Its Shawwal- Time to fast!

shawwal

                                             Image Courtesy www. gatewaytoquran.weebly.com

 

36 turned to 360 fasts- But how?

Let’s focus on the issue of fasting for six days in the month of Shawwal- in order to get the reward that is mentioned in the Hadeeth that the Prophet (sa) has said:  “Whosoever observes fasting during the month of Ramadan, then succeeds it (follow that) immediately with fasting six days in the month of Shawaal- he shall receive the reward of fasting lifetime.” For the entire “Dahr”. The word Dahr expresses the meaning of lifetime; lifetime of the individual who fast during Ramadan and the six days. While, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) says that:  “Al Hasantu Bi-Ashri Amsaalihaa”, and Allah (swt) says in Surah Al-Anam, “Man Jaa’aa Bil-Hasanati Falahu Ashru Amsaalihaa”- there is a minimum reward for a good deed multiplied ten times; so if you fast during Ramadan, we will assume it is thirty days times ten- that is three hundred.

 If you fast six days in the month of Shawwal, then it equals to sixty; hence, total fasting is three hundred and sixty- a whole year! If you observe this virtuous act on an annual basis, it would be as if you have fasted throughout your life.

Allah (swt) gives the reward for fasting every single day to the one who fasts in Ramadan, and six days of Shawwal- making  thirty six, or may be thirty five fasting days in total, (depending upon the number of days in Ramadan)

How to fast in Shawwal?

The Hadeeth says: “…then succeeds the month of Ramadan with fasting six days.” So, it recommends following the fasting of the month of Ramadan immediately. Of course, Eid-ul-Fitr is only one day- it’s called Youm-ul-Fitr; then the following days are the regular days, so you may begin the fasting of the six days of Shawwal from the very next day after Eid.. In many cultures, they assume that Eid-ul-Fitr is for three days, because the government gives them the vacation for three days; and Eid-ul-Adha is for four days, which is not true. Eid-ul-Fitr is only one day which allows you to fast soon after Eid; if you can manage that, that’s fine. But- whether to fast consecutively or discretely, in the month of Shawwal? – It is optional, although it is best to fast in a row.

Some people prefer to discrete the six days as- two days in a week, Monday and Thursday,-that’s perfectly fine. And, scholars say that if you do have the habit of fasting these two days, then you receive double the reward; the reward of fasting your voluntary fasting on two days, Monday and Thursday, in addition to observing fasts for the six days of the month of Shawwal. Similarly, fasting the three white days- that is the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar calendar will get you double the reward as well Insha’Allah. So, if you fast while following your routine fasts, with the intention of having the reward for both then  Insha’Allah you will get the reward of both.

Making up for the missed fasts of Ramadan in Shawwal

If one could not fast in Ramadan, then he/she should begin by making up for the days that he missed in Ramadan- because the Hadeeth stated that: “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan, he has to complete the course, and then follow that with fasting the six days in Shawwal.

For example, a woman’s monthly period was for fifteen, or twenty days; or somebody was sick for twenty days- more or less- it means he/she first has to make up for the missed fasts and then follow by the six fasts in Shawwal. But if, one tries to make up the number of days which he missed during Ramadan, it would consume most of the month of Shawwal, and they will not be able to catch the prescribed six days of Shawwal; hence, it is recommended in such a condition, to make up for the six days first, and then to make up for the missed fasts.

Aisha (ra), Ummahat-ul-Mumineen, stated that they used to postpone making up the days of Ramadan until Shaban of the next year. They used to postpone it; however, they would also observe six days fast during the month of Shawwal.. Most preferably, make up for the first few days which you missed during Ramadan, then succeed them or follow them with fasting six days from the month of Shawwal; but if, the time does not allow you, and the month of Shawwal will finish before you get to do both- then begin fasting the six days of Shawwal, and Allah (swt) knows best.

[Ahmad Family Comics] A Mother’s Worries

In this episode, Fatimah’s friend Kulsoom is very concerned because her son isn’t fasting in Shawwal. Fatimah discovers that there is a very important reason for that!

[Click to Enlarge]

Life with the Ahmad Family Comics - A Mother's Worries

Ramadan Spirit – On the Go!

shawwalAs we approach towards the end of this auspicious month, it is high-time to think about the ways to avoid post-Ramadan Iman decline. This month serves as a denotation for all Muslims to use the weapon of prayers and self-control, in order to avoid their souls from falling prey to satanic pursuits.

While we all glorify Allah (swt) and believe in His Divine surveillance; we achieve a devoted state of mind only during the thirty days of Ramadan. In other eleven months, we approach Him only in the phases where we are suffering from distress. There is no point in concealing the inner demon by a counterfeit form of a devoted Muslim during Ramadan and washing away all the good deeds by committing sins in the subsequent months. The basic purpose of creating human race is to test them and their willpowers which can keep them away from following worldly desires.

So now, you are setting feet in Shawwal, and that spiritual balloon has deflated to quite an extent. The motivational factor which pushed you during Ramadan is now wavering. Don’t rock the boat, here are a few measures that would help you sustain the virtues acquired during Ramadan:

1)     Make Supplications
Allah (swt) is the only One who holds the credentials of your virtue-maintenance during Ramadan and only He can help you sustain them for the entire year. So get yourself attached with His being. As Surah Ghafir, verse 60 states:
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, (i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism)) (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!”
The initial step to strengthen your relationship with your Lord is to seek protection from Him against the shenanigans of the Satan. His mercy is undoubtedly unfathomable; moreover, it is an absolute reality that Dua has the power to modify fate.

Thereupon, approach to the Almighty with a firm belief that He is always listening to your cries. Beseech upon Him to escort you clean in other months and according to the criterion laid down by Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

2)     Fortify your Relationship with Quran
Ramadan was an ordinary Islamic month, until it was made exclusive with the first revelation of Quran. The significance of this Book ordained the month of its revelation to be a superior one. The message propagated by Quran is immensely poignant. It brings a complete code of conduct for mankind, containing instructions regarding all phases of human life. Allah (swt) pledges to bestow the staunch followers of the Book with gardens of Paradise.
You can gain acquaintance with Quran through Quranic courses being conducted in your area; making sure that whoever you conjugate with is imparting authentic knowledge. With the widespread use of Internet conferencing, many contemporary online courses are being organized by reputable Islamic institutes.

Never let the thirst of gaining Quranic knowledge die within you, alongside pray to Allah (swt) that He makes it smooth for you to understand Quran. The Book will grasp you in its excellence, so much so, that you will feel incomplete when you get distant from it.

3)     Fast round the year
Fasting is one primary habit that triggers a spiritual sense within you. The merit and supremacy of this act inspires a person to withhold himself/herself from the acts of mischief. Hence, it is a special tool to keep the Ramadan spirit alert within you.
For this purpose, you can keep fasts on different days as derived from Sunnah, such as, Monday and Thursday of every week or 13,14 ad 15 lunar dates. You can begin by keeping six fasts in the month of Shawwal and forge ahead with the practice in other months.

4)     Pray during last hours of the night
Tahajjud prayer has an exceptional value in Islam. It is the time when Allah (swt) responds to every prayer made by His servants. It is emphasized in Surah Isra, verse 79:
“And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad (sa)). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!)”

And those who stand in prostration during this time have a distinctive value in the eyes of Allah (swt). When all souls are resting and one person is calling upon Allah (swt), the All-Hearer, there is no chance that Allah (swt) would not love that person. So, during those hours call upon Him to bless you with high-levels of reward and make you immune to the worldly greed. Dua made at those hours never misses the target. Indulge into a conversation with your Lord; He is the only sincere friend you can rely upon.

Thus, we can deduce that it is highly essential for a Muslim to persist what he/she did in Ramadan and not wash all those deeds away. We might stumble occasionally while following these steps, but never forget the infinite Mercy of Allah (swt). He is watching all our efforts and treasures all the hardships and patience we demonstrate. It’s about time we stop being heedless and turn to Him; obeying all His rules with steadfastness. The tribulations will eventually go away. Insha’Allah!

Months and More

Sabahat Anwar discusses the significance of 8th-10th months of the Islamic calendar

Shaban – the 8th month

‘Shaban’ means ‘to spread,’ ‘to distribute’. It is so named because in Shaban:

  • Arabs used to disperse (Tashaba) in search of water;
  • Arabs would set out to make raids and sudden attacks.

A Hadeeth states: “There is a month between Rajab and Ramadan called Shaban. People are very ignorant towards this month, even though the reward of each deed is greater within it, and the deeds are presented to Allah.” (Baihaqi)

Thus, the fasts of Shaban are the most meritorious after those of Ramadan. The Prophet (sa) would fast during Shaban, and make up any missed fasts from the previous Ramadan. However, fasting the whole month of Shaban or during its last few days is Makrooh (disliked), unless outstanding fasts or a vow or an act of Kaffarah (expiation) have to be fulfilled.

Ahadeeth about the 15th night of Shaban (Lailat Al-Barat – the night of forgiveness), when Allah forgives sins and showers mercy on those who repent, are weak. Specifying nights for worship is against the Sunnah.

Events:

  • 2 AH – the Qiblah changed from Bait Al-Muqaddas (Jerusalem) to the Kabah (Makkah)
  • 2 AH – fasting in Ramadan made compulsory

Ramadan- the 9th month

‘Ramadan’ derives from the Arabic word ‘Ramadha,’ which means ‘intense heat.’ Ramadan is named so because:

  1. When the months were given names, it coincided with the hot summer months.
  2. Fasting causes the stomach to feel ‘hot’.

Virtues:

The Quran was first revealed in Ramadan. Abstaining from food and drink not only teaches us compassion for the poors, but also gives the chance to reconnect with Allah and focus on increasing our Eeman and Taqwa. By constantly doing Dhikr (remembrance), we thank Allah for guiding us and giving meaning to our existence. Lastly, the nightly Taraweeh prayers establish a great unity among Muslims.

Events:

  • Revelation of Quran started
  • 2 AH – battle of Badr
  • 3 AH – birth of Hasan (rta), the Prophet’s (sa) grandson
  • 3 AH – marriage of the Prophet (sa) to Zainab (rta)
  • 8 AH – conquest of Makkah
  • 11 AH – death of Fatima (rta)

Shawwal – the 10th month

‘Shawwal’ derives from the following meanings:

  1. ‘to be light and vigorous’ – Arabs used to be active and hunt often during Shawwal;
  2. ‘raise’ – during Shawwal, she-camels would raise their tails, when they would become pregnant;
  3. ‘uplift or breakage’ – in the days of Jahiliyah, Arabs believed that any marriage held in Shawwal would be unsuccessful (these superstitious beliefs were later abolished).

 

Eid-ul-Fitr – the 1st of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan and is a day of celebrations.

Ash’hurul Hajj – Shawwal is the first among the three months of Hajj. The other two are Dhul Qa’da and the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.

Virtues:

Many Ahadeeth praise the virtue of fasting 6 days in Shawwal. In one, the Prophet (sa) says: “A Saim (fasting person) is regarded as if he fasted perpetually” while in another, that “The Saim is purified of sins, as if he was just born that day.” (Muslim) These fasts may be observed any day after Eid-ul-Fitr.

Events:

  • 2 AH – fight between Banu Qaynaqa
  • 3 AH- battle of Uhud
  • 4 AH – Hussain, (rta) the Prophet’s (sa) grandson, was born
  • 4 AH – the Prophet (sa) married Umme Salamah (rta)

5 AH – death of Khadija (rta) and Abu Talib