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The Fiqh of Fasting: Things That Invalidate Fasting – Part 3

The things that invalidate Fasting

Fasting becomes invalid if any of the following occurs. However, there are actions that break the fast unanimously and there are other cases on which there is a difference of opinions regarding them. Here is the discussion of that!

Fiqh of Fasting: There are actions that break the fast unanimously and others where there is a difference of opinions.

1. Anything that reaches the stomach intentionally

If a person swallows anything intentionally even if it is as little as a seed and whether it is taken through the mouth, the nose, etc., the fast is invalid. However, if a person eats or drinks while forgetting that he or she is fasting, their fast is valid.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If somebody eats something forgetfully while he is fasting, then he should complete his fast, for Allah has made him eat and drink.” [Al-Bukhari]

2. Injection and enema

There are three opinions regarding having injections:

First, they invalidate the fast because they enter the body.

Second, they do not invalidate the fast because they are not put into the body through the mouth. Moreover, they are not used to satisfy hunger or thirst and they are not food or drink.

Third, some scholars differentiate between nutrient injections and other injections. They say that only nutrient injections invalidate the fast.

The preferred opinion is the third one. However, it is better to have injections at night if possible.

As for enemas, Islam Question & Answer website discusses this matter as follows:

Concerning enemas which are given to sick people to counteract constipation, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars. Some say that it does break the fast, based on the fact that everything that reaches inside the digestive tract breaks the fast. And some of them said that it does not break the fast. Among those who said that was Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, who said that this is not food or drink, and it is not like food or drink.

What I think is that we should look at the doctors’ opinions concerning that; if they say that this is like food or drink then it should be classified as such and thus it breaks the fast. If they say that this does not give the body what food and drink give it, then it does not break the fast.

3. Cupping, blood donation and biopsies

There are different opinions regarding cupping and whether it invalidates fasting. Let us look at the most famous proofs related to this issue:

1. ”The cupper and the one for whom cupping is done, both their fasting is broken.”(Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad, Al-Nasa’i’s Al-Sunan Al-Kubra) This is an authentic hadith related through several chains of narrations tracing back to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

2. Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (ﷺ) was cupped while he was in the state of lhram, and also while he was observing a fast. [Al-Bukhari]

3. Narrated Thabit Al-Bunani: Anas bin Malik was asked whether they disliked the cupping for a fasting person. He replied in the negative and said, “Only if it causes weakness.” [Al-Bukhari]

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is of the opinion that cupping invalidates fasting. He used hadith 1 above to support his opinion. In addition, he says that there is a defect in the narration of hadith 2 above and the sound version the following:

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (ﷺ) was cupped while he was fasting. [Al-Bukhari]

On the other hand, the majority of scholars are of the opinion that cupping does not invalidate fasting for hadith 2 and 3 mentioned above. As for hadith 1, the majority’s opinion is that it is abrogated.

There are other interpretations to hadith 1 which help support the majority’s opinion. One interpretation is that it is a specific issue where the persons involved were backbiting people. Thus, they will not be rewarded for their fasting due to backbiting. Cupping has nothing to do with this.

The preferred opinion is that of the majority of scholars. However, it is better to do cupping at night.

Blood donation and biopsies take the same ruling mentioned above.

4. Intentional vomiting

Scholars differentiate between intentional and unintentional vomiting. The opinion of the majority of scholars is that only intentional vomiting invalidates the fast.

The issue is discussed in detail in a previous article (click here).

5. Sexual intercourse

Scholars unanimously agreed that sexual intercourse invalidates the fast. The proofs from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the Consensus of scholars are mentioned in the previous article (click here).

There are some issues related to sexual intercourse:

– Kissing, fondling or embracing one’s spouse

It is allowed for the person observing fasting to kiss, embrace and fondle his or her spouse as long as the spouses are able to control their desires. If the spouses fear that this may lead to having sexual intercourse, then, it is not allowed to continue. In this case, blocking the means to unallowable matter is better because it prevents one from committing an act of disobedience.

There are a number of hadith that support this legal ruling. Here is one of them.

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to kiss (his wives) while fasting and embraced (them) while fasting; but he had the greatest mastery over his desire among you. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) differentiate between the old and the young.

Abdullah ibn Abbas was asked about people kissing while fasting and he said that he allowed it for old men but disapproved of it for young men. (Muwatta’ Malik)

6. Intentional ejaculation or ejaculation while the person is awake

The majority of scholars are of the opinion that intentional ejaculation due to masturbation, fondling, etc. invalidates the fast. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘(The person observing fasting) has abstained from food and drink, and sexual pleasures for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward’. [Al-Bukhari]

However, if the person observing fasting has a wet dream during the day, the fast is valid. There is a consensus of opinion regarding this issue.

On the other hand, if a person has sexual intercourse anytime during the night and they do not have a ritual bath till the time of dawn, the fast is valid. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) (at times) got up in the morning in a state of major ritual impurity, not because of sexual dreams (but on account of intercourse at night), and then observed fast. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

7. Menses, childbirth and postnatal bleeding

There is a consensus of opinion among the scholars that menses or postnatal bleeding invalidates the fast. If any of them occurs during the time of fasting, the fast is invalid.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Isn’t it true that a woman does not pray and does not fast on menstruating?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Mu’adha said: I asked ‘A’isha: What is the reason that a menstruating woman makes up the fasts (that she abandons during her monthly course). but she does not make up the prayers? She (‘A’isha) said: Are you a Haruriya? I said: I am not a Haruriya, but I simply want to inquire. She said: We passed through this (period of menstruation), and we were ordered to make up the fasts, but were not ordered to make up the prayers. (Muslim)

8. Apostasy

Scholars unanimously agree that apostasy, abandonment of Islam, invalidates the fast. Allah says,

“Yet truly it has been revealed to you, O Prophet, and to those of the prophets before you: If ever you were to associate any gods with God, then utterly futile would be all your good works. And, most surely, you yourself would have become among the losers, of an everlasting Paradise.” (Quran 39:65)

 

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The Fiqh of Fasting: Essential Elements of Fasting – Part 2

The Essential Elements of Fasting

These are the mandatory acts that must be observed so that fasting can be valid.

 1. The niyyah (intention)

Fasting in which the intention is not observed is invalid. Allah says,

“though they were not commanded, but to worship (One) God – making the practice of their religion pure and, sincere to Him alone, being ever upright of heart. (Qur’an 98:5)

It has been narrated on the authority of Umar b. al-Khattab that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

The Fiqh of Fasting Essential Elements of Fasting Part 2

The Essential Elements of Fasting are the mandatory acts that must be observed so that fasting can be valid. Read more about them here..

(The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it. A man will be rewarded only for what he intended. The emigration of one who emigrates for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) is for the sake of Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) ; and the emigration of one who emigrates for gaining a worldly advantage or for marrying a woman is for what he has emigrated. [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

When must a person state or confirm the intention of Fasting?

Scholars differentiate between compulsory and voluntary fasting.

The compulsory fasting

The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the person must state the intention of fasting any time during the night until the time of dawn. Thus, if a person states their intention or makes up their mind to fast after the time of dawn, fasting is invalid.

To support their opinion, they used the above mentioned hadith along with the following one:

“Whoever does not form his intention to fast before to fajr (dawn), his fasting will not be accepted.” Related by the five Imams, but At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i consider it to be related by Hafsah and not connected to the Prophet (ﷺ).

In Imām Abū Ḥanīfah’s opinion, it is allowed for a person to intend to fast after dawn and during the day in both voluntary and compulsory fasting as long as they have not had any food or drink.

The voluntary fasting

In voluntary fasting, the majority of scholars say that it is allowed to intend to fast during the day. For example, if a person wakes up in the morning of a certain day, they may intend to fast that day. However, this is only allowed if the person has not eaten, drunk or had sexual intercourse from the time of dawn.

There are a number of hadiths that support this opinion. Here is one of them:

‘A’isha, the Mother of the Believers (Allah be pleased with her), reported:

The Apostle of Allah (ﷺ) came to me one day and said: Is there anything with you (to eat)? I said: No. Thereupon he said: I shall then be fasting. Then he came to us another day and we said: Messenger of Allah, hais (a compound of dates and clarified butter) has been offered to us as a gift. Thereupon he said: Show that to me; I had been fasting since morning. He then ate it. (Saḥīḥ Muslim)

It should also be noted that intending to break one’s fast invalidates it.

2. Abstaining from food and drink

It is agreed upon that eating or drinking intentionally breaks one’s fast. There are proofs from the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Consensus that indicate that the person observing fasting is not allowed to eat or drink from dawn to sunset. Allah says,

“Moreover, you may “now” eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes clear to you, as distinguished, from the black thread “of night”. Then complete the fast until the night” (Qur’an 2:187)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If one does not eschew lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.” [Al-Bukhari]

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘(The person observing fasting) has abstained from food and drink, and sexual pleasures for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward’.” [Al-Bukhari]

The consensus among the Muslim scholars is that intentional eating and drinking during the time of fasting invalidates it.

3. Abstaining from sexual intercourse

The person observing fasting must also abstain from having sexual intercourse during their fast. There are proofs supporting this ruling from the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Consensus. Allah says,

“Permitted for you (believers), on the night of the fast is intimate approach to your wives. They are a garment for you. And you are a garment for them. God knows that (before granting this permission), you used to betray yourselves. Thus He has granted you repentance (for what is past), and pardoned you. So now you may lie with them and seek whatever (offspring) God has decreed for you…” (Qur’an 2:187)

Narrated Abu Huraira: A person had sexual relation with his wife in the month of Ramadan (while he was fasting), and he came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) seeking his verdict concerning that action. The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to him), “Can you afford to manumit a slave?” The man said, “No.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Can you fast for two successive months?” He said, “No.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Then feed sixty poor persons.” [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

As for the Consensus, Imam al-Nawawi (may Allah shower him with His mercy) said, “The Muslim nation have reached a consensus that having a sexual intercourse is prohibited for the person observing fasting and on the invalidity of their fast.

4. Abstaining from intentional vomiting

Islam Question & Answer website discusses this issue as follows:

Vomiting refers to when food etc. is expelled from the stomach outside the body. With regard to whether this breaks the fast or not, the ruling depends on whether it was done deliberately or not. If a person vomits deliberately, this breaks the fast and he has to make up that day. If he cannot help vomiting and vomits involuntarily, then his fast is still valid and he does not have to do anything else.

If a person needs to vomit because he is sick and vomiting will help him to recover, then it is permissible for him to do that, but he has to make up that day after Ramadan, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days” [Qur’an 2:185]

According to the correct scholarly view, it makes no difference whether the amount of vomit is great or small. If a person vomits deliberately and only a small amount comes out, the fast is broken. It says in al-Furoo’: If a person makes himself vomit and vomits anything, then his fast is broken, because of the report of Abu Hurayrah: “Whoever cannot help vomiting does not have to do anything but whoever makes himself vomit deliberately has to make up that day.” Al-Furoo’, 3/49. This hadeeth was narrated by Abu Dawood, 2380; al-Tirmidhi, 720 – he said the scholars follow this. It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

But there is a difference between spitting and vomiting. Spitting and hawking etc do not come from the stomach, so there is nothing wrong with expelling that matter. But vomiting comes from the stomach as explained above.

And Allah knows best.

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The Fiqh of Fasting: Definition and Prerequisites – Part 1

Definition of the Sawm or Siyam

Sawm or Siyam (fasting) means in language to abstain from something.

Maryam (Mary) (peace be upon her) said,

“Indeed, I have vowed a fast to the All-Merciful. Thus, I shall not speak today to any human being.” (Qurʾan 19:26)

In the legal usage of the term, fasting means to abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset.

Fasting

In the legal usage of the term, fasting means to abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset.

This must be accompanied by the niyyah, intention.1he great commentator Al-Qurṭubī, the author of Al-jamiʿ lī Aḥkam Al-Qurʾan, adds to this definition that the perfect and complete Fasting is that in which acts of disobedience are avoided and acts of worship are maintained.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If one does not eschew lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.” [Al-Bukharī].

Observing the niyyah here means that you observe fasting as an act of worship only for the sake of Allah and out of obedience to Allah.

The legal ruling regarding fasting the month of Ramaḍan:

It is obligatory to fast the month of Ramadan according to the Qurʾan, the Sunnah and the Consensus.

Allah says:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those (who have believed) before you, so that you may be (ever) God-fearing. … So whoever among you bears witness to the month shall then fast it.” (Qurʾan 2: 183-185)

On the authority of ʿAbdullahh, the son of ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭab (ra), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) says, “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramaḍan.” [Al-Bukharī and Muslim]

There is a consensus among all Muslim scholars that fasting Ramadan is obligatory.

The prerequisites for the obligation of fasting:

There are four prerequisites:

1- Islam

If non-Muslims fast or do any act of worship, it will not be accepted. Allah says,

“Yet truly it has been revealed to you, O Prophet, and to those of the prophets before you: If ever you were to associate any gods with God, then utterly futile would be all your good works. And, most surely, you yourself would have become among the losers, of an everlasting Paradise.” (Qurʾan 39:65)

ʿAʾisha reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, the son of Judʿan established ties of relationship, fed the poor. Would that be of any avail to him? He said: It would be of no avail to him as he did not ever say: O my Lord, pardon my sins on the Day of Resurrection. (Saḥīḥ Muslim)

2- Reaching puberty:

This is the second prerequisite. In Islam, there are three signs that denote a certain person has reached puberty.

  1. The first wet dream and menstruation

There is an agreement among scholars on only one of these signs which is having the first wet dream for boys and the first menstruation for girls. This is the most authentic sign.

  1. being 15 years old (only lunar years are used here)

Some scholars hold the opinion that if a person is 15 lunar years old, he or she is an adult who is obliged to fast and do other acts of worship.

However, the first sign is the most famous among the scholars.

What is the legal ruling regarding the child who fasts? 

If the child fasts, his or her fast is valid and acceptable. In addition, he and his or her parents will be rewarded. So, it is recommended for the children to train and learn to fast before they reach the age of puberty but it is not obligatory.

Narrated Al-Rubayiʿ bint Muʿawadh: “The Prophet (ﷺ) sent a messenger to the village of the AnSar in the morning of the day of ʿAshuraʾ (10th of Muḥarram) to announce: ‘Whoever has eaten something should not eat but complete the fast, and whoever is observing the fast should complete it.’ “She further said, “Since then we used to fast on that day regularly and also make our boys fast. We used to make toys of wool for the boys and if anyone of them cried for, he was given those toys till it was the time of the breaking of the fast.” (Saḥīḥ  al-Bukharī)

3- Sanity

An insane person cannot be asked to perform any act of worship because they cannot understand the Shariʿa address. Narrated Alī ibn Abū Ṭalib: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: There are three (persons) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and a lunatic till he comes to reason. (Related by Al-Nasaʾī, Abū Dawūd and Ibn Majah)

4- Ability

In addition to the three prerequisites mentioned above, fasting is only obligatory if the person has the ability to observe it. Allah says:

“God does not task a soul beyond its capacity.” (Qurʾan 2:286)

—————————

Read also:

The Best 10 Virtues of Fasting in Islam: What Are They?
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Juristic Rulings on Congregational Prayer Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Editorial Staff

The spread of the novel coronavirus (covid-19) has affected people’s lives worldwide. In their attempt to limit the spread of the virus, governments are banning public gatherings. The outbreak of the virus has led to the suspension of congregational prayer including the Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) at mosques in most countries.

However, family members still have the opportunity to perform prayer in congregation at home. This article will address this recent juristic issue.

“The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.”

The General Ruling on Congregational Prayer

Scholars have divergent opinions regarding the legal ruling of congregational prayer. It is highly recommend according to the majority of the shafi’i and maliki scholars. On the other hand, the hanbali scholars hold the opinion that it is compulsory. The following hadith may serve as evidence for the first opinion.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The congregational prayer is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As for the second opinion, there is evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah to support it. Allah says,

…and you shall bow (to God in Prayer) along with those who bow (to Him). (Quran 2:43)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

A blind man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have no one to guide me to the mosque”. He, therefore, sought his permission to perform Salah (prayer) in his house. He (ﷺ) granted him permission. When the man turned away, he called him back, and said, “Do you hear the Adhan (call to prayer)?” He replied in the affirmative. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) then commanded him to respond to it. (Muslim)

Suspension of Congregational Prayer during the Pandemic

Today, there is an exceptional situation which requires a new legal ruling. Since covid-19 is highly contagious, it is allowed to suspend congregational acts of worship especially prayer.

In fact, scholars have mentioned a good number of legal excuses that allow a person not to perform prayer at the mosque. The fear that harm can befall oneself, one’s property or one’s honor is one of these excuses. This includes the fear to contract covid-19 or pass it to others. In this situation the fear has prevailed. So, it is right to suspend the congregational prayer at mosques. Narrated Hudhaifa:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to us), “List the names of those people who have announced that they are Muslims.” So, we listed one thousand and five hundred men. Then we wondered, “Should we be afraid (of infidels) although we are one thousand and five hundred in number?” No doubt, we witnessed ourselves being afflicted with such bad trials that one would have to offer the prayer alone in fear. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In addition, the general juristic rule is that the repelling of harm takes presence over the procurement of good.

There are a few countries where people can still perform prayer at mosques. They have taken different precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Although people can attend the congregational prayer at mosques, everyone must keep a space between himself and the person next to him. Other precautions include avoiding shaking hands, using private prayer mat, allowing a few number to attend, etc. If covid-19 did not spread easily in closed spaces, such measures might be a good solution.

How to Perform Congregational Prayer at Home?

If you live in a country where the congregational prayers are suspended, you can perform them with your family members. In this way, you can get the reward of performing prayers in congregation.

As for the Jumu’ah prayer, there is a substitute for it i.e. the Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer. The preferred opinion is that Jumu’ah may not be performed at home.

Besides, you may not follow the imam in prayer through broadcast while you are at home. This is by no means in accordance with the prerequisites of congregational prayer.

Who may be the imam?

According to the majority of scholars, youngsters may lead the prayer in presence of the older family members. This is especially recommended if youngsters are more knowledgeable about recitation of the Quran and the rulings of prayer. If the older members are more knowledgeable, it is better that they lead the prayer.

A male person can lead both men and women. On the other hand, a female person may lead only females.

 

 

 

In case there is a father and a son, one of them can lead the prayer with the other following him while standing next to him on his right side.

Second, if the family members are three or more males, one of them can be the imam while the others standing behind him in a row.

Third, the family members may be one male and one female such as husband and a wife, a son and his mother, a father and his daughter, etc. Here, the male must be the imam and the female follows him in prayer while standing behind him.

Fourth, in case there are two males and one female, one of the two males may be the imam and the other male stands next to him on his right side. As for the female, she stands behind the imam.

Fifth, if there are three or more males and one female or more, one of the males can lead the prayer. The other two or more males stand behind him in a row. Then, the female stands behind the row alone. In case there are two or more females, they stand in a row behind the row/rows of the males.

Sixth, the family members may all be females. In this case one of them can lead the prayer. The more knowledgeable one in this regard is the best. However, according to the majority of scholars, the female imam stands in the middle of the first row among other women and girls.

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How to Perform Prayer When You have a Legal Excuse?

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Legal excuses include sickness, travel, and the fear that one cannot establish prayer as completely as those without excuses. The Lawgiver[i] has lightened the hardship for the excused Muslims and ordered them to perform prayer as much as they can. This ruling shows the ease and relief intended for Muslims in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law), as it always eliminates hardships. Allah says:

“…it is He (alone) who has chosen you (for this faith) – nor has He placed on you any (undue) strain in (your) religion.” (Quran 22:78)

“…God intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (Quran 2:185)

“God does not task a soul beyond its capacity.” (Quran 2:286)

“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers).” (Quran 64:16)

Moreover, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

“If I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

These are just a few examples of the many legal texts that indicate the favor of Allah upon His servants. Moreover,  they Allah has granted us ease in whatever He ordained for us. Among the things made easy for Muslims is the prayer of the persons with excuses of sickness, travel, or fear.

Sickness as a Legal Excuse

Prayer enjoys a great importance in Islam and a Muslim must establish prayer whether he is healthy or sick.

Performing prayer while sitting

Prayer is not to be abandoned under any circumstances. The Muslim patient must perform prayer standing if he can. Also, he or she may lean on a stick, or the like, if he needs this. For the related legal maxim states, “The means to fulfill an obligation are to be considered obligatory.” A Muslim patient may sit in prayer if he or she cannot stand due to one of the following reasons (or the like):

If he or she

  • is unable to stand
  • find it really hard to stand
  • fears that standing will make his or her condition even worse or delay recovery

So, the inability of a Muslim patient to stand in prayer is not a condition of the permissibility to sit in prayer. On the contrary, little difficulty is not a legal excuse to sit in prayer. Only real difficulty is considered in this respect.

Scholars unanimously agree that if a Muslim person is unable to stand in obligatory prayer, it is permissible for him to sit. Moreover, there is no need for him to perform that prayer again when he or she gets well. The reward for such prayer does not decrease.

The way a person sits is to be according to the way he desires, for the Lawgiver does not ordain a specific way of sitting (for the patient). So in whatever manner he or she sits, it is permissible.

Performing Prayer while lying

If a Muslim patient cannot sit in prayer and it causes him a real difficulty to sit, then it is permissible for him to lie on his side facing the qiblah[ii]. It is desirable for him in this case to lie on his right side.

In case there is no one to help him face the qiblah and he cannot face it himself, then it is permissible for him to perform prayer facing whatever direction he can face. In addition, if a Muslim patient cannot lie on his side in prayer, he or she may lie on his back, making his legs face the qiblah if possible.

If you cannot prostrate, then it is sufficient for you to beckon bowing and prostration with your head. You should make your head a bit lower to beckon prostration than in bowing. However, if you can prostrate, it is obligatory for you to prostrate and it is not sufficient then to beckon prostration with your head.

The proof of the legal permission detailed previously is the hadith related by Al-Bukhari and the Compilers of Sunan on the authority of Imran Ibn Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) who narrated:

I had hemorrhoids, so I asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) how I could perform prayer. He replied, ‘Perform prayer while standing and if you cannot, perform it while sitting and if you cannot do (even) that, then perform it lying on your side.’  (Al-Bukhari)

An-Nasafi added in his narration that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

” ..And if you cannot, perform prayer lying on your back.”

In addition, Allah says:

“God does not task a soul beyond its capacity.” (Quran 2:286)

Prayer Must not be Postponed

Here, we should draw the attention to those Muslims who give up prayer when they are sick or when they have had surgical operations. They may claim that they cannot perform the acts of prayer properly or perform ablution, or their clothes are impure or any other excuses. Such people commit a big mistake since a Muslim is not permitted to give up prayer. It does not matter if you cannot perform some of its conditions, integral parts, or obligations. In such case, you must perform prayer as much as you can. Allah says:

“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers). (Quran 64:16)

Having a Legal Excuse during the Prayer

The aforementioned legal rulings concern whoever has a legal excuse from the beginning of prayer until its end. However, there are some cases in which a Muslim may have a legal excuse for only a part of his prayer such as:

One may start prayer when one is

  • standing and then feels that one cannot stand anymore while performing it.
  • not able to stand and then feels that one can stand while performing it.
  • sitting and then feels that one cannot sit anymore while performing it.
  • lying on one’s side and then one feels that one can sit.

In such cases, one must shift to the position that legally suits one’s ability and it is obligatory then to complete one’s prayer in this state. This is because Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers).” (Quran 64:16)

Thus, one is to shift to the standing posture when one is able, and one is to shift to the sitting posture when one is unable to stand, and so on. If one is able to stand and sit but cannot bow or prostrate, one is to beckon bowing with one’s head while standing, and beckon prostration with one’s head while sitting to make a difference (between bowing and prostration) as much as one can.

Following the Doctor’s advice regardless of Ability

A Muslim patient is permitted to perform prayer lying on his back though he is able to stand if a trustworthy Muslim doctor tells him to do so. The doctor knows about the patient’s condition and what may affect it badly. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed prayer while sitting when the right side of his body was injured. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Also, Umm Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) did not prostrate in her prayer when she suffered from ophthalmia. (Ibn Abu Shaibah and Al-Bahaqi)

Conclusion

Prayer enjoys a great importance in Islam and a Muslim must establish prayer whether he is healthy or sick, as a patient is not legally excused to give up prayer, but rather, it is obligatory upon him to perform it in whatever condition. So, a Muslim must establish prayer as Allah, Exalted be He, has ordained. We invoke Allah to guide us to what satisfies Him.


[i] The lawgiver of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) is Allah, Exalted be he; the term can also refer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as he only ordained what Allah revealed to him.

[ii] The qiblah: the direction of Prayer, namely, towards the Ka’bah.

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

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How to Avoid Minor Shirk?

Transcribed by Editorial Staff

Bism-illah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim.

Al-Hamd li-llah Rabb Al-‘Alamin.

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh!

This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with New Muslim Bites. This is session number four and this is part two of our talk on Shirk. If you remember last time, we were talking about Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar which is the Major Shirk.

And today we’re going to talk a little bit about the different types of Minor Shirk. Remember this is just a bite. This is only very briefly going over the surface of this subject. It certainly isn’t meant to be in-depth or anything like that. so please remember this!

Shirk Al-Akbar

Shirk Al-Akbar, the Big Shirk, the Major Shirk, is relatively easy to deal with because it’s very, very obvious. We know that we don’t bow down to statues. We know that we don’t worship other people or other gods other than Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).

 

Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar

The Shirk Al-Asghar, the Minor Shirk, is the one that is much more dangerous because it’s minor; it’s hidden. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“O people! Fear Shirk because it’s more hidden than the creeping of an ant.”

And the people asked, “How do we avoid it?” And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“You say; you make du’a’, ‘O Allah! We seek refuge in you from knowingly committing Shirk and ask forgiveness from you for what we do not know about.’” (Musnad Ahmad)

Examples of Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar

So, the first step, of course, here, is learning what Shirk Al-Asghar or Minor Shirk actually is. Now, if you come from an English background, I think probably pretty much any background, we’ve grown up with so much Shirk. But we can’t though even know them.

All the charms and the omens like charm bracelets, all cultures have this type of stuff: black cats crossing front of the road and seeing one magpie is meant to be, the same aye aye captain and this rhyme. And my mum was an absolute stickler. If you ever dare to put new shoes on the table, she would go crazy. “Don’t ever put new shoes on the table. It’s bad luck.”

Now, some cultures use amulets which are meant to provide safety and security. And you know, keepers protected against things. So, for example, in Egypt, I remember , they had this like a hand, things called the hand of Fatima and this is an amulet and you’re meant to wear it. It gives you protection.

And I know a lot of Asians, Pakistanis, Indians use what’s called taweez which is like an amulet that they put on like a string in a leather pouch. And it’s meant to provide protection.

Evidence that These Examples are Shirk

Now, all these things in Islam are Shirk Al-Asghar. They are a form of Shirk. And they’re things that we should avoid completely. It’s very, very logical and also many hadith. Something of the Quran, of course, confirms this.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once was approached by some men who wanted to pledge allegiance to him. And he actually refused the allegiance of one of the guys until he removed an amulet that he was wearing underneath his clothes. Saying,

“Whoever wears a talisman has committed Shirk.” (Musnad Ahmad)

And, of course, in order to become Muslim you have to not be committing Shirk because believing in the one God and worshiping the one God is part of our Islam; is part of being Muslim.

Now like I said before, many Muslims wear these, what is called Ta’aweez or an amulet to protect themselves thinking that this is going to protect them. And thinking because it contains an Arabic or some part of the Quran that it’s okay.

Now, the first logical thing here against doing this is that the question we always ask is, “Was this something that was practiced by the Prophet (peace be upon him) or by his Companions?”

And the answer to that is, “Not only no it wasn’t. It was something that the amulet we were told by the Prophet (peace be upon him) that we don’t do this.”

Protection Comes from Allah

Now, the whole essence of Tawheed, believing in the oneness of Allah, is that we believe truly with our hearts that protection comes from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). And yes, the Quran is a protection and we have verses from the Quran that we can recite, but the protection through that comes from Allah.

And so, for example, it’s a Sunnah to recite. When Surat Al-Baqarah is recited in a house, then, the Shaitan can’t enter that house. But, of course, that protection comes from Allah. It doesn’t come from the Quran itself; it comes from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).

Now, I guess wearing the Quran in a way is like if you have a headache. What are you going to do with the painkiller, with the paracetamol that you go get from Tesco’s or Morrison’s or whatever? What are you going to do with the paracetamol when you have a headache? Are you going to wear it around your neck or are you going to eat it and let it work in your whole body? You’re going to eat it and let it work in your whole body, of course.

So, thinking that wearing Ayat Al-Kursi or a part of the Quran is going to protect you? No, the protection from Allah comes from living the Quran, learning the essence of the Quran and how to live it and how to get close to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). Then, when we’re close to Allah we get His love. And when we get that love we will get protection from Him. And this is in a hadith qudsi, which means a hadith that is related by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Islam is a Very Logical Way of Life

So, we have to put faith in our Creator not in an object because an object has no power. Islam is very, very logical. That’s one of the main reasons why I became Muslim because it was truthful and it was logical.

 

As Muslims, we have a direct line between ourselves and Allah. We pray directly. We don’t need Saints, we don’t need asking dead people and visiting graves, we don’t need fortune tellers, we don’t need anything like this. Why? Because we trust Allah. I mean let’s think about this logically. I know some Muslims visit graves and ask dead people to pray for them. Logically, if that was something in Islam, surely, wouldn’t the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and us be going to the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asking him to intercede?

But we don’t because it was something that was forbidden and something that’s not allowed. So, why we go to these graves and do this? I have no idea but it’s something that’s definitely not something Islamic.

 

So, we trust Allah only. And I’m just going to end up with very, very quick and verse from the Quran. From Surah 27, verse 65 and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

“None in the heavens or the earth knows the Unseen except Allah.” (Quran 27:65)

So, only Allah knows our future, only Allah knows what’s going to happen to us, and only Allah is the Protector. And on that beautiful note from the Quran, I will say,

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Next time, we are going to be looking into the Books of Allah.

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Everything about Combining Prayers

By Editorial Staff

Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) is practical enough to suit every Muslim. There is no room for hardship or strain because of the flexibility that is there in it. An example of this is combining the Salah (Prayer) which this article will discuss.

The main legal ruling is that every prayer has an allocated time for performance. Here, there are two things. One thing is that a good number of Muslims perform every prayer at the very beginning of its specified time at mosques. The second thing is that many people have legal excuses which may prevent them from performing prayer at its time or at the mosque.

In fact, travel is one of the main legal excuses which allow a Muslim to combine and shorten Prayers. Other important reasons may include fear, sickness, heavy rain, snow, etc.

Travel is one of the main legal excuses which allow a Muslim to combine and shorten Prayers.

The Definition and the Legal Ruling

Combining Prayers means to perform the Dhuhr (Noon) and ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayers at either of the specified time for both of them, namely, whether to perform them at the time of Dhuhr or at the time of ‘Asr. Likewise, you may combine the Maghrib (Sunset) and ‘Isha (Evening) Prayers at either of the specified time for both of them.

The majority of scholars believe that it is permissible to combine only two Prayers, whether Dhuhr with ‘Asr or Maghrib with ‘Isha, at the time of the former or the latter. However, some others think it is reprehensible to perform the two prayers at the time of the former especially for Maghrib and ‘Isha.

On the other hand, Hanbali scholars are of the opinion that it is not permissible to combine the Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer with the ‘Asr Prayer. However, it is apparently permissible because the Jumu’ah prayer is a substitute for Dhuhr prayer. Moreover, combining prayers are allowed for the sake of facilitation.

Evidence of the Permissibility

Anas b. Malik reported:

When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) set out on a journey before the sun declined (from the meridian), he delayed the Noon prayer till the Afternoon prayer, and then dismounted (his ride) and combined them (Noon and Afternoon prayers), but if the sun had declined before his setting out on a journey, he observed the Noon prayer and then mounted (the ride). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith supports the opinion that you may not combine two prayers before setting off for a journey.

Another proof which may seem conflicting

‘Abdullah b. Shaqiq reported:

Ibn ‘Abbas one day addressed us in the afternoon (after the Afternoon prayer) till the sun disappeared and the stars appeared, and the people began to say: Prayer, prayer.

A person from Banu Tamim came there. He neither slackened nor turned away, but (continued crying): Prayer, prayer.

Ibn ‘Abbas said: May you be deprived of your mother, do you teach me Sunnah? And then he said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) combining the Noon and Afternoon prayers and the Sunset and Evening prayers.

‘Abdullah b. Shaqiq said: Some doubt was created in my mind about it. So I came to Abu Huraira and asked him (about it) and he testified his assertion. (Muslim)

In another narration, Ibn ‘Abbas reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed the Noon and Afternoon prayers together, and the Sunset and Evening prayers together without being in a state of fear or in a state of journey. (Muslim)

Zaidiyyah, one of the Shia sects, act always according to this hadith and combine prayers without any legal excuse. To do this means to neglect the other authentic legal texts. Consider, for example, the following verse. Allah says,

“…Indeed, the Prayer is (a) prescribed (obligation) for the believers at the (well-known) appointed times.” (Quran 4:103)

That’s why some scholars find this hadith equivocal because it seems to allow a person to combine prayers without any legal excuses such as travel, fear, sickness, etc.

To reconcile, Scholars mention the following explanations:

1. Some scholars believe that combining Prayers in this hadith is nominal. This means Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed Dhuhr Prayer at the end of its time and performed ‘Asr Prayer at the beginning of its time. This explanation is related in Sahih Muslim after one of the relevant narrations.

2. Another opinion is that this hadith is Shadh (anomalous) or abrogated.

3. A third opinion allows acting according to this hadith only in cases of necessity. For example, if a person cannot perform prayer before the expiration of its time due to exams or operations etc. he or she can combine Prayers.

4. A further opinion states that you may sometimes act according to this hadith, namely, to combine prayer without excuse out of emulation of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

5. Lastly, some scholars interpret this part of the hadith (without being in a state of fear or in a state of journey) to mean that they are not the only excuses. There may be other excuses which made Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) combine prayers.

May a traveller combine Prayers for one or two days after reaching his or her destination?

So long as a traveller is still on his way to a certain place, he or she may combine Prayers. However, after reaching his or her destination, may he or she continue to combine Prayers?

There are two opinions. The first opinion is that it is apparently permissible to continue combining Prayers after you arrive in your destination. Mu’adh b. Jabal reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) combined in the expedition to Tabuk the Noon prayer with the Afternoon prayer and the Sunset prayer with the Evening prayer.

He (one of the narrators) said: What prompted him to do that? He (Mu’adh) replied that he (the Holy Prophet) wanted that his Ummah should not be put to (unnecessary) hardship. (Muslim)

On the other hand, the second opinion is that it is recommended and more preferred to perform every prayer at its specified time. While performing Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah), Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) shortened prayer in Mina on the day of tarwiyah, the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, and the days of Tashriq, the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul-Hijjah. However, He did not combine Prayers on these days. In addition, the prerequisites that allow a person to shorten prayer apply here.

Is it permissible for residents to combine Prayers when there is heavy rain, strong wind or the weather is snowy?

Yes. This is permissible according to the majority of scholars. The hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas and which is mentioned above supports this opinion.

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The Belief in the Books of Allah!

Transcribed by Editorial Staff

This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with New Muslim Bites. And this is session number five in which (in Sha’ Allah) we’re going to be talking about the Article of Faith which is the belief in the Books of Allah, all the Books of the One God.

Now, there are several of the books of Allah mentioned in the Quran. Of course, we have the Quran itself which is mentioned in the Quran obviously, but we also have others. So, for example, the Torah which is the Book of Moses or Musa (‘Alaihi as-salam), the Zabur which is the Book of Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam)and the Injil which is the Book of ‘Isa or Jesus (peace be upon him).

Now, I’m going to go through each one in turn, give you a little bit of information. It’s very important in order for us to understand our Deen that we understand that the Quran is the end product and a perfected product, a perfected way of life. But this message that has gone through to mankind throughout the other books is the same mental message essentially. And the message, of course, is that we would believe in the One God, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and worship Him only.

The Torah

So, the Torah! It’s mentioned 18 times in the Quran. And in Surah 5, verse 44, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

 We revealed the Torah which is a guidance and a light. (Quran 5:44)

And this was actually revealed for the Jews, for the Jewish community through Musa (‘Alaihi as-salam). And actually, it’s very interesting that even at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there was a point where the Jewish community actually approached him for some advice on a matter. A man and woman had been committing fornication, or zina in Arabic. And the Jews came to him to ask him for advice on the matter as regards what they should do with religious, the religious area. So, they asked him to go and judge in this matter.

So, he said, “Yes, I’ll go and judge”. And they gave him a cushion to sit on and the Prophet (peace be upon him) sat on the cushion and then asked them to bring the Torah to him.

So, subhan Allah, he asked them to bring their own Book to him and he removed the cushion from under himself and put it down and actually put the Torah on top of the cushion and said to the Torah, “I believed in you and in Him who revealed you”.

So, he was then affirming… and it was amazing Da’wah that he was affirming to the Jews that it’s part of the Islamic faith as well to believe in the Torah. And he actually then called them to bring one of their people of knowledge to help with judging, and somebody had the knowledge of the Torah. And (he) decided it between these two people using that, using something that they knew and they could relate to.

The Zabur, the Psalms

Now, the Zabur! It’s sometimes known… those of us who have been to church in the past and Sunday schools and stuff. It’s known as the Psalms, the Psalms of David, or Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam)

Some say that that’s what the Zabur actually is. And now the word Zabur comes from the Hebrew zimrah which actually means ‘song’ which links in with the Psalms because the Psalms are actually the songs. It’s mentioned three times in the Quran. In surah 17, verse 55, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

 

We gave to David (the gift of) the Zabur. (Quran 17:55)

 

And there’s a hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions that the reciting of the Zabur was made easy for Dawud (‘Alaihi as-salam) to the extent that from the time it took him to ask his servants to saddle up the riding animals, the horses, camels, etc. to the time that the riding animals were actually saddled. If he started reciting at the beginning then he would continue and he would have finished reciting the Zabur when the saddles were on the animals, when they were ready to travel. So quite a short! It was made easy on him, may Allah be pleased with him!

The Injil

Now the Injil, sometimes known as the New Testament! Again for those of us who’ve been brought up as Christians. Of course, that was revealed to the prophet ‘Isa (‘Alaihi as-salam). And that is actually mentioned 12 times in the Quran.

Now, in Surah 5, verse 46, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,

And in their footsteps, We sent ‘Isa (or Jesus), son of Mary, confirming the law that came before him. We sent him the Injil in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the law that had come before him. (Quran 5:46)

So, this is a confirmation in the Quran that, again, the same as the Torah. It is mentioned as a guidance and as a light. And also that, adding on that, it came to confirm what was before it. So, it came to confirm for Jews that the Torah was the Word of Allah. And this is what they should be following because the Jews at this point, the community, needed another prophet and a reminder of the laws that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) had sent to them.

The Scrolls of Abraham and the Books of Yahya

Now, there’s a very brief mention of the Scrolls of Ibrahim (‘Alaihi as-salam), or Abraham, and also a brief mention of the Books of Yahya.  And the people who followed him were called the Sabians.

Now, we don’t have any real knowledge of where those books are now. They’re considered to be lost unfortunately.

The Belief in the Books of Allah

Now, as Muslims, we have to believe in all these Books. But we, of course, believe them in their original form. Now the people who believe in these books and follow these books are the Christians and the Jews and Sabians if there are any. And they are considered and mentioned in the Quran as Ahl al-Kitab, Ahl al-Kitab meaning the People of the Book. And they are very revered and put in a very high position in Islam and very, very respected and also protected under Islam.

The Quran

Now, the Quran of course! How can we not speak about this book of Allah? This is the final and protected and perfected Book of Allah and is actually protected by Allah from change and corruption. And Allah challenges people in the Quran saying bring even a verse like it! Bring in even a small verse like the Quran. And from men till now, nobody has been able to do this, and this stands right up until the Day of Judgment, this challenge.

Now, the things different about the Quran, of course, is that it’s perfected but also that it contains many miracles. We have the miracle of the science; we have the miracle of linguistics, of mathematics.

You can go online and you can look up all these things. There are books that you can read about. This is absolutely amazing! That proves that the Quran is the Word of Allah. That is also the fact that it is unchanged.

The Quran is Preserved

The Quran was revealed 1500 hundred years ago to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was essentially a guy living in a desert, who was illiterate. He didn’t have knowledge of these areas. He couldn’t even know how to read or write. Yet, the Quran which was this amazing linguistic miracle and scientific miracle was revealed to him.

It’s also preserved in its original language. Muslims across the world whether they’re English like myself or from China or Pakistan or an Arab country, we all read the Quran in Arabic.

Of course we read the translation, but the translation is a translation of the Quran. It’s not actually the original Quran. We always go back to the Arabic for this original meaning and this preserves it.

Now, the Quran and these other books of Allah share a lot of similarities one of which is that we all believe in the same God. I remember when I was being brought up and was introduced to Muslims, I used to think, “What’s this Allah, what’s this God?” And it was a big revelation to me when I realized that it’s the same God. Allah is God. God is Allah. It’s the same thing, like I said in one of my earlier sessions.

So this is the same message. The message essentially is of Tawheed, believing in the Oneness of Allah.

How should we approach the Quran?

Now, how should we approach the Quran is a totally different matter. We should approach it with an attitude that’s called Ikhlas. Ikhlas means that we have purity, a pure attitude towards it; we have a pure intention that we’re doing this for guidance and to read the Book of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), knowing and believing that this is the word of Allah. In surah 6, verse 115, Allah says,

Perfect are the words of your Lord in truth and justice. (Quran 6:115)

Now, the attitude is that we are approaching the Quran for guidance but also to change ourselves. Allah says in the Quran,

 He will not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. (Quran 13:11)

which, of course, is the heart, the actions, the deeds, the intentions. So, we don’t just approach the Quran as a storybook or tales of all. You should accept the Quran like Allah is speaking directly to you.

Sources of Knowledge in Islam

Now, in Islam, we have different sources of knowledge. The Quran, of course, is the foundation of knowledge and is the basis of all our knowledge. However, we also have two other areas which bring more context and more details of the verses of the Quran and chapters of the Quran. We have the hadith which is the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which you do need to be very careful with. And make sure if you’re going to read a hadith, read it in the context of the Sunnah which is the practice and all the things that the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually did.

The Importance of Sunnah and Hadith

So, we have the Quran, the Sunnah and the hadith which are a triangle of knowledge. Usually, when people make mistakes or get things wrong or get extreme and things like that, they’re doing it because they have taken something out of context. So, maybe they’ve taken a verse from the Quran and they’ve put an incorrect interpretation. But if then they look at the context, what the Prophet (peace be upon him) did in these particular situation, it changes the meaning completely.

So, you must be very, very careful on how you approach the Quran and make sure that you don’t take it as a black and white source. You have to take in the context of what it’s about or you might misunderstand what it’s saying to you.

Now, the Prophet (peace be upon him), of course… the reason why we have the Quran and the Sunnah and the hadith is because he was essentially the walking Quran. He was the embodiment of the Quran.

And this is something that we’re going to talk about next time, in sha’ Allah, when we talk about the belief in the prophets of Allah. And so, until next time, in the next session,

As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

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Jesus in the Quran

By Idris Tawfiq

How Christians depict Jesus (peace be upon him)

Christian artists down through the centuries have shown Jesus surrounded by fluffy clouds or angels. Around his head a golden halo of light shines, while little children and lambs are always at his feet.

On the cross, this artistic Jesus is shown suffering terrible agonies on behalf of others, asking always that his enemies be forgiven. The “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” of the Christian hymn books, the blue-eyed Jesus with curly flowing hair, is the Jesus that sits in the popular imagination.

Maybe it is because Islam has always discouraged depictions of human beings in art that Christianity has managed to win the publicity prize for its portrayal of Jesus (peace be upon him).

In addition to art, the Christian Church chose four of the many Gospels that were written to describe the life of Jesus. Saint Luke`s is perhaps the most beautiful, being a Gospel of prayer, of the poor, and of women. The way in which Luke crafts his words makes Jesus so appealing.

According to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God.

The Description of Muhammad and Jesus (Allah bless them and grant them peace) in the Quran

Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace)

Islam, on the other hand, has no artists to elevate Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the rank of a deity. It has no Gospel writers and no Paul to use their words to make Muhammad anything more than human. The Quran was revealed to a man who could neither read nor write. He simply recounted what was said as it was told to him.

Jesus (peace be upon him)

The Jesus which God tells about in the Quran is quite different from the Gospel Jesus, although there are some similarities. Especially at Christmas time, when the depictions of Prophet Jesus are at their most florid, we need to remind people who Jesus really was. In the Quran we read what means:

{He [Jesus] said: “I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!” Such was Jesus the son of Mary. It is a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.} (19:30-35)

In other words, according to Islam, Jesus was a prophet of God. He belonged to a long line of prophets, calling people throughout history to the worship of One God. These include such names as Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon (peace be upon them all) and, like them, he is revered and honored by all Muslims. Whenever they mention the name of Jesus, Muslims will always say, “Peace be upon him.”

The Miraculous birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) and his other miracles

Like the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the Quran shows that Jesus` birth was miraculous:

{Behold! the angels said, “Oh Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, and in (the company of) those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. He shall be (in the company) of the righteous… And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.”} (3:45-48)

Not only did Jesus have a miraculous birth, but the Quran also tells us that he was born of a virgin mother and that he spoke in the cradle, that he performed miracles, and that he did not die on the cross, nor was he raised back to life after three days.

God sent messengers down through the ages to bring men and women back to Him. It is part of our human nature, isn`t it, that we constantly forget, and need to be called back to the straight path?

Different messengers were sent with different gifts, as they needed to speak to their own people in a way that would attract them and help them to understand. It was the special gift of Prophet Jesus that he could perform miracles:

{I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God`s leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God`s leave.} (3:49)

Jesus (peace be upon him) is only a Messenger, not God

Being able to perform miracles didn`t make Jesus equal to God. Everything he did was by God`s leave, to teach the people of Israel about God Himself. Even these miracles, though, were not enough to convince them.

It is the belief of Islam regarding Jesus that we should never confuse the message with the messenger. His message was to speak about God and to show the power of God in this world and the next, but the message didn`t make him equal to God. His miracles were his way of conveying the message.

In fact, the Quran is quite clear about this:

{Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God makes His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!} (5:75)

Jesus and his mother both had to eat food. They were human beings, like you and I. Jesus was given the loftiest of tasks in being called to speak God`s message to the world, but he remained just that: a man who ate food.

Christians’ confusion

Out of an exaggerated love for Jesus, many of his earliest followers, encouraged by the writings of Saint Paul, began to see Prophet Jesus as something more than human, a god.

They confused the beautiful message he brought with the One who sent it. They saw his gift of being able to calm the winds and the seas, or his gift of curing the sick, as indicating that he was more than just a man.

The Quran is quite clear about that, Jesus was a great prophet, but he was no more than that. He did not die on the cross, nor was he raised to life after three days, but he was a man.

One of the greatest men, yes. A man with very special gifts, yes. A man whom they revere as a great prophet, yes, but not a god. There is no God but Allah.

Dialogue between God and Jesus on the Day of Judgment

In summary of all this, the Quran tells us what God will say to Jesus on the Last Day, when He Almighty calls all people to Himself:

{And behold! God will say [on the Day of Judgment]: “Oh Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart, though I know not what is in Yours. For You know in full all that is hidden. Never did I say to them anything except what You commanded me to say: `Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.` And I was a witness over them while I lived among them. When You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.”} (5:116-17)


Source: muslimsincalgary.ca

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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The Christmas Message of Jesus

By Idris Tawfiq

As Christmas is celebrated all over the world, it will come as a real surprise to many people that Muslims have any regard for Jesus at all.

Most people have no idea that Jesus has any part in Islam. And yet, for Muslims not only is Jesus revered as a Prophet of Islam, but whenever his name is mentioned, they will add the words “peace be upon him.”

Far from being a “foreign” religion, Islam teaches that all prophets in the Old Testament actually brought a message from Almighty God, Allah, to His people, and Muslims respect the same prophets revered by Christians and Jews.

Whilst Christians and Muslims believe very different things about Jesus, it is nonetheless a very useful starting point to know that both religious traditions honor Jesus as a very special person. In fact, it would be quite acceptable for Muslims to include the name of Jesus in their Shahadah, or declaration of faith.

Muslims say: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” but they could just as equally declare “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Jesus is the Messenger of Allah.”

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus.

Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam and in Christianity

That being said, the Jesus revealed in Islam is in many ways quite different from the Jesus many Christians have come to know. The foremost difference is that Jesus is not considered by Muslims to be the son of God.

The next major difference is that Muslims do not believe that he died on the cross to save people from their sins.

They take their belief from what Allah tells them in the Quran. For example, regarding who Jesus was, we read:

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary… (Quran 4:171)

And we also read:

{Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Quran 5:75)

Regarding Jesus’ death, we read in the Quran:

And they said we have killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them… (Quran 4:157-158)

An Authentic Narrative about Jesus

It is important for us to understand why Muslims believe a different narrative about Jesus, rather than the one accepted by many Christians. Muslims in fact believe that the words about Jesus in the existing gospels are not the actual words revealed about him by Allah.

They believe, instead, that Almighty God, Allah, has spoken to His creation down through the centuries through prophets. Some of these prophets had books revealed to them. Prophet Moses, for example, had the Torah revealed to him, just as Prophet Jesus had a message revealed to him known as the Injeel.

Muslims believe that neither of these books now exist in the form in which they were originally revealed because they have been altered, either deliberately or accidentally, over time. Allah never intended these messages to last, since they were for a particular people at a particular time in their history.

The Quran revealed to Muhammad, however, was intended for all people and for all time. It is the fullness of revelation, affirming all that is correct of what had gone before and correcting all that had become unclear about previous revelation.

The Message of Jesus in Quran

The Quran, then, has a different nativity narrative for the birth of Jesus and a completely different approach to who Jesus was. Jesus according to the Quran, was “no more than a messenger,” delivering God’s words to mankind. Unlike prophets before him, he was given the gift of miracles, but these miracles were a manifestation of the power of God, not of Jesus’ own power.

The message of Jesus was the message given to all prophets before him: that God is One and that He deserves to be worshipped in a particular way. By following the “straight path” people can come to get to know God better. This is the message confirmed in the Quran and is what has come to be known as Islam today. For Muslims, Jesus is a Messenger of Islam.

So what about the “Christian message” preached by Jesus? What about all the teaching about love of neighbor? What about all the stories and the parables related by Christians today as the words of Jesus himself?

For Muslims, the Quran is the fullness of revelation. Everything that agrees with the Quran in the previous scriptures is considered to be true. Anything that disagrees with the Quran is considered to be false. And as for anything in the previous scriptures which is not found in the Quran, Muslims don’t know if it is true or false, whether it is divinely revealed or the invention of men.

Stories like the Good Samaritan and the Sermon on the Mount, for example, do not appear in the Quran so Muslims have no way of knowing who wrote them. Since they don’t actually disagree with Islamic teaching we cannot say they are wrong, but we remain unclear about where they came from.

In other words, much of Jesus’ so-called teaching, as narrated by the New Testament, sits very comfortably with the principles of the Quran, but is not to be found as divine revelation in the Quran itself.

Teaching that people should love their neighbor, although related in different language, is very much a part of what Muslims believe. Prophet Muhammad is the closest commentary we have on the Quran. In his life we see how the Quran should be lived and in his life we see that caring for neighbors, the widowed and the orphans is very much a part of being a Muslim.

Christmas Message

As people throughout the world celebrate Christmas, it might be a very good way of building bridges between people of faith if Muslims were to let others know just what Islam teaches about Prophet Jesus. This shouldn’t be done in a way that offends the belief of others. After all, disagreeing is not the end of the world!

If people could understand one another more and agree to differ on certain matters of belief, our world would be a much better place.

Christians would have us believe that “Peace” is the central message of Christmas. As Muslims we say “Amen” to that, since “Islam” itself comes from a root word that means “Peace” and Prophet Jesus came to teach the message of Islam.

Happy holidays!


Source: aboutislam website

About the author

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant. For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness. May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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