Can You Recommend Books in English for a Non-Scholar in the Following Subjects?

Question: Can you recommend books in English for a non-scholar in the following subjects?

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

Regarding the following subject these are my recommendations:

Aqida (Islamic Beliefs)

The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi by Imam al-Tahawi – translated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Hadith and Sunna

The Gardens of the Righteous by Imam al-Nawawi

Tafsir

Tafsir al-Jalalayn: Great Commentaries of the Holy Qur’an

Sira (Prophetic Biography) and History of the Companions

Muhammad: The Messenger of Allah by Martin Lings
Hayatus Sahabah (The Lives of the Sahabah) by Shaykh Muhammad Kandhlawi

Fiqh

Ascent to Felicity by Imam al-Shurunbulali – translated by Sh. Faraz Khan

Tasawwuf

Beginning of Guidance by Imam al-Ghazali
The Etiquettes of the Seeker by Imam al-Haddad
The Book of Assistance by Imam al-Haddad

Personal Advice

These books are great works of Islamic knowledge and contain great benefits for anyone who reads them with sincerity and an intention to practice. With that being said one should not suffice with mere self-study. Our tradition has been preserved by sincere students sitting at the feet of righteous scholars.

Please consider coupling your reading of the above books with classes. Many of the above books have been taught or are currently being offered at seekersguidance.org

May Allah bless your journey in seeking sacred knowledge

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Prayer Of The Traveler

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: When travelling and combining prayers, do the Zuhr prayer and the Asr prayer need to be prayed during Zuhr time or can they both be prayed during Asr time? 

Answer: assalamu alaykum

In the Hanafi school, there is no ‘real’ combining of prayers for a traveler, i.e., prayers are not actually prayed outside their time.

The Hanafis understood the combining of the Prophet (blessings upon him) as one that involved delaying Dhuhr to the very end of its time, performing it while its time was still in, and then performing Asr immediately after in the time for Asr. The same applied to Maghrib and Isha.

The other schools differ and allowed for real combining outside the time of a respected prayer. For the Shafi`i and Maliki schools, you can refer to these two detailed answers:

What Are the Methods for Combining (Jam’) and Shortening (Qasr) Prayer for Travel? [Shafi’i School]

Joining Prayers in the Maliki School

Wasalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. His personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

Re Previous Answer on Wife’s Conjugal Rights

Shaykh Jamir Meah clarifies certain aspects of a previous answer on a wife’s conjugal rights.

I am writing to inquire a further look at this portion from a previous answer: What Does Islam Say About the Neglect of the Wife’s Sexual Rights?

Islam already takes into account the fact that a woman may have times where she is physically or psychologically unable to fulfill her husband’s desire, and by doing so, her condition may worsen. In these cases, the husband would be prohibited from forcing the wife to have intercourse, and if he did so, he would be sinful.

I am concerned about whether the wording is intentional. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that a man should never force his wife to have sex with him, and if she refuses he cannot force her to? I think the traditional definition of rape here still applies in that case, but I think that would also be an example of domestic abuse. This hadith is often misquoted by people to scare and demoralize Muslim women, in my experience. It would be good to see a lesson or article dedicated specifically to it.

Jazak Allah khayr, for all the good work that you do. Insha Allah that good only increases in the future.

Due to the question being predominantly about the wife’s conjugal rights and the husband’s neglect of it, the answer was mainly focused on this issue.

The “rape” section was in response to a very brief, almost passing, part of the question. (I think it was completely edited out from the final question published.) Hence my very brief response to it. I cannot remember the exact question, but it was not a direct or general question about forced sex within marriage, more about if the husband demands relations while the wife is unable to have relations, hence my specific answer on that.

I wholeheartedly agree that a specific and detailed article on this latter topic would be beneficial. For now, the relevant rulings and details, which concur with my own understanding and how I would address the issue, can be found in this excellent answer by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam: Can a Wife Refuse her Husband’s Call to Bed?

This is a sensitive topic that can be exploited by many, both men and women. For sure, we need to do more to educate and warn Muslim men about these rulings and to have proper conduct and care in marriage, but we must also be aware that there is currently a very strong feminist movement at work which has it’s own agenda, much of which is insidious.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Pooling Funds for Hajj

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about the legality of polling funds for Hajj.

In our culture, we have a system of informal savings whereby people come together in groups and decide on an amount of money to deposit in a savings (locally, a wooden–metal box that is entrusted to a group member). They also decide on the frequency of tallying and awarding the bulk money to a group member that has been chosen out of a “hat.”

For example, if you have 5 people who have decided to contribute $200 per month and every 5 months, they give the total ($1, 000) to a person chosen at random. That means it will take 25 months for all the group members to benefit from the $1, 000. Currently, this method solves materia needs within communities. Now a group of UN colleagues want to use this same concept to purchase a ticket for Hajj.

Essentially, a group of 10 colleagues want to contribute $200 every month starting this January with the aim of awarding $6,000 per person every Hajj season until they all go for Hajj. So if they start in January, Hajj is in June, in sha Allah, then they would be able to pay for 2 people; then next Hajj season, 4 people, and so on, finishing in 2.5 years.

What makes this different from taking a loan is this: these people work for the UN, which means that they contribute a mandatory 7% of their salary towards a pension scheme every month, and at the time of death, the UN will pay out this, including their own contribution of 15% –  if you have more than 5 years of service to the employee’s designated beneficiary.

Hence every month on their pay slip, everyone can tell how much they have contributed towards their pension thus far. Obviously, everyone has different salaries and different years of service, but at the end of 2.5 years each one would have given $6,000 to the group. So, if one of them dies, the intention is to have a written document signed by each member of the group stating that $6,000 (minus whatever they have already paid to the group before their death) should be taken from their pension money and given to the group by their beneficiary.

The question is: is this method of going for Hajj acceptable in Shari‘a? Are there any conditions that need to be followed if yes? If possible, please provide the Hanifi as well as Maliki opinion, if they are different.

Jazakum Allah khayr for this opportunity to ask a question and have it responded to by competent scholars.

The manner of pooling funds together in order to facilitate the hajj pilgrimage for those otherwise financially unable is acceptable. But it isn’t necessary to do this because the hajj is only obligatory once its strict conditions have been met. 

As for deducting a certain sum from the estate after death, the specific scenario is unclear in your question. If the deceased person leaves a bequest (wasiyya) to contribute a certain amount to the fund, then this would be permissible as long as the guidelines of fulfilling such bequests are followed.

Please also see A Hajj Reader.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Permanent Dental Retainer and Wudu

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan is asked about the validity of wudu and ghusl when wearing a permanent retainer.

I have a permanent retainer fixed to my top teeth. If they are removed my teeth will move.

In the past I have committed sins but now I want to do the right thing.

In terms of prayers will my wudu be valid with the fixed retainer? Before having the fixed braces put in I wasn’t making ghusl and had the bad habit. Does that mean I will not be in a state of purity unless the permanent brace is removed?

I don’t want my teeth to move, but I want my prayers, wudu, and ghusl to be accepted too.

Shukran for your question.

The presence of a retainer in your mouth does not impact the validity or invalidity of your wudu or ghusl.

In the Shafi‘i and Maliki schools, rinsing ones mouth (madmadah) in wudu and ghusl is not compulsory, but recommended. Even if you were to omit the madmadah all together, your wudu and gusl will still be valid.

In addition, it is not a requirement that the entire inside of the mouth be rinsed during madmadah. Accordingly, madmadah will be valid with the presence of retainers or braces in one’s mouth.

And Allah knows best.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

OCD Causing Hardship with Impurities

Ustadh Salman Younas advises on how to deal with impurities when suffering from OCD.

I have been struggling with OCD for the past few years. It’s mainly obsessive thoughts about impurities (najas).  I have read that certain things that are considered najis in the Hanafi madhab aren’t najas in, for example, the Maliki maddhab.

My life would become easier if I could consider less things to be impure since I am very afraid of touching impure things. Is it possible to follow the ruling of other madhabs when it comes to things being impure?

Yes, this would be permitted and particularly if there is a genuine reason to do so in cases of hardship.

Leading Sunni scholars have stated that it is not obligatory for a person to follow a single madhhab on every issue. Rather, he may follow different schools on different issues so long as he does not systematically seek out dispensations, or combine opinions in a way where the end action is one unacceptable in all schools. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar)

In your case, if your OCD makes it difficult for you to deal with certain types of impurities, you may treat them as pure if there are other opinions stating so, to avoid the mental anguish that comes with OCD. However, I would advise you to only do this as a temporary solution until you are able to overcome your OCD.

For this, you should seek professional help and advice, and, for the time being, avoid the more technical aspects of fiqh. Rather, focus on the very basics and don’t overburden yourself with details, which might aggravate your situation.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Excusable Filth in the Four Madhhabs

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers a series of questions about the excusable amount of filth according to the four madhhabs.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a big problem. I suffer from OCD. It’s driving me crazy. I need to know how much filth (najasa) is excusable. I know what the four Madhhabs say about excusable amounts of filth for prayer, but I don’t know which is the best and correct position.

Sometimes when urinating I feel a tiny drop on my foot or when I’m washing myself I feel used water drop on my feet but when I check my feet, I don’t see anything. The Shafi‘is say that tiny drops we cannot see are excused and they think its true.

Please tell me which madhhab’s position is true and please explain why? And please tell me if the water of istinja is impure? (Water flows while I’m washing myself.) It doesn’t seem so to me, because there is more water than urine, so the color and smell doesn’t change.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The Four Schools of Law

All of the four schools of law are correct, because they are based on sound understandings of the the greatest scholars of the Umma. These scholars had the highest levels of knowledge, understanding, and ability. They did not make rulings up; rather they interpreted the Qurʾan and the Sunna to give the the rulings of the Shariʿa.

So if they are all valid, and all their rulings are correct, which one should you choose to follow? The answer is, the easier one for you, and the one which you can easily learn and apply.

I personally feel that the Hanafi school is very easy to learn; and there is a lot of flexibility in the rulings relating to purity. I think the Shafi‘i is slightly harder in this matter. See which school you can easily learn with local scholars or with a course at SeekersGuidance, and apply it.

Purity

As for the water for istinja, you cannot tell if it is actually impure. Also the fact that it is flowing means it is pure as long as the colour, smell or taste of impurity do not show. You can assume the drops are pure. Even small drops of urine in situations like this are excused (Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab; Shurubnulali, Maraqi al-Falah).

I advise you to learn a school with a qualified scholar, and have your questions on purity answered. Also, please look at our OCD archives and get some therapy if you need it to get over the issue.

May Allah facilitate every good for you in this world and the next.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Traveling without Mahram to Visit Parents

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan answers a question about the permissibility of a woman traveling without a mahram to visit here parents.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I hope this finds you in the best health.

I have been traveling by road for the past few years to visit my parents from home, which is about 41 miles. However, my parents have recently moved further and will be about 55 miles away from my home. Is it permissible for me to drive to their house without a mahram? I will have my two kids with me. My husband has offered to drive me every now and then, but I would like to be able to go on my own as well. Please let me know the ruling in this particular situation.

Jazak Allah.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for writing to us.

Undertaking a journey without a mahram has received much discussion from the scholars in recent years. This is primarily because the mediums of traveling have changed considerably from the agrarian world. With the change of these mediums, a lady traveling by herself, will often enjoy much more safety than had she been traveling with a mahram in an agrarian world. The Maliki school in particular was very clear that a lady may travel by herself provided that there is safety during her travels. (Mawahib al-Jalil)

Nonetheless, your journey is just outside the 83km (masafah al-qasr) radius. In addition, you will be staying with your father, who is a mahram. All these considered, it would be permissible for you to travel with your kids to visit your parents.

And Allah knows best.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Is a Lecture a Valid Excuse to Delay the Prayer?

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked if college lectures are a valid excuse for delaying the prayer until the time of necessity in the Maliki school.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

This is a question regarding a previous answer that was asked by someone else titled: What Are the Valid Excuses to Delay the Prayer Until the Necessary Time in the Maliki School?

Is a college lecture a valid excuse? For example, I have a lecture which begins before the time of Maghrib enters and ends after the time of Isha has already entered.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

It is not permissible to delay any prayer intentionally delay any prayer to it “time of necessity” (waqt darura) unless one is actually unable to pray in the normal time.

Excuses to Delay until “Time of Necessity”

The excuses to pray are “being in menses or lochia, having had just entered Islam, having had just reached puberty, having had just regained sanity, having had just regained consciousness, or having been asleep, or having had forgotten to pray.” (Sharh Abi al-Hasan)

Al-Adawi comments on the excuse of sleep and forgetfulness saying, ‘That is to say that when someone who is asleep wakes up, or someone who forgot remembers during the ‘necessary time’ they are not considered sinful. (Hashiya al-Adawi)

Sleeping through a prayer or forgetting to pray

It goes without saying that what is meant by someone who is asleep is someone who is genuinely asleep and not just intentionally going back to sleep; so too, someone who forgot is someone who genuinely forgot, and not someone who is just too busy or lazy to pray.

As has come in the Prophetic Tradition, “The is not shortcoming in sleep: shortcoming is only in not praying until the next prayer time comes in.” (Muslim) That is to say it is sinful to miss a prayer, but not if one genuinely slept through it after having taken the means to wake up on time.

The concept of “Necessary Time”

The concept of “necessary time” not to do with sin or the lack thereof, rather it is just a way of categorizing such prayers in terms of being make-ups or not. It is also a way to judge whether or not the previous prayer (say Dhuhr) has to be prayed in the “necessary time.”

For example, if you sleep through Fajr, the prayer is a make-up, while if you sleep through Dhuhr, and pray it in Asr time, it is not a make-up. Neither can be intentionally missed or intentionally slept through, but they just fall into different categories.

Similarly, if one stopped menstruating in Isha, one would pray Maghrib and Isha, because Isha is a “necessary time” for Maghrib; whereas if you stopped in Fajr, you wouldn’t pray Isha, because Isha’s “necessary time” finishes at the beginning of Fajr.

The reason why “necessary time” extends in Dhuhr and Maghrib into the pray times that follow then is because Dhuhr and Maghrib can be joined with Asr and Isha respectively in the circumstances that allow joining. For this reason, the three schools that allow joining prayers under certain circumstances also have this same general breakdown of prayer times.

Upshot

It is not permissible to delay any prayer until “time of necessity” (waqt darura) due to being in a lecture. One should just make sure to have wudu beforehand, and ask to be excused for five minutes while you pray.

Under more pressing scenarios, there may be case for joining prayers, but that is a different discussion and doesn’t apply to this scenario.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


‘Aqiqa for Adults – Is It Permissible?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked if it permissible to perform ‘aqiqa for an adult, and if so, how does one go about it.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My mother told me that she never had a ‘aqiqa done for her when she was a newborn. As such, I want to host one for her in the company of her family. My mother’s mother is currently alive and would insha Allah be present, however, her father has passed away.

Seeing as it is normally incumbent on the father to host the ‘aqiqa, is it permissible for someone else to financially host it in this circumstance? Can it be hosted by any one of her family members, including her children? Can it be a joint effort of multiple individuals or does it have to be carried out by one person only?

Given that she is an adult, does she have to be the one to carry it out for herself? We would like to host it for her as a surprise. Are there any rulings pertaining to this overall situation that we should be made aware of (that she is an adult, her father is not alive, that it is a surprise)?

Jazzakum Allah khayr for your time.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The ʿaqiqa is a sacrifice of an animal to give thanks to Allah for a newborn child. In the Hanafi school, according to one position, the ʿaqiqa is merely permissible (mubah), and recommended as a voluntary act of worship according to another. The Shafiʿi and Hanbali schools see it as an emphasized sunna, and the Maliki school recommends it.

Based on this, it is not necessary to perform it for your mother. Doing so with the intention of sacrificing for the sake of Allah, and to show thanks for the blessing of the life your mother was given is a very virtuous act. In fact, sacrificing is part of what Allah, Most High, Himself commanded His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, to do in order to show thanks to Him.

Sacrificing and feeding people are clearly mentioned by the scholars of tafsir with regards to Sura al-Kawthar 108:2. (Biqaʿi, Nazm al-Durar) These are acts which show gratitude to the giver of the blessing, and are a means for His creation to benefit from this blessing through being fed.

Should you choose to perform an ʿaqiqa, there are no hard and fast rules on how it should be done. You may do it in whichever way in convenient for you. You can keep the meat, or distribute it raw or cooked; with he bones broken or otherwise. (Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Muwsuʿa al-Kuwaitiyya).

May Allah allow us to always thank Him for His favors upon us.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.