Zakatul Fitr (ZF) is an obligation on every muslim, young or old, male or female. It is the giving of sadaqah toward the end of Ramadan till before the ‘Eid prayers on the 1st of ‘Shawwal. It seeks to purify the one who fasts from any indecent act or speech; and acts as food for the needy.

Ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) enjoined Zakatul-Fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscenities, and to feed the poor. Whoever pays it before the (Eid) prayer, it is an accepted Zakah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is (ordinary) charity.” graded Hasan

If one cannot afford to give, that is, one doesn’t have enough for the day’s meals, then he is entitled to be given. If you are reading this, I bet you can afford to give. Here are some points to note:

• It is a timed sunnah and can be given from the 28th of Ramadan till before the ‘eid prayer. Paying it on time gives the needy time to prepare and enjoy it before the ‘Eid prayers.

• Its measurement is one sa’a (approximately 4 mudd) of local staple grains. This is the minimum requirement and could be increased voluntarily or expanded to include more. For example, tomatoes, salt and money to cook could be added to the ZF to ease the burden of cooking on the beneficiary. Hanafi scholars even permit the money equivalent to be given as it may be more useful to the beneficiary than raw foodstuff.

• The haddith says, ‘One’s faith is not complete unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. If you love rice, why buy maize grains to give as Zakat? Why burden the recipient of the zakat with such invaluable grains from which he can only make popcorn and a few processed meals? If you can afford better, please do get grains that will be better appreciated.

• As the head of the household, a man may have to give ZF for each member of his family if they cannot afford to do so themselves. Even muslim servants should have their zakat paid for if they cannot provide it.

According to Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi, ZF is a compensation for any shortcomings in the the fasting individual’s acts and speech during Ramadan. It also aims to spread love and happiness among the ummah during the Day of ‘Eid. It also purifies one’s soul from shortcomings from adoration of property and from miserliness.
If the time frame is not complied with, and ZF is paid after the Eid, it becomes sadaqah and no longer ZF.

May Allah accept our acts of worship.

NOiR: Preparation for Eid

[Qur’an in Ramadan 29:Q78.01-Q114.6]
Ooh! It’s almost Eid and we are in a tizzy!

Our house in upside down, everyone is in a flurry of activities. We have gifts to wrap, snacks to make, meals to begin to prepare, clothes to iron, hair to coif, henna to decorate our palms and feet, zakatul fitr to give, the house to decorate, kids to co-ordinate…and so much more.

Here is just a friendly reminder that it is still Ramadan so we do not get carried away. Remember your salaah and adhkaar. You still have some opportunity to complete your recitation of the Qur’an if you planned to complete it this holy month.

Remember also that the month could be 30 days so tomorrow could still be Ramadan.

Happy Preparation and Eid Mubarak in advance!

NOiR: Ramadan Reverts

[Qur’an in Ramadan 28:Q67.1-Q77.50]

Most of us know a Ramadan revert or two. Those ‘nominal’ Muslims who suddenly awake from a deep slumber, pull themselves out of the gutter, clean up their acts, abandon cigarettes, womanising, alcohol and clubbing during the fasting hours or throughout Ramadan but return rapidly to their decadence after Eid prayers.

These are people who draw gasps from their friends who didn’t even know they are Muslim. We might know a ‘hip’ sister who donned the large overhead abaya which we were surprised to know that she even owned. Or that ‘cool’ brother who sags his jeans and is well-known by the club crew but who has been on ‘Itikaf for the past week. What happened to the fake nails, eyelashes, hair, overwhelming make-up, perfume and excessive flirting, we wonder. Who is this alien that has replaced our Muslim brother or sister?

Instead of counting down for them to revert to their old ways, we should acknowledge instead that they stopped their previous acts for the sake of Allah and out of obedience to Him. Even if it is only in Ramadan. We should be in awe of the grip Allah has on their hearts even when they strayed from His Path.

If anything, we Muslims should rejoice they decided to adopt the practice of Islam for a month. We should meet them and see how they can continue to practise full-time. We should discourage others from taunting them but instead, help them to enjoy the sweetness of obedience to Allah.

Perhaps, by doing this, encouraging instead of disparaging, they will become permanent Muslims, and not only in Ramadan.

May Allah keep their hearts (and ours) steadfast.

NOiR: Itikaf

[Qur’an in Ramadan 27:Q58.01-Q66.12]

One of the recommended voluntary acts in Ramadan is ‘Itikaf – seclusion in the masjid with devotion to Allah for the last 10 days of Ramadan. The last 10 days is like the Bonanza week of the holy month culminating in the massive clearance sales of Lailat-ul-Qadr.
Itikaf should be a time for seclusion in the mosque for the purpose of reflection, meditation and getting closer to our Creator. The intention is often made before sunset and begun before the Maghrib salaah.

It could be done for one day or for the whole 10 days according to your intention.

The Mu’takif (one performing ‘Itikaf) must be sane, muslim and free from pollution like menstrual period, post-partum bleeding and sexual defilement.

The masjid should preferably be in the nearest congregational mosque where Friday Juma’ah prayers are made. One is not supposed to vacate the premises till the last day of Ramadan unless there is a valid reason.

The household must be taken care of before the man leaves the house to go into seclusion.

Permission should be sought from her husband or dad if a woman wishes to perform ‘Itikaf.

Discussions during the seclusion should not be mundane or worldly but beneficial spiritually. Sunnah acts are recommended with lots of du’a, adhkaar and recitation of the Qur’an.

The mosque and its environs should be kept clean and we must be on our best behaviour, ready to display tolerance, maturity and patience.

Women may perform ‘Itikaf too as the wives of the Prophet were documented to have done this.

It is not too late to perform it if you are still interested.

NOiR: Waste-not Wednesday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 26:Q52.24-Q57.29]
As Ramadan rolls in, so do our garbage bags keep rolling out. We make elaborate dishes of various kinds and in the end, a lot of it is wasted and thrown away. No one wants to eat ‘stale food’ for iftar, thank you very much!

It is however better to be ‘under-fed’ than over-fed in Ramadan.
The Prophet (SAW) recommended filling a third of our bellies with food, a third with water and a third with air i.e. for breathing. Ramadan is not supposed to be a food jamboree with subsequent waste or bingeing.

To minimise waste, we should watch the portions we cook and serve the dishes in a way that it is easy to preserve afterwards, if it is not consumed. An example is serving salad without the mayonnaise or salad crème so the vegetables could be used to prepare another meal.

We should also endeavour to break our fast on time, and not prolong it beyond Maghrib. It is Sunnah to break the fast with an odd number of dates and or water. We should not rejoice at iftar at the plethora of dishes but at the fact that we have been able to fulfil Allah’s commandment on us. After the salaah, we can dig into the first course then have the second course after Ishai or Tarawih prayers. This way, we are likely to allow some digestion take place before each feeding.

Food should also be shared with others by inviting them over to break the fast with us or shared at our local masjid.
Leftovers can be eaten at sahur, packaged for the children to take to school, eaten by the non-fasting members of the family or recycled into a new meal for iftar.

If we have done our best to minimise waste but still have to toss out some food, let us make the intention that animals may benefit from it and we should not pollute it as we throw it away.

May Allah reward our intentions.

NOiR: Parental Tuesday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 25:Q46.15-Q52.23]

I remember talking to a non-Muslim about the dynamics of a Muslim family and how the mother has the highest priority. She thought it was crappy because in her opinion, once a man marries a woman, they become one and none should be placed above her or allowed to interfere in their marriage.
I explained to her that a good Muslim mother would not put herself in a position where the son would have to choose between her and his wife. He should know where she stands and the wife should help to remind him to fulfil his obligation to his parents especially the mother as ‘Paradise lies at her feet’. A true Muslim is obedient and respectful to his parents unless indicated otherwise.

In the light of this, let us dedicate today to our parents, both alive and late. Let us pray for them especially in all the prayers we perform today. Let us pray that Allah bless them, forgive them, grant them good health and longevity to eat from their fruits of labour. May their lives be pleasing to Him. If our parents are alive, let us remember to call them, care for them and show them patience and love. We can continue to pray for them, give charity or go for hajj on their behalf, if they are late.

Parenting is a huge responsibility and there is nothing we as children can do that is enough compensation for all they have done for us. It is our own duty to provide our own children with proper upbringing (tarbiya) likewise.

May Allah bless us parents everywhere.

NOiR: Malice-Free Monday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 24:Q42.13-Q46.14]

This blog post is about making up with those we are keeping malice with.

If at this stage of Ramadan, we still have someone we are at loggerheads with and have refused to forgive them, our fasting may still be lacking in more ways than one. It is even worse if we had to sever ties of kinship to fuel our ego.

As we seek Allah’s forgiveness these last couple of days of the holy month, let us wave that white flag today. Pay the individual a visit, call him/her, or at the very least, send the person a message.

May Allah shower us with mercy as we extend mercy to others.

NOiR: Community Sunday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 23:Q39.53-Q42.12]

I apologise profusely for posting so very late today but since I promised to post every day in Ramadan this year, here is today’s post.
Ok! Today is the day for the community. This could include extended family members and distant neighbours.
Unfortunately, the more citified we become, the lousier our manners and the less our care for those outside our immediate family. We have become accustomed to not caring for each other and minding our own business. No one bothers about what is happening to his neighbour unless it is material for juicy gossip.

If we do not care for our extended family members and neighbours, how can we care about the community? Here are some ways to make us more civic-minded:

• It could be something as simple as sending our neighbours some food for iftar or giving out food or drink at our local masjid.

• Solving a problem in the community like planting trees or filling a pothole on the street, replacing the streetlight bulb, planting trees, clearing the bushes etc. It could even be resolution of a dispute between neighbours.

• Feed the street vigilante group or policemen patrolling your neighbourhood to keep you and your family safe.

• Invite other members of the community to pay a visit to orphanages, hospitals or rehab centres in your neighbourhood.

• If you live in a block of flats, you could consider fixing the light bulbs in the stairwell or even sweep and mop the stairs or remove the cobwebs if there is no janitor.

• If you have an older neighbour who lives alone, you could send your kids over to give them a hand in running errands or helping around the house.

Can you think up more ways to assist your community?

NOiR: Saturday Makeover

[Qur’an in Ramadan 22:Q36.60-Q39.52]

Today is the day of makeovers.

Have you been toying with the idea of covering your hair, wearing or increasing the length of your hijab, niqab for a day, growing a beard, wearing a kufi (cap), or donning something distinctly islamic? Well, today is your day! It could even be a make-down (is there such a word?). If you are used to going out with full make-up, go out with none today.

It can be pretty scary to finally brace up and do it. Trust me, I know. Your heart may rattle against your ribs like a caged bird when you eventually step out of the house but make sure you plaster a smile on your face and walk tall. You did not rob a bank! Shuffling like a victim and slouching will make you an easy target so you have to have a healthy dose of confidence to pull off your new look.

You haven’t been toying with the idea of a makeover for yourself? Grab a friend, sister, brother and make them up instead!

You are welcome to share your day with me.

NOiR: Friday Feast

[Qur’an in Ramadan 21:Q33.45-Q36.59]
Ramadan can be a very difficult time for reverts, people living away from their families, bachelors, students and a host of other people. It is a difficult time for them because it is hard for them to keep their spirits up in this holy month because they are alone.

This makes it an especially wonderful time to be invited for iftar. To share in the liveliness and camaraderie of Iftar can make a world of difference to these people so search for such people who fit the bill and throw your doors open to them today.

Caveat: Do NOT invite a random psychopath into your home!

Share the light of Ramadan with someone else today.