Sexual Rights in Marriage

Date: 
Sat, 05/05/2007
Short Content: 
The right to sexual fulfillment is a mutual right, owed by each of the spouses to the other.
Body: 
The governing principle for relations between the husband and wife is enshrined in two verses of the Qur’ân:

1. “And live with them on a footing of customary good dealings” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 19]

2. “And the women have rights similar to what you have, according to custom.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 228]

Customary good dealings cover all things that bring harmony to the husband-wife relationship and that foster love and affection. There is wisdom behind the generality and ambiguity of this injunction. People differ in their temperaments and needs. A fixed set of standards will never be possible for all people in all cultures at all times.

Therefore, Islam came with the principle of “customary good dealings” with its inherent flexibility. Islam requires from the husband and wife to behave towards each other in a good and appropriate manner that will strengthen and perpetuate a happy and harmonious marital life.

We also see that Allah placed the duty of providing for the wife squarely upon the husband’s shoulders. Allah says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 34]

It is the husband’s responsibility to provide for the needs of his wife. It is his duty to guarantee her well-being. This does not mean only her material needs, but also her emotional, psychological, and social needs.

These needs and how to fulfill them vary form society from society. They were different in the past and they will differ in the future. Indeed, they do from individual to individual. What matters is to ensure that the husband and wife live in a happy, harmonious, and fulfilling marital relationship. This is one of the hallmarks of Islamic Law, that it has the flexibility to adapt to different times, cultures, and circumstances while retaining its essence.

We can see that this concept of “providing for and maintaining” the wife is expressed by the word “qawwâmûn”. This word is given in the emphatic form, indicating that carrying this out is one of the most important – if not the most important – duty of the husband. This duty is to be carried out expressly for the benefit of the wife. It is never meant to be a means against her. It is an assurance that her rights and needs are guaranteed.

The right of the wife to sexual gratification is also emphasized by Islamic Law. The husband must fulfill her sexual needs and thereby safeguard her from temptation. He needs to hearken to her needs in and fulfill them according to what is reasonable and according to his abilities.

Islamic Law does not define a required level of sexual activity. This is again because people are different. Women’s needs differ and what is expected of the husband is to fulfill his wife’s needs. The obligation of the husband in this matter corresponds to the needs of the wife. This comes under the general maxim: “And live with them on a footing of customary good dealings” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 19]

The same can be said for the right to maintenance, to clothing, and to housing. In all cases, the husband is required to fulfill the wife’s needs.

The right to sexual fulfillment, however, is a mutual right, owed by each of the spouses to the other. As Allah says: “And the women have rights similar to what you have, according to custom.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 228]

Islam seeks through marriage to provide lawful fulfillment for the sexual needs of both men and women. Therefore, the man is expected to make himself attractive for his wife in his appearance, in the way that he dresses and in how he takes care of himself. It is not just the wife who is expected to do so for her husband.

A Wife’s Legal Redress

There is some confusion among the general public about the “four month” limitation on abstinence. It does not mean, as some people misconstrue, that a man only has to engage in sexual relations with his wife once every four months. It is rather a legal limitation for the continuation of the marriage contract in the face of a man’s abusive misconduct.

There are men in the owrld who are vile in character, corrupt in their outlook. They take a sick pleasure in depriving their wives of sexual gratification. Some of these men find an outlet for their own sexual needs either in unlawful liaisons or in abusing the institution of polygamy.

Islamic Law supports the woman in such cases. If a man refuses to have sex with his wife for whatever reason, his conduct is allowed to proceed for four month before legal redress is forced upon him. If, within that time, he returns to normal conduct and fulfils his wife’s sexual needs according to what is customary, appropriate, and commensurate with her needs, then the marriage remains intact.

If he fails to change his conduct within that time, then the wife has the right to be legally divorced from him for his failing to uphold her rights. He will be legally compelled to divorce her.

Allah says: “For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 227]

Some people misunderstand this verse to mean that a man is only required to have sexual relations with his wife once every four months. This is not the case at all. This verse is clearly talking about the extraordinary circumstance of an oath of abstention on the part of the husband, and it brings the extreme remedy of divorce at the conclusion of four months to safeguard the wife from such abusive behavior on the husband’s part.

And Allah knows best.

Supplication without salutations for the Prophet

Question Title: 
Supplication without salutations for the Prophet
Date: 
Thu, 04/05/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I heard that if we make a supplication to Allah without asking for Allah’s salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him), then our supplications are rejected. Is this true? If it is, does this mean that we should invoke Allah’s salutations on the Prophet (peace be upon him) when we supplicate in sujûd?
English Answer: 
Your question is in two parts. The fist part deals with whether it is necessary to seek Allah’s salutations upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) in our personal supplications in order to have those supplications accepted. The second part of your question deals with doing so in our formal prayers when we are supplication in prostration.

Regarding the first part of your question, there are a number of hadîth narrations that give the meaning: “Any supplication where Allah’s salutationss are not invoked upon the Prophet is barred from acceptance.”

However, all of these hadîth suffer from serious defects and they are not authentically established.

For instance, there is a narration that reads: “There is a barrier between every supplication and Heaven until, when Allah’s salutations are sought for Muhammad (peace be upon him), the barrier is broken and the supplication is answered.”

This narration suffers from three defects:
1. One of its narrators is al-Hârith al-A`war, who has been accused of lying. He claims to relate this hadîth from Alî b. Abû Tâlib.

2. Abû Ishâq al-Subay`î is the narrator who relates this hadîth from Hârith. However, it is known that Abû Ishâq al-Subay`î only heard four hadîth from Hârith, and this is not one of them. This has been confirmed by Shu`bah.

3. There is another narration of this statement by way of Thâbit through Abû Ishâq which narrates this as the statement of Alî and not as the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
All the other narrations of this hadîth are similarly defective. [refer to: Jalâ’ al-Ifhâm by Ibn al-Qayyim]

The second part of your question asks about seeking Allah’s blessings upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) in our formal prayers when we are supplication in prostration. The answer is that we should not do so when we are prostrating. There is no evidence to support this practice.

The hadîth mentioned above are unauthentic. Moreover, even if those hadîth were authentic, they are talking about the supplications that we make outside of our formal prayers.

As for our formal prayers, how we offer them is strictly determined by the sacred texts. The supplications we offer during our formal prayers are part of those prayers, and there is no evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever invoked Allah’s salutations upon himself when he prostrated in prayer.

And Allah knows best.

The Vitality of Life

Date: 
Tue, 03/29/2005
Short Content: 
Challenges are an inevitable part of life, and it is not true that preserving the status quo will guarantee us safety. It is not true that change leads inexorably to instability. Change, in fact, is a divinely ordained reality of the world.
Body: 
It is part of Allah’s natural order in the world that life is ceaseless activity. Cessation of motion is death. The difference between life and death is in intent and in the activity resulting from it.

Allah describes Himself as the: “Doer of all that He wills.” [Sûrah al-Burûj: 16]

The human being is different. He might suffer from a deficiency or absence of will and therefore not have an inclination to do anything. Likewise, he might have the will to do something, but be unable to do so because of ignorance or incapacity. Alternatively, a person might be capable doing something, but only with the assistance of others. Even with all the inclination, skill, and needed assistance, he might still face obstacles of an equal or greater magnitude that prevent him from carrying out his will.

Glory be to Allah, the only one with complete power, the only one who can create and bring what He wills into existence.

Life is like water. When it stands still, it stagnates. As long as it is flowing, it stays pure and clear.

There are many subtle meanings to be learned from this truth of Allah’s Creation, lessons that can broaden the mind.

We can discern this fact from the study of history, by examining the lives of individuals, dynasties, societies, and nations. They never remained for long periods of time in lethargy and inaction without undergoing change.

Perhaps this is part of what is alluded to in the Qur’ân when it says: “Such days we give to people by turns.” [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 140] and when it says: “And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, the Earth would indeed be full of mischief, but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 251]

This checking of one people by another should not necessarily be understood as warfare between two armies. It takes place more subtly, within society, between people, even within a single individual – whereby different powers contend with each other and, from the mix, bring about results quite different that what any single power would have brought about on its own.

Muslim society today suffers from thorny problems that threaten to bring sudden dangers to our doorsteps. We do not need to speculate on the kinds of challenges we are going to face in the future in order to arrive at this conclusion. It is sufficient for us to look at our recent past to get a glimpse of the arduous trials we should expect to face in the future.

We have experienced this in our own lifetimes. Who could have imagined that a small group of people would take hostage the most sacred place on Earth – al-Masjid al-Harâm in Mecca – brandishing weapons and blocking people from the sacred house for a period of time? Who, then, could have foreseen all the difficult consequences and effects that came in the wake of those unfortunate events?

Who could have predicted Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait which startled the world in its suddenness, so much so that people initially rejected the news as false. Who could have predicted, therefore, the evil and debilitating effects it subsequently had on the region?

Who would have thought that a number of civilian airplanes would be hijacked and used in a horrible attack on the World Trade Center in New York? Who, then, could have predicted all the massive changes that those tragic attacks would bring about in world politics and in so many other aspects of life?

Who in Saudi Arabia could have imagined that a group of people from their own society, from their own homes and families, would take up arms and arbitrarily attack the very houses, apartments, rest areas, and streets of their country?

Challenges are an inevitable part of life, and it is not true that preserving the status quo will guarantee us safety. It is not true that change leads inexorably to instability. Change, in fact, is a divinely ordained reality of the world. Even if people do not seek it out or desire it or even comprehend it, change will take place. Change may be caused by the consequences of the people’s own conduct, or by external factors completely outside of their control, leaving the people unable to do anything but point fingers and lay the blame on one another.

We have seen what has unfolded in Afghanistan. Some people thought that it would be an isolated incident that would quickly come to an end, and that its causes were clear and easily understood. Then came Iraq, and some people applauded it as the end of an oppressive dictatorial regime – and that is, no doubt, partially true. Then came all the sorrowful developments in Palestine, and Allah only knows where all that is going to lead. Then we see Lebanon succumbing to the inevitable pressures of internal change and external demands. The same can happen elsewhere.

Change is an ongoing process, and it is not something easy to halt. It is incorrect to analyze all change in our society as being the result of some foreign conspiracy. No doubt, there is outside meddling that is quite transparent and obvious. However, circumstances develop according to the precise order in the world set forth by Allah. There are circumstances at present that are unjust and improper that do not warrant being preserved as they are. Foreign interests jump in to exploit the people’s feelings and sentiments, to steer the people’s reactions in directions that serve their broader agenda.

It is, therefore, judicious for people of knowledge and for those in administrative positions to study the world they live in correctly, with sensitivity and understanding, so they can place their fingers on the problem areas and address them with effective solutions. This is the way for us to ensure that we will have a hand in shaping the future. It is wrong to remain passive and say that problems over time have a way of solving themselves. Indeed, with time, problems easily become exacerbated. They can develop to a point where it becomes difficult to determine how they started or where they are headed, so that people have no idea how to solve them or even relate to them.

Time, though, is the foundation upon which solutions are carried out. Solutions must be pursued affectively and with diligence. It is not good at all to just sit back and assume things will just carry on as they are and pretend that everything is going well.

All of us as Muslims have strong feelings towards the people and nations of the Muslim world, even if those sentiments are weak. No one wants things to get worse than they already are. However, it is quite difficult for us to bear remaining in the sorry state that we are in.

So why do we not take all that nice talk that we hear on the news and being delivered at conferences and direct it towards developing a sensible course of action so that we can understand our circumstances and correct them? It is important to expand the scope of responsibility and of public concern. Those who are working for betterment and reform – who are not supported by outside interests and who are not seeking civil discord – who seek the welfare of their society, they need to be heard.

O Allah, bestow upon us your mercy and bless us from Your grace with right guidance.

Hanbalî references for wiping over socks

Question Title: 
Hanbalî references for wiping over socks
Date: 
Tue, 03/29/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Is it true that according to Hanbalî law, a person can wipe over cloth or woolen socks when performing wudû’ and not just over leather socks? Can you please cite the relevant Hanbalî references?
English Answer: 
This is the confirmed and well-known position of the Hanbalî school of law. Cloth socks may be wiped over when performing wudû’ if the person had been in a pure state when he put them on. This is conditional on the socks covering the foot fully and properly, even when the person walks in them.

The Hanbalî jurist al-Khiraqî writes in his Mukhtasar (1/372-373):
Nothing can be wiped over except the leather socks (khuff) and what serves the same purpose, like the short leather socks (maqtû`) that come above the ankles and likewise the socks (jawrab) that are thick and do not fall down when they are walked in.
The Hanbalî scholar Abû Muhammad `Abd Allah b. Qudâmah writes in al-Mughnî, his commentary on Mukhtasar al-Khiraqî (1/373-374):
It is only permissible to wipe over socks (jawrab) if two conditions are met: The first is that they are thick so that nothing of the foot appears and the second is that it is possible to walk in them to some length. This is the clear meaning of al-Khiraqî’s words.

Ahmad has said regarding wiping over the socks without sandals: “If he walks on them and they remain upon his feet, then there is nothing wrong with doing so.” On another occasion, he said: “He can wipe over them if they remain firm upon his heels.” On another he said: “If he can walk in them without their falling down, then there is nothing wrong with his wiping over them. This is because if they fall down, the part (of the foot) that needs to be washed in wudû’ becomes exposed.”

It is not necessary that they be made of leather. Ahmad said: “Wiping over the socks (jawrab) is related from seven or eight of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).”
In his short legal treatise al-Muqni`, the same Abû Muhammad `Abd Allah b. Qudâmah states (1/379):
It is permissible to wipe over leather socks (khuff) over-socks (jurmûq) and socks (jawrab).
Abû al-Faraj `Abd al-Rahmân b. Qudâmah writes in al-Sharh al-Kabîr, his commentary on al-Muqni` (1/381):
A sock (jawrab) is equivalent to the leather sock (khuff), because it is something worn that covers the area that needs to be washed and is something that can be walked in for some length. As for those who argue that it is not possible to walk at length in socks. We say: It is only permissible to wipe over them if they hold their place on their own and it is possible to walk in them at length. Otherwise, it is not. As for the sheer socks, they do not provide cover.
We can see the same asserted by al-Mardâwî in al-Insâf, a book that catalogues, weighs, and compares the various opinions that exist within the Hanbalî school of law. He writes in al-Insâf (1/379-380):
There is no disagreement if they are bound in sandals or if they are made from leather. It is likewise permissible if they are made of cloth according to the correct position of the school of thought and the correct of the two narrations. This is the view of the majority of the early scholars of the school of thought. It has also been related that it is not permissible to do so, and this is the opinion asserted in al-Talkhîs. When we say that it is valid, this is under the condition that they are tight, as shall be discussed. Permission to wipe over socks is one of the opinions unique (to our school of thought). It is asserted by the author of the treatise. (Ibn Muflih) writes in al-Furû`: It is permissible to wipe over tight socks, as opposed to the view of Mâlik.
Sources:

Mukhtasir al-Khiraqî and al-Mughnî, (published together). Critical edition of Dr. `Abd Allah al-Turkî and Dr. `Abd al-Fattâh al-Hilû, Giza, Dâr Hajar (1986).

al-Muqni`, al-Sharh al-Kabîr, and al-Insâf (published together). Critical edition of Dr. `Abd Allah al-Turkî and Dr. `Abd al-Fattâh al-Hilû, Giza, Dâr Hajar (1993).

Man leaves behind 2 wives, 2 sons & 6 daughters

Question Title: 
Man leaves behind 2 wives, 2 sons & 6 daughters
Date: 
Tue, 03/29/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
A man dies leaving behind two wives, two sons and six daughters. All the children are from the first wife. He has no children from the second wife. What are the shares of his inheritors?
English Answer: 
We understand from your question that your father died leaving no other inheritors besides two wives, two sons, and six daughters. On the basis of this assumption, the answer will be as follows:

The two wives share in 1/8th of the estate. This should be divided equally between them, so that each wife received 1/16th of the entire estate.

The remainder of the estate – 7/8ths – will be divided among the children, with each son receiving a share twice as large as the share of each daughter.

The best way to facilitate this is to take the total value of the deceased’s estate and divide it into 80 equal shares.

Each wife will receive 5 shares. (5/80=1/16)

Each son will receive 14 shares.

Each daughter will receive 7 shares.

Girl’s parents demand divorce from sterile husband

Question Title: 
Girl’s parents demand divorce from sterile husband
Date: 
Mon, 02/05/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
I am a man who has been diagnosed with fertility problems after seven years of marriage without a child. Now, her family has found out about the problem and they are demanding that we get divorced. Do they have the right to force us to get divorced, even against their daughter’s will? What do you advise me to do?
English Answer: 
The decision whether the two of you should remain married is entirely up to you and your wife. No one else has the right to interfere. If the two of you wish to stay together, then no one can force a divorce upon either of you.

However, your wife has a right to a divorce if it is confirmed that the reason that she cannot have a child lies with you. She has a right in Islam to children. She cannot be forced to stay in marriage that will deny her that right.

If she chooses on her own to seek a divorce, you should not despair. If it happens, know that it might be for the best. You might be blessed with children from another wife.

I advise you to preserve your autonomy in this matter. Keep your communication with your wife open and give her no cause to complain about you to others. The two of you must come to an understanding together, without outside interference. Do not force her to stay with you. Allow her to choose for herself what she wants to do, since this is her right. It also preserves your honor in her eyes and her love for you.

Be strong, and show her that you will respect whatever decision she makes. Let her know how you feel without pressuring her. Then let her choose.

Do not regret if it turns out that she chooses to leave you. Seek Allah’s help in everything.

And Allah knows best.

Dialogue is a Religious Obligation

Date: 
Sat, 12/16/2006
Short Content: 
Real interfaith dialogue is a search for points of exiting commonality, so that people of different religions can work together in matters where they have shared interests.
Body: 
Sheikh `Abd al-Rahmân al-Sa`dî used to hold regular classes in Islamic Law. During some of his lessons, he would take half the class and instruct them in a certain scholarly opinion regarding a matter of Islamic Law. Then he would take the other half and instruct them in the opposing scholarly opinion. Afterwards, he would bring the two groups back together and have them discuss the matter. In this way, he trained his students in how to engage in objective discussions and how to respect the opinions of others. He wanted them to give his students the tools for constructive dialogue. He wrote a book from these experiences entitled Debates in Islamic Law.

Today, there is a desperate need to instruct people in the etiquettes and manners of debate. Such manners are a reflection of a person’s own values, first and foremost. Then, they are an expression of the respect and regard that the person has for others. A person’s engagement with himself is vital. He must be able to look at himself critically, evaluate his own opinions, and prohibit himself from following his own vain desires.

Allah says: “And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires, then surely the garden will be his the abode.” [Sûrah al-Nâzi`ât: 41]

Allah also says: “Indeed, I swear by the self-reproaching spirit.” [Sûrah al-Qiyâmah: 2]

Someone who knows his own self and is able to command it and restrain it, this is someone who is capable of self-assessment and personal development. This is the description of a believer upon guidance.

Therefore, the highest and most vital level of dialogue is the dialogue that one of us engages in with his own self. I believe that most people do not have the ability to engage in such an inward dialogue. They do not realize that it is a vital part of all dialogue.

People must learn how to speak and engage in discussions. There is no benefit in our remaining perpetually silent, as if we are sleeping or in our graves. There needs to be dialogue of an honorable tone between all people – between children and adults, husbands and wives, and various sectors of society – in all matters, big and small.

Open discussion is a necessary and vital element of contemporary society. Society needs explore and solve its problems at the negotiating table. There is a need for open academic dialogue where issues can be approached in an objective and intelligent manner that transcends petty individual interests. There is a need for open and peaceful political dialogue.

Through dialogue, the best solution can be at least approximated. Dialogue is the world’s approach to communication today that manifests itself in the global media and in global politics. We find cross-cultural dialogues and dialogues being undertaken between civilizations. There are dialogues going on between ideological and religious groups. Conferences and symposiums are convened just for this purpose, with delegates coming together to discuss their points of agreement and disagreement. In this way, they discover the common ground which they can use as a basis for cooperation.

In the Muslim world, we face many obstacles to the realization of affective dialogue. First, we have a problem listening. This is especially the case with us Arabs, who tend to prefer talking over listening. One of us will speak and the other will not hear a word, since he is too busy waiting for his turn to speak. Then we have a serious problem understanding each other. Due to this, one of our poets writes:

I say “Amr”, so he hears “Sa`d”
Then he writes “Hamad” and reads it “Zayd”!


Then we have a problem with reporting information and with quoting others, in spite of the fact that Allah says: “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 6]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It is enough for a person to perpetrate a lie that he repeats everything that he hears.”

Then there are problems of an ethical nature – like slander, deliberate misrepresentations of facts, forgeries, and lies. Those who wish for dialogue – whether they represent political interests or what have you – are faced with the daunting problem of managing the dialogue process. There are difficulties in matters of procedure and with respect to objectivity, even when the people concerned are honest Muslims and people of integrity, and even when they are n the right. If we want to give the correct opinion its due, we need to be trained to advocate it properly. This requires developing people who are sensible, articulate, and who possess mature and proficient advocacy skills. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of dialogue As a consequence, we need to prepare people to be able to engage in dialogue. Such people will have the requisite knowledge and ethical awareness to be effective.

To accept the idea of dialogue is to admit to the existence and legitimacy of a diversity of opinion. It is to admit that there are disagreements. It is not an admission that all the viewpoints expressed are correct, just that they deserve to be looked into and discussed.

Many people do not understand this, especially when it comes to interfaith dialogue. They see interfaith dialogue only as an attempt to bring various belief systems closer together by having people of various faiths sacrifice certain aspects of their religious beliefs for the sake of bringing their various religions to a common middle ground. By contrast, real interfaith dialogue is a search for points of exiting commonality, so that people of different religions can work together in matters where they have shared interests. They can, for instance, cooperate in combating corruption and in defending human rights.

We can have no doubt that Islam encourages cooperation of this sort, which advances the values of Islam and the welfare of the Muslims. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke about the type of covenants and agreements the Arabs used to engage in before Islam in which they would cooperate with each other in their mutual interests. He then said: “If I were invited to do the same after Islam, I would do so.”

This global dialogue is the way the world communicates and the way we as Muslims must communicate with the world. It is the way we will express our religion’s values and principles to the world.

Some of those who object to the principle of dialogue cite that some of our Pious Predecessors used to prohibit arguing with the people of falsehood. I would say that this was the approach of some of the Pious Predecessors and it was suitable for their time and for the particular circumstances they were dealing with. They observed that the truth was clear, established, and easily discernable to all people, while at the same time there were some strange and obviously false claims being circulated. They judged that if those strange ideas were disputed, it would only serve to draw unnecessary attention to them.

What matters most is that both the Qur’ân and in the Sunnah call to its necessity of dialogue. Allah tells us regarding the Jews and Christians: “Argue with them in the best manner.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 125]

A male pilgrim wearing undergarments in the state of ihram

Question Title: 
A male pilgrim wearing undergarments in the state of ihram
Date: 
Tue, 12/04/2007
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I suffer from painful chafing between my thighs if I do not wear shorts. Is it permissible for me to wear shorts under my ihram clothes when I perform Hajj or `Umrah? Can I do so to avoid accidentally exposing my private parts if my lower garment accidentally slips?
English Answer: 
A male pilgrim in the state of ihrâm should not wear clothing that is sewn into a garment like a shirt or pants. (The ruling is not against stitching itself, like a hem on a towel, but against wearing a garment that is sewn or knit to close around the body).

This is certainly the case for conspicuous clothing like shirts, pants, and robes. It is less clear for clothing that is usually unseen or should be unseen, like underpants.

Wearing short pants under the pilgrim's waistcloth was the practice of a number of Companions.

For instance:

1. al-`Alâ' b Habîb relates: "I saw `Ammâr b. Yâsir wearing short pants while he was on the plain of `Arafah." [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (6/34)]

2. `A'ishah relates that she used to instruct her male servants to wear short pants under their pilgrim's garb when they were in the state of ihrâm. [Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah (6/34)]

In consideration of the practice of some of the Companions, if a pilgrim has a need to wear underpants under his pilgrim's garb while he is in a state of ihrâm, either for medical reasons, or to avoid serious discomfort from chafing, or to avoid serious embarrassment, or to avert other problems, then he may do so without any objection. He does not have to expiate for it in any way.

In general, the rulings related to pilgrimage are geared towards the pilgrim's ease and facilitation.

And Allah knows best.

The timeframe for the tawaf of Hajj is flexible

Question Title: 
The timeframe for the tawaf of Hajj is flexible
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Tue, 12/04/2007
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
My aunt and uncle went on Hajj. My uncle fell sick during the Hajj. They were not able to offer Tawâf al-Ifâdah on time, meaning on the 10th of Dhû al-Hijja. Instead, they offered the tawaf the next day. My aunt asked at that time if they had to pay compensation for postponing the tawâf and the response was no. But my aunt is still not sure whether she should pay compensation. She is going on Hajj again and is willing to pay the compensation then. Please respond as to whether she should do so?
English Answer: 
No expiation is required. The period for Tawâf al-Ifâdah is not restricted to one day.

Tawâf al-Ifâdah is the second essential pillar of Hajj. It is also known as the tawâf of Hajj.

The timeframe for Tawâf al-Ifâdah begins halfway through the night of Muzdalifah, since this is the time when those who have an excuse – like women, those who are weak, and those who are accompanying them – can depart from Muzdalifah. Scholars disagree as to whether people can start making Tawâf al-Ifâdah after the middle of the night or whether they have to wait until dawn. Since scholars express two opinions on the matter, and since there is no specific textual evidence to resolve the question one way or another, it should be treated as something flexible.

There is nothing to restrict the observance of Tawâf al-Ifâdah to the 10th of Dhû al-Hijjah. It is possible to postpone offering Tawâf al-Ifâdah and observe it on a later date. In fact, it can even be postponed until the end of the Hajj, so that a single performance of tawâf can count as both Tawâf al-Ifâdah and the farewell tawâf. This can relieve a lot of difficulties, and reduce the severe overcrowding around the Ka`bah.

It is possible to postpone the tawâf until the end of Dhû al-Hijjah. Indeed, even if it is offered after the month of Dhû al-Hijjah is over, it will still be valid.

And Allah knows best.

Zakâh for one with an outstanding debt

Question Title: 
Zakâh for one with an outstanding debt
Date: 
Mon, 11/28/2005
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Is Zakâh obligatory for a person who has an outstanding debt?
English Answer: 
For a person to be obligated to pay Zakâh, he must retain in his possession for one full year a certain minimum amount of money. This amount is known as the nisâb and is equal to the value of 85 grams of pure gold.

When a person has retained in his possession for one full year a sum of money equaling or exceeding the nisâb, he is liable to pay Zakâh on it.

If this person also has an outstanding debt, then this will affect how much Zakâh the person has to pay. One of the following two situations will apply:

1. The debt equals or exceeds the total amount of the savings or at least reduces the savings to less that the nisâb when it is deducted from the savings. This person must use the money to pay off the debt. He will not have to pay Zakâh on it.

2. The debt, when deducted from the total savings, does not reduce the savings to less than the nisâb. In this situation, the person must pay the debt in full. Then the person needs to pay Zakâh on what remains of his savings after the debt is paid.

A Muslim, after a full year has passed, must calculate his total savings. He must pay off all outstanding debts. Then, if what remains equals or exceeds the nisâb, he must pay Zakâh on that remainder. If after paying the debts, what he has left over is less than the nisâb, he will not have to pay any Zakâh.

And Allah knows best.