The favors of Allah upon His slaves cannot be enumerated. Among the favors is that He created sleep, and He created the night so that we may rest in it.
“And We have made your sleep as a thing for rest; and We have made the night as a covering (through its darkness).” (Qur’an, 78:9-10)
Allah created this time for people to unwind, calm down and rest in, and this is from out of His mercy. Allah says:
“It is out of His Mercy that He has made for you the night and the day that you may rest therein (i.e. during the night) and that you may seek of His bounty (i.e. during the day) – and in order that you may be grateful.” (Qur’an, 28:73)
In the past, people would be shedding tears in their night prayers, praying, making Du’a or reciting the Qur’an at nights. Our Salaf, may Allah have mercy upon them, would view the nights as the best means to Paradise.
However, the Muslims of today take their nights as a means of entertainment and frivolity. Satan dispatches his followers and spreads his evil ideas, and this has led to late nights being a source of immorality, corrupt behavior, and a path that leads to one’s destruction, as well as a period in which the evilest of prohibited television programs are broadcast.
All of these evils are a direct result of the Muslim nation accepting foreign lifestyles. Muslims are accepting ideologies that promote a lifestyle which is by its nature far removed from the religion of Allah and rebellious against all spiritual morals. It encourages the following of one’s lusts and desires, just as animals do.
During vacations and holidays, staying up late at nights becomes a serious problem. Most people forego sleep and all other important activities to immerse themselves in wrongdoing and sinful acts. They seem to forget that the days of summer are temporary and that these days and nights will soon come to an end.
Successful are those who ponder upon the heat of summer and think thereby about the Hereafter and the Hellfire. Such remembrance would stop people from spending their nights in sin and wasting time indulging in prohibitions, immorality and corruption, all of which destroys families and the next generation. Good news is for the slaves who restrain from straying away, and spend their time beneficially in activities such as attending Qur’an circles, lectures, courses, and in development of mental abilities, and Halaal entertainment.
Staying up till the last hours of night and resisting sleep when the body is in desperate need of it results in serious health problems.
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Around their necks We have put chains, reaching up to their chins, so that their heads are forced up. And We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and We enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see. It is all the same to them whether you warn them or you do not warn them: they will not believe. You can truly warn only such a one as follows this reminder and who stand in awe of the Lord of Grace although He is beyond the reach of human perception. To such, then, give the happy news of God’s forthcoming forgiveness and a generous reward. It is We who will bring the dead back to life. We record whatever (deeds) they send ahead, as well as the traces they leave behind. We keep an account of all things in a clear record. Cite for them, as a case in point, the people of a township to which messengers came. (Ya Sin: 36: 8-13)
At this point, the surah draws an image of their psychological condition, and we see them with chains around their necks, barriers separating them from divine guidance, and with a cover over their eyes depriving them of the ability to see: “Around their necks We have put chains, reaching up to their chins, so that their heads are forced up. And We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and We enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see.” Their hands are fastened with chains to their necks, placed under their chins, which has the effect of lifting up their heads such that they cannot see what is in front of them. Moreover, there are walls and barriers both in front of and behind them, which means that even if they were released from these chains, they still could not see through the barriers. Furthermore, the covers placed over their eyes makes it even more impossible for them to see.
Although this image is fierce and sharp, we actually do encounter people of this ilk. When you see them overlooking the plain truth that is in front of them, you feel as if there is a wall separating them from it. Although their hands are not chained and nor are their heads forced up, you nonetheless feel that their souls and minds are turned away from the truth, unable to see guidance. It is as if there are barriers preventing them from approaching it. Such were the people who turned deaf ears to the Qur’an and who received it with irrational denial as it put before them its argument and proof. This is when the Qur’an is itself a irrefutable proof.
“It is all the same to them whether you warn them or you do not warn them: they will not believe.” Their case is settled. God knows that faith will not penetrate their hearts. No warning will ever benefit a heart that has steeled itself against divine guidance, and barracked its approach. Warnings do not create hearts; it only alerts a heart that is alive, ready to receive guidance: “You can truly warn only such a one as follows this reminder and who stands in awe of the Lord of Grace although He is beyond the reach of human perception. To such, then, give the happy news of God’s forthcoming forgiveness and a generous reward.”
Most probably, the ‘reminder’ in this instance refers to the Qur’an. A person who follows the Qur’an and fears God despite not seeing Him is the one who benefits by the warning. It is as if the warning has been given to such people only and the Prophet (peace be upon him) directed it to them alone, even though he addressed it to all people. Since the others are prevented from receiving the warning, it looks as if it is given only to those who follow the Qur’an and fear God. Such people deserve to be given good news. Hence the Prophet is told to give them ‘the happy news of God’s forthcoming forgiveness and a generous reward.’ They need the forgiveness of any sin they commit providing they do not persist in doing it, and they deserve the generous reward for fearing God and following what He has revealed. These two aspects go hand in hand: When a person truly fears God, he or she is certain to follow His guidance and implement the system He has laid down.
At this point, the truth of resurrection is emphasized, together with the reckoning that ignores nothing: “It is We who will bring the dead back to life. We record whatever (deeds) they send ahead, as well as the traces they leave behind. We keep an account of all things in a clear record.” Bringing the dead back to life has always been an issue fraught with argument, of which we will see several types in this surah. They are warned here that whatever they do and whatever effects their deeds cause are written down, and nothing is forgotten. It is God Almighty who brings the dead back to life, records their actions and reckons everything. All this, then, is done in the perfect way that fits anything done by God. As for the ‘clear record’ and similar descriptions such as ‘the imperishable tablet’, these are most probably references to God’s perfect knowledge that transcends time and place.
Having presented the issues of revelation and resurrection in the form of a factual statement, the surah now presents them again in narrative form so as to touch hearts with a story about the fate of those who persist in denying the truth: “Cite for them, as a case in point, the people of a township to which messengers came.” The Qur’an does not mention which township this was or who were its people. Different reports suggest different towns and cities, but there is no real benefit in trying to establish its identity. The fact that the Qur’an neither identifies it nor mentions its location does not detract from the import of the story. It is a city to which God sent two messengers, just as He sent Moses and his brother Aaron to Pharaoh and his nobles. The people of the city rejected their message, accusing them of lying. God supported His two messengers with a third, confirming that they were truly His messengers. All three of them again presented their message, saying to the people: “We are messengers who have been sent to you.”
– Commentary by Sayyid Qutb
There are numerous examples set by the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) that show how emphatically they abided by the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the extent of severing their relations with their kith and kin once they discovered someone going against the Sunnah. Let us have some examples from the lives of the great Caliphs of Islam followed by many other Companions:
Just after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) three major issues confronted the Muslim community. They could have left it apart and disunited, had it not been for the wise guidance of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) who settled them amicably in the light of the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The first issue was related to the appointment of the khalifah (leader of the Muslims, caliph). Assembled in Saqifat Bani Sa’idah, a great number of Muhajirun (those who emigrated from Makkah to Madina) and Ansar (those who helped the emigrants from Makkah) originally had been busy arguing this issue. The Ansar proposed that the leader should be appointed from both of the above communities. The Noble Companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) cited the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him ): “Leaders (imams) should be from Quraysh (the tribe of Prophet Muhammad) as long as they have the understanding (of the religion).” The Ansar conceded to this quietly. The great Companion Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) proposed the name of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) as the khalifah, which was accepted unanimously by those present there and later followed by all the inhabitants of Madina through the oath of allegiance.
The second issue was related to the place where the Prophet (peace be upon him) should be buried. Again the Companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) cited the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him ): “A Prophet is to be buried where he breathes his last.” Accordingly, his burial took place in the apartment of his wife, the Mother of the Faithful Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), in which he died.
The third issue was related to the inheritance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as raised by his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) who came to the Caliph Abu Bakr asking for her share. Abu Bakr replied by reminding her of the saying of the Prophet: “We, the community of the prophets, are not inherited from; whatever we leave behind us is a charity.” Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) did not argue further, but retired quietly.
Caliph Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) once agreed to buy a piece of land from a person. On the completion of the verbal agreement, he asked the man to collect the money the following day. But the man turned up after a few days, only to renounce the agreement. He had changed his mind because his friends had blamed him for selling the land at a low price. Uthman could have been adamant about the sale, particularly when it had been agreed upon completely. But he remembered the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which admired a person who treated the people easily and wholeheartedly in his sales deals. So, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) preferred to concede to the man’s wish without raising any objection.
In one of his journeys, Ali (Allah be pleased with him) found a merchant hoarding a stock of grain in the hope of a good price. Ali reminded him of the saying of the Prophet “The hoarder is cursed,” and instructed his people to set the stock on fire as a punishment.
This is how the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them) adhered to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Let us have some more examples from the lives of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all).
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) heard a man saying after a sneeze , “Al-hamdu lillah wa as-salatu wa as-salamu ala Rasuli Allah.” Ibn Mas’ud said to him, “Whatever you have said is true, but that is not the way that the Prophet has taught us. He instructed us to say simply Al-hamdulillah‚ after sneezing.”
It would be appropriate to remind all Muslims about this Sunnah, which is commonly abandoned by a great number of them. Say “Al-hamdu lillah” whenever you sneeze. If you hear someone saying this after sneezing, say to him “yarhamukumu Allah” (may Allah have mercy upon you). The sneezer should pray for you as well by saying “Yahdikum Allah wa yuslihu balakum” (may Allah guide you and set your affairs right). There are plenty of occasions when you should say “As-salatu wa as-salamu ala Rasuli Allah.” You should say it, for example, whenever you hear the name of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) or whenever you enter a mosque or step out of it, adding these words respectively: “Allahumma iftah li abwaba rahmatik” (O Allah, open for me the doors of Your mercy) and “Allahumma inni as’aluka min fadlika” (O Allah, I ask You for Your bounty).
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) used to address a gathering of Muslims on Friday eve. Once, before beginning his sermon, he said to the people , “Whoever has cut off from any of his relations should leave this place.” No one stood up. On repeating these words thrice, a young man left the place and went to his aunt whom he had deserted a long time before, and reconciled with her. Abu Hurairah said this is because he knew that all actions are presented to Allah on each Friday eve. He didn’t like his assembly of the devout to be smeared by a person who had committed the sin of deserting his relatives. By doing so, he saved a person from a major sin.
This is how the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) conducted their lives – setting sublime examples of adherence to the Sunnah.
It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, has said:
Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year. (Sahih Muslim)
This hadith had described the great thawab of six fasts of this month. Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith may also be fulfilled.
In this day and age, many people eagerly await the end of Ramadan and the coming of Eid al-Fitr to gain their ‘freedom’ in order to go back to committing sin and disobeying Almighty Allah . Many people start on the day of Eid itself and engage in shameful and reprehensible behavior in the name of celebration. We should remember that celebration does not mean committing sin, but rather it involves remembering Allah Ta’ala and being grateful to Allah Ta’ala for showering His Mercy and Bounties upon us. Let us look at the true essence and significance of Eid-ul-Fitr, and the way in which those pious servants close to Almighty Allah celebrated Eid.
Eid is a day of celebration for Muslims, a day of happiness. On this day, Muslims perform two rakaats of prayer, meet one another, shake hands and embrace and give charity to the poor and needy. Islam teaches protecting the poor, helping the helpless, and easing the pain and sufferings of orphans and the meek at every turn, and they should not be forgotten, especially on the day of Eid. That is why Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered us to pay the Sadqa-e-Fitr before performing the Eid Salaah so that Muslims remember their poor brothers on this occasion and include them in their happiness.
It is reported on the authority of Hadrat Anas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) that when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) came to Madina Shareef, the people of Madina would celebrate two festivals. They were asked what these days were and they replied, “We used to celebrate on these days in the days of ignorance.” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Allah Ta’ala has granted you two better days than these days; Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.”
Regarding Eid-ul-Fitr, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said, “When the month of Ramadan is over, and the night of Eid-ul-Fitr has arrived, that night is called the Night of Prize. Then, in the early morning of Eid-ul-Fitr Allah Ta’ala will send His angels forth to visit all the towns and cities on the earth below. Once they have made their descent, they will position themselves at the entrances to all the streets and alleys. There, in a voice that is audible to every being created by Allah Ta’ala, apart from the jinn and humankind, they will issue a proclamation saying, “O Community of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), come forth into the presence of a Noble and Generous Lord, who will grant you gifts in abundance and forgive your terrible sin!” Then when the believers have emerged and presented themselves at their place of prayer, Allah Ta’ala will say to His angels, “O My angels, what is the recompense of the hired laborer, once he has done his job?” The angels will reply, “Our Lord and our Master, You will pay him his wages in full!” So Allah Ta’ala will say, “I now call upon you to bear witness, O My angels, that I have conferred My acceptance and My forgiveness as the reward for their fasting and night vigil during the month of Ramadan.” Allah Ta’ala will then say, “O My servants put your requests to Me now, for this I swear by My Might and My Majesty, you will not ask Me this day, in this gathering of yours for anything connected with your life hereafter, without My granting it to you; nor for anything connected with your life in this lower world, without My attending to your need. By My Might and My Majesty, I will not put you to shame, nor will I expose you to disgrace amongst those who are faithfully committed to observing the laws (of Shariah). Now you may depart, knowing that you have been forgiven. You have won My approval, and I am well pleased with you.”” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
SubHan ALLAH! How Merciful is our Rabb, even though we are such wretched sinners.
There lived an idolator in the past who made an idol out of stone and would worship it everyday. He would call it upon it by saying “Ya Sanam.” For seventy years, he worshiped this idol. One day by mistake he uttered “Ya Samad” instead of Ya Sanam. Samad is a name of Allah which means The Self Sufficient Master. Allah Ta’ala immediately replied back to this idolator by saying “I am present oh My slave.” The angels asked Allah why He replied to him since he didn’t even call upon Him intentionally. Allah told the angels that for seventy years I have been waiting for this servant of mine to turn towards Me!
If a mother has only one child then how much would she love him? He would be the coolness of her eyes and the comfort of her heart. But if this son calls her saying “Mommy” more than four or five times, she would get irritated even though she loves him more than her own self. On the other hand, when we call Allah once, He replies back to us 70 times by saying “Labbaik Ya Abdi (I am here oh My slave).” How unfortunate we are that we have not recognized our Allah who is so Kind, Merciful and Forgiving.
Bathing, perfume and best clothes
Naaf’i reports: “Abdullah Ibn Umar used to bathe on the day of Fitr before setting out to the Musallaa.” (Malik (1/177), Ash-Shaafi’ee (73) and Abdur-Razzaaq (5754) and it has an authentic chain of narration)
Imam Ibn Qudamah said, “It is preferred to purify oneself by bathing for Eid. Ibn Umar used to bathe on the day of Fitr. This is also reported upon Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and it is the opinion of ‘Urwah, ‘Ataa, An-Nakhaa’ee, Ash-Sha’bee, Qatadah Abu Zinaad Malik, Ash-Shaafi’ee and Ibn Mundhir…” (Al-Mughnee, 2/370)
Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “He (peace be upon him) would wear his best clothes when proceeding to the two Eids and the day of jum ‘ah.” (Zaad-ul-Ma’aad, 1/441)
Eating before prayer
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah would not set out in the morning of Eid-Al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates.” (Bukhari)
Imam Al-Muhallab said: “The wisdom behind eating before the Eid prayer is so that no person doubts that fasting remains until after the prayer. So it is as if he (peace be upon him) wanted to stop this from occurring.” (Fath-ul-Bari, 2/447)
Takbeer in the Eids
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to emerge on the day of Eid-Al-Fitr and say the Takbeer up until he reached the Musallaa and up until he had performed the prayer. So when he had performed the prayer he stopped saying the Takbeer. (Silsilatul Ahadeeth As-Saheehah, 170)
The scholar of Hadeeth Al-Albani said, “This Hadeeth contains evidence of saying the Takbeer aloud on the way to the Musallaa; even though many Muslims have become negligent of this Sunnah to such an extent that it has nearly become a “thing of the past”.
Ibn Mas’ud used to say:
“Allahu-Akbar. Allahu-Akbar. Laa ilaaha illallah. Wa-Allahu Akbar. Allahu-Akbaar. Wa lillaahil-Hamd”
(Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is none who has the right to be worshipped except Allah. Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)
Salmaan Al-Khair (may Allah Pleased with him): “Make takbeer of Allah: Say:
Allahu-Akbar Allahu-Akbar Allahu-Akbar kabeera (Baihaqee)
Different route to and fro the Musallaa
Jabir Bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When it was the day of Eid the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to alter his route (of returning).” (Bukhari)
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawzeeyah said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to change his route on the days of Eid, such that he went by one route and returned by another. According to the most correct opinion, he did this to make manifest the rituals of Islam.” (Zaad-ul-Ma’aad, 1/449)
Praying Eid Musallaa
Aboo Sa’eed Al-Khudree (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on the days of Eid-Al-Fitr and ‘Adhaa, used to go out to the Musallaa and the first thing that he would begin with was the prayer…” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The aim of the prayer in the Musallaa is to gather the great majority of Muslims in one place.
The companions when they met each other on Eid would say:
“Taqabbala Allaaha minnaa wa minkum”
May Allah accept it (the worship) from you and us. (Fath Al-Bari)