Fasting

Stop Procastinating…It’s Ramadan

By: Adhila Azmi

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The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم‎‎) said”… whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven. “(Sahih Al – Bukhari)

The month of Ramadan is considered to be one of the holiest months in Islam. It is observed throughout the world. It is an obligatory fast. It is a fast that requires one to be filled with piety. It is said that the gates of Hellfire are closed and the devils are chained. All these so true and happen to be exactly why this is considered the holy month. Each good deed done has amplified merits, bringing each believer that much closer to paradise.

The things to capitalize during this blessed month would be to read the Qur’an, attend Taraweeh, be charitable, and basically follow Prophet (saws) and his practices to the point.

Most Muslims do this, or most ought to. Yet, do they know why this happens? Why one should be pious especially during this glorious month? Many are made to follow but it is imperative to make one understand the gravity rather the beauty of celebrating and praising the fact that as Muslims we are given the opportunity to give up worldly pleasures, to give up the negative stigma’s and solely understand and experience the wonders of being a simple, satisfied, practicing Muslim.

We all have our faults and weaknesses and during this month we do strive to mend that weakness which is why it is that much more important that we don’t let these beneficent actions go.

If we read the Qur’an, then we should read to understand.

If we are charitable, then our intention should be to please Allah rather than just giving.

If we are polite and courteous it should be because we want to follow the way of our beloved Prophet (saws)

There should be meaning to what we do, we should know why we do what we do. We have been following without question, letting the flame grow smaller. The Qur’an has all the answers we need, it is all provided.  It’s time to shrug the lazy, the idleness, the fear and procrastination. We should do what we have been avoiding and delaying for a later time.

If we are to follow The Prophet (saws) we are bound to be looked upon as strange.

Abu Hurairah ( May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that The Prophet (saws) said, “Islam began strange, and it will become strange again just like it was at the beginning, so blessed are the strangers” (Sahih Muslim 1/130)

So, don’t be afraid to be viewed as a stranger when following the teachings of Islam for what you do is what you are told to by your Creator. Rather be a stranger than a munafiq.

During Ramadan, fulfill the obligation with understanding and love; don’t lead yourself astray with worldly temptations. It is the best time to break away. It is the only time where you have the most satisfied sleep without any guilt but only goodness.

Health Benefits of Fasting

By: M. Tariq Miskin

 

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People fast for many reasons, be it medical, religious, political or other, but few have an understanding of the benefits gained from it. If properly implemented, fasting can be beneficial in various health aspects. Fasting can improve immunity, promot
e weight loss, reduce blood sugar, promotes longevity, and even improve the efficacy of chemotherapy in cancer.

When the body is deprived of an energy source from digestion of food, it compensates by first converting the stored energy in the liver into glucose, the main nutrient which supplies energy for all cells. When the energy supply in the liver is used up th8238a099-ae next source it uses is the fatty tissue stored in various parts of the body. Therefore, when fasting for longer than eight hours, the body is forced to systematically break down fat from the body until it too runs out. So if done properly fasting can be a good method of losing weight and improving our health overall. Moreover, fasting provides the digestive system a time to rest. Although normal digestive enzymes are still secreted in the stomach and intestines, they are done at reduced rates. These helps in maintaining the fluid balance in the body as well as promote healthy bowel movement.

 

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Fasting also has shown to be beneficial to our immune system. Numerous studies have shown that fasting promotes regeneration of the immune cells. When the body is starved, it tries to save energy by recycling old cells, especially white blood cells. Old and damaged white blood cells, which extremely important in fighting disease, are destroyed and new cells are produced through recycling. Also starvation leads to increased production of stem cells. Stem cells are important in production of new cells in the body. Consequently, fasting leads to recycling of old, broken down cells through stem cell production. Thus fasting can stimulate healthy growth of body.

 

Fasting increases breakdown of glucose so that the body can get energy. It reduces production of insulin. This rests the pancreas. Glucagon is produced to facilitate the breakdown of glucose. The outcome of fasting is a reduction in blood sugar.

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Fasting is one of the non-drug methods of reducing blood pressure. It helps to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is clogging of arteries by fat particles. Also metabolic rate is reduced during fasting. Fasting can help in balancing the hormone production in the body. A hormone is a chemical produced by organs called glands in animals that are transported by the circulatory system to target distant organs to regulate physiology and behavior. The fear-flight hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline are reduced when the body undergoes fasting for a period of time.  The benefit is a reduction in blood pressure.

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Studies have shown that fasting can help in improving health and increase the lifespan of a person. Reduced caloric intake can lead to increasing the lifespan almost 30 – 40 %. Fasting can achieve this by reducing the risks for diseases of the old age and increasing healthier part of the life. As mentioned, by fasting, it increases good health by improving immunity, reducing level of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol in the body, promoting good eating habits etc. The reduction in the risks in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and losing weight also leads to the reduction of potential for formation of cancer in the body. Therefore, fasting can prevent cancer to a certain extent.

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Fasting also helps the body detoxify. When the digestive system undergoes a period of rest, it activates the body’s system of detoxification. The toxins, which the body accumulates from digestion of food, are temporarily store in fatty tissue. Therefore, when the body starts burning fat due to starvation, these toxins are removed from fat and the liver and kidneys break them down and they are released out of the body through the production of urine.

Recent studies have shown that fasting can help improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Cancer cells are out of control rapidly growing cells, which constantly are in need of a large amount of nutrients. So when fasting, the body undergoes a loss of nutrients for growth. Fasting affects cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. The starved cancer cells are easily destroyed by chemotherapy drugs. So the efficiency of the chemotherapy is improved.

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Fasting has been observed by people of many religions for various reasons. It not only is good for the soul and improves our mental health, but it also brings with it many physical health benefits as well.

 

 

Taraweeh Prayer

What is Taraweeh ?

Taraweeh is a special prayer performed only in the month of Ramadhan. It’s a highly recommended Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) every Muslim encourages it to practice, but it is not obligatory. It is customary to attempt a khatm (complete recitation) of the Quran as one of the religious observances of Ramadan by reciting at least one juz’ per night in taraweeh. Taraweeh is performed after Isha, it can be performed alone at home or in congregation.

How can Taraweeh be performed?

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Before praying Taraweeh, one needs to keep intention for the Salah. Intention needs to be kept in the heart before the commencing of the Salah. For example, remember in your heart that you are starting 2 Sunnah raka’ah of Taraweeh facing the qibla behind the imam (if you are).

Taraweeh consists of an even number of rak’ahs performed two by two. The number of rak’ahs is not fixed, but it is usually either 8 or 20. It is recommended to take short breaks after every four rak’ahs.

Benefits of Taraweeh 

First and foremost, you are following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) and in the month of Ramadan for every Sunnah that you follow the reward is equal to that of a Fardh and the reward of a Fardh is that of 70 Fardh.

Narrated by Aisha -” Allahs messenger (sal) used to pray (at night) in Ramadhan.”

It is narrated that Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever prays qiyaam — i.e., Taraweeh — with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.”(Al-Tirmidhi)

Narrated by Abu Hurraira -“I heard Prophet (P.B.U.H) saying ” whoever prayed at night in it (the month of ramadhan ) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven”(Sahih Buhkari)

It is also narrated, that the Holy Prophet mentioned that if a person offers night prayer on the night of decree (Night of Decree is on one of the last 10 days of Ramadan, the exact day is only know by Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) will forgive all of your previous sins.

 

Ramadan is a blessed month from all the months and the rewards that Allah (SWT) blesses his slaves on this month are immense. Blessed is the person who makes use of his time wisely and in directing all of his efforts solely for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) which will get him close to His maker and be his success in this world and the in the next, Insha Allah

Love For Fasting

By: Sundus Ikram

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I see them lighting up the street, I see them preparing delicacies, I see them buying new clothes, I see them changing the curtains and carpets and I think to myself, is that all this beautiful month deserves? Shouldn’t its arrival be celebrated more with acts of worship and obedience to Allah? Isn’t lighting up our hearts and preparing our souls more important to show our love for fasting? We should be devoting most of our time in reciting and understanding Quran, in correcting our Salah, in asking for forgiveness, in helping the needy and in giving charity.

Our hearts should be yearning for months for the arrival of the treasures that Ramadan holds for a believer:

It is the month of mercy where sins are forgiven;

The Prophet  said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Prophet said : “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramadan’s are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins.” [Muslim]

It is the month of salvation where people are saved from the fire;

“There are in the month of Ramadan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [Hadith Ahmad, Saheeh]

“Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire.” (Muslim, 2/808).

It is the month of bliss where people are granted Jannah;

Prophet   said :”There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim].

“When Ramadaan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3277).

It is the month of Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power;

Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what he night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) peace”(continuously) till the rise of Morning!” (97:1-5)

We Muslims nowadays have forgotten all these blessings that Ramadan comes with and think of it as a month of abstaining from food and drinks only. Maybe that’s why we have lost the longing for its arrival unlike our pious predecessors who were called as the best people by the Prophet

Narrated by Abdullah: The Prophet  said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter.(Sahih Al Bukhari-Book of companions of the Prophet )

 

To become best in religion, the Muslims of today should follow the steps of these people. These were the Muslims who understood the importance of Ramadan and all the blessings it brings along with it. That’s why they would wait eagerly for its arrival.

Ma’ali bin Fudail said, ‘They used to ask Allah the Almighty six months before Ramadhan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadhan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadhan to accept their fasting’.

iftar-dinner-080918_04This way their entire year was full of supplications and worship.

It’s also narrated that Ibn Umar  used to say when Ramadhan started, ‘Welcome oh the month that purifies us from the sins’.

The Prophet  and the companions used to engage themselves in various forms of worship before and during Ramadan. They gave much charity and engaged in even more kind acts, recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and retreat. Their day was full of supplications and free from vain talks. They understood that spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink.

The companions of our Prophet  used to give special preference to the Quran during the holy month of Ramadhan. Their recitation was not only reading the verses but also contemplating its meaning.

When the time of iftaar arrived, they used to race in feeding the poor and the unfortunate. It’s narrated that Ibnu Umar  used to break his fast with the poor people and if a poor person came to him asking for food while he was eating he used to give him his portion.

Our pious predecessors and their love for Ramadan should be an inspiration for the present day Muslims for spiritual and moral improvement. We should never forget that the true essence of Ramadan is to keep us on the right track of religion; to attain Taqwa

“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the people of Taqwa).” [2:183]

Taqwa is being hyper-vigilent and the fear of doing haram out of neglect of Allah’s orders. It is the state of consciousness; to be mindful of Allah at all times and achieve His maximum pleasure at all times. We Muslims nowadays feel that Ramadan is all about abstaining from sins during those thirty days only and we continue to sin after the month has passed. The good deeds that we practice during Ramadan should be carried forward throughout the year. To maintain the state of taqwa and to attain nearness to Allah a true believer will continue to please Allah and avoid committing sins even after the end of the blessed month of Ramadan.

We should be grateful to Allah for the month of Ramadan because it gives us a chance to restart every single year. It gives us a chance to purify and strengthen our hearts. It gives us a chance to attain nearness to Allah. Our love for Ramadan can bring us closer to love of Allah. What bigger reason do we need to love and wait for this beautiful month?

May Allah guide the Muslim ummah to utilize the coming month of Ramadan in achieving rewards and forgiveness and in seeking the love of Allah.

“O Allah, I ask You for Your love and the love of those who love You and love of the action which will make me reach Your love. O Allah make Your love more beloved to me than myself, my family and cold water”

Why Do We Fast?

By: Imrah Bilal

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Do we fast because we were taught to do so from small days or because everyone says its compulsory. Years are flying by, we fast one whole month each time with no purpose, aim, gain or knowledge. Some of us may know why we fast, but some of us may not as well. So here are a few reasons as to why we do this every year.

Fasting in the month of Ramadhan according to the Quran, Sunnah is an obligatory act that has to be carried out by every sane, healthy adult man & women. The following verse clearly states why we have to fast:

” O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous “(2:183)

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Fasting is not meant as a punishment or self torture, it is to teach us self restraint and make us righteous and God fearing. The keynote of fasting is self discipline, self control, patience, obedience and sincerity. It makes a Muslim able to bear hardships and makes him steadfast. The fasting person also feels his equality with his fasting brethren regardless of their status, wealth or success. It further develops compassion and humanism as he experiences hunger which makes him sympathize with his brethren who are hungry and needy.

Other verses related to fasting are:   “… But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.” (2:185)

” ….the fasting men and Fasting women… for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (33:35)

This is a blessed month despite the struggle of abstaining from- otherwise permissable in our daily life, with the intention of pleasing Allah and obeying His commands.

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for one abandons his passion and food for My sake.” (Bukhari)

“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of iman (faith) and seeking Allah’s reward then his past sins are forgiven.”

Ramadan teaches us to empty our hearts from desires of our soul and fill it up with the light of the Quran. Listening and reciting the Quran gives our soul the much needed nourishment. One of the roles of Ramadan is to increase our relationship with the Quran.

Allah says in the Quran: ” The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, 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…” (2:185)

This month gives us a chance to acknowledge our deficiencies, fix and improve us spiritually. We must aim to improve our relationship with Allah through good deeds and seeking forgiveness from Allah.

Prophet (saws) urges us in many hadith to mend our lives acquiring the great virtues and blessings of this month. Ramadan is a great favour for the Muslim. but it can be considered so only if we appreciate it.

So inshallah let us all go into this month with the intention of improving ourselves and preparing to increase our good deeds, so that Allah will make us come out of Ramadan improved, forgiven and closer to Him