Praying Behind Imam

Question: How do I know if I caught the rak’a with the Imam?
Answer: 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
You have caught the unit of prayer (rak’a) with the Imam if you reach the minimum bowing while the Imam is still bowing. The minimum bowing is such that your hand could reach your knees [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah].
Ibn ‘Umar is narrated to have said, “If you reach the Imam while he is bowing, and you bow before he rises, you have caught (i.e. that cycle of prayer). If he raises before you bow then you have missed it” [Abd al-Razzaq, Musannaf].
Summary

If you are reasonably sure that you reached the minimum bowing whilst the imam has not raised from the bowing – you have caught that unit of prayer with the Imam.The basis is that the Imam is in the bowing position. If you are not sure that he left that position, assume that he hadn’t.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

 

Wet Dreams and Ghusl

Question: I understand the general rule for wet dreams is that any wetness you see in the morning after waking up, regardless if you saw a dream or not, you should assume that you need to take a ghusl. I have a problem with excessive waswasa, I always understood that I should ignore any doubts, but sometimes I have days where I do ghusl almost every day. What is the ruling on this?

 

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

You are correct in your understanding mentioned above that – if one wakes up and notices wetness of sexual fluid (i.e. not sweat, urine, or other), on their body or clothing they must perform a ritual bath, regardless of recalling a dream or not [Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya].

The Basis: Never Act on Doubts

Wet dreams are not a common daily occurrence. The basis is that you did not experience a wet dream and you would need reasonable surety to act contrary to this basis. The reasonable surety cannot be established without some sort of proof distinguishing it from mere conjecture. An example of proof is finding visible sexual fluid in the vicinity of your private part.

Another important basis to keep in mind is that you do not have to check unless you have reasonable surety of wetness – not just a mere sensation of wetness. If you are not reasonably sure or certain that there is wetness don’t look, ignore.

Misgivings (Waswasa)

For the one who suffers from doubts and misgivings abandoning caution is the best cure.

“As for the one who is often inflicted with misgivings, it is necessary for them to sever the cause of the misgivings and not to give it any consideration. This is because it is the doing of Shaytan and we have been commanded to oppose him” [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].

No Undue Hardship in Religion

You must know that Allah Most High informs us that He does not intend to burden us unduly.

He Most High says, “It is not Allah’s Will to burden you but to purify you and complete His favor upon you, so perhaps you will be grateful” [Qur’an; 05:06].

Burden (haraj) in the above verse refers to undue hardship. Thus if you are finding your religious duties unduly difficult and burdensome something is wrong.

Knowledge

The long-term cure for these constant doubts is to seek a deeper understanding of Islamic Knowledge. With knowledge, Shaytan can not deceive you with his whispers and plots. I would advise that you find authentic scholars in your area and study with them a basic text in Islamic Jurisprudence.

Please note that SeekersGuidance.org has classes available in Islamic Jurisprudence and many other subjects.

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

Seeking Sacred Knowledge

Launch of SeekersGuidance Arabiyya

Question: I am 25 years of age and many of the Islamic institutes have an age limit where should I go to begin my study of Sacred knowledge?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Seeking Sacred knowledge is of the highest intentions one can make in the Religion and one’s desire to seek it is a sign of Allah’s favor upon them.

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever Allah intends good by He gives them a deep understanding of the Religion” [Muslim].

Who to Seek Knowledge From

Seeking Sacred knowledge does not need to be through a formalized seminary; although such institutes have great benefits. One should focus their initial efforts on finding true ‘People of Knowledge’ (Ahl al-Ilm).

Imam Muslim, in the preface of his Sahih collection, brings the narration of Muhammad bin Sirin (Allah’s mercy be upon them both), “Indeed this knowledge is the Religion. So be careful who you take your religion from” [Muslim; Muqadima Sahih Muslim].

With the advent of easy modes of transportation and the internet, one can easily gain access to a plethora of sources. There are numerous orators and teachers, countless classes and lectures available, all at one’s fingertips. However, it is of the utmost importance that one seeks out authentic scholarship.

The Chain of Transmission

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. The Prophets did not leave behind gold or silver; they merely left behind knowledge. So whoever takes of it takes a large share” [Tirmidhi].

The idea of inheritance is important. Inheritance indicates a bond. A relationship of sorts. A chain. The Prophetic legacy is not merely a passed down compendium of rulings, rather revelation containing transformative guidance that must, first and foremost, be lived.

It is by this implementation, that a true inheritor of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) be distinguished from a mere memorizer of rulings.

What to look for

When looking for a teacher, look for the following qualities:

(1) A firm grasp and understanding of the Religion taken from authentic scholars
(2) Mindfulness (Taqwa)
(3) Humility (Tawadu’)
(4) A great sense of responsibility
(5) Importance of following the Sunna
(6) Preferring the Hereafter over worldliness

[Ghazali; Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]

What to watch out for

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) sought refuge from knowledge that does not benefit and warned his community from evil scholars.

Be cautious when seeing the following signs:

(1) Excessive argumentation
(2) Worldliness
(3) Self-Praise
(4) Bad etiquettes with the Imams and righteousness of the Religion
(5) Corrupt behavior and character
(6) Arrogance

[Ibid.]

Advice

I would advise starting your journey to seek Sacred knowledge by looking in your area for authentic scholars who meet the above characteristics. In the meantime, SeekersGuidance.org has a large variety of courses on many levels from authentic scholars of great character and humility.

Although studying online can never be a substitute for sitting at the feet of a scholar and studying in-person, it does prove as a great start. I would recommend the Islamic Studies Curriculum.

Most importantly, make sincere intention and ask Allah Most High to increase you in beneficial knowledge – Allah Most High will connect you to the true inheritors.

Hope this helps.

Allah knows best
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

Waswasa About Purity

Allah

Question: I would like to ask for advice regarding extreme waswas about purity. Is there any way to calm myself so that I can get rid of the waswas in both a practical and spiritual manner?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Even if one is 99% certain that one has broken wudu, one does not need to make wudu, and does not need to check (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).

The Prophet (Allah bless him) was asked about a man who thinks that he passed wind in the prayer and he said, ‘Let him not leave [the prayer] unless he hears something or smells something’ (Bukhari and Muslim).

This applies to urine just as it applies to gas.

You should just completely ignore the sensation of filth coming out of you.

You should also read the following articles on OCD.
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/a-reader-on-waswasa-baseless-misgivings/

I would also personally advise you to see a psychiatrist and explain your issue to them. You are not insane or mentally ill, but what you are complaining about does seem like something a psychiatrist could help you overcome by exposure therapy.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Marrying a Decent Christian Woman

Worth of Marriage Advice

Question: I have met at work a Christian woman who has very good character. I avoid dating and I don’t want to marry a Christian. However, after loving her character, I have fallen attracted to her. She may not even be interested to marry me or convert to Islam. I have low self-confidence that I need to fix before marriage. I would like some advice to reduce my attraction because I work a lot with her. Is marriage a solution?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration. You are working closely with an attractive and intelligent woman and you are right to ask what your options are.

Not optimal

The first thing you should know is that marrying a Christian woman is not an optimal idea for you. Because you are speaking solely on the basis of attraction, you don’t even know if she likes Islam and you can imagine how detrimental that could be for your children. Don’t ever take that risk. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better” [Musnad Ahmad]. Walk away before you get extremely attached.

Marry for religion

Rather, marry a girl for her religion which was the strongest advice that the Prophet gave us about marriage, may Allah bless him and give him peace, when he said, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!” [Bukhari & Muslim].

A decent man like you, who doesn’t want to date, already fears Allah and you deserve a like-minded girl, who is modest, knows how to pray, and reads the Qur’an. You deserve a girl who will strive with you to make a decent, peaceful family home where Islamic principles are valued and respected. A Muslim wife will honor you according to Islam and raise her children to pray, believe in Allah and His Messenger, and learn His book. Please don’t be swayed and pulled in by this woman’s appeal.

Gender Interaction

Please review the rules of gender interaction below, strive to lower your gaze, and keep your communication formal and cordial if you are able. Fear Allah as much as you can. If you are able, you should immediately ask your family to help you look for a wife:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/mixed-gatherings-a-detailed-response-regarding-gender-interaction/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/a-reader-on-gender-interaction/

May Allah bless you in this world and the next and may you marry a perfectly suited Muslim girl for you.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Common Understanding and Practice (Urf)

Question: What does the legal term ‘common understanding’ (urf) mean?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Common understanding/practice (urf) is a legal concept (fiqhi) and not a source of law (asl shariyy). We do not determine what Allah allows or forbids based on what people do or don’t do, rather we use common understanding and practice to fill in gaps when primary texts are linguistically vague, or concepts in our religious practices are not definable from other sources.

For example, we might use common understanding/practice (urf) to determine “improper use” of a car or tool that was borrowed, or we might use it to determine the value of a certain item or service provided if there was a dispute over fair payment. Similarly, if the Sacred Law hasn’t defined what something exactly is, such as what exactly moving around “a lot” in prayer is, we would look to what is normally termed “a lot” by the average onlooker (Minhaj al Talibin, Nawawi).

As mentioned, we might defer to common understanding/practice (urf) when interpreting the Quran and hadith. However, that would only apply after first trying to interpret the text in light of the Sacred Law’s own definitions of things, and then in the light of the Arabic language itself. If both approaches don’t give us any clarity, we resort to common understanding/practice (urf).

For example, when interpreting a verse of the Qur’an referring to menstruation, we are at a loss because, according to many scholars, the Sacred Law itself has not given its particular legal definition (haqiqa shariyya), and its dictionary meaning in Arabic is also not exactly clear. So, we have to resort to the medical norm in order to define it. For this reason, Imam al Shafii tried to find an exact definition of what counted as “menstruation” from the common understanding/practice (urf) of the time. He found that no one had reported menstruating for less than 24 hours or more than 15 days and that no one had reported menstruating before the age of nine lunar years. Thus he resorted to common understanding/practice (urf) to interpret the Quran and hadith (al Umm, Shafii; Tuhfat al Labib, Ibn Daqiq al Eid).

All of this fits under the legal principle ‘Norm and conventional shall have the weight of the law’ (al Ashbah wa al Nadhair, Suyuti). Again this is a legal concept and not a primary source of law. We only use it in law when the Sacred Law itself calls for it. It does not independently define what Allah wants us to do or not do.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Is It Permissible to Use Pirated Software If You Are Poor?

On the Halal and Haram

Question: I live in a poor country, and the Government doesn’t do enough to help people. Buying original development software is too expensive. Can I use pirated software instead?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

I pray you are well.

Using Pirated Software

Thank you for the detailed explanation of your situation. Despite the difficulty with the Government and the other factors you mentioned, this does not make using the pirated software permissible. The companies that produce the software do so as a means of income. They own the product, and in essence, hire it out to people.

The jurists have a principle that states it is not permissible to spend or use the wealth or property of another without their permission. It would be like living in the house that another has purchased to benefit from its rental income, but without an agreement or paying rent.

Your personal circumstances, despite how difficult they may be,  do not permit you do use the property of another without their permission (Maydani, al Lubab).

Use Alternatives

If no other means of work is possible then use the free development tools available. There are many programs that do that, such as the Office package, maybe not the same, but the basic functions are the same. Google Documents and other tools they provide are also viable, free options.

If there are some older versions of the software that they do not derive an income from and permit people to use then using that would be fine too.

Turn to Allah

One of the means of increasing one’s rizq is to engage in some form of remembrance of Allah after the ‘Asr prayer, according to Imam ‘Abdullah al Haddad (Haddad, Adab al Murid).  The Prophet Nuh (Allah bless him and give him peace) encouraged his people to ask Allah for forgiveness saying, “He will give you an increase in wealth and child…” (Qur’an, 71:12).

Lay your neediness out before Allah. He will take care of you with His generosity.

May Allah facilitate all matters for you.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Intending the Wrong Prayer

Question: What is the ruling if I stand for Maghrib prayer knowing it is Maghrib time but then mistakenly make the intention for Isha? 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

If one intends to pray Isha instead of Maghrib, while knowing that is it not Isha time, one’s prayer is invalid (Bushra al Karim, Ba Ishn). One would simply make the takbir again with the intention of Maghrib.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Can My Brother-in-law Hold My Wedding Feast/Walima?

Faith is Believing

Question: Can my sister’s husband hold my walima if I permit him to?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

It says in the Reliance of the Traveller:

The wedding feast is a sunna (A: whose time never expires, though it is recommended to be after intercourse). The sunna is for the meal to consist of a sheep or goat (shah, def: h2.S), though it is permissible to serve whatever food is readily available [m9.1].

It is permissible for your brother-in-law to hold your walima. I assume that by “holding“ your walima, you mean that he will pay for it and invite the guests. This is a praiseworthy act on his behalf.

Please see this article for more details:
https://islamqa.org/shafii/shafiifiqh/30244

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Approaching a Prospective Spouse

Worth of Marriage Advice

Question: If one sees someone that one would like to marry, how should one go about to find out if one could propose to them?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

If one sees someone that one imagines one would like to marry, one should first ascertain whether or not they are married. It would in principle be permissible to ask them directly, but one would have to take into consideration cultural norms.

One good way to do that is to have a relative or colleague of the other gender ask them, or ask about them.

Once that is the case, one may ask them directly if they would be interested in meeting to discuss marriage. Again, if this is not done in the cultural setting one is in, this could well be very shocking, and, in many traditional countries, even dangerous to oneself and the prospective spouse.

One should be direct so as to avoid the vagueness that could lead to or be misconstrued as flirting.

Given the age and cultural setting, it would often be necessary to ask the family before you meet. But as long as you meet in an open area and keep the conversation within the bounds of modesty, it would be halal.

Once you notice that you like the look of the other person, you can only look again if there is a good chance that you could marry them (Mughni al Muhtaj, Shirbini).  This would entail taking the steps above.

Please see the links below for additional information:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/marriage-and-divorce-maliki-fiqh/proposal-for-marriage/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/guidelines-for-interacting-with-the-opposite-sex/

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language