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How to Deal with Doubts About the Intention in Wudu? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

When I make wudu, I have the intention of making the whole wudu (sunnan and fard aspects) in mind without necessarily utter the itention. Then before I wash my hands as a sunnah I say the basmalla or during washing the hands. But then before or during washing my face I don´t say anything.

Does it suffice that I say the basmalla before or during making the sunnah of washing the hands and that I know that I doing the fard after washing the hands and rinsing mouth and nose?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, thank you for your question.

The Basmalah

It is a sunna to say the Basmalah at the beginning of wudu, but not obligatory. The minimal is to say ‘Bismillah’, while the optimal is to say ‘Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim’.

One says the Basmalah when starting wudu, so if one is starts with the sunna act of washing the hands, then one says it then, or if starting with the integral of washing the face, then one first says the Basmalah and then makes the intention of wudu while simultaneously beginning to wash the face.

If one does not say the Basmalah at the beginning of wudu, they can say it anytime during the wudu. When one says it during wudu, one may say, بِسْمِ اللهِ فِي أَوَّلِهِ وَآخِرِهِ, meaning, ‘In the name of Allah in its beginning and end.’

Intention in the Shafi’i school

Intentions are obligatory to intend in the heart and sunna to say with the tongue. Typical forms of the intention for someone in a state of minor ritual impurity are:

I intend to lift minor ritual impurity
I intend obligatory wudu
I intend purification for prayer

One of the general conditions of intentions is that it’s time occurs simultaneously with the act. In wudu, the intention is made simultaneously with the first obligatory act of wudu, which is washing the face.

If one ‘knows’ in their mind that they are making obligatory wudu, or lifting minor ritual impurity at the point of washing the face, then the intention is valid.

However, if one intended at the point of washing the face simply ‘I intend a fard act of wudu’ or one simply ‘knows’ one is doing a fard act, then according to our school this would not be a valid intention and therefore, the wudu and any acts performed with it would not be valid. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case in the situation you have described.

[Hashiyat al Bajuri, Bushra al Karim]

Waswasa

There is a fine line between not practicing correctly and suffering from waswasa. If this is a recurring theme and you are constantly having doubts about intentions, then you may be suffering from waswasa. If this is the case, then ignore the doubts and try your best to move on and not dwell on whether your intentions are valid or not. Please also refer to this article:

A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

Taking an opinion outside of the school

If you are convinced that your wudu and worship have not been valid, and it will be too difficult for you to make up those prayers, then you can take the opinion of the Hanafi school that intention is not obligatory to make for wudu and ghusl. [Quduri]

If you are suffering from waswasa, then take this valid opinion from the Hanafi school, as it will put a stop to it insha’Allah. However, please do check with a Hanafi scholar in regards the integrals of wudu in their school.

Training yourself to make the intention

In the meantime, train yourself to make the intention according to our school. You may do this by writing and sticking a note on the door or place where you make wudu to remind you, or by going very slowly when making the first steps of wudu, until it becomes second nature.

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.

Can I Eat Questionable Meat at a Muslim’s House?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I was invited for iftar at a Muslim family’s house. I know they eat unlawful meat when they go out to eat (fast food etc), but I don’t know if the meat they use at home is lawful or not. I don’t want to ask them where the meat is from because they will be offended. What should I do?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question.

Generally speaking, if one does not have any doubts about another Muslim’s practice and has no reason to believe that the meat they buy is unlawful, then it is permissible to eat their meat.

However, if one is in doubt about the above, then it would be disliked to eat the meat, and precaution entails to avoid it. The more likely it is that their meat is not lawful, the more severe the dislike.

Eating meat at an invite

If the family is not particular about the meat they consume, and especially given the issues within the halal meat industry, then there is a good chance that the meat they buy for home is not halal either. As such, you should avoid eating the meat at their house until you are confident that the food is lawful.

To avoid awkward situations, you could do one of the following:

1. Tell them beforehand, or in general conversation before they even invite you, that you have generally stopped eating any meat unless from certified halal regulating bodies or specific brands. This way they won’t feel it is particular to them, and will know you apply it to your own home and eating out.

2. Tell them beforehand that fish and/or vegetables are a good substitute for you.

3. Simply explain that you are trying to be more careful of the meat you eat, and ask them where they buy their meat. If they get offended, then unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it, and hopefully they’ll get over it. A temporary fall out would be better than eating doubtful foods regularly. It may also make them think twice about their own food choices. If offense is taken, avoid argumentation, and invite them over to your house soon after and pretend as if nothing has happened.

May Allah makes things easy for you and grant you every good.

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.

What Should I Do When in Doubt Regarding the Number of Prostrations?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Today, I was doing the prostrations of forgetfulness, and forgot how many times I had bowed down. I ignored the doubts, and ended the prayer. Was I correct?

Also, I have been told one should pause for 1-2 seconds after every action, otherwise, the prostrations of forgetfulness is mandatory. Is this correct?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, you don’t need to repeat the prostrations of forgetfulness (sajda al-sahw) if you forget the number of prostrations you performed in it.

The basis is that you need to remain motionless for a moment within all actions of the prayer. This is very straightforward and you need not count seconds and the like. Moreover, this only practically applies to the rising from the bowing and the prostration as they are the only two places in which there is no sunna supplication.

In any case, you are doing the right thing by ignoring the doubts in your prayer. Ask Allah Most High for success, facilitation and right guidance.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah, with Tahtawi’s Gloss]

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: Can the Forgetfulness Prostration Be Done in Every Prayer Just to Be Sure it is Valid?

And Allah Most High alone 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 memorised 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 with his family.

Is It Acceptable to Wear Clothes With Allah’s Name on It?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I am a football player. I would love to see my name “Habibullah” written on my jersey.

1. Is it acceptable for me to wear my jersey into the toilet since it has Allah’s name on it?

2. Will I be responsible if others who buys my jersey wear it into the toilet?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

1. The basic rule is that it would be disliked to enter the toilet, which is defined here specifically as the area where one relieves himself, while wearing something with the name “Allah” or a Qur’anic verse and the like.

This dislikedness is lifted though when one covers the name or verse before entering the toilet. Yet, even here it would be best to avoid entering with such names/verses if reasonably possible.

2. You will not be responsible and such a possibility does not render it impermissible for you to put your full name on a jersey but what you mention is certainly something to keep in mind as any Muslim would not wish to see the name of Allah disrespected.

You can always, for example, choose to simply have the name “Habib” on your jersey as opposed to “Habib Allah.”

[Ibn Nujaym, Bahr al-Ra’iq (1:256); Ibn Abidin, Hashiya (6:361); Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (1:109)]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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 where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

How Do I Overcome Doubts About My Religious Practice and Past Sins?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If a muslim does not fulfill the five pillars of Islam, does his practice just becomes vain?

I never ever gave zakat, I pray sometimes and never completed a Ramadan. I have done so much sins that I doubt about deserving Allah’s forgiveness.

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for courageously overcoming the life challenges you have been facing and striving towards the religion. That takes a lot of sincerity and determination.

The 5 Pillars

While the 5 Pillars of Islam are the cornerstones of the religion, each pillar is still an individual pillar and act of worship. Therefore, neglect of one pillar of the religion does not vitiate the validity or reward of performing another pillar.

What it does mean however, is that that the person’s overall religious practice is wanting and needs to be worked on. As the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them.’ [Sahih Muslim]

Have no doubt in your mind that Allah Most High knows everything about the journey that you have been through and are still on. Allah loves those who make mistakes and yet continuously comes back to Him, just so He can forgive them.

The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Were you not to commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah would forgive them.’ [Sahih Muslim]

And Allah Most High says, ‘And despair not of Allah’s Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the unbelieving people.’ [12:87].

Therefore, there is no one or no sin that Allah will not forgive if the person repents with sincerity. Do not think you are beyond forgiveness, for Allah’s Mercy, Gentle Kindness, and Compassionate Love is greater and vaster than we can fathom.

Take refuge in Him, and seek out His Love and Protection by slowly but steadily performing the basics of the religion.

Practical Steps

– Pray the Prayer of Repentance (Tawba) for any sins and make sincere du’a to Allah to forgive you, and resolve to not return to them. Once done, do not look back, nor carry on praying Tawba for the same sins. Rather, considerate it finished and move on.

– Read Qu’ran a little bit each day, even with an English translation alongside if need be.

– Keep good company and avoid any company that have a negative influence on you.

– If you are not working, try to get steady and regular employment.

– Seek out recreational outlets such as sports, art, or anything else that interests you.

– Consider doing some occasional community work, whether it’s with other people, animals, or environmental. Helping others and caring for the community and environment has tremendous therapeutic effects, and on many levels.

– Consider taking some basic courses in Islamic studies. If there are local classes or a teacher available this would be best. However, if not, then consider taking one of our free, beginners online courses, found here.

You may also find the following answers helpful:

Struggling to Maintain Faith and Practice
Why Does Islam Seem So Difficult to Follow?
Overwhelmed by Guilt?

I wish you success in your affairs. May Allah increase you in faith and in every good.

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.

How To Handle Doubts About Islam And Being Muslim? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How to handle doubts about Islam and being muslim?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

I Have So Many Doubts That I Am Afraid to Loose My Faith. What Can I Do?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have some many doubts that I am afraid to loose my faith. What can I do?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

You are a Muslim, and the thoughts you are experiencing are mere doubts which do not affect your faith, nor are you responsible for them. Please seek out some religious company, and gatherings of knowledge or remembrance.

Please also see: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?

And Allah Most High alone grants facilitation and success.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Am I a Disbeliever for Being Unable to Anwser Waswas Regarding My Belief in Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum

I have sudden doubts about Allah and His Essence. I end up responding each time I’m facing these insinuating whispers until I become confused with my own belief. I am saddened by this problem. Am I a disbeliever?

Answer:Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

What you are describing is true faith. Rejoice, and don’t let the devil fool you.

Please see the following: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud? and: How Do I Combat Thoughts of Disbelief That Enter My Mind? and: Tormented by Thoughts of Disbelief

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Anse Tamara Gray Answers Your Aqida Questions

Anse Tamara Gray recently spent over two hours answering some of the most pertinent contemporary aqida questions, as a background to understanding modernism and how it has affected us. Worth watching in the Rabata video below.

Is My Faith Valid Even If I Can’t Answer All Doubts?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: My Mother is dealing with someone at work that is dedicated to making her doubt Islam by trying to find contradictions between Hadith and empirical science. What’s your advice to her?

Most “contradictions” are very specific and would need specialists in those fields to determine accuracy.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

Obligatory Faith

We are obligated to believe everything that the Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – delivered to us from God, and that he was truthful in transmitting what he did.

Does Failing to Resolve Apparent Contradictions Negate this?

Someone may point out apparent contradictions between certain narrations and empirical science, in an attempt to demonstrate the unreliability of the former. A Muslim’s faith is not impugned if they do not know how to resolve these apparent contradictions, or how others have sought to resolve it, even if they do nothing to find out.

Reasons for Faith Remaining Intact

This is for two reasons. One is that, as you have mentioned, many such resolutions require specialist knowledge, or at least a familiarity with Islamic or other disciplines. A layperson is not obligated to know such information for their faith to be sound.

The second is that a person is obligated to believe in a general framework that is internally coherent; this is the belief that I mentioned above, that the Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – transmitted to us truthfully from God.

With that as the default, singular confusions or lack of understanding of the interpretation of specific traditions attributed to the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, cannot be said to render the entire framework of belief untrue.

This understanding of knowledge accords with the manner in which we normally see and operate in the world. For example, a person can have a general belief in the idea of gravity, which may be as unsophisticated as believing that things are supposed to fall down. That, as a default belief, is based on good evidence, namely, the vast majority of a person’s life experience. If, however, one comes across something that seems to militate against this – say, something that rises instead of falling down – one wouldn’t discard their belief in the general applicability of gravity, even if they don’t understand precisely how this exception fits into the entire system, or never bothers to find out.

A similar scenario plays out for faith beliefs, such as a person’s belief in the prophecy of Muhammad – peace and blessings of God be upon him. An inability to readily explain certain narrations, or even to access scholarly discussion on such matters, does not render the entire coherent framework of belief untrue.

This easily applies at the level of the layperson, because of the lack of access to scholarship. It can also applies at the scholarly level; this is why scholars, who by virtue of being human have access to limited knowledge, may at times indicate that they are not sure yet how to fit certain traditions into the overall framework of established belief.

How Scholars Deal with Difficult Traditions

That said, if one is able to, it is generally encouraged to seek out answers to anything one thinks might impugn their faith.

To this end, it is useful to know how scholars tend to deal with traditions that, while transmitted through sound methods, appear to contradict empirical truths. They usually do this in one of two ways.

The first is to interpret the text in a non-literal fashion when possible, according to linguistic and social convention. This is a preferred method, as it allows for scholars to conserve and continue to make use of the maximum amount of available evidence, as opposed to discarding it.

When this does not appear possible, scholars may consider the tradition fabricated; a general principle is that a sign of a tradition being fabricated is that it irreparably contradicts other clear evidence, whether it be established texts or principles, or empirical truth.

Understanding that there are hermeneutical principles at play in interpreting and dealing with traditions can – God willing – assuage the layperson in remaining content in their faith, especially if one does not have the time, means, or concern to delve into the issues raised. If this is not the case, one should seek out reliable scholarship in an effort to determine how others have specifically dealt with such apparent contradictions.

Wassalam,
Shuaib Ally