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Interview with sh. Jamaal Zarabozo


Back in August 2008, I had the great opportunity  to interview sh. Jamaal Zarabozo.

For those who don’t know who sh. Jamaal is, here is an introduction by one of his favorite student, sh. Yasir Qadhi:

Shaykh Jamal Zarabozo is a rare breed – a self-taught scholar of Islam who has achieved a profound command of the original sciences of our religion.

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Sh. Jamal converted over thirty years ago in California, and taught himself Arabic in order to better access classical works. This led him to a fascination with the topic of hadith and its sciences, which he dedicated the next few years of his life studying. He moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he had access to a group of du’aat who graduated from Imam Muhammad University in Riyadh and were pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Boulder. Additionally, he studied with Dr. Mustafa Azami, a world-renown scholar of hadith, who was living in Boulder for a few years. With all of their help and tutorship, along with his perseverance and dedication, he managed to achieve a level of scholarship that is rare to find in North America. He translated many works (including Fiqh al-Sunnah of Syed Sabiq) and wrote some of his own. He also founded and edited al-Basheer Magazine, which, at the time of its publication, was the leading and most academic journal of classical Islamic sciences.

I first met Sh. Jamal in 1991, when he came down to teach a hadith course in Houston, Texas. I was so inspired by such an academic figure that it literally changed the course of my life. I had never met anyone like him (even though, like most teenagers at the time, I had attended quite a few lectures of leading Islamic figures in North America). I could not believe the amount of knowledge he seemed to exude – hardly a question was asked except that he was aware of scriptural references related to it, and the opinions of various classical scholars about the issue.

I established a very good relationship with him over the course of the next few years, invited him down to Houston a number of time, and traveled up to Boulder, Colorado, three summers in a row, to study with him and other leading du’aat of the time. In something that was a pre-IlmSummit experience (although back in the day we lived in a masjid instead of the Sheraton!), we would immerse ourselves for ten full days of academic scholarship.

I can honestly say that it was a great blessing of Allah upon me that I met a figure like Sh. Jamal, for he was my main source of inspiration to go study Islam and dedicate my life to it. He was a role model for me at that stage, and even though Allah willed that I later on study with classically-trained ulama and spend ten years in Madinah (and this, unfortunatley, also precluded continuing the relationship that I had with Sh. Jamal, as he rarely answers his phone and still refuses to get internet access!), I will never forget the debt that I owe him.

It always inspires me to think of the good that he has accrued by spreading knowledge to so many people in his career; I pray that I can follow in that tradition and inspire others to love knowledge just as he inspired me to do so. And every time I see someone whom Allah has willed that I effect a positive change in, it reminds me of myself almost two decades ago and the effect that Sh. Jamal had on me.

May Allah bless him for all that he has done, and make us all servants of His Cause. Ameen

1. Sh. Jamaal, jazakAllah Kheir for giving us the oppourtunity to talk to you. You recently moved from Colorado to the Bay Area, and already started teaching different courses (check What do you want to achieve here?

I felt I had done what I could in Boulder. It was a small community and I was able to complete a few courses with them, over the period I lived there. I decided to move to a place where I could offer my services to a larger community.

2. You are not new to California, since you have studied Economics at the University of California in Berkley and in Davis. What happened to your PHD studies?

I was doing my Ph.D. in UC Davis and I had finished all my course work and also part of my dissertation on Economic Development in an Islamic Social Framework. My advisor was a Palestinian Christian. He went to Egypt for 1 year and things went downhill after that. He was very upset with the Muslims in Egypt and took it out on me. When he was gone for that year I actually started to get into many other things and started reflecting on the importance of that dissertation with respect to some of the other things I preferred to do. I was afraid of getting my degree and ending up teaching or working in a place that I felt would not be very good. I lost the desire to complete and added to that was my advisor’s attitude, so Subhanallah, things just turned out differently. I did not regret the decision, because I could have gone back easily & finished the degree if it had been necessary. Alhamdulillah, I had plenty of other things to do.

3. You converted to Islam when you were 16. How did you become Muslim?

I come from a Spanish Catholic family, which means we were ‘non-practicing’ Catholics. I never went to church or anything of that nature. My mother was the only one in our family who used to go to church. However, a non-Catholic friend of mine from school, invited me to go to his church, which was a non-Catholic one. That was when I first started to read the bible and get interested in religion. So, it reached the point where I got baptized into that new church. It was at that stage that I felt that I needed to look around, and do some studies to see what I was getting into. So I studied Christianity first, its history etc., which led me pretty quickly to decide that I did not want to be a Christian.
Then I started studying Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

The idea of Tawheed appealed to me first of all – as it does to many converts to Islam – as this was one of the main problems I had with Christianity. The combination of the idea of Tawheed and the preservation of the text of the Qur’an were the aspects that affected me the most. I believed that if a Prophet was sent and needed to be followed, then we have to be able to say what that Prophet brought, and I could not find any people, other than the Muslims, who could say that … so, I decided to become a Muslim. I was 16 years old at the time. I assumed there were no Muslims around, so I told my friends that I was Muslim. I started praying – I had a book which was written by a Christian missionary who had been to India in the 1800s. The book was called the ‘Dictionary of Islam’ and it describes the prayer. That’s where I first learned how to pray (laughter).

That was an interesting time. Then, one day I was walking on campus and I saw a little card which said ‘Muslim Students Association’, so I called the number on the card and it turned out to be some Kuwaiti brothers who lived very close to my parents house. I told them I was Muslim, so they asked me if I knew the Salaat – I was not familiar with the word, so I told them I did not, but that I did know how to pray! (laughter). They were very nice brothers Masha Allah, they helped me a lot. It was a small community, so it was very nice, Masha Allah.

4. What Challenges did you face after embracing Islam?

I would say I faced many of the same challenges faced by converts. As an individual, I had family, friends etc, but at around the same time that I met the Muslim community, I was also changing schools, as I only went to High School for one year, before going to college. As a result, many of the new people I encountered met me as a Muslim. I left behind in High School, many of my friends whom I knew before embracing Islam, as they continued there, while I moved on to college. My opportunities to meet with them kept decreasing as time passed. So, I did not have many of the issues that many converts have with respect to friends and acquaintances.

As far as the new people that I was meeting were concerned, I was meeting them as Muslim, as previously mentioned. I don’t know what that meant to them, at that time, but I do think a difference between then and now is that, while people were completely ignorant of Islam earlier, they might now react with complete hatred perhaps. They have an ‘attitude’ towards Islam – they think they know about Islam, something that was not present in people earlier. So, the earlier ‘complete ignorance’ was better than the sort of ignorance that they have now.

And obviously, the institutions and the literature available now for those becoming Muslims are totally different from what was available when I became Muslim.

My father was secular in his outlook. He had travelled a fair bit and I guess he had encountered Muslims before. He did not bother too much about me becoming Muslim and in fact, he helped me in some things, such as if I needed to go to a conference etc. However, he died not too long after I became Muslim. I think my mother to this day, is still hoping that I will become Catholic again. She is still the only one with whom I experience some friction. The rest of my brothers and sisters are all pretty secular so to some extent, it is easier to get along with them. Actually, one of my brothers did embrace Islam after me.

5. What was your path towards knowledge?

Alhamdulillah, from the time I became Muslim, I was around brothers who possessed good knowledge. Especially when I first became Muslim, since it was a very small Muslim community, I was able to get very close to some very knowledgeable brothers. Alhamdulillah, throughout all the stages that I have passed through, I have been close to many brothers, some of whom who are now known as Shuyukh. When I went to Boulder, we had a large number of graduates from Islamic Universities, so it was a good atmosphere for me to debate, discuss and grow.

6. Did you get the opportunity to travel overseas to acquire ‘Ilm?

Actually I did not travel overseas to acquire knowledge. I did try a couple of times, but it did not work out, so I did not travel. My studies were mostly a combination of reading and meeting with people here.

7. What are the qualities required to become a student of knowledge?

The most important factor is for one to be serious about their studies. Someone can have 2 careers or 2 specialties in their lives, but each one must be given the time they deserve. This is a point that some people lack – Islamic studies are not given the time and effort that is required for a serious study of the same. Time, dedication, sacrifice are of course all required in the pursuit of knowledge, as well the willingness to spend money for the sake of studies.

8. How difficult was it to study Islamic concepts such as Shariah or Aqeedah?

I don’t remember having any major issues with anything in the Islamic creed or the Shari’ah because I had done a lot of reading before I took the final decision to say the Shahaadah.

9. What mistakes have you made that others can benefit from when acquiring knowledge?

The only thing I would like to say is that the earliest brothers I was acquainted with, did not stress the need for me to learn Arabic early on. As a result, there was quite a lag before I started getting into the Arabic language, and I think the earlier you can get into Arabic the better because not only does it help you read and understand the Qur’an properly, but all the literature that is out there becomes accessible. So, that was a lag that I would rather not have had, and sometimes feel the effects of it, to this day.

10. How did you start writing books?

I started translating before I started writing books. The story of my first translation is pretty humorous. The publishers of Fiqh us Sunnah had advertised for years that the book was going to be published. At the time there were very few Islamic books and publishers, so I would try to keep up with the latest books. I used to call the publishers of Fiqh us Sunnah periodically to inquire about the release of the book. Eventually, they called me up one day and asked me if I would like to work on the translation of the book. That was how I became involved in my first translation project. I don’t remember the name of the first book I wrote, though.

11. You had a magazine for a long period of time called Al Basheer. What was it about?

I had my own company called Basheer Publications, through which I used to publish a journal every alternate month. This went on for about 8 years. But the journal was admittedly not directed to a mass audience. It tended to be more scholarly. It did not have for example, cartoons and articles for kids etc. But it lasted for 8 years, and in the end it became a bit too much for me, as I got involved in other projects.
Shortly after that, another brother decided to start a company to publish some of my works. He named the company, Al Basheer.

12. You have translated numbers of books from Arabic to English. What challenges did you face during the translation of Islamic texts?

The biggest problem with translations, especially if you are dealing with texts of Hadith and early scholarly works, is that you can come across some passages that are difficult to understand even for Arabs and for people who have undertaken Islamic studies, to the extent that you could end up spending a week on a single sentence. While translating, I try to be as close to the original as I can. Sometimes, challenges during the translation of passages bog me down for days, and also, if you get paid after a week’s worth of effort, for a single sentence, that’s not very good (laughter).
So, the translation of difficult texts has been my biggest challenge, for example, working on ahadith from a work such as Tabarani, for example, that scholars have not discussed as much as some of the other works of Hadith.

As far as the Qur’an is concerned … well, of course it cannot be translated, but it is very difficult to even try to capture some of its eloquence. While there are some very strange translations, for the most part, I think the people who have translated the Qur’an, have insha Allah, done their best. They have conveyed the general meanings of the Qur’an, and may Allah reward them for that. No matter how much you try to improve on their works, you will still have a lot of shortcomings.

I did begin an effort to translate the Quran with Shaykh Ja’far Idrees, but we did not get as far as we should have. I am now concentrating more on the Tafseer of the Qur’an because I think translations reach a sort of dead-end, because you cannot really capture all that the Qur’an is conveying through a translation. It is required to explain the meanings in greater detail and that I what I have been focusing on lately.

However, due the manner in which I am producing the tafseer, it has been taking a long time and it is probably too large for people to be interested in, from a business perspective, so it is difficult to see what the outcome of the effort is going to be.

13. What should be the role of people of knowledge?

I believe the primary obligation of Islamic teachers is to their own communities, rather than spending time travelling to other communities to such an extent that they neglect the former. I made a decision to offer classes and work in my own community. Also, I am not sure how much benefit short weekend programs and lectures provide.

14. How do you see the Muslim youth today?

The youth that I knew earlier are different from the youth that I encounter now. Earlier, the youth were, to a greater or lesser degree, brought up in an Islamic environment and more aware of Islam. The youth nowadays are largely second generation Muslims who are very different from the earlier generation of youth, and so the challenges are very much different.
Education has to be the primary factor in facing the challenges we encounter with our youth. Additionally some way to impart manners and etiquette is also very important. We need to emphasize to them what it means to be Muslim, and what their value is to the community, as Muslims.

15. What are the projects you are working on?

As usual, I am working on a number of things and I do not know if they will come to a complete fruition. One of the things that I have started after moving to the Bay Area is the offering of courses. Though I used to offer courses in Colorado, these courses are being made available online as well, so this is a new experience for me. There is also the Tafseer project that I am pursuing. In addition, there are a few other projects that I am working on, but they have not reached a state of completion, as I need to find a publisher for those works.


(audio transcribed by Adnan Khan)

Sh. Jamaal is now teaching classes at MCA, Santa Clara with live streaming. Starting Jan. 10 2009, topics covered are: Purification of the soul, Principles of Quranic Tafseer, Preservation of the Sunnah and Commentary on Fiqh al Sunnah.

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Nadim is an IT professional who loves to travel around the world. He grew up in France, lived in the US and now resides in Saudi Arabia. He is the former ameer of the AlMaghrib Institute student tribe in Bay Area, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @muslimms



  1. Arif

    January 9, 2009 at 2:58 AM

    Masha’Allah! As am I a student of a student of Jamal Zarabozo, I have very high respect for him. May Allah give him the best of this world and the next! Ameen…

  2. NahyaN

    January 9, 2009 at 3:08 AM

    MashaAllah, that was very informative and beneficial to learn more about the sheikh.


  3. Mostafa

    January 9, 2009 at 4:34 AM

    Jazaka Allah Kheir for the beneficial read, really loved it. The Shaikh’s latest translation is very beneficial masha Allah:

  4. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    January 9, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    innalhamdolillah. bismillah. that was a very inspirational article! jazak Allah khayr. it would be awesome — hint, hint — if some brothers would post links to the lectures when the links become available. :)

  5. Hidaya

    January 9, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    MashaAllah, he studied in his own……he didn’t go overseas. What ?

    I mean ….yeah, let that serve as a wake up call for those of us who are waiting to go overseas to learn..

  6. MR

    January 9, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    Sh. Jamaal seems to be deeply in love with Islam and seeking knowledge. I am just wondering why he has not gone to study in an official Islamic university in the Muslim world? I mean Sh. Yasir Qadhi did this.

  7. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    January 9, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    bismillah. @study-question-comments: i think the shaykh responded in part to both of you in the interview, alhamdolillah.

    he did seek to study abroad, in Muslim countries. qadrAllahi wa maa shaa’a fa’ala. he was not able to fulfill that goal.

    nor was his study “on his own” — he benefitted first from the brothers around him who had knowledge, from shuyukh whom Allah brought to his community (how Merciful is Allah Who brings knowledgeable shuyukh here) — basically Allah put barakat in his quest for knowledge because he strove with ikhlaas, mashaAllah.

    for others, the principal advantage of study in a Muslim country is immersion in a structured curriculum. that student still has to be diligent, though.

  8. Amatullah

    January 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM


    InshaAllah I’m going to take his Principles of Tafseer class online, I can’t wait!

  9. Faraz Omar

    January 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM


  10. MR

    January 9, 2009 at 5:13 PM

    I think you can study just as much and even more than the Muslim countries right here in the US. The only issue is you have to be extremely dedicated and devoted to the life of a talib-ul-ilm.

    • 'Abdil Kareem

      January 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM


  11. Nuruddeen Lewis

    January 9, 2009 at 9:50 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    I’ve been trying to learn more about him and, alhamdulillah, this offered quite a bit. I would really like to know how did he learn Arabic without traveling overseas. If anyone has access to ask him this question, I, along with tons of others in the West, would greatly benefit from it.

  12. Nadim

    January 9, 2009 at 10:10 PM

    @Naruddeen: you should check THE best Institute to learn Arabic:

  13. Nuruddeen Lewis

    January 9, 2009 at 10:24 PM

    Alhamdulillah, I was very fortunate to take the Arabic 201 course with brother Nouman. Masha’Allah, it was excellent. It was definitely a great step on the path to learning Arabic, but it was only a step. I’ve read that they are developing more courses to help people go further on that path. I look forward to them. I would just like to know what Sheikh Zarabozo did because he may be the only person that I know of that has reached such a level in the Arabic language to be able to translate books without going overseas. Any other advice is welcome.

  14. sarah

    January 10, 2009 at 12:53 AM

    Can I please have more information on the Sheikh’s classes? How can we access the classes that are also made available online? Can we request him to publish what he has completed so far in his tafseer so that we don’t have to wait until the entire Quran is done (after he finds a publisher)?

  15. sis

    January 10, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Alhamdu lillah I had the chance of studying with shaykh Jamaal and the experience was awesome! He is an excellent teacher and I learned a lot from his manners. He pays close attention to detail and if you ask a question or comment on something you will be so amazed by the thoroughness of his response and wisdom he has from being a big part of the North American daa’wah scene.

    ukhtee Sarah, please visit and once you register for a class, you can choose “online” access (it asks you if you want to attend onsite or online) and then you will get a username and password to attend Live Streaming-it’s so easy!

    He has a good book called: How to Approach and Understand the Qur’an if anyone is interested in that.

    Allaah knows best

  16. Ibrahim

    January 11, 2009 at 12:27 AM

    Nice interview. What du’aat were in Boulder that both YQ and JZ mention? It seems amazing that in such a city there were many students of Imam Muhammad uni.! Sh. Jamaal mentioned some of them are known as shuyukh now. Anyone that we would know?

    I would have liked to know how why he chose to name himself Jamaal?

    What he says about second generation Muslims is quite sad. Most of the blame should be placed at the feet of their parents. Lack of manners and etiquette, as mentioned by JZ, is the most shocking because this indicates little life-coaching at home by the parents.

  17. Ibrahim

    January 11, 2009 at 12:33 AM

    I think you can study just as much and even more than the Muslim countries right here in the US. The only issue is you have to be extremely dedicated and devoted to the life of a talib-ul-ilm.

    Amazing someone would give an advice like this. Unless you can get full Arabic medium study here in the US and have as many shuyukh and circles as in Muslim countries, this advice is completely wrong.

  18. Sadaf Farooqi

    January 11, 2009 at 7:09 AM

    May Allah be pleased with Shaikh Jamaal!
    What an inspiring role-model he is for all Muslims. I have read a book by him, and am finally so pleased to get acquainted with his biography. It truly is amazing how his sincere quest for knowledge enabled him to come so far without studying in “official” programs at universities designed to produce “qualified Islamic scholars/aalims” (madrassah’s etc.). Truly, Allah is not in need of any means to an end – He can grant knowledge to anyone, anywhere. If a person is sincere enough, Allah can bring teachers to his doorstep!

  19. Kwame Madden

    January 11, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Kwame,from Newyork always good to read and learn how someone pursues the aquistion of knowledge.Shaykh Jamal iis a inspiration for muslims growing up in the west.May Allah ,continue to bless you and in increase you in knowledge .Your books have helped so many of us muslims in properly understanding the fundamentals of deen.

  20. MM Associates

    January 12, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    MashaAllah first day of Tafseer class, it was amazing! They have a video and audio set up for students taking it online and it’s really easy to access (simply login).

    Register now if you haven’t already! I will send you my notes inshaAllah : )

  21. AR Mirza

    January 21, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaikum,

    there is no one besides Shaikh Jamaluddeen Zarabozo that has benefited me more in my little Islamic studies so far. Honestly, he is the best writer, period, in our times for Islam. When you read his books, you feel like you are reading a professional writer/professor from Yale or Harvard writing.

    His book, as the sister said, “How to Approach and Understand the Qur’aan” has to be the best book on the Qur’aan in English, i mean hands down. Im mean it, hands down. And i will not even spend time telling you guys how his commentary on an-Nawawi’s 40 hadeeth is. It’s one thing to quote Qur’aan and hadeeth left and right but to quote the scholars as he does, forget it…

    I mean, guys, he is just amazing and with all due respect to the brothers and sisters who are seriously studying arabic in the west, please do so. Please help people like me out who just don’t have the zeal.

    Allah knows best how much we need the Shaikhs like him. So please, people studying arabic, may Allah make you all strong and keep going. Almaghrib, Bayyinah and Sunnipath are good but real shuyookh like Shaikh Jamaluddeen are just grrrreeeaaatt!!!!!


  22. Ibrahim ibn Imran

    February 13, 2009 at 2:17 AM

    Jazaakumullah khair for the interesting interview. SubhanAllah, would you believe that it was just a few weeks ago when I learned Sh. Jamal never studied overseas!! I had always assumed he had! MashaAllah, this is due the amount of knowledge that is evident in his work (and ’cause he translated some works). I’d say the sharh 40 hadith is really a milestone in english-language Islamic literature.

    I also thought it was very interesting (and refreshing) how he, unlike many others, emphasized the importance of accessing the Arabic language at an early stage, rather than being content with one’s native language[s]. (inshaAllah, i’m tryin ;) )

  23. ibnkhalil

    July 10, 2009 at 11:06 PM

    Assalam o alaykum wa rahmatullah i wabarakatuhu, Shaykh Jamal will be starting classes in MCA starting July 10th. You can take his classes, no matter which place on the planet you are as long as you have access to internet. Alhamdulillah everything is streamed live. Please try to attend. inshAllah you will learn alot about your Deen! Here is a personal message from him with the classes being offered. You can register and pay online. Wa jakumullah u khairan

    Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakaatuhu,

    I pray that you are all doing well. May Allah bless you all with strong imaan and success in both this life and the Hereafter. In particular, to those of you in the MCA, I miss you all and look forward to seeing you again soon.

    This e-mail is to inform you of the new session that will start shortly. Unfortunately, there was some delay in getting everything ready on the website but now, al-hamdulillah, everything is ready to go. (I ask you all to make duaa for the brother and his family who work on the website, as he suffered a rather serious injury.)

    Due to the coming of Ramadhaan, the summer session is slightly abridged but, Allah willing, we will be able to cover plenty of material during the weeks set aside for it.

    For those of you who wished to take “Preservation of the Sunnah IV,” I have decided, for a number of reasons, to delay that until the Fall. It will though, Allah willing, be continued.

    Furthermore, for those of you who are attending the classes at the MCA, the Game Room may not be available to us on July 13 and July 20. Hence, we will have to move to one of classrooms for those classes. Allah willing, we will keep you posted on that issue.

    Below you will find the list of classes offered this session. Again, I hope to see you all again very shortly. As always, you can either register at or in person.

    May Allah reward you all for your interest and efforts in learning Allah’s deen.

    Jazaakumulllah khairan

    Br. Jamaal Zarabozo

    Course Offerings for Summer 2009

    The 2009 Summer Session will be slightly abridged and will run from July 12 to August 17, insha-Allah.

    Here are the description and timing for the courses:

    Arabic 2B: Sundays 2:00-3:45

    This is a continuation of the Arabic class that have been ongoing for a year now.

    Fee: $150.

    Prerequisites: Arabic 2A.

    Selections from the 40 Hadith of al-Nawawi: Sundays, 4:00-5:00

    The collection of hadith known as the “40 Hadith of al-Nawawi” contains hadith that are most central to the lives of a Muslim. In this course, some of these hadith will be selected to be discussed in detail, such that the Muslim can live his life properly in the light of the teachings of these wonderful statements of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

    Fee: $100.

    Prerequisites: None.

    Fiqh al-Sunnah IV: Sundays 6:00-7:00

    In this course, we cover the well-known and accepted summary of fiqh by al-Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunnah. The session’s class will focus on the removing of impurities.

    Fee: $100.

    Prerequisites: None.

    Principles of Tafseer: “Rules of Interpretation”: Mondays 6:45-8:15

    This class will deal with the actual principles of interpreting verses of the Quran, with examples highlighting the use of each principle.

    Fee: $130.

    Prerequisites: None.

  24. Uthman

    September 24, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    Assalam o alaykum wa rahmatullah i wabarakatuhu ya ikhwanna fil islam! Here is a taste of why we should be taking and actively encouraging others to take Shaykh Jamal’s Classes. Below are some of the notes we took in his class. These are common scenarios of Fiqh each of us face everyday. As Allah says in the Quran, “Help you one another in Al­Birr and At­Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” Maeda:2.

    Wa jazakumullah u khairan
    wasalam o alaykum wa rahmatullah i wabarakatuhu

    Sh. Jamaal : Is Removing impurities from the body, place of prayer and clothing Wajib or Shurooth ?

    (If we think that this topic is covered in the Fiqh Sunnah, it is false. This class is not about Sayyid Sabiq’s work but commentary on the work of Sayyid Sabiq’s fiqh-Us-Sunnah)

    As usual 95% of class voted for Shurooth (We do it by raising our hands)

    Sh. Jamaal : What is your proof ?
    Students : We were taught so.

    Sh. Jamaal : What is the difference Between Shurooth and Wajib ?
    Students :

    (I am sure most of us reading this mail will have the same expression, I am sure we might have come across this term and do we really know what the difference is, If yes then continue reading , If no even then continue reading.)

    Sh. Jamaal :

    * The Wajibath if not done the deed is acceptable but the person is sinful this is shari’ah point of view.
    o For example : Making the line straight while praying in Jam3ah is among the Wajibath and if you do that your prayer will be valid but he is sinful
    * The Shurooth if not done the deed is not acceptable.
    o For example : Having Wudu, time of the salath. If both conditions are not met, the salah is not acceptable
    * There are different forms of Shurooth as well.
    o For ex: If you are praying dhuhr and someone reminds you that it is not the time for prayer then then salath is not valid.
    o If you are praying in wrong direction and someone reminds you that you are praying in wrong direction then you change your direction and the previously completed rakah is valid and the proof for this is that sahaba were in salath when the order for change in direction of salath was revelead and they didn’t repeat what they have already completed.

    Sh. Jamaal : Is Removing impurities from the body, place of pray and clothing Wajib or Shurooth ?

    (This time there were much less hands supporting for shurooth because we know next question will be what is the proof )

    (First Juicy part as usual for all cases we do, where we learn different opinions out there)

    Sh. Jamaal : Lets look at the opinions

    * Removing impurities is Shurooth
    o Hanafi’s, Shafi’ees, Hanbali’s and Some Maliki’s
    * Removing impuritied is Sunnah
    o Some of the Maliki’s
    o Imam Malik , “If someone prays with impurities on him and he does this due to lack of knowledge or due to forgetfullness, if is during the time of prayer or after the time is gone he doesnt have to repeat the prayer. If the person does this knowingly then he has to repeat it irrespective of the time.
    * Removing impuritied its Wajib
    o This is the opinion of Maliki’s and conclusion of Imam Shaukani.

    (Now the Fun begins which is the cream of the crop when we analyse the proofs and come to class conclusion)

    Sh. Jamaal : We have 3 scenarios (Writes the option on board as usual with table to give points based on evidence we give)

    1. Its Shurooth
    2. Its Wajib
    3. Its Sunnah

    Sh. Jamaal : What is the evidence ?

    (The cool thing is that he asks student to give evidence based on what we studied in different categories of tahara and Masha Allah students do give some good evidence based on which we derive under which category this falls into, so all students will be fuqaha :) )

    Student 1 : Hadeeth of ‘Asma bin Abu Bakr

    ( ‘Asma bint Abu Bakr related that a women came to the Prophet (SAW) and said “Our clothes are contaminated with menstrual blood. What should we do about this?” He said, “Scrape it, rub it with water and pour water over it and then pray in it.” (This is related by Bukhari and Muslim) )

    (After discussion which is beyond the scope to type here, where students give their view , sometime there will be counter argument raised by peers/Sh. Jamaal to the view presented)

    Sh. Jamaal :

    * Since the Arabic text has “Wa” and not “Fa” or “Thumma” so this supports both Fard and Shurooth.

    Class conclusion : This hadeeth supports both 1 and 2 (so both opinion gets one point)

    Student 2 : Surah Mudatthir 74:4 “And your clothing purify” (Saheeh International translation)

    (After discussion which is beyond the scope to type here and same procedure again….)

    Sh. Jamaal :

    * Many Scholars said that this is referring to the spiritual cleansing not physical.
    * If we accept command then this supoorts both Wajib and Fard

    Class conclusion : This hadeeth supports both 1 and 2 (so both opinion gets one point)

    Student 3: Hadeeth of Baduoin urinating in the mosque.

    ( Abu Hurairah reported that a baduoin urinated in the mosque. The people stood up to get him (and stop him). The Prophet (SAW) said, “Leave him and pour a bucket of water or a container of water over his urine. You have been raised to be easy on the people, not to be hard on them.” (This hadith is related by “the group” except for Muslim) )

    (After discussion which is beyond the scope to type here and same procedure again….)

    Class conclusion : This hadeeth supports both 1 and 2 (so both opinion gets one point, so both 1 and 2 have 2 points, option 3 i.e sunnah is out of race here)

    Student 4: Hadeeth of Prophet (SA) removing the shoes while praying

    ( Abu Dawood narrated in his Sunan with his isnaad that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: Whilst the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was leading his companions in prayer, he took off his shoes and placed them to his left. When the people saw that, they took off their shoes. When the Messenger of Allaah had finished the prayer he said, “What made you take off your shoes?” They said, “We saw you take off your shoes, so we took off our shoes.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to me and told me that there was some dirt on them.” And he said: “When one of you comes to the mosque, let him check his shoes, and if he seeds any dirt on them, let him wipe them and pray in them.” )

    (After discussion which is beyond the scope to type here and same procedure again….)

    Class conclusion : This hadeeth supports both 1 and 2. (But why Shurooth)
    Sh. Jamaal :

    * Prophet (SA) continued to pray and did not repeat what was completed, so this falls into the Shurooth category equivalent to the case of Qiblah where Sahaba did not repeat when the command of change in direction was revelead

    Student 5: Hadeeth of Punishment in grave due to urine.

    ( This hadeeth from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by one of the gardens of Madeenah or Makkah, and he heard the sound of two persons being punished in their graves. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything that was difficult to avoid.” Then he said, “No. One of them used not to protect himself from his urine, and the other used to walk around spreading malicious gossip.” Then he called for a palm leaf, which he split in two and put one piece on each grave. It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allaah, why did you do that?’ He said, “May their punishment be reduced so long as this does not dry out (or until this dries out).” (was narrated by al-Bukhaari (216) and Muslim (292) )

    (After discussion which is beyond the scope to type here and same procedure again….)

    Sh. Jamaal :

    * There is a Ijma’ that outside the prayer it is not obligatory to purify the impurities (There is separate session where we discussed this issue)
    * The person was punished because he did not clean himself when he went to pray.

    Class conclusion : This hadeeth supports both 1 and 2. (Now both 1 and 2 has 5 points each)

    (Sh. gives additional evidence to support the case in hand)

    Sh. Jamaal : The incident where kuffars of Mekkah put filth on Prophet (SAW) while he was praying

    (this time students untie the evidence, smart right hmmmm :) )

    Students : This can be exceptional case, Since this was occured in early mekkan period.

    (So what is the conclusion for the subject is it 1 or 2 )

    GRAND CONCLUSION : (Why dont you guys take a decision if it is 1 or 2 as you have the clear case presented to you)

    If failed or curious then mail me to know the reason to choose what we choose :)

    Semester starts this sunday, so please enroll.

    We Repeat Again Money should not stop you from taking these classes. You can also talk to Sh. Jamaal Directly or Mail to or contact us.

    Wait for Taste of “Principles of Tafseer” :)

    Jazakallahu Khairan

    Wa Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmathullahi Wa Barakathuhu

    • Syed Firasat Shah

      April 16, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Assalam-o-Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
      To all of the
      students of Sheikh Jamaluddin on this message board

      I am trying
      to get in touch with him to seek his permission for printing the Urdu
      translation of his commentary on Arbaeen Hadith of Imam Nawawi. I have been
      working on this translation project for last two years and hope that this work
      will be completed this year inshaAllah.

      Your help in putting me through to him will be
      greatly appreciated.

      Syed Firasat Shah
      Phone: 713-589-2361

  25. Pingback: How to Approach the Qur’an – Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo |

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  27. Ishrath

    November 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Subhanallah! May Allah reward him and give us the ability to learn his teachings. May Allah make him successful in his future projects, Inshaallah!

  28. Sabur Abdul-Salaam

    March 12, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Bis-mil-lah. I think Sheikh Jamaal’s interview is very important because I know that there must be many English speaking Muslims who have read his books and wanted to know more about his life. I say this and I knew Sheikh Jamaal since 1978 when he was a student at UC Berkeley and I was a student a San Francisco State University and we used to study Islam together. But he went on to become a Muslim scholar and I didn’t.

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