During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world are busy in doing righteous deeds. Eamples are: praying on time in congregations, reading Qur’an daily, taraweeh and night prayers, charity, fasting, breaking our fast together in the mosques and doing all kinds of good deed. But will Allah accept these deeds? This is the question every Muslim must ask oneself at the end of Ramadan. Ali ibn Abu Talib said\; “The attention you pay regarding whether or not your deeds will be accepted should be much greater than the deed itself; haven’t you heard Allay saying that indeed He will accept only from the pious/righteous people who fear Him.”
The question of acceptance came in a discussion between Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with his wife. Ayesha asked the Prophet about the meaning of Ayah 60 of Surah 23 (al-Mu’minoon / the believers): “And those who dispose their charity with t heir hearts full of fear because they will be returning to their lord.”
She was wondering about those people with scared hearts; are they the sinful people who commit adultery, steal and consume khamr (alcohol or intoxicants)?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told her that the people with scared hearts are the people who pray, fast and give charity but fear Allah will not accept their deeds.
Continuation of the righteous deeds after Ramadan is a sign of acceptance. This is the window of Nawafil – non obligatory acts of worship. Islam is worshipping for life. According to the Qur’an (15:99), we are advised to worship Allah until we die.
Look at the power of the following Hadith about Nawafil: “My slave gets closer to me through Nawafil until I (Allah) love him, I become his hearing and seeing; I become his hand and his leg. And if he asks me I give him and if he seeks my refuge I protect him.”
Examples of Nafilah (voluntary) fasting is fasting six days in the month of Shawwal – any six days. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that whoever fasts the entire month of Ramadan, followed by six days in Shawwal, will get a reward of (the equivalent of) fasting for the entire year.
Using the standard way of reward in Islam (10 for 1), it becomes simple to convert the month of Ramadan into 300 days (30 x 10) and fasting of the six days of Shawwal into 60 days (6 x 10). When you add them up you get 360 days – the entire year. If we establish this Nafilah every year, Insh’Allah, we will be rewarded as if we have fasted our whole life.
A second form of Nafilah fasting is to fast on Mondays; it is the day the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born, and it is the day of receiving the Wahy for the first time. It is also recommended to fast on Thursdays, because our deeds are submitted to Allah on Thursdays.
A third type of Nafilah fasting is fasting three days each month. Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended three things: praying Witr before going to bed, praying two Raka’at during Doha time, and fasting three days every month.
Extra fasting opportunities include fasting the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, fasting the day of Arafah (for non-hajjis) to expiate all minor sins accumulated in the past year and for the entire year following. In addition, Ashura fasting (the 10 th Muharram) expiates all the minor sins of one year before.
It is important to note, however, that the term “Nafilah” is not restricted to fasting; it covers other acts of worship.
We will celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr in a few days insh’Allah. Everyday Allah is obeyed is Eid. May Allah make all of our days Eid days. I would like to conclude by asking Allah to accept our deeds and help us to continue with our Nawafil (non-obligatory acts of worship).