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Ghusal is a means of preparing one’s self for Ibaadat (Worship of Allah). Ghusal is a necessity for a true Muslim. The importance of Ghusal has been mentioned in both the Holy Quran and in the Ahadith. The verse of the Holy Quran that commanded Ghusal as a Fardh Action was revealed in the Holy City of Makkah. Almighty Allah commands in the Holy Quran that “if you are in an impure state, then purify yourself well.” Almighty Allah is Pure and Allah loves all that which is pure. It is on the authority of Hazrat Abu Qatadah (radi Allahu anhu) that The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)
said, “Cleanliness is half your Imaan.”

There are five factors that make Ghusal Fardh (obligatory) on a person. The first three that we have enlisted are for both males and females, while the last two are only for females. These are:-

  1. Wet dream causes Ghusal to become Fardh.
  2. Sexual intercourse will make Ghusal Fardh on both persons.
  3. Ejaculation caused due to lust makes Ghusal Fardh.
  4. Ghusal is Fardh on women on termination of her menstrual periods.
  5. Ghusal is also Fardh on a female after Nifaas (puerperal haemorrhage).

There are also three actions in Ghusal that are Fardh. These are:-

  1. To rinse the mouth thoroughly.
  2. To clean the nostrils thoroughly.
  3. To wash the entire body in such a manner that not even an area equal to a strand of hair be left dry. If this is not done properly, then Ghusal will not be done.

Even though one may be in a pure state, there are certain instances where it is either desirable (Mustahab) of Sunnah to make Ghusal.

It is Sunnah to perform Ghusl for the following:-

  1. For the Jummah Salaah.
  2. For Eid Salaahs.
  3. On the day of Arafaat (9th Zil-Hajj – Day of Hajj).
  4. Before tying one’s Ihraam.

It is Mustahab to perform Ghusl for the following:-

  1. When waiting in Arafaat and Muzdalifa.
  2. When visiting the Holy Haram (Kaaba).
  3. Before visiting the Blessed Tomb of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
  4. Before entering Mina.
  5. Before hitting the Jamraah.
  6. On the eve of the Birth of Holy Prophet Muhammad  (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
  7. For Lailatul Qadr.
  8. For  Lailatul Baraat.
  9. For Lailatul Me’raaj.
  10. On the eve of Eid.
  11. On the eve of Arafaah.
  12. On the eve and day of Aashurah  (10th Muharram).
  13. Before wearing new clothes.
  14. Before making Tauba (repenting) from one’s sins.
  15. For Salaatul Istisqaa.
  16. For Namaaz at the time of eclipse.
  17. Before teaching the Holy Quran and Ahadith.
  18. After bathing the deceased.
  19. After coming out of an unconscious state.
  20. Before and after a journey.
  21. After Istihaaza (Sickness of women).
  22. On recovering from illness.
  23. At the time of fear.
  24. During a storm.
  25. Before a wedding or any happy occasion.
  26. When visiting Holy Places such as Mazaars, etc.
  27. When going to meet a learned Scholar of Islam.

With the EXCEPTION of the above mentioned, it is also a good habit to bathe twice daily, in the morning on awakening and at night before going to bed.

The Sunnah method of Ghusal: One should first make Niyyah in the heart of Ghusal to gain purification from impurities. Both hands should then be washed till the wrist. The pubic areas should then be washed thoroughly removing any impurities. Impurities on any other portion of the body should be washed. One should then perform Wudhu. The entire body should then be washed thoroughly. Water must then be poured thrice over the right shoulder, then thrice over the left shoulder, thrice over the head, and then thrice over the entire body. One must make sure that the water passes over the body properly not leaving any dry spots. Thereafter, it is preferable for the feet to be washed after coming out of the bathroom. After making Ghusal in this way, one may read the Holy Quran or perform Salaah. There is no need to repeat Wudhu unless Wudhu becomes nullified (breaks). When making Ghusal, one is not allowed to read anything or talk unnecessarily.

Dear Friends! We should be clean and pure at all times, for none knows when death will come. May Almighty Allah keep us amongst the pure. Aameen.

Source: http://www.yanabi.com/activeweb.cfm?a_id=937

Fasting and YogaIn nature cure, one of the very important tools for health and disease cure is fasting.
Many people are learning the trick of curing their colds, headaches, nervous spells and other acute troubles by missing a few meals or taking a short fast. It is the simplest and the most efficient way of relieving the overloaded and “food-poisoned” system. You would be surprised to know how little food is actually required to keep the individual healthy.
One of the commonest complaints of the sick is that they have “lost their appetite”. In fact, the greatest blessing to them would be to lose their appetite long enough to find their hunger. Loss of appetite is an indication that the system is overcharged with toxins and nature is trying to correct this by giving a chance to the waste accumulation in the organs to escape from the system.
Fasting as a remedy is fully in harmony with the “nature-cure” philosophy of the cause of disease. If the disease is created by an abnormal accumulation of toxins in the system, it stands to reason that fasting will help in their elimination from the system. The membranous linings of the stomach and intestine which act as a “sponge” to absorb food materials are now “squeezed” to throw out the waste matter from the system.

Exercises While Fasting

The idea prevails that during a prolonged fast one should have complete rest. This however, is a serious mistake. There is no reason why one should not take the usual amount of or accomplish the accustomed daily tasks, provided, these do not strain the physical and mental energy to the point of exhaustion.

Source: http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/fasting.html

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How Tos of Fasting

The Obligation

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an act of obedience and submission to Allah’s commands through the highest degree of commitment, sincerity and faithfulness to seek Allah’s mercy, to atone for sins, errors, and mistakes and to avoid condemnation to Hell.

It is done out of deep love for God, with a genuine virtue of devotion, honest dedication and closeness to Allah, for Fasting is for Allah and Him alone.

The fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every adult, sane, and able Muslim.

Denial of the obligatory nature of fasting in the month of Ramadan amounts to disbelief.

One who avoids fasting without genuine reasons is a sinner and transgressor according to Islamic Shariah (Law).

Time: When to fast

Fasting in Islam involves abstinence from three primal physical needs of human beings- food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn (approximately one and a half hours before sunrise) to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan.

Who is exempted from fasting

1. Children under the age of puberty and discretion;

2. The insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds. People of these two categories are exempted from the duty of fasting and no compensation or any other substitute is enjoined on them;

3. Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fasting and bear its hardships. Such people are exempted from this duty, but they must offer at least one needy poor Muslim an average full meal or its value per person day.

4. Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by fasting. They may postpone the fast, as long as they are sick, to a later date and makeup for it, a day for a day;

5. People expecting hardship. Such people may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day. But it is better for them, the Quran says, to keep the fast if they can without causing extraordinary hardships;

6. Expectant women and women nursing their children may also break the fast, if its observance is likely to endanger their own health or that of their infants. But they must make up for the fast at a delayed time, a day for a day;

7. Women in periods of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days). They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it, a day for day.

The How To’s of Fasting

Niyyah or Intention of Fast

To observe the fast, the intention of fasting is essential (Wajib). The intention should be made daily, preferably before dawn of each day of fasting (in Ramadan).

Provision is made if someone has forgotten to express his intention before dawn. In such a case one is allowed to express intention of fasting before noon to avoid the invalidation of the fast.

The wording of Niyyah may be as follows:

“I intend to observe fast for today.”

Suhoor

Suhoor is a light, predawn meal, recommended before actually fasting. It is a blessing and hence recommended but not essential.

Any consumption of food or drink should cease at least five to ten minutes before the onset of dawn.

Iftar

Iftar is an Arabic term meaning breaking the fast immediately after the sunset. Iftar is a light snack consisting of dates or desserts, along with liquids, such as water, juice or milk.

This is eaten after making the following Dua (supplication) for breaking the fast:

“Oh Allah!  I fasted for your sake and I am breaking my fast from the sustenance You blessed me with, accept it from me.”

What breaks the fast

  1. Intentional consumption of food, drink, medicine, or smoking during the fasting.
  2. Any injection which has some nutritional value.
  3. Beginning of menstruation or post natal birth bleeding (even in the last moment of sunset).

The conditions mentioned above invalidate fasting and require “Qada” (making up only the missed day or days). However, intentional intercourse during the hours of fasting invalidates fasting and not only requires “Qada” but also additional penalty (Kaffara-see the explanation of this below).

What does not break the fast

  1. Eating or drinking by mistake, unmindful of the fast.
  2. Unintentional vomiting.
  3. Swallowing things which are not possible to avoid, such as one’s own saliva, street dust, smoke, etc.
  4. Brushing the teeth.
  5. Bathing: if water is swallowed unintentionally, it does not invalidate the fast. However, while fasting gargling should be avoided.
  6. Injection or I/V (Intravenous) which is solely medicinal and not nutritional.
  7. In some special circumstances if the food or drink is just tasted and immediately removed out of the mouth without allowing it to enter into the throat.

Kaffara

During the fasting period, if one deliberately breaks his or her fast, s/he must free one slave, or fast for sixty continuous days, or feed sixty needy persons, or spend in charity an amount equal to feeding sixty persons.

If one chooses to fast sixty days and the continuity is interrupted for any reason, except menstruation, one has to start the sixty day cycle all over again.

Breaking of the fast under exceptional conditions

Muslims are permitted to break their fast of Ramadan when there is a danger to their health.

In this situation a Muslim should make up his/her fast later. The missed fast(s) can be made up at any other time of the year, either continuously or intermittently, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr and the day of Eid-ul-Adha

Tarawih

These are special Sunnah prayers in the month of Ramadan. They follow the Isha prayers.  A minimum of eight and a maximum of twenty Rakat are offered in pairs of two.

Lailat al-Qadr

Amongst the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr) which is highlighted in Surah al-Qadr (Surah 97 in the Quran).

It has the significance of being better than a thousand months (Quran 97:3).

This was the night when Quran was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended Muslims search for this night of Power (Qadr) in the odd nights of the last ten nights in Ramadan.

Muslims spend the night in Ibadah (worship), asking forgiveness of their sins and reciting the Quran.

Source: http://www.soundvision.com/info/ramadan/howfast.asp