The difference between zihâr & îlâ'

Question Title: 
The difference between zihâr & îlâ'
Wed, 12/13/2006
Sender Name: 
Question in English : 
Please explain to me the difference between zihâr and îlâ'. How does one expiate for each of these?
English Answer: 
Zihâr is unlawful and sinful. Allah says: “…and most surely they utter a word that is iniquitous and false” [Sûrah al-Mujâdilah: 2]

The oath of zihâr is where a man swears an oath declaring his wife to be “like the back of his mother” in order to make sexual relations with her unlawful to him while not actually divorcing her. Zihâr is an explicit, intentional oath in order to make sexual relations permanently unlawful without giving a divorce. This was a great oppression upon women practiced in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance.

Whoever makes this oath of zihâr, then his wife will be unlawful for him. He may not have sexual relations with his wife again until after he frees a slave. If he is unable to do this (which he is today in the absence of slaves) then he must fast two consecutive months before he can have sexual relations with his wife again. If he is unable to fast, because of sickness or the like, then he must feed sixty poor people.

Ilâ', by contrast, is simply a vow that a man makes not to have sexual relations with his wife. If a man swears such a vow, he can break it and pay the normal expiation for breaking an oath. If he refuses to break his vow and four month go by, his wife can take the matter to court, where the judge will oblige him to break his vow and have sexual relation with his wife and pay the expiation. Otherwise, at the wife's request, the judge will order the husband to divorce his wife. If the husband refuses this a well, then at the wife's request, the judge will effect the divorce by his decree.

And Allah knows best.


Please note: The expiation for a broken vow is to choose between feeding ten poor people or clothing them or freeing a slave. If the person is incapable of doing one of these, then and only then may he fast for three days. In that case, it is better but not necessary to fast the days consecutively.

He may not opt to fast for three days unless he truly cannot fulfill one of the above mentioned three requirements for expiation, because Allah says: “Allah will not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn.”

The quantity of food that must be given to each poor person is roughly 1.5 kilograms (1/2 sâ`) of food. The total would be roughly 15 kilograms of food in total. Clothing a person is what is sufficient for a person to wear to prayer. It is not right to give money in lieu of food or clothing.

And Allah knows best.

Fatwa Department Research Committee of IslamToday under the supervision of Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

Calling People Away from Religious Innovations

Mon, 10/01/2007
Short Content: 
Explaining the negative consequences of adopting innovations into our worship can make people more wary of falling into false practices.
We need to know that the introduction of innovated matters into Allah’s religion has negative consequences for people of faith. Explaining these negative consequences to people is a good way to make them more vigilant and wary of innovations.

Consider the following:

1. If we were to introduce into Islam matters that are foreign to what Allah has revealed, we would be doing something in direct contradiction to our belief that Allah has revealed our religion to us in its entirety.

Allah tells us in the Qur’ân: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 3]

The innovation that someone introduces into the religion later on is, necessarily, something Allah had not revealed to His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) before sending down this verse. It is implicit in adopting such an innovation that Allah had not perfected and completed the faith at that time.

2. When someone concocts an innovation in a matter of religion, it is like he is putting himself ahead of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). It is Allah who has set forth the Law, and it is He who has set down the limits that he does not want us to transgress. When someone adds to the religion something that Allah has not established, it is a transgression against Allah’s limits.

Allah says: “Those who transgress Allah’s limits, they are the wrongdoers.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 229]

3. Someone who introduces an innovation into matters of faith is like someone trying to be Allah’s associate in decreeing these matters for Allah’s worshippers.

Allah says: “Or have they associates who have prescribed for them in religion that which Allah does not sanction?” [Sûrah al-Shûrâ: 21]

4. Innovations in religious matters necessarily imply one of two very bad things: They imply that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was either ignorant of this matter of faith or that he knew about it but concealed it from the people.

Both of these implications are an insult to the Prophet (peace be upon him). And which is worse – to say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was ignorant of the religion or to say that he concealed part of the Message that Allah had revealed to him?

5. One of the evil consequences of innovations is that they invariably and inevitably lead to dissention and factionalism among the Muslims. Since they are not from the revelation, there is nothing to normalize them. Therefore, each group of Muslims takes the innovation that they have concocted or adopted for themselves and then accuses the others of being derelict in their faith for not doing so as well.

This puts the Muslims in a state of affairs that Allah has warned us against: “Be not like those who became divided amongst themselves and fell into disputations after clear signs came to them: for them is a dreadful penalty.” [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 105]

Allah also says: “As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no concern with them. Their affair is with Allah: He will, in the end, tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Sûrah al-An`âm: 159]

6. A person who adopts an innovated practice in his worship cheats himself very badly. By busying himself with the innovation, he neglects the chance to engage in the devotions that Allah has prescribed for him and by which he will receive blessings and rewards.

Whenever some innovation is introduced into matters of religion, something else that is truly part of the religion is sacrificed for its sake.

What Allah has revealed to us in the Qur’ân and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) is sufficient for us in matters of faith and worship. We need nothing else to complete our religion.

Allah says: “O humanity! There hath come unto you an exhortation from your Lord, a healing for that which is in the hearts, a guidance and a mercy for believers. Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – therein let them rejoice.” [Sûrah Yûnus: 57-58]

It is as Allah promised our first parents Adam and Eve when he sent them forth from the Garden: “When, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance will not lose his way nor fall into grief.” [Sûrah TâHâ: 123]

I ask Allah to guide us all to the path that is straight. Indeed, He is most generous and merciful. Praise be to Allah.

Praying for the worldly welfare of an unbeliever

Question Title: 
Praying for the worldly welfare of an unbeliever
Wed, 08/01/2007
Sender Name: 
Question in English : 
It is known that we cannot pray for our dead non-Muslim parents, relatives and friends after they die. Can we pray for them for wordly matters when they are alive. For example, can we pray for their recovery if they are ill?
English Answer: 
Whoever dies as an unbeliever is thereafter not entitled to our supplication on his behalf. We are not allowed to seek forgiveness or mercy for him.

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

The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Allah to allow him to seek forgiveness for his mother, who had already died. Allah allowed him to visit her grave but not to seek forgiveness for her.

It is permissible to offer supplications for guidance for a living unbeliever that his heart may accept Islam.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O Lord, support Islam by the most beloved `Umar to you.” This is a supplication for guidance for one of the two persons named `Umar to accept Islam. This took place just before `Umar b. al-Khattâb embraced Islam.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in another hadîth: “O Lord guide my people, they do not know (the true path)”

This is evidence that a Muslim can offer supplications for a non-Muslim while that non-Muslim is still alive.

The only prohibition is to offer a supplication for an unbeliever to receive forgiveness in the Hereafter if that person dies upon unbelief. This is the only thing prohibited by the sacred texts. There is no evidence to prohibit any other supplication on a non-Muslim’s behalf.

Therefore, we may also beseech Allah for a non-Muslim’s lawful worldly concerns – for instance, that the person has good health and other similar things related to prosperity in the world.

When we supplicate for the health and welfare of a non-Muslim, it is good to also supplicate for that person’s guidance.

And Allah knows best.

Holding Preachers in Too High Esteem... & Disparaging Others

Wed, 08/01/2007
Short Content: 
One of the limits that we need to place on our love for religious personalities is to make sure that we see them for who they really are.
It is good to feel love for those who are active in preaching Islam and imparting its teachings. This is a natural consequence of our love for Islam. Showing our support to our Muslim preachers is a way of lending support to our faith.

However, the love and enthusiasm that we should have for religious figures should be tempered by the limits set by our religious teachings. The love we show for Allah’s sake is a form of worship, and it should be expressed in accordance with the dictates of the faith.

One of the limits that we need to place on our love for religious personalities is to make sure that we see them for who they really are. We must have a realistic estimation of them and of their abilities. We should not confer upon them qualities and abilities that they do not possess. We should not regard them as authorities outside of their respective fields.

For instance, a person might be a skilled orator who can inspire people to good deeds. Another might be an effective political activist. There success in these areas does not mean that we should refer to them our questions about matters of Islamic Law as if they were jurists, or rely on them about the authenticity of a hadîth as if they were hadîth specialists.

The same goes for the jurists and hadîth specialists themselves. Just because a person is an erudite hadîth scholar does not mean that we can rely on him for in-depth and perceptive political analysis.

No doubt, there are many multi-talented people out there who are experts in more than one field. Someone may be, for instance, a successful politician and a learned Islamic scholar at the same time. When this is the case, there is no problem with benefiting from that person in all the areas where his expertise is proven.

However, no one should be assumed to possess expertise in a given area until the leading people in that field attest to his proficiency and to his being one of their peers. The parishioners in each field are the ones who know best who is qualified and who is weak in their area of expertise.

It is a grave error to neglect the expert opinion of people in a field, and instead allow our enthusiasm to be the judge. We must not let the regard we have for a person in one field of endeavor cause us to attribute to him proficiency in another area where he really does not possess any proficiency. If we do that, then we are conferring authority on someone who does not deserve it.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned us about the dangers of doing so when he said: “When authority is vested in unqualified people, then await the approach of the Final Hour.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (57)]

Even when it is established that the person is qualified to speak about a certain matter, this does not mean that we should fawn over his every word and take him as the sole authority in the field, shunning the opinion of everyone else in the field. When we vest in a person’s opinions such absolute authority, we are doing both him and others a serious injustice.

A great number of our Pious Predecessors warned us about this when they said: “Whatever everyone says is open to being accepted or rejected – except the words of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)”.

We should never become bigoted to anyone’s opinion on the strength of the authority that the person has for us do to our esteem for him. We must show equal justice and consideration for those who disagree with us, and those who argue against the view that we hold.

Allah says: “Let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 8]

When we do respond to the views of those who disagree, one of the requirements of justice is that we refute the point of disagreement itself, without falling into labeling the people or name calling. There is no need to call this person a “militant secularist”, that person a “lily-livered liberal”, the next a “reactionary”, and the next a “heretic”.

What we need to do is discuss the point of contention in a rational manner. We do not have to pin labels on a person. We should only refer to a person in such a manner if that person expressly bases his arguments on the authority of a particular ideology. Otherwise, we are doing that person an injustice. Indeed, resorting to labels and name-calling is a clear sign of our own weakness and inability to discuss the matter at hand.

No good can ever come of such an approach. If the person is actually as we label him, he will wear it as a badge of honor. If he is not as we described him, then we have clearly wronged him.

This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us that one of the signs of hypocrite is that: “if he disputes with people, he acts wantonly.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2279) and Sahîh Muslim (88)]

Beseeching Allah’s punishment

Question Title: 
Beseeching Allah’s punishment
Tue, 05/01/2007
Sender Name: 
Question in English : 
Is it permitted in supplications to negotiate with Allah. For example, is it permitted to ask Allah to grant me something or forgive me, and take something else away from me instead, like my health for instance?
English Answer: 
As Muslims, we should have certainty of faith in Allah’s boundless grace. We should know that our Lord’s generosity has no limits and His mercy extends to all things.

Therefore, we should never beseech Allah to punish us or hasten on His wrath. We should instead seek Allah’s forgiveness in earnest, with full knowledge that Allah forgives everyone who turns to Him in sincere repentance.

We should never see our sins as being greater than Allah’s forgiveness. Allah not only accepts our repentance, he commands us to repent.

He says: “Beseech Me in supplication. I will answer you.” [Sûrah Ghâfir: 60]

This is Allah’s command and His promise. His command is just and His promise is true.

Allah has no need of punishing His servants who worship Him with sincerity. Allah says: “What can Allah gain by your punishment, if you are grateful and you believe? Nay, it is Allah that recognizes (all good), and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 147]

When we beseech Allah, we should seek His pardon and then pray for success in this world and the next.

Anas relates the following in Sahîh Muslim (2688):
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) went to visit a Muslim man who had become stricken by a debilitating illness. He asked the man: “Had you made any supplication or asked Him for anything?”

The man said: “Yes, I did. I asked: O Allah! Whatever You have to punish me with in the Hereafter, hasten it on in this world.”

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Glory be to Allah! You would not be able to bear it. You should rather have asked: O Allah! Grant us the good of this world and the good of the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of Hell.”

The man beseeched Allah with these words and Allah cured him.
And Allah knows best.

Wudû’ not needed for remembrances

Question Title: 
Wudû’ not needed for remembrances
Sheikh Name: 
Sun, 04/01/2007
Sender Name: 
Question in English : 
Is being in a state of ritual purity a precondition for engaging in the remembrance of Allah?
English Answer: 
Being in a state of ritual purity is not a precondition for observing the remembrance of Allah. It is also unnecessary to perform wudû’ in order to read the Qur’ân from memory. These rulings are a matter of scholarly consensus (ijmâ’).

In this way, Islam makes it easy for people to engage in the remembrance of Allah, so we can engage in this blessed activity under almost all circumstances.

Allah says: “And certainly We have made the Qur’ân easy for remembrance.” [Sûrah al-Qamar: 17]

Allah also says: “Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth…” [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 191]

`A’ishah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to keep up the remembrance of Allah at all times. [Sahîh Muslim (373)]

However, the majority of scholars consider a state of purity to be a condition for touching the Qur’ân. The majority also regard it as necessary to be free of major ritual impurity (janâbah) for one who wishes to recite the Qur’ân.

Mâlik b. Anas and a few other leading jurists made a concession for a menstruating woman and a woman during her post-natal bleeding, allowing them to read the Qur’ân. This opinion was adopted by Ibn Taymiyah, who goes so far as to say in al-Ikhtiyârât: “If she fears that she might forget the Qur’ân, it is obligatory upon her to read it during that time.”

Praise be to Allah who has made these matters easy.

Supplication based on name & date of birth

Question Title: 
Supplication based on name & date of birth
Thu, 02/01/2007
Sender Name: 
Question in English : 
There is a program on the radio where a woman who hosts the show provides suitable supplications to girls that she alleges will facilitate their getting married. Each girl is provided with a tailor-made supplication on the basis of her name, her mother’s name, and her date of birth. Men likewise call in and inquire about what they should recite to increase their income and health. She might advise someone to read Sûrah Yâsîn twenty times or “Lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh” one hundred times in the morning and at night. She prescribes reading other verses of the Qur’ân so many times to bring about various result. She also predicts the future on the basis of the person’s name, the mother’s name, and the date of birth, but then says that all outcomes are by the permission of Allah. Is this a form of astrology?
English Answer: 
The conduct you describe is false and erroneous. Her claims that reading certain verses will produce these very specific outcomes are false. Her tying those readings and supplication in with the person’s name, the mother’s name, and the date of birth is also false.

Her claim to predict the future is false, as is her tying those predictions in with the person’s name, the mother’s name, and the date of birth.

This practice is a form of astrology that seeks to arrive at knowledge of the unseen. This woman is either a genuine practitioner of astrology or, as is more likely, a fraud who does not know what she is doing.

Her saying that: “It only happens by Allah’s permission” is merely a cover-up to deceive the gullible.

Muslims should be wary of these practices and warn others against them. It is forbidden to ask this woman anything, since she is a soothsayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If someone goes to a fortune teller and asks about anything, then his prayers will not be accepted for forty days.” [Sahîh Muslim (2230)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Whoever goes to asks a diviner or a fortune teller and then believes what he says has disbelieved in what was sent to Muhammad.” [Musnad Ahmad (9171) Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3902) Sunan al-Tirmidhî (135) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (639)]

It makes no difference whether the person visits a soothsayer at his place of practice or consults with the soothsayer by phone.

Calling to Allah is Everyone’s Job

Thu, 02/01/2007
Short Content: 
Calling people to Allah is an activity that is open to all Muslims. It is not restricted to any group of people. It is not some exclusive discipline that can only be practiced within a narrow conceptual framework. It is a general volunteer enterprise...
Calling to Allah was the essential duty of all the Prophets (peace be upon them). In the Qur’ân, Allah gives Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the following command: “Say: This is my way; I call to Allah upon clear knowledge, I and those who follow me. Glory be to Allah! And I am not of those who engage in polytheism.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 108]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) carried out this duty throughout his life. It was then taken up by his Companions and those who followed after them. The Muslims have been carrying this duty out ever since.

Calling people to Allah is an activity that is open to all Muslims. It is not restricted to any group of people. It is not some exclusive discipline that can only be practiced within a narrow conceptual framework. It is a general volunteer enterprise that can be carried out by all Muslims in all walks of life. They can call people to Allah in in the context of all their lawful pursuits.

It is a duty that should be carried out even by those Muslims who regard themselves as sinners. All people are sinners. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. If every sinner refrained from exhorting others to righteousness, then who would exhort others to righteousness after the Prophet (peace be upon him)?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendents of Adam are prone to err, and the best of those who err are those who are penitent.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd]

Calling people to Allah is a duty that has been voluntarily carried out throughout the ages not only by preachers, scholars, and reformers, but by all those who care about Islam and the Muslims, and who long for Islam to spread. Today, these efforts can also be seen in people’s efforts for the upliftment and reform of society.

There is no specialist cadre or social caste with an exclusive jurisdiction over Islamic work. A person who gives good advice to others is a caller to Islam. A person who provides social services is a caller to Islam. A person engaged in humanitarian work is a caller to Islam. The same can be said for a person who does charitable work, or who supports reforms, or who works for social justice, or who seeks to dispel misinformation and misunderstandings.

Indeed, even someone who merely provides people with lawful alternatives to their sinful deeds is someone engaged in calling to Allah. This is because the person to whom you wish to present Islam needs a conducive environment to make it easy for him to accept what he is being called to. Therefore, any effort we make to bring people to betterment or to take them away from wrongdoing is a step towards calling them to Allah. Such acts are virtuous and charitable, and we are enjoined to be charitable to others.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every greeting of peace is charity. Every step taken to prayer is charity. Every reconciliation made between two people is charity. Carrying a man’s burden for him is charity. Removing an obstruction from the road is charity.”

He also said: “The smile that you show to your brother is an act of charity.”

Indeed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) even said: “The intimacy that you have with your wife is charity.”

The Companions were surprised by this and asked: “One of us fulfills his desires and receives blessings for it?”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered: “Consider, if he fulfilled his desire through unlawful means, would he not incur sin? Likewise, if he fulfills it through lawful means, he will attain blessings.”

Cold-Blooded Murder

Thu, 11/24/2005
Short Content: 
Violence and iniquity go all the way back to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Allah says: “But (the other’s) mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 30] The context of this verse emphasizes both his deep regret and his spiritual loss for the great sin that he had committed.
History is replete with human violence and iniquity, going all the way back to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Allah says: “But (the other’s) mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 30]

The context of this verse emphasizes both his deep regret and his spiritual loss for the great sin that he had committed. Allah says: “Then Allah sent a raven scratching up the ground, to show him how to hide his brother's naked corpse. He said: Woe unto me! Am I not able to be as this raven and so hide my brother's naked corpse? And he became repentant. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 31-32]

The murderer faces two punishments. The first is a legal punishment – the loss referred to in the verse above. This includes both the legal retribution in the world and the chastisement in the Hereafter. Allah says: “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 93]

The second punishment is the acute sense the murder has of his sin and its magnitude; the shame and blame that the murderer feels after the rage of the moment has subsided and his normal frame of mind is restored.

Murder is sometimes committed because of conflicts related to worldly gain, like the quest for wealth and power. This stark reality is something that sincere people strive to curtail or at least minimize in society thought education, social guidance, and reform. The laws of nations seek the same through their penal codes and police forces.

The very worst murders are committed by zealots who wrongfully and unjustly commit their crimes in the name of religion. This is the worst form of murder, since it takes the very faith that came to establish justice and to preserve human life and human welfare and misuses it in order to achieve the very opposite of the religion’s noble objectives. It perverts some people who should be upholding human life into the very ones who commit murder.

This murder is the worst kind of murder, since the murderer is far removed from regret or from penitent feelings. A person who kills someone else out of bigotry, greed, or other worldly desires, might hear the word of Allah and the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) about the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of the human being. He might hear about the great punishments that await the murderer in this life and the next. If his heart has any faith, he might be seized by fear for what he has done. He might feel regret, which can lead him to repentance and to mend his ways.

As for the one who kills in the name of religion, he is filled with falsehoods that come from his baser self and that have been made fair-seeming for him by Satan and which are supported and encouraged by his associates. These falsehoods have been embellished by words that are bereft of truth until the person is utterly blinded to the truth and kept away from the Book of Allah. He is led to propound arguments so banal and false that he who utters them would not accept their like from someone else in the most trivial of matters.

Some people are amazed by the sheer nerve of the murderer. It is the courage born of ignorance, which was seen in the times of ignorance before Islam. Abû Jahl displayed such courage during the Battle of Badr, when he was thrown down to the ground, covered in his own blood and seeing his imminent death before his face, was able to ask: “So who is winning the battle now?”

He was able to insult Ibn Mas`ud, saying: “You have risen to a difficult status, haven’t you, you little shepherd.”

Every manner of conduct or action that is not kept aright by the values of Islam will tend either to extremism or to crass neglect.

Targeting public places where people converge – like markets, hotels, and airports – is the epitome of wrongdoing. All manner of people are found in such places, both Muslim and non-Muslim, whose lives are inviolable. For someone to detonate a bomb in such a place is a grievous evil. It is clearly a most heinous sin, a transgression against others and against the law of Allah. It is most appalling that anyone would have the presumption to call such a depraved act a “jihad”. Where is the “jihad” in killing innocents? This is clear misguidance.

It is the obligation of all of us - everyone who has access to a pen or a podium – to condemn such acts in clear and unequivocal terms. We must not mix our condemnation with anything else. It is not necessary for us whenever we speak about such crimes against humanity to, in the same breath, bring up the wrongdoings of America or of Israel. Instead, we must confront these heinous crimes being perpetrated by Muslims with our particular condemnation, and do so with the direct and unambiguous evidence of our sacred texts and by clarifying the objectives of Islamic Law. Other crimes that were perpetrated by other people should not be brought up in the same discussion.

We must steer clear of giving any justification to these crimes. Though it is the responsibility of specialists in security issues, political analysts, and social scientists to study any phenomenon and investigate its causes, at this time it is particularly necessary to put forth a clear message of condemnation of these crimes being carried out by Muslims and to declare their unlawfulness in Islam. The Muslim youth need to be made to understand how clear the matter is, so that they will not slip into error.

The perpetrators of these acts are generally a few, isolate individuals. They are the ones who have to carry their sin and meet their Lord with its great burden weighing down their backs. They will have to face their victims grabbing them by the shoulders and saying: “My Lord!...My Lord!...Ask this man why he killed me unjustly!”

If this is the grave state of the murderer, then those who Allah spares from the blood of such murders should be careful not to meet their Lord bearing the guilt of having ever said anything in support of those crimes, or encouraging them, or of sympathizing with or applauding the perpetrators. We should be careful not to ever utter such statements that might be said inadvertently by some people on account of personal prejudices, or by the idea that some supposed objectives were realized, or from malicious joy at the expense of one group or another. All of that is impermissible. Nothing should ever be said to justify, trivialize, or excuse those crimes. We should always imagine that it was ourselves, or our parents, or our children who were the victims and think: for what purpose were they killed?

We must not remains silent until those crimes strike us in our own homes. Our Lord tells us that in the Hereafter the infant girl who was buried alive will be asked for what sin was she killed. This will be asked as a means of condemning and humiliating her murderer. This girl will have been from the age of paganism before Islam, when the custom of burying infant girls used to be practiced. Her Lord will, nevertheless, come to her defense on that grave day. How much worse it will be for those who murder en masse?

O Allah! These unjust acts are a crime against the religion of your Prophet (peace be upon him), who You sent with mercy. They are a transgression against Your servants. O Allah! Protect the Muslims from these crimes. Guide them by their forelocks to what is right. Save them from corruption. Give them insight and clear vision so that they will not love that which You despise, nor despise that which You love. Bestow upon them mercy, peace, and prosperity. Amîn.

The Last Ten Nights of Ramadan

Thu, 10/12/2006
Short Content: 
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylah al-Qadr – a night more blessed than a thousand months.
The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. The first of these nights occurs on the eve of the 21st day of Ramadan. In other words, it is the night that commences after the completion of the 20th day of fasting. Sometimes there are only nine nights, whenever the month of Ramadan lasts for only 29 days. Nevertheless, they are still traditionally referred to as "the last ten nights".

The last ten nights of Ramadan are very special. These are the nights that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would spend in constant worship. Among these nights is Laylah al-Qadr – a night more blessed than a thousand months.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to single these nights out for worship and the performance of good deeds. He would exert himself in worship during these ten nights more than any other nights of the year.

`A'ishah tells us: "During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his waist belt and spend the night in worship. He would also wake up his family." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1920)]

`A'ishah also says: "I had never known Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) to read the entire Qur'ân in a single night, or to spend the whole night in prayer up until the morning, or to spend a whole month in fasting – except in Ramadan." [Sunan al-Nasâ'î (1641) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1348)]

When we say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) spent the whole night in worship, we should qualify it. This is because he would spend some time eating dinner, partaking of his pre-dawn meal, and other similar activities. However, he would spend most of the night in worship.

Waking Up the Family

`A'ishah informs us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to wake up his family during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Indeed, he used to wake up his wives for prayer throughout the year, but that was so that they could pray for a small fraction of the night.

We know this, because Umm Salamah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) woke her up one night and said: "Glory be to Allah. What has been sent down of trials during this night? What has been sent down of treasures, so that the denizens of the bedchambers will be awakened? O Lord! To be clothed in this world by naked in the Hereafter." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1074)]

During the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would wake up his wives to pray for a much longer portion of the night than during the rest of the year.

Exerting Oneself in Worship

`A'isha tells us: "The Prophet would exert himself in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time of the year." [Sahîh Muslim (1175)]

The great jurist, al-Shâfi`î declares: "It is Sunnah for one to exert greater efforts in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadan." [al-Majmû` (6/397)]

When `A'ishah tells us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would "tighten his waistbelt", she is speaking figuratively. The phrase means to set about to devote oneself fully and wholeheartedly to the task at hand.

Seeking Out Laylah al-Qadr

One of the greatest distinctions of these ten special nights is that one of them is Laylah al-Qadr – the Night of Decree. This is the greatest night of the year – better than a thousand months. This means that a Muslim can earn more rewards on Laylah al-Qadr than he would if – excluding this special night – he were worship his Lord for eighty-four years straight. This is one of the immense favors that Allah has bestowed upon the Muslim community.

Ibrâhîm al-Nakha`î says: "Good works performed on this night are better than those performed consistently for a thousand months."

Abû Hurayrah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever spends Laylah al-Qadr in prayer, believing in Allah and seeking His reward, will be forgiven all of his past sins." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1802) and Sahîh Muslim (760)]

Belief in Allah, in this hadîth, means not only to believe in Allah, but to believe in the reward that we are promised for observing prayer on this night.

Laylah al-Qadr is on one of the odd nights. `A'ishah relates that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Seek out Laylah al-Qadr in the odd nights during the last ten nights of Ramadan." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1913) and Sahîh Muslim (1169)]

It is most likely one of the last seven odd nights. Ibn `Umar relates that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Look for it in the last ten nights. If one of you falls weak or unable to do so, then he should at least try on the seven remaining nights." [Sahîh Muslim (1165)]

The most likely candidate for Laylah al-Qadr is the 27th night of Ramadan. This is indicated by the statement of `Ubayy b. Ka`b: “I swear by Allah that I know which night it is. It is the night in which Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered us to observe in prayer. It is the night on the eve of the 27th of Ramadan. Its sign is that the Sun will rise in the morning of that day white without exuding any rays.” [Sahîh Muslim (762)]

A Muslim should seek out this special night by spending the last ten nights of Ramadan engaged in various acts of worship. These include reciting the remembrances of Allah, reading the Qur'ân, and begging Allah's forgiveness.

It is best for us to strive hard on all ten nights, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The way we "look for" Laylah al-Qadr is by engaging in extra worship.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Look for it in the last ten nights" he did not mean that we should literally "look for" signs and indications that distinguish Laylah al-Qadr from other nights. The things that distinguish Laylah al-Qadr from other nights are part of the Unseen.

Allah says: " Surely We revealed it on a blessed night. Surely We ever wish to warn (against evil) – On this night, every wise matter is made distinct." [Sûrah al-Dukhân (3-4)]

Allah says: "Laylah al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with every decree. (This night is) peace, until the rising of the dawn." [Sûrah al-Qadr (3-5)]

These are the ways in which Laylah al-Qadr is special. They are not things that we can see with our eyes. No one after the Prophet (peace be upon him) can see the angels.

Observing a Retreat in the Mosque (I`tikâf)

Observing a retreat in the mosque is of the best things we can do during the last ten nights of Ramadan. `A'ishah tells us: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to observe a retreat in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan up until he died. His wives continued to observe this practice after his death." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1922) and Sahîh Musli (1172)]

The practice of i`tikâf is a strongly recommended act. It is defined as remaining in retreat in the mosque for the express purpose of worship. The purpose of doing so is to devote one's heart exclusively to Allah. The person engaging in i`tikâf keeps this intention close to mind and seeks Allah's blessings. He should not forget the reason why he is observing this retreat.

A person observing i`tikâf does not leave the mosque except for what is absolutely necessary (like going to the bathroom). While in the mosque, he should busy himself with the remembrance of Allah. He should make sure to offer the remembrances of the morning and evening and the prescribed remembrances for the five daily prayers. He should perform all of the Sunnah prayers and all other recommended prayers, like the Duhâ prayer. He should read as much of the Qur'ân as he can.

He should spend less time eating and sleep as little as possible. He should avoid unnecessary talk. However, he should engage in advising his fellow Muslims and in enjoining them to truth and to patience.


It is encouraged for us to be extra generous during the last ten nights of Ramadan, without being extravagant or ostentatious in our giving. Ibn `Abbâs relates that: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people in doing good, and he was at his most generous during the month of Ramadan. Gabriel used to meet with him every year throughout the month of Ramadan, so the Prophet could recite the Qur'ân to him. Whenever Gabriel met with him, he became more generous than a beneficial breeze." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1902) and Sahîh Muslim (2308)]

Al-Nawawî states [al-Majmû` (6/398)]:
Generosity and open-handedness are strongly encouraged in Ramadan, especially during the last ten nights. By doing so, we emulate the example of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as well as of our Pious Predecessors. Also, this month is noble, and good works carried out in this month are more blessed than they are at any other time. Also, during this month, people are preoccupied with fasting and worship, and this distracts them from their livelihood, so they might need some assistance during this time.