O Traveller to the Haram! Part I

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship (2:185)

Makkah Rihaal
The Rihal on the motorway, which indicates you have entered Makkah

Alhumdu Lillah, I have just returned from my trip to Umrah for the month of Ramadhan. As always an amazing, joyous, marvellous and memorable experience! I thought I would pen down some of my thoughts and recollect my memories and experiences as guidance and advice for the benefit of the Ummah, in sha Allah. Many of the pieces of advice can be used for Hajj as well, as you will read in sha Allah. A wise man once said, “The best gift you can present to someone is good advice.” Feel free to add comments below and make any corrections, I am no expert of Hajj/Umrah or of the Haramayn. This is not a guide to Hajj/Umrah, it is just advice which I feel will help you and lighten your burden hopefully. And there is some fiqh/masail, because I feel knowledge is extremely important especially in Hajj and Umrah.

Travelling and Hardship

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ السَّفَرُ قِطْعَةٌ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ يَمْنَعُ أَحَدَكُمْ نَوْمَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ فَإِذَا قَضَى أَحَدُكُمْ نَهْمَتَهُ مِنْ

وَجْهِهِ فَلْيُعَجِّلْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ ‏

From Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Travelling is a portion of the torment. It denies you your sleep, food, and drink. When you have accomplished your purpose, you should hurry back to your family.” (Muwatta Malik).

Normally, we are in our daily routine, we do the same thing every day. We do not realise things about ourselves, our habits and temperaments etc. When we travel on a journey, especially with others these habits come out. Like we can see from the above Hadith, travelling deprives us of our food, sleep and drink etc. We all know what happens when we take a man’s sleep or food away. The quote of Umar (Allah be pleased with him) is famous, how you truly know a person once you have travelled with him.

Umar (Allah be pleased with him) asked about a man who had given testimony, wanting to find out whether anyone could vouch for him. A man said to him: “I will vouch for him, O’ Ameer al-Mumineen, ‘Umar asked, “Are you his neighbour?” He said, “No.” He then” asked, “Did you mix with him for a day and come to know his character?” He said, “No.” He asked next: “Did you travel with him, for travelling and being away from home reveal a man’s true essence?” He said, “No.” ‘Umar said, “Perhaps you saw him in the-mosque, standing, sitting and praying?” He said, “Yes.” ‘Umar said, Go away, for you do not know him.”

Source: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab His life and times (‘Umar ibn al-Khattab shakhsiyatuhu wa ‘asruhu), Volume 1, page 272-273 Written by Dr. ‘Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi, Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab

A very profound saying, when travelling with others especially in a group, our true colours are revealed through our conduct as:

  1. Much patience is required because people desire & think differently.
  2. Whilst we should neither keep others waiting nor impose our views on the rest, we should be prepared to be delayed by others as that is part of group travel.
  3. We should be ready to serve the rest.
  4. We should abstain from petty complaints.
  5. We must be considerate of others esp. the weak, elderly & children.

Pray the Travel/Safar Duas and memorise them for the plane and coaches etc.

duasMy advice first and foremost is to select your companions carefully and wisely. He/she should be smart, decisive and sharp. The journey is a blessed one but not an easy one, I like to give a true picture and not make it sound like a walk in the park. At times you have to make difficult decisions on the spot, a good companion will help at such times. People reading this blog will be from different spheres of life, some may never have travelled abroad before. Or they have travelled, but not to Haramayn Shareefayn. It is not like a visit to the local mosque, where you have 200-300 people praying. Brace yourself! You can get pushed in Salah, knocked about in Tawaf, it can be extremely hot, things go missing and your possessions can get stolen, which I will elaborate on later. Going to such a beautiful and holy place with the wrong companions can sometimes make the whole journey a tedious and terrible one. This is why I have inserted the quote of Umar (Allah be pleased with him) above. Even if they are family members or relatives or old friends, travelling brings out a lot of “true” qualities in a person, Hajj and Umrah expose people to another level, be warned!

Allah tests us in different ways, the greater the trial the greater the reward. It was narrated from Mus’ab bin Sa’d RA that his father, Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas RA, said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets ﷺ, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’” (Ibn Majah)

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Hadhrat Sahl Bin Sa’d (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: Calmness in affairs is from Allah and haste in affairs is from shaytan.” (Tirmidhi)

No matter what happens, do NOT panic. There is always one “panic button” in the group, who makes a mountain of a molehill for every bit of drama. My advice when things go wrong is, “What is the worse that can happen?” Always analyse the situation, don’t overreact. Remember, you are the guests of Allah, He SWT is the host, He SWT will not let you down. You are in a different country, there are thousands of people, the heat can get extreme at times as well. If problems arise or you fall ill, bear in mind your reward is with Allah. The more pain, the more reward.

FullSizeRender-2Preparations

Be ready, mentally, physically, spiritually…

Makkah is the best place on earth and the most beloved to Allah and His Messenger ﷺ. At-Tirmidhi authentically reports in his Sunan (3925) from `Abdullah Ibn `Adiyy (Radi Allahu Anhu) that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said whilst addressing Makkah: “By Allah! You are the best of the lands of Allah, and the best land of Allah to Allah! And were it not for the fact that I was expelled from you, I would never have left you.”

Rectify your intentions, you are going to Hajj/Umrah to please Allah and fulfil an obligation. Not to show off, therefore try staying off social media and taking pictures at every juncture. This leads to Riyaa (showing off) which is Haraam in Islam and spoils the whole journey. I will talk about photography later on.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “What I fear for you the most is the minor shirk, that is al-Riya (showing off). Allah will say on the Day of Judgement when He is rewarding the people for their actions: Go to those for whom you did Riya for in the world then see if you find the reward with them.” [Related by Ahmad (5/428, 429) and al-Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunnah (4135) from the hadith of Mahmud bin Lubayd, Radi Allahu Anhu, with an authentic chain upon the conditions of Muslim]

Repent from all sins, major and minor. Make a firm intention, when I return I will NEVER sin again. Pray your Qadha Salah or fulfil Qadha fasts beforehand. Remember, Huqooqul Ibaad (rights of servants) and Huqooqullah (rights of Allah). So the rights of servants are fulfilling debts, asking for forgiveness from people who you have hurt and offended etc. Do not merely say sorry, rather make it genuine and have a firm resolution never to hurt anyone again

Look for a reliable tour operator, don’t just ask one or two people. Do thorough research, check online and look at reviews etc. Find out exactly how far the hotels are from the Haram, rather than believe the standard “5 minutes.” See if you can get pictures of inside the hotel online, Mr Google is more useful than some of us can imagine. Ask what sort of food is served. On such a strenuous journey you need to eat well.

As Hajj/Umrah consist of a LOT of walking, whether it is Tawaf or walking to the Haram it is good to be prepared beforehand. Try walking a mile or two daily before you go for Hajj in sha Allah. You will see the benefits, especially for those who don’t exercise regularly.

I was given a list of things to take when I went to Hajj in 2012, Alhumdu Lillah – I have passed the same list to many friends and family over the years who have added and edited the list:

IMG-20160702-WA0019

In addition to those above:

Small Qur’an (13 lines are not available in Haram)

Take spare dua books if you can (a few times in tawaf I was asked for books from other Hajis)

Vaccination certificates

Ticket copies

Diarrhoea medication

Painkillers

Paracetamol/Ibuprofen

Tissues/toilet roll

Converted Riyals

Umrah Belt

Locks

Carrier bags for laundry

Energy Tablets

Snacks (crisps, biscuits, etc)

Alarm clock

Radox foot soak

How to play Salah on plane/travelling

https://nawadir.org/2017/05/03/repeating-the-salah-performed-on-the-plane-seat/

https://nawadir.org/2017/07/30/salah-for-a-travelling-female-in-her-menses/

https://nawadir.org/2006/03/16/salah-whilst-travelling/

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Recite Talbiyah as much as possible in the state of Ihramtalbiyyah.jpg

On the way to Makkah keep reciting first kalimah (tayyibah), at least 1,000 times.

Virtues of Makkah

From the places of virtue that Allah has extolled and mentioned their excellence to the exclusion of others is the city of Makkah: the place of safety, security, the place where revelation to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ began, and from where he was appointed as the Messenger to mankind. It is the city which Allah swears by in the Qur’an:

لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ “I swear by this city, Makkah”

وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ “And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city.” (Al-Balad: 1-2)

Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) said: This is an oath of Allah (the Most High) by Makkah “Umm al-Quraa” (the mother of all towns), due to the fact that living in it puts one in a state that indicates the greatness of the city itself wherein the people are in a state of Ihraam, living in a sanctity. Allah stated:

وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِين “And by this city of security (Makkah).” (At-Teen: 3)

Within Makkah is the Ancient House (Al-Bayt Al-`Ateeq) for the worship of Allah alone. It was the first place of monotheistic worship built for mankind. Allah stated:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ “Verily, the first House of worship appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for all of creation.” (Aale `Imran: 96)

It the place from where Allah took His Prophet into the Heavens on the night of the Journey. Allah (Most High) said:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

“Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haraam (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Al-Israa: 1)

“There is no city on earth to which all the prophets, the angels, the holy messengers and all the pious servants of Allah, who reside in the heavens and on earth, including the jinn, flocked to, except Makkah.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

“Around the Ka’bah lies the graves of three hundred prophets.” (Sahih Muslim/Bayhaqi)

“Anyone who falls ill in Makkah for one day, Allah renders his body and his flesh haram (forbidden) from the fire of Jahannam.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Tawaf/Ka’bah

Sayyiduna Abu Umamah (Radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said: ‘The doors of the sky open and du’as are accepted on four occasions;

  1. a) When the armies clash in war
  2. b) When rain falls
  3. c) At the time of iqamah [for salah]
  4. d) When looking at the Ka’bah.’

(Al-Mu’jamul Kabir, Hadith: 7713 & 7719 & Sunanul Kubra of Bayhaqi, vol.3 pg.360 with a weak chain. Also see: Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.10 pg.155, Nataijul Afkar, vol.1 pg.383-384, Al-Futuhatur Rabbaniyyah, vol.4 pg.369 & footnotes on Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 19861) https://hadithanswers.com/duas-accepted-upon-seeng-the-kabah/

From this Hadith Ulama deduce when your first sight falls on the Ka’bah your Duas are accepted. Try and find a good spot to sit/stand for a long time so you can make a lengthy Dua (please pray for me too). When walking in Masjid Haram for the first time keep your gaze low so it doesn’t fall on the Ka’bah, once you find a spot sit and make Dua.

Make dua seriously, not half heartedly. There is a story of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf RH who saw a blind man making Dua in front of the Ka’bah, but he wasn’t paying attention in dua. Hajjaj said to him, “I am going for Tawaf, after seven rounds if your eye sight is not returned I will kill you!” The man panicked and started making Dua passionately and fervently like a man who is drowning! Before Hajjaj finished, the man’s eyesight was returned.  Subhan’Allah!

Try to make sure your Ihram is tightly fastened, use safety pins if necessary. Try not to let the bottom piece drag too low as people tend to step on it (which may lead to embarrassment!). Same for sisters, which is a bit more difficult as women tend to wear more loose clothing and it drags along the floor. But if someone steps on your abayah it can cause a lot of inconvenience especially if you wear the long abayahs from head to toe! All I can say is be careful, because in Tawaf you are very close together especially in the Mataf (area around the Ka’bah). Men should also, use a belt if necessary. Very handy to keep your money in as well.

I love a man with Gheerah/Ghayrat! But we also need common sense with Gheerah (protective jealousy), many men do Tawaf with their wife (ves)! And they form a ring around their womenfolk, which is all good and well, but you can’t do Tawaf right next to the Ka’bah and not expect anybody to push or touch your womenfolk (accidentally), it is sure to happen in those areas. Then some men go one step ahead and push and shove anyone who comes close to their wife/daughter. It is ridiculous! Like I said, I admire their Ghayrat, but these couples need to do Tawaf on the outskirts of mataf or on the upper floors, where it is less busy! The Mother of Believers, ‘Ā’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) used to do ṭawāf in an area away from the men, and she did not touch the Black Stone or the Yemeni Corner if there was crowding. It was narrated that ‘Ata’ said:

‘Ā’ishah used to do ṭawāf far away from the men, not mixing with them.” A woman said: “O Mother of the Believers, let us go and touch the Black Stone!” She said: “Go yourself,” and she refused to go.

In my opinion, the best place for women to do ṭawāf is on the roof of the Masjid. Now it may seem like a big distance from far, but I promise you, all it takes is an hour and 10 minutes, to be precise, to complete a ṭawāf, walking at an average pace. Now the Shayṭān may play with your mind and make it seem like a lot. But then ask yourself this…don’t you easily, easily, walk an hour ten minutes in the shopping mall?

Tawaf starts from the area in line with Hajr Aswad (black stone), opposite the black stone there is a green light which can also be used to indicate where the Tawaf starts. In previous time there was a thin piece of marble which went all the way down the Mataf, this also indicated the start of Tawaf as it is good to be precise.green-light-tawaf-indicator

As far as I know, wheelchairs are not allowed in the Mataf for Tawaf. Apparently, now there are scooters available for Tawaf on certain floors.

You can read any form of Dhikr/Dua looking in a book or off by heart in Tawaf or even Qur’an and Surahs you know off by heart. If you are reading from a book, it is safer to do Tawaf on the outside, as reading books slow people down. Which doesn’t help people behind you.

When people are on the last Tawaf (seventh one) they struggle to get out of the Tawaf congregation because it is choc a block, especially if you like to do Tawaf close to the Ka’bah. A good tip for you is, as you do the seventh Tawaf start walking out slowly i.e. do the seventh Tawaf on the outskirts of the Mataf. So as soon as you finish, kiss the Hajre Aswad then you can leave the Mataf and pray your two Rak’ahs for Tawaf. Also, stick out your hand as a gesture that you are leaving, not barge your way through as some people do.

Also, the correct method of kissing the Hajre Aswad is to kiss your palms not your fingers as people tend to do. (Women’s guide to Hajj and Umrah – Mufti Faruq Saheb)

The multazam (place of clinging) is the part of the Ka’bah that is between the Black Stone and the door of the Ka’bah. What is meant by iltizam (clinging) is when the supplicant (person making du’aa’) places his chest, face, forearms and palms against it and calls upon Allah saying whatever du’aa’ he wishes. Try not to push and hurt others, leave room for women too at the Multazam.

There is no specific du’aa’ that the Muslim should say in that place. He can cling to the Multazam when he enters the Ka’bah (if it is easy for him to enter) or he may do that before performing the Farewell tawaaf (tawaaf al-wadaa’), or he may do it at any time he wants. He should not cause difficulty for other people by offering a lengthy du’aa’. Similarly it is not permissible to crowd other people or annoy them in order to cling there. If he sees a space then he should say du’aa’. Otherwise it is sufficient for him to say du’aa’ whilst circumambulating and when prostrating in prayer.

It was narrated that ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Safwaan (Allah be pleased with him) said: “When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ conquered Makkah, I said: I will put on my garments, as my house was on the road, and I will wait and see what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) does. So I went and I saw that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had come out of the Ka’bah, he and his companions, and they were touching the House from the Door to the Black Stone. They had placed their cheeks against the House and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was in the midst of them.Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1898; Ahmad, 15124.

Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates that he heard Rasulullah ﷺ say: “The Multazam is a place where duas are accepted. Whenever a person prays to Allah, at this spot, Allah grants his prayer”.[Al-Hisnul-Haseen, Musalsalaat, Virtues of Haj – page 111]

Multazam is that part which is situated between the black stone and the door of Ka’bah. Multazam comes from the Arabic word ‘Iltizaam’ which means ‘to cling on to something’ or ‘to be attached to something’. It is so called because a person should touch his body to this section and make dua.

Imam Abu Dawood reports that Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) would stand up straight here with chest and face against the Ka’bah, arms stretched out above the head, leaning against the Ka’bah. He then said: “I saw Rasulullah ﷺ doing this”.

Shaykh Zakariyya (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) writes: “It was a common experience of every Ustadh of the above Hadith, from my teacher (Hadhrat Maulana Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri Rahmatullahi Alayhi) to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam that they said: “I prayed at the Multazam in the above manner and my prayer was granted”. Shaykh RH writes: “This has also been my person experience”.

Note: This dua at Multazam should not be made during the Tawaf, otherwise Tawaf will be affected. It is to be made after completion of Tawaf and preferably after praying two rakats Tahiyyatut-Tawaf.

Hasan Basri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) wrote a letter to the people of Makkah Mukarramah informing them that there are fifteen places in the vicinity of Haram Shareef where duas are accepted (Mustajaab Places)

  1. During Tawaf
    2. At the Multazam
    3. Under the Meezabur-Rahmah (the water sprout in Hateem, from where the rain water drops off from the roof of Ka’bah).
    4. Inside Ka’bah Shareef
    5. At the well of ZamZam (after drinking ZamZam)
    6. On Safa
    7. On Marwa
    8. While walking between Safa & Marwa
    9. At Maqaame Ibraheem
    10. On the plain of Arafaat
    11. At Muzdalifa
    12. At Mina
    13. 14. 15. At the time of pelting the three Shayaateens in Mina.
    [Narrated in Al-Hisnul-Haseen]

Shaykh Zakariyya (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) writes: “Some Ulama have added a few more e.g.”

– Inside the Mataaf (where Tawaf is made)
– When one’s sight falls on the Ka’bah (especially the first time)
– Inside the Hateem (the semi-circle around Ka’bah)
– Between Rukne Yamami & Hujare Aswad
[Virtues of Hajj – Page 112]

Great precaution needs to be taken when going to kiss the Hajre Aswad, it is a great Sunnah but saving yourself from harming others is Fardh. The same applies to making Dua at the Multazam and going into the Hateeem. Brothers need to be fair to the women in these areas. We can’t just block them out. I wouldn’t advise women to try and kiss the Hajre Aswad in busy periods I saw one woman trying to kiss it in Ramadhan and her Hijab came off or got pulled off… Astaghfirullah! “Prevention is better than cure.” The Multazam area is between the door of the Ka’bah and Hajre Aswad. There is enough room for men AND women if we can be considerate, the same applies in the Hateem to pray Salah and make dua.

“For verily, anyone who touches the Hajre Aswad is cleansed of his sins just as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Musnad lmam Ahmad)

It helps to wear thin socks when doing Nafl Tawaf (not in Umrah) as it can help your heels, or the leather ankle ones available to buy in Makkah.

Thursday night, the Tawaf usually gets busier than normal. As local people come for Tawaf because of Jumuah

Women should not be praying loud in Tawaf. This year I saw a lady lead her group praying loud, whilst her group repeats after her. Women cannot be Imams! “Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire.” (Surah Al-Ahzab Ayah 32) Second is the Hadith found in “Sahih Bukhari” Narrated Abu Hurayrah  (Allah be pleased with him)

‘The Prophet ﷺ said, “The saying ‘Subhan Allah’ is for men and clapping is for women.” (If something happens in the prayer, the men can invite the attention of the Imam by saying “Subhan Allah”. And women, by clapping their hands). Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol #2, Book #22, Hadith #295.

Support for this can be found in the book of Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani “Bulugh Al-Maram” in the tafseer of this Hadith it mentions the clapping is for woman because the men should not hear the woman’s voice. (Bulugh Al-Maram : Arabic/English Page # 81 Hadith # 174)

kabah 3Etiquette of the Masjid/Haram

Avoid sin

The companions Umar (Allah be pleased with him) and Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) would say, “I would prefer to commit seventy sins in Rukyah (a place outside Makkah) than commit a single sin in Makkah.” (Kanzul Ummal)

The evidence of Shari`ah (Islamic Law) indicates that good deeds are multiplied in honourable times, such as Ramadhan, and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and places like the Two Sacred Masjids (Mosques). They are highly rewarded in Makkah and Al-Madinah, as it is reported in the authentic Hadith that the Prophet ﷺ said: “One Salah (Prayer) in my Masjid (mosque) [i.e. Al-Masjid Al-Nabawy (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah)] is better than thousand Salahs in any other Masjid, except Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah). And one Salah in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is better than hundred thousand Salahs in my Masjid.” (Related by Ahmad and Ibn Hibban through an authentic Isnad [chain of transmission])

Many people tend to leave things in the saff/rows for Salah to reserve their place. This is incorrect. Please see fatwa below:

Question: What is the ruling regarding reserving one’s position in the front saff between 2 Salahs with one’s scarf, hat or any other item?

Answer:

Assalamu Alaikum,

The Masjid is the house of Allah and is open to all Muslims who come for Salaah. Whoever comes first and sits in a certain place, then he is deserving of that spot. The Fuqaha (jurist) have written that is Makrooh (reprehensible) for one to reserve a place for himself in the Masjid to perform Salaah on that spot. (Kitabul Fatawa vol. 3 pg. 115 – Al Fatawa Al Hindiya vol. 1 pg. 108).

Based on these explanations, it will not be proper (in fact, it will be reprehensible) for one to fix a spot in the first Saff by putting a scarf, hat etc. to reserve it for his own self. It should also be noted that it is Makrooh (reprehensible) for a person to ask another one to get up from his place (in the Masjid) and sit in that place. Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) prohibited that one should make another get up from his place and then sit on it.

With respect to if a person was sitting on a spot and then left to attend to a need (to return) when he returns he will be more deserving of that spot. In this regard, Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘If anyone gets up from his place of sitting and then returns to that spot, then he is more deserving of that spot.” (Abu Dawood – Kitabul Fatawa vol. 3 pg. 113)

And Allah Knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan https://darululoomtt.net/reserving-seat-masjid/

IMG_9148Many women like to pray Salah next to men or directly behind them:

The Messenger ﷺ in which he said: “The best rows for men are the front ones and the worst are the back ones, and the best rows for women are the back ones and the worst are the front ones.”

The hadeeth quoted is saheeh, but according to the scholars it is to be interpreted in this manner, which is when there is no barrier between the men and women. But if they are screened from the men, then the best rows are the front ones and the worst ones are the back ones, just as is the case with men, and they have to complete the front rows first, then the next and so on, and close the gaps, just like men, because of the general meaning of the proven hadeeth from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) concerning that. May Allah help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.

Walking in front of someone praying Salah

If you are in Tawaf it is okay to walk in front of someone praying Salah, other than that the ruling is the same i.e. you are not allowed to walk in front of someone praying Salah. I understand at time it can be difficult to get out, but we must still walk with precaution. As both the Masjids in the Haram are large Masjids, you can leave two rows in front of the one praying and cross over. But never walk directly in front of someone praying Salah if they are praying alone; Sunnah/Nafl.

This hadeeth – i.e., the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhari (487) and Muslim (505) from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (Radiyallahu Anhu) says “If any one of you is praying, he should not let anyone pass in front of him. Let him push him away as much as he can, and if he insists then let him fight him, for he is nothing but a shaytan (devil)” – indicates that it is makrooh to pass in front of a person who is praying if he is praying on his own and without a sutrah. The same ruling applies to the imam if he is praying without a sutrah. But with regard to the person who is praying behind the imam, it does not matter what passes in front of him, just as it does not matter what passes in front of the imam or person praying alone if it passes behind the sutrah. The sutrah of the imam is also the sutrah of those who are praying behind him.

We say this concerning the imam and the person who prays alone, because the Prophet ﷺ said, “If any one of you is praying…” According to the scholars, this means praying on his own, because of the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu). Hence we say that the person who is praying behind the imaam does not have to push away the person who passes in front of him, because Ibn ‘Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) said:  “I came along riding on a female donkey one day when I had just reached the age of puberty. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was leading the people in prayer in Mina, without any kind of wall in front of him. I passed in front of part of the row, then I got down and sent the donkey to graze, and joined the row, and no one rebuked me for that.” (al-Tamheed, 4/187)

Drink Zamzam and drink to your full, remember duas are accepted when drinking Zamzam so make dua EVERY time for yourself and for others (and please remember me). For further info on Zamzam click this.

Prophet ﷺ said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever purpose it is drunk for.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2/1018; see Al-Maqasid al-Hasanah by al-Sakhaawi, p. 359).

Zamzam 2

 

Photography is totally forbidden in the Masjid. Scholars have given a fatwa permitting video and photography for da’wah purposes and others have said digital images are okay. But the stronger and preferable view will always be to abstain from such things, as it can be a reason for a lack of sincerity and showing off on social media. Most of these actions lead to showing off, the Prophet warned us about this:

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Shall I not inform you of what I fear for you more than the Masih ad-Dajjal? It is the hidden shirk. It is when a man stands up for prayer, then beautifies his prayer for another to look at.” [Related by Ibn Majah (2604) from the hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, radiallahu ‘anhu. The hadith is hasan]

Are you going to Hajj for Allah or for Facebook friends?!

I was really strict this Ramadhan and I actually stood in the way of people taking photos (my Jihad against selfies!) because I received a talk from a scholar of Pakistan, Mufti MahmoodulHassan Shah Mas’oodi Saheb who said:

“Shaykh Abdul Rehman al-Huzayfi (hafdihahullah) – Imam of Masjid Nabwi SAW- gave a Khutbah after Dhuhr Salah (normally there are no Khutbahs after Salah, apart from Jumuah), he told the people to stop taking photographs in the Haram as this causes takleef/inconvenience to Allah SWT and his Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), you hurt the angels! Do you want to be cursed? I stand for Salah as the imam, you take your mobile phones out! The muaddhin gives adhan, you take your phone out! People were crying, it was a long Khutbah. After Asr Salah someone explained to us the reason for the Khutbah. He had a dream of the Imam of the Prophets, The beloved of Allah, The leader of creation ﷺ blessed me with his presence in a dream and informed me, “Tell people to stop taking photographs as it hurts me, it breaks my heart.”

Mufti Mahmood saheb explains, the enemies of Islam hurt the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), but how can we as the Ummah of the Prophet ﷺ hurt him or cause him pain?

I was once with Dr Abdul Salam Saheb, who is my Shaykh form Pakistan. We were together in Madinah, we came out of the Masjid. Once we had walked a fair distance, an alim who was residing in Madinah said to my beloved Shaykh, “This place is blessed, beloved, very virtuous and lofty in status. But, many people come here then leave and their Iman leaves with them. Because of the sins they do and takleef they cause people.” Allah shows his pious servants and His friends such things through the eyes of the heart!

Now, ask yourself is social media and photography that important? It is like iphone is the new Qibla and Snapchat is the new Qur’an. People tend to look at them more, sadly. Please avoid taking a smartphone if there is no need.

sm

Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

15 Shawwal 1439

 

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Centre of the World; Centre of Islam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

kabah 1
Behold its grandeur and dazzling beauty,
Behold its magnificence and majestic aura,
Enlightened with mercy in its perfect form.
In the land of the Prophets AS, the land of Wahy,
The tall, towering Kabah, welcomes all of humanity.
It was in this mountainous city, it was amongst a tribal nation, a light was born,
The noor from Allah and finally the curtains were drawn.
The city is blessed; from an army of elephants 🐘 it was protected,
Darkness turned to light when Muhammed SAW was selected.
Oh Muhammad (SAW), the pain you endured. Oh the most perfect creation.
Your elegance, your sanctity, your endless magnanimity.
O Kabah! O house of Allah! O beautiful Haram!
Your elegance, your sanctity, your endless magnanimity.
May my mother and father be sacrificed for you both.
So solemnly you stand, so peaceful in tranquility,
May your greatness extend till forever and ever, till eternity.
Not a bird can fly over you nor any planes,
Your serenity and dignity is not defeated by these looming cranes.
Every night and every day,
120 levels of mercy descend your way.
60 upon those doing tawaf,
40 upon those in Salah,
20 upon those gazing at you lovingly.
Not a single soul here is deprived.
 Echoes of Talbiyah can be heard, let this Sunnah be revived.
I gaze above, my head I raise, thousands upon thousands crowded, multicoloured, multicultural flowing in multitudes circumambulating this holy place.
All walking, praying, chanting in different languages at a different pace.
Some with speed, to increase their deeds,
Whilst others steady on, looking out for each and every one.
Muslim unity can be seen all around,
Different languages, dialects, colours and castes, all under one awe-inspiring mast.
Lebanon 🇱🇧Turkey 🇹🇷 India 🇮🇳 Pakistan 🇵🇰 Nigeria 🇳🇬…
Indonesia 🇮🇩 Malaysia 🇲🇾 Australia 🇦🇺 and Algeria 🇩🇿
kabah 3.jpg
Towards my right clinging on to the Multazam,
Begging Allah, waiting for the mercy to come.
As I look behind me,
I see the well of Zamzam which will flow till eternity.
Some sipping their cups and some filling their jugs,
Completing Tawaf and ending Umrah with smiles and hugs 🤗
Mubarak ho! Hayyakymullah! TaqaballAllah can be heard!
Allah accept every step and every word.
This poem was written to inspire and increase our love for the Haramayn Shareefayn, to instil its beauty and dignity in our hearts. Allah accept my efforts and reignite our love for the holy lands.
Ismail ibn Nazir Satia, Makkatul Mukarramah. 
5 Ramadhan 1439
kaaba-2

Insurance or SIN-surance?

Insurance or SIN-surance?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“O you who believe, fear Allah and give up what remains of your demand for riba (interest), if you are indeed believers. If you do it not, take notice of war from Allah and His Messenger.” (Qur’an 2:278-279)
Today, we have alsorts of insurance, car insurance, holiday insurance, life insurance, death insurance and even PET insurance. We have so much fear of everything. Remember, whoever fears anything besides Allah, Allah will disgrace him and humiliate him.
2018-03-06-PHOTO-00000067
Who looked after you in your mother’s womb?
Who fed you for 9 months?
When you were born, you drank breast milk, where was the insurance?
Have we lost trust in Allah SWT?
We fear everything besides Allah SWT.
Majority of Muslims buy houses with interest (Ribaa). Then you question the same Allah (that you disobey) “why is there no Barakah in my life?”
Remember brothers and sister, your family will fight for this same house once you are dead! We need true reliance (on Allah), NOT insurance.
Shaykh Muhammad Hoblous, Australia
 2018-03-06-PHOTO-00000068
Isn’t it strange how a Muslim will strictly stay away from eating pork because it is haram, yet the same person has no problem devouring riba (otherwise known as usury or interest)?
“…but whoever returns (to dealing in Riba), such are the dwellers of the Fire- they will abide therein”. (Surah Baqarah, verse 275).

Riba means an increase in a particular item. The word is derived from a root meaning increase or growth. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Whatever you pay as interest so that it may increase (li yarbu) the wealth of people does not increase (fa la yarbu) in the sight of Allah” [al-Room 30:39]., i.e., it does not increase or rise in status before Allah.

Riba originated among the people of the Jaahiliyyah; if a debt became due, they would say to him (the borrower): Give us one hundred (that is due, now), or increase it to one hundred and fifty (and pay later). Then when the one hundred and fifty became due, they would say: Give us one hundred and fifty (now), or increase it to two hundred (and pay later) — and so on.

Islam also forbade another kind of riba, namely riba al-fadl, which means adding to the amount when exchanging one item for another of the same type. So if gold is sold for gold, that is not permissible except like for like, hand to hand. Islam stipulated that the exchange should be done hand to hand and that the items or goods should be of the same quality. Whoever gives more or asks for more has engaged in riba. If he sells a saa‘ of wheat for two saa‘s (of the same commodity), even if it is hand to hand, he has engaged in riba.

The principle of the circulation of capital exists in both the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. What it means is circulating capital so that it will increase. The same applies to lending; they give money as a loan provided that it will increase when they get it back. Such transactions are undoubtedly riba.

 

Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) cursed the one who consumes Riba, the one who pays for it, the one who writes it down and the two who witness it.” He (peace and blessings be upon him): “they are all the same.”
“Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah . But whoever returns to [dealing in interest or usury] – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” (Surah Baqarah, verse 275)
1)   All kinds of commercial insurance are clearly and undoubtedly ribaa (interest/usury). Insurance is the sale of money for money, of a greater or lesser amount, with a delay in one of the payments. It involves riba al-fadl (interest-based transaction) and riba al-nas’ (interest to be charged if payment is delayed beyond the due date), because the insurance companies take people’s money and promise to pay them more or less money when a specific accident against which insurance has been taken out happens. This is riba, and riba is forbidden in the Qur’aan, in many ayaat.

2) All kinds of commercial insurance are based on nothing but gambling which is haraam according to the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifice to idols etc.) and Al-Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful” (al-Ma’idah 5:90 – interpretation of the meaning).

All kinds of insurance are kinds of playing with chances. They tell you, Pay this much money, then if this happens to you we will give you this much. This is pure gambling. Insisting on differentiating between insurance and gambling is pure stubbornness that is unacceptable to any sound mind. The insurance companies themselves admit that insurance is gambling.

3) All kinds of insurance are forms of uncertainty, and transactions which involve uncertainty are forbidden according to many saheeh ahaadeeth, such as the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him):

“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade transactions determined by throwing a stone and transactions which involved some uncertainty.” (Narrated by Muslim).

[“Transactions determined by throwing a stone” – this was a type of transaction that was prevalent in the markets of pre-Islamic Arabia, whereby a stone was thrown by either the buyer or the seller, and whatever it touched, its transaction became binding. “Transactions which involved some uncertainty” – is a transaction in which there is no guarantee that the seller can deliver the goods for which he receives payment. Footnotes from the translation of Saheeh Muslim. (Translator)].

All forms of commercial insurance are based on uncertainty of the most extreme kind. Insurance companies and those who sell insurance refuse to insure cases except where there is clear uncertainty in whether or not the condition being insured against will happen or not.  In other words, the condition being insured against must have a possibility of happening or not happening (as opposed to, for example, someone who has a pre-existing condition, such as a person who is on death row applying for life insurance–translator.) Moreover, this transaction involves something uncertain, which is when an accident will happen and the extent of the damage caused. Hence insurance combines three kinds of extreme uncertainty.

The Story of Abu Dujanah RA

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

dates
Abu Dajanah (Allah be pleased with him) always used to pray behind the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam).
But as soon as he finishes his prayer, he comes out of the Masjid quickly.
This caught the eyes of the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) and one day he stopped him and asked him:
“O Abu Dajanah, don’t you need anything from Allah?”
Abu Dajanah (Allah be pleased with him) said:
“O Messenger of Allah, Yes I do. I can’t live without Allah even with a blink of an eye.”
The Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:
“So why don’t you stay with us after prayers and ask Allah what you need?”
Abu Dajana (Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The reason is that I have a Jewish neighbor who has a date palm tree, and its branches are in the courtyard of my house.
 So when the wind blows at night, the dates fall into my courtyard.
 That is why you see me coming out of the Masjid quickly, so as I can go and collect the dates and return them to the owner, before my kids wake up. Because once they wake up, they will eat them as they are hungry.
 I swear to you, O Messenger of Allah, that one day I saw one of my children chewing the date, and I put my finger in his throat and took it out before he could swallow it.
 When my son cried, I said to him:
‘Aren’t you ashamed of standing in front of Allah as a thief?”
When Abubakr (Allah be pleased with him) heard what Abu Dajanah (Allah be pleased with him) said, he went to the Jewish and bought the date palm tree, and gave it to Abu Dajanah (Allah be pleased with him) and his children.
When the Jewish learned the truth of the matter, he quickly collected his children and his family and went to the Prophet (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam). and announcing their entry into Islam.
This is how they made people enter Islam because of their stand and their actions.
They were advocates of their deep-rooted faith, and their actions is a reflection of their faith.
(Nuzhatul Majalis, pg. 247-248)
Share please, JzkAllah

Children Activities

dhikr-4
by Zahra Anjum
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
There was a time in our childhood when the local television showed only half an hour of cartoons every evening and that was that. However, children nowadays have a 24/7 access to everything they want. These movies and cartoons are the main form of entertainment these days. When children go chanting ‘I’m bored’ this is the entertainment most of us are likely to provide.
While some may disagree with me and think that they are harmless, I find these programs extremely distressing. Yes, they are very convenient babysitters but are too damaging for the soul. Two months into watching one, and I can see the effects on my six-year-old son. The constant background music, the inappropriate language, and a downpour of un-Islamic values; how can we expect anything good to come out of it?
As keen parents, we tend to look out for alternatives that are healthy, educational, and enjoyable. Practicing Muslims do not die out of boredom; they do have fun in many other ways! Below is a list of halal entertainment means that you can enjoy as a family.
Outdoor activities:
Swimming, archery, and horseback riding are some activities recommended by Prophet Muhammad (saw). In addition to that, children can enjoy playing different sports like football, badminton, and cricket. Young children also like to do cycling, skipping rope, and playing hopscotch.
You can also set up a simple obstacle course in your garden for children to complete and have a variety of races with them like sack race, three-legged race, lemon and spoon race, and so on. Moreover, children will love playing traditional games like tag and hide and seek. Think of all the games you played as a child and teach them to your kids.
Indoor activities:
When they can’t play outdoors, there are plenty of indoor activities that can keep them occupied:
Board games – Scrabble, Risk, Monopoly, Pictionary, Twister, Cluedo, Guess Who, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, and so on.
Card games like UNO.
Paper and pencil games – Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, Dots and Squares, Name/Place/Animal/Thing.
Indoor hide and seek, treasure hunt.
Oral games – I spy, Chinese whispers, 20 Questions game.
Puzzles:
Puzzles help develop patience and cognition skills in children. You can buy some age-appropriate puzzles that are easily available in the market. Moreover, children can also make their own puzzles with the help of paper, cardboard, or Popsicle sticks.
Building and creating:
More architectural and creative children can enjoy constructing forts, cities, and models using building blocks, Lego, construction paper, and modeling clay.
Science experiments:
Plenty of science experiments can be done at home using common kitchen ingredients. Search for some experiments, and try them with your kids. Some ideas can be found here and here.
Arts and crafts:
The Internet is brimming with ideas for kid-friendly crafts. Things like paper, old newspapers, old boxes, and cans can keep those young ones busy for hours. We just need to guide them to a craft that interests them, for example, origami, paper mache, and so on.
Gardening:
Children find it very interesting to plant seeds, tend to the garden, and water it. They can perhaps have their own individual corners in the garden or pots to plant in and look after. They will be able to observe the magnificent creation of Allah and have fun at the same time.
Books:
How can we forget books! Surround your children with colorful and interesting books, and they will for sure grow up with a love of books. Read aloud to them in an engaging manner; children do not like being read to in a monotonous voice. When they have learnt to read, both stories and non-fiction books will keep them entertained.
Even those children who do not like reading do enjoy books that match their interests, for example, a boy who loves trucks will love a book about trucks.
Museums and parks:
Take your children to parks and museums where they can learn and enjoy at the same time. Going for a walk or visiting friends and relatives can be fun too.
Videos, video games, and apps:
Although there should be a limited time for screens (which no doubt is very difficult to maintain), this does not mean they are prohibited altogether. Video games and apps that do not have un-Islamic elements like immorality and music are permissible and can be played, provided its usage does not exceed limits.
Moreover, videos about nature, technology, space, and sports can also be shown if they conform to the above principle.
1 Safar 1438

Learn to let go…!

I begin in the Name of Allah,

“And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.” (21:47)

justice of scales.jpg

If someone is earning Haram or committing fraud, leave them to Allah.

If someone is arrogant and narcissistic, leave them to Allah.

If someone is doing the work of Deen for name and fame, leave them to Allah.

If someone is always arguing, overconfident and conceited, leave them to Allah.

If someone is spreading lies about you, backbiting and slandering, leave them to Allah.

If someone is cheating on you, having an affair and lying to you, leave them to Allah.

If someone is oppressing you, bullying you or harassing you, leave them to Allah.

If someone does not pray and fast, don’t think you are better, just leave them to Allah.

If someone violated your rights and took even a shilling from you, leave them to Allah.

If someone disagrees with you, whether in religious or worldy matters, end the conversation, leave them to Allah.

If someone treats you unfairly, is biased and prejudiced, or shows favouritism, also leave them to Allah.

“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it,  and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7 & 8)

This article was written after being inspired by a poem of the Late Mother Theresa:

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa”

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure)

1 Rajab 1437

InterestED or not InterestED?

http://www.albaraka.co.za/Islamic_Banking/Prohibition_of_interest/Has_Islam_really_prohibited_interest.aspx 

Has Islam really prohibited interest?

bogomil-mihaylov-633910-unsplash.jpgInterest or Ribâ: Which is Prohibited?

Is interest prohibited in Islam? This question is often repeated at different social gatherings because some people tend to argue that it is ribâ which has  been prohibited by Islam and that ribâ is not equivalent to interest.

There is no doubt that what has been prohibited by both the Qurân and the hadîth is ribâ. The Qurán has prohibited it in four different revelations, the first of which (30:39) was in Makkah, and the other three (4:161, 3:130-2 and 2:275-81) were in Madinah. The last of these (2:275-81) came near the end of the Prophet’s life, peace and blessings of God be on him. It severely censured those who took ribâ, and declared them to be at war with God and His Prophet. It also established a clear distinction between trade and ribâ, and enjoined Muslims to forego all outstanding ribâ, enjoining them only to take the principle amount, and to remiss even this in case of the borrower’s hardship.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, also prohibited ribâ in the most unambiguous words, and condemned not only those who take it, but also those who give it, those who record the transaction, and those who act as witnesses to it. He even equated the willful taking of ribâ with committing adultery thirty-six times or being guilty of incest with one’s own mother.2

Since Ribâ has been censured severely by both the Quran and the Sunnah it is difficult to believe that it would be left so undefined that even after fourteen centuries some people would fail to understand its meaning clearly. Hence, it is necessary to go back to the classical sources of Islam to determine what the term ribâ really stands for.

Ribâ literally means increase, addition, expansion or growth.3IT is, however not every increase or growth which has been prohibited by Islam. Profit also leads to an increase in the principal amount, but it has not been prohibited. So what has been prohibited?

The best person to answer this question is the Prophet himself, peace and blessings of God be on him. He prohibited the taking of even a small gift, service or favour as a condition for the loan.4This answer of the Prophet equates ribâ with what is commonly understood to be interest. This meaning of ribâ has become reflected in the writings of all scholars in Muslim history. There is hardly any classical Qur’an commentary or Arabic dictionary which gives a different meaning. For example, al-Qurtubi (d.671AH/1070AC), indicates that “Muslims are agreed on the authority of their Prophet that the condition for an increase over the amount lent is ribâ, irrespective of whether it is a handful of fodder, as indicated by Ibn Mas’ud, or a particle of grain.”5Ibn Manzur (d.711AH./1311AC) also clearly states in his authoritative dictionary of the Arabic language (lisan al-‘Arab) that “what is prohibited is the extra amount, benefit or advantage received on any loan”.6The term ribâ has, thus been understood from the earliest times to stand for the ‘premium’ that the borrower is requires to pay to the lender along with the principal amount as a condition for the loan or for an extension in its maturity.7This is also the unanimous verdict of a number of international conferences of fuqaha’ held in modern times to discuss the question of ribâ, including the Mu’tamar al Fiqh al-Islami held in Paris in 1951 and in Cairo in 1965, and the OIC and the Rabitah Fiqh Committee meetings held in 1985 and 1986 in Cairo and Makkah resectively.8In the presence of such an overwhelming consensus there is no room for arguing that interest is not prohibited in Islam? A few isolated opinions expressing a different view do not, therefore, create a dent in the consensus.

This gives rise to the question of what is it that confuses some people about its meaning. The reason may perhaps lie in the terms ribâ being used in the Shariah in two different senses, and the difficulty of some people in clearly understanding the meaning and implication of both. The first is ribâ al-nasi’ah and the other is ribâ al-fadl.

Ribâ al Nasiáh

The term nasi’ah comes from the root nasa’a (äÓA) which means to postpone, defer, or wait, and refers to the time that is allowed to the borrower to repay the loan in return for the ‘addition’ or the ‘premium’. Hence ribâ al-nasi’ah is equivalent to the interest charged on loans. It is in this sense that the term ribâ has been used in the Qur’an in verse 2:275, which states that “God has allowed trade and forbidden ribâ (interest).” This ribâ is termed as ribâ al-Qur’an (ribâ specified in the Qur’an) or ribâ al-duyun (ribâ on loans).

The prohibition or ribâ al-nasi’ah essentially implies that the fixing in advance of a positive rate of return on a loan as a reward for waiting is not permitted by the Shari’ah. It makes no difference whether the rate of return is small or big, or a fixed or variable per cent of the principal, or an absolute amount to be paid in advance or on maturity, or a gift or service to be received as a condition for the loan. The point in question is the predetermined positiveness of the return. It is important to note that, according to the Shari’ah, the waiting involved in the repayment of a loan does not by itself justify a positive reward.

There is no room even for arguing that the prohibition applies only to the consumption loans and not to business loans. This is because the borrowing during the Prophets’ times was not for consumption purposes but rather for financing long distance trade. Accordingly, the late Shaykh Abû Zahrah, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars of this century, has rightly pointed out that:

There is absolutely no evidence to support that the ribâ of al-jâhiliyyah [re-Islamic days] was on consumption and not on development loans. In fact the loans for which a research scholar finds support in history are production loans. The circumstance of the Arabs, the position of Makkah and the trade of Quraysh, all lend support to the assertion that the loans were for production and not consumption purposes.9

Even Professor Abraham Udovitch, Ex-Xhairman of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the Princeton University, has clarified that “Any assertion that the medieval credit was for consumption only and not for production, is just untenable with reference to the medieval Near east.” 10

There is, thus, absolutely no difference of opinion among all schools of Muslim jurisprudence the ribâ al-nasi’ah stand for interest and, is harâm or prohibited. Then nature of the prohibition is strict, absolute and unambiguous. However, if the return on the principal can either be positive or negative, depending on the final outcome of the business, which is not known in advance, it is allowed provided that it is shared in accordance with the principles laid down in the Shari’ah.

Ribâ al-Fadl

While Islam has prohibited interest on loans and allowed trade, it has not allowed everything in trade. This is because it wishes to eliminate not merely the injustice that is intrinsic in the institution of interest on loans, but also that which is inherent in all forms of dishonest and unjust exchanges in business transactions. Anything that is unjustifiably received as ‘extra’ by one of the two counterparties to a trade transaction is ribâ al-fadl, which may be defined in the words of Ibn al-‘Arabî as “all excess over what is justified by the counter-value.”  12

The prohibition of ribâ al-fadl is intended to ensure justice, to remove all forms if exploitation through ‘unfair’ exchanges, and to close all back-doors to ribâ because, according to the unanimously accepted legal maxims of Islamic jurisprudence, anything that serves as a means to the unlawful is also unlawful. Since people may be exploited or cheated in several different ways, the Prophet warned that a Muslim could indulge in ribâ in seventy (= several) different ways. 13This is the reason why the Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, said: “Leave what creates doubt in your mind in favour of what does not create doubt”, 14and Caliph ‘Umar was inspired to say: “Abstain not only from ribâ but also from ribâh.”15Ribâh is from rayb which literally means “doubt’ or ‘suspicion’ and refers to income which has the sembance of ribâ or which raises doubts in the mind about its rightfulness. It covers all income derived from injustice to, or exploitation of, others.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, has indicated, by way of example, at least four different ways of indulging in ribâ al-fadl. The first of these is the exploitation that may take place in trade through the use of unfair means even though trade is by itself allowed. He equated with ribâ even the cheating of an unsophisticated entrant into the market (ghabn al-mustarsil) and the rigging of prices in an auction with the help of an agent (al-najash).16Analogically one may conclude that the extra money earned through such exploitation and deception falls within the ambit of ribâ al-fadl.

Another way of being guilty of indulging in ribâ al-fadl is by accepting a reward in return for making recommendation in favour of a person. This implies that the performance of an apparently charitable act with the intention of making money surreptitiously is also prohibited. The rationale behind this may be that such money-motivated recommendation might give benefit to a person who does not deserve and, thereby, indirectly deprive others who are more deserving.17

A third way of indulging in ribâ al-fadl is through barter transactions because of the difficulty of measuring the counter-values precisely in such transactions. The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, therefore encouraged barter in a monetized economy and required that the commodity to be exchanged on the basis of barter be sold against cash and the proceedings used to buy the needed commodity.

This leads to the fourth way of indulging in ribâ al-fadl which has received the maximum attention of the fuqaha’. A number of authentic ahadith stipulate that if the same genus of commodity is exchanged against each other than the same weight of the commodities should be exchanged (sawa’an bi sawa’in and mithlan bi mithlin or equal for equal and like for like) hand-to-hand (yadan bi yadin). If the commodities exchanged are different, it does not matter if there is difference in weight and quantity, provided that the exchange takes place hand to hand. One of the implications of this requirement is the elimination of the backdoor to ribâ (which is referred to in fiqh as sadd al-dharî’ah). Another implication of these ahadith, as understood by the fuqahâ’, is the prohibition of futures transactions in foreign exchange. However, whether hedging, which is one way of managing the risks involved in exchange rates fluctuations, is possible within the constraints of the Sharî’ah is a question which need the attention of the fuqahâ.

Ribâ al-nasî’ah and ribâ al-fadl are, thus, essentially counterparts of the verse “God has allowed trade and prohibited ribâ “(2:275). While ribâ al-nasiah relates to loans and is prohibited in the second part of the verse, ribâ al-fadl relates to trade and is implied in the first part. Because trade is allowed in principle, it does not mean that everything is allowed in trade. Since the injustice inflicted through ribâ may also be perpetuated through transactions in commodities and currencies, ribâ al-fadl refers uncertainty and speculation. It demands a fair knowledge of the prevailing prices and the quality of goods being purchased or sold on the part of both the buyer and the seller. It necessitates the elimination of cheating in prices or quality, and in measures or weights. All business practices which lead to the exploitation of the buyer or the seller must be effectively eliminated.18

While ribâ al-nasî’ah can be defined in a few words, ribâ al-fadl, interspersing a vast array of business transactions and practices, is not so easy to specify. This what may have prompted ‘Umar, the Second Caliph, to say: “The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, was taken without elaborating it to us.”19The attempt to justify ribâ al-nasî’ah or the interest on loans on the basis of this saying of ‘Umar is absolutely fallacious because the reaction of ‘Umar, by way of caution, was to give up not only ribâ but also ribâh.

It is true that the Prophet specified only a few ways of indulging in ribâ al-fadl and did not indicate all the different ways, as one may have desired. However this was not necessary and not even feasible. Form of injustice and exploitation in trade and exchange of currencies have changed over the centuries and it was not possible for anyone to foresee and specify them all 1400 years ago. The Qur’ân and the Sunnah are there to provide the principles on the basis of which the Ummah can do so. This is the ongoing challenge to all Muslims – to examine their economic practices continually in the light of Islamic teachings and to eliminate all shades of injustice. This is a more difficult task than eliminating ribâ al-nasî’ah. It requires a total commitment and an overall restructuring of the entire economy within the Islamic framework to ensure justice. This was, and is, the unique contribution of Islam. While ribâ al-nasî’ah was well-known in the Jâhiliyyah, the concept of ribâ al-fadl was introduced by Islam and reflects the stamp of its own unflinching emphasis on socio-economic justice.

Concluding remarks

The principal reason why the Qur’ân has delivered such a harsh verdict against interest is that Islam wishes to establish an economic system where all forms of exploitation are eliminated, and particularly the injustice perpetuated in the form of the financier being assured of a positive return without doing any work or sharing in the risk, while the entrepreneur, in spite of his management and hard work, is not assured of such a positive return. Islam wishes to establish justice between the financier and the entrepreneur.

Under these circumstances it is difficult to see how anyone could justify interest in an Islamic society. The difficulty to understand the prohibition comes from lack of appreciation of the whole complex of Islamic values, and particularly its uncompromising emphasis on socio-economic justice and equitable distribution of income and wealth. Any attempt to treat the prohibition of ribâ as an isolated religious injunction and not as an integral part of the Islamic economic order with its overall ethos, goals and values is bound to create confusion.

 

Notes

1Narrated by Muslim from Jâbir and also by al-Tirmidhî and Ahmad. For the full texts and complete references to the ahâdith quoted in this paper, see Chapra 1985, pp. 236-40
2The first hadîh is narrated by Ahmad and Al-Dâraqutnî from Abdallah ibn Hanzalah, while the second is narrated by Ibn Mâjah and al-Bayhaqî (Shu’ab al-Îmân) from Ibn ‘Abbâs.
3See the word Ribâ in Ibn Manzur’s Lisan al-‘Arab; 1968; al-Zabidi’s Taj al-Arus; and Raghib al-Isfahani’s al-Mufradat. The same meaning is also unanimously indicated in all classical Qur’an commentaries.
4The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, said: “If a man extends a loan to some one he should not accept a gift”(Bukhari in his Tarikh and Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Muntaqa). In another hadith the Prophet said:”When one person grants a loan to another and the borrower offers him a dish [of food] or a ride on his camel, he should not accept unless the two of them have been previosly accustomed to the exchange of such favours mutually”(Sunnan al-Bayhaqi, Kitab al-Buyu, Bab Kullu qardin jarra manfa’atan fa huwa ribân). Is it possible to conceive a lower rate of interest than a plate of food or a ride in one’s car?.
5Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 1967, Vol.3, p.241.
6Ibn Manzur, 1968, p.304. See also the commentary on verse 2:275 in Tafsir al-Kabir of Fakhruddin al-Razi, Akham al Qur’an of Abu Bakr al-Jassas, and Akham al-Quran of Ibn al-‘Arabi.
7See, al-Jaziri, Vol. 2, p.245
8See al-Sanhuri, 1953, Vol.3, pp.241-2 and al-Qaradawi, 1994, pp.129-42. See also Abdel Hamid al-Ghazali, 1990, pp.35-60, for verdicts about ribâ geven from 1900-89.
9Abû Zahrah, 1970, pp.53-4.
10Udovitch, 1970, p.86.
12Ibn al-‘Arabî, Ahkâm al-Qur’an, 1957, p.242.
13Reported byIbn Mâjah and al-Bayhaqî – (Shu’ab al-Îmân) from Abû Hurayrah.
14Cited by Ibn Kathîr in his commentary on verse 2:275.
15Reported by Ibn Mâjah and al-Dârimî from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb.
16The first hadîth is reported by al-Bayhaqî and al-Suytî (al-Jâmi’al Saghîr) from Anas ibn Mâlik. The second hadîth is reported from Abdallah ibn Abî Awfâ by al-‘Asqalanî in his commentary on al-Bukhârî and by also al-Bayhaqî in his Sunan from Anas ibn Mâlik.
17Reported from Abû Umâmah by Bulûgh al-Marâm on the authority of Ahmad and Abu Dâwûd.
18Several types of sales have been prohibited in the Shariah with the objective of safeguarding the right of both buyers and sellers. Examples are: najash (rigging and collusion), ghabn al-mustarsil (chaeting of an unsophisticated entrant into the market), bay’al-hâdir li al-bâdî and talaqqî al-rukbân (both implying monopsonistic or monopolistic collusion or exploitation to munâbadhah, mulâmasah and muzâbanah (sales involving uncertainty and speculation or gambling). See, for example, al-Jaziri, Vol.2, pp. 273-8 and 283-91).
19Reported by Ibn Mâjah from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb