Sunday, August 19, 2012

As we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr

In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful Assalamu Alaikum! As we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, we ought to put it in mind that Sallah day is not merely a day of celebration alone, but it is also a day on which mankind should seek Allah's blessings and offer supplications to Him. Anas bn Malik (companion of the Prophet, pbuh) reported that Allah's messenger (pbuh) came to Madina while the people were engaged in an annual two-day game and the Prophet (pbuh) told the people of Madina that Allah has substituted something better for them, namely, the day of sacrifice (Eid-ul-Adha) and the day of breaking the fast (Eid-ul-Fitr). Accordingly, acts and celebrations of all kinds are allowed on Sallah day, provided they are in accordance with the Shari'a. Those that could lead to sin or contradict Allah's law or His Prophet's (pbuh) teachings are however not allowed. The Sallah after Ramadan Upon the sighting of a new moon on the 29th day of the month of Ramadan or after the 30th day of Ramadan fasting, the Eid-ul-Fitr celebration is held on the following day. Commenting on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, Umma Atiya (a female companion of the prophet, pbuh) enjoined young women, children, adult males and females, as well as menstruating women to participate in the goodness and supplications of Muslims by attending the Eid prayer; but the menstruating women are to refrain from the prayers. This means that no child or adult is exempted from the Eid prayer, which would normally be performed at an Eid praying ground on the outskirt of every town. This is the day of celebration when Muslims should come out en masse to show their number. The Eid prayer Eid prayer is two raka'at. The prayer is performed without Adhan and Iqama (the call to prayer and its beginning). Having formulated the intention (niyya), one utters Takbir - Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) seven times in the first raka'a and five times in the second raka'a. The recitation of the Qur'an (Fatiha and Surah) follows the Takbir. Bukhari reported in a hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) did not go out on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, unlike the day of Eid-ul-Adha, until he had had some food or dates. Therefore, it is recommended that Muslims should eat before going to the Eid-ul-fitr prayer ground. The Prophet (pbuh) used to perform the ritual bath before going to the Eid prayer ground. He used to recite Allahu Akbaru-Allahu Akbar; La'ilaha'illallah. Allahu Akbaru-Allahu Akbar; walillahil hamdu. (Allah is great, Allah is great. There is no deity worthy of worship except him. Allah is great, Allah is great, All praises are due to Allah) on his way from his house up to the Eid prayer ground and back. The above recitation is to be continued upon arrival at the Eid prayer ground until the prayer begins. After the prayer, the recitation is to be continued until one return to his home. The Imam will offer the Khutba (sermon) after the Eid prayer. He will stand facing the people, who should remain seated in their rows, as he preaches to them and exhort them. Listening to the sermon is as much Sunnah for all in attendance as the prayer. Bukhari and Muslim reported this as the practice of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) used to offer two raka'at on his return home from the Eid prayer. Bukhari reported that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) would return home on an Eid day by a different route from the one he had taken when going out. The faithful are enjoined to follow the example of the Prophet (pbuh), that they may testify to the worship of Allah and make the splendor of Islam more prominent. The above rulings on Eid-ul-fitr are by no means exhaustive. Zakat-ul-fitr or Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (Fast breaking charity) This is an obligatory charity to be extended by all well-to-do Muslims before the prayer of Eid-ul-fitr. It is valid when given before the Eid prayer, or two or three days before the Sallah day. The essence is to enable the poor Muslims to participate in the celebration, who may otherwise have nothing to put on the table on a day that all Muslims should be celebrating. The Prophet (pbuh) enjoined Muslims to give out Zakat-ul-fitr to the poor, so that they are freed from going round begging on the day of Eid-ul-fitr. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) prescribed the Zakat-ul-fitr payable by a slave, freeman, a male and a female, the young and the old among the Muslims upon coming to an end of Ramadan fasting, before going to Eid prayers, as one Sa'i (about 2.5 kilogramme) of dried dates or barley for all the family members irrespective of age and commanded that this should be given out before the Eid prayer. Therefore, if there are ten members in a family for instance, it means ten Sa'i should be given. Zakat-ul-fitr is given out from the common food of a given community. We should fear Allah to give out Zakat-ul-fitr from what we can afford. The person that can afford rice, for example, should not give out maize. Ibn Abbas (companion of the Prophet, pbuh) reported that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) prescribed Zakat-ul-Fitr to purify the fasting person from empty and obscene talk and feed the poor. If anyone gives it before the Eid prayer, it will be accepted as Zakat. If given after the prayer, it is counted as sadaqa (alms). This hadith is considered sound by Al-Hakim. This implies that Sadaqat-ul-fitr (fast breaking charity) given after Eid prayer does not absolve one from the obligation of Zakat-ul-fitr, nor does one get the reward associated with it. However, the act shall not go in vain, as one will get the reward of an ordinary act of charity. Below are highlights of some mistakes which we might have committed during Ramadan and their rulings: • Anyone who eats, drinks, or engages in any other acts that break the fast - intentionally - between dawn and sunset during the month of Ramadan, has committed a grave sin (kabeera) and must repent before he dies. The punishment for this act is greater than kaffara (fasting for sixty consecutive days, feeding sixty needy people, or freeing a slave). Such a person must continue to seek Allah's forgiveness and has to sincerely repent and execute more nafil (voluntary worship) deeds, fasting, and other acts of worship to avoid shortfalls in his/her obligatory deeds, that Allah might accept his/her repentance. • Bukhari reported in a hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Whoever forgets while fasting and eats or drinks should complete his fast, for Allah has fed him and given him drink." He doesn't have to repay. • Having sexual intercourse during the day is a major offence during the month of Ramadan. Its punishment is either to fast sixty consecutive days, feed sixty needy people, or free a slave. If a person has intercourse during the day on more than one occasion during Ramadan, he must offer this expiation for each day as well as repeat the fast for each day. In line with questions of many readers; below are highlights of some permissible deeds in Ramadan, which may answer such questions: • The person that needs to break his/her fast to save someone whose life is in danger may do so, but should make up for it later. • It is permissible for one to kiss, hug, embrace, touch, or repeatedly look at his wife or concubine provided he controls himself. Bukhari and Muslim reported A'isha (wife of the Prophet, pbuh) in a hadith as saying that the Prophet (pbuh) used to kiss and embrace his wives whilst he was fasting, but firmly controlled his desire. Therefore a person that easily gets aroused and cannot control himself or herself is forbidden to kiss or embrace the opposite sex while fasting. • When the day breaks while a person is still in a state of Janaba (impurity following sexual intercourse), the person's fasting is not affected. • If a person that is fasting has a wet dream while asleep, the person's fasting is not affected. • The emission of wadiy or masiy (a thick and sticky substance emitted after urination with no sense of physical pleasure) does not break the fast. • According to a hadith reported by Tirmidhi, the Prophet (pbuh) said that, "whoever vomits unintentionally does not have to make up for the fast later on; but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up for it." • Nose bleed does not break fasting because it is beyond one's control. • It is permissible to use siwaak (toothbrush) and is even Sunnah for the fasting person at all times of the day. If a person who is fasting uses siwaak, detecting and swallowing some taste from it does not break the fast. • Smelling pleasant fragrances, using perfume or applying scented creams and the like is permissible during fasting. • If a person breaks his/her fast thinking that the sun had set when it had not, the person must refrain from eating until the sun sets but it would not be necessary to make up for the fast. This brings our contribution on some rulings on the observances of the holy month of Ramadan, this year, to an end. We ask Allah to help us remember Him, thank Him properly, and earn His forgiveness with our Ramadan observances, that we may be saved from the hellfire and celebrate our Sallah peacefully with the fear of Allah. We also ask Allah to forgive us the mistakes we made in the course of writing this column and in our other deeds. We sincerely appreciate our readers' contributions to this work. Thank you very much; we shall, Insha’Allah, come your way next year.

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