Five Weaknesses to Overcome This Ramadan

 

5 weakness

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The Arabic word for fasting is Saum, derived from the word Saim. Saim is a horse that is kept hungry by his master, and raced to build his stamina for battles. By commanding us to give up on our desires for some part of the day, Allah (swt) intends to build our stamina for our enemy. Who is our enemy? Our enemy is Shaytan (Satan) – man’s clearest enemy. He does not hide his intention to harm us. In fact, that is his purpose in life to cause us to slip, and appear displeasing to Allah (swt).

Ramadan is an annual training month for the Muslims. Through this one month of training, Allah (swt) plans to train us for the entire year. He teaches us what we need to control to strengthen our faith, and become strong soldiers of His army. If one follows the routine in other months as well, by no means can he fail.

Here are the five things – the five weaknesses of man – which one must learn to control.

 

  1. Hunger

 

When Allah (swt) created Adam (as), Shaytan looked at Adam’s (as) hollow belly, and knew his place for overcoming this creation. Our indulgence and love for food can be figured out by the number of new restaurants opening up every day in almost every street. The Sunnah is not to eat to our fill. Overeating affects mental, emotional and physical health. Instead of treating yourself to culinary pleasures- eat simple food and feed the deprived instead. Raise your scales for the hereafter.

 

  1. Desires

 

Desires lead man to spread corruption. It is desire that provokes a man and a woman to strike an illicit relationship. It is desire to stand-out from the crowd that entices us to buy more and the exclusive. We can splurge without thinking how much Sadaqah could have been given instead. Shaytan knows all his traps well. The day we overcome our desires and only satisfy them through Halal means, we will overcome our enemy.

 

  1. Sleep

 

Life of this world is for action while the next life is for rest and leisure. Whenever sleep overtakes, remind yourself of your limited time on earth. Get up and do something that will help in the hereafter. Have extra time? Memorise the Quran. Know it already? Teach a skill to someone especially the underprivileged and help them improve their lives.

 

  1. Tongue

 

Misuse of the tongue harms relationships. Therefore, the Prophet (sa) warned us about it, and the scholars have written books narrating the sins of the tongue. Speak good or remain silent. Plant trees in the Paradise by busying your tongue in the remembrance of Allah (swt).

 

  1. Anger

 

Returning from the meeting with the Divine when Musa (as) found his people idol worshipping, he flared-up and lost control. Immediately, he made Dua for himself and his brother. Know that anger is from Shaytan. Find the reason for outburst and resolve the matter. Recite the Duas for protection, and ask Allah (swt) to allow you to focus your energies in a better direction.

 

10 Best Energy-Boosting Habits

healthHabits are the ways which we repeatedly do. It is a common saying that,

“First we make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

They have profound effect on our life and relationships. Following are some easy going tips which truly give a pop up and refreshing effect to our stagnant life; and also help us to be a better person and a good Muslim.

1. Sleep

Sleep is an integral part of our routine. Studies recommend catching  6 – 7 hours of sleep daily. An uninterrupted good night sleep boosts up energy levels and mood. Make a habit of giving a signal to your brain at Maghrib (sunset) that you are going to sleep at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Put off all the gadgets and devices half an hour before your sleep time.

2. Recite the Quran

We, as Muslims, recite our holy book- but the idea is to develop it as a morning ritual before engaging into any other activity. Do it daily – you will notice that the whole day will be quite different and blissful from the previous one.

3. Work out / Exercise

Twice a day workout is the best thing to boost up your energy levels. Even a simple brisk walk for 30-thirty minutes is a way to keep apart a number of diseases and your weight in control. It also boosts self-confidence and is known to cure mild to moderate depression.

4. Drink plenty of water

Don’t wait till you get thirsty. Drink before the urge comes and in small gulps to avoid bloating.

5. Never skip the breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to keep the energy levels constant throughout the day- but I am talking about a healthy breakfast. Oatmeal and porridge should be a must-have-everyday part of the breakfast.

6. Healthy meal plan

Include as many vegetables and fruits in your diet as you can. They not only make you full and release your urge to eat more, but also provide with the necessary nutrition and maintain weight- making you and your weight machine happy. Also meat should be limited to once a week.

7. Take Dinner Early

The dinner should be light and taken at least two hours before sleep. This will give enough time to the body to digest it- thus, preventing heart burn.

8. Be Positive

Try to be a person who can face any situation with

“Allah (swt), what an opportunity!” rather than, “Oh! What a Problem!”

Every person has difficulties, but whoever greets them cheerfully, will be the winner in the end. Count your blessings every day- this will be push you to next step.

9. Meditate

Give yourself sometime just before sleep to meditate. Close the door, take deep breaths and think about your day, yourself, your achievements and goals.

10. Get back to your goals 

Last but not the least- there are situations and happenings where we all lose our daily routine; but the best person is the one who reverts back to his routine as soon as possible. Stick to it!

Wish you all good health because without this bounty we can’t enjoy the blessings of our life.

Cherish before you Lose: Health and Free Time

On_TimeHealth is wealth

Today, we would like to talk about something very important- something we take for granted; and this is why RasulAllah (sa) has warned about it as well. Many of us have good health, thank Allah (swt) for it. We should use it to achieve the pleasure of the Almighty.

  • Your eyes, you can see with. There might come a day when you cannot see. Read the proper books; read that which will be beneficial. Look at that which will help you. Don’t look at that which will make you earn the wrath of Almighty.
  • The same applies to your hands- today you can move them, so move them to achieve the pleasure of the Almighty. Tomorrow, you may not have that mobility. Today, Masha’Allah we can walk, we can read Salah; people are crying because they cannot read Salah as they reach to an age when they cannot bend their backs anymore, or they cannot do Rukuh, or they cannot do Sujud.

Why is it that we sometimes become oblivious of the gift of health? Really, the gift of health is a gift that many of us take for granted. Some people cannot eat a lot of the food stuff, so when we can eat, let’s eat in moderation. Thank Allah (swt). Say the prayer before eating and after eating as well. Let’s make sure we eat from that which is permissible and Allah (swt) will not be upset by it.

What is important that we realize that our organs inside operate automatically. They have no batteries; no human being has a remote control in his hand. It’s the control of Allah (swt). The heart pumps in a magical way. More than a hundred thousand heartbeats in no time Subhan’Allah! It is just that control of Allah (swt).

Then, look at the brain. How sophisticated it is. Look at the ears, the mouth, the lips and the tongue and its taste buds. How medicine and science is discovering new things every single day. This is all the gift of Allah (swt). We have it, but still we don’t thank Allah (swt) for it. We don’t use it in the right direction. We, as believers, know that it will come to an end. I might not be able to see with my eyes one certain day as we all have to die. I have to return to Allah (swt), Alhumdulillah. I have to return back to my Creator, Maker. So let’s use his gifts in order to please him not to displease him.

Many people are becoming conscious of it. We have the voice, let’s try and recite the Quran. Whilst we can, let us try Insha’Allah, to do the best of things.

Time is precious

Another thing we take for granted is time. We have free time. People use it to watch television and see the soaps. And, you know the soaps wash. What do they wash? Your brain! May be we can spend our time to watch beneficial programs. Or spend time at the Masjid and listen to the Duroos that the Ulema, scholars or Mashaykh give. May be we can spend time and sit in Halaqa. We can spend time rectifying and learn something from the Quran. It might not be directly related to religion. If a person has free time, and he can opt to improve his hand writing and do a course in calligraphy; do something that will benefit you somehow. You can use that talent not just to earn little bit of money, but even by the will of Allah (swt), to build your Akhirah, to build your paradise. May Allah (swt) grant that to us.

It is important for us not to waste our time because as the Prophet (sa) has said, the two gifts that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us, many people take for granted. First one is health and second one is free time.

When there is free time, use it. Do not abuse it. Subhan’Allah! People sometimes say, “Oh I have got some free time, let me go to bed. I can go and sleep.” Are you depressed? If you are may be, you might think sleeping will help you. But it won’t. To be honest with you, we all need sleep. We all need a certain amount of it. Sometimes, we need to correct ourselves. We need to develop a link with our Maker. In order to understand that we have a short space of time, to pack in it as much goodness as we can before time and our health expires.

These two things are definitely going to go because even if I die as a healthy person, I am dead. When I die, what happens? My health is irrelevant, completely irrelevant.

Even time will definitely come to an end.

May the Almighty bless us all, and may He make us use our time whilst we have it in the best possible way. Ameen.

A transcription of a talk by Mufti Ismail Menk by Mariam Saeed.

What if your entire memory was erased?

memoryIt is our memories and our past that make us who we are. Every morning, we wake up as the same person. God creates us every morning again, gives us consciousness; and we have all our memories in place telling us who we are, where we live, and what is our past. The people we met, our family, our job, our memories are all the same. Thanks to Allah’s boundless beneficence, we don’t have to get used to or try to adjust to the people we see around or the house we live in, every time we wake up.

Think about it for a second; you wake up one day and your whole memory is gone. You have no idea who you are or whose house you are living in or any who are the people looking at you. Think how you would feel if you had strangers telling you ‘I am your spouse’, ‘Mom, don’t you recognize me?’ and all the details like the school you went to, the courses you took, your birth date, your friends and your family are all lost irretrievably. Surely, losing your memory like that would be a great test for you; but probably now you have a little bit more appreciation of this great blessing you have and will be more thankful for it.

“They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

People usually live their lives taking their memories for granted, not even realizing that it is an amazing miracle. They are not aware of the fact that they go through a sort of resurrection after sleep and that their memories are recreated completely after sleep.

People usually live their lives taking their memories for granted, not even realizing that it is an amazing miracle. They are not aware of the fact that they go through a sort of resurrection after sleep and that their memories are recreated completely after sleep. But the truth is that God creates every cell again each time, along with every bit of memory with it.

Do you realize, how you remember your past, when you are asked about it?

All the information you’ve learned so far was turned into proteins called ‘memory molecules’ in the ribosomes. These protein molecules were turned into electric impulses and thus allowed millions of bits of information to be stored in your brain; you call that ‘your past’ and all this accumulation of data makes up your past. When you say ‘I remember’, you are retrieving that data stored in your brain. So when you are asked ‘Which school did you go to?’ You are given the relevant data about your school and only then you can answer.

If there were no such thing as a memory, what would happen? Our lives would be a mess. Since we wouldn’t even store the information we had learned in our memory, we would have to learn everything from scratch every time we needed it, just like a newborn baby.

People with short or long-term amnesia understand very clearly how difficult this can be. Those with short-term memory loss, or those who cannot remember what happened more than five minutes ago, will have to find their way home every single time. They will not remember which food upsets their stomach and they will eat it again only to fall ill once more. They will not remember the details about their loved ones, the lovely times they shared or their experiences, and this is not the worst part of it; they will be unaware of potential dangers they may face as they will be devoid of the past experiences that would give them a fair-warning to those threats.

Be grateful to Allah (swt) – memory is a great blessing

God protects people by giving them such a precious blessing called memory. God allows us humans to use our memories with a simple principle. People keep benefiting from this amazing blessing, yet most of the time, take it for granted. Memory is not crucial only for our social lives; we need it just as much in our education and careers as well. If it weren’t for our memories, we would have to learn even the simplest things like the alphabet and the multiplication tables over and over again. And we would have to learn everything we learned at school again when we started a job.

For example, a lawyer would have to go through all the laws again, a doctor would have to peruse the medical books and a physicist would have to re-learn all the laws of physics. A person who does a technical job would have to learn everything all over again, because there would be no experience and no past memory helping him in doing his job. Therefore, memory is a great blessing bestowed on us by our Almighty Lord, and we should be profoundly – and properly – grateful for it.

Do I Really Love My Baby?

Vol 5 - Issue 2 The flip side of MotherhoodThe love I developed for my baby during the nine months of pregnancy quickly vanished over the long duration of sleepless nights that followed his birth.

I didn’t notice it at first, but it was becoming obvious that this is too much to handle. I was overwhelmed, scared, paranoid and crying over every little thing.

I’ve always looked at babies as innocent, harmless creatures just hanging around, crying when hungry, sleepy or wet. The truth about babies dawned on me, after I took up the mommy duty. The truth about babies became scarier, when I couldn’t differentiate between my son’s hunger and colic cues.

Helpless, anxious and frustrated, I was afraid I’m hurting my baby. I couldn’t figure out why he’s crying. I couldn’t understand, why the women were bombarding me with questions and observations such as “He’s still hungry. Didn’t you feed him?” “You don’t know how to nurse him.” “If you don’t have enough milk, give him a bottle, he’s not taking the bottle, is he gassy, or is he sleepy?” “His diaper is full, when did you change him last?” I’m asking myself these same questions, I don’t know myself. So please just stop.

I was restless inside. I couldn’t sleep due to the fear that he might wake up soon and disturb my slumber anyway. I wanted to scream. I did many times. I pulled my hair, smacked my head and cried a lot. “I just want to sleep! Please, I just want to sleep!” I fought with my husband. I fought about everything existent and non-existent.

I told them I might be suffering from post-partum blues. Nobody believed me. It sounded too dramatic and “western”. I knew my hormonal fussiness reduced after twelve days. But I was still hormonal and crazy, just not as much as the first two weeks after delivery.

In this chaos, I had begun to un-love my son. Yes, I changed him, rocked him to sleep, nursed him and walked with him – did everything else I had to do. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t love him… I tried to find the emotion within myself, I really did.

It was like being in a perfect relationship for nine months and then going through a rough breakup. I wanted to patch things up, but I couldn’t forgive him for the sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion. Don’t even ask me, what went through my head regarding my husband and everyone else at home.

In this chaos, I had begun to un-love my son. Yes, I changed him, rocked him to sleep, nursed him and walked with him – did everything else I had to do. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t love him…

I seriously considered packing my bags and leaving with my son. I don’t need anyone! I can do this on my own, without people accusing me of having insufficient milk and lacking diaper changing skills.

But I stayed. I’m glad I did now. It’s been seven months and those sleepless nights seem so far away. But I shudder every time I think of it. He still wakes up during the night, but its okay, because he falls asleep quickly. These nights are better than the ones at the start. I get his cues now. I know what he likes and dislikes. I know what to do most of the time.

Sometimes I catch him looking at me, simply staring at my face. And then he smiles. It’s like he’s checking, if I’m still there and then telling me how much he loves me, too.

I enjoy preparing his food, even on days when I’m totally not in the mood. But I push myself to do it, because I want him to eat healthy, homemade baby food. I don’t want to give in to the packed foods. I know it’s easy, and I’m sure it’s not harmful. But I still can’t get around to introducing foods to my child that were cooked and packed months ago.

He’s the first one; you always do it for the first child, people tell me. Oh really? Are you telling me that you love your first kid more than the others? Okay fine, love is debatable, but the concern regarding their health and diet would always be crucial, wouldn’t it? At least for me it is and would stay the same. My mom had four kids; she fed us all homemade food. She didn’t cook up special pureed meals just for me, because I’m the first child, and then relaxed with my three pesky brothers, who came along later. So, please, don’t tell me about the first kid thing, because it’s not true.

I’m hygiene crazy; I wash his toys, rinse his bowl and spoon with boiled water before putting in food. I clip his nails, oil his hair and moisturize his skin after baths and before bed. We have a routine now, and most of the time it works. I have time to shower now, use the loo and even brush my hair! I also have time for naps, workout and meals.

This too shall pass is what I kept reading online during my mental frenzy. And, Alhamdulillah, I’m so grateful to Allah (swt) that I’ve made it this far. I know there’s more to the package. Teething is around the corner. Then there’s the constant fear that my son will put something harmful in his mouth, nose or ear. He might fall and bump his head, if he tries sitting up, when I’m not looking. I fear my niece might trip on him, sneeze, cough or maybe sit on him like she’s almost done thrice already. I’m afraid she’ll want to share her snacks of sliced cheese with him or maybe her gummy bears or chips!

I’m always afraid. But then I calm myself down. In my heart, I say a little prayer. I ask Allah (swt) to look out for my son, when I’m not looking or when I’m unaware of things that can potentially harm him. I remind myself that I can’t prevent accidents that are meant to be. Like the time he rolled with his walker outside the kitchen door and down onto the garage floor. The incident unravelled within seconds. There were three people around, yet nobody noticed he was speeding out the door. I was there too. This was last week. The scene is fresh in my mind, and it will always be.

I’m always afraid. But then I calm myself down. In my heart, I say a little prayer. I ask Allah (swt) to look out for my son

So am I finally in love with Abdullah? Is this constant concern evidence of my love for him? Or is it just a fear? Is it both? I think it’s both. You are always afraid for the one you love to be harmed. It was easy to love him, when he was inside the safe, protected home in my womb. But now there are all these external things to worry about.

Like, will he be a loser at school? Will the other kids like him? Will he study well? Am I feeding him well, am I not feeding him enough? Will he love me, will he disrespect me?Will he pray, will he willingly read and love the Quran? Will he hold his dad’s hand and walk to the Masjid for Salah? And then I say a little prayer inside. A prayer my Dad taught me, when I first told him I’m expecting. A prayer he prayed for all his children before and after their births. Ya Allah (swt) make my child healthy, wise and beautiful. (Sehatmand, Hakeem aur Khoobsurat in Urdu)

May Allah (swt) guide my son, my husband, me and the rest of the family onto the Straight Path. May Allah (swt) guide you and your families, too. May Allah (swt) bless us all. Ameen

Till next time, happy parenting!

Sunnah Living is Healthy Living – Gems

sunnah#Gems 1: Holistic food is a natural food which works in a natural manner.

#Gems 2: Human beings are holistic because they have a body, mind and soul.

#Gems 3: God has provided humans with holistic facilities in their surroundings for their survival.

#Gems 4: Natural foods, herbs, exercise and natural therapy can give holistic benefits.

#Gems 5: Religion and spirituality always heal holistically.

#Gems 6: What is a lifestyle modification?

  • Correct eating
  • 6-8 hours of night sleep
  • Stress management
  • Body-compatible exercise
  • Food supplements

#Gems 7: Objective of lifestyle modification -To connect internal environment with external environment or microcosmos (human body) with macrocosmos (universe).

#Gems 8: Health equation:

Food                50%

Sleep               20%

Exercise           20%

Genes              10%

#Gems 9: Fact – Your entire body rebuilds itself in less than 2 years! Every cell in your body eventually dies and is replaced by new cells.

#Gems 10: Everyday is a new opportunity to build a ‘new body’.

#Gems 11: You need to focus on food if:

  • food is not natural/ processed foods
  • mindless eating
  • no food timings
  • difficulty in controlling the food quantity
  • have food cravings
  • specific food addictions
  • indifferent to various food groups
  • you are struggling with your wt/ health issues
  • your disease is not under control
  • sleep less than 6 hours at night/ poor quality
  • suffer from hyperactive mind syndrome
  • mental aging
  • find peace in smoking, sedatives, sheesha or alcohol
  • not happy with life
  • have fears, guilt, insecurity or inferiority complex
  • no morality, can do negative deeds freely
  • behavioral disorders
  • faith confusions

#Gems 12: Healthy food becomes holistic

If the source of food and medium of cooking is natural, method of cooking is simple and is body-compatible, you are able to digest, assimilate, utilize and eliminate the holistic food fully.

#Gems 13: Good nutrition isn’t just about what goes into the body, it’s about everything that flows forth from heart and soul, and how we feed and nourish the world.

#Gems 14: What are junk foods?

– when we change the structure of a natural food, it becomes junk

– foods which are made with white flour and hydrogenated oil are called junk foods

#Gems 15: Processed or dead foods –

  • long shelf-life foods
  • fortified foods
  • junk foods
  • GMO foods
  • scientific foods

 

#Gems 16: 8 genetically engineered foods you should avoid* –

  1. Soy
  2. Corn
  3. Cottonseed (used in vegetable cooking oils)
  4. Hawaiian papaya
  5. Crookneck squash
  6. Some varieties of Zucchini
  7. Canola (canola oil)
  8. Sugar (from sugar beets)

*Eight foods you should almost never, ever eat by Dr. Joseph Mercola (May 5 2011)

#Gems 17: Junk foods – Cookies, crackers, baked goods, bread, chips, snack foods, fried foods, etc.

#Gems 18: Artificial manures lead inevitably to artificial nutrition, artificial food, artificial animals and finally to artificial men and women.

– Sir Albert Howard | English agronomist (1873-1947)

#Gems 19: Food for thought: How can science-designed artificial foods really benefit us over God-designed natural foods?

#Gems 20: Artificial foods/ diet can lead to animalistic behaviour and eventually to major crimes. Hence we find today, in the history of criminals that they had bad/ artificial diet in their past.

#Gems 21: SLP (Shagufta Liver Program) | 8 rules of diet correction –

  1. Selection of natural foods
  2. Food preference
  3. How much to eat
  4. Correct food timings
  5. Correct food combinations
  6. Food rotation
  7. Food temperature
  8. Correct water intake

#Gems 22: Placed within a spiritual context, the ultimate goal of any dietary philosophy is to take us fully into the body, and beyond the body.

#Gems 23: #FoodMyth – Excess water is good for skin and kidney.

#Gems 24: #FoodMyth – For weight loss, we have to eat less and follow low-calorie foods and heavy gym.

#Gems 25: What are the first steps?

  • replace white flour with whole wheat
  • replace packaged milk with organic
  • replace white sugar with ‘shakar’
  • eliminate cooking oil; use mustard oil, white butter or desi ghee
  • replace broiler chick/ eggs with organic
  • replace processed salt with natural
  • eliminate bottled water with fresh water

#Gems 26: Call a cease-fire on the war against your own body, your weight.

#Gems 27: Stop complaining. Appreciate your body and be happy – it is a creation of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla)!

#Gems 28: Recommended book: Living as Nature Intended (by Dr. Shagufta Feroz).

#Gems 29: Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but much more rewarding!

#Gems 30: Some tips to reduce radiation emission with cell phone use:

  1. Use a headset
  2. Use speaker mode
  3. Hold phone away from your body
  4. Text more, speak less
  5. Call only when signal is strong
  6. Limit children’s phone use
  7. Skip the ‘radiation shield’
  8. Use a special phone case like Pong
  9. Put your phone on ‘airplane mode’ when your children are around
  10. Keep your phone away from your room when you are asleep

#Gems 31: Do not turn on A/C immediately after entering your car.

#Gems 32: How to relax your eyes while studying or working on a computer?

Relaxing eyes is very important as it not only relaxes your eyes but also takes away other health problems such as headaches, eye strain, poor vision, migraines, etc. and hence it should not be underestimated.

  • Palming is a good relaxation technique. In palming you simply warm up your hands by rubbing them and cover your eyes for a few minutes everyday
  • Looking at a wide picture stress the eyes. Healthier option is if the eyes focus on a centralized portion of the picture
  • Look away every 2 minutes for 4-5 seconds and then get back to work
  • Get up every hour. Take a 5-minute break every hour.
  • Wash eyes with cold water frequently
  • Try to take Vitamin A and C
  • Blink your eyes every few seconds. It relaxes them by giving moisture to the eyes
  • Apply two moist cotton balls that are squeezed in milk to your eyes

7 Practical Tips for Praying Qiyam al-Layl

salatBy Muhammad Nasir ad-Deen al-Albani and Shaykh Salih al-Munajjad

1. Ikhlas (Sincerity) – the key to Allah’s Help and Blessings

Help of Allah is needed to accomplish and achieve success in all our affairs. And Allah only helps those who are sincere in their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “If you are truthful with Allah, then Allah will deliver to you what you wish for.” (An-Nasai and al-Hakim) Therefore, one should have a sincere intention to pray Qiyam al-Layl; seek the Pleasure of Allah Alone and avoid the desire of praise or fame. Allah says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone…” (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The degree to which a person is helped and aided by Allah depends on the degree of his intention, drive, aim and hopes. Help from Allah comes to people in proportion to their drive, intention, hopes and fears, and failure comes to them in like manner.”

2. Knowing the Virtues of Qiyam al-Layl

Knowing the virtues and rewards of performing worship produces willingness and desire to perform the worship. We have previously mentioned numerous virtues of regularly praying Qiyam al-Layl, here we mention the excellence of praying Qiyam al-Layl particularly in the great month of Ramadan. Abu Hurayrah (rta) reported: “Allah’s Messenger (sa) encouraged the people, without making it an absolute command, to perform Qiyam during Ramadan. He used to say: “Whoever stands (in Qiyam) in Ramadan out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Muslim)

3. Taking a nap in the daytime

Taking a nap before or after Dhuhr Salah will dismiss the stress and thus, enable one to get up in the night and stand in front of his Lord. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen (Satans) do not take naps.” (at-Tabarani)

4. Sleeping according to the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (sa)

(a) Sleep early: Sleeping early is a healthy habit and it was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sa) to sleep directly after performing the Isha prayer. Abu Barzah al-Aslami (rta) said that the Prophet (sa) used to prefer to delay Isha, and he did not like to sleep before it or talk after it.” (Bukhari)

(b) Sleep in a state of Taharah (purity): Ibn Abbas (rta) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the angel] says, ‘O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.’” (at-Tabarani)

(c) Choose a suitable bed: Excessive luxurious or soft bed provokes laziness and makes one sleep more and become negligent. A’ishah (rta) narrates that the pillow of the Prophet (sa) on which he slept at night was made of leather stuffed with palm fibres.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Once Umar Ibn al-Khattab (rta) entered upon the Messenger of Allah (sa) when he was lying on a mat of palm fibres that had left marks on his side. Umar (rta) said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He (sa) said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a traveller on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.” (Ahmad and al-Hakim)

(d) Cleaning the bed and lying on the right side: Abu Hurayrah (rta) reported: “The Prophet (sa) said: “When any one of you goes to bed, let him clear his bed by hitting it with his garment, for he does not know what may have come onto it. Then let him lie down on his right side…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

(e) Reciting the Adhkar (supplications) mentioned in the Sunnah before sleeping

There are a number of Adhkar prescribed in the Sunnah before going to bed; amongst them are reciting the last verses of Soorah al-Baqarah, reciting Soorah al-Falaq and Soorah an-Nas and Soorah Ikhlas; blow in the palms and wipe as much of the body possible, starting from the head, face and then the front of the body doing it three times. (Bukhari and Muslim)

5. Avoid too much food and drink

Too much food or drink is one of the main obstacles that make one lazy and negligent of Qiyam al-Layl. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Man fills no vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have a few mouthfuls to give him the strength he needs. If he has to fill his stomach, then let him leave one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” (at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

6. Striving against oneself

Striving against oneself to get up and pray and suppressing one’s desires bring about Allah’s help and His Pleasure for the slave. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And as for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good-doers).” (Al-Ankabut 29: 69)

The Prophet (sa) said: “The Mujahid (one who strives in way of Allah) is the one who strives against his own self for the sake of Allah.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi)

7. Rebuking one’s self for not praying Qiyam al-Layl

Qiyam al-Layl is a great blessing from Allah, the Exalted, and He has placed in it numerous spiritual benefits and rewards for the believer. Therefore, one should rebuke one’s self, if he misses this great opportunity of achieving rewards and Pleasure of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Al-Hashr 59:18)

Adapted from As-Sunnah Islamic Newsletter Issue 15