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SHAYTAN RELEASED It has

SHAYTAN RELEASED It has now been a few weeks since we saw the blessed month of Ramadan leave us. We thank Allah for helping us complete a month of intense fasting and detoxification; a month meant to cleanse our hearts, minds and bodies so we can be closer to Allah with our souls and spirits. We experienced a special sweetness of faith during this month, and we also celebrated our Eid with family and friends which was full of fun festivities, delicious food and sweets of all kinds. As we rejoiced and celebrated, we can also remember that there was someone else who was celebrating too. He was locked up during Ramadan, and he gained his freedom. During Ramadan, he’s been watching millions of Muslims fill up the Masajid, pray intensely during the night, supplicate fervently to Allah, give abundantly in charity, and feel more motivated to do good than ever before. He saw Muslims who would drink often now stopped drinking; people who didn’t feel like praying before wanted to pray regularly; believers who never opened the Qur’an throughout the year choose to read it and contemplate its meanings. He saw Muslims who envied and hated one another stand side by side in prayer and become the closest of brethren. Before, they were held back by his whispers and their sins, distractions, temptations. Now that weight is lifted, so they picked up speed and worship became easier and more enjoyable. So, he was chained and they were freed. He was restrained so we could be liberated. Have you seen people who live for a cause? They eat, sleep, breathe and die for their work. Imagine if these people were prevented from living their passion; and not only that, but imagine that they watched all their life’s efforts being destroyed right before their eyes. They have no control and can’t change what happened. It would probably make them sad, frustrated and angry. If they were given the power and freedom again, they could at least rebuild what was destroyed and fix what was broken. Exactly the same way Shaytan is probably the most passionately committed to his cause. Yet, his mission in life is not to build, but to destroy. His sole purpose is to mislead and deviate and burn, as is his nature. Speaking to Allah, he said, “I swear by Your might! I will tempt all of them, except Your sincere servants,” (Qur’an, 38:82- 3) So now that he’s liberated, he’s not just walking towards us casually; he’s coming back with a vengeance. Fasting is designed by Allah to increase our taqwa. While taqwa is often translated as God-consciousness, its linguistic root connotes protection from harm. Fasting is a shield that protects us from harming ourselves and others, that protects us from the harmful effects of our sins. It’s a shield that protects us from getting burned by Shaytan ’s tricks, and ultimately, from getting burned by the Fire. One of Shaytan’s tactics is to make us indulge in our physical pleasures, cravings, and desires in the most unbridled way. He wants to ignite the animalistic tendencies within us and make us pursue these pleasures as ends in and of themselves, not as means for livelihood and lawful well-being. Out of Allah’s mercy, He restricts our access to these two pleasures during fasting so that they don’t consume us and define our being. Through fasting, our relationship with these desires becomes less obsessive and animalistic, and more tamed and disciplined. So, when the month-long training is over and we’re back on the battlefield with Shaytan , his avenues to our hearts and minds are tightened and restricted. If we choose to broaden those pathways and re-indulge in our desires again, we invite him back into the very veins that run through our bodies; but if we feed these instinctual appetites in moderation and through the proper channels, we loosen Shaytan ’s grip and become freed to nurture a deeper spiritual relationship with Allah throughout the year. Allah says in the Qur’an, “O Believers, do not follow in Satytan’s footsteps—if you do so, he will urge you to indecency and evil; and if it were not for Allah’s grace and mercy towards you, not one of you would ever have attained purity. Allah purifies whoever He wills; and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (24:21) During the blessed month of Ramadan, we may have gained more spiritual awareness, clarity and focus, and even felt a deep desire to become better Muslims, believers, and worshipers. Let’s not allow those feelings to dissipate and disappear just because Ramadan has passed. While the shade of Ramadan has left, the shade of Allahs’s Mercy is everlasting. If Allah purifies whomever He wills, let’s also do our part in pursuing and recommitting to the path of purification. So, before we get caught up in our busy lives and demands of family, work, or college again, now is the time to inculcate the good practices and habits we gained from Ramadan - no matter how small. Perhaps you didn’t used to pray sunan and voluntary prayers, and now you do. Maybe you would pray late often, and you found yourself praying more on time. Perhaps you didn't have self control, and during Ramadan you had some self-control. Maybe you were used to hearing or seeing shameful things, and you found it improper to do so during Ramadan. Perhaps you tried performing Tahajjud Salah for the first time, and you absolutely loved it. Or maybe you didn’t feel the need to make du`a’ (supplication) before, but you poured your heart out to Him one night and felt an amazing, healing effect. Or maybe, like many people, you would think about food most of the day and fasting made you focus on more important matters like nourishing your soul. What else? What other positive changes did you experience? Keep reflecting on your special moments and changes during Ramadan and hold on to those. Keep nurturing these feelings, habits and practices. Continue to fast, pray, read Qur’an, and forgive. Continue to shine with love, patience, and empathy. Give a little more than before, and don’t give up on yourself or on Allah’s mercy. Remember that Shaytan wants to take you away from Allah’s remembrance and bury you under layers of darkness and fleeting pleasures, but Allah is calling you to purity and peace, and to what gives you life. So make this year a memorable one. Be happy and rejoice in God’s bounties and blessings, and start pursuing the endless opportunities for rising to greater spiritual heights. 4 Issue 49 www.rabetah.org Sept / Oct 2013

The Friday prayer (Jumu’ah Salaat) is very important for each Muslim. Allah says, ‘O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business, That is best for you if ye but knew!’ (62:9) Coming to Jumu’ah is and should be a priority for each and every one of us. Whether we have work, class or other things, we should try our best to see how to accommodate around it. Most of the time it will work. Don’t give yourself any excuses. The Prophet said, “The five daily prayers, and praying one Friday prayer and the next, and the fasting of Ramadan, result in the expiation of the sins committed between them, so long as major sins are avoided.” This does not, however, mean that the Muslims should come to the Masjid only on Fridays, neglecting it at other times. This does not mean either that Muslims should indulge in sins at will, thinking that they will be forgiven anyhow. Coming early - The Messenger said: “On the day of Jummah, the angels stand at the entrance of that Masjid in which Jummah Salaat is to be offered. They write down the name of the person who enters the Masjid first, and thereafter the name of the person who follows, and they continue doing this. The person who entered first will receive the reward of sacrificing a camel in the path of Allah; the one who followed him will get the reward of sacrificing a cow, thereafter a chicken, thereafter the reward of giving an egg as charity in the path of Allah. Once the Imam emerges and the Khutbah commences, the angels close the register and begin listening to the Khutbah." (Bukhari and Muslim) Prophet forbade people from going over worshippers’ shoulders when trying to reach the front rows; and forbade us from interrupting prayers in any form. He also asked us to sit in the front-most rows to show the intention of sincerity, the need for knowledge, and show humility for Allah. Coming to Khutbah early will help us avoid this situation and earn the extra rewards. This should encourage us to go early to the Masjid on Friday for Salaat. All of us get to work early or open our business on time. Why then do we not do the same with Friday prayers, which benefit our salvation and help us to attain paradise? Imam Ghazali says, “Why do Muslims not feel ashamed that the Jews and Christians go early for worship on Saturdays and Sundays?” Personal Hygiene - Narrated Abdullah bin Umar : Allah's Apostle said, "Anyone of you attending the Friday (prayers) should take a bath." Narrated Abu Saeed : I testify that Allah's Apostle said, "The taking of a bath on Friday is compulsory for every male Muslim who has attained the age of puberty and (also) the cleaning of his teeth with Siwak, and the using of perfume if it is available.” (Bukhari) Going to Prayer calmly Narrated Abu Hurairah : I heard Allah's Apostles saying, "If the prayer started do not run for it but just walk for it calmly and pray whatever you get, and complete whatever is missed". So in case you are running late do NOT rush and create distraction for others by running into the prayer. Listen attentively - Concentrating and internalizing the message of the Khutbah for this is the entire purpose of the gathering. Narrated Abu Hurairah : Allah's Apostle said, "When the Imam is delivering the Khutbah, and you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen, then no doubt you have done an evil act." So even talking to others to make them quite is not allowed showing you the importance of paying attention and listening to the Khatib. Not playing with the carpet or its designs or text messaging or checking the internet on the phones. Any distraction as small as this can nullify your prayer. Knowing that the Khutbah is part of the prayer and so respecting it the same way one respects their conversation with Allah. How many times do we talk or have seen people talking during Khutbah. Many a times we witness people standing in the corridors of the Masjid whilst the Imam is on the Pulpit delivering the Khutbah. Remember the Hadith "When the Imam is delivering the Khutbah, and you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen, then no doubt you have done an evil act." Meet and Greet - Your asked to stand with one another. Shoulder to shoulder and feet to feet. Symbolically bringing you together to people you may or may not know. Greet them after prayers. Get to know them and invite them to attend in the future. Reflection and Introspection - Reinforcement of message, many things you might already know, but as you hear them again the messages are reinforced and refreshed in your memory. Secondly it’s a time to weekly recalibrate yourself. If you learnt something this week, and you apply it then assess where you stand the week after. After hearing Allah’s message it should recalibrate you to everything your doing. Third, share and discuss the positive things you have learnt with family and friends. This will make you remember what you learnt but you will receive reward for sharing it with others. To make du'aa - At the time the Imam sits in-between the Khutbah. For it may be that special time in which du'aa is accepted of Friday and one should not miss this time. Recite Surah Al-Kahf - It is very rewarding to recite Surah Al-Kahf on Fridays before the Salaat. The Prophet said, “Whoever reads Surah Al-Kahf on Fridays, there will be a bright light to shine for him between the two Fridays.” May Allah give us the ability to honour and greet the day of Jumu’ah the way its is supposed to be greeted and make us value this day. (Ameen) Issue 49 www.rabetah.org Sept / Oct 2013 5

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