10 Things You Should Know About Ashura

Saturday, September 30th, 2017 will be the day of Ashura, so here are 10 important points about this special day in the Islamic calendar.

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Saturday, September 30th, 2017 will be the day of Ashura, so here are 10 important points about this special day in the Islamic calendar:

  1. The name of Ashura: Ashura (عاشوراء) is derived from the Arabic words  عشرة which is the Arabic numbers 10, so Ashura means the 10th of Muharram.
  2. The history of Ashura: The 10th of Muharram is the day that Allah saved Musa and Bani Isra’il from the Pharaoh, so Musa (alaihi assalaam) fasted this day out of thanks and appreciation for Allah. It is also reported in Al-Bukhari that Quraish used to also fast this day prior to Islam. Historians differ over the reason Quraish used to fast on this day. Some say it is a remnant from the religion of Ibrahim (alaihi assalaam), which would suggest that this was a practice of many of the prophets. Ibn Hajar said it was because they were afflicted one year with a bad famine and then Allah sent them rain on Ashura, so they made it a day of fasting. Imam Ahmad also reported in his Musnad that Ashura was the day that Nuh’s (alaihi assalaam) boat landed on Mount Judi.
  3. The ruling for fasting on Ashura: Fasting Ashura is a Sunnah Mu’akaddah, meaning it is a sunnah that the Prophet ﷺ always performed.
  4. The ruling for someone that has make-up days left: Scholars differ over whether someone can fast Ashura if they have makeup days left over from Ramadan. Ibn Uthaymin and Ibn Baz believed that it is permissible to fast Ashura even if you have make up days. Ibn Uthaymin also said that a person can make their intention for both Ashura and a make-up day and that way the person can get the reward for Ashura whilst also making up a missed day from Ramadan.
  5. How to fast Ashura?: The Prophet ﷺ told us to fast Ashura, because this was the day the Jews used to fast out of thanks to Allah for saving Musa and his people from the Pharaoh and the Prophet ﷺ said, “We have more of a right to Musa.” So he told the Muslims to fast Ashura and then told them to also fast the day before or the day after as well to differentiate from the Jews.
  6. The ruling of fasting the day before Ashura and/or the day after: It is the sunnah to pray the day before and/or after Ashura, because the fasting of these days are connected to the fasting of Ashura and therefore share the same ruling.
  7. The levels of fasting: Ibn Al-Qayyim said the levels of fasting Ashura are as follows: 1. To fast Ashura with the day before and the day after; he believed this to be the highest level because it involves fasting more days whilst also fulfilling the fast of Ashura and differing from the worship of the Jews. 2. To fast Ashura with the day before or the day after to get the reward for fasting Ashura and the reward for fulfilling the requirement of differentiating from the worship of the Jews. 3. To fast Ashura only to get the reward for fasting that day.
  8. The excellence of fasting Ashura: The Prophet ﷺ used to always fast Ashura and he used to encourage the Sahabah to fast it and to tell their families to also fast on that day. Ibn Abbas said, “I never saw the Prophet ﷺ more serious about fasting a day for its excellence than this day, i.e. Ashura, and this month, i.e. Ramadan.” (An-Nasa’i). It is also reported in Sahih Muslim that Abu Qatadah said that the reward for fasting Ashura is forgiveness for the bad deeds of the previous year.
  9. Is it permissible to fast Ashura if it falls on a Saturday?: Some scholars believe it is not permissible to fast on Saturdays due to the hadith “Do not fast on Saturdays, except that which is made obligatory for you.”. However, the authenticity of this hadith was rejected by Imam Malik and others, and those who deemed it authentic either thought it was abrogated, or that the forbiddance was for singling Saturday out as a day of fasting (like Mondays and Thursdays), but as for fasting Ashura on Saturday then this is permissible according to the majority of scholars.
  10. Some made up hadith related to Ashura: The hadith that state that the heavens and earth were created on Ashura is made up. The ahadith that state that you should wear kohl, bathe or dye their hair with henna on Ashura are made up. That the reward for fasting Ashura is forgiveness for 60 years is made up. The ahadith that say you should treat your family or feed your family a special feast on Ashura are made up. The hadith that says that Adam sought forgiveness from Allah on Ashura; Nuh was saved from the flood on Ashura; Ibrahim was saved from the fire on Ashura; Yunus was removed from the belly of the whale on Ashura; and the Tawrah was revealed on Ashura, was also made up. All the ahadith that tell you to pray a certain amount of rak’ahs during a certain time on Ashura, reading certain ayat, and so on, are all made up. The ahadith that state that if you fast Ashura you get the reward of a thousand angels, or a thousand shaheed, or for feeding the whole ummah, and so on, are all made up.

 

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Rulings and Etiquettes for Eid Al-Adha

Eid Mubarak. This is a guide to help ensure you have a blessed Eid.

All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the prayers and blessings be upon our Prophet ﷺ, his family, and his companions.

To proceed:

Eid Al-Adha is almost upon us. May Allah accept all of our good deeds in these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah. The following are  number of rulings and etiquettes of the second Eid in the Islamic calendar. I hope they are of benefit to all my noble brothers.

The Takbir

It is the sunnah to say the takbir out loud during the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. There are two types of takbir:

  1. The general takbir: “Allah Akbar”
  2. The specific takbir: “Allah akbar, Allah akbar, la ilaha illallah, Allah akbar, Allah akbar, wa lillahil hamd”

The general takbir can be said at any time throughout the 10 days, and is in fact somewhat of a forgotten sunnah, as it is not very often practiced. It is reported that Umar  and Ali as well as other companions would constantly say the takbir, the Shahada (la ilaha illallah), and the tahmid (al-hamdulillah) out loud wherever they were during the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.

The specific takbir is to be said after every prayer starting from the Fajr prayer on the morning of the Day of Arafah (the 9th of Dhul Hijjah) until the Asr prayer on the third Day of At-Tashriq (the 13th of Dhul Hijjah), and on the way to the Eid prayer.

Ibn Uthaymin said that the takbir should be said immediately after the istighfar that is normally said after the prayer (i.e. after saying  astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, Allahumma antas Salam, wa minkas Salam, tabarakta ya dhal Jallalli wal Ikraam)

The specific takbir should be said out loud but not in unison with a group, as the scholars have declared this to be a bid’ah (innovation).

The Eid Prayer is Wajib (Obligatory)

The Prophet ﷺ commanded all the Muslims to attend the Eid prayer, including the women and even ordered the women who are on their menses to attend the prayer but not to pray.

The Eid Prayer is Performed Outside

It is the sunnah to perform the Eid prayer outside in an open area if the weather permits. Otherwise it is to be held in the masjid as usual.

Ghusl on the Day of Eid

It is the sunnah to perform a ghusl (washing of the whole body with intention) in the same manner that one would wash for janabah (impurity after sexual intercourse). The ghusl should be performed after the time for Fajr has entered. Some of the scholars believe that if performed before Fajr then it is not considered the Eid Ghusl, however some permit it before Fajr, because the time between Fajr and the Eid prayer is short. Therefore, if time permits one should strive to do the ghusl after the time for Fajr has entered.

Wearing Nice Clothes

It is the sunnah to wear your best clothes for the Eid prayer, without being too extravagant.

Fasting on the Day of Eid

It is not permissible to fast on the day of Eid.

Waiting to Eat After the Eid Prayer

The sunnah for Eid Al-Adha is to wait till after the prayer before you eat. This is the opposite to Eid Al-Fitr.

Walking to the Eid Musalla

It is the sunnah to walk to the Eid prayer and to take a different route on the way back from the prayer.

There Are No Voluntary Prayers at the Eid Musalla

Ibn Mas’ud informed us in an authentic hadith that no voluntary prayers should be prayed at the Eid musalla before the Eid prayer. If the prayer is held at a masjid however, it is permissible to pray the two rak’ahs for entering the masjid.

Missing the Eid Prayer or Some of It

If someone misses the Eid prayer then he should pray two rak’ahs in the same manner as the imam would pray the Eid prayer, including the extra takbirs. It is permissible to pray these two rak’ahs individually or in a group. If someone arrives late missing the first rak’ah, for example, then he should enter the prayer with the imam and follow him until the imam finishes then he should complete the second rak’ah with the additional takbirs. If someone misses some of the takbirs then he should complete the prayer with the imam and there is no need to repeat the takbirs that he missed.

Leaving Before the Khutbah

For the Eid prayer the khutbah takes place after the prayer, unlike the Jumuah prayer, and it is permissible to leave immediately after the prayer is complete without listening to the khutbah.

If the Day of Eid Falls on Jumuah

This year Eid Al-Adha will be on Jumuah, so what is the ruling pertaining to the Jumuah prayer? The Prophet ﷺ told us in an authentic hadith that if we pray the Eid prayer on a Friday then it is not obligatory to pray the Jumuah prayer. Instead one can pray the four rak’ahs for Dhuhr.

Taqaballallah minna wa minkum.

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Worship Protection

Sometimes we can fall short in our performance of the obligatory acts of worship. This is why it is so important to be consistent in the sunnah act of worship.

For every act of obligatory act worship there are supererogatory and voluntary acts of worship that act as a protection for the obligatory acts. The five daily prayers have the rawatib, zakat has sadaqah, Ramadan has the 6 days of Shawwal, and Hajj has Umrah. The purpose of these sunnan are to protect and preserve the obligatory acts of the religion so the slave doesn’t find himself falling short in his duties to Allah.

It is well known that iman can rise and fall and because iman involves the heart, the tongue, and the limbs that means that as iman rises and falls so does the quantity and quality of a person’s worship. The sunnan act as a buffer or a reserve to tap into when the iman drops, so that instead of falling short in an obligation instead the person falls short in the performance of a sunnah. Likewise, if the person, due to low iman or otherwise, performs the obligation, in a way that is deficient or lacking then the sunnan act as a rectification or recompense for that. For example, if a person performs the Maghrib prayer, but is lacking in his khushu’ or focus, then his performance of the two sunnah prayers after that will make up for that deficiency.

The scholars also inform us that from the signs that an act of worship is accepted is that you follow it up with more acts of worship. So if you want to know if your Hajj was accepted then ask yourself did I come out of the Hajj a better Muslim than when I began? Or if you want to know if your Ramadan was accepted then ask yourself am I worshipping Allah more than before Ramadan? If you just performed the Esha prayer and you want to know whether it was accepted then just ask yourself did I follow that prayer with another? If the answer is yes to these questions then most likely your worship was accepted by Allah

Think of the sunnah as an insurance policy protecting your worship. There is nothing more valuable than your good deeds and the most valuable of the good deeds are those that Allah made obligatory, so you should want to protect them as you would your car or home. So protect your worship by being consistent upon the supererogatory acts of worship and meet Allah on the Day of Judgement with a heavy scale of good deeds

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Eid Al-Fitr

The final installment of the TMM Ramadan Series. This is a simple how-to guide about zakat al-fitr that every Muslim needs to know.

We are nearing the end of Ramadan so this is the time you should reflect on how you did this month. Were you striving to uphold the Ramadan etiquettes the whole month, or did you fall short? If your Ramadan was perfect then thank and praise Allah and if your Ramadan was something less than perfect then seek His forgiveness in these last remaining days.

Allah, in his ultimate mercy, legislated zakat al-fitr at the end of this blessed month to give the Muslim a means to make up for whatever bad deeds he most surely committed during Ramadan. Ibn Abbas said:

“The Messenger of Allah obligated zakat al-fitr as a purification for the faster for any idle speech and inappropriate acts and to feed the poor, so whoever performs it before the prayer then the zakat will be accepted and whoever performs it after the prayer then it is a general charity.” (Ibn Majah, and Abu Dawud)

Zakat al-fitr is obligatory upon every Muslim male, female, adult and child according to the majority of scholars.

The zakat should be paid in the form of a staple food that is storable. The Sahabah used to give dates or barley, because they were staple food items for them at that time. Today it might be more appropriate to give rice, oatmeal, cereal, etc, depending on the food of the people in the area that you live.

Some of the Salaf, such as Abu Hanifah, Sufyan Ath-Thawree, Al-Hasan Al-Basree, and others were of the opinion that it is permissible to give the equivalent in money, but this opposes the clear hadith and the actions of the Sahabah.

The amount to be given is 1 saa’ per person in the family. A saa’ is a volumetric measurement equivalent to about 3 litres. Different grains have different weights so the best thing to do is weigh 3 litres of the food item you intend to give and then use that weight as a guide to how much you need to buy and disperse.

The following are the weights of common food items per person:

Rice = 82.5oz

Oatmeal = 40.5oz

Grits = 75oz

Cereal (Cheerios) = 12oz

So for example if you have a wife and two children (4 people total) and you want to give rice then the amount would be:

4 x 82.5 = 330oz or 20.6 lbs of rice.

The best time to distribute the zakat al-fitr is the morning of the Eid, before the prayer, but it is permissible to distribute it up to 2 days before.

The zakat al-fitr should be distributed to the poor people and the people who have debts they are unable to pay in the area that you live.

You can give your zakat to just one person or to a number of different people. It is also permissible for a group of people to give zakat to just one person.

It is also permissible for the poor person to take the zakat al-fitr given to him and give it out to someone else if they want the reward of giving zakat.

 

I ask Allah to accept all our fasts and bless us with a joyous Eid.

 

**UPDATE**

A simple method of working out the amount needed for zakat al-fitr if you live in America is to look at the “Nutrition Facts” label on the back. It usually shows the serving size in cups and the amount of servings in the container. A saa’ works out to be about 13 cups, so work out how many cups in the container then work out how many containers you will need to make 13 cups.

For example:

Nutrition label

The label shows that a serving is 1/3 of a cup and there are 11 servings, therefore

11 x 1/3 = 3 2/3 cups in this container

So to make 13 cups we will need about 3 1/2 boxes of this food item. So either round up to 4 boxes or find a box that is 1/2 the size of this container.

Ramadan Etiquettes

This is the second installment of the TMM Ramadan Series that discusses the obligatory and preferred etiquettes of the fast and Ramadan.

The etiquettes of Ramadan and fasting are of two types: obligatory etiquettes and preferred etiquettes. If the obligatory etiquettes are not observed then your fast may not be accepted, but if the preferred etiquettes are not observed then it does not diminish your fast, but you will have missed out on extra rewards.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“Whoever does not abstain from lies and ignorant conduct, Allah has no need for him to abstain from his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari)

Jabir (radiallahu anhu) said:

“If you fast then let your ears, your eyes, and your tongue fast from lying and sins; refrain from upsetting your neighbor; act dignified and calm; and don’t let your day of fasting be spent the same way you spend your day not fasting.

Here the Prophet ﷺ and his noble companion are referring to some of the obligatory etiquettes of Ramadan, and that is to perform your obligations as a Muslim and to keep away from sins.

The first and foremost obligation for the Muslim is to pray the five daily prayers, because it is the most important of the 5 pillars of Islam after the Shahadah. So the Muslim man must perform the prayer with all of its pillars, obligations, and conditions. One of the most important conditions of the prayer is that each prayer is prayed in its allotted time, so you cannot go to sleep during the day with the intention of waking up just before it is time to break fast and then pray Thuhr, and Asr together. Those prayers will not be accepted, Allah, the Most High, said:

“Indeed, the prayer has been decreed for the believers (to be performed) at specified times.” (An-Nisa:103)

Some fasters during Ramadan may even leave off the obligatory prayers for the supererogatory prayers by abandoning the 5 daily prayers, but performing the Tarawih prayers every night. Tarawih can be the highlight of Ramadan and I certainly don’t want to discourage people from praying it, but the Tarawih is sunnah, meaning that if you don’t do it there is no sin upon you, but the 5 daily prayers, on the other hand, are wajib, meaning that if you don’t do them then you are sinning, and in this case it is one of the worst of the major sins.

The Muslim man should also refrain from the sins of the tongue, because they are very easy to fall into and can be extremely serious in terms of their punishment. An example of a sin of the tongue is lying, the worst of which is to lie on Allah and His Prophet ﷺ, Allah, the Most High, said:

“And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper. A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment.” (An-Nahl:116-117)

And the Prophet warned us from lying in general:

“Beware of lying, for lying leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Hellfire.” (Al-Bukari and Muslim)

The Muslim man should likewise avoid backbiting and tale-carrying, because Allah, the Glorified and Most High, said:

“O you who believe! Avoid having suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would detest it. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujarat:12)

And the Prophet ﷺ said:

“The tale-carrier will not enter Jannah.” (Muslim)

Another thing that the Muslim man should avoid are the sins of the eyes and this is especially true for the brothers fasting in the non-Muslim countries during the summer time. Allah, the Almighty, said:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is well acquainted with what they do.” (An-Nur:30)

These are an example of some of the duties and sins that the Muslim man must abide by whilst fasting, so as not to nullify or lessen the reward of his fast and if one should fall into one of these things then let him seek Allah’s forgiveness and mercy during this blessed month when the doors of Jannah are opened.

From amongst the preferred etiquettes of the fast is to eat Suhur. Suhur is the meal the Muslim eats in the early morning before beginning the fast. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“Suhur, all of it is a blessing, so do not leave it, even if you were to just drink a cup of water, because Allah and His angels send their prayers upon those who have Suhur” (Ahmad)

The Prophet ﷺ instructed us to delay Suhur to close to the time to start fasting, because that is better for the faster and makes it less likely for him to fall asleep and miss the Fajr prayer, he ﷺ said:

“Eat and drink until you hear Ibn Umm Maktum call the adhan, because he doesn’t call the adhan until Fajr has entered.” (Al-Bukhari)

Also from the preferred etiquettes is to hasten to break your fast once the time for Maghrib has entered. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“People will not cease to be upon goodness for as long as they rush to break their fast.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

And the Prophet ﷺ said that Allah said:

“Indeed the most beloved of my slaves are those who rush to break their fast.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)

The sunnah is to break your fast with rutub dates (moist dates), and if those are not available then tamr dates (dried dates), and if those are not available then water. Anas (radiallahu anhu) said:

“The Prophet ﷺ used to break his fast before he prayed with rutub, and if there were no rutub, then tamr, and if there were no tamr, then water.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi)

When you break your fast you should make dua for what you want, because the Prophet ﷺ said:

“When the fasting person breaks his fast, his dua is not refused.” (Ibn Majah)

And when you break your fast it is the sunnah to say:

ذََهَبَ الظَمَأُ وَابْتَلَتِ العُرُوقُ وَثَبَتَ  الأَجْرُ إِنْ شَاءَ الله

“Dhahabah adh-dhama’u wabtalatil urooqu wa thabatal ajru insha’allah.”

Which means:

“The thirst is gone, the blood vessels are moistened, and the reward is affirmed, if Allah wills.”

From the preferred etiquettes of the fast and Ramadan is to increase in reading the quran, making dua, performing the prayer and giving charity. Ibn Abbas said:

“The Prophet was the most generous of people and he was at his most generous during Ramadan when the angel Jibra’il (alaihi assalaam) used to meet him every night and teach him the Quran. The Messenger of Allah was more generous than the blowing wind.” (Al-Bukhari)

And the Prophet ﷺ said about praying the night prayer during Ramadan:

“Whoever prays in Ramadan with sincere faith, hoping for Allah’s reward, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Muslim)

So implement these simple etiquettes so that you may perfect your fast this Ramadan, and beware of the things that will decrease or nullify the rewards of your fast.

And don’t miss the next installment of the TMM Ramadan Series where we will be talking about the rulings of Zakat Al-Fitr.

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The Two Joys

The first installment of the TMM Ramadan series features the excellence of Ramadan and fasting.

Alhamdulillah Allah has blessed us all to reach another Ramadan, so let us reflect on exactly how amazing this month really is. This article will be the first of a series of Ramadan posts where we will discuss its many different facets.

Ramadan combines personal sacrifice, remembrance of others less fortunate than ourselves, prayer, supplication, forgiveness, forbearance, sincerity of worship to the One who deserves to be worshipped alone without partners, and countless other beautiful traits. No wonder Allah chose this particular form of worship to be for Him alone. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that Allah said:

“Every act of the Son of Adam is for him, they are multiplied in their reward from ten to seven hundred times, except the fast, which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it. The person observing the fast abstains from food and drink only for My sake.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The fast is unlike any other act of worship, because it is truly for Allah alone. This cannot be said for the prayer, charity, Hajj, or any other act of worship, because a man might pray to Allah so that people can say he is pious, or give charity so people can say he is generous, and so on. The fast, on the other hand, is for Allah alone, because no one but Allah and yourself know whether you are truly fasting or not. If you wanted you could easily eat and drink when nobody is watching. Therefore, if you start the day fasting and you end the day fasting then you did that for no other reason than for fear of Allah’s punishment and hope for His reward.

Because of this Allah said “and I will reward him for it”, this doesn’t mean that the reward for other good deeds come from other than Allah, instead it means that Allah will reward the fasting person without limit. Allah in His complete wisdom and generosity rewards the believer from 10 to 700 times for any regular good deed that is performed, but the fast, due to its excellence, may be infinitely rewarded.

The Prophet ﷺ also told us about this truly special month that:

“When Ramadan begins, the gates of Jannah are opened, the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah opens the gates to Heaven during Ramadan due to all the good deeds that are done during this time and as an incentive to the doers of good deeds; He locks the gates of Hell due to the lack of bad deeds done by the believers, and He chains the devils so that they are unable to lure and tempt the people who are fasting to disobey Allah.

Ramadan is a joyous month for the believer, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that:

“The fasting person experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he feels joy, and when he meets his Lord.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The fasting person feels joy that Allah blessed him to reach another Ramadan, guided him and gave him the desire to fast for His sake and he feels joy on the Day of Judgment when his fast stands as a witness for him and he is called to enter Heaven. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“The fast and the Quran will stand as witnesses for the slave on the Day of Judgment. The fast will say, ‘Indeed my Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires, so allow me to intercede for him’, and the Quran will say, ‘I prevented him from sleep at night, so allow me to intercede for him’ and they will both be allowed to intercede.” (Ahmad)

And Prophet ﷺ said:

“In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Rayaan through which only those who used to fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection. It will be called out, ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Brothers, we have reached a great month full of blessings, mercy and forgiveness, but you can’t receive these blessings unless you perform your fast in the right way, keeping to the etiquettes of Ramadan, so strive to perform your fast in the best way, stick to its boundaries and limitations, and seek forgiveness from Allah for any shortcomings during this month.

And don’t miss the next installment of the TMM Ramadan Series where we will be talking about the obligations and sunan of the fast to help you perfect your blessings and reward.

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