Category Archives: al-Fiqh al-Asghar (Islamic Jurisprudence)

Insight about the Rites of Hajj

With the upcoming Hajj, and the large number of books related to it, we hoped to provide some books that will help the Muslim get closer to his Lord. As such, here is a translation of the book “Tabseer an Naasik” (Insight about the Rites of Hajj) by Shaykh Abdul Muhsin al Abbad, may Allah preserve him, translated by our fellow student, Aboo Shaybah, may Allah preserve him.


Guidelines to Dressing

Bismillah ar rahman ar raheem, alhamdulillahi rabil alameen, wa salatu wa salam ala nabiyyina Muhammad, wa ala alahi wa ashabihi ajmaeen, wa b’ad:

From one of the most confusing affairs to the common Muslim is the guidelines of how he or she should dress, in front of the opposite gender and/or in front of the same gender. We hope to clarify this with the following short treatise.

We will begin with the guidelines concerning men, as Allah began many of his verses and commands with them, and as they are the heads of the household and will most likely have to enforce these guidelines.

Firstly, we must understand that the man has different levels of what he must cover (the following is the minimum required):

  1. In front of others, whether they be family or strangers, and this consists of 3 levels:
    i. During prayer – this is the highest level of covering, and from the wisdom behind it is that we are standing in front of our creator and should be in the most humbling and up kept position. This involves covering from the navel to the knee (not including either, so the navel nor the knee must be covered) and both shoulders.
    Outside of prayer – this is of two levels:
    ii. “Light” Awrah – this is from the navel to the knee (not including either).
    iii. “Heavy” Awrah – this is the two private areas.
  2. In front of his spouse – there is no specified area that must be covered in front of her.

Secondly, concerning the “light” and “heavy” awrahs, then a person may expose his thighs to others if there is a call for it, but the safest way is to remain as covered as possible. This is because shyness is a part of eeman, and there are a number of texts that praise the ones who have the most shyness.

From those texts are those that talk about Allah’s prophet Musa -alaihi as salam- and others that talk about Uthman -radaialho anhu-. Other texts include those that talk about the personality of the Prophet -salalahu alaihi wa salam- and how he remained as covered as possible in most instances.

Concerning women, the matter has more subdivisions and from them:

  1. In front of maharim (male blood relatives who a woman is ineligible to marry (i.e. father, brother, son), or male relatives from breast feeding (the son of a woman who has breastfed a woman (i.e. her milk brother)) or via marriage (i.e. husband or father-in-law)).
    i. She must cover from the navel to the knee and whatever the local customs demand(1). The female companions -radailahu anhuna- of the Prophet -salalahu alaihi wa salam- used to make wudu in front of maharim, and it is not narrated that they uncovered more than that.
  2. In front of other women.
    i. From the navel to the knee (which also consists of “light” and “heavy”) and whatever the local customs demand. These stipulations are usually lighter and more flexible than what she must cover in front of maharim.
  3. In front of strange men. There are two opinions concerning what she must cover:
    i.  Her entire body, including her face and hands.
    ii. Her entire body, excluding her face and hands.
  4. During salah it is agreed upon that she must cover everything excluding her hands and face.(2)

Now that we’ve covered the guidelines for each gender, we’d like to cover two other guidelines that encompass both genders, prescribed to us by the Eternal Law Giver, namely:

  1. Imitating the disbelievers and
  2. Men imitating women and vice versa

Concerning imitating the disbelievers, then this is a wide description that some use to apply to many aspects of life that are in actuality inapplicable. In order to define this guideline, we need to understand what the Messenger of Allah – salalahu alaihi wa salam – intended by it and how we can implement it in our lives.

Some claim that wearing (what are commonly known as [Western]) pants fall under this category. Unfortunately, this cannot be further from the truth, for if this was truly the case, then underwear would also be impermissible, but we have yet to find anyone who makes this claim.

The point of semblance that we have been warned from is imitating them in their dress that is specific to their religion, is a symbol in their religion, or the dress for a religious event or events. Common examples include: a priest’s uniform, a Jewish yamaka, a cross, a Buddhist robe, a Sikh turban, etc.

Concerning imitation of the opposite gender, then the guideline here is that it be something specific to that gender within that particular culture, and Allah knows best.

Other guidelines, in addition to the previously mentioned ones, come as to how our dress should be in:

  1. Length – for men it should not pass their ankles (being the most correct opinion), for women there is no such prohibition
  2. Constriction – in general, the clothing should be loose, especially during the prayer
  3. Flamboyance – it should not be something that is particularly strange to that culture as to draw unwanted attention
  4. Surroundings – if the government is oppressive toward a particular type of dress it should be avoided as to prevent harm to an individual or his family as long as the clothing is permissible
  5. Status – if a person is a member of the clergy, or a caller to Islam, he should wear that which will help identify him to Islam
  6. Content – it is a style in some cultures to have statements or pictures on certain parts of the clothing. These should be in accordance to that which the tolerant Sharia dictates (i.e. shouldn’t be lewd, obscene, offensive, pictures of that which has a soul, etc.)

And other than this. We did not make this list in order to limit these guidelines to a set number, but as an example as to what they should be like.

And Allah surely knows best.

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi
Makkah al Mukarramah
27/7/1435 H


  1. This is what is defined in Islam as the ‘Urf, or the customs of the people, and this is an example of the comprehensive nature of the religion and how it can fit and mold into any time and place. In order to clarify the above guidelines, we’d like to provide some practical examples of how each culture views what can and cannot be exposed:
    i. During breastfeeding:
    – In many Pakistani families a woman will excuse herself and feed in private, while in some Ethiopian families a woman will openly feed in front of other women
    – in some families a woman will not feed in front of her maharim, while in some families she will, and this is considered acceptable
    – within families of the same culture, you will find that while a woman is breastfeeding she will wear shirts that she must lift up in order to feed, so that her upper chest remains covered, while other women do not take such precautions
    ii. Casual dress
    – in classical Indo-Pak culture a woman would not bare her shoulders in front of other women, while in some modern Arab cultures tube tops and spaghetti strap shirts are considered totally acceptable
    – in classical Indo-Pak culture a woman would not show cleavage in front of other women, while in some modern Arab cultures it is totally acceptable
    – within Indo-Pak culture you find families that will allow a woman to expose her back and midriff, while others will not
    – in classical Arab cultures you will not finding women wearing pants, more of a gown-type dress, whereas in Indo-Pak culture, their outfits are exclusively two-piece, consisting of a top and salwaar.
    iii. Swimming
    – some cultures allow one piece swimming suits, while some allow tights, while others are even more reserved and wear t-shirts and long pants
    – some cultures allow women to swim with mahaarim other than the husband, while others find it unacceptable
    I have brought these examples for clarification, and not to deem one way more correct than the other, just to show the practical differences between diverse cultures, all of them ascribing to the same wonderful religion.
    I would like to point out that I have yet to find an Islamic culture that openly allows a woman to bare her chest in front of others, and inshaa Allah we will not, and to Allah all praise is due.
  2. For those that hold the opinion that she must cover her hands and face in front of strange men, they say that if she fears being seen by strange men, then she is allowed to cover them during the prayer.

A Small Glimpse at How Rulings are Derived


We’ll attempt to explain how some Islamic rulings are derived and how they are understood according to the people of knowledge.  Prior to going into the issue, we must first understand some key principles that are used to deduct rulings.

1- The origin or the rule of thumb is that a command from Allah or His messenger is obligatory/waajib (i.e. a person is rewarded for doing that action and threatened with a punishment for leaving it off).

2- The origin or the rule of thumb is that a prohibition from Allah or His messenger means that action is impermissible/haraam (i.e. a person is rewarded for leaving off that action and threatened with a punishment if they do it).

We will suffice with these two principles insha-Allah and see where mustahaab (recommended actions) come from a little later, but first, let’s look at waajib.  Allah, That Most High, says {Establish (All of you) the prayer} Al-Baqarah: 43.  This is a command from Allah and the origin of a command is an obligation i.e. waajib.  This is the origin or rule of thumb.  This origin remains intact until there is a saarif (i.e. something that changes it or nullifies it). So, in reality, this ruling includes everyone and some of the people of knowledge include the non Muslims as well because this verse in the Qur’an is general.

Question: What about children are they included in the verse as well? What about women on their menses or after having child birth? Assuming that we already agreed that the ruling from the verse is general for everyone, so according to this, women (on their menses or after giving child birth) and children must pray, correct?

No, this isn’t correct! Why? This is because we have a saarif (i.e. a changer or a nullifier of this ruling). The messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “The pen is lifted from three (people), the one who is sleeping until he awakes, the one with a mental illness until he is cured, and the child until he becomes baaligh (reaches puberty)” recorded in the sunan of Abu Dawud.

There are a lot of benefits that we can take from this hadeeth, but we’ll concentrate on the last part about the child not being held accountable until he or she reaches puberty according to Islam. So, there is a saarif (i.e. changer or nullifier of the ruling) contained in this hadeeth. Now, we’ve excluded children from the obligation. We can clearly see that it is not waajib for children to pray until they reach puberty. We’ve also mentioned the evidence for this.

What about women on their menses?

1- The messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, said “Blood from the menses is black and is known, if you see it, then refrain from the salaah (prayer…)” reported by Abu Dawood.

2- As for after giving birth to a child, Umm Salamah narrated that during the time of the messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, the women would, after giving birth, sit for 40 days. Abu Dawood and in another narration he, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, didn’t command us to make up our prayers after giving birth, recorded by Al-Haakim

So, from the narrations mentioned, we can clearly see how a general ruling of the obligation of establishing the prayer was for everyone, but there were certain circumstances that excluded some people. In this case it is impermissible/haraam for women to pray and they have their menses etc. Why? This is because the messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, prohibited the women from praying while on their menses. If we remember the principles that were stated earlier we can see how they are implemented in this example.

In next issue, we’ll look at how a ruling that appears to be an obligation but is somehow changed to becoming mustahaab (recommended) by some of the people of knowledge. Please keep in mind the principles that were mentioned in the previous examples. May Allah bless you!

The messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa salaam, said, “When you make wudu, begin with your right (side)” recorded in the four sunnan.
In this hadeeth, we can clearly see that starting on your right side is obligatory according to the principles that were covered, correct?  So this is the origin and the rule of the thumb.  However, we must proceed with caution before we say that it’s waajib to start with your right side when making wudu and that someone is committing a sin by not beginning with the right. Let’s look a little closer at the issue. Let’s see how the scholars look at this situation, as they are the specialist when it comes to deriving rulings.  In this situation (starting on your right side in wudu), there are two positions and they are as follows:
1- A statement that it’s waajib (obligatory to start with you right side). The proof is the hadeeth that was previously mentioned. This however, is not the position of the majority of the scholars. (Please note, the majority’s position does not always necessitate that it is the correct position contrary to what some may think, however rulings are established with daleel, evidence etc.)

2- The majority of the scholars hold it to be mustahaab (recommended). What is their saarif (i.e. something that changes the ruling from it being obligatory)? There are three:

1- Allah, The Most High, says, {Wash your faces and your hands…} Al-Maaidah: 6. The scholars say that Allah, The Most High, commands us to wash our faces and our hands in this ayah and doesn’t mention anything about starting on your right.

2- The hadeeth of Aaisha, may Allah be pleased with her, “The messenger of Allah used to love to begin with his right” reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim. This shows that the messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam, loved to start with his right. It is also a proof that it’s recommended but not to the level of being threatened with a punishment if one left it off.

3-The third proof that they use, which is actually the strongest proof of all, is Ijma’a, which is a scholarly consensus, that was reported by Imam An-Nawawi and Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on them).

So, if it is established that there, in reality, is a scholarly consensus, then the ruling on this issue is mustahaab (recommended). Why, because a scholarly consensus overrides the position of it being obligatory (starting on the right side for wudu) by some scholars. Insha-Allah this was clear. May Allah make our hearts firm upon His religion!

Benefit: Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Aadam Al-Ethiopi, may Allah preserve him, mentioned in one of his classes that the people of the past didn’t ask whether their actions were a sunnah or waajib etc. They wanted to please Allah, The Most High, with their actions. So we mentioned this for the purpose of acquiring some benefit and getting a glimpse as to how scholars use evidences in Islam and how they are applied. May Allah forgive us of our many faults and shortcomings and allow our seeking of knowledge to be a proof for us and not against us.

Your brothers in Islam,

Adapted from the following sources:

1. Rawdatu An-Naathir, Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisee (620 Hijri)
2. The Explanation of Nihaayahtu As-Sool, Jamal Ad-Deen Al-Isnawee (772 Hijri)
3. The Explanation of Buloog Al-Maraam, Abdellah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan

Taken from:


Bismillah ar rahman ar raheem, alhamdulillahi rabil alameen, wa salatu wa salam ala nabiyyina Muhammad, wa ala alahi wa ashabihi ajmaeen, ama b’ad;

As we get further away from the time of the Imams, we find an increase in overall sins and oppression. From these sins is the modern day use of photography.

Many, either out of desires, or a feeling of a difference amongst the scholars, or a “maslahah”(1).

Concerning the difference of opinion we have a few issues that need to be addressed:

1. It is taking a similitude to Allah’s act of creating

2. Such pictures can lead to veneration and exoneration, to the point of them being worshiped other than Allah.

3. These pictures are those which were made impermissible by Allah’s messenger and Allah’s curse is upon those who make such.

As for the first issue, then many will argue against any such creation, saying it is a reflection. This is problematic because it is in actuality creation.

In order to understand this, we need to understand the mechanics behind how a camera work. Basically, we have two types of cameras: film and digital.

They both work very similarly, in that light is projected onto the lens of  a camera, which inverts the resultant image which further reflects it onto either a negative film, if it is a film camera, or onto a sensor, if digital.

The film reacts to the light hitting it, and darkens or lightens based on the light information that is received.

A digital camera, instead of film, has a light sensitive plate that reacts to the light information and interprets the data accordingly which is ultimately displayed on a screen.

So in both a film and digital camera, the data is interpreted based on the given light information. It is this interpretation that we believe is similitude to creation.

Just as an artist is presented with information, he interprets it accordingly. So if it is done mechanically, then why do we justify it? Because the picture is more accurate? Accuracy is not a definitive qualifier for permissibility. And with Allah do we seek help and refuge.

Secondly, some may argue it is possible that these pictures do lead to veneration, but since a possibility is not a conclusive fact, we can merely prohibit it from the door of preventing a greater harm.

But this veneration is a definite possibility, especially after someone passes. Do we not look at pictures of passed family members and friends and feel a movement in our hearts, sometimes even with pictures of those who are living. This is what the people after Adam alaihi as salam had wanted and hoped, in order to get closer to Allah.

Thirdly, we find narrations from the Sahaba radialho anhum, differing concerning the permissibility of pictures, whether they were inanimate or not. Some of them saw an absolute impermissibility, while others allowed inanimate objects, and this is what is apparent.

So, what defines and comprises a picture? Basically anything a unique animate object can be individually identified in with. While some scholars define this identification to be with the eyes, it depends on the situation, as sometimes the eyes are not enough. Other scholars defined it with the head, and other than that.

Allah knows best, but a general definition seems the safest.

As for the “maslahah” or general benefit, then this varies based on time and place.

From some of these general societal benefits:

1. People recognizing how the people of knowledge look and how they should present themselves and be presented.

2. Certain actions such as salah and wudu can be performed and shown versus being explained which can help visual learners.

3. The attention span of the Islamic nation as a whole has diminished, so a need to keep their attention has arisen. From these methods is a video or picture of the speaker.

4. A way to counteract the dawah efforts of those against Ahlus Sunnah, as innovators have readily utilized these different media for their own agendas.

5. A general societal push, and from them YouTube, Facebook and other social media. These are seen as tools of dawah and a need to utilize them came about.

All of these “masaleh” (pl maslahah) revolve either around education or dawah, none of them involving remembrance, honoring or veneration.

They didn’t come to justify actual photography, but to use it as a means to an end, in this case, either dawah and/or education. Due to these masaleh not having definitive guidelines, it is difficult to prefer or even choose one over the other, as they might be apparent to some and not others, regardless, they are, and can be considered justifiable reasons.

And Allah knows best


Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi
Madinah an Nabawiyyah
8/3/1434 H

(1) The potential benefits of an action, an example being the compilation of the Quran in the form of a book, or the use of lines in the masaajid to straighten the rows, or the creation of the different Islamic sciences, none of which were present during the time of the Prophet -salalahu alaihi wa salam- but do not fall into the category of innovation due to the general guidelines that the tolerant shariah prescribed allowing them.

Seven Reasons Why Scholars May Differ

This is a translation of an article “Seven reasons why scholars may differ” by Shaykh Al Allamah Muhammad Salih Al-Uthaimeen:

The first reason: The evidence has not reached the scholar who has given his verdict upon error.
Second reason: The evidence has reached this scholar but he doesn’t trust the chain of narration. He views the chain of narration to be in opposition to what he knows to be stronger.
Third reason: The evidence has reached him but he has forgotten.
Forth reason: The evidence has reached him, and he misunderstands it.
Fifth reason: The hadeeth (Prophetic narration) has reached the scholar, but this hadeeth has been abrogated. The scholar does not know of its abrogation, nor does he know what abrogated it. The hadeeth is authentic, and the understanding of the hadeeth is clear, but it has been abrogated. This scholar will remain pardoned because the of the Islaamic principal; that the origin of a verse of the Quraan, or Hadeeth is that it has not been abrogated.
Sixth reason: The scholar believes that the evidence (Hadeeth/Quraanic verse) is in opposition to a stronger Islaamic text, or the consensus of the Salaf.Meaning: The evidence has reached the researcher, but he sees it to be in opposition to that which is stronger by way Islaamic text or the consensus of the salaf. This is the cause of most of the difference between the Islaamic scholars, and mostly what we hear from those who transmit the consensus, but when we examine the statement we find that there is no consensus at all.
Seventh reason: The scholar uses a hadeeth that is unauthentic.

Translator’s note: Although a scholar may fall into error; what must be understood is that when a scholar falls into error we do not backbite them, nor do we belittle them nor there verdicts. We respect the scholars due to their love for Islaam and their desire to spread Islaamic knowledge. They are the inheritors of the Prophets of Allaah. Falling into error is a human characteristic that all humans share, no one man is exempt from falling into error except the Messenger of Allaah, for this reason we, the youth, should refrain from speaking about any of the differing that may transpire between the scholars.
Sadly, today it has become very common to hear the most ignorant of the Muslims slandering the Islaamic scholars. In addition scholars from Ahlul Sunnah (People of the Sunnah) that fall short in their religious verdicts after striving hard to reach correctness receive a reward from Allaah. This is based on the statement of the Messenger of Allaah:
إذا حكم الحاكم فاجتهد ثم أصاب فله أجران, و إذا حكم فاجتهد ثم أخطأ فله أجر
If a scholar gives a verdict after striving hard in research and he is correct he will receive two rewards, and if he after striving hard in research is incorrect then he will receive one reward. (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
This proves that the scholar who strives hard in research, whether correct or incorrect in his verdict, will receive at least one reward.
After understanding that even the scholar who has fallen into error after researching receives a reward, one must ask himself who am I to speak about such illustrious people?

Muhammad Abu Essa
Makkah, KSA
30/9/2013 CE


Bismillah ar rahman ar raheem, alhamdulillahi rabil alameen, wa salatu wa salam ala nabiyyina Muhammad, wa ala alahi wa ashabihi ajmaeen, ama b’ad;

As a new wave of fatwas (religious rulings) concerning celebrations that were and continue to be invented by those who share partners with Allah or deny his existence, a question comes to mind, why the sudden push to begin celebrating that which we do not identify with?

This identity (or lack of) is mainly based on the fact that the Muslims, probably the first time by choice in Islamic history, have decided to take up residence amongst the disbelievers, either due to economic or social pressures or other than that.

This movement has brought about a Muslim minority that has lost their original Islamic identity and as such is trying one of two things:

  1. Trying to create a “new” identity that is trying to meet the, often conflicting, Western culture’s ideology while still trying to maintain some semblance to Islam.
  2. Trying to abandon their Muslim identity and embrace the identity of those whose nation they are residing in.

The solution is simple, and doesn’t involve the insurmountable difficulties involved in the above two scenarios; live in peace with your neighbors and maintain your Muslim identity wholly and fully, without compromising your religion. Allah tells us what the disbelievers, specifically the Jews and the Christians, expect from us, so why try meeting a people half-way, who won’t relent until you are fully in their fold?

We have a tolerant government and law system provided to us by our creator, and it is perfect in every way, shape and form. Due to our circumstances, we are many times in a situation unable to implement our tolerant law, and as such abide by, and live in peace, with those who chose not to implement our tolerant religion.

From one of these forms or attempts at assimilation is the issue of celebrations. We would like to present a few conditions and principles a Muslim can use to determine what types of celebrations are acceptable and unacceptable in Islam.

The first thing we need to look at is if it happens on a continual basis, be it weekly, monthly, yearly, every decade, or other than that. This is because we only have three celebrations in Islam that happen on a continuous basis: Jumuah (Friday), Eid ul Fitr (the celebration after the completion of Ramadan) and Eid ul Adha (the Hajj celebration).

So, celebrations that do not happen on a continuous basis and have no basis in the religion, such as graduations or a celebration due to a promotion or pay raise, are permissible. These are worldly and not recurring on a continuous basis.

As for celebrations that do not recur on a regular basis and have a basis in the religion, then these are recommended practices. From these practices are: marriage celebrations and the celebration for a birth of a child.

The second factor is if there is some sort of worship involved in that action. For example, a person may receive his salary on a specific day every month, and because of that he takes his family out for dinner. This in itself, as long as he does not take this to be a specific day of worship, is completely permissible, even if it occurs monthly.

As to what opposes this, for example, is Independence Day. It is a day that is celebrated in many, including Muslim, countries. Some people claim that there is no worship associated to this day, and it is a completely worldly matter. We oppose this mentality because from the types of worship is honoring.

This day (i.e. Independence Day) is honored and glorified, an act that should be for Allah aza wa jal, and the days He commanded us to honor and glorify. It is not upon us to decide what days we should add or subtract from those recurring holidays.

Here, some might interject and state that why is Independence Day being equated to days like Valentine’s Day or Christmas. The response would be that we are not. Valentine’s Day and Christmas, specifically, are holidays that are exclusively celebrated by the disbelievers in general, and Christians specifically.

So, the violation here would be from two avenues (in opposition to Independence Day, which has one violation): one, being an imitation of an exclusive holiday of non-muslims, and secondly, honoring a day that recurs yearly (which we have explained the prohibition of). Other examples would include wedding anniversaries, death anniversaries, and similar to them.

One of the proofs we would like to present is the actual word utilized to symbolize a recurring celebration; holiday. And from the main definitions for holiday is: holy day; which leads to the subsequent meanings that involve relaxing and exemption from work (as is mentioned in Merriam Webster). Granted, this is not meant to be an absolute and blanket meaning due to some exceptions and cultural use, but it does deserve an observant eye.

There are other celebrations that the Muslims have included as part of their yearly celebrations, and from them the Mawlid, the 15 of Sha’ban, and other than them. All of these are problematic for the reason that these days people take as specific days of worship, in addition to glorifying and honoring them which is an innovation in the religion.

They are taken as eids in addition to the two established eids, which again, is adding to Allah’s religion that which may not be added. The Prophet of Allah salalahu alaihi wa salam made no effort to celebrate these days, neither his companions radaialho anhum, nor their students, so is it possible that those who were more knowledgeable came after them and understood something that was not understood by the one who received the revelation -salalahu alaihi wa salam-?!? No, this is impossible. We avoid what they avoided in the religion and we do what they did in the religion.

Additionally, it is not necessary that the celebration be limited to a recurring day. It is possible that it may be a recurring week, or possibly even a month as is found in other religions and/or cultures.

As Muslims, it is upon us to make a continuous attempt to get closer to Allah -the most high-, by doing that which pleases him, in a manner that He deems acceptable. It is not upon us to add and subtract in His religion as we please or feel.

I ask Allah to keep us firm in our religion and to increase our love for our Muslim identity, which is tied to your lordship and our slavery to you, the most high.

And Allah knows best.

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

24/3/1434 H

Arabic language for the Ummah

Bismillah ar rahman ar raheem, alhamdulillahi rab il alameen, wa salatu wa salam ala nabiyyna Muhammad, wa ala alahi wa ashabihi ajmaeen, ama b’ad,

Many people have a misunderstanding as to how studying Arabic should be approached, and it boils down to the need at the time and what is required from you as a Muslim in your society, and I don’t limit this to non-Arab societies because they have also strayed from the original “faseeh” Arabic.

Firstly, we need to discuss the obligation of studying Arabic, and from the scholars who call to its’ collective obligation is Shaykh ul Islam ibn Taymiyyah raheemahullah, and many of the other scholars also see it to be mustahaab (recommended).

-What is apparent is the importance of the Arabic language, and this is due to the mere fact that Allah aza wa jal sent down the Quran and the Sunnah in the Arabic language, and He aza wa jal in his wisdom did this to ease the understanding of the religion for his slaves. He commands us in many versus to contemplate the Quran, and how can this obligation be done without an understanding of the words of our Lord t’ala?

-Also, we do not find, from the scholars past or present, those who are not fluent (either in text and/or speech) in the Arabic language, as it is the foundation on which the sciences related to the religion are built. And having people who focus on studying and teaching the religion is a collective obligation.

-Khushoo (tranquility) in the prayer cannot be attained fully except with the understanding of the Arabic language, even if certain linguistic sciences aren’t studied (such as balagha i.e. eloquence), this doesn’t mean that tranquility won’t be reached, it merely means that a complete appreciation will not be attained.

Secondly, can Arabic be taught to each Muslim individual in the current state of affairs of the Muslims?

-In my humble opinion, and based on our current state, it cannot be, and the greater priority, which is understanding and knowing Allah’s religion must be fulfilled, which does not necessitate knowing the Arabic language.

-In light of the fatawa of those who see learning Arabic an collective obligation, we say that in both Imam’s times, we found Islam either: spreading, and the Arabic language would unite the ummah, or there was a push for its’ preservation due to outside pressures. Basically, Islam was strong and the ability to implement Arabic into learning institutions was relatively easy, versus today, where we cannot/do not implement such teaching techniques and subjects into our homes, let alone educational institutions.

-The ummah is at an all time low in terms of Eeman and Belief in Allah aza wa jal, and has distanced itself from the Prophetic Sunnah. There is a call to teach the people about the One aza wa jal who created them, and the one salalahu alaihi wa salam, who He sent.

Thirdly, how is the average working Muslim to include Arabic into his daily life?

-This goes back to where you, as a Muslim member of this collective Ummah wants to be:

1. A student of knowledge – this will involve extensive knowledge of and studying the language, where an entire curriculum will need to be covered and there is no end to studying.

2. A layperson with a desire to understand the Quran, and possible chance of becoming a student – this involves knowing key verbs and their morphology, along with a number of nouns and prepositions, and how these prepositions change meaning depending on the usage, and a basic understanding of Arabic grammar. Conversation, dictation, writing, and other language skills do NOT need to be covered, as the main focus here is reading and understanding. This person does not hope to have conversations or read books in Arabic, mainly understand the Quran when it is being recited.

3. A layperson who wants to know what is obligatory upon him – just because this person is not studying the Arabic language does not mean they are exempt from studying, it is still obligatory for him to know about:

i. Allah (tawheed and shirk) and His Messenger (following his sunnah and what bida are) salalahu alaihi wa salam

ii. How to pray and the rulings related to it

iii. How to give zakah and the rulings related to it

iv. How to fast and the rulings related to it

v. How to make Hajj and the rulings related to it

-So based on the above choice, and it is upon every person to know themselves, because we are not all students, and we are not all laymen, and we are all not in between, a person needs to decide how he will benefit the ummah. From there, he can make an informed decision on how he wants to proceed, for there are many people from different walks of life and different resources available to them, so it is upon him to take shura (consultation) on the best way to approach this and what methodology of learning would be appropriate for him, and Allah knows best.

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

20/2/1434 H