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Common, Oft-repeated Mistakes During Hajj and Umrah (so you can avoid them!)

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Guest post by by Asma bint Shameem

The noble Sahabi, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman said, “People used to ask the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) about good things, but I used to ask him about bad things because I was afraid that they might overtake me.”

What a beautiful example to follow! And thus, on a similar note, I have listed some of the extremely common mistakes that scores of people make, year after year, so that we can be weary of them and protect and prevent themselves from making them. This way our Hajj will be closest to the Sunnah, bi idhnillaah, and insha’Allah acceptable to Allah.

Mistake #1. Thinking that dua is accepted at first glance of the Ka’bah:

Many people have the wrong notion that the first time they look at the Ka’bah, any dua that they make will be answered. Not true! This has no evidence from the Sharee’ah. And any hadeeth that one may find regarding this matter is either extremely weak or fabricated. When asked about dua being accepted at the first sight of the Ka’bah, Shaykh Sa’d al-Humayd replied:

“This is not true; there has to be evidence for this to be true, because acts of worship should only be based on evidence. And that evidence must be saheeh in and of itself and it should be clear and unambiguous. And Allaah knows best.”

Mistake #2. “Kissing” the black stone from far away and stopping in mid-tawaaf to do so:

Kissing the black stone is a beautiful Sunnah, and an honor indeed for the one who is able to do so. However, due to the immense crowds, a very large number of people are not able to reach it. So a large number of people try to “kiss” it from far away. When they are line with the black stone, they stop dead in their tracks in mid-tawaaf, stand facing the black stone, put up both hands on the side of their head and “kiss” the black stone in mid air, as if the black stone is right in front of them. Or they throw “flying kisses” at the black stone from far away, by kissing their hands and then “throwing” these kisses in the direction of the black stone. Besides being wrong, stopping the flow of tawaf causes disruption and unnecessary crowding in that area, and a LOT of inconvenience to fellow Haajis.

“Distance kissing” is not from the Sunnah of course. All the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) did while doing tawaaf, was to kiss the black stone if he easily could do so, or touch it with his hand and kiss his hand. BUT, when there was a crowd, all he did was  point to it from far away and say “Allaahu Akbar”.  That’s it.

It was narrated that Abu Tufayl (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performing Tawaaf around the House, touching the corner [where the Stone is] with a crooked staff which he had with him, then kissing the staff. [Muslim, 1275]
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed Tawaaf on his camel, and every time he came to the corner [where the Stone is] he would point to it and say “Allaahu akbar.” [al-Bukhaari, 4987]

And that’s what we need to do. If you are far away from the black stone, all you do is to point to it with your right hand, say Allaah Akbar and move on. No facing the Ka’bah, no “distance kissing”, no stopping dead in your tracks. Keep moving and don’t disrupt the flow of the tawaaf.

“It should be noted that the tawaaf remains perfectly valid without kissing the Black Stone. If one does not or cannot kiss the Black Stone. it is sufficient simply to point to it, saying “Allahu Akbar” when one comes parallel to it, although one may be at a distance from it.” [Fataawa ibn Baaz]

Mistake #3. Shouting out duas in unison

Some people shout at the top of their voices, in unison, while making dua during tawaaf. They follow an imaam or a leader who says out different duas aloud, and then the followers all repeat after him in unison. This causes a lot of confusion and disturbs others engaged in their own duas,  making them lose focus and khushoo‘. And obviously, it is also not befitting that one should shout and raise his voice in a place so sacred as the Harram.

The right thing to do is to know, before you go for tawaaf, the duas that you will be making, the Qur’aan you will be reciting, etc. so that you don’t have to follow anybody. Rather you will be making your own dua, in your own language, from your own heart. This will give you better concentration and satisfaction. Plan your duas ahead of time, repeat them to yourself, with humility and khushoo‘. After all, you’re making dua to the One Who hears all and sees all. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said:

Each one of you is conversing with his Lord, so do not disturb one another or raise your voices over one another when reading [or he said] when praying. [Abu Dawood, saheeh by al-Albaani]

Mistake #4. Designating specific duas for specific rounds:

There are some people who make specific duas for each round and there are even books that have specific duas written for each specific round, with dua #1 to be read for round #1 and so on. This is not something from the Sharee’ah. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) did not recite any specific dua in any of the rounds, and neither did his companions. If there was such a thing, then he would have told us about it, and he would have done so himself first.

The only dua that he did specify during Tawaaf, was when he reached at the end of each circuit between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, and he would say: “Rabbana atina’ fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasana wa qina adhaban-nar. ” (Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Fire.)

So the right thing to do in each round is to make sincere dua from your heart about whatever it is that you make dua to Allaah for, in whatever language you like, in whatever words that you feel comfortable in, until you come to the Yamani (third) corner where you can say the above dua prescribed in the Sunnah.

Think about it. If you’re reading something from a book, in a language that you don’t understand, would that have the same effect on you or the same impact on your dua as compared to something that you do understand? Imagine the power of the dua that comes from deep within your heart and its effect. You are the one who knows your problems…you are the one who is afflicted…you are the one beseeching your Lord and He’s the One who knows what you’re asking for.

And even if you did understand the duas, it would still be something not prescribed in the Sunnah.

Mistake #5. Doing Tawaaf on someone else’s behalf:

Many people make this mistake. They circumambulate the Ka’bah 7 times and then they donate the reward of this tawaaf  to their loved ones, their family members or their relatives who have passed away. Also, when people go for Hajj or Umrah, their relatives and friends specifically ask them to “do one tawaaf on their behalf”. This is not valid and there is no evidence for its permissibility.

You see, Tawaaf is a kind of prayer and you cannot pray on someone else’s behalf. Can you? Similarly, you cannot do just tawaaf by itself on someone else’s behalf either. However, if you were doing an entire Hajj or Umrah on someone’s behalf, then the tawaf would be automatically be on the other person’s behalf anyway. But to do tawaaf by itself, meaning 7 rounds around the Ka’bah and donating the reward to someone else is not correct.

Shaykh ibn Baaz said: Tawaaf around the Ka’bah cannot be done by proxy, so no one can do tawaaf on behalf of someone else, unless he is doing Hajj or ‘Umrah on his behalf, in which case he may do it on his behalf along with the rest of Hajj or ‘Umrah.  [Fataawa Ibn Baaz]

What the best thing to do is to do as many tawaaf as you can for your own self. Tawaaf is an Ibaadah that cannot be done anywhere else except Makkah and this is a golden opportunity.

Mistake #6. Going to Tan’eem again and again for multiple Umrahs:

Some people perform multiple Umrahs after finishing their own, going outside Makkah either to Masjid Aaisha (Tan’eem) or other meeqaat points, put on a new Ihraam and repeat Umrahs again and again. Some of them do an Umrah a day, some even more! This is also NOT from the Sunnah. And NOT the practice of the Sahaabah.

If it was good to do multiple Umrahs all in one trip, surely the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) would have done so himself and the Sahaabah would have done so too. But we see that although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) stayed in Mecca for 19 days after the conquest of Mecca, yet he did NOT leave Mecca to do `Umrah, even though he could have easily done so.

Sheikh al-`Uthaymeen said: “Ibn Taymiyah mentions that the Salaf are agreed that making multiple `Umrahs is disliked. In any case, leaving Mecca and going to the boundary of the sacred precincts to make a second or third `Umrah is an unfounded practice that was unknown during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The only exception to this was the case where `A’ishah sought permission to make a single `Umrah after Hajj because of special circumstances. If it was generally recommended to leave Mecca to perform `Umrah in this way, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have encouraged his Companions to do so.”

Actually, instead of making multiple Umrahs, the better thing to do and the worship that will earn more rewards, bi idhnillaah, is to perform as many tawaaf as you can for yourself. Like I said before, tawaaf is an Ibaadah that cannot be done anywhere else except Makkah and this is a golden opportunity.

Ibn Taymiyah said: “The Salaf agree that performing voluntary tawaaf is superior to going to al-Tan`îm or to the boundaries of the sacred precincts and making `Umrah. [Majmu` al-Fataawa]

Mistake #7. Thinking that the Jamaraat are Shayaateen:

When some people go to stone the Jamaraat, they think they are going to stone the devils. In fact, they think they are stoning Iblees himself! They even call this ritual, “stoning the SHAYTAAN.” That is NOT TRUE. The Jamaraat are NOT shayaateen and to call the Jamaraat “Shayateen” is also wrong.

All we do when we stone these Jamaraat is an act of remembering Allaah, following the Messenger of Allaah(Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) as an act of worship. That’s it. No need to get emotional, no need to cuss at the Jamaraat, no need to push and shove.

Mistake #8. Touching or wiping over the Ka’bah, any part of Masjid al-Haraam or Masji an-Nabawi:

Some people try and touch any part of the Ka’bah or Maqaame Ibraaheem, thinking that there is blessing or barakah in it. Or they touch or wipe their hands on the different parts of Masjid al-Haraam or Masjid an-Nabawi, and then they wipe over themselves, thinking that this is something good or it will be source of blessing for them. But again, this is another act with no basis in the Sharee’ah of Islam. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam)  did not touch any part of Ka’bah except the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner. If it was good, he would have done so. But he didn’t and so we don’t either.

Dear brother/sister, just think about it. Blessings come from following what Allah and His Messenger (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) have prescribed, and NOT from following innovations.

Mistake #9. Thinking that praying forty prayers in Madeenah is compulsory:

Some people think that you have to complete forty prayers in the Prophet’s Masjid and that this is necessary and part of Hajj. It’s not. This is based on a weak hadeeth. Neither is it necessary to complete forty prayers there nor is visiting Madeenah a part of Hajj. Obviously it is good if you can spend as much time as you can in Madeenah and pray as much as you can in Masjid an-Nabawi. But to think that one has to complete forty prayers there is not correct. You can pray one day or one hour  or one month or whatever is according to your hajj program. It does not have to be forty prayers.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “With regard to the widespread idea that the visitor should stay for eight days so that he can offer forty prayers in the Mosque is wrong. Although it says in some ahaadeeth “Whoever offers forty prayers therein Allaah will decree that he is safe from the Fire and free from hypocrisy,” this hadeeth is da’eef according to the scholars and cannot be taken as proof or relied upon. There is no set limit for visiting the Prophet’s Mosque. If a person visits for an hour or two, or a day or two, or for more than that, there is nothing wrong with that.”  [Fataawa Ibn Baaz]

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Common, Oft-repeated Mistakes During Hajj and Umrah (so you can avoid them!) | MuslimMatters.org -- Topsy.com

  2. Avatar

    Mansoor

    October 30, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Please visit http://www.hajtips.com for useful tips about tawaaf, saiee, Arafah, health, shopping, etc.

  3. Avatar

    Algebera

    October 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    Speaking about the BLACK STONE, here is an Exciting way to kiss the black stone by Muhammad Alshareef. I thought the story was just out of this world. MashAllah.

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=442839633530

    salam

  4. Avatar

    Me

    October 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Jazaki Allahu khairan for the much needed reminder. These are really common mistakes, may Allah guide the ummah.

    Another common mistake is when standing on the Safa and Marwah people will point to the Ka’bah and say Allahu Akbar. That is NOT the sunnah. The sunnah is to offer a lengthy supplication.

  5. Avatar

    Muslim

    October 30, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    I think people need to put up a sign of what school of thought or shaykh they are following so they can avoid confusing people.

    I am sure the brother or sister who wrote this article had the best of intentions. I am not questioning this at all.

    However, many of the above mentioned “mistakes” that they mention are actually taught by other teachers teaching other Fiqh. They should not be considered “mistakes” but “differences of opinions”. The article might have been better titled “The difference of opinion between the Schools of thoughts and my Shaykh’s opinion”. Or some type of title such as that.

    We have to learn how to use language that creates an atmosphere of brotherhood while learning how to disagree with each other. Now, scholars disagreeing with each other and being very frank and blunt with each other is a completely acceptable thing. They are not common people who are prone to being confused, and having their emotions affected and eventually being dissatisfied and discouraged during the search for truth. They are trained men and women who have sacrificed their lives for this religion who speak bluntly to each other in their writings.

    But putting up an article such as this, on an internet blog website dedicated to the GENERAL discussion of Islamic topics and news, for the general muslim and non muslim population shouldn’t have such an attachment to a specific school of thought where they can put up an article and say “mistakes” that probably the majority of Sunni Scholars around the world would accept as permissible, encouraged and/or from sound traditions.

    #’s 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 are either encouraged or permissible in probably most of the schools of thoughts, and definitely the Hanafi School of thought from my knowledge. Most of the Muslims around the world are not committing mistakes when they perform them, they are following their scholars instructions.

    #9 to me seems useless. Yes, one should be told that it is not compulsory to read 40 prayers in the Masjid of the Prophet, Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasalam, if they are INSISTENT upon believing it is. But why was this a common mistake put up in this article and NOT the several other common mistakes people make during their Hajj rites. To me, #9 represents a common ignorance that has plagued our Ummah where we like to “correct” our brothers and sisters in areas where it DOESN”T matter. If I die and believe I had to pray 40 prayers in Masjid Nabwi, I don’t think I will be punished for it if I am a common Muslim. And MOST people that I have ever met in my life actually KNOW it is not compulsory, however, they stress this very much and so what, let them. At least they are stressing something that is good and will make them pray more and follow a Hadeeth.

    Again, I am not questioning the author on their intentions, however I question the wisdom or purpose of this article on a MuslimMatters website and I question the choice of the word “mistake”. Brothers and sisters in the west do not live in a region of the world where only one Fiqh is practiced, where saying the word “mistake” might have been acceptable and not cause confusion. We live in cities in the west where we have people who follow different schools of thoughts, and also some people who have new ways of following the religion and some people who don’t even know what they are talking about. To avoid more confusion, I believe we should label things as “differences of opinion”.

    • Avatar

      Macai

      October 31, 2010 at 12:48 AM

      Agreed.

      Also, as far as making specific duas goes, yes I do admit that there are no specific duas prescribed for each round but that does not mean that the duas in such books are not from the Sunnah or that it is wrong to make such duas. Most of the duas I’ve seen in such books do come from hadith collections which – although they are not specifically for tawaf or for any certain round – have simply been distributed amongst the circuits for the ease of the person so that the person can make all these blessed duas of the Messenger SAW within Tawaf.

      No doubt duas made from your heart are most powerful, but the duas that the Prophet SAW made are the most powerful, deep, all-encompassing prayers. He knew more than us what we are in need of and what we should be praying for and in which manner we should ask from our Lord. Why should we deprive ourselves of these duas?

    • Avatar

      Abu Ibrameem

      October 31, 2010 at 5:12 AM

      JazakAllah khair for your comment brother (I am assuming you are a brother?)

      With regards to your comment that all these practices are well known in other ‘schools’ is implying that the ‘mistakes’ mentioned here are actually well known practices.

      Your comments highlight a wider issue we have, when it comes to the discussion of ‘school of thought’.

      So, aside from ‘mistakes’ and ‘practices’ advocated by other schools, lets talk about things which EVERY Muslim agrees upon.

      1. We all want to do Hajj (and other acts of worship) in the way that Rasul-Allah did. That is the essence of worship, to conform to his methodology of worship.

      2. The purpose of a school of thought is tool to help us do this. When studying a school of thought properly, it should actually allow the Muslim to understand and appreciate the differences of opinion within our Ummah, as opposed to causing harm and disunity.

      Finally, to make blanket statements that ”This is the Hanafi viewpoint’ is not acceptable. I actually know many Hanafis who would agree with the mistakes mentioned in this article too. Also, when you say that this is the ‘Hanafi’ stance, do you mean that it was Imam Abu Hanifa’s stance, or his students who came much later than he did?

    • Avatar

      Muhammad IrfanUllah

      October 14, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Dear sir, I 100% agree with this article, even if you don’t. Islam is a very easy religion to learn & so the umrah is. Unnecessary inventions/rituals make it difficult & difficult day by day causing trouble/confusion for the others. If Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn’t do some thing, who are the others creating new rituals by themselves. This are creating BIDATs & this article is truely representing sunnah. Shame on those who create rituals in Islam & make it compulsory to do for others.

    • Avatar

      Naved Zia

      August 22, 2016 at 10:43 AM

      The Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wassallam said, “Take your Hajj rites from me.” [Muslim]. And Alhumdolillah we have enough authentic material to learn the rites of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wassallam. The difference of school of thoughts that you have mentioned is unfortunately more about things that have been inserted into the Deen over the years due to the whispers of the shayateen.

      May Allaah guide the ummah and help us follow the Quran and the authentic Sunnah, as per the understanding of the best 3 generations.

  6. Avatar

    broAhmed

    October 30, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    One of our local shaykhs mentioned that some people get really into stoning the jamaraat, to the point some hajis would take off their slippers and start beating the pillars. LOL!

  7. Avatar

    HadithCheck

    October 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    May Allah reward you for your efforts!

    HadithCheck

  8. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    November 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Hadith Check:

    I checked out your blog and I didn’t see sources for your classification of “sahih” or “fabricated”? Can you please introduce yourself on your blog and your background and what are your sources?

    thanks…

  9. Avatar

    Kamran

    November 2, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Very useful information ..thanks

  10. Avatar

    Muslim

    November 20, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Wasalaam Abu Ibraheem,

    Yes, I am a brother.

    I actually didn’t mean to open up a discussion on schools of thoughts, etc.

    My purpose was to say we should be careful as common Muslims to label things “mistakes” that other Muslims do. Especially when a big huge chunk of them do it. I am not saying we should accept everything, but when we know qualified scholars are giving them the permission to do it, we shouldn’t say they are mistakes on a general Muslim news discussion blog.

    I don’t mean to say you can’t actually believe they are mistakes, the author of this article obviously does and I am pretty sure they really thought about it a lot before they came to that conclusion, which is why I would NEVER question their sincerity. However, I think things like this should be left alone to only be mentioned in books of Fiqh written by scholars so that a serious student or practicer of Islam, in their sincere pursuit to please Allah and gain more Islamic knowledge, can clearly read differences of opinions on their own and make up their own mind and be confident in their acts of worship.

    In regards to “Hanafi School of Thought” I meant Hanafi Fiqh as interpreted by most of the scholars of the Indian subcontinent. Even within Aqidah sectarian divisions, the overwhelming majority of scholars in the Indian subcontinent follow the Hanafi School of thought, and from my limited understanding, the above mentioned points I indicated earlier are all permissible according to those scholars.

    Again, my point is not to get into a debate about schools of thoughts. Just to address the authors use of language and also to suggest that this article might confuse readers instead of help them because it is on a blog such as MuslimMatters which to me is a general Muslim news blog with general advice.

    JazakAllah for your comments. I would encourage the author to write an article about the differences of opinions between all the major schools of thoughts on the Hajj rites so that when people go to Hajj, and can’t wait to tell someone they are wrong about something they are doing, they will stop themselves and realize that there is room for differences of opinions and ways of doing something in Islam.

  11. Pingback: Common, Oft-repeated Mistakes During Hajj and Umrah (so you can … | Find Best Information about Islam on Internet

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    Dawn Travels

    April 1, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    Very useful information. Dawn Travel also provides a lot of cheap packages and during Travel guides a lot.

  13. Avatar

    ratehajjandumrah

    September 3, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    May Allah bless you for efforts you have made to bring these mistakes to light. I really like your article specially the references you have provided. Thanks brother.

  14. Pingback: Comment on Common, Oft-repeated Mistakes During Hajj and Umrah (so you can avoid them!) by ratehajjandumrah | Souqhub | Blog

  15. Avatar

    Abu-rayaan

    February 12, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    Jazakallah’khier brother i think advice like this needs to be published on websites such as this one because it becomes easily accessible for the common folk.

    As for brining up the topic of differences of opinion, i honestly don’t think these mistakes have been reported as acceptable in any of the major schools of thoughts including Imam Abu Hanifa (may allah increase his rank in jannah). Yes you will get some imams who claim to follow imam abu hanifa for example who will encourage these mistakes out of ignorance but they will never be able to link this advice back to imam Abu Hanifa (‏may allah increase his rank in jannah), simply because he never approved of these mistakes and they certainly wont be able to provide evidence from the Quran and the Authentic Sunnah.

    If anyone thinks any of these mistakes are encouraged then please provide some authentic evidence please? May allah guide us all to that which is most correct and to that which pleases him.

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

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The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza

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On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.

 

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#Life

Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam

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High School is that time which is ideal for preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is so much excitement and opportunity. Youth is a time of energy, growth, health, beauty, and adventure. Along with the thrill of being one of the best times of life, there is a definite lack of life experience. In your youth, you end up depending on your own judgments as well as the advice of others who are further along the path. Your own judgments usually come from your own knowledge, assumptions, likes, and dislikes. No matter how wise, mature, or well-intended a youth is compared to his or her peers, the inherent lack of life experience can also mislead that person to go down a path which is not serving them or their loved ones best. A youth may walk into mistakes without knowing, or get themselves into trouble resulting from naivety.

Salma and Yousef: 

Salma and Yousef had grown up in the same community for many years. They had gone to the same masjid and attended youth group together during high school. After going off to college for a few years, both were back in town and found that they would make good prospects for marriage for each other. Yousef was moving along his career path, and Salma looked forward to her new relationship. Yousef was happy to settle down. The first few months after marriage were hectic: getting a new place, organizing, managing new jobs and extended family. After a few months, they began to wonder when things would settle down and be like the vision they had about married life.

Later with valuable life experience, we come to realize that the ideas we had in our youth about marriage and family are far from what are they are in reality. The things that we thought mattered in high school, may not matter as much, and the things that we took for granted really matter a lot more than we realized. In retrospect, we learn that marriage is not simply a door that we walk through which changes our life, but something that each young Muslim and Muslima should be preparing for individually through observation, introspection, and reflection. In order to prepare for marriage, each person must intend to want to be the best person he or she can be in that role. There is a conscious process that they must put themselves through.

This conscious process should begin in youth. Waiting until marriage to start this process is all too late. We must really start preparing for marriage as a conscious part of our growth, self-development, and character building from a young age. The more prepared we are internally, the better off we will be in the process of marriage. The best analogy would be the stronger the structure and foundation of a building, the better that building will be able to serve its purpose and withstand the environment. Another way to think of this process is like planting a seed. We plant a seed long before the harvest, but the more time, care, and attention, the more beautiful and beneficial the fruits will be.

 

Sarah and Hasan:

Hasan grew up on the East Coast. He had gone to boarding school all through high school, especially since his parents had died in an unfortunate accident. His next of kin was his aunt and uncle, who managed his finances, and cared for him when school was not in session. Hasan was safe and comfortable with his aunt and uncle, but he always felt there was something missing in his life. During his college years, Hasan was introduced to Sarah and eventually they decided to get married.

The first week of his new job, Hasan caught a really bad case of the flu that made it hard for him to get his projects done. Groggy in bed, he sees Sarah appear with a tray of soup and medicine every day until he felt better. Nobody had ever done that for him before. He remembered the “mawaddah and rahmah” that the Quran spoke of.

Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding:

The process of growing into that person who is ready to start a family is that we need to first to be aware of ourselves and be aware of others around us. We have to have knowledge of ourselves and our environment. With time, reflection and life experience, that knowledge activates into understanding and wisdom. This activity the ability to make choices between right and wrong, and predict how our actions will affect others related to us.

Preview:

This series is made up of several parts which make up a unit about preparation for family life. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Family Unit In Islam
  • Characteristics of an Individual Needed for Family Life
  • The Nuclear Family
  • The Extended Family

Hamza and Tamika

Tamika and Hamza got married six months ago. Tamika was getting her teacher certification in night school and started her first daytime teaching job at the local elementary school. She was shocked at the amount of energy it took to manage second graders. She thought teaching was about writing on a board and reading books to kids, but found out it had a lot more to do with discipline, speaking loudly, and chasing them around. This week she had state testing for the students and her finals at night school. She was not sure how to balance all this with her new home duties. One day feeling despair, she walked in her kitchen and found a surprise. Hamza had prepared a beautiful delicious dinner for them that would last a few days, and the home looked extra clean too. Tamika was pleasantly surprised and remembered the example of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Family Unit in Islam

We always have to start with the beginning. We have to ask, “What is the family unit in Islam?” To answer this we take a step further back, asking, “What is the world-wide definition of family? Is it the same for all people? Of course not. “Family” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people across the world. As Muslims, what family means to us, is affected by culture and values, as well as our own understanding of Islam.

The world-wide definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other through blood or marriage. Beyond this point, is where there are many differences in views. Some people vary on how distantly related to consider a family. In some cultures, family is assumed to be only the nuclear family, consisting of mom dad and kids only. Other cultures assume family includes an extended family. Another large discrepancy lies in defining family roles and responsibilities. Various cultures promote different behavioral norms for different genders or roles in the family. For example, some cultures promote women staying at home in a life of luxury, while others esteem women joining the workforce while raising their kids on the side. Living styles vary too, where some cultures prefer individual family homes, while in other parts of the world extended families live together in large buildings always interacting with each other.

 

Layla and Ibrahim   

Layla and Ibrahim met at summer retreat where spirituality was the focus, and scholars were teaching them all day. Neither of them was seriously considering getting married, but one of the retreat teachers thought they might make a good match. It seemed like a fairytale, and the retreat gave them an extra spiritual high. Layla could not imagine anything going wrong. She was half Italian and half Egyptian, and Ibrahim came from a desi family. Soon after the nikah, Layla moved across the country into Ibrahim’s family home, where his parents, three siblings, and grandmother lived.  Come Ramadan, Layla’s mother-in-law, Ruqayya, was buying her new clothes to wear to the masjid. It was out of love, but Sarah had never worn a shalwar kameez in all her life! Ruqayya Aunty started getting upset when Layla was not as excited about the clothes as she was.

As Eid approached, Layla had just picked a cute dress from the department store that she was looking forward to wearing. Yet again, her mother-in-law had other plans for her.

Layla was getting upset inside. It was the night before Eid and the last thing she wanted to do was fight with her new husband. She did not want that stress, especially because they all lived together. At this point, Layla started looking through her Islamic lecture notes. She wanted to know, was this request from her mother-in-law a part of the culture, or was it part of the religion?

Marriage

The basis of all families, undoubtedly, is the institution of marriage. In the Islamic model, the marriage consists of a husband and a wife. In broad terms, marriage is the commitment of two individuals towards each other and their children to live and work together to meet and support each other’s needs in the way that they see fit. What needs they meet vary as well, from person to person, and family to family. The marriage bond must sustain the weight of fulfilling first their own obligations toward each other. This is the priority. The marriage must also be strong enough to hold the responsibility of raising the kids, and then the extended family.

How are we as Muslims unique and what makes us different from other family models? We are responsible to Allah. The end goals are what makes us different, and the method in which we work. In other family systems, beliefs are different, goals are different, and the motives are different. Methods can especially be different. In the end, it is quite a different system. What makes us better? Not because we say we are better or because we automatically feel better about ourselves due to a misplaced feeling of superiority. But instead it is because we are adhering to the system put in place by the most perfect God, Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds, the One Who knows best what it is we need.

Family Roles:

Each person in the family has a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has meant for them to have, and which ethics and common sense tell us to follow. However, our nafs and ego can easily misguide us to live our family life in the wrong way, which is harmful and keeps us suffering. Suffering can take place in many ways. It can take place in the form of neglect or abuse. In the spectrum of right and wrong, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that we are a nation meant for the middle path. So we should not go to any extreme in neglect or abuse.

What are the consequences of mishandling our family roles? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls this type of wrongdoing “transgression” or “oppression”. There are definitely consequences of oppression, abuse, and neglect. There are worldly consequences which we feel in this life, and there are long term consequences in the Akhirah.

Razan and Farhaan

Razan and Farhan had gotten married two years ago. Since they were from different towns, Razan would have to move to Farhaan’s hometown. On top of the change of married life, Razan felt pangs of homesickness and did not know many people in the new town. However, Farhaan did not realize what she was going through. He still had the same friends he grew up with for years. They had a die-hard routine to go to football games on Friday night and play basketball on Saturday at the rec center.

Razan was losing her patience. How could he think it was okay to go out with his friends twice on the weekend? Yet he expected her to keep the home together? Her blood started to boil. What does Islam say about this?

Mawaddah and Rahma

The starting point of a family is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife. Allah SWT prescribed in Surah 25: verse 74, that the marriage relationship is supposed to be built on Mawaddah (compassion) and Rahma (mercy). A loving family environment responds to both the needs of the children and the needs of parents. Good parenting prepares children to become responsible adults.

Aliyaah and Irwan

Aliyaah and Irwan had homeschooled their twin children, Jannah and Omar, for four years. They were cautious about where to admit their children for the next school year. Aliyaah felt that she wanted to homeschool her children for another few years. There were no Islamic Schools in their town. Irwan wanted to let his kids go to public schools. He felt that was nothing wrong with knowing how things in the real world are. However, every conversation they started about this issue ended up into a conflict or fight. This was beginning to affect their relationship.

Parenting

Two significant roles that adults in a family play are that they are married and they are parents. It is important that parents work to preserve and protect their marital relationship since it is really the pillar which supports the parenting role. Parenting is a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly addresses in our religion. We will be asked very thoroughly about this most important role which we will all play in our lives.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us,

“All of you are shepherds and responsible for your wards under you care. The imam is the shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is a shepherd of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them. A man is the shepherd of his father’s property and is responsible for them”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam has placed a lot of importance on the family unit. A family is the basic building block of Islam. A strong family can facilitate positive social change within itself and the society as a whole. The Quran asserts that human beings are entrusted by their Creator to be his trustees on Earth, thus they need to be trained and prepared for the task of trusteeship (isthiklaf).

Asa youth, it is important to make a concerted effort to develop our family skills so that we grow into that role smoothly. Proper development will prepare a person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically for marriage and family life.

Mona Islam is a youth worker, community builder, motivational speaker, writer, and author. For the past 25 years, Sr. Mona has been on the forefront of her passion both locally and nationally, which is inculcating character development in youth (tarbiyah).  Sr. Mona has extensive knowledge of Islamic sciences through the privilege of studying under many scholars and traveling worldwide.  An educator by profession, she is a published author, completed her masters in Educational Admin and currently doing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Sr. Mona is married with five children and lives in Houston, TX.

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