Ayatollah Sistani states in Islamic Laws that it is highly recommended to keep one’s shroud ready during one’s lifetime. It is thus a good idea to purchase your kafan early in life, keeping it in your closet as a constant reminder of that which is inevitable and the time for which only Allah knows.
Part I: The Recommended Acts
We have previously discussed the importance of keeping up our mustahab (recommended) acts of worship, along with detailing some specific suggestions. While those were more prayer-related, here we present to you a list of easy and practical mustahibaat that are also highly commendable and greatly beneficial. They are certainly not the only ones, but are of immense value nonetheless and can be easily incorporated in our daily routines.
Learning Fiqh on Friday
Learning the laws of jurisprudence is listed as one of the important recommended acts for Friday by Shaikh Abbas Qummi in Mafatih al-Jinan, alongside performing Ghusl, attending congregational prayers, giving charity, etc. He further narrates that Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said, “Pathetic is that believer who is so occupied with the affairs of the world that he does not spend even one day of the week, Friday, in learning the laws of jurisprudence.”
In our quest to do well in school, university or work-related exams, are we neglecting the knowledge required of us to excel in (or even pass) THE exam of our life? Indeed, we spend hours and hours on end studying in order to make academic progress, and although this is ibaadat in itself, the worth and importance of learning the laws of Islam must be realized. Because while following the Islamic way of life was a choice, learning its laws is a responsibility.
Several sacred traditions have emphasized the significance and benefits of wearing an Aqeeq (agate) ring, preferably on the right hand. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said, “The one who wears an aqeeq ring, Allah seals for him peace and faith.” He also said, “Wear aqeeq on your rings, you will be blessed and will be saved from afflictions”. (Makarimul Akhlaaq)
In another tradition, Salman-al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates a conversation in which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) was informing Imam Ali regarding the wearing of rings. The Prophet advised the Imam to wear the ring on his right hand, as by doing so, one would be included among the muqarrabin (those near to Allah). Imam Ali then asked which ring he should wear, and the Prophet advised him to wear a ring with a red aqeeq, as this stone had affirmed the Oneness of Allah, the Prophethood of Muhammad, the vicegerency of Ali, and paradise for the friends and Shias of Ali. (Hilyatul Muttaqin)
Things to Remember When Drinking Water
The simple act of drinking water has its own list of mustahibaat to be mindful of, which are as follows:
- Water should be drunk slowly, as if it were sucked.
- During daytime, one should drink water while standing.
- One should say Bismillah before drinking water and Alhamdulillah after drinking.
- One should drink water in three sips.
- One should drink water when one feels thirsty.
- After drinking water, one should remember Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) and his household, and curse the enemies who slew him.
Furthermore, it is unworthy to drink too much water, to drink water after eating fatty food, and to drink water while standing during the night. It is also unworthy to drink water with one’s left hand, to drink water from the side of a container which is cracked or chipped off, or from the side of its handle. (Ayatollah Sistani, Islamic Laws)
Sadaqah and Charity
We all (hopefully) do our bit in paying out Khums and Zakat whenever it falls due. Yet what is sometimes forgotten is that true generosity comes from going above and beyond the obligations that are upon us – when one willingly contributes a part of their wealth for the sake of goodness and humanity. Numerous Qur’anic verses and traditions have stressed the importance of being charitable and taking out Sadaqah. Not only is it the key to sustenance, but traditions report that it wards off calamities, cures maladies, leads towards prosperity, and increases one’s wealth, rewards, and lifespan.
We should make it a habit to take out sadaqah regularly, even daily, no matter how small the amount is, and we must always remember to take out the sadaqah of Imam Zamana (may Allah hasten his reappearance) first. Sponsoring an orphan is another great way to donate; many organizations provide the means to make this easier, such as the World Federation’s Zainabiyya Child Sponsorship Scheme (ZCSS), information for which can be found here.
Always Staying in the State of Wudhu
The Prophet is narrated to have said, “Wudhu (ablution) performed on wudhu is as light upon light on the Judgment Day.” (Adab as-Suluk) Being the means to spiritual purification, always remaining in the state of wudhu is highly beneficial to the body and soul, evoking inner enlightenment, and surely it serves as a shield against darkness and corruption. Traditions narrate that one who performs wudhu before going to sleep is as if he has stood up the entire night in prayers!
Our Prophet has encouraged us to be mindful of cleanliness at all times: “Try to be clean as much as you are able to. Verily, Allah has based the foundation of Islam on cleanliness; hence, never can a person enter Paradise but the clean ones.” (Kanz ul-‘Ummal)
Remembering the Tragedy of Karbala
Remembering the suffering of Imam Hussain is not exclusive to the months of Muharram and Safar alone, but is actually recommended to be done throughout the year, Thursday nights in particular. Its merits have been emphasized in a great many narrations, all imparting the countless benefits that come with it.
Imam Ali al-Ridha (peace be upon him) said that one who weeps for Imam Hussain such that tears roll down the cheeks, Allah would forgive all sins committed by that person, regardless of how many there were and whether they were great sins or minor sins. (Al-Amali) He also said, “He who sits in a gathering in which our affairs (and our path and aims) are discussed and revived, his heart shall not die on the Day of Judgment when hearts shall die (of fear).” (Bihar al-Anwar)
Majalis can easily be hosted at our homes or at the mosque on Thursday nights, and surely such regular remembrance of the suffering of our Imam and his family will allow us their intercession on the Day of Judgment and bring us closer to Allah.
Ghusl of Friday
Ghusl al-Jum’ah is so commendable that the Holy Prophet told Imam Ali, “O Ali, do ghusl every Friday, even if you have to sell that day’s sustenance and go hungry in order to purchase water, because there is no greater sunnat than this [ghusl].” (Mafatih al-Jinan)
The ghusl can be performed at any time on Friday from sunrise till sunset, although the recommended time is before midday. And if missed on Friday, its qadha may be performed the following day.
Praying with Perfume On
Our Prophet was very fond of perfume and would always urge his friends and followers to make a habit of using it regularly. He spent much of his savings on purchasing perfumes, and especially encouraged its use on Fridays to prevent any bad odor from bothering others in the congregational prayers. Although striving to emulate our beloved Prophet is reason enough to practice this, narrations also tell us that prayer performed with perfume applied is better than 70 prayers without!
Brushing Your Teeth Often
This may be seem needless to mention, yet brushing the teeth is amongst the most recommended etiquettes enjoined by our Holy Prophet – so much that it could have been made obligatory! For he said, “If it were not hard upon my Ummah, I would enjoin them to brush (their teeth) with every prayer.” (Bihar al-Anwar)
Traditions state that two units of prayer performed after brushing the teeth is superior to seventy units performed without it. It is further stated that if one forgets to brush his teeth before wudhu, it is mustahab to do so after it and to rinse the mouth three times with water. (Bihar al-Anwar) Not only before offering prayers, but brushing teeth is also recommended before performing wudhu, at the time of reciting the Qur’an, at daybreak, and on waking up from sleep.
Reciting Qur’an Regularly
The Holy Quran is not merely for us to recite during the month of Ramadan or following a loved one’s death. It is a blessing from Allah, brought down for us to seek guidance and tranquility from not just a few times each year but constantly. Let’s make it a habit to read at least a few pages each day.
The Holy Prophet has said, “Surely the recitation of the Qur’an is atonement for the sins, a protection from the hellfire, and a safety from the punishment. Mercy will descend upon the reciter, the angels will seek forgiveness for him, heaven will long for that person, and his Lord will be pleased with him.” (Bihar al-Anwar)
He also said, “One who recites ten verses of the Qur’an every night will not be counted amongst the negligent ones (ghafilin); and one who recites fifty verses will be written as those who remember Allah (dhakirin); and one who recites one hundred verses will be written down as the obedient and worshipper of Allah (qanitin).” (Thawabul A’mal)
Purchasing Your Kafan
Ayatollah Sistani states in Islamic Laws that it is highly recommended to keep one’s shroud (along with Sidr leaves and camphor) ready during one’s lifetime. It is thus a good idea to purchase your kafan early in life, keeping it in your closet as a constant reminder of that which is inevitable and the time for which only Allah knows. (And if you are still alive a year after purchasing it, remember to pay the Khums due!)
An act so simple, and yet forsaken too many a time by many of us. Imam Hussain said, “Seventy rewards is the share of the one who initiates a greeting, and only one reward belongs to the one who returns the greeting” (Bihar al-Anwar)
The Holy Prophet said: “When you meet each other, then initiate greeting and embrace, and when you separate from each other, then depart with seeking forgiveness.” (Bihar al-Anwar)
Making Peace Among People
Bringing people together and implementing love and harmony among them is among the greatest acts. In fact, the Holy Prophet said that to make peace between two individuals is worthier than one’s entire prayers and fasting. (Bihar al-Anwar)
We are living in a world where people enjoy watching (and sadly, inciting) arguments and conflict among others, and while the task of making peace becomes a rather grueling one, it is important to try. With the right conduct and intentions, even the seemingly impossible can become possible.
Inviting Believers to Our Homes
Numerous narrations have conveyed the worth of having believers as guests and of treating them to food, drink, etc. It is one of the characteristics of the prophets, and one tradition states that when seven days had passed and Imam Ali did not have a single guest, he said amidst sobs, “I fear lest the Lord has removed this mercy from me.” Amazing, ours is a religion so gratifying that to meet and socialize with friends cheerfully and inviting them to meals are considered virtuous and charitable acts.
Are there any practical and easy-to-do mustahibaat that we missed and you think should be on this list? Feel free to share your favorite ones below!