Supplication for forgiveness for oneself & others

Question Title: 
Supplication for forgiveness for oneself & others
Date: 
Sat, 10/14/2006
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Am I allowed to ask for the forgiveness of the sins of other people in my personal supplications? If I may, then how should I do so?
English Answer: 
We should certainly pray to Allah to forgive others. Supplication on behalf of others is a great virtuous deed.

This is one of the necessities of the brotherhood that we as Muslims are required to uphold. It is also one of the reasons for our supplications being answered. Allah says: “Seek forgiveness for your sins and for the believing men and women.” [Sûrah Muhammad: 19]

Noah (peace be upon him) said: “My Lord! Forgive me, my parents, all who enter my house in faith, and the believing men and women.” [Sûrah Nûh: 28]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever asks forgiveness for the believing men and women, he will have a good deed written to his credit for each and every believing man and woman.” [Majma` al-Zawâ’id (10/210) and graded as good by al-Albânî]

It is good to make special mention of our parents, the scholars, the righteous, the devout and those like the rulers whose virtue brings about virtue for all Muslims. It is also preferred to mention the weak and oppressed in our supplications and to beseech Allah against those who oppress and exploit them.

A supplicant should begin by the person supplication on his or her own behalf.

Ubayy b. Ka`b mentions that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) “when he supplicated on behalf of others, he used to begin with himself.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3385) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3984) and authenticated by al-Albânî]

We see examples of this approach often in the Qur’ân. For instance: “Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who preceded us in faith.” [Sûrah al-Hashr: 10]

However, this is not necessary when a person simply wishes to supplicate for the benefit of someone else. There are many supplications found in the sacred text where the supplicant beseeches Allah on behalf of someone else and does not mention himself at all.

It might be said, then, that when a person intends to beseech Allah in supplication for himself and for others, he should begin with himself and then mention the others. If, on the other hand, he wishes to beseech Allah for someone else, then he does not have to supplicate for himself as well. We have already seen an example of this in the Prophet’s supplication for `Ubayd b. `Amir where he said: “O Allah! Forgive `Ubayd b. `Amir.”

If the person we are supplicating for is an unbeliever, we should pray for that person’s guidance.

Allah says: “ It is not fitting, for the Prophet and those who believe, that they should pray for forgiveness for pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 113]

We may also pray for the worldly welfare of an unbeliever. We can pray, for instance, that has good health and other similar things in this world.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O Lord, support Islam by the most beloved `Umar to you.” This is a supplication for guidance for one of the two persons named `Umar to accept Islam. This took place just before `Umar b. al-Khattâb embraced Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in another hadîth: “O Lord guide my people, they do not know (the true path).”

And Allah knows best.

Brushing One's Teeth During the Ramadan Fast

Date: 
Thu, 09/14/2006
Short Content: 
Many people avoid brushing their teeth during the day in Ramadan. This is a mistake, since there is no contradiction between observing the fast and brushing one's teeth.
Body: 
Many people avoid brushing their teeth during the day in Ramadan. This is a mistake, since there is no contradiction between observing the fast and brushing one's teeth. Moreover, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Were it not for the hardship that I would be placing upon my people, I would have ordered them to engage in siwâk for every prayer.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (887) and Sahîh Muslim (252)]

We must understand that the word “siwâk” does not just refer to the tree branches that are used as tooth sticks, but to the act of brushing the teeth itself. It is derived from the verb sâk, meaning to rub, clean, buff, or polish. [Tarh al-Tathrîb (2/63)]

Regarding the question of what can be used for brushing the teeth, Ibn `Abd al-Barr writes: “The siwâk of the people had been from the arâk and bashâm trees. Anything that polishes the teeth without harming them and sweetens the taste of the mouth is permitted for the purpose of brushing the teeth.” [al-Istidhkâr (3/272)]

It is permitted to brush one's teeth at any time during the day while fasting in Ramadan. As for the hadîth that reads: “When you fast, brush your teeth in the mornings, but do not brush your teeth in the afternoon.” – it is an extremely weak hadîth. It is related in Sunan al-Bayhaqî, Sunan al-Daraqutnî, and other sources. Its chain of transmission is too weak to allow it to be used as evidence.

Therefore, the ruling regarding brushing the teeth in Ramadan remains general. It is encouraged at all times. This ruling is evident in the hadîth mentioned above as well as in the hadîth: “Were it not for the hardship that I would be placing upon my people, I would have ordered them to engage in siwâk every time they perform wudû'.” This means that it is recommended to brush one's teeth after every wudû' and for every prayer, regardless of whether one is fasting or not, and regardless of whether it is in the morning of Ramadan or the afternoon. The Zuhr and `Asr prayers are include in this general ruling just as the Fajr, Maghrib, an `Ishâ' prayers are included.

In fact, there are six occasions where brushing the teeth I recommended:

1. It is recommended before each prayer.

2. It is recommended for every wudû'.

3. It is recommended when reciting the Qur'ân. The following is related by `Alî . Abî Tâlib and others: "Indeed, your mouths are pathways fro the Qur'ân, so make those pathways agreeable with siwâk." [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (291) but with a weak

4. It is recommended upon entering the home. The father of al-Miqdâm b. Shurayh had asked `Aishah: "What was the first thing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do when he entered the house?" She replied that he would brush his teeth. [Sahîh Muslim (253)]

5. It s recommended when a person has bad breath. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Siwâk cleanses the mouth and pleases the Lord." [Sunan al-Nisâ'î, (5), Musnad Ahmad (6/47) and Sunan al-Dârimî (684)]

6. It is recommended upon waking from sleep. Hudhayfah relates that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up at night, he would brush his teeth with a toothstick." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

It is recommended for a Muslim to brush his or her teeth on these occasions whether or not he or she is fasting.

Some people assume that brushing the teeth while fasting is discouraged on the basis of the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, the khalûf of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah than the scent of musk.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1893) and Sahîh Muslim (1151)]

The assumption that this hadîth discourages brushing one's teeth while fasting is incorrect for two reasons:

1. The khalûf is the smell that comes from the stomach when it is empty of food and is not a smell emanating from the mouth.

2. Many scholars explain that the pleasantness of this khalûf for Allah on the Day of Judgment, as indicated by the narration of the hadîth in Sahîh Muslim: “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, the khalûf of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allah on the Day of Judgment than the scent of musk.” It does not relate to the affairs of this world, so brushing the teeth will have no affect on it. If anything, brushing the teeth will provide an additional dimension of pleasantness, since it is in itself something pleasing to Allah. It is something Allah enjoined upon the Muslim's through the words of His Messenger (peace be upon him).

As for any remnants of the tooth stick that may remain in the mouth of the fasting person, these should simply be removed as best as possible. The fasting person should not allow suspicions and misgivings about it to worry him. Many people go to excesses in this matter and impose upon themselves unnecessary hardships. For instance, some people go to extremes in removing what remains in their mouths after brushing their teeth or in removing the food that remains in their mouths in the morning from their pre-fasting meals. There are those who find great difficulty in inhaling water and rinsing their mouths when performing wudû'. Worse still, there are some fasting people who go to the extreme of spitting out their saliva, thereby subject themselves to a considerable degree of suffering.

All of these are difficulties and constraints that Allah has spared the Muslims from. Allah says: "Allah does not burden any soul with more than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray): Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Do not place on us a burden like that which You placed on those before us." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 286]

Allah has removed from us the burdens that He had existed for the communities of faith that came before. Therefore, it behooves us to keep things easy for ourselves and for those around us in these matters.

Engaging in siwâk brings many benefits. It cleans and refreshes the mouth. It reduces phlegm. It eases the stomach and facilitates digestion. It improves the voice. It invigorates a person for the reading of the Qur'ân and for remembrance and prayer. Most importantly, it pleases our Lord. It brings joy to the angels and adds blessings to our deeds.

“O Messenger of Allah! Do we get blessings for indulging our lusts?”

Date: 
Thu, 08/02/2007
Body: 

Abû Dharr relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is charity in the sexual act that one has with one’s wife.”

The Companions were surprised at this and asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Do we get blessings for indulging our lusts?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Do you consider that if you were to fulfill your sexual desires unlawfully, you would incur sin? Likewise, if you fulfill them through lawful means, you will receive blessings.” [Sahîh Muslim (1674)]

One of the hallmarks of Islamic civilization at its height was that, though it was a civilization built upon religious foundations, it was one that promoted the worldly development and progress for the welfare of the people. This can be seen in the growth of commerce, industry, invention, science, architecture, and the arts in the early centuries of Islam.

The reason for this flowering of such admittedly worldly achievements was none of other than the religion of Islam itself. Islam does not belittle the life of this world nor does it marginalize its concerns. Islam does not see the secular sphere as one of filth, and it does not call upon its adherence to renounce the world. Salvation is not achieved through monastic abstinence.

Quite the contrary, Islam teaches that we are supposed to inhabit the Earth, develop its potential, and enjoy the lawful and good bounty that it contains. Our doing so for the sake of Allah is regarded as a form of devotion, no less that our prayer and our fasting.

This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If the Final Hour arrives while one of you has a sapling in his hand that he is about to plant, then he should finish planting it, if he can, before standing up.” [Musnad Ahmad (12512)]

He used this extreme illustration in order to emphasize that our cultivation and development of the world should not be neglected on account of our spiritual concerns.

He also illustrated the harmony between the sacred and the worldly by informing us that Allah rewards us for engaging in sexual intercourse within the bounds of lawful marriage. This came as a surprise in a world where the prevailing religions saw sex as something dirty – even between a husband and wife.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is charity in the sexual act that one has with one’s wife.”

The Companions were surprised at this and asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Do we get blessings for indulging our lusts?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Do you consider that if you were to fulfill your sexual desires unlawfully, you would incur sin? Likewise, if you fulfill them through lawful means, you will receive blessings.” [Sahîh Muslim (1674)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was also quite clear that there were things in this world that he loved, and that this did not contradict with religious devotion. He said: “Of the things of this world, women and perfume have been made beloved to me – and the delight of my eyes is prayer.” [Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3879)]

In the same way, the Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized that we can attain Allah’s love by helping other people in their worldly needs. He said: “All of Creation are Allah’s dependents – and the best of them to Allah are those who provide the greatest benefit to his dependents.”[Mu`jam al-Tabarânî al-Kabîr (9891)]

Since Islam calls upon its adherents to be actively engaged in making a contribution to the world and to human welfare, we find that it categorically prohibits monasticism. We must understand that monasticism is the idea that it is an act of devotion to renounce the world altogether and focus purely on spiritual concerns and the goal of the Hereafter.”

Allah says: “We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy. But the monasticism which they invented for themselves We did not prescribe for them. We commanded only the seeking Allah’s good pleasure; but this they did not foster as they should have done.” [Sûrah al-Hadîd: 27]

Three of the Companions once asked the Prophet’s wife to describe to them the Prophet’s worship. When she did do, they found it to be less than they aspired to. They said: “How can we compare our state to that of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? His sins, past and future have been forgiven.”

Then one among them said: “I will pray throughout the night, every night.”

Another among them said: “I will fast every day without fail.”

The third among them said: “As for me, I will renounce women and never marry.”

Later, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to them and said: “Are you the ones who said those things? Whereas, by Allah, I am the most God-fearing and devout among you; yet I fast at times and at other times leave off the fast, I observe prayer and sleep as well; and I marry women. Whoever desires something other than my way is not of me.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5036) and Sahîh Muslim (1401)]

This balanced attitude between worldly and spiritual concerns, where devotion to Allah is not seen as antagonistic to worldly activities, is one of the reasons why Islamic civilization flowered in its early centuries.

As time went on, things changed. The extreme asceticism of certain Islamic mystical paths, over time, captured the popular Muslim imagination. When such deviant mystical ideas became entrenched in Muslim society, it lost its vigor and vitality. People began seeing piety towards Allah as being synonymous with the renunciation of the world. They sometimes went so far as to see righteousness in self-inflicted abuse and the complete denial of comfort.

The also twisted the beautiful idea of relying on Allah into something else by saying: “Leave the world’s concerns to its Creator.” By turning away from the beautiful and balanced principles enshrined in Islamic teachings, the Muslim world fell into decline.
Short Content: 
He replied: “Consider: if you fulfill your sexual desires unlawfully, you incur sin? Likewise, if you fulfill them lawfully, you receive blessings.”

Be Just in All That You Say

Date: 
Wed, 05/02/2007
Image: 
Short Content: 
We must be just whether we are speaking about Muslims or non-Muslims, and when we speak about any topic, large or small.
Body: 
Islam teaches us how to speak about other people. We are supposed to conduct ourselves ethically, and make certain to speak in a just and equitable manner. We must observe justice in what we declare, even when it concerns ourselves or those we love.

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 153]

A Muslim is commanded to speak and act justly, though he might be speaking about someone who opposes and hates him, and who he in turn despises. Allah says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is nearest to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 8]

Allah had commanded the Muslims to be just even with the pagans of Mecca who drove the Muslims out of their homes. He says: “Let not the hatred of some people for (once) shutting you out of the Sacred Mosque lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sin and rancor. Fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 2]

The Muslims must deal justly even with those who wage war against them. Allah prohibits the Muslims from transgression. He says: “Fight against those who fight against you, but do not transgress bounds. Indeed Allah does not love transgressors.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 190]

There can be no doubt that Allah has made justice – which includes being just in the things that we say about others – compulsory for everyone under all circumstances. We must speak justly whether we are speaking about ourselves or about others. We must be just whether we are speaking about Muslims or non-Muslims. We must be just when we speak about any topic, large or small.

Ibn Taymiyah says: “Justice is mandatory for everyone. It must be applied to everyone under all circumstances in all places and at all times. Oppression is forbidden for everyone. No one should be oppressed under any circumstance or in any place or at any time.”

One of the most important rules of thumb for being just in what we say is never to generalize. When sweeping generalizations are made, they invariably gloss over a great number of differences and disagreements that exist among the people being spoken about. The premium that Islam places on individual responsibility means that the individual is directly accountable for his or her own opinions, statements and actions. He is not held responsible – before men or before Allah – for the words and deeds of others who might share the same ethnicity or who hail from the same community.

Allah says: “And We have made every person’s actions to cling to his neck, and We will bring forth to him on the Day of Judgment a book which he will find wide open:” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’:13]

Allah says: “Each individual in pledge for his deeds.” [Sûrah al-Tûr: 21]

Allah has commanded us to treat all people well, because that is closer to the realization of justice. He says: “And say to people a good word.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 83]

When we call others to truth, we must do so with kindness: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 125]

This should condition the Muslim’s mindset so that he always deals with others in a spirit of justice and equity. A Muslim should be merciful with others. Indeed, the reason why Allah sent the Messengers is to show mercy to all people. Allah says: “And We did not send you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to all the worlds.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 107]

Mercy is a most noble character trait. It is the trait of Allah’s Messengers and of those who truly follow in their footsteps. It is the quality of those who follow the Sunnah that they are the most merciful of people in their dealings with others. The closer a Muslim comes to Allah’s light and guidance - the more steadfast he is on the straight path – the more he becomes typified by mercy in his conduct.

We beseech Allah as follows: “The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment. You alone we worship, and from You alone we seek help. Guide us on the straight path.”

It is never right to attack people with our words or spread dubious things about them. Suggesting sinful speculations about people is one of the quickest ways of falling into injustice.

Allah says: “They follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against the truth.” [Sûrah al-Najm: 28]

Allah also says: “They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!” [Sûrah al-Najm: 23]

Allah addresses the problem of basing out dealings with others on suspicions when He says: “O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah: For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 12]

In most cases, the unjust things that people say about each other stems from suspicions and baseless impressions. If they are challenged to prove their allegations, they will not be able to do so.

We need to be just in our speech, even when we are dealing with those whom we disagree with. Ibn Taymiyah says: “The innovator and the one who does wrong needs to be addressed with a tone of mercy and kindness, not with one of anger and vengefulness.”

We must treat everyone with kindness and justice, because ths is what the general ethical teachings of Islam demand from us, and those teachings are established with decisive textual evidence. Indeed, even when it comes to an enemy, the basic rule is to deal with that person in a decent manner. This is what reduces enmity and opens the door to mutual understanding and reconciliation.

Allah says: “Goodness and evil cannot be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better: Then the one between whom and you there had been hatred will become as it if he were your dear friend. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint,- none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 34-35]

Making enemies of others through slander and defamation and exaggerating their mistakes to create issues out of them – this is a most vile form of injustice. It is even worse, when the words of the Qur’ân, the teachings of Islam, and the statements of the scholars are exploited to defame someone – when the dressing of truth is used to disguise one’s injustice towards another person.

We as Muslims are warned against exploiting differences of opinion as means of sewing dissention and perpetrating injustice.

Allah says: “Humankind was a single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through their hatred of each other. Allah, by His grace, guided the believers to the truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guides whom He will to a path that is straight.” [Sûrah a-Baqarah: 213]

Whenever people behave contrary to the dictates of mercy, they come closer to perpetrating injustice and oppression. They forget Islam’s teachings about how people are supposed to treat each other, and how disagreements are to be handled amicably. They speak wrongly and transgress against the rights of others – the rights that Allah, in His Book, commands us to uphold.

One of the great words of advice and admonition in the Qur’ân appears in the following verse: “And come not nigh to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength. Give measure and weight with (full) justice;- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear;- Whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the covenant of Allah: thus does He command you, that ye may remember.” [Sûrah al-An`âm: 152]

Time of Zuhr &`Asr

Question Title: 
Time of Zuhr &`Asr
Date: 
Tue, 04/26/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I have a concern which is related to the Zuhr prayer. Because there isdisagreement about the time of the `Asr prayer - the followers of the Hanafî school of law pray `Asr later - there is confusion as to when the time of the Zuhr prayer actually comes to an end. Some people think that Zuhr lasts until the Hanafî `Asr time and they pray Zuhr up until that later time, even though the time for `Asr has already started according to the other opinion.
English Answer: 
The majority of scholars hold the view that the time of Zuhr comes to an end when the shadow of an object is the same as the length of that object. For instance, if you were to plave a stick in the ground. When the shadow of the stick is equal to the stick’s length, the time for Zuhr prayer will be over.

This opinion is followed by the Mâlikî, Shâfi`î, and Hanbalî schools of thought.

This opinion is found among Hanafî scholars as well. It was held by eminent scholars like Muhamamd b. Hasan, Abû Yûsuf, Zafar, and al-Tahâwî.

The second opinion is that the time of Zuhr comes to an end when the shadow of an object reaches twice the length of that object. This opinion is related from Abû Hanîfah and is the official position of the Hanafî school of thought.

As for the time of the `Asr prayer, scholars are agreed that it starts immediately when the time for the Zuhr prayer comes to an end. This point is agreed upon by all.

It should be noted that since the motion of the Sun across the sky is a continuous one, the time when the shadow of an object equals the length of the object – or for that matter when it equals twice the length of the object – is only a fleeting moment. This means that the time of `Asr comes in immediately when the time of Zuhr comes to an end.

This is what is indicated by the hadîth where `Abd Allah b. `Amr relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The time of Zuhr is from when the Sun begins to make its descent and to when the shadow of a man is as his height, as long as the time for `Asr has not yet arrived.” [Sahîh Muslim]

This same hadîth is also clear evidence that the opinion of the majority of scholars regarding the end of the time of Zuhr is the correct opinion. And Allah knows best.

Misapplied juristic analogy (qiyâs ma` fâriq)

Question Title: 
Misapplied juristic analogy (qiyâs ma` fâriq)
Date: 
Mon, 04/02/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
In Islamic jurisprudence, please explain what it means for juristic analogy to be misapplied
English Answer: 
In Islamic legal methodology, juristic analogy (qiyâs) is used to determine the legal ruling for some new matter that is not directly addressed by the sacred texts. This is done buy comparing the new matter to another matter that already has a legal ruling specified for it by the sacred texts.

One of the essential conditions of a valid juristic analogy in is that the new matter whose ruling is being sought must be very similar to the old matter in Islamic Law it is being compared with.

The matter in Islamic Law whose ruling is established by the sacred texts should have some known quality about it that makes its legal ruling suitable for it. This quality must also exist in the new matter that we wish to compare with it. Otherwise, the new matter will be dissimilar and the analogy will be invalid. In Arabic, this is called (qiyâs ma` fâriq).

An example of a misplaced analogy is to compare obligatory acts with recommended ones or permissible ones. The same can be said for comparing things that are permissible or disliked with forbidden matters.

Another false analogy is to compare a thief’s liability for property that he has stolen to that of an honest person holding the property in trust.

And Allah knows best.

Character Building for Young Preachers

Date: 
Mon, 04/02/2007
Short Content: 
How can we develop an effective, flexible, and inclusive program for young adults to make them into role models and preachers of Islam?
Body: 
Many young adults of college age are strongly committed to their faith. Some of them are deeply religious and studious, but are hesitant to get involved in calling people to Islam. By contrast, others are eager to get involved in preaching Islam, but have insufficient knowledge to do so effectively.

All of these people are potential Islamic preachers, and any program that seeks to train these young people to serve Islam must take their different temperaments into consideration. An effective way of achieving this is to get the participants directly involved in developing the program that they will follow.

First, it is essential to define what the main objective of our program is. Regardless of what enterprise we wish to embark upon, we must have a clear purpose in sight. It is this purpose that we will strive to achieve. All of the programs, ways, and means that we employ will be more effective when the goal is well-defined. This does not mean that we cannot have secondary goals as well, as long as those goals are in harmony with our primary objective.

We have already stated that the people who will attend the program will be young adults, people who will generally be in college or just starting out in their careers. The fact that they would be interested in attending an Islamic program or study circle shows that they have religious commitment. Therefore, our main objective should be to bring the participants to a higher level, strengthen their religious commitment, and open to them means to preach Islam that are commensurate with their different aptitudes and abilities.

Once we have defined this as our primary objective, it is time to open the floor to the participants themselves, asking them to express their ideas about how this objective can be achieved. Of course, this means that they must all first have a clear understanding of what their objective is.

Some broad suggestions that are suitable at this point might be as follows:
1. Activities to strengthen and cultivate inner faith

2. Activities to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood between the participants

3. Identifying resources and organizations that can assist in preaching Islam

4. Programs to increase the participants’ knowledge of Islam
This list is far from exhaustive.

Once the main objective is understood and general proposals are discussed, it will be time to discuss the specific programs and means that will help us to realize those proposals. For instance, there are many ways to go about realizing the proposal to “strengthen and cultivate inner faith”. Appropriate recordings can be identified and listened to. Lectures can be attended. Sheikhs can be invited as guests. Books can be studied.

The final stage in developing an effective program is to write down a plan, by incorporating all of the specific programs and means into organized timetable. This is essential in order prioritize activities. It also makes it easy to review, amend, and develop the program from time to time.

In this way, an effective, flexible, and inclusive program can be developed for young adults that can help them to become role models and preachers of Islam. In implementing the program, the following recommendations should be followed:

1. The written plan should be reviewed by one or more knowledgeable and reputable Islamic scholars, and those scholars should be consulted if any problems arise in the future.

2. The participants should always strive to carry out their activities as a group and not individually. There is no harm, however, if some the group appoints some of its members to lead their discussions and give recommendations.

3. Everyone should keep their intentions sincerely for Allah. They should seek Allah’s help and supplicate to Him, knowing that success is ultimately God-given, no matter how hard a person strives.

May Allah bless us with success in what is good.

“O You who believe, fulfill (all) obligations”

from Varse: 
1
Date: 
Tue, 03/14/2006
Image: 
Short Content: 
Allah’s command to “fulfill (all) obligations” is a general command and it applies to all obligations and covenants, regardless of whether those obligation are with Muslims or to non-Muslims. The command applies as long as the obligation itself is not contrary to the dictates of Islamic Law.
Body: 

This is one of the many verses in the Qur’ân that command us to fulfill our obligations, our promises, and our pledges. The Qur’ân also harshly rebukes those who fail to do so.

Allah’s command to “fulfill (all) obligations” is a general command and it applies to all obligations and covenants, regardless of whether those obligation are with Muslims or to non-Muslims. The command applies as long as the obligation itself is not contrary to the dictates of Islamic Law.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are four qualities that if a person possesses them all, he is a real hypocrite, and if he possesses some of them, then he has a share of hypocritical qualities until he abandons them. If he is entrusted, he deceives. If he speaks, he lies. If he makes a commitment, he breaks it, and if he argues, he goes out of bounds.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (33) and Sahîh Muslim (59)]

This hadîth gives a stern warning against the breaking of promises. This hadîth, like the verse above, is general. It applies to all promises and pledges, regardless of whether the person with whom he made a promise is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

One extremely important commitment that deserves mention is that of debt. Those who fail to pay back their debts are given the sternest of warnings. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The martyr is forgiven all of his sins…except for his debts.” [Sahîh Muslim (1886)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “The soul of a believer is held tied to its debt until it is paid on his behalf.” [Musnad Ahmad (9302), Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1078), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (2413)]

Al-Tirmidhî grades it as a good hadîth and al-Albânî grades it as authentic.

These two texts are just as general in their meaning as the one’s mentioned earlier. They apply to all debts, regardless of whether the person being owed is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

Ibn `Abd al-Barr discusses the second hadîth in his commentary entitled al-Istidhkâr, and writes (5/100):
This hadîth indicates for Islamic Law that fulfilling the debts left by the deceased benefits the deceased in his life of the Hereafter. This is why his successor is commanded to pay off his debt on his behalf and that the estate will not be distributed to the inheritors except after all debts have been paid.
Al-Shawkânî also discusses this hadîth in his commentary entitled Nayl al-Awtâr, and says (4/53):
Here, the inheritors are being encouraged to pay off the debts of the deceased and informs them that his soul is suspended by the debts until they are paid off. This circumstance is conditional on the debtor dying while being in possession of wealth to pay towards his debts.

As for a person who dies without possessing any wealth, but who had been determined to pay off his debts, his case is different. There are other hadîth that tell us that Allah will fulfill his debts on his behalf. Indeed, it is established that the mere desire on the part of the dying person to pay off his debts is sufficient for Allah to fulfill them on his behalf.
These hadîth show us that debts are serious obligations, regardless of the identity of the party to whom the debt is owed. It is obligatory for a Muslim who is in debt to pay off his debts promptly, as soon as they come due, if he is able to pay.

If he dies, it is forbidden for his inheritors to receive their shares of his estate until all outstanding debts and bequests are satisfied.

Allah says in the verse of inheritance: “…after the payment of bequests that have been bequeathed and the payment of debts.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 12]

If the person who died did not leave behind what will fulfill his debts, it is sanctioned for his successor to pay it off on his behalf, and the deceased will benefit form that.

If the debt in question is an interest loan, then the lender is only entitled to his principal. At the same time, the debtor is also not entitled to the amount of the accrued interest, and he must rid himself of that sum from his own wealth and spend it on the needs of others with the intention of ridding himself of unlawful wealth and not with the intention of spending in charity.

When debts are not paid, they are rights that become due in the Hereafter. The Prophet (peace be upon him_ said: “Rights will be restored to those entitled to them on the Day of Resurrection, so much so that the sheep without horns will receive its reparations from the horned sheep.” [Sahîh Muslim (2582)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Whoever has committed wrong against someone else’s honor or with respect to something else, then let him resolve the matter with him today before it will not be resolved with gold and silver coins – but if he had good deeds to his credit, they will be taken from him to the degree of his wrong, and if he has no good deeds to his credit, then he will be made to assume some of the bad deeds of the one who was wronged.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2449)]

The rights that people have are upheld for them in the Hereafter and are recompensed through good deeds or bad deeds. This applies generally, even between believers and non-believers. As for how Allah will carry this out between believers and non-believers, we cannot know this. When a Muslim has wronged a non-believer, will Allah take away some of the non-believer’s evil deeds and make the Muslim assume them? Or will some of the Muslim’s good deeds and in lieu of them lighten the non-believer’s punishment? Only Allah knows. We are not held accountable to know such matters of the Unseen and we will not be asked about them.

We as Muslims are, however, responsible for our conduct. We are warned against wronging others and making little of our obligations towards others, regardless of what those obligations might be and regardless of who the people are to whom we are obliged.

And Allah knows best.

And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
Verse Contnet: 
Allah says: “O you who believe, fulfill (all) obligations.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 1]

Witr at Maghrib time when combining prayers

Question Title: 
Witr at Maghrib time when combining prayers
Date: 
Sat, 02/26/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
When a person combines the Magrib and `Ishâ’ prayers together at the time of Maghrib, should he pray his Witr prayer at that time or must he wait until it is time for the `Ishâ’ prayer?
English Answer: 
If you pray the Maghrib and `Ishâ’ prayers together at the time of the Maghrib prayer for a valid reason, then you may pray the Witr prayer at the time of the Maghrib prayer. You may do so after performing both the Maghrib and `Ishâ’ prayers together.

There are a number of hadîth that describe the timeframe for the Witr prayer as falling falls between the `Ishâ and Fajr prayers.

For instance, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “You have been awarded a prayer better than the best of camels. It is the Witr prayer, which falls between the `Ishâ and Fajr prayers.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (452), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1418) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1168) as a sound hadîth]

Therefore, as long as you have performed the `Ishâ prayer, you may perform the Witr prayer.

Gold jewelry for women

Question Title: 
Gold jewelry for women
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sat, 02/26/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I have heard that it is impermissible in Islam for women to wear gold in the form of rings? Is this true?
English Answer: 
It is permissible for women to wear gold, whether it comes in the form of rings or some other style of jewelry. Indeed, a number of scholars have said that this is a point of juristic consensus (ijmâ`), including al-Bayhaqî and Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî.

The hadîth cited by some scholars to indicate the impermissibility of gold rings for women is a strange (shâdhdh) hadîth that is not to be considered. It contradicts with many authentic hadîth that show that it is permissible for women to wear gold jewelry.

The hadîth indicating that it is permissible for women to wear gold are so numerous as to possibly be considered mutawâtir.

And Allah knows best.