Hazrat Ameer’s 2016 Eid ul Fitr Message

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Assalaam-o-Alaikum Wa Rakhmatullahi Wa Barakaato Hoo.

I wish you all a very happy Eid ul Adha.

Eid-ul-Adha is widely known as Eid ul-Qurban or Eid of Sacrifice. The root of the Arabic word Qurban is qaf ra ba which means qurb or nearness, i.e., nearness to Allah. Sacrificing in the way of Allah is thus the way to attain nearness to Him. This day reminds us of the utmost submission shown by Hazrat Ibrahim by his immediate readiness to sacrifice his young son, Hazrat Ismail, in obeisance to the vision in which Allah commanded him to do so. Allah stopped him from actually sacrificing Hazrat Ismail and accepted his willingness to do so as the fulfilment of the command. Thus we are given the lesson that we must submit to Allah’s will and be ready to make any sacrifice that may be needed in doing so without questioning.

In the verse of the Holy Qur’an that I have cited above it is made clear that the act of slaughtering an animal is not the end in itself but a means to attain nearness to Him. He says:

Not their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah, but to Him is acceptable observance of duty on your part. Thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah for guiding you aright, and give good news to those who do good (to others).

The word Taqwa used in this verse means the observance of one’s duty to Allah and being in a state which keeps one conscious of His presence and motivates one to perform righteous deeds and avoid forbidden ones.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, has said that when we place a knife on the neck of the animal which is to be sacrificed, we must also place it on the neck of the nafs al-ammaarah, the evil inciting spirit within us. Only when we do so, will we be slaughtering the evil inclinations and deeds that we may be harbouring within us. This should lead us to the absolute cleansing of our hearts from the idols we hold within it — idols of pride, ego, self-praise and reliance on worldly means. The ultimate reliance should be on Allah’s help (Tawakkul). Then only will we succeed in achieving the state where all our prayers and sacrifices, indeed our life and death, will solely be for Allah.

The process of this cleansing will make our heart clear of shirk, the association of gods with Allah. Such a heart has been likened to the house of God; it has been likened to the Ka‘ba, free of shirk when first constructed by Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail and when cleared of idols and purified by the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. Such a heart is the place where Allah resides and this is the state that every Muslim desires for; a state of nafs al-mutma’innah, the soul at peace with itself and all its surroundings.

I pray that we are able to slaughter the animal within us on this Eid day and start a new journey of nearness to Allah.

Aameen

Eid Ul Adha 2016 Live Broadcast

We will be broadcasting tomorrows Eid-Ul-Adha programme for those of you who are unable to attend a Mosque, whether that be due to having to work or health reasons etc. We hope that being able to watch our Eid programme will make you feel a part of our loving community.

Click here to watch our LIVE broadcast

Todays Broadcast
Speaker: Dr Zahid Aziz
Topic: TBC
Venue: UK Mosque (Wembley)
Time: 11.00am (BST)

If you miss the live broadcast then, please remember, that you can always click on the link again at any time and re-watch the full broadcast at a time that suits you.

Hazrat Ameer’s Eid ul Fitr Message

Those to whom We have given the Book follow it as it ought to be followed. These believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers. (2:121)

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Assalaam-o-Alaikum Wa Rakhmatullahi Wa Barakaato Hoo.

A very Happy Eid Mubarak to you all!

We have just achieved the goal we set before us to observe the sacred month of Ramadan by fasting, maintaining the mandatory prayers as well as the additional ones in the form of nawafil and tahajjad. We praised Allah through the day and forsook our sleep for observing the sehr and praying in the quiet of the night. We were able to repent for our sins and plead to God to save us from His displeasure and wrath. Many of us joined the taraveeh prayer and listened to the Qur’an being recited, thus fulfilling another command of Allah:


And when the Qur’an is recited, listen to it and remain silent, that mercy may be shown to you.’ (7:204)

As we observed the fast, the foremost thought in our minds was that this was the month of revelation of the Holy Qur’an. By fasting we were expressing our gratitude to Allah for having revealed this Book for our guidance.
The verse I have cited above states that:
 

Those to whom We have given the Book follow it as it ought to be followed. These believe in it. 

 Being Muslims we are the lucky ones who have been given this Book, that is, the Holy Qur’an. So it is imperative for us to ‘follow it as it ought to be followed’.

It is important to note that the word yatloona in Arabic is derived from the root ta la wa which means ‘he followed it’ or ‘did according to it’, and this is the point of reflection in today’s message. Does mere reciting of the Qur’an suffice? Does the mere listening to it in taraveeh prayers suffice?

If we listen or read without appreciating the contents, how can we be able to follow or do according to it? If we do not make an effort to understand the Qur’an or bother to know what commands it contains, how will we be able to mould our lives according to its guidelines? This is a Book sent ‘as guide to those who keep their duty’, that is, ‘who want to become mutaqeen’; those who want to act upon and not just profess the faith.

Let us take this Eid ul Fitr as the day of further strengthening the ties we have developed with Allah by having observed in true spirit the Holy Month of Ramadan. Let this be a day when we resolve to understand the Qur’an and obey every command in it. Let this be a day when we show our sincere determination to continue to maintain and improve on the advancement we have made in the month of Ramadan and thus become of those who follow the Book as it ought to be followed.

I pray that we succeed in continuing to progress towards nearness to Allah and become true mutaqeen, the God-fearing people whose every act is to please Allah. This will fulfil in true spirit the aim of our fasting. 

Aameen


Ask the VM: Fixing the length of fasting during Summer

Question

This year Ramadan falls during June, which makes the length of the fasting day in the Northern Hemisphere very long. Even in the UK, in the northern areas, duration of the fast is over 19 hours. Is there any ruling in the Holy Quran or the hadith or by jurists to say that the length of the daily fast may be reduced?

Answer

There is no direct ruling in the Holy Quran or the hadith, which says that hours of the daily fast may be reduced. However, the Holy Quran says:

Do they not reflect on the Quran? Or, are there locks on the hearts? (47:24)

Taking this as our guiding principle, let us look at the background to the revelation regarding the timing of the daily hours of fasting, Commands of the Holy Quran, the hadith and the opinions of the jurists to see what is said about the timing of the daily fast.

Background to setting the timing of the daily fast being fixed from dawn to dusk

The Holy Quran did not prescribe the times of starting and ending the daily fast when Muslims were first Commanded to fast during Ramadan. Muslims set these times. The fast started when a person fell asleep at night and it was broken at sunset the next day. So if a person fell asleep at 10:00 pm that is when his fast started and if the sunset was at, for example, 06:00 pm the next day, then the fast would be about 20 hours long. This caused great hardship and some people even fainted.

It was at this time that the revelation regarding the timing of fasting e.g. from dawn to dusk on the same day, was sent down. By fixing the timing of the fast in this way the Holy Quran reduced the daily fasting hours to around a maximum of 15.

Therefore, we may consider long fasts to have been stopped by Allah because He sent down a revelation to end this practice. We may use this as a strong argument to say that daily hours of fast can be reduced.

The Holy Quran

Let us now turn to the Holy Quran. It says:

O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil. . . But whoever among you is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. And those who find it extremely hard may effect redemption by feeding a poor man. . . Allah desires ease for you, and He desires not hardship for you, . . . And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands and do good (to others). (2:183 -195)

Let us now reflect upon these verses, as the Holy Quran Commands us. We have to start with deciding what is the object of fasting and what is not the object of fasting. The Holy Quran tells us that the object of fasting is to make us pious and it is not to cause us hardship. Clearly, if we can achieve piety, the objective of fasting, by fasting for fewer hours, this is permissible. Further, fasting for 19 hours is causing hardship to almost everyone and this is exactly what the Holy Quran says Allah does not want to do. It then goes on to provide relief to the sick, the travellers and the old by saying they can fast at a time other than Ramadan or feed a poor person. Thus the Holy Writ takes common situations where fasting will cause hardship and provides alternatives. There were other conditions not known to the people at that time where fasting causes hardship and we can extrapolate what the Holy Quran has done so that fasting is possible without hardship.

In the verses that follow, the Holy Quran describes other duties of the Muslims and adds that Muslims must not do anything that puts them in danger. Fasting for 19 hours or more will put people’s health in danger. Therefore, in my opinion fasting for long periods violates the purpose of fasting, the relief given by Allah in those situations when fasting causes hardship and by putting ourselves in danger.

Hadith

Just like the Holy Quran there is no direct reference in the hadith to reduction of the number of hours of the daily fast. However, there are references in the hadith to fixing timings of the daily prayers. There is a hadith in Abu Dawood (36:13), according to which the companions (r) asked the Holy Prophet (s) about the timing of the prayers when the day and night last for months. The Holy Prophet (s) replied that in that case, in such places to fix the length of a day, they should use the length of the day in their own countries. And, then fix the timing of the prayer according to that.

This is not an isolated narration. It is in many collections such as Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Muslim there is a hadith regarding the coming of the Anti-Christ. The hadith relates that when the Anti-Christ appears he will stay on earth for 40 days and at the time a day will be a year or a month or a week or a day. The Holy Prophet (s) was asked about the timing of the daily prayer when the day is a year-long and whether the five daily prayers will be said over a year. The Holy Prophet (s) gave the same reply quoted above.

In Islam prayer has a higher place compared to fasting. Thus, if timing of prayer can be fixed, the same can happen to the daily fast.

It is also worth pointing out that the fast is ended at the time of the maghrib prayer. Thus, if the time of maghrib prayer is fixed, the time of breaking the fast is also fixed.

There are many hadith, which speak of Islam being a religion of ease rather than difficulties (Tafseer ibn Kathir, vol 1, page 852 onwards). Therefore, we have to be sure that we follow the Holy Prophet’s (s) injunction in this regard and act upon the relief that Islam has granted us.

Classical Jurists

Ibn Hajr in Fatul Bari (volume 2, page 62) and Imam ibn Tamiyah in Mukhtasir fatwah (vol l, page 38), among others, say that the Commands of the Holy Quran are for normal circumstances. When we face exceptional circumstances then we have to reflect and find a solution. I suggest that having to fast for 19 hours is exceptional and we need to reduce this to a manageable number.

Modern Scholars

Among others, Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut of Al Azhar has said (Fatawah, page 125) that the Command of the Holy Quran regarding when to start and when to end fast is for normal circumstances where the length of the day is around the average annual length of the day. Many countries in the Northern Hemisphere are above 45 degrees. This includes most of Europe, whole of Russia and Canada and a part of the US. In these countries the day is extremely long during the summer and thus it is not normal. Therefore, in these countries we need to set a limit to the hours for which we fast.

Alternatives

Scholars have suggested these alternatives.

  • That those who cannot fast for such long hours feed a poor person for each fast, as prescribed by the Holy Quran.
  • That people take advantage of the relief given where the Holy Quran says that if we cannot bear the fast then put it off to another time. The problem is that a person who does this will miss the wonderful atmosphere of Ramadan.
  • That we adopt the timing of fasting at Makkah. The reasoning is that had the Holy Prophet (s) been alive at this time that is the number of hours he would have fasted.
  • That people in lands with long hours of daily fast find the timing of the fasts in the nearest country where hours are close to average and use them.

This has been produced with the Northern Hemisphere in mind where the fasting day is long at this time (June 2015). When the fasting day is short in the Northern Hemisphere it will be long in the Southern Hemisphere. However, in the Southern Hemisphere this problem of long days hardly arises because only a little land mass (apart from Antarctica) is at a latitude more than 45 degrees.

 

Eid Milad-un-Nabi

‘Holy Prophet Muhammad Day’, marked only by Ahmadis in Lahore, in April 1908

I am repeating, with some revisions, an item I posted here in April 2008, on the centenary of the function that it refers to.

It is reported in Badr, 30th April 1908 (p. 6) that an Eid Milad-un-Nabi function was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. (This was close to the end of the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and a few days before he arrived in Lahore from Qadian.)

The function is not called Eid Milad-un-Nabi in this report but Bara Wafat. This was the term used by Muslims in India in those days, meaning “death on the 12th”, referring to the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) on this day.

Below I translate the report, which is entitled Life of the Holy Prophet:

A respected friend reports from Lahore that, on the previous day, a Tuesday, on the occasion of Bara Wafat, and for the benefit of the residents of Lahore, a grandly organised lecture was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, where houses of our Khwaja [Kamal-ud-Din] sahib are located. The ground was very large and was decked with a marque and other necessities. It had been widely advertised in the city.

The poem in praise of the Holy Prophet written by Huzoor [presumably meaning the Promised Messiah] was read out by brothers Abdul Aziz, son of Mian Chiragh Din, and Ghulam Muhammad. Maulvi Sadr-ud-Din gave an explanation of the Surah Fatiha with great zeal and pure sincerity, and went over the events of the life of the Messenger of God, may peace and the blessing of Allah be upon him. Then brother Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig spoke on the life of the Holy Prophet in a fine speech. The audience included Hindus, Muslims and members of the Brahmo Samaj. All the leading men of Lahore who could come were in attendance. The whole gathering listened patiently and attentively to the highly effective speeches of these young men, who were preaching using this new technique and method, and they went away expressing much praise.”

This meeting was also reported in other newspapers and was generally much liked. Hence the newspaper Watan wrote:

Just as there was great regret that there were no arrangements in Lahore for holding this great occasion of remembrance, there was equal pleasure that on 14th April, corresponding to 12th Rabi-ul-awwal 1326 A.H., on behalf of the Anjuman-i Ahmadiyya Lahore a magnificent meeting was organised by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer, High Court. Capable speakers delighted the audience by telling them about the life of the Holy Prophet and his excellent and praise-worthy qualities. It is hoped that in future many people in Lahore will organise events for such a sacred remembrance.”

The newspaper Sada-i-Hind expressed a similar opinion.

Comment by Editor Badr: It is indeed essential that the general public should be fully informed about the life of the Holy Prophet. We cannot complain about non-Muslims when most Muslims themselves are utterly unaware of the life of their beloved master. When such ignorant people realise how much we owe to the Holy Prophet, they will themselves want to recite the Darood spontaneously. This is in fact the philosophy of Darood. But I do not consider it right to fix one particular day forever, like Bara Wafat, for this purpose.”

This idea was then taken up by other Muslims and led to the development of the Eid Milad-un-Nabi function.

This article was written by Dr Zahid Aziz and appears on the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement blog

A Modern Day Sacrifice

We all know of the sacrifice made by Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and his family during this time. On the command of Allah he was prepared to give up his son because he was commanded to do so.

But how does this message from Allah relate to our modern times? How will todays youth respond to such a message?

With Eid ul Adha rapidly approaching us Faizaan Ahmad gives a short speech in the above video on the meaning of sacrifice. He looks at the traditional meaning of the word and puts it into the perspective of the youth today and what they do and how those small or large acts can be described as sacrifice.

Podcast: The Meaning of Eid-Ul-Fitr

Mudassar Aziz looks at the meaning of the Arabic name ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ which is the celebration Muslims offer at the end of Ramadan.

 

He reads from Chapter 110, verse 3 of The Holy Quran and takes a deeper look at the words to determine the true meaning of the name and why it is important for all Muslims to understand what it actually means.

The Meaning of Eid-Ul-Fitr

Mudassar Aziz looks at the meaning of the Arabic name ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ which is the celebrations Muslims offer at the end of Ramadan.

 

He reads from Chapter 110, verse 3 of The Holy Quran and takes a deeper look at the words to determine the true meaning of the name and why it is important for all Muslims to understand what it actually means.

Podcast: Eid Ul Fitr or Celebration of Charity

Dr Jawad Ahmed gave the speech on Friday 8th August, which was the day of Eid ul Fitr.

He starts by reciting from Chapter 105 of the Holy Quran, known in English as ‘The Elephant’. He then goes on to describe the meaning of the word Fitr as an example to show that Arabic is the mother of all languages.