The 8 Raka’ts Dilemma and Debacle of the Salafi Juhhala

[By Zaheer Mangera – [(A Madrasah Student)]

I’m sure that by now we are accustomed to the 8 rakaat brigade slinking out of the Masaajid after 8 rakaats. This unfortunately has become a common aberration in many Masaajid throughout South Africa and other parts of the world. Some Masaajid in Johannesburg have actually made a separate parking area for the 8 rakaat gang of deviates. Hence I felt the need to comment on this matter. In reality the matter is quite simple. The complications arise as always from the side of the dim-witted Salafis who can’t grasp simple issues of the Shariah

WHY 8 RAKAATS??

I’m sure this is the question running through the minds of all and sundry who, for the pleasure of Allah, diligently uphold the Sunnah Taraaweeh of 20 rakaats. The reality is that no Aalim on the surface of this earth had declared Taraweeh to be 8 rakaats except a man who popped up in the last century, and who believed that he could interpret Hadith narrations better than the entire fraternity of Aimmah Mujtahideen and Fuqaha from the Sahaabah running all the way down over 1400 years. This person who had deviated from the Way of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah was Albaani, the recent Imam of the Salafis.

It is unfortunate that Salafis vigorously try to justify the deviation of their Imams from the Path of the Sahaabah and the Aimmah Mujtahideen. In complete conflict with the Sahaabah and the Ummah, they adamantly adhere to Albaani’s view and audaciously label anyone who opposes his view as one who is “disuniting the ummah”, when in fact they are the ones guilty of sowing discord in the Ummah with their baseless 8 raka’t stunt.

Quite hilarious I’d say, the man deviated from the interpretation of every single Aalim and the Ijma’ of this Ummah. When the ummah speaks and opposes his deviation then it is said that we causing disunity?

The main Hadith they present as proof is a Hadith with regards to Tahajjud Salaat which they take out of context and interpret only as Albani had understood. However, they are blind to the fact that Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alayh) himself, from whose Kitaab they obtain their baseless daleel, is proven to having performed 20 Raka’ts.

The books of the Muhaditheen and Fuqaha are replete with discussions regarding Taraaweeh. None of these great authorities of the Shariah related to Taraaweeh the Hadith which Salafis usually quote, as ALL KNEW that the Hadith did not pertain to Taraaweeh, and that it referred to Tahajjud Salaat.

The Ummah always performed 20 rakaat and regarded it to be Sunnah. Some even performed extra as Nafil such as the Maalikis who performed extra rakaats whilst those in Makkah made Tawaaf after every four rakaats hence the people in Madinah used to performs 36 raka’ts. However, the Sahabah by consensus deemed Taraweeh to be 20 rakaats, and this elevates the 20 Raka’ts Taraaweeh to the status of Sunnatul Muakkadah.

Imaam Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah alayh), died 279 AH, states that ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), ‘Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu), Sufyan Thawri (Rahmatullah alayh) and Imam Shafi’i (Rahmatullah (alayh), all accept that Taraaweeh Salaat is Twenty Rakaahs. He quoted Imam Shafi’i as saying that he saw the people of Makkah performing twenty raka’ts. (Tirmidhi, v.1 p.99)

The Muwatta of Imam Muhammad (Rahmatullah alayh), reads:

“We go by this (twenty rak’ats Taraweeh)….because the Muslims (the Sahaabah) were unanimous about it and saw it to be a good act. It has been reported that Rasulallah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Whatever the Muslims (the Sahaabah) regard as a good act, it is indeed a good act in the sight of Allah as well.”

Hafiz Abu Zur’ah Al-’Iraqi stated,

“They (the Ulama) have regarded the approval of the Sahaabah [when Sayyiduna ‘Umar did so] as Ijma’“.

Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari stated that the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) have enacted Ijma’ on the practice of twenty rak’ats. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and many others have also claimed Ijma’ of the Sahaabah on this issue.

SALAFIS BECOME RETARDED WHEN READING THIS HADITH

“You must then follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided Khulafa” [Abu Dawud]

Many other Ahaadith emphasize that the Ummah should follow the Khulafah and more specifically, Shaikhain i.e.  Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhuma).

The errant Salafis say absurdly that it means that we should follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It seems they can’t understand simple issues.

Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] equated the Sunnah of his Sahabah to his own Sunnah. Thus he mentioned that out of the 73 sects only the one that holds on to both his way and the way of his Sahaabah would be saved. Since Salafi’ism is a sect of baatil, it’s no wonder that they so abortively justify their conflict with the Ijma’ of the Sahaabah.

Rasulullah [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] said:

“A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.”

[Al-Bukhaari, Book 71 no. 3641 Sahih Muslim, no. 1920]

Now on the basis of this Hadith, Taraaweeh of less than 20 raka’ts and the Salafi malpractice of 8 raka’ts are manifestly baatil, because from the time the blessed Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) left this world until the last century NO ONE EVER PERFORMED 8 RAKAATS.  It was only with the advent of this miscreant Salafi group that it began to be propagated that Taraaweeh is 8 raka’ts. Thus, one does not require intelligence to understand that the innovated 8 rakaats can never be the Sunnah.

TRUTH ON THE TONGUE OF ‘UMAR (Radhiyallahu anhu)

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has placed truth on Umar’s tongue and heart.” [Abu Dawud]

We ask the Salafis when Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) said with his ‘tongue’ that Taraweeh should be 20 rakaats, was this the Haqq or not? What these Salafis don’t understand is that when they negate Ijma’, they automatically imply, like Shiahs, that they and their Imam, Albaani who died just yesterday, have understood the Sunnah better than the Sahaabah. It follows from this implication that the Sahaabah and Taabieen had erred in their Ijma’ of 20 raka’ts. These Salafis are opening the doors of fitnah – the fitnah of blatantly contradicting the Sahaabah in their understanding of the Sunnah, yet Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explicitly said:

“The best of people are my generation, then those who follow after them, then those who follow after them, then there will come after them a people who will be fat, and they will love obesity, bearing witness before being asked to.”  [Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim]

These Salafis are in diametric conflict with this clear declaration of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

FURTHER WARNING FOR THOSE NEGATING IJMA’

An old man dressed in woollen garments came to Imaam Shaafi’i (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) and said: “May I ask a question?” Imaam Shaafi’i gave him permission. He then asked: “What are the Shar’i proofs in the Deen of Allah Ta’ala?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Kitaab of Allah Ta’ala.” He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’i replied: “The Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He then asked: “And what else?” Imaam Shaafi’ replied: “The consensus of the Ummah.” He then asked: “What is your proof for this?” Imaam Shaafi’i thought for a while. The old man then said: “I give you respite for three days, either you bring me proof from the Qur’aan or seek forgiveness and repent to Allah Ta’ala.” The facial complexion of Imaam Shaafi’i changed. He then went and did not come out for three days. On the third day between Zuhr and ‘Asr, weak and sick, he emerged from his seclusion. As he was about to be seated, the old man appeared, greeted and sat beside him. He then asked for his proof. Imaam Shaafi’i said: “Yes”, and he recited the Qur’aanic verse:

“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is. [Surah Nisa, 115]

The man said: “You have spoken the truth.” The man then left. Imaam Shaafi’i said to those seated around him: “I recited the entire Qur’an thrice daily for three days, until the proof finally dawned upon me.”

It is no wonder that Salafis become blind and deaf to the Haq and can’t understand simple concepts because they have contradicted Ijma’. The warning of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in this verse is true. The stated calamity has overtaken the Salafis.

“We shall (forsake him) and let him continue on his path, and thereafter We shall drive him towards Hell, and evil an abode it is.”

Allah Ta’ala has abandoned them in their waywardness and deviation, and if Allah does not guide than who can guide one?

Despite all this Salafis will still monotonously ramble on. One should not waste one’s precious time, no matter what ‘daleels’ are put forward. The fact of the matter is that they will never accept the Haqq. Just deliver the message of Haqq. It is about such people that the Qur’aan mentions:

“Do you not see those who take their nafs  [also their own intellects and reasoning] as gods besides Allah [by giving preference over truth or making that the yardstick] how we lead them astray even though they possessed knowledge; how we sealed their hearts and ears and cast a veil over their eyes? Who can guide them besides Allah? Will you then not take heed?”

May Allah protect us and guide one and all and protect us from becoming part of the 8 rakaat brigade which contradicts the Sunnah of the noble Sahaabah.

THE BASELESS FOCAL DALEEL OF THE SALAFIES

As mentioned earlier on it was clearly proved that for over the past 1400 years, 20 rakaats Taraweeh were considered Sunnah by the Ummah. However, their main daleel which is a misinterpretation shall be neutralized. Hypothetically, we shall assume that the tooth fairy exists and that the Hadith and its interpretation were not known to any Sahaabi or Faqeeh. And that Imaam Bukhari himself became somewhat lacking in vision when he came across this Hadith, and that only Albani was raised up this past century to correct all the Sahaabah and those who followed them with regards to what the true SUNNAH is.

THE MISINTERPRETED HADITH

Narrated Abu Salama Bin Abdur Rrahman (Radhiyallahu anhu):

“I asked Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the Salaat of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) during the month of Ramadan. She said that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never exceeded 11 Rakats in Ramadan nor in the other months. (First) he used to offer 4 rakats. Do not ask me about their beauty and length, then 4 Raka’ts. Do not ask me about their beauty and length. Then 3 Raka’ts.”

Aishah further said: I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Do you sleep before offering Witr salat?’ He replied: ‘O Aishah! My eyes sleep but my heart remains awake!”

[Bukhari, Book of Tahajjud Salaat, chapter: the Salaat of the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) at night in Ramadan and in other months. 2:248]

REFUTATION

1. The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite Muhaddith, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH) said: ‘In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud Salaat is meant. Abu Salama’s question and Hadrat Aishah’s answer concerned the Tahajjud.’ He adds further: ‘If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this Hadith will be in conflict with the Hadith that states that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) led twenty Rak’ats  for each of two nights, and in the case of such clash the Hadith of twenty Rakat’s which is  affirmative (Muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (Nafi)”  — [Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156].

Let’s for one minute exercise some common sense, we all know and even Salafis agree that Taraaweeh was performed in JAMAAT IN PUBLIC for a number of days before Nabi [Sallallahu alayhi wasallam] desisted for fear of it becoming obligatory.

Now if it was performed in jamaat and in public what was the need to ask Aishah [Radiallahu anha]? Wouldn’t the number of raka’ts of Taraaweeh have been common knowledge to the Sahaabah?  It is quite obvious that the Sahaabi was asking Hadhrat Aishah (Radhiyallahu anha) about the private ibaadat of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Sahaabi was not asking her about Taraaweeh which was being performed in public in the Musjid. She confirmed that Rasulullah’s Tahajjud remained 8 raka’ts throughout the year even in Ramadhaan. This Hadith does not refer to Taraaweeh Salaat.

While the deviant Salafis cite Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu), they are either ignorant of his standing practice regarding Taraaweeh or they are conveniently ignoring it, or they attempt to conceal it in a vain bid to justify their 8 raka’t fallacy. Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) himself performed 20 rakaats Taraaweeh like the rest of the Sahaabah. Thus, in a conflict between his words and his practice, the latter takes precedence and is given preference. But the Salafis are too stupid to understand the operation of the principles of the Shariah.

For more detailed Analysis on this issue read:

1. NUMBER OF RAK’ATS IN TARAWIH: A DETAILED ANALYSIS

2. THE BID’AH OF 8 RAK’ATS OF “TARAWEEH”

Explaining Ramadan Fasting to a Non-Muslim

Why do Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan??

This is a common but interesting question which a child may ask his/her parents. Non-Muslim may also pose it to a Muslim.

Here are some possible reasons why Muslims observe a marathon one-month fast during Ramadan.

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

(i) To obey Allah’s injunction

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

Fundamental to a Muslim’s faith (or belief) are six articles:

(i) belief in Allah,

(ii) belief in Angels,

(iii) belief in divine Books of Allah,

(iv) belief in all Prophets,

(v) belief in the Day of Judgement, and

(vi) belief in Pre-destination.

Articles (i) and (iii) demand that a Muslim must believe in, obey and implement, all the words of Allah contained in the Holy Qur’an.

This is because …His (Allah) word is the truth…” [Chapter 6: Verse 73] and

the truth is from your Lord, so be not at all in doubt” [Chapter 2: Verse 147]  and

“…whose word can be truer than Allah?” [Qur’an].

Thematically, Qur’an contains injunctions for mankind, allegories, stories of past events, accounts of future events, and a lot of lessons especially for Muslims. Of importance the injunctions are sometime directed to all creatures (men and jinns), or sometime to specific gender (men or women), or sometime to specific tribes (eg “Bani Israel”), or sometime to the progeny of Adam (i.e mankind), or sometime to Ahl-ul kitaab (the people of the book), or sometime to Muslims (i.e those who believe in One Allah) etc. In most cases, the injunctions of Allah to Muslims can be regarded as blessing and mercy and when fully obeyed often lead them to His straight path. Without mincing words, there is no compromise with Allah’s injunctions: every sincere and God-fearing Muslim must obey them; this is a necessary pre-condition for being a Muslim. One of His injunctions, directed to Muslims (men and women), is:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you…”  [Qur’an Chapter 2:Verse 183]

The phrase “O you who believe” is referring to: (i) those who submit to Allah’s wills and commands, (ii) those who believe in the six articles of faith, (iii) those who testify that “La ilaha illa llaha Muhammadur Rasulullah”, (iv) those who practise the five pillars of Islam, and (v) those who implement and obey Allah’s injunctions in the Qur’an and follow the sunnah of His Prophet, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

No followers of any religions satisfy these criteria of “O you who believe” except the Muslims. It is they (Muslims) that Allah is directing His injunction in 2:183 to.

The injunction prescribed fasting as a compulsory duty for them thus:

“…fasting is prescribed for you (Muslims)…” [Chapter 2: Verse 183]

and

“…whoever witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it…”  [Chapter 2:Verse 185]

Clearly, Ramadan fast is a divine injunction mandatory for all able-bodied Muslims who are free from compelling excuses. Whoever deliberately forgoes fasting in Ramadan, should know that (s)he has disobeyed Allah’s injunction and no amount of fasting thereafter can give her/him a reward equivalent to one misssed Ramadan fast as obvious in this hadeeth:

Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “whoever did not fast one day of Ramadan without a genuine excuse or a disease then even if he fasted for a complete year, it would not compensate for that (missed Ramadan) day”

_[Sahih al-Bukhari, vol 3,p.88]

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

(ii) To practice the tradition, and way of the pious people.

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

Fasting is not new to Islam; it is, indeed, as old as Adam (Alaihissalaam) who was the first creature and the first Muslim to submit to one Allah. No one knows precisely when fasting began among Adam’s progenies but it is the practice of all the Prophets of Allah and their followers. Qur’an mentions that Musa (Alaihissalaam) fasted for 40 days (see 2:51) (this is what the Jews termed “Jewish Passover”) and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) told us that Dawud (Alaihissalaam) used to fast for half of the year (this involves fasting on every alternate day). ‘Isa (Alaihissalaam) (or Jesus) was also reported to have fasted for 40 days (this is what the christians termed “the Lent”, usually observed before Easter festival). Since these Prophets were Muslims, it can be seen that by asking Muslims to fast, Allah intends to draw their attention to the practice and tradition of those pious predecessors who attained piety (in His sight) through fasting.

“O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for people before you …” [2:183]

This verse shows that fasting was observed by the people (i.e “ahl-ul kitaab”) who came to the scene before the Muslims and so it is a “sunnat Allah” (i.e a tradition approved by Allah) for those who lived aforetime and for the Muslims who are now the best generation ever raised for mankind (3:110). Qur’an says:

“(As for) the sunnat Allah (approved) for those who lived aforetime, no change will you find in (such) sunnat-Allah” [33:43]

Therefore, Ramadan fast should be seen as a propagation of the tradition approved by Allah for all those who submit to Him.

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

To learn how to attain piety

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

By the very nature of human beings, they are susceptible to sins and transgression of Allah’s limits. This may be due to their ignorance, worldly struggle for ephemeral and tantalizing things, or satan’s handiwork.

In particular, Muslims are warned against gossiping, backbiting, slandering, hypocrisying, lying, cheating, duping, hatring, nursing grudge, keeping malice, fornicating as these vices negate the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

But since Muslims are like any human beings created to err as a result of forgetfulness, they need to be reminded and coached against any social vices from time to time. This will requires a fixed training period where Muslims will know and learn how to put an end to vices, learn virtues and get nearer to Allah. That training period is chosen by Allah to be the Ramadan fast which occurs once in every year.

During Ramadan:

(a) compulsory five daily salaat are observed regularly and timely (this is to remind and train the mindless Muslims that salaat is an all-time duty for them);

(b) Zakat-ul fitr is paid on or before the ‘id al-Fitr (the festival that commemorates the end of Ramadan fast) (Zakat-ul fitr is to teach Muslims to do sadaqah and to remind them that after zakat-ul fitr they should not forget to pay on time their annual divine obligatory Zakaat, the fourth pillar of Islam);

(c) Tarawih and Tahajjud prayers are observed in the evening and night of Ramadan (this is to teach Muslims to observe nawafil (i.e additional) prayers after Ramadan so as to increasetheir iman and get their supplications to Allah accepted promptly);

(d) Doubtful hobby such as smoking is stopped (this is to train Muslims to be frugal as Allah hates extravagancy and to save themselves from diseases such as Tuberclosis, Cancer, and heart attack known to be associated with smoking and premature death);

(e)  Videos/pictures are avoided and kept away (this is to free Muslims’ hearts and eyes from corruption and from shaitan’s whisperings to do evil deeds);

(f) Excessive intake of food is avoided (this regulates the stomach from being pot-bellied and distinguishes Muslims from kaafir whom Qur’an describes as those who eat like cattle (47:12)); etc. All these good things which Ramadan fast teaches Muslims are the means to attain piety.

This is why the verse on Ramadan fast says: “O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you…so that you will (learn how to attain) piety”  [Quran Chapter 2:Verse 183]

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

(iv) To reap the full reward of the Night of Power (Layltul Qadr)

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

The last book of Allah to His creatures, Al-Qur’an, was revealed in the night of Ramadan. What this means is that the first divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) took place in the Night of Ramadan. Allah chose the night because of the special blessings in it. It is called the night of Power (Laylatil Qadr) or the night of blessing (Laulat-ul mubarak). The deed in this night is better than the rewards of deeds of 1,000 months (about 83.3 years). Let suppose that a man survived up to 100 years and he consciously witnessed 93 nights of Power, he would have in his account more than 7,750 rewards which exclude all other rewards he earned from doing virtuous deeds. It is this night that all Muslims are invited by Allah to look for in the month of Ramadan. Specifically, the night is in the last ten days of Ramadan and usually in one of the odd days (i.e. 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29th). A Muslim is expected to perform naafilah, recite the Qur’an, do dhikr etc in the night. Since no one knows precisely which of the odd days is the night, Muslims are expected to be in seclusion (i’tikaf) during the last 10 days of Ramadan and the best place to do so is in the mosque.

It should be mentioned that the Angels descend in succession during the night of Power and they go round with special greeting of “peace” till day break when they will move back to their position. The number of these angels is uncountable and they descend with special command of Allah. The following chapter of the Qur’an details the event of the night of Power thus:

“Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what the night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) Peace” (continuously) till the rise of Morning!”  [Chapter 97: Verse 1-5]

Who will like to miss the Night after reading this description?? It is this very reason that every Muslim wants to witness and reap its full blessing by fasting during the days of the month of Ramadan. As Ramadan fast is inextricably tied to the Night of Power (see Qur’an2:183) it follows that any Muslim who wishes to benefit from the Night of Power must fast during the month of Ramadan. Qur’an says:

“Ramadan is the (month) in which Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and a clear guidance and judgement (so that mankind will distinguish right from wrong). Whoever among you witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it…”  [Chapter 2: Verse 183]

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

(v) To show to Muslims how to get their past sins forgiven

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

Islam is a religion that stresses equality: both the poor and the rich (men or women) are equal as slaves in the sight of Allah. In Islam the surest way to obtain Allah’s forgiveness for one’s past sins is Pilgrimage (the fifth pillar of Islam) which unfortunately is easy for the rich to afford the cost of the journey. The All-wise, Allah, did not put the poor Muslims in limbo, rather He made fasting during Ramadan as a means of placing the poor and the rich on equal footing in terms of asking for forgiveness for their past sins. If a Muslim has no means of going for hajj, there should be a way to compensate him/her. The All-wise has chosen Ramadan for all Muslims to get their past sins forgiven as evident in this hadith:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “…whoever fasts during Ramadan with sincere faith and hoping for his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven”  [Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.3 p.70].

Therefore, Ramadan fast unites Muslims and bring them together as equal slaves who can be forgiven of their past sins devoid of discrimination in the sight of Allah.

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

(vi) To show that Fasting is the epitome of the five pillars of Islam

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

Islam is built upon five pillars. The third pillar is siyam (i.e fasting during Ramadan). The wisdom behind its third position is because it is a fulcrom upon which the other four pillars (Tawheed, and salaat are in first and second positions while zakat and Hajj are in the fourth and fifth positions) are balanced. It is the only pillar that encompases all the four other pillars in the sense that:

(a) before one observes fast, s(he) must be a Muslim, sane, matured, and free from excuses (such as menstruation, illness, travelling long-distances, child-birth bleeding, etc). And since a Muslim is required to proclaim Shahada (i.e Tawheed, the first pillar of Islam), fasting is directly tied to shahada.

(b) Salaat is the second pillar of Islam that delineates a Muslim from one who is not; this means that a Muslim must observe salaat regularly to become a true Muslim. It follows that fasting during Ramadan without regular salaat is like using a spoon to fill a porous basket with water.

(c) Zakat (the compulsory divine tax) is aimed to redistribute the Muslims’ wealth so that the gap between the rich and the poor is bridged to a certain extent. In Ramadan, every fasting Muslim, who is free from insanity, bondage etc, must pay Zakat-ul fitr on or before the ‘Id al-Fitr day. Zakaat-ul fitr is in some sense a low-profile zakat, though aimed to achieve similar result, is completely different from zakat. Hajj is a duty which Muslims owe to Allah and it is to help the pilgrims to get their past sins forgiven. Coincidently, fasting during Ramadan has the same result. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that fasting is an epitome of the pillars of Islam. Therefore, every able-bodied Muslim must fast to learn how the other four pillars operate.

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

Conclusion

▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄

This article has discussed some reasons why Muslims do Ramadan fast.

It is not intended to delve into the subject of fasting but to help Muslims answer often repeated question: “why do Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan??.”

May Allah give us His support in this world and in the hereafter and give us strength and good health to be able to fast during the month of Ramadan.

The Mubarak Month of Ramadan – Its Virtues, Blessings, Rulings & Acts of Worship

[Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani D.B]

The Ninth month of the Islamic calendar is called “Ramadan” and it is the most meritorious month of the whole year. Since there are many specific rules peculiar to this month, we would like to deal with its characteristics in a rather detailed manner under different sections.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF RAMADAN

The Holy Qur’an has expressly told us that the basic objective for which man is created by Allah is that he worships Him:

And I did not Create Jinn and Human beings  except that they should worship Me.

The word used by the Holy Qur’an for the worship is ‘ibadah which has a much wider sense than “worship”. In English, the word “worship” normally indicates to some specific acts or rituals meant exclusively to show one’s reverence to his Creator. But the word ‘ibadah is not restricted to such acts or rituals, rather, it embodies any act done in submission to Allah’s commands and to seek His pleasure. Therefore, many acts which seem to be mundane in nature are included in the word of ‘Ibadah like earning one’s livelihood through halaal (permissible) means and in order to fulfill one’s obligations towards his dependants.

However, ‘ibadah is of two kinds. At the first place there are acts meant exclusively to worship Allah, having no worldly objective, like Salah, fasting, etc. These are direct acts of ‘Ibadah while the other kind of ‘Ibadah includes the acts which are primarily mundane, but they are converted into an ‘ibadah when they are performed in full conformity with Shariah and with an intention to discharge one’s obligations. Therefore, these acts are treated as ‘ibadah in an indirect manner. It is obvious that the direct acts of ‘ibadah should be superior to the indirect ones.

Now, while prescribing very few acts of direct ‘ibadah in one’s daily life, like the salah which is performed five times a day, Islam has left its followers mostly with the indirect acts of ‘Ibadah like eating, drinking, earning the livelihood and association with one’s wife, parents, children, parents, relatives, friends and other human beings. But the primary nature of these acts being mundane, one becomes so absorbed in their worldly pleasures that their material aspects prevail on their spiritual aspect. Therefore, these acts have less spiritual strength than the direct acts of worship.

Since the direct acts of ‘Ibadah are very few in one’s daily life as compared to the indirect ones, his spiritual progress becomes slow visa vis his material progress. The month of Ramadan has been designed to maintain a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of human life. This month is meant to maximize the direct acts of ‘ibadah and to minimize the pure mundane activities, so that one may accelerate his spiritual progress to make up the distance and to repair the spiritual loss one may have sufferred through his deep involvement in the mundane activities during the year. The days of Ramadan are designed to keep fast which is an act of ‘ibadah for the whole day, and depriving oneself from any material food for many hours, it lessens the bad spiritual effects, if any, of the material pleasures. The nights of Ramadan, on the other hand are spent in offering Tarawih and waking up for Tahajjud and suhur, reducing the time of one’s sleep much less than in the normal age. Moreover, apart from the prescribed acts of worship, one is supposed to offer as much optional (nafl) ‘ibadah in this month as he can. In this way the level of one’s spiritual activities in this month is raised up much higher than in other days of the year.

This philosophy of the month of Ramadan makes it clear that this month should be devoted to the direct acts of worship as far as possible. That is why the reward of the virtuous acts in this month has been multiplied. This is to encourage the Muslims to the maximum possible acts of ‘Ibadah.

THE MERITS OF RAMADAN

The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has mentioned the merits of Ramadan in a large number of ahadith. Some of them are reproduced here:

Salman, the Persian (radhiyallahu anhu) has reported the following: “The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) addressed us on the last day of Sha’ban wherein he said:

“O men!, a great, blessed month has cast its shadow upon you. It is a month which contains a night far better than one thousand months, a month Allah has made it obligatory to fast therein and made it commendable to stand up praying in its nights. If someone seeks Allah’s nearness by offering an optional act of worship in this month, it will be as rewarding as to offer an obligatory act of worship in this month, it will carry as much reward as the reward of performing seventy obligatory acts of worship in other days. It is the month of patience and the reward of patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy, a month in which the provision for a believer is increased. If someone provides another person with food to make iftar (terminate one’s fast by eating or drinking something) it will cause forgiveness to his sins and freeing his necks from hell and he will be awarded the same thawab as the fasting person will be rewarded for his fast, without decreasing his own thawab.

The Companions of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “O Messenger of Allah, everyone of us does not have enough food to offer for iftar to another fasting person”. The Holy Prophet said – “This Thawab will also be given to a person who offers to a fasting person one date or a drink of water or a little milk for his iftar. And this is a month the first part of which is mercy from Allah, the middle of which is the forgiveness from Allah and the last part of which is liberation from hell. If someone relaxes the burden of work from his slave in this month, Allah will forgive him his sins and will free him from the Fire. In this month you should do four acts frequently. Two acts are such that you will please your Lord through them and two are such that you can never claim to be need-free of them. As for the two acts you please Allah through them, they are: to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to seek forgiveness from Allah. And the two acts you can never be need-free of them are: to pray Allah to give you Jannah (the Paradise) and to seek refuge to Allah from the Fire. And if someone serves a drink to a fasting person. Allah will make him have such a drink from my canal (the Kauthar) that he will never get thirsty after it until he enters the Jannah“. 

This hadith gives us a detailed account of the peculiar merits of the month of Ramadan and of what we should try to do in it. The upshot of the hadith is that one should not restrict himself to fasting in this month; rather he should maximise the number of his virtuous acts and take this opportunity to seek forgiveness for his sins and to secure as much thawab as he can, by offering the nafl acts of worship including charitable acts.

In another hadith, reported by Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu anhu) the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said:

My Ummah has been given characteristic honours in the month of Ramadan which have not been given to any other ummah before.

1. The smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk

2. fishes (in the waters) keep praying Allah to forgive the fasting persons until they make iftar.

3. In every day of Ramadan, Allah decorates the Jannah and addresses it saying, “It is not too far that my righteous servants shall throw away the burdens (of the worldly life) and shall proceed towards you”.

4. The rebellious satans are shackled in this month, and they cannot do in it what they do in other days (i.e. intigating men and women to commit sins).

5. In the last night of this month, they (the fasting persons) are granted amnesty.

In a hadith narrated by ‘Ubadah bin Samit (radhiyallahu anhu) the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has been reported to have said:

Ramadan has come to you. It is the month of blessing in which Allah envelops you (with His kindness). He makes His mercy descend upon you, He forgives your sins and accepts your prayers. Allah witnesses you when you race with one another (in virtuous deeds) in this month and becomes proud of you before His angels. Therefore, show Allah the best of deeds from your side, because unfortunate is that person who deprives himself from Allah’s mercy in this month.

These ahadith are sufficient to explain the great merits Allah has invested this month with.

HOW TO SPEND RAMADAN

The month of Ramadan is the season of divine blessings. It is the month of purification. It is meant for annual renovation of the inner spiritual qualities. It is a golden opportunity for every Muslim to strengthen his ‘Iman, to purify his heart and soul and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.

This month invites a Muslim to minimize his other mundane involvements and maximize the acts of worship. One should plan his schedule for this month, before-hand, so as to spare maximum time for ‘ibadah.

Here is a brief list of the acts which should be carried oit in Ramadan with due care:

1. To offer every prayer in jama’ah in masjid.

2. To rise up a little earlier than the exact time of suhoor and to offer the salah of tahajjud. There is no prescribed number of the Tahajjud prayer. Yet, it is better to pray 8 Rak’at.

3. To offer the nafl prayers of Ishraq (two rak’at after sunrise) Duha (Four rak’at which may be performed at anytime after Ishraq before noon)  and Awwabin (six rak’at after maghrib)

4. The recitation of the Holy Qur’an. No specific limit is prescribed. But one should recite as much of it as he can.

5. Dhikr or Tasbeeh, specially the following recitations:

image

Apart from reciting these words, one hundred times each, at a particular time, they may also be continued frequently throughout the day, even if one is engaged in some light work, when walking and when in bed.

6. Prayers and supplications: No particular prayer is prescribed. One can pray for everything he needs both in this world and in the Hereafter. However, the supplications of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) are so comphrehensive that they encompass all that a Muslim can need in his life and after his death. It is, therefore, much advisable to pray Allah Almighty in the prophetic words used by the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

There are several books where these prophetic supplications have been compiled. Here is the name of two books which should be kept by every Muslim in his home and be used for praying daily:

1. Al-Hisnul Hasin by ‘Allamah al-Jazri

2. Munajaat-e-Maqbool by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

7. Sadaqah (charity): Apart from paying zakah, which is obligatory, one should also pay optional sadaqah in Ramadan according to his best ability. It is reported in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to pay special attention in Ramadan to look after the poor and to help them financially. Therefore, a Muslim should give as much money in sadaqah as he can afford.

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IN RAMADAN

All sinful acts should be avoided completely during the month of Ramadan. Although the sinful acts are totally prohibited in shariah, whether in Ramadan or at any other time, but their prohibition becomes more severe in this month. It is evident that every Muslim avoids certain lawful acts, like eating and drinking, during the fasts. If he continues to commit sins in Ramadan, it will be a mockery to avoid lawful things and yet to be engaged in unlawful acts never allowed in the shariah. Thus, the abstinence from sins becomes all the more necessary in this month.

Specially the following acts should be avoided totally:

(1) Telling a lie

(2) Gheebah or backbiting i.e. condemnation of a person in his absence.

(3) Quarelling

(The Holy Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam has particularly forbidden from it when one is in the state of fasting. He has directed us that, if someone wants to quarrel in Ramadan, we should tell him that we are fasting, hence we are not prepared to indulge in any quarrel.)

(4) eating unlawful things.

(5) earning through unlawful means.

(6) Any act which may harm a person without a valid cause.

(7) Burdening one’s servants or employees with a toilsome job beyond their ability, without providing them facilities to carry it out.

In short, one should try his best to refrain from all kinds of sins, and protect his eyes, ears, tongue and all the other organs from indulging in an unlawful activity.

Once a Muslim spends the month of Ramadan in this way, he will Insha Allah, find himself equipped with a spiritual strength which will facilitate for him to conduct a good Islamic life in accordance with the pleasure of Allah.

RULES OF FASTING

Fasting in the days of Ramadan is obligatory (Fardh) on every Muslim. The one who does not believe it to be obligatory is not a Muslim, and the one who, without a valid excuse, does not fast in a day of Ramadan is a sinner.

“Fast” means “to refrain from eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse throughout the day, right from break of the dawn upto sunset, with a clear intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah.” If somebody refrains from food, drink and sex for any reason other than seeking the pleasure of Allah, it cannot be called a “fast” in the terminology of the shariah. It is thus necessary that there should be an intention which is called the “Niyyah”.

For the fasts of Ramadan, it is advisable that the “niyyah” be made in the night i.e. before the commencement of the fast. However, if a person had no intention of keeping fast before dawn, he can also make “niyyah” in the morning at any time before midday i.e.  about 1 1/2 hours before zawal (noon). But this rule is applicable only for the fast of Ramadan and for the Nafl (optional) fasts. As for the fasts of qada’ it is always necessary to make niyyah before dawn.

Since the niyyah means intention, it is an act performed by one’s heart. It need not be pronounced in words. However, it is not permissible to express this intention in spoken words, but those who take it as ‘necessary’ to pronounce the words of ‘Niyyah’ are not correct.

Acts nullifying the fast

Acts nullifying the fast are of two kinds. In the first place there are some acts which not only nullify the fast, but also make one liable to both qada’ and kaffarah. The number of these acts is only three, namely:

(a) Eating something.
(b) Drinking something
(c) Having sexual intercourse.

These three acts are liable to kaffarah when they are committed deliberately after one has started a fast, provided that the person committed them knows that they render the fast broken.

In such cases, both qada and kaffarah are obligatory on him. Qada’ means to keep another fast in lieu of the broken one. And kaffarah means to perform an act to expiate the sin of having broken the fast.

Kaffarah may be given in the following three ways respectively:

(a) Freeing a slave.

(b)
Fasting for two months constantly.

(c) Giving food to sixty persons.

Since slavery has come to an end in our days, only the latter two ways can be adopted today. But the person who has strength enough to fast for two months constantly has been bound to fast. He cannot adopt the third way, i.e. giving food to sixty persons.

In the second place there are some acts which nullify the fast, but do not make the relevant person liable to kaffarah. In such cases only qada’ is obligatory. These acts are:

(1) Eating or drinking unintentionally, for example, while making wudu, if a drop of water slips into the throat unintentionally, the fast stands broken, but only the qada’ would be enough to compensate for the mistake.

(2) Dropping medicine or anything else in the nose or the ear.

(3) Smoking

(4) Emission of semen while touching, kissing or carressing a women.

(5) Eating or drinking under the wrong impression that the dawn has not yet broken, or the sun has set, while otherwise was true.

(6) If someone eats or drinks while he does not remember that he is in the state of fasting, his fasting is not broken. He should continue with his fast after he remembers. However, if he eats or drinks after he remembers, his fast will stand broken, and if this eating or drinking was due to his wrong impression that his fast stood broken by his first eating or drinking, he will be liable to qada’ only.

Acts rendering the fast makrooh

The following acts do npt nullify the fast, but render it makrooh in the sense that they lessen the reward of the fast. Hence, it is not advisable to indulge in any of the following acts when one is in the state of fast:

(1) Chewing something or tasting it with the tongue without eating it.

(2) Using toothpaste or toothpowder. However, cleaning teeth with a miswak or a brush (without paste or powder) is allowed.

(3) Remaining in the state of Janabah major impurity for the whole day.

(4) Giving blood to anyone.

(5) Quarelling with someone or abusing him.

(6) Gheebah i.e. to abuse or to blame someone in his absence.

(7) Telling a lie.

The latter three acts are absolutely prohibited even when one is not in the state of fasting, but they become all the mpre prohibited when one keeps fast.

Acts which are allowed

The following acts are allowed in the state of fasting:

(1) Cleaning teeth using a miswak or a brush and ears with cotton swabs

(2) Applying oil or henna to the hair.

(3) Using eye-drops or kohl (kajal/surma)

(4) Wearing perfume or feeling it.

(5) Taking a shower.

(6) Vomiting unintentionally

(7) Entrance of smoke or dust into the throat unintentionally.

(8) Ejaculation while dreaming.

(9) Bleeding from the teeth unless the blood slips into the throat.

(10) Delaying the ghusl of janabah upto the sunrise.

Cases in which fasting is not obligatory

In the following cases it is allowed for the Muslim to avoid fasting in Ramadan and to compensate it by fasting on some other days:

(1) If a person suffers from a disease which has rendered him unable to fast, or a competent doctor has expressed his apprehension that fasting may increase the disease, he can avoid fasting until when it is clear that fasting is no more injurious to his health. But after recovery he is under an obligation to perform qada’ of all the fasts he has missed due to his sickness.

(2) If a women is pregnant, and it is seriously feared that fasting may harm her or her baby, she can postpone fasting in Ramadan and may fast after delivery as qada’.

(3) If a women breast-feeds her baby, and it is seriously feared that, in case she fasts, she cannot feed her baby or her fasting may harm her or her baby, she can avoid fasting in Ramadan and perform qada’.

Fasting in Journey

(4) The one who travels to a distance of atleast 48 miles from his hometown can also postpone fasting during his journey. But if he resolves to stay in a town for more than 14 days, he is not treated as a traveller  for this purpose and he is obligated to fast in the days or Ramadan. However, if he has not made up his mind to stay in a place for more than 14 days, and he is doubtful whether he will stay for 14 days or less than that, he can also avail of the concession, unless he decides to stay for the prescribed period, i.e. more than 14 days. If he remained uncertain about his stay but stayed at a place for more than 14 days in this state of uncertainity, he will remain entitled to this concession until he resolves positively to stay for another 15 days.

Although this concession is available to every traveller who leaves his hometown to a distance of atleast 48 miles, yet if the journey is comfortable and the fasting is not very burdensome on him, it is more than advisable for him to fast for two reasons. Firstly, because such a traveller gets more thawab (reward) in case he fasts during his journey, and secondly, because if he avoids fasting while on travel, he will have to fast after Ramadan which can be more difficult for him.

But if the journey is a difficult one, and it is much burdensome to fast in such a difficult journey, then, it is more advisable for him to avoid fasting, but if fasting seems to be nearly unbearable for him, it is not lawful to keep fast in such a journey.

If someone has started fasting, then he had to travel during the day, he cannot avail concession during that day, rather he will have to complete his fast unto sunset. However, if his journey continues on to the next day, he can benefit from the concession the next day.

Conversely, if someone was on  travel in the beginning of a day, and he did not keep fast for that reason and began to eat and drink but he reached his hometown during the day, he must avoid eating or drinking after reaching his hometown unto the sunset. This abstinence from eating and drinking will not be counted as a fast, and he will have to perform qada’ of that day also, but he is directed to abstain from eating and drinking only to honour that part of the day of Ramadan which he has passed in his hometown.

(5) Fasting is prohibited for women during their monthly periods (menstruation) and during partition (i.e. normal bleeding after child-birth), but they have to perform qada’ for the fasts they have missed in such a state.

(6) Those who are allowed a concession (of not fasting) in Ramadan can eat and drunk during the day, but they should honour the day or Ramadan and should not eat or drink as far as possible at a public place or before other Muslims who are in the state of fasting.

Those who can break their fasting during the day

It is a major sin to break the fast during the day without a valid excuse. It makes one liable to kaffarah as explained earlier. However, there are situations where it becomes lawful to break a fast. These situations are as under:

Concessions given to a sick person

(a) Where a person is attacked by a severe disease, and a competent doctor opines that, if he continues with his fast, it will bring a serious danger to his life. In such a situation breaking of the fast is not only allowed, but it is obligatory.

(b) A person feels such an extreme hunger or thirst that further abstinence from eating or drinking may endanger his life. In this situation also, breaking of the fast is obligatory.

(c) In any situation where refraining from eating or drinking may create a serious danger to one’s life, it becomes lawful to break the fast.

In all these cases, the person breaking the fast is not liable to kaffarah, but he has to perform qada’  whenever the danger is removed.

Suhoor or Sehri

“Suhoor” is the meal one takes in the last hours of the night before the commencement of a fast. It is a sunnah to have suhoor. If someone has no appetite at that time, it is advisable for him to have something light. Even by having a few sips of water the sunnah of suhoor can be fulfilled. Although the suhoor can be had anytime after midnight, but it is more advisable to have it in the last hour of the night immediately before the break of dawn.

The suhoor can be continued upto the break of dawn. But in order to be on the safe side, it is advisable to refrain from eating or drinking a few minutes earlier than the break of dawn. Eating or drinking after the dawn even for a single minute renders the fast void.

If one is doubtful whether the dawn has broken or not. He should refrain from eating or drinking. However, if he eats or drinks in this state of uncertainity, his fast is valid unless it is proven later that he had eaten or drunk after the break of dawn, in which case, he will have to observe another fast.

Iftar

Iftar means to conclude a fast after sunset by eating or drinking something. It is also a sunnah to make iftar soon after sunset, and it is makrooh to delay iftar after sunset without a valid excuse. However, if someone is doubtful whether the sun has set or not, he should not make iftar unless he is sure about it, because if it is proved at any time that he had made iftar even if half a minute earlier than the sunset actually took place on his horizon, his fast will be rendered nullified and void. Similarly, if the whether is cloudy, it is advisable to delay iftar for a few minutes after the time of sunset.

No particular meal is prescribed for iftar but it is advisable to make iftar using dates because the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) generally used dates for Iftar.

It is also sunnah to recite the following dua’ (prayer) while making iftar:

image

O Allah! For you I have fasted, and in you I have believed and in You I have placed my trust and with Your provision I make my Iftar.

And after having recited the dua’ and drinking water, it is advisable to say,

image

Thirst has gone; and veins have become wet and the reward (of the fast), God-Willing, been established.

FAST OF QADA’

Whoever has missed a fast of Ramadan is liable to compensate it with fasting after Ramadan. This fast is called ‘the fast of Qada’.

Fast of Qada’ may be observed any day during the year except for the following days:

(a) First of Shawwal (Eid al-Fitr)

(b) Tenth of Zul-Hijjah (Eid ul Adha)

(c) Eleventh, Twelfth and thirteenth of Zul-hijjah. On these days fasting is strictly prohibited, so the fast of Qada’ cannot be observed on these days.

Fast of Qada’ should be observed as soon as possible after one has missed a fast of Ramadan. Delaying the performance of Qada’ without a valid reason is not desirable. If someone has missed more than one fast, he can perform qada’  for all of them continously, or with intervals. But the fasts of kaffarah should necessarily be continuous – without any interval. Any intervals makes the previous fasts nullified for the purpose of kaffarah, and one has to begin the fasts all over again.

Unlike the fast of Ramadan and optional (Nafl) fasts, in the fast of Qada’ it is necessary to make niyyah before the dawn.

If a person has an obligation to keep a large number of the fasts of qada’, he should write down the exact number of the fasts due on him. He should also make a will that if he could not fast during his lifetime, his heirs should pay fidyah (redemption from obligation not carried out) from his left over property. The amount of fidyah for one fast is one kilo and six hundred and sixty two grams of wheat or its price. If the amount of fidyah can be paid from one-third property of a deceased person who has made a will to pay fidyah, the heirs are bound to pay it from his left over property. But if the deceased made no will to pay fidyah, the heirs are not bound to pay it from his property. Similarly, if the amount of fidyah exceeds one-third of the property left by the deceased, the heirs are not liable to pay the excess, unless they wish to do so by their free-will.

TARAWIH

Another important feature of the month of Ramadan is Tarawih. It is a special salah (prayer) consisting of 20 rak’ats which is performed immediately after ‘Isha prayer. This salah is Sunnah Mua’kkadah (repeatedly emphasized), and should not be missed. The Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

“Allah has made fasting in Ramadan obligatory, and I have made the special prayer of Ramadan (i.e. Tarawih) a Sunnah.”

It is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah ‘alal kifayah to perform tarawih in jama’ah. It means that it is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah for the people of every mosque to arrange for the jama’at of the tarawih. If a person after being sure that the jama’ah of the tarawih, is being held in his mosque, performs the Tarawih in his home without jama’ah, the sunnah of the Tarawih is discharged, but he will be deprived of the great thawab (reward) of praying with the jama’ah. So, one should perform the Tarawih  in the mosque as far as possible.

It is also a Sunnah to complete the recitation of the whole Qur’an in Tarawih in Ramadan. It is thus advisable to request a hafiz (one who has memorized the Holy Qur’an by heart) to lead the prayer of Tarawih. However, paying any fee to the hafiz for this purpose is not allowed. If no such hafiz is available, the  Tarawih should be led by any Imam, and he can recite in it whatever Surahs of the Holy Qur’an he remembers.

As a general practice, the Holy Qur’an is completed in most of the mosques a few days before the end of Ramadan, on the 27th night or even earlier. In such a case, Tarawih should be continued till the last night of Ramadan with recitation of different surahs. Those who leave Tarawih after the completion of the Holy Qur’an are not correct, because Sunnah of the Tarawih remains unchanged unto the last night.

The time of Tarawih begins after the performance of the obligatory (Fard) prayers of ‘Isha. Therefore, the one who has not performed the Fard prayer of ‘Isha cannot join the prayer of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of ‘Isha first, then join the Tarawih. If he missed some rak’at of tarawih, he can complete it after witr. For example, a person came to the mosque when the Imam has performed four rak’at of Tarawih. He should perform the Fard of ‘Isha first, then join the Jama’ah for Tarawih. If he has missed 4 or 6 rak’ats of Tarawih, he should also perform the witr prayer with the imam, then pray 4 or 6 rak’ats he has missed on his own, individually.

Laylatul Qadr

One of the most meritorious aspects of the month of Ramadan is that it contains Laylatul Qadr, the most blessed night of the year. It is the night which Allah Almighty chose to reveal the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an has mentioned that this night is better than one thousand months . It means that the worship performed in this night brings more rewards than the worship performed in one thousand months. The authentic Traditions of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mention that, in this night, Allah Almighty directs His special mercy towards the people of earth, accepts the supplications made by His slaves and forgives a large number of people who repent and pray.

Laylatul Qadr falls in one of the last five odd nights of Ramadan i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th. According to the authentic sources, Laylatul Qadr falls in any one of these nights alternately. The purpose of this alternation is that one should spend all the five nights in worship and prayers, so that he may find Laylatul Qadr with certainty.

No special kind of worship is prescribed for Laylatul Qadr. The night should be spent by offering as much nafl prayers as one can offer, in the recitation of Holy Qur’an, in dhikr and tasbeeh, in supplications and in making sadaqah (charity).

It is not advisable in this night to hold ceremonies or meetings or delivering long lectures or illuminating the mosques. This is a night meant for developing a special connection with one’s Creator, for offering acts of worship in solitude and seclusion, for having constant and exclusive vontact with his Lord, who is the Lord of the universe, for minimizing the diversity of thoughts and actions and for devoting oneself to Allah Almighty with his heart and soul.

This purpose can seldom be achieved in congregations and assemblies. That is why the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) never tended to celebrate this night by lectures, meetings, illumination or even by offering prayers in jama’ah. Instead, he used to perform acts of worship individually, and in solitude.

Sayyidah ‘Aaysha (radhiyallahu anha) once asked the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as to what dua’ (supplication) she should recite in Laylatul Qadr. The Holy Prophet taught her the following dua’:

image

Allah, you are surely most forgiving and You like forgiving. So, forgive me.

The best way to benefit from the blessings of this night is to keep awake for the whole night and spend it in worship and prayers. But people who cannot do so for any reason should spare atleast a considerable part of the night for  acts of worship. Atleast 8 rak’at should be prayed after midnight as tahajjud, some part from the Holy Qur’an should be recited and the supplications of the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) should be offered. Dhikr or tasbeeh should be constantly recited, specially the follow dhikr has numerous merits:

image

Even when one is not in the state of wudhu, the dhikr and the tasbeeh may be recited. Similarly, the dhikr may also be performed during other states, while walking or in bed.

I’TIKAF

Another unique form of worship in this month is i’tikaf in which a person gives up all his activities, abandons his attachments, associations and routines amd enters the mosque for a specific period.

Islam does not approve monasticism which is based upon the concept that Allah’s pleasure cannot be attained without abandoning all worldly activities for ever. The Holy Qur’an has expressly condemned this concept. Islam has, instead, emphasized on earning one’s livelihood through permissible means, on one’s mingling with his family members and on discharging all the obligations toward his wife, children, relative, neighbours and other acquantaints. But at the same time, as explained earlier in more detail, sometimes one’s deep involvement in these activities slows down his spiritual progress. In order to repair this loss, a Muslim is required to spare a time in which he separates himself from the normal routine of worldly activities and to sit in seclusion, devoting his heart and soul for pure spiritual acts. I’tikaf is a beautiful way to carry out this objective. In I’tikaf one leaves his home and family and undertakes to remain in the mosque for a limited period. This unique mode of worship can be done any time in the year. However, it has been declared as a Sunnah Mu’akkadah in the last ten days of Ramadan, because Ramadan is the most suitable time to carry out this worship. Moreover, the last ten days of Ramadan are the days in which Laylatul Qadr normally occurs and as explained earlier, its definite time is unknown. It may occur in any one of the odd nights of these days. When one is in the state of I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan, he can surely benefit from its infinite merits, because even if he is sleeping in the laylatul Qadr, while he is in the State of I’tikaf, it will be credited to his account as ‘worship’ in the laylatul Qadr, because each and every second in the state of i’tikaf is ‘ibadah, even if one is eating, drinking or sleeping. This extraordinary privilege cannot be attained in one’s home. That is why the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to perform i’tikaf every year in Ramadan.

The detailed injunctions and regulations of i’tikaf are explained in my book ‘The Rules of I’tikaf’ and it is not proper to reproduce all of them here. However, some fundamental rules of I’tikaf are summarized here:

Some Rules on I’tikaf

1. I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan is sunnah ‘alal kifayah. It means that in each mosque, atleast one person should sit in I’tikaf. If he does so, the requirement of Sunnah is fulfilled for the whole locality. However, of no person performs I’tikaf, the whole locality is responsible for not observing the sunnah. Therefore, the residents of the locality should make sure that some person is performing i’tikaf in their mosque. If no such person is available, they should prepare someone to do so.

2. The time of this i’tikaf comences immediately after the sunset of the twentieth day of Ramadan. Therefore, a person who wants to sit in i’tikaf, must enter the mosque before sunset on that day. So that the sunset takes places while he is in the mosque.

3. The main requirement for the valid I’tikaf is that one remains in the limits of the mosque throighout the period of I’tikaf and never comes out of it, except for the necessities like easing oneself by attending the call of nature.

4. The “limits of the mosque” for the purpose of I’tikaf are restricted to the places meant for offering salah and determined as such by the founders of the mosque or by its administration. Therefore, the places like the place of ablution, toilets etc, are not included in the “limits of a mosque” for the purpose of i’tikaf. Therefore, if a person enters these places without the aforesaid necessity, his i’tikaf shall terminate.

5. One can go out of the mosque during i’tikaf only for the following needs:

(i) to answer the call of nature

(ii) to make obligatory ghusl, i.e. in the state on impurity (janabah) (it should be remembered that it is not allowed during i’tikaf to go out of the mosque for having a non-obligatory bath, like the bath of Friday etc).

(iii) to bring food where no other person is available to bring it. In this case it is allowed either to bring food to the mosque or to have food elsewhere outside the mosque.

(iv) to offer the jumu’ah prayer, if no Jumu’ah prayer is offered in the same mosque in which he is sitting in the I’tikaf.

(v) to move to another mosque in the event of a serious danger to one’s life or property.

5. It is advisable that a person performing I’tikaf avoids all necessary activities and spends the most of his time in the acts of worship, like salah, recitation of the Holy Qur’an or making dhikr or tasbih. However, it is makruh to remain silent totally.

6. The following acts results in terminating the I’tikaf:

(i) To leave the mosque even for a moment without the aforesaid needs

(ii) To remain outside the mosque after fulfilling the aforesaid needs.

(iii) To have sexual intercourse or emission through some other intentional acts like kissing, cuddling etc. which are totally prohibited in I’tikaf.

(iv) Any act which breaks one’s fast, like eating, drinking etc. (Since fasting is a pre-condition for a valid masnun I’tikaf, the ‘itikaf is automatically terminated by breaking of the fast).

7. If the I’tikaf is terminated for any reason, it becomes obligatory on the relevant person that he makes qada’ of the I’tikaf for one day only (He need not to perform I’tikaf for ten days), for example, A started a masnun I’tikaf on 21st night of Ramadan with intention to sit in i’tikaf for ten days, but on the 25th of Ramadan he came out of the mosque mistakenly or unconsciously. His i’tikaf is thus terminated. Now, he has to make qada’ of one day only. He needs not to repeat the i’tikaf for ten days, nor for five days. He is required to make qada’ only for one day. Therefore, he can discharge this obligation by starting i’tikaf for one day, either in the same Ramadan or after Ramadan by keeping a nafl fast, or in the next Ramadan. If he elects to perform qada’ in the same Ramadan, he can sit in i’tikaf before the sunset of 25th Ramadan (in which his i’tikaf was terminated) and observe i’tikaf upto the sunset of 26th. His obligation will be discharged. Then, he is at liberty to either go home or to continue his i’tikaf as nafl (and not as sunnah or wajib).

[Taken from the Book: Islamic Months by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani]

Further Reading: Fiqh of Siyam [Fasting]

The Sunnah of Dusting the Bed-Sheet Before Sleep

DUSTING OF BED-SHEET..
Very Valuable Information!

The wisdom behind dusting one bed sheet before sleeping.
Why should we dust our bed sheets??
                                                            This is what we’re going to reveal and here is where the scientific challenge and the conclusion by western scientists:

When someone sleeps some dead cells die and are dropped onto his bed sheet.. 
                                                            And whenever he wakes up he leaves it behind and hence it accumulates.  
                                                           This dead cells are invisible by naked eyes and can hardly be destroyed.  
                                                             When the quantity of these dead cells increases they easily penetrate back into the body causing serious sickness… May Allâh forbid.  
                                                             These western science tried to destroy the cell using various disinfectant such as dettol and the like, but all in vain… The dead cells neither moved nor disappear.    
                                                     
One of scientist said, he tried the dusting as in the Hadith three times and was astonished to find that all the dead cells disappeared!!       
                                          
The Prophet ﷺ said:                                                
“Whoever goes to his bed, he should dust his bed three times, because he doesn’t know what was left behind”…. Most people think it is a way of eliminating small insects but don’t know that the issue is so much greater than that…  
                                                            It is very sad to find that most of us ignored such teachings of the Prophet ﷺ.

Please spread this message and let the whole world know that whatever ALLÂH commands is for the benefit of man kind. سُبْحَانَ اللهِ.

THE WIFE, AN AMAANAT – FOR HUSBANDS TO MEDITATE

[Majlisul Ulama]

We offer husbands a prescription which will ensure happiness in the home – a prescription which is designed to overcome incompatibility between spouses. It is the prescription of the Qur’aan­ the prescription of the Sunnah.

Both husband and wife are the makhlooq (creation) of Allah Ta’ala. In His infinite wisdom, Allah Ta’ala has assigned different rights, duties and obligations to the variety of specimens of His makhlooq. Allah Ta’ala has assigned the wife to the care of the husband. She is His makhlooq whom He has placed in the custody of the husband. Allah Ta’ala has awarded custody of the wife to the husband by way of Amaanat (Sacred Trust), not by way of mielkiyyat (ownership). As such, the wife in the custody of her husband and under his jurisdiction is a Sacred Trust. She is the sole property of Allah Ta’ala – and of no one else.

THE AMAANAT

Normally, the rule of Amaanat is that the Ameen (Trustee) is under compulsory obligation to maintain and guard the Amaanat. He is not permitted to derive any personal benefit or use from or with the Amaanat. However, Allah Ta’ala in His infinite mercy has bestowed to the husband the right to derive comfort, rest, peace and benefit from the Sacred Trust we call The Wife.

In the first instance the wife has been brought within the fold of the husband’s custody in the Name of Allah Azza Wa Jal. It is with Allah’s Name that the derivation of Benefit has been made Halaal. This permission to derive benefit from the Sacred  Amaanat is the Nikah contract. When the husband accepts the Amaanat of the Wife from Allah Ta’ala, he solemnly pledges to His Khaaliq (Creator) that he will derive the permitted benefit from the Amaanat within the Divine Code prescribed by Allah’s Constitution, viz., the Shariah. When the husband accepts the Amaanat of Allah Azza Wa Jal at the Nikah ceremony, he sincerely, wholeheartedly and solemnly pledges to Allah Ta’ala that he will honour the Pledge and guard the Amaanat in exactly the manner in which Allah Ta’ala has commanded in His Shariah. He pledges to fulfil all the rights of the Amaanat.

THE PLEDGE

Now since the husband has made this pledge with Allah Ta’ala and taken the wife into his custody in Allah’s Name, he should understand that the slightest  abuse of the sacred Trust is an act of great perfidy. Abuse of the Amaanat – failing in the observance of the Huqooq of the wife, verbally abusing her, physically assaulting her, mentally abusing her, leaving her in suspense and causing her any takleef whatsoever, are treacherous acts against the Pledge the husband had given to Allah Ta’ala.

It is of imperative importance that the husband understands that Allah Ta’ala has assigned the wife to his custody not only for his sexual pleasure. There are numerous rights and obligations which the divine legalization of this benefit brings in its wake. Many husbands, due to gross ignorance of the requisites of the sacred Pledge by which they accept the Sacred Trust, labour under the massive misconception that they are accepting the Amaanat only for the derivation of the benefit of lawful conjugal relations. It is precisely due to this ignorance and misconception that they do not consider themselves bound by the demands of the Amaanat  Pledge. Thus, the slightest annoyance, incompatibility, indifference and indiscretion by the wife culminates in dispute, argument, abuse and impatience with all the misery which daily every married couple suffers.

ALLAH’S PROPERTY

It is essential that the husband understands that when he deals with his wife, he deals with Allah’s property. Abusing Allah’s property is tantamount to treachery. It is a grave crime, the consequences of which cannot be escaped here in this world, nor in the Aakhirah. The husband has to necessarily reflect and meditate before he submits to his emotional dictates of impatience, and anger. Before he opens his mouth to emit a torrent of abuse or before he lifts his hand or before he acts disgustingly or spitefully, he should briefly meditate and remind himself that he is dealing with the property of Allah Ta’ala whom He has assigned to his custody.

Even if the wife fails in the execution of her duties to her husband, he has to understand that in whatever he desires to implement in his endeavour for the acquisition of his lawful rights, he deals with Allah’s property. As such he can only refer to the limits prescribed by the Shariah. He may not trespass one iota beyond those limits. If he does, he comes within the purview of Allah’s Warning: “These are the prescribed limits of Allah. Whoever transgresses these limits, verily, he has committed great oppression on his own soul.” – Qur’aan

HER ATTRIBUTES

Incompatibility between the spouses, especially in this era when Islamic values and understanding have been eroded – when marriage is no longer regarded as a Pledge with Allah – ­when the aim is merely sexual gratification and when the lifestyle is almost totally in emulation of the libertine cult of the west, then what do you expect? When a man ventures into marriage, he should do so fully understanding the many pitfalls and hazards which accompany his acceptance of the Amaanat. Marriage is never a bed of roses as stupid people believe prior to embarking on this voyage. Someone asked Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) about marriage. He replied: “When you marry, you embark on the ship, and when the child is born, the ship sinks.”

Furthermore, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has given the husband advance notice of two peculiarities of the wife: (1) She has been created from a crooked rib, and (2) She is Naaqisatul Aql (Deficient in intelligence). These two Allah-given attributes of the wife are the greatest mitigating factors to mellow her indiscretion and tempestuous emotional eruptions. They are in fact tacit commands for the husband to exercise caution and wisdom, and to act with circumspect when he deals with Allah’s Banndi – His Amaanat whom the husband has accepted in Allah’s Name.

Her creation from Hadhrat Aadam’s rib and her deficiency in intelligence do not mean that she is stupid. These attributes merely apprize the husband of her natural quality of haste and short sightedness. She naturally blurts out hurtful words and acts with indiscretion. Her thinking process generally comes into operation after the action of her tongue. Now that Allah Ta’ala has already apprized the husband of these inborn traits of the Amaanat. He has assigned to the care of the husband, the latter has to be exceptionally careful when the wife lapses into indiscretion and short sightedness.

If the husband develops by meditation the understanding that his wife is Allah’s property and His Amaanat, he will be more careful before he acts to find coolness for his anger and temper in torrents of verbal, physical and mental abuse. Whenever he feels constrained by his temper and other emotional dictates to sully the Amaanat in his care, then it is Waajib for him to ruminate on her being Allah’s property.

HIS ABUSE

When Allah Azza Wa Jal will question him, the emphasis will be on his abuse of Allah’s property, not on her indiscretion which led her to fail in observing his rights. The husband must understand that he is empowered to display his annoyance and anger, and to institute measures of punishment only in the way commanded by Allah Ta’ala for the goodness and welfare of the wife herself. The husband is not allowed by Allah Ta’ala to neglect theAmaanat by neglecting her moral and spiritual ta’leem and  tarbiyat. Thus, the action which he has to implement even at the cost of the wife’s displeasure pertains to only the Law of Allah Ta’ala which places the husband under obligation to display annoyance in certain aspects.

But, in the matter of his personal desires, likes and dislikes, it is imperative that the husband exercises the greatest patience and understanding. He will cultivate these virtues once he fully comprehends that he has Allah’s Amaanat in his custody and that he is dealing with Allah’s property, not with his personal property. He will have to answer for the abuse he commits on this Sacred Amaanat. If husbands always meditate on this dimension of the Nikah, i.e. they are dealing with Allah’s Property, Insha’Allah, much of the unhappiness will be prevented.

An important and a very beneficial consequence of the husband’s toleration due to his understanding that he has Allah’s Property with him, is that Allah Ta’ala will bestow the wife with taufeeq to correctly discharge her obligations and fulfil the rights of the husband. The bottom line for a successful marriage and happiness is the Shariah and the Sunnah.

The Disease of Ghuluww [Committing Excess in Faith]

Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Usmani

Excess  in  Faith

O  people  of  the  Book,  be  not  excessive  in  your  Faith and  do  not  say  about  Allah  anything  but  the  truth… [Qur’an  4: 171]

In  this  verse,  the  People  of  the  Book  have  been  asked  not  to  indulge  in  excess  in  matters  relating  to  their  Faith.  Lexically,  the  Qur’anic  word:  al-Ghuluww  means  to  cross  the  limits  or  transgress.  In  Ahkam  al-Qur’an,  Imam  al-Jassas says:

Excess  in  Faith  is  crossing  the  limit  set  therein.

The  People  of  the  Book,  that  is,  the  Jews  and  the  Christians  were  both  made  addressees  of  this  injunction  because  excess  in  Faith  is  the common  factor  between  them.  Both  groups  have  fallen  victims  to  nothing  but  excess  in  matters  of  Faith.  The  Christians  committed  excess  in  believing  and  honouring  Sayyidna  ‘Isa  (alayhissalaam)  when  they  went  on  to  the  extreme  of  taking  him  to  be  God  or  son  of  God  or  the  third  God.  As  for  Jews,  they  committed  excess  in  disbelieving  and  rejecting  him  –  not  simply  that  they  did  not  accept  him  even  as  a  prophet,  they  were  audacious  enough  to,  God  forbid,  impute  a  false accusation  to  his  revered  mother,  Sayyidah  Maryam  and  to  cast  a  slur  against  her  parentage.

Since  the  disastrous  deviation  of  Jews  and  Christians  in  matters  of  Faith  was  a  common  scene  of  the  time,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  specially  instructed  his  community  to  be  very  careful  about  it.  According  to  a  report  from  Sayyidina  ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu anhu)  appearing  in  the  Musnad  of  Ahmad,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  said:

Do  not  exaggerate in  my  praise  as  was  done  by  Christians  in the  case  of  ‘lsa  son  of  Maryam  (alayhissalaam).  Beware,  I  am  only  a  servant.  So,  call  me  a  servant  of  Allah  and  His  messenger.  [This  narration  has  also  been  reported  by  al-Bukhari  and  Ibn  al-Madini  rating  it  as  sound  and  authentically  reported] 

In  brief,  the  sense  of  what  he  said  is:  I  am  one  with  everyone  in  being  a  servant  of  Allah  and  a  human  being.  The  highest  rank  I  have  is  that  I  am  a  Messenger  of  Allah.  Raising  it  higher  to  the  limit  that  you  go  about  taking  me  as  partner  in  the  attributes  of  Almighty  Allah is  excess  and  I  do  not  want  you  to  fall  into  this  excess  like  the  Christians.  This  excess  in  Faith  practiced  by  the  Jews  and  Christians  did  not  remain  limited  to  prophets  only.  Once  used  to  it,  they  extended  this  attitude  of  theirs  to  the  apostles,  followers  and  deputies  of  the  prophets.  They  had  already  assigned  Godhood  to  their  prophet,  now  they  invested  the  followers  of  the  prophet  with  immunity  from  sin.  While  doing  so,  they  did  not  even  take  the  trouble  of  investigating  and  making  sure  if  such  followers  were  genuine  followers  of  the  prophet and  who  correctly  and  firmly  adhered  to  his  teachings,  or  they  were  no  more  than  hereditary  religious  scholars  and  guides.  This  resulted  in  the  emergence  of  a  leadership  which  was  astray  in  itself  and  could  do  nothing  but  keep  adding  to  the  strayings  of  others.  So,  they  ruined  their  Faith  by  practicing  it  erroneously  from  within.  The  Holy  Qur’an  has  described  this  very  condition  of  these  people  in  the  verse (that  is,  these  people  took  their  religious  leaders  as  objects  of  worship,  other  than  Allah). It  means  that  they  had  already  been  excessive  in  making  their  prophet  a  God,  then,  they  started  worshipping  later-day  religious  leaders  in  the  name  of  following  the  prophet!

The  lesson  to  be  learnt  is  that  excess  in  Faith  is  a  dangerous  attitude  which  has  destroyed  the  Faiths  of  earlier  religious  communities  all  in  the  fair  name  of  Faith.  So  serious  were  the  implications  that  our  noble  master  devised  perfect  defences  to  keep  his  community  safe  against  this  terrible  epidemic.

It  appears  in  Hadith  that  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  asked  Sayyidina ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Abbas  (radhiyallahu  anhu)  on  the  occasion  of  Hajj  that  he  should  go  and  collect  pebbles  which  he  could  use  to  throw  at  the  Jamarat.  He  returned  with  average-sized  pebbles  and  presented  them to  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  who  liked  them  very  much  and  said twice:  (a like  these,  like  these)  which  means  that  one  should  do   his  or  her  ramy  at  Jamarat  using  average-sized  pebbles  like  these. Then,  he  said: 

It  is  your  duty  to  avoid  excess  in  Faith  for  communities  before you  were  destroyed  because  of  being  excessive  in  their  Faith.  

Important  Rules  of  Guidance

Some  important  rules  come  out  from  this  hadith:

1.  The  masnoon  limit  placed  on  pebbles  thrown  at  the  Jamaraat  during  the  Hajj  is  that  they  should  be  average  in  size,  neither  too  small  nor  too  big.  Throwing  big  rocks  is  included  under  excess  in  Faith.

2.  The  legal  limit  of  everything  is  what  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  has  left  determined  by  his  word  and  deed.  Going  beyond  this  limit  is  ghuluww,  excess  in  Faith.

3.  Precisely  defined,  excess  in  Faith  is  the  crossing  of  the  masnoon  limit  set  for  doing  something.

The  Limits  of  Materialism

The  greed  for  worldly  wealth  and  luxury  beyond  the  level  of  need  is  considered  blameworthy  in  Islam.  Instructions  to  observe  restraint  against  such  urges  are  profusely  spread  out  in  the  Qur’an.  But,  the Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  while  prohibiting  attachment  to  wordly  life greedily,  has  set  its  proper  limits  by  his  word  and  deed.  He  declared  marriage  to  be  his  way  and  pursuaded  others  to  follow  his  example. He  explained  the  many-faceted  blessings  of  having  children.  To  live  nicely  and  wisely  with  the  family  and  to  fulfill  the  rights  of  everyone properly  were  things  he  prescribed  as  obligatory.  To  work  for  one’s  family  and  earn  a  good  living  was  what  he  called  an  obligation  after the  obligation  (Fareedhah ba’d al-Fareedhah). He  laid  stress  on  people  to  engage  in  business,  agriculture,  industry  and  labour.  The  establishment  of  an  Islamic  Nation  and  government  and  the  promotion  of  a  system  governed  by  Islam  was  something  he  declared  to  be  part  of  the  mandate  of prophethood.  Thus,  by  acting  in  accordance  with  it,  he  went  on  to  establish  a  state  system  throughout  the  Arabian  peninsula  which  was  later  extended  to  other  parts  of  the  world  in  the  East  and  the  West.  All  this  shows  that  being  engaged  in  these  pursuits  within  the  limits  of  need  is  not  counted  as  gross  love  of  the material  nor  as  greed  and  avarice.

The  Jews  and  Christians  did  not  realize  the  truth  of  the  matter  and  got  themselves  involved  in  monasticism.  The  Holy  Qur’an  has  refuted  this  uncalled  for  involvement  of  theirs  by  saying: 

It  means  that  they  took  to  ways  of  monasticism  which  were  not  prescribed  for  them  by  Allah  except  that  they  were  to  seek  the  pleasure  of  Allah  Then,  they  failed  to  fulfill  the  conditions  of  what  they  had  themselves  imposed.  [see Qur’an 57:27]

The  Limits  of  Sunnah  and  Bid’ah

By  his  word  and  deed,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  has,  in  everything  such  as  religious  acts  of  worship  and  social  transactions  and  dealings,  demarcated  the  limits  of  moderation.  Any  deviation  from  these  limits,  whether  it  be  in  falling  behind  or  in  pushing  ahead  of  them,  is  forbidden  for  it  leads  a  believer  astray  from  the  right  path.  It was  for  this  reason  that  he  has  very  emphatically  blocked  the  incursion  of  bid’at (self-promoted  innovations  in  established  religion)  and  muhdathat:  (the  embracing  of  everything  appearing  recent  and  novel  in  a  given  time  as  if  a  part  of  established  religion  which,  in  our  time,  are  introduced  under  the  fancy  garbs  of  recension  and modernity).  Let  us,  therefore,  remember  what  he  said:

“Every  Bid’ah  is  straying  and  every  straying  ends  in Jahannam.”  

The  word  Bid’ah  used  In  the  hadith  refers  to  everything  (assumed to  be  a  part  of  religion)  which  is  not  there  in  the  word  and  deed  of  the Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  clearly  or  through  hint.  Hadrat  Shah Waliyyullah  has  said  that  Islam  condemns  Bid’ah  as  a  serious  offence because  it  opens  the  doors  to  alteration  in  religion.  This  is  what  happened  with  earlier  religious  communities.  They  added  up  things  on their  own  to  what  their  Book  said  and  their  prophet  taught.  Then came  another  generation,  and  the  generations  that  followed,  each  adding  its  share  to  the  original.  Finally,  everything  got  so  mixed  up  that  it  became  impossible  to  identify  the  true  religion  as  distinct  from  the  additions  introduced  by  its  adherents.

In  his  famous  book,  Hujjatullah  al-Balighah,  he  has  also  given details  of  circumstances  under  which  efforts  have  been  made  all  over the  world  to  inject  alterations  in  the  religion  of  Islam.  He  has  also  pointed  out  to  the  concern  shown  by  the  Shari’ah  of  Islam  which  has installed  defensive  mechanisms  on  all  such  doors  of  incursion  so  that  there  remains  no  single  outlet  through  which  this  disease  could  hit  the  Muslim  community  in  epidemic proportions.

The  Moderate  Course  in  honouring  and  following  religious leaders

One  such  cause  referred  to  above  is  the  practice  of  excess  in  Faith  (Ghuluww fid Deen). Two  factors  distinctly  contribute  to  the  emergence  of  this  attitude:  Firstly,  the  desire  to  undertake  deep  investigations  unnecessarily  or  to  be  involved  in  far-fetched  interpretations;  and  secondly,  the  choice  of  a  hardened  stance.  It  is  a  matter  of  great  regret  that, despite  so  much  elaborations  made  by  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  and  active  restrictions  placed  by  the  Shari’ah  of  Islam,  the  Muslim community  is  suffering  fatally  from  this  very  disease  of  excess.  Its  fallout  can  be  distinctly  noticed  in  all  departments  of  our  Faith.  Out  of  these,  the  field  most  affected  is  that  of  religious  leaders  where  the  question  is:  Whom  to  follow?

Stretching  between  two  extremes,  a  group  of  Muslims  has  gone  far  out  by  holding  that  there  is  no  such  thing  as  a  religious  leader  or  teacher  or  ‘alim  or  Shaykh.  They  would  say:  ‘The  Book  of  Allah  is  suffi- cient  for  us  If  they  understand  the  Book  of  Allah  so  do  we  –  – ‘They  are  men,  so  are  we.’  The  result  was  that  every  ambitious  pseudo-intellectual  –  unlettered  in  Arabic  and  uninitiated  into  the  facts  of  and  insights  into  the  Qur’an  and  unfamiliar  with  the  exegetical  clarifications  given  by  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  –  considered  it  sufficient  to  look  at  translations  of  the  Qur’an  and  be  hoisted  as  a scholar  of  the  Qur’an!  How  can  a  tafsir  or  explanation  of  the  Qur’an  which  has  been  authentically  reported  from  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  or  from  his  direct  disciples,  the  noble  Companions,  be  ever  ignored  or  bypassed?  But,  such  is  the  breed  of  these  dabblers  in  the  discipline  that  they  would  dismiss  anything  in  favour  of  their  brain  wave  and still  have  the  temerity  to  tie  it  with  the  Qur’an?  Although, had  a  book  without  a  teacher  been  enough,  Almighty  Allah  had  the  power  to  make  written  copies  of  the  book  become  available  for  people  at  their  homes  – there  was,  then,  no  need  to  send  a  prophet  to  teach.  A  little  reflection  would  reveal  that  this  is  not  something  peculiar  to  the  Book  of  Allah. No  one  can,  by  simply  looking  at  the  translation  of  any  book  in  the  arts  and  sciences,  become  an  expert  in  those  fields.  We  have  yet  to  find  a  physician  who  became  a  physician  through  a  familiarity  with  translations  of  medical  books.  No  engineer  became  an  engineer  by  browsing  through  engineering  texts.  Even  the  study  of  common  books  on  sewing  and  cooking  has  not  made  anyone  succeed  as  a  master  tailor  or  chef.  So,  the  truth  lies  elsewhere  –  the  system  needs  the  elements  of teaching  and  learning  under  a  teacher.  This  is  all  too  established  for  everyone.  But,  it  is  indeed  sad  to  see  that  the  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  alone,  of  all  things  around  us,  have  been  taken  so  casually  as  not  to need  any  teacher.  Thus,  a  fairly  large  group  of  educated  people  drifted  down  in  the  direction  of  serious  deficiency  when  they  took  the  lone study  of  the  Qur’an  as  all  sufficient  and  totally  dispensed  of  with  the need  to  consult  the  exegesis  and  interpretation  of  early  scholars,  and  to  be  guided  by  them.

On  the  other  side  of  the  extreme,  a  large  group  of  Muslims  got  involved  in  a  kind  of  excess  which  goaded  them  to  take  just  about  anyone  as their  religious  guide  almost  blindly,  and  blindly  it  was  that they  started  following  them.  They  never  took  the  trouble  of  finding  out  whether  or  not  the  person  they  were  taking  as  guide  came  up  to  the  standard  of  high  intellectual  achievement,  corresponding  personal  behaviour,  concern  for  the  good  of  people  and  the  genuine  sense  of responsibility  before  Allah.  They  did  not  even  care  to  apply  a  much  simpler test  by  looking  at  the  kind  of  teaching  such  a  person  was imparting  and  making  sure  that  it  was  not  against  the  Qur’an and  Sunnah.

The  Ideal  Solution

The  Shari’ah  of  Islam  has  wisely  shielded  Muslims  from  falling  into  the  trap  of  excess.  The  middle  course  In  between  the  two  extremes  it  has  suggested  is:  Learn  the  Book  of  Allah  (Kitabullah)  from  the  Men  of Allah  (Rijalullah)  and  recognize  the  Men  of  Allah  from  the  Book  of  Allah.  In  other  words,  one  should  first  recognize  those who are engaged  in  learning  and  communicating  the  true  knowledge  of  the Qur’an  and  Sunnah  through  the  all  too  well-known  teachings  of  these  twin  sources  of  Islamic  Faith.  Once  this  is  settled,  no  intricate  problem  relating  to  Qur’an  and  Sunnah  will  ever  bother  you  –  if  you  give  precedence  to  their  explanation  above  your  own  opinion,  and  follow  them.

Islamic Ruling on Astrology, Fortune-Telling, Horoscopes, Etc

image

Astrology, Astronomy and Islam

There are two terms confused in many people’s minds when it comes to dealing with the question in hand. These terms are astronomy and astrology.

Astronomy is the science that deals with studying the movements of the celestial bodies and reducing observations to mathematical order. That science is useful in determining time, seasons, the direction of Prayer, etc.

Astrology, on the other hand, is concerned with studying the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs. Astrologists believe that the movements of stars have an influence on people’s lives.

Both Muslim astronomers and [religious] scholars refuse the prophecies of astrologists. According to scholars of Shari`ah, it is lawful to study astronomy; they accept that it is used in determining the direction of the qiblah.

The science of astronomy through which the movement of the sun and thus the direction of Prayer is detected is not prohibited in Islam.

On the other hand, scholars agree that astrology is a prohibited field to deal with. Ibn Taymiyah said: “Astrology that is concerned with studying the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs is prohibited by Almighty Allah’s Book, the Sunnah, and the unanimous agreement of the Muslim scholars. Furthermore, astrology was considered forbidden by all Messengers of Almighty Allah.”

Ibn `Uthaymeen, said: “Astrology is a kind of sorcery and fortune-telling. It is forbidden because it is based on illusions, not on concrete facts. There is no relation between the movements of celestial bodies and what takes place on the Earth.”

Origins of Astrology

There are three main branches of astrology today, namely Western astrology, Vedic astrology, and Chinese or East Asian astrology. The study of Western astrology and the belief in it, as part of astronomy, is first. found in a developed form among the ancient Babylonians; and directly or indirectly through the Babylonians, it spread to other nations. It came to Greece about the middle of the 4th century B.C., reached Rome before the advent of the Christian era.
The history of astrology can now be traced back to ancient Babylonia, and indeed to the earliest phases of Babylonian history, in the third millennium B.C]

In Babylonia as well as in Assyria as a direct offshoot of Sumerian culture (or in general the “Mesopotamian” culture), astrology takes its place in the official cult as one of the two chief means at the disposal of the priests (who were called bare or “inspectors”) for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods, the other being through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal (see omen).
Of the planets five were recognized – Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Mars – to name them in the order in which they appear in the older cuneiformliterature; in later texts Mercury and Saturn change places.

These five planets were identified with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon as follows:
§ Jupiter with Marduk;
§ Venus with the goddess Ishtar,
§ Saturn with Ninurta (Ninib),
§ Mercury with Nabu (Nebo),
§ and Mars with Nergal.

image

The movements of the sun, moon and five planets were regarded as representing the activity of the five gods in question, together with the moon-god Sinand the sun-god Shamash, in preparing the occurrences on earth. If, therefore, one could correctly read and interpret the activity of these powers, one knew what the gods were aiming to bring about.
The influence of Babylonian planetary lore appears also in the assignment of the days of the week to the planets, for example Sunday, assigned to the sun, and Saturday, the day of Saturn.
Today, of course, we know that the Sun and Planets are not gods. Our Earth is a planet and Sun is a star, and the other stars are distant suns. There is no reason to suppose that they control our lives any more than do the trees or the mountains.

Furthermore, modern astrology still uses the constellation dates relating to the Sun’s apparent position in 500 BC!. Since then, the slow wobble of the Earth’s axis has shifted the dates, but the astrologers have not adapted to this!!

image

What Quran Says About Sun, Moon and the Stars

The Sun Moon and the stars are nothing but Allah’s creation. They are all working under Allah’s command and have been made for the purpose of serving mankind. There is no reason at all to believe that they can somehow control our destiny or effect our lives on earth because as Muslims we should be well aware that the knowledge of destiny is only with Allah and is written in Loh e Mahfooz. (The preserved Tablet in the heavens)

The following are some of the purposes of creating Sun, Moon and Stars as mentioned by Allah Subhana Wa ta’ala in the Quran.
Sun and the Moon are signs of Allah

“And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.”  [Quran 41:37]

Sun and Moon help in counting Years and Months

“It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light And measured out its (their) stages, that you might know the number of years and the calculation. [Quran 10:5]

Sun and Moon Help in fixing time of Prayers

“Perform As Salât from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Ishâ’ prayers), and recite the Qur’ân in the early dawn. [Quran 17: 78]

Stars are for the beautification of the sky

“And indeed, We have put the big stars in the heaven and We beautified it for the beholders.”   [Quran 15:16]

Stars for decoration and guarding the Heavens

“And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard (from the devils by using them as missiles against the devils). Such is the Decree of Him the All-Mighty, the All-Knower.” [Quran 41:12]

Stars for finding direction in land and sea

“It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea. [Quran 6:97]

Before GPS ships and people traveling in the desert used stars for finding their way. My father is a sailor and he showed me the instrument used in the olden days for finding direction using stars.

Reading Horoscopes and Astrology leads to Kufr

Astrology is considered Kufr because it destroys Tawheed Al Asma Was-Sifaat (The Unity of Allah’s Names and Attributes . Such beliefs give planets and stars some of God’s unique qualities, most prominent among them “Qadr” –Destiny. It is clearly stated in Holy Quran:

“And with Him are the keys tot he ghayb [all that is hidden], none knows them but He and He knows whatever there is in [or on) the earth and the sea; not a leaf falls, but the knows it. There is not a grain in darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or day, but is written in a clear record.” [6:59]

“Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the ghaby (unseen) except Allaah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.”  [27:65]

Nay, they have no knowledge of the Hereafter. Nay, they are in doubt about it. Nay, they are blind about it.  [Surah Namal 27:66]

Say (O Muhammad Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allâh wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.” [Surah A’araf 7:188]

In the light of Sayings of Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “What I fear most for my nation after my time is: the injustice of their leader, the belief in the stars and the denial of divine destiny.” [Ibn Asakir]

One who seeks his horoscope comes under the ruling contained in the Prophet’s (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) statement: ‘The Salaah (daily prayer) of whoever approaches a fortuneteller and asks him about anything will not be accepted for forty days and nights.’ [Saheeh Muslim vol.4,p. 1211, no 5440]

If, however, one believes in the predictions of their horoscope, whether spoken by an astrologist or written in books of astrology, he falls directly into Kufr (disbelief) as stated by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) “Whoever approaches an oracle or fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” [Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Ahmad and Abu Dawud (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 3, p. 1095, no. 3895).]

Conclusion

It is well established scientifically that stars and planets are not gods and thus there is no possible way that they can control life on earth. More so as Muslims we know very well from the Quran that destiny is controlled only by Allah and the knowledge of the future and the unseen only rests with Allah. Quran makes it very clear the purpose of creating stars and planets and the sun and the moon so there is no possible reason to believe that stars and planets influence our lives.
And most importantly believing in astrology leads to Shirk -Polytheism as it gives divine powers to stars. So all those Muslims who are just reading horoscopes for fun and trying to find out what is in their future through any means like cup reading, palmistry, numbers etc should know they are committing shirk “in fun”.

And Shirk is the one and only sin Allah will never ever forgive unless you Sincerely repent from it and never do such a thing again.
May Allah guide us away from such acts of shirk. Aameen.