Common mistakes while fasting

Updated 06 July 2013

Common mistakes while fasting

1) Focusing on food to the extent that people begin to worry about eating more than actually fasting. This also goes along with spending thousands of bucks on Iftars even though a person does not need to eat that much food.
2) Making suhoor much before Fajr prayer. Some people eat suhoor a few hours after Tarawih or Isha prayers, this is wrong. It should be had closer to the time of Fajr.
3) People don’t make niyyah (intentions) to fast for Ramadan. This is something in the heart and does not need to be verbal. Also it only needs to be done once, at the beginning of Ramadan and not every single day.
4) If you find out late that Ramadan started, you should stop eating and fast for that day, making that day up after Ramadan/Eid ends.
5) Many people don’t think you pray Tarawih on the first night of Ramadan. They believe you pray it after the first day you actually fast. They forget that the Islamic calendar runs on the moon, and maghreb, or sun set, is the start of the new day.
6) Many people believe if you eat or drink accidentally, this breaks your fast. This is false, if you do this mistakenly then you continue fasting and do not need to make up for the day.
7) Some people take the opinion that if they see someone eating or drinking they should not remind the person that he/she is fasting. According to late Shaykh Bin Baz, this is incorrect and it is an order from Allah for us to ordain the good and forbid the evil. Thus we tell the person, because we are forbidding the evil this way.
8) Many sisters believe they cannot use Hennah while fasting. This is incorrect, they are allowed to use it during Ramadan.
9) Some people believe when you are cooking you cannot taste the food to see if it has the right spices/flavors. This is false. It is allowed in Islam as long as the person cooking is not eating the food. They can taste it to see if it needs salt, or more spices.
10) Many people think you cannot use a miswak or toothbrush during Ramadan. This is false, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to use a miswak during Ramadan. Also you CAN use toothpaste; the reasoning by the scholars is that the miswak has flavor, thus toothpaste is okay to use (if you are not eating it).
11) Some people make the Fajr Adhan early. They do this so that people will stop eating before Fajr and not invalidate their fast. This is wrong and something we should not do.
12) Some people make the Maghrib Adhan late. They do this so that people will start eating late, just in case Maghrib has not come in yet. This too is wrong and we should not do this.
13) Many many people believe you cannot have intercourse with your spouse during the whole month of Ramadan. This is false, you cannot do this only during the times when you are fasting. Between Maghrib and Fajr it is permissible to do.
14) Many women believe that if their period has just ended and they did not make ghusl (bath), they cannot fast that day (considering their period ended at night, and they went to bed without ghusl, waking up without having a chance to make it). This is incorrect, if a women has not made ghusl, she can still fast.
15) Many men believe that if he has had intercourse with his wife and did not make ghusl (similar to the above) then he cannot fast the next morning. This is also incorrect, for he can fast even if he has not made ghusl.
16) Some people pray Dhuhr and Asr prayers together during Ramadan (mainly in Arab countries). This is incorrect and should be avoided.
17) Some people believe you cannot eat until the Maghrib adhan is complete. This is incorrect too. As soon as the adhan begins, a person can break one’s fast.
18) Many people don’t take advantage of making d’ua before they break their fast. This is one of the three occasions when Allah accepts a person’s prayers.
19) Many people make the mistake of spending the later part of Ramadan preparing for Eid, neglecting Ramadan. This is incorrect and these people lose the concept of what Ramadan is about.
20) Many parents do not let their children fast during Ramadan (young children). This is something a counter productive to a child. By allowing him to fast he will grow up to know he must do this act.
21) Many people think Ramadan is just about not eating; and forget about controlling their tempers and paying heed to what they say. In actuality we are supposed to control our tempers and mouths even more during Ramadan.
22) People often waste their time during Ramadan. They go to sleep during the day and do nothing. We must take advantage of this blessed month by doing extra Ibadat.
23) Some people don’t go on trips or travel during Ramadan. They think they have to break their fast when traveling. This is actually optional, if you want to break your fast while traveling you can (with making it up later), and if you don’t you can continue fasting.
24) Many people who are healthy don’t make I’tikaf in the masjid. We should take advantage of our good health and spend lots of time in the Masjid, especially the last 10 days of Ramadan.
25) Some people believe they cannot cut their hair or nails during Ramadan. This is also false.
26) Some people say you cannot swallow your spit during Ramadan. This too is false. However you cannot swallow mucus that has entered your mouth.
27) Some people say you cannot use scented oils or perfumes during Ramadan. This too is false.
28) Some people believe bleeding breaks the fast. This is not true.
29) Some people believe if you throw up on accident it breaks your fast. This is not true, however if you do it intentionally it does.
30) Some people think you cannot put water in your nose and mouth during wudhu in Ramadan. This too is incorrect.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.