Why Can’t We Unite? A Brief Overview of Moon-Sighting Wars (And How To Avoid Them) – Shaykh Sohail Hanif

Shaykh Sohail Hanif makes sense of the annual moon-sighting debates.

The blessed month of Ramadan is almost upon us. It is a month of contemplation, fasting, prayer and tranquility. But just as the tranquility of Paradise is “surrounded by disliked matters,”[1] Ramadan can only be arrived at after crossing the uncomfortable terrain of moonsighting debates. In this run up to the sacred month, otherwise ordinary words can acquire great rhetorical force: “Local!” “Global!” “Sighting!” “Calculations” “Saudi!” “Pakistan!” Each word is backed up by arguments, documents and video clips. But must these exchanges be inevitable, and is there a way out of this impasse? I believe there is if we read our classical heritage with some care.

It’s All Backed By Classical Scholarship

It is true that since the earliest times, scholars of Islamic law have disagreed over the correct method of declaring the beginning of the blessed month. There is a classical precedent for local sighting, global sighting, and even astronomical calculations. Thus, the disagreements that beset us at the beginning of the blessed month do have a basis in classical scholarship. However, there is something that we are missing as we churn out these classical positions: the missing point is process.

Process, Process, Process

Classical works of Islamic law provide details on how the new moon is to be established.

  • We are told by some classical jurists that if the sky is clear, a large number of people are required to have seen the moon. This is because the sighting of only a few people on a clear night is inherently suspicious since most onlookers did not see it.[2]
  • If the sky is overcast, then some jurists stipulated two witnesses for a valid sighting,[3] treating it as akin to establishing a fact in court, whilst others accepted a single witness,[4] treating it as a religious report.

In either case, they required that the individuals be morally upright. The question here is, who is it that will determine whether a group sighting is large enough on a clear night? Who is it that will decide whether a witness is upright or not? Who will determine the number of witnesses required on an overcast night? Each of these points has its own conditions that need to be verified by one who is both suitably trained and is vested with the authority to do so. This is the Muslim judge who has been placed in a position to declare the beginning of the month. Thus, the entry of Ramadan is established through a judicial process.

Waiting For Official Judgement

The commencement of Ramadan is not a private matter for individuals to declare. Individuals are only to raise their possible sightings to the appropriate authority who will then consider whether to accept or reject the sighting, and will consider which conditions to consider to declare the beginning of the month. This is why books of Islamic law discuss the case where an individual is sure that he/she saw the new moon, but was unable to convince the judge of this; should such a person fast? The commonly stated answer is that such a person does fast. However, this only applies to the person in question; everyone else is to await the official judgement on the matter.[5]
This is why, in Muslim countries, one rarely finds households divided over when they start fasting or celebrate Eid. In these countries, there is typically a governmentally appointed council that is vested with the authority to declare the beginning of the month. The man on the street need only turn on the radio or the television to know if the appointed council has declared the beginning of Ramadan. This is the process that works of sacred law attest to. The reason for this is clear. The communal purpose of Ramadan and Eid cannot be realised if a society is divided over when it starts and finishes the month. This process prevents that from happening.

What About Muslims Living As Minorities?

So what should people do in a minority context such as Britain? The answer is clear; the community must strive to appoint a representative council to declare the entry of the blessed month, which the community must then follow. This is not a new idea; there are many chapters of the law that attest to this. The Friday prayer is one example. Classical works of law imply that towns should, ideally, have only one Friday prayer service, so that the entire town comes together for a single congregation every week. This led to the question of who was to appoint the one imam to deliver the sermon and lead the town in prayer. If left to the people, each group and sect would vie endlessly to have its own group represented.
The answer, at least according to scholars of the Hanafi legal school, was that only the ruler, or the one appointed by the ruler, could choose the imam of this congregation.[6] The public had no authority to start their own Friday prayer. They could only choose to pray behind the appointed imam, or stay at home. In the minority context, scholars of the Hanafi school stated that where there is no Muslim ruler to make such a decision, the community itself must come together and appoint the imam.[7] In this case, no one individual can choose to lead the Friday prayer, only the one appointed by the community. This is effectively what happens in Mosques all over Britain. Mosques represent communities; members from the community run these mosques as representatives of the community, and they determine who leads the Friday prayer.
Shariah courts in Britain attempt to apply the same logic. Where there is no Muslim ruler to appoint judges to annul marriages in which women are abused, the Muslim community can come together to appoint a body to represent them in performing such a function. There is precedent to all of this in the works of Islamic law. The matter of Ramadan must be treated likewise.

Avoiding Sectarianism

Now, one might hear a voice stubbornly declare, “Okay, I’ll follow this appointed body as long as they follow local sightings!” Unfortunately, this is not how the process works. If the authority is vested in a judge, or a body acting as the judge, the prerogative is theirs to decide which method to use. The insistence of only observing the “correct” Ramadan is akin to insisting that only the “correct” Muslim enters one’s mosque; it is a thought process that is sectarian in nature and destructive in consequence. Unless the appointed judicial body totally violates and steps outside of what is considered acceptable opinion, it has to be followed. So where do we find this pool of acceptable opinion?
The world of Sunni Islam, the Muslim majority, ultimately settled on limiting the pool of acceptable opinion to the four established schools of law: the Hanafi, Shafi‘i, Maliki and Hanbali. This is not to say that great scholarship cannot exist outside of these schools. However, when it came to process, it was impossible to run a society with its need for clearly identifiable rules and procedures, if there was no clear way to limit and define acceptable legal opinion.[8] And as these four schools had matured to such a degree that it became increasingly hard to be recognised as one trained in law outside of the domain of these four schools, with their clearly defined hierarchy of rules, and great tradition of legal literature to draw upon, it made sense to only accept them as representing the law of God in the society of man. This Sunni paradigm ran Muslim societies for centuries, and it is of great use to us. It relieves us of having to force our own correct answer onto others. It is enough for an answer to be acceptable, after which we must strive for the right process in order to establish the will of God on earth.

Every Method Has A Basis In Sacred Law

If we look at the large corpus of legal works authored under the aegis of these four schools of law, we will find that every method currently followed, in Britain or elsewhere, has a basis in sacred law.

  • Relying on astronomical calculations, for example, is an opinion that a number of reputable scholars across legal schools have championed, with the strongest voices belonging to the Shafi‘i school.[9]
  • Global sighting, meaning following a sighting from a faraway land, has been upheld as the strongest opinion of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools, and, according to some, the Maliki school.[10]
  • Local sighting, meaning each locality following its own sightings, has been seen as the strongest opinion of the Shafi‘i school, and, according to some, the Maliki school.[11]

In truth, if a person looks through the corpus of legal works, he/she will see that the methods that were deemed acceptable were vast. As long as the judicial council vested with the authority to declare Ramadan follows any of these, then it must be followed. It is that simple.
So what to make of the long articles defending local sighting as the correct way to declare Ramadan, or global sighting, or other methods? These should all be seen as academic papers. These would be presented to such a judicial body to advise of the best method to follow. Otherwise, they are of little practical consequence because an individual cannot declare their own month.
The issue of moonsighting illustrates the wider purpose of the central devotional acts of Islam that make up its five pillars. Each of these upholds not only the faith of individuals, but the very community of faith to which these individuals belong. The detailed rules of the ritual prayer, fasting and zakat provide much guidance and clarity onhow a community of faith is to be formed, strengthened and spiritually nourished. If the community finds itself in discord and disarray, its members can only blame themselves for not having established these pillars as they were instructed.

Note: Most references below are to the Kuwaiti Fiqh Encylopaedia (al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah) which is perhaps the best and most accessible comparative fiqh reference compiled in the modern era, contributed to by leading scholars across the Muslim world. Each entry in the encyclopaedia provides references to the primary legal sources from which it draws.
[1] “The Fire is surrounded by lusts; and the Garden is surrounded by disliked matters;” al-Bukhari, hadith no. 6487.
[2] This is the insight of the Hanafi legal school: al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Khabar,” vol. 19, p. 16. Some Maliki texts also indicate this: al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, p. 25.
[3] This is the strongest position of the Maliki school: al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Khabar,” vol. 19, p. 17; and c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, p. 25.
[4] This is the strongest position of the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, who stipulate this whether the sky is overcast or clear, and of the Hanafi school, who only stipulate this if the sky is overcast: al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Khabar,” vol. 19 pp. 16-17; and c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 25-7.
[5] This is the opinion of all four schools of law, who differ only on whether such a person must expiate for consciously violating the fast, or not. Some notable scholars of the early Muslim community, however, held that such a person is not obliged to fast at all. There is greater disagreement concerning someone who sees the new moon for the month of Shawwal (the day of ‘Id al-Fitr) if the judge does not accept their testimony. Many scholars held that such a person does not fast; although, Malik and Ahmad b. Hanbal (founders of the Maliki and Hanbali legal schools) held that such a person must ignore their own sighting and fast. See al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ihlal,” vol. 7, pp. 150-1.
[6] Al-Marghinani, al-Hidayah, ed. Talal Yusuf, 4 vols. (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 2000), vol. 1, p. 82.
[7] Al-Laknawi, ‘Umdat al-ri‘ayah ‘ala Sharh al-Wiqayah, ed. Salah Abu al-Hajj, 7 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2009), vol. 1, pp. 321-3; Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-mukhtar, (Cairo: 1885), vol. 1, pp. 540-1.
[8] A good exploration of the social need for fixed rules as the reason for the dominance of the schools of law is Mohammad Fadel, “The Social Logic of Taqlīd and the Rise of the Mukhtaṣar,” Islamic Law and Society, 3, (1996): pp. 193-233.
[9] Scholars upholding this can be traced all the way back to the first Islamic century. The textual basis for this opinion is the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, “When you see it [the new moon of Ramadan] then fast; and when you see it [the new moon of Shawwal], then break the fast. If it is hidden from you (ghumma ‘alaykum) [i.e. if the sky is overcast] then estimate it (fa-qdiru lahu);” (al-Bukhari, hadith no. 1900). The last verb, fa-qdiru, can be validly understood to mean calculation. Of the scholars who held this, are Abu al-‘Abbas b. Surayj (d. 306/918), one of the leading founders of the classical Shafi‘i school, the Shafi‘i scholar and renowned mystic Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), the leading Shafi‘i judge Taqi al-Din al-Subki (d. 756/1355), the Shafi‘i legal theorist al-Zarkashi (d. 794/1392), the renowned Maliki legal theorist al-Qarafi (d. 684/1285), and some Hanafi scholars. The late Shafi‘i commentator al-Qalyubi (d. 1069/1659) held that all sighting-claims must be rejected if calculations show that a sighting was impossible, stating, “This is manifestly obvious. In such a case, a person may not fast. Opposing this is obstinacy and stubbornness.” See al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 31-4. The leading scholar of the late Shāfi‘ī school Muhammad al-Ramli (d. 1004/1596) held that the expert astronomer was obliged to follow his own calculation as was the non-astronomer who believed him; this position has been used by some contemporary Shafi’i scholars to state that in the modern world, with its precise calculations, the strongest opinion of the Shafi’i school should be that everyone must follow calculations; see ‘Umar b. al-Habib al-Husayni, Fath al-‘ali fi jam‘ al-khilaf bayna Ibn Hajar wa-Ibn al-Ramli, ed. Shifa’ Hitu (Jeddah: Dar al-Minhaj, 2010), pp. 819-22. See also the fatwa of the Hanafi scholar Dr Salah Abu al-Hajj (معنى-حديث-لا-تصوموا-حتى-تروا-الهلال-ول) last accessed 9/5/2016) which states, after arguing against relying on calculations, “However, the position of [following] calculations is the position of a considerable group of jurists, so it is a respected disagreement in Islamic law, whereby, if a state were to adopt it, it is not rejected, because the judgement of a judge removes disagreement, and the adoption of a state is [as] the judgement of a judge.”
[10] Al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 36-8.
[11] Al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, p. 37. The authors of the Mawsu‘ah state that local sighting is only the strongest opinion of the Shafi‘i school. However, many key Maliki texts also attest to the superiority of local sighting; see for example al-Dasuqi, Hashiyat al-Dasuqi ‘ala al-Sharh al-kabir, 4 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, n.d), vol. 1, p. 510.

Photo by Bernd Thaller. Republished with much gratitude to our friends at Islamicate.

Can Women Be Part of a Mosque Committee?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Recently, I have been involving myself in the mosque committee having pushed for a separate female committee that can have a voice alongside the mens’ committee. However, this has been met with much disapproval from older members of the community who believe that women should not be involved in serving the masjid.

My intention is to sincerely work to do good and follow the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Is it from the sunnah for women to take an active role in the mosque (any hadiths etc.) and what should the role of the mosque entail in today’s society?

Also, on open days the mosque is so full that women and men cannot be segregated in separate rooms (unless of course for prayer) and as everyone acts in a respectful manner would this be deemed as Islamically acceptable?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, I pray you’re well.

There is no issue with women serving on a mosque committee nor any other panel. Indeed, it is becoming more necessary to have women’s voices heard in places such as mosques and schools, as women form such an integral part of the Muslim community and are increasingly involved in every sphere of modern society.

We need to provide and support platforms for voices and contributions of neglected groups in our communities, such as women and youth, so as to be inclusive not exclusive and ensure that our Islamic guidance reaches everyone, not just the few. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) consulted his wives and sought their opinions in various matters.

Mosque Committees

Women often talk about the uphill struggle they face when working in conventionally male-dominated occupations, and typical mosque committees probably propose the biggest challenge!

Be sincere in your intentions, diplomatic in your dealings, always be respectful in your differences, but also stay inspired, resolute, and purposeful in your goal. Let your work and integrity win people over. Of course, make lots of du’a to Allah for guidance and help, and ensure all your plans and ideas are in accordance to the shariah.

You may have to choose your battles with the committee, by prioritizing which projects are most pressing and serve the community best. When you have successes and feedback, write them down and present them at committee meetings to show the importance of such outreach work. Perhaps over time they will realize the importance of your work and the benefit it has on the wider community.

Open Days and Gatherings

It is not impermissible for a group men and women to be in the same room, particular if it is a general open day for people to come and find out about Islam and Muslims. However, I would say the following in regards these gatherings:

1. If the committee strongly oppose the open days at the mosque on the grounds of gender mixing, then it may be better you arrange such events elsewhere such as a community center.

2. Unless for general talks addressed to all, where possible and in a very natural way, arrange for women to engage and talk to the female guests and men to male guests. There’s no need to be excessively strict, but some general guidelines and strategic floor planning would be a good idea. Don’t forget, it’s not only the male and female non-Muslims and Muslims in the room, but it’s also Muslim males and Muslim females in the same room as well. The latter actually requiring more thought and precaution, especially if young.

3. If the cross-faith gatherings are in more relaxed settings, such as coffee mornings etc., it should be gender separated, ideally in separate rooms, or at least one room divided into two separate and distinct areas.

4. Any gathering must ensure that there is a) no unnecessary intermingling (above what is needed for the general purpose of the gathering), b) everyone is respectful and modest in behaviour and dress, and c) it is free from unlawful speech.

And Allah knows best.

Please also refer to these previous related answers:

Do the Hadiths Say Women Can’t Be Leaders?

Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction

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.

Should I Go to a Mosque Where English Is Not Spoken?

Answered by Shaykh Riad Saloojee

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I really want to be part of a mosque/community. However there are not many English speaking mosques near me. There is one mosque that holds mainstream views. However is not an English speaking mosque. Should I still strive to want to be part of it and attend?

Answer: Wa’alaykum salam wa rahmatullah wa barakaatu,

I pray you are well, by Allah’s grace. What follows is a general answer, without regard to specific details that I do not have.

While I understand that there are sometimes challenges in the social environments of the masjid, I should always try to keep in mind that the masjid is the house of Allah. It is a place where I have the opportunity to connect my heart to Him in worship, remembrance and reflection. It is the space where my heart is meant to be transformed, purified and drawn nearer to Him.

Keeping this in mind, I should try my level best to not allow anything in the masjid’s social environment from impeding my personal, spiritual relationship with Allah’s house.

The legitimate social needs that we have in the masjid should be sought within this envelope of spiritual understanding. Where there are challenges, such as those that you mentioned, one general principle in the Sacred Law is that the one who cannot realize all benefit should not abandon seeking some benefit. We should try to attain whatever benefit we can in less than perfect environments.

Regardless of the environment and its challenges, and in particular within the house of Allah, I would advise my sister to always maintain the best standards of character and behaviour.

I have no doubt that with these intentions in mind and with sincere seeking of Allah’s nearness, He will create avenues for you to draw nearer to him, personally and through your social relationships.

May Allah facilitate for us the pathways to Him.

Wa salaamu’alahykum wa rahmatullah,
[Shaykh] Riad Saloojee

Shaykh Riad Saloojee graduated and taught in an Islamic seminary in Cape Town, South Africa.  He is a lawyer by training and worked in the field of civil rights advocacy. Currently, he teaches and translates.

Usually the Doors of Mosques Were Unlocked. Why?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Usually the doors of mosques were unlocked. Why?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Classically, it was disliked (makruh) to lock the doors of the mosque because it was deemed akin to preventing the general public from prayer.

Allah Most High says, “Who does more wrong than those who prevent Allah’s Name from being mentioned in His places of worship.” [2:114]

But if there is a fear of theft of mosque property, particularly in our times, there is no harm is locking the doors outside the times of prayer. The detailing of how this is applied within a specific context would return to those who look after the affairs of the mosque.

[Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar, with Ibn ‘Abidin’s Gloss; Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta‘lil al-Mukhtar]

Please also see this answer.

And Allah Most High alone knows best.


[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.

In His Praise (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him!) – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

“Allah Guides to His Light Whom He Wills.”  (Surah An-Nur)
In His Praise (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him!)
Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem
Ya Sayyidi! (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
What can I write in praising You? Other than sending an abundance of salawat and salaam upon You; (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
My heart, my words, my soul and my thoughts say it all, They follow no one other than You;  (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
Such longing has taken control of my every movement, And its words are afloat in the sea of Your love; (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
When I praise You with my words, It is my words that are praised by You! (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
The honour of my life and my time, Is to repeat Your name! (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
Your remembrance is a shield between me and anxiety, And it is Your remembrance that is my guidance; (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon You!)
Allah commands to sending salawat upon Him, So let us keep to sending salawat upon our Beloved! (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him!)
He is our Ahmad and our Rahma,
He is our Hamid and our Blessing,
He is our Mahmood and our Joy,
He is our Mukhtar and our Choice. (May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be Upon Him!)
Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH
12 Rabi-ul-Awwal 1439 – 1 December 2017  
Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
Scholar In Residence and Head Of Education Harrow Central Mosque

[cwa id=’cta’]

Is It Permissible to Eat the Fruits From a Tree Planted in a Mosque?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

In my mosque there is a mango tree. Do I have to get the permission to pick mangoes from the mango tree in the mosque?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. May Allah reward you for desiring to find out the correct rulings before acting.

The permissibility or prohibition on eating fruit from trees within a mosque returns to the reason why the fruit tree was planted in the mosque.

When it is prohibited to eat from trees within a mosque

If the tree was planted specifically for the mosque, then it is not permitted to eat its fruits. Rather, the fruits are sold and the profits return to the mosque funds. Similarly, if the tree was made as a part of an endowment to a specific people (waqf), such as the mosque Imam and his family, then it is also not permissible from anyone else to eat from the tree. The only way to know this is by asking the mosque committee.

In these scenarios, if one ate from the tree without permission, one would have to reimburse the mosque for the fruit eaten.

When it is permissible to eat from trees within a mosque

If the tree was neither of the above, such as the tree was planted as an unconditioned act of charity for anyone to take from, then it would be permissible to eat of its fruits. Again, the way to know this is by asking the mosque committee.

If one does not know if the tree was planted for the mosque, as an endowment, or for general benefit, then one is also permitted to eat from it. However, it would be highly recommended to do one’s best to find out the status of the tree before eating from it. And Allah knows best.

[‘Iyanat al Talibin, Tuhfa al Muhtaj]

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.

Beautiful Calls To Prayer From Around The World, by Aiysha Malik

Our friends at the delightful parenting blog, Mamanushka, have produced a playlist of adhan (call to prayer) recordings from around the world, which we are pleased to share here:

Writer Aiysha Malik writes, “I live in a city filled with choirs and churchbells. Harmonies fill the air while we walk through the town and bells ring melodiously from towers on holy days and Sundays – hopeful reminders that sacred connections can still be found and are, indeed, cherished and nurtured. And even more wondrous, whenever my ears catch these tones, my heart is reminded of another sacred sound…”

Read on at Mamanushka.

Resources for seekers on the adhan (call to prayer)

I Pay the Electricity Bill of a Mosque. What Is the Reward?

Answered by Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Is there any hadith regarding the reward for providing lightning for a mosque? Is it valid to make intention to pay the electricity bill for the mosque as a mean to provide lighting for the believers so that Allah may put light in my grave?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner about light on the day of resurrection,

No direct proof

There is no direct proof that states that Allah will provide he who provides light for the mosque, with light.

Indirect proof

It is known that Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him – said: “Actions will be rewarded in harmony with the intention behind them.” And – peace and blessings be upon him – said: “The water of Zamzam will result in that what it was drunk for.” (This is a sound hadith, declared authentic by as-Suyuti, Ibn Hajar, Ibn Khuzayman, Ibn Hummam, ad-Daylami, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi and others)

The early muslims and their understanding of these indirect proofs

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi drunk from Zam-Zam with three intentions. Ibn Khuzayma was asked where he got his knowledge from. He said: because of the du’a he made while drinking from zam-zam. Others drunk from zam-zam with the intention not to experience any form of thirst on the day of the resurrection.

Be sincere

If you are sincere in what you want, then Allah will give you what you ask for. In the time of the Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him – a man wanted to die in a certain way. And it did take place exactly as he said. Muhammad – peace and blessing be upon him – said: “He was sincere with Allah so Allah gave him what he was longing for.”


If you do this with the intention that Allah will give you light on the day of resurrection, then I believe that all these general proofs and many others that I did not mention show us that you will get what you long for as long as you are sincere.

Better vs. best

I still think that the best thing is to leave things up to Allah. He knows best what we need most. Maybe it is not light in your grave that you need most, but something else.

Worship is for Allah alone

The best thing is to do good because it pleases Allah, and not to think about the reward. That Allah chose you to be that element in this universe through which He wants to be worshipped is the biggest reward and most generous Divine present.

I ask Allah to take us by the hand to everything that pleases Him, amin.

[Shaykh] Sulayman Van Ael

Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael
received ijazah from various luminaries in the ten Qur’anic readings, in Ihya Ulum al-Din, in the major books of hadith, in different texts in Guelph classical Islamic sciences–including grammar, tafsir, fiqh, and usul.

How to Pray Tahiyat Al Masjid (Greeting the Mosque)? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How to pray “Tahiyat Al Masjid” (greeting the mosque)?

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).

Is a Prayer Offered on a Carpet Stained With Blood Valid?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I have a few pimples on my face and at times after performing wudu, blood flows from them. I have prayed in the Mosque with blood flowing from my face and the mosque’s carpet has some blood stains on it due to this. Is the prayer offered on such a carpet valid?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Blood which appears on the surface of a wound and the like, without actually flowing, is not considered to be legally filthy. Consequently, the presence of stains from such blood on a carpet doesn’t affect the validity of your prayer.

Ignore misgivings, but if you are become aware of stains on the carpet after the prayer, from your own doing, please consider cleaning the area (1) for hygienic reasons, and (2) out of respect for the mosque.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah (1.140)]

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: Could You Please List All the Nullifiers of Ablution According to the Hanafi school?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.


[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.