title: How to Perform Prayer When You have a Legal Excuse?,
By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan
Legal excuses include sickness, travel, and the fear that one cannot establish prayer as completely as those without excuses. The Lawgiver[i] has lightened the hardship for the excused Muslims and ordered them to perform prayer as much as they can. This ruling shows the ease and relief intended for Muslims in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law), as it always eliminates hardships. Allah says:
“…it is He (alone) who has chosen you (for this faith) – nor has He placed on you any (undue) strain in (your) religion.” (Quran 22:78)
“…God intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (Quran 2:185)
“God does not task a soul beyond its capacity.” (Quran 2:286)
“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers).” (Quran 64:16)
Moreover, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,
“If I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
These are just a few examples of the many legal texts that indicate the favor of Allah upon His servants. Moreover, they Allah has granted us ease in whatever He ordained for us. Among the things made easy for Muslims is the prayer of the persons with excuses of sickness, travel, or fear.
Sickness as a Legal Excuse
Performing prayer while sitting
Prayer is not to be abandoned under any circumstances. The Muslim patient must perform prayer standing if he can. Also, he or she may lean on a stick, or the like, if he needs this. For the related legal maxim states, “The means to fulfill an obligation are to be considered obligatory.” A Muslim patient may sit in prayer if he or she cannot stand due to one of the following reasons (or the like):
If he or she
- is unable to stand
- find it really hard to stand
- fears that standing will make his or her condition even worse or delay recovery
So, the inability of a Muslim patient to stand in prayer is not a condition of the permissibility to sit in prayer. On the contrary, little difficulty is not a legal excuse to sit in prayer. Only real difficulty is considered in this respect.
Scholars unanimously agree that if a Muslim person is unable to stand in obligatory prayer, it is permissible for him to sit. Moreover, there is no need for him to perform that prayer again when he or she gets well. The reward for such prayer does not decrease.
The way a person sits is to be according to the way he desires, for the Lawgiver does not ordain a specific way of sitting (for the patient). So in whatever manner he or she sits, it is permissible.
Performing Prayer while lying
If a Muslim patient cannot sit in prayer and it causes him a real difficulty to sit, then it is permissible for him to lie on his side facing the qiblah[ii]. It is desirable for him in this case to lie on his right side.
In case there is no one to help him face the qiblah and he cannot face it himself, then it is permissible for him to perform prayer facing whatever direction he can face. In addition, if a Muslim patient cannot lie on his side in prayer, he or she may lie on his back, making his legs face the qiblah if possible.
If you cannot prostrate, then it is sufficient for you to beckon bowing and prostration with your head. You should make your head a bit lower to beckon prostration than in bowing. However, if you can prostrate, it is obligatory for you to prostrate and it is not sufficient then to beckon prostration with your head.
The proof of the legal permission detailed previously is the hadith related by Al-Bukhari and the Compilers of Sunan on the authority of Imran Ibn Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) who narrated:
I had hemorrhoids, so I asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) how I could perform prayer. He replied, ‘Perform prayer while standing and if you cannot, perform it while sitting and if you cannot do (even) that, then perform it lying on your side.’ (Al-Bukhari)
An-Nasafi added in his narration that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
” ..And if you cannot, perform prayer lying on your back.”
In addition, Allah says:
“God does not task a soul beyond its capacity.” (Quran 2:286)
Prayer Must not be Postponed
Here, we should draw the attention to those Muslims who give up prayer when they are sick or when they have had surgical operations. They may claim that they cannot perform the acts of prayer properly or perform ablution, or their clothes are impure or any other excuses. Such people commit a big mistake since a Muslim is not permitted to give up prayer. It does not matter if you cannot perform some of its conditions, integral parts, or obligations. In such case, you must perform prayer as much as you can. Allah says:
“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers).” (Quran 64:16)
Having a Legal Excuse during the Prayer
The aforementioned legal rulings concern whoever has a legal excuse from the beginning of prayer until its end. However, there are some cases in which a Muslim may have a legal excuse for only a part of his prayer such as:
One may start prayer when one is
- standing and then feels that one cannot stand anymore while performing it.
- not able to stand and then feels that one can stand while performing it.
- sitting and then feels that one cannot sit anymore while performing it.
- lying on one’s side and then one feels that one can sit.
In such cases, one must shift to the position that legally suits one’s ability and it is obligatory then to complete one’s prayer in this state. This is because Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“So fear God as much as you can, (O believers).” (Quran 64:16)
Thus, one is to shift to the standing posture when one is able, and one is to shift to the sitting posture when one is unable to stand, and so on. If one is able to stand and sit but cannot bow or prostrate, one is to beckon bowing with one’s head while standing, and beckon prostration with one’s head while sitting to make a difference (between bowing and prostration) as much as one can.
Following the Doctor’s advice regardless of Ability
A Muslim patient is permitted to perform prayer lying on his back though he is able to stand if a trustworthy Muslim doctor tells him to do so. The doctor knows about the patient’s condition and what may affect it badly. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) performed prayer while sitting when the right side of his body was injured. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Also, Umm Salamah (Allah be pleased with her) did not prostrate in her prayer when she suffered from ophthalmia. (Ibn Abu Shaibah and Al-Bahaqi)
Prayer enjoys a great importance in Islam and a Muslim must establish prayer whether he is healthy or sick, as a patient is not legally excused to give up prayer, but rather, it is obligatory upon him to perform it in whatever condition. So, a Muslim must establish prayer as Allah, Exalted be He, has ordained. We invoke Allah to guide us to what satisfies Him.
[i] The lawgiver of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) is Allah, Exalted be he; the term can also refer to the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) as he only ordained what Allah revealed to him.
[ii] The qiblah: the direction of Prayer, namely, towards the Ka’bah.
The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.
Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.
title: The Story of Salah or Prayer and How to Perform it!,
Salah (Prayer) is the second pillar of Islam and the first practical one. Here is a video about the story of Prayer and how to perform both the Prayer and Ablution. It will greatly help you perform your first Prayer.
First, the story began in Makkah where the Archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) visited Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). Next, they both set off for Jerusalem where they started the second journey, Ascending to the Heavens or the Night Journey. It was in the heavens where Allah made Prayer or Salah obligatory for Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the whole ummah.
After that, the video moves on to speak briefly about the Night Journey to highlight how important Salah is. It also covers the following topics:
1. Prerequisites of Salah (Prayer)
These prerequisites include clothing, purification of the body, clothing and place of prayer, etc.
2. The Wudu’ (Ablution) and what nullifies it
3. Step by step guide to Prayer from A to Z
title: Yusha Evans: “My Attraction to Islam was the Quran”,
By Editorial Staff
This is the story of the famous American preacher, Yusha Evan, whose study of the Bible led him to leave Christianity. He studied the Bible fifteen times from cover to cover. In doing so, he realized there were many inconsistencies and contradictions.
Passing through many phases of searching the true religion, he was finally invited to Islam by an ordinary Muslim. In this video, he tells us his story with the Quran and how it attracted him. This is an inspiring story for us all to study the Gracious Quran and invite people from everywhere to study it.
title: New Muslims on Thanksgiving,
Thanksgiving is a celebration observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
Though it started as a Christian tradition, the current form of celebration is a culture holiday observed by all people of all faiths. The celebration is marked by family gatherings, cooking food, being thankful, watching football matches, staying home from work, and all the malls offer discounts on that occasion.
A Sense of Gratitude
Muslims are urged to give thanks to God (Allah) all the time. Giving thanks to Allah and showing gratitude are not limited to a certain time of the year. Actually the life of a Muslim is all about thanksgiving and gratitude.
A Muslim thanks Allah for creating him in the first place. A Muslim thanks Allah for guiding him to the right path of Islam. A Muslim thanks Allah for bestowing on him many blessings such as the blessing of health, money, having a good wife, having good children, etc.
We read in the Qur’an:
So remember Me; I will remember you. Be thankful to Me, and never ungrateful. (Al-Baqarah 2:152)
Allah promised that if we thank Him, He will give us more. This is a divine promise and we believe that Allah never breaks His promises.
Allah says what gives the meaning of:
Remember that He promised, “If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Ibrahim 14:7)
These are the things that we should God for:
It is God who brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and minds, so that you might be thankful. (An-Nahl 16:78)
Thanksgiving and Family Ties
New Muslims might find it an opportunity to meet their parents and family members whom they do not see usually. Meeting parents and family members will strengthen the family ties. It will give them a sense of belonging. It will give them a feeling that their son or daughter is still a member of the family and he is not detached from them. It will also be a good opportunity to explain to them how Muslims thank God and they do so.
Islam places great emphasis on maintaining family ties. We read in the Qur’an:
… Beware of severing the ties of kinship, God is always watching over you. (An-Nisa’ 4:12)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) urged Muslims to keep their family ties when he said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” (Al-Bukhari)
Do’s and Don’ts
When attending such gatherings, please note that your attendance will be judged according to your intention. The Prophet said: “Actions are judged by intentions.” (Al-Bukhari)
You as a Muslim, should explain to them that thank Allah is not limited to that day. Muslims thank Allah on all other days of the year.
When offering prayer, a Muslims is thanking Allah. When helping the poor, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When offering fasting, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When making hajj, a Muslim is thanking Allah.
The Prophet used to thank Allah when he ate, drank, dressed new clothes, mount on his camel, etc. Therefore the whole life of a Muslim is about thanksgiving from an Islamic perspective, i.e. thanking Allah for His blessings.
It is permissible for a Muslim also to thank anyone who does him a favor. The Prophet is reported to have said: Whoever does not thank people, does not thank Allah.” (At-Tirmidhti) You are allowed to thank your parents, friends, people next to door, etc.
About thanking parents, we read in the Qur’an:
We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents– all will return to Me. (Luqman 31:14)
It’s about God’s Blessings
What is unique about Allah is praising Him, i.e. saying Alhamdullilah (praise be to Allah). You say to friend (thank you), but you do not say (I praise you or ahmaduka.)
New Muslims should understand that celebrating thanksgiving is not the sixth pillar of Islam or the seventh article of faith. If you decide not to participate, it is up to you. We are talking about cases in which you are invited to a family gathering.
I would like to invite everyone to sit back, relax, reflect for a moment and count God’s blessings on him. You will find countless blessings. God tells us:
… If you tried to count God’s favors you could never calculate them: man is truly unjust and ungrateful. (Ibrahim 14:34))
Think of how you are going to thank God for all that. The least you can do is to recognize His infinite mercy on you and declare His Oneness and that He is the only one worthy of worship. God is the most worthy of our thanks, praise and gratitude.
…Be thankful to God: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless–God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise. (Luqman 31:12)
title: How Did a Muslim Woman Defend Jewish Children from Antisemitic Abuse?,
A man has been arrested after antisemitic abuse was directed towards a Jewish family on the London Underground.
The suspect, whose name and age has not been released by police, was held in Birmingham on Saturday night on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence and he remains in custody.
His arrest came after a man was filmed reading anti-Jewish Bible passages to two young boys in skullcaps while they were travelling with their family on the Northern Line.
Wearing a cap and hoody, the man is seen in the video threatening a man off-camera after he tries to intervene before a woman in a hijab – Asma Shuweikh – confronts him.
The mother-of-two, from London, told the PA news agency she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again”
“I would have loved more people to come up and say something, because if everyone did, I do not think it would have escalated in the way that it did,” she said.
She said when she saw what was happening she knew she “had to confront him”.
“Being a mother-of-two, I know what it’s like to be in that situation and I would want someone to help if I was in that situation,” she said.
She said the couple was travelling with three children, and she wanted to deflect the man’s attention away from them.
She said: “He was quite aggressive and was getting in my face.”
Fellow commuter Chris Atkins took the video after catching the Tube heading south on the Charing Cross branch of the line at midday on Friday.
“The Muslim woman didn’t take any shit from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently,” Mr Atkins said.
“In this day and age we are told how intolerant everyone is and all religions hate each other and there you had a Muslim woman sticking up for some Jewish children.”
Twitter users hailed Shuweikh a “hero”.
Reported by the Press Association, Shuweikh said she got off the Underground after two stops and did not realise the video was going viral until a friend texted her to say she had seen her on Twitter.
“It was so heartwarming to see the responses and see what people were saying. I can’t take all the credit because a lot of other people were involved.
I would not hesitate to do it again.”
Press Association/ Independent
title: Shirk (Polytheism): its Meaning and Different Forms!,
Transcribed by Editorial Staff
A’udhu bi-llahi min ash-shaitan ar-rajim
Bism-illah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-Salam ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
This is Sister Ameena Blake coming to you with part three of New Muslim Bites. And as I mentioned last time, this time we’re going to be talking about the area of Shirk.
Now, Shirk is the exact opposite of what we were talking about last time which was Tawheed which is believing in the Oneness of Allah. Now, Shirk is the opposite of this. This is when we put a partnership or associating others with Allah. And this can come in many, many different forms.
In Surah 4 verse 48, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says,
Surely Allah will not forgive association of partners with Him. (Quran 4:48)
But of course in order to avoid something we must understand what it is in the first place. Now, there are two distinct areas of Shirk that have been defined by the scholars: one of them is Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar which is the major Shirk and the other one is Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar which means the minor Shirk.
And today, we’re going to be talking a little bit about the major Shirk. Now if you remember, we talked about Tawheed in Rububiyah which means the believing in the Oneness of Allah through his Lordship.
Today, we’re going to talk about the opposite of this which is Shirk in Rububiyah which is when people associate others with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). And now, there are lots of examples with this both from within Islam unfortunately and from outside Islam. Of the obvious one that we know about in the UK is with the Trinity where you have Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), and Christians believe in Allah and but then they believe in ‘Isa (Jesus) (‘Alaihi As-Salam) as the son of Allah.
And for example in Hinduism, they believe in the one god, the creator. Their god, called Brahman, has partners called Vishnu and Shiva and in some branches other gods who share this partnership with him. So, they almost share the power. They are delegated jobs.
Now, another type of Shirk in Rububiyah which will surprise some people is the belief that there is no god because this is also a belief. It’s the belief that there is no god. So for example, people who believe in Darwinism who say that there is no god at all. And these are people who commit Shirk in Rububiyah but in the opposite way.
Another good example of this is the ancient Pharaohs. The Pharaoh of Musa (Moses) (‘Alaihi As-Salam) who believed and said to his people, “Say that I am your lord the most high”.
(Subhan Allah), where as we know that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is the Lord, Most High and nobody else can create or has the power over our life and death or anything except Him.
The Third Form of Shirk
The third area is believing that a person, a thing such as a statue or an amulet or anything of that matter has power of its own. And that all that, it is a manifestation of Allah.
There are some sects of Muslims who believe, for example, that certain people are manifestations of Allah so they have almost this power. But of course as we know, Allah (Sub’anahu wa Ta’ala) is the only one who has the power.
So, Ash-Shirk Al-Akbar, to worship anything other than Allah and there’re some obvious ones and some less obvious ones. And so, what we’re going to do next time, in the next session, in shaa Allah, is explore that in a little bit more detail. And we are going to have a look at Ash-Shirk Al-Asghar, and talk a little bit in more detail about what the Rasul-ullah (Salla Allah-u ‘Alaihi wa sallam), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this type of Shirk and how we can avoid that as well. So, for this time, in shaa Allah, I will bid my farewell.
And As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah-i wa barakatuh
title: Five Prerequisites for Shortening the Prayer,
By Editorial Staff
Shortening the Prayer means to perform the regularly four-rak’ah prayer, namely, the Dhuhr (Noon), ‘Asr (Afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (Evening) Prayers, as only two-rak’ah prayer during travel.
The Legal Ruling Concerning Shortening the Prayer
The majority of scholars including the shafi’i School of Fiqh believe that a traveller may shorten the four-rak’ah prayer to only two. On the other hand, some scholars of the Zahiri School of Fiqh believe it is obligatory. The Zahiri Scholars base their opinion on the fact that there is no authentic proof that shows that Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) completed the Prayer during travel.
In addition, ‘A’isha, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), reported:
The prayer was prescribed as two rak’ahs, two rak’ahs both in journey and at the place of residence. The prayer while travelling remained as it was (originally prescribed), but an addition was made in the prayer (observed) at the place of residence. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, this is the wording of Muslim)
The majority of scholars’ opinion is that shortening the Prayer is permissible but some of them believe it is recommended. Allah says,
Now, when you strike out in the land, then there shall be no blame on you if you shorten (something) of the Prayer, should you fear that those who disbelieve will assail you. Indeed, the disbelievers are to you a clear enemy. (Quran 4:101)
The sentence “there shall be no blame on you” does not denote obligation. On the other hand, you may say that according to the apparent meaning of the verse shortening the Prayer is allowed only when one feels unsafe. “People are now safe!”, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab wondered upon reciting the above mentioned verse. “It is an act of charity which Allah has done to you, so accept His charity”, said Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace). (Muslim)
According to the Shafi’i school of Fiqh, there are five prerequisites for shortening the Prayer. Let us consider these prerequisites.
Prerequisites for Shortening the Prayer
1. Travel must not be for committing any acts of disobedience
The purpose of shortening the Prayer is to lighten the travel burden for people. That’s why travelling for theft or robbery for example can never be a reason that allows a person to shorten the Prayer. However, there is another opinion which does not differentiate between travels whether they are legal and for fulfilling permissible deeds or not. Moreover, there is no explicit evidence for such differentiation.
2. An outward journey (without return) must be 16 Parasangs long or 80 km
So long as an outward journey is about or more than 80 or 82 km in length, you may, then, shorten your prayer and break the fast. “Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) used to shorten the Prayer and break the fast when they travelled for four barids[i] which are equal to 16 parasangs”, related Al-Bukhari as part of a Mu’allaq (Suspended) Hadith in his Sahih Al-Bukhari.
Discussing this opinion, some scholars believe that neither this hadith is Marfu’ (elevated) to Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) nor they used to measure distances at that time. That’s why there are lots of different opinions on this issue. In addition, Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) were reported to have expressed opinions different to what is mentioned above. Yahya ibn Yazid al-Huna’i reported:
I asked Anas ibn Malik about shortening of prayer. He said: When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had covered a distance of three miles or three farsakh (parasang) (Shu’ba, one of the narrators, had some doubt about it) he observed two rak’ahs. (Muslim)
Although this hadith is related by Imam Muslim, the majority of scholars do not act according to it. This may be due to the doubt the narrator had. Moreover, some scholars of hadith regard the chain of narration of this hadith as defective.
Due to these differences and the lack of evidence which is free from defects or oppositions, it appears that what counts here are the people’s customs.
3. Performing the Four-Rak’ah Prayer in its Prescribed Time
If you miss one or more prayer before setting off for a journey, you must make up for such prayer in full during the journey. This is because the time of performance for this or these prayers is up before travelling.
On the contrary, if you start your journey within the prescribed time for a certain prayer, you may shorten that prayer. For example, if the time for Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer is due at 12 noon and you set off for your journey at 2 p.m., you may shorten the Dhuhr Prayer.
4. Intending to shorten the Prayer just before or at the beginning of the Prayer
If you perform the Prayer in congregation and you do not know whether the Imam will shorten the Prayer or not, you may depend in your intention on the Imam’s intention. Not knowing which kind of Hajj Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had performed, Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) depended on the intention of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
5. The traveller must not be following a resident Imam
This is also a prerequisite to follow the imam of prayer. If the imam is a traveller and will shorten the prayer, you must do the same. On the contrary, if he is a resident, you should perform your prayer in full even if you come late and join the prayer in the middle or last rak’ah of it. “Why do we perform prayer in full when we join the congregational prayer with you and shorten it at our camp?” Musa ibn Salamah Al-Hudhali asked ibn ‘Abbas. “This is the Sunnah of Abu Al-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and grant him peace)”, he replied.
How many days may the traveller shorten the Prayer?
Scholars differentiate between travellers who do not know exactly when they will return home and others who may be considered domiciled residents. The first kind of travellers shortens the prayer even if the journey takes a long time.
The second kind who knows how long the journey will take may shorten the prayer for only three or four days.
[i] Barid (pl. burud) is an ancient Arabic unit of distance of about 22 or 23 km.
title: The Story of the Companion Suhaib Ar-Rumi,
By Aisha Stacey
Three of the non-Arabs that accepted Islam in the very early days of the mission of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, stand out. They were Salman from Persia, Bilal ibn Rabah, whose heritage was Abyssinian, and Shuaib, known as the Roman. These three men were among Prophet Muhammad’s close companions, they readily recognized Islam as the truth, and gave the fledgling religion a foretaste of the worldwide acceptance it would enjoy. Prophet Muhammad is said to have predicted the spread of Islam by describing them as the forerunners of their respective ethnic groups; Suhaib from Romans, Bilal from the Abyssinians, and Salman from the Persians.
Suhaib’s Early Life
Suhaib was the son of a man who ruled an outlying province of the Persian Empire in the area now known as Iraq. He was, by all accounts, a fun-loving, well educated, and intelligent little boy. One day, when attending a picnic with his mother and other women and children, their party was attacked by Byzantine raiders who captured many slaves. The blonde blue-eyed little boy Suhaib spent his boyhood and youth being traded as a possession. However, his owners all recognized his intelligence and his education continued. He was soon fluent in Greek, the dominant language of the Eastern Roman Empire and had acquired excellent trading skills.
The Pursuit of a Meaningful Life
Although Suhaib adopted the Byzantine customs and lifestyle he never felt completely at ease in the decadent empire and was later heard to remark that, “A society like this (Byzantine Empire) can only be purified with a deluge.” In his young adulthood Suhaib found out of the Byzantine empire and arrived in Mecca as a skilled merchant. The stories of his return to his homeland differ. Some say that he escaped with a significant amount of wealth and started a trading partnership with Abdullah ibn Judan. Others believe that he was eventually sold to Abdullah ibn Judan, who recognized his skills and emancipated him. No matter what manner is correct Suhaib did prosper and become very rich. However, the prevailing idolatry and depravity of Mecca overshadowed his success and brought him no peace of mind. His search for meaning in his life eventually brought him to the House of Arqam.
In the beginning of Islam, the fledgling Muslims could not worship openly or comfortably. Arqam’s house was selected as a place where they could meet, pray and learn about Islam. The house could be entered and exited secretly and it was in a narrow street that could be seen from within.
It is narrated that Ammar said, “I met Suhaib ibn Sinan at the doorstep of Arqam’s house when the Messenger of Allah was there. I said, ‘What do you want?’ He asked me in turn, ‘and what do you want?’ I said I would like to speak with Prophet Mohammad and listen to his message. He said that he would like to do the same. Then we entered together the house and he (the Prophet) introduced us to Islam and we both accepted it. We remained in the house for the rest of the day and left secretly in the darkness of the night.”[i]
Migration to Medina
Thus, Suhaib began his journey of piety. It was not an easy period for him. He was without family or tribal support and his wealth and new status as a free person did not save him from the abuses and persecution suffered by many new Muslims at the hands of the Meccan elite. When Prophet Muhammad began to encourage his followers to migrate to Medina, Suhaib was keen to be among them. Due to his wealth, the Meccan elite tried to prevent him, to the extent that they had guards watching over him and trying to foil any escapes. Eventually he resorted to subterfuge.
Suhaib pretended to have a stomachache and went in and out of his house as if needing to repeatedly answer the call of nature. The guards joked about his condition, got bored and fell asleep. Suhaib took the opportunity to arm himself with a sword and a bow and galloped away from Mecca on his horse. The guards arose from their stupor and gave chase, trapping Suhaib on a hill. He stood there threatening to kill them all, but quickly changed tactics and decided to offer them money to allow him to escape. The guards took up that offer and he continued on to Medina.
When Suhaib reached Quba, just outside Medina, Prophet Muhammad saw him approaching and said, “Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated it three times. Suhaib was overjoyed and said, “By God, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of God, only the angel Gabriel could have informed you about this.”[ii]
Suhaib was able to recoup the wealth he gave away to the guards and continued to be generous with his wealth, giving it away at every opportunity, even feeding the needy, the orphans or the captives. Umar ibn al-Khattab once remarked, “Why are you nicknamed as Abu Yahya (father of John) when you don’t have a child? You say that you are an Arab when you are known as the Roman, and you feed people too much, I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhaib replied that he once heard Prophet Muhammad say “The best of you is the one who gives out food.”[iii]
Suhaib leads the Muslims in Prayer after Umar’s Death
Years later after Prophet Muhammad’s death, when Umar was the leader of the Muslim nation, Suhaib learned that he (Umar) had been stabbed. He was unable to control his anger and grief and ran to Umar’s side weeping. “Alas! my brother, Alas! my friend!” Even as he was dying Umar said, “O Suhaib! Are you weeping for me when the Prophet said, “The dead person is tormented by some of the weeping of his relatives?”[iv]
Umar called six of his companions to decide among themselves who should succeed him.[v] He then assigned Suhaib to lead the Muslims in prayers and undertake the interim leadership of the Islamic nation. Suhaib is known to have narrated more than thirty hadith and three of them can be found in Saheeh Muslim.
Suhaib ibn Sinan ar-Rumi died in Medina thirty-eight years after the migration, in 658 CE at approximately seventy years of age. Sa’d ibn Abu Waqas led his funeral prayer, and he is buried in Jannat al-Baqi, the first Islamic cemetery established in Medina.
[i] Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 3. Translated by Bewley, A. (2013). The Companions of Badr, p. 189. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
[ii] Iman Ahmad
[iii] Imam Ahmad, Sahih Al-Bukhari
[iv] The Niche of Lamps (Miskat al-Masabih) 1-4 Vol 2.
[v] The six men were Ali ibn Abu Talib, Uthman ibn Affan, Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, Sa`d ibn Abu Waqqas, Zubair ibn Awwam and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah
Source: islamreligion.com with some modifications
title: Five Times when Prayer (Salah) Is Reprehensible!,
By Editorial Staff
One of the frequently asked questions concerning prayer is about whether a person may or may not perform prayer at those times when performing prayer is reprehensible.
To better understand this issue, we need to give a brief overview of a very well-known legal issue. How can scholars reconcile it when there are two Shari’ah commands: one bids you to do an act of worship while the second bids abandonment?
To answer this, let us consider the following two hadiths as an example:
1. Abu Huraira is reported to have said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prohibited to observe prayer after the ‘Asr (Afternoon)prayer till the sun is set, and after the dawn till the sun rises. (Muslim)
2. Abu Qatadah (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When anyone of you enters a mosque, he should perform two rak’ahs (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
If it happens that a Muslim enters a mosque after performing either the ‘Asr (Afternoon Prayer) or Fajr (Dawn Prayer), which hadiths of the two mentioned above may he or she follow?
Some scholars prefer giving priority to the command which bids abandonment. To support their opinion, they quote a hadith related by Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) says as part of this hadith:
“…If I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
To clarify this, they say that the command which bids a person “not to do” in this hadith is more certain than the command “to do” which depends on ability.
Moreover, Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with both of them) are reported to have prevented people when they saw them perform prayer after ‘Asr (Afternoon Prayer)
The second opinion is that a person may perform prayer at such times so long as there is a reason for performing them. This is the opinion of the Shafi’i school of Fiqh. For them, the reasons which allow a person to perform prayers at those times when prayer is reprehensible include the following:
1. Performing Wudu’ (ablution)
Whenever a person performs wudu’ (ablution), he or she is recommended to perform two rak’ahs of voluntary prayer. This legal ruling only applies in case there is no other (fard) obligatory or (sunnah) recommended prayers to be performed. If the time is due to perform either fard or sunnah prayer, then it is correct to only perform the fard or sunnah prayers. The idea behind that is to always perform prayer after ablution whether it is obligatory, recommended or voluntary. However, we perform these two rak’ahs of voluntary prayer in case there is no other obligatory or recommended prayer to perform. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to Bilal (Allah be pleased with him) “Tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e., one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) you have done since your acceptance of Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal said: “I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make Wudu’ (or took a bath) in an hour of night or day, I would immediately perform Salat (prayer) for as long as was destined for me to perform.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The hadith denotes that a person may perform more than two rak’ahs. However, the scholars who adopt the second opinion mentioned above allows you to perform only two rak’ahs at the times when prayer is reprehensible.
2. Entering a mosque
When you enter a mosque to sit in it or read the Quran for example, you should start with performing two-rak’ah prayer. As mentioned above, this legal ruling, also, only applies in case there is no other (fard) obligatory or (sunnah) recommended prayers to be performed. If you enter at the times when prayer is reprehensible, then you may perform two-rak’ah prayer according to Imam Al-Shafi’i or the second opinion mentioned above. Abu Qatadah (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When anyone of you enters a mosque, he should perform two rak’ahs (of voluntary prayer) before sitting.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
3. Al-Tawaf (circumambulation around the Ka’bah)
A number of scholars also allow a pilgrim to perform two-rak’ah prayer at any time after circumambulation around the Ka’bah at Makkah. It was narrated that Jubair bin Mut’im said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘O Banu ‘Abd Manaf! Do not prevent anyone from circumambulating this House and praying at any time he wants of the day or night.” (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah)
4. Istikharah Prayer
Istikharah is a two-rak’ah voluntary prayer in which you make du’a’ (supplication) asking Allah to guide you to the better of two things. You are recommended to perform it whenever you cannot make up your mind whether to do or not to do a certain deed.
However, these four reasons are but a few examples. There are other reasons such as funeral prayer, Istisqa’ (prayer for rain), etc. Other scholars see that we can wait till such time is up. Look at the conclusion below.
The Times When Prayer is Reprehensible:
1. After Performing the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer until Sunrise
You may make up for missed prayers either after performing the Fajr prayer or after 15 minutes after sunrise when the time when prayer is reprehensible is up.
2. From Sunrise to about 15 minutes after it
Scholars used to express this as from the very beginning of sunrise until the sun rises up in the sky to the height of a spear. Normally they would estimate this with the naked eye. Narrated Hisham’s father:
Ibn `Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Do not pray at the time of sunrise and at the time of sunset.’ ” Ibn `Umar said, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘If the edge of the sun appears (above the horizon) delay the prayer till it becomes high, and if the edge of the sun disappears, delay the prayer till it sets (disappears completely).’ “(Al-Bukhari)
3. When the sun is at its highest point in the sky till it leaves the middle of the sky
Uqba b. ‘Amir said:
There were three times at which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) forbade us to pray, or bury our dead: When the sun begins to rise till it is fully up, when the sun is at its height at midday till it passes over the meridian, and when the sun draws near to setting till it sets. (Muslim)
However, some scholars hold the opinion that this ruling applies to all days of the week except for Fridays. This means on Fridays, you may perform voluntary prayer when it’s high noon. Abu-Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying:
He who took a bath and then came for Jumu’a (Friday) prayer and then prayed what was fixed for him, then kept silence till the Imam finished the sermon, and then prayed along with him, his sins between that time and the next Friday would be forgiven, and even of three days more. (Muslim)
4. After performing the ‘Asr Prayer until the sun starts to set
The legal ruling of performing prayer after the fajr prayer also applies here. Thus, it becomes reprehensible to perform voluntary prayers after both the ‘Asr and Fajr prayers. Likewise, you can make up for any missed obligatory or recommended prayer.
5. At sunset till the sun fully disappears below the horizon
However, there is no time when performing prayer is reprehensible during the night.
To conclude, there is a third opinion which, I think, may be more preferred. This opinion divides the five times mentioned above into two categories: reprehensible and very reprehensible. You can perform voluntary prayer such as after ablution when it is only reprehensible, namely, after both fajr and ‘Asr prayers. On the other hand, you may not do this when it is very reprehensible to do so as in 2, 3 and 5 mentioned above.
title: In the Light of the Companions: The Story of Um Salamah,
Transcribed by Editorial Staff
As-salam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters!
And welcome to a new episode of “In the Light of the Sahabah” the Companions whom Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) chose and blessed to have the companionship and to be in the presence of our beloved Nabi (Prophet) (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Every single one of the Companions has a tale to tell and every single one of them has a story that we can extract benefits from (in sha’a Allah-u ta’ala).
In this episode we will go through the beautiful story of Um Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha) whose name was Hind bint Abi Umayyah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha).
The Setting of the Story
Now the story goes right back to the beginning of the Call of the Prophet (‘alaihi as-salatu was-salam) when he first received the revelation from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that there were only a few companions who actually accepted Islam.
From those few individuals was Um Salamah and her husband Abu Salamah and their one son. Now, through the time that they lived in Makkah they went through a very, very difficult time where they were persecuted and they were oppressed just for saying (La Ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah). But (al hamdu lillah) Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) blessed them with Iman (faith) and they persevered and struggled and strived with their Islam in Makkah.
The First Hijrah
After a short while, it became very difficult for the Muslims to live in Makkah. Therefore, the Prophet (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) permitted them or some of the Companions to make Hijrah, that they would leave Makkah and that they would go to a land called “Habashah” which is modern-day Abyssinia.
Abu Salamah and Um Salamah with their son, they made that great journey (subhana Allah) to leave Makkah, to leave their home and to reside in the new land, Abyssinia, whose leader was known to be just and fair. An-Najashi who, later on, embraced Islam and became a great Muslim (al hamdu lillah).
Back in Makkah
So, Abu Salamah and Um Salamah they lived there in Al-Habashah for a while. After a short while they heard that the situation in Makkah had somewhat improved and that the Muslims were then able to practise their Islam more freely. So, Abu Salamah and Um Salamah with their young child, they returned to Makkah, however, only to find that (subhana Allah) the situation was even worse than it was before.
Abu Salamah and Um Salamah were from a very famous family and they were known to be a very strong family. In fact, Abu Salamah (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) was known to be a very noble husband. And that they had very, very good etiquettes with one another.
The family of Um Salamah and Abu Salamah are our beautiful example for us as Muslims to look up to that we should try to emulate their example in being strong Muslims and compassionate and loving and merciful to one another.
The Great Hijrah to Medina
So, while in Makkah, they were unable to persist and to practise their Islam freely. So, again the Prophet (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) permitted the Muslims, on a whole, to make the Great Hijrah from Makkah all the way to al-Madinah. So, the Muslims, one by one, began gathering their belongings, gathering their possessions to leave their home to go and live in a new land.
Abu Salamah (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) they had one ride, began filling his ride with their belongings their clothes and possessions. And then, they were going to leave Makkah to go to al-Madinah. Upon leaving, the tribe which Um Salamah belonged to, they saw her leaving. And they stopped them all and said,
“Where are you all going? This woman belongs to our tribe and we will not let her go. She is one of our daughters. You can go with your son but she stays here.”
And they said this forcibly without no choice or discussion in the matter. Then, another tribe which belonged or Abu Salamah belonged to, they said,
“You will not take this young boy. This young boy, Salamah, he belongs to our tribe. Abu Salamah, you’re an old man. You can leave!”
The Family were Split up
Abu Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anhu) had no choice but to leave Makkah and make the Hijrah on his own. And in just a few moments, after the family all being together with all of their possessions, (subhana Allah) they were all split up and they were all in different places.
Um Salamah was kept almost as a prisoner by her tribe, Banu Makhzum. And the child, Salamah, who was kept by the tribe of ‘Abd al-Asad and, of course Abu Salamah was alone in Madinah.
Um Salamah (subhana Allah) (radiya Allah-u ‘anha) every day, she used to go to the spot where they were all spit up. And this went on for a very, very long time (subhana Allah) until one of the people who belonged to another sub-tribes of the Makhzumi tribe saw Um Salamah in a very bad way. So, he said to the tribe, this individual,
“Why don’t you just let her go to her husband? You can see that she’s right poorly. She’s very depressed, she’s right down. What do you gain from this? Just let her go!” Until Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) softened their hearts. And eventually, they agreed that Um Salamah could leave Makkah and go to al-Madinah.
But then, the question is: how could Um Salamah leave her son who was with the other tribe of ‘Abd al-Asad and leave her son. Yes, she can go to her husband, but leaving her son was not an option. So, they went to the tribe and spoke to them as well and said,
“Would you not leave this young boy? Let him go with his mother and go on this journey. What do you benefit from keeping him here away from his father and splitting up the family?”
Again (al hamdu lillah), Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) softened their hearts, opened their hearts until they gave permission. So, Um Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha) took her son and whatever belongings they had and they left Makkah.
The Hijrah of Um Salamah and her Son
Just as they left, on the outskirts of Makkah, they bumped into an individual in an area called “At-Tan’im” and his name was ‘Uthman ibn Talhah.
In the eighth year AH, ‘Uthman ibn Talhah, he embraced Islam. And in fact, it is his tribe who were the custodians of the key to the Kaaba.
‘Uthman ibn Talhah said to Um Salamah and her son,
“Where are you going?”
She replied, “We are making the Hijrah and we are going to live in al-Madinah.”
He replied to her and said, “I will not allow you to travel alone. it is a two-week journey in the hot desert for you to go alone. I will take you and when I will drop you off at al-Madinah, I will return”.
Um Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha), she said that ‘Uthman ibn Talha, even though he was a non-Muslim at this time was a very noble man.
And (al hamdu lillah) Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) guided him later to the Deen (religion) of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).
The Family Reunited Again
So, upon arrival in al-Madinah, ‘Uthman ibn Talhah, he left Um Salamah to go and meet with her family (al hamdu lillah). After years being apart, Um Salamah and Abu Salamah and their son were reunited (al hamdu lillah). And through the next couple of years, they had more children (wa lillahi al-hamd).
As we know, during the seerah of the life of Prophet Muhammad (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam), there were a number of battles. And Abu Salamah participated in the Battle of Badr, as he did participate in the Battle of or Uhud. However, during the Battle of Uhud, he was injured and (Subhan Allah), he was quite severely injured and was unable to leave the home.
Um Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha) went to visit her own husband and was with him all the time. One of the Companions came to Um Salamah and said,
“Ya (O), Um Salamah, I’m going to teach you a du’a’ (supplication) that you should say.
“Allah-umma ajirni fi musibati wa-khluf li khairan minha”
“O Allah! Give me a reward during this calamity!”
(Subhan Allah), her husband is in a very bad state.
“And grant me something which is better in the future!”
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) decreed that Abu Salamah (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) would pass away due to his injuries. The prophet ((salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) came and made a du’a’ for Abu Salamah by saying,
(Allah-umma ighfir li Abi Salamah) “O, Allah! Forgive Abu Salamah!
(Subhan Allah) Um Salamah with four children was all alone in al-Madinah what a sacrifice so she had made! And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was severely testing her.
Um Salam’s Second Marriage
It was the known custom not to leave a woman alone. Therefore, Abu bakr As-siddiq (radiya Allahu ‘anhu), he came and he proposed to Um Salamah, but she refused. And then, ‘Umar (radiya Allah-u ‘anhu) proposed and likewise, she said no. Then, the Prophet (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) proposed to Um Salamah.
Um Salamah (radiya Allah-u ‘anha) said,
“O, Messenger of Allah! I have three things that I want to mention to you.
Number one is that I am a very jealous person.
And number two is that I am very old in age.
And number three is that I have many children.”
The Prophet (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“As for the first one: concerning your jealousy, then I will make du’a’ to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that he removes that. As for your age, then I am older than you. And as for your children, then they are children that belong to Allah and his messenger (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam).”
Upon this, they married (wa lillahi al-hamd). And the title that she was given, Um Salamah, she was now called ‘Um Al-Mu’mineen’ (The Mother of The Believers). (Subhan Allah) what a great title that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) gave to her!
And if we look back, the du’a’ that she made, “O Allah! Grant me a reward during this musibah (calamity) and grant me something which is better than in the future. When she said,
“And who is better than Abu Salamah? How can I possibly remarry somebody who is better than Abu Salamah?”
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) granted that she would have a husband better than Abu Salamah. And that was our dear beloved Muhammad (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Now, Um Salamah, as we know, she was the last of the wives to pass away. She passed away in the year 61 after Hijrah and has a number of famous advices that were given to the Prophet (salla Allah-u ‘alayhi wa sallam) throughout his life.
A Lesson to be Learned
So, whatever matters, my dear brothers and sisters, that we may be afflicted with a trial or calamity, we make this du’a’ to Allah (Subhanhu wa ta’ala).
“That we belong to Allah and to Him we will return.” (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un) (Quran 2:155)
And we ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala ) to be rewarded for that test. And that we ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that He grants us something better in the future.
(wa Allah-u ya’ lam-u wa antum la ta’lamun) that “Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) knows and that you do not know.” (Quran 2:216)
I ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that He allows us to be steadfast during all tests and that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) grants us something (which) is better in the future!
Baraka Allah-u fikum (Allah bless you!)
Was-salam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!