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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'tikaaf - Complete book by Mufti Elias



Allama Ibn Qaiyyim Radiallâhu anhu says: “The basic purpose of I’tikâf is that the heart gets attached to Allâh and, with it, one attains inner composure and equanimity and pre‑occupation with the mundane things of life ceases and absorption in the eternal Reality takes its place, and the state is reached in which all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by the love and remembrance of Allâh, every anxiety is transformed into the anxiety for Him and every thought and feeling is blended with the eagerness to gain His nearness and to earn His good favour, and devotion to the Almighty is generated instead of devotion to the world and it becomes the provision for the grave where there will be neither a friend nor a helper. This is the high aim and purpose of I’tikâf which is the speciality of the most sublime part of Ramadhân, i.e., the last ten days.”


Similarly, Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Radiallâhu anhu remarks, “Since I’tikâf in the masjid is a means to the attainment of peace of the mind and purification of the heart, and it affords an excellent opportunity for forging an indentity with the angels and having a share in the blissfulnes of the Night of Power and for devoting oneself to prayer and meditation Allâh has set apart the last ten days of the month of Ramadhân for it and made it a Sunnah for His pious and virtuous slaves.”

Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam always observed, I’tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful. Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha relates that “Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam regularly observed I’tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition.” (Bukhari)

It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira Radiallâhu anhu that “Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam observed I’tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days.” (Bukhari)

MEANING OF I’TIKAF

The reality of I’tikâf is that a person remains in the masjid for a certain period with the intention [niyyah] of I’tikâf. There is no time limit prescribed for whatever time is spent in the masjid with the intention of I’tikâf such spending of time will constitute I’TIKÂF. However, a period of ten days is prescribed for the Masnun I’tikâf of Ramadhân ‑ the Sunnah will not be fulfilled for a period less than ten days. In the case ofI’tikâf Wâjib (that’ is, a person who has taken a vow to perform I’tikâf, it cannot be fulfilled in a period less than one day and one night. (Badai)

WHO MAY PERFORM I’TIKAF

1. It is necessary for I’tikâf that a person be a Muslim and sane. Hence, the I’tikâf of an insane person or a kafir will not be valid. However, just as a minor child may perform Salâh or keep fast, similary such minor may perform I’tikâf. (Badai).

2. A woman may also perform I’tikâf in her home by setting aside a specified place for ibâdah and performing therein such I’tikâf. However, it is necessary for her to obtain her husband’s consent for such I’tikâf. Moreover, it is essential that she is not in a state of menstruation and nifâs.

3. it is a condition of I’tikâf Masnun and I’tikâf wâjib that a person be in a state of fasting. Hence, if a person is not in a state of fasting, he cannot perform these categories of I’tikâf. However, fasting is not a condition in the case of Nafl I’tikâf.

PLACE OF I’TIKAF

For male persons, ‘Itikat can only be performed in the masjid. The most blessed and preferred I’tikâf is that performed at al‑Masjid al Harâm in Makkah. The next most preferred I’tikâf is that performed at al‑Masjid al‑Nabawî in al‑Madinah. Third in order of preferability is al‑Masjid al Aqsa (in Al‑Quds). Fourthly, any Jam’i Masjid. However, it is not necessary to perform I’tikâf at a Jam’i Masjid. On the contrary, I’tikâf may be performed at any masjid where prayers are said five times (each day) in jama’at. If a masjid is such that five time prayers (each day) are not said therein, then in such an event there is a difference of opinion amongst the ‘Ulamâ’. Some scholars are of the view that I’tikâf may be performed at such a masjid, although it is not preferable. (Shâmi)
I’tikâf can be made in a masjid wherein only in Ramadhân 5 daily Salâh are performed (Fatâwa Rahîmîyah vol. 2. p. 30)

TYPES OF I’TIKAF

I’tikâf Masnun ‑ This refers to that I’tikâf which is only performed in the month of Ramadhân during the last ten days thereof commencing on the twenty‑first night and terminating upon the sighting of the the moon of Shawwal (that is, on the eve of ‘Id al‑Fitr) It is termed I’tikâf Masnun because Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam performed I’tikâf every year in these days.
I’tikâf Nafl ‑ This refers to that ‘Itikaf which may be performed at any time.
I’tikâf Wâjib ‑ This refers to that I’tikâf
(a) which becomes wâjib because of making nadhr, that is, taking a vow, or
(b) which becomes wâjib as Qada’ for rendering void a Masnun I’tikâf.

MEANING AND EFFECT OF MASNUN I’TIKAF

TheI’tikâf which is performed in the last ten days of Ramadhân Mubarak is known as Masnun I’tikâf. The time for this I’tikâf commences upon completion of the twentieth day (of Ramadhân), that is, with effect from the setting of the sun, and remains until the sighting of the Shawwal moon (Eid moon). In view of the fact this I’tikâf commences from the twenty‑first night (of Ramadhân) ‑ and the night commencing from the setting of the sun ‑ it is therefore necessary for the person wishing to performI’tikâf to enter the hudud of the masjid on the twentieth day on such time before Maghrib so that the setting of the sun takes place whilst he is in the masjid.
The I’tikâf of the last ten days of Ramadhân is Sunnah Mu’akkadah Kifayah. This means that if one person, who lives in a particular area in which a masjid is situated, performs I’tikâf, then in such an event the Sunnah is fulfilled on behalf of all the members of that area. However, if nobody in the entire area performs I’tikâf, then all the members of the area will be liable for the sin of failing to fulfil a Sunnah.

RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF AN AREA AND MAIN FEATURE OF I’TIKAF

1. It is clear from the foregoing that it is the responsibility of every member of the area or township to ascertain in the beginning whether any person is to sit for the I’tkâf in their masjid or not.

2. However, it is not permissible to cause some person to sit by giving him payment or money because it is not permissible in the case of ‘Ibadah to give or take money or wages. (Shâmi)
If no member of a particular area is able to sit forI’tikâf due to circumstances of necessity, then in that event arrangements must be made to cause some person from another area to sit. (Fatâwa Darul Ulûm Deoband)
The outstanding pillar of I’tikâf is that a person remains for the duration of I’tikâf within the hudûd of the masjid. Save and except for the necessities of nature (see details later), he must not leave the hudud of the masjid even for one moment. For, if he leaves the hudûd of the masjid for one moment without a valid Shar’î reason (the details of which are dealt with later), the I’tikâf is rendered void.

LEAVING THE MASNUN ON THE GROUNDS OF SHAR’Î NECESSITY

By the term Shar’î necessity, we mean those necessities on the basis of which the Sharî‘ah has permitted the person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid. TheI’tikâf is not rendered void if the person leaves by virtue of such necessities.
These necessities are as follows:
1. The need to urinate or defecate, that is, to attend to the call of nature.
2. The need for Ghusl of janabah when it is not possible to make Ghusl in the masjid.
3. The need to make wudhu when it is not possible to make wudhu while in the masjid.
4. The need to bring food and drink when another person is not available to do so.
5. The need of the Mu’adhin to go out for the purpose of calling Adhân.
6. If Jumuah Salâh is not performed in the masjid wherein I’tikâf is performed, the need to go to another masjid to perform Jumu’ah.
7. The need to move to another masjid in the event of leaking, etc. of the the masjid.
Apart from these needs, it is not permisible for the person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid for any other purpose. Now, we shall, insha-Allâh, explain details of each of these needs.

CALL OF NATURE

(a) The person performingI’tikâf can leave the rnasjid to attend the call of nature, that is, to urinate of defaecate. In so far as urinating is concerned, he must go to the place nearest the masjid where it is possible to urinate. In regard to defaecation, if a toilet has been built attached to the masjid, and if it is possible to defaecate therein, then he must go there. It is not permissible to go to another place. However, if a person cannot defaecate due to his nature or because of extreme difficulty at any place besides his home, then it is permissible forlim to go to his house for this purpose, even if a toilet is available near the triasjid. (Shâmi)
If a person does not have this difficulty, then he should utilise the toilet of the masjid. If such a person leaves the masjid toilet and goes to his house, then his I’tikâf is rendered void according to some ‘‘Ulamâ. (Shâmi)

(b) If the masjid does not have any toilet, or if it is not possible to attend the call of nature therein, or in the case of extreme difficulty, then in such events it is permissible to go home to attend the call of nature, notwithstanding the distance of such home. (Shâmi)

(c) If the home of a friend or a relative is present near the masjid, it is not necessary to go to his friend’s or relative’s home to attend the call of nature. Despite this, one is permitted to go to one’s home even if it is situated at a distance in comparison to the home of such a friend or a relative. (Shâmi)

(d) If a person owns two houses then he should go to the nearer one to attend the call of nature. If he goes to the further home then his I’tikâf is rendered void according to some ‘ulama. (Alamgiri)

(e) If the toilet is occupied, then it is permissible to wait until it is vacant. But it is not permissible to remain even for one moment once the need is fulfilled. If one remains then, I’tikâf is rendered void. (Barjandi)

(f) It is permissible to make Salâm to someone or to reply to a Salâm or to talk briefly in the house or on the way to the toilet and on return, provided that one does not stop for such brief talk. (Mirqat)

(g) It is not necessary to walk briskly on the way to the toilet or on return. It is permissible also to walk slowly. (Âlamghiri)

(h) On the way to the toilet to attend to the call of nature, one must not stop at the instance of another. One must while walking indicate to such other person that one is in a state of I’tikâf. One can not stop for this purpose. If one stopped for some time at the instance of another, then his I’tikâf is rendered void. This applies to the extent that if a debtor has on the road stopped the person performing I’tikâf then according to Imâm Abû Hanifah Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi the I’tikaf is rendered void. The I’tikâf is not rendered void by virtue of his necessity according to Imâm Abû Yusuf and Imâm Muhammad Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi. Imâm Sarakasi Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi has on the basis of ease and facility manifested a preference for the view point of the latter two. (Mabsut) However, precaution demands that one must not stop on the road under any circumstances.

(i) It is permissible to smoke a cigarette upon leaving to visit the toilet provided that one does not have to stop for this purpose.

(j) If any person who has gone to his house for the purpose of attending to the call of nature, then it is permissible for him to make wudu therein, after attending to the call of nature. (Majma‑ul‑Anhar)

(k) Istinjah is included in the term “attending to call of nature”. Hence, if a person suffers from the disease of urine drops, he can go outside for the purpose only of Istinjah for this reason, the jurists have set forth Istinjah as a separate ground of necessity entitling a person to leave apart from the ground of “attending to the call of nature.” (Shâmi)

(l) While in I’tikâf to be in state of wudhu is Mustahab [desirable] and not wâjib [compulsory]. To read books of Tafsîr and jurisprudence in the state of wudhu is also mustahab. (Fatâwa Mehmoodiya vol. 3 p. 117/2)
(m) While in I’tikâf one can inquire from vistors about those who are absent. (ibid.)

GHUSL

It is permissible for the person performing I’tikaf to leave the masjid for the purpose of Ghusl of Janabah in the event of emission of semen.

This is subject to the explanation that if such a person can make Ghusl whilst remaining in the masjid, for example, by sitting in some big tub and performing Ghusl in a manner that the water does not fall in the masjid then it is not permissible for him to go outside.
However, if this is not possible or there is extreme difficulty then he may go outside for Ghusl of Janabah. (Fath‑ul‑Qadir) If there is a Ghusl Khanah in the masjid, then he must perform Ghusl there. However, if there is no Ghusl Khana in the masjid, or it is not possible to make Ghusl therein for some reason, or if there is extreme hardship, then one can perform Ghusl in one’s home.
Apart from Ghusl of Janabah, it is not permissible to leave the masjid for any other Ghusi. It is not permissible to leave the masjid for the purpose of Jurnu’ah Ghusl or a Ghusl to cool oneself. If one has left the masjid for this purpose then I’tikâf is rendered void. However, if one wishes to make Jumu’ah Ghusl or cool oneself, then he must adopt such a course that the water does not drip into the masjid. For example, he must sit in some tub and bathe himself, or make Ghusl at the corner of the masjid in such a way that the water drips outside the masjid.

EATING

If a person has another available to bring food and water for him to the masjid, then it is not permissible for such a person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid for the purpose of fetching food. If, however, he does not have available any person to bring food and water, then it is permissible for him to leave the masjid to bring food (al‑Bahr‑ur‑Raiq). However, the food must be brought to the masjid and eaten therein. (Kifayat‑ul‑Mufti)
Such a person moreover must bear in mind that he must leave the masjid at a time when he is able to receive the food. But if he has to wait for some reason to receive the food, there is no objection.

ADHÂN

(a) If a mu’adhin is performing I’tikâf and he has to leave the masjid for the purpose of giving Adhân, then it is permissible for him to go outside. But he must not remain there after giving the Adhân.

(b) If a person is not a mu’adhin but he wishes to give Adhân for a particular time, then it is permissible for him to leave the masjid for the purpose of giving Adhân. (Mabsut)

(c) If the door of the minaret of the masjid is situated within the masjid, then it is absolutely permissible for the person performing I’tikâf to climb the minaret because it will constitute part of the masjid. However, if the door of the masjid is outside the masjid itself, then apart from the need to give Adhân, the person performing ’ltikaf is not permitted to climb such a minaret. (Shâmi)

(d) It is preferable that I’tikâf be made in such a masjid where Jumu’ah Salâh is performed so that it is not necessary to go outside for Jumu’ah. However, if no Jum’ah Salâh is said in a particular masjid and only five times Salâh is said therein, then it is permissible to perform I’tikâf in such a muffid. (Âlamghiri)

(e) In such a situation, it is permissible to go to another masjid to perform Jum’ah Salâh. However, one must leave for this purpose at such a time that, in his estimation, upon reaching the Jam’i Masjid, he will be able to perform the four rakâh sunnah and thereafter, witness immediately the commencement of the khutbah. (ibid.)

(f) If the person performing I’tikâf has gone to a certain masjid to perform Jurn’ah, then he may perform sunnah prayers after completing the fard in that masjid. However, he cannot remain (in the masjid) thereafter. (Ibid). If he remains for a period exceeding necessity then his I’tikâf is not rendered void because he has remained in a masjid. (Badai)

(g) If a person goes to a Jam’i Masjid to perform Jum’ah and thereafter remains there and completes the remaining period of I’tikâf, then his I’tikâf will remain valid. This act is, however, makrûh. (Âlamgiri)
One can make I’tikâf in one masjid and lead tarawîh in another provided when sitting for I’tikâf this intention was made. (Âlamqiri vol. 1, p. 199)

TRANSFER OF MASJID
It is necessary for every person performing I’tikâf to complete his I’tikâf in the masjid where he commenced it. However, if he is faced with such an extreme difficulty and hardship that it is not possible for him to complete the I’tikâf in such a masjid, for example, because such a masjid may collapse, or he is removed therefrom under compulsion, or there is a strong danger to life or property by staying there (in the masjid), then it is permissible to move to another masjid and complete the I’tikâf there. If one has left for this purpose, the ’ltikaf will not be rendered void, provided that upon leaving one does not wait or remain on the road but proceeds directly to the other masjid. (Âlamgiri)

JANAZAH SALÂH AND VISITING THE SICK
(a) Generally it is not permissible for the person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid to participate in Janazah Salâh or to visit the sick. However, if one left to attend the call of nature, and incidentally, on the road enquired of some person’s health or participated in a Janazah Salâh, then theI’tikâf is not rendered void. (Badai)
Moreover, one can visit or enquire of the sick whilst one is walking on. Consequently, Hadrat ’Aishah (R.A.) has said that the Rasululla Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam enquired of the sick whilst walking on, and he did not change his way for the purpose. (Abû Dawûd). In regard to Janazah Salâh it is a condition that one does not stop at all after the Salâh itself. (Mirqat).
(b) Apart from this, if a person makes a condition at the time of the intention of the I’tikâf itself to the effect that if he wishes during the course of the I’tikâf to visit a certain sick person, or participate in Janazah Salâh, or attend a certain Islâmic or religious gathering, he will do so, then in such a situation it is permissible to leave the masjid for these purposes, and his I’tikâf will not thereby be rendered void. However, in this manner, his I’tikâf will become a nafl one, and will not remain Masnun.

FACTORS THAT RENDER I’TIKÂF VOID
I’tikâf is rendered void by the following factors:
1. Apart from the necessities mentioned above, I’tikâf is rendered void if the person performing I’tikâf leaves the hudud of the masjid for any other purpose although such leaving is for one moment (Hidâyah). It is clear that one will be said to have left the masjid when the feet (of the person performing I’tikâf) have been put outside in such a manner that according to custom one will be said to have left the masjid. Hence, if only the head is outside the masjid, then I’tikâf shall not thereby be rendered void. (Al‑Bahr‑ur‑Raiq).

2. Similarly, if a person performing I’tikâf leaves for a valid Shar’î necessity, but after completing such a necessity, he waits or stays outside (the masjid) even for one moment, then theI’tikâf is thereby rendered void. (Shâmi)

3. If one leaves the masjid without a valid Shar’î reason or need, whether intentionally, in forgetfulness or by mistake, then in such situations the I’tikâf is rendered void. However, one will not sin for rendering the I’tikâf void if the leaving is due to mistake or forgetfulness. (ibid.)

4. The I’tikâf will also be rendered void if a person under mistaken belief enters a part of the area of the masjid thinking that it falls within the hudud of the masjid, whereas in fact it is excluded there from. Hence, one must properly ascertain the hudud of the masjid before commencing I’tikâf.

5. Since fasting is a condition for I’tikâf, if the fast breaks then I’tikâf is rendered void accordingly, irrespective whether such fast was broken for a valid reason or not, or intentionally or by mistake. In each of these cases, I’tikâf is rendered void. The meaning of breaking fast by mistake is that a person whilst remembering that he is fasting does some involuntary act which is opposed to the requirement of fasting; for example, the person continued eating until the rise of dawn, or made Iftar before the setting of the sun under the mistaken belief taht the time for Iftar had passed; or whilst gargling water entered the gullet by mistake althought the person remembered that he was fasting. In all these situations, the fast is broken and I’tikâf is correspondingly rendered void.
However, if a person forgot that he was fasting and in such state of forgetfulness ate, and drank something, then both his fast and I’tikâf are not rendered void. (Shâmi)

6. I’tikâf is also rendered void by sexual intercourse whether done intentionally or by mistake, and whether done during the day or night, inside the masjid or outside, and whether emission results or not. In all these situations, I’tikâf is rendered void.

7. Kissing and cuddling is not permissible during the course of I’tikâf if this causes emission, then I’tikâf is rendered void. However, if no emision results then notwithstanding its illegality, the ’ltikaf is not rendered void. (Hidâyah)

SITUATIONS IN WHICH IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO BREAK I’TIKÂF
It is permissible to break I’tikâf in the following situations:

1. If such a disease emerges during the course of I’tikâf which is not possible to cure except by leaving the masjid, then it is permissible to break the I’tikâf.

2. It is permissible to break I’tikâf and go outside (the masjid) in order to save a person who is drowning or burning or to prevent a fire. (Shâmi)

3. It is permissible to break I’tikâf because of extreme disease which has afflicted one’s parents, wife or children.

4. It is permissible to break I’tikâf if one is compelled to go outside (the masjid), for example, if a warrant of arrest is issued by the government.

5. If a janazah arrives and there is nobody else to perform the Janazah Salâh, then also it is permissible to break the I’tikâf. (Fath‑ul‑Qadir)

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BREAKING I’TIKÂF: RULES OF QADHA

1. If the I’tikâf Masnûn is rendered void for any of the reasons set forth above, then it is wâjib to make qadah only of that day in which the ’ltikaf’ was rendered void. It is not wâjib to make qadah of the full ten days. (Shâmi). The procedure of making qadha of this one day is as follows:

If there is time remaining in that Ramadhân, then one must perform I’tikâf with the niyâh of qadha in that Ramadhân commencing from the setting of the sun of one day until the setting of the sun of the following day. If there is not time in that particular Ramadhân or if it is not possible for any reason to perform I’tikâf therein, then apart from Ramadhân, one can keep fast on any day and perform I’tikâf for one day. On the other hand, if one makes qadah the following Ramadhân this also will be valid. However, there is no guarantee of life and accordingly one must make qadah as quickly as possible.

2. If the I’tikaf Masnun is rendered void, it is not necessary to leave the masjid. But one can continue the I’tikâf for the remainder of the last ten days with niyyah of nafl. In this way, the sunnah al‑Mu’akkadah will not be fulfilled but thawab will be obtained for the nafl I’tikaf. On the other hand, if the I’tikâf was rendered void due to some involuntary mistake, then it is not inconceivable that Allâh Ta’âla may bestow in His infinite mercy the reward of the Masnun I’tikâf of the last ten days. Hence, it is preferable in the case of the breaking of the I’tikâf is broken and to commence a permissible to leave on the day that I’tikaf is broken and to commence a nafl I’tikâf with nafl niyyah the following day.

THE ADAB OF I’TIKAF
In view of the fact that the purpose of I’tikâf it to withdraw oneself from worldly affairs and devote oneself entirely to the remembrance of Allâh, therefore, one must during the course ofI’tikâf avoid unnecessary talk and work. Whatever time one finds, one must spend in performing qadha salâh, nawafil (Salâh), tilawah al‑Qur’ân, and other ‘ibâdah, dhikr and tasbihat. Moreover, the learning and teaching of ‘ilm of dîn, lectures and nasiliat and study of Islâmic books is not only permissible but also a cause of obtaining thawab.

PERMISSIBLE ACTS [MUBAHAT] IN I’TIKAF
The following acts are permissible in the state of I’tikâf

1. Eating and drinking.

2. Necessary transactions of purchase and sale relating to the necessities of life. However, it is not permissible to make the masjid a centre of trade as such. (Qazi Khan)

3. Sleeping.

4. Haircut provided the hair does not fall in the masjid.

5. Talking and conversation, but it is necessary to avoid unnecessary talk. (Shâmi)

6. To contract a Nikâh or other transactions. (al‑Bahr)

7. To change clothes, apply scent and oil. (Kulasatul Fatâwa)

8. To assist a sick person in the masjid, apply bandage or show him a medicine. (Fatâwa Darul Uloom)

9. To give lessons on the Qur’an or ’ilm of Din. (Shâmi)

10. To wash and sew clothes provided that when washing the person remains within the masjid and the water falls outside the masjid. This ruling also applies in the case of washing pots or utensils.

11. To pass wind in the masjid at the time of necessity. (Shâmi)
Moreover, all those actions are permissible in I’tikâf which are not makrûh or render I’tikâf void, and which actions in themselves are halâl.

MAKRUHAT OF I’TIKÂF
The following matters are makrûh in the state of I’tikâf:

1. To adopt complete silence because the adoption of complete silence in the Sharî’ah does not constitute I’tikâf. If one adopts silence with the intention that such silence is I’tikâf, then he will receive the sin of bid’ah. However, there is no objection if one does not regard silence as ibâdah and endeavours to remain silent in order to avoid sin. However, whenever a necessity arises, one must not avoid or abstain from talk. (Durre‑Mukhtâr)

2. To indulge in unnecessary and vain talk; some conversation is permissible in accordance with necessity, but it is obligatory to avoid making the masjid a place of vanities and unnecessary talk. (Minhatul Kaliq)

3. To bring goods of trade and throw them in the masjid.

4. To enclose such area of the masjid for the purpose of I’tikâf that other persons performing I’tikâf or Salâh are caused difficulty or hardship.

5. To charge a fee for writing, or sewing clothes, or teaching on the part of the person performing I’tikâf has been considered as makrûh by the jurists (Al‑Bahr). However, if a person cannot earn to provide for himself for the fasts of the days of I’tikâf without charging such fee, then it is permissible for him to do so on the analogy of sale. (And Allâh knows best).

6. While performing the sunnah to indulge in a makrûh is not correct.

I’TIKÂF MANDHUR
The second type of I’tikâf is I’tikâf Mandhur”, that is, that I’tikâf which a person has made obligatory upon himself by taking a vow [nadhr].
Having regard to the fact that this particular form of I’tikâf is rare in occurrence, only the necessary rules have been set out below. For details, one should refer to the books or jurisprudence or a Mufti.

CATEGORIES OF NADHR AND THEIR LEGAL EFFECT
There are two categories of Nadhr:
(i) Nadlir Mu’ayyan, and
(ii) Nadhr Ghayr Mu’ayyan.
(i) Nadbr Muayyan: this means that the Niyyah of I’tikâf is made for specific day or days or month; for example, a person makes Nadhr that he will perform I’tikâf in the last ten days of Sha’ban. However, if for some reason he cannot keep fasts in these days, then he must make qadah in other days. (Shâmi)
(ii) Nadhr Ghayr Muayyan: this means that no specific month or day is fixed for the performance of I’tikâf; for example, a person makes Nadhr that he will perform I’tikâf for three days. Hence, it will be permissible for him to performI’tikâf in all those days in which it is valid to keep fasts, and accordingly, his Nadhr will be fulfilled if he performs I’tikâf in such days.

NAFL I’TIKAF

1. The third type ofI’tikâf is Nafl I'tikâf. This form of I’tikâf is not subject to time, fasting, day, night ‑ on the contrary, g person will receive the reward of I’tikâf if he enters the masjid with the intention of I’tikâf at any time and for whatever period.

2. In the last ten days of Ramadhân, if a person performs I’tikâf with the requisite intention for less than ten days, then such I’tikâf will be Nafl I’tikâf.

3. If a person goes to the masjid for the purpose of Salâh and at the time of entering (the masjid) formulates an intention to the effect that he will remain in I’tikâf for whatever time he spends in he masjid, then such person will receive the reward of I’tikâf.

4. Nafl I’tikâf remains in force for the period that the person is in the masjid. Upon leaving or emerging from the masjid, this I’tikâf ends.

5. The person performing Nafl I’tikaf should complete I’tikâf for the period or days that he intended to undergo in I’tikâf.

6. However, if he leaves the masjid for some reason prior to completion of the intended period, then he will receive reward for the period he remained in the masjid. For the remaining (that is, uncompleted) period, he is not obliged (that is, it is not wâjib upon him) to make qadah. (Shâmi).

7. If a person, for example, made intention to perform I’tikâf for three days and thereafter upon entering the masjid, he commits an act which breaks his I’tikâf, then in such event his I’tikâf is completed, that is, he will receive the reward for the period he spent in the masjid prior to breaking of his I’tikâf, and furthermore, no qada’ is wâjib upon him (for the uncompleted period). In this event, he may leave the masjid if he wishes, or remain therein by making a new intention of I’tikâf. In such a situation, it is preferable that he completes the period for which he had made the intention of I’tikâf.

I’TIKÂF OF WOMEN

1. The fadilah of I’tikâf is not confined to men; women also can take advantage of it. However, women should not perform I’tikâf in the masjid. Their I’tikâf is only possible in the house. The procedure is as follows:
Women should sit for I’tikâf in that place in the house which has been set aside for Salâh and ‘Ibadah. If no such place has been previously set aside, then a place must be so set aside prior to the commencement of I’tikâf, and I’tikâf must accordingly be performed therein. (Shâmi)

2. If no specific place has been built or set aside in the house for Salâh, and it is not possible for some reason to so build or set aside a place therein, then in such event a woman may at her discretion demarcate any place within the house and perform I’tikâf there. (Âlamghiri)

3. It is necessary for a married woman to obtain the consent of her husband for the purpose of performing I’tikâf. It is not permissible for a woman to perform I’tikâf without the permission of her husband. (Shâmi) However, husbands should not without reason deprive their wives of performing I’tikâf by refusing consent. On the contrary, they should grant consent.

4. If a woman has commenced I’tikâf with the permission of her husband and thereafter he endeavours to prohibit or prevent her from completing same, then he cannot do so. If he succeeds in preventing her, then the woman is not obliged to complete I’tikâf. (Alamghiri)

5. It is necessary for a woman to be free from menstruation and Nifâs in order to perform I’tikâf ‑ that is, she cannot perform I’tikâf in a stage of menstruation and Nifâs.

6. Consequently, a woman should, prior to the commencement of Masnun I’tikâf, determine whether the date of her menstruation will coincide with the period of I’tikâf. If the menstruation is expected to occur towards the end of the last ten days of Ramadhân, then she must not perform Masnun I’tikâf. However, she may perform Nafl I’tikâf for the period until the arrival of her menstruation.

7. If a woman has commenced I’tikâf, and thereafter menstruation commences during the duration of I’tikâf, then it is wâjib upon her to immediately abandon I’tikâf, as soon as her menstruation commences. In such a situation it is wâjib upon her to make qada I’tikâf of only the day in which she abandoned the I’tikâf (as a result of the intervention of menstruation). The procedure of such qadah is as follows:

After the woman becomes pure of such menstruation, she keeps fast on any day and performs I’tikâf. If the days remain in Ramadhân, then she may make qadha in Ramadhân in which case the fast of Ramadhân will be sufficient. However, if Ramadhân has terminated at the time of her becoming pure from such menstruation, then she must thereafter specifically keep fast qadha I’tikâf for one day. (Commentary to Behesti Zewar)

8. The place within the home demarcated by a woman for the purpose of I’tikâf will for the duration thereof fall within the hukm of the masjid. It is not permissible for her to move from such place without a Shar’î necessity. She cannot leave such place and enter any other portion or area of the home. If she does so, her I’tikâf will break.

9. The rules applicable to men relating to moving from the place of I’tikâf are also applicable to women. For those needs and necessities in relation to which it is permissible for men to leave the masjid, it is similarly permissible for women to leave the place of I’tikâf for such needs and necessities. (not Janazah). For those works in relation to which it is permissible for men to leave the masjid, it is similarly permissible for women to leave the place of I’tikâf for such works. Accordingly, women should, prior to commencing I’tikâf, thoroughly acquaint themselves with the rules relating to I’tikâf Masnun which have been discussed earlier under the heading “I’tikâf Masnun”.

10. During the I’tikâf, women may, whilst sitting in their place of I’tikâf indulge in sewing and knitting. They can advise and guide others in regard to matters affecting the home. However, they cannot leave the place demarcated for I’tikâf. Moreover, it is preferable if they concentrate during the I’tikâf on Dhikr, Tasbihat, Tilawat al‑Qur’an and ‘Ibadat. They should not spend too much time on other matters.

Source: Kitaabus Saum - Mufti Afzal Elias

Reflections on Ramadan and EID



Around the world, the Muslim community has completed Ramadan, the month of fasting. Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is terminated with the ceremony of Eid, a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing. The word "Ramadan" comes from the Arabic root word denoting “scorching heat” and "sun-baked ground". Symbolically, Ramadan provides “spiritual heat” with great therapeutic effect, which is soaked up slowly over the whole month by the soul and heart of the fasting person, just as stones soak up the sun's heat.


Heat therapy is increasingly being applied as a medical treatment to remove toxins, cold and other harmful conditions from the body. In a similar manner, the spiritual heat of Ramadan expunges and “dries out” greed, arrogance, lethargy, indifference and other spiritual deficiencies from the soul of man. Viewed from another angle, heat is vital to all manufacturing processes. Metals, plastic, glass, wood, etc. are all moulded into various beneficial products under scorching temperatures. Similarly, figuratively speaking, the heart of man is cast into a beautiful spiritual mould in the heat of the crucible of Ramadan, thereby becoming a wonderful receptacle of good values and noble ideals.

Long term benefits of fasting
Fasting throughout the month of Ramadan, the third of Islam’s five pillars, is compulsory for Muslims. Fasting is not a mindless exercise of torturing the body by remaining hungry and thirsty, but is extremely meaningful and produces great long term benefits for the fasting person. As a whole, people indulge excessively in food, snacking and nibbling the whole day, thereby heading towards weight gain, obesity and health problems. The intake of drinks such is coffee, tea and fizzy or carbonated drinks is also excessive. When one is fasting, strong discipline is exercised and despite mouth-watering food and delicious drinks being readily obtainable, the fasting person cannot even taste these.



Besides regulating the intake of food, some of the benefits of fasting in Ramadan are tabulated as follows:
• Increase in prayers and devotional practices in Ramadan generate a feeling of spiritual awakening, greater God-consciousness and a sense of closeness to the Almighty Lord
• Fasting, which entails abstention from food and drink for the whole day, creates a greater appreciation for the bounty of food and drinks which are easily taken for granted
• Strong self-discipline and control is developed - a direct effect of fasting – which is essential for achieving any of life’s worthy goals and ambitions
• Fasting requires patience – a sublime virtue - which in turn contributes towards the development of tolerance, contentment and good conduct
• Ramadan causes a change in life’s routine, which enforces healthier habits - particularly with regard to diet and consumption, sleeping routine and giving up bad habits, such as smoking
• Because fasting is a collective activity, it creates a universal sense of belonging and cohesion which is vital for social stability and emotional well being

Sympathy for the poor and underprivileged
One of the great benefits of fasting is that a person experiences hunger and thirst first hand, thereby personally identifying with the plight of the hungry and poor. This in turn generates a real and intense degree of sympathy and concern for the poor and needy, who have so little to live on each day. Ramadan is truly a month of charity and sharing with the poor and underprivileged. Fasting galzanises and mobilises people into programs and campaigns of poverty eradication. One who does not from time to time experience hunger and thirst, cannot truly experience what the poor and hungry feel.

Ramadan as an ideal lifestyle altering program
It is significant to note that lifestyle change and inculcation of a new routine only comes about with a sustained program carried out steadfastly and with discipline over a period of time. Change in routine and habit is usually achieved over the duration of a month at least. This brings about the desirable change in routine that is otherwise difficult to achieve. Ramadan – a month long intensive program - provides exactly this opportunity for lifestyle change. Then when the momentum begins to slacken over the year, along comes the next Ramadan to put things back on track, and so the cycle continues year after year. In this way, the benefits of this month, as elucidated above, are retained for most of the year. When the “batteries” begin to weaken and loose charge, again comes the next Ramadan to give a full charge!

The completion of the holy month, is followed by a day of celebration and rejoicing, referred to as the Day of Eid. This is a day of indulgence in good food, fine dress and great socialising with family and friends, but again with much emphasis on sharing with the poor and needy. Muslims who own wealth just above their own basic needs are required to contribute a small but compulsory charity, called “Fitra”, towards the poor before or on the arrival of Eid day, so that they may also participate in the joys and celebrations of Eid, thus reinforcing the concept of social cohesion and brotherhood.

In a sense, the Day of Eid is a huge “graduation” ceremony for the Muslim community who have just successfully completed a grueling month’s workshop in discipline-building and character development, which is the most essential and basic requirement for a successful, fulfilling and prosperous life.

I take this opportunity to wish one and all a joyous and happy Eid. Eid Mubarak!

(Mufti Zubair Bayat is a Durban-based Islamic scholar and the Director of Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre)

(article for MERCURY newspaper p.12 on Friday, 10 September 2010)

Requirements of salaah


Fard Parts in the Prayer

There are fourteen things called the Fard (imperative) parts which have to be fulfilled for the Prayer to be valid and proper. Seven of these are prerequisites which must be fulfilled before the commencement of the Prayer. The other seven, called the pillars of the Prayer, have to be observed during the Prayer.

PREREQUISITES

If any of the following seven prerequisites is ignored, the Prayer will not be deemed to have been performed at all :

1. Cleanliness of Body
The body has to be cleaned of all sorts of impurities, whether these are impurities in effect or impurities in fact, and one must have obtained purity either through Wudu or, if need be, through Ghusl.

2. Cleanliness of Garments
All the garments including even the cap, socks, gloves, etc., that one is wearing or having on one's body must be clean and pure beyond any shadow of a doubt.

3. Cleanliness of Place
The minimum requirement is that the place where one intends to stand and where one's knees, hands and forehead would rest in Sajdah, must be clean, whether it is a piece of plain ground or floor, or a mat, etc., bat one should also avoid standing for the Prayer at a place which is stinking with filth and dirt around it.

4. Covering of Satar
For males it is the part of the body between the navel and the knee, and for females it is the whole body excluding the face, hands and feet. Women should see that the ankles do not remain uncovered.

5. Ascertaining the right time for a Prayer
Each Prayer has to be performed within the time limit prescribed for it. If a Prayer is performed before its time, it will be no Prayer at all, and if it is offered after the time for it has elapsed, it will have to be offered as a missed (Qada) Prayer.

6. Facing the Qibla
If a person performs his Prayer with his face turned towards a direction other than that of the Qibla, unless there is a genuine reason for that, his Prayer will not be deemed to have been performed.

7. Intention
Having the intention in the mind, which may also be expressed with the tongue, to offer a particular Fard Prayer at a prescribed time, or a particular missed Prayer afterwards. For the Sunnat or Nafl Prayers, however, the mention of the time is not necessary. If one is going to offer a Prayer under the leadership of an Imam, one has to express intention to that effect, too.

PILLARS OF PRAYER

These are the pillars or principles which have to observed during the Prayer :

1. Takbir Tahrimah
To begin the Prayer with (Allahu Akbar), (Allahu A'zam) or (Allahu A'la) etc., expressing the greatness and glory of Allah. This is called Takbir Tahrimah because after one has pronounced it, one is forbidden to move about, talk or drink, etc.

2. Qiyam
To stand upright in a Fard or Wajib Prayer at least for so long that one may complete recitation of that much [of a] portion of the Qur'an, which one has to recite as an imperative duty. In the Nafl Prayer, however, Qiyam is not necessary.

3. Qira'at
To recite by heart one verse of the Qur'an, consisting of at least two words, like (Allah-us-Samad). According to Imam Muhammad and Abu Yusuf, one should make it a habit to recite more of the Qur'an, for instance, three short verses or one long verse, though according to Imam Abu Hanifah, one short verse containing at least two words will suffice for the purpose.

Qira'at is obligatory in any two of the rak'ahs of the Fard Prayer, e.g., in the first and second, second and third, third and fourth, or the first and last, but in the Wajib Sunnat, or Nafl Prayer, Qira'at has to be done in all the rak'ahs.

3. Ruku
To bend down to the extent that the hands reach the knees is obligatory once in each rak'ah.

4. Sajdah
To prostrate oneself twice in every rak'ah.

5. Qa'dah Akhirah
To sit in the prescribed way at the end of the last rak'ah of the Prayer for so long that one may complete recitation of Tashahhud.

6. Salam.
To end the prayer with a voluntary action or words not included in the Prayer after one has performed the full Prayer and brought it to completion.

Wajib Parts in the Prayer

These are those essential parts which have to be carried out during the Prayer, and if one of these is missed due to forgetfulness, one has to perform Sajdah Sahv to rectify the mistake. If Sajdah Sahv is not performed, or an essential part if ignored deliberately, the Prayer will be rendered void and will have to be repeated. The essential parts are:

1. To recite a portion of the Qur'an in the first two rak'ahs of the Fard Prayer.

2. To recite Al-fatihah in the first two rak'ahs of the Fard Prayer and in all the rak'ahs of the other Prayers.

3. To recite another Surah or passage containing one long verse or three short verses after Al-Fatihah in the first two rak'ats of the Fard Prayer and in all the rak'ahs of the other Prayers.

4. To recite Al-Fatihah before the other Surah or passage.

5. To observe the sequence in recitation, Ruku, Sajdah and the rak'ahs.

6. To observe Qaumah, i.e. to stand upright after Ruku.

7. To observe Jalsah, i.e. to sit upright between the two Sajdahs.

8. To perform Ruku, and Sajdahs peacefully and with perfect tranquillity.

9. To observe Qa'dah Ula, first sitting for Tashahhud after two rak'ahs in the Prayer consisting of three or four rak'ahs.

10. To recite Tashahhud at least once in the two Qa'dahs.

11. To recite Al-Fatihah and an additional passage (for the lmam) aloud in the two Fard rak'ahs of the Fajr and Jumu'a Prayers and in the first two Fard rak'ahs of the Maghrib and Isha Prayers, and in the 'Id and Taravih Prayers, and to recite it inaudibly in the last rak'ahs of Zuhr, 'Asr, Maghrib and 'Isha' Prayers.
12. To bring the Prayer to completion with salutation: (As-Salamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullah).

13. To raise hands with Takblr for the Qunut and to recite the Qunut in the last rak'ah of the Witr Prayer.

14. To pronounce the additional Takbirs in the 'Id Prayers.

Sunnat Parts in the Prayer

The Holy Prophet observed certain other things in his Prayer besides the Fard and Wajib parts, which though not equal to Fard or Wajib in status, deserve to be observed by Muslims to make their Prayers as much like the Holy Prophet's as possible. If a Sunnat part is missed or ignored, it does not entail Sajdah Sahv, nor does it render the Prayer void. These are 21 in number and are as follows :

1. To raise the hands before Takbir Tahrimah to ear-lobes for males, and to shoulder level for females, though the males may also raise them only to shoulder level in case of a genuine reason.

2. To keep the fingers apart and straight in the natural state at the time of Takbir Tahrimah and to turn the palms towards the Qiblah.

3. To keep the head erect while pronouncing Takbir Tahrimah.

4. To place the hands after Takbir Tahrimah under the navel or on the breast for females.The prescribed way is that the palm of the right hand should be placed over the back of the left hand and the wrist of the left hand should be gripped with the thumb and little finger of the right hand and the three middle fingers spread on the wrist of the left hand, though for the females it is not necessary to grip the left wrist with the thumb and the little finger of the right hand.

5. The Imam has to pronounce all the Takbirs aloud beginning from Takbir Tahrimah for moving from one article of the Prayer to the other.

6. To recite Thana

(Subhanak-Allahumma wa bi-hamdika wa tabarak-asmuka wa ta'ala jadduka wa la-ilaha ghairuk)

7. To pronounce Ta'awwuz:

(A'uzu billahi min-ash-shaitan-ir-rajim)

8. To recite Bismillah before Al-Fatihah in every rak'ah.

9. To recite only Al-Fatihah in the third and fourth rak'ahs of the Fard Prayer.

10. To pronounce Aamin behind the Imam as well as the individual Prayer after finishing Al-Fatihah.

11. To pronounce Thana, Ta'awwuz, Bismillah and Aamin inaudibly.

12. To perform recitation to the extent as prescribed for various Prayers.

13. To pronounce Tasbih (Subhana Rabbi-yal-'Azim) in Ruku and (Subhana Rabbi-yal-A'ala) in Sajdah at least thrice.

14. To keep the head and the back level and aligned in Ruku and to grip the knees with the hands

15. The lmam has to pronounce (Sami-Allahu-li-man hamidah) during Qaumah and the followers (Rabba-na la-kal-Hamd). The person offering the Prayer independently has to pronounce both.

16. To place the knees first on the ground while going down for Sajdah, then the two hands, then the nose and last of all the forehead.

17. To sit on the left foot placed flat on the ground during Jalsah and Qa'dah and to keep the right foot upright in a manner that the tips of the toes are turned towards the Qiblah, and to place the open hands naturally on the thighs.

18. To raise the forefinger of the right hand while pronouncing La Ilaha in Tashahhud.

19. To recite salat in the final Qa'dah after Tashahhud.

20. To recite any of the prescribed supplications after salat.

21. To turn the face first to the right with salutation (As-Salamu 'Alaikum wa rahmat-ullah) and then to the left, over the shoulders.

Mustahabb Parts in the Prayer

These are five in number. They merit reward if observed, but there is no harm if ignored :

1. To take the hands out of the over garment (sheet, blanket, etc.) and raise them to the ears while pronouncing Takbir Tahrimah ; the women, however, should raise the hands from under the over garment to shoulder level.

2. To look during Qiyam at the place where the head would rest in Sajdah, between the two feet during ruku', at the thighs during Qa'dah and at the shoulders in salutation.

3. To pronounce Tasbih more than thrice in Ruku' and Sajdah when praying individually.

4. To avoid coughing as far as possible.

5. To try to keep the mouth closed while yawning, but if unavoidable, to cover the mouth with the right hand during Qiyam and with the back of the left hand in other postures.

THlNGS WHICH RENDER THE PRAYER VOID

These are 18 in number. One must guard one's Prayer against these, and if any of them occurs, the Prayer becomes void and has to be observed afresh:

1. To talk in the Prayer, whether little or much. This may happen in one of the following five ways :

First Case

To talk to another person, or respond to him, whether in one's own language or in Arabic, or in the words of the Qur'an. Instances of responding in the words of the Qur'an are as follows:

(i) To say to a person named Yahya(Ya Yahya Khuz il-Kitab) "O Yahya! Hold your book."

(ii) Or to say to a woman, named Maryam: ' (Ya Maryam-uqnuit li Rabbi-ki wasjudi) "O Mary! carry out the will of Thy Lord, prostrate yourself before Him and bend down in worship with those who bend down."

(iii) Or to ask somebody : (Fa aina tazhabun) "So, where are you going?"

(iv) Or to tell somebody (Iqra'a Kitabak) "Read your book."

(v) Or to express sorrow and sympathy with somebody, saying, (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un) "To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return."

(vi) Or to respond to somebody's sneezing with (Yar hamu-Kallah) "May Allah have mercy on you ."

(vii) Or to express wonder, saying (Subhan-Allah) "Glory be to Allah!"

(viii) Or to express joy at good news, saying (Alhamdu Lillah) "All praise is only due to Allah."

(ix) Or to forbid somebody to do something indecent, saying (Allahu Yahdika) "May Allah guide you to do right."

(x) Or to greet somebody or respond to his greeting.

(xi) Or to respond with Aamin to somebody's invocation outside the Prayer.

(xii) Or to respond with (Jalla Jalaluhu) on hearing Allah's name being mentioned.

(xiii) Or to recite salat on hearing the Holy Prophet's name being mentioned.

(xiv) Or a woman's crying Bismillah on seeing a child fall down etc.

Second Case

To utter a cry with a view to driving away an animal, like a cat or hen, from one's food, drink, etc.

Third Case

To utter an extraneous word or words in one's own language or in Arabic, unless, however, the word or words uttered belong to the Quranic text ; but if the word or words uttered are [of] a person's verbal 'mannerism or habitual sort of utterance, the Prayer will be rendered void even if they belong to the Quranic text.

Fourth Case

To invoke Allah or remember Him, whether in Arabic or in one's own language, unless a prescribed invocation, given in the Qur'an or Hadith, is made inadvertently at a time where it is not meant to be made, but this is not to be made a matter of habit. A prayer expressed to human beings for fulfilment, whether in Arabic or in one's own language, also renders the Prayer void.

Fifth Case

1. To correct a mistake of recitation of another person, whether the other person is reciting the Qur'an in the Prayer or outside it, unless, however, the one committing the mistake of recitation is an Imam and the one correcting him a follower, but if the follower corrects the Imam after looking up the correction in the Qur'an, or after hearing it being correctly recited by another person, his own Prayer will be rendered void, and if the Imam accepts his correction, the Imam's Prayer as well will be rendered void.

2. To recite the Qur'an from the Book instead of from memory.

3. Breaking down of any of the prerequisites or conditions of the Prayer, e.g. losing the state of purity, breaking of Wudu or standing in need of Ghusl; issuing of the menses; or the garments becoming impure or the place of worship; or turning away of the face from the direction of the Qiblah, without a genuine reason; or exposition of sat'ar for so long that one may be able to perform Ruku or Sajdah in the meantime; or losing one's consciousness; or falling into a fit of madness or hysteria; or becoming intoxicated on any account, etc.

4. To ignore or miss one of the Fard parts of the Prayer, intentionally or unintentionally, e.g., forgetting to stand in Qiyam, or perform Ruku or Sajdah; or recite a portion of the Qur'an, etc.

5. To ignore or miss one or more of the Wajib parts of the Prayer deliberately.

6. To ignore or miss one or more of the Wajib parts of the Prayer unintentionally, and failing to perform Sajdah Sahv.

7. To cough unnecessarily without a genuine cause, unless, however, coughing is unavoidable on account of an ailment; or somebody has to cough to clear the throat; or a follower has to warn the Imam of a mistake; or one has to cough to indicate that one is engaged in Prayer, etc.

8. To moan or cry unnecessarily on account of a loss, or suffering or intense pain, etc., unless, it occurs involuntarily due to the fear of Allah, or the fear of the torment of the grave or Hell in the Hereafter or somebody begins to cry under the effect and influence of the Qur'an, etc.

9. To chew or eat something, even if unintentionally, unless somebody swallows a particle of food, less than a grain of gram in size, stuck between the teeth, but even this is not allowed to be done on purpose. One should clean one's mouth thoroughly before standing up for the Prayer.

10. To commit a blunder in the recitation of the Qur'an so as to effect a change in the meaning, e.g., prolonging the sound of 'A' in Allah in Takbir, which renders it to mean: "Is Allah great?"

11. Breaking into laughter by an adult person.

12. To try to read or write somewhere in the front, unless, however, the words are not uttered with the tongue, but only their meaning is perceived.

13. To move about or shift unnecessarily.

14. To repeat an act irrelevant to the Prayer over and over again ; for instance, to set the clothing right, or twist the hair into a plait, or to suckle a baby, etc.

15. Standing of a man and a woman side by side for the Prayer, without a curtain between them, for so long that one may bo able to perform a Ruku, or a Sajdah, in the meantime, unless it is a minor girl towards whom one cannot feel sexually inclined and attracted.

UNDESIRABLE THINGS DURING THE PRAYER

These are the things which do not render the Prayer void, yet make it defective and unsound. These are 28 in number, and one must avoid them scrupulously to make one's prayer worthy of due merit and excellence.

1. Wearing clothes against the established custom and practice. For instance, leaving the wrapper of the over garment hanging from the head on the sides instead of covering the shoulders, etc. with it, or putting the shirt or coat over the shoulders without inserting the arms into the sleeves, etc.

2. Trying to fold the garments to protect them from dust, or shaking off dust from the hands, or blowing off dust or removing pebbles, etc. from the place of Sajdah.

3. Playing with the garments, hair of the beard or head, teeth, or putting the finger into the mouth, or tapping the wrist with fingers during Qiyam, or scratching the body unnecessarily.

4. Offering the Prayer in an undignified dress in which one would not like to come out in the open or sit in a gathering or meeting, for instance, putting on a child's cap or an ordinary straw cap kept in the mosque.

5. Performing the Prayer bare-headed or in an improper dress in the mosque on account of sheer negligence : however, if a person prays bare-headed at home out of humility, there is no harm.

6. Standing up for the Prayer when one is feeling a strong desire for passing stool or urinating or releasing wind.

7. Praying with one's (male's) hair tied up in a knot.

8. Snapping the fingers or intertwining the fingers of one hand with those of the other.

9. Placing one's hands on the hip or back.

10. Turning the face away from the direction of the Qiblah or casting side glances, unless unavoidable and necessary.

11. Resting the forearms up to the elbows on the ground during Sajdah.

12. Turning one's face during the Prayer towards a person who is facing the one praying.

13. Standing of the Imam wholly inside the niche ; if however, he keeps his feet outside the niche and prostrates himself inside it, there is no harm.

14. Yawning deliberately and failing to control it if one could.

15. Praying in garments or on a mat having pictures of animals on them, or in a place where there are pictures of living beings overhead or on the sides.

16. Standing in a back row for a congregational Prayer when there is room for standing in a front row.

17. Responding to somebody's greeting with a gesture of the head or hand.

18. Keeping the eyes closed while praying unless it is done with a view to achieving concentration.

19. Prostrating oneself by touching only the forehead on the ground, or only the nose, or the edge of the cap, or a fold of the turban.

20. Sitting square during the prayer without a genuine reason, or sitting with the hips and hands resting on the ground and knees in contact with the belly and chest.

21. Standing of the Imam or of the followers separately on raised ground, unless unavoidable, if, however, some of the followers stand with the Imam on raised ground, there is no harm.

22. Bending down for Ruku before finishing the recitation properly and trying to complete it in the posture of Ruku.

23 Reciting the Qur'an regardless of the sequence in the various rak'ahs of the Fard Prayer, for instance, reciting Surah Al-lkhlas (112) in the first rak'ah and Surah Al-Lahab (111) in the second rak'ah or reciting two Surahs one after the other, omitting in between a short Surah containing three verses, or reciting a few verses of a Surah in the first rak'ah and then, omitting one or two verses in between, reciting the next few verses in the second rak'ah. Likewise, it is undesirable to recite two Surahs one after the other in the same rak'ah omitting in between one or more. short or long, intermediary Surahs, or recite a longer Surah or passage in the second rak'ah and a shorter one in the first rak'ah, or recite always one and the same Surah in the prayer; however, if one commits an error with regard to sequence due to forgetfulness, there is no harm.

24. Neglecting a sunnat part in the prayer.

25. Raising both the feet off the ground in Sajdah.

26. Counting the verses, Surahs or Tasbihs on the fingers.

27. Stretching the limbs to shake off lethargy.

28. Praying with something pressed in the month, unless it does not obstruct the recitation; if it does, the Prayer will be rendered void.

CASES IN WHICH PRAYER MAY BE BROKEN

1. When the train is going to start and one has children and luggage on board, one may break the prayer.

2. If a snake appears in front, or a scorpion or wasp or other poisonous insect has entered the garments, one must break the prayer, kill the harmful animal or insect first and then resume the prayer.

3. If a cat has appeared and is likely to harm poultry, pigeons or other domestic fowls, it is permissible to break the prayer and drive it away.

4. In case of a danger of material loss, e.g., boiling over of the milk or burning away of a kettle on the fire when a housewife is engaged in prayer; or danger of theft of the umbrella, shoes, or other luggage of a person who has put them in an unsafe place and started the prayer in a mosque; or a woman's remembering that she did not secure the door before standing up for the prayer and there is a likelihood of theft, or a dog, cat or monkey has entered the house and there is a possibility of damage being done to property, etc. However, if one feels that the loss or damage occurring would be negligible, one should complete the prayer and avoid breaking it unnecessarily.

5. If a person feels a strong desire for passing stool or urine, he should break the prayer and relieve himself and then resume the prayer with a fresh Wudu.

6. If there is a danger of a blind person's falling and drowning in a stream, canal or well, it is imperative to give up the prayer and save him. If this is not done and the blind person suffers an injury or loses his life, the one praying will be a sinner and held responsible of negligence.

7. If a person's clothing catches fire, or a baby reaches the edge of the roof and is likely to fall down, or a monkey or ape enters the house and is likely to carry away a baby, or a baby has picked up a sharp knife or blade and is likely to injure itself or somebody else, or there is the danger of a child's being attacked by a thief or robber or enemy or a wild beast, etc. it is imperative to give up the prayer and help save life. If one does not do so, one will be a sinner.

8. If a person's parents or grandparents call him for help in affliction, he must give up even the Fard Prayer and go to help them. If, however, there is somebody else nearby to render help, then one should not break the Fard Prayer, but if one is engaged in a Sunnat or Nafl Prayer, one must break it and attend to them, even if the help needed is of an ordinary nature.

NOTES

1. According to Imam Shafi'i, both the males and the females should raise the hands to shoulder level.

2. According to Abu Da'ud, the Holy Prophet raised his hands up to shoulder level from under his over garment in winter.

3. According to Imam Shafi'i and the Ahl al-Hadith, males also have to place the hands on the breast. However, according to an authentic Tradition reported by 'Alqamah from Wa'il bin Hujr, the latter saw the Holy Prophet with his hands placed under the navel. The Ahl al-Hadith therefore, are not correct in their assertion that placing the hands under the navel is not supported by Hadith. (Al-Qual al Hazim by Allama Farang-i-mahalli).

4. The following supplication is also supported by Hadith:

(Allahumma ba'id baini wa baina khatayaya kama ba'atta bain al-mashriq-i wal-maghrib; Allahumma naqqini min al-khataya kama yunaqqth-thaub ul-abyad-u min ad-danas; Allahumm aghsil khatayaya min-al-ma'i wa-th-thalj-i wal-barad).

"O Allah! keep me away from my sins as is the east from the west. O Allah! purify me from my sins as is a white garment from dirt. O Allah! wash off my sins with water and snow and hail."

According to Imam Abu Yusuf, it is commendable to recite the following invocation:

(Inni wajjaht-u wajhiya lillazi fatar-s-samawat-i wal-arda hanif-am wa ma ana min al-mushrikin. Inna Salati wa nusuki wa zalika umirt-u wa ana awwal-uo-muslimin).

"I have turned my face sincerely towards that Being Who created the heavens and the earth, and I am not from among the idolatrous people. My Salat and my rites of worship and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the universe, Who has no partner with Him. This is what I have been enjoined and I am the first to surrender to Him'.

5. This is according to the Hanafi Imams. Imam Malik also has supported this view in one of his sayings and Imam Shafi'i as well in one of his later pronouncements, though according to Hadith, it is permissible to pronounce Aamin both audibly and inaudibly. It is, therefore, wrong to create schisms owing to this difference of opinion and condemn one another. One may follow and practise either of the ways as both are based on the practice and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet,

6. There is no harm if a person does so once to clean the place.

7. Such things are very common among the people, and need to be avoided carefully by paying full attention to the meaning and praying with due concentration.

8. This is for males. Females have to rest their elbows squarely on the ground during Sajdah.

9. The restrictions of sequence are not applicable to Taravih or other voluntary prayers

Source: everymuslim

Eid Salaat



Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said: "The heart of the person who remains awake (in Ibadat) during the night of Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adhaa will not die on the Day when hearts will be dead, i.e. the Day of Qiyaamah." (TIBRANI) The nights of both Eids, i.e. the nights preceding the Days of Eid, are auspicious occasions which should be observed with reverence and worship. Rasullullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said that these nights are great occasions of Ibadat and of gaining the proximity and special Mercy of Allah Ta'ala. These holy nights, should therefore not be allowed to pass by in idleness. Full advantage should be taken of these opportunities by offering obedience and Ibadat unto Allah Ta'ala to the best of our abilities. Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness for sins), Tilaawa Among the rewards which will be obtained as a result of observing the sanctity of these glorious Eid Nights, the greatest reward is the tiding conveyed to us by Rasullullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) in the abovementioned Hadith, viz., the heart will not be smitten with terror and fear on the Day of (Qiyamah when the upheavals of that Day will be so fearsome that men will appear to be intoxicated.


SUNNATS OF EID

To rise as early as possible (in fact much of this night should be spent in Ibaadat). To make Ghusl.

To use the Miswaak. To apply Itr (Halaal, non-alcoholic perfume). To wear one's best clothes, ensuring that it conforms with Shari?h (sunnah dress). To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for Eid Salaat.

To got to the 'Eid Gah' as early as possible. To give 'Sadaqatul Fitr' before leaving for the Eid Gah. To perform Eid Salaat on the 'Eid Gah' rather than the Masjid. There is no harm for aged and the sick to perform their Eid Salaat in the Masjid. Rain is also an excuse for performing Eid Salaat in the Masjid. To choose a separate route when returning from the Eid Gah. To walk to the Eid Gah. However, there is no harm in using any means of conveyance if the Eid Gah is a distance away. To recite the Takbeer while walking to the Eid Gah.

SOME RULES REGARDING EID SALAAT

A person who joins the Eid Salaat after the Imam has already recited the Eid Takbeers should recite the Takbeers immediately upon entering the Salaat. However, If he enters the Salaat when the Imam is about to go into Ruku and he (the latecomer) fears that he will not he able to join the Imaam in the Ruku if he stands and recites the Takbeers, then he should instead recite the Takbeers in the Ruku, and forgo the Tasbeeh of the Ruku. But, while reciting the Takbeers in the Ruku hands should not be raised as is done when reciting the Takbeer when in Qiyaam (the standing posture of Salaat). If the Imaam emerges from the Ruku and the latecomer has not yet completed the recitation of his Takbeers which he had missed then he should leave off the balance of the Takbeers and join the Imam in emerging from the Ruku. In this case the balance of the Takbeers which he could not complete are waived (Maaf). If someone missed a Rakaat of the Eid Salaat he should fulfil it as follows: After the Imam terminates the Salaat with the Salaams he (the one who missed the Rakaat) should rise and perform one Rakaat on his own, reciting Qiraat, the Takbeers should be recited. The rest of the Rakaat is then completed as usual.

EID SALAAT FORMULA

The Eid Salaat (Eid-ul-Fitr) is performed on the 1st day of Shawaal. It consists of two Rakaats and two Khutbas, and is very much like the Jummu'ah Salaat with a few variations. During Juma Salaat the Khutba precedes the two Rakaats and on Eid day it is in reverse. First comes the two Rakaats of prayer and then the two Khutbas. On the best authority of the Hanafi Imams (R.A.), there are six additional Takbeers (Allah-u-Akbar) for the Eid Salaats. 3 Takbeers in the first Rakaat and 3 Takbeers in the second Rakaat.

FIRST RAKAAT

After everybody has made 'Niyyat' the Imam recites the 'Takbeer-E-Tahreema', (Allah-u-Akbar) and starts the Eid Salaat. Everybody raise their hands to their earlobes and folds them under their navel. Then the imam recites three Takbeers one after the other with brief intervals. (Allah-u-Akbar). We raise our hands and drop them to our sides after the 1st and 2nd Takbeers and after the 3rd Takbeer we place our hands below our navel. The Imam then recites the Surah Fatiha and follows it with any passage from the Quraan. We then proceed into Rukoo and Sijdahs and return for the second Rakaat.

SECOND RAKAAT

The Imam recites the Surah Fatiha and a passage from the Quraan and is now ready for the Rukoo. At this stage just before going into the Rukoo, he recites the remaining 3 Takbeers with brief intervals. We drop our hands each time to our sides. When the Imam recites the 4th Takbeer, we go into Rukoo and then into Sijda. After the Thashahhud and Salaam, remain seated and wait for the Imaam to deliver the Khutbahs.

THE KHUTBAH FORMULA

After the two Rakaats, the Imam rises to deliver his Khutba. It is Sunnah for the Imam to start his first Khutba with 9 Takbeers and the second with 7 Takbeers. He reminds the Muslims of their duties towards Allah, towards themselves and their fellow - men. Eid is a day of happiness and joy. This cannot be fully appreciated if animosity, hatred, old grudges and bygones are left to remain in our hearts.

Source: Jamiat Kzn

What is the status of fasting on the 15th of Shabaan and the 27th of Rajab?

Q: What is the status of fasting on the 15th of Shabaan and the 27th of Rajab?

A:



Regarding the fast on the 27th of Rajab, there is no Sahih Hadith in any of the kitaabs of Hadith to support it. Therefore the fast of the 27th Rajab is not Sunnah and if kept with this belief will be incorrect. Yes, if someone keeps fast on the 27th of Rajab without having the belief that it is Sunnah, this will be acceptable.

Regarding the fast of the 15th of Shabaan, it is reported in Ibn Majah on the authority of Ali (ra) that the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam mentioned: “When the 15th night of Shabaan comes, on that night offer Nafal Salah and keep fast. Although this narration is weak and we cannot conclude that the fast on the 15th of Shabaan is Sunnah, however it can be kept as a measure of precaution and is also advisable due to the other narrations which emphasise the virtues of fasting in the first half of the month of Shabaan but not explicitly on the 15th. Also it is Sunnah to fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month. It is for this reason that the pious observe this fast as an advisable act on the 15th of Shabaan.
Moulana Zakariyya Desai
Iftaa Department, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre

I concur with the answer:
Mufti Shafiq Jakhura
Iftaa Department, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre

I concur with the answer:
Mufti Zubair Bayat
Ameer, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre

Marhaba Ya Ramadan

Assalam-o-Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

As the new moon signals the holy month of Ramadan, I extend warm greetings to our muslims' friend in around the world. All praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of everything that exists. The most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment You (alone) we worship, Guide us to the Straight Way The Way of of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor those who went astray. Ameen

A gentle reminder from the Quran: "Save those who repent and amend and hold fast to Allah and make their religion pure for Allah (only). Those are with the believers. And Allah will bestow on the believers an immense reward Lo! men who surrender unto Allah,and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast
reward." (Al-Ahzaab:35)

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. - [Quran 2:185]

May the coming Ramadan be a month of inspiration filled with imaan and taqwa. May Allah bestow Noor and Baraqah in your life and may Allah always keep you on the straight path. - Ameen

Before the light of our life's been switched off
Before our time has due
Before the repent's door has closed
Before the Ramadan month's has come
Let's clean up ourself
Let's purify our soul

Through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with those in the world who have little to eat every day.

Through increased devotion, Muslims feel closer to their Creator, and recognize that everything good we have in this life is a blessing from Him.

Through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, "A man's wealth is never diminished by charity."

Through self-control, a Muslim practices good manners, good speech, and good habits.

Through family and community gatherings, Muslims strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in their own communities and throughout the world.

For my own reminder I am posting these duas early so we all can start reciting them from day one. Inshallah Or, Inshallah any that you wish.

May Allah swt accept our repentance, fasting, and salah during this month. Ameen

(first 10 days) for seeking Allah (swt) Mercy:
Allahumar-Rahmni, Ya Rahamur Raheemen
O Allah! have mercy on us, you are the merciful and mercy giver

(second 10 days) for seeking Allah (swt) Forgiveness:
Astaqfirul Allah Rabbi min Kulli Dhanbi Wa Atubu Ilayk
O Allah! I seek your forgiveness for my sins and to you I return

(third 10 days) for seeking protection from Hellfire:
Allahuma Ajarni Minan Naar
O Allah! save me from the hellfire

NIYYAH FOR FASTING

It is better if the following niyyah is made:
Transliteration:- Bisaumi ghadin nawaitu min shahri Ramadaan
Translation:- I have the intention to fast tomorrow for the month of
Ramadaan
However niyyah in the heart is enough.

NIYYAH FOR BREAKING FAST (IFTAAR)

Breaking the fast (Iftaar) with dates or water is approved. At the
time of Iftaar recite the following D'ua:

Transliteration: Allaahumma Laka Sumtu Wa 'Alaa Rizqika Aftartu
Translation: Dearest Allaah, I have fasted for Your Pleasure and
broken it with the provisions You have bestowed

O Allah make us and all Muslims of those who fast and stand in prayer during the month of Ramadhan based on belief and truly seeking Your reward so that we are forgiven our past and future sins.
O Allah make us of those who fasted the month, attained full reward, witnessed Layatul-Qadr and attained success by permission of the Lord, Blessed and Most High.
O Allah, verily you are Forgiver, like to forgive, so forgive us.
O Lord, accept from us, verily you are the All-Hearing, all-Seeing, O Living, O Independent, O Owner of all majesty and honor.

And may Allahs blessings and peace be upon Muhammad, his family and his Companions
Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims, but the feelings and lessons we experience should stay with us throughout the year. This piety and devotion is especially felt during Ramadan, but we all must strive to make the feelings and attitude stay with us during our "normal" lives. That is the true goal and test of Ramadan. May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace , and bring us all closer to Allah and to each other. - AMEEN

Eating Sweets before or after a Meal

Is it Sunnah to Eat Sweets before or after a Meal?




A:





During the time of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, the luxury of eating a sweet dish at every meal did not exist. Rather, there were times at which months would go by in which the stove/fire did not burn in the house of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. However, some narrations suggest that at times Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam had dates either before or after the meal. Based on this, having something sweet could be considered to be established at times before, and at times after the meal. However, this is not a regular or emphasized Sunnah or practice of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Shafiq Jakhura
Iftaa Department, Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre


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Sadaqatul Fitr - Q & A

Q) On whom is Sadaqatul Fitr Waajib (compulsory)? A. Sadaqatul Fitr is Waajib on every Muslim who has the value of Nisaab in access of necessities on the day of Eid after subtracting debts.



Q) What is the status of Sadaqatul Fitr, Waajib, Sunnah etc.?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr is Waajib



Q) When is the latest one can discharge Sadaqatul Fitr?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr should be discharged before the Eid Salaah. If one fails to do so it should be discharged as soon as possible.



Q) What is the consequence for those who do not discharge Sadaqatul Fitr?
A. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘the fast remains suspended between the heavens and the earth until Sadaqatul Fitr is discharged.’



Q) What is the position of my Sadaqatul Fitr if I handed it to an organisation that discharged it long after the prescribed time?
A. By giving your Sadaqatul Fitr to an organisation you have appointed them as wakeel (representative) on your behalf to discharge your Fitrah. Your fitrah will only be discharged when the organisation distributes the money. Default from their side will be considered a default on your path. It is thus advisable that you query from the organisation as to when and how they discharge their funds.



Q) To whom can Sadaqatul Fitr be given?
A. Those muslims who are eligible for Zakaat.



Q) I have minor children. Is Sadaqatul Fitr waajib upon them?
A. Yes, Sadaqatul Fitr will have to be discharged on their behalf by the father. If they have their own savings then it could be discharged from their money.

MARRIAGE ON TELEPHONE

Q: A lives in the United States of America. He wants to marry B, a girl living in Karachi. A, for a number of reasons, cannot come to Karachi to marry her, nor B can go to U.S. unless she is proved to be the wife of A. How can A and B contract a valid marriage without meeting each other?

Is it permissible for them under Shariah to contract marriage on telephone by pronouncing offer and acceptance?




A:Nikah (marriage) cannot take place on telephone, because it is a necessary condition for a valid contract of marriage that at least two witnesses should be present at the time of marriage and should witness both offer and acceptance. This necessary condition cannot be fulfilled in a telephone conversation.

However, if A wants to marry B without both being present at one place, he can authorize anyone of his friends or relatives living in Karachi to contract his marriage and appoint him his agent to pronounce offer or acceptance on his behalf. If, for example he selects C to be his agent for this purpose, he should authorize him in the following words:

"I authorize you to contract my marriage with B, daughter of D, on a sum of .... as dower."

Then, at the time of marriage ceremony in presence of at least two male witnesses, the girl may pronounce her offer saying, "I married A, son of E on a sum of .... as dower." If there is a Qadi or a Nikah Khwan duly authorized by the girl, he can also pronounce offer in the following words:

"I gave B, daughter of D in marriage with A on the sum of .... as dower. "

C, the agent of A, will say in reply, "I accepted this marriage on behalf of A.”

The offer can also be initiated by C as an agent of A. In this case he will address B in the following words:

"Being a duly authorized agent of A, I marry A, son of G, to you on a sum of .... as dower.”

In this case B will reply, "I accepted this marriage."

In both cases, it will be a valid contract between A and B, where after they will be treated as husband and wife duly wedded to each other according to Shariah.

THE MONTH OF MUHARRAM By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Qur'an says:

ان عدة الشهور عند الله اثنا عشر شهرا في كتاب الله يوم خلق السموات والأرض منها اربعة حرم

'The number of the months according to Allah is twelve months (mentioned) in the book of Allah on the day in which He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified'.



These four months, according to the authentic traditions are the months of Zulqa'dah, Zulhijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Qur'an are unanimous on this point, because the Holy Prophet e in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, has declared:

السنة اثنا عشر شهرا أربعة حرم، ثلاث متواليات ذوالقعدة، وذوالحجة، والمحرم، ورجب.

One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Zulqa'dah, Zulhijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab.

The specific mention of these four months does not mean that any other month has no sanctity, because the month of Ramadan is admittedly the most sanctified month in the year. But these four months were specifically termed as sanctified months for the simple reason that their sanctity was accepted even by the pagans of Makkah.

In fact, every month, out of the twelve, is originally equal to the other, and there is no inherent sanctity which may be attributed to one of them in comparison to other months. When Allah Almighty chooses a particular time for His special blessings, then it acquires sanctity out of His grace.

Thus, the sanctity of these four months was recognized right from the days of Sayyidna Ibrahim u. Since the Pagans of Makkah attributed themselves to Sayyidna Ibrahim u they observed the sanctity of these four months and despite their frequent tribal battles, they held it unlawful to fight in these months.

In the Shari'ah of our Holy Prophet e the sanctity of these months was upheld and the Holy Qur'an referred to them as the "sanctified months".

The month of Muharram has certain other characteristics peculiar to it which are specified below.

1. Fasting during the month

The Holy Prophet e has said:

أفضل الصيام بعد شهر رمضان شهر الله المحرم

The best fasts after the fasts of Ramadan are those of the month of Muharram.

Although the fasts of the month of Muharram are not obligatory, yet, the one who fasts in these days out of his own will and choice is entitled to a great reward by Allah Almighty. The Hadith cited above signifies that the fasts of the month of Muharram are most rewardable ones among the Nafl fasts i.e. the fasts one observes out of his own choice without being obligatory on him.

The hadith does not mean that the award promised for fasts of Muharram can be achieved only by fasting for the whole month. On the contrary, each fast during this month has merit. Therefore, one should avail of this opportunity as much as he can.

2. The day of 'Ashurah'

Although the month of Muharram is a sanctified month as a whole, yet, the 10th day of Muharram is the most sacred among all its days. The day is Named Ashurah'.

According to the Holy companion Ibn 'Abbas t. The Holy Prophet e , when migrated to Madinah, found that the Jews of Madinah used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram. They said that it was the day on which the Holy Prophet Musa (Moses) u and his followers crossed the Red Sea miraculously and the Pharaoh was drowned in its water. On hearing this from the Jews, the Holy Prophet e said, "We are more closely related to Musa than you" and directed the Muslims to fast on the day of 'Ashura'. (Abu Dawood)

It is also reported in a number of authentic traditions that in the beginning, fasting on the day of 'Ahura' was obligatory for the Muslims. It was later that the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory and the fast on the day of 'Ashura' was made optional. Sayyidah 'A'ishah رضي الله عنها has said:

فلما قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة صامه وأمر بصيامه. فلما فرض رمضان كان هو الفريضة وترك عاشوراء، من شاء صامه ومن شاء تركه ([1])

When the Holy Prophet e came to Madinah, he fasted on the day of 'Ashura' and directed the people to fast it. But when the fasts of Ramadan were made obligatory, the obligation of fasting was confined to Ramadan and the obligatory nature of the fast of 'Ashura' was abandoned, One can fast on this day, if he so wills, or can avoid fasting, if he so wills.

However, the Holy Prophet e used to fast on the day of 'Ashura' even after the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud t reports that the Holy Prophet e preferred the fast of 'Ashura' to the fast of other days and preferred the fast of Ramadan to the fast of 'Ashura'. (Bukhari and Muslim)

In short, it is established through a number of authentic ahadith that fasting on the day of 'Ashura' is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet e and makes one entitled to a great reward.

According to another hadith, it is more advisable that the fast of Ashura should either be prefixed or suffixed by another fast. It means that one should fast two days: the 9th and 10th of Muharram or the 10th and llth of it. The reason of this additional fast as mentioned by the Holy Prophet e is that the Jews used to fast on the day of 'Ashura alone, and the Holy Prophet e wanted to distinguish the Islamic-way of fasting from that of Jews. Therefore, he advised the Muslims to add another fast to that of Ashura'.

Some traditions signify another feature of the day of 'Ashura, According to these traditions one should be more generous to his family by providing more food to them on this day as compared to other days. These traditions are not very authentic according to the science of hadith. Yet, some Scholars like Baihaqi and Ibn Hibban have accepted them as reliable.

What is mentioned above is all that is supported through authentic sources about Ashura. However, there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to Ashura that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources, some very common of them are these:

This is the day in which Adam u was created.

This is the day in which Ibrahim u born.

This is the day in which Allah accepted the repentance of Sayyidna Adam u.

This is the day on which the Qiyamah (dooms-day) will take place.

Whoever takes bath in the day of 'Ashura' will never get ill.

All these and other similar whims and fancies are totally baseless and the traditions referred to in this respect are not worthy of any credit.

Some people take it as Sunnah to prepare a particular type of meal in the day of 'Ashura'. This practice, too, has no basis in the authentic Islamic sources.

Some other people attribute the sanctity of 'Ashura' to the martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain t during his battle with the Syrian army. No doubt, the martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain t is one of the most tragic episodes of our history. Yet, the sanctity of 'Ashura' cannot be ascribed to this event for the simple reason that the sanctity of Ashura' was established during the days of the Holy Prophet e much earlier than the birth of Sayyidna Husain t.

On the contrary, it is one of the merits of Sayyidna Husain that his martyrdom took place on the day of 'Ashura'. Another misconception about the month of Muharram is that it is an evil or unlucky month, for Sayyidna Husain was killed in it. It is for this misconception that people avoid holding marriage ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This is again a baseless concept which is contrary to the express teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah. Such superstitions have been totally negated by the Holy Prophet e. If the death of an eminent person in a particular day renders that day unlucky for all times to come, one can hardly find a day, free from this bad luck, out of 365 days of the whole year, because each and every day has a history of the demise of some eminent person. The Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet e have made us free from such superstitious beliefs, and they should deserve no attention.

Another wrong practice related to this month is to hold the lamentation and mourning ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Sayyidna Husain t As mentioned earlier, the event of Karbala is one of the most tragic events of our history, but the Holy Prophet e has forbidden us from holding the mourning ceremonies on the death of any person. The people of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) used to mourn over their deceased relatives or friends through loud lamentations, by tearing their clothes and by beating their cheeks and chests. The Holy Prophet e stopped the Muslims from doing all this and directed them to observe patience by saying إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون . A number of authentic ahadith are available on the subject. To quote only one of them:

ليس منا من ضرب الخدود، وشق الجيوب، ودعا بدعوة الجاهلية([2])

"He is not from our group who slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and cries in the manner of the people of jahiliyyah."

All the authentic jurists are unanimous on the point that the mourning of this type is absolutely impermissible. Even Sayyidna Husain t shortly before his demise, had advised his beloved sister Sayyidah Zainab رضي الله عنها not to mourn over his death in this manner. He said:

يا أخيه إني أقسم عليك، لا تشقى على جيبا، ولا تخمشي على وجها ولا تدعى بالويل والثبور إن هلكت ([3])

"My dear sister, I swear upon you that you, in case I die, shall not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor curse anyone for me or pray for your death".

It is evident from this advice of Sayyidna Husain t that this type of mourning is condemned even by the blessed person for the memory of whom these mourning ceremonies are held. Every Muslim should avoid this practice and abide by the teachings of the Holy Prophet e and his beloved grand child Sayyidna Husain t.


([1]) سنن ابو داؤد

[2]) ( صحيح البخاري كتاب الجنائز

[3]) ( الكامل، ابن أثير، جلد ٤ صفحه ٢٤

The month of Sha’ban By Mufti Taqi Usmani

The month of Sha`ban is one of the meritorious months for which we find some peculiar instructions in the sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم . It is reported in the authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم used to fast most of the month in Sha‘ban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Sha`ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم through his oral instructions and his practice. Some of these are given below:



1. The blessed Companion Anas رضي الله عنه reports that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم was asked,

"Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Sha`ban in honour of Ramadan." [رواه الترمذي(رقم ٦٦٣) وقال حديث غريب]

2. The blessed Companion Usama ibn Zaid رضي الله عنه reports that he asked the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم:

"Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha`ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month."

The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم replied:

That (Sha`ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe. so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting." [سنن النسائي رقم ٢٣٥٩]

3. Ummul Mu'inineen `Aishah رضي الله عنها says,

"The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم used to fast in the whole of Sha`ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is the month of Sha`ban your most favourite month to fast? He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.'' (رواه أبو يعلى وإسناده حسن الترغيب والترهيب ص ٢٤۰ ج٢)

4. In another Tradition she says, "The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلّم fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha`ban" [صحيح البخارى (رقم ١٩٦٩) وصحيح مسلم (رقم ٢٦٩٦)]

5. In another report she says,

"I never saw the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلّم fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha`ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast al-most the whole of the month. [جامع الترمذي (رقم ٧٣٦)]

6. Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salmah رضي الله عنها says:

"I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha`ban and Ramadan." [جامع الترمذي (رقم ٧٣٦) وقال حديث حسن]

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha`ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم, did not like to miss it.

But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Sha`ban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Sha`ban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in the month of Sha'ban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Sha'ban. That is why the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reports the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم to have said,

“Do not fast after the first half of the month of Sha’ban has gone.” (أخرجه أبو داود فى الصوم رقم ٢٣٢٧ باب كراهية من يصل شعبان برمضان)

According to another report the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم has said:

“Do not precede the month of Ramadan with one or two fasts.” (أخرجه البخارى فى الصوم، باب لا يتقدّم رمضان بصوم يوم ولا يومين)

The gist of the above-quoted ahadith is that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم himself used to fast most of the month of Sha’ban, because he had no apprehension of weakness or weariness before the commencement of Ramadan. As for others, he ordered them not to fast after the 15th of Sha’ban for the fear that they would lose their strength and freshness before Ramadan starts, and would not be able to welcome the month of Ramadan with enthusiasm.

The Night of bara’ah

Another peculiar feature of the month of Shaban is that it consists of a night which is termed in Shari’ah as “Laylatul-bara’ah” (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha’ban. There are certain Traditions of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم to prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special divine mercy. Some of these traditions are quoted as follows.

1. Ummul’Mu’mineen Aisha رضي الله عنها is reported to have said,

“Once the Holy prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم performed the salah of the night (tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he has passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive.) The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah.



أَعُوذُ بِعَفْوِكَ مِنْ عِقَابِكَ وَأَعُوذُ بِرِضَاكَ مِنْ سَخَطِكَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْكَ إِلَيْكَ لاَ أُحْصِي ثَنَاءً عَلَيْكَ، أَنْتَ كَمَا أَثْنَيْتَ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ

“I seek refuge of your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself”

Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his Salah, he said to me: “Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?” I said, “No, O prophet of Allah, but I apprehended that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.” He asked me. “Do you know which night is this?” I said, “Allah and his messenger know best.” He said, “This is the night of the half of Shaban. Allah Almightly looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before," (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice). رواه البيهقي، وقال هذا مرسل جيد (الترٖغيب والترهيب للمنذري ص ٢٣٢ ج٢)

2. In another Tradition Sayyidah `Aishah رضي الله عنها has reported that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم has said,

"Allah Almightly descends (in a manner He best knows it) in the night occurring in the middle of Sha`ban and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibres on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb." (جامع الترمذي، كتاب الصوم حديث ٧٣٩)

Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadith indicates the big number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Almighty.

3. In yet another Tradition, she has reported the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم to have said,

"This is the middle Night of Sha`ban. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Allah, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of womb-relations, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine." [رواه البيهقي (الترغيب والترهيب ص٢٤١ ج٢)]

4. Sayyidna Mu'adh ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه reports that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم has said:

"Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by him in the middle Night of Sha`ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)". [رواه الطبرانيّ وابن حبّان فى صحيحه (الترغيب أيضا)]

Although the chain of narrators of some of these Traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has some merits peculiar to it, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these Traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration.

That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

What should be done in this night?

In order to observe the Night of Bara`ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship:

(a) Salah: Salah is the most preferable act to be performed in this night. There is no particular number of Rak`at but preferably it should not be less than eight. It is also advisable that each part of the salah like qiyam, rukoo’ and sajdah should be longer than normal. The longest surahs of the Holy Qur'an one remembers by heart should be recited in the salah of this night. If someone does not remember the long surahs, he can also recite several short surahs in one rak`ah.

(b) The recitation of the Holy Qur'an is another form of worship, very beneficent in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur'an as he can.

(c) One should also perform dhikr (recitation of the name of Allah) in this night. Particularly the following dhikr is very useful:

سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله اكبر ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم

One should recite Salah (durood) on the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم as many times as he can. The dhikr can also be recited while walking, lying on bed and during other hours of work or leisure.

(d) The best benefit one can draw from the blessings of this night is prayers and supplications. It is hoped that all the prayers in this night will be accepted by our Lord, inshallah. Prayer itself is an `ibadah, and Allah Almighty gives reward on each prayer alongwith the fulfillment of the supplicator's need. Even if the purpose prayed for is not achieved, one cannot be deprived of the reward of the prayer which is sometimes more precious than the mundane benefits he strives for. The prayers and supplications also strengthen one's relation with Allah Almighty which is the main purpose of all kinds and forms of worship.

One can pray for whatever purpose he wishes. But the best supplications are the ones prayed by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم . These are so comprehensive and all-encompassing prayers that all the human needs, both of this world and of the Hereafter, are fully covered in the eloquent expressions used in them. Rather, most of the prophetic prayers are of such miraculous nature that human imagination can hardly reach the magnitude of their perception. Several books in various languages are available which provide these prophetic prayers, and one should pray Allah Almighty in accordance with them, whether by reciting their original Arabic text or by rendering their sense in one's own language.

(e) There are some people who cannot perform any additional Salah or recitations for any reason, like illness or weakness or being engaged in some other necessary activities. Such people also should not leave themselves devoid of the blessings of this night. They should observe the following acts:

(i) To perform the salah of maghrib, `isha' and fair with jama`ah in the mosque, or in their homes in case of their being sick.

(ii) They should keep reciting the dhikr, particularly the one mentioned in para (c) above, in whatever condition they are until they sleep.

(iii) They should pray Allah for their forgiveness and for their other objectives. One can do so even when he is in his bed.

(f) The women during their periods cannot perform salah, nor can they recite the Holy Qur'an, but they can recite any dhikr, tasbeeh durood sharif and can pray Allah for whatever purpose they like in whatever language they wish. They can also recite the Arabic prayers mentioned in the Holy Qur'an or in the hadith with the intention of supplication (and not with the intention of recitation).

(g) According to a hadith, which is relatively less authentic, the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم went in this night to the graveyard of Baqi` where he prayed for the Muslims buried there. On this basis, some of the fuqaha hold it as mustahabb (advisable) in this night to go to the graveyard of the Muslims and recite Fatihah or any other part of the Holy Qur'an, and pray for the dead. But this act is neither obligatory nor should it be performed as regularly as an obligatory act.

What should not be done in this night

1. As mentioned earlier, the Night of Bara`ah is a night in which special blessings are directed towards the Muslims. Therefore, this night should be spent in total submission to Allah Almighty, and one should refrain from all those activities which may displease Allah. Although it is always incumbent upon every Muslim to abstain from sins, yet this abstinence becomes all the more necessary in such nights, because committing sins in this night will amount to responding to divine blessings with disobedience and felony. Such an arrogant attitude can invite nothing but the wrath of Allah. Therefore, one should strictly abstain from all the sins, particularly from those mentioned in the Hadith No. 3 quoted earlier in this article, because these sins make one devoid of the blessings of this night.

2. In this night some people indulge in some activities which they regard as necessary for the celebration of the Night of Bara`ah, like cooking some special type of meal, or illuminating houses or mosques, or improvised structures.

All such activities are not only baseless and innovated in the later days by ignorant people, but in some cases they are pure imitation of some rituals performed by non-Muslim communities. Such imitation in itself is a sin, let alone to perform it in a blessed night like the Night of Bara`ah. The Muslims should strictly abstain from all such activities.

3. Some people spend this night in holding religious meetings and delivering long speeches. Such activities are also not advisable, because these acts can easily be performed in other nights also. This night requires one to spare himself for the pure acts of worship only.

4. The acts of worship like Salah, recitation of the Holy Qur'an and dhikr should be performed in this night individually, not collectively. The Nafl Salah should not be performed in Jam’ah, nor should the Muslims arrange gatherings in the mosques in order to celebrate the night in a collective manner.

On the contrary, this night is meant for worshipping Allah in solitude. It is the time to enjoy the direct contact with the Lord of the Universe, and to devote one's attention to Him and Him alone. These are the precious hours of the night in which nobody should intervene between one and his Lord, and one should turn to Allah with total concentration, not disturbed or intermitted by any one else.

That is why the Holy Prophet observed the acts of worship in this night in total seclusion, not accompanied by anyone, not even by his favourite life companion Sayyidah `Aishah رضي الله عنها , and that is why all forms of the optional worship (Nafl `ibadah), are advised by him to be done in individual, not in collective manner.

Fast of the 15th Sha`ban

On the day immediately following the Night of Bara'ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha`ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. [الترغيب والترهيب للمنذرى ص ٢٤٢، ٢٤٣ ج٢ عن ابن ماجه] Although the scholars of hadith have some doubts in the authenticity of this report, yet it is mentioned earlier that the fasts of the first half of Sha`ban have special merits and the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم used to fast most of the days in Sha`ban. Moreover, a large number of the elders (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th Sha`ban. This constant practice indicates that they have accepted the relevant hadith as authentic.

Therefore, it is advisable to fast the 15th of Shaban as an optional (nafl) fast. One can also keep a fast of qada’ on this day and it is hoped that he can also benefit himself from the merits of this fast.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 06:00

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