Category Archives: Student Notes

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

Notes:

  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.

Advice to the Aspiring Student of Knowledge

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

When a person first begins to tread the path of knowledge, or aspires to, he is often encouraged to the extent that the process of seeking knowledge is one that is glamorous. He is told about its’ virtue, and the blessings associated with it, and the welcomed hardships he will have to bear. He is told that this is a great sacrifice and he looks to those who have studied as lights and those that achieved something amazing.

What he is not told is everything else. Yes, seeking knowledge is all of the above, and in certain regards even more, but there remain many issues those that our young, energetic and generally overzealous tend to overlook.

This is what we hope to address.

Firstly, the actual concept of seeking knowledge and being overseas in order to be “initiated” as a student of knowledge is flawed. Seeking knowledge begins from the time we make our intention, and while being overseas opens up many facilities to the potential student, it cannot and should not be used to define him.

Secondly, the “hardship” we hear about. This will vary from person to person, but at the end of the day, maybe myself and others can handle certain hardship, but does that mean we should impose this desired difficulty on our families? They are not the ones who chose to seek knowledge. We did, and as such we should facilitate for them as much as a we possibly can, so that they feel like encouraging you to continue seeking knowledge, not lead them to detest the entire concept of it, due to our actions and sometimes (or many times) selfish decisions.

Thirdly, our futures. This is the most overlooked issue when a person decides on seeking knowledge, while in reality, it is the most important. Yes, we are sacrificing for Allah’s sake, and He will provide for us, but what precautions and preparations did we make to be financially sound when we return after seeking knowledge? After marriage you are not an individual any more, you and your family are a unit, and decisions should be made to reflect that.

We need to realize that at some point we will have to reintegrate into the society that we once left or abandoned, along with our wives and children. This will cost money, period. What decisions did we make in order to try to land an appropriate job that is one that helps maintain a student’s honor? What jobs did we aim for that would allow us to continue teaching Islam and help other Muslims financially simultaneously?

We are examples to the people. Do we want everyone to earn a lowly income and become dependent on others? Why do we always aim for the lowest standard??

Lastly, seeking knowledge is the best decision an individual can make, but, there are things he should take into account before embarking on such an endeavor. Not everyone can or wants to seek knowledge, and this is totally acceptable, and we should all make the best decisions possible seeking proper counsel and asking for blessings from Allah.

And with Allah is all success.

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi
Makkah al Mukarammah, KSA
9/4/1435 H

Dawah Advice

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

Lately, there has been an open attack on brothers who don’t uphold the methodology of blindly following a select group of scholars, to which many brothers have taken an initiative to respond to, either out of feel of preservation of the religion, of protecting the honor of their brothers, or a personal defense.

While these reasons in themselves are not to be faulted for, there are a few troubling issues that I’d like to address, and from them:

– Our dawah is not reactionary. Just because someone initiates an attack, it is not upon us to counter every argument that comes our way. This dawah was and will always be initiatory, a place of strength and honor, as you set the rules for the playing field, not play the offenders game. Playing the offenders game leaves us often ill equipped to play a game where we are unfamiliar with rules. Allah commands us to ignore comments of ill speech and keep working toward good.

– We must remember that the religion is sincere advice, and as such, when sincerity is lost, then hardness begins to enter the hearts. Once the obligation of repulsion of the opposer is fulfilled, it is not necessary to metaphorically “stomp” him, as this does not lead to reconciliation, and only leads to contempt and hatred for one another. Allah says that the believers are harsh against the disbelievers and merciful amongst each other, not the other way around. Loving our brothers and sisters, and wanting good for them is one of the foundational aspects of brotherhood, a cornerstone of society.

– Obsession is not a praiseworthy characteristic. We clarify the mistake, to remind ourselves first and foremost, and as a general advice for our brothers and sisters. It is in no way meant as a belittlement or mockery, and that’s what our speech becomes when we tend to consistently repeat it. This obsession takes away from our sincerity and is another way that shaytaan poisons our intentions and harden our hearts toward our Muslim brothers and sisters.

May Allah unite us all upon good, and surely, He knows best.

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah, KSA

20/12/1434 H

Academic Tools

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

A lack of respect toward scholars and students of knowledge is usually due to a lack of respect or knowledge of what such individuals studied. Most tools that these people of knowledge utilize, aren’t seen by the general masses, and as such, being unable to see and recognize the intricacies involved in giving dawah, or issuing a religious ruling, people think, “well I knew that”. Just, because your answer might agree with that of someone of more knowledge, it doesn’t mean that we arrived at the ruling or dawah effort in a correct manner.

Similarly, many people know how to drive a car, but few are able to analyze or troubleshoot any issues that may arise. They may even be able to point out some problems, but not the way a mechanic will understand or troubleshoot the same issue.

As such, I would like to present a quick synopsis of some of the major sciences taught at most Islamic universities and institutes in order for the reader to get a better appreciation for what is taught and the product (i.e. the students) of these institutions.

  1. Aqeedah – a science involved about not just learning about Allah, but differentiating between references that can be utilized or rejected to justify our belief in Him and His religion. Additionally, students of this science learn about the major scholars in this science, study about sects within Islam, and those that claim Islam but have nothing to do with it (such as the Bahai and other than them). Students also study comparative religions, namely religions that have a divine source, such as Christianity and Judaism, and man made religions, such as Bhuddism and Hinduism. The tools a student acquires from this science includes ascertaining what is part of the religion, the elements of belief, and how to believe in Allah and the correct way to arrive at that belief.
  2. Tafseer – a science revolving around the book of Allah and it’s explanations. There are two main sciences that comprise the greater science, the sciences of the Quran, which involve determining the correct way to interpret and understand the Quran, and the actual science of tafseer, which is the interpretation itself. A student will be able to recognize the different verses, in their generality, or limited actualization, their abrogation, their apparent or intended meaning, whether they (either the verse or the chapter) were revealed in Makkah or Madina, the relationship between the different verses and chapters, and the different interpretations of the verses and chapters based on the linguistic and shar’e (religious) meanings.
  3. Hadith – a science revolved around the Prophetic narrations. Students focus on two branches of this science: textual studies (actual books of collections of ahadith and their types, which is over 5 types) and studies related to hadith terminology (again a large number and variety). The tools a student gain from this science is grading chains of narrations to make a ruling on the accepting or rejecting of the hadith and looking into and knowing the books of narrators, the ability to reference correctly, determining what is a correct and incorrect hadith source, and the ability to compare texts in order to understand a hadith or multiple hadith in their entirety.
  4. Fiqh and usool al Fiqh – sciences that revolves around the ascertaining and understanding the rulings derived from the revealed texts (the Quran and the Sunnah). These sciences are divided into usool (foundations) and fiqh (jurisprudence). As for usool, then this science is concerned with determining what can be used as a proof in a religious ruling and the tools needed to extract the ruling from that proof, including what related rulings can be drawn from it. The science of fiqh is the actual application of the texts into a form of a religious ruling, and knowing the different understandings that have come about from the preceding texts, commonly known as the rulings of the 4 madhahib, and comparative fiqh. A student of this science will be able to determine what can be used as a proof concerning religious rulings and how to make a ruling based on that proof, in light of the different foundations in the religion, and the most applicable one to the situation.

This is just an extremely brief viewpoint of what different students of different sciences learn, and we have left out students of the language (which includes a study of eloquence, which IS the main miracle of the Quran), students of history, students of Islamic economics, students of Dawah, and the other Islamic sciences for brevity, possibly added at a later time.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

15/3/1434 H

Academic Education

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

Many brothers and sisters have began to post and distribute statements of the scholars and their own personal implications concerning those that graduated with both/either a worldly degree and/or a degree in a science from the sciences in Islam.

Concerning the worldly degree, most speech is about how it is impermissible to freely mix with those of the opposite gender. Considering this (i.e. free-mixing) is not limited to educational institutes, but to most work places, why limit the impermissibility to just these institutes, why not expand it to work places as well? Because the answer will be that an individual has to earn to provide for his family.

Similarly, a person who wants an education (and our speech is mainly geared toward men), he also wants to provide for his family, the WAY he wants to provide, and as some of the scholars (from them Sh ibn Jibreen and Sh Abdul Muhsin al Abbad), have allowed this due to the free mixing situation he is already in.

If a person has a base understanding of the Islamic belief including how to fulfill the five pillars of Islam, and getting a degree will help his Muslim community specifically, and the greater Muslim community as a whole, and he already lives in a mixed environment, then yes, he should study.

Concerning a degree in one of the many Islamic sciences, we feel that an attack has been launched against these brothers (the ones who hold Islamic degrees) for a number of reasons:

  1. Ignorance – such individuals tend not to be educated themselves Islamically, yet feel the need to use a measuring stick (which they do not possess), to judge graduates
  2. Jealousy – and this is from a lack of sincerity, as some of these brothers should have stepped down from their positions to make way for those who are more knowledgeable, yet we find them tenaciously holding on
  3. Peer pressure – stemming from a pre-Islamic or pre-practicing stage of ignorance where a person needs to fit into support his clique or “gang”, not allowing others to enter their “turf”. Commonly known as hizbiyyah or partisanship

Is it possible a person who does not hold a degree holds more knowledge than one who does? Absolutely, BUT this is usually NOT the case, and for it to be the case, the person needs to actually have studied for more than 6 months to 2 years in order to allow for some of his knowledge to “gel”.

To help visualize this, most eastern university programs offer a 2 year Arabic curriculum, that allow a student, after finishing to have a general grasp of the Arabic language. It takes an average student another 2 years to get a STRONG command of the language, and at that point he has 2 years remaining to get a grasp on the material he’s been studying and begin refining and applying the academic tools he’s required. This is IF he limited his studies to the university only, but walihil hamd, we find students expanding outside their course material and studying regularly with many teachers and educators.

So, in light of the picture that many brothers are trying to portray, the reality is otherwise. The universities are, for the most part, producing serious and dedicated students who are helping different communities across the Islamic world, versus most of those without a formal education, due to whose ignorance, are destroying communities throughout the Muslim world, and with Allah do we seek help and refuge.

Secondly, there are very limited means by which students can study the religion. Unfortunately, gone are the days where you could be taken as an apprentice to one of the many mashayikh, and study and learn from him. One of the only means to come to the Eastern lands (legally) and study Islam, is to come on a student visa, which in many countries, provides a number of benefits, including subsidization and health benefits.

The remaining ways of going to study, involve some type of business, work, or visitor visas. The problem with business and work visas is that most of your time will not be dedicated to studying, as in order to maintain your status you will have to work or show business revenue. The issue with visitor visas is the time constraints and pressure of renewal involved, which prohibits a continuous study plan. There are those who are able to find a balance, and whoever strives sincerely for Allah he will make a way, inshallah.

And with Allah is success and He knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

13/3/1434 H

How Does Belief in Allah aza wa jal Having a Hand Effect Me?

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

My wife was posed the above question and then came home to inform me about it, and I was extremely upset and saddened by the question, as it showed a clear lack of knowledge, specifically concerning the subject of Aqeedah (Islamic belief).

The question itself belittles the most important characteristic of the religion, which is belief in our Lord, the most high. This belief is what distinguishes us from the disbelievers and from those who innovate within the religion. So how important is this belief?

In order to understand our Creator, we must accept who and what He is first, and this cannot be done except by returning back to the texts (from the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah) which he provided us with in order to understand Him. Why provide us with texts that describe Him?

For two main reasons:

  1. In order to draw closer to Him, and this can only be done by knowing Him, knowing His characteristics and what He desires from you.
  2. In order to test us. So we find those who believe in this names and characteristics as they came (which is what Ahlus Sunnah believes), and those that change their meanings (from the sects that place logic and intellect above religious texts), and those that outright reject them (from those that claim the texts are not to be taken upon their apparent meaning).

If we look at the nations of the past, the ones that distorted Allah’s names and characteristics were the Christians and Jews, so it is upon us to distance ourselves from their beliefs, specifically in Allah. Allah gives their examples multiple times in the Quran as an example for us to learn and benefit from, so why do we not take it??

Most groups who have strayed from the correct Islamic belief, did so in this aspect of Aqeedah (in Allah’s names and characteristics), so we should be extremely wary with such statements and questions.

This is how we deal with Allah’s names and attributes generally, so to answer the question posed above specifically I would say:

Because belief in His hand allows me to accept the fact that He has a hand. It also causes me to believe that He has a hand with which He aza wa jal is generous with. It is that hand that He places over the jama’ah (the group). His hand is open with generosity and good, and not closed as the Jews claim. His hand does not mean “power” as some deviated sects claim, it means He aza wa jal has a hand and is able to hold all of the creation (the heavens and the Earth and everything they contain) in it.

Yes, this does effect me. It affects my belief. It affects my eeman (faith) in him. It affects my taqwa (awareness of Him). It affects my love of Him and for Him, aza wa jal.

So every misguided belief in Allah’s being brings about a shortcoming in every single act of worship, to the point where a man feels he spent his entire life in His worship only to come on the day of judgment with a small percentage of what he believed he had done.

And to help visualize the problem with the presented question, I would pose a follow up question: Why does Him having a hand not affect you??

 

And Allah knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

9/3/1434 H

Photography

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.

Blind Following

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

Accusing someone of a crime involves the accuser to firstly recognize the crime, and concerning blind following, then most of us don’t have the ability to recognize it due to our lack of knowledge of it.

Blindly following a person or a methodology involves taking information from that individual without any textual proofs for that academic position, whether that position is correct or less correct is irrelevant.

The crux of the argument is the presence of textual proof. There is some terminology that is mistaken for blind following, and they include:

1. Ittiba – and this is in reality obedience to Allah and his messenger.

2. Tassub – and this is having an emotional attachment or bias toward an individual or group.

3. Following a madhab – and this depends on what extent a person follows the madhab or if that person is associating himself to that madhab because it is the madhab he mainly studied.

4. Taking fatwa – and some people go to extremes in saying everyone must make ijtihad, including the layman.

And the type that is agreed upon to be discouraged and hated (for all levels of people) is the second, as for the rest it depends on the level of knowledge of the individual.

So a scholar may be on or associated with a certain madhab, and due to his lack of tassub toward that madhab, it is not seen as dispraiseworthy.

As for taking a fatwa, it is upon the layman to make the best possible effort in finding the most appropriate person to take his fatwa from, and this is in reality is ittiba, as Allah commands him to ask the people of knowledge.

It is not enough that this individual merely seek out a qualified mufti, but that he take the answer with the textual evidence the mufti presented. With these two conditions, he has fulfilled what was obligatory upon him.

As for the scholar or the student of knowledge and their personal ascription to the madhahib, then this may be so that when an issue arises, and he is unaware or unsure of the ruling, or doesn’t have time to research a particular issue, he may fall back to what the madhab says, and this preserves him in two aspects:

1. Someone preceded him in the ruling

2. If the ruling is mistaken, the blame will not fall on him alone, but onto the madhab

What we find strange and dispraiseworthy is that in this time a person is looked down upon due to his ascription to a certain school of thought. This was not known to those before and an ascription to a madhab, as we mentioned is a “safety net” for many of the scholars to fall back on.

This same person, who look down on others will openly disagree with Imam ash Shafii, or Imam Malik -raheemahumullah-, yet when you disagree with his modern day shaykh, he will rebuke you and get defensive. It is more noble to blindly follow an imam (who the entire ummah has agreed upon his position and status) than to blindly follow a modern day scholar.

So it is upon us to know our level of knowledge and act accordingly to fulfill our rights toward our Lord so that we may practice and perfect it the way He attended.

And Allah knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Madinah an Nabawiyyah

7/3/1434 H

Islamic Etiquettes in Business Transactions

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

In this day and age we find people confusing the religiousness of an individual with his business morals, and this is a great shortcoming. While a person may have some knowledge of the religion, or an outward appearance of religiousness, this does not necessitate that he will deal with you in a correct manner when it comes to business and this is for a number of reasons.

 

  1. Ignorance, and this is usually from both parties – So a person of religion may have knowledge of religious issues such as prayer and fasting, but is usually ignorant of business transactions and etiquette. Conversely, a businessman may be totally ignorant of religious affairs, including Islamic business transactions, but he will have knowledge of general business etiquette, which, for the most part, have been taken from Islam.
  2. Lack of understanding – So when a person deals with another he should keep in mind that person’s background and culture. Some people have an eastern background, another western, and some mixed, not to mention different social statuses. Patience is a highly praised attribute in the Quran and the Sunnah, and with due reason.
  3. Lack of sincerity – And due to money being involved, this is from the biggest difficulties to overcome. This really requires a lot of dua and a constant questioning of oneself as to why one is doing the act they are and for what reason.

So before we go into a business dealing with anyone (even a relative or close friend), references are extremely important, and something the tolerant Islamic law highly recommends us to request. This is an aspect of true reliance on Allah aza wa jal, and I ask Allah to make us from those that rely on Him in the correct manner.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

4/3/1434 H

Leading a Family

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

Allah aza wa jal says that the men are “Qawaam” over the women, and that he has given them virtue over women. Both “qawama” and virtue are misunderstood.

“Qawama” is a term that Allah aza wa jal used to define what men are. The root of the word comes from “to stand/to straighten” and the form that comes in the Quran is meant to show not just one who straightens up, but one who straightens or makes upright his affairs and those around him.

He is supposed to control and steer the affairs of the family in a way that is pleasing to Allah aza wa jal. He needs to make decisions that will bring him and his family closer to Allah. They are the ones who have the most right over him, and Allah commands us to save them from the hell fire, along with saving ourselves.

This is not limited to just worldly affairs, this also involves religious affairs. A man must play the role of a husband and a teacher, so that his wife earns his respect, and turns to him when in need of religious guidance. He is the one that reminds his family to make their dua, to pray their obligatory and supererogatory prayers, to read and ponder the Quran.

How many of us have set aside 15-20 minutes a week, just to go over a book together? How many of us spend time helping our children, not just memorize, but really understand the Quran? How many of us give our family lessons about who Allah is, and what He wants from us?

Regarding worldly affairs, then it is upon the man to setup both a financial and time allotments. He should be running the financial situation in the house, and as such control the spending, without being a spendthrift, nor miserly, both characteristics that are shunned and looked down on in Islam.

He should also have control or say on everyone’s time. So the time involved in playing, cooking, reading, writing, studying, all needs to be monitored so that there is no extremism in either the parents’ or children’s behavior.

From the times that are the most important and needed for a man to remain mentally sound is his sexual behavior. It is very important that he be vocal about his physical needs and not be arrogant in thinking that his wife should know them before he says them. She is a human being, and as such, can be forgetful, negligent, tired, lazy, etc. All characteristics we,as men, share with them.

It is not upon us to be too “proud” to mention to them when we need our rights fulfilled, and the same should be expected from her, as Allah didn’t create us to be able to see into other’s hearts so that we could figure out what the other person wants. This is why he gave us tongues to express our needs to them.Similarly, it is not upon the man to oppress his wife. He should take into consideration her physical and mental health and act appropriately. This does not mean he always gives up his right, merely to go about it the best way possible.

Allah has also given men a virtue over women, and this is due to the fact that Allah commands us to care for women in three main ways: to clothe them, to shelter them, and to provide for them. It is because of these obligations, that have NOT been obligated on women, that we have a virtue over them. Now, this virtue can be in degrees, so a man who does not fulfill one of the three, or any of the three, then his virtue is less than the one who fulfills all of them. This in turn, lowers his status in front of his wife, which causes her to respect and love him less, oftentimes a cause for a relationship to fail.

Even if she earns more or is richer, it is important that a woman be in your house, dependent on you, and not be independent, as that is not the nature of a woman. When she is young she is under her father’s care, and when married, under her husband’s. There is no time that she is meant to be free, except for extenuating circumstances, and we ask Allah to protect our sisters from that.

We must, as a Muslim nation, re-take our roles as Muslim fathers, brothers, and most of all “Qawaam”, in order to re-take our seat on the world scene as its’ leaders.

 

And Allah knows best.

 

Abu Sahl Farhan ibn Irfan Siddiqi

Makkah al Mukarramah

3/4/1434 H