Saturday, September 30

Ramadhan: The Merits and Etiquette of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadhan

by Shaykh Ali Al Timimi

(May Allah SWT have mercy on Him and ease His suffering, Ameen)

My dear brothers and sisters! It is reported in as-Sahihayn[1] that ‘A’isha – may Allah be pleased with her – informs that when the last ten nights began Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would ‘tighten his izar’, keep awake during the night, and awaken his family. In Muslim’s report she said that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would exert himself during the last nights to a greater extent than at any other time.

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would emphasize the last ten nights of Ramadan what he would not emphasize at any other time during the month by performing specific acts that he would not perform at any other time during the month. The scholars who have studied the Prophet’s Sunnah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) have identified six specific acts that he would do unlike the other nights of Ramadan:

He would keep awake during the night.

This could imply that he would keep awake throughout the whole night. For it is reported in al-Musnad upon ‘A’isha that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would combine the [first] twenty nights [of Ramadan] with prayer and sleep, but if the [final] ten nights began he would ‘pull up and tighten his izar.’

Or this could imply that he would keep awake most of the night. Some of the earliest scholars have stated whoever keeps awake half the night, has kept awake all the night.

He would awaken his family for prayer.

Abu Dharr – may Allah be pleased with her – that Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) led them in [night] prayer during the night of the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, and the twenty-seventh.

It is mentioned that he called his family and his women [to pray] during the night of the twenty-seventh in particular.

This shows that it is stressed to awaken them during the more emphasized odd nights which laylatul-qadr is sought.

Sufyan ath-Thawri would say, “It is so beloved to me if the last ten nights begin for someone to pray tahajjud and exert oneself and awaken one’s wife and children to pray if they can endure that.”

He would ‘tighten his izar.’

This Arabic expression means he would stay away from his wives.[2] It is reported that he would not return to his bed until Ramadan ended. Anas reports he would roll up his bed and stay away from his wives.

The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would perform ‘itikaf during the last ten nights. It is forbidden for the one performing ‘itikaf to have sexual relations. The wisdom behind this is that while Allah permitted during the month of Ramadan sexual relations during the night, it was legislated that during the last ten nights for those seeking layatul-qadr to avoid sexual relations so that they might not miss it. For this reason those engaged in ‘itikaf are prohibited from sexual relations.

He would delay his breaking of his fast until his predawn meal.

It is reported upon ‘A’isha and Anas that he the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would delay his dinner until sahur. This is because dhikr for those who know Allah suffices them from food and drink.

He would wash himself between maghrib and ‘isha’.

Ibn Abi ‘Asim reports that ‘A’isha has reported this. Ibn Jarir says the earliest Muslims used to like to wash every night of the last ten. Some of them would wash and perfume themselves[3]. Hammad ibn Salama said that Thabit and Humaid would wear their best clothes and perfume themselves and perfume the mosque during those nights which one would expect laylatul-qadr.

So it is preferable during these last ten nights, and especially those which one expects laylatul-qadr, to beautify oneself by cleaning oneself, wearing perfume and one’s best clothes. One does not truly beautify oneself outwardly unless one beautifies oneself inwardly by repentance and remorse. For outer beauty with inner ugliness is worthless.

He would perform ‘itikaf.

‘A’isha said that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to engage in ‘itikaf during the last ten nights of Ramadan till Allah took him, and then his wives followed this practice after his death. This reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Seclusion for worship is legislated in the masajid so that neither the congregational nor the jumu’a prayers are missed. To seek seclusion elsewhere is a reprehensible innovation.

My brothers and sisters! We have been commanded to seek to perform as many good deeds, be they obligatory or just praiseworthy. At the same time, we are ordered to avoid as many evil or reprehensible deeds. Those whom Allah has decreed eternal happiness in the Hereafter will find performance of good deeds and avoidance of evil deeds easy for them, while those whom Allah has decreed eternal sorrow in the Hereafter will find themselves unable to accomplish any good deeds nor avoid any evil deeds.

With that we should always remember that what we ultimately seek is that our deeds are accepted, not just mere physical exertion of our bodies. For as the earliest Muslims would say, “How many of those who are awake in prayer are denied Allah’s mercy (mahrum), while those who are asleep are shown it (marhum)?”

[1] I.e., al-Bukhari and Muslim.
[2] In other words not have sexual relations.
[3] Women are not allowed to perfume themselves when going out in public.

Friday, September 29

Ramadhan 1427 (5): Al-Ghiba'a (Part I)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful

Allah (swt) reminds us in the Quran:

"O Believers, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you, so that you may learn to restrain yourselves."

This restraint isn't limited at our abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours....its more than that, it's about gaurding every part of our body from haram...and that is more important than the giving up of food and drink ramadhan, because it is the control of your nafs that will truly make us believers.

Reprehensible actions and characteristics that come under the title of ‘Major Sins’ are many. Some rate higher on the scale due to the damage they cause to the individual’s spirituality, and havoc they wreak on the society.

Backbiting or "Al-Ghiba" is of these Major Sins, because it is the root of dissension and discord. It is the ‘arm of the devil’ responsible for spreading unpleasantness, malice and spite, and the leading cause of enmity amongst people.

What is Al-Ghiba???
The Prophet of Allah (SAW) said: "Backbiting is to mention something about your brother that he may hate to have mentioned".
Moussa bin Jaafar (AS) said: Whoever mentions something about a man behind his back which is a part of him and his character, and the people already know about it, then it is not backbiting. Should he mention something about him behind his back which the people have no knowledge of, then he has backbitten him. If he mentions him behind his back with something that is not part of him, then he has slandered him. If the defect or characteristic in a person is present, visible, and known to all then it does not come under the category of backbiting, but it would come under the subtitle of defamation, causing hurt and scorning the faithful. Nonetheless, under the guise of these subtitles it is still forbidden.

A Summary of Al-Ghiba
1. Al-Ghiba is the revelation of a defect of shortcoming, be it something common, or concerned with ones religion, which has been hidden by Allah from the ears of the one about to hear it. It is that which the person being talked about would hate to have revealed and the intention of the backbiter is to belittle the one who possesses that characteristic.
2.Transmitting news of something which is not known to others, not for sake of scorning or belittling, but for other reasons, such as amusement, or to use as evidence, or even as a show of compassion (for example you feel sorry for someone who may have a physical or some other defect or problem, which is known only to you, but you talk about it to someone else who has no knowledge of it out of pity. This is considered backbiting). There is no doubt that this type of backbiting referred to in the above instances is forbidden.
3. There is the transmitting of news of a person's defect to someone else who already knows of this defect. On face value, some narrations say that this form of talk is removed from under the title of backbiting, although there is other narrations that place this also under the title of backbiting. Nevertheless in light of that, should the backbiter's intention be to scorn and belittle, then without doubt it again falls under the title of a forbidden act. Because the transmitting of such news may cause harm and weaken a believer’s position. Although the backbiter's intentions may not be to cause harm, it nevertheless happens and it is beyond his power to control the fallout from what has been relayed to others.
4. There is little difference between the mentioning of defects or characteristics in one form or another. Be it a physical, dispositional or hereditary characteristic or defect, be it about one's words or one's actions, about one's worldly business or religious matters, or about matters related to his dress, house, transport and the likes.
5. Things that come under the mentioning of physical bodily characteristics is to say so and so is bleary-eyed, cross-eyed, bald, short, black, yellow and so on. Characteristics a person may possess, thus causing him hurt should it be mentioned in an ill manner. As for backbiting related to heritage is to say this persons father is immoral, cruel, sordid etc. As for dispositional backbiting, it is to say that one is covet, or proud, or a coward, is weak, or a thief, etc.
6. Backbiting which strikes at ones beliefs and principles is to say for example, so and so is a liar, or drinks alcohol, or is negligent in his prayers. Backbiting related to one's worldly affairs is to say, so and so is a big eater or big sleeper, or his clothes are dirty, old, torn, long, short. In short, it is mentioning something that the other party does not accept.
7. It is also forbidden to generalize. An example of that is that you may have seen a Lebanese man stealing. You cannot say, 'The Lebanese are thieves', for then you have backbitten a whole nation.

The main point to note is the concept of controlling one's actions seems easy in ramadhan, because everyone jumps on the bandwagon and prays, fasts, recites quran and has the excuse that the shayateen are locked up we are able to do such and such. The action most people really have an issue with is the control of the tongue and in effect, the control of the nafs.
So turn, reflect, and really consider the value you are adding to a person through your it could be that in turn your speech is taking you closer to jahanum, not jannah...
‘Backbiting eats at one's good deeds (hasanaat) in the same manner that fire eats wood’.

Wednesday, September 27

Ramadhan 1427 (4): Zakat and Sadaqah..

Collect a portion of their wealth in charity, so that you may purify and bless them by means of it...
(Al Quran 9:103)
...Whetever you spend (in Allah's cause), He will replace it. He is the best of the providers.
(Al Quran 34:39)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'An act of charity is due every day from every joint of the body (as a means of showing gratitude to Allah for one's body and good health): Helping a person to ride hsis animal (or vehicle) or load his baggage is charity, a good word is charity, and showing someone the way is also charity'
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Every act of goodness is charity'.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: ' Do not hold back (from giving to peple and helping them), or Allah will withold (His mercy and blessings) from you.'
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'A person's wealth will never decrease from giving charity'.

We all know that zakah is one of the pillars of Islam, but how many of us really take heed in our actions? Many of us know these a'Hadith and still live in fear of poverty if we give anything of our wealth...others, well they simply see it as a "class thing"...but we're Muslims! It's our duty!!
Wake up Muslims, it's Ramadhan, purify yourselves!
Before it's too late....
Click any of the links to Islamic charities in the right menu to Donate now inshaAllah.

‘Surely they who recite the Book of Allah and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them secretly and openly, hope for a gain which will not perish’
(Surah al Fatir, Verse 29)

'By no means shall you attain righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah surely knows it'
(Surah aal Imran, Verse 92)
"The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in every ear; and Allah multiplies for whom He chooses; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing."
(Surah Baqarah, Verse 261)

Tuesday, September 26

Ramadhan 1427 (3): Seeking Knowledge Until Death

From the Life and Works of al-Imâm Ahmad
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful, may His salâh and salâm be upon His Final Messenger.

Imâm Ahmad had two sons, 'Abdullâh and Sâlih, whom were half-brothers. Sâlih relates that:
"A man saw my father carrying a mihbarah (a wooden inkwell that students used to carry along with their pens) and said, 'O Abâ 'Abdillâh! You are the Imâm of the Muslims!' "

This man spoke like this since he was surprised to see Imâm Ahmad carrying his mihbarah as the young students would carry it, or indeed that he would still read books, or shoulder the same responsibilities that the youth did. Note also how all the people were fascinated by him (by Imâm Ahmad), even the elders of the people!

Imâm Ahmad replied with a statement that nullified this man's whole understanding. He said:
"I will be with the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah (graveyard)."
What did he mean? He meant, "I will be busy with knowledge until I die."
Another narration mentions that he said this same statement on a separate occasion to another group of people:
"As for me, I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave."

When the time of his death came near, he said to those around him:
"Relate to me the statement of Hushaym." (Hushaym was Hushaym ibn Bashîr, Imâm Ahmad's first teacher. He met him in the year 179AH, when he began seeking knowledge at the age of 16) So they read to him what he had requested. This narrated tradition mentioned that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike a person groaning from pain. At that time, Imâm Ahmad had became very ill and he used to groan due to the pain yet when they informed him that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike groaning at such a time, he did not groan again until he died.

This is the reality of his statement, "I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave," meaning, "I must continue benefiting from knowledge."

So if you have left your youth behind and become a teacher or an educator, or a lecturer or professor in the university, or an author, and you say, "I have finished seeking knowledge," know that this is the situation of someone who does not know the reality of his affairs.
Al-'Ilm is knowledge of what? It is knowledge of the Speech of Allah and the speech of His Messenger, peace be upon him. Has anyone reached a level of awareness of the meanings of the Speech of Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, and also the statements of the scholars explaining the Book and the sunnah, a level of awareness that is sufficient?

No one has reached that level. No one who has the right intention and a proper heart has reached that level. Regarding this, Imâm Ahmad said, "With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah." He was addressing everyone, advising us to continue seeking knowledge and not to give it up for any petty reason.

In the study circles of our mosques we have seen a great number of students who are eager to learn for two months, and then they abandon it. Three months or so only. What is this?! Some of them seek knowledge for 3, 4, 5, or 7 years and then they abandon it.

Why is that? Is it because the lure of the world has come to you, so you are finished and now you head off into the world? Is it because a position was offered to you and you took it? Is it because you have reached a certain status, you have become a school director or professor in the university? For this you reason you have stopped seeking knowledge? No! You must continue seeking knowledge until you die. This is what will correct the society's problems, if their scholars take this advice. As for the students of knowledge, then they must hold fast to this advice, "With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah."
He must stay with his book until he dies - reading, learning, memorizing, reviewing, teaching, until his end.

What are the people saying these days? "The rulings related to prayer, we know them, no problem." If you asked them about many of the rulings, you will find that they do not know them. Why is that? It is because they have become satisfied with the knowledge they have, even delighted that they have the knowledge they have. We ask Allah that He excuses us and that He is pleased with us.

If you asked them about affairs even greater than the prayer, issues of creed, issues of tawhîd, you will find that they have not fully grasped the issues, and they used to be students of knowledge! Why is that? Because they were negligent, and thus abandoned it.
Knowledge is honour, if you abandon it, it will abandon you. If you take the task seriously, you will be given some of it, from what Allah has decreed for you.

Say: "O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful


Monday, September 25

Ramadhan 1427 (2): Time for Reflection...

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
O Believers, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you, so that you may learn to restrain yourselves
(Al Quran 2:183)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Allah has said: "Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me, and I shall reward it (in a special way)...A person who fasts experiences two joys, he is joyful when he breaks his fast and he is joyful when he meets his Lord.
(Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Whoever fasts during Ramadhan with faith, seeking reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven. And whoever spends the Night of Power (Laylat ul Qadr) in prayer, with faith, seeking his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven'
(Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadhan with faith, seeking his reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven."
(Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'If a person does not give up accusations and bad behaviour while fasting, Allah has no need of his giving up food or drink.'
(Bukhari, Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: 'There are those who get nothing fom their fast but hunger and thirst, and there are those who pray at night and get nothing from it but loss of sleep.'
So this Ramadhan, purify your intentions, seek reward with Allah and fulfil your duties and increase your ibadaa' for the sake of Allah alone.
The true reward is yet to come (inshaAllah).

Saturday, September 23

Ramadhan 1427 (1): Have you got what it takes?

There are things in life which are not very important, those which are quite important and then those things which are absolutely vital for our collective well-being.

Let this be a reminder to me and anyone else who wishes to read on – there is simply nothing more vital for us in our very short and limited lives than to take absolute maximum benefit from the blessed month of Ramadhân.

The really interesting thing about the statement of Allah, the Most High:

"So remind (them), for indeed the reminder benefits those who have faith," [Al-Qur'ân 51:55]

is that those who have the pure characteristics of faith do indeed benefit, even though human nature by itself would seem to oppose that. Isn't that sadly true? When someone believes they know what to do, they don't necessarily appreciate being told again how to do it. If someone believes that they've heard everything they need to hear, it takes a seriously patient and magnanimous person to sit there and hear it again.

By now we've certainly heard all the Prophetic narrations on the blessings of this very special time; a time in which our righteous ones delight as the gates of Paradise are flung open, and in which our sinful ones breathe a sigh of relief and take time to reflect as the gates of Hell are locked up.

So at this moment of clarity, where the stomachs, hearts, eyes, ears, tongue and mind are all enjoying their greatest moment of purity, let us all try and make sure that we profit from the following points gleaned from the advice of our Pious Predecessors ...

1. Make sure that this blessed month becomes a period of accounting for your actions, a revision of your daily routine, an opportunity for the betterment of your life for all your years to come. To enter Ramadhân not believing it to be so will be a total loss. You've actually made it all the way here now, so let's reap the harvest! Think about all those who were aiming for this month but found a dark grave instead. Reflect on all those who woke in the morning but found that their evenings never materialised.
Consider for just a second as our scholars said: if you can't change your ways and gain at such a blessed time then at what time will you change?!

2. Try to make sure you perform all of the tarâwîh prayers in congregation for the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"Whoever prays with the Imam until he leaves, it is written for him that he prayed the entire night."

3. Do not be wasteful or extravagant with your wealth, for not only is that impermissible, but you reduce the opportunities of giving more in charity for which you could be rewarded for. They said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that he gave in charity especially during Ramadhân like the one who didn't fear or even recognise poverty.

4. Commit yourself to continue after Ramadhân that which you have prepared yourself to do during Ramadhân. The salaf would say:
"The sign of one's fasting being accepted from him in Ramadhân is the continuation of his good actions and character after Ramadhân."

5. Remember: this is a month of worship and hence action, not lethargy and sleeping. This is even more relevant here in the West considering winter is so close with its short days and long nights. It is well known from the Companions, in emulation of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, that they used to say:
"Reap the benefit of winter by fasting its days and standing (in prayer) during the nights."

6. Make your tongue habitual in the dhikr of Allah so that you don't become from those:
" ... who do not remember Allah except little."

7. When you feel the pangs of hunger, just remember how weak you actually are, how dependent you are upon food and other such necessities from the immense blessings of Allah, may He be glorified.

8. Make a concerted effort to permanently leave that which doesn't benefit you, but rather causes you harm. This is even more so when you are fasting. Maymûn used to say:
"The weakest of fasts is that in which only food and drink is left out."

9. Remember: your actions are a trust from Allah so audit yourself like any successful company does; have you performed and fulfilled your deeds as is deserving of them? This obviously applies to all our actions such as prayer, dhikr, manners but particularly fasting. Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
"Our fasts need istighfâr to make up for their deficiencies, and good deeds to intercede for them."

10. Hasten to seek forgiveness from those whom you have oppressed in any way, before they take from your (very few) good deeds. Don't forget, the greatest oppressive tool is the tongue so tether it as strongly as possible. Sha'bi narrated that 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
"Fasting is not just refraining from food and drink, but refraining from lying, falsehood, backbiting and swearing (by Allah)."
Abu al-'Âliyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, used to say:
"The fasting one is in a continual state of worship until he says about another person that which they would not like to hear."

11. Strive to feed the fasting one so that you can obtain a reward equal to his. Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, used to always break his fast sharing with the poor; if any of his family tried to prevent him from that, he would refuse to spend the night with them. It was also reported from him that whenever someone would come to him asking for food, he would give them his share and then return home to find his family had eaten what was left of food in his house. He would not let on and would end his fasting day without eating anything.

12. Know that Allah is the Most Generous and that He is the Most Merciful. He accepts the repentance of the penitent, more so than ever at such a special time.

13. If you have committed a sin or done something wrong which Allah, may He be glorified, has concealed for you from the people, know that this is an opportunity for you to seek repentance for those mistakes. Hasten to seek forgiveness and make sure that you do not return back to that sin.

14. Try to increase your knowledge of the explanation of the Qur'ân (tafsîr), the narrations of the Messenger, his biography (sîrah), and the principles of our religion – to seek such sacred knowledge is one of the highest forms of worship.

15. Stay away from such company and people which don't benefit you; try to accompany righteous good folk as much as you can. Good people always spread their blessings to others.

16. Going significantly early to the Mosques is a sign of great love and desire to please Allah; a sign that you are in need of him at all times, not just those times in which all the congregation are together. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
"The Companions would often spend much of their fast in the Mosque so as to purify it (i.e. purify the fast itself from useless talk, gossip, backbiting etc)."
17. Pay attention to those who are under your authority such as your family, guiding them to that which will benefit them in their dîn, for they will far more willingly take their example from you than from other people.
18. Do not go to extremes by preparing many different dishes for the iftâr meal. This leaves the women of the house no opportunity to benefit during the daytime of Ramadhân such as reciting the Qur'ân etc., especially if they are just busy cooking all day.
19. Reduce the amount of time you spend shopping in the night-time during Ramadhân, especially the last ten nights. This will prevent you wasting your time at such a precious and blessed period of your life.
20. Strive to spend these last ten special nights of Ramadhân standing in prayer. Remember: there is one particular night amongst these ten, known as laylat al-qadr which is in fact greater than a thousand months of worship. Surely to hit the jackpot on such a night is beyond our wildest dreams yet it is a jackpot available to everyone with no need to purchase a ticket and no need to take any risk – that's gambling dîn style.
21. Don't forget that 'Eid is a special day of thanksgiving to our Lord, so don't make it a day where you lose control of yourself, wasting all the good works of your heart and soul as it kept your desires in check for the entire month.
22. Set aside for yourself, even but for a small time, a period of isolation in the mosque known as i'tikâf – you will probably never enjoy such an intensely beneficial period for your soul to reflect upon how it is so cultured by day-to-day life in the 21st Century. This period of respite for the heart, mind and soul will allow you to replenish your vital organs with what they really need – the elixir of life which is nothing other than to be immersed in the worship of Allah, the Most Exalted.
23. On the festive day of 'Eid as you enjoy yourself with your family, take a brief moment to remember all those brothers and sisters of ours who are orphans, stricken by poverty, famine and war. Know that if you have the ability to make a difference, hasten to such an excellent deed; if you are unable, do not forget to thank Allah for His unlimited favours He bestows upon us.
24. Set aside for yourself regular days of fasting throughout the year – don't just make your relationship with fasting limited to Ramadhân only. Now that you have seen the rewards on offer for the fasting one, his special entrance of ar-rayyân in Paradise, his supplication which is not rejected, his closeness to his Lord during his fast, his moment of joy as he breaks it, his increased ability to refrain from the bad and embrace the good – now that you've actualised these benefits, carry them over to the six days of Shawwâl just after Ramadhân which is equivalent to fasting the entire year! Don't forget also the middle three 'bright' days of every month, Mondays and Thursdays when our actions are presented to our Lord, as well as a host of other special occasions to double up from such as the Days of 'Arafah, Tâsû'ah, 'Âshûrâ' etc.
25. Finally, reflect upon your overall condition; make an audit of all your daily affairs so that you can identify areas for improvement and rectification. These will include: sticking to the congregational prayers, paying zakât fully and on time, maintaining your family ties, being honourable with the parents, being mindful of your neighbours, rectifying old feuds and problems between previous friends and colleagues, cutting out extravagance and the wasting of wealth, culturing and educating those under your guardianship, being concerned with the affairs of your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, delighting in and then acting upon sincere advice, protecting oneself for riyâ' (showing off), loving for your brother that which you love for yourself, not allowing yourself to fall into the trap of backbiting others. Carry on reciting the Qur'ân and reflecting deeply upon its meanings and last but certainly not least, humble yourself as you listen to His Words being recited.

The list could simply go on and on – surely there are enough points here to make even the most heedless one reflect upon their state and consider changing their actions for the better.
O Allah, give us the ability and strength to make this Ramadhân our Ramadhân, a time for change and maturity, a time for quality and success, amîn.
May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Beloved Messenger, his family and all those who follow in his footsteps until the Final Day.

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Courtesy of Abu Eesa Niamatullah and PG

Saturday, September 16


In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.
Seek your Lord's forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance for my Lord is indeed Most Merciful and Loving.
Al-Quran 11:90

The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Allah, Blessed, Exalted is He, says, 'O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me (i.e. after death), not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth'.


The Prophet (SAW) said: 'Turn to Allah (in repentance), O people and ask for forgiveness (for your sins) for truly, I myself turn to Him in repentance one hundred times a day'.


The Prophet (SAW) said:'All Children of Adam are prone to make mistakes, but the best of those who wrong are those who constantly repent.'

Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi

How to Pray for Forgiveness

The Prophet (SAW) said: 'O Allah, forgive all my sins, great and small, first and last, open and secret'.


Ibn Umar (RA) relates:'We used to witness the Messenger of Allah repenting one hundred times in one session: 'O Lord forgive me and grant me repentance, for You are the Most forgiving, the Most Merciful.'

Abu Dawud

Things to Gaurd Against

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
(Luqman advised his son): Do not turn your face away from people with pride, or walk arrogantly through the earth. Surely Allah does not like any arrogant show-off. Be moderate in your gait, and lower your voice. Truly, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the donkey.
Al-Quran 31: 18-19
Major Sins
The Prophet (SAW) was asked about the major sins, and he mentioned: To worship other gods besides Allah (the One God), to disobey your parents, to commit murder and give false testimony.
Pride and Arrogance
The Propeht (SAW) said: Whoever has pride in his heart equal to the weight of a mustard seed shall not enter paradise. Someone said ' A person likes to wear beautiful clothes and fine shoes'. he replied 'Allah is beautiful and likes beauty. Pride means rejecting the truth and looking down on other people.
The Prophet (SAW) said: Eat, drink, give charity and wear (nice) clothes, (as long as you do so) without arrogance and extravagence. Allah loves that His blessings to be seen on His servant.
Ahmad, Ibn Majah
The Prophet (SAW) said: Indeed, Allah has saved you from the ignorant practices (of the days before Islam) and the bad habits of boasting about ancestors. A person is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust.
Ahmad, Abu Dawud
The Prophet (SAW) said: Shall I not tell you who the inhabitants of Hell are? They are the people who are stuck up, arrogant and stubborn.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) related that a man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said: Please give me some advice. The Propeht (SAW) said: Do not become angry (i.e. do not loose your temper), Do not become angry, Do not become angry.
Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Ahmad
The Prophet (SAW) said: The strong man is not the one who knocks others down, but the one who controld himself when he is angry.
Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Malik
The Prophet (SAW) said: Anger comes from Satan, and Satan was created from fire. It is water that extinguishes fire, so if any of you becomes angry he should make ablution.
Abu Dawud, Ahmad
Jealousy, Envy and Hatred
The Praophet (SAW) said: Beware of envy, for envy destroys good deeds the way fire consumes firewood.
Abu Dawud
The Prophet (SAW) said: There are only two (kinds of ) people worth envying: someone whom Allah has made rich, and who spends his money righteously; and someone whom Allah has given wisdom (The Holy Quran) and who acts accordingg to it and teaches it.
Anas Ibn Malik (RA) relates: Allahs Messenger (SAW) said to me: O my son, if you can spend each morning and evening with a heart free of hatred and deception against anyone, then do so.
Muhammed ibn Zayd (RA) relatesthat some people confessed to his grandfather Abdullah Ibn Umar: When we go to our rulers, we say things to them that are different from what we say when we leave them. Abdullah son of Umar told them 'We used to consider this hypocrisy'.
The Propeht (SAW) said: Whoever is two-faced (hypocritical) in this world will have two tongues of fire on the Day of Ressurection.
Abu Dawud
Miserliness and Greed
The Prophet (SAW) said: Every morning at dawn, two angels descend and one of them says,'O allah, give more to the person who spends in charity!' while the other one says ' O Allah, destroy the wealth of the miser!'
Gaurding one's tongue
The Prophet (SAW) said: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last day should say what is good, or be silent.
Bukhari, Muslim
The Prophet (SAW) said to his companions: 'Do you know what backbiting is?' 'Allah and His Messenger know best' they replied. 'Backbiting is to say anything about your brother (behind his back) that he would not like' he explained. Someone asked, 'But what if he is as I say?' The Prophet (SAW) replied ' If he is as you say, then you are guilty of backbiting and if he is not, you are guilty of slander'.
The Prophet (SAW) said: A believer is not a habitual curser, insulter, or one who is in the habit of using foul or obscene language.
The Propeht (SAW) said: Those who exaggerate will be ruined, those who exaggerate will be ruined; those who exaggerate will be ruined.
Muslim, Abu Dawud
The Prophet (SAW) said: Allah is displeased by your meaningless chatter, your asking too many questions, and wasting money.

Friday, September 15

The Good and Bad deeds

In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
The good deed and the bad deed are not alike
Repel the evil deed with one that is better, and then the one who was at
enmity with you (will become) a good friend.
But no one will attain this except those who patiently endure; and no one
will attain this except one who is truly fortunate.
Al-Quran 41: 34-35
The Prophet (SAW) said: Righteousness is good character, and sin is what makes you unconfortable inside, and you would not like other people to find out about you.
The Prophet (SAW) said: :eave whatever makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt; for it is the truth that brings peace of mind, and falsehood that brings doubt.
Tirmidhi, Nasa'i
The Prophet (SAW) said: Fear Allah wherever you are, follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will erase it, and behave well towards people.
Ahmad, Tirmidhi
The Prophet (SAW) said: The good deeds most loved by Allah are those that are done regularly, even if they are small.
Bukhari, Muslim

Sunday, September 10

The Morning Hours (Ad Dhuha): Quran v.93

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَى
مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَى
وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَى
وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَى
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَى
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَى
وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَى
فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ
وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ

Saturday, September 9

Wake up!

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
SubhanAllah, How many times do we look at others, raise an eyebrow, make a comment/remark, laugh at other, or backbite about our so called friends and family? But yet, when it comes to Nasiha (advise) we're there, standing tall, looking down on everyone and everything that just aint right. "Islam says this...Islam says that..." we're their focussing day in day out on other peoples flaws, faults, and mistakes, waiting, just waiting to knock someone down for a minor flaw, when we are standing there, with more holes in our character than we could even imagine! But no, we're so in awe of everything and everyone else, we forget about the one thing we have most control over....our nafs....yet this, is the one thing, we fail to acknowledge.


Most of us fall into the traps of our "old friend" shaytaan day in day out...when we least expect it...but how much of what we do wrong is really down to shaytaans lure and how much of it really is our own rotten nafs?

How many of us sit there and really focus on our flaws, or even like to be told we are travelling in the wrong direction? Far to many of us so called Muslims are all there for Ramadhan, we're fasting, we're reading our salah, reciting the Quran, and praying out Taraweeh and Tahajjud. But what are we doing this all for? Anyone can go about in a robotic fashion and fulfil a duty, or starve themself from dawn til dusk, but what are WE really gaining from this all. Do we really thinking that one month of super active ibadah is enough to clean our sins away? Do we really think that chilling with our mates each night at the masjid (during Ramadhan) is gunna help us?
Oh Muslims!Look at yourselves!
I mean, stop, stare, contemplate, really look at yourself.
Are we really clean inside and out, can we afford to be a one month a year Muslim?
Are we really doing all this for the right reason???
Is our intention, REALLY as pure as we think it is?
Well...the simple answer to the above...whether we like it or not
is NO
What are we gunna do about it? Are we really bothered where you stand with Allah SWT, or is shaytaan and your worldly affairs on this dunya all your bothered about???
Ramadhan is around the corner...the one month where Shaytaan is locked away and YOU have NOONE to blame for your ill deeds and actions but yourself (Your Nafs). So it goes without saying that this is the month we should all be attempting to fix the flaws in our nafs, spiritually cleanse ourselves and seek mercy from Allah SWT!

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
"O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves. (2:183)
The first step is to avoid what is halal (permitted) on every day except during Ramadan. Eating and drinking and having sexual intercourse are halal; but in Ramadan, the permitted thing becomes haram--forbidden--during the daytime. That is the basic level of cleanliness, but it is of a higher purpose to seek even greater cleanliness.

To attain greater cleanliness, the second step is to try to be clean from sins: we must guard our eyes, our tongue, our ears, our hands, our feet and all the parts of our body from wrongdoing. We must tell ourself, " O my tongue! Just as you are keeping yourself from tasting food and drink, yet still you must be careful. Don't say anything that is prohibited."
That second step--to clean ourselves from all prohibited actions and sins makes us physically and spiritually lighter; we may move toward higher spiritual stations. Yet it is not enough.
The third step is for hearts: you must attend to your heart. Allah Almighty is telling us: "your heart belongs to Me." Among the Children of Adam, every part of the body belongs to him but one. "Your heart belongs to Me, not to anyone else," He says, "Therefore I am asking that it be clean, absolutely clean."1
1 This is one tafsir of the hadith qudsi: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Allah said: The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah's Sight than the smell of musk." [Bukhari]

How can it be clean? Everything except Allah Almighty and His Pleasure must be put out of your heart. Every time you are by yourself, we can look into our heart to see if we are with our Lord or with someone or something else. Whenever we examine our heart and find ourself with our Lord, Almighty Allah, we must deem ourself fortunate. At that time divine light will enter our heart, and we may reach the true pleasure of faith.

The Prophet (s) said, "The lustful glance is one of the poison arrows of Satan. He who because of pity abstains therefrom will receive from Allah a belief, the sweetness of which will fill his heart."
Thus it is important for every believer to control his or her every action. Without guarding our actions we are destined to lose. And every action begins with a thought. Satan is well-aware of the nature of mankind. In every kind of thought he has put some of his tricks.

Whoever is able to control his thoughts, may be safe from Satan’s promptings; but whoever is unable to control them will have his mind filled with evil ideas and falsehood.

Whoever is under Satan’s control cannot be an obedient servant to his Lord.

As Muslims and believers this must be our first concern--to control ourselves. If we find any of Satan’s control affecting ourself, in either actions or thoughts, we must strive to make them clean.

The one who is able to control himself during Ramadan is going to be able, with Allah Almighty’s support, to take control of himself for the other eleven months. Everything begins small and grows, good things and bad things, good habits and bad habits; for each one we have a beginning. And the beginning is difficult, but you must be patient and continue; if you know that something is right, you must continue to keep on that way, even though it may be so difficult. Difficulties may be overcome by a strong faith and strong faith is with those people who are able to control themselves. Therefore make a firm and continuous intention to increased devotion, not only for for this holy month, Ramadan, but make it continuous always.

So the 4 main points are: "Focus (on self/Nafs), Reflect on Intentions (behind actions), Control (of Nafs/actions), Cleanliness (getting rid of sins, flaws, the illness of your heart)!"


Thursday, September 7


A few reminders, as Ramadhan is around the corner.
Anwar Al Awlawki: A Few words on Ramadhan
Reaping the Benefit of Ramadan
Author: Sheikh Ali Al-TamimiPublish Date: 11/12/2003

In the month of Ramadhan it is very important that we spent a few moments to understand some of the wisdoms and lessons that we can learn from this month of fasting.

Unfortunately, many Muslims come in to this month and they are as a companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Let it not be that the day that you fast and the day that you break fast be equal." Meaning, one's behaviour, attitude and outlook are the same whether one fasts or not, i.e. fasting has no effect upon that person. This is why we need to reflect on some of these lessons.

LESSON 1: Gaining Taqwaa

Allah legislated fasting for gaining taqwaa:

"O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain taqwaa." [Meaning of Suratul Baqarah, 2:183]

Taqwaa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear Allah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?

LESSON 2: Drawing closer to Allah

This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Qur’an during night and day, attending the taraaweeh prayers, remembering Allah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making `umrah. Also for those who can, making I`tikaaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadhan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allah , the Almighty. When one sins, one feels distant from Allah. That is why one might find it heard to read the Qur’an and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allah and wants to worship Allah more, because he is not shy from his sins.

LESSON 3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Qur’an and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs man and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.

LESSON 4: Striving for Ihsaan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riyaa’ (showing off)

Ihsaan means to worship Allah as if one seeks Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all. Hasan al-Basree said, "By Allah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allah love this action? Is Allah pleased with this action?' So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riyaa’ (showing off). That is why Allah said in a Hadith qudsee, "Fasting is for Me and I reward it." (al-Bukhaaree) Allah singles out fasting from all other types of worship saying, "Fasting is for Me", because no one knows whether you are fasting or not, except Allah. For example, when one is praying or giving charity or making tawaaaf, one can be seen by the people, so one might do the action seeking the praise of the people. Sufyaan ath-Thawree used to spend the nights and the days crying and the people used to ask him, "Why do you cry, is it due to the fear of Allah? He said, ‘No.’ They said, "Is it due to the fear of the Hellfire?" He said, ‘No. It is not the fear of Hellfire that makes me cry, what makes me cry is that I have been worshipping Allah all these years and doing scholarly teaching, and I am not certain that my intentions are purely for Allah.’"

LESSON 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related totruthfulness and discharging trusts.

The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah , the Almighty has no need that he should heave his food and drink." (al-Bukhaaree) What we learn from this, is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "was sent to perfect good manners." (Maalik) So we must check ourselves, are we following the behaviour of the Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him? For example: Do we give Asalam Alaykum to those we don’t know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?

LESSON 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better

The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those whorepent." (Ibn Maajah) Allah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.

LESSON 7: Being more charitable

Ibn `Abbas said, "The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadhan when Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadhan till the end of the month…" (al-Bukhaaree) The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person’s reward." (at-Tirmidhee)

LESSON 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims

The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "…Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khaleefahs. Hold fast to it and stick to it." (Aboo Daawood) In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salaatul-`Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allah and His Messenger.

LESSON 9: Learning discipline

The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.

LESSON 10: Teaching the young to worship Allah

It was the practice of the people of Madeenah, that during the fast of `Aashooraa (which is now a recommended fast of one day) to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. (as mentioned in al-Bukhaaree).

So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty. This is why the Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them at the age of ten (if they do not pray." (Haakim)

LESSON 11: Caring for one’s health

Fasting has many medical benefits and it teaches Muslims to take care of their health and too build strong bodies. The Prophet, May Allah send His blessing and peace upon him, said, "A strong believer is better and is more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone." (Muslim)

Friday, September 1

Marriage: The Quest for Love and Mercy (Part IV)

Prohibited Courting
Courting a Married Woman
It is prohibited to court a woman who is married. The same is true about a woman whose husband divorced her a non-final divorce (a 1st and 2nd time) and she is still in her iddah (waiting period). The reason for this is that in both cases she is considered under the authority of her husband and no other man may challenge that authority.
It is a great sin to turn a woman against her husband with the intention of marrying her.
"He is not one of us who turns a woman against her husband or slave against his master."
(Abu Dawud, Ahmad, al-Hakim, verified authentic by al-Albani)
Courting a Woman who is being courted
When a Muslim man is proposing to a woman, it is not permissible for other Muslims to propose to her. They should wait until her side (famaily or prepresentative) takes a clear position from the proposal: either acceptance or rejection. If that proposal is rejected, other may then approach her for marriage.
"Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales. Do not spy, do not look for the faults (of each other), do not oppose each other, do not envy one another, do not hate one another, do not desert each other and O servants of Allah, be (true) brothers. Let not a man court a woman who his brother is courting: (He should wait) until he marries or leaves her."
(Bukhari & Muslim)
"A believer is a brother to another believer. It is not permissible for a believer to negotiate a deal that his brother is negotiating, not propose to a woman to whom his brother is proposing, until he leaves."
"Let not any of you propose to a woman to whom his brother is proposing. (He should wait) until he marries or quits."
(an-Nasai, verified authenticc by al-Albani)
"Let none of you negotiate a deal that is being negotiated by another one, not propose to a woman to whom another one is proposing."
(Bukhari, an-Nasai & others)
"Let not a man propose to a woman to whom his brohter is proposing, nor negotiate a deal that his brother is negotiating. A woman may not be married to a man who is married to her paternal or maternal aunt. A woman should not request that her sister be divorced so that she would fill her own plate (with food) or get married (instead of her), because she will only receive what Allah has prescribed for her."
Other Prohibited forms
Other forms of prohinited khitbah:
1. A man who has four wives may not court an additional woman unless he divorces one or mroe of his wives.
2. A man is not allowed to court a woman whom he is not allowed to simultaneously marry with a current wife, such as her sister or aunt.
3. A man who had divorced a wife 3 times is not allowed to court or consider her unless she married after him another man who, after consummating their marriage wilfully divorces her.
4. A woman who is in her iddah from he husbands death or a terminal divorce may not be approached with direct proposals. Only indirectly until her iddah is over.
"There is no blame upon you for that to whic you (indirectly) allude concerning a proposal to women, nor for what you conceal withing yourselves. allah knows that you are going to remember them. but do nor promise them secretly except for saying a proper saying. And do not decide to undertake a marriage contract until the decreed period reaches its end. And know that Allah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him. And know that Allah is forgiving and tolerant."
(Al Baqarah)
Offering a Woman for Marriage
It is permissible for a man to offer his daughter or principal for marriage to those whom he trusts as being worthy of her.
Abdullah Bin Umar (RA) reported that after the death of his sister Hafsah's husband, Khunays Bin Huthafah as SAhmi (RA) Umar (RA) ofter Hafsah (RA) to Uthman (RA). A few nights later, "UThman apologised, "I have decided not to marry right now" Umar then offered her to abu Bakr (RA) and he did not give him an answer either. That saddened Umar, but the Prophet (SAW) consoled him saying:
"One who is better than Uthman will marry Hafsah and Uthman will marry one who is better than Hafsah."
(Bukhari & Ibn Sa'd)
A few nights later Allahs Messenger (SAW) asked him for her hand, and Umar accepted. Later on Abu Bakr met Umar and asked him, "You were probably bothered when you offered me Hafsah and I did not give you an answer." Umar said, "Yes". Abu bakr (RA) then explained:
"Tuly what had prevented me from giving you an answer when you offered her to me was that I knew that Allahs Messenger (SAW) had mentioned (marrying) her and I was not to expose Allah's Messenger (SAW) secret. Had he relinquished her, I would surely have acepted her."
(Bukhari, an-Nasai and others)
Allah (ASWJ) tells us about another case where a righteous man offered one of his two daughters in marriage to Musa (AS):
He said, "Indeed I wish to marry to you one of these two daughters of mine, on condition that you serve me for (at least) eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be a favour from you."
Performing Istikharah and Seeking Advice
Misconceptions about Istikharah
Some believe that one of the important requirement of istikharah is that it be performed before going to sleep, and that one should see some dreams telling him what to do. Others think that as a result of the istikharah, one should feel in his heart, an inclination towards the proper choice.
There is no basis for rither of the above two assumptions and the above hadith supports neither. In fact the hadith indicated that when as a result of the istikharah Allah hinders an affair that one was about to undertake, that might bring some dislike into ones heart, and he therfore asks Allah to give him contentment.
Seeking Advice
In addtion to Istikharah, it is recommended to consult with some knowledgeable people befre making an important decision. It is hence recommende for the man and woman (or her wali) to investigate about his or her intended partner, making sure, that she or he has the required good attributes.
When a persons adivvce is sought in regard to individuals that are considered for marriage, business partnership etc he should provide truthful and honest advice. This advice should be limited to matters relevant to the affair in question, and sould not be exceeded to other areas because that may then count as a prohibited form of backbiting.
Telling the Truth
It is important to provide truthful imformation in regard to the two individuals involved in the khitbah. The information should be limited to matters that are expected to have a bearing on the marraige. Absolute truth is required from the two involved and those who are asked for advice in this regard.
hiding any problems that one knows about is a sinful act of mistrust in Islam and could result in numerous future predicaments. e.g.physical problems, physical deficiencies, impotence,veneral disease etc. these should all be made known to the other individuals before approving engagement.
aS for the one who thus learns about some problems in the other, he is not allowed to publicise it , or expose secrets.
Violations in Khitbah
There are many violations that some Muslims have introduced into the process of khitbah. Many of those violations arise from blind imitation of the non-Muslims. e.g.:
1. After the engagement and before the nikah, the womans family permit them to go out with the fiance and have khulwah and even touch and kiss. This is not permissible as they are still not permissible for one another and non mahram.
2. some people think of the engagement as a test drive period in which they fully try out their partners to see if they will be able to persue a long life together. With that,, they commit many sins, minor and major, including zina. And interestingly many of those engagements prove unsuccessful and end up in separation before marriage.
3.Some families like to extend engagements to months or even years, thereby providing more chance for the engaged couple to fall into sinning.
4.In many Muslim countries, the khitbah is held publicly in the form of a reception or party in which drinks are served, music is played, and the prospective couple kiss or take pictures together. All of that is in great discord with the Sunnnah and the Islamic teachings and should therefore be totally avoided. A khitbah should stay away from the peoples eyes because no legal shari consequences result from it. If for any reason, a publicised khitbah is not concluded with actual marriage, serious harm may result from publicising it, especially in regard to the brides reputation.
5. The engaged couple often exchange "engagement" rings and the bridegroom gives the bride jewellery and gists at the time of khitbah. This too is a violation of Islam since there is no reason yet for any property or gift echnge to take place, until they are legally bound by marriage contract. In many cases, this premature act leads to serious disputes if the engagement is broken for any reason. The "engagement" ring has no basis in Islam as it originates from an old christian practice that the Muslims should not imitate.