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Ayatul Kursi A Brief Explanation

Posted by al Adaab on August 23, 2009

Ayat Al-Kursi

A Brief Explanation

By Abu ‘Ammar

Translated by Irfan Javaid

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

Allahu la ilaha illa hu

Al-hayy al-qayyum

la ta’khudhuhu sinatun wa la nawm

lahu ma fis-samawati wa ma fil-ard

man dhal-ladhi yashfa’u ‘indahu illa bi idhnih

ya’lamu ma bayna aydihim wa ma khalfahum

wa la yuhituna bi shay’in min ‘ilmihi illa bima sha’

wasi’a kursiyyuhus-samawati wal-ard

wa la ya’uduhu hifzuhuma

wa huwa al-aliyy al-azeem

Allah – There is no god but He,

The Living, the Everlasting,

Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep,

To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.

Who is there that can intercede with His, except by His leave?

He knows what lies before them and what is after them,

And they comprehend not anything of His Knowledge save as He wills.

His throne comprises the heavens and the earth,

The preserving of them fatigues Him not,

And He is the All-high, All-glorious.

[Al-Quran: Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 255]

The Virtues of Ayat Al-Kursi

The merits of Ayat al-Kursi have been mentioned in numerous hadiths. Although the Quran itself and every verse therein are of excellence, Ayat al-Kursi is certainly the most excellent verse of all its verses. This verse is called Ayat al-Kursi due to the word “Kursi” being mentioned in it. Of all the chapters in the Quran, the most excellent chapter is Surat al-Ikhlas, and the most excellent verse is Ayat al-Kursi. One virtue of Ayat al-Kursi is that more reward is obtained for reading it than any other verse.

Allamah Ghulam Rasul Sa’idi writes that scholars have said that verses of the Quran where accounts of believers are mentioned are more excellent than verses of the Quran in which accounts of infidels and hypocrites are mentioned. Similarly, verses of the Quran where prophets (Peace be upon them) are mentioned are more excellent than verses of the Quran where believers are mentioned. And, verses of the Quran where the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is mentioned are more excellent than verses where other prophets (Peace be upon them) are mentioned. Verses of the Quran where the names of Allah Most High are praised are more excellent than all other verses including verses where the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is mentioned.

The reason why Ayat al-Kursi is the most excellent verse, is that this verse mentions the names of Allah Most High more than any other verse (i.e. this verse contains the most remembrance (dhikr) of Allah Most High). For example, some verses of the Quran may mention the names of Allah Most High two times, some may mention the names of Allah Most High four times, and some ten times. But in Ayat al-Kursi, the names of Allah Most High have been mentioned seventeen times. Ayat al-Kursi mentions six attributes (sifat) of Allah Most High, all six being mentioned in this single verse. The attributes mentioned are: the Divine Oneness (Wahdaniyyah) of Allah Most High, His Life (Hayah), His Knowledge (‘Ilm), His Kingdom (Mulk), His Divine Power (Qudrah) and His Will (Iradah).

[Sharh Sahih Muslim: Fada’il al-Qur’an, under Surat al-Kahf & Ayat al-Kursi. Allamah Ghulam Rasul Sa’idi]

Imam Muslim writes that Ubayy bin Ka’b (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that one day, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked “O Ubayy! What is the most excellent verse of the Quran?” Ubayy replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “In your opinion, what is the most excellent verse of the Quran?” Ubayy bin Ka’b replied, “Allah – There is no god but He”(i.e. Ayat al-Kursi). The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) placed his hand on his chest and said, “O Ubayy bin Ka’b! May your knowledge be pleasant for you.”

[Sahih Muslim: Fada’il al-Qur’an, under Surat al-Kahf & Ayat al-Kursi. Imam Muslim]

Imam Tirmidhi writes that Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that whomsoever recites the first verses of Surat al-Mu’minun and then Ayat al-Kursi in the morning, will remain under the protection of Allah Most High until the evening. Similarly, whomsoever reads this during the night, will remain under the protection of Allah Most High until the morning.

[al-Shama’il al-Tirmidhi: Tafsir of Surat al-Baqarah, under Ayat al-Kursi. Imam al-Tirmidhi]

Imam Abu Dawud writes that Wathala (Allah be well pleased with him) reported that one day a man came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and asked, “What is the most excellent verse of the Quran?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Ayat al-Kursi.”

[Sunan Abi Dawud: Fada’il al-Qur’an. Imam Abu Dawud]

Imam Darmi writes that the Devil flees from a home in which Ayat al-Kursi is recited, and does not return until the next morning. Abu Sanan (Allah be well pleased with him) reported that whomsoever reads the first four verses of Surat al-Baqarah, Ayat al-Kursi, and then the last three verses of Surat al-Baqarah will not forget the Quran. Ishaq added that whatever one learns, would not be forgotten. Asma’ bint Yazid (Allah be well pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that al-ism al-a’zam (The greatest name of Allah Most High) is contained within Ayat al-Kursi.

[Darmi: Chapter Fada’il al-Quran. Imam Darmi]

Qadi Thana’ullah writes that Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that Ayat al-Kursi is the chief of all verses of the Quran. Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that Ayat al-Kursi is equal to a quarter of the Quran. Abu Amamah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that whomsoever recites Ayat al-Kursi in the night before sleeping, Allah Most High will protect him, his house and the neighbouring houses.

[Tafsir al-Mazhari: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Qadi Thana’ullah Pani-pathi]

Allamah Ghulam Rasul Sa’idi writes that al-ism al-a’zam is the greatest name of Allah Most High. Allah Most High has ninety-nine names, and only this one is His Greatest name, and hence called al-ism al-a’zam. If someone makes supplication to Allah Most High and mentions al-ism al-a’zam, Allah Most High will answer it, in sha Allah.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that whomsoever, after the obligatory prayer, recites Ayat al-Kursi, Allah Most High will protect him until the next prayer. The Prophets, the Truthful Ones and the Martyrs, were steadfast upon its recitation. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that whomsoever recites Ayat al-Kursi after each prayer, will enter Paradise straight away after death. This hadith has been narrated by Imam Nisa’i, Imam Tabarani, Imam Ibn Sunni, Hafiz al-Haythami and Imam al-Bayhaqi.

[Tafseer Tibiyan al-Quran: Tafseer Ayat al-Kursi. Allamah Ghulam Rasul Sa’idi]

Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes, in his commentary on Ayat al-Kursi that the chain of transmission of the above hadith is weak. Ibn al-Jawzi has said that this hadith has been fabricated.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Hafiz Ibn Kathir]

Although the chain of transmission may be weak, surely other, strong hadiths have informed of the excellence and benefits of Ayat al-Kursi. If the above mentioned hadith of the recitation of Ayat al-Kursi after obligatory prayer, being rewarded by one being admitted into heaven without questioning, is fabricated, there is no doubt that Allah Most High will reward greatly, the one who recites Ayat al-Kursi after the obligatory prayer. And Allah Most High knows best.

Imam Bukhari writes that Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) deputised me to keep Sadaqah of Ramadan. Someone came and started taking handfuls of the Sadaqah, quickly. I took hold of him and said, “By Allah, I will take you to the Messenger of Allah.” He said, “I am needy and have many dependents.” I released him, and in the morning the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked me, “What did your prisoner do yesterday?” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! The person complained of being needy and of having many dependents, so, I pitied him and let him go.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Indeed, he told you a lie and he will return.” I believed that he would return again as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) had told me that he would return. So, I waited for him watchfully. When he returned and started stealing handfuls of foodstuff, I caught hold of him again and said, “I will definitely take you to the Messenger of Allah. He said, “Leave me, for I am very needy and have many dependents. I promise I will not come back again.” I pitied him and let him go.

In the morning the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked me, “What did your prisoner do.” I replied, “O Messenger of Allah! He complained of his great need and of too many dependents, so I took pity on him and set him free.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Verily, he told you a lie and he will return.” I waited for him attentively for the third time, and when he came and started stealing handfuls of the Sadaqah, I caught hold of him and said, “I will surely take you to the Messenger of Allah as it is the third time you promise not to return, yet you break your promise and come.” He said, “Forgive me and I will teach you some words with which Allah will benefit you.” I asked, “What are they?” He replied, “Whenever you go to bed, recite Ayat al-Kursi: ‘Allah – There is no God but He, the Living, the Everlasting,’ till you finish the whole verse. If you do so, Allah will appoint a guard for you who will stay with you and no devil will come near you till morning.” So, I released him.

In the morning, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked, “What did your prisoner do yesterday?” I replied, “He claimed that he would teach me some words by which Allah will benefit me, so I let him go.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked, “What are they?” I replied, “He said to me, ‘Whenever you go to bed, recite Ayat al-Kursi from the beginning to the end: ‘Allah – There is no God but He, the Living, the Everlasting.’ He further said to me, ‘If you do so, Allah will appoint a guard for you, who will stay with you, and no devil will come near you till morning.’ (Abu Hurayrah or another sub-narrator) added that they (the companions) were very keen to do good deeds. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “He really spoke the truth, although he is an absolute liar. Do you know whom you were talking to, these three nights, O Abu Hurayra?” Abu Hurayra said, “No.” He said, “It was the Devil.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari: Book of Wakalah. Imam al-Bukhari]

The Meaning of the Words: ‘Kursi’ and ‘Intercession’

As previously mentioned, Ayat al-Kursi has been named thus, due to the word Kursi appearing therin. This raises a question, as to what exactly the word Kursi refers to.

Imam Tabari writes that the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them) and students of the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them) held a difference of opinion concerning the meaning of the word Kursi, which appears in this verse. Some scholars are of the opinion that no one knows the true meaning of this word apart from Allah Most High. Other scholars say that the word Kursi in this verse refers to the Knowledge of Allah Most High, meaning that His Knowledge encompasses all that is the heavens and the earth. Some of the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them) and their students (Allah be well pleased with them) have held the opinion that, the word Kursi refers to the Throne of Allah Most High. This is because another name for throne is Kursi. They also held that the Throne of Allah Most High comprises the heavens and the earth.

[Tafsir al-Tabari: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Imam al-Tabari]

Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrates that the meaning of the word Kursi in this verse is the Knowledge of Allah Most High, and His Knowledge encompasses the earth. Another opinion is that the Kursi is a creation of Allah Most High whose magnitude makes that of the heavens and the earth insignificant. Another opinion is, that due to the Throne praising Allah Most High it makes a “creaking” sound. This hadith has been recorded in many books, but in the chain of narrators, a narrator is unknown and therefore this narration cannot be authentic.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Hafiz Ibn Kathir]

Qadi Shawkani writes that the hadith, which mentions the creaking of the Throne, contains, in its chain of transmission, a narrator called ‘Abdullah bin Khalifah. He is unknown, and has heard nothing from ‘Umar (Allah be well pleased with him). The chain of narration does not even reach back to ‘Umar (Allah be well pleased with him). The hadith, which mentions a “Resting place of the two feet”, contains a narrator called al-Hakam al-Kufi, in its chain of transmission, who has been rejected (by the scholars of hadith).

[Fath al-Qadir: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Qadi Shawkani]

Allamah al-Allusi al-Hanafi writes that no one knows the true meaning of the word Kursi in this verse, except Allah Most High. Matters such as these are known as the mutashabihat.

[Ruh al-Mani: Under Ayat al-Kursi. Allamah al-Allusi al-Hanafi]

Allah Most High says in Ayat al-Kursi that no one may intercede on the Day of Judgement, unless He Himself has given permission to do so. Intercession means to plead on behalf of someone. On the Day of Judgement, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will intercede for the Muslims. As a result of the supplication (Du’a) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to Allah Most High, He will show mercy to them and admit them to Paradise, in sha Allah. In the same way, Allah Most High will accept the intercession of the pious and righteous Muslims. This intercession will only be accepted on behalf of Muslims, and not for the disbelievers. Intercession, thus means, that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the righteous Muslims make supplication to Allah Most High on behalf of someone else.

It is a misconception that intercession means that Allah Most High is forced to pardon someone, whom Allah Most High did not wish to pardon. This implies that the will of Allah Most High can be overcome by the will of any of His creation. This is plain disbelief. The correct Islamic belief is that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) loves the Muslim Ummah, so Allah Most High, out of love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), will not leave his supplication unanswered, when he makes supplication for the Muslim Ummah.

Summary of The Hadiths Concerning Intercession (Shafa’ah)

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim write that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that on the Day of Judgement, the people will gather together and search for someone who will intercede for them. The people will gather together and approach Adam (Peace be upon him), and say, “O father of mankind! Make intercession for us before Allah”. Adam (Peace be upon him) will order them to go to Ibrahim (Peace be upon him). They will ask him the same question, but Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) will then order them to go to Musa (Peace be upon him), who will in turn order them to go to ‘Isa (Peace be upon him). ‘Isa (Peace be upon him) will then command them, saying, “Go to the last Prophet, Muhammad.” They will all come to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who will say that he will intercede for them. He will ask for permission to praise Allah Most High, which will be granted to him. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When I praise Allah Most High, I will then bow my head in prostration. Allah Most High will command me to remove my head from prostration, saying, ‘Ask from Me whatever you wish and I will grant it.’ I will say ‘O Lord of the Worlds! Save my Ummah.’ I will be ordered to go to hell and remove whoever has an atom of faith in them. I will return to Allah Most High and prostrate again, and Allah Most High will command me to ask Him whatever I wish, and He will grant it. I will do this four times, removing many people from the fire of Hell.”

After this, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will praise Allah Most High, and then make prostration. Allah Most High will say, “O Muhammad! Ask from Me whatever you wish and I will grant it.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will then say, “O Allah! Give me permission to remove those people from Hell fire who have said, ‘There is no God except Allah’.” Allah Most High will say, “This matter is not for you, but by My Might, Glory, Pride, and Greatness, I will certainly bring out of it, those who said, ‘There is no God except Allah’.”

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “I swear by Him in whose hand my soul is, that none of you is more eager to claim a right when it has become clear to you than those, who believe in Allah, will be, on the Day of Resurrection, to make claims on behalf of their brethren who are in Hell. They will say, ‘O our Lord! They were fasting with us, praying and performing pilgrimage,’ and will be told to bring out those they recognise. Their faces will be protected from the fire and they will bring forth a large number of people, then say, ‘O our Lord! Not one of those about whom You commanded us, remains therin.’ He will reply, ‘Go back and bring forth those in whose hearts you find as much as half a dinar of good.’ When they have brought forth a large number of people He will say, ‘Go back and bring forth those in whose hearts you find as much as an atom of good’. When they have brought forth a large number of people, they will say, ‘O our Lord! We have not left in it any good’ Then Allah Most High will say, ‘The angels have interceded, the prophets have interceded, the believers have interceded and only the Most Merciful of the merciful ones remains’.”

Allah Most High will remove a handful of (Muslim) people who have done no good deeds at all. He will bathe them in a river just in front of the door of Paradise and will then admit them into Paradise.

[Sahih al-Bukhari: Book of Tawhid. Imam Bukhari. Also, Sahih Muslim: Book of Iman. Imam Muslim]

May Allah Most High accept what we have written and if we have made any mistake, may He forgive us. May Allah Most High grant us the intercession of our Blessed Prophet, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the Day of Judgement. Amin.

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The Rulings of Ramadhan According to the Way of the Best of Mankind

Posted by al Adaab on August 19, 2009

The Rulings of Ramadan

According to the Way of the Best of Mankind (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) –

by Abu Ammar

Content

1. Translator’s Introduction

2. The Blessed Month of Ramadan

3. Fasting During Ramadan

4. Types of Fast

5. The Sighting of the New Moon (Hilal)

6. Things Disliked and Those Not Disliked Whilst Fasting

7. Things Which Invalidate The Fast But Do Not Require Atonement (Kaffarah)

8. Things Which Invalidate the Fast and Require Kaffarah

9. Those Not Obliged to Fast

10) The Recitation of the Quran and its Etiquettes (Adab)

11. Tarawih

12. The Number of Rak’ahs for Tarawih

13. Spiritual Retreat (I’tikaf)

14. Types of I’tikaf

15. The Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr)

16. The Descending of the Angels

17. Knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr

18. Witnessing Laylat al-Qadr

19. The Zakat of ‘Eid al-Fitr

20. The Day of ‘Eid al-Fitr

21. Description of The Prayer on ‘Eid al-Fitr

22. The Mysteries of Fasting

23. Epilogue

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, and Compassionate

All praise is due unto Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and Sustainer of each and every atom in existence. Exalted is He, above all that is associated with Him. There is none like unto Him, and He is the All Hearing, All Seeing. He is the Knower of the Innermost Secrets, and the most hidden thoughts of men. He is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. And I bear witness that our master, the Beloved of Allah – Muhammad , is His servant and messenger. He was sent with the Religion of Truth to make it manifest over all other religions. He was sent as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings, a warner, a caller to Allah by His leave and as a luminous lamp. May the peace and blessings of Allah Most High be showered upon him, and upon his family, and upon his wives, and his companions one and all. And may the mercy of Allah be upon those who followed him of the Tabi’in and their students, and those who follow in their footsteps, biting onto their way with their molars.

To continue, this is a brief outline of the matters pertaining to the blessed month of Ramadan, its virtues and the rulings which Allah Most High has commanded us with. The rulings of Islamic Sacred Law (Fiqh) in this work are taken from the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (Madhhab). This work has been compiled from Bada’i’ al-Sana’i’ by Imam al-Kasani and al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah – two major works of Hanafi fiqh. The Hanafi school, established by Imam Nu’man bin Thabit, more commonly known as Abu Hanifah (May Allah be well pleased with him) (d. A.H. 150), is one of the four schools of Islamic Orthodoxy (Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah) the other schools being the schools of Imam al-Shafi’i (d. A.H. 204), Imam Malik (d. A.H. 179) and Imam Ahmad (d. A.H. 241).

The rulings of a particular madhhab are changed and altered over time, as new evidence and understandings emerge, each time referring to the original principles (usul) by which the madhhab was laid down. Allah Most High commands us in the Quran:

Ask those who recall if you know not.

(Surat al-Nahl, Ayah 43)

It is this Divine Command that we follow when learning the shari’ah and passing its knowledge on to others, meaning that we return to what the classical scholars have adhered to, ultimately returning to the primary sources of shari’ah – the Quran and sunnah. May Allah reward all those who spent their time and resources on the translating and checking of this work.

May Allah increase them in Love for Allah and His Messenger , and grant them tawfiq seeking Allah alone. We pray that Allah Most High accepts our efforts, and that He grants us tawfiq to worship Him with sincerity and Ikhlas. And Allah Most High alone grants success.

And all praise is due unto Allah. Peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad , and upon his family and companions, one and all.

Basharat Janjua

Sha’ban A.H. 1421

2. The Blessed Month of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is a month of grace and blessing. Upon arrival of this blessed month, Allah Most High causes His blessings and forgiveness to descend upon the one who gives this month its rights. Ramadan is the month in which Allah Most High showers His blessings upon our homes, and upon those who enter the mosques, especially the House of Allah – the Ka’bah. During Ramadan, the Mercy of Allah Most High falls upon us, like rain falling from the clouds.

One can liken the virtue of Ramadan with charity, which is of two kinds. The first kind is where one gives charity to someone whom one meets along the street or on the path. The second kind is likened to one who visits another with the intention of giving charity. Ramadan is likened to the latter; where Allah Most High causes His blessings to descend upon the ummah of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). It is during this time, that little effort has the ability to earn high rewards, no matter where one is, be it in the Sacred Precinct in Makkah or in one’s home.

Allah Most High is the creator of all things. He created each year, month, day and hour. In the same way that Allah Most High has elevated the status of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) over the whole of creation; and the status of the Ka’bah over other places of worship, He has elevated and raised the month of Ramadan over all other months. This is entirely the will of Allah Most High, and a manifestation of His Omnipotent Power and Divine Will.

Allah Most High chose to reveal His Uncreated Speech – the Quran, in this blessed month, to His final and Most Beloved Prophet – Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah Most High says in the Quran:

“The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and a criterion.”

(Surat al-Baqarah, ayah 185)

Imam al-Tabari writes that Wathilah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The Scrolls of Abraham were revealed on the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Torah was revealed on the sixth of Ramadan, the Bible on the thirteenth, and the Quran was revealed on the twenty-fourth of Ramadan.

He also writes that Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) said:

Allah caused the Quran to descend to the heaven of this world, on Laylat al-Qadr, and then when Allah wished to reveal anything from it, He revealed it. And that is what is meant by His Words, ‘Verily We have revealed the Quran in Laylat al-Qadr’.

(Tafsir al-Tabari, by Imam al-Tabari, surat al-Qadr)

Allah Most High says in the Quran:

O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain unto piety.

(Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 183)

Imam al-Tabari writes that Qatadah (Allah be well pleased with him) said, in reference to this ayah:

The month of Ramadan has been prescribed for the people as it was prescribed for those before them. Allah has prescribed the fast of three days of each month, before revealing the fast of Ramadan.

(Tafsir al-Tabari, by Imam al-Tabari, surat al-Qadr)

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory and is done solely for Allah Most High. In a hadith qudsi Allah Most High says:

Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except the fast. It is Mine, and I repay him for it.

(Muslim)

There can be neither false pretension nor showing off on the part of the one who is fasting. If one is offering prayers, giving zakah, making pilgrimage or any other form of worship, others can see one’s worship but fasting is distinguished by the fact that only Allah Most High can see who is fasting and who is not.

The polytheists may perform various acts of worship for their false gods to please them. They may make vows to them, make tawaf around them, travel for them and fight in their names. However, they do not fast for them nor has it ever been recorded that they fasted for them. Indeed it is clear that the fast of Islam is the fast of the Truth.

Hafiz al-‘Asqalani, quoting from Imam al-Qurtubi, mentions the following hadith:

The bankrupt person is he who shall come on the Day of Judgment with prayer, charity and fast, but he had also swore at another person, beat another, and consumed the wealth of another. His good deeds will be taken from him, and the other person will take his good deeds. And when his good deeds are no more, before what is due upon him has been paid, he takes from their bad deeds. They will be thrown at him. Then he will be flung into the Fire.

He continues to says that there is a narration from by Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him), in which Allah Most High says:

All actions are atonement, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and I reward it.

(Fath al-Bari, by Hafiz al-‘Asqalani, Book of Fasting)

It can be concluded that Allah Most High loves the fast of a Muslim, as it is a means for him to become more aware and fearful of Allah Most High.

3. Fasting During Ramadan

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

He (Allah be well pleased with him) also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Whomsoever fasts the month of Ramadan, with faith, seeking reward from Allah, his past sins will be forgiven.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

It has also been narrated by Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Allah Mighty and Majestic says, ‘Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except the fast. It is Mine, and I repay him for it.’ Fasting is a protection. When one of you has a day of fasting, he should then speak neither obscenely nor too loudly; and if someone seeks to curse him or fight with him, let him say, ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad , the smell of the mouth of the one who fasts is more delectable to Allah than the scent of musk. The one who fasts has two joys in which to delight: when he breaks his fast, he rejoices; and when he meets his Lord, he rejoices in his fast.

(Muslim)

Sahl bin Sa’d (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Verily there is a gate in Paradise which is called ‘al-Rayyan’. Those who fasted will enter it on the Day of Judgement, and none shall enter it except them. It will be said, ‘Where are those who fasted?’ They will come forward and none shall enter it except them. When they have entered, the gate will be closed and none shall enter it except them.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

***

Fasting is to refrain from things that break the fast with the intention of worshiping Allah Most High. The levels of the fast are three:

1) to simply refraining from food and drink, and other things which invalidate the fast;

2) in addition to (1) above, to protect one’s eyes, ears, tongue and all other parts of the body from disobedience to Allah Most High;

3) and in addition to (1) and (2) above, to devote oneself entirely to Allah Most High, through repentance, worship and abstinence from all that distracts one from Allah Most High.

Allah Most High rewards each level of fasting, accordingly.

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for every one who:

a) is Muslim;

b) has reached puberty;

c) is sane;

d) is capable of bearing the fast;

e) and if female, is not in the period of menstruation or postnatal bleeding (nifas).

One must make the intention to fast for each day one fasts.

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Salaat ul-Tarawih Eight or Twenty Raka’ah?

Posted by al Adaab on August 19, 2009

Salaatul Tarawih: Eight or Twenty Raka’ah?

By Ahmed ibn Muhammad


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Wa Sall Allahu ta ‘ala ‘alaa Sayyidina wa Mawlanaa Muhammadin wa ‘alaa Aalihi wa Sahbihi wa Sallam

In a handout by some misguided people, there appeared the following question and answer (No. 22):

(a) Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) never prayed more than 8 rak’aats in Taraweeh, so how come nobody disapproves of 20?

(b) Is it true that Umar (Allah be pleased with him) introduced it?

Answer:

(a) As regards the Taraweeh prayer – people agree that the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the best way is 11 rak’aats. As regards any addition – then this is DISAPPROVED of and DECLARED AS A BID’AH (A bad innovation).

(b) It is not true that Umar (Allah be pleased with him) either prayed or ordered 20 rak’aats. Rather he ordered Ubayy ibn Ka’b to lead the people with 11 rak’aats (al-Muwatta 1/137, with a Sahih Isnad).

It should be said that the vast MAJORITY of the scholars of Hadith, Fiqh, and even the four Mujtahid Imams are in agreement that 20 rak’ahs are the most appropriate, followed by 3 rak’ahs of Witr.

First, it should be said that the Hadith reported from Sayyidah Aisha (Radhi Allahu Anhaa) about 11 rak’ahs is not at all to do with Taraweeh, according to the majority of scholars, but in fact concerns the number of rak’ahs of TAHAJJUD prayer! The Hadith in question is as follows:-

Narrated Abu Salama ibn Abdur Rahman that he asked Aisha (Allah be pleased with her), “How was the prayer of Allah’s Apostle (Peace be upon him) in Ramadan?” She replied, “He did not pray more than eleven raka’at in Ramadan or in any other month. He used to pray four raka’at – let alone their beauty and length – and then he would pray four – let alone their beauty and length – and then he would pray three rak’aat (witr).” She added, “I asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Do you sleep before praying the Witr?’ He replied, ‘O Aisha, My eyes sleep but my heart does not sleep.'” (Bukhari, 3/230, English edn)

According to the author of “Fatawa Rahimiyyah“, Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri (vol. 1, pg. 275); in his defence of 20 rak’ahs of Taraweeh: “The commentator of al-Sahih al-Bukhari and the erudite traditionist, Shaykh Shamsud-Din al-Kermani (d. 786 AH; Rahimahullah) said: ‘In the Hadith (above), the Tahajjud prayer is meant. Abu Salama’s question and Hadrat Aisha’s answer concerned the Tahajjud.’ He adds further: ‘If the Tahajjud prayer is not meant, then this tradition will be at variance with the tradition that states that the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) led twenty rak’ahs each for two nights, and in the case of such clash the tradition of twenty rakah’s which is affirmative (muthbit) shall have precedence because according to the principles of Hadith, the affirmative takes precedence over the negative (naaf)” (vide: Al-Kawakib ud-Durari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pg 155-156). We say, does this not mean that people who perform 8 rak’ahs of Taraweeh, should pray 20 rak’ahs instead? Since according to the principles of Hadith, “The affirmative takes precedence over the negative in certain cases.”

A great fact that should also be noted by the reader is that the Imam’s of Hadith have placed the Hadith from Sayyidah Aisha (Radhi Allahu Anha) under the section of Tahajjud prayers, which indicates their belief that the Hadith applies to Tahajjud only. The Imam al-Muhaddithin al-Bukhari (Radhi Allahu ta’ala Anhu) has placed the Hadith from Sayyidah Aisha under at least two sections of his Sahih, first under the section of ’21: The Tahajjud Prayer at Night’ (see Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, chapter 15, no. 248, English ed’n) and then under the section of ’32: The Book of Taraweeh Prayers‘ (see Sahih al-Bukhari, 3/230, pg. 128 English ed’n). This means that al-Imam Bukhari believed that the prayer mentioned by Aisha was that of Tahajjud only, and since the Tahajjud prayer is performed also in Ramadan, then Imam Bukhari also quoted the same Hadith under ‘The book of Taraweeh prayers‘, but Allah knows best. Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has also placed the Hadith from Aisha under the Tahajjud prayer section (see Sahih Muslim 1/1607, pg. 356, English ed’n). Also Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) has placed Sayyidah Aisha’s Hadith under the Book of Tahajjud (see Al-Muwatta, Book 7, section 7.2, no. 9, pg. 5, English ed’n). Al-Imam Abi Dawud (Rahimahullah) has also placed the same Hadith under the chapter ‘On the number of Rak’ahs of the prayer at night (Tahajjud)’ (see Abi Dawud 1/1336, pg. 351, English version). Even Imam’s Tirmidhi and Nisai (Allah’s mercy be upon them) placed Aisha’s Hadith under the Tahajjud section (see Tirmidhi, vol. 1, pg. 58 and Nisai, vol. 1, pg.154).

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