Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Muslim News-Courtesy of Friday Bulletin

 Courtesy of Friday Bulletin

 Women’s Guide to Spirituality in Ramadhan duringMenstruation and Postnatal Bleeding
By Shazia Ahmed

While others will be busy in acts of worship such as fasting, praying, reading Qur'an, etc., some women will spend a portion of Ram- adhan in the state of menstruation (or postnatal bleeding), leaving them unable to participate in the aforementioned activities.

It is not easy to stay positive at times like these, especially when we see those around us rushing to masaajid for taraweeh prayers, spending time in 'itikaaf and reciting the Qur'an. This can lead us to feeling deprived of the reward of this blessed month, and often this feeling ends up decreasing our spirituality rather than increasing it.

Our menstrual cycles (or postnatal bleeding) are a part of Allah sub- haana wa ta'alaa's creation and something that is ordained by Him. Allah subhaana wa ta'alaa tells us in the Qur'an that “He has cre- ated us in the best of molds” [At-Tin:4]. We are also told that Allah has “appointed a due proportion” [At-Talaq:2-3] for everything and that “for every matter there is an appointed time given” [Ar-Rad:38]. Thus, to complain about it would be to question the Wisdom of Allah subhaana wa ta'alaa. This is not anything to feel sad or inconven- ienced about, but rather it should be accepted as part of the Divine Wisdom.

This same message was conveyed to us by Aisha radhi Allahu 'anha via the hadith of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. She narrates that, “We set out with the sole intention of performing Hajj and when we reached Sarif, my menses began. The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam came to me while I was crying and asked, 'What is the matter with you? Has your menses started?' I replied, 'Yes.' He said, 'This is something which Allah has destined for the daughter of Adam.'” (Al-Hakim)
Islam is the straight path that leads to the pleasure of Allah sub- hanaa wa ta'ala and ultimate success in the aakhirah. However, praise be to Allah, the path of Islam is broad, i.e. there is a huge variety of good deeds one can do to come closer to Allah subhaa- na wa ta'aala. Likewise, there are many other ways of achieving spirituality while we are on our menses (or going through postnatal bleeding) besides salaah, siyaam and 'itikaaf. This was exempli- fied for us through the practice of the wife of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Narrated Maimuna, the wife of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sal- lam, “During my menses, I never prayed, but used to sit on the mat beside the mosque of Allah's Apostle...” (Bukhari)
Here are a few practical suggestions of good deeds that a Muslimah can do while she is menstruating or has postnatal bleeding.
At the time of the adhaan:

Repeat after the adhaan
Make du'a for the intercession of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam after the adhaan: Allaahumma Rabba haathihid-da 'watit-taammati wassalaatil-qaa'imati, 'aati Muhammadanil-wasee- lata walfadheelata, wab 'ath-hu maqaamam-mahmoodanil-lathee wa'adtahu, ['innaka laa tukhliful-mee'aad] (O Allah, Lord of this per- fect call and established prayer. Grant Muhammad the intercession and favor, and raise him to the honored station You have promised him, [verily You do not neglect promises]). [: Bukhari & Bayhaqi]
Make du'a between the adhaan and iqaama. Invocation during this time, the supplication of a person is not rejected.
When you wake up:
“Alhamdu lillaahil-lathee 'ahyaanaa ba'da maa 'amaatanaa wa'ilayhin-nushoor.” (Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return.) [ Bukhari]
“Laa 'ilaha 'illallahu wahdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa 'alaa kulli shay'in Qadeer Subhaanallahi, walhamdu lillaahi, wa laa 'ilaha 'illallahu, wallaahu 'akbar, wa laa hawla wa laa Quwwata 'illaa billaahil-'Aliyyil-'Adheem, Rabbighfir lee.” (There is none worth of worship but Allah alone, Who has no partner, His is the dominion and to Him belongs all praise, and He
is able to do all things. Glory is to Allah. Praise is to Allah. There is none worth of worship but Allah. Allah is the Most Great. There is no might and no power except by Allah's leave, the Exalted, the Mighty. My Lord, forgive me.) [ Bukhari]
During the day •Listen to an Islamic lecture or read an Islamic book At maghrib time: • Help people break their fast by offering them dates and water •Host an iftaar for family and guests At Isha time:
Have family circle time at home and have a member of the house recite the Qur'an to the rest of the family followed by tafseer of those ayaat
Other acts that you can do: At the masjid:
Shake hands with sisters and spread salaam at the masjid, espe- cially engaging with newcomers.
Sponsor iftaars at various masaajid if possible Volunteer for masjid clean up exercise.
Make a CD of beautiful Qur'an recitation and du'as and distribute it at the masjid
At home:
Have a qiyaam program for other sisters at your house – prepare iftaar and suhoor for them
Look for new reverts, those who are newly practicing or people who have lost touch with the community and invite them over for iftaar.
Think of Eid party ideas/gifts for family, spouse, children, neigh- buors and begin your preparations.
In your own time:
Donate – clothes, food, toys, money etc to the unfortunate mem- bers of the society.
Make tawbah (repentance) and shukr (gratitude) Memorize Allah's names and their meanings. Use them in making
personal du'a.
Visit the sick in your area or at the hospital.
Always keep your tongue moist with the dhikr of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. Say SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaaha illallah, Alla- hu Akbar and send salaams and salawaat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam while cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.
I sincerely pray that this Ramadhan all of us witness an increase in our spirituality and a betterment in the relationship we have with Al- lah subhaana wa ta'aala. May Allah allow us to witness the blessed month of Ramadhan and give us the opportunity to perform acts of ibaadah that weigh heavy on the scales on the Day of Judgment, ameen.
'The Family and Companions of the Prophet Salallahu alayhi wa sallam in the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah'
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Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
The Meaning and Rules of Fasting
What is Fasting?
Fasting is called sawm in the Qur’an. The word sawm literally means "to abstain". According to Shari ‘ah, the word sawm means to abstain from all those things that are forbidden during fasting from the break of dawn to the sunset, and to do this with the inten- tion of fasting.

Purpose of Fasting
The Qur’an says, "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwa (piety)" (Al-Baqarah 2:183).

Taqwa is a very important spiritual and ethical term of the Qur’an. It is the sum total of all Islamic spirituality and ethics. It is a quality in a believer’s life that keeps him/her aware of Allah all the time. A person who has taqwa loves to do good and to avoid evil for the sake of Allah. Taqwa is piety, righteousness and consciousness of Allah. Taqwa requires patience and perseverance. Fasting teach- es patience, and with patience one can rise to the high position of taqwa.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that fasting is a shield. It protects a person from sin and lustful desires. When the disciples of Isa (Jesus) alayhi sallam asked him how to cast the evil spirits away, he is reported to have said, “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21).

According to Imam Al-Ghazali, fasting produces a semblance of di- vine quality of samadiyyah (freedom from want) in a human being. Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, viewed fasting as a means of releasing the human spirit from the clutches of desire, thus allowing moderation to prevail in the carnal self. Imam Shah Waliullah Dahlawi viewed fasting as a means of weakening the bestial and reinforcing the angelic elements in human beings. Maulana Abul A'la Mawdudi em- phasized that fasting for a full month every year trains a person individually, and the Muslim community as a whole, in piety and self restraint.

Fasting Is Obligatory
In the second year of Hijrah, Muslims were commanded to fast in the month of Ramadhan every year. The Qur’an says "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwa (piety)" (Al-Baqarah 2:183) and "The month of Ramadhan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, wherein is guidance for mankind and the clear signs of guidance and distinction. Thus whosoever among you witness the month must fast..." (Al-Baqarah 2:184).
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) ex- plained this further in a number of his statements reported in the books of Hadith. It is reported by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Mus- lim on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said, “Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadhan.”

The Muslim Ummah is unanimous that fasting in the month of Ram- adhan is obligatory upon every person who is capable (mukallaf).

Rules of Fasting
A) Who must fast?
Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is obligatory upon every Muslim, male or female, who is adult (i.e., has reached puberty) and sane and who is not sick or on a journey.

Sickness could be a temporary sickness from which a person ex- pects to be cured soon. Such a person is allowed not to fast dur- ing the days of his/her sickness, but he/she must fast later after Ramadhan to complete the missed days. Those who are sick with incurable illness and expect no better health are also allowed not to fast but they must pay the fidyah, which is giving a day’s meals for each fast missed to a needy person.

Women in their menses and post-natal bleeding are not allowed to fast, but they must make up later after Ramadhan. If pregnant women and mothers who are nursing babies find it difficult to fast, they can also postpone their fasting to a later time when they are in a better condition.

Those travelling are also permitted to break their fast. The journey must be for a good cause and its is a sin to travel in Ramadhan in order to avoid fasting. The traveler who misses the fasts of Ram- adhan must make up those missed days later as soon as possible after Ramadhan.

B) Fasting According to the Sunnah
1) Take sahur (pre-dawn meal). It is Sunnah and there is a great reward and blessing in taking sahur. The best time for sahur is the last half hour before dawn.
2) Take iftar (break-fast) immediately after sunset. Shari‘ah consid- ers sunset when the disk of the sun goes below the horizon and disappears completely.
3) During the fast, abstain from all false talks and deeds. Do not quarrel, have disputes, indulge in arguments, use bad words, or do anything that is forbidden. You should try to discipline yourself morally and ethically, besides gaining physical training and disci- pline. You should also not make a show of your fasting by talking too much about it, or by showing dry lips and a hungry stomach, or by showing a bad temper. The fasting person must be a pleasant person with good spirits and good cheer.
4) During the fast, do acts of charity and goodness to others and increase your worship and reading of the Qur’an. Every Muslim should try to read the whole Qur’an at least once during the month of Ramadhan.
C) Things That Invalidate the Fast
You must avoid doing anything that may render your fast invalid. Things that invalidate the fast and require qadhaa’ (making up for these days) are the following:
1) Eating, drinking or smoking deliberately, including taking any non-nourishing items by mouth, nose or anus.
2) Deliberately causing yourself to vomit.
3) The beginning of menstrual or post-childbirth bleeding even in the last moment before sunset.
4) Sexual intercourse or other sexual contact (or masturbation) that results in ejaculation (in men) or vaginal secretions (orgasm) in women.
5) Eating, drinking, smoking or having sexual intercourse after Fajr (dawn) on the mistaken assumption that it is not Fajr time yet. Simi- larly, engaging in these acts before Maghrib (sunset) on the mis- taken assumption that it is already Maghrib time.
Sexual intercourse during fasting is forbidden and is a great sin. Those who engage in it must make kaffarah expiation by fasting for 60 days after Ramadhan or by feeding 60 poor people for each day of fast broken in this way).

D) Things That Do Not Invalidate Fasting
During fast, the following things are permissible:
1) Taking a bath or shower. If water is swallowed involuntarily it will not invalidate the fast. According to most of the jurists, swimming is also allowed during fasting, but one should avoid diving, because that will cause the water to go from the mouth or nose into the stomach.
2) Using perfumes, wearing contact lenses or using eye drops. 3) Taking injections or having a blood test. 4) Using miswak (tooth-stick) or toothbrush (even with tooth paste)

Rules of fasting
and rinsing the mouth or nostrils with water, provided it is not over- done (so as to avoid swallowing water).
5) Eating, drinking or smoking unintentionally, i.e., forgetting that one was fasting. But one must stop as soon as one remembers and should continue one’s fast.
6) Sleeping during the daytime and having a wet-dream does not break one’s fast. Also, if one has intercourse during the night and was not able to make ghusl (bathe) before dawn, he/she can begin fast and make ghusl later. Women whose menstruation stops during the night may begin fasting even if they have not made ghusl yet. In all these cases, bathing (ghusl) is necessary but fast is valid even without bathing.
7) Kissing between husband and wife is allowed in fasting, but one should try to avoid it so that one may not do anything further that is forbidden during the fast.

Requirements for Fasting to Be Valid
There are basically two main components of fasting:
1) The intention (niyyah) for fasting. One should make a sincere intention to fast for the sake of Allah every day before dawn. The intention need not be in words, but must be with the sincerity of the heart and mind. Some jurists are of the opinion that the intention can be made once only for the whole month and does not have to be repeated every day. It is, however, better to make intention every day to take full benefit of fasting.
2) Abstaining from dawn to dusk from everything that invalidates fasting. This point has been explained in detail in the preceding sec- tions.

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