Archive for dua

Change my dead Heart

Posted in Purification of the Heart, Repentance, Supplication/Making Dua with tags , , , on December 29, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

Lyrics of the Poem[Munajaat], “Change my dead heart”

 
Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Make me alive again, give me a fresh start
Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Make me alive again, give me a fresh start

So change my heart please and wash the filth away
Don’t leave me drowning here alone and astray.

I spent my life running away from you
And now I have no where to turn except to you

I turn to you and begging you to be saved
And change me into an obedient slave

Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Make me alive again, give me a fresh start

I have been doing all my life what I craved
Shaytan and nafs have always held me enslaved

I am ashamed that I have broken your rules
Worshiped my nafs and feel an ignorant fool

But now I know the path leading me to deen
I bow to you and asking you to help me
But now I know the path leading me to deen
I bow to you and asking you to help me

Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Make me alive again, give me a fresh start

I wish your name to be engraved in my heart
I will be grateful to you – change this dead heart
I wish your name to be engraved in my heart
I will be grateful to you – change this dead heart

My heart is dark and so my eyes remain dry
Hypocrisy and hubris won’t let me cry

I’m at your door and begging you let me in
Don’t push me back to my hopeless life of sin
I’m at your door and begging you let me in
Don’t push me back to my hopeless life of sin

So change my heart and forgive my sins this day
Don’t leave me drowning here alone and astray

Wash all the filth away and change my dead heart
Make me alive again, give me a fresh start

Recommended Ibadah at Tahajjud

Posted in CII talks, Dhikr, Ibadah, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

Q: Recommended Ibadah at the time of Tahajjud

If a person, Alhamdulillah by the Grace of Allah swt, is granted the tawfiq to wake up [for Tahajjud] with the limited time there is for it – I would say that:

Sunnah of the time is:

(Praying) Tahajjud, Istighfaar, Dua

In other words, to offer some Salah, to make Istighfaar and to make dua – these three things have to be done. If a person  feels that they have extra time after that then the Mashaikh say that Fajr should not dawn upon a person unless they are in a state of zikr; the moment of dawn should find a person in a state of zikr of Allah swt.

I have read some of the biographies of the Mashaikh that they would wake up offer tahajjud, make istighfaar, make duaa and then do zikr and these are the four things they did. The reason for this is that Allah swt mentions in the Holy Quran that the people who seek the forgiveness of Allah swt at the time of Tahajjud and then Allah swt mentions in Quran Al-Kareem that which has been witnessed at the time of fajar. Some of the mashaikh took from that and they would do tilawat-e-quran at the time of fajr and not prior to that. A person can mix it up that if some night they feel like praying longer and reciting more quran and that may mean that they are able to make less duaa then that is also fine and on other nights they may perhaps not pray so long and make more duaa that is fine.

[QnA Session of CII, Tazkiya talk]

Ramadan: A month of Forgiveness

Posted in CII talks, Ibadah, Ramadan, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by Islamic Spirituality

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Last Thursday, we had a discussion on preparing for the month of Ramadan, Today I want to talk a little bit about Ramadan itself. There are many different ways  to understand this month. Last week we discussed it being a month of Taqwa, also a month of Qur’an and also a month of Taubah. And today we want to mention a 4th aspect of this month that is Ramadan is a month of Maghfirah; Ramadan is a month of forgiveness. And sometimes, our own shaykh refers to this as: Shahrul Ghufran that this is the month of Al-Gufran, that this is the month of one of the attributes of Allah swt, that this is the month of  The Forgiver.

This is the month in which Allah swt has manifested Himself, His attribute of Absolute and Complete Forgiveness for His servants. And what happens here is that if you look at humanity and the way Allah swt created humanity is that we are always constantly in a battle between Haqq and Batin, between Good and Evil, between Truth and Falsehood. And this has been since the very beginning of humanity. You see the beginning of humanity is when Allah swt created sayyidina Adam a.s and  ordered all of the angels to do sajdah..One of the Jinn, Iblis, was present and he was also ordered to do sajda but he didn’t and so you had this beginning from that moment of this tug of war between the forces of good and evil in every human being. Because Shaytan actually[and theres a whole Qur'anic narration, infact a series of passages about it that Shaytan actually swore to Allah swt that I will lead them astray and Allah swt gave Shaytan so many abilities to do so:

1. Shaytan is invisible; we can't see him,

2. Shaytan has unknown, countless assistants or minions known as the Shayateen - Some commentators have viewed them to be from his aulaad, his progeny while some grade them to be among the other evil  Jinns who he  chose to help him carry out his mission.

3. Shaytan has been given the ability to do waswasa - to instill a whisper or thought or to insinuate a desire  in our heart and our in mind.

So, when Shaytan was given all these abilities. Sayyidina Adam as also asked Allah swt. And Allah swt said that what I give your children so that they counter all of these actions/wasawas of shaytan is that anyone falls into any of the traps of Shaytan then all they have to do is ask for my maghfirah; ask for my forgiveness and I will forgive them.

And, so it means that Allah swt has put all of Shaytan's abilities on one side and has put His power of forgiveness, His maghfirah on the other side. Now, the amazing thing about this month of Ramadan is that in this month of Ramadan, Allah swt has chosen to chain away all of the Shayateen. So, it comes in hadith that Iblis i.e. Shaytan himself and all of his minions and assistants and helpers and progeny are all chained away. That can literally mean that they are literally in chain but it can also mean that they are closed away, closeted away that they are no longer allowed for the creation in this month to do any of the things that they are able to do.

So imagine this, that if we were going to say that in the whole world theres going to be one month without evil, and thats the way it should've been and it would've been and it could've been if it wasn't for our nafs. And this is  in some ways  the month, when a Muslim is going to come face to face with their nafs because many of us have this mistake that throughout the year we blame our sins on Shaytan and when we see how much we are able to continue in those sins in the month of Ramadan, and we know now that factually Shaytan will have no ability or power in this month then it means that whatever evil we continue to do is due to our nafs and that means that whatever evil we were doing, the vast majority of evil we were doing was due to our nafs.

Otherwise, if we had been people who had been able to purify and discipline their nafs then a shaytan free month would literally mean an absolutely sin-free month not just as individuals but as societies, as an ummah and in short we haven't been able to bring Ramadan to that level. And I'm just mentioning this right now, as I have mentioned sometimes in previous programs, that we realize and understand and appreciate the full force, even if it’s just in theory, of everything in the Deen of Islam.

And really the full force of the month of Ramadan is to restore the entire society by making them live in a month free from all evil and to restore them at a societal level back into purity. So, unfortunately we are unable to reach that level as a collective as an Ummah but as individuals we should really try and suppress and train and discipline our nafs in this month and eliminate all of the evil sinful desires and actions of this nafs in this month of Ramadan. And if, for any reason we slip, then we ask Allah swt for forgiveness.

This is a sequence that is extremely important for us to remember. The first step is Mujahaddah - the first step our whole life is about struggling against our nafs and not letting it fall into sin and evil, its only after making that struggle and being unsuccessful in that struggle that we can ask Allalh swt's forgiveness. Its almost like the way I would explain this to university students that: you only come to a professor after you get an F on the exam, you cannot show up on the first day and ask him for a make up because you are planning to get an F on the exam. Its only after you go through the whole process of effort and struggle and you fail after that process, that you can go to the professor. And this is I think a big mistake we make. And,  I'm about to say a sentence which is not entirely true but I think it is best that we think like this is that: There is no maghfirah without mujahaddah. And the reason I say that its not entirely true is that Allah swt has said in the Qur'an:

wa yaghfiru ma'nyasha : That He forgives whomsoever He wants

And many times out of His infinite Mercy that includes people who didn't make sufficient Mujahiddah and at times it can even include people who did not make any mujahaddah. So, the reality is not that as in the statement that: there is no maghfirah without mujahaddah is not true but its best that we think like that because this much we can say for sure that there is a greater chance at maghfirah - the greater the mujahaddah, the greater the chance of maghfirah. And so, if this month is a month of maghfirah and we understand that this maghfirah comes after mujahaddah, then it means that this month is a month of Mujahadda as well. And in this month of Ramadan, Allah swt is really training us how these three things are linked because if nothing else our mujahaddah[Mujahaddah can mean struggle, effort, exertion for the sake of Allah swt]…if nothing else our Mujahaddah in this month is Fasting – staying away from food and drink  from dawn to maghrib. That is how Allah swt has tied that in. This connection is very strong in Ramadan, because Allah swt could’ve made Ramadan without fasting, He could’ve made all the different means of maghfirah in this month without having required us to fast; He could’ve chained Shaytan and the Shayateen in this month without requiring us to fast; He could’ve allowed us to know and find Laylatul Qadr in this month without having required us to fast. All  the virtues and merits of this month that have been mentioned in Hadith could have been bestowed upon us without having required us to fast.

So, theres clearly two things that we see in this month:

1. A whole series, means and what we call asbab; ways that Allah swt wants to send His maghfirah, but

2. we  also see daily 10 12 8 hour of mujahaddah that Allah swt wants us to do so that He can give us that maghfirah.

So, Mujahaddah and Maghfirah are linked.

Now, when you look at these different ways of maghfirah from the hadith, that Allah swt has given in this month, you will find that there are twelve. There are many many ways, tonight we are going to talk about twelve ways. And our own Shaykh discusses this sometimes he describes this in Urdu that Ramadan is month which is a bahana for Allah swt to forgive us, that means in Ramadan Allah swt just wants an excuse to forgive us.

And Allah swt has made so many asbaab for us to do that, so many different ways means to send His Rehma, His Mercy on the mo’mineen on the believers, so many ways of showering His maghfirah and forgiveness; so many ways for us to earn His forgiveness, so we truly repent this month. Imagine that when we want to do something for someone and that person for some reason is reluctant to take that help from us or for some reason that person hasn’t asked us directly. So what do we try to do? We try to create multiple ways, we try to give that person any and all excuses to come to us for help; any sabab whatsoever to link that person to us. Just like that, Allah swt wants to forgive us. We have not been people who have turned to Him in forgiveness, nor have we did the mujahaddah that may ignite His forgiveness, so in this month Fasting actually is just a bahana is just a means or a way or an excuse to bring to that mujahaddah.

Allah swt’s Twelve ways of Forgiving in the Month of Ramadan:

We can also think it like this that one of the dominant traits of Allah swt is Forgiveness. And throughout the year He wants to forgive the mo’mineen but some of us may not be able to earn that forgiveness that is according to His Justness, His ‘adal. So, He made this month of Ramadan a means for us to earn His forgiveness. But, another way to look at this is that Allah swt made this month of Ramadan a means for Him to send down His maghfirah.

Now, let us look in detail in these twelve different ways that Allah swt has made this month Shahr ul Ghufran, so its is the month of Forgiving, the month of Forgiveness, the month of the Forgiver

1. Chaining of Shaytan & the Shayateen.

I’ve already mentioned this earlier, but how does it help?  if  there is a person, who  has somehow been attacked or effected by their enemy, the best help that you can give them is to remove that enemy of your friend; to completely prevent his enemy from doing anything to him whatsoever. So, not for just laylatulQadr, or the last 10 days, but for all each and every day and night in the month of Ramadan, Allah swt has directly intervened and Allah swt has directly prevented Shaytan and all of the Shayateen from doing any single thing to any and all of His believers.

And sometimes you may find this, an example that I will give you is what we normally feel i.e laziness. Sometimes our laziness is due to Shaytan. So, You may find that there has been a Muslim who is lazy about their prayer or lazy about regularly reading the Qur’an-e-karim, all of a sudden he will say that I find it so much easier to pray in the month of Ramadan, I find it easier to read the Qur’an, I find it easier to go to the Masjid, I find it easier to stay in the Masjid. Well, the reason for this sudden ease is because what was making it difficult before was the waswasa, was the whisperings of the Shayateen and now Allah swt has removed that and we are going to be able to experience what is it like to be effected from these waswasa. But what we really want to do in this month of Ramadan is make ourselves so strong that even when this protection is removed, when the month ends, we have made ourselves so strong that we are ourselves immune to Shaytan, so we can live our entire year like that this whisperings would have no effect on us, anyway whatsoever.

So, this is the first way that Allah swt created for us a means so that we earn His forgiveness.

2. Opening of the Gates of Jannah

It comes in the Hadith by RasulAllah saw that Allah swt throws open all of the gates, the doors to Jannah in this month of Ramadan. And this is a special gift that He gave to the Ummah of Sayyidina Mustafa saw. Now, why is Allah swt doing this? And this is both literal and symbolic. Literal means that there are literally gates; they may not be the gates the likeness of the gates that exist in this world but there are gates or portals or paths to Jannah that otherwise are closed and will be opened on the Day of Judgement after all of the hibaab and Judgement has taken place – but in this month Allah swt casts them open literally.And it also means figuratively: that in this month, Allah swt is going to populate Jannah is going to be colonizing Jannah by forgiving people.

Because Allah swt has opened the gates of Jannah and He wants to populate Jannah, you can imagine that He wants to allot different plots of Jannah to the believers then He is going to do that through His forgiveness and through His Mercy. And that is why Sayiddina RasulAllah saw used to make this dua that:

Allahuma innee asalukal Jannah, wa a’oodhubika minan naar

that: O Allah swt! I ask You that You bestow upon me Jannah and ya Allah swt I ask from You that You grant me refuge and sanctity from Jahannam.

So, in this month we should repeatedly make this sunnah dua. We should repeatedly think about Jannah, think about our aakhirah, think that our aim and our goal is to reach this place which is our ultimate destination in the hereafter.

You can imagine it like this that when there is a big sale in a store, they throw open their gates. What does it mean?  It means that its open house, this is the open season for you to come in and buy as much as you want. So, here Allah swt has actually opened the doors of Jannah in this way as well that O my beloved mo’mineen in this month it is open house for you; it is an open for season for you to earn as much as  you can; make as many ‘amal, good deeds, acts of worship as you can in this month to earn His Jannah.

3. Allah swt increases the reward of our righteous deeds in this month

The third aspect that Allah swt has endowed this month of Ramadan with is that Allah swt has increased the ajar the sawab the reward of the ‘amaal, the acts of worship and other righteous acts that the believers do in this month of Ramadan. So much so that it comes in a Hadith that if a believer does anything that was previously optional/voluntary/recommended – what we call Nafl or Mustahab or Mundook., then that person would get the reward of a Fardh of an obligatory/ mandatory act. So, if you give voluntary Sadaqa, you get the sawab of fardh sawab. If you pray a nafl prayer, you get the sawab of a fardh prayer. If you help someone – some of us may not have a mother or father or sibling who needs our help or who is in such a state of need that it becomes incumbent or fardh upon us to help them – but if we help somebody else; maybe somebody else’s mother or somebody else’s father or somebody else’s children; so then we will get sawab as if it was our very own mother or father or child. So, any optional act that we do we get the reward of a fardh. And the second part of this hadith is that if somebody does something that is fardh then Allah swt will give the reward of seventy faraidh or 70 obligatory acts. That means, if we pray 5 times a day in Ramadan, we would get the reward of having prayed 350 tims outside of Ramadan. If we pray Jumma’ once in Ramadan, it will be as if we prayed 70 Jumma’s.

And this is how Allah swt makes a person catch up. If you imagine a person who is so distant from Allah swt that through out the year they never went for Jumma Salah and now in this month of Ramadan they go and pray the 4 Jummas or maybe they are lucky and in those 30 days it happens to be 5 Jummas, so then they would get the reward of 350 Jummas. Otherwise, they would get the sawab of 280 Jummas if there are 4 jummas. Now, how many Jummas are in a year? There are about 52. Normally, they are about 52. Every person who prayed them in Ramadan will get a reward of 280 jummas. So, that person who did not pray Jumma all year long, in the month of Ramadan goes to Jumma; not just for the sake of going but in a state of tauba; in a state of complete repentance to Allah and complete intention that they will continue going to Jumma throughout the rest of their life so with these 4 jummas they get the reward of about 6 years of jummah! Allahuakbar, incredible maghfirah; incredible maghfirah.

So, Allah swt increases the reward of these actions about 70 folds. Somebody had neglected paying zakat for 2, 3 years for 10,20 years and in this month of Ramadan they decided to pay their zakah then Allah swt increases that as if they paid 70 years worth of zakat. Allahuakbar kabira. And all of us know that these ‘amal and acts of worship and righteous acts and charity and kindness is something that earns the maghfirah, the forgiveness of Allah swt. A person had not been that good to their wife; in the month of Ramadan they treat her well; it will be as if they treat her well for 70 months- that means almost 60 years and they may only have been married for 5 years! Allahuakbar

So, Allah swt increases the reward the sawab  of all of our acts that we do for His sake and in His name; be they formal acts of worship or be they kindness and gentleness to members of His creation. If it was something that was optional He gives us the reward of that which is mandatory and if it is something that is mandatory; He gives us the reward of 70 such mandatory acts.

4. Allah swt gave us 2 special times in Ramadan for the acceptance of Dua

This is something that we spoke about briefly last time as well and that is that in the Hadith, Prophet saw said that Allah swt’s Grace, His special acceptance; He has sent His qubooliat on these times:

1. The first is the time of Iftaar; the time when we break our fast

2. The second is the Suhoor or sometimes called the Sehri in Urdu i.e the time when we keep a fast

This is the time when Allah swt accepts our duas. And the hadith says that Allah swt says to His servants that ask Me of what you wish at these two times and I will grant it to you. So, we’re getting two free guaranteed times in which our Duas will be accepted.

And who is telling us this? Sayyidina RasoolAllah-e-salallaho ‘alaih-e-wassalam.

Now, many times we ask our elders; ask our ullema mashaikh that tell us of a dua that Allah swt will accept. Tell me what to recite so that Allah swt will grant me health, that Allah will protect my children, etc. And here the greatest wali of them all, imam-ul-auliya sayiddina Al-Mustafa RasoolAllah saw he is telling us that Allah swt is going to accept the duas at Suhoor and iftaar and then in the Hadith-e-Qudsi, Allah swt Himself is saying that I grant your duas at the time of Suhoor and iftaar. So, we should make dua with that same fervor with that same level of yaqeen; that level of absolute certainty that Allah swt will accept our dua at this time.

And this maybe itself a means of maghfirah, because there may be many of us – you see Allah swt in this Deen has made two things: 1. Certain Special places 2. Certain Special times when duas are accepted – so some of us who have not been able to reach maybe due to lack of funds,  those special places, there may be many countless Muslims who have never been able to go to Kaaba, to Multazim, to Maqam-e-Ibrahim, to zam-zam, to safa, to marwa, to madina munawwara, to the Rauza, to bait-al-muqaddas etc. But here, Allah swt universally, for every mo’min then is compensating them that in this month you are going to be given two times a day; 60 times! Such a special time that your Duas will be accepted, that there will be qubooliat of those duas and so we should make full use of these times.

Why are these duas acceptable?

Its simple. At the time of Iftaar, a person’s ibadat is at its climax that fast that hunger and thirst for the sake of Allah swt, that mujahadda and again you see the link between mujahadda and maghfirah; that a person has reached the peak the height the climax of their mujahida which was the day long fast that is a moment because it is at such a height of mujahida that Allah swt sends the height of His Maghfirah upon them, and He sends His special Forgiveness upon them at that moment; at this maximum height of sacrifice for Allah swt. And we will find ourselves also naturally taht we will be able to make a solid 10-15 minutes of dua at that time, otherwise normally in the year we are not able to make dua dfor that long and thats because there is a link between ibadah and dua: the more and more ibadah and worship we do; the more dua we are able to make to Allah swt.

Similarly in the morning, At the time of Suhoor Allah swt has a special acceptance for our duas just because of this niyya; that shows the power of our niyyah of our intention. That Allah swt is so happy, why? because its a true niyyat because there is ikhlas and sincerity in that intention. At the time of suhoor, we truly absolutely, sincerely genuinely from the bottom of our heart intend to fast for that day. And so when an intention is so true, when a niyyah is so khalis Allah swt, Allah swt also sends His maghfirah at that time.  And this is another lesson that we learn in the month of Ramadan – that if you bring to Allah swt true ‘amal like a whole day of fasting or even if you bring to Allah swt a true niyyah a true intention such as at the beginning at the time of suhoor, either one is sufficient to get the absolute Forgiveness and Maghfirah of Allah swt and to get qubooliah of our duas and this is a lesson we carry through out the year. Any time we bring a true mukhlis amal, anytime we make a mukhlis dua, we are truely mukhlis in our niyyah – making true and sincere intention to do something for the sake of Allah swt.  Allah swt accepts our duas at that moment.

And so, we should make as many duas as we can and I’d mentioned last week as well that this is a time when women folk -specially at the time of iftaar- should also wrap up whatever preparations they have to make of making food and they should spend atleast the last 10 minutes in making Dua. And  similarly, when we wake up early in the morning, we should try to eat -even though it is absolutely permissible to eat right upto the last second- why should we waste this opportunity to make dua to Allah swt so we should try to stop eating about 5-10 minutes before time ,Atleast and some of us who maybe able to spend more than that, but at the very least we should try to spend the last 10 minutes before dawn, the last 10 minutes before suhoor making Dua to Allah swt, making dhikr, making istighfar, reciting salawaat, worshiping Allah swt and turning to Him in this time of acceptance. And we should make dua with our tongue, we can make dua in our heart – if a womens baby starts to cry at that moment she can make dua in her heart at whatever level and with as much concentration of Dua that we can offer we should make dua to Allah swt. We should not fail to make dua at any one of these two times, any one of the days of Ramadan.

Like I mentioned last week, this is like Allah swt giving us 60 blank cheques, signed by Allah swt Himself. Blank so that we can choose to make any duas we want. So, we should make as many duas as we can at these two times and we should make dua with the proper Adab towards Allah swt. Not as if we are giving orders to Allah swt or giving a checklist or wishlist to Allah swt. We should make dua with a tone of humility, of submissiveness, of yearning of hope in His Mercy. And we should make dua first and foremost for our Deen, for the disciplining of our nafs and for the purification of our heart. And for our success in this mission of taqwa:  لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

5. Allah swt has made the entire creation make dua for the person

It comes in Hadith that syeddina RasulAllah saw said that Allah swt has made the entire creation all of makhlooq make dua specifically for the maghfirah of the fasting believer Allahuakbar, it comes in hadith that the ‘birds in the air, the fish in the oceans and  the animals on the land all of them are perpetually, constantly it means 24/7 making dua for the maghfirah of that believer who is fasting Allahu akbar so we may only be able to free ourselves up for dua for our own forgiveness at the time of suhoor and iftaar and then we maybe busy so what Allah swt did to maximize the benefits of this month, so He said okay you are going to go back to your dunya what I am going to do is that I will make my entire creation a jamaat of dua for you Allahu akbar all of creation we can’t even imagine it, All of creation makes dua for the maghfirah of the fasting believer, subhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahilazeem.

If we just take for e.g. one creation it would be amazing for instance if we just take the birds who knows how many billions of birds there are, and every one of them making dua for us personally. subhanAllah.

And if we take the other example: all of us know marine life or ocean life is just phenomenal that is billions and billions, hundreds of billions of life forms live in the oceans of this world and each and every one of them is making Dua for us, subhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahil azeem.

6. Gates of Jahannum are closed in this month of Ramadan

Allah swt, in addition to opening the gates of Jannah, has closed the gates of Jahannum in this month of Ramadan. Again that means both literally, just like Jannah has entryways and portals, Jahannum also has entryways and portals. It also means figuratively that the means and ways and attractions of Jahannum for the soul of the believer are closed in this month of Ramadan.

7. Every single night in Ramadan, Allah swt frees people from Jahannam

Nabi saw gave the example of a particular valley, this is known as the valley of the people of bani kalb, and this tribe was known to have a very large amount of goats; thousands and thousands of goats used to graze in this large valley of the people of bani kalb and sayyidina RasoolAllah saw in the hadith gave this as an example and said that in every single night in Ramadan not just the last 10 nights, In every single night of Ramdan as mnay people are freed form Jahannam as the number of hair in all the goats of the tribe of banu kalb. Now if there are 1000 goats, all of them will have lets say 100o small small hair will be there on every goat, this means millions of fasting believers are freed every night in the month of Ramadan. This means throughout the month or Ramadan maybe billions of hundreds of billions will be freed from Jahannam in this month.

What does it mean to be free from Jahannam?

It means prior to the month of Ramadan they had lead such a life that had lead them to  deserve Jahannam, their names were written in the ranks of the people of Jahannam, If they had died on 30th of Shaban they might have gone to Jahannam but they turned to Allah swt in Mujahaddah and kept the fasts in Ramadan, they turned to Allah swt in taubah in the month of Ramadan and repented from all of their sinful ways that had led them to Jahannam due to that every night Allah swt accepts the taubah of thousands and millions of fasting believers. So, every single night millions of people are freed from the registers of Jahannam. Allahu akbar kabira

8. Allah swt has blessed us with a very special night of Laylatul Qadr in this month:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

[Surah Qadr, Ayah 3]

Which means that Laytul is greater than 1000 months which is greater than 83 years; this is what today people call winning the Jackpot. Instant Jackpot! Imagine, if we spent this night in worship it is as if we spent 83 nights in worship, if we make dua on this night, it means we made dua for 83 years; if we cried in repentance to Allah swt, it is as if we were crying for 83 years. Allahu akbar Kabira

Theres a special way that a person can be guaranteed of finding laylatul Qadr. In the ahadith, RasulAllah saw has given certain signs of Laylatul Qadr and really you can limit it down to the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan. Although this is a very interesting discussion that the students and scholars of hadith have on the topic of laylatul qadr, by and large I would say for the cast majority of evidence does suggest that you can safely conclude that it will fall on the one of the odd nights of the month of Ramadan which is the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th – highest probability. Certainly, We should give life in particular to those 5 odd nights, those who have more strength should give life to all of the last 10 nights, those who have more strength should give life to all of the 30 nights of the month of Ramadan.

An easy way to be sure that we are guaranteed of finding the night of laylatul Qadr is what Allah swt has mentioned in the Qur’an:

حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ

[Surah Qadr, Ayah 5] that this night lasts till the rising of the dawn, this night will last until fajr. So, if every night we spend the last 10 15 20 30 minutes before fajr in ibadat then at the end of the month we can say that we would be guaranteed of having made dua in laylatulQadr. Because whenever laylatul Qadr would’ve occurred it would’ve lasted until fajr.

And this is the night when Allah swt send His maximum maghfirah the believers who have been fasting in the month of Ramadan. So, we should seek this night, we should honour this night. If nothing else, we should spend 10-15 or more minutes every early morning, pre-dawn seeking out this night.

9. Allah swt sends His special Mercy on Laylatul Jaiza – the night before Eid and the night before the last Roza

Allah swt sends His special Mercies on the night before Eid Salah, it is known as laylatul Jaiza. In South Asia, subcontinent people call this chaand raat and on that night you see a lot of, you know, they go out into the market place and put themselves in an environment for gatherings of parties and so they deprive themselves of the spiritual benefits of both that night and the preceding 30 days of Ramadan. Now, this is amazing. This literally means that technically this night is outside the month of Ramadan, its the night of the 1st of Shawwal, but the power of Ramadan is so much that it spills over after Ramadan into the night of the 1st of Shawwal, the first night after Ramadan.

And this you can imagine that somehow a person missed something out in the start of Ramadan, so special mercies come at the end of Ramadan; the last 10 days. And of theres somebody who didn’t keep track of time properly, feels that there are some duas that He forgot to make in Ramadan, Allah swt has made the last night; the night before Eid as much forgiveness.

It is mentioned in Hadith that from the 1st of Ramadan upto the last night of Ramadan, as many people were freed from Jahannam Allah swt will free that many people from again on the very last night of Ramadan[night before the last Roza]. So, the very last night of Ramadan as many people are freed from Jahannam as were freed from it throughout the whole month of Ramadan.

And, it also comes in hadith that on the night of 1st Shawwal, Allah swt sends His special maghfirah and forgiveness on people.

So these 2 nights: the very last night of  Ramadan and the very 1st night of Shawwal are also additional asbaab of the mercy of Allah swt.

10. Allah swt sends His special forgiveness for those who join Eid Salah

Continuing in the 1st of Shawwal, the 10th Sabab or means by which Allah swt sends His maghfirah is for those who pray the Eid Salah. The morning of the 1st of Shawwal, those who go and pray Eid Salah. It comes in Hadith that Allah swt gazes upon the gatherings of Eid. And obviously Allah swt knows everything but npnetheless it is His aadat His practice  to sometimes engage the angels in a dialogue.

So, He asks the angels: O my angels, why are so many people gathered together?

The angels reply that” O Allah swt, they are gathered together for the Salah of Eid, they have fasted in the month of Ramadan, they have prayed taraveeh and other worships in the nights of Ramadan and now they have all gathered together to make one salah to You, on this morning of Eid. And they are hopeful of Your Mercy and forgiveness. And then the angels say that O Allah swt there are also some people in this Eid prayer who didn’t fast in the days of Ramadan and who didn’t give life to the nights of Ramadan with worship and they just showed up on Eid because maybe they were customary Muslims.

Even then Allah swt says that because they have come to this gathering and you yourself  have said that this is the gathering of the people who have hope in My Mercy and My forgiveness. So, I send My Rehma, My Maghfirah on even them as well. Allahu akbar kabira

It means that the power of the Mercy and Forgiveness of this month is so much that anybody on Eid Salah also makes true Taubah to Allah swt, Allah swt will accept their Taubah because they have presented themselves to Allah swt in the gathering of those believers who fasted in the month of Ramadan. Allahu akbar kabira

11. Allah swt Himself writes the reward for the fast of a believer

Another special feature of the month of Ramadan is that Allah swt Himself writes the reward for the fast of a believer. It comes in Hadith that Allah swt said:

As-Saumu li : That the fasting has been done for Me, for My sake Wa Ana Ujzabihi: And I will decide the reward for it.

And, it means that the reward is so immense that the angels, the kiraamun katibeen cannot write down what the reward is for fasting, On the day of Judgement, Allah swt Himself will reward with His own Qalam, His own Generosity, His own Fazal, His own Grace, for that person who fasts. So, this is the proof of the great azmat, the great significance Allah swt has given to the fasts that He Himself wants to reward it.

Sometimes Parents do this with their children that I want to give the reward for this myself; I will personally give this reward and thats exactly what Allah swt is saying. And, I’ve mentioned in the previous hadith as well, some of the commentators of hadith have taken a second meaning of the second part of the hadith: wa Ana Ujzabihi - that it means not that Allah swt is saying that I will give the reward, it means that I Myself will become the reward for the fasting. Then this can be understood in the light of a famous saying that:

‘man kaana lillah-e-kaanallahu lahu’ : that person who becomes Allah’s, Allah becomes theirs.

And here, it is being said that Allah swt Himself will become the reward for fasting; it means Allah swt’s pleasure, His vision, the Ro’yat the Deedaar of Allah swt in Jannat etc.

12. Fasting is a Shield for the believer

The next special Mercy that is mentioned in Hadith is that the Prophet saw said that Saum[Fasting] is a shield for the believer.And a shield is something that is used to protect a person. It does not specify in the Hadith that what exactly Fasting is a shield from, clearly. Because shields are somethings that are used to protect us from that which is harmful so it may mean that Fasting is a shield from our own vices. Our own bad attributes. Our own harmful characteristics.

And we should make this niyyat that for e.g. is we feel that one of our bad characteristics is creeping up in Ramadan. Our anger is coming out, our greed is coming out. So, we can make dua that Ya Allah! Your Beloved Messenger saw said that Fasting is a shield, Ya Allah make this Fasting a shield for me and protect me from my own inner vices, own deceptions of my nafs, own wailing of my nafs

13. Allah swt has made ‘Baab-ur-Rayyan’ – a special Gate of Jannah for the Fasting believers of Ramadan

Allah swt has made a special gate of Jannah only for those of His believers who fasted in the month of Ramadan. This is known as Baab-ur-Rayyan. It comes in Hadith that there are 8 gates of Jannah and one gate of Jannah is specifically for those believers who used to fast regularly in the month of Ramadan. Allahu akbar, I don’t know the details at this moment about all the other gates, maybe theres a gate of Taqwa, maybe theres a gate of wilayat, there maybe other gates that many of us may feel that we will not be able to pass. But if we can fast in this month of Ramadan in a very sincere way. with a very high degree of quality and concentration. And we can do this every year, then we can be hopeful that if nothing else we will inshaAllah be able to enter Jannah through this gate, this baab-ur-Rayyan.

to be cont’d iA. [concluding lines]

[This are some highlights of the Tazkiya Talk given by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db] on 05-08-2010]

To listen to the original talk CLICK HERE [(to download: right click + save target as / save link as)

Preparing for Ramadan

Posted in CII talks, Ibadah, Purification of the Heart, Ramadan, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by Islamic Spirituality

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ

Decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous -

[Fasting for] a limited number of days [Surah Baqarah, 2:183-184]

Most of us have spent so many Ramadans but we are still as unprepared for it as a 1st grader. Just like he has to get his bag together and his pencils and stickers in order to prepare for the first day of school, and imagine that when he gets to college, he tells his mom that he’s still as unprepared and wants help in putting together his backpack. We are in a similar condition.

There are only two ways to prepare for Ramadan. If you are standing at the edge of the shore, it is up to you to be swept away or to measure and analyze the wave.

1. we are the sevants and slaves of Allah(swt) and we promise and pledge to give up everything for Him

so whatever He likes we will do and whatever is even slightly displeasing to Him, not just haram but also makrooh, we’ll leave that and be totally swept away by the wave. This method takes 1min!

2. to understand the beauty of Allah

this will be our focus tonight. The Prophet(saw) used to pray for ramadan and prepare for it since rajab! And for most of us, rajab and shaban is spent in total ghaflat. The cure for this is to spend shaban in the sunnah way. The Prophet(saw) used to:

(i)                  fast frequeently.

(ii)                be ever aware that ramadan is coming just like a person standing at the shore is aware of and anticipating the wave that is coming to hit him.

Sahaba ra used to think about ramadan all year! they understood the azmat and majesty of ramadan.

Allama Binori rehmatullah ilaeh called it the month of wilayah.

He used to prove this from the quran by quoting teo ayahs:

  1. fasting has been prescribed for a certain number of days so that you may become muttaqi.
  2. Who are the friends of Allah except the muttaqoon.

Therefore, ramadan=taqwa and taqwa=wilayah!

And this blessing is not given to us due to any goodness of our acts but rather due to Allah(swt)’s mercy in this month and the power of ramadan which transforms our faulty and incomplete imaan into an acceptable one.

The beauty of islam: It is the deen of fitrah.

It’s made perfectly for humanity and humanity is perfectly made for it.

Allah(swt) has two names: zahir (apparent) and batin (hidden)

many aspects of deen have these siffaat. Similarly, ramadan has a zahir (abstainance from food, drink, lawful relations) which leads to a batin sift (taqwa)

Quran: inna akramakum ‘indallahi atQakum. Indeed the most honored of you in the sight of Allah are the ones with the most taqwa.

taqwa is the highest most noble sift near Allah(swt) and it means total submission of the outward and the inner.

Three Different Aspects to Ramadan

There are three aspects to Ramadan.

I – RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TAQWA AND HUNGER

  • Imam Ghazali rehmatullah ilaih writes a whole book about how hunger (gluttony) and lust are connected. This is one of the harms of eating more.
  • A great mistake we make every day every year in ramadan is tht we deprive ourselves from the benefits of hunger.
  • Every year we focus on how to spend our time from fajr to maghrib. This year its going to be dfferent and the difference will be that this time ramadan is going to be spent in focusing on the time from maghrib to fajr rather than fajr to maghrib.
  • Don’t eat too much!! We build spiritual power which come naturally with hunger and we spend our entire day building it, but instead of using it to do ibadah in the night, we overeat! so much that it’s a common joke that we gain weight! What should be done is that we should reduce our food intake even from that which it is in normal days. Make your target to lose weight, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 15 pounds, 5 kilos, 10 kilos. Otherwise we’ll collect spiritual power from fajr to maghrib and waste it in eating from maghrib to fajr.
  • what is spiritual power?

Some stories from the sahaba can explain it.

1)      One night, Hazrat Umer(RA) was unable to sleep because he was so hungry. AllahoAkbar. You and I cannot even imagine the extent of that hunger! One would think that he would feel sleepy due to the exhaustion and feeling of weakness but imagine how long he must have gone without food that he couldn’t even sleep, that’s how hungry he was! so he decided to go to masjid-e-nabvi and pray. He was food-deprived, sleep-deprived but he rose up to pray. AllahoAkbar. There he found Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA). When he asked him why he was there, Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA) also said that I was so hungry that I couldn’t sleep so I have come to pray. As they both were praying, Prophet(saw) emerged from his hujrah as well. AllahoAkbar! When they asked him what brought him there, he said the same thing! AllahoAkbar!

this is a strong power!

2)      The Battle of khandaq. They were all so hungry that the hollowness of their stomachs pressing into their ribs pained them so they wound cloth around their waists. For some, the pain was so much, that they wrapped a stone around themselves to relieve the pain. The Prophet(saw) put TWO stones! And during this time, they were digging trenches and doing hard manual labor in the heat of the Arab desert. Us, with our stomachs full and ample sleep, cannot do the smallest of tasks. Just imagine, Allah(SWT) is trying to bestow this kind of power on us during this month!

  • You have to keep this in mind. And keep repeating to yourself over and over again “maghrib to fajr, maghrib to fajr”!
  • Our Ulema say that one cannot experience the sweetness of imaan until he has not experienced the sweetness of hunger.
  • We should keep a tinge of hunger lasting from maghrib all the way to fajr.
  • benefits of eating less:
  1. sleep less
  2. eating less and sleeping less leaves you with more time! use tht time to do ibadah and khidmat of humanity.
  • another big mistake is that we make eating a social activity in Ramadan. this is not the month! Yes, we should get together as a community for ibadah and taraweeh, not for merrymaking and collective dining. tht’s what eid-ul-fitr is for! We have to earn tht day by spending 29 days in fasting and ibadah.
  • Don’t spend more than 15-20 mins in eating. When you value time like this, you’ll start appreciating the barakah of time even more and use it more efficiently.
  1. spend less. we realise tht we can live in a smaller budget. Hazrat Aisha(RA) narrates that the Prophet(saw) used to increase in his charity during ramadan.

II – TAQWA

Ramadan is a wakeup call to bring us back to taqwa. Taqwa means to abstain, refrain and not do something that is displeasing to Allah(swt) or the Prophet(saw) or solely for the pleasure and out of the love for Allah(swt).

  • There is a special relationship between Ramadan and taqwa. A person should think of Ramadan as a taqwa training workshop. Its not just fasting and praying. One has to decide that I need to stay away from all tht i know is displeasing to Allah. We need to sharpen our quloob with taqwa.
  • often also ramadan is directed towards eid or the last ten days. Actually the power of Ramadan amazes me. Wherever I happen to be in the world and whenever I give a talk on the first night of Ramadan, after maghrib, that one and a half hour of their life spent in Ramadan, has such amazing barkat that the same person who cannot stand 20mins in nafl prayer says isha with jamaat and stands for 2 hours in taraweeh, listening to the Quran. It gets people to pray for 2 hours just when they have been in ramadan for 1 ½ hrs! this is even before thay have actually fasted or done any other ibadah! So imagine the power at the end of ramadan. This is why we need to make a running start!
  • Allah(swt) is trying to tell us in this month that if we can leave lawful things and lawful relations for the sake of Allah(swt) then we are surely able to leave all unlawful things which are displeasing to Him.

III – MONTH OF QURAN

This month, we have to make an extra effort to become people of the Quran.

  • Read and recite the Quran, listen to the Quran, learn some surahs, read the tafsir, study the tajweed.
  • But also important: tarbiyah. We have to submit our hearts. Pick a surah or even 1 or 2 ayahs and inscribe them on our heart and change our lives according to these ayahs or surah. Our ulema say that some ayahs are so robust that they are enough to bring a person completely to islam. E.g. inna lillahe wainna ileahe raajioon Or wallazeena aamanuu ashaddu hubballillah.
  • take an ayat or surah and think about it all the time..
  • Hadith of the Prophet(saw) that the 1st ten days of Ramadan are of Rehmat, the 2nd ten for forgiveness, and the 3rd ten for emancipation from hell-fire. In explaining this hadith, it is said that it is referring to 3 different groups of people:

The 1st group is those people who were actually prepared for Ramadan and are true momineen, abiding by the shairah in its full glory throughout the year. so they drown in the mercy of Allah(swt) from the 1st day! Allah(swt) out of His mercy accepts their ibadat and blesses them.

The 2nd group is of those who sometimes follow the shariah, sometimes not. Sometimes they control their nafs and sometimes they give in. sometimes they avoid sin, other times they don’t. They need to spend the 1st ten days in taubah and free of sins and live with taqwa, then Allah(swt) makes the next ten days a way of maghfirat for them and forgives their past sins.

The 3rd group is of those people who are so far from the shariah that they even question their imaan. It said that they are people who have earned jahannum. mustahiq-un-naar. that person spends 20 days in taubah, taqwa, ibadah, promises and pledges, stays away from sin, then Allah(swt) removes their name from the list of jahannumis and forgives them for all their sins and includes them in the ranks of the momineen.

  • We are the runaway slaves of Allah(swt). We have orphaned ourselves from Him and we have left Him whereas He has said that He is close to us, even closer than our ownselves! But we have chosen to stay away from Him. So we should spend this month to increase our closeness with Allah (swt). And this is something we should pray for every single day in Ramadan that Allah (swt) you have said you are close to us, we also want to be close to you.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

  1. focus on decreasing our eating
  2. focus on the time between Maghrib to Fajr
  3. free ourselves in Ramadan to do ibadah as it is only a few days of such Rahmah.
  4. criticially analyse our lives and do our muhaasbah before Ramadan
  5. make a plan for all things we want to change about ourselves and make taubah and dua for every single one of them.
  6. Increase in the quantity and quality of ibadah. read & learn quran, be regular in our durud, be regular in our istighfaar, zikr and tilawat, be regular in our salah, in the lowering of our gaze, and in smiling to family and friends.
  7. make a schedule of worship which we can also continue after Ramadan. Of course, you will have the ibadaat that are extra and special for Ramadan but jumpstart on a permanent schedule for the rest of your life in terms of worship and sleep.
  8. ittiba’e sunnah! add to sunnah. Discover, learn and start a new sunnah. could be small or big but add to zahiri amal of sunnah because Allah(swt) has told us clearly that the zahir affects the baatin.
  9. It’s the month of dua; special qubooliyah. Our biggest tragedy is that we don’t know how to make dua, to ask, to cry. Ramadan’s barakah is that our hearts are naturally more inclined to dua due to our ibadah and obedience. We should maximize on this power and make more dua for our spiritual self.
  10. Three time are very special for the qubooliyat of dua:

(i)      when breaking fast – iftaar (Ramadan is not the month of savories, or the month of samosaas, or pakoras! its the month of ibadah and dua) make use of this special time every single day! It ok if the food is luke warm or the pakoras are not too crisp!

(ii)    when starting fast – suhoor

(iii)   laylatul qadr. imagine 83years and 4months of power, of taqwa, ikhlaas, tawakkul, sabr. Our sheikh taught us a special way to find laylatul qadr guaranteed! Allah(swt) says in the Quran that it lasts till the beginning of fajr. so every morning we spend 15-20mins just before fajr to make dua and do ibadah! By the end of Ramadan, you can be sure that you did not miss the laylatul qadr.

  1. Month for us to patch up with Allah(swt) and become His beloved. He says in the Quran that He is near to us and He’s our intimate companion. we should reciprocate these feelings this month. We should make dua that O Allah! we want to make ourselves close to you and we want to feel your closeness.

May Allah(swt) give us the opportunity to take full benefit from this blessed month.

THIS IS NOT A TRANSCRIPTION OF SHAYKH KAMALUDDIN AHMED[db]‘S TALK

[These were merely some rough notes and pointers taken down during his tazkya talk. highlights from the Tazkya Talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db] on 29nd July 2010]

Tazkya Talk Flyer ->  [To listen to Shaykh's Tazkya Talk every Thursday 10:10pm [Click here]

(to download: right click + save target as / save link as)

MP3 (20.3MB)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7329196/CII%20Online/07.29.2010%20-%20Preparing%20for%20Ramadan%20-%20EKK.mp3

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 193 other followers