Ramadhan Misconceptions & Practical Advice

  1. Reading Quran repeatedly Without Understanding: Most of us aim to read a lot of Quran during Ramadhan for reward (Sawab) but very few endeavour to read Translation & Tafseer.

Fundamentally Quran was sent to Guide us in our Life Affairs. Getting Reward for reading Quran was secondary, not the primary objective. Allah Ta’ala says:

“This is the Book; in it is Guidance sure without doubt to those who fear Allah” (Al Nisa, 2)

“And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things a Guide a Mercy and glad tidings to Muslims. (Al Nahl, 89)

Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur’an or are their hearts locked up by them? (Surah Muhammad – 24)

understand Quran

Without understanding the Quran is like leading our life in the dark. Much like reading driving instructions in a foreign language and then trying to drive a car.

Holy Quran talks about ‘Quran’ at 21 places (according to  book “Mazameen al Quran” by Zahid Malik) and majority of the Ayahs talk about Quran being the guidance for mankind and invites us to ponder. Not even once it states to read Quran for Reward.

There are ten rewards for each letter we recite from Quran as stated by Rasul Allah (SAW). But reading as well as understanding Quran carries far greater rewards!

Please aim to read Quran With Translation and Tafseer this Ramadhan. This is important for all but much more important for non-Arabs.

  1. Missing Tahajud: Tahajjud prayer is the Most recommended prayer after Fard prayers. Rasul Allah prayed it regularly (like a Fard). It is mentioned in Quran as:

“During a part of the night, pray Tahajjud, an additional prayer for you (O Muhammad), very soon your Rabb may exalt you to ‘Maqam-e-Mahmood’ (a station of great glory).” (Al Israa, 79)

tahajjud

It is much easier praying Tahjjud in Ramadhan than we think. We can pray it just before Fajar time starts. Wake up 5 minutes early for Suhur. Make vudu & pray 4 rakats.

Traveeh and Tahajjud are Same Prayer:

It is also known as Qiyyam ul Layl. Rasool Allah (SAW) regularly prayed 11 Rakat (8 Nafal + 3 Vitar) after midnight. In fact, 3 Vitar & 2 Nafal after Isha prayer are actually Tahajjud prayer. People were allowed to pray right after Isha prayer for the convenience as it is hard for many to wake up after midnight. But preferred (afzal) time for Tahajjud is after midnight.

Muhammad (SAW) did not mention any prayer called ‘Taraveeh’, neither did the four Khulafah Rashdeen. All of them prayed Tahajjud Nawafil and it was after midnight.

During one Ramadhan Rasool Allah (SAW) prayed Tahjjud in Jamat after midnight for three nights and then stopped fearing that it may become obligatory on all Muslims. So sahaba continued praying it at home or in small groups.

Umar (RA) saw people praying in small groups in Masjid Nabvi. He (RA) did not like the practice of having multiple groups, so He (RA) gathered them in one jamat. Therefore it was Umar’s (RA) ijtihad to practice it in its current form.

Later people increased the number of Rakat from 8 to 20 or even beyond up to 36, plus 3 Rakat for Vitar. It is a Nafal prayer so number is not relevant as such; one can pray as many as comfortably possible.

Currently Taraveeh is prayed at Isha time. Ahle Hadees pray 8 Rakat. All four imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafai, Hanbal) agree on 20 rakat and consider it a Mustahib Sunnat.

The word Taraveeh is plural of Tar-vee-ha which means taking rest.  People would pray 4 rakat and then take some rest. Hence this prayer got the name of Salat at Taraveeh.

So in summary, Taraveeh & Tahajjud are the same prayer. It is a Nafal prayer so it could be in any number. Preferred time for it is after midnight but it can be prayed anytime after Isha.

Two respected scholars Dr Israr Ahmed and Maulana Ishaq support this view. Links to their speeches below (Urdu).

Maulana Ishaq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unxipJls_c4

Dr Israr:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p-E_aB7Bw4

3. Paying Charity in Ramadhan: Paying charity in Ramadhan carries more reward; no doubt about it. But some of us start withholding charity in months leading to Ramadhan so that we could donate in Ramadhan and get more reward.

 However; keep in mind an empty stomach cannot wait for Ramadhan.

So if you give certain amount of charity regularly in other months, keep doing so. Don’t hold that for Ramadhan. Don’t make needy wait. After all you don’t want Allah’s blessing to be held till Ramadhan.

Don’t Stop Sadaqah; for Needs Don’t Wait

Idea is to donate more in Ramadhan in addition to regular amount.

4. Doing Tasbeeh Quickly: More tasbeeh we do in Ramadhan the better. But doing it hastily carries a danger that words get distorted and meaning changes.

We are reciting Allah Almighty’s names or making a prayer to him. It should be done with dignity & calm. We must show respect and recite with heart & soul as we really mean it, not the lip service only.

In my humble opinion; do Tasbeeh (& any other ibadah) with High Quality than aiming for quantity with low quality

And Lastly,

5. Ramadhan is Not a 30-Day Food Festival.

Instead of Wasting precious money & time in Ramadhan on Friends & Family Parties, better to focus on Prayers. And food can go to Needy, Travellers, Students and Singles living away from families.

5 thoughts on “Ramadhan Misconceptions & Practical Advice”

  1. My estimate as to how many educated people read Quran with translation is around 2-4%. This information I gathered is not from a formal research but just by asking different groups whom I train and students whom I teach.
    More than 50% in our country are illiterates and out of educated 14+ years and government servants 2-4% do read translation. Total %age who are reading translation also come to be around 2% maximum.
    Probably this is the main reason for intolerance and Firqah bazi in our society.
    A common request I make to the audience is to, view their maslak (school of thought) in the light of teachings of Quraan, and do not understand Islam under the influence of biases we have acquired from learning over and above Quraan and Sunnah what some body said (may be a pious person) but the action or saying is not in conformity with teachings of Quraan and Sunnah.
    More we understand teaching of Quraan, more tolerant the society will become. Regards,

  2. Jazakallahu Khairan for the useful info on recommended actions in Ramadan. Just a question for my understanding. I always thought that Tarawih was Qiyam-ul-Layl in Ramadan whereas Tahajjud was Qiyam-ul-Layl in other months and that the two were thus the same prayer although difference in number of Raka’at. Is there any specific understanding wherein one should pray Tarawih and still pray Tahajjud afterwards?

  3. Salaam Kashif bhai
    very good thoughts indeed…
    Reading/ Reciting (even without understanding) has its rewards (10 rewards for every letter of the Quran); and as I have been taught to understand the hadith in which the Prophet SAAW exemplified this by saying that 10 rewards for Alif, 10 rewards for Laam and 10 rewards for Meem. and interesting thing to note is that even the best of the Quran scholars (including sahaba) DO NOT know the meaning of Alif Laam Meem (may be Prophet picked an example due to some reason as their meaning is known to Allah swt and His Prophet SAAW only)

    Yes, reading, understanding and then Acting on the Quranic ahkaam has its rewards to a much greater level and is the ultimate objective however, if someone has started studying Quran & Hadith, it should be done under the guidance of a learned teacher; just like we study even worldly subjects. So such a treasure of ilm MUST NOT be read by oneself alone.

    Lastly I have experienced it myself and teachers of the Quran also tell us that when we ask people to do read Quran to understand, often it happens that those who at least have a relation with the Quran by reading without understanding previously, in doing so many of them are unable to do the latter (i.e. studying the meaning and understanding) and in that effort even lose what they were doing previously as well. Unfortunate but true in many cases is that their first relation with the Quran also gets broken. Reading the Quran without understanding also has a spiritual value and should not be discouraged.

    Also the Ulema tell us that the sunnah of the sahaba was that they would recite the Quran AND they would, in parallel, try to understand the meaning of the Quran in parallel.

    So my request would be that yes, we should encourage a proper understanding of the Quran under the supervision/ guidance of a learned teacher, but this should go hand in hand to reading of the Quran that can be done individually generally, without having to understand.

    And Allah swt knows the best.
    Wassalam

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