Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fasting on the 27th of Rajab?


Dear Sheikh! Is there any specific reward or merit pertaining to 27 Rajab? What about fasting on that day? Is it true that Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj (Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet—peace and blessings be upon him) happened on that night?

Mufti Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi


All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner! Thank you for this question, which reflects a true desire to gain more knowledge about Islam and its guidance.

It should be noted, first of all, that the exact date of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is not known. There is no evidence to support the saying that it happened on 27 Rajab. Even if 27 Rajab is the day of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj, there is no way to say that we have to fast that day, since we cannot innovate fasting on our own without having evidence from the sources of Shari`ah supporting it. However, if a person customarily fasts on Mondays and Thursdays and 27 Rajab falls on one of those two days, then there is nothing wrong in fasting on that day. Elaborating on this issue, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states: "Among the prohibited types of fasting is any kind of fasting people initiate on their own without any Shari`ah text or evidence. An example of this is the fasting on 27 Rajab thinking that it is the day that followed the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. Some people would fast on that day as a token of gratitude and thankfulness to Allah for the blessing of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. It is really important for a Muslim to prove thankful in the remembrance of every event that brought blessings to the Muslim Ummah. These events are many indeed. However, this thankfulness does not mean that a Muslim has to fast. Almighty Allah reminds Muslims of so many blessings He has given to them. Allah says: “O ye who believe! Remember Allah's favor unto you when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a great wind and hosts ye could not see." (Al-Ahzab: 9) However, Almighty Allah did not ask them to fast and they never did.

In his brilliant book Zaad Al-Ma`aad, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote that Ibn Taymiyah. said, “It is not recorded that any Muslim attributed any merit or privilege to the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj. None of the Companions ever did so. That is why we cannot tell when exactly Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj happened.” Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote, "There is no clear evidence of the exact month when it happened, or the exact date of it. There are, in fact, so many reports in this regard and none of then is decisive. There is no specific ritual pertaining to it."

It is thus clear that there is no clear evidence that the night of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj is 27 Rajab, despite of the common belief that it happened that day."

Allah Almighty knows best.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Communalism Watch: Excerpts from the 25-page chargesheet - the Samjhauta plot

Communalism Watch: Excerpts from the 25-page chargesheet - the Samjhauta plot

Communalism Watch: Ramdev’s vigilantism has echoes from Latin America ?

Communalism Watch: Ramdev’s vigilantism has echoes from Latin America ?

Dealing With Calamities

Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah

Ibnul Qayyim in his valuable book Zad Al-Ma'ad has mentioned several things in how to deal with calamities, including the following:

1 - If she looks at what has befallen her, she will find that what her Lord has left for her is similar to it or better than it, and if she is patient and accepts it, He has stored up for her something that is many times greater than what she has lost through this calamity, and if He willed He could have made the calamity even greater.

2 - The fire of calamity can be extinguished by thinking of those who have been hit even harder. Let her look to her right, does she see anything but calamity? Then let her look to her left, does she see anything but loss? If she were to look at the people around her, she would not see anything but people who are tested, either by missing out on something that they like, or by having happen to them that which they dislike. The pains of this world are like dreams or like a passing shadow. If you laugh a little you will weep a lot, and if you are happy for a day you will be miserable for a lifetime, and if you have what you want for a little while, you will be deprived for a long time. There is no day of happiness but it is followed by a day of pain.

Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: For every moment of joy there is a moment of sorrow, and no house is filled with joy but it will be filled with sorrow.

And Ibn Sireen said: There is never any laughter but there comes weeping after it.

3 - It should be noted that panicking will not make the calamity go away, and in fact it makes it worse.

4 - It should be noted that missing out on the reward for patience and surrender, which is mercy and guidance that Allah has granted as the reward for patience and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji'un (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)), is worse than the calamity itself.

5 - It should be noted that panicking makes one's enemy rejoice and makes one's friend feel sad; it makes Allah angry and makes the Shaytan happy; it destroys reward and weakens resolve. If she is patient, seeks reward, strives to please Allah, to make her friend happy and to make her enemy sad, and seeks to relieve her sisters of their burdens and to console them before they console her, this is steadfastness and a sign of perfection - not slapping one's cheeks, rending one's garment, wishing for death and being discontent with the divine decree.

6 - It should be noted that what comes after being patient and seeking reward is pleasure and joy that is many times greater than what she could have got from keeping what she lost. Sufficient for her is the "house of praise" that will be built for her in Paradise as a reward for her praising his Lord and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji'un (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)). So let her decide which of the two calamities is greater: a calamity in this world, or the calamity of missing out on the house of praise in eternal Paradise.

In Ath-Tirmidhi it is narrated in a Marfu' report: "On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity."

One of the Salaf said: Were it not for the calamities of this world, we would come empty-handed on the Day of Resurrection.

7 - It should be noted that the One Who is testing her is the Most Wise and the Most Merciful, and that He - may He be glorified - did not send this calamity in order to destroy her or cause her pain or finish her off, rather He is checking on her, testing her patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear her Du'a' and supplication, so that He may see her standing before Him, seeking protection, filled with humility and complaining to Him.

8 - It should be noted that were it not for the trials and tribulations of this world, a person could develop arrogance, self-admiration, a pharaonic attitude and hardheartedness which would lead to his doom in this world and in the Hereafter. It is a sign of the mercy of the Most Merciful that He checks on her from time to time with the remedy of calamity so as to protect her from these diseases, to keep her submission and servitude sound, and to eliminate all bad elements that may lead to his doom. Glory be to the One Who shows mercy by means of testing, and tests by means of blessing, as it is said:

Allah may bless us with calamities even if that is hard, and Allah may test some people with blessings.

9 - It should be noted that the bitterness of this world is the essence of sweetness in the Hereafter, as Allah will turn the former into the latter. Similarly the sweetness of this world is the essence of bitterness in the Hereafter. It is better to move from temporary bitterness to eternal sweetness than the other way round. If this is still not clear to you, then think of what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Paradise is surrounded with difficulties, and Hell is surrounded with desires."
Khadejah Jones
Share Islam Team

'You' and 'I': The Art of Communication in Marital Life – II

'You' and 'I': The Art of Communication in Marital Life – I

Signs of Heart Disease

There are numerous signs of a sickness of the heart. The first of them, is finding it difficult to live by the purpose of our creation, which is to know Allaah The Almighty, love Him, yearn to meet Him, turn to Him in repentance and to prefer doing all this to any other desire. Indeed, whoever gives precedence to his or her whims, over the love of, and obedience to, his or her Lord, then his or her heart is certainly diseased.
Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Have you seen the one who takes as god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?} [Quran 25: 43]. Some of the righteous predecessors said that this verse refers to the person who is led by his or her base wants and whims; hence, he or she lives like an animal, with no knowledge or worship of Allaah The Almighty, in violation of His orders and prohibitions. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {but those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as grazing livestock eat, and the Fire will be a residence for them.} [Quran 47:12]

Let us not forget that as we sow, so shall we reap. Therefore, if a person not only does not live life according to what pleases Allaah The Almighty, but instead actively pursues a lifestyle of disobedience to Him through His very blessings, he or she will neither find comfort nor be relieved of pain, after death, in the Hereafter. Allaah The Almighty, Says (what means): {He will gulp it but will hardly [be able to] swallow it. And death will come to him from everywhere, but he is not to die. And before him is a massive punishment.} [Quran 14:17]

Another sign of a diseased heart is that a person is not disturbed by insubordination to Allaah The Almighty. A poet spoke of how a dead person does not feel the pain of any wound; using that analogy, conversely, a sound heart feels great pain when a sin is committed, and, so, is quick to repent to Allaah The Almighty, as He Says (what means):

· {Indeed, those who fear Allaah - when an impulse touches them from Satan, they remember [Him] and at once they have insight.} [Quran 7:201]
· {And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allaah and seek forgiveness for their sins - and who can forgive sins except Allaah? - and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.} [Quran 3:135]

The meaning of “remember [Allaah]” in both verses, refers to the act of bearing in mind His magnificence, His threats and His punishments, and so, they seek His forgiveness. On the other hand, the one who has a diseased heart will keep on committing sin upon sin.

In another place in the Quran, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.} Commenting on this verse, Al-Hasan may Allaah have mercy upon him said that this means committing one sin after the other, to the extent that the heart becomes blind. In contrast, a person with a sound heart will follow an evil deed with a good one and make sure to repent after a wrongdoing.

A diseased heart, moreover, manifests itself when a person does not feel any pain of being unaware of the truth, whereas, someone with an upright mind could not tolerate that when coming across any confusing matters, or having false beliefs. Verily, ignorance is a serious calamity that pains anyone with a sound heart.

Some scholars would say: “Allaah was never disobeyed with anything worse than ignorance.” Also, Imaam Sahl may Allaah have mercy upon him was asked: “O father of Muhammad! What is worse than ignorance?” He replied: “To be oblivious of one’s obliviousness.” Indeed, such a state entirely hinders the path to knowledge, for a person is unaware of his or her need for it. It was once said that ignorance before one’s death is death itself; the bodies of the ignorant are like graves for the soul and they will have no resurrection until the Day of Resurrection.

Another sign of having a diseased heart is deviating from what is useful to what is harmful. Many people, for instance, refrain from listening to the Quran, about which Allaah The Almighty Said (what means): {And We Send down of the Quran that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.} [Quran 17:82]. Instead, they listen to songs that instill hypocrisy, and perhaps disbelief, in their hearts and stir their base desires. Such people sin, by preferring what Allaah and His Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), hate.And that, in itself, is a consequence of having a diseased heart and only increases it in sickness.

On the other hand, the more the heart is sound, the more it loves what Allaah The Almighty and His Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), do, as He Says (what means): {but Allaah Has endeared to you the faith and Has Made it pleasing in your hearts and Has Made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided.} [Quran 49:7] The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said:“He would taste the sweetness of faith, who is content with Allaah as [his] Lord, with Islam as [his] religion and with Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) as [his] Prophet.” [Muslim] He, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), also said:“No man from among you will have [perfect] faith, until he loves me more than his own self, children, family and all mankind.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The last symptom of an ill heart is that a person settles in this worldly life, satisfied with it and is at peace in it, feeling no sense of alienation, such that he or she no longer looks forward to the Hereafter or works for it. Conversely, when a heart becomes sound, it yearns for the Hereafter, to the extent that it perceives the sickness of others, while they do not see its soundness. The state of a person with such a heart, in life, bears the spirit of the Hadeeth in which the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ), said:“Be in this life as if you were a stranger or a traveler.”


When a Monitor and Mouse Steal Your Child Away…

It was a happy family.
The mother was content, the father reassured, and the child used to play with his parents, sometimes with building blocks, and at other times with the ball. The family had frequent outings… to the club, to visit his paternal or maternal cousins, the funfair, the beach, and so on. Both parents gave special care to provide suitable entertainment for the child, since recreation rejuvenates and refreshes one's life. This was also practiced by the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his honorable Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them. The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to race ‘Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, play with Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allaah be pleased with them, who were still very young, and address them saying: "How excellent your camel is, and what an excellent load you are!"
Suddenly, this happy home was intruded upon by a dreadful device: the computer. The young child heard about it and saw it in the house of one of his friends. He pleaded with his parents until they agreed, gladly, and out of their love for the child, to buy the new device. At first, the parents thought it was just like any other device, as the child would use it for an hour or two then continue his normal life, sit with his parents, play with his friends, and do assignments for his school. However, the reality was far beyond the expectations of the naive parents.
They soon discover that the child’s life revolves around the computer: it is the first thing he uses when he wakes up, and the last thing he uses before he sleeps. The computer becomes the source of his sorrows and joy. In brief, this device, the computer, is his main concern and attracts all his attention. His relationship with his parents weakens: he no longer greets them as he used to do. On the contrary, this device causes him to be undutiful to them. The computer makes him decide who are his "enemies" – if anyone wants to take away his computer, the child would surely raise the weapon of anger, displeasure, annoyance and obstinacy.
The device takes most of the child's time: he no longer goes to his cousins as he used to do unless they have a computer, because of which disputes and quarrels might break out between him and them. His relationship with his friends has weakened, and he no longer distinguishes his enemies from his friends. He is confused about all basic standards and concepts about life, thinking to himself, "The computer is my only friend."
Dear caregiver,
Our religion of Islam is the religion of temperance and moderation, in which there is no extremism or deviation from the Prophetic guidance of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And thus We have made you a just community.} [Quran 2:143]
Dear caregiver, by no means can we deny the importance of this device, and its necessity for the modern Muslim who likes to keep pace with the world around him. This is praiseworthy if it stems from the desire to appear as a strong Muslim, in order to complete the ideal image in which every Muslim person should appear -- I mean the image indicated by the daughter of the righteous Prophet, Shu‘ayb, may Allaah exalt his mention, in her saying as the Quran tells us (that means): {"O my father, hire him. Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and the trustworthy."} [Quran 28:26]
The ability to use the computer is one of the modern criteria of strength and skill, but the misuse of this device destroys the social structure of the family, and consequently the community. It is not a pick-axe used in construction in so much as a mattock used in destruction.
This is confirmed by almost all psychiatrists and parents.
A study conducted in Cologne University says that excessive use of computer games might affect social relations in real life, and force one to leave jobs and duties unattended -- like school assignments as far as the children are concerned.
According to many psychiatrists, the time a child spends at the computer reduces the time he spends with his friends in playing sports, which may lead to overweight and obesity in the long term. He should spend that time reading, doing any activity with his parents, or playing in a sports club.
Furthermore, spending a lot of time with the computer may result in social problems in a child like shyness or introversion. If your child sits at the computer throughout the day and does not go out as often as he should, he will not be able to learn how to take part in social activities, take turns at a game, or even learn the simplest social etiquette.
According to Eemaan Ash-Shawbaki, psychologist and counselor, in the Jordanian Ministry of Health, "The children's prolonged use of the computer dissociates them from their families and communities, and turns them into children more inclined to seclusion and non-participation in playing with others and talking to them."
She added, "One of the consequential psychological risks is the fear of getting to a point at which it becomes too difficult to achieve understanding between the family and the child, because of the cessation of conversation for long hours, especially when the child is approaching the age of adolescence, which requires regular contact and dialogue to get acquainted with the child's feelings, inclinations and attitude, and to evaluate his behavior."
On the other hand, spending too much time playing computer games inevitably leads to addiction. Dear caregiver, imagine that this addiction resembles alcoholism.
A study by a research group specialized in addiction in Berlin revealed that addiction to computer games is no less dangerous than alcoholism. According to the study, an addict is the one who has at least three of the six standards of measuring addiction determined by the World Health Organization. Those six standards are:
1- Incapability of curbing a desire for something
2- Loss of control over the time of using or playing
3- Overdosing
4- Symptoms of sense of deprivation
5- Negligence of other concerns and obligations
6- Not giving up the behavior of addicts regardless of their harmful consequences.
The study found an amazing similarity between the behavior of alcoholics and computer game addicts. A comparison between both parties revealed that the addict's brain acts in the same way, whether the addiction is caused by dependence on external substances or internal devotion to a particular activity.
Dear caregiver, your child needs to deal with others, whether they are children like him, adults or even household pets, in order to have life experiences instead of being with the computer all the time.
Having learnt the medical opinion about that problem, you may wonder: What is the solution? How should we rescue our dear children from being secluded from their Muslim community, or from being distanced from society?
How to solve the problem
1- Parents have to fix a certain number of hours for their children to use the computer.
2- The child may use the computer more often due to a social problem, in which case, it becomes incumbent upon the educator to trace its roots in order to solve it.
3- It is not enough to determine a number of hours: but it is necessary not to give the child the opportunity to use the computer for long periods of time as far as possible, by prompting him to go to the club to play sports and so on.
4- It is necessary to increase the activities the child has so that his personality would become multi-faceted rather than restricted to the computer.
These activities should vary as follows:
- complete school assignments
- go to the Masjid regularly to memorize the Quran;
- go to the club to play some sport;
- visit relatives and friends;
- set out on outings and picnics with his family
5- It is necessary for the child to know that even if the function of computer is no more than idle play, it surely steals time from his life.
6- Traditional games give the child a sociable character, because most of these games are played by more than one child, which habituates the child to get involved in direct competition with his fellows, unlike electronic games which habituate the child to solitude and introversion. Thus, we have to urge our children to play and take part in outdoor games.

Monday, June 20, 2011

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