Posts

Should I Make up the Prayers During the Time I Was Inclined to Islam? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am a convert to Islam and I said the shahada when I was 25. However I was keen to convert to Islam when I was 14 or 15. I even did fast (mostly) on Ramadan.

1. Is it possible that I entered Islam without knowing it and if so do I have make up prayers?

2. When I began praying, I learned wudu from a video with mistakes in it. I don’t know how many prayers I made with a wrong wudu. What should I do?

3. 6 years ago I had a leather jacket and didn’t know that it was pigskin. I prayed with this jacket. What should I do?

4. If I have to make up prayers for two or more reason, which prayers should I make up first?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well insha’Allah. Thank you for your questions. May Allah reward you for striving in the faith.

1. For a person’s Islam to be outwardly valid, the Shahada (The Testification of faith) must be said with certainty. If one doubts whether they have uttered the Shahada then they would not be considered Muslim in regards the outward rulings of the law.

However, if a person believes in Islam without uttering the Shahada, in that they believe that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger, then inwardly they are considered a believer, according to the correct opinion. This means that while outwardly they would have to be considered a non-Muslim (as this is all people can go by), the person would be amongst the believers in the next life.

[Hashiyah al Bajuri ‘ala Jawhara, ‘Iyanat al Talibin]

Keenness, devotion to Islam, and observation of Islamic practice can all be part of the process in preparing a person to take the Shahada, but they do not constitute as the formal, legal entrance into the faith.

As long as there is doubt in the matter, you should consider yourself as having becoming Muslim on the day you took the Shahada. This means you are not obliged to make up any prayers before this day. Nor will you be taken into account for any sins prior to Islam, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Islam wipes out whatever sins came before it’ [Musnad Ahmad].

2. When it becomes apparent that wudu or other purifications have not been performed correctly, then you have to make up the prayers performed with these incorrect practices. However, because you were relatively new to Islam and tried to learn, you would not have been sinful.

The way to make up the prayers is to estimate the maximum length of time the prayers were incorrect, and then add extra for precaution, so that you feel certain it wouldn’t have been more than this time. For example, you said it was roughly a year, so make up one year and 2-4 months extra just to be sure.

I would say however, please do be careful who you learn your religious practice from, especially on the internet. The safest way is to find a teacher and enquire whether they follow one of the four schools of law. That way, even if you choose to follow another school of law later, your worship would be valid in one school.

3. It is not permissible to wear clothes made from pigskin and any prayers performed whilst wearing the item would be invalid (and need to be made up), as mentioned in all the major works of all four madhabs.

Again, to gauge how may prayers need to be made up, we take the maximum period and then add extra for precaution to put it beyond doubt. You mentioned it could have been two years, so make up two years and 2-4 months. If after taking the maximum time and adding extra and you felt confident that this sufficed for the time period, there was a mistake in your calculation, then you will not be taken account for this.

If you make up more than what was needed it will be counted as supererogatory prayers, so you get rewarded anyway, for Allah does not allow a person’s good works go in vain.

[Tuhfa al Muhtaj, Mughni al Muhtaj, Sharh al Kabir]

4. It is sunna to make up the prayers in the order they were missed, regardless of the reason. If the incorrect wudu preceded the wearing pigskin, then start with the prayers from the incorrect wudu. If you cannot remember which exact prayers were prayed with incorrect wudu / wearing the skin, then you make up all the prayers of each day.

Please also refer to the following answers:

A Reader on Missed Prayers
Wearing Pig Skin in the Maliki School
Is Pigskin Permissible as Clothing (Hanafi)?
Why Is It Permissible to Wear Leather Regardless of How the Animal Has Been Slaughtered? (Shafi’i)

May Allah make your affairs easy.

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.

Does Saying the Testification of Faith (Shahadah) Suffice for Becoming a Muslim?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question:  Does saying the Testification of Faith (shahadah) suffice for becoming a Muslim? I have heard that one needs to shave and cut his/her nails as well. Is this correct?

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

For someone to become a Muslim, they simply have to say the Testification of Faith (the Shahada) and have belief in this statement.

It is not a condition of one’s faith that the testimony is said aloud or in front of witnesses. However, it is highly recommended that one does say the Testification aloud and in front of witnesses for many practical and legal reasons, such as burial and inheritance, Hajj and Umrah, marriage contracts etc., as well as just to avoid any doubt.

As for if a person believes in his heart but does not utter the Testification, or utters it to himself but no one ever knew that he is Muslim, or no one ever saw him pray or do anything that would suggest his Islam, then between the person and God, his belief is sound and he is counted as a believer, but in terms of legal affairs, people would have to go with the apparent.

It is not a condition to shave one’s head or cut one’s nail to become a Muslim. However, shaving the head is a sunna (recommended act), as is taking a ghusl, after one has become Muslim. [Bushra al Karim]

Please also: How Do I Enter Islam? I Want to Become Muslim.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,

[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 a Convert Do His Shahada Publicly?

Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have uttered the shahada many times privately, but not in public. Do I need to take my shahada around other people? Would it be more legitimate if I gave the shahada in public?

My husband believes in the Oneness of God, and he accepts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as God’s messenger, but he doesn’t consider himself a Muslim. Do you have recommendations for how to proceed?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

Doing your shahada publicly is just so that the muslim community is aware you are Muslim, so that in the event of death that the community knows to bury you as a muslim woman. I have heard it is better to say the shahada publicly, (even with just a few people) but if it is causing you any kind of anxiety it is not strictly necessary.

Your husband sounds as though he is Muslim since he accepts the oneness of God and that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. Perhaps with time and more learning he will also come to accept Islam.

Do you have all of the resources you need to learn how to pray? We have a course that may help and perhaps your husband could listen to it as well: Introduction to Islam: What It Means to Be Muslim

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime insha Allah.

Wassalam
[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.

Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.

Is It Permissible to Add the Mention of Jesus to the Testimony of Faith When Becoming a Muslim?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Through the years I heard believers take the shahada by saying: “Ashhadu an la ilaha il Allah wa ashhadu Ana Isa rasul Allah wa ashhadu Ana Mohamadan rasul Allah”. (I testify that there is no god but God and that Jesus is His messenger and that Muhammad is His messenger” Especially when the imam was convinced that the convert was Christian before. Is this correct?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The two primary components of the shahada are (1) the declaration of the oneness of God, and (2) the declaration that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. This declaration, as it stands, is valid and complete.

As long as these two components are in place, there is no harm in adding to it if there is compelling reason to do so. Some have encouraged additions to allow for the person embracing Islam to renounce the belief system they had previously held. This is a position attributed to Abu Yusuf with respect to those embracing Islam from different religions [Kuwait Encyclopedia of Islamic Law].

It is possible that such additions find basis in the Prophet’s saying (peace be upon him), “Whoever says ‘I testify that there is no god but God; He is one, and has no partners; and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; and that Jesus is a servant of God and a son of His female servant; and His word delivered to Mary; and spirit from Him; and that Paradise is true, and that the Fire is true,’ shall enter Paradise from any of its eight gates he so pleases” [Muslim].

God knows best.

Shuaib Ally

Six years since my Shahadah – A Reflection by Sr. Chloe

la ilahaThe 28th of March was the 6 year anniversary of my Shahadah, the day that I officially embraced Islam. My Shahadah anniversary is always a time of great reflection for me, and I try to commemorate it by acknowledging my blessings and expressing my gratitude to God for the life He’s given me.
The past 6 years have brought so much change and growth in every single area of my life, that it’s difficult to condense all this learning into a single blog post.
However, I wanted to summarise a few key lessons that I’ve learnt along the way, in the hopes that this will bring benefit to someone else.
[Surround Yourself With People of Good Character]
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
This expression by Jim Rohn is true in so many ways. When we spend time with other people we tend to pick up their habits and characteristics, whether these are positive or negative. It is crucial to your spiritual growth to spend time with those that will encourage and inspire you to become a better person.
Honour your time and give it the value it deserves by choosing to spend it wisely in the company of those that will help lift your iman up through their good character and manners, and wherever possible, limit the time you spend with those that drag your iman down. By seeking out gatherings of knowledge and remembrance, it brings opportunities to become closer to those that are also seeking nearness to God. Don’t miss those moments.
[Seek Knowledge]
This is a lesson that I hold very close to my heart, and my own decision to seek sacred knowledge has completely changed the plans I once had for my life.
When I was a new convert, I was asked to speak at a public event about my conversion to Islam. A few days before the event, this request was withdrawn and I was forbidden from speaking, because someone had produced an online fatwa which stated the impermissibility of women speaking in public.
I knew deep down that this couldn’t be right, but I didn’t know where to turn to learn more. My lack of knowledge left me feeling helpless and confused. It was shortly after this event that I discovered Seekers Guidance, and I began my own journey of seeking sacred knowledge by taking courses, and even emailing the Scholars with questions (Side note: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani emailed me back personally to advise that it was indeed permissible for women to speak in public).
Once I’d recovered from the shock of the experience, I became motivated to learn more. I channelled all my frustrations into seeking sacred knowledge, and I made a promise to myself that I would never be in the position again where someone’s interpretation of Islam was used as a way to keep me (and other women) quiet and out of sight.
Even though it was a difficult time for me, it made me realise how important it is for our communities to have women who are active and highly educated in the religion, so that they can be a catalyst for good and encourage others. The importance of female scholarship in Islam is undeniable, particularly when we look at Aisha (God be pleased with her) and the impact that she has had on our entire tradition. As Muslims we need to be proactive in seeking this knowledge, so that we can better serve our communities and help others in accordance with the Sunnah of our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
I would really encourage everyone to sign up for a course with Seekers Guidance. All the courses are completely free, taught by qualified scholars, and the flexibility of the courses means you can fit them around your schedule. Don’t miss this chance to increase your knowledge! Registration is now open – see: www.SeekersGuidance.org/courses for the full course list.
[Take It Slowly]
“This religion is easy, none makes it hard upon himself except that it overwhelms him; therefore be firm, steadfast, and balanced” [Bukhari]
This is a vast religion – it is comprehensive, intricate, and deep. If you try to take everything on board at once, you risk being overwhelmed and maybe even giving up as a result. It’s important to take it slowly – do what you can, when you can. Don’t aim for perfection. Instead, start small and focus on one thing at a time.
Remember, everyone is on their own journey to God, and we are all at different places. It is important to know yourself, and progress at your own pace. Endeavor to create positive and sustainable habits that will last a lifetime.
We should always strive to improve ourselves, but we need to do so whilst knowing that God is the All-Merciful. He never asks for our perfection, simply our honest and sincere effort.
[It’s Your Relationship with God That Counts]
At the end of the day, it all comes down to one truth: We were created to know and worship God.
The good deeds we do, the people we help, the community work we’re involved in, it should be all for God. He knows us more intimately than anyone else ever could, and this life is about turning ourselves towards Him completely.
These actions are simply a means of getting closer to God. They’re not ends, in and of themselves. Don’t get so caught up in the prayers, the fasting, the charity, the Sunnah of our Beloved Prophet, that you forget the real reason behind it all.
All we have, and all we are, is for God. And that’s what really matters.

Free SeekersGuidance Courses:

New Muslim Series Part 1: What Muslims Believe

New Muslim Series Part 2: Pillars of Islam
Principles of Islamic Spirituality
Fiqh of Life: Essentials of Halal and Haram
Relevant Resources:
Is it Possible to Return to Islam After Leaving It?
An Amazing Story from Imam Afroz Ali

A Lot of Shortcomings Through the Years: Am I Still a Muslim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I am at a point of my life where I am trying to determine who I am, what I actually believe, what I want out of life, what is the truth. I have been raised as a muslim but I was very secular I have missed many prayers and fasts. I worried: am I a true muslim or not?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Yes, you are a Muslim.
Neglecting the prayer out of laziness does not take one out of the fold of Islam. Please see: Does Neglecting the Prayer Entail Disbelief?
The entire religion is mercy. Ask Allah to forgive your previous shortcomings, and make a firm resolve to make up the prayers that you missed.
I’d advise taking the following classes: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Beliefs & Worship (STEP) and: Excellence in Faith & Action (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
If you have any follow up questions, feel free to send them. We’re at your service, insha’Allah.
And see also: Questions Regarding Make-Up Prayers and Make-Up Fasts and: Making up Obligatory Fasts and Prayers and: A Reader on Missed Prayers
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Misgivings Regarding Apostasy and How to Deal with Them

Answered by Dr Asim Yusuf
Question: Alhamdulillah, I have been  through a lot of  hardship. I have been a Muslim Alhamdulillah for 8-9 years, because I wanted to accept the Islamic beliefs because I felt different and my heart found it to be from common sense to accept it. My heart says about the Islamic belief: “This is what you should accept”, so I accepted it. But after that,  I was with an islamic sect which was   preaching Takfirism on  other muslims, and making a bad image of Islam for many Muslims. But alhamdulillah I found out that they are deviants. Their belief is in contradiction to the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah. Then I found another sect, I thought they  were the real Ahlus Sunnah but then I found out that they are also wrong in their belief. 
I no longer remember how many times I left and then re-entered Islam.   This happened many times, all because I was talking without knowledge and saying many blasphemous words without realizing it. But for the last time, I went back to Islam again, because I want to stay Muslim and die as a Muslim. I’ve repented and I am still repenting for all that kufr beliefs I had. I want to stay Muslim. But I keep having these thoughts that I am not a Muslim, but rather a hypocrite and a disbeliever.  
When I have blasphemous thoughts, am I still a Muslim or an apostate?
Please help me with this, it is really distressing and I don’t know what to do.
Answer: Was salam Dear Questioner,
‘shifa al-‘ayy al-su’al (the cure for confusion is to ask)’ (Abu Dawud)
May Allah bring comfort to your heart – the tranquillity that comes through finding peace in Allah. May you be of those about whom Allah said in the Quran, ‘then, after distress, He sent down upon you tranquillity…’ (Aal Imran 3:175)
You have raised a number of issues in your email that I will address in brief. It should be noted that each of these points have been discussed at great length in our scholarly history, and where possible, I would point you to beneficial, balanced and succinct summaries of these discussions. What I’d like to you bear in mind right at the outset, though, is that you are not alone in any one of these dilemmas. I personally am aware of many people who struggle needlessly with the same issues for years before finally asking about them.
And there are yet many others who never do ask, remaining tortured by self-doubt till the end of their days. This is why I am very happy that you have had the courage to lay bare your heart and pose the questions that you have: through a single person’s sincere questioning, many others will derive benefit, and you will only realise how far the fruits of your endeavour have spread on the Day of Judgment.
1. What is ‘true Islam’?
On your journey to and through Islam, you have clearly encountered a number of groups, all of whom claim (no doubt sincerely believing it) that they represent ‘true’ Islam. It is an inevitable consequence of limited human minds coming into contact with the infinite grandeur of the Divine that many try to squash ultimate truth into their own worldviews, thereby distorting and limiting it. The great Sufi mystic and poet Rumi said, ‘everyone wanted to become my friend through their understanding of me / but they missed the secret within me!’
This is why Allah and the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him and his family) warned about the dangers of attempting to interpret Revelation without deep insight, long training and outside of the collegiate consultation processes of the scholarly tradition. Our master, Ali, may God illuminate his countenance, gave us words of wisdom that are particularly relevant in your case: ‘truth is not known through people – rather, recognise the truth and you will know its people.’
Matters become more problematic when groups become exclusivist – claiming not just that the truth lies with them, but that the truth only lies with them and no-one else. Beware of those who narrow God’s mercy by declaring that the wide, clear, well-lit highway of Islam (mahhajatan bayda) is in fact a rickety bridge across an abyss! This has never been the way of normative Islamic belief – indeed the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) gave a severe warning about the dangers of accusing others of disbelief: ‘when one Muslim accuses another of disbelief, one of them certainly has disbelieved.’
He also severely castigated Usama bin Zaid (one of his most beloved young companions) for killing an enemy soldier on the battlefield despite the latter having shouted out the testimony of faith just before the deathblow. Even though the defeated man was most likely only trying to save his own skin, the Prophet (s) said to Usama, ‘did you look into his heart and ascetrtain the truth of the matter?!’ Both these hadiths indicate that faith should be assumed even with the smallest of signs.
Accordingly, one of the most widely accepted statements of belief in Islam, the Aqida Tahawiyya, clearly states, ‘we do not make disbelievers of any of those who pray towards our Qibla…’ Abu Hanifa, who was a great theologian as well as a legal scholar, is well-known to have said, ‘if a statement contains 99 meanings of disbelief and only one meaning of faith, then discard the 99!’
The scholars of the Ahl al-Sunna have been extremely wary about anathematizing people, as is clear from many of their statements. The groups that you mentioned in your email (whom I will not name here) are unfortunately well-known for this type of exclusivism, and whatever other benefit one might derive from their company (for Muslims of all stripes have a lot more in common with each other than differences) one should be wary of claims that ‘only we are going to heaven!’ There’s a lot more room on the ‘peace train’ of Allah’s mercy!
2. What entails disbelief
This subject is tackled in classical legal and doctrinal texts at some length; however, it boils down to a very simple principle: the only thing that can remove a person from Islam is clear denial of what brought them into it. This entails denial of what is necessarily known by every Muslim – scholar or lay-person – such as the unity of God, the Prophethood of our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him and his family), the obligation of prayer, the prohibition of alcohol, and so forth.
You can’t trip up and stumble out of the religion by mistake; you really have to try! The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) said, ‘I have left you upon a wide, clear highway, whose night is [just as clear as] its day. None will deviate from it save one who destroys himself.’ I would advise you to take a course such as this one to further strengthen your faith. More detailed courses are also easily available on the Seeker’s Guidance website.
Much of what you are concerned about – having ‘apostated’ repeatedly, by ’talking without knowledge’ and ‘uttering blasphemous words’ – is most probably of no legal or doctrinal significance. Many people have obsessive doubts (waswasa) about having left Islam or blasphemed, whether because of thoughts that come to them, stray words or slips of the tongue. Unfortunately, this is sometimes compounded by unwise but zealous Muslims who have failed to understand both the breadth of God’s mercy and the moderate inclusivism of His Divine Law. Such people, unfortunately, are unwitting tools of Shaytan, who seeks to sow doubt where there was certainty, despair where there was hope, and weakness where there was strength.
Do not listen to them, nor the same whispers within your heart. Allah says, ‘the devil threatens you with poverty and commands you to obscenity; God promises you his forgiveness and blessings…’ As mentioned earlier, such doubts are part of the human condition, with some more affected by them than others. This is an extremely important subject that confuses many people, and is dealt with beautifully in this course. Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) has given us hope and guidance when afflicted in this way.
3. What does NOT entail disbelief
a. Blasphemous thoughts:
i. The sahaba came to the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) and said, ‘sometimes terrible thoughts occur to us and we fear that we have left Islam!’ He replied, ‘this is pure faith!’ (Sahih Muslim) Imam Nawawi explains that the fact that one is so troubled by these thoughts is a sure sign of one’s faith.
ii. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) also said, ‘Allah has overlooked for my community the [sinful] whisperings of their hearts, so long as they do not act upon them or give them voice [believing in them].’ (Sahih Muslim)
b. Slips of the tongue
i. ‘Actions are only [judged] by intentions, and every person will be requited only for what they intended.’ This is the very first hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari and is known as the single most important hadith in the entire religion.
ii. Statements are always understood according to what was clearly meant, even if the words are mangled. A person who intends in their heart to pray Asr but accidentally says, ‘Oh Allah I intend to perform zuhr,’ does not need to repeat their prayer – it is accepted that he meant Asr. If this is the case for an action, it applies even more so for that which affects one’s very faith!
iii. Allah says, ‘Allah does not censure you for slips of your tongue in oaths, but rather for what your hearts have wrought.’
c. Unwitting statements
i. This is a slightly more controversial topic. If a person utters something clearly blasphemous without understanding that it is in fact blasphemous, have they left the fold of Islam. The understanding of the classical Sunni tradition is that they have not, because they did not intend blasphemy. However, sometimes zealous Muslims take statements of the scholars out of context to conclude the opposite. Examples of such statements (eg: ‘whoever engages in a pillow-fight whilst the jumua khutba is being delivered has committed kufr!’) are understood to mean ‘disbelief is feared for a person if they did or said such a thing intending to mock or belittle the religion.’
ii. If a person makes you fear you have left the religion because of such a thing, follow the advice of Abdullah Ibn Abbas. A man came to him and said, ‘people accuse me of being a disbeliever!’ He replied, ‘say, ‘there is no God but Allah, and make liars of them!’
In answer to your questions, then: a momentary doubt about Allah’s existence does not entail kufr, and a momentary ‘hesitation’ about belief in Allah is not kufr either. Both of these are satanic whispers (waswasa) and should be ignored or rebutted. Allah has already saved you from disbelief – dare to believe it and place your trust in Him. A person who fears not being Muslim is by definition a Muslim – in fact, they have tasted the sweetness of faith!
The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) said, ‘with three things is the sweetness of faith experienced: to love Allah and His Messenger more than anything else, to love one another for the sake of Allah, and to fear disbelief as one would fear being cast into a fire.’ Remember also that Allah’s capacity for mercy utterly beyond anything you can imagine, and far greater than your capacity to sin. He says, in a hadith Qudsi, ‘Oh my worshipper: if you come to be with a world’s worth of sin, I will come to you with a world’s worth of forgiveness!’
4. Parting advice
a. Be in the company of good friends – those who give you peace and certainty, and who do not fill you with despair and doubt.
b. ‘Leave that which causes you to doubt for that which leaves you in no doubt.’
c. Always remember that Islam is an easy and simple faith: there are no theological traps waiting to ensnare you here.
d. If the doubts persist, seek out the help of a well-respected, moderate and wise local scholar who can advise you specifically
e. If all of this does not work, remember that severe doubts are sometimes a symptom of a medical/psychological problem – don’t be afraid to seek professional help (says the Psychiatrist!)
f. Recite the Kalima, Sura al-Ikhlas and salawat on the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him and his family) in abundance – BUT NOT because you feel you have fallen into disbelief, but rather to increase you in faith, surety and love of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings upon him and his family).
g. This is a religion of mercy – don’t ever despair of that mercy.
h. Lastly, make dua for me, my family and my teachers: for you are clearly a better Muslim than I!
Was salam
Abd Faqir
Asim
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Uncertainty Regarding the Validity of Ghusl and My Testimony of Faith (Shahada)

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I am really confused about how to perform ghusl and wudu. I spend almost an hour on both of these. I especially dread making ghusl because I know it will take me a long time and even afterwards I feel so unsure that I end up not praying.

I have recently started performing ghusl in parts to make it easier. So One day I will wash certain parts of the body, and the next day the remaining parts of the body. Doing it this way I complete my ghusl in 2-3 days. I know this is wrong as it means I miss prayers but I can’t seem to do it any other way. Am I correct in believing that If I spread my ghusl out so I complete it in parts over numerous days, it is still valid as ghusl does not have to be performed in one sitting?

On top of this I recently discovered that I have been saying the shahada wrong for some years. Instead of saying ‘Laillaha ilAllah Muhammadur rasool Allah’. I have been saying Laillahha ilAllah-ho Muhammadun rasool Allah’. But every time I recited it I would also recite it in English as well as Arabic, by saying ‘there is no God but Allah and the Prophet (pbuh) is his Messenger after the Arabic. Do I need to retake my Shahada? I have been extremely worried I’m no longer Muslim because of this.

Please your help with this is extremely appreciated.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

[1] The ritual bath (ghusl) is very simple. Don’t make life difficult for yourself. Follow the sunnas of ghusl by (1) washing the private parts, (2) performing wudu, and then (3) pouring water over your body thrice. Stand under the shower and your body will get wet. Rub your body and you can be absolutely sure that water has reached everywhere. It is very straight-forward. Ignore every single doubt the devil sends your way, and do not pay attention to them in the least. Please see related answers in the Answers Blog.

[2] You are a Muslim. Both ways are correct. In any case, even an incorrect pronunciation does not take you out of the fold of Islam. If you are stopping at the end of the word, you don’t pronounce the final vowel: so it will be La ilaha illa Allah.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Related Answers:

The Usage of Kalimatan in the Last Hadith of Bukhari

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is there any mention as to the reason for the usage of the word ‘kalimataani’ in the last Hadeeth in saheeh al-bukhaari. Why is it two words and not one, or three, why specifically ‘two’ words? Is there any special significance to it?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Two phrases are light on the tongue, heavy on the scales, and beloved to the All Merciful: Subhan Allahi wa bi hamdihi subhan Allahi al-`Adhim.” [Bukhari]

The Arabic word kalimatan is referring to the two phrases mentioned at the end of the narration (hadith), namely: Subhan Allahi wa bi hamdihi subhan Allahi al-`Adhim. These are two separate phrases, hence the specification of “two” phrases.

As for the word itself, it is used here in its linguistic sense (i.e. two phrases/sentences), just as we would say: the kalima (in the singular form) of the testimony of faith (shahada). [`Ayni, `Umdat al-Qari; Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Did I Say the Shahada (Testification of Faith) Correctly?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I wanted to know what are the proper ways of saying the Shahadah. I was born Muslim, but there may have been something that caused me in the distant past to lose faith in the deen and I said the shahadah again a long time ago. The way I said it and have been saying is Ashhadu allaa ilaaha illallaahu wa ashhadu anna muhammada rasulullah but the way I have been seeing it online is Ashhadu an la ilaaha illallaahu wa ashhadu anna muhammada rasulullah. I have been saying it as AL but it says AN online. Does this mean my shahadah was never valid?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Your testification (shahada) was perfectly valid.

The original wording of the testification of faith is “an la”. However, in utterance, the final letter of “an”, the nun, takes on the form and merges into the first letter of “la”, the lam. As such, this letter is now doubled and the pronunciation changes to “al-la”. This is referred to as idgam and is the more well-known and famous way of reciting the testification of faith.

At the same time, some scholars also held that pronouncing it as “an la” without merging would also be valid and permissible. [Ibn Jazari, al-Nashr fi Qira’at al-Ashar]

Thus, the way you stated the testification was the proper way.

Wassalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani