Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Here's wishing you all a beautiful and blessed Eid!

On the day of Eid, Hazret Ali ibn Abi Taleb (a.s) delivered the following sermon-

"O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgement). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise. O Servants of Allah! Verily the minimum reward for those men and women who fasted (during Ramadan), is an Angel, who calls out to them on the last day of the month of Ramadan (saying): O SERVANTS OF ALLAH! REJOICE THE GLAD TIDING THAT ALL YOUR PREVIOUS SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. Therefore, watch out in those things which serve as your re-creation ((of sins) on this day and days to follow)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Paying Zakat Online

IMAM E-mail Logo
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent
زكاة الفطرة
In this e-mail: | Obligatory Zakat | Establishment of Zakat | How to pay it?|
With the excitement of the new year ahead of us and the joyous completion of the holy month of Ramadhan, it is easy to forget about the needs those who are impoverished and our obligation to provide charity to them. Therefore, we should be reminded that such people in need require our help to make it through the year.Zakat-ul-Fitrah is a special form of obligatory Zakat given at the end of the month of Ramadhan, during the day of Eid.
Zakat is obligatory tax prescribed by Allah the Mighty; he likened it to prayer in many verses.  He has mentioned in the Qur'an: 
"Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers and who shun vain conversation and who are payers of the poor due."
The Prophet (as) confirmed it in many tradition as a pillar of Islam.
Materials, amount, and guidelines
It is obligatory on the individual who is sane, adult (physically mature), and wealthy (whose finances are secure through available assets or continuous income). 

The obligatory time
to pay starts from the beginning of the night of Eid and ends at the time of Eid prayer.  If the time was missed, then the Zakat must be paid with the intention of absolute servitude to Allah.

Zakat-ul-Fitrah is equivalent
to three kilograms (about 6.6 pounds) of a popular food such as rice or wheat (per person). This is a US$10.00 minimum equivalent per eligible person.  For example, a family of 5 would pay US$50. 
This charity must be spent
on the poor--those who do not have financial support for the year.  It is not to be received by the Hashimite (descendants of the prophet Muhammad) unless the giver is Hashimite. 
The Zakat may be paid
directly to the poor, to your local mosque or center, or to the religious authority and their agents, who have knowledge and experience in the proper venues of appropriation. 
If it is easier for you
, you can send it to IMAM ahead of time, and in turn we will devote the money on your behalf on the night of Eid it will be sent to the poor and needy. 
  • You may send your Zakat as a check or money order directly to our mailing address:  
    • IMAM Main Office,  
    • 835 Mason St.  
    • Dearborn, MI  48124.
  • Or you can just click on the following link to pay online: Zakat-ul-Fitrah 
    • (select "Zakat-ul-Fitrah" under payment type)
Please note that if a center or person knows of someone needy in their city, it is not religiously allowed to send the Zakat-ul-Fitrah to feed the poor out of that city. (Reference: Minhajul-Saliheem, Book 1, page 383.  Year 2001.Mas'ala #1182)

We thank you for your participation and sincere effort in helping us aid those in need.  Ramadhan mubarak, and may Allah (swt) accept your works.
Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaey

Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya
 | 835 Mason St. | Dearborn | MI | 48124

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

10 Ways to Maintain Ramadan's Spiritual Momentum

Posted: 08/15/2012 8:26 am by Daliah Merzaban

Many people identifying with the Islamic faith are aware of the unmistakable and inspiring spirit that characterizes the month of Ramadan.
As we refrain from food and drink, which can become luxuries we unconsciously take for granted, greater time is spent in quiet concentration, reflection and prayer to God in an effort to de-clutter our minds and revitalize our faith. Since the entire month centers on expressions of worship, namely fasting, prayer, dispensing charity and better guiding our emotions, Ramadan offers a kind of spiritual reboot that helps us "force quit" the numerous complications that muddle our minds. It invites Muslims to re-visit the source of their faith by sidelining various distractions and clearing up as much spiritual space as possible to nourish our relationship with the Almighty.
Islam is Arabic for Submission, or Complete Devotion, to God and can only be achieved through a human's free will. It embodies a state of mind whereby consciousness of God, or Allah in Arabic, guides all of our actions. We integrate different acts of worship into everything we do, such that expressions of remembrance and gratitude to God become the goal of each activity. Submission places in a human's grasp peace of mind. It offers a level of understanding that positions human experience within the greater design of existence; where all realities have divine input and purpose.
For most of my life, I was only anywhere near achieving this state of mind during the 30 days of the Holy Month of Ramadan. While I loved and believed in God, during the other 10 months of the Islamic year, my thoughts would turn to Him only at times of distress and I did very little to express gratitude.
A couple of years ago, I realized that my general avoidance of God was contradictory as it's not possible to be partially faithful, so I endeavored to nurture my bond with Him. In the process, I found the best way to achieve this was to carry aspects of Ramadan with me throughout the year.
During this auspicious month, we're reminded of the tools to honor God throughout the year. Rather than reboot one time a year, consistent maintenance is good practice for the spirit and contributes to the productivity of our spiritual operating systems beyond Ramadan. Below I describe 10 ways I keep the spirit of Islam's holiest month turned on all year long.
Worshippers gather at a mosque in Malaysia
1. Praying on time, all the time
From the busier-than-usual prayer rooms and mosques, it is clear that Muslims spend more time praying during Ramadan than other times of the year. Regular prayer is the single-best way to continually renew my relationship with God, and keep consciousness of Him at the center of my attention at all times. Islam ordains five prayers each day on believers, spanning from the crack of dawn until the dark of the night. Like everyone, I work and run errands, meet friends and family, cook, clean, shop and travel. But five times each day, like clockwork, I pull myself away from whatever activity I am doing to kneel in devotion to God in prayer. It is comforting to have this consistency in my life; it takes the sting out of a bad day and reminds me to be grateful on a good day.
2. Fasting regularly
The benefits of fasting regularly are applicable throughout the year, not only during Ramadan. The act of fasting for spiritual prowess makes us more conscious, not just of food habits but of how we think, behave and interact through out the day. That consciousness of consumption encourages patience and carries through to how we communicate and handle our daily interactions and mishaps. I strive to fast from dawn to dusk at least one time each week on Mondays or Thursdays, a practice rooted in Prophetic teachings.

3. Giving generously
Other than zakat, an obligatory act of dedicating 2.5 percent of our assets each year to charity and often dispersed during Ramadan, I offer voluntary alms known as sadaqah, virtually every month. Charity is mentioned in lockstep with prayer throughout the Quran, which calls on believers to do both "regularly." There are endless online charities and many people in need in our communities. Giving to these causes privately and publicly is both a valuable practice in paying it forward and immensely rewarding on a personal level. Each time I give, I imagine that the wealth I am distributing first passes through the Hand of God. This helps me give with greater humility.

4. Reading from the Book
During Ramadan, it is favorable to read Islam's holy book from cover to cover. For the rest of the year, many of us may spend hours each week reading articles on politics, science, human rights or business, and peruse fiction and non-fiction books with fervor, while our copies of the Quran are left to gather dust. Translated as The Recitation in English, the Quran charts out the path individuals should take to strive toward eternal peace and escape the spectacles of modern life. These lessons that are always applicable so I try to read the Quran four times a year at least, which is feasible if I spend time quiet time reading it every few nights and on the weekends. Each time I read the holy book's 114 chapters I take new and different points of wisdom from it.
5. Embracing family time
Ramadan draws families together as we meet for the meal to break the fast, known as Iftar, and gather in the early morning hours for the pre-fasting meal, Suhoor. Besides worshiping and loving God, Islam teaches that very little is more important than consistently acting toward one's parents with respect and warmth. There is a Hadith, or saying of the Last Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, that describes how "Heaven lies at the feet of your mother." Well, my mother loves my foot massages, so I often joke that if Heaven lies there, imagine the reward I may get for massaging those feet. Remembering our bonds of kinship, and honoring them throughout the year in our unique ways, will always draw us nearer to God and gain His mercy.
6. Remembering to remember
If we are to be Muslim -- that is, to be conscious of God at all times -- we should be thinking of Him throughout the day, not just at prayer times. It's easier to do this during Ramadan, but takes more of an effort at other times of the year. Zikr expresses the idea of "remembrance of God" through repeated recitation of supplications, or dua. There are phrases that I recite routinely throughout the day which help me quietly focus on my invocations and remembrance. At several points in the day I will say, in Arabic, a supplication that translates as: "Oh God, I ask You for Heaven, and the word and work which bring us to it. I take refuge with you from Hell, and the word and work which bring us to it." Such supplications bring me peace of mind and certainty that my actions will, with God's will, be rightly guided.
7. Attending communal prayers
In Islam, it is up to each individual to form and solidify her/his relationship with God without an intermediary. Much of what we do to nurture the bond is, therefore, inherently personal and private. One of the beauties of Ramadan is the communal feeling of sharing the process of fasting and worship with the entire community of believers. It's possible to replicate this throughout the year by attending Friday prayers at our neighborhood mosques. There's beauty inherent in bowing down in worship with rows of other believers. It reminds us of our intrinsic equality -- no matter our wealth, social status or academic achievements, all worshipers stand side by side performing the same action. We're all on the same path and will all be returned to the same Creator in the end.
8. Putting patience into practice
Ramadan helps us hone our patience because, by refraining from consumption throughout the day, we learn the benefit of refraining from gratifying each of our desires in the moment. One of the greatest consequences of embracing Islam for me has been discovering the patience that's inherent in the state of mind. By internalizing the idea that every step we take is exactly as God destines, and accepting that we don't always know what chain of events would be best for us, I've learned to become more patient at all times of the year.
9. Enjoying nature
Spending time in nature is a great way to keep remembrance of God at the heart of our spiritual practice throughout the year. The perfect balance of nature is described superbly in the Quran, which teaches that by watching, reflecting on and understanding nature, we can gain certainty of God's signs and be receptive to His message to humanity. By spending time each week outside of the concrete buildings we so often find ourselves locked in, we can marvel at the miracles of nature only God could have created, whether by listening to the drops of rain that enable vegetation to grow, traversing vast sand dunes in the desert, sailing on the open seas or just walking in the park.
10. Feeling compassion
Don't let the corporate world and the challenges that life throws your way make you hard of heart. Don't let them siphon your compassion and courtesy. Being kind to family, friends, colleagues and strangers; being honest, loyal and sincere in our conduct; keeping promises; responding to e-mails and messages promptly and with equal courtesy -- all of these good deeds will be rewarded by Our Beloved, who multiplies the rewards we receive for the good we do not just during Ramadan, but all year round.
"Do you not see how God compares a good word to a good tree? Its root is firm and its branches are in the sky, it yields its fruit each season with its Lord's permission -- God makes such comparisons for people in order that they may take heed. But an evil word is like an evil tree torn out of the earth; it has no foothold." --Quran, Abraham, 14: 24-26

Monday, August 13, 2012

Understanding al-Iftitah Part 4 of 4

Shaykh Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali

Excerpts from the commentary of Dua al-Iftitah

Dua al-Iftitah is a well-known supplication and is generally recited during each night of the month of Ramadan. 

[Towards the end of the du'a,] we make a very beautiful and important request to Allah (swt) for ourselves:

اَللَّهُمَّ مَا عَرَّفْتَنَا مِنَ ٱلْحَقِّ فَحَمِّلْنَاهُ
وَمَا قَصُرْنَا عَنْهُ فَبَلِّغْنَاهُ
O Allah, let us bear out that which You make known to us as the truth
and let us attain that which we fall short to do.

This concept of 'bearing' is very important. Regarding this, Chapter 62 Verse 5 reads:

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا ۚ بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ 
The likeness of those who were charged with the Taurat, then they did not observe it, is as the likeness of the ass bearing books, evil is the likeness of the people who reject the communications of Allah; and Allah does not guide the unjust people.

Thus someone may be given a divine book but it does not mean that they will necessarily be able to 'bear' it, meaning that they may not be able to take it on board. Therefore, it is important to carry and uphold the truth that we know, to take it on board, and whosoever is able to do this enjoys a high position. 

Furthermore, we ask Allah (swt) to inform us about the parts of the truth of which we are unaware. It is surely enough for us if this part of the du'a is answered, because we will then know the truth about which we were previously and unaware and we will be able to commit ourselves to and implement the truth which we already do know. It would seem that these are actually the only two things which we really need because in Islam everything is facilitated by commitment to the truth and so if we are committed to the truth then everything else will be sorted out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Prayer for One's Parents

(Namaz e Hadiya Waaledain)

Two Rakats

Rakat One:
1. Surah Fateha
2. Qunoot Ten times recite 14:41 from Qur'an "Rabbanaghfirlee wa lay waaledaiyya wa lil momineena yauma yaqumul hisab" - "Our Lord!  Cover us with Your forgiveness - me, my parents and all believers on the day that the reckoning will be established"
3.  Finish Rakat as usual.

Rakat Two:
1.  Surah Fateha
2.  Qunoot Ten times recite 71:28 from Qur'an "Rabbighfirlee wa lay waaledaiyya wa lay mun de khala baitee momeenan wa lil momineena wal mominaat" - "Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and those who enter my house with belief and men who believe and women who believe."
3.  Finish Rakat as usual.

Sajdah after completing the Salat
 Recite ten times 17:24 "Rabbir ham homa kama rabba-yaanee sagheera" - Our Lord!  Forgive them both for they have brought me up in my childhood."

Eid Clothes for Orphans

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You can provide an orphaned child the basic necessities of  
food, housing, clothing, education, and most of all,
a gleam of hope
for a brighter future! 

Stay tuned for phase 2 of our website to include on-line orphan sponsorships!  
(expected completion: Fall, 2012) 

Eid For Orphans

You can provide an orphaned child a brand new outfit for the Eid! 
For $10, you can ensure a smile on an orphan's face when he/she wakes up in the morning to see a new outfit for that special day!   

to clothe an orphan on the Eid

  Deadline to donate to Eid For Orphans is Tue. (8/14/12) to ensure ample time to purchase the clothing prior to the Eid...
All donations are tax deductible

I.M.A.M. Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya | 835 Mason St. | Dearborn | MI | 48124

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Understanding al-Iftitah Part 3 of 4

Shaykh Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali
Excerpts from the commentary of Dua al-Iftitah

Special salutations to Imam Mahdi (a)

The salutations to Imam Mahdi (a), the Imam of our time, are not limited to simple salutations but instead are expanded on in several phrases and then attention is focused on the last Imam until the end of the du'a.
Firstly we read:

اَللَّهُمَّ وَصَلِّ عَلَىٰ وَليِّ امْرِكَ
ٱلْقَائِمِ ٱلْمُؤَمَّلِ
وَٱلْعَدْلِ ٱلْمُنْتَظَرِ
وَحُفَّهُ بِمَلائِكَتِكَ ٱلْمُقَرَّبِينَ
وَايِّدْهُ بِرُوحِ ٱلْقُدُسِ
يَا رَبَّ ٱلْعَالَمِينَ
O Allah, (please do) send blessings to the custodian of Your commandments,
the vigilant guardian, the reliable patron,
and the awaited establisher of justice.
And (please) surround him with Your favorite angels
and assist him with the Holy Spirit.
O Lord of the worlds!
In this passage we ask Allah (swt) to support our Imam (a) with the Holy Spirit. The concept of the Holy Spirit (Ruuh al-Qudus) is very important, especially for Shi'a Muslims. According to the glorious Qur'an and various narrations, one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to support and guide good people. For example, the Qur'an says that the Holy Spirit supported Prophet Jesus (a) and thus we read in Chapter 5, Verse 110:

إِذْ أَيَّدْتُكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ
when I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, 

If we are good and pious people, we too can hope that Allah (swt) will support us and one of the ways in which He (swt) does this is to ask the Holy Spirit to help us.

It should be mentioned that whilst Sunni scholars normally identify the Holy Spirit with the archangel Gabriel, Shi'a Muslims, as taught by the Holy Imams (a) hold that the Holy Spirit is a creature at a higher level than Gabriel. Abu Basir, a great companion of Imam Sadiq (a), says:

'I asked Imam Sadiq (a) about the verse 'They question you concerning the Spirit. Say, 'The Spirit is of the command of my Lord' (17:58).' He responded that the Spirit is a creature greater than Gabriel and Michael.' [Kulayni, Muhammad Ibn Ya'qub, Usul al-Kafi, vol.1 (Tehran Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyya, 1388 AH) p. 273, no.3].

As confirmation of the fact that the Holy Spirit is not the same as Gabriel, one may refer to Verse 4 of Chapter 97 of the Glorious Qur'an which reads:

تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ 
The angels and The Spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair,

The verse explains that on the night of Qadr, the Holy Spirit descends along with the angels. This suggests that the Holy Spirit is different from the angels which include Gabriel and Michael.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ibadah reminders during Ramadan


Worship with knowledge: We increase in our recitation of the Qur’an and various Du’as, but our understanding of what we recite or say can be limited. The more we understand what we are saying, the more meaning it will hold in our heart and the greater affect it will have.

Increase your Taqwa: One of the main goals of Ramadan is to increase in our Taqwa. Consistent Dhikr and remembrance of Allah SWT will InshaAllah help in this regard.
 In addition when we are in worship of Allah, it would beautify our Ibadah to start and end by reminding ourselves that Allah SWT is watching us at all times.

Freshen your Salah and Qiyam: The last thing we want is for our worship to become a series of words that are spoken without any thought or purpose. To ensure that you don’t enter this state of no-thought repetition, it would help to recite verses and Du’as that we normally would not. It will alert our minds from start to end.

Renew your intention and Remember your purpose: Ramadan can be physically and mentally strengthening, but also tiring in some ways. When you feel like your will and strength are weakening, whether during our outside of Ramadan, remember the the purpose of your existance and why we worship Allah SWT. Read a book or listen to a lecture that you know always boosts your Imaan, remind yourself and write down the purpose and virtues of worship, have an Imaan boosting discussion with a friend, or join a program in the masjid.

Do things for the sake of Allah: Have Allah’s SWT name on your tongue constantly, even outside of your worship. We sub-consciously focus on the things that we consciously focus on all day, and so if we are consistent in making our daily actions for the sake of Allah, not only will they reach Ibadah status, InshaAllah, but this will also surround our sub-conscious with the remembrance of our Lord and Rabb.