Obeying the law in non-Muslim countries

Question Title: 
Obeying the law in non-Muslim countries
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Mon, 02/21/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
To what extent do Muslims have to obey the governments of the non-Muslim countries in which they live? To what extent can they disobey or resist those governments?
English Answer: 
The Muslims living a non-Muslim country, even if they originally entered that country by means of forged documents, are considered to be living in their adopted country under a covenant. They must, therefore, comply with the laws of their country of residence without, at the same time, disobeying Islamic Law.

Allah says: “Oh you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 1]

He also says: “And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant will be questioned about.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ': 34]

He says: “And fulfill the Covenant to Allah when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 91]

A Muslim is not to break or violate oaths or promises. He will not be a true faithful Muslim if he does so. Allah Said: “It is not the case that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throws it aside. Nay! The truth is most of them believe not.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 100]

Among the characteristics of a hypocrite is that he: “…acts treacherously toward covenants (pledges), and when entrusted he betrays.”

Scholars have stated that those who enter non-Muslim countries have to adhere to their respective laws and regulations even if they entered those countries illegally, and they have no excuse for breaking those laws, since they were entrusted to abide by those laws upon entry into those countries.

The eminent Hanafî jurist, Mohammad b. Hasan Al-Shaybânî writes [Biographies (2/6)]:
If it happens that a company of Muslims pass through the enemy’s front lines by deceptively pretended to be messengers of the Muslim’s Caliph carrying official documents – or if they were just allowed to pass through the enemy lines – they are not allowed to engage in any hostilities with the enemy troops. Neither are they entitled to seize any of their money or properties as long as they are in their area of authority. This also applies in case of being truly trusted by the other party.
Accordingly, we conclude the following:

Muslims living in non-Muslim countries have to comply with laws and regulations of the country they have been entrusted though valid visas to enter. At the same time, they have to avoid whatever contradicts Islamic teachings. In case they are obliged by law to uphold something contrary to Islamic teachings, they have to adhere to the minimum that the law requires of them.

One of the best approaches for a Muslim living in these countries is patience. As long as he agrees to live in a non-Muslim country, he is never to rebel against the inhabitants of his choice of residence, even it seems to hard for him to endure.

Fiqh – Proper Understanding

Date: 
Tue, 12/20/2005
Short Content: 
Islamic Law – which is referred to as the science of Fiqh – has understanding as its ultimate objective. There are two aspects to the understanding that the field of Islamic Law requires from the scholar: 1. Understanding of the circumstances. 2. Understanding of how to respond to the circumstances.
Body: 
The ability to reason and to understand is one of the greatest blessings that Allah has bestowed upon the human being. When a person has proper understanding and couples it with a correct and noble purpose, that person is sure to find guidance and to walk upon the straight path. This is why we beseech Allah in all of our prayers with: “Guide us to the straight path.”

Understanding is by the grace of Allah. It is a light by which we discern what is correct from what is corrupt and what is true from what is false. People are not all equal in their ability to understand. Everyone is unique. If all were equal in understanding, then we would find all scholars and experts in perpetual agreement. No one would ever be praised or admired for his or her insights or erudition.

We can consider the story of David and Solomon (peace be upon them). The Prophet (peace be upon him) related it as follows [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3427) and Sahîh Muslim (1720)]:
Two women went out with their children. One of them was attacked by a wolf who took her child away. The women then started to argue over the remaining child and appealed their case to David (peace be upon him). He ruled in favor of the elder of the two women.

Then they went to Solomon. He asked: “How did he command you?” The women told him. He then said: “Bring me a knife. I will divide the child between you.”

The younger woman asked: “Will you cut him in half?” He replied in the affirmative. She said: “Do not do it! Give my share to her.”

Solomon then said: “He is your son.” And awarded the child to her.
Allah says in the Qur’ân about another case where two men disputed: “And David and Solomon, when they gave judgment concerning the field, when people's sheep had strayed and browsed therein by night; and We were witnesses to their judgment. And We made Solomon to understand (the case); and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge.” [Sûrah al-Anbiya’: 78-79]

We first notice that Allah says: “We made Solomon to understand (the case)”. Here Allah is showing us that he alone had understanding of this matter.

Allah then praises both David and Solomon on account of their knowledge and wisdom when He says: “and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge.” David had also been well-known for his precise thinking and his keen mind.

Understanding of something is to know it as it truly is. In Arabic, the word for this is fahm. There is another word in Arabic for understanding, more precise in its meaning. This word is fiqh. This is the word that is used in Islamic terminology for “Islamic Law”

Fiqh linguistically is a special understanding that comprises understanding the mind as well as in the heart and through one’s actions. This word – fiqh – appears in the Qur’ân roughly twenty times. If we consider how this word is employed, we see that it is not used to refer merely to understanding some meaning. Following the meaning of an instruction blindly might indicate that the instruction was understood, but it does not indicate that acute understanding referred to in Arabic as fiqh. This requires a person to sense the matter in its entirely and grasp all of its implications.

Allah says: “Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in lofty towers, and if a benefit comes to them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from you (O Muhammad). Say: All is from Allah, but what is the matter with these people that they do not make approach to understanding what is told (to them)?” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 78]

Allah says: “They said: O Shu`ayb! We do not understand much of what you say and most surely we see you to be weak among us, and were it not for your family we would surely stone you, and you are not mighty against us.” [Surah Hûd: 91]

Allah says: “And who is more unjust than one who is reminded of the communications of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets what his two hands have sent before? Surely We have placed veils over their hearts lest they should understand it and a heaviness in their ears; and if you call them to the guidance, even then they will never follow the right course.” [Sûrah al-Kahf: 57]

In each of these cases, the people in question understood the meaning of the words that they had been told. They might even have committed those words to memory. Nevertheless, their hearts were unaffected and they could not accept the implications of what those words meant.

This understanding that is fiqh is something that must be actively developed. It is partly instinctive and partly acquired. A person who possesses this aptitude to a high degree is someone who has a natural gift of understanding and then develops it through knowledge and concerted effort.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of you in the times of ignorance are the best of you after accepting Islam, if they acquire understanding.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3494) and Sahîh Muslim (2526)]

Perhaps what the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant is that a strong natural aptitude combined with proper Islamic guidance is the ideal, and those who whom Allah blesses to possess both are the best pf people.

Islamic Law – which is referred to as the science of Fiqh – has understanding as its ultimate objective. There are two aspects to the understanding that the field of Islamic Law requires from the scholar:

1. Understanding of the circumstances. The situation under consideration must be understood from all angles. All factors need to be accounted for, including those that vary according to time, place, and circumstance. This is what is needed to derive accurate knowledge of the situation in its proper context, so that everything about it can be explained in a rational manner.

2. Understanding of how to respond to the circumstances. We need to know what is required of us regarding situation under consideration. How we must act in this situation? What is Allah’s ruling that is taken from His Book and from the words of His Messenger (peace be upon him)? In other words: How is the Qur’ân and Sunnah to be applied to the situation?

This process is known as the exercise of juristic discretion – ijtihâd – where a scholar expends his best effort to arrive at Allah’s ruling for a given matter. It is an effort which brings either a single reward or a double reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) recognized this uncertainty. He said: “If a jurist engages in ijtihâd and is correct, he will have a double reward. If he engages ijtihâd and is incorrect, he will have a single reward.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (7352) and Sahîh Muslim (1716)]

This activity is precisely what the Caliph `Umar b. al-Khattâb meant when he wrote to Abû Mûsâ al-Ash`ârî the following famous instructions, the historicity of which the Muslims have widely accepted:

“Then understanding is the understanding that you come by in what is not (expressly stated) in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Then compare these matters by analogy when they occur. Know that which is similar and what shares a resemblance. Then seek to find that which is most beloved to Allah in your opinion and nearest to the truth.”

We see the same activity being articulated in the Qur’an when Joseph (peace be upon him) was falsely accused of wrongdoing: “(Joseph) said: She it was who asked of me an evil act. And a witness of her own folk testified: If his shirt is torn from the front, then she speaks the truth and he is of the liars. But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she has lied and he is of the truthful.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 26-27]

It is the same effort we saw being exerted by Solomon (peace be upon him) to arrive at the identity of the child’s true mother.

Offering Tarâwîh as continuous sets of 4 units

Question Title: 
Offering Tarâwîh as continuous sets of 4 units
Date: 
Sun, 11/20/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
During Tarâwîh prayers this Ramadan, the imam prayed four units of prayer without sitting after the second unit. He only he sat in the fourth unit, recited the tashahhud and then the taslîm. He then prayed four more units in the same manner as described above. Then, after doing so, he offered the Witr prayer as three units. When questioned about praying in the manner in which he did, he said that it was acceptable and could be found in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and the Muwatta’ of Imam Mâlik. I could not find it. Was this prayer correct, and if so, where can it be found?
English Answer: 
If a person chooses to offer the Tarâwih prayer as eleven units, there are three ways of doing so that are suggested by the scholars:

1. The first manner of doing so is to pray two sets of four continuous units, without sitting except once at the completion of all four. Then a final set of three units is offered.

The evidence cited to support this opinion is the hadîth of `A’ishah where she says: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never prayed more than eleven units, whether in Ramadan or in other times. He used to pray four – do not ask how perfect and long were they – then he would pray four, do not ask how perfect and long were they – then he would pray three.” [Sahih al-Bukhârî (1147) and Sahîh Muslim (738)]

They argue that this indicates there is no problem with a person to pray four continuous units, then another our, and thereafter pray three more units.

2. The second manner of doing so is to pray eleven units continuously.

3. The third manner of offering the Tarâwîh prayer is to pray it as sets of two units. This method accords the closest to the Sunnah.

This is supported by the hadîth of Ibn `Umar that reads: “It should be prayed two units at a time, and if any of you expects that the Fajr prayer is imminent, then he should perform one unit of witr prayer to make an odd number out of his night prayer.”

When the narrator, Ibn `Umar was asked: What is meant by ‘two units at a time?’, he answered: “It means to offer taslîm after every two units.” [Sahih al-Bukhârî (472) and Sahîh Muslim (749)]

Then there is the hadîth of `A’ishahm where she says: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to pray eleven units after completing the Ishâ’ prayer and before the Fajr prayer. He would offer salâm after every two units. Then he would offer one unit on its own.” [Sahîh Muslim (736)]

Therefore, it is best to offer the prayer in sets of two, since the second hadîth of `A’ishah that mentions offering salâm after every two units can be regarded as being an explanation of her more general statement “he used to pray four”. However, someone wishes to offer the prayer in sets of four, then there is nothing wrong with that.

And Allah knows best.

"O Children of Israel, I am Allah's messenger to you!"

from Varse: 
6
Date: 
Wed, 11/08/2006
Image: 
Short Content: 
Allah says: "And recall when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: 'O Children of Israel, I am Allah's messenger to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad'."
Body: 

All of the Prophets who came before Muhammad (peace be upon him) were sent exclusively to their own people. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the only Prophet to be specifically sent with a message all humanity.

Allah declares in the Qur'ân: "Say (O Muhammad): Indeed I am Allah's Messenger to you all." [Sûrah al-A`râf: 157]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Each prophet used to be sent to his own people, whereas I have been sent to all humanity." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

The Qur'ân makes it clear to us that the message of Jesus (peace be upon him) was specifically for the Children of Israel. He was not sent to other nations, like the Greeks and the Romans. He was not sent as a messenger for all humanity.

Allah tells us that Jesus says: "O Children of Israel, I am Allah's messenger to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." [Sûrah al-Saff: 6]

Allah relates to us in the Qur'ân the following exchange that took place between Mary (peace be upon her) and the angel: "She (Mary) said: 'My Lord! when shall there be a son (born) to I me, and man has not touched me?' He said: 'Even so, Allah creates what He pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is. And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, and (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel…" [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 47-49]

We find the same meaning expressed in the Bible: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." [Matthew 15:24]

However, just because Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent with his message to the Children of Israel does not mean that others were not allowed to embrace that message. Everyone who believed in Jesus (peace be upon him) and responded to his message are rightly counted among his followers, even if they were not from the Children of Israel.

The idea that the message of Jesus (peace be upon him) is a universal one was not propounded by anyone before Paul, who was formerly known as Saul. He claimed that he had received an order from Christ to preach his message to all nations.

Though Jesus (peace be upon him) was not sent to other nations like the Greeks and Romans, that does not mean that no messenger had ever been sent to them. We know for a fact that Allah sent messengers to all nations, since Allah says: " And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Worship Allah and shun false gods." [Sûrah al-Nahl: 36]

Allah also says: "Lo! We have sent thee with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there has never been a nation except that a warner hath gone among them." [Sûrah Fâtir: 24]

Allah does not hold anyone to account without first establishing the proof against them by sending them messengers. Allah says: "We never punish until we have sent forth a messenger." [Sûrah al-Isrâ': 15]

Therefore, we can be certain that at least one messenger had been sent to every nation. We might know the identity of this messenger or we might not know it. Various hadîth in Musnad Ahmad and Sahîh Ibn Hibbân indicate that there were 124,000 prophets, among whom over 310 were messengers.

If we study the history of the Greeks, we find that in spite of their widespread idolatry, we find instances where the effects of prophetic teachings seemed to have had an influence. Consider Socrates, one if the three most important Greek philosophers. (The others who followed after him were Plato and Aristotle.) All of these philosophers lived before the birth of Christ (peace be upon him).

Socrates called the people to worship the one and only God and he forbid the worship of idols. He was taken to task on account of this and forced to kill himself by drinking hemlock. His beliefs about God were the reason for his death, and not his political views, as some people claim.

As for his student Plato, he adhered to Socrates' beliefs in this matter. However, he did not openly proclaim these beliefs and condemn idolatry in the way his teacher did. Probably, he restrained himself from doing so when he considered what happened to Socrates.

Socrates' monotheistic teachings may have been one of the lasting effects of the teachings of a much earlier prophet who had been sent to the Greeks and who had been forgotten to history. Alternatively, Socrates might have been influenced by the monotheistic ideas that were prevalent in nations where prophets had been recently sent, like the Levant. Syria and the Levant are quite close to Greece and many Greeks were known to have traveled to those areas. Socrates was one of them.

And Allah knows best.
Verse Contnet: 
Allah says: "And recall when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: 'O Children of Israel, I am Allah's messenger to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said: 'This is evident sorcery!'" [Sûrah al-Saff: 6]

Making up Witr & Tahajjud

Question Title: 
Making up Witr & Tahajjud
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Tue, 09/20/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Someone told me that if someone who prays tahajjud regularly fails to wake up for that prayer, then he or she should make it up during the day before noon prayer. Is this correct? I could not find any hadîth regarding this.
English Answer: 
It is permissible and recommended for a person who misses the Witr prayer at night to make it up the following morning.

If the worshipper makes up this prayer after the time of Fajr comes in before performing the Fajr prayer, in this case he should make it up in its original form as an odd number of units. It is established by a number of Companions that they would make up the Witr prayer upon waking just as they would make up other prayers.

It should be made up in its original form as an odd number of units, because Anas relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever forgets a prayer or sleeps through it, then its expiation is for him to make it up when he remembers it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (597) and Sahîh Muslim (684)]

Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever sleeps through the Witr prayer or forgets it should pray it when he remembers or when he wakes up.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (465), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (1431), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (188)]

If the worshipper does not make it up before Fajr, then it should be made up after sunrise. In this case, the worshipper should not make it up in its original form , but rather as an even number of units, because this is how the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to make it up at that time.

`A’ishah relates that “When Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to miss the night prayer on account of sickness or for some other reason, he would pay it during the day as twelve units.” [Sahîh Muslim (746)]

Therefore, if the worshipper makes up the prayer before Fajr, he should make it up in its original form as three, five, seven, nine, or eleven units. If the worshipper makes up the prayer after sunrise, he should offer it as four, six, eight, ten, or twelve units. This is the strongest opinion expressed by the scholars and the one that is in accordance with all of the evidence.

And Allah knows best.

Picking fruit on public lands

Question Title: 
Picking fruit on public lands
Date: 
Tue, 09/20/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
We recently went to a public park, and in it we found trees that bore plums and cherries. We picked them thinking that the park is public property and that as tax payers, we have a right to it. We also did not see at the park any sign stating that we could not eat of its fruits. However, since then we have been worried that perhaps what we did was wrong Islamically. Please clarify this issue for us.
English Answer: 
If these public parks or other public lands having fruit trees are not subject to official regulations that eating from those trees is prohibited, and if no prohibition is implicitly understood by the people of the area, then we see no legal objection to what you have done by eating fruit from those trees.

However, this permission is conditional. No fruit is to be picked at a park and then taken away to be eaten later.

This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever enters a garden may eat from it but should not take anything away in his shirt.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1287)]

We should be aware that some people of knowledge have understood this permission to be for travelers only.

Others have opined that it is disliked to eat of fruit without paying for it.

However, it appears that the differences of opinion expressed by some scholars on this matter refers to privately owned gardens. This is understood from the context of their statements and from the fact that public parks were not prevalent in the past when those statements were made. Therefore, we must understand those divergent views in the context in which they were expressed.

As for the hadîth itself, it is general and applies to public parks as well as private gardens, and naturally, greater leniency is to be applied to public parks.

Of course, if there are written regulations prohibiting the picking of fruit off the trees in public parks or if this is customarily understood in society as being prohibited, then it is Islamically not allowed.

And Allah knows best.

Marriage in a church

Question Title: 
Marriage in a church
Date: 
Sat, 08/20/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I am a Christian woman engaged to a Muslim man. We have discussed the fact that we both have a different religion and I have agreed that if God gives us children, they would be Muslims. I am very interested in learning as much as I can about the Qur’an because I believe that children should have the opportunity to receive answers to their questions even from a non-Muslim, provided that they get the correct explanation. Our relationship is based upon respect of each other’s religious practices.

My question is as follows: I know that a Muslim man can marry non-Muslim woman. What I don't know is does the Qur'an forbid that the ceremony takes place in a church or a celebration is conducted by a priest. I suppose if such a marriage is allowed, the religious ceremony can take place in a church. If not, the Christian’s marriage is not valid, and the person is not considered married and commits the sin of fornication. A civil marriage is supposed to be followed by the religious ceremony; otherwise the Catholic church does not consider the union as valid.

We both practice our religion and respect one another's beliefs, and feel very concerned about the matter. Indeed, if a Muslim is not allowed to celebrate his union in a church, then we must end this relationship, since committing the sin of fornication (getting married without God's blessing in a church) is not acceptable for me. I agree to have my marriage blessed by an imam, but my fiancé and I do not know if he is allowed to do the same in a church, in order for me to have my marriage blessed.

I will finish by adding that I asked a priest if such a marriage could be celebrated and he said yes, telling me the church does not reject anyone. My fiancé says that of course it is possible for us to receive blessing from an imam since a Muslim man is allowed to marry a Christian. I suppose for him it is an obligation, just like for me at church.
English Answer: 
In Islam, going to a church or a mosque is not a condition for a valid marriage. A Muslim must seek blessings directly from God and only from God, and he must never seek blessings from priests, imams, or any other created beings.

I have two pieces of advice to offer on this matter:

The first is for the questioner. I sense from your question that you are intelligent and that you have a love for purity and decency. My sincere advice to you is not to demand to have the marriage performed in a church if that can at all be avoided.

My second piece of advice is addressed to your Muslim fiancé. Though he should do his best to convince you not to go to a church for the marriage if it can be avoided, he must allow you to attend church thereafter according to your wishes. He must teach you about the Islamic faith in a kind and understanding manner. He must show you Islam through his good and morally upright conduct more than through words and books.

I also say to him: If she insists on contracting the marriage in a church and regards the marriage to be invalid otherwise, then there is no problem with you going together to the church for that purpose. However, this is under the strict condition that you as a Muslim believe firmly in your heart that your going there does not bring about the validity of the contract in any way and that this act on your part is solely that of carrying out a civil procedure that for you as a Muslim man has nothing to do with the lawfulness of the contract with God.

And Allah knows best.

Regarding the Special Virtues of Worship in the Month of Rajab

Date: 
Sat, 08/20/2005
Short Content: 
There is considerable disagreement among people about this month called Rajab. Unfortunately, it seems that few of those who are engaged in the dispute have the requisite knowledge to discuss the matter properly. The general Muslim public has become understandably confused.
Body: 
There is considerable disagreement among people about this month called Rajab. Unfortunately, it seems that few of those who are engaged in the dispute have the requisite knowledge to discuss the matter properly. Some people claim that there is special virtue in fasting in Rajab during the day, while others say that there is special virtue in praying during this month in the late watches of the night. Some people, without knowing the significance of what they are saying, have elevated Rajab in preference over all other months, even the four sacred months whose preference is established by the sacred texts. The general Muslim public has become understandably confused. Because of this, it is the duty of the people of knowledge to explain the truth about this month.

The guidance brought by our Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning the months of the year has been carefully preserved and passed down to us. The Companions committed this knowledge to memory and related it faithfully to those who came after them. This has come to us in the form of numerous authentic hadîth in the many hadîth anthologies that we have.

In all of this Prophetic guidance, no mention is made of the special virtues of Rajab. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said anything about it, the Companions would certainly have conveyed it to us, just like they conveyed to us what the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said regarding other months of the year.

Alas, the tale-weavers among the preachers and storytellers could not resist adding to the Sunnah what is not part of it. They contributed hadîth of their own manufacture extolling the virtues of the month of Rajab, and particularly the special merits or prayer and fasting during within that month. However, those storytellers were unaware of the fact that the Sunnah had erudite scholars ready to champion it and defend its frontiers.

What is most startling is to hear those who have some acquaintance with the knowledge of the Sunnah fall victim to such hadîth, relating them and acting upon them, unaware that those hadîth are false and rejected. Indeed, every hadîth about fasting in Rajab and offering prayers during certain nights in Rajab is a fabrication, as has been mentioned by not a few scholars.

Ibn Rajab writes in al-Latâ'if (1/194):
There is nothing authentic regarding any special prayer to be performed in Rajab. The hadîth that are related about the virtue of the Raghâ'ib Prayer to be performed on the first Thursday night in Rajab is a lie, a falsehood of no authenticity. This prayer is an innovation, as attested to by the majority of scholars. Among the prominent later scholars who have mentioned this are al-Hâfiz Isma`îl al-Ansârî, Abû Bakr al-Sam`ânî, Abû Fadl b. Nâsir, and Abû al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzî.

There is nothing authentic regarding any special virtue for fasting the month of Rajab related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) or from his Companions.
Ibn Taymiyah writes in Majmû` al-Fatâwâ (25/29):
As for fasting Rajab in particular, all the hadîth about it are weak; indeed they are fabricated. People of knowledge do not rely upon any of them. They are not of the kind of weak hadîth that might be related regarding the virtues of deeds; they are all fabrications and lies.
Ibn Qayyîm says, in al-Manâr al-Munîf (96) before mentioning a number of these spurous hadîth:
All of the hadîth that mention fasting in Rajab or praying certain nights therein are deliberately fabricated lies.
Ibn Hajar writes in Tabyîn al-`Ajab (23):
There is nothing found regarding any virtue for the month of Rajab, nor for fasting it or fasting any particular part of it, nor for praying on any particular night of it, that can be regarded an authentic hadîth that can hold up as evidence. The greats scholar Abû Ismâ`îl al-Harawî al-Hâfiz came to this same conclusion before me.
He also writes (33):
The hadîth found concerning the virtues of Rajab or for fasting it or any part f it are of two categories: weak and fabricated.
And (40):
There are found regarding the virtues of Rajab such false hadîth that there is nothing wrong with pointing them out so that no one will be deceived by them.
Many eminent scholars have said that not a single hadîth regarding the virtues of Rajab is authentic, including Ibn Dahiyyah al-Kalbî and Abû al-Fadl b. Nâsir.

The following are some of these hadîth:

1. “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`bân is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my nation.”

This statement has been related as coming from two Companions: Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî and Anas b. Mâlik.

As for the narration attributed to Abû Sa`ûd al-Khudrî, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/576) and Ibn `Irâq in al-Tanzîh al-Sharî`ah (2/151) with a chain of transmission from Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Naqqâsh.

The hadîth's text is given at length, including a discussion of the virtues of fasting the month of Rajab. Ibn al-Jawzî then comments: “This hadîth is fabricated. Al-Kassâ'î is unknown and al-Naqqâsh is accused of lying.”

Ibn Hajar says in Tabyîn al`Ajab (23): “This chain of transmission has been put together…The responsibility of this hadîth belongs to al-Naqqâsh. He is the author of the book Shifâ' al-Sudûr , a book which he fills chiefly with lies and calumnies.”

Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî writes in Târîkh Baghdâd (2/602) regarding al-Naqqâsh: “His hadîth are rejected with well-known chains of transmission. Talhah b. Muhammad b. Ja`far al-Hâfiz says: ‘al-Naqqâsh used to lie regarding hadîth and mostly told stories.'”

The hadîth has another chain of transmission going back to Abû Sa`îd al-Khudrî that al-Sahmî records in Târîkh Jurjân (225). Al-Sahmî then comments: “It is a hadîth with a succession of unknown and weak narrators.”

The hadîth from Abû Sa`îd has other spurious chains of transmission mentioned by Ibn Hajar in Tabyîn al-`Ahjab .

As for the attribution of this hadîth to Anas b. Mâlik, Ibn al-Jawzî mentions it in al-Mawdû`ât (2/436) with a chain of transmission that comes to us by way of the narrator Abû al-Hasan `Alî b. `Abd Allah b. Jahdam.

The text of this hadîth mentions the Raghâ'ib prayer.

Ibn al-Jawzî says: “This hadîth is fabricated against Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him). Ibn Jahdam has been accused of fabricating hadîth and he has been called a liar. I heard our sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Hâfiz say that the narrators in this chain of transmission are all unknown. I have searched for them in all of the books and have not found them.”

Al-Dhahabî adds: “Perhaps those narrators were never even born.”

Al-Bayhaqî narrates the hadîth in Shu`ab al-Imân (7/396) by way of another chain of transmission, then comments: “Its chain of transmission is rejected. It is a hadîth with a succession of weak and abandoned narrators.”

2. It is attributed to `Alî that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed the month of Rajab is a great month. Whoever fasts a day of it will have it written to his credit as if he had fasted for a thousand years...”

This hadîth is mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzî in al-Mawdû`ât (2/578) with a chain of transmission coming by way of Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî and including the narrators `Alî b. Zayd al-Qarrâ'î and Hârûn b. `Antarah. Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “This hadîth is not authentically related from the Prophet (peace be upon him).”

This hadîth has a chain of weak and rejected narrators. To start with, Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî is extremely weak. [al-Dhahabî, Mîzân al-I`tidal (1/180)]

`Alî b, Zayd al-Qarrâ'î is referred to by al-Dhahabî as being “ruinous”.

As for Hârûn b. `Antarah, Ibn Hibbân says about him: “His hadîth are explicitly rejected. He narrates a good number of rejected hadîth, so much so that one's heart upon hearing these hadîth starts to believe that he did so deliberately because of the great number of things that he relates which are baseless. His narrations can not be used for evidence in any capacity.”

Ibn Hajar mentions this hadîth in Tabyîn al-`Ajab wherein he accuses Ishâq b. Ibrâhîm al-Khatlî of lying.

Similar comments about this hadîth are given by al-Suyûtî and al-Shawkânî.

3. “In Paradise there is a river named Rajab, and whoever fasts a day in the month of Rajab, Allah will give him to drink from this river.”

This hadîth is mentioned by al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-Imân (8300), al-Asbahânî in al-Targhîb wa al-Tarhîb (1847), Ibn al-Jawzî in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/555), al-Dhahabî in Mîzân al-I`tidâl (4/189) and by others by way of the narrator Mansûr b. Zayd al-Azdî.

Ibn al-Jawzî comments: “It is unauthentic and contains unknown narrators whom we cannot identify at all.”

Al-Dhahabî says: “Mansûr is unknown and the report is false.”

Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (1898).

4. “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”

This hadîth is mentioned by al-Tabarânî in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (1789), al-Bayhaqî in Fadâ'il al-Awqât (308), al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî in al-Muwaddih (1/118). Ibn `Asâkir in Târîkh Dimashq (19/116).

Ibn al-Jawzî relates it in al-`Ilal al-Mutanâhiyah (2/554) as “Whoever fasts three days in the month of Harâm – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – will have written to his credit the worship of seven hundred years.”

Al-Tabarânî relates it as being “the worship of two years”. It is related with other wordings as well.

Its chain of transmission contains Maslamah b. Râshid.

Abû Hâtim al-Râzî says about him: “His hadîth are contradictory.”

Al-Azdî says: “His narrations cannot be used as evidence.”

Al-Albânî declares the hadîth to be weak in his Silsilah al-Da`îfah (4611).

The Sunnah of All the Prophets

Date: 
Thu, 06/08/2006
Short Content: 
I remember meeting a young man in al-Masjid al-Harâm once during the month of Ramadan. He had come to Mecca to perform `umrah. He was wearing a white turban and had hair falling past his shoulders. He wore a short robe that may possibly have reached to halfway down his shins. Above that robe he wore a black shirt that bore some resemblance to a cloak. He stood out, even in Mecca during Ramadan, and his appearance caused people to stare at him in amazement.
Body: 
I remember meeting a young man in al-Masjid al-Harâm once during the month of Ramadan. He had come to Mecca to perform `umrah. He was wearing a white turban and had hair falling past his shoulders. He wore a short robe that may possibly have reached to halfway down his shins. Above that robe he wore a black shirt that bore some resemblance to a cloak. He stood out, even in Mecca during Ramadan, and his appearance caused people to stare at him in amazement.

He sat down with me, so I asked him about his appearance. He told me that he was following the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)in his manner of dress and in the way he kept his hair.

I took this opportunity to explain to him that the correct ruling regarding the turban is that it is not Sunnah. It is merely an Arab custom that existed from pre-Islamic times. The only reason the prophet (peace be upon him) wore a turban was because it was the customary dress of his people. We cannot say that wearing the turban is something our faith enjoins upon us any more than we can suggest that it is prohibited. It is purely a matter of culture and custom. There is no authentic hadîth regarding the turban.

Then I explained to him that the strongest legal verdict regarding the hair is that it is also a matter that is governed by custom. The length of the prophet’s hair is not a Sunnah for us to follow. What is Sunnah is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) enjoined upon us, and that is simply for the person who has hair to keep it nice. The question of hairstyle is not something serious.

Then I said to him: “You are performing `umrah. The Sunnah about which there is no disagreement is that a man who performs `umrah should shave his head. The Prophet (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah saying three times: ‘O Allah! Forgive those who have shaved their heads’ and then only after that said once ‘…and those who cut their hair.’ Why did you abandon such a clear and certain Sunnah?”

Finally, I advised him, saying: “Be wary of your true inner motives, especially when you find that you are setting your self apart and attracting the attention of others. Be careful not to adopt some outward behaviors, that are matters of disagreement among scholars, in to make people pay attention to you. That is one of Satan’s subtle tricks. Do not forget that the Prophet (peace be upon us) forbid us from wearing close that draw inordinate attention to ourselves.”

Indeed, that was a Sunnah that this young man had certainly forgotten.

This is an example of a misunderstanding of the Sunnah, where a person places such great attention on particulars of custom and habit that are themselves inconsequential, that he ends up violating major rulings that he most certainly should be following and neglecting the Prophet’s guidance.

The Sunnah is not there to test people about the smallest particulars and minute details. It is not there to impose upon people a host of regulations and theoretical assumptions that they cannot bear to uphold. People should not find themselves in a state of worry and anxiety about matters that would otherwise not even have crossed their minds or would have passed beneath their notice. It is worse when investing those matters with such a serious emotional commitment causes people to violate the limits of Islamic Law with respect to the sanctity of other people, their rights, and the good treatment that is due to them. It is wrong when attention to such matters causes people to neglect their duty to others and the need for unity and the nurturing of faith.

The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is something great and profound. It is not limited to the particulars of our acts of worship, even though those particulars are certainly part of the Sunnah. Its is far broader in scope and far more general in its relevance. It encompasses all the noble ideas by which the purpose of the Prophetic Message is realized. The Sunnah provides the means to achieve the noble purpose for which Allah created the human being. Allahh says: “I only created the jinn and humanity so that they would worship me.” [Sûrah al-Dhâriyât: 56]

The Sunnah is there so people will uphold the meaning of their faith, go forth in carrying out good works, and conducting themselves in a good manner. The Sunnah also explains to us how to carry out the essential pillars of our religion –our testimony of faith, our prayers, our Zakâh, our fasting, and our pilgrimage.

This is why, when Allah tells us about the Prophets of old, He informs of the greatest Sunnah acts associated with them. He says: “And We made them leaders, guiding people by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and they constantly worshipped Us.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 73]

These are the objectives that all the Prophets (peace be upon them) stove to bring to realization. This is the essence of their mission and their Message. This is the foundation of the Sunnah that Allah tells us about in the Qur’ân and that His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) elaborated to us in the hadîth.

We can see this in the hadith where he speaks to Gabriel about the pillars of Islam, of faith, and of excellence. We see this in all of the good works he carried out and in how he established the principles of Islam and put them into practice. We see it in how he fortified his faith with certainty and humility and with the worship of his heart, how he perfected his character and his manners, and in how he united the Muslims in the worship of Allah.

He never endeavored to bring about strife or division among them. He never did anything to compromise the establishment of mercy among them. The Prophet peace be upon him commanded his followers: “Give good tidings and do not drive people away.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (69)]

These are the most important aspects of the Sunnah. Do we ever see in the Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him) any violation of good morals or any abandonment of the meaning of mercy that Allah has made a primary purpose of His Message?

We do not find in the Sunnah any cause for inspiring intolerance and loathing; rather we find in it every opportunity for magnanimity and the conveying of glad tidings.

Mecca & Madinah divinely protected

Question Title: 
Mecca & Madinah divinely protected
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sun, 03/20/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I heard that Mecca and Madinah are divinely protected cities. Is this true? What does this mean?
English Answer: 
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “There are angels at the outskirts of Madinah, so that neither plague not the Antichrist shall enter it. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

He also said: “The threat of the Antichrist will not enter Madinah.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

He also said: “There is no land that the Antichrist will fail to penetrate save for Mecca and Madinah.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

These hadîth show us that these two sacred cities enjoy Allah’s protection. In some narrations, it is stated that Allah has appointed angels in ranks to guard over them.

At the same time, these two cities are certainly affected by the outside world. Even at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) Madinah had its share of hypocrites. Nevertheless, the society remained strong and unified, resisting all forms of corruption and decay.

The laws that govern the rest of the world can be observed to operate in Mecca and Madinah just as they operate everywhere else; nevertheless, we find these cities to be, in comparison, more resilient and more resistant to negative change than elsewhere.