Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

October 2006
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Life After Ramadan

Doing Good Deeds Even After Ramadan
By Dr. Muhammad Mahmud Mansur

One should continue to perform acts of worship after Ramadan to prevent sudden emptiness of the soul.

The rapid shift from obeying Allah Almighty in Ramadan to disobeying Him and moving away from His way after Ramadan has its reasons, the most important of which are the following:

• Absence or lack of sincerity during the acts of worship that used to be performed: This insincerity is exemplified in the person who performs prayer or pays charity so that people will see him. In doing so, he may achieve a certain rank, some material benefit from them, or the like. Such a person does not perform acts of worship with the intention of pleasing Allah Almighty, and achieving a great reward in the Hereafter.

• Absence of concentration during the performance of the acts of worship despite the presence of sincerity: This leads to the person not benefiting from performing such acts, not filling the heart with faith and not drawing his heart closer to his Lord, a thing which would have prompted him to persist in doing good and abandoning evil.

• Lack of moderation in acts of worship, being over enthusiastic and exerting much effort than that which each person can bear: This makes the soul change afterwards because it does not possess the quality of persistence. This happens although the Messenger (Pbuh) ordered us to do those deeds which are within our capabilities.

• Weakness of the soul and its yielding to the insinuations of the devil: This occurs because of the absence of good company, or the companionship of bad people who one is unable to affect, so one is affected by it instead. Another reason is abandoning acts of worship suddenly, therefore, one’s soul becomes empty and likely to be filled with devilish insinuations and love of committing acts of disobedience.

• The soul’s need for recreation after periods of patience in Ramadan: This makes it seek the utmost enjoyment, as compensation for what it has missed. So it indulges in pleasure until it surpasses the wide range of the lawful and enters into the unlawful.

In order to cure this shift, which may afflict some people in different degrees that vary from one person to another in degree and form, one has to apply the following means, the most of which are in fact the opposite of the above reasons:

• Gradual training to be sincere when performing every act: Each act should only be performed with the intention to please Allah Almighty, to gain His reward, and to benefit from it by enjoying happiness in this world and reward in the Hereafter. This can be achieved through hiding the act as much as possible, not mentioning it afterwards, and bearing good intentions while doing it.

• Gradual training on concentration during the different acts of worship through not performing too many acts and being moderate: What is important, for example, is not reading too many chapters of the Qur’an, but rather it is enough to read some verses with contemplation followed by practising what is understood. Furthermore, repeating one or two of the supplications of remembering Allah with due contemplation that moves the heart, is much better than repeating many supplications without gaining any benefit, and so on.

• Looking for good company like that which was available in Ramadan, merging with it, and clinging to it, for it serves as a shield against devilish insinuations. Keeping good company supports you to continue in obedience

• Avoidance of sudden slackness after Ramadan or abandoning the acts of obedience: One should continue to perform acts of worship after Ramadan even in a lesser form. Some rakahs of optional night prayer, some prayers in the Mosque, reciting some verses of the Qur’an, paying some charity, and doing other acts of obedience that used to be observed during the honourable month would prevent sudden emptiness in the soul.


Fasting Six Days of Shawwal

It is highly recommended to fast six days of the month of Shawwal, as this is a meritorious act which results in abundant reward. However, it is not required to fast six days continuously without any interruption. One can fast according to convenience any time during the month.

It is certainly wrong to suggest that one must rest for three days to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr as the Eid is for one day. The six days of Shawwal fast can, therefore, begin right after Eid, i.e., on the second day of Shawwal. As a matter of fact, that is the position of many scholars. The Prophet (Pbuh) is reported to have said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan, and then follows it up by (fasting) six days of Shawwal, it is as though he has fasted the whole year.” (Reported by Muslim).

However, there are other scholars who do not consider it absolutely necessary to begin the optional fasting of six days of Shawwal immediately after Eid-ul-Fitr. According to them, one may fast any of the six days of Shawwal. Neither do they consider it necessary for a person to fast the six days consecutively. So long as one has fasted six days either consecutively or separately, he has fulfilled the requirement and he will receive the same rewards.

Both of the above cited views have been transmitted from reliable authorities of Fiqh. It is, therefore, simply a matter of interpretation. Since there is nothing in the sources explicitly stating that it must be done immediately after Eid or that it must be done consecutively, it must be judged as being flexible.

In the Land of Lost Eids
By Ali Asadullah

The pageantry of Eid celebrations in the Muslim world is largely absent in American Eid festivities.

Once upon a time in America, five Muslim brothers – Mahbub, Osama, Ali, Saleh and Bashir – got together to celebrate the Eid. It was an impromptu affair organised hastily shortly after the end of the Eid prayer. The two brothers who hosted the affair – Mahbub and Ali – had contemplated inviting friends to their apartment a few days earlier, but had never got around to the actual planning. Nevertheless, upon returning from the Eid prayer, they decided that they would indeed entertain company and went about the task of calling several friends.

Most of those who were called were unable to accept the invitation at such short notice. Undaunted however, Mahbub and Ali resolved to make their small Eid party worth the while for the handful of people who did come.

While Mahbub cleaned their apartment Ali went to a local halal restaurant to get food. He didn’t purchase very much – just two roasted chickens, some basmati rice, some salad greens and some sweets. It was by no means a feast. It was simply a meal purchased on a student’s budget for a few friends who had no expectations of an extravagant evening of dining and entertainment.

Saleh, Osama, and Bashir joined Mahbub and Ali later that afternoon. They sat on the floor with the food laid out before them on pieces of old newspaper. They talked, they ate, they joked, they laughed. They discussed Islam and issues important to Muslims at the time. When it was time to pray, they prayed. They enjoyed one another’s company for the better part of an entire afternoon.

To this very day some of those brothers who attended that small Eid gathering insist that it was one of the best Eids ever. Though there were only two chickens, roasted very simply, some brothers seem to remember that day as if it were a magnificent feast. And although the conversation lasted only a few hours, some brothers recall talking all day long and into the night, laughing as they never had before.

There was no television that day, no movies, no music. There were absolutely no external entertainment factors. The only entertainment that happened that day was a result of what those five brothers brought into that apartment.

With another Eid will come and go, millions of Muslims celebrate in their own peculiar fashions.

And although the pageantry of Eid celebrations in the Muslim world is largely absent in American Eid festivities, the Eid is celebrated nonetheless. And throughout this new land of Islam, groups of five brothers or sisters gather together and enjoy entertainment like they never have before. We should all be so lucky.