Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ZAKAT AL-FITR (Alms giving, Charity)

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran-e-Majid that one who gives "Zakat" and 
remembers Him will get salvation. Here, Zakat means "Fitra" and 
remembrance of God means the recitation of the following Takbir 
on the night and morning of Eid al-Fitr.

"Allaaho Akbar, Allaaho Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallaah wallaaho Akbar, 
Allaaho Akbar, Wa lillaahil hamd. Alhamdulillah alaa maa hadaanaa 
walahu Shukr alaa maa aulana."

The meaning of the above is:
 "Allah is Great, Allah is Great there is no one 
worthy of prayer but Allah, and Allah is Great; Allah is Great, 
all praise be to Allah it is He Who guides.", 

Zakat al-Fitr is a small amount that Muslims are obliged to pay as 
charity Zakat al-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqah al-Fitr 

(voluntary charity)at the end of The Ramadan.

The word Fitr means the same as Iftaar, breaking a fast and 
it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. 
Thus, Islamically, Zakat al-Fitr is the name given to charity which is 
distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan. Fitr is compulsory on 

those who can afford it, and it is a sin not to give it.
                        Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) has said "that fasts do not attain 
perfection without Fitr just as Namaz is not accepted without 
invoking the blessings of Allah on Mohammad (S.A.W.) and 

his Aaal (A.S.) in Tashahhud".

Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) used to instruct his accountant 
"To take out Fitr for each individual including slaves and servants 
male and female of his household without exception, as, he feared 

that one whose Fitr was not taken out might die within that year.
                  Fitr is dependant on the major item of food consumed by a person 
during the year. These may be rice, wheat, barley, dates, etc. 
In weight Fitr should be three Kilograms per person. It is also 

permissible to pay cash to the value of three Kilograms food grains.

                        It is obligatory on the head of the family to give Fitr of 
all persons (including servants of both sexes of any cast or creed) 

that take food in his house.
                        If a guest Muslim or non-Muslim arrives at one's house before 
the night of Eid al-Fitr and dines with his host, it is incumbent 

on the latter to give the former's Fitr.
                         If the guest arrives after sunset of the night of Eid al-Fitr. 
Fitr is not obligatory even if he dines with his host. 

Even when the guest arriving before sunset does not dine,

                             Fitr is obligatory on the host. In this it is better if both 

the host and the guest give Fitr.
                              If one's wife is at her parent's on the night of Eid al-Fitr, 

her parents should take out her Fitr.
              On the last day of the month of Ramadan, if a person arrranges a Majlis
 which finishes afer sunset (Magrib) and if, he offers Niyaz or food 

to his guests, he does not have to give Fitr for them.
                          Fitr should be given to deserving Momins who do not have 
enough income for the maintenance of their families 

for the whole year.
                      Fitr cannot be given to one's dependants. But, it is better to 
give it to non-dependant deserving relatives. Next in order 
of preference are deserving neighbors and then any other 
deserving pious persons.

Fitr from Syeds can be given to Syeds or non-Syeds. 
Fitr from non-Syeds cannot be given to Syeds.
                        If deserving persons are not really available, Fitr should 
be sent to places where such persons are found, or 
the amount should be sent to a Mujtahid who
        would do the needful in distributing the same.

It is not essential that the recipient of Fitr is an "Aadil" (just), 
but it is necessary to ensure that it is not given to anyone likely to use 
it in acts of sin, e.g. drinking liquor, gambling, etc.
                     Although it is permissible to send Fitr to any place it is preferable 

if it is distributed to a deserving person locally.
   The time for giving Fitr is from the night of Eid al-Fitr 
(Ramadan Eid) up to the noon (Zohr) of Eid al-Fitr. 

If this is not possible for some reason the amount of
   Fitr should be set apart from his other monies and disbursed
when deserving person is available or it may be sent to 
a Mujtahid for required distribution. It is stated that Fitr ought to 

be given to pious persons and not those who indulge in sin.


And now that the Holy Month of Glory (Ramadan) has departed and 
Eid is over, let us look back to the lessons it has taught us, and 
let us pray to God that the things we observed the recitation 
of the Holy Quran, the saying of Prayers (Namaz) regularly, 
the charity which we did, the poor that we fed, the good manners 

and self-restraint that we observed, should be with us 
in our everyday lives and these are the very ACTS that
    take us nearer to Allah.And Allah has said, 

"Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be
thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.
                                            " Holy Quran (2:152)

"If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; 
But if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is 
terrible indeed." 
Holy Quran(14:7)                       

And to those who have been indifferent and have wished that 
there was no such thing as this month of Ramadan and who on 
sighting the New Moon had a dejected face,

should remember this Ayat of the Holy Quran.
"Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are 
too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - 
in humiliation!" Holy Quran (40:60) 

But can ye not see, O men, the mighty workers of God in 
the heavens and the earth? The dark-some splendor of 
the night with the stars, and the daylight splendor of the sun? 
How the earth with its spacious expanse and its mountains, 
yields moisture and pasture, and feeds and sustains men and 
cattle, through God's Providence?

AH! Transgress not all bounds and earn not the fire of 
punishment, but fear God and His Judgment, and prepare for 
the Garden of Perpetual Bliss.

                  ZAKAT AL-FITR and ZAKAT (ZAKAH) are different: 
(Alms giving, Charity)                   

Over the centuries, it has become a practice among the Muslims 
to offer their Zakat (Zakah) in the month of Ramadan. This is 
generally done to increase one's blessings. However, 
we should remember that Zakat (Zakah) becomes due, 
one year after a person's wealth reaches the value of Nisab 
(minimum amount) for a type of item (Gold, Silver, Savings, etc) 
and according to most scholars, his wealth has to remain above 
that Nisab level throughout the course of the year. So it is impossible 
for the whole Ummah to have reached the obligation of paying Zakat (Zakah), 
at the onset of Ramada

We should be clear in our minds that Zakat (Zakah) is 
not tied in with the month of Ramadan. An individual can
bring forward his Zakat (Zakah) due date
(notice: not push back), in order to take advantage of 
the multifold blessings of Ramadan. In fact, to make 
it easy on the recipients whose needs have to be met,
         one might chose Ramadan for the extra Sadaqa he gives out.
Finally, Zakat (Zakah) is not simply the calculation of 
your dues on your Gold and Silver ornaments. Its scope and 
implication is wide-ranging. As such, it requires us to be diligent and 
aware of various details relating to our context and various forms of wealth. 
At the minimum, a learned scholar should be consulted.

Imam Jafer As-Sadiq (as) said: 
"Allah shall ward off 70 kinds of Calamities 
          from one who gives Charity in the month of Ramadan."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Laylatul Qadr or Night of Power

 It is important that we first understand the significance of LAYLATUL QADR 
in order that we know what sort of 'ingredients' are required for our preparation 

to reach the Ultimate Goal which is earning the pleasure of Allah (SWT).

What is Laylatul Qadr or Night of Power therefore?

You are all aware of its importance so I will just briefly re-run through it. 
In surah Al-Qadr Allah (SWT) clearly states:

"Surely We revealed it (the Holy Quran) on the grand night. And what will make 
you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand 
months. The angels and Gabriel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for 
every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning." 

Holy Quran (97:1-5)

Allah (SWT) is inviting all the believers for a Divine feast; the invitation 
                              has been brought by the messengers. Allah (SWT) is the host, his 
most favorite angels are the servants and the believers are the guests. 
The table is spread with Divine blessings containing all sorts of rewards and favors. 
Though the eyes cannot see them nor the ears hear them not the human hearts 
imagine them, yet the bounties are all kept in readiness to be awarded to 

the guests in accordance to his/her actions.

                  which Laylatul Qadr is a blessed night because the Almighty brings down during 
it goodness, bliss, and forgiveness for His servants. It is a feast which has come 
with a message that shows one the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds. 

Laylatul Qadr is a feast for the spirit, a feast of worship and prayers.

Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed 
on this night. When our Prophet Mohammad (saw) was asked how man could 
enjoy the favors and good grace of proximity to, and mercy of, Allah (SWT) 
                      he quoted Prophet Moosa / Musa / Moses (peace be upon him) supplication:
"Oh My God, I seek proximity to You; He (Allah) said: Proximity to Me is for him
 who stays awake on Laylatul Qadr.
Oh My God, I am in need of Your Mercy; He (Allah) said: My Mercy is for him 
who shows mercy to the poor on Laylatul Qadr.
Oh My God, I am in need of the passport to cross the bridge; He (Allah) said: 
that is for him who give alms on Laylatul Qadr.
Oh My God, I am in need of the trees in Paradise and their fruits; 
He (Allah) said: that is for him who seeks forgiveness on Laylatul Qadr.
Oh My God, I seek deliverance from fire; He (Allah) said: that is for him 
who remembers Allah on Laylatul Qadr.
Oh My God, I seek Your good pleasure; He (Allah) said: that is for him 
who says a two Rakat prayer on Laylatul Qadr."

On another occasion Prophet Moosa / Musa / Moses (peace be upon him) said: 
"Oh My God, are You far away that I shout at You, or are You near that 
I whisper to You?" He (Allah) said: "O Musa, I am sitting together with you!"

What do we therefore have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr?

                           A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life times worth of activity.
We have to remind ourselves about Laylatul Qadr that is:

               A unique once in a year opportunity to do a life times worth of activity.
A once in a year occasion for influencing our future destiny - "QADR" - Taqdeer.
Full of long lasting blessings.The night of unsurpassed grandeur 
when the absolute Grand God revealed the Grand Quran through 
the Grand Wahy - Jibreel into the heart of the Grand Prophet Mohammad (saw).

The Ma'sumeen have explained to us that God in his infinite wisdom 
had planned the system of the universe in such a way that every persons 
destiny will be determined on a yearly basis in the angelic spheres through 
the agency of the Imam of the age. Who is the leader and focus of 
the whole spiritual world this gives MANKIND a unique opportunity to 
influence his own future (gain, loss, health, sickness, richness, poverty, etc 
by performing certain acts, e.g. Dua, Salat, Sadaqah, Jihad, acquiring knowledge, 
Holy Quran recitation etc.

The night when the whole multitude of angels and the Great Spirit (Ruh) 
descend on earth, greeting and praying for the believers and 
conveying messages to the Imam of age.

after knowing its significance?

Yes, Let us imagine for a moment that we are invited for a special feast 
by the president of our country, who also tells us in advance that he 
is going to reward us with magnificent gifts as per the way we present 
and behave ourselves during the feast - What would we do?

After the initial euphoria, we would leave no stone unturned to present 
ourselves in the best possible manner. Preparations of what to wear, 
how to get there, what will I speak with the president. If I have 
to go through his secretary what will I say to him, what sort of gifts 
will I take with me, what sort of conversation I have with him, all 
this and more will be thought about, rehearsed and re-rehearsed. 
Correct me if I am wrong!

All this 'tension' in honor of an invitation from the President of a country. 
Laylatul Qadr is an invitation form the President of all Presidents, 
The Supreme One. Do we need to make preparations for this night?

Undoubtedly, we must start our preparations way ahead of time, 
after all going by human nature (Fitra), there is more than profit that 
can be got from this feast of Laylatul Qadr unless out of sheer 
carelessness we end up amongst those negligent and idle ones, 
who do not achieve anything except tiredness, loss and eternal doom, 
who will gain nothing except regret and cry out aloud on the day of 

"Ah! Woe is me! In that I neglected (my duty) towards Allah." - 
Holy Quran (39:56)

What sorts of Pre-preparations are needed before the 
advent of this grand Laylatul Qadr?

Jibreel was asked; "What has the Almighty Allah (SWT) done on 
this night with the wishes of the believers among the nation of 
Prophet Mohammad (saw)?" He answered, "The Almighty Allah (SWT) 
has looked upon them on this night and forgiven them, all of them, 
except the following: "One who is addicted to drinking, 
One who severs his ties with his kin, and One who is a trouble-maker."

We have been advised to beseech Allah (SWT) during the whole year 
before the arrival of the Night of Power or Laylatul Qadr, to keep us 
alive for this night:

1) To bestow upon us the Tawfiq to remain vigilant during this night 
and pray for blessings and forgiveness.

                    2) To bless us that we are able to do the best of deeds on this night.

3) To comprehend fully the importance of this night which is superior 
to one thousand months.

                   4) To pray that we can become one of the favorites of Allah (SWT) 
and be blessed with His love, learning, nearness, union, pleasure, 
together with health, happiness, and welfare.

             5) To yearn and act so that Allah (SWT) be so pleased with us in such 
a manner, that after this night He would never be displeased us again.

             6) To pray that our Aimma especially the Imam-ul-Asr (as) be pleased with us 
intercede on our behalf.

How to prepare oneself for The Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr)?

(I) Preparing Mentally:

Strive to keep Allah (SWT) at the fore of one's mind the whole night long.
All the Ibadah (worship) done should be recited in the state of being 
completely awake, aware, conscious, and with a live heart. 

If one feels that one will not be able to concentrate then start reciting 
from now "We are from Allah and towards Him is our return." - 
Holy Quran (2:156) 

for it is considered as a tragedy if one can not in this night receive 
the divine grace in supplications. "Their prayers ascend upwards 
and reaches Allah (SWT), their words are accepted, and Allah (SWT) 
loves to listen to their prayers the way a mother likes her own child."

Is not it shameful that the prayers which ascend upwards should 
be recited from the tip of the tongue, while the heart and soul remain 
occupied in worldly affairs?

Many a times, one feels that one cannot 'properly' perform a certain 
Ibadah and so decided to forgo it. One should not do listen to 
this 'waswas' instead, one should perform it and more, for acceptance 
lies in the Hand of the Mercy of Allah (SWT).

(II) Preparing Physically:

For worshipping in this night a suitable place, dress, and perfume 
should be arranged in advance (comfortable dress which does not distract us).
Paying alms during this night - to the people who really deserve 
financial support.
Follow the translation of the Duas in order to understand what you 
are reciting for lutf is only got when one knows what one is reciting.

(III) Preparing Spiritually:

Increase ones eagerness for receiving the promised bounties and blessings.
Select worships and deeds which are more in harmony with ones mood.
When one stands for prayer, or any other Ibadah, to briefly spare a moment 
to think about the wisdom of that action/its meaning etc for e.g. 
Why am I standing towards Makkah? To realize that when I stand on 
my two feet, it indicates my hope and fear about the acceptance of 
my worship.

Resorting (Tawassul) to Ahlul Bayt (as) - With persistence, supplicating 
in a polite and soft manner, with words and content arousing their 
sympathies, should beseech them for bestowing upon us 
the grace of being vigilant during this night.

Crying and Shedding Tears: that during these nights ones fear, 
humility, tears, crying, anguish and lamentation be increased as 
much as possible. 

The Learned Scholar Hajj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (ra) 
in his book (Suluk-i Arifan) Spiritual Journey of the Mystics tell us 
that One of the best method is that one should tie ones hands around 
ones neck; should pour dirt upon ones head; should place ones 
head against a wall; sometimes one should stand and sometimes 
one should cry; should imagine oneself at the scene of Judgment Day; 
and the way sinners are rebuked with harshness, then one should 
imagine and be scared least Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) orders: 

"Lay hold on him, then put a chain on him, then cast him into 
the burning fire, then thrust him into a chain the length of 
which is seventy cubits." 

- Holy Quran (69:30-32)

Then one should cry: "O' Thou are the most compassionate, and Thou 
Who are the shelter of unsheltered ones!" "Where is Your vast blessing? 
Where is Your infinite forgiveness? Where are Your love and benevolence?" 
Ask for forgiveness of past sins in the most appealing manner with 
a promise to try never to return to the sins again - 

a TAWBA in every sense of the word Present ones requests before 
the Almighty Allah (SWT) with full hope that they will be answered.
Prophet Mohammad (saw) when asked what one should invoke Allah (SWT) 
during these nights, said: "Ask for your safety (here and in 
the hereafter)".

Ramadan Mubarak To All of You

Beautiful Poem on Ramadan Mubarak

Daman main lay kay rehmatoon ka samaan aa gaya
Mubarak har ik momin ko Mah e Ramadan aa gaya

Bakshish kay dar khulay dozakh hue thandi
ALLAH ki inayatoon ka saibaan aa gaya

Bana lo jannat main ghar aamal sanwar loo
Ramzan aik mah ka mehman aa gaya

Iblees qaid ho gaya ALLAH kay hukm say
ALLAH ki seedhi rah ki pehchaan aa gaya

Saftain sabr o taqwa ka hay dars ye Ramadan
Gunahoon ko kernay logon kay bejaan aa gaya 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love in Islam

In Islam, the concept of love is one of the most important concepts. 
This fact manifests itself in Islamic philosophy, theology, mysticism and ethics; 
indeed, in some aspects, it plays the crucial role. For example, in defining 
the Islamic point of view on the relation between God and Universe in general, 
and between God and Mankind in particular, love has the most significant and 
profound place. Love is so central in Islam that it is seep as "the firmest 
handhold of faith" and "faith (Iman) is nothing but love for the sake of God 
and hate for the sake of God".

                               Ibn Abbas reported that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:

   "The strongest faith is to be sincere for the sake of Allah, to hate for 
the sake of Allah (Tabarra), to love for the sake of Allah (Tawalla), and to 
discard for the sake of Allah."

There is a tendency among some people to think that there should be 
no hate at all. These people assume that excellence and nobility of 
character and "being sociable" consist of having all men one's friends. 

Certainly Islam recommends Muslims to love people and optimize 
compassionate and sincere relationship with them, even if they do not 
believe in Islam or in God. However, it is not feasible for a person 
who has principles in his life and has devoted his life to realize 
sacred values to be indifferent to evil and oppressive deeds of 
wrongdoers and make friendship with everybody. 

Such a person certainly 
will have some enemies, whether he likes it or not. There are always 
good people in the society and bad people. Good and bad are two 
opposite poles. 

Attraction towards the good is not possible without repulsion from the bad.
When two human beings attract each other and their hearts wish for them 
to be friends and companions with one another, we should look for a reason 
for that. The reason is nothing other than similarity and resemblance. 

Unless there is a similarity between these two persons, they cannot attract 
one another and move towards friendship with each other, as saying goes, 
Birds of same feather flock together.

Maulana Rumi in his Mathnavi mentions fine story that illustrate 
this fact. The story relates to a wise man that saw a Raven 
who had formed affection for a Stork. 
  They perched together and flew together! 

The wise man could not understand how two birds of two different 
species that had no similarity either in shape or in colour 
with each other could be friends. He went close and discovered 
that both of them had only one leg.

The same idea is emphasized by Imams of the Household (Ahlul Bayt) of Prophet Muhammad (saw). For example, Fudayl ibn Yasar, a disciple, asked 
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) whether love and hatred derive from faith (Iman). 
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) replied: "Is faith anything but love and hate?"

It is also narrated that Imam al-Baqir (as), stated that: "Religion (Deen) is 
love and love is religion."

As these statements and traditions indicate, love plays an important and 
significant role. Hence it deserves our close attention in order that we may 
discover the real meaning of the concept of love in Islam.

First of all, some questions come to the mind. What is the kind of love that 
has been emphasized by Islam? Who is the object of this special kind of love? 
Why should the believers have this kind of love and what purpose does it serve?
Love in Islam can be broadly categorized into: Love for God, love for 
Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Household (Ahlul Bayt), and love for 
the faithful.