Prayers

An Old Man’s Regret (Fiction)

       By: Dr. Aqeel Azmi

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An old man sat next to a young man on the bus. They looked at each other, smiled and nodded to each other in acknowledgement. They sat in silence for a while until it was broken by the old man. “There is a long way to go; we might as well get to know each other.” They both exchanged names and shook hands and after the introductory small talk they sat in silence once again.

Then the old man said, “You know I envy you.”

The young man asked in surprise, “Why do you envy me?”

“Well because you are young,” he replied.

“I don’t understand,” said the young man quizzically.

“I wonder if you have heard the words of our Prophet (PBUH), “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age..?” [1]

The young man shook his head in the negative.

“Well, the fact is that I wasted my youth chasing after my desires without spending any time worshipping Allah. I was one of those who used to say to others, “Live when you are young, repent and worship when you get old.” But do you know what I deprived myself of by thinking this way?” he asked.

The young man waited for the answer.

“I deprived myself of the shade of Allah’s throne on the Day of Judgment when the sun will be only a mile away and there would be no shade except the shade under His throne,”[2]  he said with regret in his eyes. “And why would I be deprived of that?” he asked.

The young man again waited for the old man to answer himself.

“Well for two reasons mainly. You see there will be seven categories of people who will be shaded under the Throne on the Last Day. [3] And of these seven I deprived myself of these two categories; a young man who grows up worshipping his Lord and a man whose heart is attached to the mosque.”

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The young man listened intently.

“You see, a youth who grows up worshipping Allah will naturally perform every one of his five daily prayers in the mosque with the congregation, thereby falling into the category of the one whose heart is attached to the mosque. Therefore I have missed two easy paths to paradise! Now do you understand why I envy you?” asked the old man.

“Yes, I understand. Thank you for sharing all this with me. I pray at home but I go to the mosque on Fridays to attend the Jummah prayers,” the young man said defensively.

“Young man, I have said quite a lot but I feel that you are not fully convinced that the daily prayers should be made in the mosque with the congregation. If you allow me, I can share with you from the little knowledge that I possess about the duty of every able Muslim man to pray in the mosque,” said the old man gently.

“Yes, I am not very convinced on this matter and yes please share with me what you know,” replied the youth.

The old man adjusted himself in his seat and with a gentle expression explained, “Alright, first of all, what was the practice of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions? Obviously it was to pray every obligatory prayer in the mosque. What would be the point of mosques if no one performed prayers in them? Praying side by side with other Muslims in the mosques is one of the best ways by which the feelings of love, unity and brotherhood can be established. Another question; why is the reward of praying with the congregation 27 times more than praying alone? [4] And praying in congregation is of such importance that Allah ordained the fear-prayer during times of war where groups of companions took turns praying behind the Prophet (PBUH). [5] Of course you will always find a congregation in the mosque but this may not be the case in our homes.

Do you know that the Prophet (PBUH) told us that when a man makes wudu (ablution)  at home and then walks to the mosque, for every step that he takes he is raised in rank and forgiven for a sin? [6] He (PBUH) also told us that all the while the man is in mosque both before and after the prayer, the angels ask Allah to forgive him. [7] Have you ever heard of the merits of praying the morning and night prayers in congregation? The Prophet (PBUH) said that if people knew of the merits, they would come to these prayers even if they had to crawl to do so. [8] Where would they come crawling? To the mosque of course! And what are the merits? Performing Salah (prayers)  the whole night! [9] Prayer in congregation at the mosque is so important that the Prophet (PBUH) did not even excuse a blind companion from coming to the mosque! [10]

Let us imagine that everyone decided that praying in the mosque in congregation is just a Sunnah. What do you think will happen after a couple of generations? The mosques will be totally empty except on Fridays, just as the churches are empty on all days except Sunday. The important sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) would be lost as the great companion Ibn Masood said regarding a certain man, “If you have to perform prayers in your houses, as this man who stays away from the mosque and performs prayers in his house, you will abandon the Sunnah of your Prophet (PBUH) and departure from the Sunnah of your Prophet will lead you astray.”[11] This matter is so important because Allah tells us in the Quran that if we really love Him then we have to follow the Prophet (PBUH) and as a result of that, Allah will love us and forgive us of our sins!” [12]

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The bus passed by a mosque as the young man sat quietly in deep thought. Suddenly the old man got up from his seat and said, “It is time for me to get off. Oh! They are calling the adhaan as well. Perfect timing!” They shook hands, exchanged salaams and the old man vanished into the crowd of people who got off the bus. The old man crossed the road and made his way to the mosque to attend the congregational prayer.

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After performing the prayer the old man walked to the shoe rack to retrieve his shoes. When he turned around to exit the mosque he saw the same young man crossing the road with a group of people who had exited the mosque. Then he quickly boarded the bus that was standing at the halt. The old man’s face lit up with a smile as he made a silent heartfelt prayer for the young man who he never saw again.

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said; “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” (Shu’ab al-Imān, Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani)
  1. ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The sun will be brought near to the earth and the people will sweat. For some people, the sweat will come up to their heels; for some it will come halfway up their shins; for some it will come up to their knees; for some it will come up to their backsides; for some it will come up to their hips; for some it will come up to their shoulders; for some it will come up to their necks; for some it will come up to the middle of their mouths; and some of them will be comepletely covered with their sweat.” (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad]
  1. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are seven whom Allaah will shade with His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His: the just ruler; a young man who grows up worshipping his Lord; a man whose heart is attached to the mosque; two men who love one another for the sake of Allaah and meet and part on that basis; a man who is called by a woman of rank and beauty and says ‘I fear Allaah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it to such an extent that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives; and a man who remembers Allaah when he is alone, and his eyes fill up.” (Agreed upon, narrated by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others).
  1. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  “Prayer in congregation is twenty seven times better than prayer prayed individually.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
  1. “When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in As-Salaah (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salaah (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you” [al-Nisa’ 4:102]
  1. The Prophet (PBUH)said; “Whoever makes wuḍū’ at home and then walks to the House of Allāh to perform one of the five prayers, every step he takes wipes away a sin and the next step raises his status with Allāh.” [Muslim]
  1. Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said: “The reward of the prayer offered by a person in congregation is twenty five times greater than that of the prayer offered in one’s house or in the market (alone). And this is because if he performs ablution and does it perfectly and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of praying, then for every step he takes towards the mosque, he is upgraded one degree in reward and his one sin is taken off (crossed out) from his accounts (of deeds). When he offers his prayer, the angels keep on asking Allah’s Blessings and Allah’s forgiveness for him as long as he is (staying) at his Musalla. They say, ‘O Allah! Bestow Your blessings upon him, be Merciful and kind to him.’ And one is regarded in prayer as long as one is waiting for the prayer.” [Sahih Bukhari]
  1. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him)reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “If they knew the merits of Salah after nightfall (`Isha’) and the morning (Fajr) Salah, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  1. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: “One who performs `Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salah for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salah the whole night.”[Muslim]
  1. A blind man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque.” He asked the Messenger of Allah for permission to pray at his house and the Prophet granted it to him. But when the man turned to leave, the Prophet called him and said, “Can you hear the adhan?” He said, “Yes”. The Prophet then said, “Respond to it (by going to the mosque)” [Muslim]. According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood (552) and Ibn Maajah (792) he said: “I do not think there is any concession for you.”
  1. It was recorded in Sahih Muslim that Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: He who likes to meet Allah tomorrow (i.e., on the Day of the Resurrection) as a Muslim, should strictly observe the Salah (Prayers) when the Adhan (call to prayer) is announced for them. Allah has expounded to your Prophet (PBUH) the ways of right guidance, and these (the Prayers) are part of the right guidance. If you have to perform Salah in your houses, as this man who stays away (from the mosque) and performs Salah in his house, you will have abandon the Sunnah (acts, sayings or approvals of the Prophet) of your Prophet (peace be upon him), and the departure from the Sunnah of your Prophet (peace be upon him) will lead you astray. I have seen the time when no one stayed behind except a well-known hypocrite. I also witnessed that a man was brought swaying (on account of weakness) between two men until he was set up in a row (in the mosque).
  1. Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Aal-E-Imraan 3:31]

 

Is Salah Your Priority?

All of us constantly strive to keep up with the struggles of life everyday, so much so that we often forget the purpose of life. We make time to prepare for exams, presentations, interviews etc. by sacrificing sleep, even till dawn if we have to. We try to get to the theaters on time so we can avoid the queue to get movie tickets. But do we make the same effort to make time for Salah? Which hardly takes 10 minutes if we are focusing only on the obligatory prayers that is.lines.jpg

Salah plays a very important role in our lives. Our lives revolve around Salah, not the other way around. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The first thing which will be judged among a man’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer. If this is in good order then he will succeed and prosper, but if it is defective then he will fail and will be a loser [Tirmidhi].”

This clearly means that without Salah, we lose the purpose of life. Indeed, our purpose in this world is to worship Allah. What better way to worship the Almighty other than through Salah.

Salah helps us to get closer to Allah, through remembrance and sincere repentance. This in turn helps you in becoming a better person for the sake of Allah.

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Salah also protects us from the Shaitan. Shaitan constantly tries to misguide you from the path of righteousness. In Quran Allah Almighty says:

“Shaitan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” (5:91).

You are just making it easier for the Shaitan by neglecting prayers, which is similar to neglecting Allah and the teaching of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). What does this make of you? In a hadith it is mentioned: “The covenant between us and them is prayer, so if anyone abandons it, he has become a disbeliever.” [Ahmad]

In todays world, we associate people from all walks of life, thereby engaging ourselves in many outdoor events, get togethers, outings, sleep overs, trips, work outs, reunions etc. Salah can be challenging in the above situations. Also while at these activities everyone presumes “they are busy and they don’t have  enough time”. Thereby conviniently missing out on prayers with this excuse. How do we not make this a excuse and make a little time for prayers too? Here are a few tips to get us through:

1. Do It Together

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When it’s time for Prayers get  together with your Muslim friends/ Colleagues/ acquaintances and pray together. Get them to join you at the prayer room/ mosque or any convenient spot, at a specific time that you all have agreed upon. This way when you forget or are busy, they can remind you and call you to pray with them.

2. Clean Will Do

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As long as a place is clean its a potential spot for prayers. If you uni/ workplace got no prayer rooms just find a clean secluded area and perform your salah. If you cant find a secluded area don’t feel shy to pray in front of others, even if they are non muslims. Maybe watching you pray will inspire them to want to know more about Islam.

3. Be Prepared

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Always carry a prayer mat along with essential praying utilities (for women) in your handbag or keep it in your office/ uni locker.In case your wearing clothes too complicated to take wudu in, make sure you take wudu before you put on you dress up or leave the house. If you cannot find water to take wudu, remember there are always mineral water bottles you could buy.

4.Excuse Me

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If you are in a group and its time for prayers.  Just excuse yourself for 10 minutes. Find a spot or a masjid and pray and rejoin them when your done. If they as you why, don’t be shy. Say its time for your prayer. Be strong.  Just 10 minutes of all that time spent with your group is all it takes.

5. Download apps

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There are apps with the local prayer times, compasses for Kibla directions, Nearest mosque, Quran etc. Download some apps to remind you its time for your prayer, set reminders and alarms so you wont miss a prayer.

These are just a few tips to help you not to miss prayers and keep you prepared for prayers during your busy schedule. But remember it mostly takes inner strength and strong Iman to be steadfast in prayer and we can all keep trying to reach such a level.  Never think of Salah as a burden. Salah is an opportunity for us to refresh our faith constantly and it revives us spiritually and intellectually.

 

Dua & Tasbih

By: Adeela Sehgal

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We find numerous ahadith where the Prophet (S.A.W) has taught us several duas to benefit us in this world as well as in the hereafter. The following dua is termed as “Sayyid al-Istighfar” which should be recited at least twice a day. It is narrated by Shaddad bin Aus (R.A):

“The Prophet (S.A.W) said that this is the most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah and he recited a dua.” The Prophet (S.A.W) added.”If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.”  

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The Prophet (S.A.W) taught His beloved wife Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) the following supplication to recite on the blessed night of ‘Layla tul Qadr’ in Ramadan. Aishah (R.A.) said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W): ‘O Messenger of Allah (S.A.W), if I know what night is the Night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’  He (S.A.W) said: ‘Say:

“Allah humma Innaka Afuwan, Tohibbul Afwa, Fahfo anna.”  (O Allah, You are The Pardoner, and You love to pardon, so pardon me.)  -Tirmidhi. 

Dhikr Or Tasbeehaths

 It is unquestionable that the best of all dhikr is the recitation of the Glorious Quran whatever time of the year it may be but especially in the holy month of Ramadan, which is the month when it was sent down to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Outside of Ramadan there are 10 rewards for reciting each letter of the Qur’an:

Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi]

But in Ramadan ALL good deeds are multiplied by 70 or more so for each letter of the Qur’an we recite we will gain a minimum of 700 good deeds or more. Isn’t that amazing!

The Best Supplication:

It is without doubt that all the supplications made by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) are an invaluable treasure for us but if one were to choose the ‘best’ of all the gems, it would be the following;

Hazrat Anas ibn Malik (R.A.) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W) frequently prayed,

“Rabbana aatena fid dunya hasana, wa fil aakherate hasana, wa kena adhaab an-Naar”

(O Allah, give the good of this world, and the good of the life hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.)

Rebalance your scale with 2500 hasanahs  every day:b

Hazrat Aishah (R.A) said that the Prophet (S.A.W) loved the short but comprehensive, meaningful supplications, more than the others.  Abdullah Bin ‘Amr (R.A) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W) said:

“There are two acts that no Muslim worshipper does consistently but that he will enter Jannah. And though they are easy, only few people perform them”

After each of the (five) prayers, say:

  • Tasbih (i.e “Subhan’Allah”)  10  times
  • Tahmid (i.e “Al-humdul-lillah”) 10 times
  • Takbir (i.e “Allahu Akbar”) 10 times.

This makes one hundred fifty (daily extolments) by tongue, and one thousand five hundred (good deeds in the scale).
Upon going to bed, say:

  • Takbir (i.e:Allahu Akbar) 34 times
  • Tahmid (i.e:Alhumdullillah) 33 times
  • Tasbih (i.e:SubhanAllah) 33 times.

This makes one hundred (extolments) by tongue, and one thousand good deeds in the scale so WHO AMONG YOU would commit two thousand and five hundred sins in a day to counter that?

In another beautiful hadith the Prophet (S.A.W) said: The best ‘dhikr’ is the one on the day of Arafah, and the best thing which I and the Prophets before me have said is,

‘Laa ilaha illalaaho, Wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, Lahul Mulk, wa lahul Hamd, wa ala kulle shayyin Qadeer.’

(There is no god but Allah, Alone, Who has no partner; to Him Alone belongs the Dominion, to Him Alone belongs all Praise; and He Alone has Power over all things.)” 

Four Athkaar that outweigh the others

This is among my favorite tasbeehats. It is because the meaning of these short four sentences is so powerful and so beautiful and I always feel a sense of satisfaction of having praised our Lord in words befitting to Him and only Him.

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Hazarat Juwawiyah (R.A) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W) once left her house after the morning prayer, while she was sitting in her prayer place extolling Allah. He returned in the mid-morning and found her still doing the same. He asked her, “Are you still in the same sitting since I left you? She replied, “Yes.” He said: Indeed, I said after I left you four statements, three times. If you weigh them against what you have said since the morning, they would outweigh it:

سُبْحـانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْـدِهِ عَدَدَ خَلْـقِه ، وَرِضـا نَفْسِـه ، وَزِنَـةَ عَـرْشِـه ، وَمِـدادَ كَلِمـاتِـه

“SUBHANA-ALLAHI ‘ADADA KHALQIH,
SUBHANA-ALLAHI RIDA NAFSIH,
SUBHAN-ALLAHI ZINATA ‘ARSHI,
SUBHANA-ALLAHI MIDADA KALIMATIH

Glory is to Allaah and praise is to Him, by the multitude of his creation, by His Pleasure, by the weight of His Throne, and by the extent of His Words.”
[Muslim]

May Allah (S.W.T) make us all reach Ramadan and bless us with the tawfiq to earn all of its blessings In sha’ Allah.

 

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