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Monday, October 16, 2006
Remember everybody, that Ramadhan is just one of the many seasons throughout the year in which Allah gives us a chance to increase our rewards greatly by increasing our actions only slightly. It's from his infinite Mercy upon us that he doesn't make these opportunities all come at one time rather he provides us many opportunities to rake in those extra rewards and blessings throughout the year.

In Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar and which is one of the four Sacred Months, we have the fasting of `Ashura', the tenth day of Muharram and a day before it or after it.

In Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic Calendar and which is another Sacred Month, we have many opportunities to increase our Iman and perform as much as we can.

In Sha`ban, the eighth month of the Islamic Calendar, the Prophet, salallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, used to fast as many voluntary fasts as he could.

In Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, the month we are in, we have thirty days in which the gates of Jannah (Paradise) are open and the Shayateen (Devils) are chained. The first ten days of Ramadhan are Mercy, the second ten are Forgiveness and the last third are emancipation from the Fire. In it is a night that is better than 1,000 months (83 years and 4 months), whoever worships Allah in that night it is as if he worshipped Allah with that worship for 1,000 months. As the Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, said, "Whoever fasts Ramadhan, with Iman (Belief) and Ihtisab (accountability), then his sins will be forgiven... even if they are (in multitude) like the foam of the Sea."

In Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims all over the world rejoice and celebrate one of Islam's two annual holidays... Eid! After one month of fasting and praying extra voluntary prayers, we -on Eid day- are ordered to have fun and meet with each other in happiness, this being the First of two Eids, Eid al-Fitr (Eid of Breaking Fast).
Also the Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, told us that "whoever fasts Ramadhan, and then follows it up with six days of Shawwal, then it is as if he has fasted the whole year."
Shawwal is also the first of three months in which the Hujjaaj (pilgrims) start coming to Makkah to perform their `Umrah (lesser Pilgrimage) as a pre-Hajj right for Hajj Tamattu` (one of the three forms of the greater Pilgrimage).

In Dhil-Qa`dah, the eleventh month of the Islamic Calendar, also one of the four Sacred Months, that opportunity continues for those who would like to perform Hajj to make their way to the Blessed city of Makkah to perform the Hajj (greater Pilgrimage). Most people come to the Arabian Penninsula during this month for the beginning of their Hajj rights.

In Dhil-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic Calendar, and one of the four Sacred Months, Muslims perform Hajj.
On the Eigth Day, they go to Mina, the Tent City and rest there and prepare for the coming Hajj Rights.
On the Ninth Day, they go to the valley of `Arafah to supplicate to Allah, asking for forgiveness and asking for their needs in this world, as the Prophet told us that this is a place where our supplications are accepted... another opportunity.
After Dhuhr Salah, there is a Khutbah (Sermon) that is given as a reminder to the believers.
This is the most important of all the Hajj Rights, as the Prophet, sallallaahu`alaihi wa sallam, said, "Hajj is `Arafah." After staying in `Arafah until Sundown, the Hujjaaj leave the valley and assemble in Muzdalifah to sleep that night.
On the Tenth Day, they leave Muzdalifah after Fajr Salah. The Prophet told us that this is also another time in which Allah accepts our Du`aa (supplication)... another opportunity.
Then after leaving Muzdalifah, they come back to Mina to stone the largest of the three Jamaraat (stone statues at the end of Mina closest to Makkah). They also, slaughter their sacrificial animals at that time, whether it be camel, cow, sheep or goat. This day is known as Youm an-Nahr (The Day of The Slaughter). Pilgrims also must make Tawaf (circuits) around the Ka`bah and Sa`ee (sprinting) between Safaa' and Marwah (two small mountains near the Ka`bah).
The Tenth Day is also the day that the second annual Eid celebration occurs on. This Eid is called Eid al-Adhaa (Eid of Sacrifice) in which the rest of the Muslims all over the world, are sacrificing animals for Allah's sake and eating from them and giving charity from them.
On the Eleventh, Twelvth and Thirteenth Days, the Pilgrims are to stone all theree Jamaraat (stone statues) and between the stoning of each, the Prophet told us to make Du'aa and informed us that these are also major opportunities for us in which Allah accepts our supplications... another opportunity.

Basically, all throughout the year we are given these opportunities, and perhaps the wisdom behind this, as some of our Scholars say, is that this causes the Servant of Allah to long for these opportunities, and to prepare themselves, whether it be spiritually, physically, financially or mentally.

May Allah accept our fasting in this Blessed month of Ramadhan and help us to fast the Six Days of Shawwal with ease. These might be our last days on the Earth, let's make the most of them. Besides these prescribed days, the Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, taught us that fasting during the rest of the year is a prescribed Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet).

He encouraged us to fast Mondays and Thursdays, as those are the days that the deeds of the servants are lifted to Allah. He also prescribed fasting the Full Moon days, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Days of each month. Also, for those who find themselve more capable of fasting, and want to perform even more than what was mentioned previously, he prescribed the Fasts of Dawud (Prophet David) as he used to fast one day and eat the next day, thus fasting every other day of the month.

Those of us who cannot fast, can help break the fast of those who are able to fast, whether it be voluntary fasts or obligatory fasts. THe Prophet, salallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, told us that whoever provides the fasting person food to break his fast with, that he shares in the reward that fasting person received for fasting.

May Allah make our intentions sincere, solely for His sake, and make our actions correct, upon the Sunnah of his Messenger... Aameen
posted by Abu Miftah at 9:22 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Thursday, October 12, 2006
There seem to be rumors every year that Saudi Arabi has made a mistake in sighting the moon. Normally it is related to Ramadhan and Eid al-Fitr, but some people go to the extreme of saying that even the sighting of the crescent of Dhul-Hijjah is wrongly declared by the Saudi Government thus causing three million people's Hajj to be invalid.

It's not strange to see such comments from people who narrate anything and everything they here. Yet the sad reality is that many of the people that carry on and propagate these rumors are people that know of the Hadeeth of our beloved Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, in which he said, "It's enough for a man to be considered a liar that he reports all that he hears."

The logic behind being considered a liar based on narrating all you hear is pretty simple. If somebody tells you something, whether it is truth or not, you take it upon yourslef to propagate that news. Let's say the guy that told you that news did the same thing you are about to do: Somebody told him a rumor and he decided that he will tell others. What if the person that started the rumor was joking, or misunderstood something regarding the sighting of the moon or worse of all, what if this person was lying?

HUH!? Lying about such a thing? Why would somebody do that?

I have been seeing a lot of propaganda these days about the Saudi government and its "ultra-conservative" ways and how people go overboard in the month of Ramadhan to be super-religious... Basically, that it's a fake way of life for thirty days.

I don't mean to go off on a tangent, it's just that people don't really like Saudi Arabia. It's against the law to fornicate, to get drunk or get high...
And worse of all for all those losers: The punishments (which are according to the Qur'aan and Sunnah) are pretty tough...

So then we shouldn't be surprised when people go ahead and make up rumors like:
"Saudi Arabia deliberately started Ramadhan early..."
"Saudi Arabia runs on a predetermined calendar..."
"They made an announcement int he Haram that th emoon was sighted incorrectly... My uncle was there I swear!"
"There's too much dust, those Saudis don't know how to sight the moon, the don't even have the new Gigatronicated Celestial Inspector Gadget Telescope!"

For now, I'd just like to say, that the moon was sighted, correctly and accurately. They have very qualified people who have decades of experience in sighting the moon and any rumors that scholars here might have declared the sighting to be inaccruate are just plain rumors.

I'll get into the details of sighting the moon in a later post insha Allaah...
posted by Abu Miftah at 5:23 PM | Permalink | 3 comments