Never Miss Fajr… there’s an app for that!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

A few weeks back I found myself struggling to maintain a healthy routine and as a result, had difficulty waking up for Fajr Salaah. It’s usually as easy as simply getting to bed earlier but with a heavy workload, shorter nights and the backlog of office work, it wasn’t that simple. 

I woke up one morning to the sound of the Adhan and realised it was coming from my wife’s phone so I leaned over to turn it down and found myself answering Islamic Trivia instead of just hitting the snooze button. Half asleep, I answered 3 correct answers and the Adhan turned off, I must have been really dazed because I didn’t think twice about answering the questions despite not knowing what I was doing at the time. Nevertheless, the brain stimulation seemed to work and I was able to easily get out of bed to pray Fajr. 

Later that day my wife shared this amazing app with me… ‘Never miss Fajr’. It’s a simple, yet ingenious idea that hasn’t failed me since I started using it a few weeks back. A simple interface allowing you to select your Adhan times based on your location, your preferred reciter and your choice of ‘Trivia’ or ‘Shake’ to turn the Adhan off. 

I found the trivia option works best to get my mind working and is a good recap of some general Islamic knowledge. There’s no snooze button, volume control or any shortcuts once the Adhan begins so the app is geared to get your attention to the screen and keeps your mind at work until you work through the trivia questions. The ‘Shake to Wake’ option is fun but in my experience, less effective. 

The Salaah time calculation is very accurate and locates you right down to your suburb which is very convenient. It also allows you an alarm delay if the set times are different to your local Salaah timetable. 

One tip though, keep your phone volume at about 70% to make sure the Adhan is loud enough to wake you up but not the kids.

The phone is usually a distraction from Salaah, perhaps apps like these can give our mobile devices a more spiritual purpose in our lives. What does your phone do for you? Mine gets me up for Fajr every morning 😉

The App is FREE and available on iOS and Android. More info available here.

 

“He who offers the dawn (Fajr) prayers will come under the Protection of Allah. – Muslim 

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Appreciating the Qailulah…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Alhamdulillah, the Ramadan routine is slowly taking shape. As part of my Ramadan preparation this year I decided to put together a Ramadan Routine guideline to help me stay focused, maintain productivity and still benefit from this Blessed month. I’ve always found that there is more Barakah in time during the month of Ramadan but without a few guidelines, it’s easy to slack off and lose concentration on an empty stomach.

One of the things I came across was the idea of a mid-day nap to balance the lack of sleep and refresh the body to be able to perform Taraweeh & Qiyam-al-Layl. I’ve heard countless times that a short rest/nap during the day is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and I know many people who do it regularly. I’ve tried in the past but since my naps always went longer than they should, it messed up my sleep cycle and affected my productivity during the day so I gave it up.

Thought I’d re-visit the idea and incorporate it in to my Ramadan routine so I did some research. We often hear that certain things are a Sunnah of our Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and we are encouraged to emulate his actions. Performing the action is commendable but I believe in order to truly appreciate the wisdom, we must research and learn more about these Sunnah. If you do something because someone told you to, you might do it for a while and then forget about it. If you understand why you should be doing something and you appreciate the wisdom behind it, the action becomes yours and you are more likely to have conviction and sincerity in the things you do.

In Arabic, “Al qaylulah” means “the mid-day rest”, which can be a short nap or rest period. It was a practice of the Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) as well as his companions.

“We used to offer the Jumuah Salaah with Nabi (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and then take the afternoon nap. (Al-Bukhari) 

Another Hadith mentions that the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)  said, “Sleeping early in the day betrays ignorance, in the middle of the day is right, and at the end of the day is foolish.”(Fath Al-Bari, p.73).

There are a number of narrations that confirm the practice of the Qaylulah by the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and his companions. Something science has only recently discovered seems to have been mainstream in Islam 1400 years ago. I believe it’s important to learn these practices from our own history so we can appreciate the wisdom of the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) and the early Muslims and ensure that when we implement these actions, we do it for the right reasons, with the correct intentions. Sometimes all that separates a useless act from a righteous one is the intention.

So if you take a nap during the day to rejuvenate, do it as a Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم). Science only recently discovered the benefits of this Sunnah so as Muslim’s we can benefit from it physically and by making the right intentions, we can benefit spiritually as well InshaAllah.

Ishaaq ibn ‘Abd-Allah said: “Taking a nap is one of the deeds of good people. It revitalizes the heart and helps one to pray qiyaam al-layl.”

Based on my experience so far, it does exactly that. The Qaylulah has made it practical to stay awake from Suhoor and gain maximum productivity early in the day which allows for more time to spend reading Quran and seeking the pleasure of Allah. It is definitely the highlight of my Ramadan routine which I am hoping to perfect in the next 2 days In Sha Allah.

Mid-day reflections…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

There’s something very fulfilling about praying Dhur at the Mosque, something I missed when I worked in an office and something I took for granted when I started working from home. Today was a wet, blue day and the congregation was small, I’ve found that rainy days and a the silence of the mosque are quite soothing and thought provoking. 

I thought about how satisfying it feels when you simply drop anything and everything you’re doing to answer the call to prayer… an indescribable feeling that unfortunately  the modern lifestyle often deprives us off.  It’s a sad reality but for most of us, it’s something we can overcome with a slight change in mindset. 

When prayer is a chore or something we have to do at a certain time and certain place, it’ll always feel like a chore, something we do without too much thought or reflection with a goal of simply doing it. I’ve had Salaah on my chore list at times, though I’m grateful for the awareness and consciousness of prayer embedded in my upbringing, the attitude towards it makes a huge difference and can be the difference between ritual and spiritual. 

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Let prayer be a break from work or routine, not because you have to do it, but because it makes for a good break. The mistake we make is that we work, briefly stop to pray so we get it done and then take the break… which often involves some sort of mainstream leisure activity like watching tv or going for coffee. 

A small change in mindset can make all the difference. Work hard, have fun, set priorities, develop efficiencies but let cleaning, banking, changing light bulbs and gardening be chores… Salaah is the break you need from a busy schedule and a hectic lifestyle. 

For me personally, it means the difference between a 5 minute break in my office to pray and a 20 minute break to pray at the mosque, in congregation with a change in environment, some fresh air and an opportunity for reflection. 

The reward is greater, the break is better and what you may lose in time, you make up for in contentment, piece of mind and a greater sense of purpose. 

Start with one, Dhur is a perfect mid-day break to try out… then move on. Take a break 5 times a day and you’ll work better, feel better and live better. 

Ramadan Reminders: Rejuvenation thru Salaah…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Time Management in Ramadan is key to achieving spiritual success. Very few of us have the luxury of just dropping everything for 30 days and focussing on Ramadan so it is essential to plan and manage your time to allow maximum benefit. I’ve found that planning your day around your Salaah is a good strategy. The biggest gap is between Fajr and Dhur which allows you to focus on productivity, take advantage of the first half of the day and get most of your work/study done then. Dhur is a good break from work and allows you to refresh and rejuvenate.

People always tell me to nap at mid-day, I’d love to, but if I sleep at Dhur time I may miss Asr and Maghrib so until it becomes necessary, I’ll be skipping the mid day siesta.  After mastering the Qailulah, I highly recommend it for anyone who can spare 20-25 mins after Dhur each day.The time between Dhur and Asr is shorter but this is when your energy levels begin depleting. By 3 pm its time for another break, pray Asr and refresh yourself once again.

If you’re not sleeping enough and not keeping healthy, the time between Asr and Maghrib can become challenging, I find this time to be least productive in terms of work/study so I prefer to use this time to make Dhikr and reflect on Ramadan itself. Its the home stretch so give it all you got!

May Allah accept our efforts!

Cash Fardh vs. Credit Fardh

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I came across the idea of Cash and Credit Fardh a little while ago during a lecture about the teaching methods of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and it has served as a good reminder to me ever since. I’ve found that even the simplest of principles are easily forgotten and are often neglected. The cash and credit analogy puts things into perspective and is something most of us would be familiar with. I hope you can benefit from it too.

A cash fardh is a compulsory/obligatory act that is prescribed at a specific time and falls due immediately while a credit fardh is a compulsory/obligatory act that is prescribed at a specific time however, due to certain circumstances, can fall due at a later date. In essence, it becomes a credit which needs to be paid back. For example, if a person meets the requirements to skip r miss a fast during Ramadhan (health reasons, etc.) the fast, though fardh, become a credit fardh which is due after Ramadhan, obviously sooner rather than later. Until the person completes the fast it is a credit fardh owed and represents a liability or a debt.

An example of a cash fardh is the 5 daily prayers and the Fajr prayer in particular. The Morning Prayer is prescribed at a certain time and the obligation must be fulfilled immediately. If for some reason you sleep in and aren’t able to pray within the prescribed time, the prayer remains a cash fardh which needs to be fulfilled as soon as possible. So if you miss Fajr, for whatever reason, you must pray as soon as you are able to without delaying any further. A cash fardh cannot be converted into a credit fardh, so you should avoid putting off the Fajr prayer until the Zohr prayer or any other time. If you maintain the 5 prayers on a cash basis, provided you make the right intention, Allah will guide you and you will easily fulfil your daily obligations. If you fall short on occasion, make up for it immediately and pray for Allah’s guidance – Allah is oft forgiving and most merciful.

If we divide our spiritual obligations into cash and credit terms, it becomes easier to recognize and prioritise certain acts. The key here is to highlight the cash fardh as the highest priority. Next time you miss a prayer, for whatever reason or excuse, think about cash vs. credit fardh and fulfil your duties accordingly. People work hard to avoid financial debt; we need to work harder to avoid spiritual debt.

May Allah guide us and allow us to fulfil our spiritual obligations punctually and sincerely… Ameen!