By: A. A. Mawdudi
The frequency and timings of the Prayers never let the object and mission of life be lost sight of in the maze of worldly activities.
Ibadah (act of worship) is an Arabic word derived from `abd (a slave) and it means submission. It portrays that God is your master and you are His slave and whatever a slave does in obedience to and for the pleasure of his master is worship.
The Islamic concept of worship is very wide. If you free your speech from filth, falsehood, malice, and abuse and speak the truth and talk goodly things and do all these only because God has so ordained to do, they constitute `ibadah, however secular they may look in semblance.
If you obey the law of God in letter and spirit in your commercial and economic affairs and abide by it in your dealings with your parents, relatives, friends, and all those who come in contact with you, then all these activities of yours are worship. If you help the poor and the destitute, give food to the hungry, and serve the ailing and the afflicted persons, and do all this not for any personal gain of yours but only to seek the pleasure of God, they are nothing short of worship. Even your economic activities, the activities you undertake to earn your living and to feed your dependants, are worship if you remain honest and truthful in them and observe the law of God.
Our lives can seem like a whirlwind of hectic, chaotic, unpredictable situations and occurrences that keep us busy. Struggling to do what we need to do to maintain our obedience to Allah and surviving in a complex world at the same time can be very difficult. Yet, we all have patterns, habits and daily routines we fall into as we maintain some stability, sanity and normality to our lives. The longer one makes daily mistakes, the more harder it will get to survive Shaitan’s trappings; making his temptations difficult to resist and easier to fall into.
The various addictions Shaitan wants to trap a person can move from one level to the next. An addiction locks one into a vice, sin or foul activity. Without the ability to escape from shaitan’s trappings, we are unable to free ourselves, making us not only slaves of Shaitan, but we might also end up working to spread his foul causes and agendas.
So clearly the first step one should take is to stop Shaitan in his tracks before any of these weakening factors occur. Then turning to the Qur’an and the Sunnah will answer the strategy to avoid each pitfall.
We absolutely condemn in the strongest terms any acts of terrorism and any extremism done in the name of Islam and we refuse to associate ourselves with those who practice and condone such behavior and thoughts. There is no Justification In this beautiful and Merciful way of life of ISLAM that was sent as a Mercy for all of mankind to take the life of any innocent Human-Being.
From clashes across the Philippines to the fight for higher wages in Chicago, AJ+ highlights global acts of civil disobedience that you might have missed this week from locations including Sao Paulo Brazil, and Tel Aviv Israel.
By: Mahasin Shamsid-Deen
Have you ever wondered how your brothers and sisters in the USA are experiencing their Ramadan? How is their experience similar/different from yours, and what could be the lessons learned for their fellow Muslims around the world?
In this article, we will discuss how Ramadan is like for a Muslim in Central Virginia, USA.
How Do Muslims in Your Area Prepare for Ramadan?
Alhumdulillah, the Ramadan experience in the US is as variable as the community. After residing in different parts of the country over a number of years, some consistencies have become the norm. Muslims themselves are made to be responsible for making Ramadan relevant and important since the US does not have a predominant Muslim population. There will be no advertising and promotion on the radio or television to either remind or enhance the experience.
However, in Central Virginia and many other areas of the country the local Imam will begin to devote a Friday khutbah to the subject and preparation of Ramadan usually the week before. If there is an Islamic school in the area, the staff will usually have it on the calendar and begin activities with the children.
The start of Ramadan is anticipated but always a bit chaotic as there is no governmental agency or television announcement of its start.
Muslims wait around their phones and computers for the sighting of the hilal to begin the month. Many Muslims who have migrated from different parts of the world and now reside in the US often hear from family members and pass information along. Nonetheless, most of the time a message is left on the answer machine of the local masjid/Islamic centre that people are asked to call after midnight. Some will use the internet to update with mass emails and even some smaller or technologically advanced communities will send out mass text messages. Some years, the evening news will announce that Ramadan has begun in whatever Muslim country is at war or in the news at the moment.
Not surprisingly, the end of Ramadan in the united states follows the same ritual as the beginning as far as informing people when and where the Eid-ul Fitr prayer will be held. In every city that I have lived in the US, at least one masjid/Islamic centre is observing this Eid prayer on a different day. As many masjid/Islamic centre have become very ethnically divided over the past 20 years, some Eid prayers will be almost exclusively one nationality or if there is a ‘unified’ Eid prayer, the community will splinter into ethnic subgroups for Eid activities. This is especially disconcerting to new converts or those Muslims who do not have Muslim families as they are often alone.
It seems that community support really means a lot over here. How does the community help those less well off during Ramadan?
During the month of Ramadan many local mosques will sponsor either nightly taraweeh or have ‘weekend’ taraweeh prayers. Also, some localities will have restaurants and individuals sign up in advance to sponsor an iftar and dinner for anyone attending the mosque at night, while smaller communities will usually only have a potluck or family sponsorship of food once a week. In recent years in many locations, especially Central Virginia – Ramadan has become synonymous with fundraising. Islamic schools, individuals building a masjid, the Islamic centre itself and Muslim groups/initiatives will pick a night usually a weekend and bring in a guest speaker while they provide food to breakfast and serve dinner for those at the mosque – for a fee. The speaker will spend the time between Maghrib and Isha discussing the benefits and needs for those in attendance to donate. Usually, those in the mosque may breakfast for free, but must pay to eat. This practice can and has led to congregants being subjected to a fundraiser every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the month. Since attendance at the masjid is higher on the weekend evenings some here in Central Virginia have begun to complain that this practice takes away from the spirituality of the month,
Brotherhood and congregation within the home is less specific. Many use the masjid/Islamic centre as their sole social source while others have gatherings in their homes for those within their own ethnic group or madhab. New converts are usually not invited to breakfast with Muslims at their house unless they are in the ‘known’ crowd, so their only iftar is usually within the masjid/Islamic centre. This is often true of those Muslims who do not have Muslim family members as well.
What about taraweeh? What are your tips to attend regularly and make the most out of it?
When Ramadan is in the summer and the fasting days are 15+ hours, Muslims are more able to have an iftar at their home and then go to the masjid for Taraweeh. When Ramadan is in the winter, and the days are so short, iftar and dinner seems to revolve around the masjid only.
American Muslims will usually read the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan, usually taking in one-thirtieth each day. Interestingly, this is done in addition to going to the nightly taraweeh where the Quran is recited in Arabic. Many will read the translations each day so they can understand exactly what is being recited to them at night.
Incense, the origin of aromatherapy, is proven to help the mind be peaceful and de-stressed. Stress has now been found to attack the immune system thus linking it to diseases like cancer. Quality incense immediately creates a spiritual atmosphere because it surcharges the ether with positive energy (earth, fire) dispersing subtle negative influences. …thus it is good for meditation and inner peace.
In South Arabia Incense got a strong social function. It is often burned after a social gathering. If the incense starts to smolder is the moment of parting arrived.
Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee a day is harmless to your organism, unless you have some specific medical conditions. The substance has been known to have positive effects like increasing your ability to learn, comprehension, memory, reflexes, and thought clarity. Caffeine causes your brain to have a higher sense of alertness, improving your feeling of well-being and your mood.