It is Recommended to Perform Extra Worship on the Night of the 15th of Sha’ban?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is it a sunna or bida to worship on the night of the 15th of Sha`ban?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The majority of Sunni scholarship considers the 15th of Sha’ban to be a blessed day and night. It is recommended to fast and spend some or all of the night in worship.

It is clearly stated in the fiqh works of the madhhabs that it is recommended to worship on this night. Even Ibn Taymiyya says this.

No specific worship, however, has been authentically established for this night, and Imam Nawawi (in al-Majmu`), Imam Buhuti (in Kashshaf al-Qina`), Imam Shurunbulali (in al-Shurunbulaliyya) and others have mentioned that prayers such as the 100-rakat Salat al-Raghaib are blameworthy innovations.

1. Imam Haskafi said in his Durr al-Mukhtar, one of the primary references in the Hanafi school:

“Among the recommended [prayers] are on. . . . the nights of the two Eids, the middle of Sha`ban, the last ten of Ramadan, and the first [ten] of Dhul-Hijjah.”

Note that in the Hanafi school, it is disliked to perform non-obligatory prayers (besides tarawih) in congregation, as well as to gather at the mosque for these special nights. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Hashiyat al-Durar (al-Shurunbulaliyya)]

2. Ibn Taymiyya was asked about the prayer of mid-Sha`ban [i.e. the night of].

He answered:

If a person prays that night alone, or in a select congregation, as many groups (tawaif) of the Early Muslims used to do, it is very good.

As for gathering in the mosque for a particular fixed prayer, such as gather for 100 rakats in which 1,000 QulhuwaAllahuAhad are read every time, this is a reprehensible innovation, which none of the imams have allowed. [Ibn Taymiyya, al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 2; 222-138]

3. This corresponds to what Imam Nawawi mentioned in his Majmu`, where he also quoted Imam al-Shafi`i from the latters al-Umm that it has reached him that there are 5 nights when dua is answered, one of them being the night of the 15th of Sha`ban.

Note, of course, that the night of the 15th is the night before the day of the 15th.

It is reported from Sayyiduna `Ali (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Let all of you spend the night of mid-Sha`ban in worship (i.e. partly) and its day in fasting. Allah descends to the nearest heaven during this night, beginning with sunset, and says: Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, is there not such-and-such, and so forth until until dawn rises. [Narrated by Ibn Majah with a weak chain.]

There are many other narrations from the Companions and early Muslims confirming this matter, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his Lataif al-Ma`arif, and others.

There is general consensus that weak hadiths may be acted upon for virtuous acts, such as voluntary fasting and prayer, as long as the hadith is not excessively weak, returns to a general basis in the Shariah, and one is not convinced that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) specifically prescribed it.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

How Much Should I Reveal When Asked About the Character of a Prospective Spouse?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: A family member of mine recently married a women of good character; unfortunately, I feel his character makes him an unsuitable spouse (even though he is a practicing Muslim in an outward sense).  Although it’s after the fact, I still wonder if I should have spoken up instead of turning a blind eye like others in my family.  If your advice is that one should in fact reveal these types of concerns when it comes to marriage, how do we juxtapose this with the idea of keeping a person’s past or their weaknesses a secret.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I hope you are doing well inshaAllah. Thank you for your important question.

When one’s advice is sought about the character or religiosity of a prospective spouse, one should be honest. If one is acting as a go-between or messenger in a prospective match, they should inform the inquiring party about the person’s religious concern, character, personality, manners, taqwa, and company. One should know how diligent the person is in their prayers and whether they have any addictions, such as improper internet usage.

These things are necessary to reveal because they are current or ongoing considerations that one must know about in order to make the correct decision in marriage. This differs from past sins or past bad habits, which are necessary to hide. For more on this, see: Pursuing Marriage With Someone Whose Family is Against it Due to an Illicit Relationship In My Past

Sheikh Nuh Keller writes in regards to inquiring about a prospective spouse that, “In Islam, to mention a sin is itself a sin… [This] refers to sins now finished, as opposed to ongoing habitual problems or addictions, which the person asked about must truthfully disclose to a prospective marriage partner, since, like defects in a spouse that permit annulment of marriage, addictions ruin marriages, and partners must know about them in advance to reach an informed decision.” [Sea Without Shore]


Is It Impermissible to Tell Inappropriate Jokes?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: There are jokes that have jarring or disturbing elements of absurdity, but don’t use curse words, sexual references, or Islamically disrespectful themes. One example are ‘dead baby’ jokes. (Q. How do you fit 50 babies into a car trunk? A. With a blender.). Are such jokes haraam?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

The criteria for permissible joking is that it not contain a lie nor entail frightening someone. It must also be free of offensive ridicule or mimicking of another; backbiting; slander; insult; and cursing. All of these are unlawful.

Moreover, as you mention, it should not have an Islamically disrespectful theme, as it is unlawful to converse about what is immoral (al-khawd fil batil).

[Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

The example you provide does have an Islamically disrespectful theme: it is a joke about killing babies. Such a joke is impermissible.

And Allah knows best.



Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

A Reader on the Virtues of Prayer

The Virtues of Prayer

Riyad al-Salihin: On the Virtues of Prayer

The Virtues of Witr at the End of the Night

The Virtues of Lengthy Standing in Prayer

The Virtues of Praying Between Maghrib and Isha Prayers

The Virtues of Prayer at Night

The Virtues of the Voluntary Prayer at Home

The Virtues of Standing in Prayer in the Month of Ramadan

The Virtues of Four Rakats Before `Asr

The Virtues of the Sunnah of Fajr

The Virtues of the Friday Prayer

The Virtues of the Five Daily Prayers

The Virtues of Duha’ Prayer

The Virtues of Tahmeed After Ruku

The Virtue of Saying Amin

The Virtue of Praying in the First Row

The Virtues of Prostrating to Allah Alone

The Excellence of Rising at Night to Pray – from Imam Nawawi’s Gardens of the Righteous (Riyad al-Salihin)

Tahajjud Prayer: Description & Merits

Worship & Prayer on Laylat al-Qadr

Prayer in Congregation and at the Masjid

Key Steps to Increasing One’s Prayer in Congregation

Prophetic Guidance on the excellence of walking to the mosque

Praying in Congregation

The Increase In Reward Related To Praying In The Masjid al-Haram & The Prophet’s Mosque

The Masjid and Its Etiquettes – Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

Does Verse 5:32 of the Qur’an, Which is Addressed to the Children of Israel, Apply to Us As Well?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Regarding verse 5:32

“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” (Yusuf Ali)

Does this verse apply to our Shari’ah? Seeing as it begins with: “…we ordained for the children of Israel that…”

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Yes, this is verse is generally applicable despite its referencing the Children of Israel specifically.

A Key Interpretative Principle

There is an underlying interpretative principle that states that when analyzing texts consideration is given to the generality of their meanings and not the specificity of their historical contexts or causes.

For example, Allah Most High forbade the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) from performing the funeral prayer for hypocrites, a general ruling applicable to all hypocrites despite the verse being revealed in the specific context of `Abdullah ibn Ubayy.

Similarly, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated that, “Actions are by intentions”, a general principle despite being stated in the specific context of an individual who migrated for the sake of marrying a woman.

Explanation of the Verse

Based on the above, the commentators of the Qur’an mentioned clearly that what is mentioned in the verse is generally applicable.

Imam Baghawi stated in his commentary on this verse, “Sulayman ibn `Ali said: ‘I asked Hasan [al-Basri], ‘Does this apply to us as it applied to the Children of Israel?’ He replied, ‘Yes, indeed! By He who there is no god other than, the blood of the Children of Israel is no nobler to Allah than ours.'” [Ma`alim al-Tanzil]

Imam Nasafi stated, “They [s: the Children of Israel] were specified with mention even though this applies equally to all because the Torah was the first book within which there were legal rulings stipulated.” [Madarik al-Tanzil] Imam Qurtubi also mentions the same reason in his commentary.

Thus, it is clear that despite the verse specifically addressing the Children of Israel, the gravity and sin of killing an innocent life applies to everyone across the board, whether from our times or before. This meaning is what is of primary concern to us, not the specific context per se the verse relates to.

And Allah knows best


Is It Permissible to Make Tawassul Through Awliya (Saints)?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have read the evidences provided by yourselves for tawassul via the Prophet (sallaallahu alayhi wassalam). I have not, however, seen any evidence for intercession via saints …is there any such evidence and if not, then how can we say that this is permissible?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Tawassul through the awliya, and righteous believers is permitted according the four schools of Sunni Islam, for the same reason that tawassul through the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) is permitted.

The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) promised that there will always be a group in his community manifest on the truth until the last day. He also instructed us to be with the main group of the believers, and to stick to the group. He also told us that the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. As such, what we know from the Quran and Sunna is that the people of the truth are not a theoretical construct but a living reality: they are the scholars of the mainstream, majority understanding of Islam. From the earliest generations, this has been the way of the four sunni madhhabs in fiqh.

Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari (Allah be pleased with him) said,

Those who deny it have the Book of Allah, the Sunna, the continued practice of the Ummah, and reason against them as proof.

As for the Book of Allah, this includes His saying, And seek a means (wasila) to Him. [Quran, 5: 35] And wasila (a means of approach) in its general indication includes tawassul (intercession) by persons, and through actions. Actually, the apparent meaning of tawassul in the Sacred Law is both this and that, despite the claims of those who lie and deceive.

The distinction [made by some] between the living and the dead in this matter only comes from one who believes in the perishing of souls [upon death], which would lead to denying Resurrection, and to claim that the souls ability to discern particulars ends when it leaves the body, which is a denial of the primary evidence affirming that. [F: Shaykh Wahbi Ghawji quoted in his Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in his footnotes as saying, Souls remain after the perishing of bodies. This is a matter agreed upon by the Prophet, awliya, and the wise. (Usul al-Din, 20), and then quoted Ibn al-Qayyim from his al-Ruh in support of this] [Mahq al-Taqawwul fi Masalat al-Tawassul]

For details and proofs, check the articles on Sidi Masud Khans site:, and the excellent writings on the topic by Shaykh Gibril Haddad (Allah preserve him).

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Tawassul: Supplicating Allah through an Intermediary

© Nuh Ha Mim Keller, 1995

From Reliance of the Traveller

TAWASSUL (definition)

Supplicating Allah by means of an intermediary, whether it be a living person, dead person, a good deed, or a name or Attribute of Allah Most High. The scholar, YUSUF RIFA’I, says: I here want to convey the position, attested to by compelling legal evidence, of the orthodox majority of Sunni Muslims on the subject of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul), and so I say (and Allah alone gives success) that since there is no disagreement among scholars that supplicating Allah through an intermediary is in principle legally valid, the discussion of its details merely concerns derived rulings that involve interschool differences, unrelated to questions of belief or unbelief, monotheism or associating partners with Allah (shirk); the sphere of the question being limited to permissibility or impermissibility, and its ruling being that it is either lawful or unlawful. There is no difference among groups of Muslims in their consensus on the permissibility of three types of supplicating Allah through an intermediary (tawassul):

TAWASSUL through a living righteous person to Allah Most High, as in the hadith of the blind man with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as we shall explain;

The TAWASSUL of a living person to Allah Most High through his own good deeds, as in the hadith of the three people trapped in a cave by a great stone, a hadith related by Imam Bukhari in his “Sahih;”

And the TAWASSUL of a person to Allah Most High through His entity (dhat), names, attributes, and so forth.

Since the legality of these types is agreed upon, there is no reason to set forth the evidence for them. The only area of disagreement is supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a righteous dead person. The majority of the orthodox Sunni Community hold that it is lawful, and have supporting hadith evidence , of which we will content ourselves with the Hadith of the Blind Man, since it is the central pivot upon which the discussion turns.


Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said, “I’ve been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Go make ablution (wudu), perform two rak’as of prayer, and then say:

“Oh Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version: “for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me”].”

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) added, “And if there is some need, do the same.”

Scholars of Sacred Law infer from this hadith the recommended character of the “prayer of need,” in which someone in need of something from Allah Most High performs such a prayer and then turns to Allah with this supplication together with other suitable supplications, traditional or otherwise, according to the need and how the person feels. The express content of the hadith proves the legal validity of “tawassul” through a living person (as the Prophet – peace be upon him – was alive at that time). It implicitly proves the validity of tawassul through a deceased one as well, since tawassul through a living or dead person is not through a physical body or through or through a life or death, but rather through the positive meaning (ma’na tayyib) attached to the person in both life and death. The body is but the vehicle that carries that significance, which requires that the person be respected whether dead or alive; for the words “O Muhammad” are an address to someone physically absent – in which state the living and dead are alike – an address to the meaning, dear to Allah, that is connected with his spirit, a meaning that is the ground of “tawassul,” be it through a living or dead person.


Moreover, Tabarani, in his “al-Mu’jam al saghir,” reports a hadith from ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him) concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter – this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar – so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: “Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak’as of prayer therein, and say:

‘O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,’ and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman].” So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan (Allah be pleased with him), and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. ‘Uthman asked, “What do you need?” and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him, then he said, “I hadn’t remembered your need until just now,” adding, “Whenever you need something, just mention it.” Then, the man departed, met Uthman ibn Hunayf, and said to him, “May Allah reward you! He didn’t see to my need or pay any attention to me until you spoke with him.” Uthman ibn Hunayf replied, “By Allah, I didn’t speak to him, but I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Can you not bear it?’ and the man replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not have anyone to lead me around, and it is a great hardship for me.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told him, ‘Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then pray two rak’as of prayer and make the supplications.'” Ibn Hunayf went on, “By Allah, we didn’t part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.”

This is an explicit, unequivocal text from a prophetic Companion proving the legal validity of tawassul through the dead. The account has been classified as rigously authenticated (SAHIH) by Baihaqi, Mundhiri, and Haythami.


Tirmidhi has stated that the hadith of the blind man is “a hadith that is well or rigorously authenticated but singular, being unknown except through his chain of narrators, from the hadith of Abu Ja’far, who is not Abu Ja’far Khatmi,” which means that the narrators of this hadith, despite Abu Ja’far being unknown to Tirmidhi, were acceptable to the degree of being well or rigorously authenticated in either case.

But scholars before Tirmidhi established that Abu Ja’far, this person unknown to Tirmidhi, was Abu Ja’far Khatmi himself. Ibn Abi Khaythama said: “The name of this Abu Ja’far, whom Hammad ibn Salama relates from, is ‘Umayr ibn Yazid, and is the Abu Ja’far that Shu’ba relates from,” and then he related the hadith by the channel of transmission of ‘Uthman from Shu’ba from Abu Ja’far.

Ibn Taymiya, after relating the hadith of Tirmidhi, said: “All scholars say that he is Abu Ja’far Khatmi, and this is correct.”

Reflect on this.

The hadith master, Ibn Hajar, notes in “Taqrib al-tahdhib” that he is Khatmi, and that he is reliable (saduq).

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr likewise says that he is Khatmi, in “al-Istii’ab fi ma’rifa al-ashab.” Moreover, Baihaqi related the hadith by way of Hakim and confirmed that it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), Hakim having related it by a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, which the hadith master Dhahabi confirmed, and Shawkani cited as evidence. Dhahabi and Shawkani, who are they? The meaning of this is that all the men of the hadith’s chain of transmission are known to top Imams of hadith such as Dhahabi (and who is severer than he?), Ibn Hajar (and who is more precise, learned, or painstaking than he?), Hakim, Baihaqi, Tabarani, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, Shawkani, and even Ibn Taymiya.

This hadith was recorded was recorded by Bukhari in his “al-Tarikh al-kabir”, by Ibn Majah in his “Sunan”, where he said it was rigorously authenticated (SAHIH), by Nasa’i in “Amal al-yawm wa al-layla”, by Abu Nu’aym in “Ma’rifa al-Sahaba”, by Baihaqi in “Dala’il al-nubuwwa”, by Mundhiri in “al-Targhib wa al-tahrib”, by Haythami in “Majma’ al zawa’id wa manba’ al-fawa’id”, by Tabarani in “al-Mu’jam al-kabir”, by Ibn Khuzayma in his “Sahih”, and by others. Nearly 15 hadith masters (“huffaz”, hadith authorities with more than 100,000 hadiths and their chains of transmission by memory) have explicitly stated that this hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih). As mentioned above, it has come with a chain of transmission meeting the standards of Bukhari and Muslim, so there is nothing left for a critic to attack or slanderer to disparage concerning the authenticity of the hadith. Consequently, as for the permissibility of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through either a living or dead person, it follows by human reason, scholarship, and sentiment, that there is flexibility in the matter. Whoever wants to can either take tawassul or leave it, without causing trouble or making accusations, since it has been this thoroughly checked (“Adilla Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a , 79-83).
It is well to review some salient features of the proof that was given , such as:

(1) that there are 2 hadiths, Tirmidhi’s hadith of the “blind man” and Tabarani’s hadith of the “man in need” to whom Uthman ibn Hunayf related the story of the blind man, teaching him tawassul that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had taught the blind man.

(2) Tirmidhi’s hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), being the subject of the above investigation of its chain of narrators, the authenticity of which is established beyond a reasonable doubt and attested to by nearly 15 of the foremost hadith specialists of Islam. The hadith explicitly proves the validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a living intermediary, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was alive at the time. The author of the article holds that the hadith implicitly shows the validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a deceased intermediary as well, since:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) told the blind man to go perform ablution (wudu) pray two rak’as, and then make the supplication containing the words, “O Muhammad, I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight,” which is a call upon somebody physically absent, a state of which the living and the dead are alike.

Supplicating Allah (tawassul) through a living or deceased intermediary is, in the author’s words, “not tawassul through a physical body, or through a life or death, but rather through the positive meaning attached to the person in both life and death, for the body is but the vehicle that carries that significance.

And perhaps the most telling reason, though the author does not mention it, is that everything the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered to be done during his lifetime was “legislation” valid for all generations until the end of time unless proven otherwise by a subsequent indication from the Prophet himself (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the tawassul he taught during his lifetime not requiring anything else to be generalized to any time thereafter.

(3) The authenticity of Tabarani’s hadith of the man in need during the caliphate of Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) is not discussed by the article in detail, but deserves consideration, since the hadith explicitly proves the legal validity of supplicating Allah (tawassul) through the deceased, for ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf and indeed all the prophetic Companions, by scholarly consensus (ijma’), were legally upright (‘udul), and are above being impugned with teaching someone an act of disobedience, much less idolatory (shirk). The hadith is rigorously authenticated (sahih), as Tabarani explicitly states in his “al-Mu’jam al-saghir.” The translator (Nuh Ha Mim Keller), wishing to verify the matter further, to the hadith with its chain of narrators to hadith specialist Sheikh Shu’ayb Arna’ut, who after examining it, agreed that it was rigorously authenticated (sahih) as Tabarani indicated, a judgement which was also confirmed to the translator by the Moroccan hadith specialist Sheikh ‘Abdullah Muhammad Ghimari, who characterized the hadith as “very rigorously authenticated,” and noted that hadith masters Haythami and Mundhiri had explicitly concurred with Tabarani on its being rigorously authenticated (sahih). The upshot is that the recommendedness of tawassul to Allah Most High – through the living or the dead – is the position of the Shafi’i school, which is why both our author Ibn Naqib Al-Misri, and Imam Nawawi in his “Al-Adhkar (281-282)”, and “al-Majmu” explicitly record that “tawassul” through the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and asking his intercession are recommended. A final article below by a Hanafi scholar concludes the discussion.


The Hanafi scholar, Muhammad Hamid says: As for calling upon (nida’) the righteous (when they are physically absent, as in the words “O Muhammad” in the above hadiths), tawassul to Allah Most High through them is permissible, the supplication (du’a) being to Allah Most Glorious, and there is much evidence for its permissibility.

Those who call on them intending “tawassul” cannot be blamed. As for someone who believes that those called upon can cause effects, benefit, or harm, which they create or cause to exist as Allah does, such a person is an idolator who has left Islam – Allah be our refuge! This then, and a certain person has written an article that tawassul to Allah Most High through the righteous is unlawful, while the overwhelming majority of scholars hold it is permissible, and the evidence the writer uses to corroborate his viewpoint is devoid of anything that demonstrates what he is trying to prove. In declaring tawassul permissible, we are not hovering on brink of idolatry (shirk) or coming anywhere near it, for the conviction that Allah Most High alone has influence over anything, outwardly or inwardly, is a conviction that flows through us like our very lifeblood. If tawassul was idolatry (shirk), or if there were any suspicion of idolatry in it, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would not have taught it to the blind man when the latter asked him to supplicate Allah for him, though in fact he did teach him to make “tawassul” to Allah through him. And the notion that tawassul is permissible only during the lifetime of the person through whom it is done but not after his death is unsupported by any viable foundation from Sacred Law [“Rudud ‘ala abatil wa rasa’il al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamid]

Does Modern Science Confirm the Hadith that Says There is an Antidote in the Wing of a Fly?

Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

Question: Is modern science in agreement with the hadiths that indicate there is a cure in the wing of a fly?

: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Only in modern times was it discovered that the common fly carried parasitic pathogens for many diseases including malaria, typhoid fever, cholera, and others. It was also discovered that the fly carried parasitic bacteriophagic fungi capable of fighting the germs of all these diseases.

The Prophet Muhammad – upon him and his House blessings and peace – alluded to both facts 1,400 years ago when he said, as narrated from Abu Hurayra and Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by al-Bukhari and in the Sunan:

<< If a fly falls into one of your containers [of food or drink], immerse it completely (falyaghmis-hu kullahu) before removing it, for under one of its wings there is venom and under another there is its antidote. >>

A version from Abu Hurayra in Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and al-Tahawi’s Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (8:341 #3293) adds:

<< And it [al-Tahawi: “always”] protects itself (yattaqi) with the wing that carries the poison, so immerse it completely.>>Ahmad and al-Tahawi add: << Then remove it. >>

A sound-chained version in Ahmad, al-Tahawi, al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah (the latter two mention only the second half) states:

<< Sa`id ibn Khalid said: I went in to see Abu Salama. He brought us some butter and date pastry. A fly fell into the dish. Abu Salama began to submerge it (yamquluhu) with his finger. I said, “Uncle! What are you doing?” He said: “Truly, Abu Sa`id al-Khudri told me that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘In one of the fly’s two wings there is poison and in another, its antidote. If it falls into food, submerge it in it; for it sends the poison first and keeps the cure last.'”>>Al-Tahawi in Sharh Mushkil al-Athar (8:339 #3289) has, << Uncle! Allah forgive you! What are you doing? >>

Al-Bazzar in his Musnad and al-Diya’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahadith al-Mukhtara (5:206) narrate from Thumama ibn `Abd Allah ibn Anas through trustworthy narrators according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (10:250) and al-Qastallani in Irshad al-Sari (5:304):

<< Thumama said: We were with Anas and a fly fell into a vessel. Anas motioned with his hand and immersed it (faghamasahu) three times then said: “Bismillah” and he said that truly, thus did the Messenger of Allah order them to do. >>

Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi mentioned in Hujjat Allah al-Baligha that this hadith shows God-given knowledge of the many diseases a fly potentially carries as well as illustrates the Creator’s wisdom in giving every venomous species some immunity or antidotal protection to its own poison insuring its survival. Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi in one of his Wasaya specified that the fly always keeps its “antidotal wing” off the substance in which it finds itself mired so as to try and use it to fly away. The Ulema said that this behavior is Divinely-inspired instinct similar to that of the bees, the ants, the hoopoe, and the earth in the Qur’an cf. al-Tahawi, Sharh Mushkil (8:343-344) and al-Khattabi, Ma`alim al-Sunan (4:459).

Ibn Hajar wrote in his commentary on this hadith:

“I found nothing among the variants to pinpoint the wing that carries the antidote but one of the Ulema said he observed that the fly protects itself with its left wing so it can be deduced that the right one is the one with the antidote…. Another said that the poison may be that of pride (takabbur) occurring in one’s soul causing him to disdain eating that food or avoid and discard it altogether, while the antidote takes place by subduing the soul and forcing it to be humble.”

Ibn Hajar also cited al-Jawzi’s remark that flies pounded with antimony (stibnite) benefit eyesight but al-`Ayni in `Umdat al-Qari (7:304) cites Ibn al-Baytar al-Maliqi’s recipe as flies pounded with egg yolk.

Dr. Ghyath Hasan al-Ahmad in his book al-Tibb al-Nabawi fi Daw’ al-`Ilm al-Hadith (“Prophetic Medicine in the light of Modern Science”) (1995 2:188-189) mentions that a Dr. Nabih Da`ish ran an experiment at King `Abd al-`Aziz University in Riyadh in which he created ten bacterial cultures from samples of sterilized fluid into which a fly fell without being immersed; ten more bacterial cultures from samples into which a fly fell and was immersed once; ten more from samples into which the fly was immersed twice; and ten more from samples into which the fly was immersed three times. The results showed that bacterial colonies thrived in the first set but were stunted and depleted in the second, more so in the third, and most in the fourth set.

It is established that house flies are carriers of dangerous pathogens of animals and humans. Even the muscaphobic critics of this hadith are forced to admit that no one at the time of the Prophet, upon him peace, knew that flies carry such harmful organisms. Whence the observation that “under one of its wings there is venom”?

Second, from the perspective of logic, if the fly did not carry some sort of protection in the form of an antidote or immunity, it would perish from its own poisonous burden and there would be no fly left in the world.

Further, the transmission of what the fly carries in or on its body is not an automatic fact. For example, the microbe responsible for ulcers and other stomach ailments can live on houseflies, although it remains to be seen whether flies transmit the pathogen.

There has long been evidence of bacterial pathogen-suppressing micro-organisms living in houseflies. An article in Vol. 43 of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Journal of Experimental Medicine (1927) p. 1037 stated:

“The flies were given some of the cultured microbes for certain diseases. After some time the germs died and no trace was left of them while a germ-devouring substance formed in the flies – bacteriophages. If a saline solution were to be obtained from these flies it would contain bacteriophages able to suppress four kinds of disease-inducing germs and to benefit immunity against four other kinds.”

Cited in `Abd Allah al-Qusami, Mushkilat al-Ahadith al-Nabawiyya wa-Bayanuha (p. 42).

More recently, a Colorado State University website on entomology states, “Gnotobiotic [=germ-free] insects (Greenberg et al, 1970) were used to provide evidence of the bacterial pathogen-suppressing ability of the microbiota of Musca domestica [houseflies] …. most relationships between insects and their microbiota remain undefined.

Studies with gnotobiotic locusts suggest that the microbiota confers previously unexpected benefits for the insect host.”

So then, flies are not only pathogenic carriers but also carry microbiota that can be beneficient. The fly microbiota were described as “longitudinal yeast cells living as parasites inside their bellies. These yeast cells, in order to perpetuate their life cycle, protrude through certain respiratory tubules of the fly. If the fly is dipped in a liquid, the cells burst into the fluid and the content of those cells is an antidote for the pathogens which the fly carries.” Cf. footnote in the _Translation of the Meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari by Muhammad Muhsin Khan_ (7:372, Book 76 “Medicine,” Chapter 58, Hadith 5782).

These fly microbiota are bacteriophagic or “germ-eating”. Bacteriophages are viruses of viruses. They attack viruses and bacteria. They can be selected and bred to kill specific organisms. The viruses infect a bacterium, replicate and fill the bacterial cell with new copies of the virus, and then break through the bacterium’s cell wall, causing it to burst. The existence of similar bacteria-killing mechanisms in two bacteriophages suggests that antibiotics for human infections might be designed on the basis of these cell wall-destroying proteins.
Science 292 (June 2001) p. 2326-2329.

Bacteriophagic medicine was available in the West before the forties but was discontinued when penicillin and other “miracle antibiotics” came out. Bacteriophages continued to flourish in Eastern Europe as an over-the-counter medicine. The “O1-phage” has been used for diagnosis of all Salmonella types while the prophylaxis of Shigella dysentery was conducted with the help of phages.
Annales Immunologiae Hungaricae No. 9 (1966) in German.

“Phage therapy” is now making a comeback in the West:

“First named in 1917 by researcher Felix d’Herelle at France’s Pasteur Institute, bacteriophages (or just phages for short) are viruses that prey upon bacteria. They have a simple structure – a DNA-filled head attached by a shaft to spidery “legs” that are used to grip onto the surface of a bacterium. Once a phage latches onto a bacterium, it injects its payload of genetic material into the bacterium’s innards. The bacterium then begins to rapidly produce “daughter” copies of the phage — until the bacterium becomes too full and ruptures, sending hundreds of new phage particles into the open world.

“Doctors used phages as medical treatment for illnesses ranging from cholera to typhoid fevers. In some cases, a liquid containing the phage was poured into an open wound. In others, they were given orally, via aerosol, or injected. In some cases, the treatments worked well – in others, they did not. When antibiotics came into the mainstream, phage therapy largely faded in the west.

“However, researchers in eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union, continued their studies of the potential healing properties of phages. And now that strains of bacteria resistant to standard antibiotics are on the rise, the idea of phage therapy has been getting more attention in the worldwide medical community. Several biotechnology companies have been formed in the U.S. to develop bacteriophage-based treatments – many of them drawing on the expertise of researchers from eastern Europe.”

Research on the medical application of bacteriophages is now considered to be in its most promising stage. A University of Pittsburgh researcher said in June 2001, “Given the sheer number and variety of bacteriophages lurking on the planet, the viruses may represent a sizable untapped reservoir of new therapeutics.”

Science 292 (June 2001) p. 2326-2329.

Possibilities for use of bacteriophages in disease control is discussed in the article “Smaller Fleas… Ad infinitum: Therapeutic Bacteriophage Redux” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [PNAS] Vol. 93 No. 8 (April 16, 1996), 3167-8.

The fact that the fly carried pathophagic or germ-eating agents was known to the ancients, who noticed that wasp and scorpion stings are remedied by rubbing the sore spot with a decapitated fly as mentioned in al-Antaki’s Tadhkira (1:140), al-`Ayni’s citation of Abu Muhammad Ibn al-Baytar al-Maliqi’s (d. 646) al-Jami` li-Mufradat al-Adwiya wal-Aghdhiya in `Umdat al-Qari (7:304), and al-Sha`rani’s Mukhtasar al-Suwaydi fil-Tibb (p. 98).

Avicenna preferred the use of a live chicken slit in two and applied to the wound cf. Ibn al-Azraq, Tas-hal al-Manafi` (1306 ed. p. 171=1315 ed. p. 147). A similar use is current even today for camel urine according to a University of Calgary website.

In the two world wars the wounds of soldiers exposed to flies were observed to heal and scar faster than the wounds of unexposed soldiers. Even today, fly larvae, or maggots, are used medicinally to clean up festering wounds. They only eat dead tissue and leave healthy tissue alone.

Is the fly ritually filthy (najis)? No. The Jurists concur that the fly is pure (al-dhubab tahir) and does not defile a liquid even if its quantity is small and even if it dies in it except, according to al-Shafi`i, if one of the aspects of the liquid is affected (smell, color, taste) cf. al-Baghawi, Sharh al-Sunna (11:260-261) and al-Qastallani, Irshad al-Sari (5:304-305).

The Prophetic Sunna is an endless manual of healthy living and practical husbandry for people of all walks of life, especially the poor. The Prophet, upon him peace, at all times directed his Umma to avert waste and penury even in unsanitary conditions. Just as the hadith on camel milk and urine reveals knowledge of dietetics and natural medicine, so does the hadith of the fly reveal knowledge of preventive medicine and immunology. In this respect the command in these hadiths, as in many others, denotes an advisory Sunna of permissibility, not a literal obligation. “The command [of immersing the fly] denotes counsel (al-amru lil-irshad) so as to counter disease with cure.” Al-Qastallani, Irshad al-Sari (5:304).

Despite the abundance of supporting evidence for the authenticity of these medicinal narrations (camel and fly) on the one hand and for their scientific viability on the other, certain voices continue to reject them on both counts.

Principle skepticism of authentically transmitted narrations that pertain to facts demonstrated by ancient and modern science, or whose scientific worth is just now coming into view, is the wont of stagnant minds and diseased hearts for which there is no cure save the mercy of our Lord.

Hajj Gibril

Dealing With Depression Caused by Unemployment and Loneliness

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: I would like some help inshaAllah. I attend Islamic courses and feel my imaan is boosted after. But then I cannot maintain this afterwards.

I feel depressed about my life situation such as unemployment and loneliness due to not being able to find a spouse and this gets me down even further. I feel alone and don’t feel that connection even when I pray. I want to read Quran and find solace but something holds me back, I feel too depressed to do so.

Also I would like to add that even though I wish to get married, a part of me is terrified that I will be in an abusive marriage, as I’ve seen the harms caused in such marriages.

Please advise as to what I can do.

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and all who follow them.

Dear Questioner,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for writing to us. I pray you are in good health and iman.

Allah the Exalted says, “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:186)

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Mona Hassan who reminded us of this beautiful ayah of the Qur’an where God Himself speaks to us, lowly slaves, in the singular, promising us that He will respond to our call. Allah is close and even more so to you, because, as our teachers tell us, He is with the brokenhearted.

Don’t let past negative experiences weigh you down. Have a good opinion of Allah that He will send someone who is gentle and kind.

Resolve to stop feeling down and look at what is right in your life in terms of health, youth, community, family. See how you can be of service to others. Be proactive about finding work. And continuously ask Allah for help in finding a lawful income so you can marry and build a family.

Here are some useful articles from SeekersGuidance:

1. How does one perform the Prayer of Need?

2. Are there any invocations to help me find a job?

3. Difficulty in finding a spouse and losing hope

4. Bringing barakah into one’s wealth and life

May Allah Ta’ala grant you ease,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
June 10, 2011/Rajab 9, 1432

Is There Any Leeway for a Muslim Woman to Marry a Non-Muslim Man?

Answered by Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question:  I am currently interested in marrying a man that is not Muslim. Growing up, I have barely liked a Muslim man due to their lack of courtesy, disrespect, and lack of concern for social justice. I convinced myself that I would marry a Muslim man just because it is haram to marry a non-Muslim, but I am not excited about it at all and would rather never get married in my life.  Currently, I know a non-Muslim man who constantly wants me to consider him, but he isn’t thinking of converting. I am madly in love with him.  This isn’t the first time I’ve liked a non-Muslim and even though I am fully practicing and wear hijab. Is there any room in the religion for the permissibility of my marriage to a non-Muslim man?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and all who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray you are in good health and iman.

Allah Most High says, “Is then the man who believes no better than the man who is rebellious and wicked? Not equal are they. For those who believe and do righteous deeds are Gardens as hospitable homes, for their (good) deeds.As to those who are rebellious and wicked, their abode will be the Fire: every time they wish to get away therefrom, they will be forced thereinto, and it will be said to them: “Taste ye the Penalty of the Fire, the which ye were wont to reject as false.” (32:18-20)

Allah is telling us that we cannot compare people of faith to those of none. Our faith is a guiding light. If we extinguish that to pursue some worldly gain at the expense of our heavenly abode, what are we left with?

Woman to woman, I think you should ask yourself what you have internalized about your Islam that you find yourself attracted to men outside the faith? This might be more about you than these men. You should focus on shoring up your faith. Remember our actions (include wearing hijab and outward rituals of worship) are all empty without a firm conviction in Allah’ s truth that He knows what is best for us.

If you feel that you have some future with this man, you should ask Allah to guide him to Islam and grant him to you as a spouse if it will be good for your deen and dunya.

But you must be firm with this person that your faith is above all else.

Finally, you must take yourself out of it. Emotions cloud judgment. Introduce him to the Muslim community and then leave it alone.

May Allah reward you,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
June 10, 2011/Rajab 9, 1432