Virtues of Ramadhaan - I'itikaaf
I'ITIKAAF - SECLUSION IN THE MASJID
HADITH NO. 4
Ibn Abbas R.A. says that he heard our Nabi S.W. say, Verily Jannah becomes perfumed with the sweetest fragrance in Ramadhaan. From the beginning of the year till the end, it is being brightly decorated for the coming of this blessed month. And when the first night of Ramadhaan appears, a wind blows from beneath t he Ar-sh (Throne). It is called Mutheerah, and causes the leaves of the trees of Jannah to rustle and door handle to sound, where by setting forth such a melodious sound as had never been heard before. The dark eyed damsels of Jannah then step forth till they appear in the centre of the balconies of Jannah, exclaiming: is there anyone making duaa’ to Allah for us that Allah may join us in marriage to him?” Then these damsels call out: “O Ridhwaan, keeper of Jannah, what night is this?” He replies: “Labbaik, this is indeed the first night of Ramadhaan, when the doors of Jannah are opened to those who observe the fast from among the ummah of Muhammad S.W.. Rasulullah S.W. further sai, Allah says, “O Ridhwaan open the doors of Jannah, and O Maalik, (keeper of Jahannam) close the doors of Jahannam for those who fast from among the ummah of Ahmad “O Jibraeel proceed down to the earth and bind the rebellious shay’taans, put them in chains and cast them in the oceans so that they make nomischief, thereby spoiling the fast of the ummah of My beloved Muhammad S.W..
Allah commands a caller from the heavens to call out three times on every one of the nights of Ramadhaan> “Is there anyone begging of Me that I may grant him his desire? Is there anyone repenting to me that I may turn in mercy to him? Is there anyone begging for forgiveness that I may forgive him? Who is there who shall give a loan to the One whose ewalth does not diminish, and the One who duly fulfills without unjust deductions”.
Rasulullah S.W. said further, “every day at the time of if’taar Allah sets free a thousand thousand (one million) souls from the fire of Jahannam, all of whom had already earned entrance into Jahannum. On the last night He sets free as many as had been set free throughout the month. On the night of Laylatul Qadr Allah commands Jibraeel A.S. to descend to the earth with the group of Malaa’ikah (angels). They descend carrying a green flag which is then planted on top of the Kabah. Jibraeel A.S. himself has one night. He spreads out these wings so that their width extends from East to West. Jibraeel A.S. then sends out the Malaa’ikah on this night in all directions to recite salaam upon each and everybody they find in prayer or sitting, performing ‘salaah and celebrating the praise of Allah. They shake hands with them and say Aameen to all their duaa’ s until dawn breaks. When dawn comes Jibraeel A.S, calls out; Depart O Malaa’ikah of Allah depart”.
The Malaa’ikah then inquire; “O Jibraeel but what did Allah do regarding the needs of the faithful ones form among the ummah of Ahmad S.W. put before Him? Jibraeel A.S. replies: “Allah looked at them with mercy and pardoned them all except four kinds of people”.
There upon we the sahaabahs inquired: “Who are they, O Rasulullah?” Rasulullah S.W. replied, “They are the ones addicted to wine drinking, those disobedient to their parents, those who cut themselves from their near relatives and the “Mushaahin. We inquired, “O Rasulullah S.W. who is a Mushaahin?” He said: Those who harbor ill-feelings in their hearts against their fellow brethren and break off relations with them”.
“And then night of ‘Iyd ul Fitr, the night that is called Laylatul Jaa’izah, (The night of prize giving), comes along. On the morning of ‘Iyd Allah sends down the Malaa’ikah to all the lands of the earth where they take their positions at access points of roads, calling out with a voice that is heard by all except man and jinn.
“O Ummah of Muhammad S.W., come forth from your houses towards a Lord that is noble and gracious, who grants much and pardons the major sins”. When they proceed towards the places for their ‘Iyd ‘salaah, Allah says to the Malaa’ikah: “What indeed is the reward of that employee who had rendered his services?” The Malaa’ikah replies, “O Lord and master, it is only right that he should receive his reward in full for his services”. Allah then says, “I call you to witness, O My Malaa’ikah, that for their having fasted during the month of Ramadhaan, and for their having stood before Me in prayer by night, I have granted to them as reward My pleasure and have granted them forgiveness. O My servants ask now of Me, for I swear beg of Me this day in this assembly of yours for the needs of the Hereafter, I shall look at you favourably. By My honour I swear, as long as you shall obey My commands, I shall cover your faults, by My Honour and My Greatness do I swear that I shall never disgrace you among the evil-doing ones and disbelievers. Depart now from here, you are forgiven. You have pleased Me and I am pleased with you.
The Malaa’ikah on seeing this great reward bestowed by Allah upon the ummah of Muhammad S.W. on the day of I’ydul Fitr become greatly pleased and happy”.
As reported in Targheeb.
“O Allah, make us also of those fortunate ones, Aameen”.
The previous pages of this book already dealt with almost all that is contained in this last long Hadith. A few points need attention. We see here that there are a few people who are deprived of forgiveness in Ramadhaan and are unfortunate indeed in hot being able to share the great gifts of Allah on the morning of ‘Iyd. Among them are those who fight and argue among themselves and those disobedient to their parents.
Let us put one question to them: “You have displeased Allah and having done so, what other refuge do you have besides Allah?” We feel indeed sad that for some reason or other you have made yourselves the target for the curse of Allah, His Rasool S.W. and Jibraeel A.S. while at the same excluded from Allahs freely granted forgiveness. Who else can grant you refuge? Who and what can stand by your side when you carry the curse of Rasulullah S.W.? who can help you when Allah’s close angel Jibraeel A. S. has made duaa’ against you? While Allah is excluding you for His forgiveness and mercy. I implore you my dear brother (and sister) think about your position at this moment. Think and desist from all that draws you away from Allah. There is time to repair and repent and now is that time. Tomorrow you shall have to stand before a Judge before whom no rank, honour, position and wealth shall avail you. A Judge before whom only actions shall account and Who is indeed aware of our every movement. Remember that Allah may forgive our faults as far as our relationship with Him is concerned, but will not forgive without penalty our faults in our relations with our fellowmen.
Rasulullah S.W. said, “The bankrupt one from among my Ummah is that person, who shall appear on the day of Qiyaamah, bringing with him righteous deeds like ‘salaah, soen (fast) and charity. However he had also sworn at someone, falsely accused someone else and hurt someone, with the result that all these people shall come horward with the action against him, bearing witness against him. As a penalty, his good deeds shall be taken away and granted to the afflicted ones, and when his good deeds shall come to an end, in this manner, their sins shall be thrown upon him (when he is not able to pay the full penalty through lack of good deeds). Hence, in this manner he shall enter Jahannam’. So we see inspite of many good deeds his regret and sorry state is beyond description. (O Allah save us from that).
Another point is worth emphasizing in this connection. Numerous times we have read about so many occasions and deeds which become the reason for forgiveness. The question now arises that when forgiveness is being granted why should it be granted time and again? In other words, once a person had been forgiven there are no sins left on him.
So why is forgiveness granted again? The answer is that when forgiveness comes to a person with sins on him, it will mean those sins are wiped off but when he has no sin it will mean that mercy and favour is granted to him. A further interesting point to note is that Allah time and again calls the Malaa’ikah to witness. The question may arise why is that so? Here one should bear in mind that the affairs of Qiyaamah at the time of reckoning have been set, so that a witness shall be brought forward to testify. Hence Ambiya A.S. shall be required to bring witnesses as to whether they had delivered the message. Very often our Nabi S.A. used to say, “Verily you shall be asked about me (and my mission). So bear witness that I did deliver the message.
In Bukhari we read a Hadith: “On the day of Qiyaamah Nooh A.S. shall be called and asked, “Did you deliver the message in the proper manner?” He shall reply, “Yes I did”. Then his ummah shall be asked, “Did he deliver the message?” They shall reply,
“No, neither did a bringer of glad tiding come to us not did the warner”. Thereupon Nooh A.S. shall be called to bring a witness. He shall call upon Muhammad and his Ummah. This Ummah shall be called forward and they shall testify (as to the truth of Nooh Alahis Salaam’s evidence).
In some versions of this Hadith this ummah shall be cross questioned, “How do you know that Nooh Alayhis salaam did deliver the commands of Allah, (when you were not present at the time?”) They shall reply, “Our Nabi S.W. informed us of that”.
In this same manner all the Ambiyaa shall be questioned. For this the Qur'aan Karim says,
“Thus we made an ummah, justly balanced, that you might be witnesses over the nations”.
(Suratul Baqarah: 143)
Imaama Raazi R.A. writes that n the day of Qiyaamah there shall be four types of witnesses:
1. The Malaa'ikah. The Qur'aan says:
1.1 “Not a word does he utter but there is a Sentinel by him ready (to note)”.
(Surah Quaf: 18)
1.2 "And there will come forth every soul, with each will be (an angel) to bear witness".
(Surah Quaf: 21)
1.3 "But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you, kind and honourable, writing down your deeds, that they know and understand all that you do".
(Surah Infi'taar: 10, 11 & 12)
2. The Ambiyaa. The Qur'aan says:
2.1 "And I was a witness over them while I dwelt among them".
(Surah Al Maa-'idah: 117)
2.2 "And how shall it be when we shall bring forth every nation with its witness, and shall bring you forth, O prothet, as witness over these (the ummah)."
(Surah An Nisaa'" 41)
3. The ummah of Muhammad S.W. the following verse refers to this:
3.1 "The Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward".
(Surah Az-zumar: 69)
4. The part of man’s body. Thus the Qur'aan states”
4.1 "That day we set a seal on their mouths; but their hands will speak to us and their feet bear witness to all they did".
(Surah Yaaseen: 65)
The last Hadith under discussion also brings out one joyous message to the fortunate ones. Allah says that He shall not disgrace and humiliate those who performed their duties in front of (and among) the unbelievers and evil doers. This is the enormous extent of Allah’s grace and kindness and also the regard Allah shows for the status of the muslims. In addition for those who sought Allah’s pleasure another of His blessing and favour is that their faults and sins on this occasion will also be covered.
Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar R.A. reports that Rasulullah S.W. said, “On the day of Qiyaamah Allah shall call a believer to draw near to Him. A curtain shall be drawn so that none may see. Allah shall then remind him of each and every fault of his which he shall be obliged to admit. Seeing the great amount of his faults, that person shall feel that he had indeed failed and shall perish. But then Allah say” “In the world did I cover your faults and today too do I hide them and forgive them for you”. Thereafter his book of good deeds shall be given to him.
The contents of this Hadith is contained in so many other Ahaadith as well. One should therefore be careful of not humiliating and attacking the righteous ones for their faults, because it is possible that their faults are forgiven. It is also possible that we may be the real loser through backbiting and jeering at those who in their own manner seek to please Allah. It is possible that Allah may cover their faults and forgive them through the blessings of their other good deeds, while we who continue to backbite, scoff and jeer at them, may be the cause of our own destruction.
(May Allah in His Mercy pardon us all).
This Hadith also states that the night before the day of ‘Iyd is called the night of prize giving, the night when Allah gives the true reward. This night too should be properly appreciated. It is also common that once the announcement has been made that tomorrow is ‘Iyd. Majority f us even the pious, on this night enjoy ourselves in sleep, whereas this too is a night that should be spent in ‘ibaadah, Rasulullah S.W. said, “Whoever remains awake (for ‘ibaadah) on the nights preceding both ‘Iyd’s with the aim of gaining reward, his heart shall not die on that day when hearts shall die”. The meaning here is that at the time when evil will have taken possession of all, his heart shall stay alive (guarded against evil). It may also refer to the time when the bugle shall be blown to herald the day of Qiyaamah. On that day his soul shall not vecome unconscious.
Rasulullah S.W. is also reported to have said, “Whoever stays awake for ‘ibaadah on the following five nights, entrance into Jannah becomes waajib for him, Laylatul Tarawiyah: (the night preceding the eight of Zil Hijjah), Laylatul Arafah (the night preceding the ninth Zilhijjah), Laylatul Nahr (the night preceding ‘Iyd ul Fitr and the night preceding the fifteenth of Shabaan.
The jurists of Islaam have written that it is mustahab to remain in ‘ibaadah on the nights preceding ‘Iyd. It is reported in Maathbata bis sunnah from Imaam Shaa-iy R.A. that there are five nights in which duaa’ s are accepted: The night preceding Friday, the night preceding both ‘Iyd, the first night of Rajab, and Laylatul Bara-a’h (fifteenth of Shabaan).
Among the piour in Islaam, it is said that because of the exceptional greatness of Friday nith, one should spend this night in ‘ibaadah during the month of Ramadhaan. But there are some Ahaadith wherein we have been prohibited from fixing only that night for ‘ibaadah, it is best that one or two other nights should be joined with it.
I have now come to the end of this book, in conclusion, hoping that this shall be of benefit to those who week Allah’s pleasure. I beg and implore all reader to make duaa’ for me, the humble writer of these pages, during those special hours of Ramadhaan. It is possible that because of your duaa’ s Allah Ta-aa’la bestows His happiness and love upon me too, Aameen.