Wednesday, May 31, 2017

An appointment with CM at 3.00 am...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

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IMAGINE this scenario -  after attending a very late political 'ceramah' (talk) you were at a 'mamak' restaurant - at first you wanted to head straight home but your tummy ask 'for a refill' - there you saw an old friend sitting alone at a corner desk - you asked yourself quietly "what's he is up to at this wee hour of the night?"

You approached, greeted him and asked: "You seemed to be waiting for somebody...but it is 3.00 am now..." to which he answered: "Yes, I am waiting for the CM (Chief Minister). I had an appointment with him!"

Immediately your mind would grade high to that person. Subhanallah, this friend of mine must be someone of importance to the Chief Minister. He was so special in the eyes of the CM...because he had the 'power' to make the CM gave up his sleep just to see him.

And of course, the matter or matters they would discussed were very important and urgent...if not why the CM must see him in the wee hour of the night...can't he wait until tomorrow when he is in office?

Well, dear readers, if a person or persons who could set an appointment at 3.00 am with the Chief Minister are looked high in our eyes, just imagine the position of a pious person who have an 'appointment' with Allah SWT, Master of the Universe at the wee hours of the night - more amazingly if he could have the appointment being set at every night!

And if 'the appointment' is made during Ramadan which is the 'penghulu' (chief) of all months, then that person or persons, 'insya-Allah' (God Willing) would be in high ranks in the 'eyes' of Allah SWT.

This 'appointment with the CM story' was used by an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) during his 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lesson) at a 'masjid' near my house recently to 'inject' the spirit to perform 'ibadah malam' (acts of devotion to Allah SWT during the night) among Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

"Let's make our night alive during this 'barakah' (blessed) month of Ramadan," said the 'ustaz'. He explained our 'night duties' begin with performing 'solat isyak' (late evening prayers) 'berjemaah' (in mass) followed by 'solat sunat tarawih' (the recommended prayers with eight or 20 'rakaat' which could be done alone or in mass) and ends with 'solat witir', a one or three 'rakaat' prayer.

Normally the above 'solat' at the masjid ends at about 10.00 pm and congregators head home to have a light supper or they could have it at the masjid itself which is called 'moreh'. Then we could continue with our work, mingling with our family members, do some reading or reciting the Qur'an before calling it a day; perhaps at 11.00 or 12.00 midnight.

At 3.00 or 4.00 am we could wake up with 'high spirits' to fulfill 'our 'appointment' with Allah SWT during the very calm and serene time of the night.

"One of the most important things to do is to perform your 'qiam' (night) prayers," said the ustaz. "There are many recommended prayers such as 'solat tahajud', 'tasbih', 'taubat', 'hajat' and 'witir'. If you had said your 'witir' prayes after your 'tarawih' then you need not repeat it.

"It is recommended to offer 11 rakaat of all the prayers mentioned; the time taken is up to you but it was reported that Sayidina Uthman bin Affan prayed a two rakaat prayer all night long (from after isyak and ended before dawn) finishing reciting the whole Quran from Surah Al-Fatehah to Surah An-Nas," said the ustaz.

After performing your prayers, you could use the time to read the Qur'an, said the ustaz. "If could recite the Qur'an in your solat (as what Sayidina Uthman did) that would be highly rewarded by Allah SWT; but if you could not, then reading it from the book would be a very good deed what more if you searched for its meaning and had a thought about it.

The next thing to do in the wee hours of night is 'berdoa' (do your supplication to Allah SWT). Remember, 'berdoa' is an 'ibadah'; so do it the correct way as suggested and showed by the Prophet, his 'sahabah' (companions) and renowned scholars. Begin it with praising Allah SWT (reading Surah Al-Fatehah would be highly recommended), 'saluting' (salawat and salam) to the Prophet and his family members and then ending it with the salawat dan salam.

Many of the well known supplications derived from the Qur'an; among them are 'Rabbana aatina fiddunya hasanatan wafil akhirati hasanatan waqina adhabannaar' (Our Lord, give us good in this life, and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the Hellfire). - Al-Baqarah or Cow, 201) and ayah 40-41 of Surah Ibrahim with the meaning: "My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and (many) from my descendants; Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established" and ayah 87 of Surah Al-Anbiya; 'La ilaha illa Anta, Subhanaka, inni kuntu mina z-zalimin' (there is no deity but You. Glory be to You! Verily, I have been among the wrongdoers) which was the supplication by Prophet Yunus.

The ustaz said the next 'ibadah' to be done would be the 'zikir' (dhikir that is eulogizing Allah in the words taught by the Prophet or in the words prescribed in the Qur’an). One’s tongue should be wet with words of praising Allah SWT with the chants of ‘Laa Ilaha IllAllah (there is no God except Allah) which is the heaviest in weight on the side of Allah SWT. Then there are many more ‘kalimah’ that should be read such as ‘Subhanallah, Walhamdulillah, Wala Ilaha Illallah, Wallahuakbar’, Astaghfirullah al Lazi La Ilaha ‘illa Hual Hayyul Qayyum Wa Atubu Illahi’, ‘La Haula Wala Quwwata Illa Billah’, and ‘Subhanallahi Wabihamdihi Subhanallahil ‘Azim’ (lofty words in His praise).

These ‘kalimah’ should be chanted in full concentration for the maximum rewards by Allah SWT and for the ‘zikir selawat’ (praises to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.) its reciters would also be rewarded even if their minds were not on what they recited, what more if they paid full attention to it. Among the simplest ‘selawat’ is ‘Allahumma Salli Ala Saiyidina Muhammad, Wa’ ala Ali Saiyidina Muhammad’.

After spending our night with the above ibadah (praying, reading the Qur'an, doing supplications and 'dhikir'), then it would be time for us to take our 'sahur' (meal before beginning our fast). This is also an 'ibadah'; it is recommended to take it late perhaps in Peninsular Malaysia at around 5.00 am before the 'azan' (call for prayers) at dawn (Subuh) at around 5.40 am.

Before the 'azan', men should already be in the masjid, performing their 'solat tahiyatul masjid' and after 'azan' their 'sunat' (recommended) prayers. Then perform the subuh prayer in congregation. After 'subuh', daylight would slowly come on; we are advised to seek our parts in the world (go to work).

But remember, we would be fasting on that day; Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah s.a.w. said: “Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except being awake.” - Darimi

Why is it that way...; the ustaz advised congregators that "fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drink...We are also requested to 'fast' our tongues, eyes, ears and minds. If we only refrain ourselves from taking food and drink, but 'free' our eyes, ears and tongues, then at the end of the day, I am afraid we will be rewarded only with hunger, thirst and tiredness."

To beginners, of course it is hard to 'have an appointment with Allah SWT' at 3.00 am; scholars have given us tips on how to wake up for the 'tahajud' and other prayers; among others:

* It is preferred that what you eat is of high nutritional value and is not consumed for the sake of taste buds. Break you fast as soon as possible but for 'sahur' delayed it - say about 30 minutes before the 'adhan subuh'.

* Take a mid-day nap/siesta before 'zuhur' or after.

Remain pure all day, i.e. in wudhu. 

* Praying 'fardu' (obligatory) prayers on time in 'jemaah' (mass) with maximum khushoo’ at the 'masjid'. 

* Go to sleep early and 'du'a' (supplicate) to Allah SWT 'to help you in waking up'! 

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