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Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza) or Night Preceding Eid al-Fitr (Eid-ul-Fitr)

July 26, 2014 By: Mohammad Rafique Etsame Category: Uncategorized

After being absorbed in a month long exercise of vigorous worship and spiritual enrichment, the Muslim Ummah stands on the threshold of Eid-ul-Fitr. The day of Eid is one to express sincere gratitude to Almighty Allah (SWT) for His favours – gratitude for the opportunity to fast through the day, stand in prayer at night, give charity and recite Holy Quran abundantly. It is a day of celebration for the believers who have executed their duties honorably.

Eid is the culmination of this spiritual empowerment and a festival marking the accomplishment of all Muslims. However, it does not signal the end of the mission. The good discipline developed in Holy Ramadan must remain and be sustained. A true reflection of our efforts in Holy Ramadan being accepted is continuity with good actions post Holy Ramadan.

Whilst the day of Eid is a joyous occasion the night should be one of contemplation and worship. It had been the practice of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), that he would not sleep in the night preceding the day of Eid-ul-Fitr. This night has been named in a Hadith as the Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza). Almighty Allah (SWT) bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Holy Ramadan abiding by the dictates of Shari’ah, and all their prayers in this night are accepted. Therefore, it is desirable to perform Nafl prayers in this night.

Night of Reward (Lailatul Jaiza)Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said: “Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die.” (Ibn Majah)

Holy Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (saw) said: “I swear by Him Who has sent me with the truth as Prophet; Archangel Gabriel has reported to me from Archangel Israfel who directly reports from Almighty Allah (SWT) that one who offers this prayer, (at the last night of Ramzan al-Mubarak) will not raise his head from prostration before Almighty Allah (SWT) would forgive him, accept his acts during the month of Ramzan, and overlooks his sins …” (Mafatih al-Jinan)

To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship in this night as he can and should pray for all his needs and desires.

Surely for those who repented profusely in the month of Holy Ramadan and used the auspicious month in the best possible way to gain proximity to their Creator, the day of Eid is one of true joy and celebration. They know well that they have seized the opportunities that availed in Holy Ramadan, and have firm hope in the reward and pleasure of their Creator. On the other hand those who squandered the opportunities, procrastinated in their repentance, and did not seize the blessed moments, will be left to regret their failure. Eid is a sweet sour occasion for such people, as they eat, meet, and greet with a regretful heart and look back at what could have been a life changing experience.

Our life is no different. The month of Holy Ramadan may be likened to the entire life span of a person and the day of Eid likened to the day a person will meet Allah (SWT). Every day is an opportunity to run towards Allah (SWT) and those who seize the opportunity of life and fulfill life’s objective will be truly celebrating ‘tomorrow’, on the day of Qiyamah, when mankind will stand before their Lord. Holy Quran urges a believer ‘to run to Allah’ and ‘hasten to the forgiveness of your Lord and paradise.’

Just as Holy Ramadan comes and goes in flash, so will life. The end of each Holy Ramadan signifies the inevitable end of our lives. Whilst one may have some hope that if this Ramadan was squandered, Allah (SWT) may give life until another, there is no such hope for the journey of life, for when the ‘Ramadan’ of life is over then it shall never return. So, if we have been unmindful, we have a chance with every moment of life to repent and mend our ways. For a believer who spent his life fruitfully, the meeting with his Creator will be the Eid of all Eids.

We ask Allah (SWT) to bless us this Eid-ul-Fitr and give us such a bond and relationship with him that will grant eternal happiness on the day we return to Him.

(From Islamicoccasions With Thanks

Alcohol, The Devil’s Deadly Disease

July 22, 2014 By: Mohammad Rafique Etsame Category: Uncategorized

In the year 988 CE, Prince Vladimir, sovereign leader of Kievan Russia, opted for Orthodox Christianity as his state religion.  Legend says his ambassadors were much more impressed with the gold and grandeur of Byzantine’s cathedrals, especially Constantinople’s Church of Santa Sophia (now Istanbul’s Mosque of Haya Sofiya) than they were with the simple and austere décor of the Islamic houses of worship (i.e. the mosques) in nearby Volga Bulgaria.  But another, more telling reason for the Russian Prince’s favoring Christianity over Islam was, so the chroniclers tell us, the Russians’ love of alcohol.  The Muslims’ absolute abstention from liquor was a sacrifice too far for Vladimir’s countrymen to make.  Alas, it would appear that their insatiable thirst for a “good” drink, particularly vodka, has plagued the Russian nation ever since.

According to a report published in the year 2000[1], a staggering two thirds of Russian men die drunk and more than half of that number die in extreme stages of alcoholic intoxication.  At 57.4 years, Russian men have the lowest life expectancy in Europe.  Although heart disease, accidents and suicides account for nearly 75% of male deaths, they are seldom sober when they die.  Wrote the daily Kommersant newspaper in commentary of a three-year study of men aged between 20 and 55 in Moscow and Udmurita:

“Everyone is drunk: murderers and their victims, drowning victims, suicides, drivers and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, victims of heart attacks and ulcers.”

Though they make for bleak reading, these statistics should not and do not suggest that alcoholism be taken as an ethnic marker for the Russian, nor indeed for any other tribe from the children of Adam.  As Mr. Cherniyenko, vice chairman of the National Organization of Russian Muslims, remarks:

“One can say that drinking vodka or wine is a significant aspect of Russian culture, yet I can be a good Russian while not drinking alcohol…  Most of the social problems in Russia are caused by alcohol consumption.  If we can introduce some Islamic social values to Russia, society and the country will become stronger.”

Looking much further west across the Atlantic (or east across the Bearing Straits) towards Russia’s great rival during the Cold War, the United States, we find that the American nation does not fair much better when it comes to drink-related death and injury.  According to a 1988 study by the American Medical Association, some 100,000 deaths and $85.8 billion are linked to the abuse of alcohol, with 25 to 40 percent of hospital beds being occupied by people being treated for alcohol-induced complications.  Alcohol is also the US’s leading cause of traffic accidents, with 17,126 people killed in alcohol-related crashes in 1996 alone, according to government statistics.  Alcohol is also the principle cause of family breakdown in the US.  And in another report published in 2006 by the U.S.  Center for Disease Control and Prevention, test results from suicide victims in 13 states showed that 33.3 per cent – one in three! – had alcohol in their blood.  But again, statistics aside, there is nothing intrinsic in the American physiology that consigns it to an alcoholic abyss.  Take the bottle away from the American, as happened in one particular Islamic setting, and a rather different result is recorded.

“Our sick call rate went down, our accident and injury rate went down, our incidents of indiscipline went down, and health of the force went up.  So there were some very therapeutic outcomes from the fact that no alcohol was available whatsoever in the kingdom (of Saudi Arabia).” (Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of allied forces in the Persian Gulf War, explaining to the US Congress how a scarcity of alcohol made for a better American soldier.  June 13, 1991)

Even the unborn are not safe from the dangers of alcohol.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is a rather nasty disease caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb.  The disease strikes one to two babies in every 1,000 births worldwide and results in chronic physical and neurological damage.  According to a 10-year German study[2], symptoms include long-lasting brain damage and temporary physical deformities including a smallness of the head and stunted growth.  To avoid fetal alcohol syndrome, not only are mothers recommended to completely avoid alcoholic drink during pregnancy, but doctors also recommend that men practice abstinence for several months prior to conception.

“…Will you then not abstain?” (Quran 5:91)

Suicide, homicide, domestic violence, grievous bodily harm, vandalism, self abuse and unborn-child abuse! – all evil consequences of alcohol consumption.  And yet, the disease of alcohol is easily and roundly avoided by the adherents to the religion of Islam, or by those who find themselves in areas where Islamic writ is observed.  For if alcohol is indeed a disease, no less the Devil’s deadly disease, then it is one from which the pious Muslim is immune, even though it be the only disease which

·        is sold in bottles;

·        is advertised in newspapers, magazines, radios and television;

·        is contracted by the will of man;

·        has licensed outlets to spread it;

·        produces revenue for the government;

·        brings violent deaths on the highways;

·        has no germs or viral cause;

·        propels one’s health to self-destruction;

·        destroys family life and increases crime.[3]

“O you who believe!  Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, idolatory and the divining of arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.  So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.  Satan seeks only to cast amongst you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from his worship.  Will you then not abstain?” (Quran 5:90-91)
(FromThe Religion of Islam with thanks)

July 02, 2014 By: Mohammad Rafique Etsame Category: Uncategorized