Ah...Alhamdulillaah ! Winter is here.
The nights are long and the days are short..... the temperatures have dropped and the weather is really cool!
What a perfect time to take advantage of the weather and utilize it to your benefit. You can increase your good deeds, take care of your obligations and earn the Pleasure of Allaah all at the same time!
How? One might ask...
Its simple. Make the most of winter by fasting during its short days and praying Qiyaam during the long nights.
The smart Muslim is always looking for opportunities and ways to increase his good deeds, seek forgiveness from his Lord, and improve his Deen. He values each and every moment of his life, observing his duties to the best of his ability because he is preparing... ..Preparing for that ultimate, inevitable meeting with Allaah, Rabbul 'Aalameen.
And the winter season is one perfect and easy way to do just that.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: "Winter is booty for the devout worshippers. "
Meaning, it is easy to gain rewards from Allaah by striving in worship during winter through fasting and praying than in the summer, which is like gaining easy warbooty without the hardships of war.
Fast during the day
Since the days are short, it is easy to fast. How many of us have days of fasting that we have to make up, either because of sickness, traveling, or just plain neglect and laziness? (May Allaah to protect us from that).
And how many sisters have to make up their fasts due to feminine reasons, either from this past Ramadhaan or even before?
We all know that making up the days of fasting is fardh on every adult Muslim man and woman and not doing so is a sin. Straight forward, its an order from Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala. Allaah says:
"The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Koran was sent down, a guidance for people, and clear verses of guidance and the criterion. Therefore, whoever of you witnesses the month, let him fast. But he who is ill, or on a journey shall (fast) a similar number (of days) later on. Allah wants ease for you and does not want hardship for you. And that you fulfill the number of days and exalt Allah who has guided you in order that you be thankful." [Surah al-Baqarah:185]
Thus, we should hasten to fast the number of days we missed. And what better opportunity than this?
How much easier could it get? The days are short and the weather is cool, so you don't really get thirsty or even feel hungry. Allaah, in his Infinite Mercy, is providing us with an easy opportunity to seek rewards from Him. So shouldn't we take it up?
Abu Hurayrah RA said to some people: "Shall I not point you to comfortable proceeds?" They asked, “And what is that O, Abu Hurayrah?” He replied, “Fasting in winter.”
Pray Qiyaam ul Lail at night
As for the winter night.....it is quite....it is long and it is peaceful.
What more could one ask?
A night so calm and so long..... to stand in front of our Lord and beg Him for forgiveness. ....ask Him for guidance.... .beseech him for His Mercy.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Aliyhi wa Sallam) said: “Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call Me that I might answer him, who will ask of Me that I might give him, who will ask My forgiveness, that I might forgive him?’” (Bukhaari)
And he (Sal Allaahu Aliyhi wa Sallam) said:
“You should pray qiyaam al-layl, for it is the custom of the righteous who came before you and it brings you closer to your Lord, and expiates sins and prevents misdeeds.” (al-Tirmidhi- hasan by al-Albaani)
What better chance than this to pray Tahajjud and to read Qur'aan?
‘Ubayd b. ‘Umayr RA said: "It used to be said when winter came: O people of the Qur`aan, the night has become long so you can pray (more) and the day has become short for you to fast."- (Abu Nu’aym, Hilyat Al-Awliyaa`)
Yazeed al-Riqaashi said: “A lot of Tahajjud brings delight to the worshippers, and a lot of thirst (i.e., fasting), brings joy when they meet Allaah.”
So when the cold hits you and the weather gets you down, don't get discouraged. Instead of sleeping away the night and wasting away the day, look on the bright side and make the most of it. Put this time of year in a whole new perspective. Remind yourself of the many acts of worship and benefits that this time of the year brings with it rather than just focusing on how cold it is.
One of the righteous used to say: "I have never heard the adhaan except that I remember the caller who will announce the Day of Resurrection, and I never see the falling snow except that I imagine the flying pages of the records of peoples deeds (on that day), and I never see swarms of locusts except that I think about the Great Gathering on the Last Day."
And actually, if you think about it, the winter is a big blessing from among the innumerable, uncountable blessings of Allaah. He is honoring us by the bounty of His Giving, His gracious Blessing and His great Favor, so that we may be able to pray qiyaam, fast during the day and worship Him.
May Allaah enable us all to make better use of our winters. Ameen.
Al Huda Institute, Canada