Sunday, 22 March 2015

Short but continuous deeds

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah dear readers,

It has been ages since I last blogged. Time flies! One of the signs of the last days before the Day of Judgement is the passing of time so quickly! May Allah subahanahu wa ta'ala enable us to do our best with our limited time on this earth. May He subhanahu wa ta'ala put baraka in our time, ameen. One of the way to get baraka i.e blessing in our time is to do our morning and evening adhkar on a daily basis, my ustadha says. Also waking up half an hour or one hour before others can make a huge difference. It can be our "me" time before the hectic day starts. 

This year things are a bit different for me. Alhamdulillah I have started driving on a daily basis.It took me three years of countless lessons, 2 theory tests, 5 practical tests to get to this stage alhamdulillah! Childcare was an issue as we had three kids under 6 during that time. Alhamdulillah my better half has been looking after the kids. He has been a great support alhamdulillah. I had to take lesson with my great instructor lady around 6/7 in the morning. I have learnt a lot from her. She is a very active lady, not just a driving instructor but a dental nurse, blind/curtain maker and last but not the least, a marathon runner! She goes to gym everyday at 6! And she is also a vegan! One of my goals I hope to achieve one day insha Allah! I feel blessed to have her as my instructor alhamdulillah. Having a good instructor is very crucial otherwise we can just literally waste our time , money and efforts. My first instructor who looked like a practicing Muslim lady almost crushed my confidence. She forced me to have my theory test when I wasn't even prepared. Her teaching technique was so rigid that I started fearing driving lessons thinking I must be just rubbish at driving. So it is very important to choose the right person to teach driving who you can trust wholeheartedly and someone who believes that you can do it. 

Trust me, if I can drive, you can too! Insha Allah with perseverance and lots of dua anything is possible. There are so many times I felt like giving up but I kept on trying. This is a great skill to have as a mum alhamdulillah. I am a very active mum and take my kids to lot of outdoor activities alhamdulillah. We walk a lot but some places are not really walking distance. Even using public transport can be a hassle to get to forests and places like that with three kids and a pushchair. 

Alhamdulillah this year for the first time I have managed to take our three kids to Hainault country park in the holiday with group of close friends. I felt very accomplished alhamdulillah. The feeling of being able to create beautiful memories with kids and the car :-) is just priceless alhamdulillah. I enjoy driving alhamdulillah. But I wish I can drive faster which is impossible in London. I hate meet and cross. Anyway, I am so grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for enabling me to drive alhamdulillah. Now I hope I don't cause any serious problem on the road for us and others insha Allah. I am learning the duas for travel. Everyday 5/6 minutes before I start driving, I am doing my duas to be a safe driver. It is a huge responsibility. I see so many people who are not aware of the basic rules on the road. Then I wonder how many rules I am not aware of or not following ! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala save me from causing any harm to us and others, ameen!

Having said that, driving does make me feel lazy and quite unfit as it restricts exercise time for me. I used to walk a lot. That's why I only drive to certain places as I do want to have the much needed practice. I am still trying to walk to lot of places almost every single day as it keeps me fit. My next target is running for half an hour every other day insha Allah at my local park . I need a partner who can motivate me to carry on insha Allah. 

I used to fast Mondays and Thursdays. But got lazy (as usual) and finding it very hard to fast twice a week. I have recently learnt that our nafs i.e soul/ego is like an Arabian horse. If it is given a choice, it tends to run left and right instead of going straight. When we want to perform any act of worship, our soul suggests us to do the hardest acts to punish us. When we force ourselves to do the hardest acts we eventually give up the act. This is exactly what our ego/soul wants us to do. 

But, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wants us to be moderate in our worship. He loves the small but regular acts of worship. When we do deeds on a regular basis just to please Him and show how much we love Him, it becomes a habit. Our soul gets a gradual training and it becomes easy to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Alhamdulillah I am glad that I have realized this truth now. To train my beastly soul, I have started fasting only three days a month alhamdulillah. I can feel that it is lot more manageable alhamdulillah. 

As Muslims, we are suppose to perform deeds only recommended by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. So I needed some evidence. There are plenty of ahadith about fasting. I have found couple of ahadith which I love to refer back to on a monthly basis to motivate myself to fast three days. I hope these ahadith helps you too insha Allah. 

Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu anhu) reported: My friend (the Messenger of Allah) sallallahu alaihi wa sallam directed me to observe fast for three days in every month, to perform two Rak'ah (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abud-Darda reported : My friend (the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) directed me to observe Saum (fasting) for three days in every month, to perform two rak'ah (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-As reported: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, " Observing Saum (fasting) on three days of every month is equivalent to a full month's fasting."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Mu'adhah Al-'Adawiyah radiAllahu anhu reported: I asked 'Aishah radiAllahu anhu "Did the Messenger of Allah, sallallu alaihi wa sallam, used to observe three days of Saum in every month? She replied, "Yes." I asked, "On which days in the month did he observed fast?" She replied that he did not mind on which days of the month he observed fast. [Muslim] In the commentary of this particular hadith, Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf wrote that this hadith makes it clear that one can observe Saum on any three days of the month and it is not necessary to fix these days. However, it is more meritorious to observe Saum on 13th, 14th and 15th of each lunar month because the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam has so ordained it. He himself also used to take special care of these dates and observe Saum on them, as is evident from the forthcoming Ahadith.

Abu Dharr (RadiAllahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala said, " If you want to observe saum on three days in a month, then fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the lunar month." [At-Tirmidhi]

Qatadah bin Milhaan radiAllahu Anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam directed us to observe Saum on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the lunar month. {Abu Dawud]

Ibn 'Abbas reported: It was the practice of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam to not to omit fast on 'bright days' whether he was staying at a place or on a journey.[An-Nasa'i]

In the commentary of this hadith, Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf wrote, "Beed" is the plural of Abyad which means white. Three days of 13,14 and 15 of lunar month are called "Al-Ayyam-ul-Beed" for the reason that their nights are bright because of the moonlight. The moon begins to diminish gradually after these days. 

I have collected these ahadith from Riyah-us-Saliheen Volume two Chapter 230 titled The desirability of observing three days of fasting in every month page 952-954.

My Ustdaha and several shuyukh I follow have strongly recommended Imam An-Nawawi's excellent book Riyad-us-Saliheen which comes in two volumes. This book is meant to be for people who are not scholars but seekers of knowledge who want to learn the faith to practice Islam properly. Hadith collections such as Al-Bukhari is meant to be for scholars. So please do buy the Riyad-us-Saliheen and make it a habit to read and reflect on a regular basis in sha Allah.

Ramadan is due in 87/88 days insha Allah. So this habit of fasting three days a month can also help the body and mind to get into Ramadan mode in shaa Allah. Let us make the intention to fast three days a month to prepare for the great month of Ramadan just like our predecessors , the Companions of the beloved Rasulullah, who used to start preparing for Ramadan six months ahead of the sacred month! I hope this post is beneficial insha Allah. May Allah subhanahua wa ta'ala forgive our shortcomings and give us the tayseer and tawfique to perform acts on a regular basis to show how much we love Him and want to be close to Him, ameen!