FOR MUSLIMS: BENEFITS OF TARAAWIH AND TAHAJUD IN THE LAST TEN NIGHT OF RAMADAN.

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Assalam aleikum waramotulahi wabarakatuhu : May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you and your household. This article aims to enlighten and prepare you for the blessings of the Night of Majesty has informed by Allah in Suratul Qadr; What to do, how to do, where to do and also what time to do. First lets learn more about the Taraawih (Night) Prayer, tahajud and the I’tikaaf.

NIGHT PRAYER [TARAAWIH OR TAHAJJUD]
These are short sunnah which should not be missed by anyone, as the prophet [SAW] said; ‘’whoever stands [pray] in Ramadan, with faith and hope [for Allah’s reward] will have his previous sin forgiven’’.
It is preferably done in congregation but doing it alone is also acceptable. The maximum number of rakaats [units] to be prayed is highly debated upon but the safer opinion is not exceed 11 raka’ats.

AL-I’TIKAAF [secluding oneself in the mosque].
The prophet [SAW] set an example for retiring for contemplation during Ramadan as a form devotion. He used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in complete retirement in his mosque. I’tikaaf can be performed in any mosque where group prayers are performed.

A person in retreat shall observe complete seclusion.

    Aisha [RA] said: ‘’a person in retreat abstains from normal social life. He shall not even visit a sick man or attend a funeral or touch a woman. He goes out only to perform his natural functions’’.

This act might seem difficult for people who are into white collar jobs or its equivalent as it will warrant for them to apply for leave permission from their respective boss. If such is the case, it will be pertinent to stress that one should not jeopardize his job security especially in a time in the country like this. If the permission isn’t granted, then one should not embark. The I’tikaaf isn’t an obligatory act. Allah knows and sees the intention. Insha Allah, our prayers will be answered.

THE NIGHT OF MAJESTY/POWER [LAYLAT AL-QADR]
The Quran was revealed on ‘’the night of power’’ which is one of the nights of Ramadan. It is a night of great wonders and blessings which Allah described as ‘’better than one thousand months’’ put together. This means that the reward of devotion during this night is better than the reward to be expected for devotion of one ordinary night. The specific night is not revealed by the prophet (SAW) or anyone. But according to the Prophet (SAW), It is expected to be within the last 10 days of Ramadan. He has further asked us to search for the nights in the Odd numbers.

Aisha [R.A] narrated that Allah’s messenger (SAW) said ‘ search for the Night of Qadr in the Odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan’ (Sahih Al Bukhari, Vol3, Hadith No. 234)

It is meritorious during the night to spend the time in prayers, qur’anic recitation and asking for Allah’s forgiveness. It is advised by the prophet [SAW] to recite ‘’Allahumma innaka afuwun tuhibul afwafa’fu anni’’ as much as possible the means ‘’O Allah, you love forgiveness, so forgive me’’.

Bonus: What you need to do to get the best of this last 10 days of Ramadan.
1. Get into the last ten days with enough energy, motivation and intention. Be well prepared and ready to amass more lahdah.
2. Listen to or read the Tafsir of Surah Al-Qadr to know about this amazing night, to switch that mode ON and to keep it remained ON for all the nights.
3. Choose the most comfortable place for worship in your home or Masjid. Avoid leaning on pillows & cushions while reciting Qur’an or Adhkaar so as to keep your back straight.
4. If you’re alone, recite the Qur’an in a loud beautiful voice so that your ears & heart remain involved with the recitation and you don’t feel drowsy. Plus it has an amazingly calming effect trust me!
5. If you’re not alone then you can recite in a normal volume not to disturb others but can listen to a Qiraa-at in high volume using your earphone.
6. Elongate your Sujood and make loads and loads of Du’aas in it. Cry hard and ask ALLAH everything you wish for in Dunya and Aakhirah.
7. Raise your Du’aa – Remember it’s the night of decree and angels are precisely writing down whatever is gonna happen in your life for the next coming year, be specific in your Du’aas and ask for each and everything you need – Hajj, Job, Career, Spouse, Children, Home, whatever. Don’t play small in your Du’aas as you’re asking the KING OF ALL KINGS!
8. Pray 2 Raka’ah Salatul Tawbah every single night and ask for forgiveness from ALLAH – Al-Ghaffar, Al-Ghafoor, Al-Tawwab and Al-’Afuww. Repent sincerely with full hope and firm resolve of not repeating those sins again.
9. Don’t forget to always recite the asking Du’aa of Lailatul Qadr: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni (O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).
10. Ask ALLAH to grant you Lailatul Qadr and accept from you whatever ‘ibaadaat you did by His tawfeeq.

AFTER RAMADAN WHAT NEXT?
Ramadan is gradually coming to an end. Its impact on our faith and mind cannot be over emphasized. Allah (subhanawataala) had decreed on us this blessing just so that we will be righteous. So far, Ramadan has taught Muslims around the world how to become a better Mumeen. It is in this plight that we hope and believe that we will all enjoin and embrace the teachings of this Holy month even after it ends. May Allah make it easy for us.
As it ends in days to come, endeavour to observe the following sacrifice:
-Give Zakatul-fitr
-Attend Eid prayer
-Observe the 6 days voluntary fasting in the month of shawwal
-Be changed completely for the better in forms of worship and relating.

May Allah [SWT] make us among the successful ones in this world and hereafter [AMEEN].
If you find these tips useful, apply them and share with others too. It is also another way of benefiting from the month of Ramadan. Jazakallah khairan as you share.
Ramadan Kareem.

Ola-lawal M.D.
For Muzzammilwrites Initiatives,
June 17, 2017.

JUNE 12 (1993): What We Need To Know.

M.K.O. Abiola
By Hamza-Afeez Eniola Onireke

Introduction:

Today, June 12, 2017, marks exactly 24 years after Nigeria held her first Presidential election since 1983 military coup that ousted the Buhari-Idiagbon regime. The result was a victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who defeated Bashir Tofa of National Republican Convention with 8,341, 309 votes over the latter’s 5,952, 087, a total of 14, 293, 396. The election, which saw Nigerians jettisoning ethnic and primordial sentiments in electing leaders of their choice first in the history of the country, recorded the SDP with 58.36% and NRC 41. 64% votes respectively. However, the election was later, precisely 11 days after, annulled by military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida leading to a crisis that ended with General Sanni Abacha seizing power later in the year.

June 12 to this moment seem just like yesterday, but it is not just another day in Nigeria; because in progressive ideological circles and democratic ideals, today is regarded as the authentic ‘Democracy Day’ as against the “May 29″ popularly celebrated by the federal government. Despite the little recognition given by the Federal government to this historic date, ‘June 12’ has been heartily celebrated in all South-western states in Nigeria to commemorate the event that transformed the political landscape of Nigeria.

Be that as it may, let me quickly take us down the memory lane so as to capture the significant events that circumvented the inevitability of June 12, 1993:

Early life:

To start with, his name, Kashimawo, means ” Let us wait and see”. Moshood Abiola was his father’s twenty-third child but the first of his father’s children to survive infancy, hence the name ‘Kashimawo’. It was not until he was 15 years old that he was properly named Moshood, by his parents. MKO showed entrepreneurial talents at a very young age, at the age of nine he started his first business selling firewood. He would wake up at dawn to go to the forest and gather firewood, which he would then cart back to town and sell before going to school, to support his old father and his siblings. He later founded a band at age fifteen where he would perform at various ceremonies in exchange for food. Time will not permit me to delve into his early biography, as such, I’ll be chronicling the events that necessitated the June 12, 1993 incidence and its aftermath.

Abiola as a Politician:

Abiola’s involvement in politics was at a young age. He was 19 years old when he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) in 1979. This was the genesis of his political martyrdom which eventually culminated in his running for the June 12, 1993 Presidential election alongside his running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe (a Muslim-Muslim ticket) under the professor Humphrey Nwosu led National Electoral Commission.

Bashir Tofa, his contender, was overwhelmingly defeated by Abiola with the latter, even winning in the former’s home state. However, the poll, which was adjudged to be the most peaceful election in the history of Nigeria since independence and universally recognized as the freest and fairest in the Nigeria’s democratic experience was, eleven days after, truncated by Ibrahim Babangida claiming that the election was ‘corrupt and unfair’. He also alleged that his action was justified on the basis of ”saving Judiciary from being ridiculed and politicised locally and internationally”. These excuses by Babangida were seen by many critics as nothing but Hocus-Pocus and baseless. This incidence which plunged the country into a political crisis consequently galvanised into the bloodless coup of General Sani Abacha the same year.

In 1994, Abiola declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, an area mainly dominated by Lagos indigenes, after he returned from a trip to solicit the support of international community for his mandate. After declaring himself president, he was declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of the military president General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.

Abiola in Detention:

MKO was detained for four years, largely in solitary confinement with Qur’an, Bible and fourteen guards as companions. Nevertheless, it may interest you to know that; two years after his detention, his second wife, Kudirat Abiola was assassinated in Lagos in 1996 after declaring public support for her husband. Abiola continued to remain in detention as he refused to subscribe to the condition of his release which was the renouncement of his mandate as insisted by Abacha.

The death of Abiola:

Abiola died on July 7, 1998 at 60, on the day he was due to be released from incarceration under suspicious circumstances shortly after the death of General Sani Abacha who died a month earlier. The official Autopsy stated that Abiola died of natural causes, but Abacha’s Chief Security Officer, Al-Mustapha alleged he was beaten to death.

Why Should He (MKO) be Celebtated:

One spectacular thing about MKO Abiola is that he used a ‘Hope’ campaign which President Obama also used. Many people have paid attention to the word ‘Hope’ being used to convey a message of possibility during Obama’s 2008 election in the U.S, but 15 years before then in Africa’s most populous nation, MKO Abiola had successfully used the ‘Hope’ message as his Campaign Strategy.

The struggle and death of Abiola have been widely regarded as the event that helped Nigeria return to democracy, with Abiola himself been regarded as one of the greatest elder statesmen Nigeria ever had. June 12 is thus, a day to remember Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the then ‘Are-Ona Kakan fo’ ( Generallisimo ) of Yorubaland as well as other democracy martyrs in Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.
Thank you.

Hamza-Afeez Eniola Onireke is a Thinker, Historian, Social Critic and Public Affairs Analyst.