Wednesday, February 01, 2006

[I'tikaf 2]: ~The Biggest Perpetual Enemy~

I arrived in the Masjid at 25th night of Ramadhan. The Masjid was full and the Jama’ah continuously coming until the late of night. But in the morning I was wondered where the people had gone, because the Masjid was not crowded as before. After few days I noticed there were three typical of Jama’ah.

1. They who spent the whole nights and days in the Masjid
2. They who came only in the odd nights.
3. They who only came in the nights and left the Masjid after the fajr prayer

The first group perhaps they who knows Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassallam that start of the last ten days of Ramadan, he used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.

The second group perhaps they who strictly just search Night of Qadr in the odd nights, maybe this based on their interpretation of hadist Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassallam who said to Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."

The third group perhaps they who believe that the night is the best time to worship Allah. The Masjid committees have special name for this Jama’ah. They called this Jama’ah “batman” ;because Bat – man sleep in the days, work in the night… :)

However… Allah knows best the reasons why they didn’t spend the whole days and nights in the Masjid. Allah is the best judgment to judge their efforts. They have done their best even if not perfect [it better than not manage to join the I’tikaf at all]…wallahu alam..

Amazingly the Jama’ah of sisters was bigger than brothers. So the Masjid committees asked sisters to wake up and take the ablution first. They were allowed to use brothers’ toilet. The brothers had to wait about half hour until all sisters finished the ablution. Bothers had to wait patiently even if they need to use bathroom to get urinate :).

The Masjid committees arranged some lectures after the fajr, zuhur and ashar prayers. They invited some scholars or authors to talk about their books. During the dhuha time they had tahsin [group who learn how to read Holy Quran with the correct way] and tahfidz group [group of people who memorize the qur’an].
[3] At the end days of I’tikaf they gave some gifts for Jama’ah who showed best improvement in reading Qur’an and also for them who could memory many verse from Qur’an correctly. They were not expensive gifts, it was the recording of The Imam’s recitation [30 juzz] while he was leading the congregation prayers in those last 10 days Ramadan. That was memorable gifts.

The Masjid committees also prepared special place for Jama’ah who had personal schedules, Some sisters have their private favorite place to recite or memory the qur’an. Most of them have personal targets during the Ramadan such as complete more than 2 times of Holy qur’an, memorize particular verses of Qur’an, review the shirah, the tafseer, etc. It was not difficult to complete read the Quran [at least once], because it only need 35 to 40 minutes to read 1 juzz [if you are a fluently reader]. If compare to spend time watch the movies [1.5 to 2 hours], read novels, or other worldly activities it is very short time. InshaAllah we feel easier to read Qur’an if we have the habit to read Qur’an daily outside the month Ramadan.

Some of sister preferred to stay in group of tahsin and tahfiz because it prevented them fallen sleep :).

Everyone indeed tried their best to utilize the time. The first thing that my friend searched when she awoke was Holy Qur’an. She read it promptly she woke even if after few minutes she fallen sleep with the Qur’an in front of her face :). I saw people fallen sleep in different positions. Some fallen sleep where they were doing supplication….some was in prostration, some when they were reading the Qur’an, mashaAllah I Allah knows best how hard their struggle to fight the sleepy enemy :)

The main activities were after the Magrib prayer. The schedule was so full. After the Iftar and then Ishya prayer, there was lecture from the Imam, mostly about the tafseer of the Qur’an that he was going to recite in the next tarawih and tahajud. After the lecture the Imam would stand to tarawih and he made light 8 raka’at of tarawih. I believe because he knew many of Jama’ah just had their iftar and the stomach was still full. The tarawih would end after 1 to 1.5 hours.

After the tarawih, the Jama’ah that wanted to continue doing ibadah [praying more or reading the Qur’an] they moved to another section of the Masjid because the main section of the masjid would be used for them who sleep and the lightening would be turned off.

The Masjid committee would ask the Jama’ah to wake up after about 1.5 hours sleep for tahajud. They didn’t force anyone to pray tahajud, they just help the Jama’ah to wake up to utilize the last half of night for Ibadah. That was the biggest test to wake up in the middle of night. The weather was so cold. The Masjid committee used to say [with the loud speaker]

“Brothers and Sisters please help to make your brother and sisters around you wake up”
“If they can wake up, give them little tickle”
“Brothers you come here not for move sleeping place from home to the Masjid, you are here to do worship Allah”.
“For brothers and sisters who still want to continues their adventure in other world [dreaming land], please move to corridor of the Masjid because we are going to use the main room for praying.”

Sleepy was indeed the biggest perpetual enemy. This was also the first thing that I thought when I stepped in the Masjid. I thought where I was going to sleep, where the best strategic place to get rest :) Alhamdulilah one of my best friends reminded me, she said: “Rytha we shouldn’t think about sleep here. We do not have time to sleep. We would only sleep for few hours”

I think I am not the only one who thinking about sleep, because I saw some Jama’ah brought the pillows, some brings the thick blankets even sleeping bags.

I remember Umul mu’minin 'Aisha radiyallahu anha asked Rasulullah’s permission to let her practice I’tikaf. He allowed her, and then ummul mu’minin ’Aisha pitched a tent in the mosque. When Hafsa heard of that, she also pitched a tent (for herself), and when Zainab heard of that, she too pitched another tent. When, in the morning, Rasulullah saw four tents, he asked, "What is this?" "What made them do this? Is it righteousness? Rasulullah told umul mu’minin to remove all the tents as Rasulullahsalahu alaihi wassallam do not want to see them. I don’t know if that incidence which made Rasulullah angry and did not perform Itikaf that year in the month of Ramadan, but did it in the ten days of Shawwal.
[4] wallahu alam….

I wondered what Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassalam would probably say if he saw many of ikhwah bring so many equipments that seemed they wanted to move living in the Masjid forever.. :)…wallahu alam…

The Imam stand for tahajud about 3.5 hours, he stopped pray about half hour before fajr time to give half hour for sahor. The Imam didn’t ask anyone to follow him. It was just all people automatically pray behind him, they stand stilly hear his beautiful recitations. This routine made me remember that was long time ago the companions saw Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassallam prayed in the mosque and then they prayed behind him, in the next day people came in larger numbers, the numbers increased until in the fourth night Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassallam didn’t came out because he worry they would think it as obligation and then they would not able to burden it.

The long recitations of Imam made some of us almost fallen sleep. I used to tell my friends who were standing beside me that If they didn’t see me move from prostration that mean they should touch me because probably I fallen sleep.. :) Once time I felt so much sleepy that I couldn’t bear it. I got very bad flue and my mom just sent some medicine. I drank the medicine after the iftar. The drugs started working in the tarawih time, it gave a sleepy effect. I felt so much sleepy; half unconscious. I even couldn’t unaware anymore what I was reciting… astaghfirullah. When the Imam had completed the prayer I hastily went to the back of the row to lie down anywhere and just awoken by the announcement for Qiyam prayer….Alhamdulilah I had time to perform some rakaat that I missed before start pray Tahajud with the Imam.

Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassalam said that When anyone who stands up for pray at night and finds it difficult to recite the Qur'an accurately and he/she is unaware of what he is reciting, he should go back to sleep.
[6] Therefore even if we are really want to stand pray in night but if we cant concentrate because of sleepy, it’s be better we sleep for few minutes.

The Imam read about 4 or 5 juzz of Qur’an, sometimes he completed it in 8 raka’at and sometimes only 6 raka’at. He scheduled complete the whole qur’an in the last 10 days of Ramadan.
[7] Indeed it was so tired to stand for that long but he seemed so enjoy his prayer and didn’t feel like any tired. He also did long prostration. [8] That was not something wrong. It’s the sunnah to read long verse during Qiyyamul lail. Rasulullah used to tell Jabir radiyallahu anhu that the best prayer is that in which Qiyam where the duration of standing is longer.’’[9] mashaAllah.

One companion asked umul mu’minin Aisha radiyallahu anha How is the prayer of Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassalam during the month of Ramadan and ‘ummul mu’munin said that Rasulullah never exceeded eleven Rakat in Ramadan but do not ask me about their beauty and length…..

At that moment I remember Hudhayfah radiyallahu anhu who wondered when Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassallam would end the recitation. The Imam didn’t read more than one juzz in one raka’at but I felt so tired, it was nothing compare to Hudhayfah radiyallahu anhu. He had to stand behind Rasulullah from Al Baqarah until An nissa, it was about 5 juzz, subhanallah

Some of Jama’ah who couldn’t stand with the inordinately lengthens of recitation sat down; detach themselves from the congregation. It made me remember of Ibn Mas’ud radiyallahu anhu. One day he told the companions that one night he joined Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wasslam in his optional prayer. Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassalam prolonged the Qiyam (standing) so much that made up his mind to commit an act of wrong. The companions asked Ibn Ma’sud what he meant by act of wrong. Ibnu maq’sud said he intended to sit down and stop following the prophet sallahu alaihi wassalam
[12]. Ibn Mas`ud has regarded his intention to detach himself from the congregation is something bad and doubtful. Subhanallah… Anytime I felt tired I remember this hadist, this prevented me to sit down even if I felt so tired. Lahaula walla quwata illa billah…

Actually I felt so shy in front of Allah if anytime I felt like want to give up from prayer. I felt shy when overwhelmed by sleepy. How could I complain only for stand just for few hours in front of the Lord? What was that if compare to what He has been blessing on me. In fact, Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wassalam who all past and future sins have been forgiven, he used to stand so long until both his feet and legs swelled. He has been guaranty highest level of Jannah [paradise]. When he was asked why he offered such an unbearable prayer, the prophets answered was "Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?''
[13]. Shouldn’t I be a grateful slave? astaghfirullah…

My feet didn’t crack or swell. How easily I was conquered by sleepy. It’s like the actions of a hypocrite who not stand in prayer whole heartily, impatiently waited when the Imam end his recitation. Astaghfirullah wa atubu ilaika….

The Imam seemed understand very well what he was reading. There were some parts where the topic of hell, jannah [paradise], the Day of Judgment, he cried between his recitations and the Jama’ah also overwhelmed with that situation and cried with the Imam. I remember when the Imam reached to the surah Ar Rahman, he cried hardly, subhanallah. Some sisters around me sometimes cried even if Imam didn’t cry. Some of them cried loudly that was bit scared me :) Alhamdulillah the Masjid committees reminded the Jama’ah they should restrain themselves [not to cry with dramatic voices] especially for sisters because it could cause the fitnah. We know how if woman are crying…

The companions and our previous pious generations always cried when they read the Qur’an. They were the witness of the revelations. They knew very well the background of the revelation of those verses. There was a said that Qur’an was sent down in bad situations, it full of sad and hard journey, whenever you read the Qur’an you should cry but if you cant cry then cry because you can not cry…

I see many people crying; perhaps they do understand well the meaning of those verses [just like those prophet companions] . Since I only understand limit Arabic, shame of me most of time I cried because I didn’t understand what actually being reading :)

Seeing many people gathered in one place to pray and to speak to the same Almighty One was really wonderful spiritual experience. It was an amazing that it is only Allah who knows what each ones keeping insides. Only Allah who’s knows what sins that we brought. We couldn’t hide anything that we are keeping inside. We came with so many wishes, dream, and problem to share. We came with so many things inside our mind to ask for the future and Only Him who know best.

I feel Allah must be smiles to see his slave who are praying to Him. Allah always happy to see His slaves who always pray to him because they are real slaves who know if they are weak and Allah is the Almighty and the place to ask, place to depends on all the hopes…. … Rasulullah salalhu alaihi wassallam used to say that "Nothing is more honorable in Allah's sight than supplication."

I saw a sister who so steady and so concentrate in every of her prayers. She always cried in her prayers. She always did long supplications with her closing eyes and the tears rolling down on her cheeks. Subhanallah if I could know what she was asking to Allah. Anytime I saw her I saw the tremendous peaceful face and the totality submission a real devote slave through her face. I felt bit jealous that I do not really know what actually I was going to ask for myself but I was very sure ask Allah subhana wa ta’ala one thing that May Allah subhna wata’ala answer all her prayers…. May Allah answer all the prayers of my brothers and sisters…

To be continues InshaAllah…

Bandung 3 Shawal 1426 H

[1] HR Bukhari Volume 3, Book 32, Number 241
[2] HR Bukhari Volume 3, Book 32, Number 234
[3] Each mosque may organize different activities. The main reason for its organization is to facilitate and to help the Jama’ah engage in religious activities…
[4] HR Bukhari Volume 3, Book 33, Number 257
[5] HR Bukhari Volume 3, Book 32, Number 229
[6] HR Muslim
[7] This is not a rule, it depends on The imam how many verse they want to read and how many time they want to complete the qur’an during leading the Ramadan prayer. Wallahu alam.
[8] HR Bukhari
[9] HR Muslim
[10] HR Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.248 Narrated by Abu Salma bin Abdur Rahman
[11] HR Muslim 1697 Narrated by Hudhayfah
[12] Bukhari and Muslim
[13] HR Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.230 Narrated by Al Mughira
[14] HR Al-Tirmidhi hadith 2233 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah