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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Importance of Taraweeh

Another important feature of the month of Ramadhan is Tarawih. It is a special Salah (prayer) consisting of 20 rak'at which is performed immediately after the 'Isha' prayer. This Salah is Sunnah mu'akkaddah (repeatedly emphasized), and should not be missed. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam) said, "Allah has made fasting in Ramadhan obligatory, and I have made the special prayer of Ramadhan (i.e. the Tarawih) a Sunnah". It is a Sunnah Mu'akkadah' 'alal-kifayah to perform Tarawih in jama'ah. It means that it is a Sunnah mu’akkaddah for the people of every mosque to arrange for the jama'at of the Tarawih. If a person after being sure that the jama'ah of Tarawih is being held in his mosque, performs the Tarawih in his home without jama'ah, the sunnah of the Tarawih is discharged, but he will be deprived of the great thawab (reward) of praying with jama'ah. So, one should perform the Tarawih in the mosque as far as possible. It is also a Sunnah to complete the recitation of the whole Quran in Tarawih in Ramadhan. It is thus advisable to request a hafiz (one who has memorized the Holy Quran by heart) to lead the prayer of Tarawih. However, paying any fee to the hafiz for this purpose is not allowed. If no such hafiz is available, the Tarawih should be led by any Imam, and he can recite in it whatever Surahs of the Holy Qur'an he remembers.
As a general practice, the Holy Qur'an is completed in most of the mosques a few days before the end of Ramadhan, on the 27th night or even earlier. In such a case, Tarawih should be continued till the last night of Ramadhan with recitation of different surahs. Those who leave Tarawih after the completion of the Holy Qur'an are not correct, because Sunnah of the Tarawih remains unchanged unto the last night.
The time of Tarawih begins after the performance of the obligatory (Fard) prayer of 'Isha. Therefore, the one who has not performed the Fard prayer of 'Isha cannot join the prayer of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of 'Isha first, then join the Tarawih. If he missed some rak'at of Tarawih, he can complete it after the witr. For example, a person came to the mosque when the Imam has performed four rak'at of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of 'Isha first, then join the jama'ah for Tarawih. If he has missed 4 or 6 rak'at of Tarawih, he should also perform the witr prayer with the Imam, then pray the four or six rak'at he has missed on his own, individually.

Ramadhan Timeline

The first revelation
The most significant event that occurred during Ramadhan is the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Prophet Muhammad (saw) was in the cave in Mount Hira when the Angel Jibreel (as) came to him (saw) with the first five ayat of Surah Al-Alaq.
"Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Quran as a guide to mankind also clear signs for guidance and judgement." [Qur'an Al-Baqarah: 185]
"We have indeed revealed it, (Al-Quran) in the night of power." [Qur'an Al-Qadr: 1]
1 A.H. (After Hijra)
In the first year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) sent Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib (ra) with thirty Muslim riders to Saif al Bahr with a definitive task of intercepting a caravan belonging to Quraish. It was a caravan of 300 people including Abu Jahl bin Hisham. The two parties encountered each other and aligned in preparation for fighting. Majdi bin 'Amr, on good terms with both sides, happened to be there and managed to prevent an imminent clash.
2 A.H.
In the second year of Hijrah the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) set out on the 8th Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his companions mounted on seventy camels. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and his companions set out to intercept a caravan of their own goods that had been left in Makkah. It was led by Abu Sufyan, himself, and estimated at 60,000 dinars. They were met by a well-equipped army of the nobility of Quraish, intent on putting out the light of Islam. Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other at Badr on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. Despite being outnumbered three to one and appearing weak and unseasoned, the Muslims defended their faith with a burning desire to protect the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and meet their Lord through martyrdom. Allah (swt) gave them a decisive victory at Badr on this day of Ramadhan that would never to be forgotten.
6 A.H.
In 6 A.H., Zaid ibn Haritha (ra) was sent to Wadi al-Qura at the head of a detachment to confront Fatimah bint Rabiah, the queen of that area. Fatimah had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid (ra) and had succeeded in plundering its wealth. She was known to be the most protected woman in Arabia, as she hung fifty swords of her close relatives in her home. Fatimah was equally renowned for showing open hostility to Islam. She was killed in a battle against these Muslims in the month of Ramadhan. 
8 A.H.
By Ramadhan of 8 A H., the treaty of Hudaibiya had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Muhammad (saw) felt the need to strike a fatal blow to Kufr in the Arabian Peninsula and conquer the city of Mecca. Now the time had come to purify the Ka'ba of nakedness and abomination. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) set out with an army having more armed men than Al-Madinah had ever seen before. People were swelling the army's ranks as it moved toward Makkah. The determination of the believers became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle, on the 20th of Ramadhan. This was one of the most important dates in Islamic history for after it, Islam was firmly entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula. During the same month and year, after smashing the idols of Makkah, detachments were sent to the major centres of polytheism and al-Lat, Manat and Suwa, some of the greatest idols of Arabia, were destroyed. 
Such was the month of Ramadhan in the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding evil, and striving hard with one's life and wealth. After the death of the Prophet (saw), the Muslims under the Khilafah carried on this tradition. Ramadhan continued to be a time of great trials and crucial events. 
92 A.H.
Ninety-two years after the Hijrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderick of the Visigoths. Roderick had forced his six million serfs and persecuted Jews to seek the aid of the Muslims of North Africa. Musa ibn Husair, the Umayyad governor of North Africa, responded by sending his courageous general Tariq ibn Ziyad at the head of 12,000 troops. In Ramadhan of that year, they were confronted with a combined Visigoth army of 90,000 Christians led by Roderick, himself, who was seated on a throne of ivory silver, and precious gems, drawn by white mules. After burning his boats, Tariq motivated the Muslims warning them that Paradise lay ahead of them and defeat and the sea to the rear. They burst with great enthusiasm and Allah (swt) manifested a clear victory over the forces of disbelief. Not only were Roderick and his forces completely annihilated, but Tariq and Musa succeeded in liberating the whole of Spain, Sicily and parts of France. This was the beginning of the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.
658 A.H.
In the seventh century A.H. the Mongols were sweeping across Asia destroying everything that lay in their path. Genghis Khan called himself "the scourge of God sent to punish humanity for their sins". In 617 A.H. Samarkand, Ray, and Hamdan were put to the sword causing more than 700,000 people to be killed or made captive. In 656 A.H. Hulagu, the grandson of Genghis Khan continued this destruction. Even Baghdad, the leading city of the Muslim world, was ransacked. Some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 Muslims were killed in this awesome carnage. The Christians were asked to eat pork and drink wine openly while the surviving Muslims were forced to participate in drinking bouts. Wine was sprinkled in the masjids and no Adhan (call to prayer) was allowed. In the wake of such a disaster threatening the whole Muslim world, Allah (swt) raised up from the Mamluks of Egypt, Saifuddin Qutz, who united the Muslim army and met the Mongols at Ain Jalut on Friday, 25 Ramadhan 658 A.H. (6 September 1260 CE). Qutz told his army to wait until they finished the Friday prayers (Jummah Salah), "Do not fight them until it is sunset and the shadows appear and the winds stir, and the preachers and people start to implore Allah for us in their prayers", and thereafter the fighting began. Jullanar, the wife of Qutz, was killed during the battle. He rushed towards her saying, "Oh my beloved one". She told him while uttering her last breath, "Do not say that, and care more for Islam." Her soul left her body after telling her husband that the Jihad for the sake of Allah and Islam is more important than love and personal relations. Qutz stood up saying "Islamah…Islamah". The whole army repeated that word after him until they achieved their victory. Although they were under great pressure, the Muslims with the help of Allah (swt), cunning strategy and unflinching bravery, crushed the Mongol army and reversed this tidal wave of horror. The Muslims immediately started to chase the Mongolians, and Qutz entered Damascus five days after the Ain Jalut battle. The chase continued to Halab and when the Mongolians felt the approach of the Muslims they left behind the Muslim prisoners. In the period of a month the Muslims were able to restore Bilad El-Sham entirely from the hands of the Tartars and the Mongolians.
682 A.H.
In the year 682 A.H. (Ramadan, 4th July 1187 C.E.) Salahuddin Ayyubi with the Muslim Mujahideen of the Khilafah fought one of the most important battles in the history of Islam. The Muslims on this day, in one single day, virtually routed all local Christian forces capable of defending the Crusaders establishment in the Near East. Facing no resistance, Salahuddin took his time to reach the city of Jerusalem on 9th October 1187 C.E. (Christian Era), a Friday, and the Holy city was purified.
This was the spirit of Ramadhan that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer whilst calling upon Allah (swt) for His mercy and forgiveness. Today, the Muslim world is faced with disunity, colonisation, widespread corruption and economic deprivation. Surely we are in need of the Khilafah so that the believers can walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam), the illustrious Sahabah, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Qutuz, Salahuddin and the countless heroes of Islam. Surely we should be of the believers who are unafraid of the threats of the Kuffar, yet kind and humble amongst ourselves.
May Allah (swt) make us from amongst that generation of Muslims who can carry Islam to all corners of the globe and may He give us the strength to undertake all hardships in the pursuit of His (swt) pleasure.
By Abdul-Hamid Jassat

11 Tips to Help You Enjoy Taraweeh This Ramadan

Here are a few practical steps that highlight some ways in which you can get the most out of your Taraweeh this year, insha’Allah:
  1. For most of us, work, school or just about anything else becomes an excuse to wriggle us out of attending Taraweeh. The next time an excuse creeps into your mind, think to yourself – “It’s just once a year”. You may not get an opportunity to pray Taraweeh next year, so don’t give yourself excuses!(Sahih Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 32, Number 226) Why pass up such an opportunity?Remind yourself it’s a once in a year opportunity
    Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” 
  2. Make sure all your work is taken care of before you head out for Taraweeh. Plan your day so that homework is finished, emails are typed out, the dishes are cleaned and the kids are tucked away in bed for you to be able to stand through Taraweeh without your mind being occupied. If you cannot finish off certain tasks before Taraweeh then set a time after it when you will be working on these tasks. Go to the masjid stress-free
  3. In this way, everyone makes it to Taraweeh without anybody slipping off under the bed covers and dozing off. If you are able to offer a ride to your friends in the neighborhood then there is insh’Allah, ajr (reward), for becoming a means for them to get to the masjid. Also, going along with a group adds to the enthusiasm! Finally, if you get to the masjid early with a group.Go to the masjid with a group of friends or family
  4. Get to the masjid early
    This is important. You leave five minutes before the prayer begins, you get to the masjid breathless, you’re thirsty now and there’s no place to stand, you finally find a spot where you are squished between crowds of people, this spot is hot – disaster during Taraweeh. Do not take a nap after iftaar, leave for the masjid right away. This will ensure that you get to the masjid without any puffing or panting and you can get a comfortable spot. Leave a portion of your daily Quran recitation to recite during this time.
  5. Have a light iftaar
    Yes, we have all been hungry all day and seeing the delicious iftaar meal on the table makes you never want to stop. However, stocking up on all of it will do you more harm than good. It’s also against the sunnah! So go easy on your stomach and eat light. A full belly makes for a very uncomfortable Taraweeh. You may have a few more bites when you return from taraweeh if you feel you haven’t eaten enough.
  6. Know what’s being recited
    This is by far the most crucial tip for Taraweeh prayers. Often we begin to feel tired and restless during Taraweeh because we have no clue about what is being recited! This also takes away from the khushu’ in one’s prayer. There are long-term and short-term solutions for this.The short-term solution: Get to know ahead of time what the imam will recite during Taraweeh the next day. Ask the imam or just predict! That night, pick up a copy of an English translation of the Quran and read the word-to-word translation and perhaps some of the commentary on those ayahs. You’ll feel far more alert during Taraweeh when you’re able to pick up on some of the meanings of what is being recited.The long-term solution: Plan ahead of Ramadan. Enroll yourself in online or local Arabic courses and learn some basic Quranic Arabic. Also, try joining Tafseer courses to be able to understand the beauty in the meanings of the Quran. This works far better than reading a mere translation of the Arabic text – but you need to plan ahead!
  7. Don’t neglect the fardh prayers
    Make sure in all the hype about Taraweeh, you don’t neglect your fardh (obligatory) prayers!
  8. Often halfway through Ramadan, we begin to feel a ‘dip’ where the enthusiasm for Taraweeh from the first few days begins to wear away. Avoid it. You may try new things to keep up the enthusiasm such as going for Taraweeh along with a friend, forming a  with a few friends at the masjid after prayer etc. But most importantly, remind yourself why you’re going for Taraweeh each day and renew your intentions.Avoid the ‘dip’
  9. Water is your friend
    Carry a water bottle with you to freshen up in the breaks during the Taraweeh. To pump up the goodness and rewards, bring a few extras for others praying in the masjid.
  10. Leave the scowling at home
    Sometimes people in the masjid may get on your last nerve. It’s hot and crowded, kids cry and people push. But keep your smile on. Ramadan is all about clinging to patience.
  11.  Du’a..Du’a..Du’a! 
    It’s the month of asking for forgiveness and seeking His Bounty. Learn different du’as that you can recite during the rest periods during taraweeh.

    by Sundas Naeem

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