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Into ‘A Whole New World’, Beating the Winter Blues with ‘Ibaadah

“Winter is the prize of the worshippers.”

[Umar bin Khattab RA, reported by Imam Ahmad in his Az-Zuhd, in an authentic chain]

***

The gentle falling of the glittery snow, in the silence of the night, is like living in a Princess-world real-time. It is as if the whole world is celebrating a secret happiness, hence the shower of celebratory glitter all over the city. Their fall is an amazing sight subhanAllah, well-orchestrated by the wind. Sometimes falling slantingly together or spinning about their shapes in a rhythm, landing on the ground peacefully to be one with all the rest.

The gray skies blush to a peach-pink hue in the middle of the night.

The bare crystallized trees sparkle with excitement at the spectacle.

There is something going on.

So what if the gusty winds are harsh and cold?

So what if challenges lie ahead?

Time and time again, Allah SWT brings beauty with everything difficult. With Winter, He SWT has brought us the opportunity for an easy bonus round of ‘Ibaadah.

لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا‌ۚ

“…Allâh burdens not a person beyond his scope…”  [2:286]

فَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱلطَّـٰغُوتِ وَيُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسۡتَمۡسَكَ بِٱلۡعُرۡوَةِ ٱلۡوُثۡقَىٰ لَا ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا‌ۗ   وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“…Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” [2:256]

ٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُخۡرِجُهُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ‌ۖ

Allâh is the Walî (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light…” [2:257]

***

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

There is no reason to be upset with winter. One can do so much.

A few tips from brother Iskandrani’s blog (may Allah SWT have his extreme Mercy on him):

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(1) Fasting/Praying

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  • It was reported by al-Haythami in ‘Majma’ az-Zawa’id’ (3/203) with a hasan chain that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Winter is the best season for the believer. Its nights are long for him to pray in, and its days are short for him to fast in.”
  • Ibn Rajab al-Hambali said in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276):

“Winter is the best season for the believer because…Allah strengthens his practice in it by making worship easy for him. This is because in winter, the believer can fast during the day with ease without suffering from hunger and thirst. The days are short and cold, and he therefore doesn’t feel the hardship of fasting…

As for praying at night in the winter due to its long nights, one can have his share of sleep and then get up to pray afterwards and recite all that he usually recites of the Qur’an while he has had enough sleep. So, he can combine between the sleep that he needs and the usual amount of recitation of the Qur’an that he completes in a day. So, he fulfills the interests of both his religion and the comfort of his body…

And it was narrated that Ibn Mas’ud said: “Welcome to winter! Blessings descend in it, its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.” It is also narrated from him and al-Hasan: “Winter is a wonderful time for the believer. Its nights are long to pray in, and its days are short to fast in.” When it was winter time, ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr would say: “O people of the Qur’an! Your nights are now long for you to recite in. So, recite! Your days are now short for you to fast in. So, fast! Night prayer in the winter equals fasting during the day in the summer.” This is why Mu’adh wept on his deathbed and said: “I weep because I will miss the thirst I felt when I fasted, praying at night during the winter, and sitting knee to knee with the scholars during the gatherings of knowledge.””

  • It was reported by Ahmad (4/335) with a chain authenticated by al-Albani in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (1922) that the Prophet said: “Fasting in the winter is the easy prize.” Ibn Rajab commented on this in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 276): “And the meaning of it being an easy prize is that it is a prize obtained without any battle or effort or hardship. So, the owner of this prize has been given it as a favor without any effort on his part.”
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(2) Caring for the Poor
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  • Ibn Rajab said in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 281):

“Taking care of the poor in the winter and protecting them from the cold is a great deed. Safwan bin Salim went out on a cold night in Madinah near the mosque, and he saw a man with little clothing on. So, he took off his coat and covered him up with it. So, someone living in Sham saw in a dream that Safwan bin Salim had entered Paradise with a shirt he had made. So, he went to Madinah and said: “Show me where Safwan is.” When he found him, he told him of the dream.

Also, Mis’ar saw a bedouin standing in the Sun saying:

Winter has come, and I have no money * And such a thing can only happen to a Muslim;

The people have put on their coats * And it is as if I am in Makkah only wearing ihram…

So, Mis’ar took off his coat and put it on the man.

  • It was related to one of the righteous leaders that there was a woman with four orphaned children who were naked and hungry. So, he had a man go to them and bring them clothes and food. He then took off his outer clothing and said: “I will not wear these or be warmed by them until you return and tell me that they are clothed and fed.” So, the man went and came back and confirmed to the leader while he was shivering in the cold that they had taken the clothes and had eaten. He then put his outer clothes back on, and at-Tirmidhi reported from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that the Prophet said: “Whoever feeds a hungry believer will be fed by Allah on the Day of Judgement from the fruits of Paradise, and whoever quenches his thirst will have his thirst quenched from the Sealed Nectar, and whoever clothes him will be clothed from the green silk of Paradise.” And Ibn Abi ad-Dunya reported with his chain that Ibn Mas’ud said: “The people will be gathered on the Day of Ressurection as naked, hungry, and thirsty as they ever were. So, whoever clothed someone will be clothed by Allah, whoever fed someone will be fed by Allah, and whoever quenched someone’s thirst will have his thirst quenched by Allah, and whoever relieved others will be given Relief by Allah.””
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(3) Remembering the Realities of Hellfire

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  • It is reported in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (1457) that the Prophet said: “Hell complained to its Lord, saying: “Parts of me have consumed the other parts.” So, He allowed it two breaths of exhalation: one in winter and one in summer. As for its breath in winter, that is the bitter cold, and its breath in the summer is the extreme heat.”
  •  Ibn Rajab said in ‘Lata’if al-Ma’arif’ (p. 282):

“And from the virtues of winter is that it reminds one of the extreme cold of Hell and pushes one to seek refuge from it…

Zubayd al-Yami woke up one night to pray. So, he walked towards the bowl of water that he would wash up from and put his hand it to find the water so cold that it was almost frozen. This reminded him of the extreme cold in Hell, and he did not remove his hand from the bowl until he later awoke and his servant came to find him like this. His servant said: “What are you doing, sir? Why didn’t you pray at night as you usually do? Why are you sitting here like this?” He replied: “I put my hand in this bowl and touched the cold water, and was reminded of the extreme cold of Hell. By Allah, I did not feel the severity of its coolness until you came just now. So, go and don’t tell anyone about this until I die.” And nobody knew of this incident until he had died, may Allah have Mercy on him, and it is mentioned in the authentic hadith: “Hell complained to its Lord, saying: “Parts of me have consumed the other parts.” So, He allowed it two breaths of exhalation: one in winter and one in summer. As for its breath in winter, that is the bitter cold, and its breath in the summer is the extreme heat.”

 …How often does winter come then summer * And spring goes and autumn comes;

 And we go from hot to cold * And the sword of destruction is raised over your head;

O you who is insignificant in this world * Till when will procrastination deceive you?

You who seeks what is temporary, till when * Will your heart be busy with what is temporary?

Strange is the one who humiliates himself for this world * While a piece of bread would suffice him for each day…”

~

ٱلَّذِينَ يَذۡكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمً۬ا وَقُعُودً۬ا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمۡ وَيَتَفَڪَّرُونَ

فِى خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هَـٰذَا بَـٰطِلاً۬ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ مَن تُدۡخِلِ ٱلنَّارَ فَقَدۡ أَخۡزَيۡتَهُ ۥ‌ۖ

وَمَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مِنۡ أَنصَارٍ۬

 رَّبَّنَآ إِنَّنَا سَمِعۡنَا مُنَادِيً۬ا يُنَادِى لِلۡإِيمَـٰنِ أَنۡ ءَامِنُواْ بِرَبِّكُمۡ فَـَٔامَنَّا‌ۚ

رَبَّنَا فَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَڪَفِّرۡ عَنَّا سَيِّـَٔاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ ٱلۡأَبۡرَارِ

رَبَّنَا وَءَاتِنَا مَا وَعَدتَّنَا عَلَىٰ رُسُلِكَ وَلَا تُخۡزِنَا يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۗ إِنَّكَ لَا تُخۡلِفُ ٱلۡمِيعَاد

“Those who remember Allâh (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): ‘Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. ‘(191) ‘Our Lord! Verily, whom You admit to the Fire, indeed, You have disgraced him, and never will the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) find any helpers. (192)'”Our Lord! Verily, we have heard the call of one (Muhammad SAW) calling to Faith: ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and expiate from us our evil deeds, and make us die (in the state of righteousness) along with Al-Abrâr (the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism). (193) “Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your Messengers and disgrace us not on the Day of Resurrection, for You never break (Your) Promise.” (194)

[Surat Ale Imraan]

***

Smile! It’s Winter!

:)

Whichever part of the world you may live in, whether you have a difficult Winter or not…

Know that like Winter, the seasons of Qadr, may seem challenging.

Embrace the seasons of your life with increased ‘Ibaadah.

Smile! You’re a Muslim!

Alhamdolilah times infinity!

“Jibreel came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, live as long as you want, for you will die. Love whomever you want, for you will leave him. Do whatever you want for you will be requited for it. Remember that the believer’s honour is his praying at night, and his pride is his being independent of people.

[Narrated by Al Hakim, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 73.]

And Allah SWT knows best.

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