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SITTA SHAWWAL Q3.31

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying: He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal, it would be as if he fasted perpetually. – Sahih Muslim 1164

It was the sunnah of the Prophet to fast it and to love Allah is to follow the example of the Prophet (SAW).

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied (at least) ten times.” – Sahih Bukhari 1894

So if the fasts in Ramadan are rewarded multiplied by ten (at least), that will be 290 or 300 good deeds. Adding the six days in Shawwal makes it 350-360 good deeds which are roughly equivalent to the number of days in a year.
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It is acceptable to fast the next 6days after Eid, or to spread them out throughout the month in no particular order with care not to single out Fridays. They could also be made to coincide with the white days (13th, 14th and 15th) of the month or Mondays and Thursdays.

If we have some days we missed in Ramadan, we can make them up before we commence the 6 of Shawwal.

May Allah guide us to what is good and make it easy to comply.

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SECTS Q3.85,103-5, Q22.78, Q23.52-3, Q30.31-2

The world is so fixated with labels: an African-American Sunni woman, a bespectacled biracial Tabligh Muslim, a bearded Arab Shi’a professor, a loquacious Desi Sufi cleric etc.

In the words of Yasmin Mogahed, ‘They try so hard to put you in a box and post a label on it. But when they open it, they won’t find you there. Because you do not live in their boxes or answer to the names they assign to you.’

Labelling people makes us feel safe. It gives us the illusion that we have figured them out and can control them. What is difficult for me to understand is why we help others put a label on us and oblige them even further by climbing into the boxes ourselves. Why would we seek to be labelled? Why is the title ‘Muslim’ given to us by Allah insufficient for us that we seek to complicate it with unnecessary adjectives? It is what we Nigerians call ‘over-sabi’.

All around the world, it is a fight of this against that; Tutsis against Hutus in the Rwandan genocide, Muslims against Christians in Nigeria and the Central African Republic, Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine in Myanmar, Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East, Sunni-Sufis and Al-Shabaab in Somalia etc.

A group of Muslims come together to set up an Islamic body; there is a misunderstanding amongst them and they quickly divide to form a splinter group, essentially destroying the essence of brotherhood that brought them together. Wahala follows everywhere a sect is formed. Breaking our society into smaller fragments is often not the way forward. Sunnis, Shia, Sufi, Bahai’, Kharijites, Salafis, different suffixes attached to Ahl Sunnah; it only helps to create more dissent as we spend more time showing our superiority over one another and arguing over our differences instead of rejoicing at the Shahada we have in common.

Once we fragment Islam into something that differs from the main body, we are toying with Shirk as we are associated with the Mushrikun (those who practise shirk) in the Quran 30.31-2. The more we break away from the main body of Islam, the more we go further from Islam; either into extremism or over-liberalism. Our unity is also threatened as it becomes easy to pitch us against the other based on our perceived differences.
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Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman narrated:…he (The Prophet (SAW)) said, ‘Stick to the group of Muslims and their Imam (ruler).’ I said, ‘What if there is neither a group of Muslims and their Imam?’ He said, ‘Then turn away from all those sects even if you were to bite (eat) the roots of a tree till death overtakes you in that state.’ Sahih Bukhari 7084

Let us not stray from the herd lest we become easy prey for predators.

SELECTIVE OBEDIENCE Q2.67-71, Q4.13-14, Q4.150-2

‘Why should I do that? Is it in the Qur’an?’ she asked.
‘No. It’s a sunnah of the Prophet (SAW),’ he replied.
‘How do you know?’
‘There is a hadith stating so.’
‘Is it a sound or weak hadith? Besides, who compiled it?’
‘It’s a sound one by Tirmidhi.’
‘Ah, that one is not very authentic! Look, it’s not compulsory to do Sunnah. Besides, have I finished acting on all the Qur’an says?’
‘You are right about it being voluntary but you should pray for Allah to increase your iman to be able to do it, not to be so dismissive about it.’

Majority of Muslims when asked what Islam is, will say, ‘Peace; A way of life; Total submission to the will of Allah.’

Unfortunately, neither you nor I can boast of totally surrendering to Allah’s Will. We often look for loopholes in His Commandments, modifying and tailoring His Orders to suit ourselves. We give various excuses like, ‘everyone is doing it; It’s only makhruh not haram; it’s not prohibited in the Quran; My Imam doesn’t mind.’ We sound like the People of Prophet Musa (ASW)’s time, asking silly questions to avoid doing Allah’s bidding.
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Undoubtedly, there are some grey areas in Islam where even scholarly opinions differ but we shouldn’t use that to camouflage our sins and say ‘Smoking pot is not really intoxication. Besides, weed was not available during their time.’ No rationalising. When the ladies of the Prophet (SAW)’s time heard about the commandment of hijab, they complied immediately. They did not beat around the bush or hesitate or bargain; they simply obeyed.

May Allah make us those who say ‘We hear and we obey.’ May He make His Deen easy for us.