If you are in debt, then you should recite these duas (in images). [ From "Fortress of a Muslim" ]
A lot of times, during the sermon before Friday prayer, I have heard the khateeb say "become better Muslims", "pray 5 times a day". Rarely do I find them saying "doing this will make you a better Muslim". Praying 5 times a day is definitely up there but Islam is not limited to that, is it? So, how can one become a better Muslim?
I (like others) have asked myself this question quite a few times. And, I have realized the answer is much simpler than what I expected - learn Islam and follow it. There are quite a few resources on the internet which are very helpful in gaining knowledge. We should read them and learn from them. However, nothing can replace the blessing of learning from a teacher. And, things like rules of salah, etc are better learned from a teacher than read online. A teacher will notice your mistakes (which you may not necessarily have noticed) and let you know so you can correct them.
Another important question is "where do I start". Islam is a vast religion but what can you learn that will benefit you?
One of the most important things one must learn about is purification, salah (prayers) and fasting. I have come across so many prayers that I am beginning to think there is a salah for every occasion. Learn about the rules of wudu, etc. What will break your wudu, salah,etc. Did you know that if you are praying salah and you pass wind, then you are supposed to break your prayer (as in stop praying), make wudu again and then start your salah (prayer) again. However, this rule doesn't apply to Eid prayers. If you are praying an Eid prayer and your wudu breaks, then you can continue praying it. I read a hadith somewhere saying "The key to heaven is prayer and the key to prayer is purification".
After learning about salah and the 5 pillars of Islam, you can learn about things that are relevant to you. If you are a student, then read about teacher's rights on a student. What is the proper way of learning from a teacher. If your parents are alive then read about their rights. Learn how to read the Qur'an.
Did you know that you can read the Qur'an even if you are not in Wudu? You just can't touch it. Islam is a very easy religion but people add culture to it and make it hard. And, the only way to break away from "cultural Islam" (trade marked) is to learn the actual Islam. One thing I would strongly recommend doing is reading the biography (also called the seerah) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) . I've learned a lot just by reading that. The way he dealt with people and how he carried himself was amazing.
Once a bedouin gave the Prophet(saw) wine as a gift. He was a Muslim and didn't know that alcohol had been forbidden. The sahaba were furious. The Prophet (SAW) asked them to calm down and asked the bedouin if he knew that alcohol had been forbidden. The bedouin replied he wasn't aware of it. In the end, he asked his servant to dump the alcohol. He (the Prophet) was a very understanding man. No wonder all the sahaba loved him. Even his enemies respected him and trusted him more than they trusted their own people.
Here are a few links that get you started :
They have a hotline where you can call and get your questions answered. And, they provide free books on basics of Islam. They are more of a dawah organization, though.
I love this website. It has some shuyukh who answer questions of fiqh (among other things). I have found it to be very helpful. They also offer online courses on various things related to Islam.
You can read Qur'an online on these websites.
This website is sort of not related to learning but I love it. It has the biggest collection of recitations I have ever seen. However, I haven't browsed through their content so I don't know much about them.
If you have any websites that might be helpful, please post them in the comments.
I have heard a lot of Muslims say "I swear on my children that .. " or " I swear on my mother .. ". According to Islam, it is unlawful to take an oath by anyone except Allah (SWT). You can only swear by Allah. So, if you want to take an oath by something then take an oath by Allah ("I swear by Allah" or "wallahi" or "wallahi").
Nafi' related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, met 'Umar ibn al-Khattab while he was proceeding with a group of riders and he was swearing by his father. He said, 'Allah forbids you from swearing by your fathers. If someone swears, should swear by Allah or be silent." (Sahih Bukhari - 6270)
What is an oath?
From what I understand (and may Allah forgive me if I am wrong) an oath (or a vow) is a promise to do something. It can be a promise to stay away from cheese cake or a promise to clean someone's backyard. However, just saying "I will come and clean your backyard" doesn't make it an oath. You have to say "I swear by Allah I will do such and such" or "I make it obligatory on myself to keep away from such and such".
If someone says "Wallahi I will feed 60 people tomorrow, inshallah", then what he said is not a valid oath. "Inshallah" means "If Allah wills it" so if he didn't feed 60 people the next day, then that just means Allah didn't will it so he didn't feed them. However, this is only valid if he says inshallah without a long pause. If someone says "Wallahi I will feed 60 people tomorrow" then gives a pause and says inshallah, then he will have to feed 60 people the next day or he will have broken his oath.
Conditions for an Oath to be valid:
- It has to be taken in Allah's name or his attributes. Oaths in the name of your children, parents, kabah, etc are not valid.
- The one taking the oath must be sane and mature. Oaths taken by children are vain.
- The oath/vow is not on something impossible. If you say "I swear I will grow wings on my back and fly" then it won't be a valid oath.
- "Inshallah" is not used in it. If someone says "wallahi I will travel to Syria tomorrow inshallah" then it is not a valid oath and the person who said it won't have to atone for not traveling to Syria the next day.
If you take an oath, you MUST fulfil it. And, you should never take a false oath with Allah as a witness. It is one of the major sins in Islam. Quoted below are some proofs :
Do not make your oaths a means of deceiving one another or your foot will slip after it was firmly placed and you will taste evil for barring access to the Way of Allah and you will have a terrible punishment." (16:92) Dakhalan means deceit and treachery.
6298. Ash-Sha'bi related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr that the Prophet*, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The major wrong actions are shirk with Allah, disobeying parents, murder and false oaths."
"Those who sell Allah's contract and their own oaths for a paltry price, such people will have no portion in the Next World, and on the Day of Rising Allah will not speak to them or look at them or purify them. They will have a painful punishment." (3:77)
Atonement for Breaking an Oath:
If you vow to do something and you don't, then you have to atone for it (kaffarah). You can do so by :
- Feed 10 people in need. They cannot be from his usul upwards (parent,s grandparents, etc) or downwards (chlildren, grandchildren, etc). You can't feed one person 10 times. It has to be 10 different people and they all have to be fed on the same day
- Clothing 10 people in need. The same rules as above apply.
- Freeing a slave.
If you cannot do any of the above because you are poor, then you can fast for 3 days. In hanafi fiqh, they have to be 3 continuous days. If you fasted the first day but didn't fast the second and third day then you have to start over again.
Allah does not take you to task for your inadvertent oaths, but He will take you to task for oaths you make intentionally.The expiation in that case is to feed ten poor people with the average amount you feed your family, or clothe them, or free a slave. Anyone without the means to do so should fast three days. That is the expiation for breaking oaths when you have sworn them. Keep your oaths. In this way Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be thankful.(5:89)
What should you do if you break an oath more than once?
A lot of people have asked what should they do if they took an oath and broke it more than once so I decided to include this question in this post.
Let's say you took an oath to pray one nafl prayer every night. And, you you didn't pray a nafl prayer in the night after that, then you would have to give kaffarah for it once. Now, the oath is broken so if you didn't pray nafl on any night after that, you would not have to give kaffarah.
However, if you took an oath to pray nafl every night and didn't pray it one night after that (which broke your oath), then took another oath that you will pray nafl prayer every night and broke your oath again, then you would have to give kaffarah twice. Why? because you broke two oaths.
What about taking an oath on the Qur'an, or Ka'bah or the like
A lot of people have asked me what they should do if they took an oath on Ka'bah or Qur'an or their mother, etc. Taking an oath on anything other than Allah is haram. So, you are not allowed to swear on your mother. However, taking an oath on the Qur'an is a bit more complicated than that. Please refer to the link below regarding this issue.
I have tried to keep this post as brief as possible so it has some details missing. If you would like to read more on this topic then below are a few links which will help you :
Can men wear any jewelry in Islam? The answer is : No, except for a silver ring which weighs less than 4.235 grams. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to wear a silver ring in his pinky finger with an Abyssinian stone in it. And, he would make the stone face his palm. The ring can be worn in the pinky finger of your right or your left hand. In Shafi'i fiqh, wearing the ring in your right hand is considered to be better. Most scholars think that the stone in Prophet's ring was carnelian (aqiq).
Sayyiduna Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) held silk in his right hand and gold in his left, and then said: "These two have been prohibited for the males of my Ummah" (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Nasa'i & Musnad Ahmad. [sunnitpath.com]
Here are a few links which go into detail about why jewelry is forbidden for men :
Hanafi fiqh ruling on jewelry for men:
Shafi'i fiqh's ruling on silver rings
Here's a picture of a silver ring with aqiq in it. I have been told that the stone in the picture is too big for a pinky finger but this should give you an idea of what I am talking about.
My brother found this dua in the book "Children around the prophet" my brother found this dua.