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Is Ghusl Obligatory Upon The New Muslim? | Abdullah Hasan

Q. When non-Muslims embrace Islam, is ghusl (bathing) obligatory upon them?

The process of becoming a Muslim is very straightforward and undemanding. Allah desires ease for people and does not want to place difficulty on them. If a person has firm yaqeen (conviction) and iman (belief) that Islam is the truth, it is sufficient for that person to declare the two testimonies of faith:

“I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the final messenger of Allah.”

As soon as the person pronounces these words, believing in them to be true, he or she becomes a Muslim. This is known by necessity in Islam (al-ma’lum min addin bid dharurat) and is agreed upon by all Muslim scholars. The validity of the testimony of faith is not reliant on the individual thereafter performing ghusl (bathing).

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Concerning the specific action of ghusl after declaring the testimony of faith, the fuqahaa (jurists) have expressed different opinions which will be discussed below.

There are two main hadiths (traditions) reported from the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) pertaining to this issue.

  1. Abu Hurairah reported that Thumamah al-Hanafi was captured. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), passed by him and said, “What do you have to say for yourself, O Thumamah?” He said, “If you kill me, you would be killing a relative. If you give me a bounty (set me free), I would be thankful. If you want wealth (as a ransom), we can give you what you wish.” The companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) preferred the ransom and said, “What would we get if we killed him?” One time when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed by him, he finally embraced Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), untied him and told him to go to the garden of Abu Talhah and perform ghusl. He performed ghusl and prayed two rak’ah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, your brother became a fine Muslim.”[1]
  2. On the authority of Qays b. `Asim he said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered him to perform ghusl using water mixed with the leaves of the lote tree when he embraced Islam.[2]

From these two hadiths (traditions) the fuqahaa (jurists) are divided into three main groups with regards to the ruling of performing ghusl (bathing) after embracing Islam:

A. Ghusl is obligatory – whether the person was a non-Muslim in their origin or relapsed faith and embraced Islam again.

This is the view of the Malikiyyah,[3] the Hanabilah,[4] Abu Thawr,[5] Ibn al-Mundhir,[6] and al-Khattabi.[7]

Ibn Qudama wrote: “If a non Muslim embraces Islam ghusl becomes obligatory upon him, whether he was a non-Muslim in origin or a murtad (the one who relapsed faith), or whether he bathed before or after embracing Islam, and whether – during the period of his non Muslim condition – that which necessitates ghusl was present or not.[8]

Thereafter he cited the hadith (tradition) of Qays b. `Asim in which the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) ordered him to perform ghusl after embracing Islam.

An-Nawawi objected to relying on the above traditions to assert that ghusl is obligatory by explaining: “The reply as regards to these two hadiths (traditions) are from two perspectives:

Firstly, the hadiths (traditions) should be understood and interpreted to purport the istihbab (desirability – not obligation) of ghusl by reconciling the various evidence. This is supported by the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered Qays to bathe with water and (also) sidr (lote tree leaves) and we have agreed that using sidr (to bathe) is not an obligation.

Secondly, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had knowledge that both of them were in a state of janabah (major ritual impurity) because they both had children, and so it was due to that reason he ordered them to perform ghusl, not because they (simply) embraced Islam.”[9]

B. Ghusl is not obligatory – whether he embraced Islam while in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity) or not.

This is the view of the Ahnaaf,[10] and the view of Abu Sai’d al-Istakhri,[11] a muhaqqiq (verifier) of the Shafi’i school of thought.

Ibn al-Humam wrote: “If he (non Muslim) embraces Islam while in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity) there is a disagreement: it is said that it is not obligatory because they are not obliged to fulfil the subsidiary matters of the religion (furu’), and after embracing Islam janabah is not present.”[12]

Al-Mawardi transmitted from Abi Sai’d al-Istakhri that it is not obligatory, which is the view of Abu Hanifah, due to the saying of Allah:

Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them.’’[13]

And because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated: “Islam cancels out what came before it (of sins).[14]” Furthermore, if ghusl were a condition for adopting Islam, there would have been numerous reported citations about it, owed by the great number of people who embraced Islam. Moreover, when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was about to send Mu‘adh Ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) to Yemen, he ordered him to call the people of Yemen to testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. Had ghusl been obligatory, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have certainly mentioned that.

However, An-Nawawi disapproved of this justification by stating:

“This reasoning is not justified because there is no disagreement that wudhu is obligatory upon him. Therefore there is no difference in him urinating then embracing Islam or being in the state of janabah then embracing Islam.

As for the verse and the hadith, their meaning is related to the forgiveness of sins; they (scholars) have agreed that if a dhimmi (non-Muslim living in Islamic state) has an unpaid debt or qisas (laws of retaliation are upon him), embracing Islam does not release him from paying them.

Furthermore, the obligation of ghusl is not made liable by that which necessitates ghusl during the period of disbelief; it is a required condition of the validity of salah (prayer) in Islam. His condition is the state of janabah and salah is not valid in that state. His embracing of Islam does not remove his situation of being in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity).

The answer to the query that they were not ordered to perform ghusl after embracing Islam is that this was something known to them, in the same manner that they were not ordered to perform wudhu because that too was known to them.”[15]

C. The ruling depends on whether the person embracing Islam is in the state of janabah or not.

This group of fuqaha (jurists) affirm that it is obligatory for him to perform ghusl after embracing Islam if he has done so while in the state of janabah. However, if he embraced Islam without being in that state it would be mustahabb (desirable) for him to perform ghusl.

This is the relied upon view in both the Hanafi[16] and the Shafi’i[17] schools of thought.

Ibn al-Humam explained: “Ghusl that is recommended (mustahabb) is the ghusl of a non-Muslim embracing Islam without being in the state of janabah.

If he (non-Muslim) embraces Islam while in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity) there is a disagreement: it is said that it is not obligatory because they are not obliged to fulfil the subsidiary matters of the religion (furu’), and after embracing Islam janabah is not present.

However, the correct view is that it is obligatory because the sifat (properties) of janabah remain after embracing Islam. Therefore, since he is not able to perform that which is obligatory except when it (state of janabah) is removed, performing ghusl becomes obligatory.[18]

An-Nawawi elaborates: “If a non Muslim becomes sexually defiled (janabah) then – before ghusl – he embraces Islam, ghusl becomes obligatory upon him. This is opined by al-Shafi’i which the majority of the school has agreed upon.

And if he embraced Islam without being in the state of janabah, it is desirable for him to bathe, it is not obligatory upon him to bathe without any disagreement amongst us (the Shafi’is). This is the same ruling for a non-Muslim in origin, a murtad (one who relapses faith), a dhimmi (non-Muslim living in Islamic state), and a harbi (non-Muslim combatant).”[19]

The position I personally advocate is the opinion propounded by the Hanafi (in the sound view) and the Shafi’i schools; that if a non-Muslim embraces Islam without being in the state of janabah, it is recommended for him to bathe, though not obligatory. However, if he embraced Islam in the sexually defiled state (janabah) it is obligatory for him to bathe.

This is closest to the general purport of the texts and the maqsad (purpose) of ease and facilitation which the Shar’iah has come to establish. We should not place too much burden upon the new Muslim to bathe as it is not a requirement as clarified above.

Allah knows best.

[1] Musnad Ahmad

[2] Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Abî Dâwûd, Sunan al-Tirmidhi.

[3] Sharh al-Kabir, Hashiyat Dasuqi, 1/130-131

[4] Al-Mughni. 1/174

[5] Ibid, 1/275

[6] Ibid

[7] Al-majmu’, 2/175, Ma’alim al-Sunan, 1/96

[8] Al-Mughbi, 1/275-276, Ma’alim al-Sunan, 1/96

[9] Al-majmu’, 2/175

[10] Fathu al-Qadeer, 1/64

[11] Al-Hawi, 1/265, al-Majmu’, 2/173

[12] Fathu al-Qadeer, 1/64

[13] Anfal:38

[14] Muslim

[15] Al-Majmu’, 2/174

[16] Fathu al-Qadeer, 1/64

[17] Al-Majmu’, 2/173-174

[18] Fathu al-Qadeer, 1/64

[19] Al-Majmu’, 2/173-174

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Sh. Abdullah Hasan graduated with an Imam Diploma, BA and Ijaza Aliyah in Islamic Studies [Theology & Islamic Law, taught completely in Arabic] from a European Islamic seminary. He holds a diploma in Arabic from Zarqa Private University (Jordan), studied at the faculty of fiqh wa usuluhu (Jurisprudence and its principles) at the same university while receiving training in various disciplines privately with some of the leading Scholars of Jordan and the Middle East. He studied Chaplaincy at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education (MIHE). He is a Licensed Islamic Professional Counsellor (LIPC), specialising in youth and marriage therapy. In addition, he is a specialist in Zakat and Islamic philanthropic studies.He served, as an Imam, several Muslim communities in the UK.Sh. Abdullah Hasan has enormous interest and passion in the field of community and people development. He has over 10 years of management, leadership and training experience within the third sector. He is the founder of British Imams and Scholars Contributions & Achievement Awards (BISCA), which is a national platform to celebrate, support & nurture positive leadership within the community. The Founder of British Institutes, Mosques & Association Awards (BIMA), which is national platform celebrating the achievements of mosques and Islamic institutions. He also founded Imams Against Domestic Abuse (IADA), an international coalition of leaders to end domestic abuse, and is a member of the National Council of Imams & Rabbis, UK.,

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. WAJiD

    WAJiD

    February 13, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Asalaam alaikum,

    JazakAllah khairun for this article. While some may think it relatively esoteric, I think it is important that MM is a website that caters to the full spectrum of Muslims and their needs. It is rare to find many instances where multiple viewpoints are presented in such an unbiased manner.

    • Sh. Abdullah Hasan

      Sh. Abdullah Hasan

      February 19, 2017 at 8:27 PM

      AA, @Wajid, thank you for your comments. I very much agree with you.

      @Iman, it is the agreement of all scholars that ghusl is obligatory upon women once their menses stops.

  2. Avatar

    Iman

    February 18, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Assalaam aleikum,
    What about a woman, who has had menses, but not at the time of embracing Islam, and reciting the Shahada? I am sure a lot of my fellow sisters need an answer to this.
    Jazakallah khairan

  3. Avatar

    Daniele Santos

    August 27, 2019 at 4:32 PM

    It is always good to know new cultures and other religions.

  4. Avatar

    Paulo Coelho

    September 17, 2019 at 8:22 AM

    Very well explained, thanks!

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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

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The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

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Coronavirus

A Doctor And A COVID19 Patient: “I will tell Allah about you.”

Guests

By Dr Farah Farzana

I get bleeped at around 2.30am to review a patient. A Pakistani gentleman admitted with Covid19.

The lovely nurse on duty says, “He is on maximum amount of oxygen on the ward, but keeps on removing his oxygen mask and nasal cannula, very confused and is not listening to anyone.”

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I arrive as soon as I can to the ward. I stare at him through the glass doors of the closed bay, while putting on my inadequate PPE.

He looks like he is drowning, he is gasping for air, flushed and eyes bulging like someone is strangling him.

I immediately introduce myself, hold his hands and he squeezes my hand pulls it close to his chest. Starts to speak in Urdu and says he doesn’t know what is going on, he cannot understand anyone and he is so scared.

I give him my Salam and start speaking to him in Urdu. His eyes fill up with tears and hope.

I explain to him he really needs to have his oxygen mask on as we are trying to make him feel better. He tells me he is suffocating with the mask and he doesn’t like the noise. I grab his arm help him sit up in his bed.

We exercise synchronising his breathing and I put the mask and nasal cannula back on.

He asks me Doctor, am I going to die? I cannot hear the voices anymore, they don’t come to visit, everything is quiet and silent, like Allah is waiting to take me to Him. I am lost for words and tell him we are doing all we can to make him feel and get better. He tells me he has been speaking to Allah, he doesn’t care for himself just his family. I know he is scared and feels so alone. I tell him I’m here with him and am not leaving yet. I monitor his saturations and surely they come straight back up. I tell him I am going to give him medications for his temperatures and fluid in his lungs.

He agrees to take them.

He asks me why I didn’t come to see him until now, because I am his own. He says when he speaks to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) he will tell Him about me and that I am a good person and I cared for him.

I get a little choked up.

I can’t gather my thoughts before my bleep goes off again. I have to leave now though I tell him I have lots of patients who need my help. He begs me not to leave, but understands after a while and lets me go.I take off my inadequate surgical mask (PPE) before I leave the bay I look back at him to smile and he smiles back. We both wave goodbye. I can see tears rolling down his cheeks.

I don’t know how he will do, how he is now but I cannot stop thinking about him. I always assume positive outcome if I don’t get called back during the night to see the patient again. Plus it was such a busy night I had no time to stop to reflect, and I continued with a smile.

I speak fluent Bangla and my Urdu isn’t very good. But that night Urdu flawed so effortlessly out of my mouth without any hesitation and I was able to say exactly what I needed to him *SubhanAllah*.

My heart breaks for the minority patients, with language barriers. They are fighting this battle more alone and scared than ever.
Normally, they would rely on family members to translate for them, but given the current situation they must feel helpless.

It’s not just the suffering it’s the suffering alone that pulls on my heartstrings.

‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’
Quran 2:156

When all this is over, please remember to appreciate the little things.

  • Appreciate your freedom.
  • Appreciate all the hugs and love.
  • Appreciate your health and your health service.
  • Appreciate your families and loved ones.
  • And just be grateful to be ALIVE.
  • Stay at home. Save lives.
    #stayhome #nhs #gratitude

Courtesy: Facebook post

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I Once Spent Ramadan Semi-Quarantined, Here’s How It Went

Even though it was over 10 years ago, the memory of that Ramadan is seared into my mind.

I’d just taken my first consulting job – the kind in the movies. Hop on a plane every Monday morning and come home late every Thursday night. Except, unlike in the movies, I wasn’t off to big cities every week – I went to Louisville, Kentucky. Every week.

And because I was the junior member on the team, I didn’t get the same perks as everyone else – like a rental car. I was stuck in a hotel walking distance from our client in downtown, limited to eat at whatever restaurants were within nearby like TGI Friday’s or Panera. This was a pre-Lyft and Uber world.

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A couple of months into this routine and it was time for Ramadan. It was going to be weird, and no matter how much I prepared myself mentally, I wasn’t ready for it — Iftar alone in a hotel room. Maghrib and Isha also alone in a hotel room. Suhur was whatever I could save from dinner to eat in the morning that didn’t require refrigeration.

Most people think that with the isolation and extra time you would pass the time praying extra and reading tons of Quran. I wish that was the case. The isolation, lack of masjid, and lack of community put me into a deep funk that was hard to shake.

Flying home on the weekends would give me an energizing boost. I was able to see friends, go to the masjid, see my family. Then all of a sudden back to the other extreme for the majority of the week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that Ramadan with the prospect of a quarantined Ramadan upon us. I wish I could say that I made the most of the situation, and toughed it out. The truth is, the reason the memory of that particular Ramadan is so vivid in my mind is because of how sad it was. It was the only time I remember not getting a huge iman boost while fasting.

We’re now facing the prospect of a “socially distanced” Ramadan. We most likely won’t experience hearing the recitation of the verses of fasting from Surah Baqarah in the days leading up to Ramadan. We’re going to miss out on seeing extended family or having iftars with our friends. Heck, some of us might even start feeling nostalgia for those Ramadan fundraisers.

All of this is on top of the general stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ramadan traditionally offers us a spiritual reprieve from the rigors and hustle of our day to day lives. That may not be easy as many are facing the uncertainty of loss of income, business, or even loved ones.

So this isn’t going to be one of those Quran-time or “How to have an amazing Ramadan in quarantine!” posts. Instead, I’m going to offer some advice that might rub a few folks the wrong way.

Make this the Ramadan of good enough

How you define good enough is relative. Aim to make Ramadan better than your average day.

Stick to the basics and have your obligatory act of worship on lockdown.

Pray at least a little bit extra over what you normally do during a day. For some, that means having full-blown Taraweeh at home, especially if someone in the house is a hafiz. For others, it will mean 2 or 4 rakat extra over your normal routine.

Fill your free time with Quran and dua. Do whatever you can. I try to finish one recitation of the Quran every Ramadan, but my Ramadan in semi-quarantine was the hardest to do it in. Make sure your Quran in Ramadan is better during the month than on a normal day, but don’t set hard goals that will stress you out. We’re under enormous stress being in a crisis situation as it is. If you need a way to jump-start your relationship with the Quran, I wrote an article on 3 steps to reconnect with the Qur’an after a year of disconnect.

Your dua list during this Ramadan should follow you everywhere you go. Write it down on an index card and fold it around your phone. Take it out whenever you get a chance and pour your heart out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Share your stresses, anxieties, worries, fears, and hopes with Him.

He is the Most-Merciful and Ramadan is a month of mercy. Approach the month with that in mind, and do your best.

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