How to avoid slacking in Ramadan
April 14 2022 11:38 PM
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Ramadan is a special time during which the Muslims are encouraged to increase their performance of good deeds and acts of worship. 
Here are a few suggestions to prevent your zeal from weakening during this month: 
• Gathering for the night prayer
This is an act of worship which is not legislated other than during the nights of Ramadan; it is a great act of worship which must be given its due right by us all, and that is by observing the following: 
First, we must arrive early to the mosque and not miss the ‘Ishaa’ prayer with the congregation, because performing the obligatory prayer with the congregation is far more important than the optional night prayer. 
Secondly, we should not attend certain mosques just because the Imam there has a nice voice, instead we should enjoy the words of Allah, which must be more enjoyable to us than the voice of the Imam. Many people do not comprehend this point; we would like people to comprehend the words of Allah and only if this is fulfilled then there is no harm in praying behind an Imam who is blessed with a nice voice.
Thirdly, we should be attentive when we hear verses of the Qur’an which speak of mercy, reward, punishment, stories of the past, the horrors of the Day of Resurrection and the names and attributes of Allah, because this will enable our hearts to react to the verses. 
Something very strange is that some people become submissive and react to the supplications which are said by the Imam during the Witr (odd Rak’ah prayer with which the night prayer is concluded), more so than when listening to the verses of Allah The Almighty. There is nothing superior to the words of Allah The Almighty; there is nothing better or sweeter than His words; there can be nothing more effective than the words of Allah.
Fourthly, we should not cry or weep loudly, because when the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, would pray, the people would hear a sound like a boiling pot of water emanating from his chest, due to the extent to which he would cry, but also by him concealing the sound as much as he could. Concealing this sound is a reflection of one’s sincerity and we must remember that the crying of one’s heart is more important than that of the mouth. Our pious predecessors, may Allah have mercy upon them, used to cry tears but without any sound; when any of them would cry the person next to him would not realise that he was doing so.
• Eating Suhoor (pre-dawn meal eaten before fasting)
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Eat Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) because there is a blessing in it. Do not leave eating it even if one of you would (only) take a sip of water, because Allah and His angels send blessings upon those who eat Suhoor.”
Thus, we should take the meal of Suhoor for the following reasons:
First: Allah The Almighty and His angels send blessings upon whoever does so.
Second: There is a great blessing in it.
Third: Taking it is an act that contradicts the practice of the Jews and the Christians.
Fourth: Taking it gives one strength.
Fifth: Taking it assures one’s attendance at the dawn prayer.
• Being keen to feed people Iftar (the meal that concludes the fast):
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “If someone gives one who has been fasting Iftar to break his fast, he will have a reward equal to his (i.e., the fasting person) without his reward being diminished in any way.”
Feed the fasting person, suffice him, and deliver food to him without reminding him of your favour; instead thank Allah The Almighty for having provided you with the opportunity of feeding a fasting person. Remember your Muslim brothers and sisters in different parts of the world who do not find one of the many dishes that you enjoy during your meals, so fear Allah The Almighty and do not waste food.
• Teaching others if they are ignorant of certain Ramadan-related matters, and advising them if they err:
The woman’s prayer at home earns her more reward than her prayer in the mosque. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to Umm Hameed, may Allah be pleased with her, when she expressed her desire to pray behind him: “I know that you like to pray with me (i.e., in the congregational prayer)…” and continued until he said: “…Your prayer in your local mosque is more rewarding than praying in my mosque” and then continued until he reached the topic of praying at home saying: “…Your prayer at home is more rewarding than that in the mosques.” However, if women desire to pray in the mosque they should not be prevented from doing so, as per the instructions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, when he said: “Do not deprive women from praying in the mosque, but their prayer at home is more rewarding for them.” 
• Avoiding evil company and wasting time during Ramadan
One should be especially careful in avoiding turning the nights of Ramadan into nights of entertainment and gatherings of amusement, watching movies, listening to music and festivals. 
Be serious about achieving this goal, because many people are not serious which is why they fail to make the most of this month. Ponder over the great virtue of those who control their tongues and also ponder over the many stories in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) about the people that got thrown into Hell because of their mouths.
Controlling the tongue is one of the most difficult things to do, so we need to approach it on a daily basis. Engage in Thikr (remembrance and mention) of Allah The Almighty, say good things (e.g. enjoin good) and understand what “controlling the tongue” really means. Remember that your tongue is a window into your brain, so when we talk about things that are on our minds, our tongues expose our thoughts.
The Imams should shorten the length of the prayer, lest lazy people and those who complain stop attending the night prayer and lose the rewards and benefits of this nightly congregation. They should also consider and make allowances in the case of people who are obliged to carry on with their work, such as businessmen who have to attend to their businesses, doctors who have to return to their workplaces, police personnel and security officers, etc. 
However, this does not mean that worship should cease after Taraweeh (i.e., the night prayer) because there will remain reciting the Qur’an, sleeping early in order to wake up for the dawn prayer and eating Suhoor. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And in the hours before dawn they would ask forgiveness.} [Qur’an 51: 18] 
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Allah descends every night in the last third of the night (in a way that befits His Majesty) and says: “Is there anyone who is asking of Me so that I may grant him? Is there any person who is repenting so that I may forgive him?”” 
• Performing ‘Umrah (minor pilgrimage)
Performing ‘Umrah during Ramadan is equal in reward to performing Haj, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has informed us. This is a great reward and a wonderful opportunity. There are many ways to earn rewards but you have to take the initiative. 
This reward for ‘Umrah is earned if performed during any of the days of the month, and there is no extra virtue in performing it during the last ten days. Many people wish they could perform this ‘Umrah but are unable to, so the ones who can do so should not miss the chance.
Those brothers and sisters who will go to Makkah during Ramadan are advised to do the following:

First: Utilise your time in attaining the largest amount of reward possible, and avoid busying yourselves in trivial matters, such as looking for restaurants to eat in or shopping around in the different marketplaces and malls. 
Second: Stay for as long as possible inside the Haram and reside in it because that grants you a huge reward. Circumambulate the Ka’aba and wait inside the mosque from one prayer to the next because by doing so, you will be deemed to be praying.
Third: Do not waste time talking with friends and watching others, and concentrate on your own worship.
Fourth: Do not sleep too much because this is a short period of time which you should utilise in worship.
Fifth: Always arrive early, before the prayer starts, because there is a great reward for being present when the Imam utters the initial ‘Allaahu Akbar.’

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Fasting expiates sins
Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward.} [Qur’an 64:15]
{Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.} [Qur’an 21:35]
Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, commented on this verse saying, “We test you with hardship and ease, with health and illness, with richness and poverty, with the lawful and the unlawful, with obedience and disobedience and with guidance and misguidance.”
In a Hadith (narration) on the authority of Huthayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Who has memorised a Hadith on the authority of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, about the trial?” Huthayfah said: “I heard him saying: ‘Man’s trial is in his property, family and neighbour and it is expiated by his prayers, fasting and charity.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In a Hadith on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Allah The Almighty Said, ‘For every misdeed there is an expiation; fasting is for Me and I give reward for it…” [Al-Bukhari]
According to another narration: “Good deeds expiate sins and fasting is for Me and I give reward for it. (i.e. it expiates sins and is also a reason for receiving reward from Allah.)” [Ahmad]
In a Hadith on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The five (daily) prayers, and the Friday Prayer to the (next) Friday Prayer, and the Ramadan to the (next) Ramadan are expiations of sins committed in between (their intervals); provided that the grave major sins are avoided.”[Muslim]
In a Hadith on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, saying: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and knows its limits and avoids whatever he should avoid in it, it (Ramadan) will be an expiation of what is before it.”[Ahmad] [Ibn Hibbaan: Saheeh]
 Benefits and rulings:
First: Man could be tested and tried with good or evil. He could be tested with good by being given abundant wealth and granted successive blessings. He could also be tested with evil like being afflicted with distress, worries and diseases.
Second: Children and property are a trial for man because he may overlook the rights of Allah for their sake and out of his love for them. Hence, this would be a cause for inflicting punishment on him in the Hereafter. Moreover, one’s children have rights over him; such as teaching and bringing them up, providing for them, etc. If one neglects or does not perform these rights properly, he will be held guilty.
Third: Acts of disobedience and sins are a trial. Anyone who is tried with any sin such as keeping in contact with a woman who is unlawful for him or ill-gotten gains, is undergoing a trial. Some righteous people may be tried in this matter, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Indeed, those who fear Allah - when an impulse touches them from Satan, they remember [Him] and at once they have insight.} [Qur’an 7:201]
{And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins -- and who can forgive sins except Allah? -- and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.} [Qur’an 3:135]
Fourth: Those who are tried with a sin and insist on committing it should do a lot of good deeds because good deeds expiate sins. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds.} [Qur’an 11:114] Perhaps, when one frequently performs acts of obedience, they could be a cause for him to be released from the captivity of this sin as Allah The Almighty might guide him because of his obedience to a sincere repentance.
Fifth: These Hadiths prove that fasting expiates sins. The Hadith that was narrated by Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, might be understood as negating the expiation of sins by fasting. However, this Hadith means that good deeds expiate sins, whereas fasting expiates sins and gives extra reward to such expiation. It means the fasting that is offered with full sincerity to Allah without any ostentation.
Sixth: An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “It may be said that if the ablution expiates sins; then what sins do the prayers expiate? If the prayers expiate sins; then what sins do the congregational prayers, Ramadan, the fasting of ‘Arafah (the ninth of Thul-Hijjah) and ‘Aashooraa’ (10th of Muharram) and saying ‘Aameen’ in prayer in the same time with angels expiate? There are Hadiths indicating that performing such acts expiate sins.
The answer proposed by scholars is that each one of the aforementioned acts of worship is fit for expiation. If there is a minor sin, it would be expiated. However, if there is no major or minor sin to be expiated, they would be recorded as good deeds and would raise one’s rank in Paradise. If these acts of worship meet a grave major sin, we hope that they would alleviate the punishment of these grave major sins.”
Seventh: People’s rights are not expiated by these acts of worship, whether these rights are minor or major. Rather, one must free himself from liability by returning these rights to those who deserve them or by asking them to absolve him.
Eighth: The virtue of fasting and that it is a cause for expiating sins.
Ninth: This virtue of having sins expiated is attained by those who preserve their fasting from being nullified. The evidence for this is the Hadith narrated by Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, “Whoever fasts Ramadan and knows its limits and avoids whatever he should avoid in it…” Accordingly, the Muslim must preserve his day and night during Ramadan by refraining from saying anything unlawful; such as back-biting and tale-bearing. The Muslim must also lower his gaze and avoid looking at anything unlawful like TV serials, entertainment shows or the like which are displayed in abundance in Ramadan. We supplicate Allah to guide us and all Muslims to the right path.

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Lessons in generosity
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was the best of mankind and the most obedient to his Lord, and it is from his tradition that he used to increase his acts of worship during the blessed month of Ramadan. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim, rahimahullah, said: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was the most generous of all people, but the time he spent the most was during the month of Ramadan, and he used to increase his recitation of the Qur’an, prayers, mentioning Allah and I’tikaaf (i.e. residing in the mosque with the intention of worship)”.
Likewise, the Companions and the early generations of Muslims were especially generous during the month of Ramadan. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim, rahimahullah, said: “There is a difference between being generous in charity and being wasteful: a generous person spends his charity in proper channels and in places where spending is direly needed, whilst the wasteful person might spend extravagantly in places where it is not needed.” 
Anas, radhiallah ‘anhu, said: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was the bravest person and the most generous.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Ibn ‘Abbaas,, stated: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an, and when he met him, he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, would be more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (i.e. in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Ibn Hajar, rahimahullah, said commenting on this narration, “This added generosity resulted from the virtue of the month, the one with whom he reviewed the Qur’an and the thing being reviewed (i.e. the Words of Allah).” 
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, radhiallah ‘anhu, for example, would prefer to eat his Iftar meal with the poor. Whenever he broke his fast at home, he never ate his fill, so that if a needy person visited, ‘Abdullaah could give him his Iftar meal. Thus, he would end up remaining hungry at night too. He used to give away sweets in charity saying, ‘I am aware of the saying of Allah The Almighty (which means): {“You shall not attain piety until you spend out of that which is beloved to you”} [Qur’an 3: 92] and Allah knows that I love sweets.’
Once when Imaam Ahmad, rahimahullah, had prepared some bread for Iftar, a needy person called on him. Without hesitation he gave away all his bread, and went hungry. Ibn al-Mubaarak used to prepare sweets for his brothers, despite the fact that he was fasting.
Al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi’i, rahimahullah, once said: “It is beloved to me to see one increasing his acts of generosity during the month of Ramadan, following the example of Allah’s Messenger, and for one’s own good. There are many who become over-occupied with fasting and prayers, forgetting the other benefits of the month of Ramadan [i.e., forgetting about the benefits and rewards for being generous towards others].” 
Besides voluntary acts of charity, Allah The Almighty has prescribed Zakaah (obligatory charity) on those whose wealth reaches a certain amount and made paying Zakaah one of the pillars of Islam. When a full lunar year elapses while one possesses such wealth, then he is obliged to pay Zakaah. In case of agriculture, it is due at the harvest. It is not permissible to pay it in installments, nor is one allowed to delay Zakaah until the month of Ramadan unless there is a dire need. Ibn Qudaamah and Ash-Shaafi’ee are of the opinion that, “Zakaah must be paid immediately when it becomes due and one is not permitted to delay it whilst able to unless he fears a certain harm to afflict him due to paying it.”
When asked about delaying the payment of Zakaah until the month of Ramadan, Shaykh al-‘Uthaymeen, rahimahullah, said, “Zakaah, like any other good deed, is preferred in virtuous times unless it becomes due, then a person must pay it immediately. If one’s full lunar year elapses on the month of Rajab, for example, then he should not delay it until Ramadan and must pay it in Rajab.”
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