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|The Best Tribute|
|03/23/04 at 10:29:12|
| The Best Tribute |
[i] [More than plastic platitudes and heroic rhetoric, the best way to honour the martyred Sheikh Ahmad Yaaseen would be to try and follow his example.
Espouse an Islaamic cause, exert oneself in the way of Allaah -– and get up for congregational fajr salaah] [/i]
I spent most of Monday, 22 March watching the live broadcast of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s funeral. Like millions of Muslims, I felt keenly the sense of loss, the orphaning of the Palestinian cause and trepidation for what the future holds.
Yet, a part of me felt consoled by the will of Allaah. What a blessed way to go! From reports of his last hours, I gathered that as was his habit, the sheikh got up an hour before the dawn prayer. He prayed in the wee hours of the night, read the Qur’an and supplicated Allaah, before leaving for the congregational prayer at the mosque.
Here was a frail old man, paralyzed and partially deprived of sight exerting himself to his utmost in the way of Allaah – spiritually and physically.
Contrast this with the majority of Muslims. How many of us get up for fajr ---much less tahajjud-- and make it to the masjid? How many of us have devoted our lives for an Islaamic cause – helping the oppressed and needy, da’wah, education?
Gilad Atzmon, a London-based Israeli writer says in an article: For those who fail to realise, today's barbaric Israeli act is an open call for a world war. It is the final wake up call for every Muslim around the world. It is violent proof that Israel isn't only against the Palestinians but rather against Islam.
Everyone’s heard the story about the Muslim bragging to a Zionist that eventually Islaam will overcome them…and the Zionist replied that as long as Muslims remained the way they were there – [i] “until the pathways were full of worshippers going for the fajr salaah at dawn like the Friday prayer” [/i]-- there was nothing for the Zionists to fear.
This story kept coming back to me throughout the day… when I saw Muslims talking about “opening the gates of hell” on TV, when I heard the heroic rhetoric on internet forums and chat rooms, when I saw platitudes being exchanged in my neighbourhood, when I read reams of words in the newspapers.
No doubt this was all done with good intentions and faith, but [i] how to translate good intentions into good actions? [/i]
For starters, by trying to pray the fajr salaah in congregation.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: [i] The Prophet SAW said, “If they knew the merits of Salat after nightfall (‘Isha') and the morning (Fajr) Salat, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so.” [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet SAW said, “No salaat is more burdensome to the hypocrites than the fajr (dawn) prayer and the ‘isha' (night) prayer; and if they knew their merits, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so.”[/i]
[Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]
The early Muslims followed the Prophet SAW’s advice and his example: they ate a light dinner and made it a point to retire to their beds early after ‘isha prayer.
We, on the other hand, have made eating out, late-night dinner parties and shopping sprees a way of life.
Little wonder then, that we get up exhausted for fajr...or not at all.
The Prophet SAW discouraged conversations after ‘isha salaah and Imaam Nawawi [ra] explained why: [i] “The reason why conversation after it [‘isha] is discouraged is the fear lest it leads to staying awake for long , which might induce drowsiness and difficulty with observing night prayers or Subh [dawn] prayer in their permitted, preferred or best times.” [/i]
He also enumerated the conditions in which exceptions are allowed: [i] useful verbal activities, such as the pursuit of knowledge, listening to the wise tales of righteous people, talking to one's guest or bride, or members of one's family for the sake of company, interacting with travellers with a view to protect themselves and their goods, embarking on talks designed to conciliate between people or intercede before them in a good cause or to enjoin good and forbid evil and admonish people by pointing to a beneficial course of action to follow etc [/i]
Ever wonder what their views would have been about our customary night about town? Ever notice how none of today’s post-prandial activities qualify as being particularly useful? Watching tv or surfing the net for hours on end, hitting the town in the company of friends, hanging out at the mall or at entertainment centers…add your own as you go…
Among the tips Shaikh Salih al-Munajjid offers to help one get up for fajr, he says: “Make sure that one is clean and recite adhkaar (prayers) before sleeping. Have a sincere intention and be determined when going to sleep, that one will get up for fajr. A person who goes to sleep hoping that the alarm will not go off, and that no one will come and wake him up, will not -- with such a corrupt intention - be able to get up to pray fajr. ”
When the alarm goes off in the morning, its best not to linger for the proverbial “5 more minutes” and get out of bed with masnoon words :
[i] Alhamdulillaahil ladhee ahyaana ba’ada ma amaatana wa ilaihin nushoor”. [/i]
[All Praise be to Allaah, the One who brings to life after death, and to Him is the return.]
The Prophet SAW said: [i] “Shaytaan ties three knots on the crown of any one of you in your sleep. He says upon each knot that he ties: "You have a long night before you, therefore sleep". But if you wake up and mention Allah, Most Exalted in remembrance one knot will be untied. If you then make ablution another knot will be undone. If you then proceed to pray the last knot will be disentangled. Thus, you will feel in the morning energetic and in good spirits. Otherwise you will feel in a despicable state, lazy.” [/i]
[narrated by Maalik, Bukhaari, Muslim and Abu Dawood]
The time following the fajr prayer is full of blessings. The Qur’an says: [i] “…innal qur’aanal fajre kaana mashhooda.” [/i] Surah Al Isra […verily the recitation of the fajr is witnessed (by angels)] The Prophet SAW said: “O Allah! Bless my Ummah in its early rising!” and whenever he despatched an expedition or an army he sent them after the fajr salaah.
Just how worthy we are proving of the Prophet SAW’s blessing comes to the fore in Ramadaan…when we have mosques packed to capacity for taraweeh, but attendance is rather “sparse” for fajr, when a lot of people are sleeping off the effects of their night vigil. ‘Umar RA once deplored this trait, when he learnt that a person had stayed awake the night for the tahajjud salaah, causing him to miss the fajr congregation. He remarked that the man had exchanged the greater good for the lesser.
If a person is already in the blessed habit of waking up and attending congregational fajr salaah, it is the person’s duty to encourage others –one’s family, friends and neighbours to do the same. [i] “...Help you one another in al-birr and at-taqwa (virtue, righteouseness and piety)...' [/i] [Quran; 5:2]
A Muslim man or woman should make the effort to encourage their spouse and children to rise early and pray fajr since the Qur’an says: [i] “..and enjoin al-salaah (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them (the prayers)…” [20:132]. [/i]
Imagine the blessedness of a house whose inhabitants rise at dawn to praise and thank their Creator…imagine the blessedness of an entire neighbourhood …of an entire Ummah!
Only Muslims who are strong enough to fight the [i] shaytaan [/i] and battle their own desire for comfort everyday –at fajr when the [i] mu’ezzin[/i] says [i] as salaatu khairum min an naum [/i] [as salaah is better than sleep] —will have the strength to fight their enemies. It’s a simple principle that has been proved in history, many times over.
|03/23/04 at 10:36:42|
|Re: The Best Tribute|
|03/23/04 at 16:40:46|
| [slm] sister|
thanks for this post, which shows many of us where we are lacking.
Jazaki Allahu Khairan
|03/24/04 at 00:56:58|
|Re: The Best Tribute|
|03/23/04 at 18:39:13|
Deep sis Mashaallah. I like the way you focused on the practicality of his legacy. That we move beyond the rhetoric into the simple domain of action, even in a matter as "mundane" (which it is not) as waking up for Fajr.
Subhana Allah...it saddens me that we simple can't stand each other as Muslims. Concepts of brotherhood, Taqwa, true manifestations of Tawheed...have completely been eroded to a decaying, dying version of a grotesque picture which shapes our image today.
where did the love go?
Jazaki Allahu Khayran for the reminder...that perchance if we tasted the breezes of Mercy at Fajr and Qiyaam, if we made sujood a little longer, and a little more...it may cause our hardened hearts to crumble...tears to flow...and the essence of our
spirit to be restored.
perchance the beauty of Islam will be manifested through our words, our deeds, overflowing from the illumination within. And maybe, just maybe, through His Mercy our hearts will be reunited again...(Amin).
Sis in struggle...
|Re: The Best Tribute|
|03/24/04 at 00:38:35|
[quote] but how to translate good intentions into good actions? [/quote]
My intention in writing this was to suggest a way to channelize the anger, frustration, outrage and helplessness of the community in a positive way.
Alhamdulillaah, even though fajr salaah is v. well established here, we're working on this as a community effort focused on youngsters (13-30).
Anyone else who likes the idea and is willing to try it out in a small neighbourhood/hostel residence/block...PUh LEASE join in inshallah. I thought it'd be a good idea to swap stories later and work on areas that need ironing out.
Any practical suggestions/tips on sleeping early and incentives on making it to the congregation will be highly appreciated...
|Re: The Best Tribute|
|03/24/04 at 02:04:30|
[quote] Any practical suggestions/tips on sleeping early and incentives on making it to the congregation will be highly appreciated...[/quote]
i have found that doing "qailula" Þíáæáå (the afternoon seista) is very useful. If I remember correctly, it is a Sunnah, so doing it with the intention of fulfilling a sunnah would also bring us merits.
I am very lucky, I can take some time off, and rest awhile (recommended is ten minutes - no more, no less; and I have found that this exact time is perfect. I don't remember the source, though. Usually more than this time brings sluggishness, but I am sometimes able to rest upto an hour without adverse effects. In fact I am pleased that I am usually able to get up early and offer a few rakaah as tahajjud, as well.
Housewives should be able to take some time off in the afternoon, unless old ones or young ones clamour for attention.
I don't know how my mother did it, but ever since the days I could get up and watch her, I have found she was always able to say "tahajjud" as well. She still does, and she is 86, masha`Allah. and she has led a very active life, always busy with her household chores. We were nine, and everyone wanted a different dish, and she would want to give us fresh roti.
My mother would not let me study at night. At Maghrib we children had to be in the house. and even now I sleep (or at least go to bed early). In the England of yore the mothers would send their children to sleep by 8:00 pm. I cannot say the same about my children, having brought them up differently.
We would get up early, 4:00 am was our time. Too early I think. By the time I got home, I was so sleepy, I wouldn't be able to hold on to my schoolbag.
The major problems that we face come from entertainment and the apparently busy lives we lead - TV, net, etc. This invariably makes people more tied to the TV schedule than anything else. Islamic story books - of the right standard should make internalisation easier.
internalization - that is the concept. If Islam is internalized at an early age, it will stay forever. I think my own attachment to Tawheed and the Ummah comes from that early internalisation.
and I cannot overemphasize the benefits of doing at least one sajda before fajr. If only one can get up at that time, go for it.
If we are aware of the meanings of what we say in the salaah, of what our actions in it signify, then perhaps we can feel the peace that the salaf felt. It is for no small reason the prophet (saw) said that in salah he found contentment/ satisfaction. (i am sorry, very poor attempt at translation. as someone has remarked, I don't have a way with words).
If somehow we can become that our hearts are in the mosques, in the remembrance of Allah, in eyes lighting up on hearing Allah's name and His attributes, of being happy when His laws are obeyed, of being unhappy or angry when reverse is the case.
but that will come with a total commitment.
as for rewards for saying Fajr with congregation, anything that particular child likes. a chocolate, an extra hug or a kiss, a book after a week or month of regularity, ....., but the best is when the children see the adults doing it, and being pleased with them on performing the Salah on time, in Jamaah,etc.
and being unhappy when they miss it.
|03/24/04 at 20:18:14|
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