Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di authored the following khutbah for the beginning of the month of Shawwaal, immediately following the month of Ramadan:

الخطبة الأولى لشوال
Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal

الحمد لله الذي افتتح أشهر الحج بشهر شوال ، وجعله متجرا لنيل الفضائل والإفضال ، فسبحانه من إله عظيم متفرد بصفات الكمال والجلال ، عالم بالسرائر والبواطن وجميع الأحوال . ـ

Allah praise is due to Allah, the One who has opened the months of the Hajj with the month of Shawwaal and has made it a marketplace to obtain virtue and goodness. So exalted is He, the Magnificent deity beyond compare in His perfect and sublime characteristics, the One who knows the secret matters, the concealed affairs, and all things.

نحمده على فضله وكرمه ، ونشكره على أياديه ونعمه ـ

We praise Him for His bounty and generosity, and we thank Him for His blessings and favors.

ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له الكبير المتعال ، شهادة تنفي الشرك وتنافي الضلال ، نرجو أن يختم بها حياتنا ويؤَمّننا بها من المخاوف والأهوال . ـ

We testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partners, the Great and Most Exalted. This is a testimony that negates al-shirk and opposes misguidance. We hope to conclude our lives with this testimony, and it gives us peace in the face of fear and fright. Continue reading

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Preparing for Ramadan in Sha’baan: ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

al-Haafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali concluded his discussion of fasting during the month of Sha’baan (the eight month of the Islamic calendar, immediately preceding Ramadan) with the following notes:

وقد قيل: في صوم شعبان معنى آخر: أن صيامه كالتمرين على صيام رمضان لئلا يدخل في صوم رمضان على مشقة وكلفة بل قد تمرن على. الصيام واعتاده ووجد بصيام شعبان قبله حلاوة الصيام ولذته فيدخل في صيام رمضان بقوة ونشاط. ـ

Some have said that one of the effects of fasting during Sha’baan is that it acts like a training for the fast of Ramadan, in order that one can enter into Ramadan in good shape, being prepared for it and accustomed to fasting. And through fasting during Sha’baan, one will find and savor the sweetness of the fast, and so he will enter into Ramadan with vigor and determination.

ولما كان شعبان كالمقدمة لرمضان شرع فيه ما يشرع في رمضان من الصيام وقراءة القرآن ليحصل التأهب لتلقي رمضان وترتاض النفوس بذلك على طاعة الرحمن ـ

Sha’baan is like a precursor to Ramadan. The things which are legislated in Ramadan – such as fasting and reciting the Qur’an – are also legislated in Sha’baan so that one can be prepared to meet Ramadan and accustom himself to obeying al-Rahman. Continue reading

The Blessed Night is Laylah al-Qadr, not the Middle of Sha’baan

Allah opens surah al-Dukkhaan (44) by mentioning “a blessed night” during which He sent down the Qur’an. The majority of the salaf and prominent interpreters of the Qur’an have indicated that this blessed night is Laylah al-Qadr, while a minority have claimed that it is referring to the night of the middle of the month of Sha’baan. What follows are three detailed clarifications of why the first position is correct and the second opinion is not supported by the textual evidences.

○ Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following clarification at the beginning of his tafsir of surah al-Dhukhaan. al-Shinqitee’s tafsir was focused on the theme of explaining the Qur’an first and foremost by means of the Qur’an itself, and he follows this approach in this explanation as well:

قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

Indeed, We sent it [the Qur’an] down during a blessed night [44:3]

أبهم – تعالى – هذه الليلة المباركة هنا ، ولكنه بين أنها هي ليلة القدر في قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر [ 97 \ 1 ] وبين كونها ( مباركة ) المذكورة هنا في قوله – تعالى – : ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر [ 97 \ 3 ] إلى آخر السورة . ـ

Allah left this blessed night ambiguous here, however He made it clear that it refers to Laylah al-Qadr elsewhere in His statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent it down during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

And He clarified its aforementioned quality of “blessedness” in His statement: Continue reading

The Four Stages of Fasting ‘Aashooraa’: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his book detailing the different activities of the year, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following discussion concerning the Day of ‘Aashooraa’ (the 10th day of the month of Muharram) and its fasting:

وكان للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في صيامه أربع حالات: ـ

The Prophet (ﷺ) went through four different stages regarding the fasting of ‘Aashooraa’:

الحالة الأولى: أنه كان يصومه بمكة ولا يأمر الناس بالصوم ففي الصحيحين عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: كان عاشوراء يوما تصومه قريش في الجاهلية وكان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يصومه فلما قدم المدينة صامه وأمر بصيامه فلما نزلت فريضة شهر رمضان كان رمضان هو الذي يصومه فترك يوم عاشوراء فمن شاء صامه ومن شاء أفطره وفي رواية للبخاري وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “من شاء فليصمه ومن شاء أفطر”. ـ

○The First Stage: That he used to fast it in Mecca but he did not command the people to fast. There is a narration in the Saheehayn on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah who said:

The Day of ‘Aashooraa’ was a day that the Quraish used to fast during the times of al-Jaahiliyyah and the Prophet (ﷺ) also used to fast it. Then when he came to al-Madinah he fasted it and he commanded its fasting. Then when the obligation of fasting the month of Ramadan was revealed, it was Ramadan that he fasted and thus he left off the Day of ‘Aashooraa’, so whoever wished could fast it and whoever wished did not have to fast it.

And in the narration of al-Bukhari, “And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever wishes then let him fast and whoever wishes then do not fast.'”

الحالة الثانية: أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لما قدم المدينة ورأى صيام أهل الكتاب له وتعظيمهم له وكان يحب موافقتهم فيما لم يؤمر به صامه وأمر الناس بصيامه وأكد الأمر بصيامه والحث عليه حتى كانوا يصومونه أطفالهم ففي الصحيحين عن ابن عباس قال: قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة فوجد اليهود صياما يوم عاشوراء فقال لهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ما هذا اليوم الذي تصومونه؟ قالوا: هذا يوم عظيم أنجى الله فيه موسى وقومه وأغرق فرعون وقومه فصامه موسى شكرا فنحن نصومه فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “فنحن أحق وأولى بموسى منكم” فصامه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأمر بصيامه. ـ

○The Second Stage: That the Prophet (ﷺ) came to al-Madinah and he saw the Ahl al-Kitaab fasting it and holding it in high regard, and he was pleased with his having been in accord with them in in the fast which he had not previously ordered the people to do. So he then commanded the people to fast that day and emphasized the command to fast it. He encouraged the people to do so to the extent that even the children would fast it. So there is a report in the Saheehayn on the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas who said: Continue reading

Khutbah related to ‘Eid al-Adhaa: Imam al-Sa’di

Before his death in the middle of 1376AH (1956CE), sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di had already written drafts of the khutbahs he planned to deliver for each Friday for the remainder of the year. One of the final khutbahs included in these drafts was scheduled to be delivered on Friday the 15th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the first Friday khutbah after the ‘Eid al-Adhaa. Sheikh al-Sa’di wrote:

خطبة ثالثة لذي الحجة
The Third Khutbah of the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah

الحمد لله الذي جعل مواسم الخيرات وأوقات النفل للأبرار نزلا ، ووفقهم للقيام بحقها واغتنام فرصها فلم يرتضى بسواها بدلا ، وجعل لهم حظا وافرا من الباقيات الصالحات التي هي خير ثوابا وخير أملا . ـ

All praise is due to Allah who made the seasons of goodness and times of striving a gift for the righteous ones, and who granted them the accord to give these seasons and times their due and to seize the opportunities they present for He would not be pleased with anything other than that, and who made an abundant bounty of the lasting good deeds – which hold the best of rewards and good hopes – for those righteous ones.

فسبحان من يختص بحكمته ورحمته ما شاء من أزمنة وأمكنة وأعمال ، وتبارك من له الأوصاف الكاملة وله الفضل على خلقه والأفضال . ـ

Exalted is He who – out of His wisdom and mercy – has singled out whatever times, places and actions He wished. Blessed is He who has the most perfect of attributes and grants the best of bounties to His creation.

ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له ولا ند ولا مثال . ونشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله أوفى العالمين كلهم في خصال الخير والكمال . اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آله وصحبه خير صحب وأشرف آل ، وسلم تسليما . ـ

We bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah alone, without any equal or peer. And we bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, the most complete of all creation in good and perfect qualities.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon Muhammad, upon his family and upon his family – the best of companions and the most noble of families.

أما بعد : أيها الناس ؛ اتقوا ربكم واشكروه على ما خصكم به من الفضل والإنعام ، ويسّر لكم كل طريق وسبب يوصلكم دار السلام . ـ

To proceed: O people! Exercise taqwa of your Lord and be grateful to Him for the blessings and bounties which He has provided for you all to the exclusion of others, and for the fact that He has facilitated every path and means for you to make your way to the abode of peace [i.e. Paradise].

Continue reading

Which are More Virtuous, the First Ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah or the Last Ten of Ramadan?

A question was posed to Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah: Which are more virtuous, the first ten of Dh’ul-Hijjah or the last ten of Ramadan? So he replied:

أيام عشر ذي الحجة أفضل من أيام العشر من رمضان، والليالي العشر الأواخر من رمضان أفضل من ليالي عشر ذي الحجة

The days of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah are more virtuous than the days of the last ten of Ramadan while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are more virtuous than the nights of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 25/154]

Ibn Taymiyah’s student Ibn al-Qayyim commented and elaborated upon his teacher’s response in one of his own works by writing:

وإذا تأمل الفاضل اللبيب هذا الجواب وجده شافيا كافيا، فإنه ليس من أيام العمل فيها أحب إلى الله من أيام عشر ذي الحجة. وفيها يوم عرفة ويوم النحر ويوم التروية. وأما ليالي عشر رمضان فهي ليالي الأحياء التي كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يحييها كلها، وفيها ليلة خير من ألف شهر. فمن أجاب بغير هذا التفصيل، لم يمكنه أن يدلي بحجة صحيحة

If one were to consider the honor and sensibleness of this answer, he would find it to be comprehensive and sufficient. Indeed, there are no days in which deeds are more beloved to Allah than the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah – and they contain the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of the Sacrifice, and the Day of Tarwiyah [the 9th, 10th, and 8th days, respectively]. Continue reading

The date of Laylatu’l-Qadr being unknown – “Perhaps that is better for you”: Ibn Kathir

Imam al-Bukhari records in his Saheeh:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَرَجَ يُخْبِرُ بِلَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، فَتَلاَحَى رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنِّي خَرَجْتُ لأُخْبِرَكُمْ بِلَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، وَإِنَّهُ تَلاَحَى فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ فَرُفِعَتْ وَعَسَى أَنْ يَكُونَ خَيْرًا لَكُمُ الْتَمِسُوهَا فِي السَّبْعِ وَالتِّسْعِ وَالْخَمْسِ ‏

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went out to inform the people about the (date of the) Laylatu’l-Qadr, but a quarrel took place between two of the Muslim men. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I came out to inform you about (the date of) Laylatu’l-Qadr, but so-and-so and so-and-so quarreled, so its knowledge was taken away. And perhaps that is better for you. Search for it in the 7th, the 9th and the 5th (of the last 10 nights of Ramadan).”

[al-Bukhari #49]

In his famous book of tafsir, al-haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir comments on the phrase, ‘perhaps it was better for you‘ by writing:

 وقوله : ” وعسى أن يكون خيرا لكم ” يعني : عدم تعيينها لكم ، فإنها إذا كانت مبهمة اجتهد طلابها في ابتغائها في جميع محال رجائها ، فكان أكثر للعبادة ، بخلاف ما إذا علموا عينها فإنها كانت الهمم تتقاصر على قيامها فقط . وإنما اقتضت الحكمة إبهامها لتعم العبادة جميع الشهر في ابتغائها ، ويكون الاجتهاد في العشر الأواخر أكثر . ـ

And his statement, ‘perhaps it is better for you‘ – i.e., the lack of it being specified for you. For since it was left uncertain, those who seek it exert themselves, aspiring for it in all places of the month, hopeful of finding it. So there is an increase in worship, in contrast to if its specific time were known, for then its significance would certainly lead to restricting the night prayers to it exclusively. And the wisdom of its being left uncertain results in worship being spread throughout the entire month in pursuit of it, and that effort is increased even more so during the last ten nights. Continue reading

Benefits of Fasting: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di began his book al-Riyaadh al-Naathirah with a series of chapters succinctly describing some of the benefits accrued from each of the five pillars of Islam. What follows is his brief chapter of the benefits of fasting:

فصل الرابع في فوائد الصوم

Chapter Four: On the Benefits of Fasting

قال تعالى : {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} [البقرة 183] . ـ

Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O you who have believed, Fasting has been decreed upon you as it was decreed upon those before you in order that you might exercise al-taqwa [2:183]

فذكر تعالى للصوم هذه الفائدة العظمى المحتوية على فوائد كثيرة ، وهى قوله : {لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} . ـ

So Allah mentioned this tremendous benefit which encompasses many other benefits, which is His statement:

لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

in order that you might exercise al-taqwa [2:183]

أى ليكون الصيام وسيلة لكم إلى حصول التقوى ، ولتكونوا بالصيام من المتقين . وذلك أن التقوى اسم جامع لكل ما يحبه الله ويرضاه من فعل المحبوبات لله ورسوله ، وترك ما يكرهه الله ورسوله . ـ

Meaning: so that the fasting might be a means for you to achieve al-taqwa, and that by means of the fasting you might become among those whose defining characteristic is having al-taqwa. And al-taqwa is a comprehensive term for everything which Allah loves and is pleased with out of the deeds which are beloved to Allah and His Messenger, as well as abandoning what Allah and His Messenger hate. Continue reading

How to benefit from reading the Qur’an during Ramadan: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following question was posed to sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

سؤال : كيف استفيد من قراءتي للقرآن العظيم في رمضان ؟ ـ

Question: How can we benefit from our reading of the Qur’an during Ramadan?

الجواب : تستفيد إن شاء الله من قراءتك للقرآن الكريم إذا أخلصت النية، وحرصت أن تقرأ القرآن كما كان الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم يقرؤه. ـ

Response: You can benefit – in shaa Allaah – from your reading of the Qur’an if you purify your intention and strive to recite the Qur’an as the Prophet (ﷺ) used to recite it.

ويفتح الله من معانيه وتدبره عليك بالأمور التالية: ـ

And Allah will reveal its meanings and facilitate pondering over it for you through the following means:

أولاً : أن تخلي قلبك من أدران الشرك والمعاصي، فإن القرآن لا يمسه إلا المطهرون، حساً ومعنى، فلا ينال معانيه قلب فيه درن الشرك أو المعصية. وكما لا تدخل الملائكة بيتا فيه كلب أو صورة، كذا لا تدخل معاني القرآن قلبا فيه كلب الهوى وصورة الشهوة. ـ

First: That you empty your heart of the filth of al-shirk and disobedience, for the Qur’an is only to be touched by the pure ones. And this meaning applies both literally and figuratively, for the heart which contains the filth of al-shirk and disobedience will not grasp the meanings of the Qur’an. And just as the angels do not enter a house which contains a dog or an image [of a living thing], similarly the meanings of the Qur’an do not enter a heart which contains the dogs of desires or images of one’s lusts. Continue reading

Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 3: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di divided his chapter on fasting into three parts, using the ayaat of fasting in surah al-Baqarah (2:183-187) as his structure. Click here to read the first section of that chapter, and here for the second section. What follows is the third and final section, discussing the last of these ayaat pertaining to fasting:

ـ {أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَائِكُمْ} [البقرة: 187] إلى قوله: {كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ} [البقرة: 187] ـ

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّ‌فَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ عَلِمَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ ۖ فَالْآنَ بَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ وَابْتَغُوا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَ‌بُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ‌ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُبَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ ۗ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّـهِ فَلَا تَقْرَ‌بُوهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are in isolation in the mosques. These are the limits of Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous. [2:187]

كان أول ما فرض الصيام منع المسلمون من الأكل والشرب في الليل إذا ناموا، فحصلت المشقة لكثير منهم، فخفف الله ذلك، وأباح في ليالي الصيام كلها الأكل والشرب والجماع، سواء نام أو لم ينم؛ لكونهم يختانون أنفسهم بترك بعض ما أمروا به لو بقي الأمر على ما كان أولا، فتاب الله عليكم بأن وسع لكم أمرا لولا توسعته لكان داعيا إلى الإثم والإقدام على المعاصي . ـ

In the first stage of the obligatory fasting, the Muslims were prohibited from eating and drinking at night after they had slept, which resulted in a great deal of difficulty for them. So Allah eased the situation for them and permitted eating, drinking and sexual intercourse for them during the entire nights of the fast, regardless of whether they had already slept or not. For they would have betrayed themselves by abandoning part of what they had been commanded to do if the situation had continued in that manner as it was in the first stage of fasting. So Allah turned to them in forgiveness by easing the situation for them. And had it not been for that easing of the situation, then they would have been tempted unto sin and emboldened unto disobedience. Continue reading