Monday, December 27, 2004

Accidents during group prayer

Breaking ones ablution in prayer

  • The one who breaks his ablution during prayer unintentionally, but not intentionally or by loss of mind or ejaculation, may go to take ablution and then continue from where he was in the prayer. If he does anything else that invalidates the prayer other than making the necessary movements to make ablution, such as speaking, exposing the ^awrah, or passing by water close by in order to use other water, then his prayer is invalidated. It is also invalidated if he waits for the time it takes to perform an obligation before he takes off, or performs a part of the prayer after breaking the ablution. It is in any case better to start over.
  • If the leader broke his ablution unintentionally or became unable to recite (before completing the minimum recital), then he appoints a replacement immediately.

12 invalidators of the prayer before saying the ending salaam

These invalidate the prayer even after sitting for the last tashahhud before saying the salam:
  1. The one who has taken ablution by soil sees water.
  2. The unintentional exposure of the foot of the one who has been wiping his footwear (khuff) by little movement.
  3. The time-period for wiping the footwear runs out.
  4. The unable to recite learns to recite a suurah of the Quran.
  5. The naked one finds something to cover with.
  6. The one who was only hinting at the movements of prayer became strong enough to bow and prostrate.
  7. Someone remembered an obligatory prayer that he missed and didn't pray yet.
  8. The leader of the prayer broke his ablution and appointed a replacement that doesn't know how to recite.
  9. The time of Fajr ended.
  10. The time of Asr entered during the Friday Group Prayer.
  11. Someone was wearing a bandage and it fell off exposing a healed wound.
  12. Someone became well after being excused from taking ablution from some of its invalidators due to an ailment, such as irregular vaginal bleeding.

When the leader ends his prayer by other than saying salaam

  • If the leader of the prayer sat for the length of time of the tashahhud (the last obligation), and then laughed or willfully broke his ablution then:
    1. The prayer is valid, but it is a duty to repeat it.
    2. Those who did not catch the first subset with him have invalid prayers.
  • If the leader spoke or exited from the moske after completing all his obligations, without saying the salaam, then the prayers of those who did not catch the first subset were not invalidated.

Prayer Leadership

Group Prayer

Group prayer for men in the 5 obligatory prayers in the masjid is an Ascertained Merit. It's disliked, but valid, for women to pray alone as a group. It is disliked for the young woman to join the group prayer in the mosque.

The suitability of a Prayer Leader (Imaam)

  • The most fit leader of the prayer, is the one who has the most knowledge.
  • It is disliked, but valid, to let a big sinner lead the prayer
  • It's invalid to pray an obligatory prayer behind someone in an optional prayer
  • It is invalid for a man to follow a woman or boy that has not reached puberty
  • It's invalid for a person who has complete ablution to pray behind someone who is excused from having to take ablution due to an ailment
  • It's invalid for all if the one who is not able to recite leads someone who can
  • It’s invalid for the one who is able to bow and prostrate, to pray behind the one who only hints at the prayer movements
  • Someone who is able to stand in prayer can pray behind the one who sits (but is able to prostrate) - but he himself must stand
  • The one who has taken ablution by earth (tayammum) may lead those who have ablution by water
  • The one who wipes his footwear instead of washing his feet, may lead the prayer of those who are washing
  • Someone who is praying an optional prayer may pray behind someone praying an obligatory prayer
  • The follower in the prayer that later finds out that the leader did not have ablution, must repeat his prayer

Arranging the rows

  • When setting up the rows for the group prayer, the men should come first, then young boys, and finally women
  • A single follower stands to the right and slightly behind.
  • Two followers in the prayer stand behind

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reciting in prayer

When to perform loud or silent reciting

To recite silently means making your self hear only, whereas reciting loudly means to make others hear.
  1. The leader of the prayer recites Quran loudly as a duty:
    • In the two first subsets of all obligatory prayers except Thuhr and Asr.
    • The Friday Prayer, the Eiid prayers, Witr Prayer (in Ramadan) and taraawiiH
    • .
  2. The one praying alone may pray silently in all prayers if he likes.
  3. Optional prayers are silent in daytime, but one may recite loudly in them at night.
  4. The followers in a group prayer keep silent.
  5. Attendees of the Friday Speech keep silent (except if the speaker recites the aayah that orders to praise Prophet Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank.))
  6. If one misses the obligatory night prayer, and performs it the next day in a group, then the leader of the prayer recites loudly. However, if one is praying it alone then one must recite silently.

Forgetting Fatihah

The one who recited Quran, but forgot to recite the Faatihah in the first two subsets of an obligatory prayer, does not catch them up in the last to subsets. However, if one recited the Faatihah in the two first subsets and nothing more, then it is waajib (a duty) to catch up by reciting it again with another suurah in the two last subsets (loudly if it was supposed to have been recited aloud). One must prostrate for innatentiveness (sujuud al-sahw) in both cases above.

Obligatory and Waajib Reciting

  • The obligatory required reciting is fulfilled by a single aayah. This must be done in every subset in optional prayer, but at least in two in obligatory prayers.
  • It is a duty to read at least an additional suurah or a long aayah after the Fatihah (except in the 3rd and 4th subsets of the 5 obligatory daily prayers).
  • It is a sunnah to read the Fatihah in all subsets in obligatory prayers (but one does not add to it other reciting in the 3rd and 4th subsets).

The preferred amount to recite

The Quran is divided into 30 parts, the last three of these as a unit are called "The Divided One" because its divided into many suurahs.
  • It is a convention in the Fajr prayer and the Thuhr prayer to recite in the first two subsets between 40 and 50 aayah, or the longer suurahs of The Divided One. This is in addition to the Faatihah.
  • Other numbers have been related, and the way to make agreement between the sayings is to say that the leader recites with the hard-working 100 aayah, but with the lazy only 40, and with average people between 50 and 60. Others said that the criteria is to look at how busy people are, especially with regard to Thuhr prayer.
  • In the Asr prayer and the Eisha prayer, one should read middle length suurahs from The Divided One. For the Maghrib prayer one should recite shorter suurahs from The Divided One.
  • The first subset of the Fajr prayer should be made longer than the second one. This is to help people make the group prayer at a time when they are sleeping or drowsy.
  • The first two subsets of Thuhr prayer are equally deserving of recital length. The same is true for all the prayers except the Fajr prayer, as mentioned. It does not matter if the first or second subset is longer than the other one by two or three aayahs.
  • The traveler recites the Faatihah and any suurah, if he is in a hurry.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Umrah with Hajj Pilgrimage

Hajj is wajib for the one who meets the following criteria

  • He is free (not a slave).
  • He has reached puberty.
  • He is sound minded (not crazy).
  • He is healthy enough to perform the hajj.
  • He has enough money for food, necessities and transportation for the trip beyond his financial obligations to his dependents as well as his house and other basic necessities.
  • The road to hajj is safe.

The prerequisite of Hajj

  • Proscription (Ihraam)

The Requisites of Hajj

  • Being at Arafah between the sun's zenith on the day of ^Ararah, and the start of Fajr on the day of Eid.
  • Most of Tawaaf-uz- Ziyaarah (with intention) after Fajr on Eid.

The duties of Hajj

  • Proscription (Ihraam) before or at the mawaaqiit
  • Starting Tawaaf from the Black Stone
  • Going counter-clockwise around the Kaabah
  • Ritual purity in Tawaaf
  • Covering the ^awrah in Tawaaf
  • Walking in Sa^y if able
  • Making Sa^y after Tawaaf (it is invalid alone)
  • Being at Muzdalifah after Fajr time enters
  • Sa^y between Safa and Marwah
  • Throwing the pebbles
  • The farewell tawaaf for strangers
  • Shaving (men only) or cutting (about 1 inch of) one's hair (at least 1/4 of all the head, but preferrably all)
  • Remaining in ^Arafah until Maghrib enters
  • Slaughtering for tamattu^ and Qiraan
  • Order between throwing and shaving for regular single Hajj
  • Order between throwing, slaughtering and shaving for tamattu^ and Qiraan
  • Tawaaf-uz- Ziyaarah between Fajr on Eid until the entry of Maghrib on the 12th (the 3rd day of Eid.)
  • Shaving or cutting one's hair in the Haram area.

Leaving any waajib requires atonement, but ones Hajj is valid without it.

Sunnahs of Hajj

  • The Tawaaf of entering Mekkah for the stranger
  • If a man (not a woman) has the intention of sa^y after Tawaaf: to walk fast with a strutt in 3 rounds; to uncover the right shoulder and cover the left
  • Going to Mina on the 8th and staying until having prayed Fajr on the 9th
  • Exiting from Mina after sunrise
  • Staying at Muzdalifah the night of Eid
  • Taking ghusl in ^Arafah
  • Spending the nights of Eid in Mina

Tamattu^ Pilgrimage - Umrah then Hajj

1. One must proscribe before or at the miiqaat. When one wants to make proscription, one takes a full shower and ablution, puts one's (preferrably white) pilgrimage clothes (sandals, ridaa' and izaar for men), prays two subsets and then intends to make Umrah, saying " O Allaah, I have hereby intended to make Umrah, so make it easy for me!" then one immediately says the talbiyah: "labbaykAllaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shariika laka labbayk, innal-Hamda wanni^mata laka wal-mulk, laa shariika lak!" (Loudly for the man, quietly for the woman (she is like that in all sayings). One continues to say this until one reaches the doors of the masjid of the haram.)

2. When one first sees the ka^bah one should say "Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha illa-Allaah" and supplicate.

3. Head towards the black stone and proscribe for Tawaaf by saying "Allaahu-akbar" lifting your hands as in prayer. Stretch your right hand towards the black stone saying "bismillahi Allaahu akbar" then kiss the inside of your hand. Every time you pass by the stone do the same. Don't try to touch or kiss the stone unless you can do it without harming anybody.

4. Complete 3 rounds walking fast and struttingly, then 4 at normal pace. Uncover the right shoulder during all rounds, and cover the left shoulder.

5. After completing 7 rounds, pray the two subsets of tawaaf. This is a duty anytime one makes Tawaaf. The best place to do it is behind "maqaam Ibraahiim".

6. Drink some zamzam water.

7. Go to al-Safa intending al-sa^y, face the Ka^bah when you reach and say "Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha illa-Allaah" and "Allaahumma Salli ^alaa MuHammad" and supplicate as you wish while lifting your hands.

8. Go from al-Safa to al-marwah. Walk fast with a strut between the green pillars. When you reach al-marwah, say "Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha illa-Allaah" and "Allaahumma Salli ^alaa MuHammad" and supplicate as you wish while lifting your hands.You have now completed one round.

9. Go from al-marwah to al-Safa . Walk fast with a strut between the green pillars. When you reach al-Safa, say "Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha illa-Allaah" and "Allaahumma Salli ^alaa MuHammad" and supplicate as you wish while lifting your hands. You have now completed two rounds.

10. Complete 7 rounds, ending finally in al-marwah.

11. Cut your hair (women and men) or shave your head (men only). You have now completed the Umrah.

12. Proscribe for Hajj on the day before Arafah in Makkah.

13. Go to Mina during the day before the standing on Arafah and stay there at night.

14. Go to Arafah after Fajr prayer in Mina and stay until after Maghrib. Pray Thuhr and Asr together in Thuhr time if you like and keep busy with worship.

15. Go to Muzdalifah. Pray Maghrib and Eisha together there in the time of Eisha as a duty. Stay there until after midnight. It is better to stay until after Fajr prayer.

16. Go to Mina and throw the 7 stones of ^Aqabah, lifting the hand and throwing 7 pebbles saying "bismillahi Allaahu akbar". Avoid harming others by pushing and the like.

17. Slaughter a sheep in Mina or Makkah. You may ask a trustworthy person to do it for you, but you cannot cut your hair until you are sure it has been done.

18. After the slaughter has happened, cut or shave you hair. You can now wear normal clothes, wear perfume - anything normally allowed, except what pertains to sex.

19. Make the obligatory Tawaaf (of ziyaarah) and sa^y as in steps 2 to 10. This can be done any time after sunrise the first day of Eid until Maghrib enters the 3rd day of Eid (3 days.)

20. After Tawaaf you are now allowed everything a normal person can do.

21. Stay in Mina at night until after Fajr the second day of Eid, and likewise the next night. There is no sin if you stay until midnight only, or don't stay at all.

22. Throw the 7 pebbles of the smaller, medium and larger stoning places both on the second and third days of Eid. It must be done after Thuhr time enters until Fajr time enters to be valid. After finishing the smaller and medium stonings it is good to stop and supplicate, but not after the larger (i.e. you do not stop, but keep moving).

23. If one stays until Maghrib enters in Mina on the 3rd day of Eid, then one should stay and throw on the 13th as well. If one stays until Fajr enters on the 13th, then it is a duty to throw on this day also.

24. Before leaving Makkah one should make the tawaaf of farewell (as a duty). This Tawaaf is with regular clothing and at a regular pace. There is no sa^y after it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Description of the Prayer

The description of the prayer.

Prerequisites of prayer

  1. Ritual impurity (hadath) has been removed by ablution or a full body wash
  2. Filth (najâsat - substances which Islam prescribes as filthy) has been removed from the body, clothes and place of prayer
  3. The color of the skin of those areas one is not allowed to show publicly has been covered: all the body except the face and hands for the woman, everything between the navel to below the knee for the man
  4. One is facing in the direction of the prayer (qibla)
  5. The prescribed prayer time has entered
  6. One has the intention of the prayer if it is a duty, or simply to pray if it is not.
  7. Proscription (beginning the prayer by saying "Allahu’akbar")

The prayer obligations (fard)

  1. Standing, if able (when making proscription and reciting Quran) .
  2. Reciting Quran (at least one aayah) , while standing, in two rak^ahs (subsets).
  3. The bow from the hip (rukuu').
  4. Prostration (sujuud).
  5. Order between standing, bowing at the hip and prostration.
  6. To sit at the end of the prayer the amount of time it takes to say the tashahhud.
  7. To exit the prayer by one's own doing.
There are more, but these are the "headlines" mentioned in basic texts.

The prayer duties (waajib)

  1. Reciting the Faatihah in the two first subsets.
  2. Reciting a short suurah after the Faatihah and in that order.
  3. Order between repeated actions in the same subset, i.e. the two prostrations.
  4. Sitting after the two first subsets in prayers with more than two.
  5. Saying the tashahhud in the last sitting.
  6. Saying the qunuut supplication in Witr Prayer.
  7. Reciting loudly or quietly as prescribed.
  8. The repeated sayings of Allahu'akbar in the Eiid Prayer.
  9. Remaining calm for at least a moment in the bow at the hip and the prostration.
  10. Standing after the bow at the hip
  11. Sitting between the two prostrations
  12. To not say something more than the equivalent of the length of "subhaanallaah" in the first sitting after saying the creedal statement.
  13. To say "assalaam" to end the prayer.
  14. To recite loudly or silently as prescribed (more later.)
  15. Recite the Faatihah and suurah in the two first subsets in obligatory prayers, and all subsets in other prayers.
If one leaves out an obligation of a prayer, then the prayer is invalid. If one leaves out something waajib from the prayer intentionally, then one needs to pray again. If one left it unintentionally, then one needs to make the two prostrations of omitting (sujuud al-sahw).

How to pray

  1. Say "Allaahu 'akbar" while standing and simultaneously making the intention of the prayer you want to pray.
    • This is what is called the "tahriimah," or in English "proscription" and it is a prerequisite.
    • If one is unable to pronounce "Allaahu 'akbar", then one may say something equivalent.
    • The leader of the prayer says “Allaahu 'akbar” loudly in all prescribed places as an ascertained merit (sunnah).

  2. It is a sunnah to lift ones hands when making the proscription.
    • The man raises them so that the thumbs are at the level of the ear lobes, and the inside of ones hands are facing forward, and the fingers are slightly spread.
    • The woman on the other hand, only raises her hands to the level of her shoulders, since this catches less attention.
    • This is the way one raises ones hands in any prayer, including the Burial Prayer, Witr Prayer and the Eiid Prayer, but also in Tawaaf

  3. While standing it is better (but not a duty) to:
    • Keep one's eyes on the floor at the place where one would put one's head in prostration
    • Put the right hand on top of the left hand's wrist around the wrist with the little finger and thumb of the right hand.
      • Under the navel for the man or on the chest for the woman
      • This is the way one should keep ones hands whenever one is standing and saying something that is prescribed in the prayer.

  4. At this point, as a merit (sunnah), the person praying starts quietly saying the "thanaa': "subhaanaka-llaahumma-wa-bi-hamdika-wa-tabaarak-asmuka-wa-ta^aalaa-jadduka-wa-laa-’ilaaha-ghairuka"
    • Like all sayings in the religion, it must be learned properly from a teacher.

  5. After this, as a merit (sunnah), and only if he wants to start reciting Quran (either by being alone or being the leader), he quietly says the expression for asking protection from Satan, "a^uudhu-billaahi-min-ash-shaytaan-ir-rajiim"

  6. After that, the one who wants to recite quietly says the basmalah, which is: "bismi-llaahi-r-Rahmaani-r-Rahiim"
    • The basmalah is repeated before the FaatiHah throughout the prayer, but not for what is read after it.

  7. After this one reads FaatiHah as a duty: "al-hamdu li-llaahi Rabbi-l-^Aalamin. ar-Rahmaani-r-Rahiim. Maaliki Yawmi-d-Din. 'iyyaaka na^budu wa 'iyyaaka nasta^iin. 'ihdina-s-siraata-l-mustaqiim. siraata-lladhiina 'an^amta ^alayhim ghayri-l-maghduubi ^alayhim wa la-d-daalliin."
    • It is absolutely necessary that the Faatihah is pronounced correctly. This means that all the letters have to be pronounced correctly and no mistakes are made that change the meaning. Reciting it incorrectly is invalid. One should instead resort to reciting something else from the Qura'aan if one is able to do so. (See this article for minimum prayer knowledge).

  8. As a leader or praying single, it is sunnah to say “'aamiin” after the FatiHah.
    • If the leader of the prayer was reading loudly, then the followers say ”'aamiin” immediately after he finishes the Faatihah.
    • One should make sure not to emphasize the "m" in "'aamiin."

  9. After FaatiHah it is a duty to read another suurah.

  10. After finishing the suurah, one says "Allaahu 'akbar" (loudly if one is leading the prayer only) as one's starts to bow the upper body down from the hip until one places ones hands on one's knees while the legs are straight.

  11. It is obligatory to bow deep enough to reach one's knees, but holding them is sunnah. This is called rukuu3 in Arabic, but let's refer to it as the "bow from the hip."
    • It is a duty to stay still (without movement) for at least a moment
    • One should spread one's fingers across one's knees as a man (but keep them close together as a woman.)
    • Other than in the bow from the hip and in the prostration (where they are kept tightly together), one keeps one's fingers spread naturally.
    • The man should keep his back flat and parallel to the floor and his head in line with it, while keeping one's elbows out
    • The woman only goes down as much as she has to in order to reach her knees and keeps her arms close together.
    • One should not bend one's neck up or down
    • One should keep one's eyes on one's feet.
    • One should say silently "subhaana-Rabbiy-al-^athiim" at least three times.

  12. After the bow one rises to stand while loudly saying:
    • "sami^a-llaahu-li-man-hamidah" if one is leading the prayer.
    • "rabbanaa-lak-al-hamd” as a follower in immediate response to that.
    • If one is praying by oneself, one should silently say both sayings.

  13. After standing up (a duty) one says "Allaahu 'akbar" (which is a sunnah) as one descends to prostrate.
    • It is better if one first puts the knees on the ground, then the hands, then the nose, and finally the forehead.

  14. One prostrates by putting the forehead on the ground (obligatory) as well as the hard part of the nose (waajib).
    • It is waajib to put all of one's toes on the ground in the direction of the prayer.
    • It is waajib to put one's hands and knees as well. Some say that putting all of these seven places is an obligation, i.e. that the prostration is invalid without this, so one should take care to do this.
    • It is sunnah to keep the stomack away from the thighs and to spread ones elbows out for the man, but the woman does the opposite in both.
    • One should keep ones fingers close together and in the direction of the prayer.
    • One should put one’s head at the level of his hands in the prostration, but in a group prayer one should not spread one’s elbows so much as to annoy the neighbor.
    • One should not let the elbows touch the floor.
    • One should say "subhaana-Rabbii-al-'a^laa" at least 3 times and end up with an odd number of times, but not so many as to test the patience of any followers.

  15. After the first prostration one rises to sit while saying "Allaahu 'akbar". The least one has to do is to rise enough so that one would be considered to be sitting.
    • The best way of sitting for a man is to lay the left foot down sideways and flat under one's buttocks, while having the right foot at one's right side and the toes in the direction of the prayer.
    • The woman sits on her left hip while putting both legs out on her right side, with the right leg on top of the left

  16. Prostrate a second time.

  17. At this point, one has completed one rak3ah, or a complete subset of the prayer, i.e. standing, reciting, bowing, and then prostrating twice. All obligatory prayers have at least two subsets. The number of subsets in the obligatory daily prayers are:
    • Fajr Prayer two subsets
    • Thuhr Prayer four subsets
    • Asr Prayer four subsets
    • Maghrib Prayer three subsets.
    • Eishaa' Prayer four subsets.

  18. When one gets up for the next subset, i.e. to stand, one first lifts the forehead, then the nose, then the hands, then the knees without the support of the hands. All of this while saying "Allaahu akbar".

  19. In the subsets other than the first one does NOT:
    • raise ones hands at the beginning,
    • say the "thanaa'," ("subhaanakallaahumma.... etc.") or "a^uudhu...etc."

  20. Whenever one has done two subsets, one sits to say the tashahhud (which is a duty): "At-tahiyyaatu li-llaah wa-ssalawaatu w-attayyibaat. As-salaamu ^alayka 'ayyuha n-nabiyyu wa rahmatu-llaahi wa barakatuh. As-salamu ^alaynaa wa ^alaa ^ibaadi llaahi s-saalihin. 'Ashhadu 'allaa 'ilaaha 'illa-llaah, wa 'ashhadu 'anna Muhammadan ^abduhuu wa rasuuluh".
    • One places ones hands on top of the thighs near the knees, fingers pointing in the direction of the prayer.
    • One lifts the right index-finger while saying the first part of the creedal statement.
    • If one has more subsets to do, then one stops after the two professions of Islam.

  21. In the obligatory prayers, unlike optional prayers, one does not read more than Faatihah in other subsets than the first two.
    • Reading Faatihah in the 3rd and 4th subsets of obligatory prayers is a sunnah, and not a duty.
    • In optional prayers and Witr one must recite the FaatiHah and a suurah in all subsets.

  22. After the final subset, one says the tashahhud, which is a duty, and adds the prophetic habit of praising the Prophet Mohammed with the Abrahamic praise: "Allaahumma salli ^alaa Muhammad, wa ^alaa 'aali Muhammad, kamaa sallayta ^alaa 'Ibraahiim wa ^ alaa 'aali 'Ibrahiim. wa baarki ^alaa Muhammad wa ^alaa 'aali Muhammad, kamaa baarakta ^alaa 'Ibraahiim wa ^ alaa 'aali 'Ibrahiim, fi-l-^aalamiin. 'innaka hamiid-um-Majiid".
    • Outside the prayer, saying the Prophet's Praise once is a duty if one hears his name mentioned, even several times, in a single sitting.

  23. At the end, one makes supplication for whatever one wants, in expressions similar to those in the prophetic teachings or the Quran. Not something that sounds like ordinary speech, such as, if someone said "O God let me find a beautiful woman to marry."

  24. Finally, one says "as-salaamu-^alaykum-wa-rahmatu-llaah" first to the right then to the left.
    • The minimum (duty) here is to say "as-salaam" to end the prayer. If one did not say this, and simply got up and left on purpose, then one has a sin, and it is a duty (wajib) to repeat the prayer.
    • One should turn one's head only and look at the right shoulder when turning right and the left shoulder when turning left.
    • There is no nodding in these movements as you see some people do.
    • When saying the salaam, one intends to say it to all the people to the left and right respectively, as well as any angels and pious jinn present.
    • If the leader of the prayer is right in front of you, then you include him in both salaams.
    • The person who is praying alone intends only any angels present.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Times when it is Sunnah or Mustahabb to take ghusl

It is a sunnah to take Ghusl for:

  1. Jumu^ah (Friday) Prayer
  2. The 2 Eid prayers
  3. The Ihram (proscription - entering the sacred state) of Hajj Pilgrimage
  4. The pilgrim in the place of ^Arafah on the day of ^Arafah, after the sun's zenith.

It is Mustahabb to take Ghusl (Full Body Wash) for:

  1. The one who became muslim and was Tahir (otherwise he must take ghusl).
  2. The one who reached puberty by age.
  3. The one who became sane after being insane.
  4. The one who did hijaamah (cupping with small cuts to let some blood out).
  5. The one who washed a dead person.
  6. The night of the middle of Sha^baan.
  7. The night of Qadr, if he saw it or according to narrated hadiths.
  8. Entering Mediinah (the Prophet's City - may Allah raise his rank).
  9. Staying in Muzdalifah in the morning of Eid in Hajj.
  10. Entering Makkah for Tawaaf of Ziaarah (the obligatory one in Hajj).
  11. The prayer of the eclipse of the sun or moon.
  12. The prayer of asking for rain.
  13. A prayer performed due to fright.
  14. A darkness that happened during the day.
  15. When there is very strong wind.
  16. Repenting from sins.
  17. The one who returned from travel.
  18. The one who is wanted killed.
  19. The woman who's irregular bleeding stopped.
  20. For throwing pebbles in Hajj.
  21. For wearing new clothes.
  22. For going to a gathering of people.
  23. The one who came in contact with something islamically filthy (najis), but does not where it is on his body. This is also true for his clothing in this case - it is better to wash all of it.

Source: "al-Maraqi" and "al-Durr al-Mukhtaar"

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Preferred and disliked prayer times

The Preferred Prayer Times

  • Its better (mustahabb) to postpone the Fajr Prayer until light appears in the sky, but there should be time enough left (so that it would be hypothetically possible) to pray fajr in the sunnah manner twice and perform all of the prerequisites of prayer once. This is to ensure that there is enough time to repeat the prayer if something should happen that invalidates the first one.
  • It's mustahabb (virtuous) to delay the Early Afternoon (Thuhr) Prayer in the summer to avoid the strong heat. However in the winter it is a virtue to pray it urgently.
  • It's mustahabb (virtuous) to postpone the Asr Prayer, as long as the color of the sun does not change to the extent that on can look at it without difficulty to the eyes. This is to increase the amount of optional prayers, because optional prayers are makruuh after the completion of Asr Prayer.
  • It's virtuous to pray the Maghrib Prayer urgently, and disliked to delay it.
  • It's mustahabb (virtuous) to postpone the Eishaa prayer until 1/3 of the night has passed. This is to avoid idle talk after Eishaa prayer. However, it has been said that its better to pray it early in the summer in order to maximize the number of people showing up for prayer in the mosque. There is no problem in postponing the Eishaa prayer until midnight, but beyond that is makruuh since few people will show up and most idle conversing has already ended.
  • For the one who is used to getting up at night to pray, it is virtuous to delay Witr Prayer until the end of the night. Otherwise, one should pray before sleeping.
  • On cloudy days, because it is difficult to keep track the prayer times, it is mustahabb to postpone Fajr Prayer, Thuhr Prayer and Maghrib Prayer. However, one should pray Asr Prayer and Eishaa prayer urgently, to avoid postponing Asr Prayer to the makruuh time and avoid reducing the number of people showing up for Eishaa Prayer in the Mosque. According to Abu Hanifa, all prayers are postponed on cloudy days, because no prayer is valid before its time, but all regular obligatory prayers are valid after their time.

The times in which it's disliked to pray all prayers

  • when the sun rises before it has risen the length of a spear
  • when the sun is at midpoint in the sky before Thuhr Prayer
  • when the sun becomes easy to look at before sunset until the sun has set. The only exception here is the Asr Prayer of the same day (i.e. not one that was missed)
  • The Burial Prayer and the Prostration of Reciting the Quran are valid (but disliked) if performed in these three times. All other prayers in these times would be invalid

Times in which it's disliked to pray optional prayers

  • After Fajr Prayer before the sun has risen
  • After Asr Prayer before the time when one is able to look at the sun.
  • After the leader of the prayer has come out for the Friday Prayer Speech.
  • Before the Fajr Prayer it's disliked to pray more than the sunnah (two subsets) of the Fajr Prayer
  • Note that:
    1. In these times one also does not pray the two subsets of Tawaaf, interrupted Optional Prayers or Vowed Prayers (vowed to be prayed)
    2. It is not disliked in these times to: pray missed obligatory prayers, make the Prostration of Recitation or pray the Burial Prayer.
    3. It's also disliked to start any optional prayer during the call to stand to pray (iqaamah). The exception here, as long as one does not fear missing both subsets of the group prayer, is the two subsets before Fajr Prayer.

The calls for prayer

The call for prayer ('athaan)

  • The call for prayer is a ascertained merit (sunnah) for the five obligatory prayers and the Friday Prayer only.
  • In the call for the Fajr Prayer the words "assalaatu-khayrum-min-annaum" are added twice.
  • The call for prayer is not made before the time of the prayer has entered, because its purpose is to make the entry of the prayer time known.
  • Abu Yusuf and al-Shafi3y said that it's allowed to call for prayer in the second half of the night before the Fajr Prayer.

The call to stand up to pray (iqaamah)

  • The call to stand up to pray is like the call for prayer, but its performed to announce for people to get ready to pray and stand in rows.
  • Unlike the call for prayer it is done quickly. The words "qad-qaamat-issalaah, qad-qaamat-issalaah" are added also.

How to call for prayer

  • This preferred for the caller for prayer to be a good, knowledgeable Muslim.
  • In both of the above calls, the caller should face in the same direction as one does in prayer. It's disliked not to do that.
  • One does not whisper the two professions of Islam before they are said loudly in the call for prayer.
  • When one says "hayya-3ala-ssalaah" one should turn towards the right without moving one's feet. When one says "hayya-3ala-lfalaah" one should turn towards the left without moving one's feet.
  • It is good for the one who is performing the call for prayer to put his right index finger in the right ear, and likewise on the left side.
  • It is a merit to have ablution when calling for prayer.
  • It is disliked to make the call to stand up to pray without ablution.
  • If the call to stand up to pray is made by someone in greater ritual impurity (in need of ghusl), then it needs to be repeated. However, if it is not repeated the prayer is still valid.

Calling for prayer during travel, alone and for missed prayers

  • If someone wants to pray obligatory prayers that he has missed, then he should make the call for prayer and the call to stand up to pray, even if he is alone.
  • If he wants to pray several missed prayers then one call for prayer is enough, but he should make the call to stand up to pray for each one.
  • The traveler calls for prayer and makes the call to stand up to pray when he wants to pray. It is disliked to not make any call, but enough if he just makes the call to stand to pray.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Prerequisite of prayer: To face in the direction of the Kaabah

The one who is in Mekkah must face the Kaabah exactly.

The one outside Mekkah only needs to face in its direction, because that's all he is able to do.

The one who is afraid of facing in its direction, for example during a battle, faces wherever he is able. He is excused, like the one who does not know the direction and makes an effort to find it, then prays.

The one who does not know the direction and finds no one to ask about that, makes an effort to make up his mind about the where he thinks it is, then prays. Note that:
  • If he finds out later that he was wrong then he does not have the repeat the prayer, because the religion only orders to do what one is able to do, and all he can do is face in the direction he finds most likely.
  • If he finds out during the prayer that he was wrong, or changes his mind about where it is, then he turns towards the new direction and continues from where he was in the prayer. This is what the Prophet's (may allah raise his rank) companions did when the direction changed from Jerusalem to Mekkah while praying.

The Prayer Times

The Fajr Prayer Time

It begins at the end of the night when the horizontal line of light appears in the horizon. Not the earlier vertical light. The Fajr Prayer time hands when the disk of the sun first appears on the horizon with reference to a flat landscape.

The Thuhr Prayer Time

It begins once the sun has passed the midpoint of the sky, and the shadow has started moving towards the east. The Thuhr Prayer time ends when the length of the shadow of all things becomes equal to the length of the thing itself, after having subtracted the length of the shadow when the sun is in the midpoint of the sky. Abu Hanifa said that its time does not end until the shadow becomes equal to twice the length of the thing itself after subtracting the shadow at the sun's midpoint.

The Asr Prayer Time

It begins when Thuhr ends. The Asr Prayer time lasts until the disk of the sun disappears completely in the west with reference to a flat landscape.

The Maghrib Prayer Time

It begins when Asr ends. The Maghrib Prayer ends when the white light in the western sky disappears, after all the redness has already disappeared. According others it ends when the redness disappears.

The Eishaa’ Prayer Time

It begins when the Maghrib Prayer ends. The end of the Eisha Prayer is when the Fajr Prayer begins.

The Witr Prayer Time

Its time is like the time of Eishaa prayer, but it's not prayed until after the Eishaa prayer.

Wiping the Khuff

The khuff is a footwear one wipes instead of washing the foot in ablution. The khuff prevents the state of "lesser hadath" (lesser ritual impurity - the one removed by ablution) from reaching the feet for 24 hours (72 hours for the traveler.)

Conditions for Wiping the Khuff

The khuff must be worn after washing the feet, and one must complete the ablution before anything that breaks it happens. In addition, the khuff worn must meet all the following conditions:
  1. It is suitable for traveling, which means it meets the following 3 conditions:
    1. Water resistance: its material does not let wetness through to the skin when wiping. Most cotton socks will therefore not be suitable*.
    2. Firmness: if placed on the floor like a pair of shoes, then the khuff stands by itself unsupported. This includes the part going up the shin until above the ankle (i.e. it remains upright, like the leg of a leather boot)
    3. Suitability for walking: they should not be made from iron, wood or glass, since one cannot walk significant distances in these.
  2. It covers all of the area that is obligatory to wash in ablution for the foot (i.e. including the ankle.) Two important exceptions are:
    • It is allowed for each khuff to have a hole or holes that do not, when added together, exceed the size of the 3 smallest toes on the foot.
    • It is OK if one can see the ankles from above if the khuff goes above the level of the ankle and covers all sides. An example: wearing tall rubber boots.
*Note: the imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said that one can wipe socks if nothing appears from the skin through them. Thin socks will not do, because the skin appears through the material, especially when being stretched while doing something like putting shoes on.

Invalidators of Wiping the Khuff in Ablution

  1. Doing something that requires a complete body wash (ghusl), i.e. causes greater ritual impurity
  2. Taking one single khuff off
  3. Having most of one single foot reach the (tall) shin of the khuff
  4. Having worn the khuff for more than 24 hours after breaking ones ablution with the khuff on if one is not a traveler. In other words, if someone took a complete ablution and put the khuff, he starts counting the 24 hours from the moment he broke this ablution. The traveler counts 72 hours (The traveler is someone has exited from the place he was settled, by a distance of about 1 kilometer without buildings, and is intending to travel over 98 kilometer from that breakpoint.). Note that:
    • If someone wore the khuff and was not a traveler and then left before the 24 hours were up, he continues to wear them for 72 hours.
    • If someone wore the khuff as a traveler and then became a non traveler after 24 hours had past, then he cannot continue wiping the khuff

Using socks over the Khuff

If someone wears a sock on top of the khuff before breaking ones complete ablution (washing the feet) then it is allowed to wipe the sock instead of the khuff. This is provided that wetness from the wiping reaches the khuff underneath.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The five kinds of water

I. Pure (Taahir), purifying (muTahhir/Tahuur) and not disliked (not makruuh)

This is the pure water of rain, rivers, lakes, wells, dew or the sea. It can be used for wuduu' (ablution) and ghusl (Complete Body Wash).

II. Pure, purifying and disliked.

This water is makruuh to use for wudu' or ghusl IF one has other water. It is like the water above (pure, purifying and liked), but it is little (see below for the definition of little water) and one of the following animals drank from it:
  • A domesticated cat (not a wildcat) because it eats najis meat.
  • An uncaged hen or rouster because it eats najaasah
  • A gecko or a domesticated snake or mouse because their meat is najis, but the water they drink from does not became najis due to domestication (they live in peoples houses.)
  • A animal whose meat is edible (not najis), such as a cow or a sheep, but it is in the habit of eating animal feces.
Important Notes:
  • If humans or edible animals drink from little water then the water is still considered pure unless one knows there is filth in their mouth, such as alcohol.
  • If the domesticated cat licks ones hand, then it is disliked to pray without washing it.
  • If the domesticated cat eats from one's food, then it is disliked to eat it unless one is poor.

III. Pure but not purifying

This water cannot be used for wudu' or ghusl but can be used to remove najis. This water is of two kinds:

First kind: used water

a. Water that has been used for sound worship* with the intention of worship, such as all the three washes in wudu', or washing ones hands before and after food.
(* Note: Repeating ones wudu' in a single seating is not sound unless one broke it. In such an unsound case the second wudu' will not make the water used, because the second wudu' was makruuh and not valid worship.)

b. Water that washed the hadath (ritual impurity) of wudu' or ghusl, even if it was without the intention of worship. An example would be someone washing dirts off his hand after breaking his wudu'.

Note that water becomes used by leaving the surface of the body in case a and b above.

Second kind: Water that has been changed substantially by a pure substance (not najis)

"Changed substantially" means that the water is no longer called "water" or it becomes viscous or loses its flow. This happens in the following cases:
  • by being absorbed by plants - water from plants is not allowed to use for wudu' or ghusl
  • water which's natural viscosity or flow was lost by cooking, such as soup
  • water which lost its name through cooking, such as tea
  • water which was mixed without cooking with a solid matter, so that it lost its viscosity and flow. NOT if it only changed color, smell and/or taste
  • water that was mixed or cooked with something meant for cleaning, such as soap, to the extent that it became like shampoo. Not otherwise
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has two characteristics (smell, taste or color) so that one of them appeared in the water. E.g. if the taste OR color of milk appeared in the water, since it has taste and color but no (significant) smell
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has three characteristics (smell, taste and color) so that two of them appeared in the water. An example would be vinegar that has color, taste and smell; if only one of these characteristics appeared in the water, then it can still be used for wudu' and ghusl
  • water that was mixed with a fluid that has the same smell, taste and color as water (such as used water) so that its weight was greater than the water it was mixed with.

IV. Filthy (najis) water.

This water is not used for wudu', ghusl, washing najaasah or human drinking. Water becomes najis in two ways:
  1. by direct contact with najaasah if the water is little. Water is considered little if it is either less than approx. 7 meters across or it is not flowing. Water is considered flowing if it can carry a straw away.

    It is important to note that:
    • water that is little does not become najis unless one is sure that najaasah came in direct contact with it. Sureness is not achieved unless one is informed by a trustworthy muslim or sees it by ones own eyes. One does not have to ask anyone about the state of the water one wants to use.
    • Note that if a dog, wildcat or beast of pray drink from water that is little, it becomes najis. Any contact with a pig makes water najis if it is little. The details of what is considered najis has been mentioned in detail elsewhere.
  2. by contact with najaasah so that the water changes in either color, smell or taste - even if it is flowing or in a large quantity.

V. Water which's purifyingness is doubted (not its purity).

This is the water that was little and a mule or a donkey drank from it. If one only has this type of water, then one makes ablution with soil AND water.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Pearls of Monotheism from Islamic History

Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him)

Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said about the stars in the sky that his people were worshipping, "I don't like those who go away."(suurah 6, 76-78) He said this becasue going away is an event and an obvious sign that the star is a creation; it needs someone to specify its time, and it makes blatantly obvious its possibility of non-existence. He also said about the sun "this is bigger!". He was pointing out to his people that what is attributed with a limit (size needs a limit) is an event (something that has a beginning), because it needs someone to specify its size, like anything else with a size.

The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank

Al-Bayhaqiyy, may Allah have mercy on him, related the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam: "You are adh-Dhahir (the One Whose existence is obvious by proofs). Hence there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin (the One Who is clear of the delusions of bodily attributes). Hence there is nothing underneath You." Then he said: "Some of our companions took that hadith as a proof to Allah's transcendence of place. If there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, then He is not in a place." This hadith is also related by Muslim and others. Al-Bukhariyy, al-Bayhaqiyy and Ibn al-Jarud related that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: "Allah existed and there was nothing else existing." In other words, Allah existed eternally and there was no place or any other creation. After creating place, Allah, subhanahu, did not change from what He was. From this hadith and what is similar among the texts, Ahlus-Sunnah took their saying that Allah's existence is not in time or place. He is transcendent of them. Al-Tabaraaniyy, related that someone was praising Allah in his supplication, and said, "events do not change you," among other things. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, gave him some gold because of the way he had praised Allah. From this we know that Muslims must believe that Allah is not something that changes or exists in time. Prophet Muhammad -may Allah raise his rank- recited his revelation, the Quran, to humankind. A subtle but powerful Quranic proof of Allah's transcendence is in the story of the Israelites who started worshipping a statue of a calf that they had made from their jewelry. Allah told us that they worshipped 'a calf, a body that makes the sound of cattle.' This description of their idol pointed out the flaws in this idol that should have made it obvious to them that it did not deserve to be worshipped, and one of these flaws is that it was 'a body', or 'jasad'in Arabic.

Umm Salamah and Rabi^ah Ibn Abi ^Abdar-Rahman

Imam al-Lalaka'iyy narrated from Umm Salamah and Rabi^ah Ibn Abi ^Abdar-Rahman a saying which means: "The attribute of istiwaa' is not unknown, because it is mentioned in the Qur'an. Al-­kayf,( that is, the how of it) is inconceivable," because its applicability to Allah is impossible. In other words, istawaa ^ala-l-^arsh does not mean 'to establish himself on the throne' or the like, because the concept of establishment is a bodily attribute and therefore has a temporal and spatial description, that is, "a how".

^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib and His descendants

Abu Nu^aym in his book Hilyat-ul-Awliyaa’, in the biography of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, reported that Nawf Ibn ^Abdullah entered the quarters of the Emirate in Kufah (the house of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib) and said: "O Amir of the Believers, there are forty Jews at the door." To this, ^Aliyy replied: "Let them in." When they entered, they said to ^Aliyy: "Describe your Lord for us, the One Who is in the sky. How is He? How was He? When was He? On what is He?" ^Aliyy sat up and said: "You Jews, hear me out and you would not have to ask anyone else. My Lord, the Exalted, is al-'Awwal (i.e., the One Whose Existence is without a beginning). He is not from anything, nor mixed with anything, nor deluded about, nor a person that would be sought, nor is he veiled, thus contained, nor did He exist after non-existence." And he said: "Allah spoke to Moses without limbs or instruments or lips nor uvulas.............. He who claims that our God is limited, is ignorant of the Creator Who is worshipped." Ar-Ramliyy and others narrated the saying of ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah honor him: "Allah existed eternally without a place, and now He is as He was." Az-Zabidiyy narrated in the explanation of al-'Ihya' by a continuous chain of narration to ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin: "O Allah, the One Who is clear of non-befitting attributes, You are not contained in a place." ^Aliyy, Zayn al-^Abidin was the best of the family members of the Prophet at his time. Moreover, this statement was made by many other Muslim scholars like Abu Hanifah, Ibn Jarir at-Tabariyy, al-Maturidiyy, al-'Ash^ariyy, and others. Moreover, at-Tamimiyy related the consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah that Allah exists without a place. He mentioned it in his book, Al-Farqu Bayn al-Firaq.

Ibn ^Abbas

Al-Bayhaqiyy related that Ibn ^Abbas said: "Think of the creation of Allah and do not think of the Self of Allah.”

The Imam Abu Haniifah

In al-Fiqh-ul-'Akbar" he said: "He has been, unceasing, and He is, unceasing, with His names and attributes; both His attributes of self and those referring to His acts.... His attributes are eternal without a beginning and are not created. Whoever says that they are created or have a beginning, or is uncertain about the attributes or doubts them, is an unbeliever in God." He also said: "He is existing , but unlike other existing things; by saying "existing," we intend merely to affirm the reality of his existence without a body, substance, bodily property, limit, opposite, like or similitude."

The Imam Maalik Ibn Anas

Maalik Ibn Anas explaining the hadith where the Prophet -may allah raise his rank" ordered, "Don't prefer me over Yunus..." said, "He specifically mentioned Yunus to point out Allah's transendence (of direction or place), because He (may Allah raise his rank) was raised to the Arsh ("throne"), while Yunus was down in the sea (inside the whale), and despite of that their relationship to the Creator, as far as direction is concerned, is the same. If there was a preference as far as direction was concerned, then he (may Allah raise his rank) would have been better by that and would not have ordered against this."

When Maalik was asked "How did he istawaa" about the Aayah "Ar-rahmaan ^alaa al-^Arsh istawa" Maalik answered "the how of it is impossible" and said to the one who asked, "I think you are a deviant". This clearly shows that Maalik did not understand this Aayah literally.

The Imam Ash-Shafi^iyy

Al-Shaafi^iyy said, "Whoever seeks to know his Creator, and concludes that his Creator is something that exists which his mind can imagine, then he is a person who likens Allah to the creation. If he settles on pure non-existence, then he is an atheist. If he concludes that He exists, and admits that his mind cannot conceive Him, then he is practicing tawhid." Since no one knows the Reality of Allah except Allah, the Salaf prohibited thinking about the Self of Allah in an attempt to seek the Reality of Allah. In "ithaaf saadatu-l-muttaqiin" relates that al-Shaafi^iy said: "He existed and there was no place, then He created place and He was attributed then with eternal existence, just as He was before creating place. It is impossible that He should change or have one attribute substituted by another."

The Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal used to denounce those that used to use the word 'body' about Allah and said, "Adjectives are taken from the sacred law and the language, and the linguists assigned this adjective for something that has length, width, thickness, assemblage, shape and formation; Allah transcends all these meanings, so it is not allowed to call him a "body", because the meanings do not apply to Him, and since the word has not come with the sacred law."

The Imam Al-Bukhaariy

In the section explaining the aayah, "ta^ruju al-malaa'ikatu wa-r-ruuh 'ilaihi" (70,4)which the ignorant and careless Pickthall translated as "the angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him," al-Bukhaariy says, "ta^ruj (linguistically speaking) means 'they ascend', and al-ruuh is Gabriel, and other meanings (of al-ruuh) have been said (by scholars)." Ibn Hajar al-^Asqalaaniy in his famous explanation of al-Bukhaariy related and approved the saying of some scholars that al-Bukhariy wanted in this section to reject the antropomorphists who believe that Allah is in a physical direction.

The Imam Ibn Jariir At-Tabariy

This famous mujtahid, explainer of the Quran, hadith master and historian, said in his book on world history, "He is the Creator of all beginnings...and there is nothing in the observable world except bodies (i.e. something that fills space) and what exists via bodies (i.e. things like color).... and anything that has this meaning must be created." Then he said, "It is clear from what we have said that the Creator of all things and the one who give all events their beginning existed before anything else...and that night, day, time and periods are all created... and that the createor does not resemble any of what He has created." He also said in his history "He existed before anything else... He existed and there was no time, no night, no day, no darkness, no light, no sky, no earth, no sun, no moon, no stars, and anything other than Him has a beginning, and is created. He alone created everything without a helper or a partner."

The Imam At-Tahaawiy

This Imam said in his summary of the sunni muslim beliefs: "Allah is clear of and above limits, ends, corners, limbs and instruments. Unlike all created things, He is not surrounded by the six directions".

The Imam of Hadith Ibn Hibbaan

He said, "Allah existed and there was no place or time."

Ibn Hazm of Andalus (Spain)

Ibn Hazm is a controversial figure among the scholars and was a fanatical literalist - he refuted analogical reasoning in Islamic jurisprudence lock, stock and barrel. Yet despite his literalist tendencies, he said in his al-Muhallaa, "Allah is not in place or time... place is only for bodies."

Abu Haamid Al-Ghazaaliy

This Imaam, who is the only scholar ever to receive the nickname "The Proof of Islam" said, "He is clear of and above being contained in a place or bounded by time."

The Imaam Al-Nasafiy

He said, "we have affirmed by aayas that allow no interpretation and by proofs of reasoning that it is impossible that Allah should settle in a place or be in all places."

Abu Ya^laa the Hadith Scholar and Hanbali Jurist

Abu Ya^laa was an antropomorphist at one stage in his scholarly career, but in his book "Al-Mu^tamad" he states, "It is impossible for Him to have a limit, an end, a beginning, an after, an under, a front or a behind, because these attributes have not been related in the sacred law, and because such attributes necessarily carry the meaning of location." We hope that this is what he settled upon as his belief. This hope is aided by the fact that he lived for 30 years after he was trialed for antromorphism.

Ibn ^Uqail the Hanbaliy scholar

He was the head of the Hanbaliy school (died 513 hijri), and said "Allah is clear of and above having attributes of pertaining to place".

The Hadiith Master Al-Qaadiy Ibn al-Arabiy of Andalus (not the sufi)

He said, "Allah is greater than to be limited by directions" and in another place "He is clear of being attributed with movement, because he is not bounded by space, just as He is not contained in time."

The Hadiith Master Qaadiy Ayaad of Andalus

"Allah's nearness is not of place and distance, because as we have related from Jaafar Ibn Muhammad al-Saadiq 'it is not a nearness of limits'."

The Hadiith Master and historian Ibn ^Asaakir

He related from another scholar and affirmed that "Allah is as He was before the creation of space."

The Imaam Al-Raaziy

Ayah 93 of Surat Maryam means: "All those in the heavens and earth must come to Allah as a slave." In his Tafsir (book of explaining the Qur'an), Imam ar-Raziyy said: "... and since it is affirmed by this ayah that everything that existed in the heavens and earth is a slave to Allah, and since it is obligatory that Allah is clear of being a slave, thus He is clear of being in a place or direction, or on al-^arsh or al-kursiyy."

In another place in his explanation of the Quran he said: "The earth is round, so it is impossible that Allah should be in the direction up." What al-Razi said is true, because what is "up" on one side is "down" on the other.


From this we know that the ahadith and the ayat that attribute aboveness to Allah, refer to the aboveness of status and not the aboveness of place, direction, touching or suspending. Know beyond doubt that the question 'how' does not apply to Allah, because this is a question about shapes, bodies, places, depths and dimensions; Allah is clear of all of that. Be firm that it is invalid to say about Allah’s attributes "... but we do not know how” because it falsely indicates that Allah has a color, shape, dimensions, body, place, movement, etc., except that one is ignorant of the 'how' of it.

The questions “How was he?”, “When was he?” and “Where was he?” do not apply to Allah

Removing filth and cleaning in the bathroom

Removing filth happens by:

  • Washing filth with water (even if used for ablution ) or non-oily liquids (e.g. vinegar):
    1. 3 different vessels of water for invisible filth with a wringing, OR dipping it once in running water without wringing.
    2. Filth that is visible is cleaned by removing it, even by one wash. It makes no difference if a trace of it is left (color, taste or smell) that other than water would be needed to remove, e.g. soap.
  • Wiping anything with a polished surface in which the filth is not soaked up or enters cracks e.g. mirrors/ knives.)
  • Shaving the surface of new (old wood is washed and left to dry 3 times.)
  • Rubbing filth off leather footwear on dry ground if the filth has a body or has been covered with clay.
  • Scratching and rubbing dry semen off clothes (unless it is mixed with other filthy fluids or is wet.
  • The trace of filth disappearing from the ground after drying or from plants after the filth has dried. It is allowed to pray there, but not to use this ground for ablution by soil (tayammum.)
  • The original filth changing into something else. E.g. Wine changing into vinegar, or dung into soil or ashes, or filthy olive oil into soap.
  • If the filth comes from a dog, then it is an Ascertained Merit to wash it 7 times, including one time with water and soil mixed.

Useful questions regarding removal of filth

  • Oil that was originally filthy never becomes clean. This is provided that the oil itself was not originally filthy, such as lard or the fat of a dead animal that had not been slaughtered correctly. However, if there was filthy oil on one's body that was NOT originally filthy (such as olive oil that had come in contact with something filthy,) then the trace of oil left after washing 3 times is not considered filthy.
  • Meat cooked in something filthy cannot be cleaned. However, the poultry that has been put a little in hot water in order to take its feathers out is cleaned by washing it.
  • Similarly, oil that was not originally filthy but comes in contact with filth is cleaned by pouring water on it and then separating it three times.
  • Honey that has become filthy is boiled with water and left to solidify three times (while pouring the water off each time.)
  • A cloth that has been pigmented with filth, such as blood, becomes clean when the water being used to wash it no longer changes color.
  • The woman’s breast is purified from the baby’s vomit by the saliva of the baby when drinking milk.
  • The mouth of the one who has drunk wine becomes pure through the flow of new saliva several times.
  • What has been distilled from filth is itself filthy.
  • Clothing with dry semen that has been cleaned by scratching it off, dry earth which's trace of filth has disappeared, or tanned leather that has been tanned by the sun, do not become filthy again by contact with water.
  • In addition, one should mention that urine drop splashes the size of needle heads are excused. The same is the case for the used water of the Complete Body Wash (ghusl) for the dead as long as the washing is ongoing, but not after the water has settled.
  • Likewise exempted is the filthy clay and clay-water of the streets unless one sees the filth itself in it.
  • If a filthy mattress or soil became wet from the sweat from someone sleeping on it, then the filth is not considered as transferred to that person unless its smell, taste or color is apparent on him. The same is the case if someone's foot was moist and he stepped on a filthy mattress or soil, or if a moist cloth was put on filthy dry ground.
  • If the wind blows over filthy ground before hitting some clothing, then the clothing does not become filthy unless the filth appears in it.
  • If a dry clean cloth was wrapped in a filthy wet cloth, but it was not so wet that water could be wringed out of it, then the former does not become filthy unless the filth appears in it (odor, taste, color.)
  • If someone was wearing wet clothing and had flatus, then the clothing does not become filthy.

Regarding cleaning oneself in the toilet (istinjaa’):

  • Say "A^uuthu-billaahi-min-al-khubthi-wal-khabaaa'ith" then the basmalah ("bismillaah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Rahiim"), then enter the bathroom with the left foot.
  • It is disliked to face or turn one’s back to the direction of prayer during defecation/ urination.
  • It is a merit to clean the exit place with water or something uprooting, but if it has spread to an area of more than one dirham (Equivalent to the area in which water would remain if the hand was held open and flat with water in it) it is obligatory to wash until clean by the left hand.
  • If using stones, toilet paper or the like, there is no prescribed number of wipes. One wipes until it is clean. It is better to use both stones/paper/etc. than water.
  • It is disliked to make to wipe with something of respectable value (e.g. food or coal), manure or bones.
  • It is disliked to uncover the between the navel to below the knee without a reason, so minimize the time.
  • It is disliked to make istinjaa' with one’s right hand.
  • To wet ones hand with water before istinjaa' is an etiquette.
  • To wipe oneself dry after washing is an etiquette.
  • It is disliked to mention Allah’s name by the lips in the bathroom (but not in the heart.)
  • After exiting say "Ghufraanaka" and "Al-hamdu lillahi-llathii athhaba ^annii al-athaa wa ^aafaanii"

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Other important notes regarding filth

  • If one cannot find clothes without an amount of filth that invalidates the prayer, one prays in those clothes.
  • If some clothing had filth on it, but the place of the filth was forgotten and part of the clothing was washed in water without investigation, then the clothing is considered pure. However, if the trace of the filth appeared later, then one must remove the filth and repeat the prayers.
  • If one has several containers of water and knows that some of them have filthy water, but not which one, then:
    1. If most of them have pure water one makes some effort in deciding which one has pure water, and takes ablution from the water one thinks is pure
    2. If half of the containers or more of them have filthy water, then one cannot go by what one thinks for ablution at all, but one can do this for drinking.
  • If one knows that some pieces of clothing mixed together have filth on them, one makes an effort to find out which ones, and then prays in the others. This is irrespective of the proportion of clothes with filth -- unlike the case of water containers.
  • If one has 3 containers of water, one unknown of which is filth and three men thought (after an effort) a different container to have pure water, then their prayers are correct if they pray single.
  • If a man took a complete ablution from two different containers, one unknown of which has filth, without trying to find out which one has filth, then his prayer is correct if he wiped his head in 2 different places. This is if there is no other water available.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Rules of Fasting

Fasting is of the following kinds:

  1. Obligatory – Ramadan. Every sane, accountable Muslim is obligated to fast in Ramadan, but it is invalid for the woman in her period or postpartum bleeding to fast.
  2. Duty – vows, atonement, optional fasts broken
  3. Optional
  4. Forbidden – days of Eid and the 3 days after the Eid of the pilgrimage

How to Fast:

  • Ramadan enters by observing the hilaal (the appearance of the crescent of the moon) or finishing 30 days of Shaabaan. The Islamic authorities in Muslim countries will announce this, and one must start fasting every day until Ramadan ends by completing 30 days or by observing the hilaal of the next month (called Shawwaal).
  • One fasts by refraining from eating, drinking and intercourse from the beginning of the obligatory morning prayer until the disk of the sun has disappeared with reference to a flat landscape.
  • One must make the intention before the time of the morning prayer enters, but in fasting during Ramadan, fasting vowed for a particular day, and optional fasting one may make the intention before half the day has passed.

Those who left fasting in Ramadan (with an excuse) to catch up later are:

  • The traveler (at least 98 kilometer) who shortens the prayers of 4 subsets
  • The sick who fears getting more ill from fasting
  • The pregnant or nursing mother who fears serious harm for herself or the child
  • The person who is too old and weak to fast. He feeds a poor person two satisfying meals for each day, OR he pays like in sadaqah of breaking fast each day (see below).
  • The insane that was sane for a part of Ramadan must catch up what he missed, otherwise no.
  • The one who was unconscious during all Ramadan must catch it up later.

Non-fasters that should meet the conditions for valid fasting during the day:

  • Those who became Muslims, and Muslims who reached puberty, during the day of Ramadan must refrain from eating the remainder of the day and catch that day up later
  • The traveler who settled (became a non-traveler) or woman that finished her period during the day refrains from eating in respect (as a duty).

Breaking the fast without an excuse has two categories according to its consequences:

  1. One must make the day up later and make atonement* (only for Ramadan) if one intentionally:
    • has intentional intercourse (even anal)
    • eats or drinks something nutritious or medicine
    * The atonement is to free a slave, or if unable, to fast two consecutive months without interruption (avoiding Ramadan or the days that fasting is forbidden), or if unable, to feed 60 poor Muslims, as in sadaqah of breaking fast, or by feeding each (adult) two satisfying meals.)
  2. One must make the day up later only if one:
    • Excreted semen due to a touch, rubbing or a kiss
    • Ate something like a stone or a piece of iron
    • Put medicine in the anus, ear or nose or a wound that made it reach the brain or the inside the body (such as the bloodstream by taking medicine through an IV).
    • Ate thinking that the time of fasting had finished, or not entered yet, but then discovered otherwise.
    • Made oneself throw up more than a mouthful.

Some things that do not break the fast:

  • Using eye drops or applying oil and the like to the skin
  • Taking out blood
  • Vomiting or swallowing vomit involuntarily
  • One forgot one was fasting and ate, drank or had intercourse
  • Wet dreams or semen discharge due to looking alone
  • Kissing, unless one had semen discharge
  • Involuntarily breathing dust or smoke or swallowing a fly – because they aren’t food and one cannot avoid it.
  • Smelling perfume or flowers. However, smoking does break the fast.
  • Backbiting (saying something about a Muslim in his absence that he would not like)

Things that it is disliked for the fasting person to do:

  • Kissing, if one does not trust one’s self control
  • Tasting something then spitting it
  • Chewing gum (without swallowing)
  • Cleaning the teeth unless it is with a siwaak
  • Chewing for a small child, unless there is no other way

During Ramadan one should:

  • Do a lot of optional worship, such as attending religious lessons of trustworthy teachers, reading Quran, and charity.
  • Make I^tikaaf - (Staying in the masjid without exiting other than for necessities). Doing this for the last 10 days of Ramadan is an ascertained sunnah.
  • Pay particular attention to avoiding lies, backbiting Muslims or other sins.
  • Avoid busying one's heart with matters of this life, and focus on the hereafter.

Sadaqah of Breaking Fast:

It is a duty upon any free Muslim who owns the value of a nisaab (the value of 595 grams of silver or 85 grams of gold) that is not of his basic needs (e.g. clothes, dwelling and furniture in use) and is in excess of his debt. This is even if this nisaab is in things that zakaat is not an obligation in, such as a car one does not need, but is not intended for sale. It becomes a duty at the time of the obligatory morning prayer of Eid. He must pay for himself, his small children and any slaves that are not for trade only. It is allowed for the husband to pay for his wife and older children without their permission, unlike in regular zakaat.

The levels of poverty and wealth:

  1. Very poor: The one that has less than the food he needs for the current day and is not able to work for it. He is allowed to beg.
  2. Poor: The one who does not have the value of a nisaab in excess of what is occupied by his basic needs or debt. He is allowed to take zakaat, but not to beg.
  3. Rich: The one who owns, in excess of his basic needs, the value of a nisaab. He must pay the sadaqah of breaking fast, slaughter for the pilgrimage Eid and cannot take zakaat for himself.

Zakaat can be paid to:

Very poor or poor Muslims in the first two categories above, or the traveler who needs money to get home, or soldiers in jihad/ pilgrims who don't have access to their money, or as salary for those who collect zakaat, or for Muslim slaves who are working to free themselves by contract, or for those who have so much debt as to be considered poor. Some scholars said one can give to new Muslims who are still weak in their religion, others said this was only in the Prophet’s time.

It is NOT allowed to pay for:

  • Building masjids or other charity that does not fit the above categories, such as burials or teaching religion.
  • One may not pay to a non-Muslim, one's own descendents or ancestors, or the descendents of Hashim (the Prophet’s great grandfather).

How to pay:

  • One makes the intention when giving it or separating it for giving during Ramadan or on Eid.
  • One must feel sure that the person is one of those that deserve zakaat.
  • The amount: 2 kg. of wheat, or its flower, or raisins OR 4 kg. of dates or barley, OR the value of these. One is allowed to pay outside ones own home region if people outside are in greater need or they are family or students of the Islamic sciences.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Fatwa of the scholars of Azhar on the one who believes that Allah settles in created things or that He has a direction

The source in Arabic is found by clicking on this article's title above. Note that translator's notes are in italics, and that titles have been added by the translator. If you can't see the Arabic, make sure to go to the view menu and choose an Arabic encoding.

From the Fatwas of the scholars of Azhar regarding the one who believes that Allah enters creations or is in a material direction.


The imam and great scholar, the muhaddith, The Renewer of the Religion, Abu Muhammad, Mahmud Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Khitaab, Al-Subkiyy, Al-Azhariyy, the founder of the Association of Islamic Law in Egypt, the author of Al-Manhal Al-^Athb Al-Mawruud Sharh Sunan Abiy Daawuud (an explanation of Abu Daawuud), who died 1352 h., may God have mercy upon him, said in his book "Ithaf Al-Kaa’inaat bi-Bayaan Mathhab Al-Salaf wa Al-Khalaf Fi Al-Mutashaabihaat", page 2:

Praise to the Lord of the Worlds, who is clear of the attributes of creation, like direction and body and place and physical highness, and may God raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad, who wiped out shirk and blasphemy and ordered us to believe that Allah is clear of created attributes and revealed to him in the Koran what means that Allah is one, doesn’t have a partner or parts, that He does not need anything or anyone, does not beget and was not begotten and that He has no equal, and also revealed to him what means that Allah does not resemble anything and that He hears and sees everything. May Allah also raise the rank of the Prophet’s companions and all those who imitated his ways.

After that, Mahmud Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Khitaab, Al-Subkiyy says:

The question asked:

Some of those who desire knowledge about the beliefs of the religion and to stand firm in the school of the salaf and khalaf with regard to the hadiths and aayaat that do not have a clear or well known meaning (called mutashaabihaat in Arabic) asked as follows:

What is the saying of the scholars, may Allah protect them, regarding the one who believes that God has a physical direction, and that He sits on the throne in a special place and says, “this is the belief of the salaf!” promotes this idea, and accuses those who deny this of blasphemy. All this while pointing to the 2 aayahs:

الرحمن على العرش استوى and ءأمنتم من في السماء

(If someone translated them literally, they would say “The Merciful established on the throne” and “Do you feel safe from who is in the sky?”. In the first case one should know that istawa has some 14 different meanings in Arabic (not just to establish), and that the meaning of ^Arsh is something the scholars disagreed upon. The second Aayah is said to refer to the angels, because the sky is their abode. In other words, there is nothing which says that these two Aayas must be taken literally.)

Is this a valid or an invalid belief? If invalid, does the one who says so commit blasphemy so that all his previous works are annulled, such as prayer, fasting and other religious activities and is his marriage contract invalidated? If he dies in this state, before repenting, is he not washed and prayed for and buried in the graveyards of the muslims? Is the one who believed that what this one is saying is true, also a non-muslim, like him? What is your saying about what some people say that denying that Allah is attributed with the six directions (i.e. up, down, front, back and the two sides) is wrong, and that it entails denying His existence? Let us benefit from your showing of what the mathhab of the salaf and the khalaf in these two aayas, and other aayas, such as,

"إليه يصعد الكلم الطيب"

(If translated literally, it would say “to Him ascend the good words.”) and the hadith,

"ينـزل ربنا إلى السماء الدنيا

(If translated literally, it would say “He descends to the sky of the world.”) with a complete and satisfactory explanation.

Include the sayings of the scholars of hadith, Quran-explanation, fiqh and tawheed, and clarify completely, so that the tongues of those who speak thoughtlessly are silenced - those who liken Allah to His creation and believe that what the khalaf scholars did in terms of ta'weel (interpreting figuratively) is blasphemy, while claiming that this is the way of the Jahmiyyah, the blasphemous sect, and spread this rumor among the common people. May Allah reward you!

The Answer of The Imam Abu Muhammad Mahmud Khitaab Al-Subkiyy

The answer of the Imam Abu Muhammad Mahmud Khitaab Al-Subkiyy: So I answered, by Allah's help, and said: In the name of Allah, the one who is merciful to muslims and non-muslims in this life, but only to muslims in the next. Praise to Allah, the Creator of true guidance, and may Allah raise the rank of the one who was given wisdom and clear speech, and of those who support him and his companions, whom Allah guided and gave success and steadfastness. After saying that, the judgment is that this belief is invalid, and the one who believes it is a non-Muslim by the consensus of those who count among the scholars.

The proof in terms of reasoning

The proof of reasoning for this is that Allah's existence is eternal without a beginning, and does not resemble anything that has a beginning.

The proof in terms of Quran and Hadith

In terms of what has been related, the proof is "He does not resemble anything, and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing." (meaning of suurah 42, 11). (What Al-Subkiy has mentioned is enough for the sound minded, because Islam does not teach something contradictory - all its teachings are harmonious in meaning. However, in order to bring Hadiths as well as Quran and logical reasoning, he might have added that Al-Bayhaqiyy, Muslim and others, related the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam: "You are adh-Dhahir,hence there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin, hence there is nothing underneath You." Then Al-Bayhaqiyy said (in his book "Al-Asmaa' wa as-Sifaat"): "If there is nothing above Him and nothing underneath Him, then He is not in a place.")

The consequence of these proofs for the one who believes something contradictory to them

Accordingly, anyone that believes that Allah settled in a place, or was in contact with it or anything else that has a beginning, such as the ^Arsh (sometimes translated as "throne" - it is a creation with 4 legs, and is like the Kaabah for the Angles), or the Kursiyy (sometimes translated as "chair"), or the sky, or the earth, or anything else - he is a blasphemer absolutely and without a doubt. All his religious works are invalid, such as prayer, fasting and Hajj, and his wife is separated, and he must repent immediately. If he dies with this belief, then he is not washed, not prayed for, and he is not buried in the graveyard of the muslims. In addition, all those who believed that his belief is the truth take this same judgment. May Allah protect us from the evils of our selves and the liability of our bad deeds.

As for such a person's encouragement of others to have such blasphemous beliefs, and his telling them that the one who does not have it is a blasphemer; this (activity of his) is (another) blasphemy and an abhorrent lie with the intent to spread deviance. As for him taking as evidence, according to his invalid claim, the two aayas mentioned, and their likes, to show that Allah settles on the ^arsh, or sits on it, or descends in the sky or the like, as this group of people claims... They do this despite the fact that Allah's attribute of speech (which the revealed book of the Quran refers to) is not created, and it is one of the eternal attributes of Allah that existed before the ^Arsh or the sky, so Allah is attributed with "^ala al-^arsh istawa" before the ^arsh existed. Moreover, was He sitting, according to them, on the non existing ^arsh before it existed???!! Was He (according to them) in the sky before it existed???!!

(The revealed book of the Quran refers to Allah's attribute of speech (which does not have a beginning, or an end, and does not change - as is true for all of His attributes), just as the word "Allah" refers to the Creator and is not Him Himself. Words, languages, letters and sounds are all obviously created things - if someone is in doubt, let them say "bism-i-llaah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Rahiim" without a beginning or an end! The word "Quran" in Arabic may refer to Allah's eternal attribute of speech or to the book. It is kufr to say that the Quran is created if one means Allah's attribute. It is a sin (but not kufr) to say so if one is referring to the book, because it is inappropriate and a bid^ah.)

These (sorts of claims) are something a rational being does not even hesitate about. Does sound reason accept that something eternal settles in something that has a beginning? Verily we are Allah's creation and we will return to be judged by Him! In summary, this careless person and his likes have claimed something that cannot be verified; neither by reason, nor by what has been related. They have committed blasphemy, and they think they have done something good! And the greatest calamity that they are struck by is that they claim to be salafis, while they are deviants from the true path, and disgracing the best among the muslims. There is no power or ability other than what Allah creates!

(Subki's saying that this belief "cannot be verified neither by reason, nor by what has been related" needs some explanation. In terms of reason it is clear, because Allah is eternal, and directions are not, as Subki has already pointed out. For more details, you may read the article Foundations of the Religion. The scholars all agreed that all Hadith and Quran sayings must be understood by their apparent meaning, with two exceptions only:

The first exception is if taking it literally would lead to the absurd, i.e. it is self contradictory, such as saying "a square circle" or "the part is larger than the whole." Saying that Allah is actually in a geographical direction leads to saying either that directions are eternal or that Allah changed from being without direction to having a direction. This cannot be, because direction is an attribute of space, and space is attributed with change, therefore it must be a creation. Moreover, it cannot be that Allah changes, because that would mean He needs a creator. For more on this, see the above article link. The second exception is if there are other hadiths and Quranic sayings that contradict the literal meaning. In this case there are many texts that contradicts the claim that Allah is in a direction, among them: "He does not resemble anything," as Subki mentioned.)

The Salaf's way of dealing with mutashaabihaat

Concerning the way of the salaf (the scholars of the first 3 centuries) and khalaf (scholars after the salaf) in dealing with the aayahs and hadiths that do not have only one possible or well-known meaning: they all agreed that Allah is clear of and above the attributes of whatever has a beginning. Therefore, He does not have a place for Him on the Arsh or the sky or anywhere else. He is also not attributed with settling in or on anything that has a beginning, and not with transformation or movement or the like. Rather, He is as he was before the existence of the Arsh or the Kursi or the skies and other things that have a beginning. The Haafith (ibn Hajar al-Asqalani) said in al-Fath (Fath-ul-Baariy - the explanation of al-Bukhaariy): "the Fuqahaa' (fiqh scholars) all agreed, from east to west, upon the belief in the Quran and the hadiths that trustworthy people related from the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) about the attributes of Allah, without likening them to creation or explanation."

They only disagreed on the matter of explaining the meaning of these aayahs, so the salaf (i.e. most of them) believe in them as they were related and that they are not literally meant, because of the saying of Allah which means, "He does not resemble anything and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing", and leave the meaning be, due to the saying of Allah that means: "and noone knows their meaning except Allah" (suurah 3, 5 – more details later).

Accordingly, they say regarding the Aayah "Al-Rahman ^alaa al-^Arsh istawa" (if literally translated it would say “He established on the throne”), that He "istawa" in a sense that befits Him, and only He knows it, and regarding the aayah "'a 'amintum man fii al-samaa'" (if literally translated it would say: “Do You feel safe from who is in the sky?”) that we believe in it and the meaning that Allah gave it, while clearing Him of the attributes of whatever has a beginning and of settling (in a place.) They also say about the Aayah "yad-ullahi fawqa aydiyhim" (if literally translated it would say: “His hand is above their hands”) that He has a "yad" not like our yad (i.e. our hand), and only Allah knows it. This was their way in dealing with these aayahs that do not have only a single possible meaning or only one famous meaning.

A saying of Ibn Kathir and Nu^aym Ibn Hammaad about mutashaabihaat

The great salafi (i.e. that he was like the salaf in his ways, not that this is a mathhab) Imam Ibn Kathiir said: "As for the saying of Allah "thumma istawa ^alaa al-^arsh" (if someone translated it literally he would say "then He ascended the throne"), there are so very many sayings about this that this is not the place to mention them all, and we will rather take the way of the pious salaf, Malik, al-Awzaa^iy, Al-Thawriy, Al-Layth ibn Sa^d, Al-Shaafi3iy, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaaq in Raahwayh and other imams, new and old, which is to pass by them without giving them a how, or a likeness, or deny them. As for the apparent literal meanings that come to the minds of those who liken Allah to His creation; those are rejected, because He does not resemble anything, and there is nothing like Him, and he is All-Seeing, All-Hearing. Rather, it is like what the imams said, among them Nu^aym Ibn Hammaad Al-Khuzaa^iyy, the sheikh of Al-Bukhaariyy: "The one who likens Allah to His creation has committed blasphemy, and the one who denies what Allah has attributed to Himself has also committed blasphemy. There is no (meaning of) likening (to the creation) in any of what Allah has attributed to Himself or what the Prophet attributed to Him. So the one who affirms what has been related in plain aayahs and authentic hadiths in a way that is befitting with Allah' greatness, and denies that Allah has any flaws; he has taken the path of guidance." The like of the above is to be found in all tafseer books of the masterful imams.

Examples of how the Salaf dealt with mutashaabihaat

They say about the hadith (which if translated literally, would say that) "our Lord descends to the sky of the world," that this has a meaning that befits Allah, and that only Allah knows it. Then there is another hadith, the Hadith of the slave girl related by Muslim and Abu Daawood where it is mentioned that the Prophet said to her: "aina Allah? and she said "fii as-samaa'" (which if translated literally, would be said to mean "where is Allah" and that she said " in the sky") and that he said "who am I?" and she answered "you are the Messenger of Allah." Then he said "free her, for she is a believer." This hadith is handled with the same approach as the aayah "'a 'amintum man fii as-samaa'" and likewise all other such hadiths and aayahs. They took this approach because of the aayah:

هو الذي أنزل عليك الكتاب منه آيات محكمات هن أم الكتاب وأخر متشابهات ، فأما الذين في قلوبهم زيغ فيتبعون ما تشابه منه ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله ، وما يعلم تأويله إلا الله والراسخون في العلم يقولون ءامنا به كل من عند ربنا وما يذّكّر إلا أولوا الألباب
(This Aayah (suurah3, 7) means that: Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad some Aayahs –called muhkamaat (محكمات) - that have only one meaning according to the Arabic language or only one famous meaning, such as those prescribing halaal and haraam, and other aayahs – called mutashaabihaat (متشابهات) - that do not. Those with deviance in their hearts will emphasize the latter kind of aayahs in order to spread deviance (i.e. by contradicting the meaning of the muhkamaat) through pretending that they are only explaining the meaning. Only Allah knows their meaning, and the very knowledgeable say “we believe in them, they are all from Our Lord”, and only the sound minded take heed and ponder this.)

The salaf (i.e. the salaf in general, not all of them) said there is a full stop in the aayah after, "only Allah knows their meaning." As for the "steadfast in knowledge" mentioned after this in the Quran; this is the beginning of a new sentence (i.e. they do not know the meaning) to show that the great scholars believe in these aayahs, (i.e. without assigning a particular meaning.)

The Khalaf's way of dealing with mutashaabihaat

Regarding the Khalaf (scholars after the 3rd century); they say (i.e. it is more prevalent among them to say) that these aayahs and hadiths have a known meaning, so the meaning of "istawa" is "control", and the meaning of "man fii as-samaa'" (if literally translated it would say "who is in the sky") is that it is a figure of speech referring to His punishment, authority and orders, or it is simply a figurative way of praising Allah by attributing to him above-ness and greatness, and clearing him of lowliness or below-ness, NOT that He settles in it. This is because settlement is an attribute of bodies and signifies having a beginning, and Allah is clear of that. (Also, understanding it literally contradicts aayah 93 of surat Maryam, which means: "All those in the heavens and earth must come to Allah as a slave." It is possible also that the word "who" is referring to the angels, because the sky is their abode. Finally, the sky is below the ^arsh...

The meaning of (literally translated) "descending" in the hadith is that His Messenger or His Mercy descends. (The hadith attributes the so called "descending" to the last 3rd of the night, and since it is always the last 3rd of the night somewhere on earth, we know that the meaning is NOT that Allah is moving from one place to another.) As for the Prophet's approval of the slave-girl's hint towards the sky; this was a concise way from her of showing that she was not associating partners with Allah, because it was thereby known that she did not worship the idols on earth. (Also, some scholars said the hadith has weaknesses in its text, because Abd-ur-Razzaaq related it without any mention of the words "aina?" or "fii as-samaa'".)

This is the way of the khalaf in all aayahs and hadiths of this kind, based on their saying that the full stop in the aayah about the aayahs that do not have a single possible, or well known, meaning comes after ""only Allah knows their meaning and those steadfast in knowledge," i.e. the steadfast in knowledge knows their meaning. Their proof is that the Quran is in Arabic, and this Arabic uses these expressions. However, the weightiest opinion is that of the salaf. (Note: he means of course that the majority of the salaf take this approach to this aayah, not absolutely all, since this would be consensus (ijmaa^.))

The one who attributes to the salaf or khalaf other than this is a deviant and a deviator.

The Jahmiyyah are very different from the Khalaf

The one who claims that the way of the khalaf is the way of the Jahmiyyah is a transgressor and a liar, because the Jahmiyyah are the followers of Jahm Ibn Safwaan, who said that humans are forced to do what they do and denied all ability to humans, and claimed that Paradise and Hell will end. He also claimed that belief is only knowledge of Allah, whereas blasphemy is not knowing Him. He said that noone does anything except Allah, and that humans are said to have actions only as a figure of speech, in the same way one says that "the sun passed its zenith" or the "mill turned," without any actual real action or ability from them. He also claimed that Allah’s knowledge has a beginning, and prevented people from saying that Allah is attributed with life, knowledge or will. He said "I don't attribute to Him an adjective that can be used for others, such as existing, alive, willing and such," and accepted to say that He has power, brings into existence, acts, creates, gives life and death, because only He has these attributes. He also claimed that Allah's attribute of speech has a beginning, as the Qadariyyah sect did, and refused to say that Allah speaks. Our companions said he was a blasphemer for all his deviances, and the Qadariyyah said he was an infidel for his claim that Allah creates the acts of humans, so all the nation said that he was a Kaafir. Here ends the quote (i.e. the above description of the Jahmiyyah) from the book "Al-Farq Baina Al-Firaq", written by the Imam Abu Mansuur ^Abd-ul-Qaadir Ibn Taahir Al-Baghdaadiyy, page 199. From this you know that the scholars of the Khalaf are free from the this sect and its claims.

An answer to those that claim that denial of direction is denial of existence

As for the idea that denying that Allah is attributed with any of the six directions is a denial of His existence, this is obviously invalid since Allah existed before they existed, namely up, down, front, back, left and right. Rather, He existed before the world as a whole by consensus of ancient and later scholars. How then does someone that has even a tiny mind picture that clearing Him of being attributed with these 6 directions is the same as denying His existence??!! How can it be imagined that the Eternal Allah's existence depends on some things that have a beginning, or all of those that He created??!! You (Oh Allah) are clear of all imperfection!

This is a great lie! How (could it not be), when a number of the salaf and the khalaf have plainly stated that the one who believes that Allah is in a direction (i.e. up) is a blasphemer, as was stated by Al-Baghdadiyy. This was also the saying of Abu Hanifa, Malik, Al-Shaafi^iyy, Abu Hasan Al-Ash^ariyy and Al-Baaqillaaniyy, as mentioned by the great scholar Mullaa Aliyy Qaariy in "Sharh al-Mishkaat" in the second volume on page 137. Allah said (what means that) real blindness is not that of the eyes, but that of the heart (suurah 22, 46.) and that if Allah has not created the light of guidance in someone's heart, then he will never be guided (suurah 24, 40.) We ask Allah to guide us all on the straight path and block the misguidance of the cursed Satan, and to raise the rank of The Last Of The Prophets, and whoever follows him in his works.

A list of scholars that signed this fatwa

After writing this, I have shown this answer to a number of honorable scholars of Azhar University, and they have agreed and signed it, and they are the following distinguished companions of ours:
  • Sheikh Muhammad Najdi, the sheikh of the Shaafi^i followers.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Sabii^ Al-Dhahabi, the sheikh of the Hanbaliyy followers.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Al-^Azbi Rizq, the lecturer in the higher section.
  • Sheikh Abd-ul-Hamiid ^Ammaar, the lecturer in the higher section.
  • Sheikh Ali Al-Nahraawi, the lecturer in the higher section.
  • Sheikh Dusuuqi Abdullah Al-Arabi, from the Council of the Great Scholars.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Al-^Azbi Rizq, the lecturer in the higher section.
  • Sheikh Ali Mahfuuth, the lecturer in specialization section of Azhar.
  • Sheikh Ibrahim ^Iiaarah Al-Daljamuuni , the lecturer in specialization section of Azhar.
  • Sheikh Muhammad ^Alyaan, from great scholars of Azhar.
  • Sheikh Ahmad Makki, the lecturer in specialization section of Azhar.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Husain Hamdaan.
--End of Fatwa--