Reciting the Qur`ân in less than 3 days

Question Title: 
Reciting the Qur`ân in less than 3 days
Date: 
Sat, 11/04/2006
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I have heard from some people that we should not finish the recitation of the Qur`ân in less than three days. Is this correct?
English Answer: 
`Abd Allah b. `Amr relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fast three days a month.”

`Abd Allah said: “I can handle more than that.”

This went on until (the Prophet, peace be upon him) said: “Fast one day and break your fast on the next.”

Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Read the Qur’ân once a month.”

`Abd Allah said: “I can handle more than that.”

This went on until the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Then once in three days.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1978)]

In his commentary of Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Imam Ibn Hajar writes:
Abû Dâwûd and al-Tirmidhî have narrated an authentic narration from Yazîd b. `Abd Allah b. al-Shikhkhîr from `Abd Allah b. `Amr, from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that: “He will not understand the Qur’ân who reads it in less than three (days)”.

There is a similar authentic narration from Ibn Mas`ûd that he said: “Read the Qur’ân in seven days. Do not do so in less than three (days).”

`Amrah narrates from `Aishah that she said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never completed the Qur’ân in less than three (days)”.

This view was adopted by Ahmad, Abû `Ubayd, Ishâq b. Râhawayh and others. However, it is authentically narrated that many of the Pious Predecessors used to read the Qur’ân in less than three days.
Imam al-Nawawî observes: “The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that there is no precisely defined time limit for this, and it depends upon the people and their abilities, and differs from individual to individual and from circumstance to circumstance.”

And Allah knows best.

Person dies before recovery & making up fasts

Question Title: 
Person dies before recovery & making up fasts
Date: 
Sat, 11/04/2006
Sender Name: 
none
Question in English : 
My father-in-law was an old, sick man and could not fast the last Ramadan in which he was alive. He died a few months later without having ever been well enough to make up the missed days of fasting. What are his wife and children supposed to do? Fast in his place? Give money to the poor? Both? In case they should feed or clothe the poor, what would be sufficient?
English Answer: 
Allah says: “Whoever is sick or on a journey should make up the number of days later. Allah wants ease for you, and He does not wish hardship upon you.”

Allah has made it obligatory upon the sick person to make up the days later. However, if he dies before he recovers, then he has dies before the time has come when the fasting of those days becomes obligatory on him.

With respect to those missed days, he is the same as a person who dies before Ramadan. No one has to feed the poor on his behalf on account of the coming Ramadan that has yet to arrive, even if he died right before the month of Ramadan began.

The same can be said for a sick person as long as he remains sick. He is not obligated to fast until after he gets better. Therefore, if he dies before he recovers, then he has died before fasting those days has become obligatory upon him. It is not obligatory for anyone to feed the poor on his behalf, since feeding the poor is a substitute for an obligatory fast. If the fast itself is not an obligation for him, then feeding likewise is not an obligation.

This is what the verse of the Qur’ân indicates – that if the person has not the ability to fast, then there is nothing upon him.

In the Sunnah, we have where `A’ishah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever dies with a fast obligatory upon him, then his heir should fast on his behalf.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

The ruling of this hadîth is clear. Its implication is that whoever dies without a fast being obligatory upon him does not have to have someone else fast in his stead.

As we have already explained, a person who is sick during Ramadan and remains too sick to fast up to the time of his death has no fast upon him.

And Allah knows best.

“The human being was created weak…”

from Varse: 
28
Date: 
Wed, 11/16/2005
Image: 
Author: 
Short Content: 
Allah says: “Allah would make the burden light for you, for the human being was created weak.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 28]
Body: 

In a state of weakness we were first created, and in a state of weakness we end our lives. During the intervening years, face one state of weakness after another, in both body and spirit.

Our bodies suffer from sickness. Even those of us who are blessed with robust health must ultimately succumb to the weakness of old age. Our spirits are plagued with heedlessness. Our minds can be touched with insanity. We can see how weakness surrounds our existence from all sides. Our own incapacity causes us to appreciate the greatness and the might of our Creator all the more.

There is one form of weakness that we cannot hope to conceal. It makes our deficiency and dependency all too obvious. It is sickness – that state of being that strikes a person’s body and brings it down. It takes its toll on the spirit as well, cutting down its arrogance and excessive pride. All a person’s imagined power is knocked right off its foundations, causing a person to return to his original state of being, that state that is so much denied and pushed out of mind by our hubris and pride, and by our false notion of our own strength. Sickness makes us get a taste of our weak origins all over again.

Sickness is debilitating. It exhausts the body. Yet, for some people, it is a source of strength, fortifying their faith in Allah, restoring them to the natural relationship that they should have with their Lord. Sickness is a wake up call for some people, dispelling vanity and false desire from the heart, pushing aside vain passions and lusts.

Sickness causes their hearts to become penitent, hastening to seek forgiveness. They rush to the door of Allah’s mercy, that door which forever remains open, but which we are so prone to lose sight of during our years of health and prosperity. Sickness can make those who used to shun that door most haughtily become the most ardent petitioners at its steps.

It is no shame for a worshipper to expose his weakness at times of illness and submit himself humbly to Allah, beseeching Allah for his needs. This is something that Allah loves from His servants.

What is shameful is for that same person - who had so humbly petitioned his Lord at his time of weakness and need - to then shrug aside all of that humility once he is restored to health and deny the blessings of Allah. It is a shame for him to return to his former haughtiness as if sickness had never touched him and as if he had never supplicated to his Lord for relief. Such a person is indeed shameful and despicable.

Allah says: “And when affliction touches a person, he calls on Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on Us on account of an affliction that touched him; thus that which they do is made fair-seeming to the extravagant.” [Sûrah Yûnus: 12]

Few are those who recall at times of strength that there have been and will be times of weakness, times of incapacity. A few short hours of prosperity is all that it takes to make us forget. It takes just a bit of wealth to make us haughty.

When misfortune falls, it is so fast that a person becomes desperate and dismayed, suddenly returning to earnest supplication and impatient for a return to prosperity. Then, when Allah answers his prayer, he just as quickly turns his back and returns to his former state of heedlessness and disregard.

Some people advocate false ideas, and push those ideas with such force that we cannot doubt the strength of their convictions for the falsehoods that they espouse. Often, it is revealed how flimsy their convictions really are, how much they were based on personal desire and self-deception.

We see this when that person is stricken with a fearful illness, his heart turns hard to those false ideas and seeks to return to its pure, natural state of faith in Allah and belief in His message. All his false arguments and sophistries fall straight away.

History attests to this fact. There are many examples of people who were not mere followers of false ideologies, but leading proponents of those ideas, philosophers and intellectuals. Their intelligence and sophistication had misguided them and cast them into confusion. However, being touched by a frightful illness dispelled from their minds the vagaries of falsehood, and turned their hearts to Allah and to His mercy.

Guidance in affliction is better then misguidance in prosperity.
Verse Contnet: 
Allah says: “Allah would make the burden light for you, for the human being was created weak.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 28]

Flexibility in Voluntary Worship

Date: 
Sat, 11/04/2006
Short Content: 
While pondering over the texts of the Qur'ân and Sunnah, I discovered a door which has been flung wide open upon an abundance of rewards and opportunities. It is the door to voluntary worship.
Body: 
While pondering over the texts of the Qur'ân and Sunnah, I discovered a door which has been flung wide open upon an abundance of rewards and opportunities. It is the door to voluntary worship. I found that Allah has made voluntary worship a broad field of activity, an opportunity for people to compete with each other in performing righteous deeds. In this, voluntary worship is very different from obligatory worship.

The religion of Islam is, without doubt, an easy religion. It is accommodating and tolerant. We read in the Qur'ân: "Allah wants ease for you. He does not to put you to hardship." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 185]

We also read: "Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 286]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If I command you to do something, then do it to the extent that you are able." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

For this reason, we see that Islam is very conscientious about keeping religious obligations precise in their modes of performance, though limited to what all people can handle. Voluntary worship, in contrast, is far more flexible. It is not governed by the conditions that define for us our religious obligations.

We can see this if we contrast our obligatory prayers with our voluntary ones. When we offer our obligatory prayers, we must stand fir them, unless we are unable to do so. This is not the case with our voluntary prayers. We can offer those seated even if we are fully capable of standing; however, we will receive half the reward.

Likewise, if we are traveling, we do not have to face the qiblah when we offer our voluntary prayers.

Some scholars hold that a voluntary prayer can be offered with tayammum if one fears that taking the time to make wudû' will lead to missing the prayer.

We can also compare `Umrah to Hajj. Since `Umrah is more common as a form of voluntary worship, we see that it can be offered at any time of the year. According to many scholars – including Ibn Bâz – there is no need to offer a farewell tawâf (tawâf al-widâ`) after performing `Umrah.

Unlike the obligatory Zakâh, voluntary charity has no limits set to it. It can be given in any amount at any time to any needy recipient or worthy cause.

The same can be said for fasting. The rulings governing our voluntary fasts differ from those that govern our obligatory fasts. For instance, we can resolve to offer a voluntary fast at any time in the day as long as we have not done anything like eating or drinking that would break our fast. By contrast, we must have the intention the night before – at least before dawn – in order to observe an obligatory fast.

Likewise, we have the option to break our voluntary fasts whenever we want to. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A person observing a voluntary fast is in charge of himself. If he wishes to fast, he may do so. If he wishes to break his fast, he may do so." [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (732)] As for our obligatory fasts, we are not allowed to break them, even if it is a day of Ramadan that we are making up later. Once we start making up a missed Ramadan fast, we are obliged to see it through to the end.

Now we shall turn our attentions to the six days of Shawwâl. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) says: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwâl, it will be as if he had fasted the year through." [Sahîh Muslim (1163)]

When we look at the six days of fasting in Shawwâl, we must acknowledge that they are voluntary fasts. Therefore, in the absence of any direct scriptural evidence to the contrary, these fasts should be approached with the same flexibility as any other voluntary fast.

Consequently, the following are among the flexible rulings that apply to fasting the six days of Shawwâl:

1. It is not obligatory to embark upon the fast immediately after the day of `Id, as some people suppose. In fact, we cannot assume that it is even preferable to do so, except possibly on the basis of the general ruling that it is good to hasten in performing righteous deeds. One might also argue that it is good to hasten it in case something comes up later in the month that prevents one from fasting. Otherwise, the statement in the hadîth "… and then follows it with six days of fasting", does not give any clear indication that the six days should immediately follow the end of Ramadan.

2. These six days do not have to be observed in immediate succession. If we fast the six fasts on various days throughout the month of Shawwâl, we will attain the full blessing of the six days. We cannot assume that offering these days in succession is preferable in the absence of any scriptural evidence indicating that it is.

3. We can formulate our intentions to observe these fasts at any time during the day as long as we have not yet done anything on that day – like eating or drinking – that would violate our fast.

Admittedly, there is some disagreement among Islamic scholars regarding these three points. However, the opinions above are the strongest in my opinion, since they are in conformity with the rulings in Islamic Law that govern voluntary fasts. There is no distinction in Islamic Law between a general voluntary fast and a specific one.

4. We do not have to offer these fasts every year. These are voluntary fasts that we offer by choice. When we observe them, we receive the blessings for doing so. If we refrain from offering these fasts, there is no sin upon us.

5. It is not a condition to fast all six of the fasts. If we observe one of these six fasts, we get the reward of that fast. If we observe all six fasts, we get the full reward of the six.. I point this out to show the error of those who think that since they cannot offer all six days, they might as well not bother offering any of them.

This means that if we find ourselves at the end of the month of Shawwâl, with two or three days left, and we have not fasted, we can still fast these two or three days with the intention of observing what we can of the six fasts of Shawwâl. All the evidence in the scripture points to the idea that a Muslim is rewarded for every virtuous act he carries out.

Allah says: "Whoever does an atom's weight of good shall see it." [Sûrah al-Zalzalah: 7]

Indeed, in some of the hadîth about the six days of Shawwâl, we find that the reason why observing this fast is like fasting the year through is because each good deed is given a tenfold reward. It is related from Thawbân that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The fast of Ramadan is like observing ten months of fasting. Fasting six days of Shawwâl is like observing two months of fasting. This together is like fasting throughout the year." [Sahîh Ibn Khuzaymah (2115) and Sunan al-Nasâ'î al-Kubrâ (2860) – and authenticated by al-Albânî]

Al-Nawawî says [Sharh Sahîh Muslim (8/56)]:
Scholars have explained that it is like observing a year of fasting because the reward of one's good deeds are multiplied tenfold. Therefore fasting the month of Ramadan is like fasting for ten months and fasting six days in the month of Shawwâl is like fasting for two months.
Therefore, whoever fasts one of these six days gets the full tenfold reward for doing so. Whoever fasts more, receives more, up to the full six days.

And Allah knows best.

Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam

Question Title: 
Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam
Date: 
Tue, 09/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
Do we have to recite Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam? Is the ruling different for the units of prayer wherein the imam recites audibly than it is for the units of prayer wherein the imam recites quietly to himself?
English Answer: 
The issue of reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah by the congregation following the imam is a matter of disagreement among scholars.

In brief, I would say:

Some scholars do not allow the recitation of Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam. They support their opinion with the hadîth “When the imam reads, then be silent.” [Sahîh Muslim (404)] It is indeed an authentic hadîth.

However, reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah is also important because of another hadîth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) “There is no prayer for the one who does not read al-Fatihah.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (756) and Sahîh Muslim (394)]

Those who advocate not reading behind the imam answer this by citing the hadîth: “Whoever is praying behind the imam, then the imam’s reading is a reading for him as well.” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (850) and Musnad Ahmad (14643)] However, this is a weak hadîth.

The preferred opinion is that the person who prays behind the imam should listen to the imam while he is reading Sûrah al-Fâtihah and read it to himself thereafter. When he does so, however, he must take care that his reading is so quiet that he does not cause any disturbance.

Someone asked Abû Hurayrah about reading Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam. He replied: “Read it to yourself.” [Sahîh Muslim (395)]

This has been a matter of disagreement for a long time. If we prefer one opinion, this does not mean we degrade others who differ.

Muslims should not exaggerate the importance of this issue. One way of exaggerating the importance of this matter is by claiming that someone else’s prayers are invalid or by accusing someone of beings an innovator. This is all wrong.

*************************************

For another opinion, please refer to the fatwâ on our archive by Sheikh Salman al-Oadah entitled "Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam"

Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam

Question Title: 
Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Tue, 09/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
What is the ruling on reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah while praying in congregation behind the imam?
English Answer: 
The recitation of Sûrah al-Fâtihah for a follower behind the imam in congregational prayer is a matter of disagreement among scholars. The majority of Companions and Successors were of the view that Sûrah al-Fâtihah should not be read in the audible prayers while the imam is reading.

This is the opinion that we prefer, since Allah says: “When the Qur’ân is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace that you may receive mercy.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 204].

However, if the imam stops reading, then the one following in prayer should read Sûrah al-Fâtihah, because there is no silence without remembrance in prayers, and because the reason to abstain from reading is no longer present.

And Allah knows best.

*************************************

For another opinion, please refer to the fatwâ on our archive by Sheikh `Abd Allah b. Sardâr entitled "Reciting Sûrah al-Fâtihah behind the imam"

Al-Albânî’s ruling on women visiting the graveyard

Question Title: 
Al-Albânî’s ruling on women visiting the graveyard
Date: 
Tue, 09/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I heard that al-Albânî permits women to visit the graveyard? Is this true? How does he explain the hadîth that reads: “Allah’s Messenger cursed the women who visit graves.”
English Answer: 
Al-Albânî is of the opinion that women may visit the graves, and that is preferred for them to do so, but that they should not do so excessively.

Evidence that women are encouraged to visit the graveyard

He supported his opinion that women are encouraged – just like men – to visit the graves with the following evidence:

1. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them.” [Sahîh Muslim (977)]

In another narration it reads: “I had prohibited you from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, because they are a reminder of the Hereafter.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3235) and Musnad Ahmad (23005)]

In Sunan al-Nasâ’î, it reads: “Indeed, I had prohibited you from three things: from visiting the graves, but now I encourage you to visit them, and may your visiting them increase you in goodness…” [Sunan al-Nasâ’î (4429 and 5653)]

This encouragement includes women, because when the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been prohibiting his followers from visiting the graves, the prohibition had been meant equally for men and for women. Therefore, when he lifted the prohibition, he did so for both men and women.

2. Women are equal with men with respect to the purpose for visiting the graves: which is to be reminded of the Hereafter and to soften the hearts.

3. The Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted women to visit the graves.

`Abd Allah b. Abî Mulaykah relates: `Aishah came one day from the graveyard, so I said: “O Mother of Believers, from where have you come?”

She said: “From the grave of `Abd al-Rahmân b. Abî Bakr.”

I said: “Did not the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbid visiting the graves?” She

said: “Yes, then he commanded us to visit them.”

[Mustadrak al- Hâkim (1/376), Sunan al-Bayhaqî (4/78) and Tamhîd Ibn `Abd al-Barr (3/233)]

In another narration, it reads at the end: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) permitted visiting the graves.” [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1570)]

Al-Albânî comments: “Al-Hâkim does not talk about it and Imam al-Dhahabî says: ‘It is an authentic hadîth.’ Al-Busayrî says: ‘Its line of transmission is authentic and its men are trustworthy.’ The ruling on this hadîth is as they have stated.”

4. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a woman crying at a grave so he told her: ‘Fear Allah and be patient.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (1252)] He did not forbid her from staying at the grave.

Evidence that women are not to make frequent visits to the graveyard

The proof that they should not be frequent visitors comes in the following hadîth:

1. Abû Hurayrah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the women who are frequent visitors of the graves.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1056) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1576)] This hadîth is at least good (hasan), and it is supported by other narrations to the level of being authentic (sahîh).

2. Hassân b. Thâbit relates: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed the women who are frequent visitors of the graves. [Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1574)] Al-Albânî declares this hadîth to be acceptable (maqbûl) and sufficient for strengthening the hadîth of Abû Hurayrah to the level where it is authetic (sahîh).

There is a hadîth related by Ibn `Abbâs, which reads in certain narrations: “Allah’s Messenger cursed the women who visit graves.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (320), Sunan Abî Dâwûd (3236), Sunan al-Nasâ’î (2034), and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (1575)]

The word here is zâ’irât (women who visit) instead of zawwârât (women who are frequent visitors).

However, this hadîth is weak because one of its narrators, Abû Sâlih, is weak.

Also, even some narrations of this hadîth mention “frequent visitors” instead of “women who visit”.

On this basis, al-Albânî concludes: “It therefore becomes clear regarding this hadîth that the properly preserved wording is “frequent visitors”, since this is what is agreed upon in the hadîth of Abû Hurayrah and the hadîth of Hassân, as well as the narration of the majority of narrators of the hadîth of Ibn `Abbâs.”

He then says: “The word zawwârât indicates that the curse is directed only at women who visit the graves excessively and no one else. Therfore, this hadîth cannot be used to contradict the previously mentioned hadîth that indicate it is encouraged for women to visit the graveyard, because this hadîth is specific and those hadîth are general. Each hadîth, therefore, must be applied to its own context.”

He explains the reason why women should not visit the graves excessively: “This could lead them to fall into something that is contrary to Islamic teachings, like wailing, making a public display of themselves, taking the graves as places or relaxation and holiday, or wasting time in idle conversation. This is just like the situation that we see today in some Muslim countries. This is what is meant by the hadîth.”

[Refer to: al-Albânî, Ahkâm al-Janâ’iz wa Bada`uhâ (229-237)]

Misconceptions regarding the meaning of 'Seal of the Prophets'

Question Title: 
Misconceptions regarding the meaning of 'Seal of the Prophets'
Sheikh Name: 
Date: 
Sat, 08/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
I met someone who does not believe in the finality of prophethood. He told me that the word “seal” in the phrase “seal of the Prophets” does not mean that Muhammad is the last of the Prophets. Rather it means the best of the Prophets. I asked for references, and he cited the following: In one instance, the Prophet (peace be upon him) called his uncle `Abbâs “the seal of the emigrants.” [Kanz al-`Ummâl (6/178)] However, this does not mean that he was the last Muslim to emigrate from Mecca to Madinah. Similarly `Alî is called “the seal of the saints”. [Tafsir al-Sâfî (pertaining to verse 33:41)] Ibn Khaldun says this phrase is understood to mean that `Alî was a perfect saint and not that he was the last. [al-Muqaddimah (2/165-167)]
English Answer: 
Allah says: “But (he is) the Messenger of Allah and the seal of the Prophets and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” [Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 40]

There is unanimous consensus (ijmâ`khâtam al-anbiyâ’) means “the last of the Prophets”. Not a single scholar has ever interpreted this phrase to have any other meaning.

It is not known in the Arabic language for the term “seal” to be used to mean “the best”.

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put an end to all arguments about the interpretation of its meaning when he said: “I am the last of the Prophets” “There is no Prophet after me.” “There shall be no prophethood after me.” and: “Indeed, prophethood and messengership have come to an end.”

All of these statements are established with authentic chains of transmission and can be found in the major books of hadîth like Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim.

For instance, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad. I am al-Mâhî; by me Allah eliminates disbelief. I am al-Hâshir; upon my foot people will gather in the day of Judgment. And I am al-`Aqîb; there is no Prophet after me.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There will be thirty liars among my people, each one claiming to be a prophet while I am the last of the Prophets and there is no Prophet after me.” [Sahîh Muslim]

As for the hadîth mentioned in your question about the Prophet (peace be upon him) calling al-`Abbâs “the seal of the emigrants” (khâtam al-muhâjirîn), it is a weak hadîth with a broken chain of transmission. It is not permissible for us to even assume that these are the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), much less to attempt and derive conclusions from them.

The second hadîth wherein `Alî is called “the seal of the saints” (khâtam al-awliyâ’), it is an outright fabrication and a lie.

And Allah knows best.

Overcoming bad habits

Question Title: 
Overcoming bad habits
Date: 
Wed, 07/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
How does a person kick a bad habit that he has had for years?
English Answer: 
When a person recognizes his personal shortcomings and bad habits and has the intention to change them, then that person has taken the first step towards making a positive change in his life.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Verily forbearance is achieved by putting it into practice.” [al-Tabarânî in al-Awsat and al-Bayhaqî in Shu`ab al-Imân]

This means that a person can change his bad habits and manners into good ones.

This can be achieved by taking the following steps:
1. To ask Allah sincerely and frequently to help you.

2. To remember the bad habits upon doing the bad deed. For example, when you are angry, remember the bad habit of raising your voice, and when eating, remember the prohibition of eating with the left hand, and so forth.

3. Sometimes you may forget your endeavors and lapse into your old bad habits. So do not be despair, but try again. Allah will surely help you.

4. You might wish to speak with others who used to suffer from the same bad habits and benefit from their experiences. They can tell you how they managed to overcome their problems.

5. I advise you to read books and listen to recorded lectures that discuss the problem you are trying to overcome. This often proves helpful.
Allah says: “O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Indeed Allah is with those who are patient.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 153]

Holding the Qur’ân in prayer to follow the reading of the imam

Question Title: 
Holding the Qur’ân in prayer to follow the reading of the imam
Date: 
Wed, 07/28/2004
Sender Name: 
n
Question in English : 
What is the ruling on the one who wishes to hold a mushaf whilst praying behind an imam during the tarâwîh prayer, so that he can better understand and follow along with what is being recited?
English Answer: 
A worshipper can hold the Qur’ân to follow the reading of the imam in prayer if there is a need for it. This would be because the imam has a weak memory and has to delegate one of the worshippers to follow along with his reading in case he makes some mistake.

Otherwise, I do not think that a worshipper in prayer should follow the imam’s recitation by reading from the Qur’ân. This is because, by doing so, he has to leave out certain desirable practices in his prayer and engage in other things that are undesirable. For instance:

1. Holding the Qur’ân in prayer prevents the worshiper from placing his right hand over his left while standing, though this is a Sunnah act of prayer.

2. It prevents him from looking at the place of prostration while he is standing in prayer, which is also a Sunnah act.

3. It forces the worshipper to make many extraneous and unnecessary movements, such as opening and closing the Qur’ân and putting it somewhere, like under his arm, when he bows, prostrates, and the like.

Scholars say that any movement in prayer that is unnecessary is something disliked, since it detracts from the worshipper’s humility and concentration.

Some scholars have even said that the unnecessary movements of the eyes are enough to invalidate the person’s prayer. The eyes have to follow along with the recitation, moving from right to left and from line of text to line of text. Due to the amount of words he will have to read, this adds up to a lot of unnecessary movement, enough to invalidate the prayer.

Therefore, my advice to my fellow Muslims is to avoid this practice, and instead, concentrate on improving their concentration and their humility in prayer.