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IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
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"O you who believe! Be careful of your duty to Allah, and be with the truthful." [Noble Quran 9:119]

"If you obeyed most of those on earth they would mislead you far from Allah's way." [Noble Quran 6:116]

Return to the QURAN only - the complete and final STAND-ALONE Divine Message which also contains the authentic sunnah of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)

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I bear witness that NONE is worthy of worship except ALLAH, He has NO partner nor partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and Final Messenger of Allah.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Imāms should respect the Qur’ān when leading the Tarāwīḥ Prayer





By: Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

The greatest favour bestowed upon humanity is the revelation of the Qur’ān as it is the only way human beings can be in continuous touch with their Creator. People can easily measure their level of attachment to their Lord by measuring their level of attachment to the Qur’ān - recitation, study and contemplation of it. This divine writ was not revealed to be a book of hymns for aural enjoyment, but instead as a book of guidance, for Allāh says in the Qur’ān, “(This is) a Book (the Qur’ān) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” As the Qur’ān is the unique and inimitable speech of Allāh, reciting it is a tremendous act of worship. However, its reward and comprehensive benefit can only be achieved once we put into practice what we understand. In fact, not putting enough attention to understanding the Qur’ān is condemned as Allāh the Most High says, “Do they not then think deeply about the Qur’ān, or are there locks upon their hearts (from understanding it?)” Many early scholars also condemned those who read the Qur’ān without putting enough effort into understanding it.



The way many Imāms recite during the Tarāwīḥ prayer is inexcusable and should be condemned in the strongest of ways by the people of knowledge and all individuals who respect the words of God. These Imāms recite the Qur’ān as if they are competing with the allocated time in order to finish the set amount and be rid of a heavy burden placed on their shoulders. In listening to some of them it is extremely difficult to make out what they are saying, whilst simultaneously, they make constant mistakes. There are reports of some mosques completing both twenty rak‘ah (units) of the Tarāwīḥ prayer and a whole juz’ of the Qur’ān in thirty minutes. This means that each rak‘ah takes ninety seconds in which one page of the Qur’ān is recited! What justification can such Imāms (and consequently the committees of such mosques) possibly give?


I would like to pose the following question to individuals who legitimize such conduct and deem it acceptable: Imagine that you are standing before God and that He is looking at you while you are praying, do you think Allāh is happy seeing and hearing His words read in this manner without giving them their due rights in terms of recitation and contemplation? Furthermore, I wonder if any of these Imāms or committee members are bold enough to allege that the Prophet would endorse this kind of prayer.


A famous 13th century scholar/scientist/chemist/astronomer, Ibn Qayyim gave an excellent summary of what a Muslim must do to remedy the hardness of the heart with the Qur'an. 


QUOTE
There is nothing more beneficial for the heart than reading the Qur’ān with contemplation and reflection. The Qur’ān encompasses all levels of travelers, conditions of the workers, and stations of those possessing knowledge. It is the Qur’ān that generates love, desire, fear, hope, repentance, reliance, pleasure, entrustment, gratitude, patience and the rest of the different states that are life to the heart and perfection of it. Likewise, it repels all the rebuked characteristics and actions that cause corruption and ruin of the heart. If people were to possess a realization of what the recitation of the Qur’ān with contemplation contains, they would devote themselves to it at the expense of everything else. When the person reads it with reflection and he comes across an āyah (verse) that he is in need of for curing his heart, he repeats it, even if he does so a hundred times or the whole night. Hence, to recite a single āyah of the Qur’ān with contemplation and reflection is better than reciting the Qur’ān to completion without any contemplation. It is also more beneficial for the heart and more conducive to attaining īmān (faith) and tasting the sweetness of the Qur’ān.UNQUOTE 



Many of our acts of worship (ʽibādāt) have lost their spirit and have been transformed into meaningless ritual images where the focus is on completing them irrespective of whether they leave an impact on our souls or not and if they were perfected or at least performed in a truly satisfactory manner. That is why our worship does not change us for the better; our commitment to the dīn (religion/way of life) of Allāh is very weak and our willingness to sacrifice for the sake of Allāh is even more so - our morals and manners are not improving. Many of us want to be rid of the Tarāwīḥ prayer, no matter how it is offered. This is the opposite of what Allāh wants from us.  Humility, tranquility and reflection are insignificant elements for such Muslims.  We have removed the very elements from our acts of worship that have been purposely placed there to better us and focus instead on quantity rather quality - for those of us who have any focus at all. 


I call upon committee members and Imāms to seek the pleasure of Allah and not the pleasure of their congregation. I call upon Muslims to advice such Imāms and committee members who do not manifest enough respect to the Qur’ān.  We should also remember that completing twenty Rak’ah or even the whole Qur’an during Tarāwīḥ is not compulsory, yet listening to it attentively and reciting it with moderate speed is.  If the Tarāwīḥ prayer has to be completed in a specific time, then the amount set to be recited should be reduced so that a better quality of worship is achieved.


I believe it is time we should put a stop to this and mend our relationship with the Qur’ān as Allāh has commanded: “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice (i.e. the Qur’ān) from your Lord, and a healing for that (diseases of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, - a guidance and a mercy for   the believers.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is the right time to break the fast?

To all our brothers and sisters in Faith who will be fasting during the present  month of Ramadan, remember to break your fast at the right time as instructed in the Glorious Quran.

It's a common mistake which many make by preferring man-made traditions over the Divine order.

The right time to break our fast is approximately 30 minutes after Maghrib or sunset when darkness has taken place completely.  Check the following Quranic verses for evidence and information.

وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْل
 2:187 - Al-Baqrah


TransliterationWa Kulū Wa Ashrabū Ĥattá Yatabayyana Lakumu Al-Khayţu Al-'Abyađu Mina Al-Khayţi Al-'Aswadi Mina Al-Fajri  ۖ  Thumma 'Atimmū Aş-Şiyāma 'Ilá Al-Layli    (2:187)


Translation"eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall"  (2:187)  Surah Al-Baqrah


The above verse makes it clear that fasting begins from sunrise and ends when darkness of the night has taken place which is 30 to 40 minutes after we offer our Maghrib prayers.  The Arabic term used for describing the time to end the fast is ليل or "leyl."   This term refers to the darkness of the night and NOT sunset. 


Sunset (Maghrib or setting of the sun) and darkness of the night are NOT the same.  Sunset has been explicitly differentiated from nightfall in the Glorious Quran.   A very good example to elucidate this difference is Verse 17:78 of Surah Bani Israel (also known as Surah Al-Isra) which states the specific timing for the Maghrib or sunset prayer and the importance of reciting the Quran at dawn.

أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
17:78  - Surah Al-Isra


Transliteration
'Aqimi Aş-Şalāata Lidulūki Ash-Shamsi 'Ilá Ghasaqi Al-Layli Wa Qur'āna Al-Fajri  ۖ  'Inna Qur'āna Al-Fajri Kāna Mash/hūdāan    (17:78)

Translation
"Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of night, and (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn is ever witnessed."    (17:78)  Surah Al-Isra

The above verse is self-explanatory asserting that the time for Maghrib prayer begins when the sun goes down, that is, at sunset.  The verse also clarifies that Maghrib prayer can be offered from the time the sun goes down until it gets dark which takes about 30 minutes, in certain parts of the globe it might take a bit longer, around 40 minutes.   In this verse 17:78 the Arabic term mentioned for sunset or going down of the sun is   دلوك الشمس  (dulook al-shams), and the Arabic term for "dark of night" is leyl or ليل


"Leyl" or night is by no means the same as as sunset of dulook al-shams.  That's absolutely clear and obvious.
And Verse 2:187 confirms that we are to break our fast at "leyl."


Also, another expression used in the Quran for the setting of the sun is مغرب الشمس or maghrib al-shams.   This expression has been used in Verse 18:86 of Surah Al-Kahf.

حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا قَوْمًا قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَنْ تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا 
18:86  -  Surah Al-Kahf


Tranliteration
Ĥattá 'Idhā Balagha Maghriba Ash-Shamsi Wajadahā Taghrubu Fī `Aynin Ĥami'atin Wa Wajada `Indahā Qawmāan  ۗ  Qulnā Yā Dhā Al-Qarnayni 'Immā 'An Tu`adhdhiba Wa 'Immā 'An Tattakhidha Fīhim Ĥusnāan   (18:86)

Translation
"Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness."  (18:86)  Surah Al-Kahf.


Thus, you will observe that nowhere does the Quran refer to sunset as "leyl."  The word "leyl" has only one reference, that is, nightfall or the darkness of the night. 


It's very unfortunate that so many folks who fast regularly waste their entire day's effort by breaking their fasts 30 to 40 minutes prior to the prescribed time in the Glorious Quran.


Dhulook-as-shams  and leyl  .... the clear difference.   Ramadan, the month of fasting, is the Month of the Quran.  Yet so many of us violate the Quran by disobeying even the simple timings of fasting confirmed in the Glorious Quran.