Allah Says (what means): “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad ], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [Qur’an: 38: 29]
Reflecting upon the Qur’an is one of the reasons behind its revelation; it is the way to comprehend its rulings and find out its objectives and meanings. The Qur’an will not be properly understood, nor will its objectives be truly realised except by pausing at each verse and giving it its due right of pondering to discover the meanings and wisdom within it.
All perfect praise is due to Allah, that we still see many Muslims reciting the Qur’an day and night, which is good, yet many of them recite it without the due reflection or understanding. Thus people miss the main reason for which the Qur’an was revealed, to apply its rules, adhere to its commands and refrain from its prohibitions.
In an attempt to practically apply the Words of Allah (which mean): “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” [Qur’an: 51: 55] we designate this article to address some important ways by which a person may ponder the Noble Qur’an and thus properly understand it.
One such way is to be acquainted with the Arabic language and its methods of expression. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, and can only be understood according to the rules of this language, and all scholars attach great importance to learning the Arabic language and encourage their students to learn it. The one who does not know the rules of the language could easily misunderstand the following saying of Allah (which means): “And ask the city in which we were and the caravan in which we came” [Qur’an: 12: 82] and he will not be able to distinguish between the sayings of Allah (which mean): “It is You we worship and You we ask for help” [Qur’an: 1: 5] and the saying: “We worship You,” and so on.
It must be pointed out here is that not every one who recites the Qur’an is asked to be a grammarian; rather, all he needs to obtain is enough knowledge and command on the language with which he can understand the Book of Allah and reflect upon it.
An important practice which can help a person reflect upon the Qur’an is to study the biography of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. We must know that he was the authentic interpreter of the Qur’an and that his manners were all derived from the Qur’an. We must also know that he was a practical Qur’an walking on earth, in the sense that he clarified to verses that were revealed in general terms and verses that may have sounded confusing. Knowing all this makes a Muslim realise that in order to properly be able to reflect upon the Qur’an, he must return to the biography of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the authentic Sunnah.
Knowing the historical context in which specific verses of the Qur’an were revealed increases the reader’s understanding, because many verses were revealed pertaining to a certain incident.
Without knowing the reason for its revelation and what it came down to address, one could read a verse but not really understand what it intends. For example the following saying of Allah (which means): “So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers. If a wound should touch you- there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it” [Qur’an: 3: 139-140].
This saying was addressed to the companions, may Allah pleased with them, during the battle of Uhud in which they suffered causalities fighting the disbelieving enemies. They are being rallied to fight harder by Allah’s reminder that they had already inflicted similar suffering upon these enemies during their previous battle of Badr.
One other helpful factor in reflecting on and understanding the Book of Allah, is referring to the trustworthy books of interpretation of the Qur’an, and reading what the scholars have said. Such books contain many of the interpretations of the Salaf whether the statements of the companions or those who came after them . Some of these books of Tafseer (i.e. interpretation) are by At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, Ibn Katheer and others . Reading these sources helps the person reading the Qur’an reflect upon the verses and better understand them.
Reciting the Qur’an attentively while thinking of what one is reading is a matter that was stressed in the Qur’an, and it helps one reflect. Allah says (what means): “Say, `I only advise you of one [thing] - that you stand for Allah, [seeking truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought`” [Qur’an: 34: 46]. This better helps the reader understand the Qur’an.
Another important rule regarding reflecting upon the Qur’an is applying it to reality. This means (in short) that the Qur’an was not revealed just for a certain period or a specific place; but is applicable during all times and places. One can best understand The Qur’an and feel it alive, when it is applied to reality and to the issues of the Muslim nation. For example, every era has its own disbelievers and hypocrites and every era has its own ‘Pharaohs’ and oppressors.
A serious mistake in this regard is applying verses to those for whom it was not intended, like applying the verses about hypocrites to the believers, or the verses about righteous people to the disbelievers, as this leads to clear and serious misguidance.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
Nullification of ablution
Before offering prayers and other particular acts of worship, one must be in a state of ritual purity. It is necessary therein to wash the parts of the body that are generally exposed to dirt or other impurities. This cleansing is called Wudhoo’ (Ablution) and is performed as follows:
1. Have the intention that the act is for the purpose of worship and purification. Then, begin by saying ‘Bismillaah’ (ie, ‘I begin in the Name of Allah’).
2. Wash your hands up to the wrists, three times starting with the right hand.
3. Rinse your mouth with water, three times.
4. At the same time, cleanse your nostrils by sniffing water and expelling it, three times.
5. Wash your whole face three times with both hands, if possible, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.
6. Wash your right arm three times up to the far end of the elbow, and then do the same with the left arm.
7. Wipe the whole head, or any part of it, with a wet hand from the front to the back, once.
8. Wipe the inner sides of your ears with the forefingers and their outer sides with the thumbs. This should be done with wet fingers once.
9. Wash your two feet up to the ankles, three times, beginning with the right foot.
The following acts render ablution null and void:
Natural Bodily Discharges
These include urine, stools, gas from behind, etc. Concerning the cases which necessitate ablution, Allah Almighty Says (what means): “… or (if) one of you comes from the place of relieving himself…” [Qur’an 5:6] This proves that such an act obligates new purification.
Abu Hurairah, radhiallah ‘anhu, who was one of the outstanding Companions, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah does not accept the prayer of a person who has released gas until he performs a new ablution.” A person from Hadhramawt (in Yemen) asked Abu Hurairah: “What does releasing gas mean?” He answered: “Passing wind, with or without sound.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
He also narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “If one of you finds a disturbance in his abdomen and is not certain if he released any gas or not, he should not leave the mosque (i.e., quit his prayer) unless he hears its sound or smells its odour.” [Muslim]
Hearing the escaping gas or smelling it is not the condition that nullifies the ablution, but the certainty that passing gas has occurred. As for a discharge of Al-Mathi (prostatic fluid), the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Perform ablution.” Concerning Al-Mani (sperm), Ibn ‘Abbaas, radhiallah ‘anhum, who was another outstanding Companion, said: “It requires Ghusl (ritual bathing) and for Al-Mathi and Al-Wadi (which is secreted from the sexual organ due to sickness or fatigue), wash your sexual organs and perform ablution.” [Al-Bayhaqi]
Deep Sleep that Makes a Person Completely Unaware of his Surroundings
If the person did not keep his buttocks firmly seated on the floor while sleeping, he must make a new ablution. Safwaan Ibn ‘Asal, radhiallah ‘anhu, said: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to order us while we were travelling not to take our socks off unless we were in post-sex impurity (i.e. not for defecation, urination or sleep).”
If one’s buttocks remained firmly on the floor during his sleep, no new ablution is necessary. This is implied by the narration of Anas, radhiallah ‘anhu, who said: “The companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, were waiting for the delayed ‘Ishaa’ prayer until their heads began nodding up and down (from drowsiness and sleep). They would then pray without performing ablution.” [Muslim, Ash-Shafi’ee, Abu Daawood & At-Tirmithi]
The wording that At-Tirmithi recorded from the chain of Shu’bah is: “I have seen the companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, sleeping to the extent that one could hear some of them snoring, but, they would stand for prayer without a new ablution.” Imaam Ibn Al-Mubaarak said: “In our view, this happened when they were sitting.”
Loss of Consciousness
This nullifies the ablution, regardless of whether it was due to insanity, fainting, drunkenness, or medication. It also does not matter if one was unconscious for a short or long period of time, or if one was sitting, or fell to the ground, and so on. The aspect of unawareness here is greater than that of sleeping. The scholars all agree on this point.
Touching the Sexual Organ without Any ‘Barrier’ (clothing, and so on) between the Hand and the Organ
Busrah Ibnt Safwaan (a female companion), radhiallah ‘anha, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whoever touches his sexual organ cannot pray until he performs ablution.” [Maalik, Ash-Shafi’ee, Ahmad & Others]
Imaam Abu Daawood said: “I asked Ahmad : ‘Is the Hadith (prophetic narration) of Busrah authentic?’ He replied: ‘Certainly it is authentic.’” In the narration of Imaams Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i Busrah heard the Prophet saying: “Ablution is to be made by the one who touches his sexual organ.”
This is general and encompasses touching one’s own sexual organs or touching anyone else’s. Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet as saying: “Whoever touches his sexual organ without any covering (over it) must perform ablution.” [Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan & Al-Haakim]
Imaam Ibn As-Sakan who was a Hadith scholar, said: “This Hadith is from the best of what has been related on this topic,” Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee related: “Any man who touches his penis must perform ablution. Any woman who touches her vagina must perform ablution.”
The scholars of the Hanafi school are of the opinion, based on the following Hadith, that touching the sexual organ does not nullify the ablution: “A man asked the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, if a man who touches his penis has to perform ablution. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, replied: “No, it is just a part of you.”
In addition to this issue (touching the sexual organ), there are other issues that are also controversial in this regard among Muslim scholars, such as excretion of pus or blood, vomiting and eating camel meat.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
Istikharaah – The Guidance Prayer
We are humans, powerless in this sphere of life, knowledgeable only enough to survive. So why shouldn’t we turn to Allah and seek His perfect help whenever we require it? Allah responds to the call of His servant when he asks for guidance, and we are after all seeking to do something in order to please Him.
Istikharaah means to ask Allah to guide you to the path best for you concerning an affair with two halal options. In matters that are waajib (obligatory), haraam (forbidden) or makrooh (disliked) there is no need to pray Istikharaah.
Salaat-ul-Istikharaah should only be used for matters that are mubaah (allowed) or in matters that are mustahabb (liked or encouraged), in which there is a decision to be made as to which one should be given priority.
Many wrong notions exist concerning Istikharaah. Many Muslims will pray, read the du’a, and run to bed expecting to see a dream showing them their future wife, what her favourite colour is, and some other weird fantasy. That is not the purpose of this salaat.
The results of an Istikharaah can take many forms. Basically, you go by your feelings, whether you now feel more favourable or not. Also, you may notice events have changed, either for or against you. Note that you must follow the results of an Istikharaah, because not doing so is tantamount to rejecting Allah’s guidance once you’ve asked for it. Also, you should first clear your mind, not have your mind already decided, and then afterwards follow the results willingly.
It is a Sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives, one may pray two non-obligatory rak’at, even if they are of the Sunnah prayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any time of the day or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qur’an after reciting Al-Fatihah. Then one praises Allah and sends salutations to the Prophet and recites the supplication in the Hadith below.
The description of Salaat-ul-Istikharah was narrated by Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah al-Salami (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“The Messenger of Allah used to teach his companions to make Istikharaah in all things, just as he used to teach them Surahs from the Qur’an. He said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say:
Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi.
“O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”
The Prophet added that “then the person should mention his need.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Salaat-ul-Istikharaah is just two rak’ats of a non-obligatory prayer, prayed at anytime during the day, with a specific du’a at the end. While reciting the du’a, you should be thinking about the situation you want to be advised about with pure intentions and from the bottom of your heart. And Allah says that whenever he guides a heart aright it can never be misguided. Afterwards, you should “have a good feeling” about one of your options. Whatever option you feel is best right after you say the du’a should be your decision. If you’re still in doubt, you can repeat.
Some people mistakenly wait for a dream to give a clear sign as to what decision to make, but this is not true, and often times it never really happens. In fact, dreams may lead you away from what Allah wants you to do, as Shaytaan might try to deceive you in your dreams.
Salat-ul-Istikharaah is for everybody. It’s a way for all of us to implore Allah for divine guidance and mercy. It is yet another invaluable resource from Allah to keep us on the straight and narrow Siraat al-Mustaqeem. The Prophet told all Muslims about Istikharaah, not just the scholars. Despite this gift, too many of us take the advice of our friends and parents, or accept the norms of our society and act without ever wondering what Allah wants us to do. We must stop looking to the dunya (people) for guidance. We must begin to consult Allah.
Faith and a characteristic of hypocrisy
Amongst the people are those who have faith but also possess a characteristic of hypocrisy as is reported in the Two Saheehs from Abdullah bin Amr, radiallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said:
“There are four qualities whosoever has them is a hypocrite and whosoever has a characteristic of these four possesses a characteristic of hypocrisy until he leaves it: when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks it, when he makes a covenant he proves treacherous, and when he argues he behaves in an imprudent and uncouth manner.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Also in the Two Saheehs it is reported from Abu Hurairah, radiallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said:
“Faith has sixty or seventy and odd branches. The most lofty of them is the saying, ‘none has the right to be worshipped save Allah’ and the least of them is to remove something harmful from the road and modesty is a branch of faith.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Hence the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, explained that whosoever has a characteristic of these qualities [mentioned in the first hadith] then he has a characteristic of hypocrisy until he leaves it.
It is also established in the Two Saheehs that he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has a characteristic of hypocrisy until he leaves it.
It is also established in the Two Saheehs that he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to Abu Dharr, radiallahu ‘anhu:
“Indeed you still contain some qualities of the pre-Islamic ignorance.” He asked, “despite my old age?” He replied, “yes.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It is established from him, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, in the Saheeh that he said:
“There are four things found in my nation that are from the affairs of jaahiliyyah: boasting about social status, abusing genealogies, wailing over the dead and seeking rain through the stars.” [Muslims and Ahmed]
It is reported in the Two Saheehs from Abu Hurairah, radiallahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said:
“The signs of the hypocrite are there; when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks it and when he is entrusted with something he proves treacherous.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In Saheeh Muslim [there occurs and additional wording],
“Even if he fasts, prays and thinks that he is a Muslim.” [Muslim]
Al-Bukhari mentions from Ibn Abi Mulaykhah that he said:
“I have met 30 of the Companions of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, all of them fearing hypocrisy for themselves.” [Al-Bukhari]
Allah the Exalted says:
“And what struck you on the day the two armies met [at Uhud] was by the permission of Allah so that He might make evident the [true] believers and that He might make evident those who are the hypocrites. For it was said to them, ‘come, fight in the Way of Allah or [at least] defend.’ They said, ‘if we had known [there would be] fighting we would have followed you.’ They were nearer to disbelief that day than to faith.” [Aali ‘Imraan (3): 166-167]
So he declare these people to be closer to belief than belief [on that day], thus it becomes known that they had mixed faith with disbelief, and that their disbelief was the stronger of the two. [Likewise] others who have mixed faith with disbelief could find that their faith is the stronger of the two.
The increase and decrease of faith
Now when it is known that the Awliyaa of Allah are the pious, God-fearing believers, then know that the servants’ love of and closeness to Allah (wilaayah) will be determined by the amount of faith and taqwaa he has. Therefore the one who is more complete with regards his faith and taqwaa is closer to and has greater love of Allah, the Exalted. Hence the people are of varying degrees in their closeness to, and love of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, varying in accordance to their degrees of completion in faith and taqwaa. Similarly people are of varying degrees with regards to their enmity to Allah, which is determined in accordance to their level of disbelief and hypocrisy. Allah, the Exalted says:
“And whenever a Surah is revealed, there are among them [the hypocrites] those who say, ‘which of you has this increased in faith?’ As for those who have believed, it has increased them in faith and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts there is a disease, it has [only] increased them in evil [in addition] to their evil and they will have died while they are disbelievers.” [At-Tawbah (9): 124- 125]
“Indeed, the postponing of restriction with the sacred months is an increase in disbelief.” [At-Tawbah (9): 37]
“And those who are guided - he increases them in guidance and grants them their righteousness.” [Muhammad (47): 17]
He, the Exalted, says with regards to the hypocrites,
“In their ears is a disease, so Allah has increased their disease.” [Al-Baqarah (2):10]
In conclusion, Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, as explained that a single person could have some measure of closeness and allegiance to Allah in accordance to his level of faith and also have some measure of enmity to Allah in accordance to his level of disbelief and hypocrisy. Allah, the Exalted says:
“And those who have believed will increase in faith.” [Al-Muddathir (74) 31]
“...so that they would increase in faith along with their present faith.” [Al-Fath (48) 4]
* A single person can contain faith and hypocrisy
* Therefore the Awliyaa are of differing levels
* And the enemies of Allah are also of differing levels
(Excerpted from the book “The Friends of Allah and the Friends of Shaytaan”)
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