Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chicken Harissa - Quick recipe - Authentic Kashmiri

I am on a roll today! Another quick recipe from my mil. This one is for making ‘harissa’; Harissa is a very popular meat preparation which is made for breakfast (rather brunch). It is usually slow cooked for many hours, with spices. And yes, hand stirred for hours and hours. Tastes great, at the end, but who has the time to make it nowadays.

Guess what? You can make it with this recipe under 1 - 2 hours. Yippee!

So what are you waiting for… lets get started.


3 lbs chicken legs/thighs or breast (we used legs thighs today, but my mil says, breast would be best); boiled with salt, garlic, and fennel seeds tied in a little fabric pouch (we used fennel powder) till it falls off the bone; remove the bones and fennel seeds.
3 tbsp rice flour paste (use cold water)
1/2 whole wheat pita soaked in water, crushed
5-6 cardamom powder,
2 inches cinnamon stick,
1/3 tsp cinnamon powder,
4-5 tbsp oil for cooking,
1 sliced, fried onion; retain the oil

Heat the chicken, add the flour paste to the smooshed chicken and mix till a boil. Add all the other ingredients listed above, except the fried onion. Keep stirring at times, or keep covered on low heat. After about an hour, it should be done. Finally when serving, add the fried onions with the oil. Give it a mix, and serve hot with pita bread, or tandoori roti.

Voila! Its done. Now what did I tell you?



1 tsp garlic (lasan) paste
5 cup mutton stock
1 tsp ginger (adrak) paste
1/2 cup ghee
1/2 tsp black pepper (kali mirch)
2 cups tomato (tamatar) puree
salt (namak) to taste
2 medium onion (pyaj) sliced
20 green chilies
1 tsp red chili powder
1 kg meat
1/2 kg wheat (gehun)

How to make harissa:

* Soak the wheat in water for seven to eight hours.
* In a wide pot mix in wheat, salt and 1 1/2 liter water and stir fry it on medium flame till tender.
* Take another pot, mix in meat, salt, whole green chilies, ginger, garlic paste, red chili powder, black pepper powder and tomato puree and stir fry it till soft.
* When the meat is soft then use a chopper to obtain haleem like consistency.
* Then mix in soft wheat up and stock and stir fry the mixture till it is thick.
* Heat up oil in a pot and fry the onions till golden brown, pour out it on the harissa.
* Serve it with lime, cut green chilies, cut ginger and garam masala powder.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gustaba Recipe

• 500 gms Lamb
• 150 gms Lamb fat
• 1 tsp Fennel seeds
• 1 tsp Cayenne
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 1/2 Cup khoya
• 1/2 Cup curd
• 1 Cup milk
• 2 tbsps Ghee
• 1 tsp Kashmiri garam masala
• 1 tsp Pepper
• 1/2 tsp Ginger powder
• 2 tbsps Oil
• Salt to taste
How to make Gustaba:
• Mix lamb, fat, fennel seeds, ginger and garam masala properly.
• Chop the mixture properly
• Add curd and ghee while chopping
• Once it turns smooth, make balls from this mixture.
• Heat the oil and put garam masala, sugar, khoya, curd and milk.
• Add mutton balls and cook it till it turns tender.
• Gustaba is ready.

Indian Keema Recipe

Indian Keema Recipe
• 1 lb Minced meat
• 1 tsp Turmeric powder
• 1 Cup chopped white cabbage
• 1 Cup chopped carrots
• 1 Cup chopped celery and leaves
• 3 Onions
• Few Green chilies
• 2 tsp Grated ginger
• 1/2 tsp Grated garlic
• 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
How to make Indian Keema:
• Heat oil and fry the meat until it is well done. Keep it separate.
• Add chopped onions, chopped carrots, cabbage, celery leaves, grated ginger, turmeric powder, garlic and green chilies to the mince.
• Mix properly and cook it uncovered in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
• Keeema is ready. Serve it garnished with coriander leaves.

Tabakh Naat Recipe

• 5 Rib chops of mutton
• 1 Cup full cream milk
• 1 Green elaichi
• 1 Big elaichi
• 1 tsp Sonth
• 1 tsp Badiyan
• 1 tsp Zeera (cumin seeds)
• 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, powdered
• 1 Pinch heeng (asafoetida)
• 4-5 tbsp Ghee or clarified butter
How to make Tabakh Naat:
• Pour milk in a pressure cooker.
• Add all ingredients except ghee or butter.
• Cook for 10 minutes.
• Cool and open the lid.
• Melt ghee or butter in a large pan.
• Add cooked chops to ghee and fry on low heat. Fry both sides of chops.
• Fry until chops are golden brown.
• When done well, garnish with silver foil if desired.
• The dish is ready to serve hot.

Chuk Waangun Recipe

• 1/2 kg Brinjals
• 100 gm Tamarind
• 2 tsp Sugar
• 1 Cup mustard oil
• 2 Cloves
• A pinch of asafoetida
• 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
• 1 tsp Red chili powder
• 1 tsp Turmeric
• 1/2 tsp Aniseed powder
• 1/2 tsp Garam masala
• 1/2 tsp Ginger powder
How to make Chuk Waangun:
• Cut the stem tips and sepals of Brinjals.
• Slice them lengthwise into 4-8 pieces.
• Wash and put in a colander to drain water.
• In the meantime, soak the tamarind in one cup of boiling water.
• Mash it and remove the pulp by straining.
• Heat oil in a 'Kadahi' on medium flame and deep fry the Brinjal slices.
• Fry the slices uniformly till golden brown colour.
• Remove the slices from ‘Kadahi’.
• Reduce the flame and add cloves, cumin seeds and asafoetida.
• Stir and add red chili powder and turmeric. Pour a tablespoon of water.
• Simmer till oil turns coloured and starts separating.
• Now pour one cup water and add the tamarind pulp, salt, sugar, aniseed and ginger powder.
• Mix well and add the Brinjal slices.
• Simmer again for about 20 minutes. Keep turning the Brinjal slices frequently. Add garam masala when the gravy becomes thick. Mix well.
• Chuk Wangun is ready to serve.

Seekh Kabab Recipe

• 500 gm Lamb (minced)
• 1 tsp Brown Color
• ¾ tsp Garam Masala
• 1 tsp Garlic Paste
• 1 tbsp Raw Papaya Paste
• 1 tsp Ginger Paste
• 2 tbsp Cashewnut Paste
• 2 tsp Thick Cream
• 2 Onions (chopped)
• 2 tsp Carom Seeds
• 2 tsp Dried Mango Powder
• 2 tbsp Rock Salt
• 3 tbsp Cumin Seed
• 1 tbsp Dry Ginger
• 1 tsp Black Pepper
• 1/2 tsp Nutmeg Powder
• 10 Lemon Wedges
• 1 tsp Chat Masala
• Oil for frying
How to make Seekh Kabab:
• Wash lamb and put it in a strainer. Gently press to squeeze out all the water.
• Add all the ingredients, except chat masala, oil and lemon wedges, to the lamb and mix well.
• Keep it aside for about an hour.
• After the due time, make medium-sized balls out of lamb mixture.
• Heat a gas oven or an electric oven along with skewers.
• Hold a hot skewer carefully in the other hand and spear the balls one by one on the hot skewer.
• Keep gap between the balls, while spearing them on the skewer.
• Likewise, spear all the remaining balls on all the other skewers.
• Place the skewers in the oven. Keep rotating the skewers, occasionally.
• When cooked, gently remove the kababs from the skewers with the help of a napkin.
• Heat the oil in a non-stick pan to shallow fry the kebabs.
• Sprinkle some chat masala on the kebabs.
• Seekh kabab is ready to eat. Serve it with lemon wedges.

Naan Recipe

• 2 Cups maida
• 1 tsp Superfine sugar
• 1 tsp Dry yeast
• 1/4 Cup margarine
• 1 tsp Poppy seeds
• 1 tsp Ghee
How to make Naan:
• Take the yeast and sugar in a bowl. Add little warm water and allow the yeast to get dissolved.
• Cover the mixture and leave it aside for 10 minutes until froth appears.
• Take the maida in a bowl. Make a depression in the center.
• Add yeast, ghee and salt. Mix them properly.
• Add some more water if it is required. Put the mixture on a floured surface and make dough. Knead it well for 5-7 minutes.
• Keep it in a warm place for 1? hour and cover it so that it can rise.
• Make small balls out of the dough.
• Flatten each ball to make ovals of about 1 cm thickness.
• Put these ovals on a smeared heavy-duty aluminium foil.
• Grill it under a preheated broiler till golden brown color appears.
• Repeat the procedure with rest of the balls.
• Naans are ready to serve.

Hyderabadi Biryani Recipe

• ½ kg Basmati Rice (semi-cooked)
• 1 kg Meat (boneless)
• 500 gm Curd
• 4-6 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
• 4-6 Green Chilli
• 2 Big Onions (sliced)
• ¼ cup Lime Juice
• ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
• A pinch of Caraway Seeds (Shahi Zeera)
• 5-6 twigs Coriander Leaves (chopped)
• 5-6 twigs Mint Leaves (chopped)
• 2 pinch Saffron (Kesar)
• 1-2 Cinnamon (Dalchini)
• 2-3 pods Cardamom (Elaichi)
• 2-3 drops Saffron Color
• 1-2 pods Clove (Laung)
• 2 cup Oil
• Salt to taste
• 2 tsp Ghee
How to make Hyderabadi Biryani:
• Wash and chop the meat into square pieces.
• Smear the pieces of meat with ginger-garlic paste. Keep them to marinate for an hour.
• In the meanwhile, fry the sliced onions on low flame till light brown.
• Let the onions cool down and crush them in a plate using your hand.
• Now, add crushed fried onion (three-fourth), curd, red chilli powder, cinnamon, green chilli paste, cardamom, shahi zeera, coriander leaves, clove, saffron water, mint leaves and salt to the marinated meat.
• Leave the meat as it is for 1 hour.
• Make the mixture of aromatic water by adding salt (one tsp), cinnamon, clove, cardamom, mint leaves and coriander leaves in a little water.
• Now spread a layer of semi-cooked rice in a heavy bottomed vessel.
• Add saffron color, limejuice, ghee and the remaining crushed onions over the layer of rice.
• Spread a layer of marinated meat over this, and again spread the remaining semi-cooked rice.
• Now add the aromatic water in a circular motion over the rice layer.
• Now tightly cover the vessel with a lid. Keep it on a low flame.
• Remove the vessel from the flame exactly after 15 minutes.
• Hyderabadi Biryani is ready to eat. Serve hot.

Chicken Biryani Recipe

Chicken Biryani Recipe
• 1 kg Chicken (pieces)
• 500 gm Basmati Rice
• ½ cup Milk
• 4 tbsp Garam Masala (whole)
• 4 tsp Garam Masala Powder
• 50 gm Butter
• 4 tbsp Garlic (chopped)
• 2 tbsp Rose Water
• 1 cup Onions (sliced)
• 4 tbsp Ginger (chopped)
• 3 tsp Red Chili Powder
• 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
• 5 tbsp Oil
• ½ gm Saffron
• 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
• 2 cup Curd (yogurt)
• ¾ cup Tomato (chopped)
• 4 Bay Leaves
• Salt to taste
How to make Chicken Biryani:
• Take a bowl and put salt, 1/2 of the red chili powder, 1/2 of the chopped ginger, 1/2 of the chopped garlic, 1 tsp garam masala powder, 1/2 of the turmeric powder and curd in it, mix well.
• Add chicken pieces to it and leave for an hour.
• Now wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes.
• Boil water, add 1/2 of the whole garam masala, bay leaf, salt and rice in it.
• Cook the rice until 3/4 th done.
• Drain rice and place it aside.
• Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and combine remaining whole garam masala with it, let it crackle.
• Add sliced onions to it and cook it till light golden brown.
• Add the remaining coriander powder, turmeric powder chopped ginger, chopped garlic, red chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder and chopped tomatoes to it, cook for 5 minutes.
• Combine marinated chicken with it and cook until chicken is tender.
• Dissolve saffron in warm milk and set aside.
• Place alternate layers of chicken and rice.
• Now sprinkle saffron dissolved in milk, remaining garam masala powder, golden fried sliced onions and butter in between the layers and on the top.
• Carefully end it with the rice layer topped with saffron, spices & rose water.
• Cover and seal it with an aluminum foil and cook on low flame for about 10 to12 minutes.
• Chicken Biryani is ready to serve.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Recipe

• 4 Scoops vanilla ice cream
• 1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
• 3/4 Whipping cream
• 1 tsp Vanilla
• 1 tsp Almonds
• 1 tsp Cashew nuts
How to make Hot Chocolate Fudge:
• Mix chocolate chips and whipping cream.
• Put it over medium flame to heat.
• Stir it constantly.
• Once chocolate is melted, mix vanilla in it.
• Stir it properly.
• Take a conical glass.
• Pour some Sauce in glass.
• Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
• Put some sauce on it.
• Add 2 more scoops and pour more sauce on it.
• Sprinkle nuts.
• Hot Chocolate Fudge is ready.

chocolate pound cake with strawberry ice cream and bittersweet chocolate sauce


1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet miniature chocolate chips (about 6 1/2 ounces)

Sweetened Strawberries

1 1/2 quarts strawberry ice cream
Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar; beat until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, beating well after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips. Transfer batter to pan. Smooth top.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Run knife between pan sides and cake; turn cake out onto rack. Cool. Wrap in foil; let stand at room temperature at least 1 day. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store wrapped in foil at room temperature.)

Cut pound cake into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place 1 cake slice on each of 10 plates. Spoon Sweetened Strawberries and scoop of ice cream alongside. Drizzle with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce and serve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Is reward of reading Quran in English the same as reading in Arabic?

"I can't read Arabic very well and I want to read Quran for Ramadhan, can I read it in English and get the same reward?"

No, it would not be the same. However, there is stil a chance for great rewards with Allah and there are some things you can do as well, inshallah.

Reading from books in other languages is not the same as reading in Arabic. However, there is still reward for you, inshallah.

Difficulty in reciting the Arabic is rewarded double for the one who is not an Arab speaker. (Hadeeth about this)

You can rise up early every morning before fajr and begin to recite a little at a time, step by step while you are learning. Make sure to continue this from now on, as this was definitely a part of the sunnah of Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Take your time and be patient with yourself. It takes time, effort and practice to become a real reciter of Quran.

There is a dua (supplication) in the Quran for gaining knowledge and we always suggest it to those who want to gain more knowledge. We have to understand all knowledge only comes from Allah.

"Rabbi, ziddini 'ilma. Rabbi, ziddini 'ilma." (My Lord, increase my knowledge. My Lord, increase my knowledge."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tarawee...How important it is

The connection between the revelation of the holy Qur`aan and the holy month of Ramadaan

Exegetical scholars have specified in their works that the revelation of the holy Qur`aan has a special connection with the month of Ramadaan. Allah (s.w.t.) has bestowed upon us a great decree. It is a gift, a great blessing which shall be the clear source of guidance for all humanity until the day of reckoning. It was the habit of the companions of the holy prophet, (May Allah be pleased with them all) that they attached the events, which led to their accepting Islam, to their lives. Such stories are found abundantly in the books of seerah. Therefore, we too must attach ourselves to this great bestowal (i.e. revelation of the Qur`aan) and to express the gratitude towards Allah (s.w.t.) for this great blessing, completion of one reading of the holy Qur`aan [khatma] in the taraawee'h prayer has been resolved to be a stressed sunnah [ Sunnat-e-Mu`akidah].

It is recorded in Baihaqi that

i.e. Qur`aan will plead "Oh lord! I kept him busy with my recitation. He abstained from sleeping. Therefore, please accept my intercession in his favor (Forgive his sins) ". In this report too, "abstaining from sleeping (in the night)" indicates "the recitation of the entire Qur`aan" in the holy month of Ramadaan.

Taraawee'h as a sunnah of the holy prophet (s.a.w.)

Some people think that Taraawee'h is not a sunnah of the holy prophet (s.a.w.). These are mere misconceptions because the prophet (s.a.w.) himself led the Taraawee'h prayer and he liked this deed profoundly but due to the fear that his people would take it as an obligatory act he (s.a.w.) did not lead the prayer with regularity. However, the companions kept offering it individually (Ease upon the ummah was always kept in mind). This continued during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) but Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) did not like the offering of Taraawee'h individually so he reinstated the congregational Taraawee'h.

Ghair Mukhallideen raise an objection to this act of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) while Raafidhites are in dispute with it.
However, we need not care about their notions because Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) gathered all the companions and his decision was based on their unanimous opinion. Therefore, it makes no sense to raise objections or rebuke this action of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.).
Moreover the holy prophet (s.a.w.) had said,
i.e. after me there will be some innovations, and I like those innovated by Umar. You should necessarily adhere to them (dutifully).

The truth is that the notions of those who do not agree upon this are nothing but a product of enmity and bigotry.
Considering the company of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) and his blessings that had their effects on Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) and the eminent ability of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) to perceive and comprehend the words of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) and his familiarity with the disposition of Shariah, he was undoubtedly justified in his decision.
This argument about the high rank of Hadrath Umar is further strengthened by the fact that his opinions concurred with the divine will of Allah (s.w.t), at numerous occasions to which the exegetical scholars call "Muwafiqaath-e-umar".

Number of rak'ah in Taraawee'h

Some people think that Taraawee'h comprises of eight raka'aah only. This is not correct . In the unanimous opinion of all the Imams , Taraawee'h consists of twenty raka'aah.
Although no Imam agreed upon less than twenty raka'aah, Imam Malik holds an opinion of 32 raka'aah. This means that in the consensus of all the Imams no one agrees upon less than twenty raka'aah.
Moreover, we can know from Ibn Abbaas's narration that he led taraawee'h for two or three nights during which he offered twenty raka'aah . The companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) performed according to his saying and presented themselves as excellent examples to be followed. They had not only recorded the actions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) but also went on imitating his actions. They did us a great favor by providing us with valuable traditions that will be the source of guidance (for all of us) until the end of this world.
The variation in the number of raka'aah in the section of Taraawee'h is only due to misinterpretation of Qiyaam-al-lail as Tahajjud and not Taraawee'h and the premise that, " as the holy prophet (s.a.w.) has most probably offered tahajjud in 8 raka'aah, therefore, Taraawee'h should also be offered in 8 raka'aah ".
To eliminate the misconceptions held by some people, we shall present here the routines followed by the holy prophet (s.a.w.) himself, the rightly guided caliphs and other companions during the month of Ramadaan.
We shall provide some information regarding the reinstatement of the congregational Taraawee'h during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) so that people may know the fact that the only reason that stopped the holy prophet (s.a.w.) from leading the congregational Taraawee'h was that he was afraid that praying Taraawee'h in congregation might become obligatory upon his nation which might lead to hardship upon his ummah.
It is a sheer error in concluding that the congregational Taraawee'h is not at all proven by the practice of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) just because he did not lead it with regularity.
Below are some of the narrations with their corresponding references.

The Practice (of Muslims) during the period of the holy prophet (s.a.w.) and his companions (r.a.a.)

  • Hadrath Abdullah bin Abbaas reported, "The holy prophet (s.a.w.) led us in twenty raka'aah congregational prayer of Taraawee'h.
  • There should be no doubt concerning the fact that after the death of the holy prophet (s.a.w.), Hadrath Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was the first caliph and in the Taraawee'h section, none of his acts is recorded nor has he left anything for the ummah concerning this. This fact should also be considered that regarding his era and the era that follows him, the holy prophet (s.a.w.) had said i.e. the best era is mine, the next best after this one and the next one after that. Moreover the caliphate of Abu Bakr (r.a.a.) was of very short duration and he was busy curbing the revolt of the apostates [khaarijeen] . Therefore he did not consider it necessary for Taraawee'h to be offered in congregation. After him Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) thought about protecting (Muslims) against the forthcoming circumstances and confusion and appointed Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka'b as the Imam and reinstated this excellent form of congregation that accorded exactly with the will of the holy prophet (s.a.w.).
  • The prayer of Taraawee'h used to consist of twenty raka'aah during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.) , Hadrath Uthmaan (r.a.a.) and Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.).
  • Hadrath Ubai ibn Ka'b (r.a.a.) said that he used to lead twenty raka'aah of congregational prayer of Taraawee'h on the command of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.).
  • During the month of Ramadaan Hadrath Suwaid bin Ghaflah (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer in which he took five tarwee'hah (pauses) . <>
  • Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) commanded a companion to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer with five tarwee'hah (pauses/intervals). <>
  • There is a narration related to Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself that he gathered all the reciters and commanded them to lead twenty raka'aah Taraawee'h prayer and after the congregational Taraawee'h, Hadrath Ali (r.a.a.) himself led them in witr.
  • Hadrath Saa-ib bin yazeed (r.a.a.) said that during the caliphate of Hadrath Umar (r.a.a.), twenty raka'aah Taraawee'h prayer was offered .
  • Hadrath Ubai Ibn Ka'b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h in the month of Ramadaan in the city of Madinah
  • 'Sa'hibul Mi't-harah (nickname of Hadrath Abdullah b. Mas'ood (r.a.a.)) used to offer twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer <'Aini, qiyaamul-lail page 91 >
  • Hadrath ubai ibn ka'b (r.a.a.) used to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer in the month of Ramadaan
  • Hadrath 'Ali ibn rabi`ah (r.a.a.) used to offer twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer which had five tarwee'hah (pauses/intervals)
  • The practice of the second and third generation Muslims

  • 'Allaamah Nawawi (r.h.) of Shari'h Muslim (guide to Muslim Shareef) stated that only twenty raka'aah Taraawee'h is proven because there is a tawaatur (Having numerous chains of narrators) and tasalsul (Continuity) about "offering 20 raka'aah".
  • Hadrath Haarith (r.h.) used to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h.
  • Hadrath Shateer (r.h) used to lead twenty raka'aah taraawee'h prayer.
  • 'Haafiz ibn 'hajar 'asqalaani (r.h.) of Shari'h Bukhari (Guide to Bukhari Shareef) said that twenty raka'aah in taraawee'h are proven by the actions of all the companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.)
  • 'Allaamah ibn 'Ikramah Hambali (r.h.) said that since the companions of the holy prophet (Both Muhajireen and Ansar) kept offering twenty raka'aah taraawee'h with regularity , this act is considered to be in Ijma' (consensus)
  • 'Allaamah Ta'h`taawi wrote i.e. Twenty raka'aah are proven by regularity of the companions of the holy prophet (s.a.w.)

  • Taraawee'h should be offered by men as well as women

    Raafidhites believe that taraawee'h is a sunnah, only for men and not for women. They have erred in it. Taraawee'h is a sunnah both for men and women.

    Importance of the recitation of the entire Qur`aan

    It is a stressed sunnah [sunnat-e-mu`akidah] to recite the entire Qur`aan [khatma] in the taraawee'h prayer extended throughout the month of Ramadaan. Islamic Jurists have specified in their works that if the Imam of a particular locality does not have the capacity to recite the entire Qur`aan then one must go to some other locality so that he can perform this sunnah of recitation of the entire Qur`aan. In such cases, it has been commanded to ignore the lethargy and laziness of people. However, ironically, most of the people do not realize the importance of the complete recitation of the Qur`aan.
    Some are those who make an excuse of being unable to free themselves from work and some offer just 8 raka'aah and leave the mosque due to which they miss the recitation in the remaining 12 raka'aah.

    Taraawee'h and Recitation of the entire Qur`aan are two separate sunnah

    Recitation of the entire Qur`aan (At least once) or listening to this recitation in the taraawee'h prayer during the holy month of Ramadaan is one sunnah while offering the taraawee'h prayer in twenty raka'aah daily throughout the month of Ramadaan is another sunnah. (Both for men and women).
    Those people who, without a valid excuse, recite only from , are deprived of the great reward of the recitation of the entire Qur`aan while those who follow a memorizer to finish off by listening to the entire Qur`aan within 2 - 3 days and then offer no taraawee'h in the rest of the month are at loss too. Such people make an excuse that they would be busy in their businesses throughout the month so they offered prayer behind a memorizer who recited the complete Qur`aan in 3 -4 days and then carried on with their worldly matters. This is not proper. These people can at least do something like this. First they can offer taraawee'h with the entire Qur`aan in 3-4 days (with congregation) and then continue offering it individually for the rest of the month in which they can recite from itself. These people should realize the importance of the sunnah of offering the taraawee'h prayer daily after isha throughout the month of Ramadaan. Keep in mind that the struggle for Afterlife (Akhirah) is much better than the struggle for this world.

    The excellence of reciting more than one reading of Qur`aan

    It is a stressed sunnah to recite one reading of Qur`aan in the blessed nights of Ramadaan, it is superior to recite another reading and it is excellent to recite the third reading. Those memorizers are highly fortunate who recite more than one reading of Qur`aan with composure, in a melodious and sweet voice. It is an excellent trait of obedience to Allah (s.w.t.).

    Ramdan..it's an order from Allah

    What is Ramadan?

    Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Islam uses a lunar calendar - that is, each month begins with the sighting of the new moon. Because the lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar used elsewhere, Islamic holidays "move" each year. In 2003 Ramadan begins on Oct. 27; in 2004 it will begin on Oct. 15.

    For more than a billion Muslims around the world-including some 8 million in North America-Ramadan is a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity. This year Ramadan precedes Christmas and overlaps Hanukkah.

    But while in many places these holidays have become widely commercialized, Ramadan retains its focus on self-sacrifice and devotion to God (Allah in Arabic).

    Why this month?

    Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Around 610 A.D., the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used to go out to the desert near Mecca (in today's Saudi Arabia) to think about faith, society and God.

    One night a voice called to him from the night sky. It was the angel Gabriel, who told Muhammad he had been chosen to receive the word of Allah. In the days that followed, Muhammad found himself speaking the verses that would be transcribed as the Quran.

    At many mosques during Ramadan, about one thirtieth of the Quran is recited each night in prayers known as Tarawih. In this way, by the end of the month the complete scripture will have been recited.

    Why do Muslims fast?

    Muslims practice Sawm, or fasting, for the entire month of Ramadan. This means that they may eat or drink nothing, including water, while the sun is up as well as making a special effort to avoid sins. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars (duties) of Islam. As with other Islamic duties, all able Muslims take part in Sawm from about age twelve.

    Fasting serves many purposes. While they are hungry and thirsty, Muslims are reminded of the suffering of the poor. Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body and mind. And in this most sacred month, fasting helps Muslims feel the peace that comes from spiritual devotion as well as kinship with fellow believers.

    During Ramadan in the Muslim world, most restaurants are closed during the daylight hours. Families get up early for suhoor, a meal eaten before the sun rises. After the sun sets, the fast is broken with a meal known as Iftar. Iftar usually begins with dates and sweet drinks that provide a quick energy boost.

    How does Ramadan end?

    Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which in 2003 occurs on November 26. Literally the "Festival of Breaking the Fast," Eid al-Fitr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations (the other occurs after the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca). At Eid al-Fitr people dress in their finest clothes, adorn their homes with lights and decorations, give treats to children, and enjoy visits with friends and family.

    A sense of generosity and gratitude colors these festivities. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan. As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to Mosques.

    Here it comes...THE holy month of Ramdhan

    Ramadhan, the Holy Month by leppardize.

    I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all my brothers and sisters on the advent of the holy month of Ramadhan. May Allah bless you and may you all have a spiritual and joyful month inshallah :)

    In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
    All praise is to Allah, Whom we thank and seek for His help and forgiveness.
    We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and the burden of our evil deeds.
    Whomsoever He guides, will never be misled, and whomsoever He misguides, will never find enlightenment.
    I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Mohammad is His slave and Messenger.

    Allah said, what translated means, “O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam” [3:102],

    also, “Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations) of the wombs (kinship)! Surely, Allah is Ever an All- Watcher over you.” [4:1]
    and, “O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the Truth.” [33:70].

    The best of speech is the Book of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance sent with Muhammad - peace be upon him. The worst of matters are Bid’ahs (innovations in the religion), every Bid’ah is a Dhalalah [misguidance], and every Dhalalah is in the Hellfire.

    A. The Magnificent Month

    Salman Al-Farisi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) addressed us on the last day of Sha’ban and said: “People, a great blessed month has come upon you, a month containing Laylat al-Qadr which is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting during it an obligation, and steadfastly observing its nights in worship a voluntary act. Whoever undertakes an act of obedience to Allah during this month with a righteous deed, it is as if he has performed an obligatory act at other times; and whoever performs an obligatory act during it is as one who performed seventy obligations at other times. It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise. It is the month of goodwill, during which provisions are multiplied. Whoever feeds a fasting person will be compensated with forgiveness of sins and salvation of his soul from Hell. He will also receive a reward equal to that of the person he feeds, without causing him any reduction (in his good deeds).” (The Companions) said: “Not all of us can find something to feed a fasting person.”

    The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah gives this reward to whoever feeds a fasting person even with just a taste of milk or dates, or a drink of water. Whoever quenches the thirst of a fasting person, Allah the Almighty makes him drink from my pond such that he will never feel thirsty again until he enters Paradise. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is emancipation from Hell.

    Therefore display four characteristics to a greater extent; with two of which you will please your Lord, and two you can not dispense with. The two with which you will please your Lord are to testify that there is no one deserving of worship except Allah, and to seek His forgiveness; whereas the two which you cannot dispense with are that you beseech Allah to place you in Paradise and that you seek refuge with Him from Hell.” [related by Ibn Khuzaymah and AlBayhaqi].

    B. Blessings of Ramadan

    Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters! We are hosting soon inshaa’a Allah a unique, a generous and an honorable guest; a guest that visits us once a year and brings with it all sorts of goodness and happiness; a guest that brings with it the wide Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah; a guest that brings with it a smell of Paradise; a guest that makes the believer closer to Allah and His Paradise and away from Shaytan and Hell Fire. It is Ramadhan, the month of the Qur’an, the month of Mercy, the month of Forgiveness, the month of prayer at night and Suhoor, the month of solidarity and mutual help, the month of all blessings.

    We are advised in our merciful religion of Islam to be kind and generous towards the guest, so what if the guest is the best of guests over the year? We should exert ourselves in generosity which is in this case good behavior and intense worship. It is from the immense mercy of Allah upon us that He made us Muslims and that He extended our lives till we reached this Ramadan. It is reported from some of the Salaf (Muslims of the first three centuries of Islam that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, praised in the well known famous hadith) that they used to pray to Allah during the six months before Ramadan to extend their lives so that they can fast Ramadan, and in the 6 months after Ramadan they would ask Allah to accept their fasting of Ramadan. Therefore, we have to be thankful to Allah that He allowed us to witness this Ramadan, so let us please Him during this month.

    Why do we fast? It is from the nature of humans to ask and to wonder why they do things. Muslims do things to please Allah, and they can please Allah only by obeying Him and practicing His religion. Thus, in answer to this question “Why do we fast?” we respond that it is a commandment and a clear order from Allah upon us and we have no other choice but to obey Allah and please Him out of Love and Fear at the same time.

    Allah says what means : “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa” (Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183)

    Ibn ‘Umar reports that Allah’s Messenger said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

    • 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.
    • 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
    • 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity)
    • 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
    • 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. [Bukhari]

    Abu Hurairah narrates that one day while Allah’s Messenger was sitting with the people, a man came to him walking and said, “O Allah’s Messenger. What is Belief?” The Prophet said, “Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.” The man asked, “O Allah’s Apostle, What is Islam?” The Prophet replied, “Islam is to worship Allah and not worship anything besides Him, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the (compulsory) charity (i.e. Zakat) and to fast the month of Ramadan.” [The narration of Muslim has Hajj as well]. The man again asked, “O Allah’s Apostle What is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or benevolence)? The Prophet said, “Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you.” Then the man left. The Prophet said, “Call him back to me.” They went to call him back but could not see him. The Prophet said, “That was Jibreel (Gabriel) who came to teach the people their religion.” [Bukhari].

    Since Islam means submission to Allah, we have no other choice but to submit ourselves to Allah and obey His commandments. It is from the mercy of Allah towards us that while He prescribed on us fasting, He also showed us the greatness of fasting in this world and in the hereafter to make it beloved to us.

    Abu Umaamah (r.a.a.) said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise. He said: Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it. [An-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]

    In this hadeeth, the Prophet (s.a.w.) singled out fasting when asked about a deed that leads its doer to the best of rewards, Paradise. This fact alone is sufficient for us to understand the greatness of fasting. Mere knowledge of the importance and superiority of fasting, however, is not enough for a Muslim to attain Allah’s pleasure and then, in shaa’ Allah, His great reward.

    Indeed, the Prophet (s.a.w.) has said: “Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst.” [Ibn Maajah, Ad-Daarimee, Ahmad, al-Baihaqee, Saheeh]

    This hadeeth should raise our concern about fasting and increase our desire to perform this act of worship with the best intention and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.). The first step is for a Muslim to realize that Allah has prescribed fasting as a means of gaining Taqwa. Allah (swt) has also informed us that it is taqwa that distinguishes people in the His sight.

    Allah says: “The most honoured by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwaa.” [49:13]

    Ali ibn Abi Taalib was asked about the definition of taqwa, to which he answered: “[It is] Fear of the All-Mighty, acting upon the revelation, preparation for the day of travel [when we meet Allah], and contentment with a small amount.”

    C. Virtues of Fasting as mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah

    • The reward for fasting is immense, as mentioned in the following Hadeeth: “Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.’ for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk.” [al-Bukhaaree]
    • Also, Sahl ibn Sa’ said that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “Indeed there is a gate of Paradise called ar-Rayyaan. On the day of Resurrection those who fast will enter through it; no one enters it except for them, and when they have entered, it is closed so that no one enters it, so when the last of them enters it, it is closed, and whoever enters it drinks, and whoever drinks never becomes thirsty.” [Ibn Khuzaimah, Saheeh].
    • Fasting is a shield against the Fire: “Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire.” [Ahmad, Saheeh] and his saying (saws) “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further from his face.” [related by the group except for Abu Dawood]
    • On the Day of Judgement, “Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan]
    • Fasting is a means for one’s sins to be forgiven. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “He who fasts Ramadhan, due to Iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
    • Fasting is an expiation for various sins, as mentioned in the Qur’aan, in verses: 2:196, 4:92, 5:89, 5:95 and 58:3-4.
    • The supplication of the fasting person is answered: “There are in the month of Ramadhan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad, Saheeh]
    • The fasting person will be among the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs: ‘Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhaanee r.a.a. said: A man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said: O Messenger of Allah, what if I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay the zakaah, and I fast and stand in prayer in Ramadhan, then amongst whom shall I be? He said: Amongst the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs. [Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh]
    • Fasting is a shield against one’s base desires, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) told the youth: “O youths, whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so, since it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts, and he who is unable, then let him fast because it is a shield for him.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]

    Once we realize the greatness of fasting and what achievement it leads to, we must put all our efforts in performing the fast in the best manner possible. And since fasting is worship, it must be done solely for Allah’s sake, and no intention is accepted, other than pleasing Allah and seeking His Face with all one’s sincerity. Without a correct intention, no deed is of any value in the Hereafter.

    We Muslims must constantly verify our intentions and consider why we perform fasting. Do we do so merely because it is the practice of our parents and friends, or do we do so because it is part of our tradition, or perhaps because we simply want to conform to our environment in order to avoid any problems? A Muslim who realizes that only that which is with Allah remains, and that He (swt) is the only One who grants and withholds, would not be of those to which the Prophet (s.a.w.) alluded in the Hadeeth: “On the Day of Judgement, a caller will cry out, ‘Whoever performed a deed for someone other than Allah may seek his reward from that for which he performed the deed’” [Saheeh al-Jami].

    D. Ramadan and the Quran

    This is based on an extract from Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s “Lataif al-Ma’arif” (pp. 179-182), quoted by Fahd bin Sulaiman in “Kay nastafeed min Ramadan” (pp. 48-50)

    --------------begin quoting---------------------------

    Ramadan has a special relationship with the Quran, of course, surah al-Baqarah:

    “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down ... so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it...” [Note: in the tafsir of this verse, it is mentioned that the word ‘so’ (fa) in this verse gives the following paraphrase of one aspect of the meaning of the ayah: “Fast this month BECAUSE it is the one in which the Quran was sent down” -- see Sifah Sawm an-Nabee (saws) [eng. version] by Ali al-Halabi & Saleem al-Hilali for elaboration of this

    In the Two Sahihs, from Ibn Abbas: “that the Messenger of Allah SAS was the most generous person, and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan, when Jibril would meet him and make him rehearse the Quran, Jibril would meet him every night in Ramadan to do this ...”

    This hadith contains recommendation of the following:

    • studying the Quran in Ramadan
    • coming together for this purpose
    • checking (one’s memory/knowledge of) the Quran with someone who has preserved it better
    • increasing recitation of Quran in Ramadan
    • The night time is the best time to recite, when other preoccupations are less & it is easier to concentrate, as in Surah Muzzammil.

    Also, the hadith of Fatima (ra) from her father (saws), who told her that Jibril would rehearse the Quran with him (in Ramadan) once every year, and he did so twice in the year of his death (saws).

    Then, Ibn Rajab talks about the situation of the Salaf during Ramadan:

    “Some of the Salaf would finish (reciting the whole Quran) during the night prayer of Ramadan every 3 days, others every 7 days (e.g. Qataadah), others in 10 days (e.g. Abu Rajaa’ al-Atardi). The Salaf would recite Quran in Ramadan in Prayer as well as outside it.

    Al-Aswad would finish the Quran every 2 nights in Ramadan; Ibrahim an-Nakh’i would do that in the last 10 nights specifically, & every 3 nights during the rest of the month. Qataadah would regularly finish the Quran in 7 days, but in 3 days during Ramadan, and every night during the last 10. Ash-Shafi’i would finish the Quran 60 times in Ramadan, outside of Prayer, and similar is reported about Abu Hanifah. Az-Zuhri would say when Ramadan began: It is recitation of Quran & feeding people. Ibn Abdul Hakam said: when Ramadan began, Malik would leave reciting Hadith and sitting with the people of knowledge, and stick to reciting the Quran from the Mushaf. Abdur Razzaaq said: When Ramadan began, Sufyan Thawri would leave other acts of worship and stick to reciting Quran.

    Aishah (ra) would recite from the Mushaf at the beginning of the day in Ramadan (i.e. after Dawn), until when the sun had risen, she would sleep. Sufyan said: Zayd alYaami would bring copies of Quran when Ramadan began and gather his companions around him...”

    Ibn Rajab later continues: “the forbiddance of finishing reciting the Quran in less than 3 days applies to this being made a regular practice, but as for favoured times such as Ramadan, esp. the nights in which Laylat al-Qadr is sought, or favoured places such as Makkah for the visitor, it is recommended to increase reciting the Quran to avail the time and place. This is the view of Ahmad, Ishaq & other imams, and the practice of others indicates this too, as has been mentioned.”

    ---------------------------------------end of quote from book------------------------------

    E. Virtues of the Quran

    Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Arna'oot

    (c) IIPH 1999

    • "The best of you is he who learns the Qur'an and teaches it." [al-Bukhari]
    • "Will not any of you go to the masjid and learn or read two verses from the Book of Allah `azza wa jall? (For) that is better for him than two she-camels, and three (verses) are better for him than three (she-camels), and four (verses) are better for him than four (she-camels). And the number (of verses read in total) are better than the same number of camels." [Muslim]
    • "There is no envy (acceptable) except in two (cases): a person whom Allah has given the Qur'an and recites it throughout the night and throughout the day. And a person whom Allah has given wealth, that he gives out throughout the night and throghout the day." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
    • "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]
    • "He who is skillful in reciting the Qur'an is with the unveiled, honorable, and pious (i.e. Hur al `Ain). And he who stutters when reading the Qur'an, (and its recitation) is difficult upon him, will receive two rewards." [Al-Bukhari]
    • "Verily he who has nothing of the Qur'an in his heart, is like a house (which has been) destroyed." [At-Tirmidhi]
    • "Read the Qur'an. For verily it will come forth on the Day of Resurrection as an intercessor for its readers." [Muslim]
    • "The Qur'an is an intercessor (which by Allah's permission) intercedes, and an opponent (which is) truthful. He who appoints it as his leader, (then it) will lead him to Paradise. And he who puts it behind him, (then it) will lead him to the Fire." [Ibn Hibban, Al-Bayhaqi, At-Tabarani, Sahih]
    • "Fasting and the Qur'an will intercede for the slave on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: 'O My Rabb! I prevented him from food and desires, so accept my intercession for him.' And the Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleep during the night, so accept my intercession for him.' He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: 'And they will (be allowed to) intercede.'" [Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Al-Hakim, Sahih]
    • "Maintain learning the Qur'an, by heart for verily it is greater in escaping from the chests of men than camels from their reins." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
    • "Verily Allah raises nations by this book (the Qur'an) and puts down (i.e. destroys) others by it." [Muslim]
    • "The likeness of the believer who reads the Qur'an is like that of citron; its taste is delicious and its scent is pleasant. And the likeness of the believer who does not read the Qur'an is like that of a date; its taste is delicious, yet it has no scent. And the likeness of a hypocrite who reads the Qur'an is like that of a basil; its scent is pleasant, yet its taste is bitter. And the likeness of a hypocrite that does not read the Qur'an is like that of a colocynth; its taste is bitter and it has no scent." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
    • "It will be said to the beholder of the Qur'an: 'Recite, ascent and rattil (recite slowly and distinctly) as you used to rattil in the life of this world, for verily your level (in Paradise) is at the last verse you read." [Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, Sahih]
    • "Read the Qur'an, put it into practice, do not abandon it, do not put grudges (upon others) through it, and do not eat and gain wealth through it." [Ahmad, At-Tabarani, Sahih]
    • "Read the Qur'an and through it seek the Face of Allah, Exalted be He, before there comes a nation that implements it like an arrow. They read it fast and they do not recite it slowly (to implement)." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Hasan]
    • "Verily, the best of people with regards to voices, is he whom you feel fears Allah when he recites." [Ad-Darimi, Sahih]
    • From Anas ibn Malik, radhiallahu `anhu, (who said) that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said to Ubay ibn Ka`b (radiallahu `anhu):
      'Verily Allah has ordered me to read upon you.'
      He [Ubay] said: 'Has Allah named me for you?!'
      He [sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam] said: 'Allah has named you for me.'
      He [Anas] said: 'So Ubay began to weep.'
    • "There is not a group which has gathered in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah, and studying it between them, except that tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will befall them, the Angels will encircle them, and Allah will mention them to those who are with Him (i.e. the Angels). And he who falls short (in gaining knowledge and memorizing the Qur'an) should (be prompt in) action, (in) that which lineage (*) will not hasten him (to do)." [Muslim]
      (*) For example, if someone is the son of a scholar and falls short in gaining knowledge and memorizing the Qur'an, then it is upon him to hasten in redeeming himself through studying and hard work, not by relying upon his lineage, i.e. him being the son of a scholar, king, or even being from the descendants of the family of the Messenger, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, etc. This meaning is taken from An-Nawawi's explanation of Sahih Muslim. [Transl.]

    F. The Essentials Elements of Fasting

    Definition of Siyam (Fasting): Siyam in Arabic means “to abstain from something”.

    For example, Allah says about Mariam (Mary) in the Qur’an that she said [meaning]: “Verily!, I have vowed a fast to the Most Beneficent (Allah) so I shall not speak to any human this day “[Maryam 19:26]. In religion (Islam) Siyam means “abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the sincere intention of doing so (for the sake of Allah). Therefore the pillars of fasting are:

    • 1-The intention: To sincerely fast for the sake of Allah. The intension need not be uttered. It is in reality an act of the heart which does not involve the tongue. It is a bid‘ah [innovation] to do so. The fact that one knows he is fasting the next day is “intention”. The fact of taking Suhoor is “intention. About sincerity in acts of worship Allah said in the Qur’an [in the meaning of]: “And they were ordained nothing else than to worship Allah, keeping religion pure for Him” [al-Bayyinah, Also the Messenger of Allah (S) said : Actions are judged according to the intention behind them, and for everyone is what he intended” [Bukhari and Muslim] The intention must be made before fajr and during every night of Ramadan and is valid if made in any part of the night. Hafsah reported that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever does not determine to fast before fajr will have no fast” (that is it won’t be accepted) [an-Nasa’i, atTirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and others, Sahih].
    • 2-Abstaining from the acts that break the fast: Allah says in the Qur’an [in the meaning of]: “Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast until nightfall.” [al-Baqara, 2:187] ‘Adiyy Ibn Hatim said “When the Ayah “Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you ...” was revealed, I took a black thread and a white thread and placed them underneath my pillow. During the night I looked at them to if I could distinguish between them. In the morning I went the Messenger of Allah and mentioned that to him and he said: ‘It is the black of the night and the white of the day.’” [Bukhari and Muslim] Therefore, the believer must fast from Fajr [dawn] to Maghrib [sunset].

    H. Other Rulings Pertaining to Fasting

    • The interval between the end of suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) and the start of the obligatory prayer is the interval sufficient to recite fifty Aayaat, as indicated by the Prophet (s.a.w.) and related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.
    • Eating the pre-dawn meal (suhoor) contains many blessings and the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered us to do take it, forbade us from leaving it and told us to take suhoor to make a distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book. In spite of this, Ibn Hajar reports in Fathul-Baaree that there is Ijmaa that it is mustahabb (recommendation). Allah knows best.
    • Falsehood, ignorant and indecent speech are to be avoided as they may render one’s fasting futile.
    • A fasting person can begin fasting while in the state of Janaabah (major state of impurity that requires bath due to a sexual intercourse), as explained in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.
    • Use of Siwaak (tooth-stick) is permitted. Likewise, washing the mouth and nose is permitted, but it should not be done strongly.
    • The Prophet discouraged a youth from kissing while fasting, while he allowed an old man since he is able to control himself.
    • Pouring cold water over one’s head and taking a bath contain no harm to a fasting person.
    • It is the Sunnah of the Prophet and the practice of his companions to break the fast as soon as the Sun sets even if some bright redness remains upon the horizon. Muslims are strongly encouraged to hasten breaking the fast. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “The Deen will not cease to be uppermost as long as the people hasten to break the fast, since the Jews and the Christians delay it.” [Abu Daawood, Ibn Hibbaan, Hasan]
    • The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to break his fast before praying and he used to break it with fresh dates, if not then with older dates. And if not with dates, than with some mouthfuls of water.
    • The supplication of the fasting person when he breaks his fast is not rejected. The best du’aa’ (supplication) is that reported from Allah’s Messenger (pbuh). He used to say when breaking the fast: “Dhahaba-DH-DHama’u wabtallatil-’urooqu, wa thabatal ajru inshaa Allah.” (The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is certain, if Allah wills.) [Abu Daawood, al-Baihaqee, al-Haakim and others, Hasan]
    • The Prophet said: “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh]. Also, a fasting Muslim should not reject invitation of another Muslim to break fast.
    • As for Lailatul-Qadr, the Night of Decree, that is better than a thousand months (see Soorah Qadr (97)), the Prophet (s.a.w.) told us: “Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]. That which is the most specific states, “seek it on the (twenty) ninth and the (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth.” [al-Bukhaaree]
    • The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to exert himself greatly during Lailatul-Qadr. He would spend the nights in worship, detaching himself from women and ordering his family with this. So every Muslim should be eager to stand in prayer during Lailatul Qadr out of Iman and hoping for the great reward. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Lailatul Qadr out of Iman and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
    • The supplication that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) taught ‘Aa’isha, radiyallaahu ‘anhaa, to say when seeking the Night of Decree is: O Allah you are the one who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.[at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah,, Saheeh]
    • It is Sunnah to pray Taraweeh in congregation and the one who knew best the practice of the Prophet (s.a.w.) at night, ‘Aa’isha, radiyallaahu ‘anhaa, said: “Allah’s Messenger did not increase upon eleven rak’ahs in Ramadhan, or outside it.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
    • All who are capable should take advantage of the month of Ramadhan and perform I’ikaaf, i.e. fully attach oneself to worshipping in the mosque. One should inquire how the Prophet (s.a.w.) performed I’ikaaf.
    • Zakaatul Fitr is prescribed by Allah as a purification for those who fasted from loose and indecent talk, and to feed the poor Muslims as a provision for eidul Fitr. One should inquire further about rulings related to it, especially upon whom it is obligatory and what is its quantity.
    • The last but not the least, we should strive to constantly improve our worship and obedience of Allah the Most High, including once the month of Ramadhan is over, inshaa’ Allah