Fighting Depression Through The Remembrance Of Allah

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Lately I’ve  been feeling really down & depressed.  Can you post some du’a’s or adhakār that might help with this?

Answer : Allah Most High says, “Truly, it is by the Remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest.” [Qur’an, 13.28]

One of the great early Muslims said, “Everything that hearts find of worries and sadness is because of what they have been denied of beholding Allah.”

What is remembrance (dhikr) of Allah?

Imam Sha`rani explains in his Lawaqih al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya that its essential meaning is to have Allah in heart and mind at all times. Remembrance of the tongue and worship of the limbs is a means to this.

Normally, of course, ends are not reached if the proper means are not taken.

Sayyidi Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi said,

“Be with Allah

You will find Allah with you.”

كُنْ مَعَ الله  ***  تَرَ اللهَ مَعَك

Be with Allah by loving Him, turning to Him in all your affairs, by obeying His commands out of love, thanks and servanthood, You will find Allah with you, for He is “closer to you than your jugular vein,” and He does not let the efforts of those who seek Him go to waste.

Reciting the Qur’an

As for what Surah to recite, the scholars say that it is superior to make it one’s habit to recite the Qur’an regularly, every day (even if only for a short amount of time), with reflection, longing and love for Allah, and attentiveness to what Allah is telling one, for the Qur’an is the guidance of Allah to you.

The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The most beloved of works to Allah are those which one is constant upon.” This is because they change your life completely, unlike short-lived bursts of activity, the scholars explain.

Surat Ya Sin is very powerful: the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) called it, “The heart of the Qur’an.”

It is also very recommended to send a lot of blessings upon the Beloved of Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), for he is the ultimate mercy from Allah to humanity, and we have been informed, “Whoever sends blessings upon me once, Allah blesses them ten times .”This is explained to be the least of the reward…

The scholars mention that for those sick or troubled (and others) it is good to recite the Salat al-Tibbiyya, along with the sunna ways of sending blessings and peace:

Allahumma Salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammadin

Tibbil qulubi wa dawaa’iha

Wa nuril absari wa diya’iha

Wa `afiyatil abdaani wa shifaa’ha

Wa `ala Aalihi wa Sahbihi wa Sallim.

 

اللهُمّ صَلِّ عَلَى سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍطِبِّ القُلُوبِ وَدَوائِهاوَنُورِ الأَبْصَارِ وَضِيَائِهَاوَعَافِيَةِ الأَبْدَانِ وَ شِفَائِهَاوَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَسَلِّمْ

O Lord! Send blessings on our master Muhammad,

The medicine of hearts and their cure,

The light of eyes and their illumination,

The health of bodies and their healing,

And upon his family, companions, and send peace.

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Why Learn From A Teacher?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What’s the significance of studying fiqh with scholars rather than just reading the text yourself, especially if the text is written by or commented on by reliable scholars? What can one get from a living teacher that he couldnt from these reliable texts?

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

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

1. Sound understanding: the chances of falling into error without a teacher to guide one’s understanding and learning is far greater. Since religious knowledge is such a serious matter, one cannot rely on an individual whose knowledge is taken merely from books. A teacher is able to tests one’s understanding, and picks up on one’s errors; a student is able to ask questions and to verify wether they have understood the material correctly.

2. Correct understanding: books, even the best books, sometimes contain weak positions, mistakes, incorrect arguments, lack of details, unmentioned conditions or implications, special terminological usages, and so forth. Without a teacher explaining how texts are unpacked and interpreted, one can and almost certain will fall into gross errors.

3. Correct progress: if you don’t know, you are likely to have little knowledge or practical ability on how to gain knowledge effectively. A teacher guides a person in his path of learning, and focuses the students endeavors so he can gain knowledge effectively..

4. Understanding context, wisdom, and how to apply the theoretical knowledge. Not everything can be applied literally…

5. Learning adab and humility, by submitting one’s presumed understanding and deferring to the understanding of an inheritor of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

6. Following the sunna of the Prophets, who didn’t simply print a ‘book of guidance’ and distribute it to the people: they taught, and their companions learned and followed.

7. The baraka of this teacher-student relationship. There are great secrets in it. The Prophets themselves were ‘students’ of Jibril (peace and blessings be upon him).

8. Benefiting from the way of the scholars; their manners, character, and habits.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Difficulty in Finding a Spouse and Losing Hope

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

Question: Is the person I will get married to part of “Qada” or “Qadar”? Some people find spouses easily although they never think about getting married, and yet they easily get married, others work hard, ask imams to help etc…

Many people in my social circle, from university and the islamic community know that I am unmarried and looking for a spouse. In addition, my mother has asked the imam to find someone for me. But some people say that marriage is qadar and that if I still have not found some one yet, that means my family and I are not “trying enough”. Please guide me about what is right. I am confused and sometimes I become hopeless astaghfirullah.

Answer: 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 those who follow them.

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question.

Everything that happens to us is a matter of “qada and qadr,” or Allah’s will.

I can understand that your difficulty in finding a spouse is a source of frustration for you. I can see how you might look at others and wonder why everything seems so easy for them.

Keep in mind, however, that there is some lesson in this situation that you might not understand, but may come to appreciate later.

Do not worry about those who say you and your family are not trying hard enough. Say to them that you need encouragement and positive words. If they cannot contribute either, then they should remain silent.

Do not lose hope. You have taken the right step by informing your local Imam and others that you are looking for a spouse. However, there are other steps you may take. For example, you mentioned your university and social circle. Keep in mind that it is permissible to propose marriage to a prospective husband, provided that you stay within the parameters of the Shari’ah. Therefore, you do not have to simply wait for the Imam or others to remember you. If you see someone who has potential, do not hesitate to have your family inquire after him.

Last but not least, do not forget to ask Allah daily for your needs. You can pray the Prayer of Need, or Salat al-Hajah, the details of which can be found here. It is also recommended to recite the following verse from the Qur’an: “Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous” (25:74).

And Allah knows best,

Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq

What Should I Do If I Have No Time To Pray At Work?

Answered by Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I had a question about work and prayer. At work, sometimes I am able to pray and sometimes I am not. For an 11-5 schedule, I occasionally do not get breaks, so what can I do about this? I’ve heard that praying early is not allowed and that missing prayer, which I rarely do is not accepted. I follow Shafi`i fiqh and was wondering what the ruling for this was, or any exceptions to it?

Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.  Firstly, it is very commendable that you are striving to uphold the commandment of Allah Most High to perform the obligatory prayer despite a demanding work schedule.  The obligatory prayers are the first of works that a Believer will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment, after faith itself.  The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has said:

“The person who guards the five obligatory prayers, its wudhu, its prescribed time, its proper bowing and prostration, while considering it to be the right of Allah upon them, the will be Fire forbidden upon that person.” (Ahmad)

You are correct when you say that missing an obligatory prayer is not allowed, rather, it is from amongst the major sins to do so without a valid excuse.  You are also correct in saying that praying before the time enters is not permitted, except in very specific circumstances that do not obtain here [see answers on the prayer of a traveler in the Shafi’i school for an example]. The only recourse will be to obtain approval for one short break during the work shift, and perform the prayer during that time.  By the grace of Allah, persistent requests from more and more Muslims in the West over the years who are keen to uphold their prayers while at work, have made many employers familiar with accommodating Muslim religious observances in ways that do not hinder productivity.  It is expected that if the request is put forward respectfully yet firmly, it will be granted, insha Allah.  Making this request, in the interest of preserving your prayer, would be a duty on your part.  The fact that Ramadan is coming around is also very helpful to mention if one is worried that the employer might wonder why the request wasn’t made from before, since many employers know that Muslims tend to “gear up” on their prayers in anticipation of the holy month; this can also be a way of getting a “foot-in-the-door” to permanently obtaining approval for a prayer break thereafter.

To make your request easier on others, ask your employer where the ideal place to pray would be in advance, so no one feels disturbed, and to pre-plan things such as where and when to make wudhu so that you stay within your allotted break time.  Of course, make du’aa to Allah, asking Him to make the matter easy for you.  In the end, although there is some struggle and sacrifice involved with praying on the job, you will be commensurately rewarded for striving to uphold your prayers despite obstacles, and needless to say, stopping to be with your Lord during your work day will be the source of much blessings and ease.  May Allah Most High make each one of us consistent on our prayers in all situations, Ameen!

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani

* Abdullah Anik Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and converted to Islam in 2001.  After completing a degree in Business Administration at the University of Toronto, in 2005, he left Canada to pursue studies in Arabic and the Islamic Sciences.  Currently, he lives in Amman, Jordan, with his wife and two daughters, working at the Qasid Institute and studying various subjects in the Islamic Sciences.

How Do I Choose a School of Thought (Madhhab) & Why?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How Do I Choose a Madhhab and Why?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers

A madhhab is a school of Islamic law, and each madhhab is based on a systematic methodology of interpreting the Qur’an and Prophetic sunna. Following a madhhab is not an end in itself; rather, it is a means to follow the Qur’an and Sunna in a sound, systematic, and sustainable manner.

It is a sound way of following the Qur’an and Sunna, because each madhhab has a sound and tested methodology of understanding, interpreting, and applying the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to the issues of our life.

It is a systematic way, because the scholars have dealt with the issues Muslims face in their worship, dealings, and conduct, and given guidance-based answers that are relevant and reliable.

It is a sustainable way, because the scholars have distinguished between the degrees of emphasis of rulings—between what is obligatory and recommended; between the prohibited and the disliked; between the preferable and less preferable. By following a madhhab, you will not be overwhelmed by the sense of having to “do everything all at once.” Rather, you can bring in religious guidance into your life a step at a time—giving priority to what is most important first. This helps one attain consistency in one’s actions and religious practice, which is a key to being personal transformation.

Which Madhhab Do I Follow?

Any of the four Sunni schools of law are valid to follow, and which one chooses to follow is a matter of personal preference and circumstances. One should consider:

(1)    Which madhhab you can learn properly, given your life circumstances

(2)  Which mahhab you can get your questions answered for

(3)  Your personal inclination, and general life considerations (such as family background, community, and so on).

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and SunniPath.
All rights reserved

Related Reading:

What is a madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one by Shaykh Nuh Keller

Why Muslims follow madhhabs by Shaykh Nuh Keller

Understanding the four madhhabs By Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

Can the Forgetfulness Prostration Be Done in Every Prayer Just to Be Sure it is Valid?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Can the Sujud al-sahw be done in every prayer just to be sure it is valid?

Answer : It would be prohibitively disliked, sinful, and a reprehensible innovation to perform the Sujud al-Sahw for every prayer without need.

Forgetfulness prostrations are only required when one forgetfully leaves a necessary (wajib) action in prayer. It is not required nor permitted for any other action. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

You should strive to learn what the necessary (wajib) elements of prayer are. Any reliable manual of Hanafi fiqh will list these for you.

Also, another  basic assumption is that actions are valid and sound until proven otherwise.

Note that there is a difference between leaving an obligatory (fard) action in prayer and leaving a necessary (wajib) action – the former invalidates prayer; the latter renders it deficient (though valid

Past prayers in which wajib actions were omitted do not have to be repeated.

It is obligatory to make up prayers in which obligatory actions–conditions or integrals–of the prayer were omitted. If this is the case you should how many prayers you have to make up, and set a consistent and sustainable schedule of making up the prayers.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

 

Invocation (Dhikr) and Supplication (Dua) After Prayer

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question:  In my mosque, the muezzin gives command after prayer when to say subhanallah, alhamdulillah and so on. And it is done after sunnah prayer. Is that practice OK?

Answer : It is permissible (and rewarding) to recite the various forms of Dhikr, Tasbih and Dua after prayers as mentioned in the various Hadiths of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), both individually and collectively, and both silently and loudly.

 

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the completion of the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) prayer would be known by the recitation of the Takbir.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 994)

 

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that raising of the voice with Dhikr was practiced in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) when they left the obligatory prayer. And Ibn Abbas said: “I would know of when people left the obligatory prayer by the (loud) Dhikr and I used to hear it.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 995)

 

Based on the above and various other narrations found in the Sunnah literature, the renowned Hanafi jurist, Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states in his Radd al-Muhtar that raising one’s voice whilst doing Dhikr (m: in all its forms) is permissible due to the various evidences found in the Sunnah, except in certain circumstances. He concludes his discussion by quoting Imam al-Sha’rani as saying:

 

“All the scholars (ulama) have agreed, both early (salaf) and late comers (khalaf), upon the recommendation of group Dhikr (m: meaning loudly) in the Masjid, except when it disturbs a sleeping person, the one engaged in prayer and the one reciting Qur’an.” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/660)

 

Therefore, it is permissible to recite the various forms of Dhikr loudly after obligatory prayers. The reciting of Subhan Allah and al-Hamdulillah 33 times and Allahu Akbar 34 times has been prescribed in the Hadith. Thus, if the Mu’adhin or someone else reminds people by saying it loudly, then there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is not considered to be a specific form of Sunnah, and that those who do not wish to join are not condemned.

 

As far as doing group Dhikr in the Masjid after Sunnah prayers is concerned, it is best avoided, for it may disturb those engaged in other forms of worship. Yes, if there is a common understanding amongst the people, in that they all participate in the group Dhikr, then it would be permitted.

 

You state that you wish to carry out your own Dhikr and not join the group Dhikr. This is perfectly allowed; hence you should not be looked down upon. The other members of the congregation should be made aware that it is not necessary for people to join a specific form of group Dhikr. In fact, condemning those who wish not to join would make the group Dhikr a form of reprehensible innovation.

 

In conclusion, you may recite the various forms of Dhikr after prayers on your own or by joining in with the group. Both methods are permissible, and one method should not be deemed necessary.

 

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

             

                         

                         

           

 

 

 

 

What is Backbiting and How Can One Be Safe?

Answered by : Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : What is Backbiting and How Can One Be Safe?

Answer:  The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that backbiting is, “To mention another with something they would dislike.” [Related by Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud, from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him)]When unsure whether they’d dislike it, avoid saying it. The sunna is to be positive and respectful in speech.

Imam al-Barkawi said in his masterpiece on the operationalization of taqwa, al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya,

“Backbiting is to mention the negative points of a specific brother who is known to the the one being addressed, or to indicate them or make them known by the hand or any other limbs.”

Allama Abu Sa`id al-Khadimi explained,

“(A specific brother who is known to the the one being addressed) for the who is not specified or known would not be backbiting.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya fi Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, 3: 183)

Safety lies is holding fast to the counsel of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say that which is good or remain silent.” And he said, “Whoever is silent is saved.” And, “From the excellence of a man’s Islam is to leave that which does not concern him.” The scholars explain “that which concerns him” as being anything in which there is a real worldly or next-worldly benefit.

And Allah alone gives success.
Walaikum assalam,

Faraz Rabbani.

Cutting Off the Animal’s Head Directly After Being Slaughtered

Answered by  Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Cutting Off the Animal’s Head Directly After Being Slaughtered

Answer: It should always be remembered that although Islam gives permission to slaughter certain animals and consume their meat (provided certain conditions are met), it never permits making animals suffer unnecessarily. The guidance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is clear in this regard. He emphasized in many narrations the prohibition and sinfulness of mistreating Animals. Before the advent of Islam, all possible ways and means were used in acquiring the meat of animals and no consideration was taken in preventing the pain and suffering of these defenceless and innocent creatures of Allah.

The beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) came with clear guidelines regarding animal treatment.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that “the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade making animals suffer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The Shafi’i jurist, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his work on the major sins, al-Zawajir an Iqtiraf al-Kaba’irthat causing animals undue harm, such as hitting them painfully, without a sound reason is a major sin (kabira). (al-Zawajir 1/208-209)

As such, in general, harming animals, causing them undue pain or making them suffer is unlawful and sinful. When slaughtering an animal, Islam demands that maximum effort is made in minimizing the suffering of the animal. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Verily Allah has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill (an animal), kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Sahih Muslim related by Shaddad ibn Aws, no: 1955)

For this very reason, Islamic jurists (fuqaha), in light of the guidance given in the Qur’an and Sunnah, have highlighted many malpractices that need to be avoided when slaughtering animals. These practices do not render the slaughtered animal as unlawful (provided the basic and necessary requirements for a valid slaughter are met), but they are considered to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman):

1) Pulling animals with excessive force and placing them down harshly onto the ground when being slaughtered,

2) Delaying the slaughter after the animal is placed onto the ground,

3) Sharpening the knife or blade in front of the animal,

4) Totally cutting off and separating the head of the animal from the remainder of its body when slaughtering,

5) Cutting the animal from the neck (rear) rather than the throat,

6) One should sharpen the knife as much as possible in order to hasten the act of slaughter. (See: al-Hidaya 2/438, Radd al-Muhtar6/296 al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/288)

Cutting off the animal’s head directly after being slaughtered

From amongst these reprehensible and prohibitively disliked practices is to cut off the animal’s head and peel off its skin directly after the animal is slaughtered.

The great Hanafi jurist, Imam Ala al-Din al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

Giving the animal unnecessary pain (ta’dhib) in any way is (prohibitively) disliked such as cutting off its head and peeling off its skin before the animal cools down, meaning the animal stops moving and shaking…(See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar 6/296)

Likewise, it is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya

It is (prohibitively) disliked for the slaughterer to reach the spinal marrow (i.e. close to the neck) of the animal with a knife (nukha’) (m: or to cut off its head completely) before the animal cools down. Similarly, it is disliked to skin the animal before it cools down. However, if the slaughterer did cut off its head or skinned it before it cooled down, there would be nothing wrong in eating of its meat.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya 5/287)

As such, in conclusion, cutting off the head of an animal, peeling off its skin and generally dissecting its body-parts is considered to be prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) directly after the animal has been slaughtered, for this would be regarded giving the animal unnecessary pain. One must wait until the animal cools down by coming to a complete standstill and it stops shaking and moving. This period may vary from one animal to another. However, if the head of the animal was cut off directly after slaughter, the meat of this slaughtered animal will not become unlawful (haram) provided all the necessary conditions for a valid slaughter are met.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Can I Eat Meat Slaughtered by Jews and Christians?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Can I Eat Meat Slaughtered by Jews and Christians?

Answer :   The general ruling is that if an animal is slaughtered by a Muslim, or a genuine Christian or Jew, then it would be halal to consume from it, provided the other two conditions of a valid slaughter are also met, namely the cutting of veins with a sharp tool, and pronouncing the name of Allah Most High. (See: The major Fiqh references)

Allah Most High says:

“Today are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them.” (Surah al-An’am, V. 5)

However, if there is a valid reason to doubt the belief of a particular Christian or Jew, then it will not be allowed to consume the animal slaughtered by them. If one is a Christian or a Jew merely by name, and in reality he is an atheist, then his slaughtered meat would remain unlawful. If a Jew denies the existence of God, he is not really a Jew; hence, his slaughtered meat would be haram. The condition is that the slaughterer is a genuine Christian or Jew, even if that means he does not believe in the Qur’an or considers Sayyiduna Isa (peace be upon him) to be the son of God.

As regards to kosher meat, the fatwa of most contemporary scholars is that it is in itself halal, as such meat fulfils the conditions of a valid slaughter. However, scholars say that Muslims should avoid kosher meat due to the Zionist oppression in Palestine.

In conclusion, the general ruling is of the permissibility of consuming meat slaughtered by a true and genuine Jew. However, if one lives in an area where meat is slaughtered by individuals who are only considered Jews by name, and in reality they deny the existence of God, then the ruling would be otherwise.

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK