The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years,' reported by Abu Said (RA)(Bukhari).
General Habits of Muslims
Remember that as Muslims, we believe that all of our deeds are weighed on the Day of Judgement. The concept, such as in Christianity, that we will not be held accountable or that someone else bears the responsibility for our sins is false! Our good and bad deeds will be weighed, just as a scale takes measurement of weight. If our bad deeds are more, there is punishment and if there is more good deeds, we are rewarded. This is justice, and Allah SWT is the best of judges. As such, we try to do all we can in our lives to build rewards and good deeds. Here is a general list of actions and habits that Muslims adhere to in order to gain the pleasure of Allah SWT and attain rewards.
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- Completing 5 daily prayers; also, recommended sunnah prayers is desirable (see prayer guide)
- Continual seeking of knowledge through Qur’an and Hadith, of its translations and meanings
- Acting in accordance with Qur'an and sunnah (outlined in Hadith)
- Respecting and honoring one's parents, even if they are not Muslim
- Showing kindness to one's family, neighbors, orphans, less-fortunate
- Making dhikr (Remembrances of Allah): for example saying “Bismillah” before commencing any and all actions, saying “alhumdulillah” when completing it (for example, before sleeping and upon waking up), saying “inshallah” when intending something for the future. For example, as you say "I will...." finish this phrase by saying "inshallah"; this is a way of showing that Allah SWT has power over all things and you recognizing that nothing will happen without the will of Allah SWT. Glorifying Allah SWT, by saying "Subhanallah", "Alhumdulillah", "Allahu Akbar").
- Regularly and continually seeking forgiveness from Allah SWT (saying: astaghfirallah).
- Keeping clean
- Avoiding backbiting; in general, speak good or remain silent
- The Prophet Mohammad (SAW) preferred his right side in carrying-out actions: for example: 1.) when dressing, 2.) when distributing something, 3.) when entering a home or mosque; In all of his actions, he deferred to the right side first. (In the case of #3 listed here, the exception to that is when entering a bathroom, he used his left foot first.) In summation, Muslims act in accordance with the Prophet Mohammad’s behavior and also default to the right when commencing actions.
- Men are required to perform salat in congregation for prayers, particularly salat al Jumu'ah on Friday. Women are not required to attend, but they can if they wish.
- Many Muslims perform optional fasting, on any day (except Fridays exclusively) but popularly on Mondays and Thursdays, as this was the regular practice of the Prophet (SAW), who told us there was great reward in performing good deeds on these days. (See quotation at the top of the page)
- Men and women should not mix socially, unless they are married or the man can be a mahram (like a guardian which includes her father, brother, uncle, etc) to her.
- Men and women (non-mahram) should not touch one another, such as hugging or shaking hands. Be careful of this as it is customary in the West (and even in some "Muslim" countries). Personally if a man extends his hand to me, I simply say, "I'm sorry it's nothing personal, but I don't shake hands with men." Some Muslims indicate this also by placing their right hand over their heart. A non-Muslim friend of mine once told me an interesting story about how she met a Jewish man, whom she offered her hand to to shake, unaware that they have this same custom. He very politely declined saying, "I'm sorry I can't give you a handshake, but I can give you a nice smile." I don't know if I would say that to a strange man, but you get the idea; It doesn't have to be as awkward as you think!
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