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Waiting Period After A Miscarriage

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Salams, I was 24weeks pregnant and had a sudden delivery and my baby died. I want to ask how many days should I wait for praying to make my Prayer?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I’m deeply sorry to hear that your baby passed away shortly after birth. May Allah Most High increase you in steadfastness and facilitate your healing and recovery. Insha’Allah, you shall be reunited with your baby in the next life where you will find an infinite reward for your sincere faith and submission. It’s moving to see somebody so concerned about their relationship with their Lord after such a tragic event.

The blood which exits from the uterus after the birth of a child is legally considered to be lochia (nifas). The maximum period of such bleeding is forty days, but keep an eye on it to see if it stops before then. If it does, you should perform the full, ritual bath (ghusl) and then begin praying your prayers as usual. Similarly, you may fast, recite the Qur’an and engage in other acts of devotion after your bath.

Marital Relations After Childbirth

If you have a lochial habit, that is to say, you have had a child before and the lochia lasted a certain length of time, then it would not be permitted to engage in sexual relations with your spouse until the completion of this period. For example, if your bleeding lasted thirty days last time, and this time it stopped after twenty-five, you would need to avoid such relations until you reach thirty days.

Note that you can still be intimate with your spouse at any point during your lochia, yet without any direct, skin-to-skin contact between your navel and knee.

However, if the bleeding continues and reaches forty complete days, you may not engage in any sexual relations during this time and up to this point, even if your lochial habit finished much earlier. Further, you would consider all blood after your lochial habit to be irregular (istihada). Accordingly, you would need to perform a ritual bath and then make up the prayers from the end of your habit and until day forty, and then continue to consider yourself ritually pure thereafter.

If there are issues in calculation or any other problem arises, it’s worth reaching out to a reliable scholar to ask for assistance.

(Birgivi, Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin wa al-Nisa’; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss)

Please also see: How Can I Know the End of My Menstrual Period? and: When to Resume Prayers After Having a Child

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Grave Visits

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: My husband offers only Friday prayers and their family belongs to a sect. They visit shrines. Is my marriage valid?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Yes, your marriage is certainly valid.

Missing prayer is sinful but a person does not become a non-Muslim due to it. You should gently encourage your family to perform their obligatory prayers when the right moment presents itself for presenting such advice.

Similarly, visiting shrines is permissible. It is no different from visiting any other grave.

Marriage is only invalidated through divorce, annulment, a khul’, or the apostasy of one of the spouses. The latter case has a very high threshold. We do not rule Muslims as disbelievers unless there is decisive and clear evidence in that regard. The issues you mention do not relate to belief/disbelief.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York and 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. Ustadh Salman’s 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.

The Passing of Dr. Fuad Nahdi

To Allah we belong and to him we shall return.  The world lost a senior activist, mentor to many.

It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the passing of our beloved friend Dr Fuad Nahdi (May Allah have mercy on him).

When I went to visit Dr Fuad during his illness in 2008, he said to me something that I will not forget, he said “I am not worried about my illness, I am worried about my adab with Allah during this illness.”

We share our condolences with the family especially his wife Humera, she went through a lot of difficulties… May Allah bless her and our dear children Sidi Nadir and Illyeh.

We beg our Lord to accept him and grant him a safe journey of wellbeing, such a journey that has a beginning but no end…

– His friend and close associate, the respected Shaykh Faid Said

 

Dr. Fuad Nahdi died today. A great man, a great friend, a great mentor, a tireless servant of the Prophetic Way of wisdom, mercy, balance, concern, love, and beauty. Someone who knew him had a dream in which the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “Sidi Fuad is a door of the dawah in the West…”

May Allah grant Dr. Fuad the very highest of Paradise, in close proximity to the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk), whom he loved deeply and dearly.

The eyes tear, the hearts hurt, but with contentment, and with complete certitude in the Most Merciful and Most Generous.

– Faraz Rabbani

written Saturday, March 21st, 2020

The Passing of Mufti Umer Esmail

We are deeply saddened at the news of the passing of one of our beloved teacher’s, Mufti Mohamed Umer Esmail. A religious scholar, community leader, and loving father and husband, he is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Let us pray for Mufti Umer and his family, may God grant him the highest levels of Jannah and may God’s Mercy shower his family and may the Razzaq, the Provider, provide for his family.

“Mufti Umer Esmail was a wonderful person, of gentleness, and good akhlaq. Much beloved by all those who knew him.”

– Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Help us raise $100,000 by the end of the week to support his estate in this challenging time. The funds raised will be through our Islamic Scholars Fund initiative and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to his family.

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers a question related to Euthanasia and its ruling in Islamic law.

Question:

My question is regarding the medically assisted death option which patients in hospitals are choosing. I’m completing a clinical pastoral education unit in a hospital and was recently asked if I would assist patients who have chosen medically assisted death and without any confusion or hesitation I said yes. However, I’m wondering if as a Muslim that is problematic or not. I don’t think so but I just need to speak to someone who is in the field and is a Muslim to provide some kind of comments, feedback or advise. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you

Answer:

Assalam ‘alaykum, thank you for your question.

Euthanasia is of two types, active and passive. Active euthanasia is deliberately performing an act that will cause the person to die, such as administering a fatal injection. Passive euthanasia entails leaving a person to die without any action being taken to preserve life.

Active Euthanasia, Suicide, and Assisted Suicide

Active Euthanasia, the direct and deliberate act performed to kill the patient maybe involuntary, such as when the patient is unconscious and the decision to end their lives is taken by the family or physician, or voluntary, in which case it is termed suicide, or assisted suicide if a third party assists the person in the act.

Active Euthanasia, suicide, and assisted suicide, are unlawful in Islamic Law, even if the person is suffering.

This is based on the words of God, ‘And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law’[6: 151], and, ‘Do not kill yourselves. Verily, Allah is ever Merciful unto you’. [4:29].

Alongside the prohibition, the person who deliberately caused death would have committed homicide.

Vegetable States

The ‘exception’ to the prohibition on involuntary euthanasia is when the patient is in a severe vegetable state, such that the medication, feeding (i.e. hydration), or life support machine, is the only thing keeping the person breathing, and without it, it has been concluded that the person would be dead or will not function. In these cases, it would be permissible to stop treatment if qualified physicians state that this is the case and there is no hope of recovery.

Passive Euthanasia

Passive euthanasia, where no action is taken, entails stopping medical treatment. The vast majority of scholars have held that it is recommended for a person to seek medical treatment but it is not obligatory. Therefore, if a person chooses to stop treatment, and they are left to die naturally, then this would be permissible. However, it would not be permitted to starve the person to death (or self-starvation). And Allah knows best.

Do Not Desire Death

It is disliked for a person to desire death, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Let none of you wish for death on account of an affliction that befalls him. If he has no alternative, let him pray, O Allah! Give my life so long as the life is good for me, and take away my life if death is good for me.’ [Al Bukhari and Muslim]

Role of the Muslim physician

The Muslim physician holds a very important yet precarious role. It is essential that any person wishing to treat or care for patients first learn the rulings of sacred law (fiqh) that apply to their job, as well as study some central tenants of Islamic belief (‘aqida).

Though it can be very difficult, Muslim physicians should always encourage patients, Muslims and non-Muslim, to have hope in something greater than their suffering, for hope is often far greater a cure than any medicine can afford.

[al Majmu’, Tuhfatul Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj, Tarshih al Mustarshidin]

 

Please also refer to the following answer:

I wish you all the best in your affairs.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabanni


 

Diya for Car Accident Resulting in Death

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about paying blood money and expiation due to the accidental death of someone.

If a Muslim is involved in a traffic collision which results in the death of an individual is he liable for diya and kaffara?

Usually, if a person unintentionally kills another, he is expected to pay the blood money (diya) and perform the expiation (kaffara). The former would commonly be paid with assistance from family members (‘aqila) over a period of time. However, there is some detail here depending on the nature of the accident, who did it and where it occurred.

Allah Most High says: “It is not lawful for a believer to kill another except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer unintentionally must free a believing slave and pay blood-money to the victim’s family – unless they waive it charitably…” and towards the end of the verse, “Those who are unable, let them fast two consecutive months – as a means of repentance to Allah.” (Sura al-Nisa 4:92)

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, I’d suggest consulting a local, reliable scholar with the specifics of the situation.

(Usmani, Buhuth fi Qadaya al-Fiqhiyya al-Mu‘asira (1.297); Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar)

Please also see The Punishment for Murder: Reconciling Verses 4:93 and 4:116.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam, Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Exploring Tawhid: Islam as a Universal Civilization

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks reflects on the profound meanings and realities of the concept of tawhid, beginning with the words: La ilaha illa Allah.

The defining statement of Islam “La ilaha illa Allah” (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah), captures the inherent civilization of oneness and unicity upon which Islam is built. This unicity is accompanied with a sense of the sacred ontology of spirituality; that is, the very nature of our reality and our being – when viewed through the lens of tawhid – is that our essence is sacred. It mirrors tawhid. One of our shortcomings is that we have externalized spirituality and abandoned its internalization. There is therefore a dire need to re-inject Islam with this awareness of inner spirituality – a need that demands the re-exploration of the very notion of tawhid.

Allah says:

The one who has indeed succeeded is the one who purifies himself, remembers his Lord and prays. But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring. Indeed, this is in the former scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses. (Sura al-A‘la 87:14-19)

The Qur’an promotes purification and tazkiya (cleansing) of the self through dhikr (spiritual remembrance) and du’a (invocation), and states categorically that the Akhira (the afterlife) is better for us than the Dunya (material existence). Yet we as human beings have come to prefer and prioritize the Dunya – some to the point of abandoning the Akhira altogether. The Qur’an then reinforces the universality of this message by stating that it is one that has been confirmed in the earlier scriptures.

However, the “self-image” of the Qur’an is highly pragmatic in that it deals with realities, emotions, people and communities. It recognizes the palpable context of the Dunya – whilst the message is clear that the Akhira is better, it does not condemn the Dunya. On the contrary, it views our earthly existence as a “Dar al-Balah” – as an abode of trials in which we will be tested.

Furthermore, Allah declares:

He who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deeds: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (Sura al Mulk 67:2)

The sequence of this verse (ayat) places “death” before “life”, reminding us firstly that death is both a creation of Allah and a transition to the next life, and not merely a lifeless condition of absolute nothingness. But in its pragmatism, the Qur’an also reminds us of our earthly responsibilities:

Do not forget your portion in the Dunya. (Sura al-Qasas 28:77)

And thus we recognize the profoundness of one of our most oft-repeated supplications:

Our Lord, grant us the best of this Dunya [world] and the best of the Akhira [the hereafter]. (Sura al-Baqara 2:201)

It is in this reflective state of the believers, who ask and seek for the best of both “worlds”, that we find ourselves as an “ummatan wasatan”, a balanced community … a community dynamically located in this world but with a supremacy of focus on the world to come. In this regard, all of us, as men and as women, have two roles to play: that of Ubudiyyah (being the bondsmen of Allah) and that of Khilafa (being representatives/vicegerents of Allah) in this world.

Wasatiyyah thus becomes a balancing act between these two functions, because if we prioritize our Khilafa and forget that we are the servants of Allah, we may become tyrannical. On the other hand, if we immerse ourselves only in Ubudiyyah, then we forget our social responsibilities towards our communities; or even collapse into form of servility unbecoming of our dignity as human beings. To embody these two roles and become communities of equilibrium and justice, we must locate ourselves within a spirituo-moral locus of Islam as a “Way of Being” before our conception of it as “a Way of Life” – which is a somewhat externalised way of viewing and practising the Deen (Religion as a “way of being” and “becoming” in consonance with the Divine Principle of tawhid). As a ‘Way of Being’, it presents us with the potential to change and to transform internally. This perspective finds a powerful resonance within the Qur’an where it states:

Allah will not change the external conditions of a people until they change that which is within themselves. (Sura al-Ra‘ad 13:11)

We often focus excessively on changing the conditions outside of ourselves – and those of others. Immersed in our dunyawi (worldly) delusions, we have externalized and exteriorized change and transformation to our detriment. This attitude constitutes the “heart” of self-righteousness. And so it is that we fail to realize that it is only when we change that which resides within ourselves – within the very core of our hearts and minds and souls – that Allah will change our external conditions and allow us to be the vessels of that social change.

Further emphasizing the importance of our internal realities, Allah says:

Soon will We show them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

We will only be able to read these ayaat ­- these symbols and signs of Allah – through the process of tazkiyatu n–nafs (purification of the Self). Attempting to recognize and understand the signs and symbols of Allah is what forms the foundation of interacting with the Divine – it is what links us with spirituality. Herein lays our “identity” as Muslims. Ours is an internal, spiritually focussed and centred identity. “Identity” in Islamic Spirituality encompasses an ontology of being. It is an existential condition. To fully realise this demands a number of things: that we interrogate ourselves both spiritually and ethically; that we reflect upon and modify our conduct and comportment where necessary; and that we ask ourselves to what degree we are prepared to undergo the requisite transformation. From this point of departure, we may trace the trajectory of our Islamic “identity” along the oft-mentioned triad of the Nafs: from the Nafs al–Ammarah Bi s-Su’ (the Inciting Self) through the Nafs al-Lawwama (the Reproachful Self) to the Nafs al-Mutma’inna (Tranquil self/self at rest). It is only after we have cultivated the ability to objectively criticize ourselves (the Lawwama of the Self) that we are able to attain that serenity and inner peace – that Itmi’nan. Without this tranquillity there can be no peace between ourselves and Allah, ourselves and creation, or that sublime condition of inner peace.

It is therefore necessary that we ask ourselves important questions about the state of our Islamic education – referenced in Arabic as Tarbiyyah (to nurture, enrich, refine and cultivate). It is imperative, too, that we identify the points of reference for such a process. How – in more specific terms – and in a holistic manner, we are able to connect the idea of tawhid with Islam as a universal Din. Allah says,

The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will). (Sura Aal Imran 3:19)

How do we translate this into our educational models. What are the principles that underlie our educational processes?

There are three important aspects to consider:

The individual – how, for example, are individuals and individuality constituted?
Society – how do we understand the histories, the values and the norms of societies?
The content of reality – namely, its relation to both the material and spiritual contexts?

Moreover, and on the one hand, the tensions that may arise between “individuality” and “individualism” (particularly as they are often-times embraced in the contemporary world as ruthless and necessary forms of competitiveness – the corporate world providing just one of the spaces for some of its worst manifestations), and our notions of “collectivity” on the other, need to be urgently addressed. These tensions are fraught with the potential to lead to unrest and wars.

With a view to more fully grasping these complexities we need to understand that the aims and purposes (maqasid) of education are both intrinsically and intimately linked to our ultimate convictions.

We, as Muslims, need to ask ourselves and critically examine what our ultimate convictions are about human nature and society. What Quranic or Sunnic template do we need to foreground in order to express and actualize those ultimate convictions? Again it needs to be re-emphasized that as Muslims we are governed by spirituo-ethical values. These values form the foundation of the concept of adab (right and fair conduct – or virtuosity) and is far more important than ilm (knowledge), without diminishing the exalted station of knowledge in Islam in any way. As the Arabic proverb goes, “al–adab fawq al-ilm”, (adab is above knowledge), because without good conduct and virtuosity, knowledge reduces to mere information. One can be a tyrant and yet be the most learned and informed of people.

We come to realize that Islam is thus based on unity of knowledge and servitude to Allah through service to the creation, as well as the centrality of revelation, because we view the cosmos itself as reflective and symbolic of higher realities.

Islam and tawhid as our aqidah (belief and theological system), are thus synthetic in nature. It is an approach that builds towards a dynamic and regenerative concept of unity (as opposed to being merely deconstructive or reductionist). It continuously strives to inform us of the interconnectedness and wholeness of all things, of the intimacy and meaningfulness of the created order, so that we can transform both ourselves and the world within which we live. This we cannot do without the characteristics of justice, fairness and equality (for example, between males and females). In addition, if we cannot do justice to ourselves how can we do justice to others? If we cannot forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven; if we show no mercy, how can we expect mercy to be shown to us; if we cannot love, how can we expect to be loved? Even more so, the blameworthy attribute “malicious envy” (hasad), for example, is not condemned so much for the pain it causes others, but for its horrific potential to bring spiritual ruin and destruction upon the soul guilty of such envy. Allah cares for all His creation! Said the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him:

Malicious envy (hasad) destroys the goodness (hasanaat) in us in as much as fire devours wood. (Abu Dawud: Hadith 2653).

There ought to be, therefore, several natural consequences for societies who embrace and build themselves on tawhid:

1. Tawhid forces us to embrace and look to the essence of being human rather than the happenstances of our creation in which we played no part. It relegates race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and language – those things for which we are not responsible and have not come by way of acquisition. If we really internalize tawhid, it marginalizes secondary qualities and forces us to recognize the essentials of our existence and obliterate the contingencies.

2. Tawhid engenders love and mutual respect; it urges us to respect all human beings, to argue in the best of ways, and to invite to the way of Allah in the most excellent manner and with wisdom. The Quran is emphatic about this.

3. Tawhid demands from us that we both verify and establish truth. Whenever we view tawhid as an Ultimate Truth, everyday truthfulness becomes symbolic of this higher truth.) This matter of faithfulness to the truth plagues us as an ummah (community of believers). Allah says,

O you who believe! if an evil-doer comes to you with information, then first verify it, lest you harm a people in ignorance. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:6)

This is a Divine imperative, and so if we embrace tawhid we will not be easy victims of falsehood and malicious speculation; and herein lies the safeguards and protection for societies and communities that have the potential to be both wholesome and fructifying.

4. Maintaining purity and clemency in our societies – without clemency we can never establish truth and justice. Only when we internalize kindness, compassion and generosity, will we naturally strive to free ourselves from fitnah, scandals, divisiveness and arrogance. Also included here is the elimination of poverty, as poverty militates against the stability and unicity of our societies, so we should strive to empower the incapacitated and disadvantaged.

5. Respecting the freedom and the dignity of all human beings, including both personal and intellectual freedoms.

6. Implementing consultation (shura), co-operation and mutual assistance.

7. Striving for justice that is vitally alive in valuing both the rights of Allah and the rights of people and the rights owing to ourselves.

Without understanding the inherent diversity that goes along with tawhid, our aqidah becomes another form of totalitarianism and tyranny. Even those people who call themselves “muwahidun” (proponents of the Oneness of Allah) have failed to embrace the importance of diversity.

Allah says,

O humakind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may come to know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah are those of you with taqwa. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Sura al-Hujarat 49:13)

We need to realize that in this context Allah speaks to “humankind” and not just “believers”. That which are ultimately important are not the properties with which we are born and in which we have had no hand, but what we acquire (as mentioned earlier). The best of us and most honored of us therefore – and according to the Quran – are those who have taqwa. Taqwa is that form of higher consciousness of Allah that enables us to become both “personifications” of the highest values enunciated by the Qur’an and representatives of the most endearing qualities of Prophethood.

The most worthy qualities are those which we can acquire, not those which are the accidents of our creation (like the colors of our skins, languages, gender or nationalities). Taqwa is eminently attainable and open to all, from the poorest to the richest – it a kind of spiritual democracy, which, when we align ourselves with tawhid – we may discover and realise within ourselves that spiritual station of becoming muttaqin.

However, we cannot achieve this if we cannot embrace and live with diversity. Taqwa is available to those who are able to both live with and be enriched by diversity. Only in this way can we become the vehicles of tawhid, and hopefully align ourselves with the Will of Allah, the Most High. Unrealized (including crass modes of literalism) and superficial understandings avail nought, no matter how stringently we enact the externals of our ‘ibadah. If we cannot embrace diversity, we cannot fulfil our roles as khulafa and be true practitioners of tawhid. Says Allah, the Most High,

Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring forth produce of various colors. And among the mountains are tracts white and red, of various hues, and (others) raven-black. And so amongst people, and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah among His servants who have knowledge, for Allah is exalted in Might, oft forgiving. (Sura al-Fajr 35:27-8)

And yet again,

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours. Indeed herein are signs for those who have knowledge. (Sura al-Rum 30:22)

Islam is the last of the Revealed Faiths. If we cannot see beyond the walls of our ghettoized cultures; if we cannot see beyond our dress codes (which in essence form a part of the beauty within a ubiquitous diversity). If we cannot see beyond our stubborn social codes (particularly the gendered ones). If we cannot see beyond the many fossilized features of our increasingly regressive religious mindscapes, then we call a lie upon our claim to have embraced the liberating beauty of Islamic universality. We would have called a lie upon our much-professed tawhid that constitutes that axis of Divine unicity around which the many-hued and kaleidoscopic beauty of Allah’s Creation rotates. And we would have called a lie upon ourselves in the face of the verse in the Quran,

And we shall reveal to them our Signs along the horizons and within their own souls until it becomes manifest to them that He is the Truth. (Sura al-Fussilat 41:53)

From the distant edges of our visual perceptions to the very core of our souls, we are called upon to bear witness to the wondrous nature of tawhid encapsulated within the equally wondrous nature of multiplicity. Islam is a universal civilization of Oneness within a universe of diversity. To those who reject or scorn this we say, as the Quran does:

To you your Way and Religion and to me mine. (Sura al-Kafirun 109: 6)

What more need be said?

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

September 2014.


What Can We Do After the Death of a Family Member Who Did Not Pray for Several Years?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My mum passed away.

1) How much should we pay to fulfil 40 years of missed prayers for my mum?

2) In the absence of an official Will do the fidya payments for her missed prayers have to be taken from her assets or can any family member pay for the missed prayers from their own pockets?

3) Can you provide an estimate of the number of prayers an average woman with a normal menstrual cycle would be obliged to perform over a span of 40 years?

4) Although mum did used to give zakah I’m unsure if she did so throughout her entire adult life. I would like to know if anyone is to give voluntary charity on her behalf then can we give it to zakat-eligible recipients with the intention that it will pay off any outstanding zakah owed by her?

Answer: Bismillah

‘alaykum wa rahamatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

I apologise for us not having been able to answer your question yet. This is a simple matter that can easily be resolved.

The fidya payment is the monetary equivalent of roughly 1.5 kg’s of flour. There is some difference over how much this should be in cash, but many masajid set it as roughly £2.50. This is a nice round and safe figure. The fidya payment for the missed prayers and fasts can be taken from the 1/3rd of what she left behind, and it can be from your own money too.

The process you mentioned in your original question is the simplest approach. All you have to do is find someone who is poor, which for our purposes here is someone who is eligible to receive zakat, and to come to an agreement with him.

You should simply tell him that you are going to give him some money as charity for the purpose of compensating for your mother’s missed prayers. The amount you give will cover some of her missed prayers. He will be the owner of that amount, but you would like him to gift it back to you strait after he takes it for you to be able to give it to him again.

It is important that you give the money to him, and for him to give it back to you saying it is a gift, and for you to take it. Once this is done, some of the prayers are covered. You should now give it to him again with the intention of the fidya, and he should gift it back to you. Keep repeating this until the number is complete (it might take a while), and the final time you give it to him let him keep it.

This might seem strange, but see it as a way of using a means Allah has placed in the Shariʾa for Him to compensate for our deficiencies with His generosity. It is a means of asking His pardon and forgiveness because we know He loves to forgive and pardon. It is also worth telling the person you give the money to about the process, why it is being done, and that he will be rewarded by Allah for his participation.

As for the amount you give, that is up to you. The larger the amount, the quicker it will be to complete the process. So, if you give £500, this will cover 200 prayers. There are 1,825 prayers for a male in a year. For a lady with the minimum menstrual cycle, which is three days, there are 36 days a year when she would not be praying (and consequently having a larger number of missed prayers – which would come to 84). It’s not really worth the effort of calculating how many days she will have missed seeing as it is just a few extra transactions that will cover it. Also, seeing as it is charity on her behalf it is better to give too much than too little.

So, with £500 it would take ten exchanges to cover a year’s worth of prayers. 400 exchanges would cover your estimate of forty years. You could increase the amount to reduce the number, or calculate the excess left in the exchanges to bring the number down.

As for her zakat, it would be reasonable to assume that she did pay it, unless you know otherwise. If it was for jewellery, then Imam al-Shafiʿi has the position that it does not have to be given for jewellery, and we hope that this can be a way out for her on the Day of Judgement. Should you wish, you can intend to pay any zakat she owed every time you give charity. This will benefit you both. In fact it is best to intend that the reward of charity goes to all the believers.

I hope that helps. We ask Allah to cover compensate for our deficiencies and those of all the believers with His infinite generosity. Amin.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

How to Divide Inheritance After a Parent’s Death?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My mother just passed away but hasn’t left any sort of will to her name. She verbally said a few things to us her children but nothing written. How do we correctly deal with her finances in light of the Sharia?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. My deepest condolences to you and your family. May Allah magnify your reward, bring you solace, and forgive your mother, and grant her the very highest stations in Paradise. Amen. May Allah also reward you for striving to correctly deal with your affairs during this difficult time.

Division of inheritance

When dividing inheritance various factors have to be considered, such as any debts due, bequests, the range of possible inheritors present, such as children, spouse, parents, siblings etc., their specific numbers, as well as the male and female among them. These factors influence the way the inheritance is distributed. As such, one would need the full details to work out the estate division in each case.

For this reason, it would be necessary for you to consult a qualified and reliable local scholar and go through your specific case. If there is no Shafi’i scholar that you can access, then I would suggest that you consult any scholar who fulfils the above criteria, even if they follow another madhab, such as the Hanafi madhab, which may be more readily available in your area. At least this way, the estate inheritance division would be legally valid in one of the schools, and the obligation would be lifted.

Benefiting your mother

The Prophet ﷺ has said, ‘When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: Ongoing charity, a knowledge (of Islam) from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.’ [Muslim]

Despite the deep grief and sense of loss we feel when a loved one departs from this world, especially our mothers, God, through His Infinite Mercy, has made it that there are many ways to still benefit our departed loved ones. The best of these is giving charity on their behalf, making sincere supplication for their forgiveness and reward, and by the child themselves striving to be pious, so they can be a source of Mercy and honour for their parents.

Please also read this answer, which may be of further benefit: How Do We Deal With the Death of a Loved One?

May Allah grant your mother mercy and peace, and your hearts consolation, serenity, and deep faith.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Why Do We Die? – Shaykh Hamza Karamali

Shaykh Hamza Karamali addresses a topic that is uncomfortable to our western sensibilities, yet is of great significance to the life of faith. Here he tackles the reason behind death.

Why do we die? A materialist might answer that we die because our body stops working. Our breathing, our heartbeat, our brain activity, everything, stops. We saw in the previous episode that this materialist is wrong. We are not our bodies, but our souls, and although our death is accompanied by bodily changes, it is not those bodily changes themselves, but something else related to the soul.

Death is the separation of our soul from our body. We die because our soul is separated from our body. But that is not, in fact, what I am asking. When I ask, “Why do we die?” I am not inquiring about the cause of our death. I am inquiring about the purpose.

Everything in the universe appears to have some purpose. Another way of saying this is that everything in the universe appears to happen so that something else that comes afterwards can also happen.

Allah Set Everything in Motion

Allah Most High sends winds to move rain clouds over dry land (Sura al Furqan 25:48). He sends rain to make plants grow (Sura al Furqan 25:49-50). He makes the earth orbit around its axis, the moon around the earth, and the earth around the sun to enable us to tell time by counting days and months (Sura Yunus 10:5 and Sura al Isra 17:12). He made hemoglobin in our blood cells to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our body. He made chlorophyll in plant cells to absorb light energy from the sun. And so on.

When I ask, “Why do we die?” I am asking, “What is the purpose of our death?” Everything in the universe has a purpose. Everything in our bodies has a purpose. It would make sense for our death, too, to have a purpose. What is that purpose? Why do we die?

A Fool’s Errand

We have all heard someone remark, “You only live once.” The one who makes this remark has to make a choice between being responsible: doing a chore, studying for an exam, putting in extra hours at work, taking care of a father, a mother, or a child; and doing something he enjoys: playing a game, watching a movie, going on a vacation, any kind of entertainment.

What he means by his remark, “You only live once,” is that after he dies, he will stop existing. This life, he is saying, is all that there is. What this entails, he is saying, is that the purpose of his life before death is to maximize his pleasures. That every moment of his life that is spent in something other than the pursuit of pleasure is a wasted opportunity, a foolish choice. And that he should therefore only be “responsible” when that leads to some immediate pleasure, some selfish gain.

He might strengthen his conclusion with a second remark, saying, “Life is short.” He is now saying that not only only do you only live once, you only live once for a short time, and the urgency to experience immediate pleasures, to acquire a selfish gain, is even greater. That, according to his point of view, is the purpose of death. We die in order for us to be motivated to experience immediate pleasures, to acquire selfish gains, and to do so with great urgency. That is why we die.

The Way of Depression and Despair

He is wrong. But before I explain why, I want you to see that if, as he says, “You only live once,” then the pursuit of pleasure is not, in fact, the purpose of death. The purpose of death, if you only live once, is not make you happy, but make you miserable.

Leo Tolstoy captured this well. He wrote in the late nineteenth century that:

“If not today, then tomorrow sickness and death will come to everyone, to me, and nothing will remain except the stench and the worms. My deeds, whatever they may be, will be forgotten sooner or later, and I myself will be no more. Why, then, do anything? How can anyone fail to see this and live? That’s what is amazing! It is possible to live only as long as life intoxicates us; once we are sober we cannot help seeing that it is all a delusion, a stupid delusion! Nor is there anything funny or witty about it; it is only cruel and stupid.” (Leo Tolstoy, “A Confession”)

The urgent pursuit of pleasure and selfish gain is not the purpose of death, but a distraction from death’s depressing reality. That everything we do will be wiped out forever. That all of our dreams will be ruined. That every pleasure, every achievement, every aspiration is a mirage that disappears to reveal the terrifying face of our mortality. And that is the bright side of things.

That is how life appears when things go well. When things go wrong. When we fail at work. When our loved ones let us down. When we are assailed by difficulties and we are unable even to distract ourselves with a mirage, we ask, “Why does it always happen to me?” We feel the pain of failure, we feel trapped, we fall into depression, we despair.

The Fool Is Wrong

Now that you see why the one who remarks, “You only live once,” is heading down a path to depression and despair, I will explain why, in addition to being miserable, he is also wrong. He is wrong because his death is not the end of his existence, but the separation of his soul from his body and the continued existence of his soul in another, everlasting abode.

This means that his remark: “You only live once,” is false. You live, you die, and then you live again. You don’t live once; you live twice, and your second life lasts forever. What, then, is the real purpose of death? Remember that what it means for something to have a purpose is that it happens so that something else might happen after it. We can discern the purposes of wind, rain, celestial orbits, hemoglobin, and chlorophyll by observing what they lead to.

But we cannot discern the purpose of death by observing what it leads to because we cannot observe — before we die ourselves — what death leads to. For that, we need to turn to the one who made death. We need to turn to Allah Most High.

A Test of Faith

I began the last post with the words of Allah Most High: “Every soul will, without doubt, fully experience death.” (Sura al Anbiya 21:35) Immediately afterwards, Allah Most High explains why He made death. He says, “We are surely testing you with unpleasant and pleasant things and it is to us alone that you will all be returned.” (21:35)

Allah Most High makes us die so that the unpleasant and pleasant things in our life before death might test our slavehood to Him. After death, He will make us live a second time, forever, and reward those who showed Him slavehood with everlasting bliss. That is the purpose of death. That is why we die.

Let me explain further. When we experience difficulties, those difficulties have a meaning and purpose beyond our death into our everlasting life after death. Allah Most High sends us difficulties to test our slavehood to Him. To see whether or not we live through them as needy and faithful slaves who turn to Him in prayer and repentance. Needy slaves begging Him for help, confessing to Him their weakness and sin, praising His mercy and grace.

Thereby transforming the pain of their difficulties into the joys of humbling themselves before their generous Maker. And having complete conviction that their patience for the sake of their Maker will lead them to an infinite and everlasting reward in their life after death.

Even Pleasures Test the Faithful

When we experience pleasures, those pleasures, too, have a meaning and purpose beyond our deaths into our everlasting life after death. Allah Most High sends us pleasures for the same reason that He sends us difficulties: to test our slavehood to Him. To see whether or not we live through them as needy and faithful slaves who turn to Him in prayer and repentance, confessing their sin. Acknowledging that they are undeserving of being given those pleasures. Seeing them as sheer favors from Allah Most High. Praising him for them. Thanking Him for them. Savoring the gratitude of receiving the blessing even more than the blessing itself. And having complete conviction that their gratitude will lead them to an increase of that blessing in this life and an infinite and everlasting reward in their life after death.

(Allah Most High swears in the Qur’an that he will increase every blessing that we give Him gratitude for (Qur’an, 00:00))

Allah Most High says, “Tremendously exalted and full of good is the One who has complete and undisputed control over everything—the one who directly runs and governs everything in the universe—and who has complete power to do all things, the one who created death and life in order to test which of you is best in works.”

Death is a divine blessing. It makes our lives meaning. It gives us purpose. It helps us do good deeds. It helps us be moral. It gives us joy and hope in Allah Most High through our difficulties. It gives us even greater joy and hope in Him through our pleasures. It helps us be happy. And, if we believe in Him and worship Him, clinging to joy and hope in Allah Most High in our life before death, it gives us His infinite and everlasting reward in our life after death. That is the purpose of death. That is why we die.


This post is taken from the second episode of the podcast series: Remembering Death and the Afterlife with Shaykh Hamza Karamali.