Givng charity on behalf of others

Question Title: 
Givng charity on behalf of others
Date: 
Tue, 07/03/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I would like to know, when I spend charity, how can I make sure that the blessings from Allah will be not be for me alone, but also for all of my family? I mean, if I spend a certain amount, how can it be as if the rest of my family gave a portion of that amount? Is there any procedure for this?
English Answer: 
You have the right to grant the reward of your almsgiving to anyone you please. You may intend the reward for an individual or for a group of people.

Sa`d said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “My mother died, and I think that if she had spoken, she would have given charity. Will she have a reward if I give charity on her behalf?”

He said: “Yes.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

If you give alms separately on behalf of yourself, then your father, then your mother, that will be fine.

Likewise, you can opt to gather everyone together in your intention and offer a single charitable donation. This will also be correct, by the will of Allah.

And Allah knows best.

Giving charity from unlawfully earned wealth

Question Title: 
Giving charity from unlawfully earned wealth
Date: 
Tue, 07/03/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
There is a Muslim who has intersest earnings from his bank account, and he wants to give these earnings regularly in charity. Is there any reward for him from the charity that he gives? Is that money o.k. for the charity to accept, knowing that it has come from interest earnings?
English Answer: 
One should expect to receive no reward or blessing for the giving charity one gives from one’s unlawful earnings.

Abû Hurayrah relates the following hadîth which is found in Sahîh Muslim:
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is good and accepts nothing but what is good. Indeed, Allah commands the believers with the same command that He enjoins upon His Messengers, and He says:

“ ‘O Messengers! Eat of the things good and pure and work righteous deeds.’ [Sûrah al-Mu’minûn: 51]

“And says: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the things good and pure that We have provided for you.’ [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 172]”

Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned a man who had traveled on a long journey, his hair disheveled and discolored with dust. “He will raise his hands to the sky saying ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ but his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothing is unlawful. How then can he be answered?”
It is permissible for the charitable organization to accept the money that it knows the donor received through interest earnings. Unlawfully earned money is forbidden for the person who earned it, not for people who later receive that money from him through lawful means.

Indeed, it is the duty of someone who has come into unlawful wealth to rid himself of it by spending it on the needy and in public works. However, he must do so with the intention of ridding himself of unlawful wealth and not with the intention of charity.

And Allah knows best.

Qiyas in Islamic Law – A Brief Introduction

Date: 
Tue, 07/03/2007
Short Content: 
What is the ruling when the guardian of the orphan’s estate burns all the orphan’s property? - The answer can be deduced by qiyas.
Body: 
Qiyâs is a method that uses analogy – comparison – to derive Islamic legal rulings for new developments.

Qiyâs can be defined as taking an established ruling from Islamic Law and applying it to a new case, in virtue of the fact that the new case shares the same essential reason for which the original ruling was applied.

Qiyâs, therefore, is a method that Muslim jurists use to derive a ruling for new situations that are not addressed by the Qur’ân and Sunnah, like many new developments of our age and like the customs of people not encountered in Arabia during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). By way of qiyâs, these issues can be referred back to those that are explicitly mentioned in the sacred texts.

When we know the reason why something in Islamic Law is obligatory, preferred, permitted, disliked, or forbidden, then if something else shares the same reason, it can be given the same legal ruling.

Categories of Qiyâs:

There are two major categories of qiyâs with respect to its strength as evidence: overt and obscure.

A. Obvious Comparison (qiyâs jaliyy):

This is where the new situation being investigated is clearly no different in its essentials from a matter that Islamic Law has a clear and established ruling for.

This is especially the case where the sacred texts clearly spell out the reason for the original ruling or where there is unanimous agreement among Muslims as to what that reason is.

In such cases, there is no need for the jurist to try to deduce a quality in the new situation that he can use to make a comparison with some precedent in Islamic Law. Everything is clear and up-front.

Consider the following examples:

1. What is the ruling when the guardian of the orphan’s estate burns all the orphan’s property?

Though there is no direct textual evidence that discusses burning the orphan’s property, the ruling is patently clear. It takes the same ruling as when the guardian squanders the orphan’s wealth on himself.

Allah says: “Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do but swallow fire into their bellies, and they will be exposed to burning flame.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 10]

It is prohibited for the guardian of the orphan’s estate to wrongfully spend the orphan’s wealth on himself. The reason for this ruling is obvious – it brings loss to the orphan’s property.

This is precisely what would happen if the guardian burns the orphan’s property. The orphan will suffer the loss. There is no material difference between the two cases. Since the two cases share the reason for the ruling, they share the same ruling. It is unquestionably prohibited for the guardian to burn or otherwise vandalize the orphan’s property.

2. What is the ruling on giving one’s parents a good smack?

We will not find any text in our scriptures that directly addresses this question. However, we are in no doubt that it is absolutely prohibited and sinful to do so.

We find in the Qur’ân that it is sinful to even mutter “ugh” or “uff” to our parents in exasperation when they ask us to do something for them.

Allah says: “And your Lord has commanded that you shall not worship any but Him, and that you show kindness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them so much as “ugh” nor chide them, but speak to them a generous word.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 23]

We are prohibited to say “ugh” to our parents, because it is abusive behavior. At the very least, it hurts their feelings. We can have no doubt that shoving them or smacking them is even more abusive and hurtful. Since the reason for prohibition is even more evident here, we can be certain that smacking our parents is unlawful and very sinful.

From these examples, there should be no question that qiyâs should be accepted as a legal means for establishing Islamic legislation whenever the comparison is overt and clear.

Some scholars do not consider these examples to even fall under the heading of qiyâs, due to how clear and obvious they are, but consider such rulings to constitute part of what the texts themselves communicate.

B. Obscure Comparison (qiyâs khafiyy):

This is where the new situation being investigated is not so overtly similar in its essentials to the established matter in Islamic Law that it is being compared to.

This is especially the case where the sacred texts do not spell out the reason for the original ruling or where there is disagreement among Muslims as to what that reason is.

Scholars cite as an example that the criminal liability for murder with a bludgeon is the same as that for murder with a knife, since in both cases there is “an intentional and hostile act of killing”.

The difference here to the examples above is that the shared reason for the ruling is one that has been deduced by the jurists from the ruling prohibiting murder. The formula “an intentional and hostile act of killing” is a legal construct developed by legal theorists to define when a killing is legally an act of murder. It is not something that is explicitly stated in the texts, but rather something that is deduced from them.

In such cases, there is a greater burden upon the jurist, who is required to extrapolate and explain the cause of the established ruling and then explain how that cause is also present in the new matter under investigation.

All scholars agree on calling this kind of reasoning by the name qiyâs.

Areas of Scholarly Agreement Regarding the Validity of Qiyâs as a Form of Reasoning:

Muslims are all agreed that qiyâs is a valid approach to reasoning in the following areas of inquiry:

1. Worldly matters: for instance, comparing one medicine to another or pricing one product on the basis of the price of similar products in the market.

2. Any qiyâs that was carried out by the Prophet (peace be upon him): since its consideration become certain on account of its taking place in a context of certainty.

The scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah are also in agreement that qiyâs cannot be applied to certain matters. It cannot be used to answer essential questions of belief or to investigate matters relating to Allah’s nature and attributes if it leads to comparing Allah to His creation. Qiyâs can only be validly applied in these matters to extent of demonstrating that Allah is superior and transcendent to created things. Otherwise, the use of qiyâs will lead to the mistake of considering both Creator and His creation equally under the aegis of more general concepts. It will also lead to considering Allah as being similar to created things.

Allah says: “To Allah applies the highest similitude: for He is the Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 60]

Allah says: “There is none like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” [Sûrah al-Shûrâ: 11]

As Muslims, we must believe that Allah is free from every deficiency that exists in created beings. By contrast, every aspect of perfection applies more to the Creator than it can to anything in creation.

These matters are agreed upon.

Areas of Scholarly Disagreement Regarding the Validity of Qiyâs:

Scholars disagree regarding the applicability of the second type of qiyâs (qiyâs khafiyy) in matters of Islamic Law. The discussion that follows will be dealing specifically with this second type.

All of the leading scholars from among the Prophet’s Companions, as well as the Islamic legal scholars from all the major schools of thought agree that qiyâs is a source of Islamic legislation. It can be used as evidence to establish Islamic legal rulings on matters that are not directly addressed by the sacred texts. Ahmad b. Hanbal said: “No one can entirely dispense with qiyâs.”

Some legal theorists of the Mu`tazilî persuasion denied the validity of qiyâs. The leading proponent of this line of thinking was al-Nazzâm, who was followed by Ja`far b. Harb, Ka`far b. Mubashshir, and Muhammad b. `Abd Allah al-Iskâfî.

This line of thinking was also adopted by some scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah, most notably Dâwûd al-Zâhirî.

These scholars, in turn, differed among themselves regarding the reasons why they dismissed qiyâs. Some of them argued that qiyâs is contrary to reason. One argument given in this light was that: “Delving into this method is intellectually repugnant in its own right”. Another argument was: “Islamic legal rulings are based on human well-being, and no one knows human well-being except the One who gave us the sacred law. Therefore, the only way we can know the sacred law is from the revelation.”

Other scholars said that qiyâs is not contrary to reason, but prohibited by the sacred law itself. There were two schools of though that propounded this general idea.

1. The first was that of Ibn Hazm, the most prominent scholar of the Zâhirî school of law. He argued that the Qur’ân and Sunnah came with everything that is needed, so there is no need for qiyâs.

2. A second school of thought considered it a sin to even acknowledge the validity of qiyâs.

The Hanafî jurist Abû Zayd al-Dâbûsî summarizes the opinions of those who reject qiyâs as follows:
Those who reject qiyâs are four groups. First, there are those who reject all rational evidence, and reject qiyâs because it is based on reason. Then there are those who hold that the only valid source of knowledge is that which is founded in rational necessity, and they argue that qiyâs is not founded on rational necessity.

Then there are those who do not regard qiyâs as a valid source of evidence for matters of Islamic Law.

Finally, there are those who argue that qiyâs would only a valid source of evidence for matters of Islamic Law in cases of necessity. However, there is never a need to resort to qiyâs, because in the absence of direct textual evidence, the default legal ruling is one of permissibility.
The truth is that qiyâs is a valid source of Islamic Law. The disagreements that developed regarding its validity came about after the Companions agreed unanimously that it is a valid approach, and after the Successors – the students of the Companions – applied qiyâs and endorsed it without hesitation.. This means that the disagreement came about after it had been a matter of consensus (ijmâ`).

General Rules for the Valid Application of Qiyâs:

There are a number of guidelines that must be observed for qiyâs to be correctly applied. We will mention these in a very brief and summarized form:

1. Qiyâs can never be used to establish a ruling that contravenes a ruling or legal principle established by direct scriptural evidence. This is because qiyâs is not to be resorted to in a matter where we have a text that gives a ruling.

2. The person who engages in deriving a ruling through qiyâs must have the qualifications to engage in independent juristic reasoning (ijtihâd).

3. The qiyâs itself must be reasoned through properly. It must comply with all of the considerations that Islamic legal theorists have discussed in the books of jurisprudence.

Otherwise, the qiyâs will not be valid. It will be of the type that the earliest scholars condemned. However, they did not ever categorically condemn qiyâs.

Al-Ghazâlî writes: “Whoever rejects qiyâs in principle is certainly mistaken in his thinking, and should be deemed as sinful.”

When Ignorance is an Excuse

Date: 
Thu, 06/15/2006
Short Content: 
The extent to which human ignorance can be regarded as excuse to exempt a person from sin and accountability in matters of Islamic Law is a matter that scholars have explored in depth. Some people make ignorance a valid excuse for anything. Others never accept ignorance as an excuse, regardless of the circumstances. The true and balanced approach, of course, lies somewhere in between. This is what we will seek to uncover in this article.
Body: 
The extent to which human ignorance can be regarded as excuse to exempt a person from sin and accountability in matters of Islamic Law is a matter that scholars have explored in depth. It is also matter about which they have expressed widely divergent opinions. Some people make ignorance a valid excuse for anything. Others never accept ignorance as an excuse, regardless of the circumstances. The true and balanced approach, of course, lies somewhere in between. This is what we will seek to uncover in this article.

Ignorance, as a term, can be defined as a person being devoid of knowledge. More precisely, it is to be lacking knowledge that one is supposed to be acquainted with. People, naturally, start out life in a state of ignorance. In fact, at the beginning of any pursuit, the person will be in a state of ignorance concerning it and will have to do what is necessary to dispel that ignorance.

Allah says: “And Allah brings you fourth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 78]

Once a man gave to the Prophet (peace be upon him) a flask of wine as a gift. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked the man: “Do you know that Allah has prohibited this?” The man replied that he did not know of its prohibition. [Sahîh Muslim (1579)]

The man had not yet come to know that wine had been prohibited, so he was not blamed or rebuked. This hadîth shows us that a person who really does not know something is exempted from sin.

Allah says: “And we would not punish a people until after we had sent to them a Messenger.” [Surah al-Isrâ’: 15]

However, this is the case for someone who has truly not received knowledge. Someone who is able to learn and simply neglects to do so is accountable for the ignorance that he has on account of his negligence. This is stated as a general axiom of Islamic Law: “A legally accountable person can not use ignorance as a defense if he had been able to overcome his ignorance.”

This is because Allah has sent his Messengers to us and has required all of us to learn the Message and then to act upon it. Allah obligates us to know what is required of us and to act accordingly.

On this basis, a new convert who has just embraced Islam will be excused for not knowing that prayer is enjoined upon him or for thinking that drinking wine is alright. He will not be considered an unbeliever on account of it. However, if that person is properly presented the evidence for these matters and still insists that prayer is not obligatory or that wine is lawful, then the consensus of the Muslims is that he becomes an unbeliever.

Ibn Taymiyah says:
There are some people who are ignorant of these rulings and have an excuse to be ignorant. Therefore, no one should be declared an unbeliever until the proof is established to him by way of conveying the message to Him, since Allah says: “…Messengers who gave glad tidings and warnings, sothat humanity will have an argument against Allah after the Messengers.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 165]

Therefore, if a person accepts Islam and does not know that prayer is incumbent upon him or does not know that wine is prohibited, then he will not fall into unbelief on either account. Likewise, he ill not be punishable for it until after the scriptural evidence has reached him…
Possibly the clearest proof that ignorance can be a legal excuse is the following hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (7506) and Sahîh Muslim (2756):
A man who had never done any good deed before instructed his family to burn him when he dies and to scatter his ashes half on the land and half in the sea. He said: “If Allah gets hold of me, He will punish me as he has never punished anyone else before.”

When the man died (and his instructions were carried out), Allah ordered the land and sea to collect his remains together. Then Allah asked him: “Why did you do that?”

The man said: “Out of your fear O Lord!”

So Allah forgave him.
Ibn Taymiyah comments on this hadîth, saying:
This man was ignorant of Allah’s ability to bring him back together, He had hoped that Allah would not resurrect him because he was ignorant of what had been revealed regarding the resurrection. Nevertheless, since he believed in Allah, His commands and prohibitions, and His promises and warnings, and since he feared His punishment, and since his ignorance was in a matter about which the proof that would have made him an unbeliever had never reached him, Allah forgave him.
Today, we live in an age where the means to disseminate the message of Islam throughout the word are so varied and so advanced as to make the world as if it were a single country. Nevertheless, there are still many cases of ignorance where that ignorance is excusable. This is because there is a scarcity of knowledgeable people who put their knowledge into practice, while at the same time there are numerous people who are calling what is wrong, who are experts at making falsehood and unbelief appealing to the masses and are equally expert at disseminating misinformation.

Indeed, Ibn Taymiyah lamented a similar state of affairs centuries ago. In spite of the factthat many of the people were engaged in all sorts of heresies and false beliefs, he did not declare them to be unbelievers, but pardoned them on account of their ignorance:
Such people are plentiful today, and this is because of the scarcity of those who disseminate knowledge and call people to faith. There is an absence of the Islamic Message in most countries. Most of the people do not have with them enough of the Message – and of the Prophet’s legacy – to realize their guidance. It has not even reached many of them. In such times when the Message is absent, a man benefits from whatever little faith he has. Allah pardons for someone who has not had the proof established against him what he does not pardon for someone who has.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A time will come when the people will not know prayer, fasting , or either pilgrimage, except for some old man or woman among them. They will say: ‘We had known our fathers to say ‘There is no God except Allah’.”

The narrator of the hadîth, Hudhayfah, was asked: “What good will saying ‘There is no God except Allah’ be to them?”

Hudhayfah replied: “It will save them from Hell.” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah and Mustadrak al-Hâkim. It is authenticated by al-Albânî in al-Silsilah al-Sahîhah (78)]

Though we maintain that ignorance is an excuse in matters of faith and disbelief, this does not mean that it is accepted from everyone who cites ignorance as a defense. The eminent jurist, al-Shâfi`î said: “There are some things that no sane adult can possibly be ignorant of – like the five prayers, and that the fast of Ramadan is due to Allah, and that the Pilgrimage is obligatory upon one who is able to do so, and that the Zakâh tax is due on their wealth, and that fornication, murder, theft, and wine are unlawful, and other such matters.”

There are various factor to consider when considering the excitability of someone’s ignorance. One of these is the nature of the matter that the person is ignorant about – is it something obscure or generally well known? The person’s state must also be taken into consideration. Is he new to Islam? Did he live his life in some remote area? The social circumstances must also be considered to determine whether or not someone in his environment would be likely to know the matter in question.

With respect to the essential tenets of faith, they are set forth in the Qur’ân, so anyone who has access to the Qur’ân and who can read and understand it would not be excused for ignorance in those matters.

May Allah give us success and bless us with beneficial knowledge.

The height of the mosque’s pulpit

Question Title: 
The height of the mosque’s pulpit
Date: 
Thu, 05/03/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
In our mosque, the imâm delivers his sermon from a pulpit that stands two meters high. Some people have objected to this, saying that the pulpit should be no higher than 60 centimeters. Is this true?
English Answer: 
I know of no evidence to support the claim that the pulpit upon which the imâm stands to deliver his sermon should not be higher than 60 centimeters.

All that we find in the Sunnah is a description of the pulpit that was built for the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was simply a short staircase with three steps. This description is found in a number of hadîth.

Ubayy b. Ka`b relates the following in Musnad Ahmad (5/137):
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to stand by a tree stump – the mosque was very simply constructed back then – and deliver his sermons.

One of the Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah! Should we make something for you to stand upon on Fridays so the people can see you and so you can make them hear your sermon?”

He replied in the affirmative, and a structure of three steps was made for him as a pulpit.
There is no way to deduce a height-limit from these hadîth that simply describe the pulpit in the Prophet’s mosque. There is nothing in those hadîth to prohibit the building of a pulpit heir than three steps, and more than there is a prohibition against constructing a pulpit of fewer than three steps.

Indeed, it is established in the Sunnah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) delivered sermons on occasion from the back a camel. For instance, he did so on his farewell pilgrimage, as related in Mustadrak al-Hâkim (1/646). The back of a camel is certainly more than two meters off the ground.

We can see in the hadîth that the express purpose for building the pulpit in the Prophet’s Mosque was to make the sermon-giver more visible to the congregation and to make his voice more easily heard. It was not simply to provide height for its own sake. Therefore, the pulpit should be high enough to achieve these ends. Any height that is required to assist in visibility and in the sermon being heard is a suitable height.

The ideal height really depends on the mosque. For example, two meters might be sufficient for some mosques and too short for others. Consider a mosque with two tiers. A higher pulpit might be required to ensure that the people seated on the second tier can properly hear the sermon, especially in the absence of an audio system. Even if such a system is in place, there is no guarantee that the microphone might not sometimes be cut off due to technical problems.

And Allah knows best.

Nursing on 5 definite occasions prohibits marriage

Question Title: 
Nursing on 5 definite occasions prohibits marriage
Date: 
Tue, 04/03/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
My wife gave our neighbor’s son espressed milk in a bottle on one occasion. Now, I know that there are supposed to be five occasions of nursing for the child to be come a foster child through nursing. But how is this situation supposed to be assessed? I heard that a new occasion of nursing is counted each time the nursing child leaves the breast to take a break to breathe and then goes back to the breast? Is this right. If so, we do not know how many times the child took a break to breathe while drinking from the bottle. Is that neighbor’s son now forbidden to our daughter in marriage?
English Answer: 
`Aishah said: “It was revealed in the Qur’an that there should be ten definite occasions of nursing; then they were abrogated to five definite occasions.” [Sahîh Muslim (1452)]

What is correct is that there has to be five distinct occasions of nursing where on each occasion the child drinks his fill. Therefore, a child who drinks one bottle of a woman’s milk on one occasion will not become her foster child.

For the women to become the child’s foster mother, the child would have had to drink his fill from five bottles of milk on five separate occasions. This will make the child forbidden for her and for her biological children in marriage.

An occasion of nursing is an action on the child’s part, like eating a meal is for a mature person. For it to be recognized as an occasion of nursing, it must be equivalent to taking a full meal.

When we refer to a person taking lunch or dinner, we do not consider each bite as a full meal. The whole occasion of eating is the meal.

In the hadîth, we read: “Allah is pleased with His servant who eats his food and then praises Allah for it.” [Sahîh Muslim (2734)] This is not for each bite, but for the full meal. We know this from the Prophet’s practice.

Therefore, an occasion of nursing must be separated from another occasion by a customarily long interval of time. It does not end by the child merely releasing the nipple from his mouth for a few moments or by his switching from one breast to the other. It must really be a full nursing.

So long as the child is in the room with the woman during a reasonable interval of time, it will be counted as a single nursing.

And Allah knows best.

Jumu`ah & Zuhr together

Question Title: 
Jumu`ah & Zuhr together
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Wed, 04/27/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Do we still sometimes pray the Zuhr prayer on Friday when we pray the Jumu`ah prayer? If yes, when are we supposed to do so?
English Answer: 
Allah, in His wisdom, is the one who has established the religious rites that His worshippers must adhere to. Among these rites is the Friday congregational prayer – Salâh al-Jumu`ah.

The Jumu`ah prayer is one of the most important and emphatic of all prayers. Whoever offers it does not have to pray the Zuhr prayer on Friday.

According to the most correct opinion that is held by scholars, the Jumu`ah prayer is entirely independent of the Zuhr prayer and is not a substitute for it. Still, it suffices the one who performs from the obligation of performing the Zuhr prayer. It is not prescribed nor even permitted for a person to pray both the Jumu`ah prayer and the Zuhr prayer together, because there is no evidence that indicates the permissibility of doing so.

And since it is not permissible to observe both of these prayers together on Friday, those who do so should be encouraged – gently – to stop. This is because it is an innovation in the religion, a newly invented affair that suggests there is some deficiency in the religion in the manner that it came to us.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces something new in this affair of ours will have it rejected.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions never offered the Zuhr prayer along with the Jumu`ah prayer.

This matter is not one that is open to juristic reasoning, since juristic discretion is applied where various lines of evidence lend themselves to more than one conclusion, each of which can be argued and supported. This is not the case here, since there is no evidence at all – not even any weak evidence – to indicate the lawfulness of a person praying both Jumu`ah and Zuhr on the same day.

And Allah is the one who gives success.

Oath with hand on Qur’ân

Question Title: 
Oath with hand on Qur’ân
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Wed, 04/27/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
In US courts, one must place his hand on the Bible under oath. Is there ever a case in Islamic courts where one would place his hand on the Qur’ân?
English Answer: 
In Islam, swearing something under oath means to make one’s statement more emphatic by a specific mention of Allah’s name in a particular manner.

For instance, a person might say: “By Allah! I did not do that.” or: “I swear in Allah’s name that I did what I said I did.” Other wordings are possible.

The swearing of an oath is rooted in the heart of the person who swears it and is a matter of the speaker’s intention. The binding nature of the oath comes from the greatness of the one invoked with it – Allah Almighty. Indeed, in Islam, invoking an oath by other than Allah is categorically prohibited.

In Islamic courts, there is no such practice as placing the hand on the Qur’ân when swearing an oath. This is because no such practice has been related from the Prophet (peace be upon him), and Islamic religious rites are founded upon following what is prescribed and not upon innovating our own practices.

Also, some one who has the nerve to invoke Allah’s name in earnest upon a lie will not be dissuaded from lying by placing his hand on the Qur’ân.

In the Islamic judicial system, when it is required for a person to swear an oath, then the judge is merely to demand the person to swear his oath with a proper wording.

Clarification from the fatwa Department:

If a person is living in a country where it is required to place one's hand on the Qur'an while swearing an oath, then there is no objection to doing so. Failing to do so could put the person's testimony in question or be viewed as contempt of court. The ruling above is simply clarifying that Islamic courts do not require the placing of the hand over the Qur'an when swearing an oath.

And Allah knows best.

“…and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.”

from Varse: 
79
Date: 
Tue, 04/03/2007
Image: 
Short Content: 
Allah says: “Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.”
Body: 

This verse above and others like it outline for us an attitude that we should adopt, and that will make us better at coping with good fortune and adversity in our lives.

Some people misunderstand these verses and refer all the weal and woe of their lives to Allah being either pleased or displeased with them. Worldly prosperity is seen as a sign of Allah’s pleasure, while misfortune and loss are seen as evidence of Allah’s anger. Those who adopt this view are prone to confusion and susceptible to misguidance.

There are indeed many verses in the Qur’ân that establish a cause and effect relationship between virtue and vice on the one hand, and prosperity and ruin on the other. The following verses are representative:

“Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, verily we shall give them a good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 97]

“What! when a misfortune befell you, and you had certainly afflicted (them) with twice as much, you began to say: Whence is this? Say: It is from yourselves. Surely Allah has power over all things.” [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 165]

“But those who have earned evil will have a reward of like evil: ignominy shall overtake them.” [Sûrah Yûnus: 27]

These verses show us that those who engage in righteous deeds are recompensed by having their hearts grow stronger, by receiving sustenance by means that they cannot have anticipated, and by receiving great blessings in the little that they have.

By contrast, those who engage in evil deeds are punished by becoming hard-hearted, preoccupied with worries, and by various misfortunes.

However, this must be understood in the most general of terms. It cannot be used to analyze specific circumstances and situations. Health, affluence, and a happy family life cannot be used as an indicator that Allah is pleased with a particular person, or that the person is being rewarded for his or her good deeds. These circumstances might be given to the person as a test. They might even be given to give the person trespass in his iniquity.

In some cases, they may even be a form of punishment. Allah says: “Let not their wealth nor their children dazzle you: in reality Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in this life, and that their souls may perish in their (very) denial of Allah.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 55]

The same can be said for poverty. It is not necessarily a punishment from Allah. It may actually be a mercy. There is a hadîth where it is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) quotes Allah as saying: “Indeed, among of my servants are those whose faith cannot endure except in poverty. If I were to enrich them, they would fall into disbelief.” [Târîkh Baghdâd (6/15) – However, the hadîth is weak, as discussed by al-Albânî in al-Silsilah al-Da`îfah (1774)]

Sickness is no different. We should consider the supplication the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to make on behalf of a sick person: “May it be a purification, Allah willing.”

This supplication shows us that we should adopt an optimistic outlook about sickness and other misfortunes. At the same time, the fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has us say “Allah willing” shows us that we should not express certainty about the sickness being a purification. It might, alternatively, be a means of raising the sick person’s station in the Hereafter. It might possibly be a punishment for some sins.

Allah says: “Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us you will be returned.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35]

We should look at having children in the same way. A person may wait years to have children, or might even be sterile. This is not necessarily a punishment. It would be wrong to even assume that it is a misfortune. It could very well be due to Allah’s mercy and His being pleased with the person. Maybe, it is a tribulation by which Allah raises the person’s status in the Hereafter. There may be a great wisdom behind Allah not granting someone children that the person will never come to know.

We should consider the incident when Khidr, while traveling with Moses (peace be upon him) , killed the young boy. Allah tells us : “So the two of them journeyed on until, when they met a lad, he slew him. (Moses) said: “What! Have you slain an innocent soul who has slain no man? Verily you have done a horrid thing’.” [Sûrah al-Kahf: 74]

There can be no doubt that the child’s parents must have thought the death of their son to be a great tragedy and misfortune. However, Khidr explains his action to Moses (peace be upon him) as follows: “And as for the lad, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief. And we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in purity and nearer to mercy.” [Sûrah al-Kahf: 80-81]

How often do we regard something that befalls us to be a great misfortune, when in fact it is really Allah showing His mercy to us. The opposite is equally true. Allah says: “Perhaps you hate a thing that is best for you, and you love a thing that is bad for you. Allah knows, while you know not.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 216]

Allah’s decree in the world is known to Him alone. Therefore, it is wrong for us to take the general texts that show a cause and effect relationship between virtue and worldly consequences and try to apply them to specific people and circumstances. We should certainly not make decisive judgments about ourselves or others on such a basis, saying things like “Allah is punishing that person” or “Allah is pleased with him”.

The Prophets and the righteous people of the past were all tried with serious hardships. We cannot say that they suffered because Allah was punishing them. We can also see that Allah has granted certain sinners and unbelievers with considerable prosperity in this world. We cannot say that this shows Allah is pleased with them.

The attitude that a believer should take is to live between hope and fear. He should at all times be equally self-accusatory and conscious of Allah’s mercy and grace. The believer’s feelings of self-accusation and his awareness of his sins should be more acute when he is in health and prosperity. At times of sickness and hardship, he should grow more conscious of Allah’s mercy and His pleasure with our good deeds.

A Muslim should always be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity. To be sure to achieve this state of mind, he should be conscious of Allah’s wisdom in testing us with every blessing and hardship. Such a Muslim will then show fortitude in sorrow and when his means are straitened. He will not regard his misfortune as Allah disgracing him. He will, instead, accuse himself, saying: “This is on account of my sins.” He will do so in order to better himself an inculcate humility in his heart, recalling Allah’s words: “Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 79]

This is why we see that `Abbâs used to say “No misfortune ever befell except on account of sin.”

Others from among the Pious Predecessors used to say: “By Allah! If I committed any sin, I would see its consequences on my family and my steed.”

A Muslim who is conscious of Allah’s wisdom in testing us with every blessing and hardship will likewise show gratitude in prosperity. He will say: “This is from the grace and generosity of my Lord.” He will regard it as a test upon him.

We see Solomon (peace be upon him) saying: “This is from the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I will give thanks or be ungrateful.” [Sûrah al-Naml: 40]

In this way, the Muslim will be sure to give thanks for Allah’s blessings, and he will avoid attributing those blessings to his own efforts. A believer should never bestow upon himself unmitigated praise or credit.

Allah warns us against such haughtiness in the Qur’ân: “As for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honoring him, and is gracious unto him, he says: My Lord has honored me. But whenever He tries him by straitening his means of life, he says: My Lord despises me. Nay! (this is not the case.)” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 15-17]

This verse shows us that we should not gauge our affairs in this way. Allah does not give us the good that He blesses us with because we are deserving of it. He does so from His grace and bounty. He does not disgrace us when He withholds from us. Rather what He withholds from us is on account of His infinite wisdom.
Verse Contnet: 
Allah says: “Whatever of good befalls you, it is from Allah; and whatever of ill befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 79]

Saffron dye & red or yellow clothing

Question Title: 
Saffron dye & red or yellow clothing
Date: 
Sun, 03/27/2005
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
I have been told that it is not permissible to wear clothing that is the color of saffron. I would like to know why it is not permissible to do so.
English Answer: 
Men are forbidden to wear clothes that are dyed with saffron.

`Abd Allah b. `Umar said: “The Prophet peace be upon him saw me wearing two garments dyed with saffron, so he said: “These are the clothes of the unbelievers, so do not wear them.” [Sahîh Muslim (2077)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also forbade `Alî from wearing clothes dyed with saffron. [Sahîh Muslim (2078)]

Though saffron is a plant that grows in Arab lands, there is a disagreement about the trace that it eaves on the clothes from saffron whether it is closer to yellow or red.

In any event, it is authentically established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) wore both yellow and red garments.

Ibn `Umar was asked about the things that he liked to do. One of the things he mentioned was dyeing clothes with yellow dye. He said: “I have seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) dyeing clothes yellow, so I like to do so as well.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (376) and Sahîh Muslim (503)]

As for wearing red garments, Abû Juhayfah related that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) walking in a red garment, with its sleeves pulled up. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (376) and Sahîh Muslim (503)]

Al-Barâ’ b. `Azib also narrates that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in red clothes. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3551) and Sahîh Muslim (2337)]

With reference to saffron, however, we also have what is narrated by Ibn `Umar that used to dye his clothes with saffron and use it as an ointment. When asked why, he replied by saying: “I saw it to be the most preferred dye of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he used to use it as an ointment and as a dye for his clothes.” [Sunan Abû Dâwûd (1772)]

The scholars have disagreed in how to reconcile between the hadîth that indicate the prohibition of dyeing clothing with saffron and the hadîth that permit it.

The strongest opinion is the one mentioned by al-Tirmidhî when he related a weak hadîth about the prohibition of wearing red. He said: “Its meaning is understood by the people of hadîth to be that he (the Prophet, peace be upon him) disliked clothes dyed with saffron, but that clothing dyed red with other dyes is permissible as long as it is not dyed with saffron.”

On the basis of this understanding, it is permissible to wear yellow and red garments.

Ibn al-Qayyim understood that the red color garments worn by the Prophet (peace be upon him) were not pure red, but that they had red stripes. He considered it to be better to avoid pure red garments.

Red or yellow garments which are dyed with saffron should be avoided if it is known that saffron dye was used, in consideration of the hadîth mentioned earlier.

The justification for this ruling might be simply to avoid emulating the unbelievers who dye their clothes with saffron.

It should be noted that this is now quite rare to find garments dyed with saffron and most dyeing materials now are made of petroleum and chemical products.

In short, it is permissible to wear any garments which are either known to be dyed with other than saffron or which are dyed with an unidentified dye.

And Allah knows best.