The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ramadan Message 2008 - Day 28 (Reminders Before Eid)

“That which you give in usury in order that it may increase on (other) people's property has no increase with Allah; but that which you give in charity, seeking Allah's countenance, has increase manifold. It is Allah Who has created you: further He has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He will give you life. Are there any of your (false) "Partners" who can do any single one of these things? Glory to Him! And High is He above the partners they attribute (to Him)!"
(Qur'an 30 Verses 39-40)

The spirit of sharing and selflessness should be second nature to a Muslim. For a Muslim, the best way to get is by giving. The notion of social welfare for those on the lower ramp of the wealth ladder is directly entrenched in the pillars of Islam.

The zakaah, the 3rd pillar, is obligatory tax from the wealth for the poor and needy. However, there are other subtle means of encouraging the not so wealthy to give too. Generally, we are encouraged to be generous.

This is perfectly exemplified by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who said: “O son of Adam, it is better for you if you spend your surplus (wealth), but if you withhold it, it is evil for you. There is (however) no reproach for you if you must withhold necessarily for survival. And begin (charity) with your dependants; and the upper hand is better than the lower hand.” (Muslim)

Fellow feeling and sharing is also an important lesson of Ramadan. The Prophet (peace be upon him) “…was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Angel Jubril visited him, …he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).” (Bukhari)

This spirit of fellow feeling and selfless generosity strengthens our communal life. We look out for one another. We live for one another; like bricks supporting one another, forming a solid building.

Sadaqatul Fitr (sometimes called Zakatul-Fitr) is the obligatory material help extended to the poor of the society. It is given within a few days to the Eid day or on the day but before going for the Eid Prayer. (Bukhari) The recipient of the money is then able to prepare for the Eid celebration like the rest of the people. If we give Sadaqatul-Fitr early, the recipient is also able to plan early for the Eid celebration.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) made it incumbent upon the head of every able household to give the Sadaqatul-Fitr on all Muslim male and female members of the household (young or old, those who were able to fast and those who did not fast). Ibn Umar reported: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered Sadaqatul-Fitr on behalf of the young and the old and the free and the slave –whoever you provide for.” (Baihaqi)

Sadaqatul Fitr is not a substitute for zakaah. Rather, it complements it. Sadaqatul-Fitr is obligatory even on those who may not be qualified to pay the Zakaah. Ramadan season is rounded up with the Sadaqatul-Fitr and the Eid prayer.

Four (4) handful (both hands cupped together) scoops of grain is the recommended quantity of Sadaqatul-Fitr per person. This is approximated as the equivalent to 1.75 kilograms of wheat or about 2.50%.

You may seek a poor household to benefit from your Sadaqatul-Fitr or you may give it to the designated body (charity groups) or the Imam of your local masjid to dispense on your behalf.

By helping the poor, we also help ourselves to gain Allah’s boundless bounty and infinite mercy, insha’Allah.

Ibn Abbas reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined Zakatul Fitr on the one who fasts to shield himself from any indecent act or speech, and for the purpose of providing food for the poor. It is accepted as Zakatul-Fitr for the person who pays it before the Eid salaah and it is a mere sadaqah for one who pays it after the salaah.” (Abu Dawud, Nasai & Ibn Majah).


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

The Ramadan Series will send you emails with practical tips on how to gain and maintain the physical and spiritual energy necessary to embark on increased religious oligations so that you will reap the benefits from this blessed month. This includes special Ramadan duas to say during the month. Do sign-up today!

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