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Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

By: Sayyid Saabiq

It is unlawful for the one giving sadaqah to remind the recipient of his generosity, to reproach him, or to make a show with his sadaqah. Allah warns:

Things That Invalidate Your Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful.

O you who believe! Do not invalidate your sadaqah by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their property to be seen by men. (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “There are three (types of people). Allah shall not speak to them, notice them, or sanctify them; and for them is a grievous penalty.” Abu Dhar inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, who are the ones gone wrong and astray?” He replied: “Those who through conceit lengthen their garments to make them hang on the ground, who give nothing without reproach, and who sell their merchandise swearing untruthfully (to its quality).”

Giving What is Unlawful as Sadaqah

Allah does not accept sadaqah if it is from what is unlawful. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O people! Allah is good and accepts only good, and He has instructed the believers through the Messengers. Allah, the Mighty and the Majestic, says: “O Messengers! Consume what is good and work righteously. I am well-acquainted with what you do”. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51) He also calls upon (you): “O you who believe! Consume of the good that We have provided for you” (Al-Baqarah 2:172). Then (the Messenger) mentioned a man who had traveled for a long time. Unkempt and covered in dust, he raised his hands to the heavens (and cried): “O my Lord! O my Lord!’ His food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and what he had provided to sustain himself with was also unlawful. How could his invocation be accepted?” (Muslim)

Also: “If one gives a date bought from honestly earned money (and Allah accepts only good), Allah accepts it in His right hand and enlarges (its rewards) for its owner (as one rears his foal) until it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Al-Bukhari)

Sadaqah of the wife from the property of her husband

It is permissible for the wife to give sadaqah from her husband’s holdings if she knows that he would not mind. However, it is unlawful if she is not sure of this: It is related from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When a wife gives something as sadaqah from the food of her home without causing any waste, she will get the reward for what she has given. Her husband will be rewarded for what he has earned, and the keeper (if any) will be similarly rewarded. The one does not reduce the reward of the other in any way.” (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Umamah reports that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saying in a sermon during the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage: “The wife should not spend anything from the household of her husband without his permission.” He asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Not food either?” He said: “That is the most excellent of our holdings.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Of small things which she is in the habit of giving, no permission from her husband is called for: It is related from Asmaa’, daughter of Abu Bakr, that she said to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace: “Zubayr is a well-off man. A man in need approached me and I gave him sadaqah from my husband’s household without his permission.” The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: “Give what you are in the habit of giving of what is small, and do not store property away, for Allah shall withhold his blessings from you.” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s translated book “Fiqh Us Sunnah”.

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Hadith: Its Meaning and Significance

sahih muslim

If one is to understand the meanings of Qur’an, they must consider what the Prophet said or did regarding it.

The Arabic word hadith basically means ‘an item of news, conversation, a tale, a story or a report,’ whether historical or legendary, true or false, relating to the present or the past. Its secondary meaning as an adjective is ‘new’ as opposed to qadeem, ‘old’.

However, like other Arabic words (e.g. salah, zakah), its meaning changed in Islam. From the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his stories and communications dominated all other forms of communication. Consequently, the term hadith began to be used almost exclusively for reports that spoke of his actions and sayings.

Usage of the Word Hadith

The term hadith has been used in both the Qur’an-where it is mentioned 23 times- and the prophetic traditions according to all of its linguistic meanings. The following three categories are the most notable usages. It has been used to mean:

a- The Qur’an itself:

Then leave Me alone with those who reject this communication. (Al-Qalam 68:44)

“Indeed, the best form of communication is the Book of Allah…” (Muslims and Ahmad)

b- A historical story:

Has the story of Moses reached you? (Taha 20:9)

“You may speak about the Children of Israel without …” (Al-Bukhari)

c- A general conversation:

When the Prophet confided in one of his wives… (At-Tahrim 66:3)

“Molten copper will be poured in the ear of whoever eavesdrops on the conversation of people who dislike him doing so or flee from him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Among the hadith scholars the term hadith means ‘whatever is transmitted from the Prophet of his actions, sayings, tacit approvals, or physical characteristics. Scholars of Islamic Law do not include the physical appearance of the Prophet in their definition.

Importance of Hadith

1- Revelation

The Prophet’s sayings and actions were primarily based on revelation from Allah and, as such, must be considered a fundamental source of guidance second only to the Qur’an. Allah in the Qur’an said concerning the Prophet:

(Muhammad) does not speak from his desires; indeed, what he says is revelation. (An-Najm 53:3-4)

Therefore, the hadith represents a personal source of divine guidance which Allah granted His Prophet which was similar in its nature to the Qur’an itself. The Prophet reiterated this point in one of his recorded statements, “Indeed, I was given the Qur’an and something similar to it along with it.” (Abu Dawud)

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him

Allah also protected its essential meanings from change by entrusting the explanation of the meanings of Qur’an to the Prophet himself.

2- Tafseer

The preservation of the Qur’an was not restricted to protecting its wording from change. Were that the case, its meanings could be manipulated according to human desires, while maintaining its wording.

However, Allah also protected its essential meanings from change by entrusting the explanation of the meanings of Qur’an to the Prophet himself. Allah states the following in the Qur’an regarding its interpretation:

 And I revealed to you the Reminder (Qur’an) in order that you explain to the people what was revealed to them.” (An-Nahl 16:44)

Therefore, if one is to understand the meanings of Qur’an, he or she must consider what the Prophet said or did regarding it. E.g. in the Qur’an, Allah instructs the believers to offer salah (formal prayers) and pay zakah (obligatory charity) in Surat Al-Baqarah (2), verse 43.

And be steadfast in prayer; practice regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). (Al-Baqarah 2:43)

However, in order to obey these instructions correctly, one must study the methodology of the Prophet in this regard. Among his many clarifications concerning salah and zakah, he instructed his followers saying “Pray as you saw me pray,” (Al-Bukhari) and he specified that 2.5% of surplus wealth, unused for a year,9 should be given as zakah.

Also, there are a number of authentic hadiths in which the Prophet gave specific instructions concerning the items and quantities on which zakah was due, as well as the time it is due. Among them is the following narration from `Ali ibn Abi Talib:

`Ali ibn Abi Taalib quoted Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “Whenever you possess 200 dirhams and a year passes on it, 5 dirhams is to be paid on it. You are not liable to pay anything until you possess 20 dinars and a year passes on it, in which case ½ a dinar is due. Whatever exceeds that will be counted likewise9. And no zakah is payable on wealth until a year passes on it.” (Abu Dawud)

3- Laws

One of the primary duties of the Prophet was to judge between people in their disputes. Since his judgments were all based on revelation, as stated earlier, they must be considered a primary source of principles by which judgments are carried out in an Islamic State. Allah also addressed this responsibility in the Qur’an saying:

O believers obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger. (An-Nisaa’ 4:59)

Thus, hadiths are essential for the smooth running of the law courts in an Islamic State.

4- Moral Ideal

Since the Prophet was guided by revelation in his personal life, his character and social interactions became prime examples of moral conduct for Muslims until the Last Day. Attention was drawn to this fact in the following Qur’anic verse:

Surely there is for all of you a good example (of conduct) in the way of Allah’s Messenger. (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Consequently, the daily life of the Prophet as recorded in hadith represents an ideal code of good conduct. In fact, when the Prophet’s wife, ‘A’ishah, was asked about his conduct, she replied, “His character was the Qur’an.” (Ahmad)

5- Preservation of Islam

The science of narration, collection and criticism of hadith was unknown to the world prior to the era of the Prophet .

In fact, it was due in part to the absence of such a reliable science that the messages of the former prophets became lost or distorted in the generations that followed them.

Therefore, it may be said that it is largely due to the science of hadith that the final message of Islam has been preserved in it is original purity for all times. This is alluded to in the Qur’anic verse:

 Indeed, I have revealed the Reminder, I will, indeed, protect it. (Al-Hijr 15:9)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Usool Al-Hadith”.

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Want to Study the Gracious Quran? Watch this!

An Evening with the Quran (Week 1)

This is the name of this new course which will be about studying the Gracious Quran. It’s a series of lectures that will be focusing on studying Surat Qaaf, Chapter 50 of the Quran. The lecturer in this video and the coming ones is Shaykh Ali Hammuda.

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The best one amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Al-Bukhari)
Surat Qaaf (chapter 50) is like none other. Some of the companions memorized it due to the sheer number of times they heard the prophet “peace be upon him” recite it publicly. Undoubtedly, therefore, Surah Qaaf offers life changing secrets, and we wish to uncover some of them.
Watch this video to find out why you should study the Gracious Quran and why especially Surat Qaaf.
I hope you can find this lecture beneficial!

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The Seven Under Allah’s Shade

By Jamaal Diwan

The hadith (saying of the Prophet) of the seven who are in Allah’s shade, subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He), on the Day of Judgment gives us guidance as to important milestones and markers for our spiritual development. These are goals that should be sought in one’s development.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but he says: ‘I fear Allah’, a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The seven things mentioned all relate to serious developmental goals that should be sought throughout our own personal development and our efforts to help other people in their own growth.

So there are seven things mentioned in this hadith:

  • A just ruler.
  • A youth who grows up in the worship of Allah.
  • A man whose heart is attached to the mosques.
  • Two people who love one another for the sake of Allah.
  • Someone who resists a direct temptation from the opposite gender.
  • A person who is completely selfless in charity.
  • A person who remembers Allah in private and sheds tears in doing so.

The seven things mentioned all relate to serious developmental goals that should be sought throughout our own personal development and our efforts to help other people in their own growth.

1. A Just Ruler

The first is to develop a level of Allah-consciousness (taqwa) in the way that one deals with power. Being in a position of authority in Islam is a responsibility that one is held accountable for and it is very serious. Part of that is that our base selves often push us to take advantage of our positions of authority and abuse our power at the expense of others. This is a serious developmental flaw because it shows irresponsibility and a lack of taqwa. We all have varying situations throughout our lives wherein we are in a position of authority and when we have such power we have to look critically at ourselves and hope that Allah gives us good friends who help keep us in line. The developmental lesson here is in learning to act responsibly with power.

2. A youth who grows up in the worship of Allah

The second is a special kind of person that you meet every now and then. They are just good and always have been. These people are truly special because their consistency in worship draws them close to the fitrah, or natural state of being. You can feel their goodness in their interactions and see their genuineness in the details of their behavior. Most of us were not raised this way but that does not mean that we cannot renew our commitment to Allah (swt). That is something that we can do it any time by asking His forgiveness and starting fresh. This developmental point is about being consistent in our servitude to Allah (swt).

3. A man whose heart is attached to the mosques

The third is the one whose heart is attached to the houses of worship. These are the people you meet who organize their lives around prayer. They make every effort to be at the mosque for prayer as much as possible and find beauty and pleasure in doing so. They recognize the peace and tranquility that comes from spending time in the mosque, and they call others to do so as well. This developmental point is about learning to love worship.

4. Two people who love one another for the sake of Allah

The fourth is two people that love each other for the sake of Allah (swt). There are many reasons why we could care for someone in this life. Sometimes those reasons are selfish and sometimes they are selfless. The one who loves solely for Allah’s sake (swt) is selfless in their love. This is a kind of training of the heart that all seekers of the Divine must experience. They must learn to purify their relationships with others and focus them on the ultimate goal, the pleasure of Allah (swt). This developmental point is essentially learning how to love properly and for the right reasons.

5. Someone who resists a direct temptation from the opposite gender

The fifth is someone who is called to fulfill their sexual desires in an unlawful way and resists. This is mentioned as a major trial that can afflict a person and as such the reward for passing it is Paradise. The person who is able to resist such a temptation is someone who has a strong control over their self and a clear awareness of Allah (swt). The developmental lesson is in learning to resist immediate temptations in favor of a greater reward with Allah (swt).

6. A person who is completely selfless in charity

The sixth is someone who is so charitable that they lose track of their charity. The expression here is that their right hand spends so freely that their left hand does not even notice it. This habit is not about simply giving when it is convenient or only on certain things and not others. This is a habit that becomes so much a part of the person’s being that it reaches all causes of goodness. The developmental lesson is in making charity a way of life.

7. A person who remembers Allah in private and sheds tears in doing so.

The seventh, and final, is the one who remembers Allah (swt) in private and tears up. This last one is very intimate. Many people are able to maintain a stable Islamic personality in public, but when they are left alone by themselves they start to slip. Their identity and worship are public affairs but have not reached the inner depths of the self where true spirituality lies. The one who remembers Allah (swt) when alone and cries is the one who has cultivated a truly special and unique relationship with their Creator; an intimate relationship that cannot be explained by words and is only obtained through long periods of struggling for His sake. The developmental goal is to become intimate with Allah (swt) and move past the superficiality of common religious discourse.


Source: muslimsincalgary website with some modifications

About the author:

Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Third World Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. He has served with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), MSA West, and Muslim American Society (MAS) in varying capacities. He remains an active MAS member and is a scholarship student with the Islamic American University. Jamaal is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at the College of Shari`ah at al-Azhar University in Cairo, and Master’s degrees from the American University in Cairo in Arabic Studies with an emphasis in Islamic Studies.

 

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The Difference between the Qur’an, Hadith and Hadith Qudsi

By Ahmad von Denffer

The Qur’an

The Qur’an can be defined as follows:

The speech of Allah, sent down upon the last Prophet Muhammad, through the Angel Gabriel, in its precise meaning and precise wording, transmitted to us by numerous persons (tawatur), both verbally and in writing.

The Word Qur’an

The Quran is the speech of Allah, sent down upon the last Prophet Muhammad, through the Angel Gabriel, in its precise meaning and precise wording, transmitted to us by numerous persons (tawatur), both verbally and in writing.

The Arabic word ‘qur’an‘ is derived from the root qara’a, which has various meanings, such as to read, [Sura 17: 93.] to recite, [Sura 75:18:17: 46.] etc. Qur’an is a verbal noun and hence means the ‘reading‘ or ‘recitation‘. As used in the Qur’an itself, the word refers to the revelation from Allah in the broad sense [Sura 17: 82.] and is not always restricted to the written form in the shape of a book, as we have it before us today.

However, it means revelation to Muhammad only, while revelation to other prophets has been referred to by different names (e.g. taurat, Injil, kitab, etc.).

Other Names of the Qur’an

The revelation from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad is referred to in the Qur’an itself by the name qur’an (recitation) as well as by other names, such as e.g.

  • Furqaan (criterion, see 25: 1).
  • Tanzil (sent down, see 26: 192).
  • Dhikr (reminder, see 15: 9).
  • Kitab (scripture, see 21:10).

Other references to the Qur’an are by such words as Nur (light), Huda (guidance), Rahma (mercy), Majid (glorious), Mubarak (blessed), Bashir (announcer), Nadhir (warner), etc.

All these names reflect one of the various aspects of the revealed word of Allah.

The Meaning of Hadith

The word hadith means news, report or narration. It is in this general sense that the word is used in the Qur’an. [e.g. Sura 12:101.] Technically, the word hadith, (pl. ahadith) means in particular the reports (verbal and written) about the sunna of the Prophet Muhammad. Hadith reports about the Prophet Muhammad are of the following kinds:

  • What he said (qaul).
  • What he did (fi’l).
  • What he (silently) approved (taqrir) in others’ actions.

There are also reports about him, i.e. about what he was like (sifa).

The Difference between the Qur’an and Hadith

There is agreement among most Muslim scholars that the contents of the sunna are also from Allah. Hence they have described it as also being the result of some form of inspiration. The contents of the sunna are however expressed through the Prophet’s own words or actions, while in the case of the Qur’an the Angel Gabriel brought the exact wording and contents to the Prophet, who received this as revelation and then announced it, in the very same manner that he received it.

The difference between these two forms has been illustrated by Suyuti (following Juwaini) in the following manner:

‘The revealed speech of Allah is of two kinds: As to the first kind, Allah says to Gabriel: Tell the Prophet to whom I sent you that Allah tells him to do this and this, and He ordered him something. So Gabriel understood what His Lord had told him. Then he descended with this to the Prophet and told him what His Lord had told him, but the expression is not this (same) expression, just as a king says to someone upon whom he relies: Tell so-and-so: The king says to you: strive in his service and gather your army for fighting … and when the messenger (goes and) says: The king tells you: do not fail in my service, and do not let the army break up, and call for fighting, etc., then he has not lied nor shortened (the message) …

‘And as to the other kind, Allah says to Gabriel: Read to the Prophet this (piece of) writing, and Gabriel descended with it from Allah, without altering it the least, just as (if) the king writes a written (instruction) and hands it over to his trustworthy (servant) and says (to him): Read it to so-and-so. Suyuti said: The Qur’an belongs to the second kind, and the first kind is the Sunna, and from this derives the reporting of the Sunna according to the meaning unlike the Qur’an.” [Sabuni, tibyan, p.52]

It is generally accepted that the difference between Qur’an and sunna is as follows:

The ahadith from or about the Prophet Muhammad are:

  • The words or actions of a human being, and not the speech of God as the Qur’an is.
  • Not necessarily reported in their precise wording, as the Qur’an is.
  • Not necessarily transmitted by tawatur, except in some instances.

Hadith Qudsi

Qudsi means holy, or pure. There are some reports from the Prophet Muhammad where he relates to the people what God has said (says) or did (does), but this information is not part of the Qur’an. Such a report is called hadith qudsi, e.g.:

Abu Hurairah reported that Allah’s messenger said:

‘Allah, Mighty and Exalted is He, said: If My servant likes to meet me, I like to meet him, and if he dislikes to meet Me, I dislike to meet him.’ [Forty Hadith Qudsi, Beirut, Damascus, 1980, No. 30.]

While the common factor between hadith qudsi and the Qur’an is that both contain words from Allah which have been revealed to Muhammad, the main points of difference between Qur’an and hadith qudsi are as follows:

In the Qur’an the precise wording is from Allah, while in the hadith qudsi the wording is given by the Prophet Muhammad.

  • The Qur’an has been brought to Muhammad only by the Angel Gabriel, while hadith qudsi may also have been inspired otherwise, such as e.g. in a dream.
  • The Qur’an is inimitable and unique, but not so the hadith qudsi.
  • The Qur’an has been transmitted by numerous persons, (tawatur) but the hadith and hadith qudsi often only by a few or even one individual. There are hadith qudsi which are sahih, but also others hasan, or even da’if, while there is no doubt at all about any aya from the Qur’an.

Another point is that a hadith qudsi cannot be recited in prayer.

Distinctive Features of the Qur’an

The most important distinction between the Qur’an and all other words or writings therefore is that the Qur’an is the speech from Allah, revealed in its precise meaning and wording through the Angel Gabriel, transmitted by many, inimitable, unique and protected by Allah Himself against any corruption.


The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Ulum al-Quran: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran” with some modifications.

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A Guide to Reading and Understanding the Quran

If you’re a new Muslim or a non-Muslim who has read, is reading, or thinking about reading the Qur’an, then that’s great. There is way too much misquotation, misrepresentation, and, simply, false accusations attributed to the Qur’an, and the best way to truly understand the book is, well, by reading it.

However, picking up the book and just reading it is not enough. There are many things you need to understand about the Qur’an before you begin reading. Here, I shed light on just two important points, which I believe are the most vital.

There are many things you need to understand about the Qur’an before you begin reading.

The Uniqueness of the Arabic Language

It’s not easy at all to translate Arabic into English or into any other European language for that matter. Arabic to English translations are not done word for word, like how, for example, German to English would be translated. This is because not every Arabic word has an exact English equivalent. So what translators have to do is find the closest matching word or combination of words to try and get the sentiment, tense, tone and emphasis found in the original Arabic across. Essentially, when you read an English Qu’ran, you can’t actually say you are reading a translation of the Qur’an. In fact, you are reading someone’s attempt to bring the apparent meaning of the Qur’an into English.

Even those scholars and academics who are native Arabs or well-versed in Arabic struggle to understand the Arabic of the Qur’an. This is why there are so many commentaries and interpretations written with scholars giving their opinions on the meanings, both apparent and hidden.

Therefore, you can appreciate the task at hand as a reader of an English Qu’ran.

A very good English version I would recommend is this one as it has important footnotes and explains when each chapter was revealed.

How the Qur’an Was Revealed

The Holy Qu’ran was not a complete book or scroll given to the Prophet Muhammad by God, via Archangel Gabriel. It was gradually revealed to the Prophet over twenty-three years.

Academics give various reasons as to why this was the case. For example, to give people a chance to slowly absorb the contents of their newfound faith and not to cause an information overload.

Whilst these and other reasons are likely to be true, what is definitively true is that often (not all the time) a portion of the Qur’an was revealed in response to either questions people asked to the Prophet, due to the actions of the people, community, or general occurrences of the time.

Almost no verse was revealed without context or reason.

A Common Misconception

Many people cite chapter 47, verse 4 to conclude Islam as an intolerant religion that wishes to kill anyone who stands in its way. People only use a portion of the verse too, as it reads:

“Therefore when you meet the disbelievers, smite their necks.” (Quran 47:4)

On face value this sounds like a very violent and intolerant act. You can start to understand the verse better if you know the context, which is as follows.

The non-Muslim Arabs were very unhappy about the rising popularity of Islam and wished to battle and kill the Muslims. The command in the aforementioned verse came from God permitting the Muslims to kill the disbelievers in battle, as a form of defence.

The verse was revealed in the context of a battlefield, with a grave threat to the lives of the Muslims at a time when people coming to Islam were being heavily persecuted, and God is saying you are allowed to defend yourself during this battle. It is therefore not a statement made in vacuum to indiscriminately go out and kill people who did not believe, but disbelievers who persecuted Muslims.

I bet if someone wanted to kill you, you would not wait for a go ahead to defend yourself, because it would be well within your rights and anybody would understand your natural defensive response.

Another Example That Shows the Importance of Context

Another verse that is heavily used to accuse Islam of being violent is chapter 2, verse 191, which reads:

“And kill them wherever you find them.” (Quran 2:191)

Context, guys! All one need to do is read the verses before and after this verse to understand what this really means. The verse before (190) says:

“Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. God does not like transgressors.” (Quran 2:190)

Here, God is saying to only fight those who fight you but do not transgress meaning do not use excessive or unnecessary force. And if someone continues to read the verse in contention (191), they will find that the rest of the verse says:

“…and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah [persecution] is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.” (Quran 2:191)

Once again, the verse is instructing Muslims not to fight until the opposition fights them first. The verse after (192) says:

“And if they cease, then indeed Allah is Forgiving and Mericful.” (Quran 2:192)

And finally (193):

“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” (Quran 2:193)

So to summarise, these verses are saying:

  • Only fight them, if they fight you i.e. you are allowed to engage in self-defence
  • When fighting, don’t transgress and do anything unnecessary
  • If they stop fighting, then you stop your aggression too because aggression can only be towards oppressive people

Sounds fairly rational to me.

As you can see, I’ve had to go into lengthy detail to explain just a few verses from the Qur’an. Now I hope you can appreciate the toil scholars go through to explain the Qur’an, especially those who have written volumes of commentary on it.

And I also hope you can appreciate why it irks Muslims when someone picks up an English version of the Qur’an, picks a random verse and says ‘Hey, look, this is what Islam is about’.

Be active, not passive readers and if you have questions, ask experts and do not assume.


Source: sailanmuslim website with some modifications

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Prostration of Recitation (Sujud At-Tilawah)

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

The Wisdom of Sujud Al-Tilawa (the Prostration of Recitation)

The prostration of recitation is one of the Prophetic practices and it is thus called as it relates to the recitation of the Quran. It is an act of worship that is ordained by Allah and His Messenger to be done when reciting the verses of the Quran or listening to them, as a means of drawing near to Allah, subjecting oneself to His Majesty and showing submissiveness to Him.

There are 15 verses of the Gracious Quran the Prophet (PBUH) prostrated upon reciting. Muslims are recommended to do the same during and outside the prayer.

Its Legal Ruling

This act of prostration is enacted as an act of the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) for both the one who recites and the one who listens to the Quran. Scholars unanimously agree on its legality. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“When the Prophet (PBUH) recited a sura of the Quran that contained the prostration, he would prostrate and we would do the same and some of us (because of the heavy rush) could not find a place for prostration.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim, the great scholar (may Allah have mercy on him), said, “Positions of prostrations are what is reported to us and what is commanded for us to do.” That is, Allah tells us about the prostration of His creatures generally or at specific situations. So it is enacted, for the one who recites the Qur’an and the one who listens to it, to act like them (Allah’s creatures) when reciting or listening to the verses of prostration, and with greater reason the verses that actually command prostrating.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated as a marfu’ (traceable) hadith that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“When the son of Adam recites a verse of prostration and then falls down in prostration, Satan goes into seclusion weeping and saying, ‘Woe unto me!’ The son of Adam is commanded to prostrate and he has prostrated, so Paradise is entitled to him, and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused, so I am doomed to Hell.’ “ (Related by Muslim and Ibn Majah)

Who May Perform Sujud Al-Tilawa?

The prostration of recitation should be performed by both the one reciting and the one listening (to the Quran). What is stated in the previously mentioned hadith of Ibn ‘Umar, namely “When the Prophet (PBUH) recited a sura of the Quran that contained the prostration, he would prostrate and we would do the same,” proves the legality of the prostration of the one who is listening. As for the hearer (i.e. the one who is not attentively listening) it is not obligatory upon him to perform the prostration of recitation.

Al-Bukhari related: ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by a reciter who recited a verse involving prostration to make ‘Uthman perform prostration along with him, but ‘Uthman did not perform prostration and said, “The prostration should be performed by him who listens to it.” There was other Companions who were reported to have done the same.

How Many Suras That Contain Verses of Prostration?

The suras of the Quran that involve verses of prostration are Surat Al-A’raf(the Heights), Surat Al-Ra’d (the Thunder), Surat Al-Nahl (the Bees), Surat Al-Isra’ (the Night journey), Surat Maryam (Mary), Surat Al-Hajj (the Pilgrimage), Surat Al-Furqan (the Criterion), Surat Al-Naml (the Ants), Surat Al-Sajdah (the Prostration), Surat Fussilat (the Lucidly Distinct), Surat Al-Najm (the Stars), Al-Inshiqaq (the Rending), and Al-‘Alaq (the Clinging Clot). Concerning the prostration in the Sura of Sad, there is disagreement between scholars, whether it is a prostration of thankfulness or recitation; and Allah knows best.

How to Perform the Prostration of Recitation?

On performing the prostration of recitation, one should pronounce takbir (saying, “Allahu-Akbar” i.e. “Allah is the Greatest”). This act is stated according to the Hadith of Ibn ‘ Umar in which he said:

“Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to recite the Quran to us and whenever he recited a verse that contained a prostration, he used to say takbir and prostrate, and we also used to prostrate along with him. (Related by Abu Dawud)

One should say in prostration, “Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High), the same as one says when prostrating during performing prayer. If one says, “My face has prostrated before Allah, Who created and fashioned it, created in it hearing and vision by His Power and Might, O Allah! Reward me for it (the act of prostration), remove sins from me by it, reserve it for me, and accept it from me as You did from Your servant Dawud (David),” it will be acceptable. To perform the prostration of recitation from the position of standing is better than performing it while sitting.

O Muslim, you should know that there are many ways of doing good acts, so make your best to follow them, and be loyal and faithful in both actions and words, that Allah may record you among the happy people.


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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The Forenoon Prayer (Salat Al-Duha)

By Editorial Staff

Duha means the morning sunshine or forenoon. This time is so blessed that there is a surah (chapter) of the Gracious Quran that starts with the oath of Allah swearing by al-Duha and the night. Allah says,

“By (al-Duha) the morning sunshine! And (by) the night as it falls still! Your Lord has not deserted you, (O Prophet). And never has He abhorred you.” (Quran 93:1-3)

Some scholars interpret the word “duha” to mean the day thinking that it is the antithesis of night in the second verse. However, the other more preferred opinion is that it means only forenoon or the morning sunshine. Scholars who adopt the latter opinion use the following verse to support their opinion. Allah says,

(Moses) said: Your appointed time is the Day of Festival, at (Duha) mid-morning, while the people are assembled. (Quran 20:59)

Concerning the Duha Prayer, Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him and his father) used to name it the Sunrise Prayer.

In the technical usage al-Duha refers to a specific time that starts about 10 or 15 minutes after sunrise and finishes 10 or 15 minutes before the Dhuhr (noon) prayer or before it’s high noon i.e. when the sun starts to move from its highest point in the sky towards the direction of the sunset.

The duha time is so blessed that there is a surah (chapter) of the Gracious Quran that starts with the oath of Allah swearing by al-Duha and the night.

The virtues of the Duha Prayer

1. Performing the Duha prayer acts as an act of thankfulness to Allah for He has blessed us with wellness. Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha ill Allah) is an act of charity; and enjoining what is good is an act of charity, and forbidding what is evil is an act of charity, and two rak’ahs (units) of Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” (Muslim)

2. It brings about Allah’s protection. Narrated Nu’aym ibn Hammar:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: Allah, the Exalted, says: Son of Adam, do not be helpless in performing four rak’ahs for Me at the beginning of the day: I will supply what you need till the end of it. (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

3. Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) instructed and encouraged some of his companions to perform it. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

My friend (the Messenger of Allah) (ﷺ) directed me to observe fast for three days in every month, to perform two rak’ahs (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to perform the Witr prayer before going to bed. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Did Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) use to perform the Duha Prayer?

Scanning the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace), one finds out that there are some contradictory evidence concerning this matter. Let us consider the following hadiths: Narrated `Aisha:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to give up a good deed, although he loved to do it, for fear that people might act on it and it might be made compulsory for them. The Prophet (ﷺ) never prayed the Duha prayer, but I offer it. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) This is the wording of Al-Bukhari.

This hadith proves that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not use to perform it. On the other hand, there is another hadith related also by ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) which provides evidence to the contrary. ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to perform four rak’ahs of Duha prayer (at the forenoon) and would add to them whatever Allah wished. (Muslim)

To reconcile such contradictory hadiths, scholars of hadith hold the opinion that the latter hadith is shadh (anomalous). This is because a number of the companions relate that Prophet Muhammad did not use to perform the Duha Prayer. However, He does encourage Muslims to perform Duha prayer.

 Why did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) make it recommended to perform the Duha prayer while he did not use to perform it?

One of the best answers to this question is as follows. Scholars believe that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would choose to perform only the night prayer. However, in case he missed the night prayer, he would offer twelve rak’has in the forenoon. In addition, when the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was back from travels, he would usually arrive in the forenoon and would start with entering the mosque and offering two rak’ahs.  On the Liberation of Makkah Day, he offered eight rak’ahs

How many rak’ahs a Muslim may offer for Duha Prayer?

The smallest number of rak’ahs a Muslim may perform is two. Also, a Muslim may perform four, six, or eight. Based on the practical Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the largest number is eight rak’ahs or twelve in case a person makes up the night prayer.

However, according to the verbal Sunnah, a person may offer as many rak’ahs as he or she wishes.

When is the best time to offer Duha Prayer?

A Muslim may perform the Duha prayer any time from about 10 or 15 minutes after sunshine to 10 or 15 minutes before noon. However, the best time is the hottest. In Middle Eastern countries, it becomes very hot at about 9, 10, or 11 am. Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

I saw some people performing Duha (prayers) in the early forenoon and warned them (saying): These people must know that performing prayer a little later is better. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The Salat (prayer) of the penitent is to be observed when the young ones of camels feel the heat of the sun (i.e., when it becomes very hot).” (Muslim)


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Five Times when Prayer (Salah) Is Reprehensible!

By Editorial Staff

One of the frequently asked questions concerning prayer is about whether a person may or may not perform prayer at those times when performing prayer is reprehensible.

To better understand this issue, we need to give a brief overview of a very well-known legal issue.  How can scholars reconcile it when there are two Shari’ah commands: one bids you to do an act of worship while the second bids abandonment?

If I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can.

To answer this, let us consider the following two hadiths as an example:

1. Abu Huraira is reported to have said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prohibited to observe prayer after the ‘Asr (Afternoon)prayer till the sun is set, and after the dawn till the sun rises. (Muslim)

2. Abu Qatadah (Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When anyone of you enters a mosque, he should perform two rak’ahs (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

If it happens that a Muslim enters a mosque after performing either the ‘Asr (Afternoon Prayer) or Fajr (Dawn Prayer), which hadiths of the two mentioned above may he or she follow?

Some scholars prefer giving priority to the command which bids abandonment. To support their opinion, they quote a hadith related by Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) says as part of this hadith:

“…If I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

To clarify this, they say that the command which bids a person “not to do” in this hadith is more certain than the command “to do” which depends on ability.

Moreover, Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) are reported to have prevented people when they saw them perform prayer after ‘Asr (Afternoon Prayer)

The second opinion is that a person may perform prayer at such times so long as there is a reason for performing them. This is the opinion of the Shafi’i school of Fiqh. For them, the reasons which allow a person to perform prayers at those times when prayer is reprehensible include the following:

1. Performing Wudu’ (ablution)

Whenever a person performs wudu’ (ablution), he or she is recommended to perform two rak’ahs of voluntary prayer. This legal ruling only applies in case there is no other (fard) obligatory or (sunnah) recommended prayers to be performed. If the time is due to perform either fard or sunnah prayer, then it is correct to only perform the fard or sunnah prayers. The idea behind that is to always perform prayer after ablution whether it is obligatory, recommended or voluntary. However, we perform these two rak’ahs of voluntary prayer in case there is no other obligatory or recommended prayer to perform. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to Bilal (Allah be pleased with him) “Tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e., one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) you have done since your acceptance of Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal said: “I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make Wudu’ (or took a bath) in an hour of night or day, I would immediately perform Salat (prayer) for as long as was destined for me to perform.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The hadith denotes that a person may perform more than two rak’ahs. However, the scholars who adopt the second opinion mentioned above allows you to perform only two rak’ahs at the times when prayer is reprehensible.

2. Entering a mosque

When you enter a mosque to sit in it or read the Quran for example, you should start with performing two-rak’ah prayer. As mentioned above, this legal ruling, also, only applies in case there is no other (fard) obligatory or (sunnah) recommended prayers to be performed. If you enter at the times when prayer is reprehensible, then you may perform two-rak’ah prayer according to Imam Al-Shafi’i or the second opinion mentioned above. Abu Qatadah (Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When anyone of you enters a mosque, he should perform two rak’ahs (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. Al-Tawaf (circumambulation around the Ka’bah)

A number of scholars also allow a pilgrim to perform two-rak’ah prayer at any time after circumambulation around the Ka’bah at Makkah. It was narrated that Jubair bin Mut’im said:

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘O Banu ‘Abd Manaf! Do not prevent anyone from circumambulating this House and praying at any time he wants of the day or night.” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)

4. Istikharah Prayer

Istikharah is a two-rak’ah voluntary prayer in which you make du’a’ (supplication) asking Allah to guide you to the better of two things. You are recommended to perform it whenever you cannot make up your mind whether to do or not to do a certain deed.

However, these four reasons are but a few examples. There are other reasons such as funeral prayer, Istisqa’ (prayer for rain), etc. Other scholars see that we can wait till such time is up. Look at the conclusion below.

The Times When Prayer is Reprehensible:

1. After Performing the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer until Sunrise

Once you perform the Dawn prayer, you are not allowed to perform any voluntary prayers. So, is it allowed to make up for any missed prayer whether obligatory or recommended?

You may make up for missed prayers either after performing the Fajr prayer or after 15 minutes after sunrise when the time when prayer is reprehensible is up.

2. From Sunrise to about 15 minutes after it

Scholars used to express this as from the very beginning of sunrise until the sun rises up in the sky to the height of a spear. Normally they would estimate this with the naked eye. Narrated Hisham’s father:

Ibn `Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Do not pray at the time of sunrise and at the time of sunset.’ ” Ibn `Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘If the edge of the sun appears (above the horizon) delay the prayer till it becomes high, and if the edge of the sun disappears, delay the prayer till it sets (disappears completely).’ “(Al-Bukhari)

3. When the sun is at its highest point in the sky till it leaves the middle of the sky

Uqba b. ‘Amir said:

There were three times at which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) forbade us to pray, or bury our dead: When the sun begins to rise till it is fully up, when the sun is at its height at midday till it passes over the meridian, and when the sun draws near to setting till it sets. (Muslim)

However, some scholars hold the opinion that this ruling applies to all days of the week except for Fridays. This means on Fridays, you may perform voluntary prayer when it’s high noon. Abu-Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying:

He who took a bath and then came for Jumu’a (Friday) prayer and then prayed what was fixed for him, then kept silence till the Imam finished the sermon, and then prayed along with him, his sins between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven, and even of three days more. (Muslim)

4. After performing the ‘Asr Prayer until the sun starts to set

The legal ruling of performing prayer after the fajr prayer also applies here. Thus, it becomes reprehensible to perform voluntary prayers after both the ‘Asr and Fajr prayers. Likewise, you can make up for any missed obligatory or recommended prayer.

5. At sunset till the sun fully disappears below the horizon

However, there is no time when performing prayer is reprehensible during the night.

To conclude, there is a third opinion which, I think, may be more preferred. This opinion divides the five times mentioned above into two categories: reprehensible and very reprehensible. You can perform voluntary prayer such as after ablution when it is only reprehensible, namely, after both fajr and ‘Asr prayers. On the other hand, you may not do this when it is very reprehensible to do so as in 2, 3 and 5 mentioned above.

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Five Prerequisites for Shortening the Prayer

By Editorial Staff

Shortening the Prayer means to perform the regularly four-rak’ah prayer, namely, the Dhuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (Evening) Prayers, as only two-rak’ah prayer during travel.

Shortening the Prayer means to perform the regularly four-rak’ah prayer, namely, the Dhuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (Evening) Prayers, as only two-rak’ah prayer during travel.

The Legal Ruling Concerning Shortening the Prayer

The majority of scholars including the shafi’i School of Fiqh believe that a traveller may shorten the four-rak’ah prayer to only two. On the other hand, some scholars of the Zahiri School of Fiqh believe it is obligatory. The Zahiri Scholars base their opinion on the fact that there is no authentic proof that shows that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) completed the Prayer during travel.

In addition, ‘A’isha, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), reported:

The prayer was prescribed as two rak’ahs, two rak’ahs both in journey and at the place of residence. The prayer while travelling remained as it was (originally prescribed), but an addition was made in the prayer (observed) at the place of residence. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, this is the wording of Muslim)

The majority of scholars’ opinion is that shortening the Prayer is permissible but some of them believe it is recommended. Allah says,

Now, when you strike out in the land, then there shall be no blame on you if you shorten (something) of the Prayer, should you fear that those who disbelieve will assail you. Indeed, the disbelievers are to you a clear enemy. (Quran 4:101)

The sentence “there shall be no blame on you” does not denote obligation. On the other hand, you may say that according to the apparent meaning of the verse shortening the Prayer is allowed only when one feels unsafe. “People are now safe!”, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab wondered upon reciting the above mentioned verse. “It is an act of charity which Allah has done to you, so accept His charity”, said Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). (Muslim)

According to the Shafi’i school of Fiqh, there are five prerequisites for shortening the Prayer. Let us consider these prerequisites.

Prerequisites for Shortening the Prayer

1. Travel must not be for committing any acts of disobedience

The purpose of shortening the Prayer is to lighten the travel burden for people. That’s why travelling for theft or robbery for example can never be a reason that allows a person to shorten the Prayer. However, there is another opinion which does not differentiate between travels whether they are legal and for fulfilling permissible deeds or not. Moreover, there is no explicit evidence for such differentiation.

2. An outward journey (without return) must be 16 Parasangs long or 80 km

So long as an outward journey is about or more than 80 or 82 km in length, you may, then, shorten your prayer and break the fast. “Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) used to shorten the Prayer and break the fast when they travelled for four barids[i] which are equal to 16 parasangs”, related Al-Bukhari as part of a Mu’allaq (Suspended) Hadith in his Sahih Al-Bukhari.

Discussing this opinion, some scholars believe that neither this hadith is Marfu’ (elevated) to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) nor they used to measure distances at that time. That’s why there are lots of different opinions on this issue. In addition, Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) were reported to have expressed opinions different to what is mentioned above. Yahya ibn Yazid al-Huna’i reported:

I asked Anas ibn Malik about shortening of prayer. He said: When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had covered a distance of three miles or three farsakh (parasang) (Shu’ba, one of the narrators, had some doubt about it) he observed two rak’ahs. (Muslim)

Although this hadith is related by Imam Muslim, the majority of scholars do not act according to it. This may be due to the doubt the narrator had. Moreover, some scholars of hadith regard the chain of narration of this hadith as defective.

Due to these differences and the lack of evidence which is free from defects or oppositions, it appears that what counts here are the people’s customs.

3. Performing the Four-Rak’ah Prayer in its Prescribed Time

If you miss one or more prayer before setting off for a journey, you must make up for such prayer in full during the journey. This is because the time of performance for this or these prayers is up before travelling.

On the contrary, if you start your journey within the prescribed time for a certain prayer, you may shorten that prayer. For example, if the time for Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer is due at 12 noon and you set off for your journey at 2 p.m., you may shorten the Dhuhr Prayer.

4. Intending to shorten the Prayer just before or at the beginning of the Prayer

If you perform the Prayer in congregation and you do not know whether the Imam will shorten the Prayer or not, you may depend in your intention on the Imam’s intention. Not knowing which kind of Hajj Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had performed, Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) depended on the intention of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

5. The traveller must not be following a resident Imam

This is also a prerequisite to follow the imam of prayer. If the imam is a traveller and will shorten the prayer, you must do the same. On the contrary, if he is a resident, you should perform your prayer in full even if you come late and join the prayer in the middle or last rak’ah of it. “Why do we perform prayer in full when we join the congregational prayer with you and shorten it at our camp?”  Musa ibn Salamah Al-Hudhali asked ibn ‘Abbas. “This is the Sunnah of Abu Al-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace)”, he replied.

How many days may the traveller shorten the Prayer?

Scholars differentiate between travellers who do not know exactly when they will return home and others who may be considered domiciled residents. The first kind of travellers shortens the prayer even if the journey takes a long time.

The second kind who knows how long the journey will take may shorten the prayer for only three or four days.


[i] Barid (pl. burud) is an ancient Arabic unit of distance of about 22 or 23 km.

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