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Scholars, Students of Knowledge, and Poverty – Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari – IlmGate

Muhammad ibn Adam

Scholars, Students of Knowledge, and Poverty | IlmGate

By Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Question:

How does a Muslim scholar, serious student, and others who have devoted their lives to the service of Islam and the Muslims support himself/herself? I ask because this is perhaps one of the main reasons why parents don’t wish for their children to become scholars of Islam — they are usually poor, they don’t get paid much at all (if at all), and they attract trouble from different extremist groups.

I come from an upper middle-class family. How can I convince my parents that I can become a Muslim scholar and have sufficient finances to support myself and my family?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

This is indeed a very important issue that affects no doubt many students of Islamic knowledge and those wishing to devote their lives to studying and teaching Islamic sciences and dedicating themselves to the service of Islam. I would like to shed some light on the issue from two perspectives. The first part of the answer will look at the virtues of poverty and its strong attachment with acquiring sacred knowledge, and how poverty was the hallmark of our pious predecessors. The second part will look at the importance of scholars and those devoting their lives to the service of Deen having a sufficient income and the responsibility of the community in terms of taking care of their scholars. With this twofold approach, there will be a balance in what I intend to say, Insha Allah.

Poverty, hunger and scarcity of wealth, the hallmark of our predecessors

The great late scholar of Hadith and other Islamic sciences, Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (may Allah have mercy on him) compiled an excellent work on the trials, tribulations and hardships that faced many of this Umma’s scholars titled “Safahat min Sabr al-Ulama ala Shada’id al-Ilm wa al-Tahsil” (Pages on the fortitude of scholars upon the trials of studying and collecting knowledge), wherein he recorded some incredible incidents concerning our scholars and showed how much hardship they had to endure whilst studying and acquiring sacred knowledge. Some remained hungry for days, others were not able to provide for their families and some did not even marry. Some scholars went to the extent of selling their personal belongings, cloths and furniture to fund their studies and to buy books. I would really encourage students of sacred knowledge, who understand Arabic, to read this book over and over again, so that it gives us strength and makes us realize that the lack of wealth we have today is nothing in comparison to the hardships the great luminaries of Islam had to face and endure.

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The fact is that the Sunna of Allah Most High has always been (for a wisdom that He knows best) to keep those close to Him and those who dedicate their lives for the service of His Deen far away from the wealth and riches of this temporary world. The word “Dunya” is from the Arabic root word “Dunuw” which means degraded and humiliated. Thus, men of Allah have always been far and distant from gathering the riches of this mortal world. Indeed, there are exceptions to this general ruling, hence we do see some great personalities of Islam having wealth in their possession, but that remains an exception and was something intended for them by Allah Most High, as it suited them, and they too utilized this wealth for Islamic causes and charities.

We see the many Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all) that they barely made ends meet. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is a classic example for us, in that he preferred poverty over sumptuousness. His poverty was a poverty of choice and not something that was enforced upon him.

Let us look at some of the Hadiths in this regard, taken from Imam Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Salihin:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “If I had the whole of Uhud in gold, it would not make me happy for three days to pass while I have any of it except something I have kept for a debt.” [Agreed upon]

An-Nu’man ibn Bashir said: “Umar ibn al-Khattab mentioned the things of this world that the people had acquired and he said, “One day I saw the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) sifting through some bad dates he had found in order to fill his belly.” [Muslim]

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) died, there was nothing in my house that could be eaten by a living creature except for half a barley loaf on a shelf. I ate from it until I seemed to have had it for a long time. Then I measured it and it finished.” [Agreed upon]

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The poor will enter the Paradise five hundred years before the rich.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “The family of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never had their fill of barley bread for two consecutive days until he died.” [Agreed upon] In one variant, “From the time he came to Madina, the family of Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never had their fill of wheat bread for three consecutive nights until he died.”

Urwa reported that A’isha used to say: “By Allah, nephew, we used to see three crescent moons in two months without a fire being lit in the houses of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace). I said. “Aunt, what did you live off?” She said, “The two black ones: dates and water. However, the Messenger of Allah had some neighbours among the Ansar, and they have milk camels, and they would send us some of their milk and we would drink it.” [Agreed upon]

Hence, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his noble family lived a life that was far from the riches and wealth we find ourselves in today. He remained hungry for days and tied stones on his belly out of hunger. His dress was very humble, so too was his house. There are many Hadiths covered in Riyadh al-Salihin in this regard, but the abovementioned few narrations should be sufficient for the people of reflection.

The blessed companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also lived a similar lifestyle. The Companion who narrated the most Hadiths from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and who devoted and dedicated all his life to seeking the light of knowledge was Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him). He himself says: “There is none among the companions of the Prophet who has narrated more Hadiths than I except Abd Allah ibn Amr (ibn al-’As) who used to write them and I never did the same.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

When we search for the reason behind Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra learning sacred knowledge in abundance and narrating a lot of Hadiths, it becomes clear that the main cause was that he chose to live a life of poverty and not utilize his time in gathering wealth.

Imam Bukhari relates in his Sahih that Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said: “People say that I have narrated many Hadiths. Had it not been for two verses in the Qur’an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: “Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down . . . (up to) Most Merciful.” (2:159-160). And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business transactions and our Ansari brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Hurayra) used to remain with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) contented with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/190)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) also said: “I saw seventy of the people of Suffa and not a man among them had a cloak. They either had a waist wrapper or a sheet (kisa’) which they tied round their necks, some reaching to the middle of their legs and some reaching to the ankles. They would gather them in their hands, not wanting their private parts to be seen.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

In accordance with the Sunna of the Prophets and the Companions, the great Imams and scholars of this Umma also led a life of poverty and self-restraint. They chose a life of hardships and trials over a life of luxury and comfort.

Sayyiduna Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) said: “No one seeks this knowledge with pride and self-importance and then succeeds; rather, the one who seeks knowledge by putting himself down, enduring economic difficulties and serving the Ulama is successful.”

Imam Shafi’i also said: “Seeking sacred knowledge is inappropriate except for a destitute person.”

Sayyiduna Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) said: “No one reaches the level of learning that he desires until he endures the hardships of poverty, and he prefers poverty above everything.”

Dawud ibn Mikhraq said: I heard Nadhr ibn Shumayl say: “No individual will taste the pleasure of sacred knowledge until he becomes hungry and forgets his hunger.”

Sayyiduna Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) used to give poverty preference over everything else and he would say: “Patience (sabr) on poverty is a station (maqam) that only great people achieve, and poverty is more virtuous than prosperity.”

One of the Imams talked about his patience and tolerance (sabr) with poverty and that it reached such a level that even the “Sabr” pleaded to him for help and said enough. He replied: “O Sabr! Have patience”!

Imam al-Zabidi (Allah have mercy on him) said a few lines of poetry in which he said: “I said to poverty (faqr) where do you reside? “Poverty” replied: “In the turbans of the Fuqaha (scholars). I have a special bond and tie with them; hence it is difficult for me to break this tie”! (All quotes taken from Shaykh Abdal Fattah Abu Ghudda’s work, Safahat min Sabril Ulama)

Moreover, these great luminaries of Islam suffered a great deal of hardship in acquiring sacred knowledge. The incidents that took place in their lives of hardships, poverty, trials and tribulations are too many to be mentioned here. If one wishes to study them, one may refer to the above-mentioned book of Shaykh Abd al-Fattah (Allah have mercy on him).

Importance of scholars having a sufficient income

Having said all of the above, it is also important to remember that Ulama and Shuyukh cannot survive without any income. They also have bills, rent to pay and families to provide for. Thus, classical Ulama also acknowledged the fact that extreme poverty can hinder one’s service to the Deen.

Sayyiduna Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) said: “Do not take advice from one who has no flour in his house, because he will be overcome by distress.” (Manaqib Imam Shafi’i by al-Bayhaqi)

The reason behind this, as the Ulama explain, is that if a scholar is overwhelmed by extreme poverty and destituteness, he will not be able to devote his full attention towards teaching and serving the Deen of Allah. He will always be concerned with providing for his family and earning that which will help him get through life.

Thus, Ulama explain that there are two types of poverty:

1) Dark poverty (al-faqr al-aswad)

This is when poverty completely overwhelms a person to the extent that his mind is always occupied in trying to earn a living. This kills one’s intellectual potential and capacity, and the one involved in it disintegrates as a green plant would fade away when it is starved of water. This is the poverty regarding which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Poverty may sometimes lead to disbelief”. This is the type of poverty from which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sought the refuge and protection of Allah Most High.

2) White poverty (al-faqr al-abyadh)

This is a situation where an individual is no doubt poor, but it is not to an extreme level. He is able to get through the daily economic responsibilities on a limited scale. One is content with what Allah has allocated for one; hence this poverty does not affect one’s intellectual potential, although others are generally far better well-off than one. This type of poverty is actually a blessing for a student of sacred knowledge, especially in the early days of learning, for one is saved from the worldly temptations that wealth can bring about.

Therefore, in conclusion, students of Islamic knowledge must understand that the path they have taken is a path of self-restraint, poverty and humility. One will no doubt have to sacrifice the luxuries of this world in order to truly reach a high level of knowledge and piety. Knowledge requires sacrifice. Historically, this sacrifice meant walking thousands of miles, hunger and in some cases even loss of limb. It is said that Imam Zamakhshari had a leg amputated because of frostbite he got when journeying in pursuit of knowledge.

If one is prepared to sacrifice the luxuries of this world during the early days of learning, Allah Most High then normally showers this person with bounties later on in life. The great master of inward sciences, Ibn Ata’illah as-Sikandari (Allah have mercy on him) said: “Whosoever does not endure a difficult beginning, does not have a bright ending” (man lam takun lahu bidayat muhriqa, lam takun lahu nihaya mushriqa).

At the same time, Muslim communities need to realize that scholars also have to survive and earn a living. Unfortunately, Muslim communities generally don’t appreciate and value Islamic knowledge in a manner they value other things. Scholars who dedicate their day and night in studying, teaching, researching and imparting knowledge are considered to be such that “they have nothing better to do”. Believe me, they can also go out and earn a luxurious lifestyle. They can also open their own businesses and gather wealth, but they choose not to engage themselves in earning wealth, rather they prefer to devote their lives for the service of Islam. The least we can do is to cater for their daily needs.

Imam Ibn Khallidun states in his renowned al-Muqaddima that the main reason behind Ulama being generally poor is that the masses don’t value what they have to offer. Only a handful of people truly appreciate their worth, hence they are not paid adequately. They themselves don’t like to degrade themselves by asking others to cater for their needs, hence they remain in poverty.

The value of Islamic scholars is much more than academic experts in other fields, for these experts cater for us in this life, whilst the Ulama give us advice and guide us in this life as well as the next. Hence, they should be looked after in the same manner as the experts in the other fields are looked after. Thus, we should ensure that our scholars are financially comfortable in a manner befitting their rank and honour, and that we support them in a thankful and dignified manner, not as if they are needy.

Today we see that Ulama are forced to work and run a business, for they are unable to support themselves and their families with the meagre income they acquire through teaching. As a result, their intellectual potential isn’t fully deployed for the service of the deen. This is the reason we find very few Ulama who are fully committed to the cause of teaching and research, especially in the West.

Thus, Muslim communities really need to wake up and truly appreciate the work of the Ulama. They should move away from paying the “minimum wage” to these great Shuyukh and cater for their needs in a more appropriate and respectful manner. At the same time, students of Islamic knowledge should realize that the path they have taken is not a path of gathering wealth; rather it is a path of sacrifices and hardships. With this balance, we will, Insha Allah, produce Ulama who resemble our pious predecessors in their inward and outward qualities.

And Allah knows best.

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa (www.daruliftaa.com)
Leicester , UK

A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Question: I would like to know what the husband’s obligations are towards his wife regarding providing shelter for her. The husband makes his wife live with his family (in-laws) and makes her share the household facilities with other members of the family (kitchen, bathroom), and this is causing a lot of problems for the wife and she does not have her privacy either. The husband is capable of providing separate residence and facilities but does not, and the wife is having a difficult time?

Please could you explain according the Hanafi School how to deal with this problem?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The Shariah has given certain rights to the husband, just as it has give rights to the wife. Many times, failure to give the spouses their rights results in conflict and eventually breakdown of Marriage.

These rights, at times, may not go down too well with certain people and cultures. However, it is necessary for us to educate those Muslims who have been affected by cultural customs and traditions, and inform them of the injunctions of Shariah.

The benefit of learning and educating the masses about the rules and injunctions of Shariah with regards to social affairs is that, each party will appreciate what the other has to offer, and subsequently, this will lead to respect, love and harmony.

For example, it is not necessary upon the wife to cook for or serve her parents in-law. Now, many people believe that, it is the duty of the wife to look after not only the household affairs but all the family members including the nephew, niece, etc…If she is negligent in any way, she is rebuked.

However, if her in-laws did not regard this as an incumbent duty of the wife, and she on her own accord took care of the household work, then this work will surely be appreciated. She will also in turn do her best to give something back in return for this appreciation.

Therefore, it is our duty that we teach the masses and inform them of the injunctions of Shariah with regards to social affairs. This may be a Jihad, and one will no doubt face much opposition from culturally oriented individuals, but the rewards by Allah will be immense Insha Allah.

Coming to your question, In the Hanafi school, the wife has a right to live (and demand to live) separately. It is the duty and responsibility of the husband to provide her with shelter (suknah). This shelter must, if she demands so, be free from the interference of any of the husband’s family. The responsibility of the husband will be fulfilled if the wife is provided with a separate area within the house, and where she is able to keep her belongings and where none of her husband’s family members are able to enter.

Imam al-Haskafi states in Durr al-Mukhtar:

“It is necessary for the husband to provide the wife with a shelter (home) that is free from his and her family members…. taking into consideration both their economic standings. A separate quarter within the house that has a lock, separate bathroom and kitchen will be (minimally) sufficient.”

The great Hanafi Jurist, Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) comments on this by saying:

“The reason behind al-Haskafi’s statement “Free from his family members” is that, at times it may be harmful for her to share the house with other people, as her belongings may not be safe. Also, she will not be able to enjoy her husband’s company in the presence of other people.”

Regarding al-Haskafi’s statement “Separate bathroom and kitchen”, this may defer from one family to another. Poor people who normally share these things with other families may find it difficult to provide a house with a separate bathroom and cooking area. Therefore, for them it will be sufficient to provide a separate quarter that has a lock.” (Radd al-Muhtar 3/559-600)

Imam al-Kasani states in his Bada’i al-Sana’i:

“It is necessary to provide the wife with shelter as Allah Most High Says: “Let the women live in the same stile as you live, according to your means. And annoy them not, so as to restrict them.” (al-Talaq, 6)

If the husband desired her to live with his other wife or his family members, such as: his mum, sister, daughter from another wife or relatives, and she refused, then it will be incumbent upon him to provide her with a separate living quarter. The reason for this is that she may be harmed in co-sharing, and her refusal is a sign of harm. Also, the spouses need to fulfil their mutual sexual needs whenever the need arises, which may be difficult with others around.

If the husband provided her with a separate quarter in a large home, which has a separate lock, then she will not have a right to demand for a total separate house.” (Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i, Vol.4, P.23)

In conclusion, it is the responsibility of the husband to provide the wife with shelter. If she demands it to be separate from the husbands family, then the husband will be obliged to provide a living quarter which is free from the interference of others and that it has a separate lock. As far as the bathroom and cooking area is concerned, this should also be separate if they are not from a poor family background who normally share these things (as Imam Ibn Abidin mentions in length in his super commentary), otherwise the responsibility will be discharged by providing the above.

And Allah Knows Best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

Passionate Kissing While Fasting

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: Does passionate kissing invalidate the fast? What about the hadith wherein the Prophet (Allah bless him) would kiss his wife passionately while fasting?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Indeed it is reported from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that he would kiss his wife and our mother Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) passionately (by sucking on her tongue) whilst in the state of fasting. (Sunan Abu Dawud, no: 2378)

However, when I quoted this Hadith in the answer titled “Passionate kissing is also the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace)” I stated that please refer to the Fiqh of kissing during a fast. The reason being is that, according to the Fuqaha, the exchange of saliva through kissing will invalidate one’s fast.

The Hanafi jurists (fuqaha) state that non-sexual affectionate kissing, from which there is no fear of leading to intercourse or ejaculation, is allowed and not disliked. But, if one fears that kissing will lead to ejaculation or intercourse, then it will be disliked to kiss. However, one’s fast remains valid as long as kissing does not lead to actual sexual intercourse or does not result in ejaculation. If kissing resulted in ejaculation, one’s fast would become invalid and hence will have to be made up (qadha), without having to expiate for it (kaffara). (See: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/200 & 1/204)

With regards to passionate or French kissing when saliva is exchanged, it is stated in Maraqi al-Falah:

“And from the acts than invalidate one’s fast and also necessitate an expiation (kaffara) is the swallowing of the saliva of one’s spouse or friend, for one feels passion in it.” (Tahtawi ala Maraqi al-Falah, P: 667)

It is stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“If one swallows the saliva of another, one’s fast will be invalidated without expiation (kaffara) being necessary, unless the saliva is of one’s friend (or spouse), for that will also necessitate expiation.” (1/203)

Thus, swallowing the saliva of another in a sexual manner with desire and passion invalidates one’s fast, with a make up (qadha) and expiation (kaffara) both becoming necessary. Passionate kissing or sucking on the tongue of one’s spouse would inevitably result in an exchange of saliva, and then that saliva being swallowed. As such, it would result in the invalidation of one’s fast. This is the position of the Hanafi Fuqaha and also the Fuqaha of some other Schools.

Now, the question arises as to how would the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), wherein he is reported to have kissed passionately whilst fasting (quoted above), be explained?

Imam Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“There is a narration that has been recorded by only Imam Abu Dawud from Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) that the “Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss her passionately (during a fast)” but the chain of this Hadith is weak. If it is proven to be authentic, then it refers to when there is no exchange of saliva, hence not swallowing one’s spouse’s saliva.” (Fath al-Bari, 4/195)

The great scholar of Hadith of the Indian Subcontinent, Shaykh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (Allah have mercy on him) states in his commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud, Bazl al-Majhud, that this Hadith where it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss Sayyida A’isha passionately whilst fasting to the point that he would suck on her tongue goes against what the Fuqaha have stated that swallowing the saliva of another invalidates one’s fast.

One explanation is that the chain of transmission for this Hadith is weak. The narrators Muhammad ibn Dinar and Sa’d ibn Aws are considered to be weak, and neither is there another authentic Hadith wherein “sucking on the tongue” is mentioned.

Secondly (if the Hadith is proven to be authentic), passionate kissing and sucking on the tongue is not connected to fasting. Hence, the meaning of the Hadith is that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss Sayyida A’isha whilst he was fasting, and normally when he kissed her, he would kiss her passionately (but not necessarily whilst fasting).

Thirdly, Even if the passionate kissing took place in the state of fast, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would ensure not to swallow her saliva. The sucking on the tongue was very subtle and not to the point where saliva was exchanged and swallowed. (See: Bazl al-Majhud fi Hal Abi Dawud)

In Conclusion, passionate kissing is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him) as mentioned in the Hadith of Sunan Abi Dawud, although some have considered the chain of this Hadith to be weak. However, it would not be allowed to kiss passionately whilst in the state of fasting, for the exchange of saliva and the resulting swallowing will invalidate one’s fast.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari

Darul Iftaa

Leicester, UK

When Is Expiation Required for a Fast?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: A sister was not encouraged to fast when she was young. Does she have to make expiation for these missed fasts in addition to making them up?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

She will only have to make up (qada) for the fasts missed after puberty. She need not fast for 60 continuous days, nor does she have to pay anything.

It should always be remembered that an expiation (kaffara) only becomes necessary upon an individual if a fast was broken deliberately (without a valid excuse) after actually starting it by eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse. As such, if a fast of Ramadan was not kept altogether, then although one will be sinful for not fasting, an expiation will not be necessary, rather one will be obliged to make up for the missed fasts.

The great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states while discussing the acts that make one only liable to make up for the fast and not expiation:

“If an individual broke his fast by mistake, such as whilst gargling water entered into his/her mouth unintentionally  or they woke up in the morning without making an intention of fasting .then in all these situations, only a make-up will be necessary.”

Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) whilst explaining the above states:

“(Or he woke up in the morning without making an intention to fast) … Because an expiation is only necessary upon a person who broke the fast after keeping it . (Only a make-up will be necessary) meaning there will be no expiation.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/401-406)

Therefore, in light of the above, the one who missed the obligatory fasts of Ramadan after puberty should first repent to Allah Almighty and seek His forgiveness for not fasting. Secondly, it will be necessary to make up for the fasts that were missed, although expiation will not be necessary. The person concerned should begin making up for the missed fasts as soon as possible, insha Allah.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK

Intercourse During the Month of Ramadan

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: Can a husband and wife have Intercourse during the month of Ramadan?

Answer: Yes, it is perfectly okay and permitted for a husband and wife to have sexual intercourse during the blessed month of Ramadhan after sunset (iftar) and before true dawn (al-Fajr al-Sadiq), meaning when they are not fasting.

Allah Most High says:

“Lawful for you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach (sexual intercourse) to your wives. They are your garments and you are their garments. Allah knows what you used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now cohabit with them (your wives) and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread. Then complete your fast till the night appears; but do not cohabit with your wives while you are in retreat in the mosques. Those are Limits (set by) Allah. Approach not near thereto. Thus does Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.” (Surah al-Baqarah, V: 187)

In the above verse, Allah Most High clearly mentions the permissibility of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse during the nights of Ramadhan. In the beginning of Islam, the ruling was that if one went to sleep or offered his Eisha prayer, one could not eat, drink or have sex with one’s spouse until sunset the following day. This proved to be somewhat difficult for the Muslims, hence thereafter Allah, the Almighty and Wise, revealed the abovementioned verse, in that it is permissible for one to eat, drink or have sex at night until true dawn comes in, after which one’s fast commences. Some Companions abstained from sexual intercourse during the whole month of Ramadhan, hence the abovementioned verse was revealed. (See: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 1/298)

However, it should be noted that in the last part of the above verse, Allah Most High prohibits sexual intercourse whilst one is in I’tikaf, hence it is unlawful for the one who is in the state of I’tikaf to cohabit with his spouse whether in the Masjid or outside the Masjid.

As far as your second question is concerned, it is perfectly permitted and lawful for a legally married couple to have sex on Eid day, as there is no fast on this day.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

Is Expiation (kaffara) Necessary For Not Fasting in Ramadan?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: A Muslim, ignorant of his deen, and ignorant of the importance of fasting in Ramadhan did not fast, or make niyyah to fast at all in the month for many years. Then he returned to Islam, and made tawbah for his sins and he calculated he had missed about 400 fasts in his life. Does he have to make up the 400 fasts?

Answer: Expiation (Kaffara) only becomes necessary upon an individual if a fast was broken deliberately after actually starting it by eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse. As such, if a fast of Ramadhan was not kept altogether, then although one will be sinful for not fasting, a Kaffara will not be necessary, rather one will be obliged to make up for the missed fast (qadha).

The great Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states while discussing the acts that make one only liable to make up for the fast (qadha) and not expiation (kaffara):

“If an individual broke his fast by mistake, such as whilst gargling water entered into his mouth unintentionally…or…..or he woke up in the morning without making an intention of fasting….then in all these situations, only a Qadha will be necessary.

Allama Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) explaining the above states:

“(Or he woke up in the morning without making an intention to fast)…..Because a Kaffara is only necessary upon a person who broke the fast after keeping it…. (Only a Qadha will be necessary) meaning there will be no Kaffara. (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 2/401-406)

Therefore, in light of the above, the one who missed the obligatory fasts of Ramadhan should firstly repent to Allah Almighty and seek his forgiveness for not fasting. Secondly, it will be necessary to make up (qadha) for the 400 fasts that were missed, although a Kaffara will not be necessary. The person concerned should begin making up for the missed fasts as soon as possible, Insha Allah.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

Fasting in Extreme Latitudes

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

           

 Question : In the areas that are situated on extreme latitudes, you mentioned that there are four methods of calculating the times for the Eisha and Fajr prayers. How would these times be used for fasting in Ramadan? It seems that any of the methodologies enumerated could result in 20+ hour fasts, which does not seem reasonable for an entire month of fasting. It may become very difficult for one to fast for 20 hours and more.

 

             

 Answer : Firstly, with regards to fasting, the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah clearly indicate that the time for its commencement is at true dawn (al-fajr al-sadiq) and it ends at sunset (ghurub). There is also the consensus of the Ummah (ijma) on this.

 

Secondly, as mentioned in an earlier post, one of the methods of calculating the times of Eisha and Fajr prayers respectively is the method of Aqrab al-Ayyam, which means to calculate the times according to the last day when Dawn did actually set in. (See for details a post on this website in the Salat section).

 

Now, for example, on the last day when true dawn (al-fajr al-sadiq) set in, it was around 1:20 A.M. This time will remain the beginning time for the fasts throughout the period where the sun fails to descend fully below the western horizon.

 

Indeed, the fasts may be twenty hours long, but this is something one will have to adhere to. It should be remembered that the duration of the fast on the last day when true dawn did actually appear, was also twenty hours. Now, when true dawn actually does appear (meaning we experience actual fajr al Sadiq), then (obviously) we must begin our fasts from that time, thus there is no alternative but to follow this ruling during the days when we don’t experience the actual appearing of Fajr al-Sadiq, for the duration of fasts in both times is similar.

 

One should always keep in mind that certain rulings may definitely be difficult to practice upon, but the rewards by Allah in the hereafter are immense.

 

However, if old and weak people are unable to bear the long fasts, and they fear becoming extremely ill, it would be permitted for them not to keep the fasts in Ramadhan and thereafter make them up (qadha) when the duration of the fasts becomes less.

 

And Allah Knows Best

 Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

Brief Miscellaneous Q & A Relating to Fasting

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Q: Is taking a meal before commencing a fast (suhur) necessary in order for a fast to be valid?

A: No, Suhur is not necessary. However, it is a virtuous act of Sunnah that should not be missed unnecessarily.

Q: What time does Suhur begin?

A: One can take Suhur any time after midnight, but it is more advisable to take it in the latter hours of the night, preferably just before the break of true dawn (al-Fajr al-Sadiq).

Q: Is an intention for fasting necessary and when should one make the intention (niyyah) for the fast of Ramadhan?

A: The intention for fasting is necessary but very simple: It is to know in your heart that you will fast that day. It is valid to have this intention any time from Maghrib the night before up to the Islamic midday of the actual day of fasting, for current Ramadhan fasts and voluntary fasts. The Islamic midday is half way between the beginning of Fajr and Maghrib times. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya)

Q: Can a man have sexual intercourse with his wife during the nights of Ramadhan?

A: Yes, it is permitted to have sexual intercourse with one’s spouse during the nights of Ramadhan. However, one must stop before the break of dawn (al-Fajr al-Sadiq). It will also be permitted to take the obligatory ritual bath of purification after one has started one’s fast.

Q: Is it permissible to kiss and caress one’s wife whilst fasting?

A: Non-sexual affectionate kissing, from which there is no fear of leading to intercourse or ejaculation, will be allowed and not disliked. However, if one fears that kissing will lead to ejaculation or sexual intercourse, then it will be disliked (makruh) to kiss, but one’s fast will remain valid as long as kissing does not lead to actual sexual intercourse or does not result in ejaculation. If kissing resulted in ejaculation, one’s fast would become invalid and hence will have to be made up (qadha), without having to expiate for it (kaffara). Passionate kissing when saliva is exchanged will invalidate one’s fast, with both Qadha and Kaffara necessary. (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1/200 & 1/204)

Q: Does a fast break when one swallows the saliva of one’s spouse?

A: Yes, if one is certain of swallowing one’s spouse’s saliva, then this would invalidate one’s fast and necessitate both a Qadha and Kaffara.

Q: If one kisses or caresses one’s spouse and consequently ejaculates, is one’s fast broken?

A: Yes, the fast is invalidated. However one will only have to make up for the fast (Qadha), and there will be no expiation (Kaffara) in this situation.

Q: What is the difference between a Qadha and Kaffara?

A: Qadha (makeup) means to keep another fast in order to make up for the fast which was invalidated, whilst Kaffara (expiation) means to perform an act to expatiate the sin of having broken a fast.

Q: In what way is a Kaffara fulfilled?

A: A Kaffara may be given in the following two ways: 1) Fasting for two months consecutively without missing a single fast, 2) Feeding sixty poor people. It should be remembered that if one has the ability to fast then one cannot adopt the second method; rather, one will have to fast for sixty days continuously.

Q: Does an injection invalidate one’s fast?

A: No, it does not invalidate one’s fast, although it is better to avoid taking injections whilst fasting unnecessarily.

Q: Does taking out blood or a blood test invalidate one’s fast?

A: No, a blood test does not invalidate the fast, as it is merely the taking out of blood. However, it will be disliked if it could weaken one from being able to maintain the fast.

Q: Does smoking invalidate one’s fast?

A: Yes, it does invalidate one’s fast. (Ramadhan is a good time to quit smoking forever!).

Q: Is it allowed to use an Asthma Pump during the Fast?

A: If one has a genuine medical need for an asthma pump that cannot be otherwise fulfilled, then it would be permitted to use it. However, it would break the fast and require that the fast be made up later (Qadha). This is because anything that has a perceptible body breaks the fast if it enters the body through a normal channel.

Q: When does vomiting break one’s fast?

A: Vomiting only breaks one’s fast if: a) one returns and swallows the vomit down the throat, or b) one vomits a mouthful intentionally. It is not broken by non-deliberate vomiting or (deliberately) vomiting less than a mouthful. If one’s fast is broken by vomiting, then one will only have to make up (qadha) for the fast, a Kaffara will not be necessary.

Q: How does one decide when vomiting is a mouthful?

A: The definition of “mouthful vomiting” is that which one cannot hold back in one’s mouth without difficulty.

Q: Can one fast whilst travelling?

A: Yes, one may fast while travelling. However one should not burden oneself if the journey is long and difficult, for in such situations it is advisable not to fast.

Q: Can a woman on menstruation (haydh) or post-natal bleeding (nifas) fast?

A: No, she cannot fast. It will be unlawful (haram) for her to do so.

Q: Does a woman on menstruation (Haydh) or post-natal bleeding (Nifas) have to make up for the fasts missed?

A: Yes, she will have to make Qadha for the missed fasts.

Q: Does one have to perform the Qadha fasts immediately after Ramadhan?

A: No, it is not necessary. However, it is recommended to complete the missed fasts of Ramadhan as soon as possible.

Q: When can a sick person break his/her fast on the opinion of a doctor?

A: When a competent Muslim doctor says that if he/she continues fasting, it will bring danger to his/her life or severely effect the health, then in such a situation it will be permitted to break one’s fast. One will not be liable for a Kaffara but will only have to make up for the fast (Qadha).

And Allah knows best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK
www.daruliftaa.com

Accidentally Inhaling Perfume While Fasting

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: If one is fasting and sprays perfume on oneself and accidentally inhales some of the perfume, will it break the fast? Will Qadha have to be made?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

One’s fast does not break by wearing, feeling or smelling fragrance. As such, it is permitted to apply perfume (itr), deodorant, or spays whilst in the state of fasting. However, if one was to intentionally inhale something that has a perceptible body, such as smoke, then one’s fast would become invalid.

It is stated in Maraqi al-Falah:

“…If one inhaled fragrance by intentionally drawing it towards one’s self and smelling it’s smoke, whilst remembering that one is fasting, then one’s fast would become invalid…..This is something regarding which many people are neglectful, hence people should become alert and not consider it (inhaling something that has a perceptible body) similar to smelling rose, its water and musk. There is clear difference between smelling the fragrance of musk and other perfumes and between something that has a perceptible body like smoke entering one’s inside intentionally.” (Maraqi al-Falah with Hashiya al-Tahtawi, P: 660)

Therefore, if one was to deliberately inhale through one’s nose a perfume that has a perceptible body such as the smoke of Loban or the smoke of that which is known in the Indian Subcontinent as “Aghar Batti”, then one’s fast would become invalid. Similarly, if one intentionally sprays perfume in the nose and inhales it, one’s fast would break.

However, there are two things that need to be remembered here:

Firstly, in order for one’s fast to become invalid, one has to inhale the smoke intentionally and deliberately. If the smoke of a perfume entered through one’s nose or throat unintentionally, then one’s fast will not break. (Maraqi al-Falah, P: 660)

Secondly, in the situation where one’s fast does become invalid (i.e. when one deliberately inhales something that has a perceptible body), one will only have to make up for the fast later (qadha) and a expiation (kaffara) will not be necessary. (ibid)

In light of the above explanation, if one accidentally inhaled perfume, then one’s fast will not become invalid. However, if one intentionally and deliberately sprayed the perfume (that has a perceptible body) in the nose and inhaled it, then the fast would become invalid, hence one will have to make up for the fast later.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK

When to Stand Up For Prayer at the Time of Iqamah?

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question :   When its time to pray in jama’a  when should one stand ?

 

Answer :   The renowned Hanafi jurist (faqih), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states whilst discussing the manners and etiquettes (adaab) of prayer:

“Prayer (salat) has certain etiquettes. Leaving them out does not necessitate any wrongdoing or admonishment, such as leaving out non-emphasised Sunnahs, but to carry them out is superior.”

Then, regarding one such etiquette of prayer, Imam al-Hakafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“And the Imam and the followers standing up when it is said: “Come to success (hayya ala al-falah)”…if the Imam is close to the prayer niche (mihrab), otherwise (if the Imam is not sitting close to the Mihrab) people in each row will stand up when the Imam reaches them. If the Imam enters from the front, they will stand up when their sight falls on the Imam. If the Imam himself gives the call to prayer (iqama) in the Masjid, then they should not stand up until he completes the Iqama.” (See: Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 1/479, Bab Sifat al-Salat)

In light of the above text, there are three situations here:

1) If the Imam is sitting close to his place of leading the prayer or Mihrab, then he and others should stand upon hearing the call “Hayya ala al-Falah”. This is considered to be from amongst the etiquettes of prayer; hence failing to do so will not constitute any wrongdoing or blameworthiness (karaha).

2) If the Imam is not sitting close to the Mihrab, then this has two possibilities:

a) If the Imam is entering from the back, people sitting in each row should stand up when the Imam passes by their row,

b) If the Imam enters from the front, one should stand up when one sees the Imam entering,

3)If the Imam himself is giving the Iqama, one should stand up when the Iqama is completed by the Imam.

It is worth noting here that all of the above is considered to be from the etiquettes (adaab) of prayer and not something that is necessary or a confirmed Sunnah, hence failing to comply with the above guidelines will not necessitate any wrongdoing. One should not rebuke or reproach an individual if he does not stand up at the recommended moment. At times, this issue is given more significance than it deserves.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK