Keeping the Ramadan Spirit after Ramadan

As the blessed and beloved month of Ramadan is coming to an end it is our duty as Muslims to try our best to maintain the good habits we have formed during Ramadan throughout the rest of the year. During Ramadan more people start reading more of the Quran, giving more charity, performing more prayers, and of course, fasting during the days. Overall, Ramadan is a time when many Muslims are very motivated and race to do good deeds seeing the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t).  However, many people have difficulty maintain these good habits after Ramadan. This post is a humble attempt to provide some basic tips to help maintain the spirit of Ramadan throughout the rest of the year.

Importance of Purpose

In order to create positive long lasting changes in your life you need to have a strong purpose which will Inshallah motivate you continue doing good deeds. We as Muslims know that we were created to worship Allah (s.w.t) so our purpose should always be linked to gaining the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t). once you have a clear purpose and know that whatever you are doing is to gain the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t) you can ensure that the changes you are making will last throughout your life. This is how the Sahabah ( companions of the Prophet (saws) made changes and how we can make changes!

Think Ahead

You need to think about your future and think specifically about what you want to achieve both in this world and in the Hereafter. Many people just do what their family or society in general wants them to do but you should do what you are interested in as long as it is within the boundaries accepted by Islam. This way you’ll be more passionate and more committed. The Sahabah actually visualized who they wanted to be and how they wanted to live their lives. Likewise you can visualize who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and what you want to be remembered for.

Prioritize

Nowadays many people have the intention to bring positive changes in their lives yet they ultimately fail to do so because they get distracted by unnecessary things. These include constantly browsing the internet and keeping up with social media such as Facebook. If you really want to turn your life around and make positive changes you will need to limit the time you spend on such distracting activities. For example, if you have a smart phone make sure to turn it off or somehow distance it from yourselves when you are praying, reading the Quran, or spending time at the Mosque.

Create a Plan

Once you know your purpose and you have set your goals create a plan on how to achieve these goals. Start out by setting your one year goals and then break them down to monthly goals and then to weekly goals. By doing so you can keep track of your progress and work towards meeting your goals. Life is full of setbacks so be prepared for these. When you come across tough times just put your trust in Allah (s.w.t) and review your goals if necessary look for another route towards achieving your goals. Prioritize your goals and if you are trying to get rid of a bad habit try to find an alternative to replace it with.

Final Tips

·         Work on improving all areas of your life including both this world and the Hereafter. Of course, you should never compromise the Hereafter for this world.

·         Concentrate on what you want in this world instead of fearing the things you don’t want.

·         Surround yourself with those who think positively and distance yourself from negative people.

·         Make lots of duas to Allah (s.w.t) for help and strength and Inshallah you will be successful.

Source: Coach Amal

Ramadan Duas


Making duas or supplications is a very high and important form of worship for a believer. The Arabic word dua literally means to “call upon”. Basically dua is asking Allah (s.w.t) for help or for the fulfillment of a particular need. Making duas is a beautiful form of expressing your helplessness and dependency on Allah the All-Powerful and most Merciful. According to the hadiths dua is a form of worship and it is the essence of worship (Tirmizi). Also, dua is the only act of worship that provides us with the opportunity to communicate with Allah (s.w.t) in the manner we wish. Making duas can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon of a believer. Here are some proofs from the Holy Quran and Hadiths on the importance of duas:

From the Holy Quran:

“Say: my Lord would not care for you were it not for your prayer” (Furqan, verse 77)

“And your Lord says: call upon Me, I will answer you; surely those are too proud for My service shall soon enter hell abased.”

“And call on Him fearing and hoping” (Araf, verse 56)

“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” (Baqarah, verse 186)

From the Hadith:

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “Dua is Ibadah (worship).” (Tirmidhi, Nisai)

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “The one amongst you who has been granted the Taufeeq (ability) to make dua, then the doors of acceptance has been opened for him.” (Ibn-e-Abi Shaiba)

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “There is nothing superior in the eyes of Allah (SWT) then dua”. (Tirmidhi, Hakim)

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “Allah (SWT) gets angry on the person that doesn’t make dua.” (Ibn-e-Abi Shaiba)

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “The ones who wants his duas to accepted in the time of difficulty and hardship, should make frequent duas in the time of prosperity and peace.” (Tirmidhi)

Rasulullah (saws) Said, “Dua is the weapon of a Muslim, a pillar for the Deen (religion) and Noor (light) of the heavens and the Earth.” (Hakim)
Since making duas is such a beautiful form of worship then during the blessed month of Ramadan we should try to increase the quantity and quality of our duas. Here are some special duas for Ramadan:

When beginning the fast – Suhur
Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri ramadan
“I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan.”
[Abu Dawud]
When breaking the fast – Iftar
Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu [wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu] wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu
“O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You [and I put my trust in You] and I break my fast with Your sustenance”
[“wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu” is quoted in some books of knowledge – but not all, hence it is in brackets]
[Abu Dawud]
dhahabadh-dhama’u wab-tallatil ‘urūūqi, wa thabatal arju inshaAllah
“The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is confirmed, if Allah [Ta’ala] Wills”
[Abu Dawud 2:306]
Allaahumma inni as’aluka birahmatika al-lati wasi’at kulli shay’in an taghfira li
“O Allah, I ask You by Your mercy which envelopes all things, that You forgive me.”
[A du’a that Abdullah ibn Amar (radiAllahu anhu) used to say when breaking his fast -as reported by Ibn Abi Mulaykah (radiAllahu anhu)]
Recited at intervals of taraweeh prayers
Subhana dhil Mulki wal Malakuti, Subhana dhil izzati wal aDhmati wal haybati wal Qudrati, wal kibriyaa’i wal jabaroot Subhanal Malikil hayyil ladhi, la yunaamu wa la yamūtu, Subbuhun, Quddusun, Rabbul malaa’ikati war-rooh
La ilaha illal lahu, nustugfirullahi
nas ‘alukul jannati, wa na udhubika min an-naar


“Glorified is the Owner of the Kingdom of the earth and the heavens; Glorified is the Possessor of Honour and Magnificence and Awe, and Power and Greatness and Omnipotence
Glorified is the Sovereign, the Living, Who does neither sleep nor die
O all Glorious, All Holy one, Our lord and the Lord of the Angels, And the soul.
There is no God but You, Forgive us, Grant us Paradise, and save us from (hell) fire.”

Upon breaking the fast in someone’s home
Aftara ‘indakumus saa’imuna, wa akala ta’aamakumul-abraaru, wasallat ‘alaikumul mala’ikat
“May those who are fasting break their fast in your home, and may the dutiful and pious eat your food and may the angels send prayers upon you.”
[Abu Dawud 3:367, ibn Majah 1:556, an Nasa’i]
On Lailatul Qadr – the Night of Power
Aishah (radhiya Allahu Ta’ala anha), that she said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” He said ‘Say
Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni’
“O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.”
[at Tirmidhi]

Sources:

Ramadan Kareem!

May Allah (s.w.t) shower us all with his Mercy and Blessings.

May Allah (s.w.t) forgive our sins and make the fasting of this month a means of purifying our souls.

May Allah (s.w.t) accept our fasting, our prayers, and our supplications during this blessed month.

May Allah (s.w.t) enable us to spend more time with the Holy Quran during this blessed month.

May Allah (s.w.t) guide us and enable us to follow the Sunnah of His beloved Prophet more closely.

May Allah (s.w.t) ease the pain and suffering of all of the poor and needy Muslims wherever they may be.

May Allah (s.w.t) bring peace to the war torn regions. May He have Mercy on the oppressed and bring justice to the oppressors or guide them to the right path.

Basics of Fasting During Ramadan

Beginning the Fast of Ramadan
Muslims begin fasting the day after the appearance of the new moon for the month of Ramadan. If the new moon has been sighted in any part of the world, a Muslim should begin his fast the next day.
The Niyyah (Intention)
It is essential that a Muslim makes his intention to fast. A Muslim can make their intention to fast once for the whole month of Ramadan or he can make the intention each day before they begin that day’s fast. The intention can be something like this:

I intend to fast for the month of Ramadan, as a Fard act of worship to You. I pray that you accept the fast from me.

The Suhoor: Pre-Dawn Meal

Muslims are encouraged to eat a pre-dawn meal before starting their fast. The suhoor is highly recommended because it is the Sunnah of Rasulallah (s.a.w.s.). As the image above demonstrates, the holy prophet encouraged Muslims to eat something for suhoor because there are blessings in this meal. The purpose of this early morning meal is to reduce the hardship of fasting during the day.

Breaking the Fast: Iftar
When the sun has set a Muslim should break his fast. It is recommended to break the fast with this dua:

Allahuma laka sumtu wa ala rizqika aftartu.

This means: O Allah! I fasted seeking your reward and by your sustenance I break my fast. The holy prophet (s.a.w.s) is reported to have said: “There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord”. It is also highly recommended  for Muslims to make dua right before breaking their fast.

Those Who Must Fast
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory upon each healthy and physically mature Muslim. For girls, physical maturity is marked by the start of menstruation. For boys, this is marked by the first emission of semen.
Those Who Are Not Allowed to Fast
Women that are going through menstruation and women that are going through the blood of childbirth should not fast until they stop bleeding. However, these women are still required to make up all of the days that they missed after Ramadan but before next year’s Ramadan.
Valid Excuses to Postpone Fasting
The following groups of people are allowed to postpone their fasting:
The Sick: If fasting is likely to make their illness worse.
The Mentally Ill: If an individual has a mental illness they can postpone fasting for as long as their illness lasts.
The Traveler: According to Islamic Law a person is considered a traveler if they travel more than 77 kilometers from their area of residence. It is not permissible for a traveler to postpone the day’s fast if he begins his journey after dawn.  If the traveler leaves after dawn with the intention of fasting but becomes exhausted due to fasting he may break his fast and postpone it for another day.
The Pregnant Woman: If fasting is likely to harm her health or the health of her unborn child.
The Nursing Mother: If fasting is likely to harm the health of the mother and/or prevent her from having enough milk to feed her baby.
The Qada: Making Up the Fasting
The word qada can mean making up, in this case making up for a missed day of fasting. After the end of Ramadan all of the groups mentioned above should fast an equal number of days to those that they missed. It is important to mention that there are a number of other things that nullify a fast and require qada but those listed above are considered some of the most important. A Muslim can do qada anytime after Ramadan except for the days of Eid. It is discouraged to delay it without a cause because there is no guarantee that one will live long enough to make it up, If a Muslim, on purpose, delays his qada until the Ramadan of the following year, he then not only has to do qada but he also has to donate the equivalent of one handful (both hands cupped together) of staple foodstuff for each day of Qada. In conclusion, the conditions which necessitate qada are circumstances in which the fasting Muslim breaks his fast with a valid excuse.
 Kaffarah: Expiation
However, if an adult Muslim either refuses to fast in Ramadan without a valid excuse or breaks hisfast without a valid excuse than this case is much more serious. This is because fasting during the monthof Ramadan is an obligatory act of worship and any Muslim who refuses to follow this obligation shows direct disobedience to Allah (s.w.t) and therefore commits a sin. If a Muslim wants to repent and clean himself of this sin he needs to do both qada and kaffarah for each day he broke his fast. The kaffarah is only required for the breaking of a Ramadan fast. Kaffarah is not necessary if an individual breaks any other fast. Also, in order for kaffarah to be necessary the breaking of the fast must be intentional not due to forgetfulness or compulsion. There are three ways of doing kaffarah a Muslim must choose one of these three ways.
  • The first way is to donate staple foodstuff to 60 needy Muslims at the rate of one handful per person. One must do this for everyday of fasting that they have missed. For example, if someone has missed all 30 days of Ramadan they should give out food in the same manner and quantity for 30 days.
  • Free a slave (if such a situation is applicable) for each nullified fast.
  • Fast continuously for two lunar months (about 60 days) for each nullified fast.
Those Who Are Excused From Fasting

The following groups of people are completely exempt from fasting  and are not required to make up the days missed.

The Chronically Ill: Those that have a serious permanent illness that would be made worse by fasting.
The Permanently Mentally Ill
The Very Old: Those that are too old and weak to fast.
However, it is recommended that the permanently ill or old person should still distribute staple foodstuff at the rate of one handful for each day of the Ramadan fast.
Reference:
Islamic ‘Aqidah and Fiqh by Aisha Lemu

Intro to Fasting During Ramadan

Once again Allah (s.w.t) has granted us the honor of experiencing the holy month of Ramadan. This post will be a very brief introduction to fasting during this holy and blessed month.
Fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan is an obligatory act of worship. Allah (s.w.t.) says in the holy Quran:

The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

The Arabic word for fasting is As-Siyam. This word literally means abstinence. Fasting in Islam means to abstain from all forms of food, drink, and intercourse. The main purpose of fasting is to attain taqwa. Taqwa has several different meanings. Some of these meanings include heightened spiritual awareness of Allah, always aware of God, having self-control, abstinence from evil action, fear of Allah, etc. Taqwa is the human characteristic that prevents the individual from committing an evil action.  In order to truly benefit from fasting a Muslim must purify their thoughts and actions. An individual that is fasting must use their eyes, ears, and tongue in a manner that is pure, proper, and pleasing to Allah (s.w.t.). As a person continues to practice restraining himself from the things he most desires in order to please Allah, self-discipline will eventually become part of his nature. Therefore, this individual will be able to attain taqwa. As stated in the holy Quran, the Mutaqeen (those with taqwa) will be rewarded generously by Allah (s.w.t.) in Heaven.

One of the great benefits of fasting during Ramadan is that the fasting person will have the opportunity to feel the hunger and thirst that a poor person may constantly feel. These feelings of hunger and thirst should encourage the fasting individual to be more generous. This is especially important if this individual is financially well off. The holy prophet, who was described as “the most generous of all people” was so generous in the month of Ramadan that his companions described him as being “more generous and charitable than unrestrained wind”. Thus, in order to follow the tradition of the holy prophet Muslims are encouraged to be especially charitable during this blessed month.

Ramadan is the month in which its beginning is compassion, its middle is forgiveness, and its end is a chance to be saved from the fire of Hell. Here is how the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) described the significance of this blessed month:

“A great and blessed month is approaching. One of its nights is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting in it obligatory, while worship in its nights voluntary. He who fulfills one religious obligation in it receives the reward of 70 such obligations fulfilled in other times. It is the month of perseverance and endurance which can be rewarded only by admission into heaven. It is the month of comforting in which the means of a believer are improved. He who gives food to another to break his fast is forgiven his sins and he saves his neck from hell”.




May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us all the strength and the ability to take advantage of this blessed month!
References:
Islamic Aqidah and Fiqh by Aisha Lemu