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The Ten “T”s of Ramadan

The Ten “T”s of Ramadan
As we’ve crossed Lailatul Bara’ah, the air is distinctly changing and Muslims across the globe can most certainly feel the breeze of mercy and munificence blowing as we get closer to the glorious month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar calendar and its literal meaning is scorching heat. Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said: “Surely, the month of Ramazan has been named so because it scorches away the sins.” (Kanz al-Ummal, H: 23688)

The importance of this month is declared by both the Quran and Sunnah.

Al-Quran:The month of Ramadân in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadân i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allâh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allâh [i.e. to say Takbîr (Allâhu-Akbar; Allâh is the Most Great) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. [Surah Al-Baqara 2:185]

Al-Quran: For the fasting man and for the fasting woman, Allah has prepared a great reward and forgiveness. [Surah Al-Ahzab..only relevant portion of ayah quoted]

Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih Bukhari 2:37]

Allah’s Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) . 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) 5. To observe fast during the month of ramadan. [Sahih Bukhari 2:7]

Rasul Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said: Allah ta’ala says, “All good deeds are for the one who renders them but fasting is exclusively for Me (Allah).” [Sahih Bukhari] 

Ramadan comes upon us like a cherished guest who leaves soon enough but leaves behind benevolence and blessings that last till the end of the coming year. Allah ta’ala is All Merciful to His slaves and knows our weaknesses. He wants to purify us spiritually, physically and materially for we are weak and forever erring, so that we can gain His supreme pleasure and enter Jannah in a befitting manner. Like wealth is purified through zakat and removes ills of stinginess from our hearts, just so fasting is a shield that protects the soul from spiritual sickness and the body from physical ailments. Majority of physical sicknesses are caused by excessive eating. Rasul Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Every person has a zakat to pay and the zakat of the body is fasting. [Ibn Majah]

So how can we maximize the benefits of Ramadan and gain the pleasure of Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)? Here’s a list of some things we can do in this regard:

1. TAHLEEL: Reciting the first Kalimah

Kalimah Tauheed is the fundamental basis of our Deen. It is the confirmation of our faith and demonstrates our love and complete obedience to Allah ta’ala. When we love someone or something, we cannot help but constantly talk about it. However, our greatest love and all our thoughts should be reserved for Allah ta’ala, and this abundance zikr demonstrates just that. Kalimah Tayyibah is also the best dua because praising a High and Mighty shows humility and is also a form of begging for His favours.
Rasul Allah(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: And in this month (Ramadan) four things you should continue to perform in great number; you should in great quantity recite the Kalimah Tayyibah, make much istaghfaar, beg Allah for entrance into Jannah and seek refuge in Him from Jahannum. [Ibn Khuzaima r.a…..only relevant portion of hadith quoted]

As the blessed month of Ramadan approaches it is also incumbent upon us to find out all the rules and jurisprudence of fasting. This will prevent from going astray and losing out on the immense rewards of fasting by making mistakes that could lead to the fast being null and void. There are books, lectures on the internet and CDs on Ramadan by traditional and reliable scholars, as well as many gatherings in the city at this time of the year to discuss this very pertinent topic.
Rasul Allah(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: The acquisition of (Deeni) knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim. (Ibn Majah)

Repenting from sins, feeling remorse over them and resolving to stay away from them, opens the door of Allah ta’ala’s mercy. It also helps us to refrain from all forms of sins. Regularly reciting astaghfaar reminds us that Allah ta’ala is everywhere and in this way there is very small chance of doing wrongful actions. Just like a mother who cannot but help forgive her errant child who seeks pardon, so Allah ta’ala loves the repentant sinner in a much greater measure.
Al-Quran: Truly, Allâh loves those who turn unto Him in repentance….[2:222 Only relevant portion of ayah quoted]
Al-Quran: And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace….[11:3 Only relevant portion of ayah quoted]
Hadith: Rasul Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said: If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” [Abu Dawud].
In other ahadeeth seeking taubah in Ramadan has been especially emphasized as in this month Allah ta’ala’s mercy is multiplied manifolds, subhan Allah. How unfortunate is a person who after the end of Ramadan does not gain any forgiveness of his sins from Allah but ends up piling more sins onto his account.

Taqwa means piety and devotion invoked by fear and regard of Allah ta’ala’s supremacy. It guards from Allah t a’ala’s displeasure and helps stay away from sin. Sin darkens imaan and makes it weak. Allah ta’ala is man’s true Benefactor and a true mo’mim would never wish to displease Him. Importance of Taqwa is all year round, but as all rewards are increased seventy times in Ramadan, so should our good actions be also increased to gain maximum benefit of this month’s mercy and bounties.
Ghazali (rahmatullahi `alayhi) said: ‘Fear rips away desires and dulls luxuries so that cherished sins become reprehensible, just as a honey lover is repelled by it when he learns that it has poison in it. This is how fear burns desires; disciplines the organs; subordinates the heart and gives it tranquility. It also enables the heart to rid itself of pride, hatred, and envy; and it leaves it absorbed in it (fear). Hence, the heart becomes preoccupied with its own worries and looks towards its best interest in the long run. It is then engaged in only matters like meditation, self-analysis and struggle. It cherishes its time and moments.’ [Ihya: 4/160]
We should try to maximize righteous deeds like recitation of the Quran, remembering Allah ta’ala through living still in His presence such that we shut off the world for some time daily (muraqba), focusing on spending time in salat and worship, keeping away from wasteful pastimes, being humble, forgiving to people and all such actions which will take us closer to Allah ta’ala.

Taqleel means to decrease; taqleel fil kalam wal manam wat tu’am means to decrease talk, sleep and food.
Whereas taktheer means to increase; taktheer fis sakha means to increase in generosity.
These two actions are vital for our fasts to be of a quality that would grant acceptance from Allah ta’ala and rid our soul (nafs) of selfish, abominable desires.
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Fasting is not (abstaining) from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban)
Therefore we must protect our tongue by preventing it from lying, back-biting, slander, tale-carrying, false speech and other things that have been forbidden in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Those who control their tongues are of the best of Muslims.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked: “Which Muslim is best?” He responded, “One who the other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hands.” (Tirmidhi, #2504)
Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, one of the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifa, may Allah have mercy on them both, mentioned: “The people ruined before you were done in by three characteristics: too much talking, too much eating, and too much sleeping.”

Similarly, excessive eating is another vice which causes our ruin. There is no doubt that it not only causes many diseases but is also a major factor in stopping us from maximizing our worship to Allah ta’ala.
Imam Ash-Shafi’ r.a. said: I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.
Many of us fast during during the day in Ramadan and after Iftaar make up for all the food we missed throughout the day by binge eating. Surely this goes against the very purpose of Ramadan which is to be moderate in eating and to remember those who have less than us.

As regards generosity, it is the loftiest of human traits and the essence of humanity. Without the spirit of generosity, the world would cease to be a place worth living; not just generosity in material things but generosity of heart and mind.
Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said, “Allah is generous, He loves generosity; He is noble, He loves nobility.” Imam al-Tirmidhi
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  was the most generous of people. He was especially generous in Ramadan when the Angel Gabriel would come and review the Qur’an with him. Verily, when Gabriel would come and review the Qur’an with him in Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  was more generous than the free-blowing wind. [Bukhari and Muslim]
Ramadan is a special time for magnanimity and giving, just as Allah ta’ala’s favours and rewards multiply more than seventy times in this auspicious month. It is a time when we think about those who have less than us as well as thank Allah ta’ala for everything he has given us.
Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam) said, “The best charity is that given in Ramadan.” (At-Tirmithi).

Tafweez means to delegate matters to another, and who better to hand over our affairs to than Allah the Almighty, Who loves His slaves more than seventy times that of a mother’s love for her child, subhan Allah . As Allah ta’ala teaches us this dua in the Glorious Quran:
Wa ufawwizu amri Ilallah….. (My (own) affair I commit to Allah) [Surah Al-Mu’min]
And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. [Surah Al-Baqara 2:186]
A muslim has to supplicate (make dua) to Allah ta’ala for all his needs and then has to submit to the Will of Allah ta’ala, whether the dua is accepted or not. Dua is an appeal to Allah ta’ala and it is His sole prerogative to accept or reject His slave’s appeal. He knows best in all affairs and we know nothing.
Prophet (Sallallahu AlaIhi Wasallim) said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than Du`a. He also said: “The most excellent worship is Du’a.” [Sahih Al-Jami]

In Ramadan we should make long, sincere and intense duas which will readily be accepted during this blessed month, especially whilst we are fasting, at the time just before Magrib (iftaar time) and in the latter part of the nights during Tahajjud.

Al-Quran: The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it. (Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)
Ramadan was the month in which the Qur’an was first revealed so it is the month of the Qur’an. We should devote much of this blessed month reciting the Qur’an.
Angel Gabriel would review the Qur’an with Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)   every night during the month of Ramadan and to study the Holy Quran carefully together. (Bukhari)
From this hadith it becomes clear that in addition to the general recitation of Quran, reflecting on it is also the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which he would practice during the month of Ramadan. Therefore, we as Muslims must also try to recite as well as reflect upon the Quran and ponder over the message that Allah Almighty has sent for us. At this time of the year, there are many venues where Daura Quran is being held as well as websites where commentary of the Quran is being aired online, as well as very good books available on the topic.
Az-Zuhri used to say upon the coming of Ramadan, “It is only about reciting the Qur’an and feeding the poor.”
As Ramadan is fast approaching we must increase our recitation and start to build a close relationship with the Qur’an.
Recite the Holy Qur’an as much as you can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter on the Day of Judgement. (Muslim)

The Taraweeh Prayer is the supererogatory (nafl) prayer after isha salah in the month of Ramadan and  is an emphasised Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Taraveeh and tahajjud prayers are the same and both classified as part of qiyaam al-layl. However, the qiyaam al-layl during Ramadaan is called Taraaweeh because the Salaf used to rest (istaraahu) after every two or four rak’ahs as they made their prayers long in order to make the most of this season of great reward.

Hazrat Aisha r.a. narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prayed one night in the mosque, and the people followed him in prayer. Then he prayed the next night, and many people came. Then they gathered on the third or fourth night, and the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did not come out to them. The next morning he said: “I saw what you did, and nothing kept me from coming out to you except the fact that I feared that it would be made obligatory for you.” (Bukhari and Muslim) And that was in Ramadan.

This hadith shows that praying Taraweeh in congregation is prescribed in the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Hazrat Aisha r.a. also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would forgo doing something that he liked to do lest the people do it and it become obligatory upon them. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1060; Muslim, Salaat al-Musaafireen, 1174).
Hazrat Umar r.a. during his Khilafah restablished this Sunnah of prayer in congregation. He based this decision on the Prophet’s(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  approval of those who prayed with him on those nights. When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) departed from this life, there was no longer any fear of this prayer becoming mandatory as the process of revelation (wahi) had stopped. Hazrat Umar r.a. thought to establish taraveeh in congregaton because of the potential division that might arise from people praying separately, and because uniting them behind one reader is more motivating for many people. The majority agreed with his decision. (Fath al-Baari).
Abu Hurayrah said: Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  said “He who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven” (Agreed Upon)

The majority of scholars say that by all his pasts sins it means his minor sin not major sins if the person stands all the nights of Ramadan in prayer and not just a few nights . The scholars say in order for major sins to be forgiven a person is required to make sincere repentance.
In Ramadan every voluntary prayer carries the reward of an obligatory (fard) prayer in normal times and there is nothing more rewarding than an obligatory prayer, so one can imagine the immense rewards that are available in Ramadan for every voluntary prayer we pray.
Rabi’ah ibn Malik al-Aslami r.a. reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet (Sallallahu ALaihi Wasallam) said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., supererogatory prayers).

Rasul Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the most perfect human being and was bestowed with khuluqun azeem ( the best of manners and character…subhan Allah). Tanfeez means to enforce or pursue; and what better role model to enforce than the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who came as mercy and grace for all creation.
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The best loved by me and the nearest to me on the seats on the Day of Resurrection are those who have the best manners and conduct amongst you, who are intimate, are on good terms with others and are humble, and the most hated by me and who will be on the furthest seats from me are those who are talkative and arrogant.” (Tirmidhi)
Following the sunnah is also the only way to gain the love and proximity of Allah ta’ala.
Al-Quran:”Say (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:31)
Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Tirmidhi)

The best habit we can ever have in our lives and the greatest success of this world and the next is to implement the Sunnah, such that our whole life and everything we do becomes worship to Allah ta’ala. We can do this by gradually learning all of the Sunnahs and supplications (duas) of every aspect of our day waking up, leaving and entering the Masjid and house, dressing and undressing, etc. So let us get into the habit right now of implementing every Sunnah into our daily lives so by the time Ramadan comes we can continue and gain even more rewards for them, in sha Allah.

Allah ta’ala says in the glorious Quran, Surah Ibrahim, Ayah 7:

لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُم

“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favours)”
He loves a grateful slave and it behooves us to show gratitude for all the uncountable blessings showered on us daily, Alhamdulillah; the greatest being to have been taken into the fold of Islam and nominated from among the nation (ummat) of His beloved Rasul (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)   This thankfulness should be heightened for the privilege of attaining the month of Ramadan with all the mercy and forgiveness granted therein. Who knows who will get to see the next Ramadan, Wallahu alam.

Wa ma taufiqee illa Billah. May Allah ta’ala accept our meager and humble efforts to please Him; may He make us among those who will be granted Jannah and saved from Hell fire this Ramadan; may He help us continue on the path of His pleasure now and after Ramadan so that our whole life becomes an embodiment of the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Aameen


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