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The Excellence of Fasting in Ramadan and Night Prayers (2/2)

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Muhammad Abdul Raoof

Among the things which do not disrupt fasting are:

Blood analysis and injection, if it (the injection) is not intended for (intravenous) feeding or nourishment. However, if possible, it is better to delay it (i.e. injection) till night. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

''Leave whatever you doubt in, for that in which you do not doubt.''

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said:

''Whoever guards himself against suspicion, saves his Faith and honour.''

Furthermore, among the issues regarding which the people are negligent is the composure in Salat (prayers), be it the obligatory prayers or supererogatory ones: there are authentic Ahadith which prove that composure is one of the pillars of prayers and a prayer is not perfect without it. The composure consists in calmness and solemnity in Salat and not to make hurry in the postures of Salat till the vertebral columns are set right. Many a people pray in Tarawih prayer in a manner that they do not understand it nor are they tranquil in it. They actually move hurriedly back and forth like pecking. Such prayer is imperfect and the person praying does not get reward for it.

Another point regarding which people have misconception is the number of Raka‘at for Tarawih prayer: some people think, it is not proper to perform Tarawih prayer less than twenty Rak‘a; others think, it should not go beyond eleven or thirteen Rak‘a. All these are mere thoughts or guess works on wrong premise; actually they are all mistakes that contravene all the proven facts.

There are Sahih Ahadith of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) to the effect that the night prayer is unlimited and hence no limitation as to the Rak‘a‘, can be imposed upon it. Rather it is proven that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to pray at times 11 Rak‘a, at times 13 Rak‘a, and at times he prayed less than these during Ramadan and also in other days. When he (the Prophet (Peace be upon him)) was asked about the prayers at night he answered:

''The night prayer should be offered by twos; and when one is afraid of approaching the dawn, he should pray one Rak‘a; it will be the Witr for all the Rak‘a prayed before.'' (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) actually did not limit the Rak‘a for the night prayer, neither in Ramadan nor in any other period of the year; so on this basis the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) in the period of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to pray at times 23 (twenty-three) Rak‘a or at times 11 (eleven). And all these are proved from Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and the Companions in his lifetime.

And also some of the Salaf (pious predecessors) used to pray in Ramadan, 36 Rak‘a and 3 Rak‘a as Witr as well, and some others prayed 41. This fact was mentioned by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) and also by other learned people. Ibn Taimiyah also mentioned that the issue contains wide scope: it is better to reduce the number of Rak‘a for the one who prolongs the recitation, bowing (Ruku‘) and prostration; and for the one who shortens the recitation, bowing and prostration, it is better to increase the number of Rak‘a.

According to the Prophet's practice it is better to pray either eleven or thirteen Rak‘a either in Ramadan or in other days, since these are the numbers of Rak‘a the Prophet (Peace be upon him) performed most of the times, and because it is most convenient for the performers of prayers and it carries solemnity and tranquility; and whoever exceeds this number, is not liable to be objected or blamed. Again, it is better for the one who prays with the Imam, not to leave him until he finishes the prayer and this is in line with the Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

''Verily, if a man stands with the Imam during Tarawih prayer till the Imam finishes the prayer, he will get the reward of standing whole night in prayer.''

It is desirable for all Muslims to strive during this holy month of Ramadan with all kinds of worship like supererogatory prayers, reciting Qur'an with meditation and understanding; most frequently reciting Tasbih,[1] Tahlil,[2] Tahmid,[3] Takbir,[4] Istighfar,[5] and other supplications as mentioned in Shari‘ah. A Muslim should also enjoin others for good deeds and prevent from forbidden acts; and also call upon people to Allah. He should also be more sympathetical to the poor and needy persons and strive to do good to the parents, and relatives; render hospitality to neighbours and attend the patients etc. This is in line with the already mentioned Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him):

''...Allah sees (in this month) your competitions (for good deeds) and so He boasts to the angels about you: Show Allah what is better (than this) by yourselves; verily, the wretched are those debarred from Allah's Rahmah (Grace).''

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

''Whoever wants the approachment of Allah in this month (Ramadan) by any of his good deeds is like the one who performs obligatory prayer in other months. And whoever performs an obligatory prayer in this month is like the one who performs seventy obligatory prayers in other months.''

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said:

''Umrah in Ramadan is like Hajj''–– or he said ––''like Hajj with me.''

There are numerous Ahadith and traditions which prove the legitimacy of competing and contesting in the various forms of good deeds in the month of Ramadan.

And He is the Watcher; may He guide us and all the Muslims to all the deeds which lead to His Pleasure, and accept our fastings and night prayers, and set right our state of affairs, improve our conditions and protect us from all kinds of trials and afflictions. As we ask Him for the righteousness in our rulers, and to gather them on Truth, and for it He is the Guardian and the Powerful.

[1] Tasbih means to recite – (Subhan Allah: Allah is glorified).
[2] Tahlil means to recite – (La ilaha illa-Allah: There is no God except Allah).
[3] Tahmid means to recite – (Alhamdulillah: All praise is to Allah).
[4] Takbir means to recite – (Allahu-Akbar: Allah is the Most Great).
[5] Istighfar means to repent and seek forgiveness before Allah for the past sins of the repentant person either by reciting the formulae described in Ahadith or with any words in his own language, sincerely and humbly.

Source: Important issues on Zakat and Fasting


EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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