Meat Handled, Processed, Packed and Transported by Non-Muslims

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Question: Is it correct to say that halal and lawfully slaughtered meat is rendered haram simply due to the handling of a non-Muslim?

Answer: According to my limited research, no book of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) states that meat or any other product handled by a non-Muslim is rendered Haram. On the contrary, we find texts of classical jurists (fuqaha) asserting clearly that the handling of a non-Muslim does not render a Halal product Haram. One such example is provided below:

The author of the renowned Hanafi Fiqh Manual, Al-Hidaya states:

“If an individual [Muslim] sends his employee or servant who is a fire-worshipper [i.e. non-Muslim, non-Jew and non-Christian] to purchase some meat, and he says that I purchased this meat from a Jew, Christian or Muslim, then it will be permitted for the Muslim to consume of the meat. This is due to the fact that a non-Muslim’s word is accepted in transactions (mu’amalat)…” (Al-Hidaya 4/453)

In the above text, the meat was purchased and handled by a non-Muslim on behalf of a Muslim, but it was not rendered Haram. Rather, the non-Muslim servant’s claim that he had purchased the meat from a Muslim was also considered acceptable.

One must remember, however, that the permissibility here is of accepting the word of a non-Muslim employee or servant who knows how important Halal consumption is for his employer or master, and also there is no conflict of interest. This is different to the situation where there is ‘reasonable’ fear that a particular meat is possibly Haram — or when it is generally the case that meat labelled ‘Halal’ is dubious. In such cases, it would be one’s duty to make sure.

As such, it is important to ensure that the meat sold is actually Halal and the element of doubt is removed. However, if there is certainty that the animal had been slaughtered by a Muslim, and the meat was monitored and transported in such a manner that left no room for doubting that the animal may have been slaughtered in a un-Islamic way or that the Halal meat may have been mixed up with Haram meat, then this Halal meat will not be rendered Haram simply because it was handled and transported by a non-Muslim. Had this been the case, everything bar a few products would become Haram since they are all handled and packed by non-Muslims.

Nevertheless, the point that is clear from the above text of Al-Hidaya is that the handling, packaging and transporting of a non-Muslim does not render the meat Haram, after it is ensured that the animal was slaughtered in accordance with the rules of Shari’a, and that the Halal meat was not mixed up or contaminated with Haram meat.

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

Who is Mahram

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Who is a Mahram?

Answer : As a general principle, it is worth remembering that a Mahram is one with whom marriage is permanently unlawful. This is the reason why “Mahram” is translated in English as unmarriageable kin.

This (permanent prohibition of marriage) is established in three ways: By kinship (qarabah), foster relationship (radha’a) and relationship through marriage (sihriyya).

It is stated in the famous Hanafi Fiqh treatise, al-Hidaya:

“A Mahram (for a woman) is he, between whom and her marriage is permanently unlawful, whether this is due to the relationship of lineage/kin (nasab) or because of some other reason, such as foster relationship (radha’a) or relationship by marriage (musaharah).” (al-Hidaya, Kitab al-Karahiyya, 4/461-462)

Imam al-Kasani (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“A Mahram is he, with whom marriage is permanently unlawful, either by kinship, foster relationship or relationship by marriage.” (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2/124)

Thus, permanent unlawfulness of marriage is established with the above-mentioned three types of relationships, and a Mahram is he with whom marriage is unlawful permanently. In other words, one becomes a Mahram due to these three types of relationships.

Let us now look at these relationships in detail

Relationship of family/lineage (qarabah)

It is permanently unlawful for a man to marry the following (hence he will be considered a Mahram for them):

a) Mother, grandmother, and on up;

b) Paternal grandmother, and on up;

c) Daughters, grand daughters, and on down;

d) All type of sisters (whether full or half),

e) Maternal and paternal aunts,

f) Nieces (brother’s or sister’s daughters),

Allah Most High says:

“Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: Your mothers, daughters, sisters, father’s sisters, mother’s sisters; brother’s daughters, sister’s daughters….” (Surah al-Nisa, 22)

Thus, besides the abovementioned relatives, marriage with others relative will be lawful, thus they will not be considered to be mahrams, such as cousin brothers, cousin sisters, mother’s sister’s husband, etc.

Relationship of fosterage (radha’a)

Whosoever is a Mahram through the relationship of lineage, will also be considered a Mahram by fosterage.

Allah Most High states further along in the same verse mentioned above:

“And (prohibited to you in marriage are) your foster-mothers and foster-sisters.” (Surah al-Nisa, 23)

Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said about Hamza’s daughter: “I am not legally permitted to marry her, as foster relations are treated like blood relations (in marital affairs). She is the daughter of my foster-brother.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2502)

Therefore, the relationships that are unlawful through blood and lineage will also be unlawful through fosterage. As such, a foster-father (foster mother’s husband), foster-brother, foster-uncle, foster-nephew, etc will all be considered to be a woman’s Mahram, and one will be a Mahram to a foster-mother, foster sister, foster niece, etc.

However, one should remember that this is only when breastfeeding takes place in the period designated for it, which is two and a half years (according to Imam Abu Hanifa) and two years (according to Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad).

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reports: “Once the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) entered my house while a man was with me. He said: “O A’isha! Who is this?” I replied: “My foster-brother” He said: “O A’isha! Be careful in determining who your foster-brother is, for suckling is only valid if it takes place in the suckling period”. (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2504 & Sahih Muslim, no. 1455)

One should be careful in determining who is a Mahram through foster relations, for determining this, at times, can be complex and complicated. One must refer to a scholar before coming to a judgment.

3) Relationship of marriage (sihriyya or musahara)

The third relationship with which marriage becomes permanently unlawful and consequently the relationship of being a Mahram (mahramiyya) is established is that of marriage.

There are four types of people with whom marriage becomes unlawful permanently due to the relationship of marriage:

a) One’s wife’s mother (mother in-law), grandmother and on up: Marriage with her becomes unlawful by merely contracting marriage with the daughter, regardless of whether the marriage was consummated or otherwise.

b) One’s wife’s daughter (from a previous marriage), grand-daughter and on down: Marriage with her becomes unlawful (permanently) if the marriage with her mother was consummated.

Allah Most High mentions both these situations in the same verse quoted earlier:

“And (prohibited to you in marriage) are your wives’ mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives with whom you have had sexual intercourse. There is no prohibition if you have not cohabited.” (Surah al-Nisa, 22)

Also included in the above will be one’s wife’s son’s (stepson’s) daughter, for she is also considered to be a stepdaughter (rabiba).

c) The wife of one’s son, grandson, and on down: This is regardless whether the son consummated the marriage or otherwise. Allah Most High says in the same verse:

“And (prohibited to you in marriage) are (those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins.” (ibid)

The verse specifically refers to one’s real sons, thus marriage with one’s foster son’s wife will be permissible, if he was to divorce her.

d) One’s stepmother, step grandmother and on up: Meaning those women who have been in the marriage of one’s father or paternal or maternal grandfather.

Allah Most High says:

“And marry not women whom your fathers married, – except what is past: It was shameful and odious.” (Surah al-Nisa, 21)

To sum up, a Mahram is he with whom marriage is permanently unlawful, and this permanent unlawfulness/prohibition of marriage is established in three ways: The relationship of lineage, relationship through fosterage and the relationship through marriage.

In light of the above explanation, your question will have been answered. Nevertheless, If your mother breastfed this nephew of hers when he was a baby (meaning, within the first two or two and a half years of the child’s age), then the rules of fosterage (radha’a) will be applied, in that you and your other sisters will not have to observe Hijab from him when he reaches puberty, neither will marriage be permissible between him and any of your sisters. He will be considered a Mahram to your mother, yourself and all your sisters.

The ruling will be similar if you suckled him when he was young (I am not aware if you are married, thus I am only mentioning one the possibilities, given the fact you state that you looked after him since he was a baby). He will be considered your foster son, thus there will be no Hijab between him and yourself, your sisters and your mother when he reaches puberty.

However, if no breastfeeding took place (neither by your mother or your self) then merely adopting him will not remove the rules of Hijab. If the adoptive mother does not breastfeed the adopted child, then the relationship of fosterage will not be established and the child will be classed as other children with regards to Nikah and Hijab. An adopted child can marry its adoptive parents and their children. Also if a male child is adopted by a woman, she will have to observe Hijab from him after he reaches the age of puberty and visa versa. The adopted child will also (after puberty) observe Hijab with the adoptive parent’s children.

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

Would It Be Permissible to Use a Paper Shredder to Dispose of Material With Qur’Anic Verses on Them?

Answered by Mufti Muhammd ibn Adam

Question:  Would it be Permissible to Use a Paper Shredder to Dispose of Material with Qur’anic Verses on them?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

With regards to disposing and getting rid of unwanted Islamic literature, many classical jurists (fuqaha) state that the best way to get rid of it is to bury it in a place where people normally would not walk. There is also nothing wrong in casting the literature in flowing water by tying it with something heavy. Alternatively, one may burn the Islamic literature, but only after erasing the name of Allah Most High, His angels and Messengers.(See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 5/271 and other classical Fiqh

Now, shredding Islamic literature is akin to burning it, hence the same rule would apply, in that it will be permitted to use a paper shredder to shred it, but only after erasing the name of Allah Most High, His angels and His Messengers. Also, one should avoid throwing the shredded remains in the bin; rather, one should bury the remains somewhere where people would not normally walk.

Note that the above ruling is only with regards to Islamic literature such as papers, Islamic books and other such material. As far as copies of the Qur’an are concerned, there is a separate ruling concerning their disposal.

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

Having One’s Grave Dug Whilst One Is Alive

Answerd by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question :Having One’s Grave Dug whilst one is Alive

Answer :  The relied upon position of the Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) is that it is permissible to have one’s grave dug whilst one is alive. It’s actually considered to be a means of remembering one’s death and preparing for it, something which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) emphatically emphasized.

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to his companions: “Have shame before Allah as you ought to.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, we do have shame praise be to Allah.” He (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Not like that, rather the one who has shame before Allah as he ought to guards his head and what it contains, guards his stomach and what it takes in and remembers death and disintegration. And whoever desires the hereafter leaves the ornamentation of this world. Whoever does all this has shame before Allah as he ought to.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)

Sayyiduna Bara’ ibn Azib (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw a group of people digging a grave and hence cried until the earth became wet with his tears. He then said: “O my brothers! For this, prepare yourselves.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Imam an-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states after quoting the above two Hadiths in his al-Majmu’ that it is recommended to prepare one’s self for death by refraining from sins that are connected to fellow servants of Allah and those that are between the servant and Allah Almighty. It is recommended for everyone to remember death as much as possible and more so in a state of illness, for in remembering death, one’s heart becomes soft, one fears Allah, one refrains from sins and commits to obeying Allah Most High. Shaykh Abu Hamid said that it is advised to remember the Hadith: “Have shame before Allah as you ought to……” as much as possible. (See: Nawawi, al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhadhab of Shirazi, Kitab al-Jana’iz, 5/70)

As regards to digging one’s own grave during one’s lifetime, Imam al-Haskafi of the Hanafi School (Allah have mercy on him) states in his Al-durr al-Mukhtar:

“There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self, and it is said that it is disliked. It appears that preparing the shroud (kafan) etc will not be disliked contrary to the grave.”

Imam Ibn Abidin (may Allah have mercy on him), a later authority in the Hanafi School, states whilst commentating on the above statement of al-Haskafi:

“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self”)… It is stated in al-Tatarkhaniyya (m: name of a book) that there is nothing wrong with it and one will be rewarded for doing so. This was the practice of Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, Rabi’ ibn Khaytham and others (Allah be pleased with them).” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/244)

Allama Sayyid at-Tahtawi, another commentator of al-Haskafi’s Al-Durr al-Mukhtar, states:

“(al-Haskafi’s statement: “There is nothing wrong with digging a grave for one’s self”) because it is a form of preparing to meet Allah Most High. (al-Haskafi’s statement: “it is said that it is disliked”) due to the statement of Allah Most High, “Nor does any one know in what land he is to die” [Qur’an, 31: 34]. I (Tahtawi) say, digging one’s grave does not contravene this verse due to its benefit in general even if it may be for another.” (Hashiya at-Tahtawi ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/383)

As such, in conclusion, the authoritative opinion in the Hanafi School is that there’s nothing wrong in having one’s grave dug whilst one is alive as a way of preparing for death, rather it is hoped one will be rewarded for acting upon the general recommendation of remembering one’s death and preparing for it outlined in the above two and other Hadiths. Some scholars did, however, state that it is disliked to do so in view of the fact that no one knows when and where one will die. This though was explained away by Imam Tahtawi (Allah have mercy on him) saying that even if one was not to die in the same area where the grave was dug, it will be of benefit for others.

As you may be aware, it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) to transfer the body of the deceased from one area to another for burial unless it is just a mile or two (Radd al-Muhtar 5/275). As such, if one was to have one’s grave dug whilst being alive, it is advised to include in one’s bequest (wasiyya) that the grave may be used to bury any other Muslim should one pass away in some other distant land.

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

Rights of Children in Detail

Answered by : Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Rights of Children in Detail

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Answer :  Children are a mercy and a gift from the Almighty Creator to the parents. They serve as a means of coolness for the eyes. Just ask those who have not been so fortunate with this great gift of Allah. As such, Shariah has set certain rights of the children that must be fulfilled by the parents.

Below is a brief look at some the fundamental rights of a child:

1) The first and foremost right of a child is that he/she has an Islamic upbringing. Parents are responsible for their religious and spiritual training.

Allah Most High says:

“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.” (Surah al-Tahrim, 6)

The above verse clearly states that it is not sufficient for an individual to achieve salvation in the hereafter by implementing the laws of Shariah on himself and not saving the family from the fire of Hell. Rather, in order to save oneself from the punishment of the hereafter, one must ensure that his children have a correct Islamic upbringing.

Many times it is observed that the father is actively involved in religious matters, yet his children are not even aware of the basics of Islam. He is very punctual with his Salat, Fasting, Zakat and the other aspects of Deen, whilst the son/daughter is engrossed in wrongdoings and sins, and the father is content with his personal actions.

It must be remembered that to save yourself from the fire of Hell, you must direct your family members towards good and forbid them from evil.

At times, people say that we have tried but the child does not want to listen, so it is not our fault. It is true that if the parents fulfilled their responsibility of good Islamic upbringing and the child never took heed of it, then the responsibility will be lifted. However, in the verse of the Qur’an, the word ‘fire’ was used indicating that you must try and save your offspring from the punishment of the hereafter as you would try to save them if they were entering into fire in this world. If you failed to do this, then you will also be held responsible for their actions.

2) The parents are responsible for the religious education of the child. Children must be taught the basics of Islamic doctrine that includes Aqida, oneness of Allah and his attributes, Sirah of the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), basics of what is lawful and what is unlawful, the Fiqh with regards to Salat, fasting, etc…

3) Parents are also responsible for the moral training of the child which is to learn and put into practice the principles of morality and ethics. They should be taught that telling lies, deceiving, backbiting, quarrelling, fighting, theft, abusive language, etc are not acceptable in any way, and the parents must themselves set a good example.

4) Physical training of children is also an important parental responsibility, which ensures children remain alert and healthy. They should be encouraged to take part in physical exercises that are beneficial for the body.

5) Parents must ensure that they select good and pious friends for their children, and prevent them from evil and bad company.

6) Children must be shown love, affection in every possible way. Parents should spend time with them and not let them feel neglected in any way.

7) Finally, the father is responsible for the financial support of his children. However, there are few situations here:

a) If the son or daughter is rich due to acquiring wealth by inheriting or receiving a gift, then the father is not responsible to provide for them financially, rather, their expenses will be paid from their own money.

Allah Most High says:

“The father will bear the costs of their food and clothing on equitable terms.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 233)

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“It is necessary upon the father to financially support his children (male or female) if they are poor and have not reached puberty.” (Durr al-Mukhtar)

b) If they don’t possess wealth and have reached puberty, then there are two possibilities:

Firstly, if they are able to work and provide for themselves, then the responsibility from the father will be lifted.

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“If they are able to work, then the father will be obliged to find work for them and their expenditure will be from their own earnings…..This also includes females in that she will find a job that suits her such, such as sewing and weaving.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/612)

Secondly, if they are unable to work, then the father will be responsible for supporting them financially.

Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“Similarly, providing financial support for a grownup is necessary if he is unable to earn.” (Durr al-Mukhtar)

c) In the case where the child has not yet reached puberty (and has no wealth), then if the father is alive, he will have to provide, and if he has passed away then the mother will be responsible along with other immediate members of the family.

It should be remarked here that the fuqaha have mentioned that acquiring religious knowledge is a good enough excuse for the son/daughter not being able to earn, thus (in light of ‘C’) the father should be responsible for maintenance. However, Ibn Abidin mentions that this was when students were serious and genuine with regards to their studies, whereas now, most of them waist their time and eventually money. However, if the child is intelligent and serious in studying, then his maintenance will be upon the father.

However, this is with regards to essential and basic Islamic knowledge. The Fuqaha have mentioned that acquiring the essentials is personally obligatory (fard ayn), thus parents can not prevent the child from acquiring it. In order to study beyond the essentials, the permission of the parents must be first sought.

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

Permanent Contraception (Female Sterlisation) – Does Intention Affect Permissibility?

Answered by : Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question : Permanent Contraception (Female Sterlisation) – Does Intention affect Permissibility?

Answer : Under normal circumstances, female sterilization is considered to be absolutely and decidedly prohibited (haram) in Shari’ah. The irreversible nature associated with both the male and female sterilizations clearly contradicts one of the primary purposes (maqasid) of marriage which is to have children, as mentioned by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali in his Ihya’ Ulum al-Din.

Furthermore, sterilization is a form of mutilation of one’s body (muthla), which has been clearly forbidden in the Shari’ah. Allah Most High mentions in al-Nisa’ the words of Satan, when he said:

“I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah.”

However, in cases of absolute necessity, sterilization does become permitted. The well-known principle of Islamic jurisprudence based on the guidelines of the Qur’an and Sunna states: “Necessities make prohibitions lawful.” (Ibn Nujaym, Al-Ashbah wa al-Naza’ir 85)

Cases of absolute necessity include a woman’s life or her permanent health being severely threatened by pregnancy, or her facing the risk of losing her life with additional births after having gone through Caesarean operations on previous occasions. As such, if unbiased and professional medical advice is taken, and one comes to the conclusion that the life or permanent health of a woman would be seriously affected by pregnancy and that there is no other cure for her illness, only then would female sterilization be permitted.

You state that the woman in question has a serious congenital heart condition and as such her becoming pregnant might be risky. In light of the above explanation, she will need to obtain professional medical advice ideally from an experienced and upright Muslim doctor (who knows the severity of the prohibition of sterilization in Islam) and then act accordingly. If the medical expert feels that pregnancy is a severe risk to her life or permanent health, then she may undergo sterilization.

The other reasons outlined in your question do not justify sterilization. In fact, some – such as seeing children as a financial burden thus fearing poverty and thinking that the world was already burdened with enough people – are in direct conflict with the teachings of Islam. Even reversible contraception is not permitted due to “such” reasons and intentions in mind.

As for the doctor and medical practitioner, if sterilization is justified (in light of the above-mentioned explanation), then it is permitted to carry out the operation on the patient. If, however, it is not Islamically justified, such as when there is no absolute necessity, or when alternatives are available, then it is not permitted for the Muslim doctor to perform the operation, since this would be held as assisting another in a sinful act.

I hope the above answers all your questions.

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

What Is the Definition of a Promise?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : What is the definition of a promise? Does one have to say the word promise for it to be one?

Answer : A promise is an firm affirmation or commitment to do something. The “firmness” can be explictly stated, or understood by context or custom.

The word “promise” doesn’t need to be used for something to be considered a promise.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.

Ruling Regarding Shaking Hands With Members of the Opposite Gender

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Does the ruling regarding shaking hands with members of the opposite gender relate to avoidance of skin contact in particular or the impersibility of shaking hands of the opposite gender in gender? Can one over come this impermissibility if one were to shake the other person’s hand while using a glove(s)? For example, in the case of university convocations when one is confronted with shaking the hand of a university authority who may be someone of the opposite gender.

Also, as a tactic of avoiding shaking hands all together I strategy that came to mind was to present a visiting size shaped card with a message imprinted saying that ” In accordance with my religion I can not shake the hands of women/men who are not my immediate relatives. I mean no offense”. Do you think this approach is that the way of Hikma and Proper Adab? Insh Allah I respectively look forward to your response.

Answer   : It is better to just do the right thing. One way is to inform them beforehand, and to explain why. Then, when the time comes, just to make eye contact, smile, and place one’s hand on one’s chest.

It helps when explaining it to mention that this is also the practice of others. (“Like conservative Jews and persons of some other faith backgrounds, as a conservative Muslim I don’t shake hands with unrelated individuals of the opposite sex, as an expression of respect and modesty.” Or something like that.)

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani.

The Wearing of Silk and Jewelry

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I have heard an opinion related to the hadith forbidding gold and silk which states that the reason the Prophet, may peace and mercy of Allah be upon him, forbade us from wearing gold and silk was because they were expensive commodities in that era, as they are now, and that the prohibition is related to wearing things which are very expensive.

Also, since silk is relatively not that expensive now, I have seen men wear silk shirts because they are following the opinion stated above. At the same time, I have seen people wear extremely expensive clothes, is it ok to do so if it is not being done out of riya’?

What is the essence of the hadith, and how shall it be interpreted?

Answer: I’m not aware of a legal position–within mainstream Sunni scholarship–permitting gold or silk for men on the basis of specifying the legal cause of the prohibition being expensiveness.

(Even in the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), where were things more expensive than gold, and clothing more expensive than silk.)

And if that were the case, then why only for men?

As for the “opinions” of those not ascribing to recognized scholarship, “their presence is no more consequential than their absence,” as the scholars would say.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Wearing Sandals on Hajj

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: Wearing Sandals on Hajj

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Kind.

Answer : The upper part of the foot (around the cuneiform bones of the foot) must be uncovered during ihram. The sandals that you wore have a strap on top of this very part of the foot, and therefore, yes, there was a violation in your ihram. Hence, you need to determine what type of expiation you owe.

The Ruling

A Muslim pilgrim prays on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat outside the holy city of Mecca December 7, 2008. More than two million Muslims began the haj pilgrimage on Saturday, heading to a tent camp outside Mecca to follow the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (SAUDI ARABIA)


If a man* wore something stitched or covered his foot, or head continuously for the entire day or the entire night, or the equivalent of either of them, he must make a sacrifice. If he did so for less than this time, he must give charity. (see: Ibn Abideen, Hashiyah)

[*The rulings of clothing are specific to men as women are exempt from these considerations; The only exception is in the covering of the face, in which women are also accountable for.]


  • “Continuously” meaning without interruption. Removing the item even momentarily e.g. for wudu, is considered an interruption.
  • The “entire day” here means the Islamic day: from dawn or Fajr prayer to sunset or the Maghrib prayer; and “night” meaning from sunset/Maghrib prayer to dawn/Fajr prayer.
  • “The equivalent of either of them” meaning if he had worn the item for an equivalent of either the day or night, he owes a sacrifice. So, if the day was 10 hours long and the night was 14 hours, one would have to determine whether or not he was wearing the item for 10 hours continuously, using the shorter of the two. Therefore, if he put on the item in the middle of the day or night, rather than at the beginning, he must calculate the time he was wearing it.

One should note that in most cases the continuity of the wearing is interrupted, and when there has been an interruption, the timing starts all over, ie. intervals are not added together. Therefore, in most cases charity would be obligatory, not sacrifice.

It should also be noted that unlike sacrifice, there isn’t a minimum period of time for charity, such that one must pay charity even if he wore any of these items for only a moment. Additionally, he pays charity for each “wearing” of the item, as long it is less than a day/night. For example, if he wore the item for 10 hours but would remove it each hour, he must pay 10 times of the obligatory amount of charity.

Nevertheless, in the cases where one did wear an item for more than an entire day or night, the following details should be paid attention to:

If he wore the item for more than a day or night, he still owes only one sacrifice, (i.e. he doesn’t owe 2 sacrifices for wearing it for longer than one day). The latter is also the case even if he removed the item [after having worn it continuously for a day or night] at night, for example, with an intention to wear it again during the day. However, if he removed it with the intention to discontinue wearing it, and thereafter did wear it again, he must give two sacrifices. (Hashiyah, Ibn ‘Abideen). Hence, the intention plays a major role in determining the number of sacrifices one owes.

A sacrifice is fulfilled by the slaughtering of a sheep, goat or having a share of a seventh in the sacrifice of a cow or camel. The slaughter must take place in the sacred territory in Mekkah. When one is outside Mekkah, he may authorize someone there to do the sacrifice on his behalf.

For charity, it is obligatory to give approximately 2 kg of wheat for every violation or its value in money. Charity may be given anywhere and is not restricted to the sacred territory.

And all praise if for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.