Winter is the orchard of obedience and field of worship

All praise is due to Allah, the One Al-Wahid, the Subduer Al-Qah?r, the All-Mighty Al-‘Aziz, the Oft-Forgiving Al-Ghafar, merger of the night and day as an insight for those who have hearts and minds. I praise Him Almighty “(He is) the Lord of the two easts and the Lord of the two wests” [Surat Ar-Rahman: 17].

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Transliteration: Rabbu almashriqayni warabbu almaghribayni

Mujahid said: “(He is) the Lord of the two easts” means the different places of sunrise during early summer and early winter, “and the Lord of the two wests” means the different places of sunset during early summer and early winter.

Allah Almighty is the Lord of all times. I will talk about winter, a topic with mixed feelings and many words. When winter comes, it is time to say welcome to the booty of the worshippers and the spring of the believers.

Did you not know that observing fast in winter is a cold (easy) booty?

On the authority of ‘Amir Ibn Mas’oud that the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The cold booty is observing fast in winter.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi as Mursal, authenticated by Al-Albani].

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The cold booty means the easy one, because the person who observes fast in winter does not suffer from thirst.

Ibn Rajab (may Allah mercy him) said: “Praying at the night of winter equals fasting at the day of summer.”

And it is proved that Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Winter is the booty of the worshippers.” [Reported by Abu Nu’aim with authentic chain of transmission]

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Ibn Rajab said: “Winter is considered the spring of the believer, because he revels in the orchards of obedience and goes in the fields of worship and his heart having the pleasure of strolling in the gardens of deeds which are easy during winter.”

The righteous forefathers (including the companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them all) emphasized that; they used to care for winter, welcome its coming, feel joy because of it and encourage people to take advantage from it.”

It is narrated that Ibn Mas’oud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Welcome winter; it is the time where blessings descend, nights lengthened for prayer and days shortened for fasting.”

And may Allah bless Al-Hassan Al-Basri who said: “How good winter is for the believer! Its night is long, so he prays in it; and its day is short, so he observes fasting in it.”

Also, it is narrated that he said: “Winter is male; it is the time of pollen; whereas summer is female; it is the time of offspring.”

And it is narrated that ‘Ubaid Ibn Omair (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say when winter approaches: “O people of the Holy Quran, your night became long for your recitation; so, recite. And day became short for your fasting; so, observe fasting.”

Therefore; if we did not fast the fasting of David (i.e. fasting a day and not fasting the next), would we not fast Mondays and Thursdays? If it was hard for us, in this time, would we not fast the white days (i.e. the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of every lunar month). Rather, “whoever observed fasting of three days in every month; he would be considered as a person observed fasting for the whole year” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]

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whether the three days were at the beginning of the month, in the middle or at the end.

It is a golden opportunity for whoever performs the supererogatory acts of worship for gaining the reward from Allah, Lord of the worlds; rather, it is a cold booty for him and for whoever has to fulfill missed days because of excuse and whoever has to observe fasting as penance. It is time for seizing this cold booty.

Among the great deeds that it is proved that there are great rewards for their doers in the winter is performing the ablution thoroughly despite difficulties:
The Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Should I not suggest to you that by which Allah expiates the sins and elevates the ranks (of a man)?” They (the companions) said: “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” Whereupon he said: “Performing the ablution thoroughly despite difficulties, walking more paces towards the Masjid and waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer (obligatory prayer); indeed that is the (real) strive” [Reported by Muslim].

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By this saying, the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) guided us to this great reward; expiating sins and forgiven, and elevating the ranks through having higher positions in Paradise.

Among the deeds which are mentioned in this Hadeeth is ‘performing the ablution thoroughly despite difficulties’; this means performing it thoroughly by washing all limbs of ablution and including forehead during washing and repeating wash thrice and applying the Sunnah of the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) in this regard. The difficulties come at the time of cold where there is hardship and their likes. It is called difficulties because of it being difficult and hard to do; and that is why the Muslim is ordered to do his best to fulfill it. And it is clear for you that among the things that the person hates, and feels that they are difficult, is to perform ablution in the time of severe cold or having reasons that make water hard to use.

Therefore, whoever knows this would tolerate the hardship of getting up from sleep for performing ablution and standing before the Hands of the Lord the Exalted; rather he would neglect the luxury of the warm bed to enjoy the pleasure of prayer and talking to the All-Knower Al-‘Aleem the All-Aware Al-Khabeer. Furthermore, ablution’s pain and hardship in cold would turn into pleasure that has no like.

Note: Some scholars said that heating water for gaining ability to perform the act of worship does not prevent the person from having the previously mentioned reward.

They used to pray much at night

Winter is strange for whoever experienced the taste of worship in it; Allah Almighty mentioned among the characteristics of people of Paradise that “They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allâh) and praying, with fear and hope]” [Az-Zariyat 51: 17].

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Transliteration:Kanoo qaleelan mina allayli ma yahjaAAoona

Among the reasons of getting in Paradise peacefully is to pray at night while people are asleep.

The worshipper, among our righteous forefathers, was like the shiny star in the nights of winter; it is bright and luminous. It is mentioned about many righteous forefathers that they wept at the time of death for missing prayer at night in the winter. It is said that one of the righteous forefathers wept at the time of his death; whereupon he was asked: “Do you fear death and weep?” So, he replied: “Why do not I weep? Who deserves to weep more than me? By Allah, I do not weep for fearing death or caring for your worldly life; rather I weep for (missing) thirst in summer’s days and prayer in winter’s nights.” This story is mentioned also about some other righteous forefathers.

And Mu’ddad said: “Unless there are three things; thirst in the hot days, prayer in the nights of winter and enjoying reciting the Book of Allah at night, I would be just a drone in the house.”

Actually; this is not strange, because there is pleasure in worship none knows it but Allah and whoever misses it is really deprived. Abdullah Ibn Wahb said: “There is one pleasure for each pleasant thing; however, worship has three pleasures; one when you are in it, one when you remember it and one when you take its reward.”

I think that they (may Allah mercy them) experienced the first and second pleasures, and I ask Allah not to deprive us, along with them, from the third pleasure.

And they (may Allah mercy them) used to invest night in general, and winter’s nights in specific, in acquiring knowledge.

Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) used to divide his night into three parts; one for prayer, one for sleep and one for acquiring knowledge. It is narrated that he (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I divided my night into three divisions; one for prayer, one for sleep and one for studying the Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him).” The same is narrated about ‘Amr Ibn Dinar and Sofyan Ath-Thawry.

And they used to guide others to this too

Ahmed Ibn Al-Furat said: “We continued to hear our sheikhs mention things about memorizing, and they agreed upon that nothing is better than studying much and that memorizing at night is better than memorizing in the morning.” And he said: “I heard Ismail Ibn Owais says: ‘if you wanted to memorize something you should sleep then wake up at dawn and turn on the light then look at what you want to memorize and you will never forget it, by the will of Allah.”

Al-Khatib Al-Bughdadi said: “Know that there are hours for memorizing; every person wants to memorize should care for these hours. The best time is the time of dawn then the time of early morning, and memorizing at night is better than memorizing at day.” It is said to one of them: “How did you gain knowledge?” Whereupon he said: “By the lamp and sitting till morning.” Another one said: “By travel, waking up till late hour, and waking up early at dawn.”

And we heard about many of the early and late scholars that they used to devote themselves for obeying Allah and seeking knowledge in a time people are inattentive and sleep in it. You could find the one of them spending long nights exerting his efforts for gaining more knowledge, verifying particularities of cases, proofing Ahadeeth and sailing in the sea of knowledge.

There is a great difference between those and whoever misses the times of winter, and all times, in playing and committing sins. Therefore, blessed is the one who slept when he felt sleepy and feared Allah when he woke up. Indeed, the status of such person is better than the status of who is disobedient to his Lord.

Yahia Ibn Mu’adh said: “Night is long; so, do not shorten it by your sleep. And Islam is pure; so, do not defile it by your sins.”

Dear brother; if you missed the times of winter, when will you seek the reward? When will you pray at night? When will you spread knowledge? When will you call for the way of Allah?

The aim is to invest the time before the end of life. The Muslim is in continuous worship; always he is busy with obeying Allah, and if he did not find anything to do, he would be busy with contemplation, consideration and thinking in the kingdom of Allah.

There is a lesson in the winter

Winter itself contains lessons; there is a lesson in the severity of its cold for whoever believes in Allah and the Final Day. It is mentioned in the Sahih that the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The Fire made a complaint before the Lord saying; “O Lord, some parts of mine have consumed the others.” So it was allowed to take two exhalations, one exhalation in winter and the other exhalation in summer. That is why you find extreme heat (in summer) and extreme cold (in winter)” [Agreed upon].

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Whoever stops at this Hadeeth and contemplates on it would feel that worship is light as long as it is safety from the extreme cold and extreme hot of Hellfire and he would seek refuge with Allah from its extreme hot.

In winter, blessings descend and mercy spreads by the will of the Lord of heavens and earth

He Almighty says: “And He it is Who sends down the rain after they have despaired, and spreads His Mercy. And He is the Walî (Helper, Supporter, Protector, Lord), Worthy of all Praise” [Ash-Shura 42: 28]

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Transliteration: Wahuwa allathee yunazzilu alghaytha min baAAdi ma qanatoo wayanshuru rahmatahu wahuwa alwaliyyu alhameedu

And He says in Surat Al-Anbiya: “Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, then We parted them? And We have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” [Al-Anbiya 21: 30].

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Transliteration: Awalam yara allatheena kafaroo anna alssamawati waalarda kanata ratqan fafataqnahuma wajaAAalna mina almai kulla shayin hayyin afala yuminoona

Ibn Abbas said: “Heavens were not given rain and earth was not given plants; but when He created people to live in the earth, He made the heavens rain and earth grow plants.”

Allah Almighty mentioned that it is blessed; He Almighty says: “And We send down blessed water (rain) from the sky, then We produce therewith gardens and grain (every kind of harvests) that are reaped” [Surat Qaf 50: 9].

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Transliteration:Wanazzalna mina alssamai maan mubarakan faanbatna bihi jannatin wahabba alhaseedi

He who has a live heart mentions Allah at every time and at the fall of rain and performs the supererogatory acts of worship that are narrated about the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “It rained upon us as we were with the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) removed his cloth (from a part of his body) till the rain fell on it. We said: Messenger of Allah, why did you do this? He said: ‘It is because it (the rainfall) is a new comer from the Exalted Lord’” [Reported by Muslim].

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Also, it is Sunnah for the Muslim to say at the time of rainfall: “O Allah, make it a beneficial rain.” [Reported by Al-Albani]

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Transliteration: Allahuma Sayiban Nafi’an

And to say after its fall: “We have been rained by Allah’s grace and mercy.” [Reported by Bukhari]

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Transliteration: Muttirna Be-Fadlillah Wa Rahmatih

And among the invocations of seeking safety is to say: “O Allah, let the rain be on our surrounding and not on us. O Allah, (Let it rain) be on the plateaus, on the hills, in the valleys and over the places where trees grow.” [Reported by Bukhari]

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Transliteration: Allahuma Hawalayna Wala ‘Alayna, Allahuma Al-Akam Wath-Tharrabi Wa Button Al-Awdya Wa Manabit Ash-Shajar

And it is mentioned in a good Hadeeth: “There are two things never refused; supplication at the time of calling for prayer and under the rainfall.” [Reported by Al Siouty as Hassan]

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In winter, the Muslim remembers the grants of Allah; so, he thanks Him for it and do not deny them.

Allah the Exalted granted us by creating what enables us to tolerate the extreme cold; He Almighty said: “And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them there is warmth (warm clothing), and numerous benefits, and of them you eat” [An-Nahl 16: 5].

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Transliteration: WaalanAAama khalaqaha lakum feeha difon wamanafiAAu waminha takuloona

The cattle are among the grants which Allah devoted for the benefits of the children of Adam. Among their great benefits are;
(Producing warmth) the scholars said: “Warmth from their wool, fur, hair and skins that you use in making clothes, furnishings and tents for dwelling.”

And He almighty said: “And Allâh has made for you in your homes an abode, and made for you out of the hides of the cattle (tents for) dwelling, which you find so light (and handy) when you travel and when you stay (in your travels); and of their wool, fur, and hair (sheep wool, camel fur, and goat hair), furnishings and articles of convenience (e.g. carpets, blankets), comfort for a while” [An-Nahl 16: 80].

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Transliteration: WaAllahu jaAAala lakum min buyootikum sakanan wajaAAala lakum min juloodi alanAAami buyootan tastakhiffoonaha yawma thaAAnikum wayawma iqamatikum wamin aswafiha waawbariha waashAAariha athathan wamataAAan ila heenin

Sheikh Abdurrahman As-Sa’dy (may Allah mercy him) said: “He Almighty reminds His servants with His grants and encourages them to thank Him for it and have it admitted; He said: {And Allâh has made for you in your homes an abode} means the homes and palaces and their likes which protect you from heat and cold and cover you along with your children and properties, and you make in them the chambers which are suitable for your interests and benefits and save your money and women along with the other known benefits. {And made for you out of the hides of the cattle} means from the skin itself or from what grows on it (i.e. wool, fur, and hair).

“{(tents for) dwelling, which you find so light (and handy)} means the houses (tents) which are portable and are not for long residence; however, they provide to you protection from heat, cold and rain and protect your properties from rain. {and} He made for you {of their wool} the wool of the cattle {fur, and hair furnishings} means whatever made of them (i.e. pots, utensils, furnishings, clothes…etc,).

“{comfort for a while} means that you will enjoy and take benefit from them in this worldly life. Actually, having many grants is among the reasons that encourage the servants for thanking Allah Almighty and praising Him much.”

By this way, the Muslim fulfills the meanings of slavery; in every time he worships Allah, remembers Him, invokes Him and supplicates to Him.

Days are just phases that man passes through them one after another, and the best people are those who take from each phase provision for the next one.

While I say this; I know no body misses that more than me.

I ask Allah, to grant me, along with my Muslim brothers, sincerity and accepting our deeds and I ask Him to facilitate to us what He loves and what He is satisfied with; indeed He is All-Hearer and Responsive. And Allah Almighty knows best. And prayers and peace of Allah be upon who are sent as mercy to the worlds, the bearer of the glad-tidings, the Warner and the luminous lamp, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, best prayers and peace of Allah be upon him and upon his family.

By: various authors

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