All praise is due to Allah, and may endless blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger Muhammad, his Kin, and his Companions.
Once again, these are excerpts taken from the book Kanz Al-Najāḥ wa As-Surūr (The Treasures of Success and Felicity) regarding the benefits and special qualities of each month. Now that we have reached the last 10 days of Ramadan, we will focus mostly on the benefits of these blessed days.
The Prophet ﷺ drew up his army, and he passed in front of each man to give them good heart and to straighten the ranks, carrying an arrow in his hand. “Stand in line, O Sawād,” he said to one of the Helpers who was a little too far forward, and gave him a slight prick in the belly with his…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين حمداً يوافي نعمه ويكافيء مزيده اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد وآله وصحبه وسلم
All praise is due to Allāh, and may endless blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger Muḥammad, his Kin, and his Companions.
The Prophet Muḥammad s made the du‘ā’, “O Allāh bless us in Rajab and Sha‘bān, and let us reach Ramaḍān.” We thank Allāh the Mighty, Majestic, and Exalted for blessing and honoring us to reach this blessed and noble month.
The Companions and the pious predecessors throughout this Ummah’s long and luminous history have always given this month their all. These are some excerpts taken from the book “Kanz Al-Najāḥ wa Al-Surūr” (“The Treasures of Success and Felicity”) as well as from the book by Al-Ḥabīb Muḥammad Al-Haddār, may Allah have mercy on him, titled “Al-Nafaḥāt Al-Ramaḍāniyyah” (“The Spiritual Breezes of Ramaḍān”) that encourages certain beneficial acts to maximize one’s benefit in Ramaḍān.
Below is a long ḥadīth in which the Prophet s said at the end of Sha‘bān, right before the start of Ramaḍān. It is on the authority of Sayyidunā Salmān Al-Farisī g:
“O people, a great and blessed month has cast its shade over you! A month in which there is a night that is better than one-thousand months! Allāh has made fasting in it obligatory, and rising in prayer [at night] a great act of obedience. Whosoever performs a small act of good in it, it is as if he has performed an obligatory act, and whosoever performs an obligatory act, it like he has performed 70 obligatory acts in any other month. It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise. It is the month of consolation. It is a month in which a believer’s provision increases for him. Whosoever feeds someone fasting, that [act] will cause forgiveness from his sins, he will be freed from the Fire, and he will have the same reward as the one who fasted without taking any reward away [from the one who fasted].”
The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allāh, not all of us have enough to feed someone fasting.”
He, peace and mercy of Allāh be upon him, replied, “Allāh gives this reward to someone who gives a fasting person a date, or a drink of water, or even a sip of milk. It is a month which its beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness, and its end is salvation from the Fire. And whosoever lightens the load upon his slaves, Allāh will forgive him and save him from the Fire.
“In this month, make excess of 4 things: two of which you please your Lord with; two of which you will always need. The two things with which you will please your Lord are pronouncing the testimony of Lā ilāha illā Allāh and asking Allāh for forgiveness (istighfār). As for the two things of which you will always need to do - they are asking Him for Paradise and seeking refuge in Him from the Fire. And whosoever quenches the thirst of a fasting person, Allāh with quench him [with water] from my basin [on the Day of Judgment] - a drink after which he will never be thirsty.”
Many people incorporate the four recommended acts mentioned by the Beloved, peace and mercy be upon him, into one long dhikr/du‘ā’:
أَشْهَدُ أنْ لا إله إلّا الله، أسْتَغْفِرُ الله، أَسْألُكَ الجنةَ وأعوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النار.
“Ashhadu an lā ilāha illa Allāh, astaghfirullāh, as’aluka al-Jennata wa ‘aūdhu bika min al-nār.”
“I testify there is no god but Allāh, I seek Allāh’s forgiveness. I ask You for Paradise, and I seek refuge in You from the Fire.”
There are 3 things which the scholars urge during this month:
As all Muslims know, it is obligatory to fast in the month of Ramaḍān. This means to refrain from the outward, bodily limitations related to fasting such as eating, drinking, etc. In addition, this also means to avoid sins related to the inward. The Prophet Muḥammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Five things break one’s fast (i.e. make it void of the promised reward): lying, backbiting, calumny, falsely swearing (i.e., saying,“wallāhi” and lying), and to look at someone (who is not one’s husband/wife) with passionate desire.”
2. Qiyām Al-Layl (Night Prayer)
Broadly, this means to give life to the night through different types of good works. One can rise in the night and pray extra prayers, read Qur’ān, attend gatherings in which Allāh is remembered, or attend gatherings in which sacred knowledge is being taught. Whoever prays ‘Ishā’ in congregation and then Fajr in congregation, that person has received a large portion of Qiyām during Ramaḍān, and this is especially important during the last ten nights in order to reap the benefits of Laylat Al-Qadr. The Prophet Muḥammad s said, “Who prays ‘Ishā’ in congregation it is as if he prayed half the night; who [then] prays Fajr in congregation it is as if he prayed the entire night.”
3. Preparing Yourself to be Freed from Hellfire
Whosoever fulfills the preceding two acts of worship and avoids being disobedient to their parents, cutting of ties with their relatives, arguing, and drinking alcohol will be freed from Hellfire. In a ḥadīth, the Angel Gabriel e made a du‘ā’, telling the Prophet to say “Āmīn.” The du‘ā’ was, “Whosoever reaches Ramaḍān and does not [succeed in] having his sins forgiven, may Allāh distance him! Say ‘Āmīn!’” The Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, then said, “Āmīn.”
Finally: As many of us know, this is the Month of the Qur’ān, so we should all attempt to become intimate with the Book of Allāh - read it, reflect on it, allow the glory and beauty of Allāh’s words to reach your heart. If there is any time to try and connect with the Qur’ān, this is the month.
Insha’Allāh, another email will be sent out in the following days focusing particularly on the recommended acts and du‘ā’s to perform. May Allāh put tremendous blessing in these days for you all, your families, and the rest of the Muslims. Please remember the whole Ummah in your prayers. Jazākum Allāh khayr.
والحمد لله رب العالمين
NOTE: In order to be concise, the exact strength of certain ḥadīths have not been mentioned. It is agreed upon by the vast majority of scholars to use weaker ḥadīths to encourage people to do extra acts of worship and goodness.
A beautiful traditional Arabic poem describing the journey and experience of someone setting out on the path of love for God. This rendition is more recent and catchy. For those who speak Arabic, pay attention to the words - they will inspire you!
are you not a witness to all the suffering in the world; as if the world will overflow with sorrow? indeed, you are a witness. then make love. create love. generate love. make love like it is your Divine right. no, make love like it is your Divine responsibility. make love like it can cure the…
Just curious, In an American context, how do you define half-naked? Also do you think all American women dress this way?
Great question, and thank you for posing it! I think even within an American context there are different definitions of “nakedness.” For example, the way a person dresses at the beach is not the way a person would dress at a restaurant or at work. Also, different sub-cultures within America would also have different definitions.
Secondly, I do not think that all American women dress this way. American women are diverse in their dress and there are many women (Christian, Jewish, Atheist, etc.) who prefer more covering forms of clothing. Americans are too diverse a people to label with such a generalization.
I hope that answers your question. My best wishes to you.
Salaams Br. - I'm an editor at Patheos, one of the largest multi-faith news and blog websites in the U.S. I edit the Muslim Portal at Patheos and altmuslim at Patheos. I wanted to know if I could reprint the post (with attribution) you wrote about a Male perspective on hijab. Please let me know!
Wa ‘alaykum salam! You have my permission to reprint the post. Thank you for contacting me.
"There are men among the believers who honored their pledge to God: some of them have fulfilled it by death, and some are still waiting. They have not changed in the least." (Qur’an 33:23)
There is no doubt that, as of late, many Muslim women have decided to remove their head-scarves, despite a consensus among scholars that hijab is required. Oftentimes, when modesty as a virtue is discussed within our communities, the discussion almost always exclusively surrounds the modesty of Muslim women. Personally, I feel that when discussing modesty (both character (inward) as well of clothing (outward)), a greater focus needs to be put on men as contributors to the decline of modesty within the community. Although there are many factors that play into Muslim women’s decisions to remove their head-scarves, that is not part of this particular discussion. It is my belief that many of the causes in the decline of modesty are based mainly upon the lack of modesty amongst Muslim males (and the double standards they tend to enjoy). Through reviving Prophetic chivalry and masculine modesty within themselves, Muslim men can more effectively contribute to sustaining modesty within the Muslim community.
In a profound noble prophetic narration, the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) gives us an understanding of communal modesty and chastity which places the greater (but not exclusive) responsibility upon men. He says (peace and blessings be upon him, "Be kind to your parents, and your children will be kind to you; be chaste, and your women will be chaste." [Tabarani - classified as hasan]
The first half of the Prophet’s statement (God bless him and grant him peace) is general, whereas the second half of the narration is directed specifically at men. One way of understanding this prophetic narration is that if Muslim men implement modesty and chastity within themselves, their virtuous character will spread and positively influence women as well. By extension, the opposite is also true: if men lose their sense of chastity, their immorality will negatively influence women within society. If one takes a moment to reflect on the way this plays within society, they will see its truth, especially in today’s world. It suffices to say that the pornographic industry which essentially turns women into sex-slaves is largely run and sustained by males.
The fact of the matter is that we live in a hyper-sexualized world obsessed with appearances, and this presents severe challenges upon the Muslim spiritual psyche. We are bombarded with immodest images (oftentimes against our will) of the human body that affect us consciously and unconsciously, making it an uphill battle to be a chaste and modest human-being. Nevertheless, the definition of a righteous Muslim is one who fights against their lowly desires and purifies their souls from the tarnishes of this world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and mercy be upon him) said, "Islam began as a stranger and it will return to being a stranger as it once was. Therefore, blessed are the strangers who remain virtuous when everyone else becomes corrupt." [Muslim, Tirmidhi].
Regardless of what we are surrounded by, Muslim men must hold themselves to a higher standard of morality and virtue. Once Muslim men take their piety, education, and character seriously, our noble female counterparts will recognize and appreciate that within us. We must abolish the double standard that exists in our communities - not by lowering the standard of feminine modesty, but rather by demanding Muslim men live up to standards of modesty already given to us by God and His Messenger. When Muslim males gawk at half-naked women (whether in public, on television, or on the internet), act and speak lewdly, and show a greater appreciation for immoral women, then what kind of message does that send to Muslim women who attempt to maintain their dignity inwardly and outwardly? Oftentimes, when Muslim women see so many Muslim males acting this way, they lose hope in finding a righteous husband and sometimes ask themselves why they even bother to wear the head-scarf. If Muslim men held themselves to a higher standard, acted like gentlemen, and appreciated the greater qualities within women such as mercy, trustworthiness, loyalty, and modesty - then Muslim women would feel more appreciated for their struggle to be modest, or at the very least feel that Muslim men can relate.
Being a male does not make you a man. A man is made through uprightness, dependability, and virtuous character. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and mercy of God be upon him) was the greatest human being and the greatest man to ever walk this earth, and one of his most outstanding virtues was his intense modesty. He is our standard; he is our master; he is our model - may God bless him and grant him peace! We have to hold ourselves to higher standards and not unjustly place the entire burden of communal modesty upon our sisters’ shoulders. When men step up and take greater responsibility in their own modesty, it will show our care for and solidarity with our Muslim sisters, and create a sense of cooperation between the believing men and women. When Muslim men show greater appreciation towards the struggles of Muslim women by being upright men, it will make our sisters feel truly appreciated and create a sustainable moral environment within our communities.
As the great poet, Amir Sulaiman once said, “When a man is truly a man, it makes a woman comfortable to truly be a woman.”
وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ وَ الْبُخْلِ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ و قَهْرِ الرجال
Allâhumma innî a‘ûdhu bika min al-hammi wa al-hazan. Wa a‘ûdhu bika min al-‘ajzi wa al-kasal. Wa a‘ûdhu bika min al-jubni wa al-bukhl. Wa a‘ûdhu bika min ghalabat id-dayni wa qahr ir-rijal.
Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from helplessness and laziness, from cowardice and stinginess, and from overpowering of debt and from oppression of men.
Beneficial Verse of Qur’an:
"God: there is not god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there who can intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; it does not weary Him to preserve them both. He is the Most High, the Tremendous." (Qur’an 2:255 - Verse of the Throne)
O God! You are light, and from You is light. Place light in my heart and on my tongue and in my eyes and in my ears and in front of me and to the right of me and to the left of me and behind me and in my presence. Place light in my nerves and in my bones and in my flesh. Make me live in light; grant me light; give me light; make me light.
—the Prophet Muhammad, peace and mercy of God be upon him.
"Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should heed this: God will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, and will provide for them from an unexpected source; God will be enough for those who put their trust in Him. God achieves His purpose; God has set a due measure for everything."
The Fragrance of Fatima: My Visit to a Friend of God
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين
والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمهين
And the angels said, “O Mary, God has chosen you and purified you, chosen you over the women of all peoples. Mary, obey your Lord devoutly, worship, and bow in prayer with those bowing in prayer.”
(Qurʾān 3: 42-43)
* * * * *
While taking a class on Islamic Spirituality at the Hartford Seminary one of my Christian classmates gave a presentation on the famous lover of God, Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyyah. Before starting the presentation she sincerely asked the question: “Does it seem contradictory in Islam to have a female saint?” I was shocked at the question and immediately shook my head, seeing no contradiction at all. I looked around at my fellow Muslim men and women in the class and saw some hesitation on their faces. Were they perhaps thinking that there was some sort of contradiction? I do not know for sure what was running through their minds, but it is because of my classmate’s question that I feel the need to write about my extraordinary visit to a walīyah—a female friend of God.
On September 16th, 2006 (Shaʿbān 1427 H.), in Wādī ʿAmd in Ḥaḍramawt a group of friends and I drove for a few hours to visit a special friend of God: al-Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya al-ʿAṭṭās (may God have mercy on her). We desired to seek her out because her great station with God and of her endless devotion to and love of Him, Blessed and Exalted is He, was legendary. She was discovered by a scholar of Ḥaḍramawt who had seen the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and mercy of God be upon him) in a dream. The Prophet informed the scholar of Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya and after telling the scholar where she lived, the Prophet commanded him to seek her out. Shortly thereafter, her name became well-known throughout the region, and even the most well-respected scholars sought her out to ask her for duʿāʾ.
It never really occurred to me before going to Ḥaḍramawt that there existed righteous women worth seeking out, but I learned early on that even though I was living in a very conservative society, the people there nonetheless had great respect and reverence towards women of piety and knowledge. Even though I had heard great things about Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya, I still did not really know what to expect.
After driving several hours through the Ḥaḍramawt Valley, we finally reached the small village where Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya lived. We arrived unannounced, and several children, who I later discovered were the Ḥubāba’s grandchildren (or maybe even great grandchildren, for she was over 100 years old at the time), surrounded us, immediately recognizing us as outsiders. The children ran off to tell the elders of our arrival, and it was immediately known that more people had come to seek the barakah of Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya.
We were greeted warmly by a man in his early fifties who guided us to the Ḥubāba’s house. As we walked up the hill, the excitement and anticipation in my heart began to overflow. I felt something considerable was imminent. We finally made it to the old clay house and we awaited permission to see Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya. We were graciously given sweet tea while we waited. Soon thereafter, permission was granted. As we walked towards her room, I felt a strong spiritual presence overcome me. As we entered her room, ducking our heads to enter through the door (which was quite low by Western standards), there was one of the most astounding human beings my eyes have ever seen. Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya was at such a late stage in life that she could not get up from her bed; but although she rested there weak in body—her spiritual qualities dwarfed all those present.
She was completely immersed in the remembrance of her Lord. I felt from her words and demeanor that it was as if she was standing in the Rawḍa of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace and mercy be upon him. We all lowered our heads in front of this spiritual giant and were thankful for being able to see one of God’s righteous servants. Being in her presence made us all more mindful of our Lord and increased our yearning to seek His face.
What stood out most to me was her eyes (which were a rare grayish-green color). When she looked at me, I felt that her gaze pierced my soul. She had ancient eyes that looked like they had seen more than my imagination could muster. Her eyes were filled with wisdom, knowledge, mercy, and love. I felt something within me change forever after she looked at me.
We all asked her to make duʿāʾ for us, and she gave us all hope and joy when she said, for the first time directing her words to us, saying, “You have attained your goal. You have attained your goal.” The rest of her words the entire visit were just dhikr—being completely engulfed in remembrance of her Lord.
After we left Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya’s house, we all felt changed. Her prayers and her presence gave us more than words can describe. We felt an overwhelming sense of power and mercy. Although since then I have visited many righteous men, there was something absolutely unique about Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya—what “it” is I cannot put my finger on. I was fortunate enough to visit her two more times before leaving Ḥaḍramawt, and will remember her for the rest of my life. I thank God for being able to spend time with a human being like her, and I pray to be united with her in the next life.
Al-Ḥubāba Ṣafīyya passed away in late 2007/1428. Scholars from across the Ḥaḍramawt Valley flocked to her funeral, honoring one of God’s beloved saints. May God be well pleased with her and shower her with His infinite mercy.
On the 27th of Rajab, before the Migration to Madinah, the Prophet Muhammad peace and mercy be upon him was taken on a Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent (Al-Isra’ wa Al-Mi’raj). Below are excerpts from the Qur’an, Hadith, and scholarly insight regarding the miraculous events:
"Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship to the furthest place of worship, whose surroundings We have blessed , to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing." (17:1)
"By the star when it sets! Your companion has not strayed nor is he deluded; he does not speak from his own desire: indeed it is nothing less than a revelation that is sent to him. It was taught to him by one of might powers and great strength, who stood on the highest horizon. Then he drew near and came down until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer, and He revealed to His servant that which He revealed. The [Prophet’s] heart did not lie in seeing what it saw. Are you going to dispute with him what he saw? A second time he saw him: by the lote-tree beyond which none may pass, near the Garden of Restfulness, when the tree was covered in nameless [splendor]. His sight never wavered, nor was it too bold, and he saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord.”(53:1-18)
Excerpt below taken from Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki’s "The Prophet’s Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent" trans. Gibril Fouad Haddad (Aqsa Publications, 2006):
The Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, was taken up to a point where he heard the scratching of the Pens [writing the Divine Decree]. He saw a man who had disappeared into the light of the Throne. He said: “Who is this? Is this an angel?” It was said to him, no. He said: “Is it a Prophet?” Again the answer was no. He said: “Who is it then?” The answer was: “This was a man whose tongue was moist with Allah’s remembrance in the world, and his heart was attached to the mosques, and he never incurred the curse of his father and mother.”
Then the Prophet, peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, saw his Lord, the Most Glorious, the Exalted, and he fell prostrate. At that time his Lord spoke to him and said: “O Muhammad!” He replied: “Twice at your service, O Lord!” Allah the Exalted said: “Ask (sal)!” The Prophet, peace and mercy be upon him, said:
You have taken to Yourself Abraham as an intimate friend (khalil), and You have given him an immense kingdom. You have spoken to Moses directly, and have given David an immense kingdom and softened iron and subjugated the mountains to him. You have given Solomon an immense kingdom, and subjugated the jinn and men and devils to him, as well as the winds, and You have given him a kingdom the like of which no one may have after him. You have taught Jesus the Torah and the Evangel, and made him heal those born blind and the lepers, and raise up the dead with Your permission, and You have protected him and his mother from the cursed devil so that the devil had no path by which to harm them!
Allah said: “And I have taken you to Myself as My beloved and intimate friend (habiban wa khalila).” Allah continued:
I have sent you for all people without exception, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner.
I have expanded your breast for you and relieved you of your burden and exalted your name, as I am not mentioned except that you are mentioned with Me.
I have made your Community the best Community ever brought out for the benefit of mankind.
I have made your Community a mean and a middle.
I have made your Community in truth the first and the last of all Communities.
I have made public address (khutba) impermissible for your Community unless they first witness that you are My servant and Messenger.
I have placed certain people in your Community with Evangels for hearts.
I have made you the first Prophet created and the last one sent and the first one heard in My court.
I have given you Seven of the Oft-Repeated which I gave to no other Prophet before you.
I have given you the last verses of Surat Al-Baqara which constitute a treasure from under My Throne which I gave to no other Prophet before you.
I have given you Al-Kawthar.
I have given you eight lots: Islam, Emigration (hijra), Jihad, Charity (al-sadaqa), Fasting Ramadan, Ordering Good, and Forbidding Evil; and the day I created the heavens and the earth, I made obligatory upon you and your Community fifty prayers: therefore establish them, you and your Community.
Allah’s Messenger, peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, said:
My Lord has preferred me over everyone else (faddalani rabbi).
He has sent me as a mercy to the worlds and to all people without exception, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner.
He has thrown terror into the hearts of my enemies at a distance of a month’s travel.
He has made spoils of war lawful for me while they were not lawful for anyone before me.
The entire earth was made a ritually pure place of prostration for me.
I was given the words that open, those that close, and those that are comprehensive in meaning.
My Community was shown to me and there is none of the followers and the followed but he is known to me.
I saw that they would come to a people that wear hair-covered sandals.
I saw that they would come to a people of large faces and small eyes as if they had been pierced with a needle.
Nothing of what they would face in the future was kept hidden from me.
And I have been ordered to perform fifty prayers daily.
Taken from Shaykh Abdur-Rahman as-Sulami’s "The Subtleties of the Ascension: Early Mystical Sayings on Muhammad’s Heavenly Journey" trans. Frederick S. Colby (Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2006):
When the Real desired that His pure one and lover should become the furthest of creatures in mention, the greatest of them in nearness, the loftiest of them in glory, the most noble of them in ability, and the most famous of them in rank, He caused him to ascend to the heavens and He ennobled him above the angelic realm.
He beautified him with the necklace of the approach, causing him to approach the carpet of nearness which the angels and prophets lacked the strength [to approach]. [He did all this] in order to extol his mention in his heavens just as He raised his mention on His earth.
What was was, what happened happened, the lover said to the lover what a lover says to a lover, He kindly favored him with a kind favor of a lover to a lover, and He divulged to him what a lover divulges to a lover. The two concealed and did not disclose their secret to any but themselves. For that reason He said, "He revealed to his servant what He revealed,"and no one knew what he revealed except the One who revealed [it] and the one to whom it was revealed.
"We appointed not the vision which We showed you but as a test for mankind." (17:60)