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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Month of Sha'ban: A Preparation for Ramadaan

Adapted from an article by Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (DB)

Usamah ibn Zaid reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha'ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad, replied: "That (Sha'ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."

We have just entered in to the eighth Islamic month i.e. Sha'ban, a meritorious month for which we find particular instructions in the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


It is reported in authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad used to fast during most of the days of the month of Sha'ban. A few ahadith are cited here regarding fasting in the month of Sha’ban:

1. Anas reports that Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Sha’ban in honour of Ramadan." 2. Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah says: "Prophet Muhammad used to fast the whole of Sha'ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Sha'ban your most favourite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting." 3. In another tradition, she says: "Prophet Muhammad would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha'ban."

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha'ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not like to miss them.

In our context, it will not cause undue difficulty on most of us if we were to observe only a few fasts in Sha’ban so as to get accustomed to the idea of fasting after a whole year. In Ramadaan, everyone finds observing the first few fasts difficult, but if we are accustomed to it already, we will be able to embrace Ramadaan better.


The Ahaadeeth mentioned above also make mention that “in this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year”. Some scholars hold that this takes place on the night of the 15th Sha`ban. Scholars also mention that together with the list of the dead, lists of births and other events are also prescribed.


The Ahaadeeth also mention that “it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting”


Another significant feature of the month of Sha'ban is that it contains a night which is termed as "Laylatul Bara'ah" (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha'ban. There are certain traditions of Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by Divine mercy:

1. Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah is reported to have said, "Once Prophet Muhammad performed the tahajjud salah and made a very long sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in sajdah: 'I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from sajdah and finished his salah, he said to me: 'Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know which night is this?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Sha'ban. Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'

2. In another Tradition Aishah has reported Prophet Muhammad to have said, "This is the middle Night of Sha'ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. …" Kalb was a huge tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.

3. Mu'adh ibn Jabal reports that Prophet Muhammad said: "Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha'ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)".


In order to achieve the blessings of the Night of Bara'ah, one should remain awake as much as one can. If it is possible, one should spend the whole night in worship. However, if one cannot do so, one can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably the second half of it, and perform the following acts of worship:(a) Salaah (b) Tilawah. (c) Dhikr & Durood. (d) Du‘a. (e) Those Muslims who cannot perform any additional worship should at least perform the Maghrib, 'Isha' and Fajr in congregation in the Masjid.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ramadaan: Save the Changes

-->by Ml Imran Khamissa

Nearly everyone in this age of modern technology has at some stage worked with a P.C. We have used it to draft documents, amend these documents,copied and pasted onto documents, used the 'undo' icon, edited documents, just to mention a few of the time saving operations that we find on this device.

After opening a document that we have worked upon previously and made the necessary changes and improvements a little box appears on the screen asking the question: Do you want to save the changes you have made to thisdocument? You are then given the option of selecting the YES tab or the NO tab. Selecting the YES tab will give you the desired results while selecting the NO tab literally takes you back to square one. All the effort made in editing, improving and shaping the document becomes an exercise in futility.

Don't we all find ourselves in a similar predicament when the blessed month of Ramadaan passes us? Just think of your book of deeds like a document on your P.C. During the month of Ramadaan we have done amongst other things the following:

• Increased our ibaadah and acts of charity

• Taken control of our feelings and emotion

• Responded with compassion and sensitivity to the needs of others

• Multiplied our good deeds

At the same time we have spent many hours on the Musallah begging forAllah's forgiveness for our sins, errors and transgressions.

The vital question that needs to be asked is: Do we want to save thechanges that we have made in the month of Ramadaan?, Are we going to press the YES tab or the No tab? Pressing the YES tab will leave us with a new, improved version. A version of heightened spirituality, a version ofrighteousness, a version that is pleasing to our Creator. Pressing the NO tab will take us back to square one; back to our old habits before Ramadaan, back to the life of sin and immorality, back to a life of heedlessness And back to a life subjecting ourselves to the wrath of the Almighty.

How do we improve on this document; the document of our lives, the document of our deeds, the document that we are going to present to Allah theAlmighty on the Day of Reckoning.

Here are some hints:

• Copy and Paste from the life of our illustrious master Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

• Use the 'undo' icon by making taubah immediately after any transgression as the Hadith states "The one who repents from sin is like one who has committed no sin at all."

• There may not be a need to do a "spell check" but there is certainly a need to do a "sincerity check" and a "shari'ah check" Are we complying?

• There may be files and folders that we want to keep while there could be some others we would not even want others to know exist. Many of us begged Allah to "delete" our sins and dark deeds .We cried before Allah, shed tears of remorse and vowed not to commit those sins in future. Going back to the sins that we have asked Allah's forgiveness for would be like making a visit to the "recycle bin".

• What about viruses? P.C. users are also very wary about e-mails they receive and the sites that they visit, fearing the admission of a virus that may pollute their system and cause it to malfunction. Why do we then subject our minds and thoughts to immoral sites and dens of vice which would pollute our moral system and cause us to malfunction? What anti-virus software have we installed to ward off the variety of fitnahs that confront us everyday?

Fortunate is the person who has saved the changes. Even more unfortunate isthe person who has made no changes as he /she has nothing to save.
Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Smart Husband, The Angry Wife, The Fast Hand And The Ferrero Rocher.

By Hadrat Mufti Ebrahim Salejee.

No two people are identical. In the close and regular interaction between husband and wife disagreements are bound to occur. When a wife is angry, the smart husband gets a Ferrero Rocher and places it expertly into her mouth when she stops in her tirade for a gasp of breath for her next round. This is a highly effective ta`weez which will immediately defuse a potentially explosive situation. She will least expect it and she won't know whether to laugh or cry.

Unfortunately, we also find the small hearted husband. He cannot allow anyone, especially his wife, robbing him of his 'self respect'. He needs to show his wife that she is wrong and he is right. How is he to win?This strategy is doomed to fail!!!

This consideration for Deeni reasons only, without any thought of worldly gain, is allowed and is commendable. It is our loss that we do not appreciate the importance of this in Islaam. In some cases, we unfortunately do not even consider this to be part of Deen.

This is what Islaam teaches and what our Auliya-e-Kiraam have demonstrated. They are a people with great levels of understanding of Deen. These are the people whose example we need to follow. The ability to reconcile conflicting demands is a gift that Allah confers on His accepted servants on account of their sincerity.

May Allah (swt) grant us this unique ability...Aameen.