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Al-Fatihah – The Meaning performed by Putri from The Voices Of UMMI (Video)

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Every Prophets has Performed a Miracle (Audio)

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Omar Suleiman: The Prophet’s Dua for You! (Video)

info-pictogram1 Did you know that Prophet Muhmmad (peace be upon him) used to make a dua for each and every single one of us after every salah he performed?

عن عائشة أنها قالت: لما رأيت من النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – طيب نفس قلت: يا رسول الله، ادع الله لي، فقال: ((اللهم اغفر لعائشة ما تقدَّم من ذنبها وما تأخر، ما أسرَّتْ وما أعلنتْ))، فضحكت عائشة حتى سقط رأسها في حجرها من الضحك، فقال لها رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: ((أيسرُّك دعائي؟)) فقالت: وما لي لا يسرُّني دعاؤك؟ فقال – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: ((والله إنها لدعائي لأمَّتي في كل صلاة

Psychological Blessings of Tarawih

Shalat-Tarawih

Ramadan is the month of multiple blessings. It is the time of fasting and of extensive spiritual exercise. It is the time when we change our everyday routine and set a new one: revolving around our religious duties more than around the worldly affairs.

During Ramadan, Muslims make special effort to find time for recitation and study of the Holy Quran, for supererogatory prayers, such as Tarawih, and other charitable deeds.

The rewards in the Herafter (akhira) for the good deeds done in Ramadan are manifold, but there are also more immediate benefits of Ramadan worship.

It is widely known that people who fast enjoy spiritual and psychological wellbeing and that fasting is of great advantage to physical health. But it is not only fasting that profits our mind and spirit during Ramadan.

Tarawih, the extra night prayers performed by the believers usually after Isha (evening prayers) and lasting from eight to twenty rakahs, bring great spiritual and psychological comforts, despite the physical and mental effort required to practice them.

Ibrahim B. Syed, doctor of medicine and the president of the Islamic Research Foundation International, in his essay ‘The Medical Benefits of Tarawih Prayers’ published on the IRFI website, mentions the multiple benefits of tarawih for physical, emotional  and mental health.

Mood & Mental State

According to Syed, tarawih prayer, as indeed any prayer performed by Muslims, has the same effects on body and mind as gentle exercise. Therefore tarawih improves mood, thought and behaviour in the same way as the exercise does.

Furthermore, the exercise of tarawih “induces greater sense of well-being and energy, reduces anxiety and depression, influences mood favorably and contributes to self-esteem and an aura of confidence; improves memory in the elderly especially with constant repetition of the Ayaat”.

The relaxed state of mind achieved through tarawih may be partly due to the chemical response of brain to the combination of repeated muscular activity with repetition of recited words over a certain period of time.

The physical exercise, but also other activities such as meditation and prayer, leads to the secretion of neurotransmitters such as Endorphins and Encephalin positively affecting the brain.

The release of encephalin and Beta-endorphins (Endogenous Morphines) acts on the central and peripheral nervous systems to reduce pain and has a calming effect on the mind. The encephalin is one of the most potent opiate-like substance naturally occurring in body.

The endorphins too have an analgesic effect, but also reduce the negative effects of stress, bring feelings of euphoria and enhance the immune system.

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Relaxation

Syed mentions in his essay that tarawih helps achieve ‘relaxation response’ of the brain. Relaxation response is theory developed by a Harvard professor, Dr. Herbert Benson, who studied the impact of spirituality for physical health and whose work serves as a bridge between religion and medicine and mind and body.

According to Benson, continuous repetition of certain words, as in prayer or meditation, or a muscular activity coupled with passive disregard of intensive thoughts, leads to the lowering of blood pressure and reduction in heart and respiratory rates.

In words of Benson “the relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress”. Relaxation response puts the mind at ease, reduces effects of stress and induces the attitude of acceptance.

And while Benson never actually examined the effects of tarawih or any other Islamic prayer, focusing rather on the transcendental meditation of Yogis, his theory seems to be well applicable in explanation of the soothing effects of tarawih and dhikr on Muslims.

According to the study “Effect of Tarawih Prayers on Mental Health and Self Control” conducted by Quadri Syed Javeed, Head & Associate Professor in Psychology at M.S.S. Art’s Commerce & Science College, in Jalna, India, published in the February 2013 issue of Golden Research Thoughts, the tarawih prayer significantly improves mental health and self-control.

In his study Javeed examined the mental health of fifty respondents aged 18-30 before and after the prayer using Mental Health Inventory and Multi Assessment Personality Series Inventory, and the results upheld his hypothesis of the positive effects of tarawih on mental and spiritual well-being.

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Brain Activity

Yet another explanation of the beneficial effects of tarawih on mental health may be found in the results of the studies conducted by a University of Missouri neuropsychologist Brick Johnstone and by the Professor and Director of Research Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine Andrew Newberg.

The studies on the brain activity of Francescan nuns and Buddhist meditators during their prayer and found that during spiritual experiences the activity of right parietal lobe of the brain is significantly decreased.

Right parietal lobe is a small region near the back of the brain that constantly calculates a person’s spatial orientation, the sense of where one’s body ends and the world begins, in other words, it is a part of the brain responsible for the sense of self.

During intense prayer or meditation, and for yet unknown reasons, the right parietal lobe becomes a quiet oasis of inactivity. “It creates a blurring of the self-other relationship,” said Professor Newberg, “If they go far enough, they have a complete dissolving of the self, a sense of union, a sense of infinite spacelessness.”

Decreased activity of right parietal lobe induces the sense of selflessness, and the experience of selflessness, in the opinion of Johnstone positively affects the psychological health especially among people with strong faith in God.

“Our research focused on the personal experience of spiritual transcendence and does not in any way minimise the importance of religion or personal beliefs, nor does it suggest that spiritual experience are related only to neuropsychological activity in the brain,” Johnstone said. “It is important to note that individuals experience their God or higher power in many different ways, but that all people from all religions and beliefs appear to experience these connections in a similar way.”

The functioning of the brain during spiritual exercise is yet a field in which very little research has been done. The results of the studies of Johnstone and Newberg, the relaxation response theory of Benson and the neurotransmitters explanation of Syed, only partially answer the question of how prayer in general, and tarawih prayer in particular, benefits the mental health and the spiritual well-being.

Yet even though the ‘how’ is still largely unknown, the positive effects of tarawih during Ramadan and of everyday salat in the lives of Muslims are obvious even without scientific data to prove it.

After all Allah tells us in the Quran: “Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and remembers the name of his Lord and prays” (Surat Al-A`la: 87:15-16), and “O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (Surat Al-Baqarah: 2:153).

Seven lights of devotion in Ramadan

Source: Sunnah.org

By: Sunnah.org

There are a number of highly recommendable worshipful practices to be performed during the days of Ramadan, for those who seek closeness to their Lord and His Companionship. Even if in the first part of the month we have missed out on one or more of these acts, we can still make an effort from now to reap their benefits insha Allah.

Don’t Forget or Neglect the Pre-dawn Meal (Suhoor)

It is recommended to partake of a light meal (suhoor)prior to commencing the fast. The fast begins at first light and ends at sunset (maghreb).

“Eat some food before the fast begins, there is blessing in its partaking.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Zaid, the son of Thabit related: “We partook of suhoor (food before the commencement of the fast) during Ramadan with the Messenger of Allah and then stood up for prayer.

He was asked what was the interval of time between the two, so he replied: ‘The time it takes to recite fifty verses (of the Quran).’”

The Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, said: “My nation will remain in goodness as long as they break the fast as soon as it is due.” [Muslim]

Joy When Breaking the Fast

The fast is broken at sunset, and it is termed in Arabic iftar. It is a time of happiness and refreshment after experiencing the pangs of hunger and thirst. It is usually broken with dates and in many cultures a light soup with bread or small side dishes. Breaking the fast is followed immediately by the evening obligatory prayer. In many parts of the world, including the US, breaking fast is observed in congregation in mosques and homes.

The Prophet (s) said: “Whosoever fasts experiences two joys. He is joyful when he breaks his fast, and is joyful because of his fasting when he meets his Lord.”

“When evening approaches from this side (east) and the day retreats from this side (west) and the sun has set, the one who is fasting breaks his fast.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

“Break your fast with a date, or with water because it is pure.” [Abu Daud and Tirmidhi]

Generosity and Good Deeds During the Month of Fasting

Our beloved prophet, Prophet Muhammad, praise and peace be upon him, spoke on many occasions about the fast of Ramadan.

He informed us of the way in which we should prepare ourselves as well as urging us to do good, to be charitable, and to refrain from ways in which our fast would become invalid.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare). [Bukhari].

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”
[Bukhari]. “Allah, the Mighty, the Glorified says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for himself, but his fasting is for Me and I shall reward him for it.

The fast is a shield. When any of you fasts he should forsake swearing and noise.’”

Retreat – ‘Itikaf

Regarding the retreat, it was the practice of the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him, to retreat to the Mosque during the last ten days and nights of Ramadan, fasten his cloak around his waist and encourage his family to do the same. His time in the Mosque was spent in worship and not in idle talk.

If it is one’s intention to offer the retreat then there are specific rules to be observed:

  • Once the intention or vow has been taken to observe these days of continuous retreat, the continuity of its observance is broken if he leaves the mosque without a justifiable necessity, such as to attend a funeral.
  • However, the observance is not broken when one leaves to go to the toilet. Those in retreat are permitted to renew their ablutions in their own home, but the restatement of the intent must be renewed unless the intention to spend the ten days in advance has been made. Any form of business to and from the mosque is not permissible.
  • It was the practice of the Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, not to leave the mosque except for the call of nature. Neither would he inquire about a sick person except as he passed by without stopping.
  • Sleeping, eating, washing hands in the mosque do not invalidate the retreat, nor yet the emergence of a limb or part of the body from the mosque.
  • Sexual intercourse invalidates the observance of the retreat, but not a non-arousing kiss.

The Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, would go into seclusion for (the last) ten days during the month of Ramadan, but the year in which he passed away he went into seclusion for twenty days.
[Bukhari]

Narrated ‘Aisha: “Allah’s Apostle used to practice `Itikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, ‘Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan’”. [Bukhari]

Narrated ‘Aisha (r) (the Mother of the Believers):” Allah’s Apostle used to let his head in (the house) while he was in the mosque and I would comb and oil his hair. When in `Itikaf he used not to enter the house except for a need.” [Bukhari]

Read the rest of this entry

Sincerity (Ikhlaas)

Ikhlas (sincerity) is to do everything, internal and external, only desiring the pleasure of Allah. It is to forget the eyes of the people, and whether they view your deeds or not, with the only thing on your mind that Allah is watching you. There are beautiful verses in the Quran in this regard, where Allah describes the righteous in Paradise:

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{They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude} (Al-Insan 76:7-9)

Sincerity needs to be performed according to the Sunnah of the prophet,

may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

“And they have been commanded to worship only Allah, being sincere towards Him in their religion.” (98; 5)

There are three things that strengthen the heart, and whoever distinguishes should feel no enmity and malice;

  1. Devoting ones actions to Allah,
  2. Giving counsel to the Imams of the Muslims,
  3. Being loyal to the majority2

These three things stated is meant the strengthen the heart, and whoever distinguishes

A servant can only free himself from shaytan through sincere devotion. Devotion is when one starts to purify the heart form all impurities, whether small of big few or many. Allah says in the holy Quran

“Except those of your servants who are sincere” (38.83)

Such a person should be devout in all their actions this can only come from the love of Allah. Actions such as eating, drinking and answering the cause of nature.

With rare expectations, anyone who is not like this will find the door of devotion closed in his face.

The everyday actions of a person who is overwhelmed by his love for Allah and the akhira are characterised by this love and they are in fact pure devotion. In the same way, anyone whose soul is overwhelmed by love for and preoccupation with this world, or status and authority, will be it prayer or fasting, will be acceptable except in very rare case.

“And something will come to them from Allah which they had never anticipated, for the evil of their deeds will become apparent to them. (39; 47-48)

“Say; shall we tell you who will lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts were astray in the life of this world, while they thought that they were doing food works.” (18; 103-104)

This is referring to sincere devotion only for Allah’s sake and not for the eyes of the people.

It has been related that man was used to praying in the first row in the mosque. One day he was late for the prayer and had to pray in the second row.  Feeling embarrassment when people saw him in the second row.  People were admiring him for being in the first row. He realised his satisfaction of the heart that he used to gain from praying in the first row were due to his seeing him there admiring him for it. This is a subtle and intangible condition and actions are rarely safe from it. Apart from those who Allah has assisted, few are aware of such delicate matters. Those who do not realise it only come to see their good deeds appearing as bad ones on the Day of Resurrection.

Yaqub said; “A devout person is someone who conceals things that are good, in the same way that he conceals things that are bad.”

Ayyub said; “It is much harder for the people of action to purify their intentions than it is to execute any of their actions.”

Some people have said; “To be devout for a short while is to survive forever, but devotion.

Written by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah,

http://womenofjannah.com/