Monday, 29 August 2011

Aethikaaf - Extended stay in Masjid for prayers during Ramadhan

Any time any day, we can enter the Masjid,  find a place  for salaath and recitation and avail the aura of being in Allah’s Presence.
Health, happiness, career triumphs and prosperity will reach us as the neymaath, rewards from Our Creator, Our Sustainer, Our Allah.
  It is with a heavy heart that we take leave of the holy month of Ramadan.
It has been a wonderful experience.  Every home was floodlit, not with bulbs and tube fittings but with the light of love. Allah had switched it on in every heart. We never dreamt the opulence that came our way. It just happened.

The budget was the same, the efforts every family made, for evey day of fasting and every salaah to be special and auspicious, were as usual.  Yet the harmony that came to prevail everywhere was just amazing and unique.  The aura in every heart and mind, the spring that came to every pair of feet, the warmth that was in every embrace after our prayers, was unbelievable. 
It should have been from the heavens.  There was no other explanation.  Our grateful thanks to our Maker Allahu Subhanahu va tha Aalaa (and  Our Leader Syedina  Muhammed S.A.W.S.) for making it possible.
Dear Ramadan did not just leave us with empty hands.  It has left behind a gift of immeasurable value and size. The  obsevance of Aethikaaf in the last ten days of the Holy Month. In the last year of his life our beloved Prophet S.A.W.S. observed Aethikaaf for twenty days in Ramadan.
Aethikaaf is the dedication to spend a considerable period of our time (in terms of hours or days) exclusively in a Masjid, in total devotion to Allah.  This can  be done any time during the year. We will gain innumerable blessings from Allah by observing it with sincerity and devotion.
The highest form of Aethikaaf for us, is to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in
  1. The Holy Masjidul Haram of Makkathul Mukarramah
  2. The Masjidun Nabavi S.A.W.S. in Madinatul Munawwarah or
  3. The Masjid al Aq’sa in Baithul Muqaddas   (in that order)
If this is not possible, we may retire to the Juma'a Masjid in our city (or to any Masjid in our neighborhood or locality where Salaathul Juma'a is usually performed)

If no one volunteers to enter Aethikaaf in a particular Masjid, the people of that locality may not be gifted to the full extent of the Neymaath that Muslims of other Masaajid (where Aethikaaf  is observed) receive from Allah.

May Allahu Rabbul Izzath kindly save us and our near and dear ones from any sloth in this behalf.  Aameen!
Aethikaaf  commences with our expressing the intent to observe it for Allah and making the Masjid our abode for the number of days (or hours) we have decided to set apart for it. 
We dedicate our stay to special prayers, over and above the Jama’ath (congregational) prayers we will be performing. 
We also recite the Holy Qur’an and engage in Zikr-e-Ilaahi, incantations of the blessed names of Allah. 
We are allowed to converse with others on Islami issues. But we must not engage in gossip or waste our time in senseless pursuits. 
Sex is forbidden for the entire period of our Aethikaf.  (So too everything lewd or evil).
We may have our meals brought to the Masjid and partake of them.  This, however, should be done with due respect to its sanctity as a House of Allah.  It is our duty to keep it clean. 
We may go out for toilet and for bath. But we must reside (pray and sleep) only in the Masjid during the Aethikaaf.
Aethikaaf is a unique and uplifting experience that we must avail at least a few times in our life. 
Entrusting our home and our family and our business (or office) to the Protection of Allahu Sub’hanahu va tha Aalaa, we retire to the Masjid and enter this Devotional Workshop. 
Whether other Muslims join us or not, we are there to uplift ourselves in our faith through Qur’anic recitation and a deep study of, and meditation on, Islami literature. 
If we are inspired to write, we can do so and convey to all the joy and fulfillment we have been awarded by Allah.
And we practice with true devotion special prayers and Zik’r-e-Ilaahi (incantations of the blessed names of Allah) and send Darood as often as we can to Our Beloved Prophet S.A.W.S.
And, as we are reminded of our family and our Muslim brothers and sisters who are outside the Masjid, in our country or abroad, we render them the best service we can:  We pray to Allahu Rabbul Izzath to kindly pardon their sins, relieve any distress they are involved in and bless them with good health, happiness, enduring prosperity and the wealth of Eimaan.
The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) has informed us: "The Du'aa (Supplication)  that is granted the fastest reward from Allah is the Du'aa submitted by one distant Muslim for another. (Hadith Abu Dawood: Book #8, No, 1530).

May Allahu Rahmaanir Raheem kindly grant all of us, men and women in Islam, the good fortune to be observing Aethikaaf in the most devout manner possible year after year. A’meen! May Our Glorious Creator grant us an abode in Jannathul Firdaus.  A’meen!
Women also may observe Aethikaaf, but this must be done within the home. A portion of the house must be set apart for prayers. This will be their abode for the duration of the Aethikaaf.
They must devote their time there entirely to prayers, recitation of Holy Qur’an and Zikr-e-Ilaahi. They must not engage in cooking and other household chores.  But they can help in processing vegetables etc. if this can be done without moving from their place of Aethikaaf.
They must terminate their Aethikaaf if they start menstruating in that state.
If Muslim families around the world, wish to rediscover the glory of their faith, let them observe Aethikaaf  in earnest and avail unlimited blessings from the Rah’math of Allahu Rabbul Izzath.
My Muslim brothers can make a beginning with as little as one day in a Masjid and its radiance will fill their hearts and homes and inspire them to observe Aethikaaf on more and more days in the future. 
The excellent result of this, by the Grace of Allah, will be, a glorious Muslim world of which all of us can be proud.
Honored Companion  Syedina Abu Huraira (RA) said: “The Prophet used to perform Aethikaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in Aethikaf for twenty days.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #33, Hadith #260)

Another Hadith , narrated by Syedina An-Nu'man ibn Bashir R.A.: The  Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:  "Supplication (Du'aa) is, itself, the Ibadah, (the Salaah and Supplications Muslims make to Allah)", and He conveyed to us, Allah's invite: 'Call on me: I will respond (reward you for your supplications!' (As above Hadith#1474).

Allah makes known to the angels what is to happen, and He Commands them to do whatever they are enjoined to do.
 Allah, You are my Creator and there is no one
(to be worshipped) except You;
I am Your slave and I am indebted to You
for Your kind Promise
and Covenant (for my salvation).
I seek refuge in You and confess to my sins and to my evil past and (gratefully do I acknowledge) Your blessings
and favors (unto me). 
Kindly forgive me (my sins)
and accept my sincere repentance.
You alone can pardon our sins.

We recite the Holy Qur'an and make Dua’yaen, prayers, to Allah from the depth of our hearts.  We remain generous to those in need and we are kind to one and all.
We pray to Allah to kindly pardon the sins of our elders who are no more, widen and illumine their resting places and grant them Paradise.

May Allah kindly accept our prayers and grant an abode in the highest heaven, to all our elders who are no more.  A'meen!

By these and similar observances, to which we will feel inspired, we guarantee ourselves peace and happiness on earth by the Grace of Allah.  And in the life to come, we look forward to the eternal happiness Allah has promised us – mansions and gardens in Jannathul Firdau’s, the highest heaven.

If our Salaah and our Du’aayen are accepted by Allahu Rabbul Izzath, the rewards will be as though hundreds of acres of fertile land and numberless villages are gifted to us as all our own -- and that too, in the best of heavens, the Jannathul Firdau's.

Naf’l prayers are our expression of gratitude to Our Glorious Lord for the blessings that we and our family enjoy from His Rah’math, Compassion. We may recite any Thasbeeh in them that is authentic and is from the Holy Qur’an.  And we ensure that the Salaah’s do not deviate in any manner from the normal, the masnoon pattern of our prayers.

What is essential is that we pray to Allahu Rahmaanir Raheem with true devotion that dwells in and wells from, the heart of the blessed Muslims, for Allahu Rabbul Izzath.

We recite the Holy Qur'an and make Dua’yaen, prayers, to Allah from the depth of our hearts.
 We remain generous to those in need and we are kind to one and all. 
We pray to Allah to kindly pardon the sins of our elders who are no more, widen and illumine their resting places and grant them Paradise.
May Allah kindly accept our prayers and grant an abode in the highest heaven, to all our elders who are no more.  A'meen!
We recite the Saiyidil Asthaghfar and the Darood.e Shareef. 
And we make a heartrending Du’aa, invocation, to Allah to kindly grace our Salaah’s with acceptance and  grant us His Choicest Neymaath.
These Dua’yaen are generously rewarded and our highest aims fulfilled by Allahu Sub'hanahu va tha Aalaa.