Sawdah Bint Zam`ah Ibn Qays was a noble Qurayshiete woman. She was the first woman to whom the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, got married after the death of Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her. She was a noble, respectful woman. She was married first to As-Sakran Ibn `Amr, brother of Suhayl Ibn `Amr Al-`Amiri. When they came back from Abyssinia, her husband died and then the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, proposed to her.
The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, got married to her in Ramadan, 10 years after his mission. He migrated with her from Makkah to Madinah where she died in Shawwal, 54 A.H. Some scholars say that she died during the Caliphate of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with them all.
It is worth stressing here that she was the one who when attained old age, donated her own night with the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, to `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with them all, as a sign of love and kindness.
The Night of Power marks the night on which the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Muslims regard this as the most important event in history, and the Qur’an says this night is better than a thousand months (Quran, 97:3).
1 The Night of Power marks the night on which the Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Muslims regard this as the most important event in history, and the Qur’an says this night is better than a thousand months (Quran, 97:3).
2 Muslims believe that the exact date of the Night of Power was concealed so that people would increase their acts of worship. Prophet Muhammad said, “Seek it (the Night of Power) on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
3 Muslims are encouraged to seek this night by performing voluntary prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and supplicating.
4 The Night of Power is a good time to seek forgiveness, as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “He who spends the night in prayers on the Night of Power as a sign of his devotion and seeking rewards from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
5 Muslims believe that on this night some angels descend, with their Lord’s permission, saluting those who are engaged in worship and bestowing safety and peace.
The changes that occur in the body in response to fasting depend on the length of the continuous fast. Technically the body enters into a fasting state eight hours or so after the last meal, when the gut finishes absorption of nutrients from the food. In the normal state, body glucose, which is stored in the liver and muscles, is the body’s main source of energy. During a fast, this store of glucose is used up first to provide energy. Later in the fast, once the stores of glucose run out, fat becomes the next store source of energy for the body.
As the Ramadan fast only extends from dawn till dusk, there is ample opportunity to replenish energy stores at pre-dawn and dusk meals. This provides a progressive gentle transition from using glucose to fat as the main source of energy, and prevents the breakdown of muscle for protein. The use of fat for energy aids weight loss, preserving the muscles, and in the long run reduces your cholesterol levels. In addition weight loss results in better control of diabetes and reduces blood pressure. A detoxification process also seems to occur, as any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body. After a few days of the fast, higher levels of certain hormones appear in the blood (endorphins), resulting in a better level of alertness and an overall feeling of general mental well-being.
The kidney is very efficient at maintaining the body’s water and salts, such as sodium and potassium. However, these can be lost through sweating, to prevent muscle break down, meals must contain adequate levels of ‘energy food’ such as carbohydrates and some fat. Hence, a balanced diet with adequate quantities of nutrients, salts and water is vital.
Look at the mercy a mother has for her baby she feeds. Can we imagine her ever harming the child? Look at the the elephant, a creature that weighs more than a ton, has so much mercy for its offspring.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah divided Mercy into one-hundred parts and He kept its ninety-nine parts with Him and sent down its one part on the earth, and because of that, its one single part, His creations are Merciful to each other, so that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal, lest it should trample on it.” (Bukhari)
We should have maximum mercy on each other in this month. This is the month of forgiveness so let us forgive and take maximum benefit from what Allah has promised us.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands.” (Bukhari)
Taking Ramadhan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual ( Stereotyped behavior) than a form of Ibadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie (living dead) just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to make Dua, forget to beseech Allah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that’s about all ?
Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salah, Quran and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD so much so that they turn the month of ‘fasting’ into the month of ‘feasting’.
Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quran. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Iman!
Food represents one of the most common activities in human life. It is essential for survival. People go to great lengths to ensure that they and their families have enough food. Moreover, eating is associated with social activities. People invite relatives, friends and neighbors to a meal. They are keen to offer them the best they can have. Moreover, eating together becomes a social function in which certain manners and practices are observed. People often speak of table manners, indicating that those who observe them are refined people, well brought up and deserve respect and friendship. On the other hand, people who lack table manners are considered as vulgar and uncouth.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) has taught us the best of manners in every situation. His teachings were often by example. However, he added instructions to ensure that people observed the right manners. For example, people in high position of authority were used to have a rich variety of foods spread before them. They would recline and eat at leisure. This used to be the mark of affluence and power. The Prophet made clear that he would have nothing of that. He is quoted to have said : “I do not recline and eat.” (Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.) Ubayy ibn Kaab, a close companion of the Prophet famous for his fine recitation of the Qur’an, reports: “The Prophet used to sit on his knees when he ate. He never reclined when eating.” (Related by Abu Al-Shaykh)
For most of his life, the Prophet lived in poverty. He never complained. Prior to his marriage to lady Khadeejah, he lived in his uncle’s home, Abu Talib, who was poor. However, there always seemed to be enough food to go round. Khadeejah was rich and the Prophet worked in conducting her business. He was living comfortably. After her death and for most of the time until his death, he was poor. Sometimes, he might not find food for his family’s needs. He would be patient until God’s help was forthcoming. Thus the Prophet experienced all the problems of poverty. Therefore, when he had plenty, he did not forget the times of need, and he always remained kind to the poor.
IMAGINE for a minute that you are in the Makkah of pagan times, over 1400 years ago. The Ka’ba is full of idols, revered by people to such a degree that they are willing to kill anyone who dares to question their authority, or suggest that their help can neither bring benefit nor harm. Only one man in the history of Makkah has had the ‘temerity’ to do so: He claims that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that he is His Messenger and receives revelation from the Heavens above.
One morning, Abu Jahl, a pagan leader and sworn enemy of the Messenger of Allah, spots him sitting in the shade of the Ka’ba, deep in thought. ‘’So, what’s the latest news from heaven?’’ he inquires sarcastically.
To his astonishment, the Prophet (peace be upon him) – fresh from a miraculous journey where he was taken from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (The Inviolable Mosque) in Makkah to Masjid Al-Aqsa (The Farthest Mosque) in Jerusalem in the space of a night – starts narrating an account of the wondrous signs he was shown in the Heavens and Earth.
Abu Jahl listens incredulously for a while, and thinks this is his chance to prove what the pagans have been claiming all along: that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is mentally unsound (Allah’s refuge is sought). He asks the Prophet: “Will you repeat what you just told me to others?” When the Prophet agrees, a huge crowd gathers around him, jeering and shaking their heads in disbelief at such an impossible claim.
Within minutes, word gets around and all of Makkah reverberates with the story of the Messenger’s claim of going to Jerusalem, ascending to Heaven and returning within a night. When the story reaches Abdullah Bin Abi Quhafah, his first reaction is to think that the pagans have concocted another lie against the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, when the person who brought him the news insisted that the Prophet himself has said this, he said: “If he has said this, then it must be true.”
The holy month of Ramadan is yet another chance for all Muslims to seek Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. The divine precept of fasting that is binding on all able adult Muslims.
The holy month inspires Muslims with the noble meanings of compassion, mercy and kindness. It also renews the higher values which our religion advocates and calls for. It is the month when the doors of the heaven open for the good deeds and worshiping Allah.
We have learned great lessons from this great month, which inspire us, and we ponder over them and see how a person cares for his brother, how the rich feel the sufferings of the poor and how Muslims compete among themselves to win Allah’ s contentment.
Islam is a religion of love, compassion and tolerance, and that its message has been revealed as a mercy for the entire mankind. It is a way of guidance and welfare and it is a method that advocates dialogue and coherence. It also calls for effective participation to build mankind’s civilization.
We have a duty and responsibility to defend and protect this religion, serve Muslims’ interests and renew and revive their dialogue with the world’s cultures, societies and others’ religions with the objective of building a civilized and coherent world that finds its roots in the principles of peace and justice.