Friday, August 21, 2009

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you.."

Chapter 2 : Verse 183. O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who came before you; that you may perhaps be God-fearing.

184. [Fast] A certain number of days, but if any one of you is ill or on a journey, let him [break his fast, and] fast the same number of days later on. And for those who can afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need. He that does good of his own accord, it is better for him, but to fast is better for you, if you did but know.

185. The month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, [a Book of] clear proofs of guidance and the criterion [distinguishing right from wrong]. Therefore whoever of you is present in that month let him fast; but he who is ill or on a journey shall fast [a same] number of days later on. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and [He desires] that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for giving you His guidance, and that perhaps you will be thankful.

186. When My servants question you about Me, [tell them] I am near, answering the prayer of the suppliant when he prays to Me; therefore let them respond to Me and believe in Me, that they may be rightly-guided.

from pg. 28 of The Majestic Qur'an: An English Rendition of its Meanings

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the Opening of the Qur'an

To maximize benefit from reading the Qur'an during this month, some of teachers encourage in addition to completing its recitation in Arabic, to also do a "khatm" (complete reading) of an English translation. I was doing this last year and found it extremely rewarding in bringing forth meanings and contemplation of what I had been reciting.

The following is from the beginning of Cleary's translation of the Qur'an. [Cleary in 1993 published a selection of passages in his beautiful the Essential Koran. In 2004, he came out with a full translation (although with not introduction or footnotes) with Starlatch Press. See if you like it:]

1. The Opening

1. In the name of God,
the Benevolent,
the Merciful.
2. Praise is proper to God,
Lord of the universe,
3. the Benevolent,
the Merciful,
4. Ruler of the Day of Requital.
5. It is you we serve,
to You we turn for help.
6. Show us the straight path,
7. the path of those You have favored,
not of those who are objects of anger,
nor of those who wander astray.

2. The Cow

In the name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful

1. A.L.M.
2. This is the Book, without doubt,
in it guidance for the conscientious,
3. those who believe in the unseen,
who practice regular prayer,
and who give of what
We have provided them;
4. and those who believe
in what was revealed to you,
and what was revealed before you,
and are certain of the Hereafter
5. They follow guidance from their Lord;
and they are the successful ones.

6. As for those who scoff,
it is the same to them
whether you warn them or not -
they do not believe.
7. God has sealed their hearts,
and their hearing and their seeing
are covered over;
and there is a horrendous torment for them.


8. And there are people who say,
"We believe in God and the Last Day,"
but they do not believe.
9. They try to deceive God
and those who believe,
but they only deceive themselves,
without being aware.
10. In their hearts is sickness,
and God has made them sicker;
and in store for them is painful torture,
because they have been lying.

from "The Qur'an A New Translation" by Thomas Cleary

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1st Night of Ramadan by Shaykh Abdul-Kareem Yahya

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds

May Allah bless and grant peace to our liegelord Muhammad as well as his folk and companions

Dear brothers and sisters from the nation of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),

As we wait in eager anticipation of the noble guest who approaches, the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Quran was revealed, we undoubtedly are making physical and spiritual preparations therefore.

Among the preparations that the scholars of Islam have encouraged is preparing our hearts for Allah's gaze. Baihaqi relates, “When it is the first night of the month of Ramadan, Allah, Mighty and Majestic, gazes to them and the one to whom Allah looks, He does not punish him, ever.” The place to which Allah looks is the heart. So what will Allah see in your and my heart if He were to look to us on the first night of Ramadan? 

One of the qualities that would prevent us from this blessed gaze (and from many other opportunities for forgiveness) is malice. The Prophet, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us of the Night of Power and the Half Night of Sha’ban that those who harbor rancor, mistreat parents, severe bonds of kinship or drink are prevented from Allah’s merciful gaze. Do we want Allah to look to His servants on the first night of Ramadan and overlook us because we are bearing ill will against each other? Is whatever anyone has done to hurt us so important that we can not overlook it in exchange for an opportunity for eternal salvation from Allah's punishment? What about all of those whom we have wronged? Do we not need Allah's pardon as well as theirs?

We can purify our hearts in preparation for this gaze from our Merciful, Forgiving Lord and also expose ourselves to an opportunity for His pardon when we need it most, by pardoning His servants. Allah said, "The one who pardons and reconciles his reward is upon Allah;" Quran (42:40). Tabarani relates that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A caller will call [on the Day of Rising], ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ Then he will call a second time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise’ It will be said, ‘Who is the one whose reward is upon Allah, Mighty and Majestic?’ He will say, ‘Those who pardon people.’ Then he will call a third time, ‘Let him stand whose reward is upon Allah and let him enter paradise.’ Then so and so many thousand will stand and enter paradise without reckoning." Imagine being among that fortunate group and having all of our many sins forgiven and receiving our reward directly from Allah!

In preparation for the blessed first night of Ramadan, Insha'Allah, and that day in which each of us will meet Allah, let us pardon one another and all of Allah's servants. I will begin with my own sinful self. O Allah, if any of Your slaves have transgressed the rights You have prescribed to me, they are excused. I ask you to grant them and me Paradise, and that You make us among its dwellers whom You have described in Your saying, "We have removed what was in their breasts of rancor, brethren on couches facing one another;" Quran (15:47). I also ask anyone who I have wronged to seek their due from me and to forgive me.

“Our Lord forgives us and our brethren who preceded us in faith and do no place in our hearts ill will towards those who believe. Our Lord, indeed you are compassionate and merciful.” Quran (54:10) 

And Allah alone grants tawfiq (success),
Abdul-Kareem Yahyaa

[Re-posted here with permission]

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Imam Abdul Latif's blog

A big shout out for my friend, older brother, mentor, classmate and graduate of the Zaytuna Seminary, Imam of the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, CA, Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif's new blog and site - Check it out at

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Special Online Seminar for Ramadan with Shaykh Abdullah Ali

Special Online Seminar for Ramadan

Register today for this special online session
Simply click the registeration button below:

Online Seminar with
Ustadh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
of the Zaytuna Institute

Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is the first and only westerner to attend and graduate from the University of Qarawiyyin 's Faculty of Shariah located in Fes , Morocco . He acquired his general license (al-ijazah al-'ulya) to teach the Islamic sciences in 2001. He served for five years as Assistant Head Chaplain at the State Correctional Institution of Chester, Pennsylvania (SCI Chester, 2002-2007). He has served as resident scholar at the Zaytuna Institute ( since 2007. Among his teachers in the US and abroad are: Dr. Khalid Blankinship, Shaykh Anwar Muhaimin, Ustadh Anas Muhaimin, Shaykh Muhammad al-Ta'wil, Dr. Hasan 'Azuzi, Dr. Muhammad 'Abdul-Wahhab Abyat, Dr. Abdullah Ghaziwi, Ustadh Muhammad al-Sarrar, Ustadh Muhammad 'Alami, Shaykh Ahmed Zwieten, Dr. Muhammad al-Rugi, and many others. He has conducted numerous seminars, lectures, and classes, and has written over 40 scholarly research articles that can be found at: He has also translated, annotated, and authored four published works: Muslim Funeral Guide (Lamppost Productions); Explanation of Murshid Al-Mu'een: Ibn Ashir Recited: Part 1 (Lamppost Productions); The Attributes of God (Amal Press); and A Return to Purity in Creed (Lamppost Productions). He currently resides in the Bay Area.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

"The souls are assembled hosts, those that recognize each other find harmony..."

This is from Imam Zaid's Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance:

"Various narrations have been related that give us insight into the heart. Among them is the saying of the Messenger of God, peace upon him, "Verily, amongst the believers are individuals my heart softens towards."
[footnote 252: Ahmad, Musnad, no. 22299)

Our hearts respond differently to different people. There are people that we instinctively find repulsive and there are others we have a great receptivity towards. One reason for this is the nature of the interaction of our souls with other souls in the pre-temporal realm before entering this world. This process is described by the Messenger of God, peace upon him, in the following hadith, "The souls are assembled hosts, those that recognize each other find harmony, while those that are unfamiliar with each other find dissonance." [footnote 253: Bukhari, no. 3336]

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentions in Fath al-Bari that Imam al-Khattabi understood this to mean two things: People's souls are naturally disposed towards good or evil and when they meet those souls that are similarly inclined they gravitate towards each other, the good souls toward the good, the evil souls toward the evil. Another meaning he suggests is that it refers to the creation of the souls in the unseen world before they were united with their bodies in the visible world. Some souls met and found a harmonious attraction towards each other in the unseen world, while others found dissonance, while yet others never have met. Once they enter into respective bodies and then meet in this world they respond to each other based on their prior responses in the unseen realm. [footnote 254: Imam Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Fath al-Bari (Damascus: Dar al-Fayha`. 1418/1997), 6:446.)

This is the reason some of us can meet a person for the first time and sense we have known them all of our lives. Unbeknowst to most of us, we actually have."

pg. 166-167

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