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The Day of Arafah

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah. He said, "It expiates the sins of the previous year and of the coming year." [Sahih Muslim] The Day of Arafah, ninth Dhul Hijja, is the day of forgiveness for the pilgrims, who are present this day at Arafa, as well as for those who fast the Day of Arafa the world over. This fasting is mustahab (recommended) for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him or her to fast on this day, because the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) did not fast on this day when in Arafa. In fact, it is narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of Arafa when in Arafa. The Hajis presence in Arafa is itself very pleasing to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). Regarding them, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says to His angels, "Look at my slaves, how disheveled and dusty they came to me, I do call you as witnesses upon me that I forgive them (their bad deeds)." [Ahmad] Not everyone can go on Hajj, and certainly not every year, but the Day of Arafah is one of the great gifts of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) that people all over the world can benefit from. On this day, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) grants fasting Muslims forgiveness for their faults of two years, if they have committed any, if not, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) elevates their degree in Paradise. The Muslims should celebrate the day of Arafa by restraining themselves from committing sins and iniquities in order that Allah may forgive them.   The Prophet of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "On this day (of Arafa) whomsoever holds his hearing, sight, and tongue (from committing sins), he will be forgiven by Allah." [Ahmad] Muslims should say the Tahlil (La ilaha il Allah), Tasbeeh (Subhanallah) and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar). It is also recommended to do as much dua (supplication) as possible on this day, since "there is no other day on which Allah frees a larger number of His slaves from the Fire of Hell than the Day of Arafah." [Sahih Muslim] The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

 خَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ وَخَيْرُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

"The best supplication is on the day of Arafa, and the best remembrance that I and the prophets before me (made) is: "There is no god but Allah, the only true God, who has no partner. To Him belongs the kingdom (of the universe) and to Him all praises are due. And He has the power to do every thing." [Tirmidhi]

. The Prophet also said,

 الْحَجُّ عَرَفَةُ فَمَنْ أَدْرَكَ لَيْلَةَ عَرَفَةَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الْفَجْرِ مِنْ لَيْلَةِ جَمْعٍ فَقَدْ تَمَّ حَجُّهُ

The Ḥajj is itself ‘Arafāt. Whoever reaches the night of ‘Arafāt before the rising of the sun at dawn the following day has completed his pilgrimage.

Make a note of this day on your calendar, so that you remember to celebrate it by fasting and making dhikr, dua and istighfar.


Unlock the barakah of Ramadan in Rajab

Allahuma bârik lanâ fiy Rajab wa ballaghinâ ilâ Ramadhân

["O Allâh bless us in the month of Rajab and Sha’bân and let us see the month of Ramadhân."

Rajab is here and Ramadan is just around the corner!  We should get ready for Ramadan from this great month. Let us prepare our hearts for the imaan recharging journey in the month of Ramadan. Our pious predecessors used to start preparing for Ramadan days before it arrived. Rajab is one of the four sacred months. Although there is no particular act of worship prescribed in the Sunnah for the month of Rajab, the salaf used to increase in their ibadah and recitation of Quran. Abu Bakr Al-Balkhi said: “The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Shaban is the month of irrigating the crops and the month of Ramadan is the month of harvesting the crops.” Below are some pointers for Ramadan preparation:

1.           Dua: Start making dua for good physical health and a healthy imaan to carry out good deeds in the month of Ramadan.  Ask Allah to allow us to see Ramadan, give you the ability to do good deeds and accept it from you.  Moreover, make a list of duas you are going to ask during the month of Ramadan, at the time of Iftar and on the night of Qadr.

2.           Islamic Knowledge: Decide and collect all the Islamic lectures and books that you aim to listen to and read during Ramadan.

3.           Quran: Ramadan and Quran are two inseparable friends.  Increase your time with the Quran from now and plan your relationship with the Quran in Ramadan; how much recitation you will do each day, which Tafseer you’re going to read and how much time you will spend on recitation and contemplation.

4.           Gain Knowledge about Ramadan: Read books about Ramadan; the virtues of this month and the rulings of fasting. This way, we can avoid making mistakes and spend the month in the manner most loved by Allah.

5.           A productive Taraweeh: In these two months, try and read the summary of each Surah/Juzz in the Quran so that you get the gist of what you’ll be hearing in the Taraweeh.

6.           Activities for Children: Plan the special activities you’ll be doing with kids and what you’ll be teaching them.  For example, reading the Tafseer of particular Surahs, doing some charity work, or activities about the phases of the moon etc. Many Ramadan activity books are available on the Internet for free.

7.           Laylatul Qadr: Plan how you’ll be spending the last ten nights. What adhkar will you do? What duas will you make? What type of ibadah will you perform? How will you engage your whole family to make this night productive?

8.           Making up obligatory fasts: It was narrated that Abu Salamah said:”I heard Aishah (may Allah be please with her) say: “I would owe fasts from the previous Ramadan and I would not be able to make them up except in Shaban.” Scholars comment that from her keenness to make up her fasts before Ramadan it may be understood that it is better not to delay making them up until another Ramadan begins.

9.           Fasting in Shaban: Train yourself for fasting by practicing for a few days in Shaban. The Messenger of Allah used to fast a lot in Shaban. It is reported that Aisha (may Allah be please with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah complete a month of fasting except Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than in Sha’baan.”

It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said: "I said: "O Messenger of Allah , I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha'baan? He said: "That is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadan, but it is a month in which peoples’ deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting."