Offering greetings for the Islamic New Year

Question Title: 
Offering greetings for the Islamic New Year
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 01/29/2006
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
On the first of Muharram, many people are in the habit of offering greetings and salutations for the Islamic New Year. Is this practice valid or is it an innovation?
English Answer: 
Exchanging greetings on the first of Muharram for the new Islamic year is something permissible.

The best opinion that has been expressed about the question is that whenever someone gives you a greeting, you are supposed to reply with some good words in a similar manner. You do not need to initiate such greetings.

This is identical to the view expressed Ahmad b. Hanbal regarding the holiday greetings on the occasion on `Id. Whenever someone else offered him an `Id greeting, he returned it accordingly. However, he would not initiate an `Id greeting on his own.

I know of nothing authentically established regarding `Id greetings. Nevertheless, scholars, including those of the Hanbalî school of law, say that there is nothing wrong with greeting someone else on the occasion of `Id by saying: “May Allah accept it from me and from you.

It follows that there is nothing wrong with people offering each other greetings on the occasions where it has become customary for them to do so.

Evidence for this general permissibility can be seen in the general permissibility of offering the prostration of thanks. It can also be seen in the permissibility of offering consolations to he bereaved.

We have the glad tidings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning the arrival of Ramadan. [Sunan al-Nasâ’î (2106)]

Also, Talhah b. `Ubayd Allah greeted Ka`b b. Mâlik with a salutation in the Prophet’s presence without the Prophet (peace be upon him) voicing any objection to it. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4418) and Sahîh Muslim (2769)]

Ibn Taymiyah observes: “It has been narrated about a number of Companions that they used to offer one another such greetings. The principal jurists, Ahmad b. Hanbal among them, regarded it as something permissible.”

Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî also asserts the permissibility of the practice. There are numerous narrations from scholars of a similar nature.

Ahmad said: “I do not initiate such things, but if someone else does so with me, I return his greeting.”

This is because returning someone else’s salutations is obligatory. Allah says: ‘If you are greeted with a salutation, then reply with something better or similar.’ [Surah al-Nisâ’: 86]

There is no prohibition against greeting someone else with salutations of the New Year. Therefore, the command to return the greetings of others with what is similar or better applies to it. And Allah knows best.

The question of heretical innovation (bid`ah) does not even come up, since this is a matter of what is deemed to be accepted customs and good manners. It is not something that is intended as a formal act of worship.

And Allah knows best.

Making up missed prayers due to menstruation

Question Title: 
Making up missed prayers due to menstruation
Date: 
Wed, 01/17/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
When should a menstruating woman resume her prayers again at the end of her menstration? Must she wait to be sure that her menstruation is over before making her ghusl and resuming her prayers? Which prayers must she make up?
English Answer: 
When a woman’s menstrual period begins before the time of prayer has come in, then she does not make up that prayer. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Is it not the case that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (304)]

Also, `A’ishah said: “When this came upon us, we were commanded to make up our fasts but not our prayers.” [Sahîh Muslim (335)]

A woman also does not make up her missed prayer if her menstrual period begins after the time for the prayer has arrived. During the time of the Companions, women would have surely experienced the onset of their menstrual cycles after the time for their prayers had come in. If it had been obligatory for women to make up those prayers, then the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have commanded the women among his Companions to do so. If he had given such a command, it would have been related to us.

The only exception to this is where the woman has already delayed her prayer until right before the end of its timeframe, so close that there is not enough time left for her to complete that prayer. If her menstrual cycle begins at that moment, she will be required to make up that prayer when her period ends. In this case, the real reason she did not offer her prayer on time is her neglect, since even had her menstrual period not started, she would not have been able to complete that prayer on time.

With respect to the end of her menstrual cycle, a woman should refrain from praying until she sees her normal indication of purity, like the white emission if it is normal for her to see it. She should not be hasty. If she has no visible sign, then she should wait until the blood has completely stopped.

`A’ishah’s ward asked relates that women used to send to her the cloths containing yellow menstrual blood for her decision about the end of their periods, so she said: “Do not be hasty. Wait until you see the white emission.” [al-Muwatta’ (117)]

When she is certain that her menstrual period is over, she should offer whatever prayer whose time it is. If that prayer can be combined with the one that preceded it – as is the case for the time of `Asr and the time of `Ishâ’ – then she should offer both. Otherwise, she must simply offer the current prayer.

Therefore, if her period ends during the time of Fajr, Zuhr, or Maghrib, she only has to offer the current prayer.

However, if her period ends at `Asr time, she should pray Zuhr along with `Asr. If her period ends at `Ishâ’ time, she should offer Maghrib along with `Ishâ’. This practice has been related to us by `Abd al-Rahman b. `Awf and Ibn `Abbâs. The logic for it is that the time for these two prayers is one for people who have an excuse to combine them, like travelers or those who are ill. A menstruating woman is likewise a person with an excuse.

And Allah knows best.

“Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech…”

from Varse: 
148
Date: 
Wed, 01/17/2007
Image: 
Short Content: 
“Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and Allah is He who hears and knows all things.”
Body: 
This verse gives us the Islamic ruling about complaining against the wrongs and injustices perpetrated by another person. Ibn `Abbâs says: “This verse was revealed because one man oppressed another. Therefore, it is permissible for one who has been wronged to mention the other person regarding the wrong the he has committed without adding anything more.”

It is also related from Ibn `Abbâs that the verse is speaking about the permissibility of supplicating to Allah out loud against the wrongdoer. These two interpretations are not mutually exclusive, since both activities are permissible.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Two people who insult each other will have the sin of what they say, but the sin will be entirely upon the one who initiated it as long as the wronged party does not transgress bounds.” [Sahîh Muslim (2587)]

Abû Hurayrah relates that a man approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) to complain about his neighbor. The Prophet told him: “Go home and be patient.” The man returned with his complaint two or three times, whereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Go home and throw your household affects out in the road.”

The man did as he was told, and people came up to him asking him what he was doing, so he told them about his neighbor’s bad behavior. Upon hearing this, the people began cursing that neighbor, saying: “May Allah do this and that with him.”

Soon, the neighbor came out of his home and said: “Go inside. You will never again see from me anything that you dislike.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (5153)]

Once, a shawl was stolen from `A’ishah, so she began invoking Allah in prayer against the thief. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to her: “Do not make things lighter for him (by your invoking prayers against him).” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1497)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “It is an act of oppression when a person of means puts off honoring his debts. If he refuses to pay, his reputation can be tarnished and he can be punished.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3628)]

Ibn al-Mubârak – who is one of the hadîths narrators – explains to us that “tarnishing his reputation” means to accuse him and rebuke him for his wrongdoing and the punishment refers to imprisonment.

This evidence shows us that it is permissible for someone who has been wronged to speak against the wrongdoer to the extent of his wrongdoing. He cannot make up anything else, exaggerate his grievance, or mentions anything unnecessary against the other party. He will be sinful for everything that he says that goes beyond his legitimate grievance.

Ibn al-`Arabî, in his commentary of the Qur’ân, claims that this ruling only applies to people who are social equals or near equals. He claims that people of base character cannot behave arrogantly about those who are of noble character, but that they should simply demand redress without making accusations of oppression or showing a display of anger. He claims this is supported by the textual evidence.

I disagree with this idea. The verse is quite general in its language. It applies to everyone who has been wronged. I have not found any textual evidence to afford special treatment to people of noble character with respect to others. They are the same with respect to their right to express their grievances against those who wrong them.

Still, in cases where speaking out publicly against the person who wronged you will lead to consequences that are worse than the original wrong, either to the aggrieved individual or to society at large, then it is best to refrain from doing so. For instance, this can be the case when the one who committed the wrong is a ruler who might bring great difficulties upon someone who speaks out against him. It is also the case where speaking out might lead to public unrest and civil strife. In such cases, it is best to refrain from speaking out publicly against the wrongdoer, not because of his noble status, but because of considerations of what is in the best interests of the aggrieved party.

Is Speaking Out Contrary to the Dictates of Patience?

Sometimes it is best for the aggrieved party to speak out against the person who wronged him. This is when it has the affect of prohibiting wrongdoing or preventing others from coming to harm. It is also best when it is hoped that the wrongdoer might change his ways and act properly in the future.

Sometimes, remaining quiet about the grievance is not allowed, like when it leads to emboldening the wrongdoer to continue in his iniquities against others. In some cases, it can be the cause of great reward – the reward of striving in Allah’s cause – when the wrongdoer is a person of strength or power and speaking out against him will lead to preventing him from abusing the people.

Therefore, it is not always laudable to suffer in patient silence. Sometimes it is best to speak out. However, it can often be a virtue to bear patiently someone’s wrongdoing instead of speaking openly about it. This is the case where the person who did the wrong is a good person and he perpetrated the wrong unintentionally and without planning. We can consider, for example, an honest judge who misjudges a case due to the insufficient evidence presented to him and not due to any maliciousness. It would be wrong to publicly malign him.

We have already mentioned that it is best to bear wrong patiently when speaking out against it leads to severe consequences instead of redress. Such considerations differ from one time and place to another.

And Allah knows best.
Verse Contnet: 
“Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and Allah is He who hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 148]

A pilgrim departing from the Plain of Arafah before sunset

Question Title: 
A pilgrim departing from the Plain of Arafah before sunset
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 12/16/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
Do the pilgrims have to wait on the Plain of `Arafah until sunset, or can they depart for Muzdalifah before that time?
English Answer: 
Being present on the plain of `Arafah on the ninth day of the month Dhû al-Hijjah is an essential pillar of the Hajj. This is according to the unanimous consensus of the Muslims, as attested to by Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Kâsânî, Ibn al-`Arabî, Ibn Qudâmah, al-Nawawî, al-Dâbûsî, Ibn Taymiyah, and many others.

This pillar is fulfilled by being present on the Plain of `Arafah for even a moment. Some scholars go so far as to say that it is enough to fly through the sky of `Arafah in an airplane.

Most scholars regard it as permissible for the pilgrim to depart from the Plain of `Arafah before sunset. Only Mâlik disagreed about this. The Mâlikî jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr states: “I know of no one in the scholarly community to have agreed with Mâlik on this issue.” [al-Kâfî (143) and al-Istidhkâr (6/37)]

Some of the scholars who agree that a person can leave `Arafah before sunset say that he must offer an animal sacrifice to expiate for doing so. This is the official position of the Hanafî school of law. [Hâshiyah Ibn `Abidîn (/542))]

The more likely opinion is that no expiation is required. This is the position adopted by the Shâfî`î school of law. [al-Majmû` (8/141)] It is also Ibn Hazms opinion. [al-Muhallâ (7/121)]

The proof for this is the following hadîth related by `Urwah b. Mudarris al-Tâ’î [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1950), Sunan al-Tirmidhî (891) Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3041), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3016)]:
I went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Muzdalifah at the time of prayer and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I came from the Tayy Mountains. I lost my way with my steed and wore myself out. By Allah, there is not a mountain that I did not stop upon. Do I have the Hajj to my credit?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘“Whoever finds this prayer with us and arrives in `Arafah beforehand, whether at night or during the day, then his Hajj and its rites are fulfilled.”
This is proof that if a pilgrim departs from `Arafah before sunset, there is no expiation upon him.

And Allah knows best.

The pilgrims assembling on the Plain of Arafah on the wrong day

Question Title: 
The pilgrims assembling on the Plain of Arafah on the wrong day
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 12/16/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
Some sheikhs in my country claim that the people often get the dates of Hajj wrong, and people in Mecca consequently observe the Day of `Arafah on the wrong day. Is this true? What are we supposed to do?
English Answer: 
If the people are mistaken in their reckoning of the days of Hajj and accidentally observe their standing at `Arafah on the eighth or the tenth day of the month of Dhû al-Hijjah, believing it to be the ninth, then this will be accepted from them as long as the Muslims are united in this matter.

Ibn Taymiyah writes: “It will be the Day of `Arafah for them, both superficially and in substance, whatever day it is that they observe their standing.” [Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (22/211)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Your `Id of breaking the fast is the day when the people break their fasts, and your `Id of sacrifice is the day when the people offer their sacrifices.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (697), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2324) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1660)]

This is what we say: Whatever the people come together upon and agree to as the day, then it is what Islamic Law recognizes and intends, even if it turns out that the reckoning of the people regarding the date is in error.

And Allah knows best.

When does a pilgrim partially emerge from the state of ihram?

Question Title: 
When does a pilgrim partially emerge from the state of ihram?
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 12/16/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
When can a pilgrim change his clothes, clip his nails, and relax the conditions of ihram?
English Answer: 
The pilgrim emerges from the state of ihrâm – the ritual state wherein many things are prohibited for the pilgrim – in two stages.

In the first stage – the partial emergence from the state of ihrâm – the pilgrim may wear normal clothes, apply perfume, clip nails, and carry out all other normal activities. However, the pilgrim is still forbidden from engaging in sexual intercourse with his or her spouse.

The pilgrim’s partial emergence from the state of ihrâm takes place immediately upon stoning Jamrah al-`Aqabah on the tenth of Dhû al-Hijjah. This means that everything that is specifically prohibited to a pilgrim while in the state of ihrâm becomes lawful for him again, except for conjugal relations.

This was the view of the Mâlik, Abû Thawr, and Abû Yûsuf. It was also the opinion of `Alqamah, `Atâ’, and Khârijah b. Zayd b. Thâbit. The opinion had also been expressed at one point by both Ahmad b. Hanbal and al-Shâfi`î.

Ibn Qudâmah asserts in al-Mughnî (3/225): “This is the correct opinion on the matter, Allah willing.”

(Ibn Hazm goes so far to say in al-Muhallâ (7/139) that the pilgrim’s preliminary emergence from the state of ihrâm happens when the time for stone Jamrah al-`Aqabah comes in, even if the pilgrim has yet to stone the Jamrah.)

The evidence for this ruling comes in the hadîth narrated by Ibn `Abbâs that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When you stone the Jamrah, then everything becomes lawful for you again except for women.” [Musnad Ahmad (2090, 3204), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3084), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (3041)]

Also, there is the hadîth narrated by `A’ishah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When you stone Jamrah al-`Aqabah, then everything becomes lawful for you again except for women.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1978)]

Both of these narrations suffer from some weakness in their chains of transmission. Nevertheless, some contemporary hadîth specialists have determined these hadîth to be authentic. For instance, al-Albânî attests to their authenticity in his al-Silsilah al-Sahîhah (239).

The authenticity of these hadîth is also supported by the verdicts given by a number of Companions, and by the hadîth of Umm Salamah that conveys essentially the same meaning. [Musnad Ahmad (25321) and Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1999)]

Whoever forgets anything from the rites of Hajj…

Date: 
Thu, 12/04/2008
Hadith: 

Ibn Abbâs said: "Whoever leaves out of forgets anything from the rites of Hajj should offer a blood sacrifice."

Short Content: 
Some students of knowledge oblige pilgrims to offer an animal sacrifice for every mistake they might make. This burdens them with difficulties Allah & His Messenger never imposed.
Body: 

This statement of Ibn `Abbâs is related in al-Muwatta' (1/366), Sunan al-Dâraqutnî (2/244), Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (4/416), and al-Tahâwî's Sharh Ma`ânî al-Athâr (2/238), among other sources.

It is not a hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Though Ibn Hazm narrates it as a hadîth, that narration is weak. It is established as a statement of Ibn `Abbâs. [See al-Albânî, Irwâ' al-Ghalîl (4/299)]

This narration has been used as evidence by some students of knowledge to oblige pilgrims to offer an animal sacrifice for every mistakes or omission they might make in their Hajj. In doing so, these students of knowledge have imposed difficulties upon the pilgrims that Allah and His Messenger never imposed on them.

The imposition of blood sacrifice for every omission goes against the large body of scriptural evidence from both the Qur'ân and Sunnah that the rulings of Hajj are based upon facilitation and ease, especially when it comes to forgetfulness and mistakes.

Allah says: "(Pray:) 'Our Lord! Call us not to account if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden Like that which You did lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector…" [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 286]

Allah says: "Allah wants ease for you. He does not want difficulty for you." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 185]

When people came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the Day of `Id – the day of the most important rites of Hajj – and mentioned that they carried out the prescribed rites of that day in other than the conventional order, he said to them: "Do so. There is no difficulty." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

We should also note that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Take from me your rites of Hajj".

He did NOT say: "Perform the Hajj as you have seen me performing the Hajj." Though he said this for prayer: "Pray as you have seen me praying."

The difference between these to statements is important. The difference is one of greater ease and flexibility for the Hajj.

If we consider the statement of Ibn `Abbâs, it is a sweeping statement regarding the rites of Hajj. On its face value, it would require a blood sacrifice for all omissions, including the pillars of Hajj, the obligatory acts, and the recommended acts.

However, recommended acts, by their very nature, do not require any compensation for their omission, since they are voluntary. No one has ever said, from the time of the Companions to the present, that an omission of a recommended act of Hajj must be compensated for by offering a blood sacrifice. The pillars of the pilgrimage, on the other hand, cannot be left out. They must be performed. A blood sacrifice certainly cannot substitute for them.

Therefore, the only way to understand Ibn `Abbâs's statement is to say that a blood sacrifice must be offered for any rite obligatory not performed in its proper time.

Scholarly Opinions on Performing Obligatory Rites of Hajj Out of Sequence

Scholars have expressed two opinions on the matter.

1. The pilgrim who performs the obligatory rites of Hajj out of sequence have no sin upon them nor any compensation due from them.

This is the ruling adopted by the vast majority of Islamic legal scholars. They rely upon the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) told people who had carried out their rites on the Day of `Id in various sequences: "Do so. There is no difficulty."

2. The pilgrim who performs the obligatory rites out of sequence must offer a blood sacrifice.

This is the ruling adopted by the Hanafî school of thought. This opinion was the older view of al-Shâfi`î, which he changed later on. It has also been narrated from Ahmad b. Hanbal as one of the opinions that he had expressed on the matter, though it is not the opinion of his that was adopted by the Hanbalî school of thought.

Scholars who hold this view rely upon the opinion of Ibn `Abbâs that we are discussion. As for where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Do so. There is no difficulty", they interpret this to mean that there is no sin upon the person for doing so, but someone who does so deliberately must offer a blood sacrifice. They argue that the Prophet carried out the rites in a particular order. He had also instructed the people: "Take from me the rites of Hajj." If a pilgrim deliberately performs these rites in a different order, then that pilgrim needs to offer compensation.

However, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by a number of different pilgrims during Hajj about performing the rites of hajj out of their proper sequence, he consistently said: "Do so. There is no difficulty." This is a general, unqualified statement. There is no reason to assume that it merely refers to the negation of sinfulness while an expiation is still needed.

We should keep in mind that the requirement of a blood sacrifice is merely the opinion of Ibn `Abbâs. It has not been established from the Prophet (peace be upon him). When an opinion of a Companion contradicts the meaning of an authentic hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the hadîth is acted upon and the opinion is not followed.

Moreover, nowhere do we find any hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) told the people who performed their Hajj rites in a different sequence that they had to offer an animal sacrifice. If an animal sacrifice was required, the Prophet would have told the people who came to him about the situation, since a prophet cannot withhold information on a religious matter at the time when it needs to be known.

Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) never asked the people who came to him if they performed the rites out of sequence deliberately or on account of forgetfulness. If this distinction made a difference to the ruling, then the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have asked them about it. The fact that he said: "Do so. There is no difficulty" without asking if they did so on purpose or due to forgetfulness; this shows us that the distinction is of no consequence.

And Allah knows best.
Image: 

How Our Pious Predecessors Spent Ramadan

Date: 
Thu, 09/28/2006
Short Content: 
We should look to the example of the Prophet, his Companions, and the earliest generation of Muslims if we want to get the maximum benefit from this blessed month. He said: “The best of my Ummah would be those of the generation nearest to mine. Then those nearest to them, then those nearest to them."
Body: 
We should look to the example of the Prophet, his Companions, and the earliest generation of Muslims if we want to get the maximum benefit from this blessed month. He said: “The best of my Ummah would be those of the generation nearest to mine. Then those nearest to them, then those nearest to them." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2652) and Sahîh Muslim (2533)]

We will look at some of the thing Pious Predecessors used to pay extra attention to during the month of Ramadan:

Reading the Qur'ân

Allah says: "The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur'ân was revealed." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 185]

For this reason, we find that the Pious Predecessors used to increase their recitation of the Qur'ân in Ramadan. Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î tells us: "Al-Aswad b. Yazîd used to complete reading the entire Qurân every two nights in Ramadan. He would sleep between Maghrib and Ishâ'. Outside of Ramadan, he would complete reading the Qur'ân every six nights."

`Abd al-Malik b. Abî Sulaymân tells us that Sa`îd b. Jubayr would also complete a reading of the Qur'ân every two nights in Ramadan.

It is also mentioned that al-Walîd used to normally complete the Qur'ân every three nights, but in the month of Ramadan, he would read it in its entirety seventeen times.

Salâm b. Abî Mutî` informs us that Qatâdah used to normally take seven days to read the Qur'ân, but in Ramadan he would take three days to do so. Indeed, during the last ten nights of Ramadan, he would read the entire Qur'ân every night.

Al-Qâsim b. `Alî describes his father – Ibn `Asâkir, the famed author of The History of Damascus – as follows: "He used to always observe his prayers in congregation and was constant in the recitation of the Qur'ân. He would always complete a reading of the entire Qur'ân by Friday. However, in Ramadan, he would do so every day and retreat to the eastern minaret of the mosque."

Al-Dhahabî writes the following about Abû Barakât Hibah Allah b. Mahfûz: "He learned Islamic Law and read the Qur'ân. He was known for his charity and his good deeds. In the month of Ramadan, he would read the Qur'ân thirty times."

Standing for Prayer in the Middle of the Night

Al-Sâ'ib b. Yazîd relates: "`Umar b. al-Khattâb ordered Ubayy b. Ka`b and Tamîm al-Dârî to lead the people in prayer in Ramadan. They would each read hundreds of verses at a go, until we had to support ourselves with canes due to the length of time we had to stand. We would only finish praying close to the time of Fajr." [Musannaf `Abd al-Razzâq (7730) and Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4392)]

`Abd Allah, the son of Abû Bakr, relates that he heard his father say: "By the time we finished our prayers in Ramadan, the servants would have to rush to prepare food in fear of Fajr coming in." [al-Muwatta' (254)]

`Abd al-Rahmâb b. Hurmuz tells us: "The reciters (leading the prayers) would complete the reading of Sûrah al-Baqarah in eight units of prayer. When the reciters took twelve units of prayer to complete it, the people regarded it as if the reciters were making things easy for them." [Musannaf `Abd al-Razzâq (7734) and Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4401)]

Nâfi` relates that Ibn `Umar used to pray in his house during the month of Ramadan. When the people departed from the mosque, he would go off to the prophet's Mosque, taking a flask of water with him. He would not leave the mosque again until after the Morning Prayer. [Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4384)]

`Imrân b. Hudayr tells us that Abû Mijlaz would lead the prayers in Ramadan for the people in his neighborhood. He would recite the Qur'ân in full in prayer in the course of seven days. [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (7677)]

Giving Generously in Charity

Ibn `Abbâs says: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people in doing good, and he was at his most generous during the month of Ramadan. Gabriel used to meet with him every year throughout the month of Ramadan, so the Prophet could recite the Qur'ân to him. Whenever Gabriel met with him, he became more generous than a beneficial breeze." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1902) and Sahîh Muslim (2308)]

Al-Muhallab makes the following observation about this hadîth [Ibn Battâl, Commentary on Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4/22-23)]:
This shows the blessings of good works and that engaging in some good deeds opens the door to the performance of others. The practice of doing some good deeds assists one in further good works. We can see here that the blessings of fasting and of meeting Gabriel increased the Prophet's in generosity and charity, so much so that he became more generous that a beneficial breeze.
Al-Zayn b. al-Munîr explains the comparison with a "beneficial breeze" as follows [al-`Asqalânî, Fath al-Bârî (4/139)]:
His charity and good treatment for those who are poor and needy - as well as for those who are well-off and possess sufficient means - is as general as the relief brought by a beneficial breeze.
Al-Shâfî`î said: "It is liked for a person to increase his charity in the month of Ramadan. This is following the Prophet's example. It is also in consideration of the people's needs and their welfare, since so many of them are distracted from earning their livelihood due to their preoccupation with fasting and prayer."

Ibn `Umar used to never break his fast except in the company of the poor. Whenever someone came to him while he was eating and begged him for something, Ibn `Umar would take from his food what he deemed to be his rightful share and then he would stand up and leave the rest of the food for that person. He would then take what was in his hand and give it to his family, so that when he woke up the next morning to resume his fast, he would not have eaten anything the night before. [Latâ'if al-Ma`ârif (314)]

Yûnus b. Yazîd thells us that during the month of Ramadan, Ibn Shihâb would engage in nothing besides reciting the Qur'ân and providing food for the poor.

Hammâd b. Abî Sulaymân would take it upon himself to provide food five hundred people to break their fast with during the month of Ramadan. Then, on the day of `îd, he would give each of those people one hundred pieces of silver.

Safeguarding the Tongue

Abû Hurayrah relates that the prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever does not abandon false speech and acting falsely, then Allah has no need of his abandoning food and drink." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1903)]

Al-Muhallab makes the following observation about this hadîth [Ibn Battâl, Commentary on Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4/23)]:
This shows that fasting entails refraining from obscene and false speech just like it entails refraining from food and drink. A person who engages in false or obscene speech detracts from the value of his fast, He exposes himself to his Lord's displeasure and to the possibility of his fast not being accepted.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If one of you starts off the day fasting, he should avoid obscene speech and ignorant behavior. If someone abuses him or starts to fight with him, he should reply by saying: 'I am fasting. I am fasting'." [Sahîh Muslim (1151)]

Al-Mazarî observes about this hadîth:
It is possible that the person is recommended to say "I am fasting. I am fasting" merely to remind himself, so that he refrains from getting involved in the exchange of insults.
`Umar b. al-Khattâb said: "One does not merely fast from food and drink, but also from lying, from falsehood, from vain talk, and from swearing." [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (8882)]

`Alî b. Abî Tâlib said: "Fasting is not to leave off food and drink, but rather to leave off lying, falsehood, and vain talk." [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (8884)]

Talq b. Qays tells us that Abû Dharr said: "When you fast, then be on your guard as mush as possible." As for Talq, when he fasted, he only emerged from his home in order to go to the mosque for prayers. [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (8878)]

Jâbir b. `Abd Allah said: "When you fast, your hearing, your vision, and your tongue should also fast – by avoiding lies and sins. You should not abuse your servant. You should maintain your composure and dignity on the day that you fast. Do not make your fasting day the same as your normal day." [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (8880)]

`Atâ' tells us that Abû Hurayrah said: "When you fast, do not act in an ignorant manner and do not insult people. If someone acts ignorantly towards you, say: 'I am fasting'." [Musannaf `Abd al-Razzâq (7456)]

Mujâhid said: "If you avoid two things, then your fast will be alright. You must avoid backbiting and lying."

Abû al-`Aliyah said: "A fasting person is engaged in worship as long as he does not backbite someone."

Ramadan Greetings – What a Fine Custom!

Date: 
Sun, 09/16/2007
Short Content: 
Custom and traditions that do not violate Islamic teachings are permitted. Such customs are not disliked or discouraged by Islamin any way.
Body: 
Greetings and salutations are customary practices. They are governed by the traditions, norms, and customs of people in society. This is as true for Ramadan and `îd greetings as it is for the general congratulations and condolences that apply to everyday events.

This matter, and others like it, are governed by a broad principle in Islamic Law. This is the principle stating that all customs – verbal and non-verbal – are lawful and permitted as long as they do not contradict anything specifically prohibited by Islamic Law or bring about consequences that are contrary to Islamic teachings.

Any custom or tradition that does not violate Islamic teachings is permitted. Such customs are not disliked or discouraged by Islam in any way.

Certain permissible customs or traditions actually bring about consequences for society that are positive, consequences that Allah loves.

In any event, we find the custom of salutations and congratulations in the Prophet’s example, which shows us that congratulating people on auspicious occasions is itself a Sunnah act.

For example, when the boycott was lifted from the three people who had stayed behind without an excuse and Allah revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) that He had accepted their repentance, the Prophet (peace be upon him) congratulated Ka`b b. Malik about it, saying “Be joyful. Allah has accepted your repentance.”

In every instance where a Muslim experiences a blessing in his religious affairs, whether that blessing is personal or general, it is an occasion suited to salutations of joy. It is best to phrase the salutation or congratulation in a way that attributes the blessing to Allah. For instance, one can say: “Congratulations on what Allah has given you!”

The vast majority of Islamic jurists agree that there is nothing wrong or objectionable with the likes of `îd greetings. This is the most well-known statement of Ahmad b. Hanbal. When asked about `îd greetings, he said: “There is nothing wrong with one person saying to another on the day of `îd: ‘May Allah accept it from us and from you’.”

Some of these scholars go further and say that offering such greetings is a recommended practice in Islamic Law.

Ibn `Aqîl mentions some hadîth that provide direct evidence for such greetings.

For instance, he mentions that Muhammad b. Ziyâd relates fro, Abû Umâmah al-Bâhilî and others from among the Prophet’s Companions that when they returned from the `îd prayer, they would say to each other: “May Allah accept it from us and from you.” Ahmad regarded its chain of transmission to be a good one.

`Alî b. Thâbit tells us that he asked Mâlik b. Anas thirty-five years before about this matter, and Mâlik replied: “This has always been the practice in Madînah.”

Ultimately, we do not need a specific hadîth to show us the general permissibility of our greeting each other with salutations and supplications on auspicious and blessed occasions. We should have no doubt that the arrival of Ramadan is one of the greatest of Allah’s blessings upon us, and that it is an appropriate occasion for Muslims to exchange salutations.

Ramadân mubârak! – May we all have a blessed Ramadan!

The significance of the Black Stone

Question Title: 
The significance of the Black Stone
Date: 
Sun, 09/16/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
What is the significance of the Black Stone that is mounted in a corner of the Ka`bah? Did it descend from heaven? Why do pilgrims kiss this stone?
English Answer: 
The Black Stone is one of the stones of the Ka`bah. Its significance is that it is the only surviving stone from the original structure built by Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both). The Ka`bah had been destroyed and rebuilt many times in its history, even before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Black Stone is the single stone that has survived all the mishaps that have taken place since the time of Abraham and Ishmael.

The Ka`bah was again destroyed by flood during Muhammad’s youth, before Muhammad (peace be upon him) received revelation. At that time, the elders of Mecca fell into dispute over who should have the honor of putting the Black Stone in place on the rebuilt structure.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was chosen to be the arbiter in the matter and instructed them to place the stone on a cloth.

Then four of the elders of the different clans each picked up a corner of the cloth and carried the stone to its place whereby Muhammad (peace be upon him) took it from the cloth and placed it. In this way, they all were able to share equally in the honor of placing the Black Stone in the newly-built structure, and a conflict was avoided.

Many years later, when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offered his Pilgrimage after years of exile from Mecca, he started by kissing the Black Stone. We understand this in its context. It was a poignant homecoming for the Prophet (peace be upon him) who had years earlier been driven out of his beloved city on account of his religion

The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissed the Black Stone is the only reason we do so today. We kiss it to emulate the Prophet’s practice.

The Caliph `Umar made this clear to the people when he led them in the pilgrimage. He used to kiss the Black Stone when he walked around Ka`bah any say: “I know that you are nothing but a stone. You cannot hurt or help anyone. And if I had not seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissing you, I would never have kissed you”.

This is the real application of this rite. It is only a matter of following what our Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us or showed us. It is known for sure that no benefit or harm can be received from the Black Stone.

And Allah knows best.