Islamic Status, Honouring Ramadan, Giving Credit

Issue 691 » June 22, 2012 - Shaban 2, 1433

Living The Quran

Islamic Status
Al-Nisa (The Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 94 (partial)

"Say not to those who greet you with peace (al-salam): 'you are not a believer.'"

Determining the faith or disbelief of a person is to be based entirely on obvious and explicit evidence without any reference to the hidden thoughts and feelings of people, which are known only to God. This is the implication of this Quranic verse.

If just the utterance of the salam is evidence enough to establish a presumption in favour of a person being a believer, then it is obvious that the Quran does not permit inquisitions of any kind to establish the Islamic status of individuals. All that a person may do when he suspects that disbelief, heresy or apostasy is being committed by another is to give him good advice in the true spirit of the Quran.

Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 187-189

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Honouring Ramadan

Shaban is one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. It is reported in the authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad used to fast most of the month in Shaban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Shaban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by Prophet Muhammad. Some of these are given below:

1. The blessed companion Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reports that Prophet Muhammad was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Shaban in honour of Ramadan." [Tirmidhi]

2. The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid, may Allah be pleased with him, reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad: "Messenger of Allah,I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad replied: "That (Shaban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting." [An-Nasai]

3. Ummul Mumineen Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, says, "Prophet Muhammad used to fast the whole of Shaban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Shaban your most favourite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.'" [Bukhari]

4. In another report Aisha says: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah fast a complete month except for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Shaban." [Bukhaari, Muslim]

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Shaban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not like to miss it.

But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Shaban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Shaban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in Shaban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Shaban. That is why Prophet Muhammad himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reports Prophet Muhammad to have said, "Do not fast after the first half of the month of Shaban is gone." [Bukhari]

Compiled From:
Sha'ban: Merits, Do's, and Dont's - Taqi Usmani


Giving Credit

One important way to show loyalty is to give credit to others, to acknowledge them for their part in bringing about results. By giving credit, you not only affirm the value of an individual's contribution, you also create an environment in which people feel encouraged to be innovative and collaborative and to freely share ideas.

The opposite of giving credit is to take the credit yourself. The counterfeit of giving credit is to be two-faced: to appear to give credit to someone when they're with you, but then downplay their contribution and take all the credit yourself when they're not there. This kind of duplicity is seldom hidden, and it damages trust with all.

It is not only important to give credit to people for what they do, but also to acknowledge people for who they are. There are many ways to acknowledge people and give credit for contributions, both at work and at home. You can celebrate. You can create legends and lores by the stories you tell. You can send thank-you's (letters, cards, or flowers). You can publicize success stories in company or family newsletters. You can go out of your way to catch people doing things right.

Compiled From:
"The Speed of Trust" - Stephen M. R. Covey, pp. 166, 167