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Acts of Worship New Muslims

Tarawih Prayer: Its Meaning, Rulings and Manners

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan 

The Tarawih Prayer (Nightly Supererogatory Prayer during the month of Ramadan) is among what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has ordained for Muslims in Ramadan, and it is a stressed act of the Sunnah.

Trawih Prayer

It is more desirable to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation in the mosqueو

It is called ‘tarawih’ which means in Arabic ‘intervals of relaxation’, because Muslims used to take an interval of relaxation after every four rak`ahs  of the Tarawih Prayer as they used to prolong the prayer.

It is more desirable to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation in the mosque, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) led his Companions in performing the Tarawih Prayer for some nights then he stopped for fear that it might become a burden on Muslims.

`A’ishah  (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

“One night, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) performed prayer in the mosque and some people followed him. The next night he also performed prayer and too many people gathered. On the third or the fourth night, more people gathered, but Allah’s Messenger did not come out to them. In the morning he said, ‘I saw what you were doing and nothing but the fear that it (i.e. the  prayer) might be enjoined on you, stopped me from comil1g to you.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In the narration of Al-Bukhari the words “… and that happened in the month of Ramadan” were added. It is well-known that the Companions performed the Tarawih Prayer after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslim nation has accepted and followed this practice.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

“Whoever stands (performing prayer) with the imam until he finishes prayer, (the reward for) performing prayer all the night will be recorded for him.” (Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’I, and Ibn Majah)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also says:

“Whoever performs prayer during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping for Divine reward (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, performing the Tarawih Prayer is stated (stressed) act of the Sunnah that a Muslim should not leave.”

How Many Rak`ahs?

Concerning the number of rak`ahs (units of prayer) performed in this prayer, nothing definite is narrated about the Prophet (peace be upon him) and hence Muslims are free to choose. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“A Muslim can perform twenty rak`ahs (in the Tarawih Prayer) according to the famous Hanbali and Shafi`i schools, thirty six rak`ahs with regard to the Maliki School, eleven rak`ahs  or thirteen. Thus, all is good and a Muslim can perform more or less rak`ahs according to the (long or short) time of his standing reciting the Qur’an.”

When `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered Muslims to perform the Tarawih Prayer in congregation behind Ubay Ibn Ka`b, the later performed twenty rak`ahs. Some of the Companion used to perform more rak`ahs and other Companions performed less. So, there is no definite text related about the Prophet (peace be upon hgim) determining certain number of rak`ahs to be performed in the Tarawih Prayer.

Tranquility

Many imams of mosques perform the Tarawih Prayer without paying attention or feeling tranquil while bowing or prostrating. Feeling tranquil is an integral part of prayer and a Muslim must pay attention while standing before Allah (Exalted be He) and learn from the words of Allah (the Qur’an) while they are being recited.

Of course, a Muslim cannot feel this when performing prayer with detestable haste. It is more befitting to perform less rak`ahs in a state of tranquility and reciting the Qur’an for a long time than to perform twenty rak`ahs with detestable haste. This is because the essence of prayer is to turn one’s heart to Allah.

Verily, a few rak`ahs (with tranquility and reflection) can outweigh so many ones. Also, it is better to recite the Qur’an with measured recitation than reciting it with haste. It is allowable to be quick in reciting the Qur’an provided that no letter is neglected since it is prohibited to neglect a letter for the sake of quick recitation.

Pondering the Qur’an

However, it is good for an imam (in congregational prayer) to recite the Qur’an in a way that benefits those performing prayer behind him. Allah dispraises those who recite the Qur’an without understanding its meaning as Allah reveals:

And among them are unlettered ones who do not know the Scripture except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming. (Al–Baqarah 2:78)

The verse refers to those people who recite (the Book) without understanding its meaning. Allah has revealed the Qur’an for Muslims to understand its meaning and carry out its rulings, not only to recite it.

Some imams of mosques do not perform the Tarawih Prayer as it should be performed, for they recite the Qur’an so hastily that they violate the sound reciting of the Qur’an.

Moreover, they do not feel tranquil while standing, bowing, or prostrating though feeling tranquil is an integral part of prayer.

Furthermore, they may perform only a few rak`ahs in (units of prayer). Thai is, those imams combine many detestable acts which are performing only a few rak`ahs, shortening the the time of prayer, and reciting the Qur’an in a bad way.

Thus, they perform worship heedlessly. They must fear Allah, establish their prayer well and not deprive themselves and those (performing prayer) behind them from performing the Tarawih Prayer according to the legal way.

We invoke Allah to guide all Muslims to success.

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

 

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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Acts of Worship New Muslims

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu?

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu?

Allah, Exalted be He, says:

O you who haw have believed, when you rise to (perform) prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles… (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

This verse states that performing ablution whenever rising to prayer is obligatory, and tells us which organs should be washed and those which should be wiped during wudu, and specifies what part of them should be washed or wiped.

What Are the Conditions and Obligatory Acts of Wudu

The elbows are included when washing the arms during ablution.

Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him), through his hadiths (sayings) and practices has dearly shown the way ablution is to be performed.

Every Muslim should know that wudu has certain conditions, obligatory acts, and practices of the Sunnah to be observed while performing it. Both conditions and obligatory acts must be fulfilled as much as possible in order to ensure the validity of ablution.

As for the acts of the Sunnah related to ablution, they are considered complementary practices that guarantee the perfection of wudu. Observing these acts of the Sunnah, during ablution in increases ones reward, yet abandoning them does not affect the validity of ablution.

The Conditions of Ablution

There are eight conditions of ablution:

1- Being a Muslim

2- Being mentally sound

3- Having discretion

4- Having the intention of performing wudu

According to the aforementioned four conditions, ablution is invalid if performed by a disbeliever, an insane person, a young child who does not distinguish (between right and wrong), or one who does not have the intention of ablution (upon performing it), such as performing it as a way of refreshment in a hot weather, or as a means of cleaning one’s body organs or removing certain impurities or the like.

5- Using pure water: Water used for performing ablution must be pure, so impure water is inadequate for performing ablution.

6- Using legally-obtained water: If the water used for ablution is unlawfully acquired, or taken by force, ablution will not be valid.

7- Being preceded by istinja’ or istijmar (cleaning one’s stool and urine exits following defecation or urination,) when necessary.

8- Removing what may prevent water from reaching skin of the ablution organs: That is the one performing ablution ha, to remove anything covering the organ of ablution, such as mud, dough, wax, accumulated dirt, thick paint, etc., in order to allow water to reach the skin of the organ directly without hindrance.

The Obligatory Acts of Ablution

There are six obligatory acts related to the organs of ablution:

1 -Washing the whole face

Washing the whole face involves rinsing the mouth and the nose with water. Accordingly, one’s ablution is void if one washes one’s face without rinsing ‘both’ the mouth and the nose with water. This is because the mouth and the nose belong to the face, and Allah says. (regarding ablution): “Wash your faces.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

Thus, Allah commands washing the whole face during ablution. So whoever disregards washing any part of the face is considered to be disobedient to the Command of Allah.

Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to rinse his mouth and nose with water while performing wudu.

2-Washing the forearms including the elbows

Allah says “….. And your forearms to the elbows…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6), i.e. washing them including the elbows, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to do according to a hadith narrated in this regard. It is also slated in another hadith that the Prophet “…washed his hands (during ablution) until he reached the upper arms”. This indicates that the elbows are included when washing the arms during ablution.

3-Wiping over the whole head

Wiping over the head includes the ears, for Allah says “…And wipe over your heads…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) Moreover, the Prophet said “The ears are treated as part of the head” (Ibn Majah)

Therefore, it is incorrect to abandon wiping over the ears, for it is insufficient to wipe over one part of the head and neglect another during ablution.

4- Washing the feet including the ankles

During ablution the feet must be washed including the ankles, for Allah, Exalted be He, says: “…and wash your feet to the ankles…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) Here, the preposition “to” means ‘with’ according to the hadiths pointing out how ablution is performed, and through which it is stated that the whole feet must be washed ‘including’ the ankles.

5- Sequence

The decreed sequence has to be observed while performing wudu. To clarify, one begins with washing the face, followed by the hands, then wipes over the head, and finally washes the feet, as clearly shown in the verse Allah says:

O you who have believed, when you rise to (perform) prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles· (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to follow that order while performing ablution, saying:

“This is an ablution without which Allah does not accept any prayer·” (Abu Dawud)

6- Succession

This means to wash the organs successively without any interval between washing the organs, i.e. the organs must be washed successively without pause as much as possible.

These are the obligatory acts of wudu that must fulfilled as commanded by Allah in His Book, the Qur’an.

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

 

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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Major Sins New Muslims

Polytheism: Its Meaning and Categories

Polytheism or ascribing partners to Allah (the Exalted) nullifies faith in the Oneness of Allah and since the most important and greatest obligation in Islam is to have faith in the Oneness of Allah and to single Him out for worship alone, then clearly the worst sin possible is to ascribe partners to Him.

Polytheism.. Its Meaning and Categories

Polytheism corrupts and invalidates acts of obedience.

It is the only sin that Allah, the Most Merciful, never forgives, as stated in the Qur’an:

Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom He pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away. (An-Nisaa’ 4:116)

Worst Sin

And when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked which sin is the worst in the sight of Allah, he replied:

“To ascribe partners to Allah while He created you.”

Polytheism corrupts and invalidates acts of obedience, thus an act of obedience is not accepted and the slave is not rewarded when accompanied by the occurrence of polytheism, as Allah has stated in the Qur’an:

If they had joined In Worship others with Allah, All that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. (Al-An`am 6:88)

Polytheism requires that its perpetrator be doomed to Hell forever if he dies as a polytheist, as Allah the Most High has stated in the Qur’an:

Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. (Al-Ma’idah 5:72)

Categories of Polytheism

Polytheism is divided into two categories:

First: Major Polytheism which is in opposition to the very foundation of faith in the Oneness of Allah and expels a person from the religion of Islam.

Second: Minor Polytheism which is in opposition to having complete faith in the Oneness of Allah, however it does not expel a person from the religion of Islam.

First Category: Major Polytheism

It is to divert any form of worship to anyone beside Allah such as calling upon someone other than Allah- for something that only Allah is able to do- entrusting one’s affairs to someone other than Him, or prostrating to anything as a form of worship. Allah has said in the Qur’an:

And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the wrong-doers. (Yunus 10:106)

“Wrong-doers” here means ‘polytheists’. And Allah said:

And put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed. (Al-Ma’idah 5:23)

And Allah said:

So fall you down in prostration to Allah, and Worship Him (Alone). (An-Najm 53:62)

Since calling upon, entrusting one’s affairs, and prostrating are acts of worship that Allah has commanded, whoever diverts them to Allah is someone who has faith in the Oneness of Allah, and whoever diverts them to anything besides Allah is a polytheist.

Moreover assigning partners to Allah by obeying them in what they make permissible and prohibited falls under this category of polytheism, as Allah informs us in the Qur’an:

They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah and (They also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Mary, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded in the Torah and the Gospel) to worship none but one God (none has the Right to be worshiped but He) Praise and Glory be to him, (Far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (At-Tawbah 9:31)

This verse was revealed in regards to the Jews and Christians who obey their rabbis and priests regarding their making permissible what Allah forbids and their prohibiting what Allah permits. On the authority of `Adi ibn Hatim (may Allah be pleased with him):

I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) wearing a golden cross around my neck. He said:

“`Adi! Throw away this idol,” and I heard him recite the verse:

“They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah” (At-Tawbah 9:31)

He said: “Verily they were not worshiping them, however when their monks and rabbis made something lawful for them, they deemed it permissible; and when their monks and rabbis made something unlawful, they deemed it as forbidden.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Second Category: Minor Polytheism

It is anything that leads to the major polytheism and it is divided into two parts:

1- Apparent Polytheism

Apparent Polytheism can be committed with words or actions. It is committed with words by doing things like swearing oaths by other than Allah, such as swearing by the Prophet Mohammed or Jesus (peace be upon them), and by saying ‘Things will happen according to whatever Allah and you will’. For indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:

“Whoever swears by other than Allah then he has fallen into disbelief or polytheism.” (At-Tirmidhi)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied to the one who said: “Whatever Allah wills and you will”:

“Have you made me equal to Allah? Rather say, what Allah wills alone.” (Ahmad)

Apparent polytheism is committed through actions such as wearing amulets and threads used as charms to ward off misfortune, and believing that they are a reason nfor that happening.

2- Hidden Polytheism

It is the polytheism that is related to intentions and wishes such as doing something to show off and for the sake of reputation, such that the act is not done for the sake of Allah the Exalted, rather it is done seeking praise or compliments from people. For example, a person might pray or fast so that people will say how upright or excellent his religious commitment is. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“The thing that I fear most for you is Minor Polytheism.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is Minor Polytheism?” He said: “Showing off. Allah will say to them on the Day of Judgment when people are being rewarded for their deeds: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off in the worldly life, and see if you find a reward with them.” (Ahmad)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

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