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Comments on the Recent ‘Dogs Are Not Impure’ Article – Mufti Musa Furber

I have been asked several times about the recent article titled ‘Dogs are not impure,’ says prominent Islamic scholar. I have not seen the television show or the fatwa mentioned in the article so I can comment only on the article itself.

The bulk of my reading over the past two months has been about dogs,1 so I am familiar with the issues mentioned in the article. I find the article to be poorly researched and written. Almost every paragraph contains statements that are either misleading or false. I advise readers to ignore the article and to seek their information from a reliable source.
Given the overall unreliability of the article, I would like to provide a very brief summary of the basic rulings related to the purity of dogs, keeping dogs, and keeping dogs inside the house.
[Rulings related to the purity of dogs]
There is disagreement concerning the purity of dogs and their saliva. Numerous hadiths mention that if a dog licks from one’s bowl, its contents need to be thrown out and the bowl must be washed seven times with water – using soil in one of the washings. Scholars differ in their understanding of these ḥadīths and other evidence related to this issue, leading to disagreement over whether dogs or their saliva are pure, and whether things touched by dogs need to be cleaned in a particular way. Ḥanafīs consider dogs to be pure, but their slobber filthy. Mālikīs consider dogs and their slobber to be pure. Shāfiʿīs and Ḥanbalīs consider dogs and their slobber to be filthy.3
[Keeping dogs]
There is general agreement amongst the scholars that we are discouraged from keeping dogs, and that we should not keep dogs without need to do so. This is due to the many hadiths that mention that anyone who keeps a dog will lose rewards for each day he keeps it, unless the dog is for hunting, protecting livestock, or protecting crops. While the scholars agree that it is permissible to acquire dogs for the purposes mentioned in the ḥadīths (hunting, guarding livestock, and guarding crops), they disagree concerning other purposes. Ḥanafīs and Mālikīs tend to consider it offensive to obtain dogs for purposes other than the ones mentioned in the ḥadīths. Shāfiʿīs consider it unlawful to obtain dogs that do not fulfill a need similar to the ones mentioned in the ḥadīths (hunting and protecting). Ḥanbalīs consider it unlawful to obtain a dog unless it can carry out one of the tasks in the hadiths mentioned above.4
[Guard dogs]
There is also disagreement concerning the use of household guard dogs. In addition to the hadiths regarding purity and loss of rewards, there are also hadiths mentioning that angels will not enter houses if there is a dog inside. Commentators mention that the angels that are barred are the ones that bring blessings and mercy, and make forgiveness – not the angels assigned to individuals to record their deeds and to protect them. Ḥanafīs tend to say that one should not get a household guard dog unless out of fear for the safety of one’s life or property. Even then, the dog should not be inside the house. There is a fair amount of disagreement amongst the Mālikīs. The well-known opinion I keep finding is that it is offensive to have them inside the house. Shāfiʿīs tend to permit guard dogs for houses and alley ways – and even if the dog is permissible to keep, it should not be kept inside the house.5
What is clear when reading the various opinions within and across the schools is that no one considers it recommended or merely permissible to have a dog in the house. The most lenient ruling is that it is offensive. Some of the scholars who hold this latter position mention that one will still be subject to loss of rewards, and some angels will be barred from the house. So while there is a case for having a dog that serves a valid purpose – there does not seem to be any case for keeping a dog as a pet just for companionship or pleasure – or its appearance.6
Given all the ḥadīths related to dogs (that keeping one without justification reduces rewards, that their presence in a house bars some angels from entering, that there was an order to kill them that was later reduced out of fear of exterminating the entire species, that jet-black dogs are wicked, the extra provisions required to clean up after them – which suggests that they are filthy), one really needs to be very careful before getting a dog. Contrary to some pieces that have been written in English: those reports related to dogs were not related by a single companion (Allah be pleased with them)
Each of the rulings I mentioned above have additional conditions, constraints, and details. All of those things must be known before obtaining a dog.
And Allah knows best.
UPDATE I watched the part of the episode that was the source for the article. Sheikh Ali’s response differs significantly from what is presented in the article. Arabic speakers can check for themselves (The link should start you at the segment on dogs, 47 minutes in to the show.)

  1. Dogs today are used for a wide range of tasks not mentioned in our classical books. These tasks include: guide dogs for the blind, security dogs for the police and military, search dogs for humans trapped under rubble, detecting cancer, predicting and warning about seizures, as part of therapy for autism or PTSD, and many others. These tasks are beneficial to muslims. Many of them do not fit cleanly under hunting and guarding. Determining their legal status requires having a clear understanding of the textual evidence and rulings related to dogs, as well as a clear understanding of the contemporary task. And that’s why I have been reading so much about dogs.
  2. The links provided for this and the other hadiths enable even a semi-curious English reader to verify that the reports are each narrated from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) by three or more companions (Allah be pleased with them all), putting them within the category of well-known (mashhūr or mustafīḍ). All of them are considered rigorously authenticated (ṣaḥīḥ). These reports cannot be waved away with the claim that they are singular (aḥād) or spurious fabrications (mawḍūʿah). If you’re going to dismiss them, at least identify where the chain broke or which one of them lied – you can’t just affirm or deny a specific ḥadīth based on surmise or it being inconvenient. One of the characteristics of Islamic legal scholarship is to use all the evidence that is available, as captured in the maxim that application of an evidence is superior to its abandonment (al-iʿmāl afḍal min al-ihmāl).

  3. Al-Kashānī, Badāʾiʿ al-Ṣanāʾiʿ, 1:63; Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Ḥashiyat ʿalā Al-Durr al-Mukhtār, 1:208; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Al-Tamhīd, 18:296–270; al-Ṣāwī, Al-Sharḥ al-Ṣaghīr, 1:43–44; al-Anṣārī, Asnā al-Maṭālib, 1:10; al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 1:226–7; al-Bahūtī, Kashshāf al-Qināʿ, 1:181; Ibn Daqīq al-ʿEid, Aḥkām al-Aḥkām, 1:75–76; al-ʿIrāqī, Ṭarḥ al-Tathrīb, 2:120–121.

  4. Kamāl ibn Humām, Fatḥ al-Qadīr, 7:118; Ṣāliḥ ʿAbd al-Samīʿ, Al-Thamr al-Dānī, 714; Al-Fawākih al-Dawānī ʿalā Risālah Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qīrwānī, 2:344; Sharḥ al-Talqīn, 2:429; al-Juwaynī, Nihāyat al-Maṭlab, 5:493; al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥīh Muslim, 3:186, 10:236; al-Anṣārī, Asnā al-Maṭālib, 2:9; al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 3:284; Ibn Qudāmah, Al-Mughnī, 4:191–192; al-Bahūtī, Kashshāf al-Qināʿ, 3:154; Ibn Mufliḥ, Al-Ādāb al-Sharʿiyyah, 3:226.

  5. Kamāl ibn Humām, Fatḥ al-Qadīr, 7:118; Ṣāliḥ ʿAbd al-Samīʿ, Al-Thamr al-Dānī, 714; Al-Fawākih al-Dawānī ʿalā Risālah Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qīrwānī, 2:344; Sharḥ al-Talqīn, 2:429; al-Juwaynī, Nihāyat al-Maṭlab, 5:493; al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥīh Muslim, 3:186, 10:236; al-Anṣārī, Asnā al-Maṭālib, 2:9; al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 3:284; Ibn Qudāmah, Al-Mughnī, 4:191–192; al-Bahūtī, Kashshāf al-Qināʿ, 3:154; Ibn Mufliḥ, Al-Ādāb al-Sharʿiyyah, 3:226.

  6. Al-Juwaynī, Nihāyat al-Maṭlab, 5:493; al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥīh Muslim, 3:186.

Originally taken from Mufti Musa Furber’s blog.

What Islamic Perspective is Taught at SeekersGuidance?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Are the courses at SeekersGuidance, such as the beliefs course Kharida al-Bahiyya and others, representative of Sunni Islam? Also, could you explain what is meant by Sunni Islam?

Answer: wa `alaykum assalam

The courses at SeekersHub and the texts taught in these courses are based on the orthodox Sunni tradition (Ahl al-Sunna). This is a tradition accepted and followed by the vast majority of Muslim scholars and laity from the time of the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them) up to our own times.

Thus, the Kharida al-Bahiyya, which is the text we are reading for this class, was written by Imam Dardir, who was considered one of the greatest scholars of the Maliki school of his time, an expert in the field of Islamic belief, as well as an accomplished spiritual master.

Understanding Sunni Orthodoxy

The best way to understand the tradition of Ahl al-Sunna is through the hadith of Gibril (Allah bless him), narrated by Abu Hurayra (Allah be well pleased with him) as follows:

“One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, ‘What is faith (iman)?’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.’ Then he further asked, ‘What is submission (islam)?’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.’ Then he further asked, ‘What is Ihsan (perfection)?’ Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, then be sure that He is seeing you.'” [Bukhari, Muslim]

This narration sums up the orthodox and accepted tradition of Islam, which is divided into three main sub-categories:

a. Faith (iman), namely what we need to believe, discussed under the science of Islamic belief (`aqida),

b. Submission (islam), namely the ritual practices we need to perform, discussed under the science of Islamic Law (fiqh), and

c. Perfecting our belief and worship (ihsan), namely spirituality and purification of the self, discussed under the science of tasawwuf, tazkiyya, or, as you refer to it, Sufism.

Together, these three formulate the “religion” (din) as a whole and so none of them should be neglected.

The Sciences & Relying on Authority

Each of these three sciences, namely belief (`aqida), law (fiqh), and spirituality (tasawwuf/tazkiyya), have been well-defined, developed, and transmitted by thousands of scholars for the past 1400 years, from the very time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) up to our own times.

Our duty is to recognize this scholarly way and benefit from it, following the command of Allah to “ask those who know if you know not.” (16:43)

Thus, when it comes to Islamic belief (`aqida), we have the Ash`ari and Maturidi schools. Both helped define the contents of faith, the proof for it, and defended it from those who sought to undermine it.

Likewise, when it comes to Islamic law (fiqh), we have the four schools (madhabs): the Hanafi, Shafi`i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools. Each of these legal schools have a long, nuanced tradition of dealing with aspects of Islamic practice like prayer, fasting, Zakat, and Hajj, and have been accepted as the standard of this science for centuries.

Similarly, when it comes to Islamic spirituality (tasawwuf), we have the spiritual masters who are trained in identifying and fixing the ailments of the self (nafs), purifying the heart, and making one’s worship sincere. This is the reality of Sufism.

The authoritative figures of each of the sciences can be found in every generation including our own. As a living tradition, there is no era where experts in each of these fields do not exist, guiding people, answering questions, coming up with answers to new problems, and spreading the light of this religion.

Focus & Aim

Thus, we strive to follow the hadith of Gibril (Allah bless him) and teach our courses with a focus on all three of the main categories mentioned in this noble narration without neglecting any one of them. This is the way of balance and the way the scholars of this religion tread throughout the past.

Thus, you will find that we teach courses covering all of these science, such as law, belief, hadith, and spirituality. In doing so, we teach from the most authoritative and widely-accepted texts in each field and recognize the importance of constantly going back to this long accepted tradition of scholarship that has its roots in the very earliest generations of Muslims, namely the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them).

I hope that answers your questions. Please do not hesitate to post a follow-up.

I would also advise reading the following:

The Asharis & Maturidis – Standards of Mainstream Sunni Beliefs

A Reader on Following Schools of Thought (Madhabs)

Excellent lecture by Shaykh Faraz

Salman

Recommended Class:

Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained

Fiqh of Life Course Testimonial

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Shaykh Faraz, Ustadh Abdul Latif, Ustadha Shireen, and everyone at SeekersGuidance. They are a massive blessing in my life, and a constant reminder to strive for ihsan in all my acts and states. I pray Allah rewards you all, and I pray that wherever Allah takes me in life, I remain at the feet of the likes of Shaykh Faraz and the other SG teachers, even if mostly through online classes, though we pray even more to be in their actual presence as much as possible. I have already registered for a class next semester, and I strongly recommend everyone else to do so as well. Even if you have not completed the current lessons totally, register for a new course. The beauty of SG’s system is the ability to continue reviewing lessons after the semester ends.

To close, I wanted to mention something from Imam `Abdallah ibn `Alawi al-Haddad’s Book of Assistance, a book praised by scholars. The sayyid writes:

“The people of remembrance are those who have knowledge of God and His religion, practice what they know for His sake, have no desire for the world, are not distracted by commerce from His remembrance, summon to Him clear-sightedly, and to whom His secrets are unveiled. The presence of one such on the face of the earth has become so rare that some great men have even said that they no longer exist. The truth is that they do exist, but because of the unawareness of the elite and the turning away of the commonality, God has hidden them under the cloak of His possessiveness and surrounded them with veils of obscurity. However, those who seek them with sincerity and zeal will not, by God’s Will, fail to find one of them. Sincerity is a sword that is never used against anything without cutting it. The earth is never without those who uphold the matter for God.”

May Allah preserve and increase all of you, our teachers and fellow students. Please remember us in your prayers. May peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad (SAW), and all Praise is for Allah.

Wasslaaam,
Tawsif Choudhury
Testimonial for the Fiqh of Life: Essentials of Halal and Haram course

Description:

In this course, students will learn about the limits of Allah related to everyday life, and will get answers to a variety of critical life questions on food, dress, gender interaction, work, earnings, relations, speech, and the avoidance of sin. Student will also gain an understanding and appreciation of the wisdom of the Shariah related to the halal and haram, and the way of Prophetic excellence in everyday conduct.

Instructor(s): Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Course Format: 12 downloadable sessions, 3 live sessions 
Length: 1 term(s) – 12 weeks
Course ID: LAH110
Department: Law

Fiqh of Menstruation Online Class with Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera

Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera will be teaching an online advanced-level course on the Fiqh of Menstruation. The course will cover ‘Allama Ibn ‘Abidin’s commentary of Imam Birgivi’s manual of menstruation. The class will lay a solid understanding of the issues related to menstruation, so that students can apply principles and rulings to specific situations. The course is aimed at creating specialization in this subject and is well-suited for those who have found it elusive and difficult to fully comprehend.

Classes will begin on February 7th and will meet weekly for approximately 5 months. The course is intended for female students only.

Click here for more information or to register!

Testimonials

“This course is a gem as it is very difficult to find a scholar who dedicates his time to elucidating the intricacies of the rulings of hayd, nifas and istihada, and who makes himself available for questions and clarifications. I urge all women to take the course on the fiqh of menstruation as the knowledge of it has far-reaching implications in one’s adult life.” – Umm Zahra
“More often than not, many women are concerned about the acceptance of their worship due to irregular bleeding. This course allowed me to access teaching that went right to the core of the issues and provided lucid explanations. We were very fortunate to have had the issues explained to us numerous times without the teacher losing his patience.” – Bint Ahmed
“Studying the rulings of menstruation with Mufti Abdur-Rahman provided an invaluable opportunity to clarify many questions and has given me the confidence to address the numerous queries and intricate rulings that many of us are reluctant to acquaint ourselves with.” – Umm Masud
“I was apprehensive about taking an online course, but Mufti Abdur-Rahman’s teaching style had a natural ease and fluidity that quickly dispelled any doubts. The online classroom was user-friendly and in the end I felt as if I were in a traditional classroom setting, sitting in front of a teacher. It has truly allowed me to apply what I have learned and I am eagerly looking forward to future courses.” – Sadia Sattar

A class for serious seekers: Dars Maraqi al-Falah – Mastering the Fiqh of Worship according to the Hanafi school – with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mastering Worship

Dars Maraqi al-Falah

درس مراقي الفلاح

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For seekers of knowledge who have covered at least two complete texts in the fiqh of worship, and who know Arabic, Mastering Worship will be covering Imam Shurunbulali’s Maraqi al-Falah in full, with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The commentary (Maraqi al-Falah) will be read in Arabic, and explain in both Arabic and English, through twice a week live online lessons. The lessons will be recorded for those unable to attend live.

There will be an online forum for QA, discussion, and for related texts & resources. [The pdf of the commentary, Tahtawi’s hashiya, and other important works will be provided.]

The goal of the class is simple: to master the fiqh details of the chapters on worship (purification, prayer, fasting, zakat, and hajj). We define “mastery” as thorough understanding of the text itself, its legal reasoning, and key details. Fiqh is deep knowledge, with understanding of nuances and implications.

The purpose in this mastery is to seek the pleasure of Allah, through benefitting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance.

The means to mastery would be through understanding of eight matters related to the text:

1. Tawdih (clarification of the text, in expression and indication)

2. Taqyid (conditioning the text, where essential conditions are needed)

3. Tafsil (detailing the text, where essential details are needed)

4. Taswir (describing the text’s issues, through practical examples)

5. Taq`id (clarifying the legal principles the text’s issues are based on or entail)

6. Tafri` (giving the important derived rulings, classical and contemporary, that a serious seeker must know)

7. Ta`lil (understanding the legal reasoning and wisdom underlying the text’s rulings)

8. Tadlil (understanding the legal proofs for the rulings of the text)

The expectations from the students would be to:

1. Prepare for the class, by [a] thorough reading of the matn; [b] careful reading of the commentary–with focus on the legal details and reasoning mentioned in the commentary; [c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the reference works, commentaries, and other complete works on the fiqh of worship. (This is not an expectation. Students are welcome to email the instructor for advice on this.)

2. Attend the class, with [a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); [b] participation when the instructor asks questions; [c] asking questions, from their preparation or from things unclear in the text or the instructor’s explanations.

3. Review of the class notes and text. Research of issues that arise is encouraged, and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text (especially the matn), the better. Test yourself, by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.

4. Take notes. It is best to write out the matn itself, and essentials from the commentary (such as the key details and reasoning). This is also good Arabic writing practice.

5. Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge (talib `ilm).

6. Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

And Allah alone gives success.

Justice as Sadaqa (Charity) – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad via Allahcentric

Justice as Sadaqa (Charity) – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad « Allahcentric

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These are meditations by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on some hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) related to justice. The balance of Mercy and Justice; the true understanding of justice and its relationship with complete balance; how political justice is (and isn’t) sought; political quietism in the face of misconduct by rulers; classical sects that promoted militancy, and their modern inheritors; the tension between justice and forgiveness; the redress of wrongs; and the need for jurists (and those seeking to promote justice) to be grounded in spirituality.

 

The full text may be found at Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s Site (www.Masud.co.uk):  Justice as Sadaqa (pdf)

 

An extract:

 

(2) There is an act of charity [sadaqa] to be given for each part of the human body and for every day over which the sun rises there is a reward of a |adaqa for theone who establishes justice among people.

Justice (‘adl) is due balance (i‘tidal): it is impartiality. The same word is employed to describe the balance of the body’s four humours. When these are in balance, right thinking and health are the consequence. When they are not, the Qur’an speaks of the last day when ‘their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness to what they used to do.’ (24:24)

To purify the body from the disorders which both engender and result from sin, a system of worship is gifted in revelation, which culminates in the placing of the forehead, the symbol of human pride and of self-oriented thought, upon the earth. The tongue ‘gives charity’ by praising God, and by speaking words of reconciliation. The hands do so by working to earn a lawful income, and by striving to right wrong sin society.

Taken together, the purifying ‘charity’ offered by the parts of the believer’s body always has a social impact, the highest aspect of which must be to ‘establish justice’, not only by avoiding unbalanced temptations, but by working to establish a political order in which justice is safeguarded.

Political work is thus conceived as a sacrifice. Never is political authority ‘sought’, in the conventional profane understanding, for a hadith says: ‘Do not seek political power, for if you obtain it by seeking it, it will be given power over you.’ This refers to a selfish, egotistic pursuit (hirs) of power, rather than to the selfless seeking of power for the sake of the establishment of justice for others. The model is the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) who endangers himself in order to establish God’s justice in a feuding Arabia, and who ends his life in holy poverty, despite the advantages he could have gained from having been born into the aristocracy.

And:

 

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Towards the close of the classical Friday sermon, the preacher recites the Qur’¥nic passage which runs: ‘God enjoins justice and goodness.’ (16:90) The first is clearly not sufficient; or the second would not have been mentioned. Islam’s is a god of justice, but also of mercy. The extent to which the latter virtue can override the former in political life can only be defined in a very limited way in books of law. In Islamic legal culture, which grants the judge more discretion than the heavily statutory jurisdictions of the West, the judge has much room for mercy. In the Religion of Wisdom and Compassion, which deeply trusts human beings, it is no surprise that he should have been given this privilege. But his responsibility is grave, and if he is to escape GodÆs own Rigour, he must first defeat his ego. Sufism, the schoolroom of the selfless virtues, thus becomes the most fundamental juristic science.

 

 

Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s Site (www.Masud.co.uk):  Justice as Sadaqa (pdf)

 

Many thanks to Sidi Khuram Zaman, for bringing our attention to this, by posting it on his excellent Allahcentric blog, here.