Podcast

Ramadan – No Time To Sleep

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا
يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

“Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed as a source of guidance for all people, as clear evidence of the truth and as the standard of (right and wrong). So when you see the new moon (signaling the start of Ramadan), fast the entire month, though the very ill and those traveling should fast (later when it’s more convenient to do so), for God wishes ease and not hardship. Complete the fast, and praise God for His guidance, so you can learn to be thankful.”

“When My servants ask you about Me, I am near, and I listen to every suppliant the moment he calls upon Me. So, let them also listen to My call and believe in Me so they can follow the right way.”Qur’an 2: 184-185

The instructive beauty of nature.

Atrophy of the senses.

What is the Qur’an? What are its qualities and attributes? Al-Hakīm: wisdom, judgment.

وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“To God belongs the East and the West; wherever you turn is His presence. He’s all-pervading and full of knowledge.”Qur’an 2: 115

Podcast

Understanding Islam – Attention Pt.1

Paying Attention: some reflections on Gay Watson’s book, “Attention”.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “pay attention” or more likely, had someone say to you, “pay attention!”

“Attending, that overlooked process, is at the very heart of who we are, and how we become that person we think we know.” — Gay Watson

Podcast

Muslims In America – Choosing Our Own Destiny

Imitation vs. Innovation.

أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا ۖ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشاءُ وَيَهدي مَن يَشاءُ ۖ فَلا تَذهَب نَفسُكَ عَلَيهِم حَسَراتٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَليمٌ بِما يَصنَعونَ

“And what of him the evil of whose actions appears fine to him so that he sees them as good? Allah misguides whoever He wills and guides whoever He wills. So do not let yourself waste away out of regret for them. Allah knows what they do.”Qur’an 35: 8

If it holds true that Allah misguides the one who sees evil actions as good, what does that mean for those (us!) that see/envy their actions? Are we also not seeing something evil as good?

مَن كانَ يُريدُ العِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ العِزَّةُ جَميعًا ۚ إِلَيهِ يَصعَدُ الكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالعَمَلُ الصّالِحُ يَرفَعُهُ ۚ وَالَّذينَ يَمكُرونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُم عَذابٌ شَديدٌ ۖ وَمَكرُ أُولٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبورُ

“If anyone wants power, all power belongs to Allah. All good words rise to Him and virtuous deeds elevate them. But people who plot evil deeds will suffer a harsh punishment. The plotting of such people is profitless.”Qur’an 35: 10

Many of us do not fully own ourselves or the image of ourselves. This no more evident in our inability to see faith and deeds as one. Because of the culture we live in, and its assumptions about the nature of reality, many of us see faith and deeds as separate. A kind of Muslim Cartesian-dualism. The above verse demonstrates their wholeness and yet we think one is sufficient without the other.

وَلا تَزِرُ وازِرَةٌ وِزرَ أُخرىٰ ۚ وَإِن تَدعُ مُثقَلَةٌ إِلىٰ حِملِها لا يُحمَل مِنهُ شَيءٌ وَلَو كانَ ذا قُربىٰ ۗ إِنَّما تُنذِرُ الَّذينَ يَخشَونَ رَبَّهُم بِالغَيبِ وَأَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ ۚ وَمَن تَزَكّىٰ فَإِنَّما يَتَزَكّىٰ لِنَفسِهِ ۚ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ المَصيرُ

“No burden-bearer can bear another’s burden. If someone weighed down calls for help to bear his load, none of it will be borne for him, even by his next of kin. You can only warn those who fear their Lord in the Unseen and establish salat. Whoever is purified, is purified for himself alone. Allah is your final destination.”Qur’an 35: 18

Podcast

Understanding Islam – Confirming The Truth (Musaddiq)

وَآمِنوا بِما أَنزَلتُ مُصَدِّقًا لِما مَعَكُم وَلا تَكونوا أَوَّلَ كافِرٍ بِهِ ۖ وَلا تَشتَروا بِآياتي ثَمَنًا قَليلًا وَإِيّايَ فَاتَّقونِ

“Believe in what I have sent down, confirming (musaddiq) what is with you. Do not be the first to reject it and do not sell My Signs for a paltry price. Be concerned with protecting yourselves from Me alone”Qur’an, 2: 41

Podcast

Those Who Have No Hope In Meeting Us

A short excerpt from Fajr Club, a weekly event/class at Middle Ground on the weekends. Here, Imam Marc discusses a segment from the tenth chapter of the Qur’an, Surah Yunus.

إِنَّ الَّذينَ لا يَرجونَ لِقاءَنا وَرَضوا بِالحَياةِ الدُّنيا وَاطمَأَنّوا بِها وَالَّذينَ هُم عَن آياتِنا غافِلونَ أُولٰئِكَ مَأواهُمُ النّارُ بِما كانوا يَكسِبونَ

“As for those who do not expect to meet Us and are content with the life of the dunya/wordly life and at rest in it, and those who are heedless of Our Signs their shelter will be the Fire because of what they earned.”Qur’an, 10: 7

Podcast

Rajab And Sha’ban – Utilizing These Two Months

Rajab and Sha’ban are the seventh and eighth months in the Islamic lunar calendar.

  • battles were prohibited in Rajab by the Prophet;
  • no specific way of worship has been prescribed in this month*;

* ‘Uthman b. Hakim al-Ansari said, “I asked Sa’id about fasting in Rajab, and we were already passing through the month of Rajab, whereupon he said: ‘I heard Ibn ‘Abbas say…’.” See hadith below.

فَقَالَ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ رضى الله عنهما يَقُولُ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يُفْطِرُ‏ وَيُفْطِرُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ لاَ يَصُومُ

“I heard Ibn ‘Abbas as saying ‘the Messenger of Allah used to observe fast so continuously that we used to say that he would not break it and did not observe it so continuously that we were inclined to say that he would not observe fast’.” — Sahih Muslim

عَنْ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ قَالَ إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا، أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثَلاَثٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبُ مُضَرَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ

“The Prophet said, ‘Time has come back to its original state which it had when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth; the year is twelve months, four of which are sacred. Three of them are in succession; Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and al-Muharram, and Rajab Mudar* which stands between Jumada and Sha’ban’.” — Sahih Muslim

* named after the tribe of Mudar as they used to respect this month.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا في رَجَبٍ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنا رَمَضَانَ

“O Allah bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban and enable us to reach Ramadan!”al-Bayhaqi

رجب شهر الله وشعبان شهري ورمضان شهر أمتي

“Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.”Anas bin Malik or Abu Sa’id al-Khudhri

This is a notoriously weak and/or fabricated hadith and should not be accepted. Some say, without proof, that Rajab was the month in which the Prophet’s blessed parents were married, and the month in which the Prophet’s mother, Aminah, became pregnant, implying that because of this, Rajab is the month to either get married or give birth.

“When one of the pious scholars became ill he said: “I have asked Allah to delay my death until the month of Rajab because I have heard that those that die in that month are saved from the Fire.” Allah answered his supplication and he died in Rajab.”unknown source

Islam was sent to confirm the supernatural while dismissing the superstitious.

It is reported, however, that Prophet used to fast most of the month in Sha’ban. These fasts were not mandatory but being that Sha’ban is the month immediately Ramadan, one mightmight infer that he was getting himself/his body ready for the month-long fast.

Anas bin Malik reports that the Prophet was asked, “Which fast has more merit to it after Ramadan?” He replied, “Fasting in Sha’ban in honor of Ramadan”.

Usama ibn Zaid reports that he asked the Prophet “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha’ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month” to which the Prophet replied: “Sha’ban is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds of human beings is presented before the Lord of the universe, so I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting”.

Celebration of Laylah al-Mi’raj

Many believe that Mi’raj took place in the night of 27th of Rajab. Some people have even taken to calling it “Laylah al-Mi’raj”.

And while the event of Mi’raj was one of the most remarkable episodes in the life of the Prophet neither he, nor Allah, ordained any celebration about its occurence. We also find none of the Companions making it into some soft of annual celebration.

What’s the lesson in this for us to learn and benefit from?