Niuse

Posts Tagged ‘Hadith

Ramadan

Posted on: August 12, 2008

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان, Ramaḍan) is a Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be the month in which the Qur’an began to be revealed.

Name origin

The name “Ramadan” is taken from the name of this month; the word itself derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated and blessed month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

Laylat al-Qadr, which falls during the last third, commemorates the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an and is considered the most holy night of the year. Ramadan ends with the holiday Eid ul-Fitr, on which feasts are held. During the month following Ramadan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days.

Practices during Ramadan

Fasting

Main article: Sawm

The most prominent event of this month is the fasting (sawm) practiced by most observant Muslims. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat the Suhoor meal (the pre dawn meal) and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds. Sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden.[Qur’an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. Muslims can eat after the sun has set. Pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and children less than 12 years of age are all exempt from fasting as lack of food could damage health.

Prayer and reading of the Qur’an

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Istanbul in Ramadan (the writing with lights called mahya)

Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo


Ramadan Lanterns, Cairo

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

Eid Ul-Fitr meal, Malaysia

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an.

Sunni Muslims tend to perform the recitation of the entire Qur’an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur’an (juz, which is 1/30 of the Qur’an) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed. Tarawih is an Arabic phrase referring to those extra prayers. This prayer is performed after salah of Isha’a, but before the witr rakat. Tarawih is an innovation introduced into Islam by the second Caliph Umar so is not practiced by Shia Muslims.

Muslims also pay Zakat (only applicable if one can afford it) during the month. For those who qualify to pay Zakaat, as per the Islamic Nisab (that is those whose wealth exceeds their necessities), of the leftover of their wealth earned in that Islamic calendar year. Although Zakat can be paid any time of the year, it has to be calculated on a year to year basis, and many Muslims use Ramadan as the month for calculation and disbursement.

Ramadan is also a time when Muslims are to slow down from worldly affairs and focus on self reformation, spiritual cleansing and enlightenment, establishing a link between God Almighty and themselves by prayer, supplication, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it, this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need. There is also a social aspect involved – the preparing of special foods and inviting people for the Iftar meal (the meal to break the Fast).

In many Muslim and non Muslim countries with large Muslim populations, markets close down in the evening to enable people to perform prayers and consume the Iftar meal (the meal to end the fast) – these markets then re-open and stay open for a good part of the night. Muslims can be seen shopping, eating, spending time with their friends and family during the evening hours.

Events of Ramadan

Laylat al-Qadr (Arabic: لیلة القدر) (known as Shab-e Qadr in Persian), literally the “Night of Decrees” or “Night of Measures”, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan.[citation needed] Muslims believe that it was the night of the Laylat al-Qadr that the Quran’s first verse was revealed. The exact night of the Laylat al-Qadr is only known to God and Muhammed but he chose to keep it to himself so that Muslims won’t pray only that night. That is why Muhammad indicated that it was one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is an optional prayer as opposed to the compulsory 5 daily prayers. According to one current school of thought (Ankaboot), it is suggested that North American Muslims arrange their work-schedule for Eid by requesting the two most likely days of Eid as Holidays or simply as days off from work. This allows for quality family time, and is akin to the Christian/North American tradition of taking Christmas and Christmas Eve off as holidays. This also allows for time off to celebrate the Eid prayer at a mosque and with family. The fast always ends after 29 or 30 days of fasting, and thus the request would be for the 29th and 30th day after the start of the fast.

Muslims are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal, the month following Ramadan that begins after Eid ul-Fitr; these days need not be consecutive. According to hadith, one who fasts the month of Ramadan and six days during Shawwal will be rewarded as though he fasted the entire year.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan

Advertisements

Shab-i-Miraj means the night of Ascent. It is the blessed night when the Holy Prophet of Islam was spiritually transported to heaven and he reached a high stage of nearness to God Almighty which is beyond ordinary human comprehension. The Ascent took place on 27th day or Rajab, 2 years before Hijra. The journey was not with a physical body but was a vision of the highest type. On the way the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, met Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and some other Prophets. The purpose of the Ascent was to confirm the high status of the Prophet of Islam, a position which all Muslims believe, is impossible to attain by any other human being. It is related that even Gabriel, the Angel who was accompanying the Holy Prophet remarked at one stage, ‘I am forced to stop here. I cannot go any further, but you O Messenger of peace and friend of the Master of the worlds, continue your glorious ascent.’

It is also related that the Holy Prophet continued his journey until he reached very close to the Throne of God Almighty and attained the utmost nearness to Him. After having drunk fully at the Divine fountain of spiritual knowledge he came down to impart the knowledge to mankind.

It was on this journey, that five daily prayers were made obligatory upon Muslims.

Celebrations:
According to popular belief, the Miraj or Spiritual Ascension took place on 27 of Rajab. On this day, in some Muslim countries the houses and streets and specially the mosques are decorated with colorful pennants and buntings, and at night they are well illuminated by means of electric lights, candles or even oil lamps. As evening approaches the worshippers assemble in the mosques and engage themselves in glorifying the Lord and in singing hymns in His praise and in praise of the Holy Prophet. Public meetings are also held generally after Isha Prayer in larger mosques where speakers throw light on the spiritual status of the Holy Prophet, and various aspects of his life. The story of his spiritual ascension is narrated in detail. After the meetings sweets are generally distributed. Muslims of means give money in charity and also distribute food among the poor. The devoted ones spend the whole night in the remembrance of God.

Q.1. (i) What is the reality behind Shab-e-Meraj? Did our Prophet visit Baitul Maqdas and the skies and see the paradise and hell and meet other Prophets there? How could he meet the Prophets there when he had led them in prayer in Baitul Maqdas, a short while ago the same night? Had those Prophets whom he met over the skies, also reached there by riding the Burraq?

ii) What is Burraq? Is it a heavenly animal? Does it look like a horse with flying wings? Is it scientific and rational?

iii) Did the Prophet travel in Meraj while awake or in his dream, like some scholars say? Did he see Allah? Does the event find mention in Qur’an and Hadith? How should the Muslims celebrate Shab-e-Meraj?

…Mohammad Burhanuddin; Hubli.

Ans. The word Me’raj (Ascent of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is derived from Urooj, which means, ‘height’, ‘ascension’. It occurs in Hadith. The Qur’anic word for the event is ‘Israa’, meaning ‘the journey’. The event is briefly mentioned in the Qur’an, its detailed provided by Hadiths while the people’s fantasies add the usual garnishing. Taken from Qur’an and Hadiths the essential details of the event (with necessary explanation and discussions) are as follows;

The Heart Operation
Archangel Jibriel alongwith two other angels visited the holy Prophet (Pbuh) one night, while he was asleep in the Hateem part of Ka’abah. The angel then operated upon his heart and made some changes probably because the material body could not withstand the space travel with the required velocity without certain protection. The related part of the narration reads; ‘… Jibriel among them took upon himself to make a cut from the throat down to a part below the heart of the Prophet till he emptied the chest and the stomach. Then with his hands he washed it with Zamzam water till the stomach was cleaned. Then was brought a golden tray in which was a golden light filled with faith and wisdom. Pouring it inside, the chest and the veins of throat were filled up. Then the opened part was closed…’ (Bukhari)

By incorporating the changes in the body system, his body was probably converted from material into Noorani (lightening) body to withstand the journey of space. It may be remembered that the material bodies of people destined for heavens would also be changed to lightening bodies after The Maidaan-e-Hash’r (The place of great gathering) before taking them to heavens.

Burraq
After the transformation of the body, a conveyance named Burraq was presented before him. Burraq, the narration says, resembled a horse-like animal but its very name indicates that it also possessed a lightening body. The word Burraq is derived from the root Bar’q which means ‘electricity’ in Arabic. Burraq signifies that he had to be taken with the velocity of Bar’q that is electricity or light which is 300,000 km per second.

In the Mosque of Jerusalem
No wonder, within no time he reached Baitul Maqdis or Masjid-e-Aqsa. The Qur’an has summarised the event in one verse; ‘Exalted is He (Allah) who took his bondsman (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Masjid-il-Haram (Ka’abah) to Masjid-il-Aqsa (the Mosque in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof we have blessed, in order that we might show him our signs…’ (17:1)

In Baitul Maqdis, the Prophet (Pbuh) led in prayer, all the earlier Prophets who were gathered for the occasion (naturally in their Barzakm or transitional and transcendental bodies). The journey from one holy Mosque to the other and the Prophet leading signifying that the inheritance of Divine leadership was being transferred to him from Bani Israel who no more deserved the honour.

Towards Heavens and Beyond
From there, he was raised to the heavens where he again met and conversed with different Prophets. Then came the most honoured moment of the journey as he was elevated to a point beyond heavens, called Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. What he observed there is described in Qur’an in the following words; ‘One free from any defect in body and mind then He (‘) rose and became stable, While he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer and was at a distance of two bows length or (even) closer. So, He (Allah) revealed to his bondsman (Muhammad) whatever he revealed. The Prophet’s heart lied not in what he saw. Will you then dispute with him (Muhammad) about what he saw? And indeed, he (Muhammad) saw him at a second descent near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. Near it is Paradise of Abode. When that covered the Sidrah, which did cover it, the sight (of Prophet Muhammad) turned not aside nor it transgressed beyond the limit. Indeed he (Muhammad) did see of the greatest signs of his Lord (Allah)?. (53:6-18)

Whom did he meet? Allah or Jibriel?
There has been difference of opinion among scholars right from the days of Sahaba about whom the Prophet (Pbuh) met and saw at the place beyond heavens and horizon. Some say he saw Allah while others opine that he saw Jibriel in his original form. Ibne Abbas swore by the earlier while the Prophet’s wife Aisha strongly reprimanding the idea of physical sighting of Allah, favoured the latter opinion.

Both these assumptions invite serious apprehensions that could not be answered satisfactorily. Did the Prophet set eyes on Allah Quran says; ?No (material) vision can grasp him?. (6:103) When Prophet Musa (A.S) expressed his desire to see the Almighty, he said; ?You can not (bear to) see me (in your material mould)?. (7:143). Those supporting the ‘saw Him’ theory say that it was an exclusive honour of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) alone and an exception that the Lord appeared for him. It may also be argued in the light of what I have written above that the holy Prophet, during Me’raj was in a spiritual mould. What goes against the idea of Allah’s appearance before the Prophet then’ Well, primarily the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself never claimed seeing Allah, while narrating the events of Me’raj. If he had, it would have been the most important part worth description. Secondly, none of the companions insisting on ‘Deedar’ (sighting) ascribe the claim to the Prophet. Instead, they say so based on conjectures. Thirdly, the Prophet’s wives should have been the first to be privy to such information if it was true. Not only none of them narrated thus but also Hazrat Aisha strongly denounced and even reprimanded such claims. Fourthly, the description in Qur’an, of the person, whom the Prophet (Pbuh) met in Me’raj seems too materialistic to fit the conception of Allah. Read them again; ‘.. Then he approached and came closer and was at a distance of two bows length or (even) closer..? And lastly, the Prophet himself denied that he saw Allah in Me’raj; ‘Narrated Abuzar that he asked the Prophet (Pbuh); Did you see your Lord? He replied; He is Noor. How can I see Him.? (Muslim)

The second theory of seeing Jibriel in his real form is also very unlikely. It is an anticlimax of a very extraordinary miracle described with much importance by Qur’an and Hadith. Seeing Hazrat Jibriel, a frequent visitor to the Prophet (Pbuh) (even in his original form) would not have been such a big event. The traditions also say that Hazrath Jibriel was not permitted to accompany the Prophet to Sidratul-Muntaha. He alone was elevated upto the all-important destination and hence the question of his seeing Jibriel there does not arise.

If neither Allah nor Jibriel, then who was he, whom the Prophet met there? Naturally some personage who is in between them both in stature, Haqeeqat-e-Ahmadi, of whom Muhammad r was a part and material manifestation. The Prophet (Pbuh) was informed and shown his own spiritual reality at Sidrat-ul-Muntaha. The Qur’an briefly mentions only the following; ‘So He (Allah) revealed to his bondsman (Muhammad) whatever he revealed… Indeed he (Muhammad) did see of the greatest signs of his Lord (Allah)’.

(And surely Allah alone knows the absolute truth.)

The Five times a day Salaat was ordained for the Ummah on the occasion. The Prophet (Pbuh) was also shown Paradise and Hell during the journey. After the great event he was again taken back to Ka’abah. The whole journey was completed within the night.

After the detail of the event, the answer to the uncovered parts of the question is the following.

Other Prophets also travelled by Burraq
1. The other Prophets, whom Prophet met, were also there with their transcendental bodies, which could travel in space as he did. They also travelled back to heavens from Baitul Maqdis with the help of their Burraqs at lightning velocities. There is a mention of other Prophets also possessing Burraqs in Muslim, in the Hadith describing Me’raj, reported by Anas Bin Malik.

Nothing Unscientific
ii) Hadiths clearly state that Burraq is a mute-like animal. There is no mention of wings. Only earthly animals with material bodies need wings to fly against the gravitational force. The basic constituent of Burraq’s body, as the word indicates, is electrical energy, instead of the elements of earth. There is nothing unscientific about this. The realities pertaining to the subjects which science has not covered yet cannot be termed unscientific. Science has not comprehended till date, the subject of spirits and spiritual bodies. There are a large number of Allah’s creations that are invisible to human eyes, as human sight can only comprehend the matter and not energy. The angels and the Jinns possess non-material bodies constituted of light and heat energies. The existence of other beings should not be unbelievable.

Neither Dream Nor Awake
iii) The Qur’an in Surah Israa, in which the advent is mentioned, indicates the state in which the Prophet (Pbuh) was carried to his journey. It says; ‘… And we made not the vision which we showed you, but a trial for mankind..’ (17:60)

It was neither a dream nor the state of wakefulness in the material sense. The Qur’anic word for the vision is ‘Ru’ya’ which is different from a dream. We find in one of the Hadiths describing Me’raj thus; ‘… They (the angels) came in such a state that the heart (of the Prophet) was seeing them. The eyes were asleep but the heart was awake. Likewise, the eyes of (all) the Prophets sleep but their hearts do not sleep..’ (Bukhari; Kitab-ut-Tauhid; Narration of Abu Hurairah)

The above narration of Me’raj in Bukhari, which is a very lengthy one, ends with the following words; ‘..And when he (Muhammad r woke up, he was in Masjid-il-Haram (Ka’abah).’ (Ibid).

So, the material body of the Prophet (Pbuh) was in a state of sleep after the Me’raj, while during the vision his transcendental body actually visited the places and witnessed the signs of Allah. In sleep he was taken and to sleep he was returned before and after the journey. During the journey, he was not asleep. He saw and witnessed everything with a transcendental body and with eyes, which were not material. Such is the vision of Prophets.

The Veracity of 27th Rajab
About the celebration, I must point out that there is not a single Hadith or authentic narration certifying the popular belief about 27th Rajab being the date of Me’raj. There are differences among scholars regarding the date, month and also the year of Me’raj. However, there is nothing against praying and glorifying the Lord and remembering the Prophet (Pbuh) on a particular night. At worst, it would be a distortion of a date in history, if the date is not actually true. It certainly is not a Bid’at unless the prayers of 27th Rajab are assumed to be obligatory part of Deen.

Source: http://www.islamicvoice.com/december.98/dialogue.htm