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Spend the Day Like our Beloved Prophet Did in Ramadan

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By Mohammad Ahmed Al-Amin

As Ramadan approached, I studied in depth how RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spent a typical day during this blessed month. If one were to imagine what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the month of Ramadan, one might think it would be impossible.

But is it?

Let us start from the beginning when the good news of the sighting of moon of Ramadan came to our Beloved Prophet.

Our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to gather his companions and give them the glad tidings of the beginning of Ramadan to draw their attention and to give the a signal that the starting month is a month full of barakah (blessings) as reported by  Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) :

The Messenger of Allah said: ‘There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.”‘[1]

Our beloved Prophet started his day with praying Fajr with congregation as it was his norm in the other months. And He  taught us the importance of Fajr prayer, Jundub bin Sufyan raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “He who offers the dawn (Fajr) prayers will come under the Protection of Allah. O son of Adam! Beware, lest Allah should call you to account in any respect from (for withdrawing) His Protection.”[2] (Muslim)

He  would sit after Fajr prayer supplicating and remembering Allah until sunrise and then supplicate the morning supplication as reported by Abdullah bin Masud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and collected in Sahih Muslim.

And when it was forenoon, RasulAllah would perform Salatul Duhaa (the forenoon prayer) as reported by Aishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her):

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to perform four Rak’ah of Duha prayer (at the forenoon) and would add to them whatever Allah wished.[3]

The Messenger of Allah  used to remember Allah a lot during his day and he informed us that it is the most beloved act to Allah as reported by Abud-Darda raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Shall I not inform you of the best of your actions which are the purest to your Rubb, which exalt you to the high ranks, which are more efficacious than spending gold and silver (in charity), and better for you than you should encounter your enemies whom you will smite their necks and they will smite your necks?” They said, “Certainly.” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Remembrance of Allah the Exalted.” Tirmidhi[4]

Also we can learn from the generosity of our Beloved Prophet  in Ramadan. He gave a lot of Sadaqah and urge his companions to do so as well. The month of Ramadan is a month of blessing, a month which we remember the poor and the situation they live in. So giving a lot of Sadaqah was the Sunnah of our Beloved. As narrated by Ibn Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

‘The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then used to be more generous than the fast wind.’ (Bukhari)[5]

As we all know, our Beloved  used to read Quran in abundance in Ramadan and it is the only month which he would finish the Quran in one night. As reported by Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her):

“I do not know that the Messenger of Allah recited the whole Quran in one night, or prayed Qiyam until morning, or ever fasted an entire month except Ramadan.” (Nasai)[6]

In the evening, as it was his norm the Messenger of Allah used to hasten the breaking of his fast as reported by Sahl Bin Sa’ad raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

“The people will remain on the right path as long as they hasten the breaking of the fast.”[7] (Bukhari)                                                                                                                           

When He  broke his fast he taught us to supplicate before breaking our fast as reported by Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

‘There are three whose supplications are not turned back: A just ruler, and a fasting person until he breaks his fast. And, the supplication of one who has been wronged is raised by Allah up to the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the gates of heaven are opened for it, and Allah says, ‘By My Might I will help you (against the wrongdoer) even if it is after a while.’” (Hasan) –Ibn Majah[8]

And as reported by Anas bin Malik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and collected by Imam An-Nawawi in his famous work Riyadh Saliheen (May Allah be pleased with him), he said:

 “The Messenger of Allah would break the fast with fresh dates before performing Salat. If there were no fresh dates then (he would break the fast) with dried dates, and if there were no dried dates then he would take a few sips of water.”[9]

In the last ten days the Messenger of Allah would stay awake at night and pray the whole night not alone but together with his family members.

Aishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported:

When the last ten nights (of Ramadan) would begin, the Messenger of Allah () would keep awake at night (for prayer and devotion), awaken his family and prepare himself to be more diligent in worship.[10] (Bukhari, Muslim)

To complete the 24 hour cycle,  our Beloved Prophet used to eat suhur and he urged his Ummah to do so because of its immense blessings. As collected in Sahih Bukhari Anas bin Malik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrates that,

The Prophet said:  “Take Suhur as there is a blessing in it.”[11]

Surely this Ramadan, we can strive to follow in our Beloved’s footsteps.

Muhammad Ahmed (Al-amin) is a regular speaker at his local community and webinars online. He has studied Arabic intensively at Al Amin Institute, Sahih-Bukhari for a year under Sheikh Muhammad Umal (Great Muhadith in East Africa) and Tajweed under Qari Sh. Abdirashid Ali Suufi (Imam in Qatar); studied fiqh the Sharh Mumti Ala Za’ad Al Mustaqini Specializing in Hanbali Fiqh under Sh Abu Eesa for 3 years and tafseer under various scholars from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. He lives in Sweden with his wife and their beautiful daughter. He is currently pursuing Masters in Islamic Studies at Islamic Online University.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/qisoyiin

 

[1] Sunan an-Nasa’i 2106 Vol. 3, Book 22, Hadith 2108

[2] Sahih Muslim -Book 9, Hadith 59

[3] Sahih Muslim -Book 9, Hadith 151

[4] Sunan Tirmidhi- Book 16, Hadith 34

[5]Sahih Bukhari- Vol. 4, Book 56, Hadith 754

[6] Sunan Nasai-Book 22, Hadith 93

[7] Sahih Bukhari-Book 30, Hadith 64

[8] Sunan Ibn Majah-Book(Chapter) 7, Hadith 1824

[9] Tirmidhi -Book 8, Hadith 15

[10] Sahih Muslim- Book of Virtues/Sahih Bukhari –Book of virtues Book 9, Hadith 203

[11] Sahih Bukhari-Book 30, Hadith 32

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    faria

    June 25, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    Mashallah
    Well explained
    Jazakallah khairan

    • Avatar

      Muhammad

      June 28, 2015 at 4:13 PM

      Allahu Yubarik Fiiki

  2. Avatar

    maleeha

    June 26, 2015 at 2:21 AM

    Informative and succinct article!
    Thank you very much for sharing this important information :)

    • Avatar

      Muhammad

      June 28, 2015 at 4:12 PM

      JazakiAllahu kheyran

  3. Avatar

    Evangelynn Gean

    July 2, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    This gives me more insight into what Prophet Muhammed did during Ramadan.. Thank you.

  4. Pingback: » Quran Before, During and after Ramadan

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Heart Soothers: Fahad Niazi

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Qur’an Contemplations: Openings of Timeless Truths | Sh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel

Shaykh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel

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From the outset, the Qur’an establishes a link between worshipping Allah and knowing Him. The first half of the ‘Opening Chapter’ of the Qur’an, Surat al-Fatihah, states:

.‎الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ. الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ. مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ. إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The All-Merciful, the Compassionate. Master of the Day of Judgement. You alone we worship, and Your help alone do we seek. [Q.1:1-4]

The first three verses teach us who Allah is, so that hearts may love, hope, fear and be in awe of Him. Only then does Allah ask us to declare our singular devotion and worship of Him. It is as if the Qur’an is saying: ‘You can’t worship or adore whom you don’t know.’

Thus in the first verse, Allah describes Himself as rabb – ‘Lord’. In the Quranic language, rabb is Master, Protector, Caretaker, Provider. And just as water descends from above as blessings and rises again to the skies as steam or vapour, so to the sending down of divine blessings and gifts; they are transformed into declarations of loving thanks and praise that ascend to the Lord of the Worlds. Reflecting on Allah’s care and kindness to us, as rabb; as Lord, then, nurtures an abiding sense of love for Allah in our hearts.

Allah then reveals that He, by His very nature, is al-rahman – the All-Merciful, and by dint of His divine act is al-rahim – the Compassionate. It has been said that al-rahman is like the blue sky: serene, vast and full of light; a canopy of protective care over us and over all things. The divine name, al-rahim is like warm rays, so to speak, touching, bathing and invigorating lives, places and events with this life-giving mercy. Those who flee from this joyous warmth, and opt to cover themselves from the light, choose to live in conditions of icy darkness. Knowing Allah is al-rahman, al-rahim, invites optimism; it instils hope (raja’) in Allah’s impulse to forgive, pardon, pity, overlook and, ultimately, to accept what little we offer Him as needy, fragile and imperfect creatures.

The Prophet ﷺ and his Companions once saw a woman frantically searching for a person among the warn-out and wounded. She then found a babe, her baby. She picked it up, huddled it to her chest and gave it to feed. On seeing this, the Prophet asked if such a woman could ever throw her baby into a fire or harms way? They all resoundingly replied, no; she could never do that; her maternal instincts of mercy would never permit it! The Prophet ﷺ went on to tell them:

 لَلَّهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا – ‘Allah is more merciful to His creation than that mother is to her child.’ [Al-Bukhari, no.5653]

The final name of Allah that we encounter in this surah is: Malik – Master, King, Owner of all. It is Allah as Master, as King of Judgement Day, who stands at the end of every path. All things come finally to Him to be judged, recompensed and given their final place for the beliefs that defined who they are, the deeds that defined what they stood for and the sins that stand in their way. To know Allah as Malik, therefore, is to be wary, as well as apprehensive. It is a reason for hearts to be filled with a certain sense of fear (khawf) as well as trepidation concerning the final reckoning and one’s ultimate fate.

The Prophet ﷺ once visited a young boy on his death bed and asked him how he was. The boy replied: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins.’ To which the Prophet ﷺ said:

‎لاَ يَجْتَمِعَانِ فِي قَلْبِ عَبْدٍ فِي مِثْلِ هَذَا الْمَوْطِنِ إِلاَّ أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ مَا يَرْجُو وَآمَنَهُ مِمَّا يَخَافُ

‘The like of these two qualities never unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah grants him what he hopes for and protects him from what he fears.” [Al-Tirmidhi, no.983]

Only after being made aware of these four names of Allah which, in turn, instil in hearts a sense of love, fear and hope in Allah, are we led to stating: You alone do we worship, and Your help alone do we seek. In other words, the order to worship comes after the hearts having come to know Allah – the object of their loving worship, reverence and adoration.

The surah concludes by teaching us to give voice to the universal hope, by asking to be guided to the path of Allah’s people and to help steer clear of the paths of misguidance and perdition:

‎اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ. صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ. غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ

Guide us to the Straight Path; the path of those whom You have favoured; not of those who incur wrath, nor of those who are astray. [Q.1:5-7]

Ameen!

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More Baby, Less Shark: Planning For Kids In The Masjid

Zeba Khan

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Of all the challenges that your focus can face in prayer, there are few as insidious as Baby Shark.

Doo-doo-doo doo. Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo. Baby Shark.

If you are not a parent, or have the type of amnesia that parents sometimes develop once their kids grow up, then you might assume that not having kids in the masjid is actually a solution to Baby-Shark induced distraction.

The inconvenient (and often sticky) truth is that not having kids in the masjid is a serious problem, not a solution. No kids in the masjid means an entire generation of the Muslim community growing up outside of the Muslim community.

Restricting the presence of children and assigning masjid priority to fully-formed, quietly attentive, and spiritually disciplined attendees – like adults – is a bit like restricting health club membership to triathletes. You’re already fit. So can we please let someone else use the treadmill, even if they’re not using it as well as you could?

The masjid is the center of the community for all Muslims, not a sanctuary for the preservation of reverent silence.  For a more detailed discussion on this, please see this great Soundvision article, Children in the Masjid, Making Space for Our Future.

For suggestions on how to help your children enjoy the masjid without Baby-Sharking the rest of the congregation to tears, I present the following recommendations.

Come Prepared

Rather than assume your child will be entertained by nothing but the carpet and how many weird faces they can spot in the bilaterally symmetrical patterns, bring them something to play with. One way to do this is to prepare your child a special bag for the masjid.

Stock it with as many things applicable:

  • A reusable water bottle: Select a bottle that your child can drink from on their own, preferably not likely to tip or spill onto the masjid carpet. No one appreciates a soggy sujood
  • A nut-free snack: If you think it’s too much trouble to be considerate of people with life-threatening allergies, consider how much trouble it is to bury a child who dies of anaphylaxis. Children share snacks in the masjid, and that’s ok as long as no one dies.
  • A small, quiet toy: The dollar store can be tremendously helpful in keeping your inventory fresh and financially feasible. Please be aware of swallowing hazards, since your child is likely to share the toy with others. One hopes.
  • A sweater or blanket: Sitting for long periods of time in an air-conditioned building can make anyone cold.
  • Art Supplies: Pack crayons, pencils, or markers IF you feel your child can refrain from drawing on the walls, or allowing other, smaller children from doing so. Magic Erasers don’t work on the prayer rug.

Reverie in Blue – Artist Unknown

Critically- and I do mean critically- don’t let your children access the special masjid bag unless they are in the masjid. The last thing you want is for your child to be bored with its contents before they even make it to prayers. Storing this bag somewhere inaccessible to your child can help keep its contents fresh and interesting longer.

Non-parent tip: Keep allergen-free lollipops in your pocket. Reward the kids sitting nicely (with parents’ permission) and you have killed two birds with one stone.

  1. You’ve  helped a child establish a happy memory and relationship to the masjid.
  2. Kids with lollipops in their mouths make less noise.

Do not pack:

Balls: Not even small ones, not even for small children. Your child may not have the gross-motor skills to kick or throw a ball at people who are praying, but there will always be children in the masjid who do. They will take your child’s ball, and they will play ball with it, because that’s what balls are for. Consider also the potential damage to light fixtures, ceiling fans, audio/video equipment, and the goodwill of people who get hit, run down, or kicked in the shins. The masjid is just not the place to play ball, even if the floor is green and has lines on it.

Not every green thing with lines is a soccer field.

Scooters: Do not bring scooters, skateboards, heelies, or other mobility toys that would turn your child a faster-moving object than they already are. Your child’s long-term relationship with the community can be fostered by not crashing into it.

Slime: Slime and carpets do, in fact, go together. They go together so well as to be inextricable of one-another. Please, do not bring slime to the masjid.

Gum: Please, for the love of everyone’s socks, no gum.

Toy Guns, Play-weapons: It should go without saying. And yet, I have seen nerf guns, foam swords, and toy guns in masjid. Apart from the basic indoor etiquette of not sword-fighting, nor launching projectiles in a house of worship, please be sensitive. No one wants to see guns in their masjid.

Non-parent tip: If children playing near you are making “too much noise” smile and find another place to sit if possible. It is not always possible to ignore or move away from disruptions, but glaring, eye-rolling, and making tsk-tsk sounds is not likely to effect long-term change in either the child’s behavior or the parents’ strategic abilities. At best, you will embarrass the parents. At worst, you will push families away from the faith and the community while confirming the opinion that masjids are full of cranky, impatient people who wish kids didn’t exist in the masjid while criticizing Muslim youth for not being there. 

Avoid Electronics. But if you can’t…

I am prefacing this suggestion with a disclaimer. Habitually putting your child on a smartphone or tablet so that you can “enjoy” the masjid without the “hassle” of you making sure they behave properly is not good parenting. A child being physically present but mentally absent in the masjid is not a long-term strategy that any parent should get behind.

Having said that, if you do give your kids a tablet or phone in the masjid, please disable Youtube and bring over-ear headphones.

Do not rely on YouTube Kids to take responsibility for your child’s content choices either. Long after Baby Shark has sunk to the depths of the internet, there will always be loud, inappropriate, or just plainly distracting and disturbing things that your child can access on it.

Instead of relying on Youtube at all, install child-friendly apps that you know won’t have external links embedded in their ads, and won’t lead to inadvertent, inappropriate viewing in case your child – or my child sitting next to them – click out of their app and into the great wide world. I highly recommend anything from the Toca Boca suite of apps.

Parents at Taraweeh – Making it Work

Non-parent tip: If you see a child on a tablet, do not lecture their parent. As a special needs parent, there are times when I too allow my autistic son onto a tablet to prevent a meltdown or try to get just 15 more minutes out of him so I can finish attending a class. Do not automatically assume laziness or incompetence on behalf of parents whose children you see on an electronic device. 

Reward for Success, in this life and the next

You show up in the masjid because you hope for a reward from Allah. As an adult, you have the ability to delay the gratification of this reward until well after you die. Your kids, however, don’t.

Motivate your kids with small rewards for small accomplishments as you remind them of the reward that Allah has for them too. You can choose to reward a child after every two rakah, or after every two days. How often you reward them, and what you choose to reward them for depends on their age and their capabilities.

Make dua for your kids when you reward them. If they get a small handful of gummy bears after a good evening at the masjid, pair it with a reminder of the bigger reward too.

“Here’s the ice cream I promised you for doing awesome in the masjid today. May Allah grant you mountains of ice cream in Jannah so big you can ski down them. Ameen.”

Non-parent tip: It’s not your job to discipline the children of others, but you can help praise them. Randomly compliment kids who are sitting nicely, sharing toys, playing quietly, or wearing cute headgear. Their parents will likely not mind.

Reinforce the rules – but define them first.

“Be Good In the Masjid” is a vastly different instruction depending on who you’re instructing. For a teenager, praying with the congregation is reasonable. For a two-year-old, not climbing the congregation is reasonable.

Define your rules and frame them in a positive context that your children can remember. Remind them of what they’re supposed to be doing rather than calling them out for what they are not. For example, no running in the masjid vs. please walk in the masjid.

Avoid saying this:

Try saying this instead:

Stay out of my purse Please use the toys in your bag
Don’t draw on the walls Crayons only on the paper
No yelling Please use your “inside” voice
No food on the carpet Please have your snack in the hallway
Don’t run off Stay where I can see you, which is from [here] to [here.]
No peeing the carpet We’re taking a potty break now, and we’ll go again after the 4th rakah’.
No hitting Hands nicely to yourself.

While it might look like semantics, putting your energy into “To-Do’s” versus the “To-Don’ts” has long-term benefits. If your child is going to hear the same thing from you a hundred times before they get it right, you can help them by telling them what the right thing is. Think of the difference between the To-Do statement “Please use a tissue,” versus the To-Don’t statement of “Don’t pick your nose.” You can tell you kid a hundred times not to pick his or her nose, but if you never tell them to use a tissue, you’re missing the opportunity to replace bad behavior with its functional alternative.

Plan for Failure

Kids don’t walk the first time they try. They won’t sit nicely the first time you ask them to either. Decide what your exact plan is in case you have to retreat & regroup for another day.

  • How much noise is too much? Do your kids know what you expect of them?
  • Where are the physical boundaries you want your kids to remain in? Do they know what those boundaries are?
  • For kids too small to recognize boundaries, how far are you ok with a little one toddling before you decide that the potential danger may not be worth it?
  • Talk to your spouse or other children and get everyone on board. Being on the same page can look like different things according to different age groups. A plan of action can be “If we lose Junior Ibn Abu, we’re taking turns in prayer,” or “If you kick the Imam again, we’re all going home.”
  • If your child is too small, too rowdy, or too grumpy to sit quietly at the masjid, please take turns with your spouse. The masjid is a sweet spiritual experience that both parents should be able to enjoy, even if that means taking turns.

Don’t Give up

If you find yourself frustrated with being unable to enjoy the masjid the way you did before your child starting sucking on prayer rugs, remember this:

Raising your children with love and patience is an act of worship, even if it’s not the act of worship you thought you were coming to the masjid for. No matter what your expectations are of them – or how far they are from meeting them – the ultimate goal is for your child to love Allah and love the House of Allah.

When they get things right, praise them and reward them, and remind them that Allah’s reward is coming too. When they get it wrong, remind them and forgive them, and don’t give up. The only way children learn to walk is by falling down over, and over, and over again.

Avoiding the masjid because your kids don’t behave correctly is like not allowing them to walk because they keep falling down. The key is to hold their hand until they get it right, and maintain close supervision until you can trust them to manage on their own, InshaAllah.

May Allah make it easy for you and bless your children with love for the masjid in this life and love for Allah that will guide them through the next. Aaaaaaaameeeeeeeeen

Children @ Taraweeh: Storm in a Teacup

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