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What is a Mosque?

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

A mosque is the building in which Muslims worship God. Throughout Islamic history, the mosque was the centre of the community and towns formed around this pivotal building. Nowadays, especially in Muslim countries, mosques are found on nearly every street corner, making it a simple matter for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers. In the West mosques are integral parts of Islamic centers that also contain teaching and community facilities.

Mosques come in all shapes and sizes; they differ from region to region based on the density of the Muslim population in a certain area. Muslims in the past and even today have made use of local artisans and architects to create beautiful, magnificent mosques.

There are however, certain features that are common to all mosques. Every mosque has a mihrab, a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Makkah; the direction towards which Muslims pray. Most mosques have a minbar (pulpit) from which an Islamic scholar is able to deliver a sermon or speech.

Other common features include, minarets, tall towers used to call the congregation to prayer. Minarets are highly visible and are closely identified with mosques.  Normally there is a large rectangular or square prayer area. It often takes the form of a flat roof supported by columns or a system of horizontal beams supported by architraves. In other common mosque designs, the roof consists of a single large dome on pendentives (an Islamic contribution to architecture that allows the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room). There are usually separate prayer areas, with separate entrances for both men and women.

Mosques have developed significantly over the past 1400 years. Many have courtyards containing decorative pools and fountains, which originally supplied water for ablution before prayer. Nowadays however, more private bathroom and toilet facilities are provided.

Originally simple structures with earthen floors, now, mosque floors are usually covered with plush carpet.  They are more often than not decorated with straight lines of geometric designs that ensure Muslims stand in straight rows to perform their five daily prayers.

There are never any images of life or statues in mosques, for in Islam it is forbidden that such things are kept or displayed. At times, the interior walls of the mosque are decorated with verses from the Qur’an in Arabic calligraphy, or with intricate geometric designs. The patterns are made from a variety of materials including mosaics, stucco, stone, ceramics, and wood. The more classical designs are referred to as arabesque, and they take the form of a radial grid in which circle and star shapes are prominent. Designs can be both two, and three-dimensional.

More often than not, even in arid desert countries mosques are cool, serene havens.  When a person enters a mosque he or she would have left the hustle and bustle of the material world and retreated into a calm shelter or sanctuary.

Mosques are houses of worship. Men are expected to pray all five daily obligatory prayers in a mosque, in congregation. Although women are welcome to pray in the mosque it is more praiseworthy for them to pray in their homes. Nonetheless, Muslims are permitted to pray anywhere, excluding filthy or impure places such as toilets or in graveyards. Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) said: “The entire earth was made a masjid for me”.  (Al-Bukhari)

Masjid is the Arabic word for mosque. However, while the term mosque has come to mean a building specifically for prayer the word masjid has retained several layers of meaning.

In the very literal sense, masjid means place of prostration. The Arabic word comes from the root ‘sa-ja-da’ meaning to prostrate. When a Muslim’s forehead touches the ground, he or she is close to God. Prayer establishes the connection between the believer and his Lord and prostration symbolizes complete submission.

Many people have incorrectly stated that the word mosque is not a translation of the word masjid. They claim that the word mosque comes from the word mosquito and attribute it to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of 15th century Spain. However, the words mosque and mosquito are totally unrelated.

The word ‘mosque’ was introduced into the English language in the late 14th or early 15th century from the French.  It comes from the French word mosquée from the old French word mousquaie. The French, in turn, derived the word from the Italian word moschea from moscheta. The Italians got it either directly from the Arabic word masjid or from the old Spanish mesquite, according to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Thus we can see that the translation of the Arabic word Masjid, into English becomes mosque. A mosque is a house of prayer, and a place of prostration. It is a building designed and built specifically for the worship of Allah. It is where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, united in their love for God and their desire to please Him.

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Source: islamreligion.com

 

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Women’s Prayer in Mosques: Allowed or Not?

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan 

Our religion is a perfect one that comprehensively covers our welfare and interests in this world and in the Hereafter, Islam came with good to all Muslims, whether male or female as Allah says:

Women’s Prayer in Mosques

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques.

Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily we shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)

Islam takes an interest in women, conferring honor and respect upon them as long as they abide by its rulings and adorn themselves with its virtues.

Allowed

One of the things by which Islam honors woman is allowing her to attend the mosques to witness the congregational prayers and the assemblies for remembering Allah in order to win reward. However, at the same time the woman must do that with due decency and precautions that keep her away from any satanic seduction and preserve her dignity as well.

With Men’s Permission!

It is detestable to prevent women from going to the mosque if they ask permission. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Do not prevent the female servants of Allah (women) from (going to) the mosques of Allah, but they should go while they are not perfumed.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

This is because performing the prescribed prayers in congregation has a great reward for both men and women: moreover, walking to the mosque has a great reward.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Why?

The wisdom behind asking their husbands’ permission is that it is among the rights of men upon their women (wives) to stay at home. Thus, going to the mosque, in this case, is only permissible, and they art not to abandon what is obligatory for the sake of what is permissible. When the husband gives permission to his wife to go to the mosque, he then gives up his right (upon his wife to stay at home).

The Prophet said:

“ … yet their houses (women’s) are better for them (to perform prayer therein).” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) means that it is better for women to perform prayer in their houses to avoid any satanic temptation. The Prophet also said:

“… But they should go while they are not perfumed”

On this Condition

This means that women are allowed to go to the mosque (to perform prayer) on the condition that they should not be perfumed, lest they might tempt men with their perfume, thus diverting men’s eyes to them. The intended meaning here is that perfume is something that tempts men towards women. Joined to perfume (in prohibition) is what resembles it (with regard to temptation) like wearing attracting clothes, jewels and adornments.

Thereupon, if a woman perfumes herself or puts on attractive clothes, then she is prohibited to go to the mosque and must be forbidden from going out of her home. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever woman perfumes herself should not join us in the `Isha’ (Night) Prayer.” (Muslim)

Besides, if a woman went out to the mosque (for prayer), she should keep away from crowded gatherings of men, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Thus, those in authority must forbid mingling between men and women in marketplaces and  gathering of men. The responsibility for this is upon those in authority since mingling between men and women brings about a great affliction. This is according to the hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn Al-Qayyim added:

“Thus, those in authority must forbid women from going out adorned and beautified (in a seducing way). They must also forbid women from talking to men in streets and forbid men as well from doing the same.”

                                                                                                                                                                      To be continued

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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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Mosques in Islam: Purpose and Role

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah.

As the primary religious institution, the masjid has the greatest role in community building, and its success in performing this role is essential for the wellbeing of the community, particularly where Muslims live as minorities.

Sadly, the role of the masjid in many Muslim communities around the globe has recently been reduced to being a physical place where prayers are offered. It is time to reverse that trend and revive the role of this institution to what it was in the early history of Islam. Such a revival cannot be fully realized without first developing a clear understanding from the revelation, the Qur’an and Sunnah, about the importance, virtue, and role of the masjid in Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best patches (of earth) are the masajid (mosques) and the worst are the markets.” (Ibn Hibban)

Thus, Allah chose His Prophets to establish them, He said:

And (mention) when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and (with him) Ishmael. (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

And He commanded them to purify them and keep them clean, He said:

And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, (saying), “Purify My House”… (Al-Baqarah 2:125)

Furthermore, Allah made the reward of building the masajid most abundant. Regarding this, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, though it be the size of the ground nest of a sand-grouse, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Ibn Majah)

Refuge for Hearts

Allah made the masajid a refuge for the hearts of His righteous servants, as the Prophet said:

“There are seven (types of people) whom Allah will protect with His Shade, on the Day (of Resurrection) when there will be no shade except His Shade.” Of them is, “A person whose heart is attached to the masjid.”

It should suffice the caretakers of the masajid that Allah praised them with this description,

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the (rightly) guided. (At-Tawbah 9:18)

It was not a coincidence that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) started his mission in Madinah by building the masjid, which he made in its center.

The masjid takes its name from one of the actions of salah (prayer), which is sujud (prostration). It is the action wherein the believer shows the utmost humility to Allah. The salah is the best of our actions, as the Prophet told us in the hadith of Thawban.

Beyond Prayer

However, the role of the masjid is not limited to the performance of salah. The masajid should be places wherein Muslims learn how to prostrate their hearts before Allah, and not only their bodies. They are places of tarbiyah (refinement) of the Muslim character.

To the Prophet  and his Companions, the masjid was not only a place where they prayed, but it was also a place where they learned, recited the Qur’an, made dhikr (remembrance) and du`aa’ (supplication), met with each other, socialized, received the delegations, prepared the expeditions and raised funds for various good causes.

In fact, it was sometimes even a place for tending to the sick, and a shelter for the homeless. In the physical world, it was at the center of their lives. At the same time, it was the cradle of their learning and spiritual growth.

Whatever can be said about the importance of the masjid for Muslim communities throughout the world it is even more magnified when we talk about the Muslim minorities, to whom the masjid is truly the ark of Noah. In America, for example, Muslims are a small minority scattered throughout a large continent. For some of them, weeks or months may pass by without getting a chance to see another Muslim except in the masjid.

The masjid, therefore, constitutes the link between them and their deen (religion). In it, they develop that emotional bond with their community, which is vital to the wellbeing of their allegiance to the Ummah and faith in Allah. Many youth may find in the masjid the role models they lack at home.

In addition to this, for Muslims to see a masjid– especially the youth who did not grow up in Muslim countries– is vital because it’s the most evident symbol of Islam in their tangible world.

What Else?

The pressing question now is how to revive the role of the masjid in our times, particularly where Muslims live as minorities? Here are some of the things we need to do as a community.

We need to educate ourselves regarding what may be done at the masjid…

To begin with, one must emphasize that the primary actions in the masjid are salah (prayers), dhikr (mention of Allah), du`aa’ (supplication), tilawah (recitation), and education.

In light of that, priority must be given to the main jama`ah (congregants) of the masjid and activities led by the designated imam. Those who do anything else, or do something other than what the main jama`ah does, should not cause disruption. Abu Sa`eed narrated that the Prophet was in i`tikaf and heard them raising their voices with recitation, so he said:

“Each one of you is in munajah (soft conversation) with his Lord, so don’t bother one another, and don’t raise your voices above each other in recitation (or salah).” (Abu Dawud)

If it is prohibited for someone who is praying or reciting the Qur’an to bother the other worshipers, then it is more prohibited for someone doing something inferior to that to bother them.

Having said that, there is still room for much to be done at the masjid, and while many actions are prohibited in it, such as conducting business, advertising, announcing lost items, many other practices are thought to be prohibited when they are not.

Some of us Muslims have this mental image of the masjid as a sterile, extremely quiet place where people pray together and disperse thereafter. This causes some to enforce many restrictions in the masjid that would eventually make it an unwelcoming place for children and families, and even to adult men. However, a tour through the masjid of the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his time may help us rid ourselves of this false conviction.

To be continued…

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Source: muslimmatters.org

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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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What One Should Do after Pronouncing the Shahadah

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

After pronouncing the Shahadah, it is from the Sunnah that a person do the following things:

It is recommended that one perform a complete bath (ghusl) with pure water a

What One Should Do after Pronouncing the Shahadah

It is recommended that one perform a complete bath (ghusl).

nd then perform a prayer consisting of two rak`ahs. In a hadith, a person named Thumamah Al-Hanafi was taken captive while he was a disbeliever. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would repetitively approach him saying:

“What do you say, O Thumamah?” He would say, “If you decide to kill me, you would be killing (in right) because I have killed; if you let me free, you would be letting free one who shows gratitude; and if you desire wealth, we will give you what you please.” The Companions of the Prophet liked to ransom captives, and so they said, “What would we gain if we killed him?” So finally one day, the Prophet decided to set (Thumamah) free, and [upon that] he accepted Islam. The Prophet untied him and sent him to the walled garden of Abu Talhah, commanding him to take a complete bath (ghusl). He performed a complete bath and prayed to rak‘ahs, and the Prophet said, “Your brother’s Islam is sincere.” (Sahih ibn Khuzaimah)

A Complete Bath (Ghusl)

The Intention (Niyyah). One must intend in his heart that he is performing ghusl to remove himself from a major state of impurity – whether janabah (a spiritual state of impurity which one enters after having sexual intercourse, or after ejaculation of men or the release of orgasmic fluid for women), menstruation or postpartum bleeding – without uttering such intention vocally.

Mentioning the Name of Allah. One should say, ‘Bismillah’ (In the Name of Allah).

He should wash his hands, and then his private parts removing the filth.

Next, he should perform a complete ablution (wudu’) as he would for the Prayer. He may delay washing his feet until the end of his ghusl.

He should pour (at leas) three handfuls of water on his head, running his fingers through his hair and beard so that water reaches the roots of his hair and scalp.

Then he should pour water over the rest of his body, rubbing it, beginning with the right side and then the left. He should take care that water reaches his armpits, ears, navel, and in between the folds of the skin if he were fat, for these folds of flesh which form in the obese prevent water from reaching the areas of skin concealed within the folds, and thus may remain dry. He should then wash his feet if he had not already done so while making wudu’ (before performing the ghusl). `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

“When Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) would perform ghusl due to sexual intercourse, he would first wash his hands, then pour water with his right hand into his left, washing his private parts. After that he would perform wudu’ as he would for the Prayer, and then take water and rub it in to the roots of his hair with his fingers. (Lastly) he would wash his feet.” (Muslim)

Ghusl becomes obligatory after one of the following things:

1- Ejaculation, whether the semen of men or the fluid released by women upon having an orgasm, due to desire, nocturnal emission, or the like.

2- Sexual intercourse, even if it does not result in ejaculation.

3- Following the cease of one’s menses, and

4- Following postpartum bleeding.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”.

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The Obligatory Acts of Wudu’ (the Ablution)

By: Sayyid Saabiq

Wudu’ (ablution) has certain components which, if not fulfilled according to the correct Islamic procedures, make one’s ablution void.

The Obligatory Acts of Wudu’ (the Ablution)

Washing the face involves “pouring”” or “running” water from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the jaws.

1- Intention

This is the desire to do the action and to please Allah by following His command. It is purely an act of the heart, for the tongue (verbal pronouncement, and so on) has nothing to do with it.

To pronounce it is not part of the Islamic law. That the intention is obligatory is shown in the following: `Umar related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every action is based on the intention (behind it), and everyone shall have what he intended” (Al-Bukhari, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majahh, At-Tirmidhi)

2- Washing the face

This involves “pouring” or “running” water from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the jaws, and from one ear to the other.

3- Washing the arms to the elbow

The elbows must be washed, for the Prophet, upon whom be peace, did so.

4- Wiping the head

This means to wipe one’s head with his hand. It is not sufficient just to place the hand on the head or to touch the head with a wet finger. The apparent meaning of the Qur’anic words, “…and wipe over your heads…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6) does not imply that all of the head needs to be wiped. It has been recorded that the Prophet used to wipe his head three different ways:

1- Wiping all of his head. ‘Abdullah ibn Zayd reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, wiped his entire head with his hands. He started with the front of his head, then moved to the back, and then returned his hands to the front. (the group)

2- Wiping over the turban only. Said `Amru ibn Umayyah, “I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) wipe over his turban and shoes.” (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah).

Bilal reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Wipe over your shoes and head covering.” (Ahmad) `Umar once said, “May Allah not purify the one who does not consider wiping over the turban to be purifying.” Many hadiths have been related on this topic by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others. Most of the scholars agree with them.

Wiping over the front portion of the scalp and the turban

Al-Mughirah ibn Shu`bah said that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, made ablution and wiped over the front portion of his scalp, his turban and his socks. (Muslim)

There is, however, no strong hadith that he wiped over part of his head, even though Al-Ma`idah: apparently implies it. It is also not sufficient just to wipe over locks of hair that proceed from the head or along the sides of the head.

Washing the feet and the heels

This has been confirmed in mutawatir (continuous) reports from the Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning his actions and statements. Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Prophet lagged behind us in one of our travels. He caught up with us after we had delayed the afternoon prayer. We started to make ablution and were wiping over our feet, when the Prophet said, ‘Woe to the heels, save them from the Hell-fire,’ repeating it two or three times.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Needless to say, the preceding obligations are the ones that Allah has mentioned in. (Al-Ma’idah)

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

 

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How to Offer the Funeral Prayer

funeral-prayer

The imam stands beside the body facing the qiblah at Mecca with the followers behind him in lines.

The prayer to God for the deceased Muslim is a common collective duty (Fard Kifayah). This means that some Muslims should offer this prayer, and when it is offered by some of the Muslims present at the time it is sufficient, and the other Muslims become exempt from responsibility.

– When a Muslim dies, the whole body – beginning with the exposed parts washed in ablution (wudu’ ) – must be washed a few times with soap or some other detergent or disinfectant, and cleaned of all visible impurities. A man washes a man and a woman washes a woman. A woman may wash her husband, and a man or woman may wash young children. During the washing, the washer’s hands should be covered by gloves or cloth, and the private parts of the dead body should be washed without being seen.

When the body is thoroughly clean, it is wrapped in one or more white cotton sheets covering all the parts of the body

– The dead body is then placed on a bier or in a coffin and carried to the place of prayer, a mosque or any other clean premises. The body is put in a position with the face toward the qiblah (direction of Makkah).

– All participants in the prayer must perform an ablution unless they are keeping an earlier one. The imam stands beside the body facing the qiblah at Mecca with the followers behind him in lines.

– The imam raises his hands to the ears declaring the intention in a low voice to pray to God for that particular deceased one, and saying Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest). The worshippers follow the imam’s lead and after him place their right hands over the left ones under the navel as in others prayers

– Then the imam recites in a low voice the “Du’ a Thana’” and Al-Fatihah (the 1st chapter of the Qur’an) only.

– Then he says Allahu Akbar without raising his hands and recites the second part of the Tashahhud:

Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta ‘ala Ibraheema wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta ‘ala Ibraheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed.” (O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You exalted Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Ibrahim. Verily You are full of praise and majesty. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.)

– Then he makes the third takbir saying Allahu Akbar without raising the hands and offers a supplication (du`aa’ ) in any suitable words he knows, preferably these

O God! Grant forgiveness to our living and to our dead, and to those who are present and to those who are absent. And to our young and to our old folk, and to our males and to our females. O God! whomsoever You grant to live, from among us, help him to live in Islam, and whomsoever of us You cause to die, help him to die in faith. O God! Do not deprive us of the reward for patience on his loss, and do not make us subject to trial after him.”

– Then the fourth takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) without raising the hands is made followed by the concluding peace greetings right and left as in other prayers. It should be remembered that the worshippers behind in lines follow the lead of the Imam step by step and recite privately the same utterances in low voice.

– After completing the Prayer, the body is carried to the graveyard, there the body is lowered in the grave for burial with the face resting in the direction of Mecca. When lowering the body down these words are said:

“In the name of God and with God, and according to the Sunnah (Traditions) of the Messenger of God upon whom be the blessings and peace of God.”

– Besides these, any other fit prayers may be offered. If the deceased is a child under the age of puberty, the prayer is the same except that after the third Takbeer and instead of that long supplication the worshippers recite these words:

“O God! Make him (or her) our fore-runner, and make him for us a reward and a treasure, and make him for us a pleader, and accept his pleading.”

The whole funeral prayer is offered in the standing position.

Whenever a funeral procession passes by, be it of a Muslim or otherwise, every Muslim should stand out of respect for the dead.

The grave should be built and marked in a simple way. The dead body should be covered with white cotton sheets of standard material. Any extravagance in building the grave or dressing up the body in fine suits or the like is non-Islamic. It is false vanity and a waste of assets that can be used in many useful ways.

The custom of some Muslims of offering a big and costly banquet upon burial of the deceased is also non-Islamic and an irresponsible waste of money and effort that can be of infinite benefit If used otherwise.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

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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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What Did the Prophet say about Congregational Prayer?

By Editorial Staff

The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged Muslims to attend the congregational prayer at the mosque, warning against staying away from it, and that it is fard kifayah (collective obligation).

Congregational Prayer

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

Superiority of Congregational Prayer

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)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The prayer of a man with another man is better than his praying alone, and the prayer of a man with two other men is better than his praying alone or with only one other man, and the more people there are, the more beloved it is to Allah.” (An-Nasa’i and Abu Dawud)

Also, it was narrated that Ma`dan ibn Abu Talhah Al-Ya`muri said:

Abud-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying:

“If three men in a village or in the desert, make no arrangement for Salah (prayer) in congregation, Satan must have certainly overcome them. So observe prayer in congregation, for the wolf eats up a solitary sheep that stays far from the flock.” (Abu Dawud)

Anas bin Malik narrated that:

Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever performs prayer for Allah for forty days in congregation, catching the first takbir, two absolutions are written for him: absolution from the Fire, and absolution from the Fire, and absolution from hypocrisy.” (At-Tirmidhi)

`Isha’ & Fajr

Uthman ibn `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger said:

“Whoever attends `Isha’ (prayer) in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) stood half of the night. And whoever prays `Isha’ and Fajr in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) spent the entire night standing (in prayer).” (At-Tirmidhi)

`Uthman ibn `Affan reported:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: “One who performs `Isha’ (Night) prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed prayer for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed prayer the whole night.” (Muslim)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet said, “Allah will prepare for him who goes to the mosque (every) morning and in the afternoon (for the congregational prayer) an honorable place in Paradise with good hospitality for (what he has done) every morning and afternoon goings. (Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

“If the people knew the reward for pronouncing the Adhan and for standing in the first row (in congregational prayers) and found no other way to get that except by drawing lots they would draw lots. And if they knew the reward of the Zhuhr prayer (in the early moments of its stated time), they would race for it (go early). And if they knew the reward of `Isha’ and Fajr (morning) prayers in congregation, they would come to offer them even if they had to crawl.” (Al-Bukhari)

Congregational Prayer

“For when one of you is walking for Salah, he is, in fact, engaged in Salah.”

More Virtuous

It was narrated that Ibn `Umar said:

“The Messenger of Allah said: “The prayer of a man in congregation is twenty-seven levels more virtuous than a man’s prayer on his own.” (Ibn Majah)

It was narrated that `Uthman ibn `Affan said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Whoever does wudu’ (ablution) properly, then walks to (attend) the prescribed prayer, and prays with the people or with the congregation or in the Masjid, Allah will forgive him his sins.” (An-Nasa’i)

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

I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “When the Iqamah is pronounced, do not come to it running, you should walk calmly with tranquility to join the congregation. Then join in what you catch for and complete what you miss.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah will prepare for him who goes to the mosque (every) morning and in the afternoon (for the congregational prayer) an honorable place in Paradise with good hospitality for (what he has done) every morning and afternoon goings. (Al-Bukhari)

Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

“The person who will receive the highest reward for Salah (prayer) is the one who comes to perform it in the mosque from the farthest distance. And he who waits for Salah to perform it with the Imam (in congregation) will have a greater reward than the one who observes it alone and then goes to sleep.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Messenger of Allah peace be upon him) said, “For when one of you is walking for Salah, he is, in fact, engaged in Salah.” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger as saying:

“The servant is constantly in prayer so long as he is in a place of worship waiting for the prayer (to be observed in congregation), and the angels invoke (blessings upon him in these words): O Allah! pardon him. O Allah! show mercy to him, (and they continue to do so) till he returns (from the mosque having completed the prayer) or his ablution breaks. I said: How is the ablution broken? He said: By breaking of the wind noiselessly or with noise. (Muslim)

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

“The prayer offered in congregation is twenty five times more superior (in reward) to the prayer offered alone in one’s house or in a business center, because if one performs ablution and does it perfectly, and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of praying, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque, Allah upgrades him a degree in reward and (forgives) crosses out one sin till he enters the mosque. When he enters the mosque he is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer and the angels keep on asking for Allah’s forgiveness for him and they keep on saying: ‘O Allah! Be Merciful to him, O Allah! Forgive him, as long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and does not pass wind.” (Al-Bukhari)

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