what du’a you want to make and then write them on a whiteboard.

5. Whenever you get stuck and you can’t don’t know what du’a you want to make, make the “filler du’a” the Prophet (upon him be peace) made on the day of ‘Arafah.

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The Inner Dimensions of the Udhiyah

Apart from Ḥajj, the greatest action a Muslim can do in the blessed days of Dhū al-ijjah is to offer the udḥiyah (qurbāni/sacrifice).

‘Āisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reports that Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A human does no action from the actions of the Day of Naḥr [slaughtering; refers to the day of Eid al-Adḥā] more beloved to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than sacrificing the animal. On the Day of Judgement, it will appear with its horns, and hair, and hooves, and indeed the blood will be accepted by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) before it even falls upon the ground, so let your heart delight in it.” [Tirmidhī]

Although we all know that this is an action that is traditionally performed on Eid al-Adā, a lack of understanding of its reality has led some to question the importance of doing it in the first place. In past years, and increasingly during the current pandemic, many have been asking, “Can I give ṣadaqah (charity) instead?”

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To answer this, it is necessary to understand the following.1 Everything in this world is comprised of an outer form – an appearance and a desired outcome – a “soul.” These two are intertwined in such a way that separating them is impossible. One cannot survive without the other. The clearest example of this reality is in ourselves.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ

“Soon we will show them Our Signs in the horizons [external] and in themselves [internal] until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth.” [Surah Fussilat; 53]

We are made of a body, which is comprised of several parts, and a soul, which fills the entire body and allows each part to fulfill its unique function. Without a body, our soul cannot survive, and without a soul, our body cannot survive. Additionally, if any part is missing, the whole person will be considered to have some deficiency. Likewise, the same principle applies to our n. Our n has an outer form, which is comprised of the actions that we perform, and a soul as well. The fact of the matter is that our goal in life is to achieve a complete connection with Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Quran identifies this quality with the word taqwā. The soul that permeates our entire n and therefore, all our individual actions is taqwā. All these actions display a different aspect of taqwā and together form complete n in a person. If anything is missing, a person’s n will be deficient.

For example, the soul of ṣalāh is the portion of taqwā that relates to expressing humility in front of Allāh. The soul of fasting is the portion of taqwā that relates to suppressing one’s desires for Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The soul of is adaqah is the portion of taqwā that relates to curing one’s love for wealth by donating in the path of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Each of these things is necessary, and although they are all types of taqwā, they are not interchangeable. To expand on this, imagine that a person had $100 in cash, $100 worth of food, and $100 worth of furniture.2 The values of all three would be the same, but the functions they perform are different. None is more important than the other but all are necessary.

Similarly, a person cannot discard the outer form (different forms of ibādāt) and say that the only thing that matters is the soul (taqwā). If this were the case, our entire religion could be discarded. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ

“Neither their flesh reaches Allāh nor their blood (the udḥiyah animal); it is your taqwā that reaches Him.” [Al Hajj; 37]

There goes udḥiyah. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“Oh you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed on you as it has been prescribed upon those before you so that you may become people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 183]

There goes fasting.

 إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ

“Verily ṣalāh prevents indecency and sin” (in essence, taqwā) [Surah al-‘Ankabut; 45]

Ṣalāh can also be put to the side.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

“Virtue is that one sincerely believes in Allāh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish ṣalāh and give zakāh. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people, and such are the people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 77]

There goes our entire dīn.

The soul of udḥiyah is that portion of taqwā that expresses our total submission to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “O Allāh, my life is in your Hands. Do with it whatever you wish!” The actual command was to sacrifice the thing that is most dear to you – a life. And in Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) case, the life of his only child. The life of the child who for decades, he prayed and hoped for. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) said, “My beloved son, I have seen that I was sacrificing you in dream. What do you think?” Without hesitation, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) responded, “O my beloved father, do as you have been commanded. Inshā Allāh, you will find me among the patient.” When Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) tried to push the knife on his son’s neck, it became dull and “We called on to him, O Ibrahīm! You have surely fulfilled your dream. This is how we reward those of excellence. Indeed, this was a clear test. We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” [As-Saffat; 100-107]. From that day until the end of time, Muslims have and will continue emulate this sacrifice of Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a reminder of what true submission is.

When standing before Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will need to present all types of taqwā. If we were to have a surplus of one type, for example, ṣadaqah, we would be rewarded for it, but that would not change the fact that something else is missing. If we were to tell our child to make sure that their room is clean for Eid and, instead of doing that, they cooked a delicious meal, we would thank them for their gesture, but then say that there is a time and place for everything and this time is for cleaning your room.

The purpose of ṣadaqah is to cleanse our hearts from the love of wealth by giving it to the poor. Although it is recommended to give a portion of the sacrifice to the poor, it is not the purpose, nor is it a requirement for its validity. The purpose of udḥiyah is to follow the command of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in the way that He commanded it. In the past, and even now in some agrarian societies, the most beloved belonging to many people was their animals. This is because unlike other wealth, animals serve many purposes. They are a means of milk and clothing, a status symbol, a means of breeding, and also can be sold or eaten. To sacrifice an animal was truly a great sacrifice.

However, times have changed. Yet due to this very reason, udḥiyah is still a sacrifice, especially in America. We are used to the comforts of our home and would much rather donate money than take a day off from work and spend time, money, and energy in going to a farm and performing the udḥiyah. This is our sacrifice. We cannot abandon this great act.3,4

May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve our pristine religion in the manner it was practiced by Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allāh alone, the Sustainer of Universe. He has no partner. This is what I have been ordered, and I am the first to submit.” [Al-An’am; 162]

و ما توفيقي إلا باالله عليه توكلت و إليه أنيب

[1] The concept of actions having an outer form and inner soul were expanded upon in the Khutbāt of Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlāna Ashraf Alī Thanvī (throughout volume 16 – Barakāt e Ramaḍān) and Hakīm al-Islām Qāri Muḥammad Ṭayyib رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً . Qāri Ṭayyib specifically spoke about this concept in relation to the udḥiyah (Sunnat e Khalīl ‘Alayh al-Salām, volume 3, page 211). I benefited from these works immensely in the course of writing this article and hope the readers appreciate the depth and foresight of our pious predecessors’ foresight.

[2] This general idea – actions of being of the same value but different types – is proposed by ‘Allāma Ibn Taymiyyah and mentioned by Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhiyanvi رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً  in Aḥsan al-Fatāwā in relation to another topic, but the concept fits here as well.

[3] This article is not meant to say that having someone else perform your sacrifice by sending it overseas is invalid. Its purpose is to explain that the sacrifice itself is an important part of our dīn, and its full benefit will be realized when we perform the sacrifice by ourselves. It should also be noted that perhaps the reason that there is confusion over why the sacrifice cannot be substituted with ṣadaqah and thus, the distinction between the two is not clear.

[4] This article was started before the current pandemic. In a situation like this, if someone does not feel comfortable from a health perspective to perform the sacrifice on their own, they can appoint someone else to perform it for them, whether here or overseas. However, the current situation does not allow for ṣadaqah to be given in place of the sacrifice. Many ahadith (Bukhārī, Ahadith 968, 984, 985; ‘Ilā al-Sunan 17:212-217) indicate that the sacrifice is wājib. A wājib act cannot be substituted based simply on our thoughts or opinions. For more details on the obligation of the sacrifice, please read Muftī Abdullah Nana’s upcoming article about the fiqh of the udḥiyah.

* Two more points should be kept in mind. First, despite the pandemic, people have not stopped eating meat. In the current climate, if one is not able to perform the sacrifice by themselves, having it done in another country will also be a means of helping others. In fact, for many, Eid al-Adhā is the only time of the year that they able to eat meat. Second, we must broaden our thinking about charity. Our charity should not be restricted to only those things that are obligated upon us by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) such as zakāh and udḥiyah. If Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with the means,  we should strive to give ṣadaqah above and beyond these obligated act.

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A Khutbah For Kashmir

Over 125 imams are asking you to rise up for Kashmir. Sign the Imams’ letter in Support of Kashmir here

By Imam Muhammad Abdul Jabbar

After Hamd o Thana:

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Brothers and sisters! The month of Dhulhijjah has dawned upon us that reminds us of the commitment, devotion, sacrifice and strong faith of Syedna Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)

  • He was tested many times but he proved his steadfastness, resolve and dedication.
  • He had a natural inclination to worship one God and dislike for idol worship from the very beginning of his conscious life.
  • He broke idols into pieces instead of bowing down before them.
  • He was thrown into a huge furnace of fire but came out unhurt because of his strong belief and total reliance in God.
  • He emigrated out of his homeland to Syria with his faithful wife and a nephew in pursuit of worship of one God and to bear witness of truth to mankind.
  • He took his wife Hajar and new-born Ismail to Makkah following the orders of Allah SWT.
  • Syedna Ibraheem AS travelled far and wide from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Hijaz many times to fulfill his mission.
  • He expressed his unbent resolve to sacrifice each and everything beloved to him just for the sake of Allah SWT. Even he was ready to sacrifice his only beloved son, Ismail whom he got after long and intimate prayers.

The seerah of Ibraheem 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is a role model for us to follow; فاتبعوا ملة إبراهيم حنيفا regardless of our status as majority or minority.

Currently, many Muslims are suffering throughout the word from Syria, to Yemen, Ethiopia, East Turkestan, Burma, Palestine. Today, we remind you of the Muslims in Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims, in pursuit of the Sunnah of Syedna Ibraheem A.S have been tested adversely by persecution at the hands of polytheist regimes for the last 89 years. They went through sufferings, torture, detentions, massacre, enforced exiles and evacuations, curfews and finally a prolonged lockdown but their commitment to freedom from Hindu polytheists has never declined.

They have never accepted to be sold in slavery. They resisted against the Amritsar Treaty through which each Kashmiri was forcibly sold in slavery by the British rule to Hindu Maharaja Ghulab Singh in 1846.

Every year, July 13 reminds millions of Kashmiris how the Maharaja Hari Singh’s troops took aim at each caller that stood up to call for Friday prayer service. 22 innocent Kashmiri Muslims fell to the bullets, one after the other in cold blood, in front of Srinagar Central Jail. Since that gloomy day, Kashmiris have been holding peaceful protests and rallies throughout the world until now.

The Kashmiri struggle for freedom was spurred up by the historic event of the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The struggle of the Kashmiri people was recognized by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a 1948 resolution which called for a plebiscite on the future of the region to be convened “as soon as possible” i.e. a referendum to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their own future. However, such a referendum was never held.

Kashmiri Muslims believe that their suffering has not ended despite the end of the despotic Dogra rule, rather the fate of Kashmiris has transformed into the worse.

Repression in Kashmir under the Hindutva nationalists has reached a new and unprecedented pinnacle of oppression. Kashmir has been under lockdown and communication blackout for almost one year.

The Modi regime abrogated the nominal autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. It has unleashed a reign of terror unprecedented even under the oppressive Indian rule of the last 72 years. Under the so- called Registration Act 2020 and State subject Rules 2020, India has enforced a settler-colonialist apartheid project in Kashmir with a drastic demographic transformation to make Kashmiris a minority in their own land.

Young men are abducted or “disappeared” by Indian security forces, and sometimes die in custody. In the last few years more than 10,000 have disappeared and over 7,000 have been killed in military custody. Spouses are left behind with no knowledge of what happened, in families that have been torn apart, and nothing but uncertainty for the future. They are Kashmir’s “half-widows.” Young children, even babies, are blinded and wounded by the weaponry of the Indian forces. And more than 10,283 reported they have been gang raped by the Indian military.

Kashmiri political leaders and activists are languishing in various jails where they are being subjected to torture, isolation and healthcare deprivation and unhygienic crowded conditions. They are facing the added fear of Covid-19 pandemic which is raging among jail staff and security forces. The Modi regime’s goal is to totally incapacitate the political leadership of Kashmir to silence any voice of freedom and their right of self-determination.

How should we as sensible Muslims and responsible global citizens respond to the current crisis in Kashmir? 

First and foremost, as conscious Muslims, we are obliged to stand for justice as is mentioned in the Qur’an:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ

وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ

Believers! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even if it means testifying against your own selves, or your parents and relatives. (Q4:135)

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has advised that:

مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ مَثَلُ

الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى

The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.

(Sahih al-Bukhārī and Sahih Muslim)

From the guidance of the Qur’an on witnessing for justice and the parable in the above hadith, we understand that if any part of us is suffering from injustice, we should all be feeling their pain. As conscientious Muslims, therefore, it is our duty to stand up for justice in the face of human suffering, no matter who the victims are or who the perpetrators are, and call for solidarity with all people of the world whose human rights and dignity are being violated by oppressive regimes.

Over a hundred imams are calling on us to rise for Kashmir. We should call on our governments to pressurize the Indian government to defuse the current situation in Kashmir and to work with the United Nations to resolve the Kashmir issue urgently and peacefully. We should visit our elected Congressmen, Senators, Ministers, MPs or write to them and impress upon them to move for a resolution on Kashmir to pressurize the Indian govt. to rescind the revocation of 370 article and reinstate the status of Kashmir as it was before 5th August 2019. We ask you to join a digital rally for Kashmir tomorrow on Muslim Network TV so you can listen to Kashmiris themselves.

Last but not least, we should remember the dire plight of the Kashmiri people in our supplications and du`as. Prayer is a powerful tool that can be used to influence social change. At this sacred hour of Jumu`ah I call on you to join me in making a special du`a for the people of Kashmir:

O Allah, our prayer for the people of Kashmir is full of hope.

We ask for Your help to bring lasting peace in Kashmir and other parts of the world where our brothers and sisters are being persecuted.

O Allah, we pray for the turmoil to end,

O Allah our hearts go out to the innocent children who were maimed and blinded due to pellet injuries, To the youth who have been picked up from their homes and are detained in jails of India thousands of miles away from their homes.

O Allah give sabr e Jameel to those parents who have lost their children and youth during this struggle.

May Allah give the innocent Kashmiris the strength to deal with the oppression they encounter.

We pray for the dignity and freedom of the Kashmiri people and for peace and normality to be restored.

We invoke mercy and forgiveness of Allah SWT for 100,000 Kashmiris who have laid down sacrifices for freedom,

We pray for all those who dedicate their lives to fighting oppression and

striving towards justice and peace.

Allahumma anta al-Salam – O God Thou art peace

Wa minka al-Salam – and Peace comes from Thee,

Fa hayyina Rabbana bi al-Salam – Allow us to live and subsist in peace

Allahumma Amin

Justice For All is hosting a Global Digital Rally for Kashmir. Register here


Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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