Attributes and functions for elements

returns an array of all the attributes of this element. Does not work with Internet Explorer below version 6.
returns or sets the textual data of the node
returns the name of the node (the HTML element name)
returns the type of the node — 1 is an element node, 2 attribute and 3 text.
returns or sets the value of the node. This value is the text when the node is a textnode, the attribute if it is an attribute or null if it is an element.
returns the value of the attribute attribute.

Functions to reach an element in the page

returns the element with the id elementID as an object.
returns all elements with the name tag as an array.

Of course you can mix and match these two. Some examples:


returns the fourth link inside the element with the ID 'navigation'
returns the first paragraph inside the third div in the document.

HTML Character Codes (Entities) How to Get Those 'Strange' ‰ ¥ § ¾ Ä ø ÷ æ ¿ » ¶ Characters On Your Web Page




N.A. left single quote
N.A. right single quote
N.A. single low-9 quote
N.A. left double quote
N.A. right double quote
N.A. double low-9 quote
N.A. dagger
N.A. double dagger
N.A. per mill sign
N.A. less than
(Left Angle Quote)
N.A. greater than
(Right Angle Quote)
en dash
em dash

nonbreaking space
¡ ¡ ¡ inverted exclamation
¢ ¢ ¢ cent sign
£ £ £ pound sterling
¤ ¤ ¤ general currency sign
¥ ¥ ¥ yen sign
¦ ¦ broken vertical bar
§ § § section sign
¨ ¨ umlaut
© © © copyright
ª ª ª feminine ordinal
« « « left double angle quote
¬ ¬ ¬ not sign
­ ­ ­ soft hyphen
® ® ® registered trademark
¯ or
¯ ¯ macron
° ° ° degree sign
± ± ± plus or minus
² ² ² superscript two
³ ³ ³ superscript three
´ ´ ´ acute accent
µ µ µ micro sign
paragraph sign
· · · middle dot
¸ ¸ ¸ cedilla
¹ ¹ ¹ superscript one
º º º masculine ordinal
» » » right double angle quote
¼ ¼ ¼ one-fourth
½ ½ ½ one-half
¾ ¾ ¾ three-fourths
¿ ¿ ¿ inverted question mark
À À À uppercase A, grave
Á Á Á uppercase A, acute
   uppercase A, circumflex
à à à uppercase A, tilde
Ä Ä Ä uppercase A, umlaut
Å Å Å uppercase A, ring
Æ Æ Æ uppercase AE
Ç Ç Ç uppercase C, cedilla
È È È uppercase E, grave
É É É uppercase E, acute
Ê Ê Ê uppercase E, circumflex
Ë Ë Ë uppercase E, umlaut
Ì Ì Ì uppercase I, grave
Í Í Í uppercase I, acute
Î Î Î uppercase I, circumflex
Ï Ï Ï uppercase I, umlaut
Ð Ð Ð uppercase Eth,
Ñ Ñ Ñ uppercase N, tilde
Ò Ò Ò uppercase O, grave
Ó Ó Ó uppercase O, acute
Ô Ô Ô uppercase O, circumflex
Õ Õ Õ uppercase O, tilde
Ö Ö Ö uppercase O, umlaut
× × × multiplication sign
Ø Ø Ø uppercase O, slash
Ù Ù Ù uppercase U, grave
Ú Ú Ú uppercase U, acute
Û Û Û uppercase U, circumflex
Ü Ü Ü uppercase U, umlaut
Ý Ý Ý uppercase Y, acute
Þ Þ Þ uppercase THORN
ß ß ß lowercase sharps
à à à lowercase a, grave
á á á lowercase a, acute
â â â lowercase a, circumflex
ã ã ã lowercase a, tilde
ä ä ä lowercase a, umlaut
å å å lowercase a, ring
æ æ æ lowercase ae
ç ç ç lowercase c, cedilla
è è è lowercase e, grave
é é é lowercase e, acute
ê ê ê lowercase e, circumflex
ë ë ë lowercase e, umlaut
ì ì ì lowercase i, grave
í í í lowercase i, acute
î î î lowercase i, circumflex
ï ï ï lowercase i, umlaut
ð ð ð lowercase eth,
ñ ñ ñ lowercase n, tilde
ò ò ò lowercase o, grave
ó ó ó lowercase o, acute
ô ô ô lowercase o, circumflex
õ õ õ lowercase o, tilde
ö ö ö lowercase o, umlaut
÷ ÷ ÷ division sign
ø ø ø lowercase o, slash
ù ù ù lowercase u, grave
ú ú ú lowercase u, acute
û û û lowercase u, circumflex
ü ü ü lowercase u, umlaut
ý ý ý lowercase y, acute
þ þ þ lowercase thorn,
ÿ ÿ ÿ lowercase y, umlaut

Scores on The Day Of Resurrection

When the Day of Resurrection comes, a man's wealth and capital will be his Hasanaat (good deeds). If he had done wrong to any people, they will take from his hasanaat to the extent that he mistreated them. If he does not have any hasanaat, or if his hasanaat run out, then some of their sayi`aat (bad deeds) will be taken and added to his burden.

Bukhari narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said:

"Whoever wronged his brother with regard to his honor or any other matter, should seek his forgiveness today, before there are no longer any Dinars, or Dirhams; and if he has any righteous deeds, they will be taken from him, in accordance with the wrong he did; and if he has no hasanaat, some of the sayi`aat of his counterpart will be taken and added to his burden:" (Bukhari: Kitaab al-Mazaalim, Baab man kaanat lahu mazlamah 'inda rajul, Fath al-Baari, 5/101)

This person whose Hasanaat (good deeds) are taken from him by the people, and then has their Sayi'aat (bad or evil deeds) placed on his own back, is the one who is bankrupt, as the Messenger (p.b.u.h.) called him. Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said:

"Do you know who is the one who is bankrupt?" They said, 'The bankrupt is the one who has no money and no possessions.' He said, 'Among my Ummah, the one who is bankrupt is the one who will come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer and fasting and Zakah (to his credit), but he will come having insulted this one, slandered that one, consumed the wealth of this one and shed the blood of that one, and beaten that one. So they will all be given some of his hasanaat, and when his hasanaat run out, before judgment is passed, some of their sins will be taken and cast onto him, then he will be cast into the Fire.'" (Muslim: 4/1998, Hadith no. 2581)

If a debtor died when he still owed money to people, they will take from his Hasanaat whatever is in accordance with what he owes them. In Sunan Ibn Majah it is narrated with a Saheeh isnad that Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) stated: The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said:

"Whoever dies owing a Dinar or a Dirham, it will be paid from his Hasanaat, for then there will be no Dinars or Dirhams." (Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 5/537, Hadith no. 6432)

If people wronged one another, the score will be settled between them. If they mistreated one another equally, then there will be no score to settle. If one of them is still owed something by the other, he will take what he is entitled to.

In Sunan at-Tirmidhi it is narrated that Aisha said: "A man came and sat in front of the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.), and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I have two slaves who tell me lies, betray and disobey me, and I insult them and beat them. What is my position with regard to them?' The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said:

'On the Day of Resurrection, their betrayal, disobedience and lying will be measured against your punishment of them. If your punishment is commensurate with their wrongs, then there will be no score to settle. If your punishment of them was less than their sins deserved, then this will count in your favour. If your punishment of them was more than their sins deserved, then the score will be settled against you.' The man turned away and started to weep. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said to him, 'Have you not read the words of Allah?''"

"And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We to take account." (Quran 21: 47).'" (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/66, Hadith no. 5561) It is also narrated in Saheeh al-Jaami`, 6/327, Hadith no. 7895, where it attributed to Ahmad and Tirmidhi.)

Because Zulm (oppression) is such a serious matter, it is better for those who fear that Day to give up oppression and avoid it. The Messenger (p.b.u.h.) has told us that oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abdullah Ibn Umar that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said:

"Oppression (Zulm) will be darkness (Zulumaat) on the Day of Resurrection." (Bukhari: Kitaab al-Mazaalim, Baab az-Zulm Zulumaat Yawm al-Qiyaamah, Fath al-Baari, 51100; Muslim, 4/1969, Hadith no. 2579)

Muslim narrated from Jaabir ibn Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said:

"Beware of oppression (Zulm), for oppression will be darkness (Zulumaat) on the Day of Resurrection." (Muslim: 4/1969, Hadith no. 2578)

Salaat ad-Duha (Forenoon prayer)

Narrated Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her): Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to pray four Rakats (units) in Duha prayer and added whatever Allah wished for him. (Muslim)

Let it be known that Ishraaq, Salaat ul-Awwabin and Duha are different names that stand for identically the same forenoon prayer. The time of this prayer starts with the sunrise and goes on until one-fourth of the day. The least number of Rakats of Duha prayer is two and the maximum is twelve. The preferable among them are four which are supported and approved by the Ahadith of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). It may also be remembered that this prayer is a Sunnah of former messengers as they used to offer it during their times. Hence, this prayer is a Sunnah and mustahabb (desirable). As to the matter of this prayer being called a Bidah (innovation) by Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) it only alludes to the fact that if someone develops a habit of continually offering it, it may be regarded as an innovation, as the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did not always offer it.

Narrated Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.), "The prayer of those who are penitent is offered when the young weaned camels feel the heat of the sun." (at-Tirmidhi)

This Hadith indicates that the best time of Duha prayer is just before noon.

Narrated Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said, "Whoever prays twelve Rakats (units) of Duha, Allah will build a castle for him in Paradise." (at-Tirmidhi who graded it Gharib "unfamiliar, doubtful").

Narrated Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her): Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) entered my house and prayed eight Rakats (units) of Duha prayer. (Ibn Hibban in his Sahih)

Sooner or Later Everything is to Perish

Death is the end for all of us: the oppressor and the oppressed, the mighty and the feeble, the rich and the poor. Your death is no novelty. Nations before have gone and nations after will perish.

Ibn Batoota related that in the north, there is a graveyard with one thousand kings buried in it. At the entrance of this graveyard is a sign board that reads:

"The Kings: ask the dirt about them,
And about the great leaders; they are all bones now."

A cause for wonder is the forgetfulness of man and how he remains heedless of death, the menace of which hangs over him day and night. Man deludes himself by thinking that he is immortal on this earth.

"O Mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of judgment) is a terrible thing." (Quran 22/1)

"Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness." (Quran 21/1)

When Allah destroyed a nation and wiped out a transgressing people, He said:

"Can you find a single one of them or hear even a whisper of them?" (Quran 19/98)

All traces of them are gone.

Ten Oppressors

Sufyan ath-Thauri (may Allah have mercy on him) said that ten people are regarded as oppressors:

  1. The person who prays for himself, but forgets his parents and other believers.
  2. The person who does not recite at least a hundred verses of the Holy Quran daily.
  3. The person who leaves the Masjid (mosque) without performing at least two units of Salah.
  4. The person who passes a graveyard without greeting the deceased or praying for them.
  5. The person who enters a city on Friday and leaves without performing the Friday prayer.
  6. The man or woman in whose vicinity a learned person comes and none acquires any religious knowledge from him.
  7. Those two people who love each other for the pleasure of Allah but are unaware of each others names.
  8. The person who is invited by another, but does not accept his invitation (when acceptance does not contradict the Shariah).
  9. The youngster that has no commitments yet does not acquire any religious knowledge or manners.
  10. The person who has eaten to his fill while his neighbor goes hungry.

20 Causes of Forgiveness of Future Sins

"That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty." (Quran: 57:21)

1. Perfecting one's ablution

"No worshipper perfects his ablution except that his past and future sins are forgiven." (Hasan, al-Bazzaar. Al-Haythami and al-Mundhiri agreed.)

2. Fasting the month of Ramadan with belief and seeking Allah's reward

"Whoever fasts Ramadan out of Iman and seeking Allah's reward then his past and future sins are forgiven." (Hasan, Ahmad. Declared Hasan by adh-Dhahabi, as mentioned in al-Mughni (5876).)

3. Performing the night prayer in Ramadan with belief and seeking Allah's reward

"Whoever stands (in prayer) in Ramadan out of Iman and seeking Allah's reward then his past and future sins are forgiven." (Saheeh. an-Nasaa'i.)

4. Performing the night prayer on the Night of Qadar with belief and seeking Allah's reward

"It (Laylatul-Qadr) is in Ramadan, and expect it in the last ten days; it is on an odd night: on the 21st, or the 23rd, or the 25th, or the 27th, or the 29th, or on the last night (of Ramadan). He who performs the night prayer on it out of belief and seeking Allah's reward his past and future sins are forgiven." (Narrated by Ahmad. There is a difference of opinion among scholars regarding this Hadeeth, some declaring it weak and some Hasan. Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr said in Al-Fath (4/116), "This addition – meaning, 'and future (sins)' – is also in 'Ubadah bin as-Samit's Hadeeth, in (the Musnad of) Ahmad, in two narrations. Its chain is Hasan and it is supported by the previous chain.")

5. Praising and thanking Allah after eating and putting one's clothes on.

"Whoever ate a food and then said, 'Praise be to Allah who has fed me this food and provided it for me, without any strength or power on my part', is forgiven his past [and future*] sins. And whoever wears a garment and says, 'Praise be to Allah who has clothed me with this (garment) and provided it for me, without any strength or power on my part', is forgiven his past and future sins." (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i, al-Bukhari in al-Kabeer, al-Hakim, Ibn Sunni and Ahmad. The addition marked by (*) is related by Abu Dawud. Shaikh Al-Albani declared the Hadeeth Hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami' (6086) and in al-Irwaa' (1989). He said in al-Irwaa', "Such a Hadeeth causes hesitation between making it Hasan (good) and Da'eef (weak). Maybe the first one is closer to be the truth, because those who made it weak didn’t explain it and didn’t explain the reason for its weakness. Allah knows best.")

6. Getting old in Islam

"No one reaches forty years in Islam except that Allah protects him from madness, leprosy and leucoderma. When he is fifty, Allah makes easy his reckoning. When he reaches sixty, Allah grants him repentance. And when he reaches seventy, Allah loves him and the inhabitants of the heavens love him. And when he reaches eighty, Allah accepts his good deeds and overlooks his sins. When he reaches ninety, Allah forgives his past and future sins, he is named 'the prisoner of Allah on earth' and is granted intercession (for forgiveness) for his family." (Hasan, Ibn 'Asakir. Ahmad Shakir said in his notes to Al-Musnad (8/23,25): "Its chain is at least Hasan. It is supported with other chains which raise it to the level of Saheeh.")

7. Leaving the following: performing Ruqia (curing with Quran), seeking having Ruqia performed on one, cauterization, believing in bad omens.

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him): Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h.) said, “…I was told: ‘These are your people and amongst them there are seventy thousand who shall enter Paradise without being taken to either account or torment.' …'They are those who do not make Ruqia nor seek it, nor believe in bad omens, but trust in their Lord (Allah).'" (Bukhari and Muslim)

8. Whose two or three children die and he remains patient

"Whoever buries three children, Allah will forbid the Fire for him." (Saheeh, Tabarani in al-Kabeer, Al-Albani authenticated it in Saheeh Al-Jaami' (6238).)

"There are no two Muslim parents whose three children die before reaching puberty except that Allah will enter them into Paradise due to His mercy to the children. It will be said to them, "Enter the Paradise", so they will say, "Not until our parents enter first". It will be said, "Enter the Paradise you and your parents." (Ahmad, an-Nasaa'i, and Al-Albani authenticated it in Saheeh al-Jaami' (5780).)

"'Whoever iHtasaba (remains content and patient after the death of) three of his offspring will enter Jannah.' A woman said, 'What about two?' He said, 'And two.'" (Saheeh, an-Nasaa'i, Ibn Hibban, authenticated by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami (5969).)

"To no woman three children die and she remains patient and content, except that she will enter Jannah. Or two (children)." (Muslim)

9. Who raises three daughters or sisters and is nice to them

"There is no one from my Ummah who takes care of three daughters or three sisters, and is nice to them, except that they will be a veil (protection) for him from the Fire." (Saheeh, al-Bayhaqi and Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab, authenticated by Al-Albani in Saheeh Al-Jaami' (5372).)

10. Defending the honor of a Muslim

"Whoever defends the honor of his brother in absence has the right over Allah to be freed from the Fire." (Saheeh, Ahmad, al-Tabarani. Authenticated by Al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami' (6240).) Al-Manaawi commented" "'Whoever is limited to other than the disbeliever and public wrongdoer." (Fayd al-Qadeer 6:136)

11. Ihklas (sincerity) to Allah

No servant who says 'la ilaha ill Allah', seeking the pleasure of Allah, will reach the Day of Judgment, except that Allah will forbid the Fire for him. (Ahmad, al-Bukhari) Hafidh Ibn Hajr said, "It's not like that (i.e. not entering the Fire at all) for everyone who believed in Tawheed and worshipped, but it is specific for the sincere, and sincerity (Ihklas) requires the realization of its meaning by the heart. One cannot imagine that the heart will reach that while persisting upon sins, as the heart would be filled with the love and fear of Allah, whereupon limbs will embark upon obedience and leave disobedience."

12. Crying out of fear of Allah

"No man who cried out of fear of Allah will enter the Fire until the milk returns to the udder, and dust in the path of Allah (jihad) and the smoke of the Fire cannot go together." (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaa'i and Hakim who authenticated it. Authenticated by Al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami' (7778).)

13. Performing the prayer in congregation for forty days while reaching the opening Takbeer

"Whoever prays to Allah for four days in congregation, reaching the opening Takbeer, will have two written for him: freedom from the Fire and freedom from hypocrisy." (Hasan. at-Tirmidhi, declared Hasan by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami' (6365).)

14. Being consistent in praying four Rakats (units) before Dhuhr and after it

"Whoever is consistent in praying four units of prayer before Dhuhr and four after it, Fire will be forbidden for him." (Saheeh. Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa'i, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim who authenticated it. Al-Albani authenticated it in Saheeh al-Jaami' (6195).)

15. Being consistent in praying before sunrise and before sunset

"No one will enter Fire who prays before sunrise and before sunset." (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasaa'i) Meaning, Fajr and 'Asr prayers.

16. Dust of Jihad

"The dust of Jihad and the smoke of the Fire will never coexist within a servant, and greed and Iman will never coexist in the heart of a servant." (Saheeh. An-Nasaa’i and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak. Authenticated by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami' (7616).)

17. Killing a mushrik in war

"A Kafir and one who killed him will never be together in the Fire." (Muslim, Abu Dawud)

18. Good character

"Whoever is easy-going, easy to deal with and kindhearted, Allah will forbid the Fire for him." (Saheeh. Al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, al-Bayhaqi, at-Tabarani. Al-Albani authenticated it in Saheeh al-Jaami' (6484).)

19. Freeing slaves

"Whoever frees a believing slave it will be his salvation from the Fire." (Saheeh, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasaa'i. Authenticated by al-Albani (6050).)

20. Salat ut-Tasbeeh (Tasbeeh Prayer)

There is an unusual difference of opinion about this one. Scholars have greatly differed about the authenticity of the relevant narrations, with their rulings ranging from fabricated to authentic. In a narration, Al-Mustamir ar-Rayan relates, "Whoever prays it will be forgiven his past and future sins, what he did secretly and what he did openly." (Mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Ma'rifat al-Khisal al-Mukaffirah, p. 48, who said it was Hasan due to supporting narrations. Allah knows best.)

Easy Actions-Rewards Multiplied

How great will be the regret of those who waste the opportunity!

1. Preserving the ties of kinship: "Whoever wishes that his provision be increased and his age lengthened, let him maintain the ties of kinship." (Bukhari and Muslim)

2. Performing many prayers in the two noble Harams (in Makkah and Madinah): "Prayer in this masjid of mine is superior to a thousand prayers elsewhere, except for Masjid al-Haram, and prayer in Masjid al-Haram is superior to one hundred thousand prayers elsewhere." (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

3. Performing prayers in congregation: "Prayer in congregation is superior to praying individually twenty-seven times." (Bukhari and Muslim)

4. Praying 'Isha and Fajr in congregation: "He who prays Isha' in Jama'ah (congregation) is as if he has prayed for half the night. As to him who (also) prays Fajr in congregation, it is as if he has prayed all night." (Malik and the wording is that of Muslim who also reported it)

5. Performing voluntary prayers at home: "Superiority of a man's prayer in his home over his prayer when people see him is like the superiority of an obligatory prayer over a voluntary one." (Bayhaqi, classed as Saheeh by Albani) "The most superior prayer of a person is in his home, except for obligatory prayers." (Bukhari and Muslim)

6. Observing some manners of the day of Jumu'ah: "Whoever Ghassala (washes his head, and it is said: has intercourse with his wife so that it be a means to lower the gaze from the Haram that day) on the day of Jumuah, then comes in the earliest time and before the first khutbah, walks and doesn't ride, stays near the Imam, listens and does not speak - for each step [he makes] he has actions of one year, the reward of fasting and standing in prayer in it." (Ahl as-Sunan)

7. Salat ul-Ishraq: "Whoever prays al-Ghadaa (i.e. al Fajr) in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until sunrise, then prays two units of prayer, has a complete reward of Hajj and Umrah (The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) repeated 'complete' three times for emphasizing)." (Tirmidhi, classed as Saheeh by Albani)

8. Attending lectures in the mosque: "Whoever goes to the mosque not desiring except to learn or teach what is good has the reward of a pilgrim who completed his Hajj." (Tabarani, classed as Saheeh by Albani)

9. Performing Umrah in the month of Ramadhan: "Umrah in Ramadhan is equal to a Hajj with me." (Bukhari)

10. Performing obligatory prayers in the Mosque: "Whoever leaves his home in a state of purity to perform obligatory prayer, his reward is like that of a pilgrim (while) in the state of Ihram ([i.e. he receives reward similar to that of spending time in ihram during Hajj)." (Abu Dawud, classed as Saheeh by Albani) So one should be in a state of purity when leaving one's home, rather than the place for ablution within the mosque, except due to necessity.

11. Being from the people of the first row in congregational prayers: 'Irbad Bin Saariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) used to seek forgiveness for (the people of) the first row three times, and for (the people of the) second row once." (Nasa'i and Ibn Majah). "Allah and His Angels make salawat upon (the people of) the first row." (Ahmad, with a good isnad)

12. Prayer in Masjid Qubaa' in Madinah: "Whoever purifies himself in his house then comes to Masjid Qubaa' and prays in it has the reward like that of 'Umrah." (Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

13. Saying what the caller to prayer says: "Say as they say (i.e. callers to prayer), and when you finish, ask and you will be given." (Abu Dawud and Nasa'i) That is, supplicate when you finish repeating after the caller to prayer.

14. Fasting Ramadhan and following it with six days of Shawwal: "Whoever fasts Ramadhan, then follows it with six (days) of Shawwal, it is like fasting all the time." (Muslim)

15. Fasting three days each month: "Whoever fasts three days each month, it s like fasting all the time." (Tirmidhi). This is supported by the verse, "Whoever comes with a good deed for him is a tenfold (reward)." One day being equal to ten days.

16. Providing food for breaking of the fast: "Whoever provides food for breaking of the fast of a fasting person receives the reward of the fasting person, without the reward of the fasting person being reduced in any way." (Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

17. Standing in prayer on Laylatul-Qadr: "Laylatul Qadr is better than a thousand months" (Quran 97:3), that is, superior to approximately 83 years of worship.

18. Jihad: "Standing of a man in a row (saff) in the way of Allah is superior to 60 years of worship." (Hakim, classed as Saheeh by Albani) This is the superiority of standing in a row, so what about one who fights in the way of Allah for days, or months, or years?

19. Ribaa: "Whoever takes a post (at borders of Muslim lands, where an enemy may be expected) for a day and night in the way of Allah has the reward of fasting and standing in prayer for a month, and whoever dies in such a state receives a continuous reward similar to it, and is (also) rewarded with provision and saved from al-Fattaan." (Muslim) Al-Fattaan is punishment of the grave.

20. Righteous actions in the first ten days of Dhul Hijja: "There are no days in which righteous deeds are dearer to Allah than these ten (days of Dhul Hijjah)." They said, "O Messenger, even jihad in the way of Allah?" He said, "Not even jihad in the way of Allah, except for the man who leaves with his wealth, and does not return with any of it (life or wealth)." (Bukhari)

21. Frequent recitation of Quranic Soorahs: "Qul Huwa'Llahu Ahad" is equal to a third of the Quran and "Qul yaa ayyuha'l Kaafiroon" is equal to a fourth of the Quran." (Tabarani, classed as Saheeh by Albani)

22. Al-Istighfaar: "Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and believing women, Allah will write for him a good deed for each believing man ad believing woman." (Tabarani, classed as Hasan by Albani)

23. Fulfilling people's need: "That I walk with my Muslim brother in (fulfilling his) need is dearer to me than being in itikaf in the masjid for a month." (Ibn Abi Dunya, classed as Hasan by Albani)

24. Dhikr: That I say 'Subhaan Allah, wal-Hamdu li'Llah, wa laa ilaaha ill Allahu wa'Llahu Akbar' is dearer to me than what the sun has risen upon." (Muslim)

"Whoever enters a market and says: 'Laa ilaaha ill Allah waHdahu laa shareeka lah, lahul mulku wa lahul Hamdu yuHyi wa yumeetu wa huwa Hayyun laa yamoot, bi yadihil khayr, wahuwa 'alaa kulli shay'in qadeer' (there is nothing worthy of worship but Allah, He is alone without partner, to Him belongs dominion and praise, he causes life and death and He is the Living and does not die. In His Hand is all the good, and He is over all things competent.) Allah will write for him a million good deeds, erase a million of his bad deeds and raise him a million levels."(Tirmidhi, classed as Hasan by Albani) There are many other words of remembrance which are rewarded abundantly, as is well known.

"There are two blessings which many people lose: good health and free time." (Bukhari)

Can Human Reason Do Without Revelation?

Many people today allege that they can do without the Messengers and their messages and instead use the reason that Allah has bestowed on them. We see them enacting laws, planning, directing, approving and prohibiting, their only reference in doing so, being, what their reason accepts or rejects. In the past there have been groups of similar thinkers (Brahmah: a sect of Mazdaism) who alleged that:

"Sending messengers is useless and there is no wisdom in it because the reason can assess what is conveyed by Messengers. If it conforms with its rules it will do it, and if it contradicts the rules of reason, then it can either do it (if there is any need) or reject it."

In such debates, the Muslim should not be hasty to deny reason's capability to know good and evil. Allah has created mankind with an innate disposition to distinguish between good and evil, and has created in them reason, to enable them to distinguish between what is useful and what is harmful.

The first innate disposition (distinction between good and evil) is what distinguishes mankind from other animals. The second (to know the difference between the useful and the harmful) is common even in animals. The dispute arises in the following:

First, there are some matters that are good for man but he cannot realize them with his reason alone because they are beyond his field of recognition. How can he know Allah or His qualities? How can he know the details of the religion He ordains for His slaves? How can he know the details of His love, anger, contentment and wrath? How can he know the details of His reward for those devoted to him and His punishment for His enemies? How can he know the unseen which Allah has not disclosed to anyone except to the Prophets He selected?

Second, reason can realize that certain matters are good or evil in their totality but cannot know the details of what is ordained by religion. Reason, for instance, can realize the benefits of justice, but whether a certain act is just or unjust, it cannot (always) tell.

Third, human reason may be confused by one act which comprises both good and harm, and cannot be certain which one is most likely. The Shariah explains such issues, commands what is more likely to be good and prohibits what is more likely to be evil. Also the same act may be useful for someone and harmful for another, and reason cannot encompass that. The Shariah (Islamic law) clarifies the situation, commands it for the first, and prohibits it for the second. An act may be explicitly harmful, but implicitly comprises great benefit. This is also made clear by the Shariah. Ibn Taymiyyah said, "The Messengers are sent to clarify the issues that confuse reason and not to confirm what reason already knew."

Fourth, what is realized by reason (even if correct) is only hypothesis, subject to argument by disbelievers, and even if it survives (in the absence of revelation) then it is just a guess (as the case could possibly be confirmed otherwise).

The Ideal Muslim and His Community

1. He is truthful
2. He does not cheat, deceive or stab in the back
3. He is not envious
4. He is sincere
5. He keeps his promises
6. He has a good attitude towards others and treats them well
7. He is characterized by shyness
8. He is gentle towards people
9. He is compassionate and merciful
10. He is tolerant and forgiving
11. He is easy-going in his business dealings
12. He is of cheerful countenance
13. He has a sense of humor
14. He is patient
15. He avoids cursing and foul language
16. He does not falsely accuse anyone of fisq or kufr
17. He is modest and discreet
18. He dos not interfere in that which does not concern him
19. He refrains from backbiting and slander
20. He avoids giving false statements
21. He avoids suspicion
22. He keeps secrets
23. He does not converse privately with another person when there is a third person present
24. He is not arrogant or proud
25. He is humble and modest
26. He does not make fun of anyone
27. He respects elders and distinguished people
28. He mixes with people of noble character
29. He strives for people's benefits and seeks to protect hem from harm
30. He strives to reconcile between Muslims
31. He calls people to truth
32. He enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil
33. He is wise and eloquent in his Dawah
34. He is not a hypocrite
35. He does not show off or boast
36. He is straightforward and consistent in his adherence to the truth
37. He visits the sick
38. He attends funerals
39. He repays favors and is grateful for them
40. He mixes with people and puts up with their insults
41. He tries to make people happy
42. He guides others to righteous deeds
43. He is easy on people, not hard
44. He is fair in his judgment of people
45. He does not oppress or mistreat others
46. He loves noble things and always aims high
47. His speech is not exaggerated or affected
48. He does not rejoice in the misfortunes of others
49. He is generous
50. He does not remind the beneficiaries of his charity
51. He is hospitable
52. He prefers others to himself
53. He helps to alleviate the burden of the debtor
54. He is proud and does not beg
55. He is friendly and likeable
56. He checks his customs and habits against Islamic standards
57. He follows Islamic manners in the way he eats and drinks
58. He spreads the greeting of salam
59. He does not enter a house other than his own without permission
60. He sits wherever he finds room in a gathering
61. He avoids yawning in a gathering as much as he can
62. He follows the Islamic etiquette when he sneezes
63. He does not look into other people's houses
64. He does not imitate women

The Virtues of the Month of Sha'ban

Sha'ban is the name of the (eighth) month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha'aba) in search of water, or it was said that it is so called because it sha'aba (branches out or emerges) i.e., it appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadan.

Fasting in Sha'ban

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha'ban." (Bukhari and Muslim). According to a report narrated by Muslim, "He used to fast all of Sha'ban, he used to fast all but a little of Sha'ban."

A group of scholars, including Ibn al-Mubarak and others thought that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did not fast all of Sha'ban, but he fasted most of it. This is supported by a report in Saheeh Muslim narrated from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: "I never knew of him - meaning the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) - fasting for any entire month apart from Ramadan." According to another report also narrated by Muslim, Aisha said: "I never saw him fast for any entire month from the time he came to Madeenah, apart from Ramadan."

It was reported in Bukhari and Muslim that Ibn 'Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan." Ibn 'Abbas regarded it as Makrooh to fast any entire month apart from Ramadan. Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "He observed more voluntary fasts in Sha'ban than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha'ban."

Usamah Ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha'ban.' He said, 'That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.'" (Nasa'i). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: "The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) to fast in was Sha'ban, and his fasting in Sha'ban was continuous with his fasting in Ramadan." (Classed as Saheeh by al-Albani)

Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "Fasting in Sha'ban is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawatib which are done before and after fard (obligatory prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadan are better than fasts at other times.

The phrase "Sha'ban is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan" indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha'ban. Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha'ban, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case.

In the Hadeeth quoted above there is an indication that even though certain times, places and people may be commonly thought to posses a particular virtue, there may be others that are better than them. It also indicates that it is Mustahabb (recommended) to make good use of the times when people tend to be negligent, by doing acts of worship. A group of the Salaf used to fill the time between Maghrib and Isha with prayer, saying that it was a time when many people were negligent. Another example is the remembrance of Allah (Dhikr) in the marketplace, because this means one is remembering Him in a place where people tend to be negligent and among people who are negligent. There are a number of benefits that come from making good use of times when people are often negligent, and using these times for worship, including the following:

It is more concealing of one's good works, and hiding and concealing Nawafil (supererogatory) actions is better, especially fasting, because it is a secret between a slave and his Lord. Hence it was said that there is no element of showing off in fasting. One of the Salaf used to fast for years without anybody knowing about it; he would go from his home to the marketplace carrying two loaves of bread, which he would give away in charity, and he would fast. His family thought that he ate the bread, whilst the people in the marketplace thought that he had eaten at home. The Salaf thought it was Mustahabb for a person who was fasting to do things that would conceal the fact that he was fasting. It was reported that Ibn Mas'ood said: "When you get up in the morning and you are fasting, then apply perfume." Qutadah said: "It is Mustahabb for the (man) who is fasting to apply perfume so that there will be no sign that he is fasting."

By the same token, doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. One of the indications of how virtuous a deed is, is how difficult it is: if everyone is doing a certain action, it is easy, but if most people are negligent, this makes it more difficult for those who do remember Allah. Muslim narrated from the Hadeeth of Ma'qil Ibn Yasar: "(The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said:) 'Worship at times of tribulation (Fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.'" (The phrase "worship at times of tribulation" refers to times of upheavals and trials, when people follow their own desires, and those who adhere to Islam are doing something difficult.)

The scholars differed as to the reasons why the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) fasted so much in Sha'ban. Their various opinions were as follows:

That he had been unable to fast three days out of every month because he was traveling or for some other reason, so he made them all up together in Sha'ban. When the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) began to do some Nafl (supererogatory) action, he would persist in it, and if he missed it, he would make it up later.

It was said that his wives used to make up the days that they missed of Ramadan in Sha'ban, so he used to fast because of that. This is the opposite of what was reported from Aisha, that she used to delay making up days that she had missed in Ramadan until Sha'ban because she was too busy with the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) to fast.

It was said that it was because this is a month which people do not pay attention to. This is the most correct view, because of the Hadeeth of Usamah quoted above, in which it says: "That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan."

When Sha'ban began, if the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) still had some voluntary fasts outstanding that he had not fasted, he would make them up during Sha'ban so that his Nafl fasts would be complete before Ramadan came. Similarly, if he had missed some Sunnah prayers or he had missed Qiyam al-Layl (night prayer), he would make it up. Aisha used to make the most of this opportunity to make up any obligatory Ramadan fasts that she had missed because of menstruation; during other months she was too busy with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to fast.

We should also note here that anyone who has any missed fasts to make up has to make them up before the next Ramadan comes. It is not permissible to delay it until after the following Ramadan except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadans). Whoever is able to make them up before the (second) Ramadan and does not do so, has to make them up after the (second) Ramadan and in addition to that, he has to repent and to feed one poor person for each day that he missed. This is the view of Malik, al-Shafa'i and Ahmad.

Another benefit of fasting in Sha'ban is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadan starts; if he fasts in Sha'ban he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadan comes. Sha'ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting Quran and giving in charity. Salamah Ibn Suhayl used to say: "The month of Sha'ban is the month of reciters (of the Quran)." Habeeb Ibn Abi Thabit used to say, when Sha'ban came, "This is the month of reciters (of the Quran)." When Sha'ban came, 'Amr Ibn Qays al-Mala'i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Quran.

Fasting at the end of Sha'ban

It was reported in Bukhari and Muslim from 'Imran Ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said to a man, "Have you fasted anything of the Sirar of this month?" He said, "No." He said: "If you have not fasted, then fast two days." According to a report narrated by Bukhari: I think he meant Ramadan. According to a report narrated by Muslim, (the Prophet - p.b.u.h.) said: "Have you fasted anything of the Sirar of Sha'ban?"

There was some dispute as to the meaning of the word Sirar. The most well-known view is that it refers to the end of the month. The end of the month is called Sirar because the moon is hidden at that time. Someone may raise the point that it was reported in Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "Do not pre-empt Ramadan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast." (Bukhari and Muslim).

How can we reconcile the Hadeeth which encourages fasting at this time with the Hadeeth which says not to fast at this time? The answer is: many of the scholars and most of those who commented on this Hadeeth said: this man to whom the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) addressed this question was known to have the habit of fasting regularly, or else he had made a vow, so the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) commanded him to make up his fast. There are also other points of view on this issue.

In brief we may say that there are three scenarios for fasting at the end of Sha'ban:

The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha'ban with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadan. This is forbidden.

The second scenario is when a person fasts with the intention of fulfilling a vow or of making up a day of Ramadan that he missed or as an act of expiation (kaffarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.

The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as makrooh (disliked) by those who said that we should differentiate between Sha'ban and Ramadan by not fasting for a while. Among those who said this was al-Hasan. If it happens to coincide with a day when a person habitually fasts, Malik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shafa'i, al-'Awza'i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.

In conclusion, the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above is what we should follow according to the majority of scholars. It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast one or two days before Ramadan for those who do not habitually fast on those days and who have not previously fasted until the end of Sha'ban.

It may be asked: why is it Makrooh to fast just before Ramadan (for those who do not have a prior habit of fasting)? The answer is that there are a number of reasons why this is so, such as:

Firstly: lest extra days be added to the fast of Ramadan that are not part of it. Fasting on the day of Eid is prohibited for the same reason, lest we fall into the same trap as the People of the Book with regard to fasting, as they added to their fasts because of their own whims and desires. For the same reason it is also forbidden to fast on the "day of doubt". 'Ammar said: whoever fasts on this day has disobeyed Abu'l-Qasim (p.b.u.h.). The "day of doubt" is a day when people are not sure whether it is Ramadan or not, when news of the sighting of the crescent moon comes from one whose word cannot be accepted. As for a cloudy day, some of the scholars said that this was also a 'day of doubt' and said that fasting was not allowed on this day. This is the view of the majority.

Secondly: to make a distinction between Fard (obligatory) fasts and Nafl fasts, because making a clear distinction between Fard actions and Nafl actions is prescribed in Islam. Hence it is Haram to fast on the day of Eid, and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) forbade following an obligatory prayer immediately with another prayer unless they are separated by saying salam or speaking, especially in the case of the Sunnah prayer performed just before Fajr. It is prescribed to make a clear separation between this prayer and the obligatory prayer. Hence it is prescribed to pray it at home and to lie down afterwards.

When the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) saw a man praying at the time when the Iqamah had been given for Fajr, he said to him: "Al-Subh is four Rak'ahs (units)?" (Bukhari).

Some people may think that the reason why we do not fast just before Ramadan is so that we can make the most of eating and have our fill of our desires before we have to deny ourselves by fasting. This is an ignorant mistake on the part of those who think this.

Rewards of Fasting

Every act of goodness is rewarded. Rewards are given based on the sincerity of the intention. Fasting is the only worship about which Allah has said that He Himself is the reward for it. This means that one develops such a close relationship with Allah that Allah Himself becomes the helper.

Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Allah, the Lord of Honor and glory says: All other deeds of man are for himself, but his fasting is purely for Me and I shall reward him for it. The fast is a shield. When any of you is fasting he should abstain from loose talk and noisy exchanges. Should anyone revile him or seek to pick a quarrel with him, he should respond with: I am observing a fast. By Him in Whose hands is the life of Muhammad, the breath of one who is fasting is purer in the sight of Allah than the fragrance of musk. One who fasts experiences two joys: he is joyful when he breaks his fast, and he is joyful by virtue of his fast when he meets his Lord" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Sa'ad Ibn Sahl relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "There is a gate of Paradise called Rayyan through which only those will enter on the Day of Judgment who are regular in observing the fast and no one else. A call will go forth: Where are those who observed the fast regularly? And they will step forth and no one beside them will enter through that gate. After they shall have entered, the gate will be closed and no one else will enter thereby" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Abu Sa'id Khudri relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When a servant of Allah observes the fast for a day for the sake of Allah, He thereby repels the Fire from him a distance of seventy years of journeying" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "He who observes the fast during Ramadhan out of sincerity of faith and in hope of earning merit will have his past sins forgiven him" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When Ramadhan arrives the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and satans are put in chains" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Eid and Zakat ul-Fitr

- Playing, recreation, and eating on the day of Eid:

These are permissible as long as they stay within the acceptable bounds of Islam. Anas said: "when the prophet (p.b.u.h.) came to madinah, they had two days for amusement. the prophet (p.b.u.h.) has exchanged these days for two better days: the day of breaking the fast and the day of sacrifice." (Nsa'i and Ibn Hibban)

- Taking women and children to the prayer area:

The prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to take his wives and daughters to the two Eids. Umm Atiyah said: "we were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids in order to witness the good and the supplications of the muslims. the menstruating women though would stay away from the prayer area." (Bukhari and Muslim)

- Going to the prayer area:

The prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to go to the prayer area by walking. Jaber narrated: "on the days of Eid, the prophet (p.b.u.h.) would go to the prayer area by one route and come back by another route." (Bukhari)

- Eating before going to the prayer area:

Since Eid al-Fitr is the day on which Muslims break their Ramadhan fast, it is preferable to eat before going to the Eid prayer. It is a Sunnah of the prophet (p.b.u.h.) to eat an odd number of dates before going to pray salat al-Eid. Anas reported: "the prophet (p.b.u.h.) would not go out on the day of Eid al-Fitr without eating an odd number of dates." (Bukhari.)

- Preparation for Eid prayer:

It is preferred to make ghusl (take a bath), wear one's best clothes and, for men, to wear perfume before going to salat al-Eid. Ibn al-Qayyim said: "the prophet (p.b.u.h.) used to wear his best clothes for the Eid prayers and he had clothes that he reserved for the two Eids and Jumuah."

- Making Takbeer:

Takbeer starts from the night of Eid's eve until the imam comes out to start the prayer. Allah says: "you should complete the prescribed period and then you should glorify allah (i.e., say takbeer) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to him." the form of takbeer is related by 'umar and ibn mas`ud: "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la illaha illallah. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillahil-hamd."

- Congratulating each other:

It has been narrated that when the prophet's companions met each other on the Eid day, they would say to each other: "may Allah accept from us and from you." (Ahmad)

Zakat al Fitr

Zakat al Fitr is an obligatory charity on every muslim at the end of the month of ramadan. Ibn 'Umar said: "the prophet (p.b.u.h.) enjoined the payment of one sa'a of dates or one sa'a of barley as Zakat al-Fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave." (Bukhari and Muslim)

The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to purify the one who has fasted from any type of indecent act or speech he might have committed while fasting. it also helps the poor and the needy. Ibn abbas said: "the messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on the one who fasts to shield him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy." (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.)

The amount of Zakat al-Fitr

As the first Hadith indicated, the amount of Zakat al-Fitr is one Sa'a. Sa'a is a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5 lb of good wheat. The material of Zakat can be either dates, barley, wheat, rice, corn or similar items considered as basic foods. Abu Saeed said: "we used to give for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of every child, aged person, free man or slave during the lifetime of the messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) one Sa'a of food, or one Sa'a of dried yogurt, or one Sa'a of barley, or one Sa'a of dates, or one Sa'a of raisins." (Bukhari and Muslim.)

The time for Zakat al-Fitr

Zakat al-Fitr has to be paid by the end of Ramadhan. There are two times to pay akat al-Fitr. Either one or two days before Eid as 'Umar used to do, or the day of Eid before the Eid prayer. Ibn Umar reported that the prophet (p.b.u.h.) ordered them to pay Zakat al-Fitr before they go out to perform the Eid prayer. If Zakat al-Fitr is paid after the Eid prayer, it will only be considered as regular charity. The prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "if one pays Zakat al-Fitr before the salat, it is considered an accepted Zakat, if he pays it after the salat, it is considered an ordinary charity." (Abu Dawud)

Zakat al-Fitr is to be given to the same eight categories or people as in the other types of zakat. Some scholars say that the poor and the needy are the most deserving ones since the prophet (p.b.u.h.) said that it had "...the purpose of providing food for the needy."

Signs of a Good End

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, "A Muslim who is killed in a battle is a martyr, (dying in) plague is martyrdom, a woman who dies while delivering a baby is a martyr." (Ahmad, Daarimee, Tiyaalisee, authenticated by Al-Albaanee)

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said, "The martyrs are seven, other than the one who is killed in the Way of Allaah, Ta'aalaa:
- one who dies of plague,
- one who drowns,
- one who dies of pleurisy,
- one who dies of stomachache,
- one who dies due to burning
- one who dies under a demolition (by accident)
- a woman who dies with a baby in her womb."
(Maalik, Aboo Dawood, An-Nasaaee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibban, Haakim, Ahmad. Authenticated by al-Albaanee)

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: "Getting killed in the Path of Allaah Ta'aalaa is martyrdom,
- (death in) confinement during childbirth is martyrdom,
- (death by) getting burned (by accident) is martyrdom,
- (death by) drowning (by accident) is martyrdom,
- (death due to) tuberculosis is martyrdom,
- (death due to) stomachache is martyrdom."
(Tabaraanee, Ahmad, authenticated by al-Albaanee)

The Ruling on Celebrating the Prophet's Birthday

Question: Is it permissible for Muslims to celebrate in the Masjid with dhikr and readings from the Seerah (Biography) of Prophet (r) on the night of the 12th of Rabee'-ul-Awwal, especially on the Prophet's birthday without making it a day of Eid? There is some differing between us as to whether it's Bid'ah Hasanah (good innovation) or not.

Answer: It's not from the way of Muslims to gather to celebrate the Prophet's birthday on the night of the 12th of Rabee'-ul-Awwal or any other night. Likewise, it is not from the way of Muslims to gather for any birthday celebration of any one, including the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). And this affair of celebrating and gathering for the birthday of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is an innovation and a newly introduced matter in the Religion. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) never celebrated his birthday during his lifetime. And he was the one who communicated the Religion to us and legislated its legislation (for us) with Allaah's authority. This affair of celebrating the Prophet's birthday was not practiced by the rightly guided Khaleefahs or his Companions nor by those who preceded them in righteousness because they knew it was an innovation.

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said:

"He who innovates something in this affair of ours (i.e. Sunnah) that is not part of it, will have it rejected." (Bukhaari and Muslim)

And in another version of the Hadeeth:

"He who does an act which is not in agreement with our affair (i.e. religion), will have it rejected."

This celebrating of the Prophet's birthday is not from his practice but rather it is something that was introduced into the Religion by the later generations of Muslims and so it is to be rejected.

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would say in his Friday khutbah (sermon):

"To Proceed. Surely the best speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of all guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. And the worst of all affairs are newly invented things and every newly invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is astray." (Sahih Muslim)

It is also recorded by an-Nasa'i with a good chain of narration with the addition:

"...and every astray is in the Hellfire."

Rights and Duties of Women

Issues in which men and women are treated alike or women are treated favorably.
This article discusses issues that carry little or no controversy.

1. Education
The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) once said: "Acquiring knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim. (At-Tabarani)
This narration applies equally to men and women. "Knowledge" in this context refers primarily to knowledge of the Holy Quran and Sunnah as no Muslim should be ignorant of his or her Faith, but it also covers other areas of general education, which can contribute to the welfare of civilization. It is precisely the ignorance about their religion among Muslims that has led to men oppressing women because they believe it is permitted, women not demanding their God-given rights because they are ignorant of them, and children growing up to perpetuate their parents' follies. Throughout Islamic history, men and women both earned respect as scholars and teachers of the Faith. The books of Rijal (Reporters of Hadith) contain the names of many prominent women, beginning with Aishah and Hafsah.

2. Worship
Both men and women are the slaves of Allah and have a duty to worship and obey Him. Men and women have to pray, fast, give charity, go on pilgrimage, refrain from adultery, avoid the prohibited, enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and so on. Because of women's roles as mothers, a role which does not end at a specific time but is a round the-clock career, they have been exempted from attending the Mosque for the five daily prayers or for Jumuah (Friday) prayer. Nevertheless, if they wish to attend the Mosque, no one has the right to stop them.

3. Charitable Acts
Men and women are both encouraged to give charity, and there is nothing to stop a woman giving charity from her husband's income. Aishah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A woman will receive reward (from Allah) even when she gives charity from her husband's earnings. The husband and the treasurer (who keeps the money on the husband's behalf) will also be rewarded, without the reward of any of them decreasing." Asmaa once said to the Prophet "O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing except what Zubair (her husband) brings home." The Prophet told her: ‘O Asmaa give in charity. Don't lock it lest your subsistence is locked.’"

4. The Right to Own Wealth and Property
A woman has the right to keep her property or wealth, whether earned or inherited, and spend it as she may please.
This right was granted to Western women only very recently, and the women of India had to wait until 1956 for a right which Muslim women have always taken for granted. Concerning the right to one's earnings, the Holy Quran says:
"And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you excel the others. For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything." (V. 4:32)

5. Freedom to Express One's Opinion
Few societies exist in which the ordinary citizen can confront the ruler face to face and challenge his policies. Even fewer societies allow women to be so bold, yet the Islamic ideal has always been open and accessible. This freedom of expression is aptly demonstrated by a famous incident involving Omar the second Rightly- Guided Caliph. Omar was once standing on the pulpit, severely reprimanding the people and ordering them not to set excessive amounts of dower at the time of marriage. A woman got up and shouted, "Omar, you have no right to intervene in a matter which Allah the All-Mighty has already decreed in Quran:
"But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a Qintar (of gold, i.e., a great amount as Mahr bridal money), take not the least bit of it back; would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin?" (V.4:20)

After being reminded of this Verse, Omar withdrew his order, saying, "I am in the wrong and she is correct."

6. Participation in Jihad
The battlefield is a place, which frightens many men let alone women. Due to the aggressive and violent nature of war, only men have a duty to participate in Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's cause) while women are exempted. A woman once asked the Prophet to allow women to go on Jihad with men because of its excellence and the unlimited reward promised to Mujahideen (Muslim fighters) in the Hereafter. The Prophet replied: "For them is a Jihad without fighting," which referred to the Hajj and Umrah. Nevertheless the Prophet did permit women to nurse the injured and supply provisions to the Mujahideen at some battles. A woman from the tribe of Ghifar came with a large group of women to the Prophet when he was preparing to leave for the conquest of Khaibar. She said: "O Allah's Messenger, we wish to accompany you on this journey so that we may nurse the injured and help the Muslims." The Prophet responded, ‘Come may Allah shower His blessings upon you.’” Umm Atiyyah an Ansari woman once said:
"I have participated in seven battles with the Prophet. I used to guard the camels of the Mujahideen in their absence, cook the food, treat the injured and care for the sick."
Muadh Bin Jabal reports that his cousin Asmaa Bint Yazid killed nine Roman soldiers with a tent-pole during the battle of Yarmuk.

7. Freedom to Choose Her Husband
The guardian of the girl whether her father, brother or uncle plays an important role in her marriage such as finding a suitable match for her. But under no circumstance does this allow him to force his choice on her against her wishes. She is free to accept or reject his choice, or make her own choice. A woman named Khansa Bint Khidam once came to the Prophet and complained:
"My father has forced me to marry my cousin in order to raise his own status (in the eyes of the people)." The Prophet told her that she was free to dissolve this marriage and choose whomever she wished to marry. She replied, "I accept my father's choice, but my aim was to let the women know that fathers have no right to interfere in the marriage." (Ahmad, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah)

8. A Woman's Guarantee in War is Acceptable
If a woman gives surety to a war-captive or gives him shelter, her guarantee will be accepted. Umm Hani, a cousin of the Prophet, said to him after the conquest of Makkah: "I have given shelter to two of my in-laws." The Prophet said: ‘O Umm Hani, we have given shelter to whom you have given shelter.’" According to another narrative, Umm Hani gave shelter to a man but her cousin Ali tried to kill the man. She complained to the Prophet who endorsed her act of giving shelter to the man.

9. The Right to Custody of Children
Divorce is especially painful and difficult when the couple has had children, and awarding custody to either party involves difficulties. According to Western law, both father and mother have to prove to the Court that they are more capable of looking after the children, and this often involves maligning the other party in order to strengthen their own claims to custody. Islamic law has its own clear decision on this issue. Custody of young boys and girls goes to the mother. The son stays with his mother until he is about seven or nine years of age, after which he is looked after by the father. The daughter remains with her mother until she gets married. The exception is when the mother herself re-marries, in which case custody may be awarded to someone else such as the girl's grandmother or aunt. This is based on the Prophet's words to the divorcee:
"Your right to custody of the child is greater as long as you do not remarry."

10. Participation in Extending Co-operation for the Promotion of Good and Elimination of Evil.
The Holy Quran deals with this subject in clear terms:
"The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqįmat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." (V. 9:71)