Saturday, September 5, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadan 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 Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) 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. Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”
This blessed month is a great opportunity for goodness, barakah (blessing), worship and obedience towards Allaah.
It is a great month, a noble season, a month in which hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied and in which committing sayi’aat (bad deeds) is more serious than at other times. The gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the sinners’ repentance to Allaah is accepted. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is redemption from the Fire.
So give thanks to Him for the season of goodness and blessing that He has bestowed upon you, and for the means of bounty and various kinds of 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 haraam things, so that you may attain a good life in this world and happiness after death.
For the sincere believer, every month is an occasion for worship and his whole life is spent in obeying Allaah, but in the month of Ramadaan he has even more motives to do good and his heart is even more focused on worship, and he turns even more to his Lord. By His grace, our generous Lord bestows His bounty upon the fasting believers and multiplies the reward for them on this blessed occasion, so He gives abundantly and rewards generously for righteous deeds.Time passes quickly
Days pass so quickly, as if they were mere moments. We welcomed Ramadaan, then we bade it farewell, and only a short period of time passed and we are welcoming Ramadaan again. So we should hasten to do good deeds in this month and strive to fill it with that which Allaah is pleased with and with that which will help us on the Day when we meet Him.
How can we prepare for Ramadaan?
We can prepare for Ramadaan by taking stock of ourselves and recognizing our shortcomings in living up to the Shahaadatayn, or our shortcoming in fulfilling our duties, or our shortcomings in not keeping away from the desires and doubts that we may have fallen into…
We should set ourselves straight so that in Ramadaan we will have a higher degree of faith. For faith increases and decreases. It increases through obedience to Allaah and it decreases through disobedience and sin. The first act of obedience that a person should achieve is that of being a true slave of Allaah and believing that there is none that is rightfully worshipped except Allaah, so he directs all kinds of worship to Allaah and does not associate anyone else in worship with Him. Each of us should realize that whatever has befallen him could not have missed him, and whatever missed him could not have befallen him, and that everything happens by the will and decree of Allaah.
We should avoid everything that could undermine our commitment to the Shahaadatayn. This means keeping away from bid’ah (innovations) and things that have been introduced into the religion. We should also follow the principle of al-walaa’ wa’l-bara’ (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity), by taking the believers as our friends and by regarding the kaafirs and hypocrites as enemies, and we should rejoice when the Muslims gain a victory over their enemies. We should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions and adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the way of the Rightly-Guided Khulafa’ who came after him. We should love the Sunnah and love those who adhere to it and defend it, in whatever country they are and whatever colour or nationality they are.
After that we should take stock of ourselves and recognize our shortcomings in doing acts of worship such as praying in congregation, remembering Allaah (dhikr), paying attention to the rights of neighbours, relatives and the Muslims, spreading the greeting of salaam, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, urging one another to follow the truth and be patient and steadfast in doing so, being patient in avoiding evil actions and in doing good deeds, and accepting the decree of Allaah with patience.
Then we should take stock of ourselves and our sins and our following whims and desires. We should stop ourselves from persisting in that, whether the sin is great or small, whether it is a sin of the eye, by looking at that which Allaah has forbidden; or by listening to music; or by walking to things of which Allaah does not approve; or by using one's hands to srike in a manner with which Allaah is not pleased; or by consuming things that Allaah has forbidden such as riba (usury) and bribes, or any other means of consuming people’s wealth unlawfully.
We should never forget that Allaah stretches forth His hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who sinned at night, and He stretches forth His hand at night to accept the repentance of those who sinned during the day. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).
Those who spend (in Allaah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good‑doers).
And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allaah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allaah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.
For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (who do righteous deeds according to Allaah’s Orders)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:133-136]
“Say: “O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”
By taking stock, repenting and seeking forgiveness, this is how we should welcome Ramadaan. “The smart man is the one who takes stock of himself and strives to do that which will benefit him after death, and the helpless one is the one who follows his own whims and desires and engages in wishful thinking, (assuming that Allaah will forgive him regardless of what he does and that he does not need to strive to good deeds).”
The month of Ramadaan is the month of great gains and profits. The smart trader is the one who makes the most of special occasions to increase his profits. So make the most of this month by doing lots of acts of worship, praying a great deal, reading Qur’aan, forgiving people, being kind to others and giving charity to the poor.
In the month of Ramadaan the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut. The devils are put in chains and a caller cries out each night, O seeker of good, proceed, O seeker of evil, desist.
So, O slaves of Allaah, be among the people of good, following the path of your righteous forebears who were guided by the Sunnah of your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that we may end Ramadaan with our sins forgiven and our righteous deeds accepted.
We should note that the month of Ramadaan is the best of months.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
Another of example of that – i.e., of the differentiation between the things that Allaah has created – is the fact that the month of Ramadaan is superior to all other months, and the last ten nights are superior to the other nights.”
Zaad al-Ma’aad, 1/56
This month is superior to others in four things:
1 – In it there is the best night of the year, which is Laylat al-Qadr. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree).
And what will make you know what the Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree) is?
The Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).
Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel (Gabriel)] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees,
(All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allaah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn”
So worship on this night is better than worshipping for a thousand months.
2 – In this month was revealed the best of Books to the best of the Prophets (peace be upon them). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)”
“We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al‑Qadr) in the month of Ramadan — the 9th month of the Islamic calendar]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].
Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.
As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers)”
It was narrated by Ahmad and by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer that Waathilah ibn al-Asqa’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Scriptures of Ibraaheem were sent down on the first of the month of Ramadaan. The Tawraat was sent down on the sixth of Ramadaan. The Injeel was sent down on the thirteenth of Ramadaan. The Zaboor was sent down on the eighteenth of Ramadaan, and the Qur’aan was sent down on the twenty-fourth of Ramadaan.
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1575.
2 – In this month the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are chained up.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains.” (Agreed upon).
Al-Nasaa’i narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Ramadaan comes, the gates of mercy are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are put in chains.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 471.
Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Khuzaymah narrated in one report: “When the first night of the month of Ramadaan comes, the devils and rebellious jinn are chained up and the gates of Hell are closed, and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. And a caller cries out: ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist. And Allaah has those whom He redeems from the Fire, and that happens every night.”
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 759.
If it is asked, how come we see many evil actions and sins committed in Ramadaan, for if the devils are chained up that would not happen?
The answer is that evil actions become less for those who observe the conditions and etiquette of fasting;
or that the ones who are chained up are some of the devils – namely the rebellious ones – not all of them;
or that what is meant is that evil is reduced in Ramadaan, which is a proven fact. If evil happens at this time, it is still less than at other times. Even if all of them (the devils) are chained up, that does not necessarily mean that no evil or sin will happen, because there are other causes of that besides the devils, such as evil souls, bad habits and the devils among mankind. Al-Fath, 4/145
4 – There are many kinds of worship in Ramadaan, some of which are not done at other times, such as fasting, praying qiyaam, feeding the poor, i’tikaaf, sadaqah, and reading Qur’aan.
I ask Allaah, the Exalted, the Almighty, to help us all to do that and to help us to fast and pray qiyaam, and to do acts of worship and to avoid doing evil. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Praise be to Allaah.
Allaah is the Creator of all things, and the soul is something that has been created just like everything else. The knowledge about its true essence is something that belongs exclusively to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. Allaah has kept this knowledge exclusively to Himself, as is stated in the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “Whilst I was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on a farm, and he was resting on a palm branch stripped of its leaves, the Jews passed by, and some of them said to others, ‘Ask him about the soul.’ Some of them said, ‘What urges you to ask him about it?’ Others of them said, ‘Don’t ask him in case he says something you dislike.’ But they said, ‘Ask him,’ so they asked him about the soul. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kept quiet and did not respond to them, and I knew that he was receiving Revelation, so I stayed where I was. When the Revelation of the aayah was complete, he said (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And they ask you [O Muhammad] concerning the rooh [the spirit]. Say: ‘The rooh: it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.’ [al-Isra’ 17:85]” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). The rooh (soul or spirit) has been described by Allaah in His Book and by the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in his Sunnah, and various verbs and adjectives have been used in conjunction with the word ‘rooh’, such as seizing or grasping, taking (as in death), it may be fettered or shrouded, it comes and goes, it goes up and comes down, it may be pulled out like a hair being pulled out of dough… It is obligatory (in Islam) to believe in these attributes which are narrated in the “two Revelations” (i.e., the Qur’aan and Sunnah), and also to realize that the soul is not like the body.
Allaah created Adam and breathed the soul into him, as is stated in the Qur’aan and in the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “When Allaah created Adam and breathed the soul into him, he sneezed and said ‘Al-hamdu-Lillah (Praise be to Allaah).’ He praised Allaah by His permission. Then his Lord said to him, ‘May Allaah have mercy on you, O Adam. Go to those angels, to a group of them who are sitting, and say, ‘As-salaamu ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).’ They said, ‘Wa ‘alayka al-salaam wa rahmat-Allaah (and upon you be peace and the Mercy of Allaah).’ Then he went back to his Lord, who said, ‘This is your greeting and the greeting of your descendants amongst themselves.’” (Reported and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3290).
Allaah sends the angel to breathe the soul into the foetus as was reported by ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood, who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who is the most truthful (of human beings) and his being truthful (is a fact) told us: ‘The constituents of one of you is gathered in his mother’s womb for forty days, then it becomes a clot of blood within another period of forty days. Then it becomes a lump of flesh, and forty days later, Allaah sends His angel to it to breathe into it the soul. The angel comes with instructions concerning four things, so the angel writes down his livelihood, his death, his deeds and whether he will doomed or blessed.” (Reported by Muslim, 1528).
The soul of the deceased is taken from the ends of the toes towards the top of the body, and when it reaches the throat, the death rattle sounds in the throat of the person who is about to die, and his eyes glaze over and roll upwards. Um Salamah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon Abu Salamah (after he had died) and his eyes were open, so he closed them then said, ‘When the soul is taken, the eyes follow it.’” (Reported by Muslim, 1528).
The soul is met by the angels. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The angels met the soul of a man from among the people who came before you, and said, ‘Did you do anything good?’ He said, 'I used to tell my employees to postpone collection of payment or to let off anyone who was in difficulty.’ So it was said, ‘Let him off.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1935).
The soul is taken up to heaven by two angels after it is taken (i.e., after a person dies), as was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah who said: “When the soul of the believer is taken, it is met by two angels who take it up…” (The narrator said: then he mentioned its good fragrance and scent of musk). The people of heaven say, ‘A good soul that has come from earth, may Allaah bless you and the body in which you used to dwell. Then they take it up to its Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, then He says, ‘Roam with it until the end of the world.’ When the disbeliever’s soul comes out… (the narrator mentioned its putrid smell and curses). The people of heaven say, ‘An evil soul that has come from earth,’ then it is said, ‘Roam with it until the end of the world.’ Abu Hurayrah said: then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put a piece of cloth over his nose, like this. (Reported by Muslim, 5119).
More information about how the soul comes out (at death) was reported in the hadeeth of Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) from al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib who said: “We went out with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar, and we reached the grave whilst it was still being dug. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat down around him, and it was as if we had birds on our heads. In his hand was a stick with which he was scratching in the earth. He raised his head and said, ‘Seek refuge with Allaah from the punishment of the grave,’ two or three times. Then he said, ‘Verily, when the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him angels from heaven with white faces, as if their faces are the sun. They bring with them one of the shrouds of Paradise and some of the perfume of Paradise. They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death (peace be upon him) comes to him and sits by his head and says, ‘O pure soul, come out to the forgiveness and pleasure of Allaah.’ Then his soul comes flowing out like a drop of water flowing from a cup. Then he takes the soul, and no sooner does he seize it but they take it and place it in that shroud and perfume. Then out of it comes the most excellent fragrance of musk to be found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this pure soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the best names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is opened for him. Those who are of high rank in each heaven accompany it until they approach the next heaven, and so it goes until it reaches the seventh heaven. Then Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon (the highest heaven) and take him back to the earth, for I created them from it, and I shall return them to it, then I shall take them out from it again.’ Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up, and ask him, ‘Who is your Lord.’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man that was sent amongst you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him.’ They ask him, ‘What knowledge do you have?’ He says, 'I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice will call out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth. Prepare for him a bed from Paradise and give him clothes from Paradise, and open for him a door to Paradise.’ And he will feel its breeze and smell its fragrance, and his grave will be widened for him as far as his eye can see. Then a man with a handsome face, beautiful clothes and a pleasant fragrance will come to him and say, ‘Good news! This is the day that you were promised.’ He will say, ‘Who are you? You face looks as if it brings good news.’ He will say, 'I am your good deeds.’ (The deceased) will say, ‘O Lord, let the Hour come so that I may see my family and my wealth again.’
When the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him angels from heaven with black faces, bringing with them sackcloth. They sit with him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes to him and sits by his head and says, ‘O evil soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allaah.’ Then his soul disperses in his body and is dragged out like a skewer being pulled out of wet wool. Then he takes the soul, and no sooner does he seize it but they take it and place it in that sackcloth. Then out of it comes the most putrid stench of rotten flesh to be found on the face of the earth. Then they ascend with it and they do not pass by any group of angels but the angels ask, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they reply, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so’ – using the worst names by which he was known on earth. Then they bring it to the lowest heaven, and ask for it to be opened, and it is not opened for him.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… For them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” [al-A’raaf 7:40]. Then he said, “Then Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen (the lowest Hell) in the lowest earth. Then his soul is cast down.” Then he recited (interpretation of the meaning): “… and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place.” [al-Hajj 22:31]. He said, “Then his soul is returned to his body and two angels come and make him sit up, and ask him, ‘Who is your Lord.’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man that was sent amongst you?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice will call out from heaven, ‘He is lying. Prepare for him a bed from Hell and open for him a door to Hell.’ And he will feel its hot winds and smell its stench, and his grave will be constricted for him until his ribs interlock. Then a man with an ugly face, ugly clothes and a horrible stench will come to him and say, ‘Bad news! This is the day that you were warned about.’ He will say, ‘Who are you? You face looks as if it brings bad news.’ He will say, 'I am your evil deeds.’ (The deceased) will say, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come!’” (Musnad al-Imaam Ahmad, 17803; this is a saheeh hadeeth).
At the end of time, Allaah will send a wind which will take the soul of every believer, as was reported in the hadeeth of al-Nawwaas ibn Sam’aan, who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) mentioned … (the coming of the Dajjaal [Antichrist] and the descent of ‘Eesa [Jesus], peace be upon him, and the good life and happiness of mankind at the time of Jesus and afterwards). He said, ‘And whilst the people are living like that, Allaah will send a good wind which will seize them under the armpits and will take the soul of every believer and every Muslim. The evil people will remain and they will behave like donkeys, then the Hour will come upon them.’” (Reported by Muslim, 5228).
When people sleep (and sleep is the “lesser death”), the soul is taken, but not completely, so the sleeper is still alive. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “It is Allaah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep, He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” [al-Zumar 39:42]
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) advised the Muslim, when he lies down to sleep, to say: “Bismika Rabbee wada’tu janbi wa bika arfa’uhu wa in amsakta nafsi farhamhaa wa in arsaltahaa fahfazhaa bimaa tuhfaz bihi ‘ibaadika al-saaliheen ( In Your name, my Lord, I lie down, and in Your name I rise. If You should take my soul then have mercy on it, and if You should return my soul then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves).” When the Muslim wakes up, he should say, “Al-hamdu Lillaah alladhi ‘aafaani fi jasadi wa radda ‘alayya roohi wa adhina li bi dhikrihi (Praise be to Allaah Who has restored to me my health and returned my soul and has allowed me to remember Him ).” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3323’ He said, a hasan hadeeth).
These are a few of the aayaat and saheeh ahaadeeth which describe the soul. Maybe you will find in them information that will guide you to the way of truth, the Religion of Islam. Thank you for your question.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
I hope that I can make the most of this opportunity to do as much worship and earn as much reward as possible. I hope that you could give me a program that is suitable for me and my family so that we can make the most of this month in goodness and obedience.
May Allaah accept all our righteous words and deeds, and help us to be sincere in secret and in public.
There follows a suggested program for the Muslim during this blessed month:
The Muslim’s day in Ramadaan:
The Muslim starts his day with suhoor before Fajr prayer. It is better to delay suhoor until the latest possible time of the night.
Then after that the Muslim gets ready for Fajr prayer before the adhaan. So he does wudoo’ at home and goes out to the mosque before the adhaan.
When he enters the mosque, he prays two rak’ahs (tahiyyat al-masjid – greeting the mosque). Then he sits and keeps busy making du’aa’, or reading Qur’aan, or reciting dhikr, until the muezzin gives the call to prayer. He repeats what the muezzin says, and says the du’aa’ narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to be said after the adhaan ends. Then after that he prays two rak’ahs (the regular Sunnah of Fajr), then he occupies himself with du’aa’ and reading Qur’aan until the iqaamah for prayer is given. He is in a state of prayer so long as he is waiting for the prayer.
After offering the prayer in congregation, he recites the dhikrs that are prescribed following the salaam at the end of the prayer. After that if he wants to sit in the mosque until the sun has risen, reciting dhikr and reading Qur’aan, that is preferable, and that is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do after Fajr prayer.
Then about one-quarter of an hour after the sun has risen, if he wants he can pray Duha prayer (a minimum of two rak’ahs), and that is good. Or if he wants he can delay it until the preferred time, which is when the day has grown hotter and the sun is higher in the sky – that is better.
Then if he wants he may sleep to prepare himself for going to work, and he can intend by sleeping to strengthen himself for worship and earning a living, so that he will be rewarded for it in sha Allah. He should also follow the etiquette of sleep that is prescribed in sharee’ah, both actions and words.
Then he goes to work, and when the time for Zuhr prayer comes, he goes to the mosque early, before the adhaan or immediately after it, and he should get ready to pray beforehand. So he prays four rak’ahs with two tasleems (the regular Sunnah before Zuhr), then he keeps busy reading Qur’aan until the iqaamah for prayer is given, and he prays with the congregation, then he prays two rak’ahs (the regular Sunnah after Zuhr).
Then after the prayer he goes and finishes whatever of his work is left, until it is time to leave work. If there is a long time to go after finishing his work until the time for ‘Asr prayer, then he can rest. But if there is not enough time and he fears that if he sleeps he will miss ‘Asr prayer, then he should keep busy doing something suitable until the time for ‘Asr comes, such as going to the market to buy some things that his family needs and the like, or going straight to the mosque when he has finished his work, and staying in the mosque until he has prayed ‘Asr.
Then after ‘As, it depends on his circumstances. If he can stay in the mosque and keep busy reading Qur’aan, this is a great opportunity. But if he feels tired, then he should rest at this time so that he will be ready to pray taraaweeh at night.
Before the adhaan for Maghrib, he should get ready to break his fast, and he should do something at this time that will benefit him, whether reading Qur’aan, making du’aa’, or having a useful conversation with his wife and children.
One of the best things that he can do at this time is to take part in offering iftaar to those who are fasting, whether by bringing food to them or helping to distribute it to them and organizing that. This brings a great joy which no one knows except those who have experienced it.
After iftaar, he goes and prays in congregation in the mosque, and after the prayer he prays two rak'ahs (the regular Sunnah of Maghrib). Then he goes back home and eats whatever is available – without eating too much. Then he looks for a suitable way for himself and his family to spend this time, whether reading a book of stories, or a book on practical rulings, or a quiz, or permissible conversation, or any other useful idea that is of interest to the members of the family and will distracts them from the haraam things that appear in the media which regard this as their prime time, so you find the media transmitting their most attractive programs at that time, that may contain immoral and obscene material. Strive to turn away from that, and fear Allaah with regard to your “flock” (i.e., your family) concerning whom you will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection, so be prepared to answer the questions.
Then get ready for ‘Isha’ prayer, go to the mosque and keep busy reading Qur’aan or listening to the lesson being given in the mosque.
Then after that perform ‘Isha’ prayer, then pray two rak’ahs (the regular Sunnah of ‘Isha’), then pray taraaweeh behind the imam with humility and focus, pondering the meanings of what is recited. Do not finish until the imam finishes. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stands (and prays) with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the night in prayer.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1370, and others. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Salaat al-Taraaweeh, p. 15.
Then after Taraaweeh you can make a program for yourself that is suited to your circumstances and personal commitments. But you should pay attention to the following:
Keeping away from all haraam things and whatever may lead to them.
Paying attention to ensuring that your family avoid falling into any haraam thing or whatever may lead to that, in a wise manner, such as preparing a program just for them, or taking them out for leisure trips to permissible places, or keeping them away from bad friends, or looking for good friends for them.
Keeping busy with things that take priority.
Then you should try to sleep early, whilst paying attention to the etiquette of sleep as prescribed in sharee’ah, both actions and words. If you read some Qur’aan or some beneficial books before going to sleep, that is something good, especially if you have not yet completed your daily portion of Qur’aan – so do not go to sleep until you have completed it.
Then wake up before suhoor, allowing enough time to recite du’aa’, because this time – the last third of the night – is the time when Allaah descends, and Allaah has praised those who seek His forgiveness at this time, and has promised those who call upon Him at this time that He will answer them, and that He will accept the repentance of those who repent to Him at this time. So do not neglect this great opportunity.
Friday is the best day of the week, so you should have a special program of worship on this day, in which you pay attention to the following:
Coming early to Jumu’ah prayer.
Staying in the mosque after ‘Asr prayer, and keeping busy with reading Qur’aan and making du’aa’ until the last hour of this day, for that is a time when du’aa’s are answered.
Make this day an opportunity for completing some of your deeds that you did not finish during the week, such as completing your weekly portion of Qur’aan, or finishing reading a book or listening to a tape and other good deeds.
The last ten days of Ramadaan:
The last ten days of Ramadaan include Laylat al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. Hence it is prescribed for a person to observe i’tikaaf (“retreat” for the purpose of worship) in the mosque during these ten days, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do, seeking Laylat al-Qadr. Whoever can observe i’tikaaf at this time, this is a great blessing from Allaah.
Whoever cannot observe i’tikaaf for the entire period should do as much as he is able to.
If he is not able to do i’tikaaf at all, then he should try to spend the nights in worship. Praying qiyaam, reading Qur’aan, remembering Allaah and making du’aa’. He should prepare for that by resting during the day so that he will be able to stay up at night.
This program is just a suggestion. It is a flexible schedule that each person can adapt to his own circumstances.
This program pays attention to the Sunnahs that are proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It does not mean that everything mentioned here is an obligatory duty, rather it includes many things that are Sunnah and mustahabb.
The most beloved of actions to Allaah are those which are continuous even if they are little. At the beginning of the month a person may be keen to do acts of worship, then he may slow down. Beware of that, and strive to persist in all the actions that you do in this blessed month.
The Muslim should strive to organize his time in this blessed month so that he will not miss out on a great opportunity to do more good and righteous deeds. For example, a person should try to buy all the things that the family needs before the month begins, and he should buy day-to-day needs at times when the stores are not crowded, and visits to friends and family should be organized in such a way that they do not distract from acts of worship.
Make doing lots of acts of worship and drawing closer to Allaah your priority in this blessed month.
Resolve at the beginning of the month to go to the mosque early at the times of prayer, and to complete the Book of Allaah, and to regularly pray qiyaam al-layl in this great month, and to spend (in charity) what you can of your wealth.
Make the most of the opportunity that the month of Ramadaan brings to strengthen your connection to the Book of Allaah, by utilizing the following means:
Read the verses correctly. The way to do that is to have your reading corrected by someone who knows how to read well. If you cannot do that, then by listening to tapes of expert readers.
Revise what Allaah has enabled you to memorize, and memorize some more.
Read the tafseer (commentary) on the verses, either by looking up the verses you do not understand in reliable books of tafseer such as Tafseer al-Baghawi and Tafseer Ibn Katheer and Tafseer al-Sa’di, or by making a program to read a book of tafseer. Start first with the thirtieth Juz’ (section) of the Qur’aan, then mover on to the twenty-ninth juz’, and so on.
Strive to apply the commands that you read in the Book of Allaah.
We ask Allaah to perfect for us the blessing of Ramadaan, and to help us fast and pray qiyaam throughout the whole month, and to accept (these acts of worship) from us, and to forgive us for our shortcomings.