Archive | August 2009

The family and Ramadaan

Q) I am the head of a household, and now Ramadaan is coming. How should I take care of my family and teach them during this blessed month?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

It is one of the blessings of Allaah to the Muslim that He enables him to fast in Ramadaan and to spend its nights in prayer. It is a month in which good deeds are multiplied and people are raised in status, when Allaah frees some people from the Fire. So the Muslim should strive to make the most of this month and the goodness it brings; he should hasten to spend his life in worship. How many people have been deprived of this month because of sickness, death or misguidance.

The Muslim must make the most of his time during this month; he has an unavoidable duty towards his children, to raise them well and bring them up properly, to urge them to do all kinds of goodness and make them get used to that – because the child will grow up in the manner to which his father makes him get accustomed.

During these blessed days, the father and mother have a role to play in making the most of this time, and we can offer parents the following advice:

1 – Checking on the children’s fasting and encouraging those who fall short in this regard.

2– Reminding them about the real nature of fasting, and that it is not just giving up food and drink, but it is a means of attaining taqwa (piety), and that it is an opportunity for sins to be forgiven and expiated.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.” It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allaah, why did you do that?” He said, “Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’”

Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah, 1888; al-Tirmidhi, 3545; Ahmad, 7444; Ibn Hibbaan, 908. See Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3501.

3 – Teaching them the etiquette and rulings on eating, such as eating with the right hand from what is directly in front of them; reminding them that extravagance is haraam and is harmful to the body.

4 – Not letting them spend too long on eating iftaar so that they miss praying Maghrib in congregation.

5 – Reminding them about the situation of the poor and destitute who cannot find even a mouthful of food to quench the fires of hunger; reminding them of the situation of those who have migrated or are fighting in jihad for the sake of Allaah in all places.

6 – These gatherings offer an opportunity to bring relatives together and uphold the ties of kinship. This custom still exists in some countries, and it is an opportunity to reconcile and mend broken ties between relatives.

7 – Helping the mother to prepare the food, and to clean up and keep the food fit for eating.

8 – Reminding them to pray qiyaam (taraweeh) and to prepare for it by not eating too much and to get ready in time to perform the prayer in the mosque.

9 – With regard to suhoor, the parents should remind the family of the barakah (blessing) of suhoor and that it gives a person the strength to fast.

10 – Allowing enough time before Fajr prayer so that those who have not prayed Witr may do so, and so that those who have delayed their prayer until the end of the night may pray, and so that each person may make du’aa’ to his Lord as he wishes.

11 – Paying attention to praying Fajr on time in congregation in the mosque, for those who are required to do so. We have seen many people who wake up at the end of the night to eat, then they go back to bed and neglect Fajr prayer.

12 – It was the practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the last ten days of Ramadaan to stay up at night and wake his family. This indicates that the family should pay attention to making the most of this blessed time in doing things that are pleasing to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. So the husband should wake his wife and children to do that which will bring them closer to their Lord.

13 – There may be small children in the house who need to be encouraged to fast, so the father should urge them to get up for suhoor, and encourage them to fast by praising them and giving a reward to the one who fasts the whole month or half of it, and so on.

It was narrated that al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said:  On the morning of ‘Ashoora’ the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent word to the villages of the Ansaar saying, “Whoever started out not fasting, let him not eat for the rest of the day, and whoever started the day fasting, let him fast.” She said: We used to fast and make our children fast, [and take them to the mosques] and make toys for them out of wool, then if one of them cried for food we would give him that toy until iftaar.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1859; Muslim, 1136 – the words in square brackets were narrated by Muslim.

Al-Nawawi said:

This hadeeth shows that we should train children to do acts of worship and get them used to that, but they are not accountable. Al-Qaadi said: It was narrated from ‘Urwah that when they are able to fast it becomes obligatory upon them. This is a mistake which is disproven by the saheeh hadeeth, “The Pen is lifted from three: from the child until he reaches adolescence…” And Allaah knows best.

Sharh Muslim, 8/14

14 – If possible, the father and mother should take the family for ‘Umrah in Ramadaan, and that is something that will benefit them in the Hereafter,, themselves and their family, for ‘Umrah during Ramadaan has the same reward as Hajj. It is better to go at the beginning of Ramadaan so as to avoid the crowds.

15 – The husband should not overburden his wife with more than she can bear of having to prepare food and sweets. Many people take this month to prepare fancy foods and drinks, and they go extremes in that. This detracts from the sweetness of this month and goes against the reason for fasting, which is to attain piety.

16 – The month of Ramadaan is the month of the Qur’aan, so we suggest that each family gets together to read Qur’aan. The father should teach his family to recite Qur’aan and help them to understand the meanings of the verses. In the same gathering they may also read a book about the rulings and etiquette of fasting. Allaah has enabled many scholars and seekers of knowledge to write books which can be used for preaching and teaching during Ramadaan; the books are divided into thirty parts, so one topic can be read each day, and this will benefit everyone.

17 – They should be encouraged to spend and check on their neighbours and the needy.

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the most generous of people, and he was at his most generous during Ramadaan when Jibreel met him. He would meet him each night and revise the Qur’aan with him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was more generous than the blowing wind.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6; Muslim, 2308.

18 – The parents should prevent their families and children from staying up late at night and wasting their time in things that are of no benefit, let alone things that are haraam. For the devils among mankind are more active in this month in promoting evil things and acts of immorality to those who are fasting, during the nights of Ramadaan and during the days.

19 – They should remember the family’s meeting in Allaah’s Paradise in the Hereafter, and the great joy of meeting there under the shade of His throne. These blessed gatherings in this world and coming together to obey Allaah by seeking knowledge, fasting and praying are only the means that lead to attaining that happiness.

Islam Q&A

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Her nifaas (post-partum bleeding) came back when she was fasting

Q) If a woman’s nifaas stops after one week of giving birth and she starts fasting with Muslims during Ramadaan then the bleeding reoccurs, should she break her fast in this case? Does she have to make up the days she fasted and the days she did not fast?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

If the woman who is bleeding in nifaas becomes pure (i.e., the bleeding stops) within forty days and she fasts for a few days, then the bleeding comes back within forty days, then her fast is valid, but she has to stop praying and fasting during the days on which the bleeding comes back – because it is (still) nifaas – until she becomes pure or the forty days end. When forty days have ended, she has to do ghusl, even if she has not seen the tuhr (white discharge signalling the end of menses or nifaas), because forty days marks the end of nifaas according to the more sound of the two scholarly opinions. After that, she has to do wudoo’ at the time of every prayer, until the bleeding stops, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) instructed the woman who was suffering from istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding). And her husband may be intimate with her after forty days, even if she has not seen the tuhr, because the bleeding in this case is irregular bleeding which does not prevent her from praying and fasting, and does not prevent her husband from being intimate with his wife.

But if the bleeding after forty days coincides with the usual time of her menses, then she should stop praying and fasting and regard it as menses. And Allaah is the Source of Strength. End quote.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him). Fataawa Islamiyyah (2/146).

He cannot find time to read the Holy Qur’aan in Ramadan

Q) I offer you my congratulations on the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan. At the beginning of Ramadan, I committed myself to a complete reading of the Holy Qur’aan, but unfortunately I wake up at 6 a.m. and I come back home at 5:30 p.m.. After breaking the fast I feel exhausted, so I sleep until 10 p.m., then I stay up until sahoor, feeling half asleep, and I sleep around 12 o’clock so that I will be able to get up in the morning. What should I do?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

We congratulate you on the occasion of this blessed month and we ask Allah to help us to remember Him and give thanks to Him and to worship Him properly.

What is required of the Muslims is to combine the best interests of this world and the Hereafter. He is not the one who ignores this world and spoils his worldly affairs on the grounds of focusing on the Hereafter, and he is not the one who focuses on this world and turns away from the Hereafter.

Rather his aim in this world is to take provision from it for the Hereafter, because this world is not the place of eternal abode; rather it is a place through which a person passes and will inevitably depart from it to the Hereafter.

The wise believer is the one who prepares for that move. Hence when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asked: Who is the smartest of people and the one who is most resolved? He said: “The one who remembers death most and the one who makes the most preparations for it.” Narrated by al-Tabaraani and classed as hasan by al-Mundhiri in al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb (4/197); also narrated by al-Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id (10/312). Al-‘Iraaqi said in Takhreej Ahaadeeth al-Ihya’ (5/194): Its isnaad is jayyid. It was also mentioned by al-Albaani in Da’eef al-Targheeb (1964).

So it is essential to prepare for the day of departure to the place of final abode. We ask Allah to join us together under His mercy.

So the Muslim has to combine effort for this world and effort for the Hereafter. Man needs accommodation, money, clothing, food and drink to keep his body alive, but he also needs sound faith, prayer, fasting, remembrance of Allah (dhikr), reading Qur’aan, treating people kindly and so on in order to keep his heart and soul alive.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Answer Allaah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) calls you to that which will give you life” [al-Anfaal 8:24].

So the Muslim needs to read the Qur’aan in Ramadan and at other times.

He should have a daily portion of the Holy Qur’aan so that he can complete the Qur’aan — at most — once every 40 days.

But in Ramadan he is required to do more than that, because it is the best season for acts of worship and reading Qur’aan. “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan” [al-Baqarah 2:185].

You can set aside from your day an hour for reading more than two juz’ of the Holy Qur’aan, then you will complete it two or three times during the month. You can make use of that time that you spend commuting and let the Mus-haf be the companion that never leaves you, and you will find that you have completed the Qur’aan a number of times within that short time, if you persist in doing that. You could also make an agreement with your boss to reduce working hours, even if your salary is reduced as a result, and Allah will compensate you with something better. Or you could take time off during the last 10 days or part of that time. What matters is that you should strive to make the most of this blessed month to the best of your ability. The opportunity is still available and there are some days left. We ask Allah to help us to obey Him.

If you cannot reduce your working hours or take time off for a few days, then you have to make the most of your time to the best of your ability. If Allah knows that you would be keen to read the Qur’aan were it not for your work, then He will reward you in accordance with your intention.

May Allah help you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

And Allah knows best.

Islam Q&A

Fasting in countries where the day is very short or very long

Q) In some parts of the Scandinavian countries, the day may be much longer than the night, depending on the time of year. The night may be only three hours long, when the day is twenty-one hours. If it happens that Ramadaan comes in the winter, the Muslims fast for only three hours, but if it happens that Ramadaan comes in the summer, they do not fast because they are not able to, as the day is so long. Please tell us when we should have suhoor and iftaar, and on how many days of Ramadaan we should fast.

A) Praise be to Allaah.

Islam is perfect and comprehensive. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“… This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [al-Maa’idah 5:3]

“Say [O Muhammad]: ‘What thing is the most great to witness?’ Say: ‘Allaah (the Most Great!) is Witness between me and you; this Qur’aan has been revealed to me that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach…” [al-An’aam 6:19]

“And We have not sent you [O Muhammad] except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind….” [Saba’ 34:28]

Allaah has told the believers that fasting is obligatory (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Observing al-sawm (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become the pious.” [al-Baqarah 2:183]

And Allaah has explained when the fasting should begin and end (interpretation of the meaning):

“… and eat and drink until the white thread (light of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall…” [al-Baqarah 2:187]

This ruling is not addressed to any particular country or type of people; it is a universal law, which also includes the people asked about in the question. Allaah is Merciful and Kind towards His slaves and has prescribed for them ways of ease to help them to do what He has made obligatory. For example, He allows travellers and the sick not to fast during Ramadaan, to save them from hardship, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan, i.e., is present at his home), he must observe fasting that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe sawm (fasts( must be made up] from other days…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

So every responsible adult Muslim who is present when Ramadaan comes is obliged to fast, no matter whether the day is short or long. If a person is unable to complete a day’s fast, and fears that he may die or become ill, he is permitted to eat just enough to keep his strength up and keep himself safe from harm, then he should stop eating and drinking for the rest of the day, and he has to make up the days he has missed later on, when he is able to fast. And Allaah knows best.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/114

Extravagance in food and drink during Ramadaan

Q) What is your opinion on those who make many kinds of foods and sweets during Ramadaan?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

Extravagance in all things is something that is blameworthy and is not allowed, especially in food and drink. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)”

[al-A’raaf 7:31]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2380; Ibn Maajah, 3349. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1939).

Extravagance in food and drink includes many evils:

v    The more a person enjoys the good things of this world, the less will be he share in the Hereafter.

Al-Haakim narrated that Abu Juhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The more people eat their fill in this world, the more hungry they will be on the Day of Resurrection.”

Narrated by Ibn Abi’l-Dunya, who added that Abu Juhayfah never filled his stomach until he departed this life.

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al_Saheehah, 342.

‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: By Allaah, if I wanted I could wear the finest clothes among you, and eat the best food, and have the most luxurious life. But I heard that Allaah will condemned people for someo f their actions and said (interpretation of the meaning):

“You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein. Now this Day you shall be recompensed with a torment of humiliation, because you were arrogant in the land without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allaah’s Command (disobey Allaah)”

[al-Ahqaaf 46:20]

Heelat al-Awliya’, 1/49

v    That distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, such as reading Qur’aan, which is what the Muslim should focus on during this blessed month, as was the practice of the Salaf.

But women end up spending a large part of the day on preparing food, and a large part of the night on preparing sweets and drinks.

If a person eats too much he becomes lazy and sleeps a great deal, so he wastes a lot of his time.

Sufyaan al-Thawri (may Allaah have mercy on his) said: If you want your body to be healthy and to sleep less, then eat less.

Eating too much also makes the heart heedless.

It was said to Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him): Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A

She suffered a brain injury at birth; does she have to pray and fast?

Q) I have a sister who is 25 years old, and she was born with a disability which means that she is quadriplegic, in addition to which she is unable to speak. From infancy she has been disabled and is unable to eat or drink or go to the toilet by herself, so her mother feeds her, gives her drinks and takes her to the toilet. She is also unable to move her arms. On the intellectual side she understands things very well, she feels joy and sorrow, she recognises people, tells the time and listens to the Qur’aan. My question is: does she have to do perform all the obligatory duties such as prayer, fasting and Hajj, even though she is unable to do wudoo’ and does memorise any Qur’aan and is not able to do so, and she is not able to sit and move during the prayer? I have tried many times to teach her how to pray, but she does not know the number of rak’ahs and she forgets and makes mistakes, and turns to the right and left, and sometimes she laughs involuntarily. And what about fasting? Should she fast or not? Or should she abstain from fasting and should charity be given on her behalf?

A) Praise be to Allaah.

If the situation is as you say, and this sister does not understand the meaning of the prayer or how to do it, or the meaning of fasting and what it involves, then she is not accountable, because of her intellectual disability which means that she is not regarded as accountable, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Pen has been lifted from three: from the sleeping person until he wakes up, from the minor until he grows up, and from the insane person until he comes to his senses.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (4403), al-Tirmidhi (1423), al-Nasaa’i (3432) and Ibn Maajah (2041); it was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

As she is not accountable, it is not required to feed the poor on her behalf instead of fasting.

And Allah knows best.

Islam Q&A

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1) Give thanks to Allah for the season of goodness that He has bestowed upon you, and for the great blessings for which He has singled you out. Make the most of this blessed time by filling it with acts of worship and forsaking haram things, so that you may attain a good life in this world and happiness after death.

2) May Allah bless you in this month of fasting. We ask Him to help us to remember Him and worship Him properly. Dear brothers and sisters, the race has begun! Ramadan has come and Paradise has been opened for those who strive. The prize is for the one who strives, so prepare to work hard and say “no one will reach Allah before me”.

3) From Ibn Abbas: “Allah’s Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the utmost in generosity during the month of Ramadan when Jibreel met with him. Jibreel used to visit him every night of Ramadan to revise (in another narration: to teach him) the Qur’an. Allah’s  Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong, bountiful wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds).” (al-Bukhari, Muslim)

4) If a fasting person hears the adhaan and knows that this is the call for Fajr prayer, he must stop eating. If the adhan is before the break of dawn, then he does not have to stop eating and it is permissible to eat and drink until it is clear that dawn has come. If it is unknown whether the muezzin calls before or after dawn, then it is better and safer to stop eating at the adhan.

5) “Ramdan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide for humanity, and also clear (signs) for guidance and Judgment (between right and wrong)….” [al-Baqarah 2:185- interpr. of meaning] The most favored act of worship in this month is recitation of the Qur’an. Occupying oneself with the Qur’an during Ramadan is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and it has been the tradition of Muslims, both scholars and laymen alike.