Photo © Aryana Aid
Winter is here! This means that each morning our feet get a little colder and we refuse to leave the inviting warmth of our bed without a good fight—which translates into hitting the snooze button so many times that we forget to count. But, why snooze our lives away, when we can use this precious time to get closer to Allah (swt)?
1. Fasting in Winter - An Easy Reward
As the days get shorter, it becomes much easier for us to keep Sawm (fast) from sunrise to sunset. This is a gift from Allah (swt) and a unique opportunity to reap numerous rewards with minimal effort on our part.
Like our Prophet (pbuh) puts it: "Fasting in winter is the easy reward" (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 797).
We can also make use of the shorter days to redeem ourselves for any missed fasting days throughout the year.
2. Perform Wudu in Winter
On the other hand, we might find it harder to perform wudu (ablution) in the cold weather, especially at Fajr time. The good news is that performing wudu despite difficulties is a highly regarded act of faith for which we will be rewarded.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "'Shall I inform you (of an act) by which Allah erases sins and raises degrees?" They said, "Certainly, O Messenger of Allah." He said, "Perfecting the ablution under difficult circumstances, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting for the (next) prayer after the (last) prayer has been performed. That is ribat" (Related by Malik, Muslim, at-Tirmizhi and an-Nasa'i).
So, next time you find it strenuous to leave your bed for Fajr, remember to feel gratitude because this is yet another chance for you to receive Allah's blessings.
3. Praying on Longer Nights
Praying during the long nights of winter is the equivalent of fasting on the hot days of summer. As the sun rises later, we have plenty of time for both resting and praying, so we should take advantage of this wonderful arrangement to increase our Tahajjud (voluntary prayer).
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: "The best of prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer." [Muslim]
At night, Allah (swt) chooses us to keep Him company when everyone else is asleep. This is also the most optimal time to ask our Creator for forgiveness. So, this winter, instead of snoozing, wake up earlier and enjoy a tranquil moment of prayer between you and Allah (swt).
4. Showing Compassion for the Vulnerable, Especially the Elderly
The harsh weather can leave many people vulnerable. The elderly might struggle to go out and shop for essential items. Others could fight the winter blues. This is why every little gesture of kindness matters—from checking up on your older relatives to lending a helping hand to a neighbour.
The Messenger of Allah said in a Hadith: "Your smile for your brother is charity" (At-Tirmidhi, 1879). So, no matter how little we give, we shouldn't underestimate the power of our charity.
This winter, challenge yourself to do something meaningful for someone each day! With Aryana, you can donate as little or as much as you can afford to make winter a bit easier for the poor in Afghanistan.
5. Helping the Poor Stay Warm
Allah (swt) has given us many resources to help us face the cold weather. When the wind is so powerful that it permeates through our thick winter coats, we are reminded that we have warm houses to return to and delicious foods to comfort us when we feel a bit grumpy.
Warm clothing is a blessing from Allah (swt): "And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth [i.e., warm clothes] and [numerous] benefits" (Qur'an, 16:5). He also said, "And from their wool, fur and hair is furnishing and enjoyment for a time" (Qur'an, 16:80).
Many people living in poor areas of the world have neither a coat nor a home to keep them warm. In Afghanistan, thousands of displaced refugees live in makeshift tents in areas where temperatures can drop to -25⁰C. They lack the winter clothes, blankets, food and fuel necessary for survival.
So, here is another beautiful way in which we can thank Allah (swt) for our blessings—by donating to those who don't have as much as us this winter. Keep them safe!
Winter in Afghanistan
In England, snow might not be unheard of, but we hardly experience it. Our winters usually come with heavier rains and mildly lower temperatures than in the rest of the year, which is very different from the extreme weather that Afghans are used to during the cold season.
Characterised by snow blizzards, aggressive winds and freezing temperatures that can dip to -25⁰C, the weather is far from kind to those who can barely survive in normal conditions: the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, and the displaced.
Did you know that Afghanistan has the second highest number of internally displaced refugees in the world? For them, winter is one of the most dangerous seasons. Many refugee families live in improvised tents that can barely stand the trials of harsh weather, turning refugee camps into a hotbed for disease in the COVID-19 era.
Donate to help us keep them safe this winter.
- £120 for One Winter Pack: 2 blankets, flour, oil, tea, sugar, rice, chickpeas, and other essential items to sustain one family for one month.
- £130 for Emergency Shelter: provide a family-sized tent with a separate kitchen, washroom and sleeping compartment to house 3 to 4 people.