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.
DURING Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, often we heard or recited this 'du'a' (supplication) especially after 'solat' (prayers) - Allahumma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’bana wa balligh-na Ramadan (Oh Allah! grant us 'barakah' (blessing) during (the months of) Rajab and Sha’ban, and allow us to reach Ramadan).
I remembered an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) during his 'tazkirah' (lesson) at a 'masjid' near my house a few days ago asked his audiences: "Dear brothers, have you done these three things during the month of Rajab - first visit your parents, second promote 'silaturahim' (strengthening the bond of kinship) and third read the Qur'an."
The 'ustaz' said if the answer is no, then start doing them right now. "During the coming month Sha'ban please increase our good deeds and 'tame' our hearts to be closer to Allah SWT before we enter the holy month of Ramadan."
Insya-Allah, in seven weeks time, we would be observing Ramadan, the 9th month of the Hijra year when Muslims worldwide fast for the whole month.
To all, please refresh our minds about matters regarding 'puasa' (Ramadan) for example by reading our old notes, books or pose questions to the learned ones. Try to (practice) 'puasa' a few days before the 15th of Sha'ban as recommended deeds. And to those who had 'skipped' fasting during the last Ramadan especially ladies, please pay your 'puasa due' immediately!
Ramadan is the month when Muslims abstain from taking food and drinks during the day and increase our 'ibadat' especially in the night. So Ramadan is about taking less food because you can only eat after sunset but the irony of it, Ramadan is the month when many Muslims spend so much time, money and concern (thinking) on it as portrayed by the many promotions, advertisements on the mass media especially TV these days.
During Rajab, many 'masjids' held talks on 'Isra' and Mi'raj; an 'ustaz' said it is important for us to note three things regarding the 'barakah' journey of the Prophet s.a.w. that is regarding ‘masjid’, night hour and ‘solat’ (prayer).
He said, we could put into practice regarding the three things mentioned during this coming Ramadan. ‘Insya-Allah’ we would lead a tranquil life if we take concern of the three things mentioned. Regarding ‘masjid’ – the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) Isra’ journey of more than 1,000 kilometers was from Masjidilharam to Masjidil Aqsa. It was a journey from a ‘masjid’ to another ‘masjid’. In our daily life especially among men, ‘masjid’ should be always in our mind.
As for the five times ‘fardu’ (obligatory prayers) that are subuh, zuhur, asar, maghrib and isyak, all 'gentlemen' must have the determination to perform all of them in ‘jemaah’ (congregation) in ‘masjids’ or ‘suraus’ (small masjid) where the ‘azan’ (call for prayers) were heard from.
When a Muslim (man) is determined to do all his obligatory prayers at 'masjids', insya-Allah he would have the blessing of Allah SWT. He is among the seven righteous people whom Allah will shade on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are seven persons whom Allah will shade on a Day when there is no shade but His. They are a just ruler, a young person who grew up in the worship of Allah, a person whose heart is attached to the 'masjids', two persons who love each other who meet and depart from each other for the sake of Allah, a man whom a beautiful woman of high status seduces but he rejects her by saying I fear Allah, a person who spends in charity and conceals it such that his right hand does not know what his left hand has given, and a person who remembered Allah in private and he wept.” (Sahih Bukhari 629, Sahih Muslim 1031)
Insya-Allah, by going to the 'masjids', all your problems would be solved. But of course you must be ‘ikhlas’ (sincere)…you go to the 'masjid' only for Allah SWT shake and nothing else. For example during this Ramadan, you don’t have to think about food for ‘iftar’ (breaking of fast) because many 'masjids' would have spread of food for congregators. The food may not be lavish or up to ‘your standard’, but remember the wise man saying…’eat to live not live to eat’.
Next is regarding the 'night hour'; of course during the day we are busy working but at night we are blessed with free time for us to rest and sleep and it is recommended for us to spare the last 1/3 of the night at home to do recommended (sunat) good deeds such as performing the night prayers such as ‘solat tahajud’, making du’a, doing ‘dzikir’ and reflections on ourselves and of course reading the Qur'an during the tranquil of night.
According to some ‘ulamas’, our home is a gowdown for us to gather ‘pahala’ (Allah’s blessing); for small deeds such as a wife making drinks for her husband would be rewarded handsomely by Allah SWT, what’s more if she cooks and serves food for the whole family either for ‘iftar’ or ‘sahur’ during Ramadan.
This Ramadan, do not waste our precious time for example watching 'unworthy' TV programmes. Fill our days and nights with reading the Qur'an, doing ‘zikir’ (dhikir that is eulogizing Allah in the words taught by the Prophet or in the words prescribed in the Qur’an) and increase our du’a to Him.
Work hard to gain maximum benefits from the gifts of Allah SWT during Ramadan. In this holy month, one ‘sunat’ (optional) deed done would be rewarded like a ‘wajib’ or ‘fardu’ (obligatory) deed, and a ‘fardu’ deed would be rewarded 70 times or more than in other months
Who know perhaps this is our last Ramadan, thus grab the opportunities given by The Almighty ; we should do our best to please our Creator, Allah SWT. Every second counts thus fulfill it with activities in accordance to the Creator’s wish.
This Ramadan, 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 in 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’. There is a hadith saying that chanting ‘Subhanallahi Wabihamdihi’ once, a ‘nakhlah’ tree would be planted for that person in Paradise.
In doing our daily chores such as paying bills, waiting for public transport and even when one is trapped in a massive traffic jam, why not use the time to recite the above ‘kalimah’.
These ‘kalimah’ should be chanted in full concentration for the maximum rewards by Allah SWT but for the ‘zikir selawat’ (praises to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.) its reciters' would also be rewarded even if his mind is not on what they recite, what more if he pays full attention to it. Among the simplest ‘selawat’ is ‘Allahumma Salli Ala Saiyidina Muhammad, Wa’ ala Ali Saiyidina Muhammad’.
Ramadan and the noble Qur’an cannot be separated. It was in this month that the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet s.a.w. through Angel (Malaikat) Jibril a.s. So start reading the Qur'an right now if you have not yet started.