This section aims to remind us of the most common activities that we perform during the month of Ramadan and the ethics associated with them which we need to observe and practice.
- Contacting Family Members
- Visiting Friends
- Dua'a (Supplication)
- Giving Donation
- Reciting Qur'an
- Family Trip
- Overcoming bad Habits
- Receiving Guests
- Sporting Activity
- Itikaf & Night of Qadr
Contacting Family Members
Besides parents' rights, a great emphasis is also laid on the rights of other relatives. In the Qur'an, where Muslims are enjoined to show kindness to parents, they are also required to treat other relatives with love and sympathy and to pay due regard to their rights as well. The foremost claim on a person is that of his mother, then of his father, and then grade by grade, of the other relatives. Therefore through relationship, the relatives' rights come after that of the parents. Allah has declared, "I am Allah, I am Ar-Rahman (The Merciful), I have created the bond of kinship and named it Rahim, which I have derived from the root of my name of Rahman. Thus, whoever, shall join it (i.e. Rahim), I shall join him, and whoever will break it, I shall break him." The Almighty has designed the system of birth in such a way, that whoever is born, is tied to the bonds of kinship-and these bonds carry certain claims and rights. Thus, whoever fulfils these claims, by being kind to his relatives and treating them well, Allah will "join him" i.e. He will make him His own and bestow His favour and mercy on him. And whosoever will violate these claims, Allah will "break him" i.e. He will have nothing to do with him.
Fulfilling the rights of relatives It is related by Anas, May Allah be please with him, that the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said "Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance and that the marks of his feet remain for a long time in the world (i.e. to live long) - he should be kind and helpful to his relatives." Basically, there are two ways of being kind and considerate to relatives. One is by giving them monetary assistance, when needed, and the other is by devoting a part of one's time and energy at their service. Family quarrels, which generally arise from the disregard of the relatives' rights, affect a man's health and make it difficult for him to concentrate in his work. Those who treat their relatives well and are helpful to them are free from tensions of this kind and they are happier and more peaceful.
Violation of relatives' rights The Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, has said "Whoever violates the rights of relatives, shall not go to Paradise."
Commentary:This hadith, alone, should be enough to make us realize the importance of 'Silah-Rahimi'. It shows that the violation of the relatives' rights is so detested by Allah, that with its filthiness, no one can enter Paradise. It is only when a person (believer) has received his punishment or has been forgiven, that the gates of Paradise will be opened for him.
Showing kindness to those who sever relations. Often, there are people who care little for the bonds of relationship and are rude and unjust in this respect. Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, has enjoined to continue to treat them well and fulfil the obligations, irrespective of what they do and how they behave. Abdullah ibn Umar, May Allah be please with him, relates from the Prophet , Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him,, "He does not fulfil the claim of Silah-Rahimi who shows no kindness in return for the kindness shown to him. The person who really fulfils the claim is he who treats his relatives well even when they are mean and unjust to him. When the violation of the rights of relatives is returned in a similar manner, the evil will spread in the society -- while if it is returned with kindness, it may lead to their correction and it will assist in the promotion of Silah-Rahimi, in the life of the community.
Dhikr and Remembrance of Allah:
1-Ibn Taimiyaa wrote, "Remembrance of Allah is to the heart what water is to fish. What happens to a fish when it is taken out of water?"
2-Imam ibn al-Qayyim wrote said: "Remembrance of Allah is sustenance for both the heart and the spirit. If the servant is deprived of it he becomes like a body which has been deprived of food".
3-Jabir reported that the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said, "Whoever recites the words, "Glory be to Allah and His is the praise', will have a palm tree planted for him in the Garden."
2-Ibn Mas'ud, (, May Allah be please with him,), said, "To Praise Allah, may He be Exalted, is more dear to me than spending the same number of dinars (as the number of times I praise Him) in the way of Allah." Remembrance of Allah is a remedy for hard hearts.
4- A man once told al-Hassan, "O Abu Sa'id, I complain to you about the hardness of my heart." He said, "Soften it with the remembrance of Allah."
5- Makhul said, "Remembrance of Allah is (a sign of) health, while remembrance of people is like a disease."
6- A man once asked Salman, "Which deeds are the best?" He said, "Haven't you read in the Qur'an: "And the remembrance of Allah is greatest". [Qur'an 29:45]
7- Abu Musa once related that the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said, "The difference between the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is like the difference between the living and the dead."
8-Abdullah ibn Busr related that a man once told the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him. "The roads to good are many and I am unable to take all of them, so please tell me something to which I can hold fast, but do not overburden me lest I forget it." He said, "Make sure that your tongue is moist and supple with the remembrance of Allah, the Exalted."
9-Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, reported: Allah's Messenger Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stated: I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by a cubit, and if he draws near Me by a cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two arms. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him. (Muslim)
10- Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, reported: Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said: Two are the expressions which are light on the tongue, but heavy in scale, dear to the Compassionate One: "Hallowed be Allah and praise is due to Him, Hallowed be Allah, The Great." (Muslim)
There are several ways a father can spend quality time with his children and develop a relationship with them. Even if he is extremely busy, he can probably free up enough time to do some of these things. Show your children in simple ways that you love them. Some fathers try to appeal to their children by showering them with gifts rather than giving of themselves. This may cause more harm than good. The simple example of Prophet Muhammad is much better, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. When his daughter Fatima, May Allah be pleased with her, would come to him, the Prophet used to stand up, kiss her, take her hand, and give her his seat. Later in life, this personal type of affection will be much more memorable to children than receiving a gift that anyone could have given them.
Tell or read your children stories on some nights before bed. There are lots of excellent Islamic stories and books available that you can use, or you can make up your own. At the same time, you will be helping your children develop Islamic character. A twist on this idea is to ask your children to make up stories to tell you. Play with your children sometimes. You could play ball, color pictures, build toy houses from blocks, or do whatever they like. Let your children help you with simple tasks. Allow them to help you carry in the groceries, make dinner, or mow the yard.
Children often get great joy from doing things that adults consider work. Take the family to for a picnic. Spend time with your children playing Frisbee, passing a ball, or pushing them in the swings. Your children will cherish this special time together as a family. Help your children with their homework. Show them that you are truly interested in their education and life by asking them what they did in school and looking at their books, projects, and assignments with them. Have at least two meals a week as a family. Use driving time with your children. Don't just turn on the news and forget your children when they are in the car with you. Talk or joke with them, or sing Islamic songs together. Give your small children a bath sometimes.
Usually, mothers bathe the children, but bath time is an excellent opportunity for fathers to be with their kids. Let them splash around and play a little more than mom does. Teach your children to make wudu and pray with you. If at home, praying together as a family Jamat is better than praying alone. Children love to call azan. Make the youngest one the salat manager at home, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salat. Take your children to the masjid with you. This is an excellent way for you to build a relationship with them as both a father and a Muslim.
Be available for your children, and let them know that you are there for anything they want to discuss. If you are not available to talk to your children, somebody else probably will be, and it may be the wrong kind of person. A good way of getting to know your children better as individuals is to take them out one at a time for eating, conversation, or some other event. Practice talking with your child, not at him. Since the father often takes the main responsibility for disciplining the children, it is very easy for fathers to merely become order-givers rather than parents and companions of their children. Spend some time listening, rather than talking. We only have one chance to be with our kids before they grow up. If we want them to love us and respect us when we are old, we have to build those relationships while they are young. Fathers usually don't have the time to devote to their children that mothers do. But if we make the little time we have with our children quality time, we still might be able to build enduring relationships with them before it's too late.
By Ibrahim Bowers (http://www.soundvision.com/parenting/parent.quality.shtml).
1- Giver of a charity
a. "Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and do not follow up their spending by stressing their benevolence and causing hurt, will find their reward secure with their Lord. They have no cause for fear and grief. To speak a kind word and to forgive people's faults is better than charity followed by hurt. Allah is All-Sufficient, All-Forbearing Believers! Do not nullify your acts of charity by stressing your benevolence and causing hurt as does he who spends his wealth only to be seen by men and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. The example of his spending is that of a rock with a thin coating of earth upon it: when a heavy rain smites it, the earth is washed away, leaving the rock bare; such people derive no gain from their acts of charity. Allah does not set the deniers of the Truth on the right way".
[Qur'an 2:262 - 264]
b. "The needy who do not do beg those needy ones who are wholly wrapped up in the cause of Allah, and who are hindered from moving about the earth in search of their livelihood especially deserve help. He who is unaware of their circumstances supposes them to be wealthy because of their dignified bearing, but you will know them by their countenance, although they do not go about begging of people with importunity. And whatever wealth you will spend on helping them, Allah will know of it. [Qur'an 2:273]
2- Economic exploitation
- "And do not become like the woman who, after having painstakingly spun her yarn, caused it to disintegrate into pieces. You resort to oaths as instruments of mutual deceit so that one people might take greater advantage than another although Allah puts you to the test through this. Surely on the Day of Resurrection He will make clear the truth concerning the matters over which you differed". [Qur'an, 16:92]
- "Food and the needy Have you seen him who belies the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter? He it is who drives away the orphan and does not urge giving away the food of the poor". [Qur'an, 107:1 - 3]
- "Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarers. Do not squander your wealth wastefully; for those who squander wastefully are Satan's brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord".
[Qur'an, - 27]
"Look, you are being called upon to expend in Allah's Way, yet some of you are being niggardly, whereas the one who is niggardly is, in fact, being niggardly only to himself. Allah is Self-Sufficient: it is you who are the needy. If you turn away, Allah will replace you by another people, and they will not be like you. [Qur'an, 47:38]
4- Moderation in giving
a. "Do not keep your hand fastened to your neck nor outspread it, altogether widespread, for you will be left sitting rebuked, destitute". [Qur'an, ].
b. (In reference to the slaves of Allah) "who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly but keep the golden mean between the two (extremes). [Qur'an, 25:67]
"You shall not attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love (in the way of Allah). Allah knows whatever you spend. [Qur'an, 3:92]
"Allah does not love the arrogant and the boastful, who are niggardly and bid others to be niggardly and conceal the bounty which Allah has bestowed upon them. We have kept in readiness a humiliating chastisement for such deniers (of Allah's bounty) (part of and all of )
Ibn Abbas related that the Prophet said: Any Muslim who gives a Muslim a garment to wear will be in Allah's safekeeping as long as a shred of it remains on him. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi) Debt: Relieving the person in debt Abu Qatadah related that the Prophet said: If anyone would like Allah to save him from the hardships of the Day of Resurrection, he should give more time to his debtor who is short of money, or remit his debt altogether. (Muslim)
2- Food and the needy
Safwan ibn Salim related that the Prophet said: Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah's cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari) Anas related that the Prophet said: If any Muslim plants something or sows seed from which a man, a bird or an animal eats, it counts as a charity for him. (Bukhari, Muslim)
3- Relatives who are needy
Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: The best charity is that which is practised by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents. (Bukhari) Salman ibn Amer reported that the Prophet said: To give something to a poor man brings one reward, while giving the same to a needy relation brings two: one for charity and the other for respecting the family ties. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Nasai, Tirmidhi).
When you visit friends you need to observe certain ethics. Here are some of them.
1- "Allah loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth all things".
2- "When thou seest men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes thee forget, then after recollection, sit not thou in the company of those who do wrong". [Surah Al-An'am-68]
3- "Behold, ye received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things of which ye had no knowledge; and ye thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of Allah". [Surah An-Nur-15]
4- "O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly)". [Surah An-Nur-27]
5- "If ye find none in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that ye do". [Surah An-Nur-28]
6- "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do". [Surah An-Nur-30]
7- "It is no fault in the blind nor in one born lame, nor in one afflicted with illness, nor in yourselves, that ye should eat in your own houses, or those of your fathers, or your mothers, or your brothers, or your sisters, or your father's brothers, or your father's sisters, or your mother's brothers, or your mother's sisters, or in houses of which the keys are in your possession, or in the house of a sincere friend of yours: there is no blame on you, whether ye eat in company or separately. But if ye enter houses, salute each other - a greeting of blessing and purity as from Allah. Thus does Allah make clear the Signs to you: that ye may understand".[Surah An-Nur-61]
8- "And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass." [Surah Luqman-19]
9- "O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses, - until leave is given you - for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the Truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. [Surah Al-Ahzab-53]
Truly such a thing is in Allah's sight an enormity".
10- "O ye who believe! when ye hold secret counsel, do it not for iniquity and hostility, and disobedience to the Messenger; but do it for righteousness and self-restraint; and fear Allah, to Whom ye shall be brought back". [Surah Al-Mujadila-9]
1- Umar bin Abi Salamah, May Allah be pleased with them, reported: I was under the care of Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessings be upon him, and as my hand used to roam about in the dish he said to me: Boy, mention the name of Allah, and eat with your right hand and eat from what is near to you. (Muslim).
2- Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, reported: Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessings be upon him, never found fault with food (served to him). If he liked anything, he ate it and if he did not like it he left it. (Muslim)
3- Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, reported: Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said: When anyone of you is invited to a feast, he should attend it. [Muslim]
4- Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, used to say: The worst kind of food is the wedding feast to which the rich are invited and the poor are ignored. He who does not come to the feast, he in fact disobeys Allah and His Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him. (Muslim)
5- Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, reported: Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said: Food for two persons suffices three persons and food for three persons suffices four persons. (Muslim)
Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Say: Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds; no partner has He: this am I commanded, and I am the first among those who submit to Him." [al-Aníam 6:162-163]
Faith and Allah have everything to do with every aspect of our lives. We cannot compartmentalise religion or life. Islam requires that we live our whole life, every aspect of life in obedience to Allah. We are not part-time servants of Allah. We belong to Allah. We are his servants every moment of our life and we must live our whole life in obedience to him. Our work, with the correct intention, can be an act of worship which we will be rewarded for provided it is according to Allah's rules. Whatever He has allowed is allowed for us and whatever He has forbidden is forbidden. Religion in Islam is everything. Our worship is religion. Our business is part of our religion. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we should aim for perfection and reflect a good example.
Some people regard certain kinds of work or professions as Contemptible. However, the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, denied the validity of this notion. He taught his Companions that the whole of a human being's dignity is tied up with his work any sort of work and that real disgrace and humiliation consist of depending on other people's help. He said, It is better that a person should take a rope and bring a bundle of wood on his back to sell so that Allah may preserve his donor, than that he should beg from people, (regardless of) whether they give to him or refuse him. (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) The Muslim can earn his livelihood by agriculture, trade, or industry or by any profession or employment as long as it does not involve doing, supporting, or propagating anything haram.
Here are some ethics related to Qur'an recitation and some tips for better memorization.
1- It is recommended to face the direction of Al-Qiblah.
2- The place you choose to sit and recite Al-Qur'an should be clean from any filth or bad odor. As a preparation for reading, it is recommended to have cleanliness, (taharah), by making wudu before settling down to recite Al-Qur'an.
3- The best time by far is reciting during Salaat, then night-time reading, especially the latter part of it. The best time of day is after Subh (Morning Prayer).
4- The reciters are commanded to say, I seek refuge, "Ta'awudh", that is, putting a distance between themselves and Satan (Shaytan) by seeking refuge in Allah, the Almighty, from the rejected enemy.
5- If you can read Al-Qur'an in the Arabic language, it is preferred to recite with the basic rules of tajweed,
6- The speed of your recitation must be regulated by the ability to understand, because Al-Qur'an encourages the reciter to ponder. It is, however, undesirable to read with.
7- Also, one's recitation should not sound like singing.
8- It is recommended to beautify your recital with a pleasant voice. But you should not exaggerate to the point that the phonics, morphology, or syntax are distorted or altered.
9- If the verse contains commands and prohibitions you should immediately decide to accept or restrain from them. But if it is something you have failed in the past to do, you should seek forgiveness and intend to do it in the future. In the event that the verse contains mercy, you should feel happy and request it, or if it contains wrath, you should seek refuge in Allah. If the verse glorifies Allah, you should glorify Him.
10- It is undesirable to stop reading to converse or talk to someone, laugh or play or look at something that takes away your attention, unless there is a valid reason, as has been reported by Al-Bukhari, by the way of Ibn 'Umar, May Allah be please with him.
B- Memorization (from "Way to the Qur'an by Khurram Murad)
Before One Begins to Memorize
1. Ikhlaas (Sincerity)
2. Knowing the Greatness of the Book of Allah
3. Knowing the Reasons behind Reciting and Memorizing the Qur'an
4. Having a Truthful and Firm Resolution to Memorize it.
Practical Steps for Memorizing
1. Correcting pronunciation and recitation
2. Adhering to a daily limit for memorization
3. Continual Recitation and Review
4. Reciting in a Melodic Tone
5. Using the Same Copy of the Qur'an (Mushaf)
6. Linking the Ayaat
7. Reciting to Others
8. Constant Review of What Has Been Memorized
9. Watching for analogous sections of the Qur'an
10. Taking Advantage of the golden hours of the Day
11. Taking Advantage of the golden years of memorizing
1. To fear falling into riyaa' (Showing Off)
2. To be cautious of being neglectful in acting upon the Qur'an
3. Not being amazed with oneself and considering oneself above the rest of creation
4. Knowing that forgetting the Qur'an is due to sinning.
Overcoming Bad Habits
There are good and bad habits in each one of us. We therefore need, in order to strengthen our deen and Iman, try our utmost to change ourselves to the better, by overcoming our bad haits preserving our good ones. Here are some Hadiths of the prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, encouraging us to change ourselves to the better.
1-Al-Hasan al-Basri said, "Whoever competes with you in the Deen then try to surpass him, and whoever competes with you in the matters of this life then throw it back at him."
2-Whenever he missed a Salah in congregation, Ibn Umar, May Allah be please with him, used to fast one day, pray for one whole night, and free a slave.
3-Abu Musa al Ash'ari used to apply himself so much in worship end of his life that he was told, "Why don't you slow down and be gentle with yourself?" He replied, "When the horses are released for a race and are close to the finish line, they give all the strength they have. What is left of my life is less than that." He maintained the same level of devotion and worship until he died.
4-Mawriq al-'Ajli said, "I did not find an example, for the believer in this life, better than a man on a plank in the sea, imploring, 'O Lord, O Lord' hoping that Allah will save him."
5-Usamah said, "Whenever you see Sufyan ath-Thawri, it is as if you see someone in 'a ship fearing to drown,' one would often hear him say, 'O Lord, save me, save me!'."
6-Fatimah bint Abdil Malik, the wife of the Khalifah Umar ibn Abdil-Aziz said, "I have never seen a person offering salah or fasting more than he did, or a person fearing the Lord more than than him. After offering Salat-ul-Isha, he would sit down and cry until he becomes sleepy, then he would wake up again and continue crying until sleep overtakes him."
7-Amir ibn Abdullah was once asked, "How can you tolerate being awake all night, and thirsty in the intense heat of the day?" He replied, "Is it anything more that postponing the food of the day to night-time, and the sleep of the night to daytime? This is not a big matter. "When the night came, he would say, "Remembrance of the heat of hellfire has taken sleepiness from me." And he would not sleep until dawn.
8-Ahmad ibn Harb said, "I wonder how the one who knows that above him, paradise is being embellished, and below him, hell fire is being kindled, and yet sleeps between them!"
9-Waqi' said, "Al Amash was almost seventy years old and he never missed the first takbirah (for salah in the masjid). I used to visit him frequently for more than two years and never saw him make up for even one rakah."
10-Abu Hayan related that his father said, "Ar-Rabi' ibn Khuthaym was crippled and used to be carried to the congregational salah. So people told him, 'You have an excuse (for not coming)', he said, 'I hear 'hayee 'alas-salah', the call to salah; so if you can come to it even by crawling, do so," paraphrasing a hadith.
11-Abul-Mawahib ibn Sarsari said concerning Imam abul-Qasim ibn Asakir, "I have never seen the like of him, and none had encompassed as many good characteristics as he did concerning his adherence to one way for forty years, making salah in the first row unless he had an excuse, i'tikaf during Ramadan and the ten days of Thul-Hijjah, and the lack of desire to accumulate properties and build houses, as he forbade himself these. He turned away any position of imam or speaker, though they were offered to him, and he devoted himself to enjoin good and forbid evil, and he would not fear anyone in that."
Here are some ethics related to receiving guests.
1- Abu Hurairah, May Allah be please with him, reported: Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, observed: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silent. (Muslim)
2-Uqbah bin 'Amir, May Allah be please with him, reported: We said to Allah's Messenger , Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him,: You send us out and we come to the people who do not offer us hospitality, so what is your opinion¿ Thereupon Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said: If you come to the people who order for you what is befitting a guest, accept it; but if they do not, take from them what befits them to offer to a guest. (Muslim)
3-Abu Mas'ud Al-Ansari, May Allah be please with him, reported: A person from the Ansar who was called Abu Shu'aib had a slave who was a butcher (by profession). He (Abu Mas'ud) saw Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, and found signs of hunger on his face. He said to the servant: O ye, prepare for us food sufficient for five persons, for I intend to invite Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, who would be the fifth among the five. He (the narrator) reported that he then prepared the food and came to Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, and invited all the five (including him) who was the fifth among them to the feast. A man followed him and when Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, reached the door, he said: This man has followed us; if you like you may permit him (to join the meal) and if you like he can go back. Thereupon the person said: Allah's Messenger, I permit him. (Muslim)
3-Abdul-Rahman bin Abi Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them, reported: The people of Suffah were very poor. Once Allah's Messenger, Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon him, said (to his Companions): He who among you has food for two persons should take three (guests with him), and he who has with him food for four persons should take five or six (guests with him for entertaining them). (Muslim)
Think F.I.T. To make physical improvements, you need to work your body harder than usual. As your body becomes more conditioned, you need to increase the frequency, intensity, or time of your workouts in order to continue improving your fitness level.
For beginners, consider starting with 2-3 sessions per week. Intensity: for example, the pace you walk or run, the amount of weight you lift, or your heart rate count.
Time: How long you perform an activity? "Time" can also refer to the number of sets or repetitions you perform in weight training.
Exercise Component 1: Aerobic Exercise increases the health and function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. For maximum effectiveness, aerobic exercise needs to be rhythmic, continuous and involve the large muscle groups (primarily located in the lower part of your body.) Walking, jogging, cycling, and stair climbing are examples of activities that use large muscle groups. Activities combining upper and lower body movements such as cross-country skiing, rowing, and swimming can lead to even higher levels of aerobic capacity.
Exercise Component 2: Strength Training is the process of exercising with progressively heavier resistance to build or retain muscle. Unless you perform regular strength exercise, you will lose up to one-half pound of muscle every year of life after age 25. Muscle is a very active tissue with high energy requirements, even when you are asleep, your muscles are responsible for over 25% of your calorie use. An increase in muscle tissue causes a corresponding increase in the number of calories your body will burn, even at rest.
Exercise Component 3: Flexibility is a critical element of an exercise program but it is often overlooked. Stretching is important for a number of reasons; increases physical performance, decreases risk of injury, increases blood supply and nutrients to the joints, increases neuromuscular co-ordination, reduces soreness, improves balance, decreases risk of low back pain, and reduces stress in muscles.
Choosing an Exercise: The best exercise is an activity that you enjoy enough to really pursue enthusiastically. Experiment with different forms of activity (cross training). Alternating new activities with old favorite will keep your enthusiasm high. Cross training also helps avoid injury due to repeatedly doing the same activity. Here are some suggestions:
Indoor (Facility) Activities: If the rowing machine or stationery cycle doesn't excite you, sample some group activities that attract your interest. Participate in a group cycling class, find balance with martial arts, or even stay cool with indoor swimming. Equipment Do's and Don'ts At Home Activities: You don't need to join a gym to experience a variety of activities. Your local video store or library will carry a variety of fitness videos that allow you to workout in the privacy of your home. Some equipment may be required, depending on the activity you select. A few inexpensive pieces of equipment include a jump rope, a set of hand weights (preferably with weight plates that you can add and remove).
Outdoor Activities: Sample the variety of activities available to you. For example, take a hike to enjoy the Full colors, learn to cross-country ski when Old Man Winter visits, walk among the flowers in the Spring, or dive into swimming during the hot months of Summer. Getting outdoors into the fresh air not only adds variety to your exercise program but it seems to provide an uplifting of one's spirit as well.
Determining Your Starting Point To achieve cardiovascular benefits. It has been recommended to exercise 3-5 times per week (frequency) with a training heart rate of 60-85 percent of your maximum (intensity) for 20-60 minutes (time).Understanding Your Training Heart Rate To attain muscular fitness benefit. It is recommended also to do weight training two days per week (frequency), performing one to three sets of 10 repetitions (time) of eight to ten different exercises at approximately 70-85 percent of your one repetition maximum (intensity.)
If you're just beginning an exercise program, start in the low range of the above recommendations. For example, participate in a cardiovascular activity (walking, aerobics, cycling, etc.) for 20 minutes, three times a week and add strength training exercises to your workout, twice a week. Schedule your strength training workouts with 48 hours rest in between to allow your muscles to recuperate and repair after each workout. Begin Slowly and Gradually Build Unfamiliarity with movements and equipment can prove frustrating enough that you may consider throwing in the towel. Take heart, it's normal to feel awkward in the beginning, especially if you have undertaken an activity that you aren't familiar with. If you attempt "too much, too soon" it will lead to soreness, fatigue and/or injuries.
Work at your own level, start out slow, and gradually increase duration and level of difficulty as your body progresses. Getting fit is not an overnight proposition, it's a lifestyle commitment. Don't expect immediate dramatic changes in your body shape or weight loss. Although changes are happening internally, most external benefits won't become visible for the first four to six weeks.
You equally need to strengthen your relationship with Allah, the Almighty, and renew your faith in Him, the Almighty, and the remaining articles of faith. Combing this with physical exercises will ultimately lead, insha-Allah, to feeling less stress and anxiety, higher self-esteem and an increased feeling of well-being.
Staying Motivated Only one-third of those who begin an exercise program are still exercising by the end of their first year. The good news is that with some strategizing and planning, you can beat the dropout odds and make a successful transition to a lifestyle that incorporates exercise.
Here's some tips to help you stay motivated.
Find a Fitness Partner: Exercise adherence is greater if the family or a friend is included in the commitment to exercise. Find a walking partner, play tennis with your spouse, or go rollerblading with the kids.
Start an Exercise Log: An exercise log is an excellent way to chart your progress and provide motivation. Exercise logs can take on many forms; a calendar to record your workouts, a daily journal to record your feelings and goals, a computerized exercise log, or a log purchased at bookstore. The key is to select a log or journal that fits your needs and provides you the kind of information that is meaningful to you.
Schedule Your Workouts: Exercise must be a priority in order to establish it as a lifestyle practice. Make time for your workouts and schedule them on your daily calendar or planner.
Abandon Your Scale: Exercise should be about making a commitment to your health and well being, weight loss is a natural side effect of that commitment. Wear comfortable clothes appropriate for exercising, they will help you feel like working out. If you exercise at a gym put your exercise wear in a bag and set it beside the door the night before.
Entertain Yourself: If you exercise alone, consider using a Walkman to listen to your favourite nasheed or books on tape to help keep you entertained during your workout.
Evaluate Your Progress: It's a good idea to test your fitness level when you start and re-evaluate yourself every couple of months.
Make Exercise Non-Negotiable: Think of exercise as something you do without question, like brushing your teeth or going to work. Taking the lifestyle perspective will help you make exercise a habit. Before beginning any exercise program check with your physician.
1- Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Apostle saying regarding Ramadan, "Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." (Bukhari).
2- Narrated 'Urwa: That he was informed by 'Aisha, "Allah's Apostle went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the mosque and some men prayed behind him. In the morning, the people spoke about it and then a large number of them gathered and prayed behind him (on the second night). In the next morning the people again talked about it and on the third night the mosque was full with a large number of people. Allah's Apostle came out and the people prayed behind him. On the fourth night the Mosque was overwhelmed with people and could not accommodate them, but the Prophet came out (only) for the morning prayer. When the morning prayer was finished he recited Tashah-hud and (addressing the people) said, "Amma ba'du, your presence was not hidden from me but I was afraid lest the night prayer (Qiyam) should be enjoined on you and you might not be able to carry it on." So, Allah's Apostle died and the situation remained like that (i.e. people prayed individually)." (Bukhari)
3- 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abd ul-Qariy said, "I went out in the company of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'What an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night." (Bukhari).
Guidelines for acquiring Khushoo (Humility & Concentration) whilst performing prayers
1- Repeating the words of the adhaan after the muezzin;
2- Reciting dua'a between the adhaan and the iqaamah
3- Doing wudoo’ properly, saying Bismillaah before it and making dhikr and saying the dua'a after it.
4- Wearing one’s cleanest clothes.
5- Pray as if you are praying a farewell prayer.
6- Thinking about the verses and adhkaar being recited during the prayer and interacting with them. At the very least you could consult a book explaining the unusual words
7- Reciting in slow, rhythmic tones (tarteel) and beautifying one’s voice with the fear of Allah.
8-Feeling that your Lord is addressing you and giving you what your is asking for.
9-Praying with a barrier (sutrah) in front of one and praying close to it because this will restrict your field of vision, protect you from distraction
10-Lowering your gaze by looking down at your prostration area.
11- Reciting different Surahs is more conducive to khushoo’.
Itikaf & Night of Qadr (Courtesy of http://www.mukmin.com)
1-Narrated Aisha: With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.
2- Allah has said in the Qur'an:
"But do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat (Iktikaf) in the mosques" [Al-Baqarah-187]
Iktikaf is when a person staying in the mosque with his heart fully occupied with Allah, give full concentration upon Him alone and cut off from preoccupation with the creation. One has only one intention that is to remember Allah, the Almightu, and think of how to attain His pleasure. It can be performed at any time as long as the intention is for performing Iktikaf It is performed after any recommended prayer.
For example, if the Iktikaf is intended to be begun in the morning, dhooha prayer can be performed.
1) Occupy himself by performing any recommended prayers
2) Reciting Qur'an
3) Recitation of glorifying and praising of Allah
4) Praise Allah Greatness and Oneness
5) Seeking His forgiveness
6) Sending salutations to the Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Allah be please with him.
7) Supplicating to Allah
8) Reading books of hadith and understanding its translations.
1) The person may leave the place of Iktikaaf at any time when he wants to.
2) The person can comb and cut one's hair, clipping one's nail, cleaning one's body, wearing nice clothes or wearing perfume.
3) The person may go out at any for some need that he must perform such as answering the call of nature, eating or drinking and other acts which is permissible
Actions that Nullify the Iktikaaf
1) Intentionally leaving the mosque even if it is for just a short time
2) Munaafiq where one abandoned the belief in Islam
3) State of menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding, insanity or drunkenness
4) Sexual intercourse
Night of Qadr
1-Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet said, "Look for (the Night of Qadr)."
2-Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle used to practice Itikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan,"
3-Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet said, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan,' on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of Ramadan (i.e. 21, 23, 25, respectively)."
4-Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: Allah's Apostle said, "The Night of Qadr is in the last ten nights of the month (Ramadan), either on the first nine or in the last (remaining) seven nights (of Ramadan)." Ibn 'Abbas added, "Search for it on the twenty-fourth (of Ramadan)."
5-Narrated 'Ubada bin As-Samit: The Prophet came out to inform us about the Night of Qadr but two Muslims were quarreling with each other. So, the Prophet said, "I came out to inform you about the Night of Qadr but such-and-such persons were quarreling, so the news about it had been taken away; yet that might be for your own good, so search for it on the 29th, 27th and 25th (of Ramadan).
1. Plan your trips with your children. Ask their ideas about things that they would like to do and see along the way. Children who are involved in the planning have more ownership in the trip and will have more appreciation and fun.
2. Start your trip by collectively reciting the Travel Dua'a
3. Take materials to occupy their time and keep them engaged while traveling, such as personal nasheed tapes, books on tape, Qur'an, drawing materials, etc. One mother packed a child-size backpack full of special travel activities and talked with her child for weeks about the fun he would have on the trip to Grandmother's house. He looked forward to those activities for so long that when the trip started he was focused on the fun and not the travel time.
4. For long road trips, plan frequent stops. When choosing where to stop, consider the type of place in which your children will be interested and morally safe. Let the children follow the trip on the map so they can see the progress you are making. If you are able to provide your children with their own map, they can use colored stickers to mark their progress across your pre-marked route. They will be less likely to bother you with "Are we there yet?" At the same time, they will be learning geography and spatial relationships.
5. Explain your expectations for behavior before you leave. Be sure to include instructions about what to do should the family become separated in a public place. If you will be traveling with young children, consider using a flexible coiling cord with Velcro straps on each end to "attach" your child to your wrist or belt loop.
6. Continually encourage your children throughout the trip. "I know it has been a long day in the car; you are being very patient. Thank you."
7. An occasional incentive or treat for good behavior can make a long trip shorter. A stop for a meal or for a friendly game in a park are good choices.
8. Be sure to have plenty of nutritious snacks and drinks on hand as well as a selection of healthful beverages. Children become dehydrated more quickly than do adults -- even during winter months.
9. Family arguments damage children's self-esteem. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a car full of morose faces. Concentrate on the positive, focus on the fun, and remember that the main goal isn't to get someplace. The goal is to have fun and learn more while spending quality time during the holidays with your children or grandchildren.