Sunday, July 31, 2011

Translation of 'Al Jaami’u li Ahkaam as Siyaam' (A complete guide to the rules of fasting)

Assalam wa alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

Ramadhan Kareem

In order to take benefit from the blessed month of Ramadhan, knowing the rules pertaining to it is important.

To facilitate this, great effort has been placed by some brothers to translate the book 'Al Jaami’u li Ahkaam as Siyaam' (A complete guide to the rules of fasting) by the scholar, Sheikh Abu Iyas Mahmood bin Abdul-Lateef bin Mahmood ‘Uwayda (May Allah protect him).

You can download the book from the following website for free to distribute it as you wish. There are still many grammatical mistakes in the translation, however the overall meaning is there.

Moon sighting – Distinguishing between nationalism, political allegiance & fiqh (jurisprudence)

The following is an updated version of an article that was published previously about this topic. 

Allah (swt) says:

“Whoever witnesses the crescent of the month, he must fast the month." [TMQ 2:185]

Today, the matter of when to begin the month of Ramadhan and when to celebrate the day of Eid ul-Fitr is a subject of controversy, dispute and debate the world over. In many countries such as those in the west or the Indian sub-continent Muslims begin the month of fasting on different days, this variance often exists in the same country, city, locality, community and even within families. In some places like India in most years there are even three different days where people begin the blessed month.

To get to the strongest Islamic view on this subject we have to put our emotions, national, tribal, political or even scholarly allegiances aside and sincerely study the reality of the subject, the Islamic evidences that apply to this reality and commentary of the respected Mujtahideen and jurists upon this issue.

This article will explain the reality of the lunar month, the evidences from the Islamic sources of law and the opinion of respected Islamic scholars throughout history and will prove that in most cases today the differences that exist are not based on valid juristic differences (ikhtilaf) but rather on un-Islamic bases such as nationalism, tribalism or blind allegiance.

The reality (maanat) of the lunar cycles & astronomical new moon

A lunar calendar is one that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. What is known as a lunar phase or phase of the moon is the appearance of the illuminated (lighted) portion of the Moon as seen by an observer on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. One half of the lunar surface is always illuminated by the Sun (except during lunar eclipses), and hence is bright, but the portion of the illuminated hemisphere that is visible to an observer can vary from 100% (full moon) to 0% (new moon).

Allah, Almighty the creator of the sun and the moon said:

“They ask you about the crescents. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in the affairs of men and for pilgrimage.” [TMQ 2:189]

The moon orbits around the earth in a predictable way and the earth orbits the sun in a predictable way. From earth we see the moon appearing at the beginning of a lunar month as a crescent, then gradually increasing day by day until it becomes a full moon in the middle of the month and then gradually wanes, the crescent gets thinner and thinner until it vanishes and the new month begins. People refer to this vanishing of the moon by using the term ‘the Astronomical New Moon’, or ‘the invisible New Moon’, this is the moment when the moon is almost directly between the earth and the sun. At this moment the moon’s dark surface faces the earth. Therefore it is completely invisible even if it occurs in the middle of the night. The Astronomical New Moon occurs every 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds. The date and time of this invisible New Moon is commonly found in almanacs, newspapers and calendars.

The obligation to begin Ramadhan & Eid based on sighting

The final Prophet and Messenger to mankind our master, Muhammad (saw) described to us the Hijri lunar month and gave us specific instructions as to when to begin the month of Ramadhan. He (saw) did not order us to begin the month of fasting with the birth of the astronomical new moon but rather instructed us to look for the new crescent moon on the twenty-ninth night and begin Ramadhan if it is sighted or otherwise to complete thirty days.

Bukhari reported on the authority of Ibnu Omar (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The month consists of 29 nights, so do not fast till you have sighted it (i.e. the new moon), and if the weather were cloudy, then complete it as thirty days."

In the narration of Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The month of Ramadhan may consist of twenty-nine days. So do not fast until you have sighted it (the new moon) and do not break fast, until you have sighted it (the new moon of Shawwal), and if the sky is cloudy for you, then complete it (thirty days)."

Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) mentioned Ramadhan and said: "Do not fast till you see the new moon, and do not break fast till you see it; but if the weather is cloudy complete it (thirty days)."

Muslim also reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) made mention of Ramadhan and with a gesture of his hand said: "The month is thus and thus. (He then withdrew His thumb at the third time indicating 29). He then said: Fast when you see it, and break your fast when you see it, and if the weather is cloudy do calculate it (the months of Shaban and Shawwal) as thirty days."

Muslim also reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Omar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The month of Ramadhan may consist of twenty-nine days; so when you see the new moon observe fast and when you see (the new moon again at the commencement of the month of Shawwal) then break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then calculate it (and complete thirty days)."

These Ahadith are clear and unequivocal, in them the Messenger of Allah (saw) orders us to fast when the sighting of the new moon of Ramadhan is confirmed, and orders us to stop fasting and make Eid when the sighting of the new moon of Shawwal is confirmed; these orders are binding and their violation is a sinful act just like the abandoning of any other duty or the committing of an unlawful act.

In Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) the sighting of the moon is thus referred to as the Sabab (cause) for beginning of the month of fasting. Al-Sabab is defined as a sign the presence of which necessitates the existence or application of a Hukm (ruling) and that which, if absent, necessitates an absence of that Hukm. It is not as some confuse the reason (‘illah) behind the legislation of the rule, so the reason why we fast is not because of the moon, we fast as a worship (ibadah) however we begin the month of fasting when the moon is sighted or if not sighted upon the completion of thirty days.

Using Calculations

What some governments in the Muslim world practice and what some Muslims in the west have started  doing  in pre-determining the month based on the calculation of the astronomical new moon or the possibility of sighting the moon is a clear violation of the of the command of the seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (saw).

We cannot substitute the actual sighting of the moon, as the aforementioned texts mention  “ru’yatehe”(sighting) specifically. All these Ahadith connected to the sighting of the moon contain this Arabic word “ru’yatehe” which is derived from the word “ra’a”. People who support the idea of calculating the birth of the moon for Ramadan misuse the word “ra’a”. While the word ra’a could mean knowledge, it is not correct to apply this meaning here because of the following reasons:

1. Ra’a, when referring to a single object, means to visualize that object through the eye, i.e. he saw the moon. However, if ra’a refers to two objects, it could mean to know, i.e. he knew the correct opinion.

2. If ra’a is used in reference to a tangible object, it means to visualize the object through the eye. However, if it is used to present an idea or an abstract thing, then it could mean knowledge. Thus, since the Ahadith refer to the moon, which is a tangible object, ra’a here means to visualize sight.

Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet (saaw) said: (in translation): “We are ummiyah (unlettered) people, we neither write nor calculate. The month is this way and that, sometimes 29 days and sometimes 30.”

Those who have substituted the sighting for pre-calculating the month say that the command in this Hadith, i.e. to sight the moon, is accompanied by a reason (‘illah) which justifies the command. This justification being that the Ummah was unlettered (“We neither write nor calculate”). The ruling in terms of its validity goes only as far as its justification. If the Ummah has emerged from its “unlettered state” and is able to write and calculate, it becomes essential to rely on calculation alone. However, this argument is incorrect due to the following:

1. The description of the Ummah in this Hadith, “Ummiyah”, does not imply an illah (legal reason). “Ummiyah” could mean “Arab”. [TMQ 62:2]. “We neither naktub (write) nor nahsib (calculate)...” “Nahsib” in the Hadith carries several meanings such as: we do not use astronomical calculations to determine the legal Shari’i beginning and end of the month; nor do we practice astrology, etc. “Nahsib” does not mean general calculations because Muslims are commanded by the Shar’iah to follow the laws of Zakah, inheritance etc. which  does  involve extensive calculations.

The claim that the Hadith describes the condition of the Ummah at the time of the Prophet (saw) is false. Further, the claim that this condition serves as an illah is also preposterous.

2. Furthermore , even if this “condition” is considered an illah (reason), Qiyas (analogy) on this issue is invalid. Firstly, there can be no Qiyas in Ibadaat (ritual worships). Secondly, it contradicts the definite meaning in texts of the numerous Ahadith which clearly illustrate that the “sabab” (cause) for fasting is the sighting of the moon (like the setting of the sun is the sabab for maghrib prayer).

Therefore, it is quite clear that the arguments presented to justify the beginning of Ramadan through the use of calculations are invalid and haram. The only way to determine the arrival of Ramadan is through sighting the moon.

Referring to the hadith, “and if the weather were cloudy, then complete it as thirty days." Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said, “This (completing thirty days of Sha’ban) is an indication that we should not refer to calculations or astronomy. The Prophet guided us to completing thirty days of Sha’ban while he could have guided us to consider other means that enable us to know the beginning of the astronomical month”.

In the Tafseer of Imam Al-Qurtabi, Ibn Nafi'e (ra) reported that Imam Malik bin Anas (ra) said: "If you see an Imam who does not begin and end fasting by way of sighting, but begins fasting by calculation, he should not be followed in prayer or emulated." The renowned scholar Ibn Al'Arabi said, "Some of our people erred when they reported that Imam Shaf'i relied on calculations." Ibn Al-'Arabi commented, "The report is baseless and false."

There is however no harm in using the calculations to help determine the appropriate time to start monitoring the new moon.

Local or Global Sighting?

The command of fasting and ending the month of fasting in the Ahadith mentioned earlier is general: "Do not fast till you see it and do not break fast till you see it," "Do fast when you it is sighted and break fast when it is sighted." The verb
صوموا  Soomu’ ‘Do fast’ is in the plural form includes all Muslims all over the world. Furthermore, the word  لرؤيتهRu’yatehe’ 'sighting' has also come in a general form: "When it is sighted" or "If it is sighted."; this means that it includes any sighting, and it does not merely apply to the person who sights the new moon, nor does it specifically apply only to the people of a specific  country, for the address which orders the fast and the breaking of the fast is general and comprehensive, as is the address concerning the sighting, therefore, the rule is undoubtedly general.

The command is not for individual Muslims to sight the moon and then begin fasting or to make Eid based upon their personal sighting. Even the Prophet (saw) used to begin fasting when he had not personally seen the moon but a Muslim had reported to him that they had seen it. Ibn Umar (ra) reported, "During the time of the Prophet (saw), the companions went looking for the new crescent. So I told the Prophet (saw) that I saw it. So he fasted and told the companions to fast." [Abu Dawud & Hakim]

Therefore, the command of fasting and of breaking the fast when the new moon is sighted is a command which addresses all Muslims all over the world. So for example if the new moon was sighted in Rabat on Friday night, and was not sighted in Jakarta on Friday night but on Saturday night, the people of lndonesia must act upon the sighting of the new moon in Morocco, they must therefore begin the fast on Friday if the new moon was that of Ramadhan; if they did not fast that day they should compensate for that day because the obligation to fast has been confirmed by the sighting of the new moon by any Muslim anywhere in the world. Also, if the new moon was that of Shawwal, they should break their fast when news about the sighting reaches them even if they did not sight it themselves, for the moment the sighting is confirmed, they must break their fast, and it would be sinful for them to continue fasting.

Therefore, the Shari'ah rule states that if the people of one country sighted the new moon, it would be exactly as if all the Muslims have sighted it as well, therefore they should all fast if it is the new moon of Ramadhan, and they should all break fast if it is the new moon of Shawwal. This is the rule of Allah (swt) according to the Shari'ah texts.

During the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (saw), the Muslims used to begin the fast on the same day and break it on the same day despite the fact that they lived in different areas, and this serves as another Shari'ah evidence that the sighting of the new moon in one area obliges all the Muslims to fast together on the same day and break fast together on the same day.

Many of the classical scholars have stated this view[1], the following are a selection:

The famous Hanafi scholar Imam Sarkhasi (died 483 AH) in Al-Mabsoot quotes the narration from Abu Dawud (2333, 2334):

حَدِيثُ عِكْرِمَةَ عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُ { أَنَّ النَّاسَ أَصْبَحُوا يَوْمَ الشَّكِّ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَدِمَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ وَشَهِدَ بِرُؤْيَةِ الْهِلَالِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : أَتَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ : نَعَمْ فَقَالَ : صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ يَكْفِي الْمُسْلِمِينَ أَحَدُهُمْ فَصَامَ وَأَمَرَ النَّاسَ الصِّيَامِ وَأَمَرَ مُنَادِيًا فَنَادَى أَلَا مَنْ كَانَ أَكَلَ فَلَا يَأْكُلَنَّ بَقِيَّةَ يَوْمِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَأْكُلْ فَلْيَصُمْ }
That the Muslims did not begin fasting since they did not see the moon. Then a man, from out of Madinah, came and told the Prophet (saaw) that he had seen it (the moon). The Prophet (saaw) asked him if he was a Muslim to which the man answered in the affirmative. The Prophet (saaw) then said: “Allahu-Akbar! one is enough for all Muslims” The Prophet (saw) fasted and asked the people to stop eating and start fasting. [Al-Mabsout by Imam Sarkhasi; 3-52]

There is also a variation of this narration from Ibn Abbas: “An Arab came to the Prophet (saw) and said: ‘I saw the Hilaal (of Ramadhaan)’ He (saw) said: ‘Do you bear witness that Laa Ilaaha illa Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger?’ He said ‘Yes’ So The Prophet (saw) said: ‘Get up and announce to the people that we are fasting tomorrow’.” It was narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah (1923) and Ibn Hibbaan, An Nisaa’i, At Tirmidhi and Ibn Abi Shaibah. Al Haakim and Adh Dhahabi verified it as Saheeh.

In fact the Hanafi school of thought strongly argues against any other view. This position can be found in the books of many of its scholars and its fiqh manuals. 

Imam Kasanee  in Bada as-Sana’i
said that following other than one sighting for the whole Ummah is Bid’a (innovation). This indicates how weak he felt that the other Ijtihad was.

Imam Hafizud-deen an-Nasafi (died. 537 AH) has discussed it in Al-Bahr ar-ra’iq sharh kanz al-daqaíq. [Vol. 6, p.180]

The Hanafi fiqh manual Durr al-Mukhtar states: "If people living in the West sight the moon, it becomes obligatory for the people living in the East to act on that." [Durr al-Mukhtar, Vol. 1, p. 149]

Imam al-Juzairi in first volume of Fiqh al Madhahib al Arba’a (The Fiqh of the four schools of thought) gives two views of the Hanafi’s regarding this: 1) The sighting of the moon by any Muslim should be accepted whether slave, free, man or woman without inquiring whether they are just or not, 2) The justness should be verified by a Qadi (judge).

Fiqhul Ibadat of the Maliki’s also states that it is obligatory to follow the sighting of the crescent moon by any Muslim regardless if they are close,  or far away from you :
فقة العبادات المالكى 1/305
 يجب الصوم ويعم سائر الأقطار إذا ثبت الهلال بقطر منها لا فرق بين القريب والبعيد من جهة الثبوت ولا عبرة باختلاف المطالع مطلقا

Even more contemporary scholars like the founding and well known scholars of the Deobandi and Barelvi movements of the Indian subcontinent have clearly stated this as the correct view in their Fatawa. It is unfortunate that today many who claim to follow them ignore following this hukm.

The co-founder of Dar al-Uloom Deoband, Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi said: “If the people of Calcutta sighted the moon in Friday, whereas it was sighted in Makkah on Thursday itself, but the people of Calcutta did not know of it (the sighting on Thursday); then whenever they come to know of this, it will be obligatory for them to celebrate eid with the people of Makkah and make up (Qada’) for the first fasting.” [Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi, Sharh Tirmizi (Explanation of Tirmizi), Kaukab un Durri, p. 336 Urdu edition].

“Wherever the sighting is confirmed, however far  away  it may be, even if it were to be thousands of miles; the people of this place will have to abide by that.” [Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol. 6 p. 380, Urdu edition]

“Question: There has been some dispute in Amritsar etc. regarding sighting of moon for Ramdhan and Eid ul fitr. So should we the residents of Mandla (CP), which is located very far off, follow that sighting or not?
Answer: In the maslak of Hanafiyyah, there is no consideration of Ikhtilaf al Matale’ (difference in sighting); the sighting of the people of east is binding upon the people of the west and vice versa. This is also demanded by the hadith (soomoo li ru iyatihi we aftaroo li ru iyatihi) “Fast when it is sighted and stop fasting when it is sighted”, because the address ‘soomoo’ and ‘aftaroo’ is ‘aam (general) and for everyone. In conclusion, when sighting is confirmed in whichever place, everyone is supposed to start his fast and break it in accordance with it, i.e when the sighting is confirmed.” [Fatawa Dar ul Uloom Deoband, Vol 6 p. 385 & 386, Urdu edition]

“Irrespective of how far the news of sighting came from, it is to be relied upon. For instance if the people of Burma did not sight the moon, and a person from Bombay testifies to them of having sighted the moon; it will be incumbent upon the people of Burma to make up for the (first) fasting i.e. Qada’.” [Mufti Kifayat ullah, Ta’leem ul Islam, vol. 4, section sighting of moon: Urdu edition]

“When the moon is sighted in one place it is not just for that region but for the entire world.” [Maulana Amjad Ali, Bahar e Sharee’at, Vol 2 p. 108, Urdu edition]

The founder of the Barlevi's said: “In the correct and authentic mazhab of our Imams, with regard to the sighting of moon for Ramdhan and eid, distance of the place of sighting is of no consideration. The sighting of the east is binding upon west and vice versa i.e. the sighting of west is similarly binding on east.” [Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan, Fatawa Rizwi; Vol 4 p. 568, Urdu edition]

If we scrutinise the various arguments that are utilised to attempt to prove the following of a local sighting or the sighting of a particular place, they can be summarized in the following:

1- The first argument: They claim that to each people living in one country their sighting, for each people should follow their own times just like the times of prayer; this is why they said: The precept lies in the Matali', i.e. the time of rising (of celestial bodies). In answer to this claim we say the following: The times of prayer are subject to their scheduled times and these are different even in the one region, for the signs which the Shari'ah has specified would occur at different times; as far as fasting is concerned, this difference also applies at the time of Imsak (beginning of fast) at dawn and at the time of Iftar (end of fast) just after sunset, this is so because the text has indicated this difference: Allah (swt) says:

"And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread; Then complete your fast until the night appears" [TMQ 2:187]

The Imsak and the Iftar times differ from one place to another just like the times of prayer, which also differ from place to place, this difference happens in the one single day, however, the beginning of the month of fasting must begin on the same day all over the whole world, and the difference occurs only in the parts of the single day. This is what the texts of the Ahadith have clearly indicated; and this is what is confirmed by the understanding deduced from the Shari'ah rule. The difference in the rise of the new moon between the farthest two points in the world does not exceed twelve hours; and the classical Mujtahids are excused for not understanding this deduction from the Shari'ah rule, for at the time, they were not in a position to clearly realise the movements of the earth, sun and the new moon. And now that the deduction made from the rule is understood, there are no pretexts or excuses left for those who claim that the difference in the time of rising could exceed one day, let alone those who claim that it could be even a few days. Therefore, the month of fasting begins for the Islamic Ummah all over the world on the same day and the end of the month of fasting and the beginning of Eid also occurs on the same day for all the Islamic Ummah all over the world.

2 – The second argument: That people should follow the announcement of the Saudi Arabian government, some especially those supported by the corrupt Saudi regime espouse this view and play on the emotion of Muslims due to the presence of the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medina . Of course if Muslims in Saudi Arabia search for the moon on the 29th night and sight it, the rest of the Muslims globally should accept this and begin Ramadhan or make Eid, however according to the shariah evidences the Muslims in Saudi Arabia must equally accept the sighting of Muslim anywhere in the world whether in Pakistan, Indonesia or Iran regardless of the Saudi governments official announcement.

Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, the classical literalist (Zahiri) scholar often referred to by the Salafi clerics in Saudi Arabia concluded: "To summarize: a person who learns about the sighting of the moon in good time to be able to utilise it for fasting, for ending his fast, or for sacrifice, he must definitely do so. The texts [of Islam] and the reports about the Salaf point to this. To limit this to a certain distance or country would contradict both the reason and the Shar` (Islamic law)." [Al-Fatawa, volume 5, page 111]

Even the most famous Salafi scholar of the twentieth century, Sheikh Nasir ud-Deen al-Albani espoused the view that the global sighting must be taken, he explained the term in the hadith,
صوموا لرؤيته ... "  “Do fast when you it is sighted,” was general to all Muslims irrespective of locality. [Al-Silsilah as-Saheeh, Vol 6, p. 123]

Some try to use the argument about the ‘obedience to the Imam of the Muslims’ in relation to Saudi Arabia, this has no basis whatsoever as is clearly established currently Saudi Arabia is not an Islamic state, its economy is based on Riba, it is a corrupt un-Islamic monarchy that openly allies with America. Thus its ruler is definitely not the Khalifah or Ameer of the believers.  It is true that when the Islamic state is re-established that the Khalifah of the Muslims will organise the congregational rituals and will declare the beginning of Ramadhan and Eid after ascertaining the sighting of the moon.  

3 – The third argument: Some argue that the ruling of following one global sighting is impractical due to the time difference that exists in the world, where if the moon was sighted in one part of the world it is conceivable that another part may have already passed the time of fajr prayer. In answer to this we must realize that that no two places in the world are more than a day apart i.e. twenty four hours so we exist within the same time frame. We have an answer from the hadith on what we should do if the news was to reach us late.

It is also reported in a Saheeh hadith: Abu ‘Umayr ibn Anas reported from his paternal uncles among the Ansaar who said: “It was cloudy and we could not see the new moon of Shawwaal, so we started the day fasting, then a caravan came at the end of the day and told the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that they had seen the new moon of Shawwaal the day before, so he told the people to stop fasting, and they went out to pray the Eid prayer the next day.” [Reported by the five. It is sahih; al-Irwaa’, 3/102, Abu Dawud 1153]

4 – The fourth argument: There are those who say we should stick to what the majority of people are practicing, they misquote Islamic evidences about “Holding on to the Jama’a (collective)”, they misinterpret these to mean the ‘Jumhoor’ (majority). It is true that Islam has obliged sticking to the jama'ah of Muslims under an Imam (Khalifah) not to the majority.

Al-Bukhari narrated about Bisr ibn Obaydellah al-Hadhrami that he heard Abu Idrees al-Khoolani say that he heard Huthaifah ibn al-Yaman saying: "The people used to ask the Prophet of Allah (saw) about the good and I used to ask him about the bad in fear that it might catch me. So I said: O Prophet of Allah! We were in times of jahilliyah and mischief then Allah brought us this good, so is there any mischief after this good? He (saw) said: Yes. I said: Will there be any good after that mischief? He said: Yes, and it has smoke. I said: What is its smoke? He said: (Some) people guide without any guidance, you recognise some (from them) and deny some. I said: Will there be a mischief after that good? He said: Yes, (some) people who invite at the doors of hell, whoever accepted their invitation they throw him in it (hell). I said: O Prophet of Allah, describe them to us. He said: They are of our own skin (of our people) and talk our language. I said: What do you order me to do if that (matter) caught me? He said: Adhere to the jama'ah of Muslims and their Imam. I said: What if the Muslims have no jama'ah nor an Imam? He said: Then you abandon all those groups, even if you have to grab with your teeth the trunk of a tree till death comes to you as such."

This hadith is clear in its expression that the Prophet (saw) orders Muslims to adhere to the jama'ah of Muslims and to adhere to their Imam, and to leave those who invite people to the doors of hell. When the questioner asked him that in case the Muslims have no Imam and no jama'ah what he has to do in regard with those who call at the doors of hell, the Prophet (saw) ordered him to abandon these groups, not to disassociate himself from the Muslims nor to abstain from the action for establishing an Imam. So his order is clear, disassociate yourself from all those groups, and he emphasised the dissociation of those groups even to the extent that his isolation from them would make him clench to the trunk of a tree until death comes to him. It means adhere to your deen by staying away from the misleading callers who are at the doors of hell. In this hadith there is no excuse or permission (for anybody) to abandon the work for establishing a Khaleefah, it is, rather, confined to the command of adhering to the deen and abandoning the callers at the doors of hell, and the sin will remain on him if he does not work to establish a Khaleefah. So he is ordered to abandon the misleading groups in order to save his deen from the callers of the misguidance, even if he had to clench to the trunk of a tree, but not to distance himself from the Muslim community and abandon the work for establishing the laws of the deen and establishing an Imam for Muslims.

The concept of following the majority rather than the Islamic verdict is not based on evidence from the Quran and Sunnah and contradicts many evidences about enjoining the good and forbidding the evil even in the face of hardship, the Prophet (saw) said: "The master of martyrs (sayyid al-shuhada) is Hamza, and a man who stands up to a tyrant ruler and gives him nasiha (advice). And so the ruler kills him".

If the concept of following the majority existed then Abu Hanifah would not have imposed the killing a Muslim in retaliation for killing of a dhimmi (non-Muslim citizen), Imam Malik would not have allowed praying the Salah with the hands beside the side of the body, Imam Shafi’ would not have accepted the testimony of the individual, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal would have succumbed to the view of the Mu’tazilla about the Quran being created rather than vehemently opposing it and facing hardship even by the Khalifah at his time. They understood the statement of Ibn Masud (ra): “The Jama’a is Haq (truth) even if it is one person”.

5- The fifth argument: This one is the only one that is based on shubhat daleel (semblance of an evidence) and thus is a weak but legitimate ijtihad
for those who actually follow it sincerely.  Some of Shafi’ school held the view of following a local sighting of the moon based upon a narration reported by Muslim on the authority of Kurayb who reported that Umm-ul-Fadhl Bintu-l-Harith sent him to Mu'awiya in Al-Sham; he said: “I arrived in Al-Sham and did business for her (Umm-ul-Fadhl Bintu-l-Harith). It was there in Al-Sham that the month of Ramadhan commenced. I saw the new moon of Ramadhan on Friday. I then came back to Madina at the end of the month, Abdullah Ibnu Abbas (R) asked me about the new moon of Ramadhan and said: "When did you see it? I said: We saw it on the night of Friday, He said: Did you see it yourself? I said: Yes, and the people also saw it and observed the fast and Mu'awiya also observed the fast; whereupon he said: But we saw it on Saturday night. Some would continue to observe fast till we complete thirty (fasts) or we see it (the new moon of Shawwal). I said: Is the sighting of the moon by Mu'awiya not valid for you? He said: No, this is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) has commanded us."

They claimed that the beginning of fasting and Eid may vary, use this Hadith as evidence; they argue that Ibn Abbas ignored the sighting of the people of Al-Sham and said at the end of the Hadith: This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) has commanded us. This indicated that Ibn Abbas learnt from the Messenger of Allah (saw) that the people of one region are not obliged to act upon the sighting of another region; they also argue that this Hadith serves as a specification and an explanation of the Hadith of the sighting. They therefore claimed that the people of each region are commanded to act upon the sighting of the new moon in their region only and not in other regions, thus the beginning of fast and the beginning of Eid vary from one region to another and according to the times of rising.

The answer to this claim lies in the fact that this report is not a Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) but the Ijtihad of a Sahabi, and the Ijtihad of the Sahabi is not comparable to the Hadith of the Prophet (saw). The fact that Ibn Abbas (ra) did not act upon the sighting of the people of Al-Sham reflects an Ijtihad and it cannot be used as a Shari'ah evidence; and besides, the Ijtihad is always nullified by the general Shari'ah evidence, thus the Hadith must be acted upon ahead of the Ijtihad which has to be abandoned. Furthermore, the Ijtihad of the Sahabi cannot specify the general term of the Hadith. As for the saying of Ibn Abbas at the end of the report: "This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.", it is not a Hadith but merely the way Ibnu Abbas understood the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (saw) in which he (saw) said: "Fast when you see it and break fast when you see it." This indicates that Ibn Abbas understood the Hadith as such; though he did not say: This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) reported it, nor did he say: This is how we learnt it from the Messenger of Allah (saw), but he said: This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.

Imam Al-Shawkani explained the Hadith as follows, he wrote in his book Nayl-ul Awtar the following:
وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْحُجَّةَ إنَّمَا هِيَ فِي الْمَرْفُوعِ مِنْ رِوَايَةِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ لَا فِي اجْتِهَادِهِ الَّذِي فَهِمَ عَنْهُ النَّاسُ وَالْمُشَارُ إلَيْهِ بِقَوْلِهِ : " هَكَذَا أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ " هُوَ قَوْلُهُ : فَلَا نَزَالُ نَصُومُ حَتَّى نُكْمِلَ ثَلَاثِينَ ، وَالْأَمْرُ الْكَائِنُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ هُوَ مَا أَخْرَجَهُ الشَّيْخَانِ وَغَيْرُهُمَا بِلَفْظِ : { لَا تَصُومُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْا الْهِلَالَ ، وَلَا تُفْطِرُوا حَتَّى تَرَوْهُ فَإِنْ غُمَّ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ ثَلَاثِينَ } وَهَذَا لَا يَخْتَصُّ بِأَهْلِ نَاحِيَةٍ عَلَى جِهَةِ الِانْفِرَادِ بَلْ هُوَ خِطَابٌ لِكُلِّ مَنْ يَصْلُحُ لَهُ مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

"I realise that the evidence is derived from the report of Ibnu Abbas and not from his Ijtihad (exertion) which people understood as such, and what is referred in his saying: "This is how the Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded us.", is his saying (i.e. Ibnu Abbas): So we are still fasting until we complete thirty days; and the command of the Messenger of Allah (saw) lies in the Hadith extracted by the two Sheikhs (i.e. Bukhari and Muslim) among others with the following wording: "Do not fast till you see the new moon and do not break fast till you see the new moon, and if the sky were cloudy, then complete it as thirty days." And this does not specifically apply for the people of one region to the exclusion of others but to all the Muslims." [Nayl ul- Awtar, volume 4, page 268]

Therefore, what Kurayb has reported does not qualify as a Hadith, but remains as it is, i.e. an opinion of Ibn Abbas; it does not qualify as evidence and cannot be used as such; it also cannot be used to specify the general term of a Hadith, i.e. the general evidence. Therefore this is a weak opinion.

Unfortunately today many who claim to follow this opinion do not actually follow it as when we scrutinize their actions the contradiction becomes apparent. For example, some in the Indian subcontinent refer to this hadith to justify the adherence to the declaration of their national moon sighting committee. Upon scrutiny the reality becomes clear, as they reject the sighting of Muslims in Pakistan even though it borders India and was one land before the division in 1947 yet they accept the sighting of Muslims in south India who are much further in distance from capital (Delhi) to Pakistan. If they were to actually follow the opinion based on the narration of Ibn Abbas, each region in India would have to follow their own sighting rather than a national committee based upon territorial lines drawn by the British. Similarly we see some Muslims in the west who claim to follow this opinion and then defer to following the sighting of the closest Muslim country like Morocco yet reject the sighting of Muslims in other countries, this is contradictory and not in accordance with the actual opinion of local sighting.

In many cases this is not an issue of juristic difference, it is more to do with power and allegiance to national/regional committees or governments.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “He is not one of us who calls for ‘asabiyyah, (nationalism) or who fights for ‘asabiyyah or who dies for ‘asabiyyah.” [Abu Dawud]

We should not begin fasting by the command of those Muftis who are more anxious to please the rulers rather than to please Allah (swt). Mu'az narrated: I said: O Messenger of Allah. What do you think if we had leaders who do not follow your Sunnah and do not adopt your order; in what do you order regarding their affair? The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “There is no obedience to the one who does not obey Allah 'azza wa jall.”

This is a serious matter and therefore must be taken as such, as has been elaborated the meaning established from evidence derived from the real meaning of the texts would stand, which implies that all the Muslims are commanded to fast when the new moon is sighted anywhere in the world as indicated by the clear-cut meaning of the Hadith of Allah's Messenger (saw): "Do fast when it is sighted."

And all the Muslims are commanded to break fast when the sighting of the new moon is confirmed in any part of the world, and to make that day their Eid day as clearly indicated in the Hadith of Allah's Messenger (saw): "Do break fast when it is sighted."

We should beware of the consequences of fasting on the day of Eid. Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that, “The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade fasting on two days, the day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr”.

May Allah (swt) unite us soon under the shade of a rightly guided Khilafah.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi

[1] A compilation the Arabic quotations from various scholars is available on: 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Crisis in Somalia Continues

Since the beginning of this year, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia have been experiencing one of the most severe draughts in the last 60 years affecting more than 10 million people. Earlier this month, Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), visited a refugee camp in Kenya stating, “I have no doubt that in today's world, Somalia corresponds to the worst humanitarian disaster. I have never seen in a refugee camp people coming in such desperate conditions.” A UN report released this year stipulated that the situation in Somalia has, “drastically deteriorated due to the combination of drought, increasing food prices and conflict.

Geography & Resources
Somalia is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya to the southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Ethiopia to the west. The country occupies the tip of a region that, due to its resemblance on the map to a rhinoceros' horn, is commonly referred to as the Horn of Africa. Somalia occupies a very strategic position along the Indian Ocean and has the longest coastline in Africa running 2,720 km (1,700 miles). Somalia has two stretches of coastline, one running along the Indian Ocean to the east and another running to its northern side along the Gulf of Aden towards the Bab el Mandeb and the Red Sea. Thus, Somalia is strategically placed as the gateway to Southern Africa as well as the Arabian Peninsula – a location that can be used to control these territories. Based on geological studies conducted Somalia is also very rich in the resources of uranium, natural gas, and oil.

How Islam Came to the Region
The history of Islam in the region dates back to the time of RasulAllah (saw). In the 5th year of Prophethood, as the oppression increased by the Quraysh, RasulAllah (saw) permitted 12 men and 4 women to leave for Habasha (Ethiopia) which included Uthman ibn Affan (ra) and his wife Ruqaiyah (ra). During the Khilafah of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, parts of modern-day Somalia including Mogadishu, came under the shade of the Islamic State. Other factors that contributed to the spread of Islam in Somalia include commerce and the migration of Muslims to the coastal cities of Somalia. Mogadishu became the center of Islam on the East African coast. The local merchants expanded commercial ties to Mozambique, which included mining gold from the Monomopatan mines in Sofala. In northern Somalia, Adal was in its early stages a small trading community established by the newly converted Muslim merchants.

European Occupation
After the Berlin Conference in 1884, European nations agreed on the invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of Africa. Britain, France and Italy all laid claims to various parts of the area now known as Somalia.
For 40 years, the British controlled northern Somalia because of its access to the Red Sea, and the Italians ruled southern Somalia while the French had little impact on the region but controlled neighbouring Djibouti.

Both British and Italian territories gained “independence” in 1960 and merged to form modern-day Somalia. However, the country suffered from a tumultuous political atmosphere. For example, Somalia's sitting president was assassinated in a military coup in 1969; just 9 years after the Europeans left. Muhammad Siad Barre became Somalia's new president in 1969 and founded Barre's Supreme Revolutionary Council as the sole political party in Somalia. Barre also abolished the National Assembly and the country's constitution.

Post Pseudo-Independence
In 1991, Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted from power, and a power struggle ensued between clan warlords. From 1992 to 1995, through the so-called “Humanitarian” delegations under the auspices of the ‘Hope Again’ project, America deployed approximately 30,000 troops in Somalia to “restore order and protect the supply lines”. The mission was a failure and it resulted in a humiliating withdrawal for the US.

In 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took control of Mogadishu and other parts of the south after defeating clan warlords. After years of lawlessness, the UIC worked to bring some law and order based on implementing the Shariah of Allah (swt). In 2007, backed by American support, Ethiopian and African Union troops entered Somalia and dismantled the UIC. Today the country remains in conflict between As-Shebab and the Transitional Federal Government supported by the West and African Union troops.

Impact on the Muslims in Somalia
It has been estimated that between 350,000 and 1,000,000 have died as a result of the conflicts that began in 1991. This number can only be further magnified by the number of people who have been injured and displaced in the conflict. Furthermore, with the region being in constant conflict for 20 years, this has further exacerbated the plight of the Muslims.

Regarding the impact of the drought on the Muslims, a report by the UN published last month highlighted the following:

  • At least one in three Somali children is malnourished in parts of southern Somalia. Malnutrition rates among new arrivals in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya are alarming, ranging from 30-40 percent. Three in five children arriving in refugee camps in Ethiopia from southern Somalia are malnourished. In refugee camps in Kenya, more deaths were recorded among Somali children in the therapeutic feeding centers in the first quarter of 2011 than in all of last year.
  • Because of lack of food in southern regions of Somalia, thousands are being forced to flee to neighboring countries Kenya and Ethiopia for assistance. An average of 10,000 new Somali refugees arrives in Kenya’s Dadaab camps per month and 5,000-6,000 at the Doolow Ado camp in Ethiopia. At the end of June, a total of 60,200 Somalis were registered in Kenya this year – more than a 100 per cent increase compared to the same time in 2010.
  • UNICEF said earlier this week that at least 500,000 children were at risk of death in the Horn of Africa, while the International Committee of the Red Cross has said one in 10 children in parts of Somalia could die from starvation.

What is the Solution?
When we examine the major factors that are causing the crisis in Somalia it is clear that it is linked to the absence of the Islamic system of governance - the Khilafah. Applying the Islamic system would address the issues affecting Somalia in the following manner:

Internal Conflict – Throughout the history of the Khilafah, there were many attempts by the disbelieving colonial powers to forge alliances with Muslims living in the Islamic State with the hopes of creating a wedge between Muslims. For example when Ka’ab bin Malik (ra) was awaiting his judgment from Allah (swt) on missing the Battle of Tabuk, the King of Ghassan sent him a letter stating, "To proceed, I have been informed that your friend (i.e. the Prophet ) has treated you harshly. Anyhow, Allah does not let you live at a place where you feel inferior and your right is lost. So join us, and we will console you."Ka’ab (ra)’s response was to burn the letter as he knew what the King was intending to do.

Many of the internal conflicts in Somalia arose as a result of foreign influence and intervention. Allah (swt) has clearly forbidden Muslims from seeking military assistance or support from non-Muslims:

“Oh you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya’), then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun.” [TMQ 5:51]

Applying the Islamic system will mean the establishment of authority and security in the hands of the Muslims. This will allow the affairs of the Muslims to be decided based on the interests of the state (i.e. seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt)) and not the interests of any foreign power.

Drought and Food Prices – the first time the Muslim Ummah witnessed famine was in the year 18AH – during the Khilafah of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra). Bedouin people began to die because of hunger and epidemic diseases. People from all over Arabia gathered at Madinah (the capital of the Khilafah) where food was rationed. Soon the reserves of food in Madinah began to decline, and Umar (ra) wrote to the Wulaat (provincial governors) of Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Iraq for aid who responded by sending caravans loaded with food and supplies. Umar (ra) dispatched his men to the routes of Iraq, Palestine and Syria to take the supply caravans to the desert settlements deeper into Arabia, which in turn saved millions from starvation. For internally displaced people, Umar hosted a dinner every night at Madinah, which according to one estimate had an attendance of more than one hundred thousand people. By early 19AH, conditions began to improve as precipitation resumed in the drought-affected areas. Umar personally supervised the rehabilitation of the displaced people.

What Umar (ra) did can be applied to drought-affected areas such as Somalia and the surrounding regions today. Having a Khilafah for the whole Muslim Ummah and implementing the ruling system of Islam in the Muslim lands will allow the Khalifah to co-ordinate the rich and abundant resources available in one area to areas that are poor and depleted of resources. Each area of the Khilafah will be under his control and the Wulaat (provincial governors) of each region will work with him to solve problems such as droughts. Implementing these relief efforts will also eliminate the sharp rise in food prices we are witnessing in Somalia today as there will be more food available for the population to consume. As a result, the local sellers who have access to food supplies will have little incentive to raise food prices to exorbitant levels.

Reflecting on Those Who Died
Many of us may know, or be related to, someone who is personally afflicted by the drought in Somalia. While it is a tragic time for the grieving families, we should also remember that a believer is never at loss, regardless of the tremendous trials that befall him/her. We ask Allah (swt) to raise the ranks of those who have suffered and for them to be in a more comfortable place.

Just as Allah (swt) is testing our brothers and sisters in Somalia with hardship, He is testing us in our response. In this time of need and immediate crisis, we should help where we can and give sadaqa to those in Somalia whom we know personally.

The drought or any other natural disaster that befalls the Muslim Ummah exposes the current despotic rulers. They should be a reminder for us that the work to resume the Islamic way of life, by re-establishing the Khilafah Rashidah in the Muslim lands, needs to be undertaken with urgency so that we may seek the pleasure of Allah (swt). Only with a constructive and coherent effort at re-establishing the Khilafah Rashidah will this problem be addressed. Only with a comprehensive elimination of the current constitution, judiciary and systems, and their replacement with the constitution, judiciary and systems based on the Hukm of Allah (swt) can the direction of all Muslim lands including Somalia be comprehensively changed for the better. It is only the Khilafah Rashidah that has the track record of uniting Arab, Asian and African, of uniting white, brown and black under the Islamic Aqeedah. It can only be the Khilafah Rashidah that can be trusted with key resources which would be utilized in a manner allowed by the Shara’ and not circulated among the few. Only the Khilafah can end foreign occupation and political interference and bring stature and respect back again to the whole of the Muslim world.

“Oh you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.”
[TMQ 47:7]

The Scale of Values

The following are extracts from the translation of an Arabic leaflet. 

"Westerners would determine the value of something according to the level of importance an individual would attach to it, or according to its importance in relation to something else. Therefore, to them the value would be relative and not real, for it would be related to either a specific person or a specific thing. However, to the Muslims, the value is determined by the amount of benefit gained from the thing itself, with the factor of scarcity taken into consideration, but not necessarily affecting the evaluation of things. In any case, the value would be the measure by which goods and services are judged, be it to the Muslims or the others, i.e. to those who either consider the value to be real, or to those who consider it to be relative. The value would therefore be the measure of benefit obtained from the goods and services, and consequently, the knowledge of the value and how to estimate it would be indispensable to the material life i.e. to the economy.

This is as far as the material value is concerned. As for the moral and spiritual value, this also would be to the westerners determined by the amount of benefit obtained from it. Therefore, things like generosity, nobleness, helpfulness and fidelity would have a value if they happened to be important to a person, or important in relation to something else. Hence, if any of these things had no importance, they would be worthless and without value. Likewise, to the westerners, worship, places of worship and the learning of religious laws, i.e. anything connected to the spiritual value, would have its value if it had an importance in relation to a specific individual or something else.

For the Muslims, the value would not be nominal, it would rather be real. Thus, the moral and spiritual values would form one single branch, known as the spiritual value. The spiritual value means the abiding by the commands and prohibitions of Allah (SWT). Therefore, any action which Allah (SWT) ordered us to perform, and any action which Allah (SWT) gives preference to, it would have a value. If He (SWT) forbids it, it would be worthless and with no value whatsoever.

This would be as far as the actions are concerned. As for the things, these would also not have a relative value, but they are determined by the amount of benefit that Allah (SWT) has predetermined in them. Thus their value would not change, nor would it fluctuate according to supply and demand, nor according to the level of circulation. Therefore, the value which Allah (SWT) has determined would remain fixed until the day of judgment.

Since the human being would naturally evaluate things and actions according to the benefit obtained from them, and since the value of things and actions meant the society's estimation of those things and actions, likewise, the spiritual matters would be valued according to the benefit obtained from them if they were left to be naturally determined. Therefore, Allah (SWT) has left it to the human being to determine the value of the material things and the actions, and He (SWT) has predetermined the value of the spiritual matters, including the moral matters, and He (SWT) specified the aspects of preference between them.

He (SWT) predetermined a value to the obedience of parents, However, He (SWT) gave the acts of Jihad a bigger value. He (SWT) predetermined a value to the providing for one's dependants, and He (SWT) placed a higher value on the repelling of the enemy from Muslim land. He (SWT) placed a value on the building of mosques, but he placed a higher value on the carrying of the Da'awa. He (SWT) says:

"Do you consider the providing of water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Masjid al Haram as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the last day, and strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah? They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not the Zalimun (Oppressors)" [TMQ 9:19]

Therefore, Allah (SWT) has predetermined the values of the actions and at the same time He (SWT) classified the scale of values in a specific manner. He (SWT) has made Islam, Jihad in the way of Allah and the defending of Islam at the top of the scale of values. Therefore Allah (SWT) says: “Say if your parents, your children, your brethren, your wives, your tribe, the wealth you have acquired, a merchandise for which you fear that there would be no sale and dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and Jihad in His way, then wait till Allah brings His command, and Allah would not guide the wrong-doing folk." [TMQ 9: 24]

The word "Amrihi" (His command) in the verse means His punishment, and it serves as a warning to those who prefer these matters to the love of Allah, His Messenger and Jihad in His way. Hence Allah (SWT) has classified and specified the values and warned against the violation of this order. Therefore, there is no excuse for the Muslim to place something at the top of the scale of values, different to the love of Allah, His Messenger and Jihad in His way, i.e. other than Islam and Jihad. Then the rest of the matters were put in their order according to what the Sharia'a rules had stated. Therefore, it would be forbidden for the Muslim to make his life at the top of the scale of values, then his wife and his children, then their wealth and well being, then Islam and Jihad, for if he did this, he would be sinful and would deserve the punishment of Allah (SWT) as clearly outlined in the Ayah. A Muslim should therefore place Islam, Jihad in the way of Allah, the Da'awa to the Deen of Allah and making the word of Allah reign supreme at the top of his priorities i.e. at the top of the scale of values. Then the rest of the matter would also be placed, however, not according to the benefit obtained from them, but according to their order which Allah (SWT) had predetermined and in relation to the other values.

Those who have taken it upon themselves to carry the Islamic Da'awa, and to struggle in the way of resuming the Islamic way of life, they would have evidently added to their commitments the making of Allah (SWT), His Messenger and the Jihad in His way, better than their parents, their children etc... They would have added this to their commitment by actively working with a group gathered as a Kutla; they need not therefore to be reminded with the scale of values classified by Allah (SWT), because they have read it in the Qur'an and practically adhered to it by gathering in the Kutla or by joining forces with the Kutla, no difference between the member or the Daris (student) in this context, for if they did not take this order in values into consideration and if they suffered a confusion in the scale of values, they would undoubtedly not remain with the Kutla, for they would not be from its kind. 

What the Shabab should be reminded of would be the value of performing the partial activities of the Da'awa, not the carrying of the Da'awa itself. Some of the Da'awa carriers have become indifferent when it comes to gaining the reward, thus they would confine their work to merely relieving the sin off their necks. This led to a slackness in the duty and a neglect of the obligation. Furthermore, this led to imperfection in the work and a tendency to simply establish the work rather than perfect it." 

"Therefore, it has become imperative to remind the Shabab about the maintaining of the entire scale of values and not to restrict themselves to only what Allah (SWT) has made it the top of the scale of values, to remind them also that the particulars form the whole, and that which is necessary to accomplish a duty is in itself a duty; to remind them also that he who dedicates himself to gaining the pleasure of Allah (SWT) could not think of shunning His reward (SWT), and that the physical and mental laziness is one of the worst illnesses, and that the stinginess in spending the effort to remove the sin or accomplish a duty is to Allah (SWT) the worst type of stinginess. What would be painful for the believer is to hear that some of us tend to avoid distributing leaflets or tend not to carry out the distribution as they had been instructed, some do not compete over a larger number of leaflets. It would also be painful to find amongst us those who would prefer to take a circle rather than give it, even though they are capable of doing so, or to find amongst us those who try and stick to the minimum number of circles, or those who give a circle but not whole-heartedly, or to find amongst us those who do not establish contacts and discussions, or to find those who partly carry out their duties in the narrowest of scopes, and those who seek excuses to avoids establishing the contacts they had been ordered to establish them. Do these Shabab not realise that the distribution of leaflets is Fard (obligatory) just like the Raka'a (prostration) in the Salat, and just like the striking of the enemy in the battlefield? When Allah (SWT) prescribed the Salat, His command (SWT) to perform the one Raka'a was included in this general command, and his command to strike once when fighting was included in the general command of Jihad. Also, when Allah (SWT) commanded the carrying of the Da'awa and the resumption of the Islamic way of life, his command to distribute the leaflets was included in that general command. Hence the distribution of leaflets is Fard just like the Salat, and just like the Jihad, without distinction. To neglect such a Fard would be regarded as sin just like not performing the Raka'a in the Salat without distinction. 

It is true that it is Fardu Kifaya (a duty of sufficiency), however, since the Kifaya has not been fulfilled yet, the performing of Fard-ul-A'yn (the individual duty) and that of sufficiency would become one and the same; the reward and the sin would include both of them, so when did the Kifaya get established so that a Shab could deem as the neglect of distributing leaflets etc? The Hukm of distribution is like that of the Halaqa, the contacts and the discussions, for these form parts of the carrying of Da'awa, they are even the carrying of the Da'awa itself. Jihad is also Fardu Kifaya, but if the Kifaya is yet to be established, it becomes Fardu A'yn until it is established. 

Allah (SWT) did punish those who lagged behind in the battle of Tabuk and explained the importance of partial actions in Jihad. In His reprimand to those who remained behind He (SWT) says: "It was not fitting for the people of Madina to refuse to follow the Messenger of Allah, nor to prefer their own lives to his, because whatever they suffer, be it thirst, fatigue, or hunger in the way of Allah, and whatever paths they may tread which would anger the disbelievers, or whatever gains they may achieve against the enemy, it would be recorded for them and Allah would reward them for their best deeds." [TMQ 9: 120]

Allah (SWT) has demonstrated to those who lagged behind what made feel sorry and heartbroken for this lagging behind. This demonstration came in the shape of the partial actions, He (SWT) demonstrated seven partial actions which happen in Jihad, and He (SWT) highlighted elaborately their importance. This should have established to the Muslims that the partial actions which occur when performing the whole task, do have a real value reflected in the reward of performing such action, that they do have an important effect and that Allah (SWT) does hold them in a great standing. Allah (SWT) reprimanded the believers for depriving themselves when they lagged behind rather than performed Jihad. The same applies to all the Da'awa actions such as the distribution of leaflets, giving a Halaqa, holding discussions etc.. Therefore, if the Muslim were to suffer of thirst, or fatigue, or hunger, or if he were to perform any action which would anger the disbelievers and the hypocrites, or spend something, or move from one place to another, Allah (SWT) would undoubtedly record it as a good deed in his favour in addition to the falling of the duty and the lifting of the sin off his neck. So how could the Muslim who has carried the Da'awa seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT) bear the lagging behind when it comes to performing the partial actions which as well as lifting the sin, carry a great reward?

Therefore, the Da'awa carriers should realise that the value of what they spent in terms of physical and intellectual efforts, is less than the value of distributing leaflets, giving Halaqat (circles) and holding discussions. In fact there is a wide difference between the two values, the value of rest and the value of what Allah (SWT) records as reward for this good deed."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Activities of Carrying the Da’wah

The following is the translation of an Arabic leaflet.

There are many issues in a person's life which take over his intellection and take up his time. Hence he would constantly exhaust his efforts, on various levels, in order to perform the onuses and fulfil the commitments which these issues entail.

If we were to contemplate these issues to which a person dedicates his life, we would perceive that these take various forms and disparate incentives. These issues are strongly linked to the person's instincts and organic needs. Therefore, people's concerns towards their issues vary from one person to another and from one issue to another. This disparity would be in essence related to the different viewpoints which people hold towards their instincts. Some of them make the survival instinct the dominant factor in their behaviours, actions and concerns. This dominance could sometimes lead to the neglect of other instincts. Others make the spiritual instinct the absolute dominant over other instincts. Hence we find that the religious person, spurred by his instinct rather than his perception, would zealously engage in religiousness, not lending any attention to his other instincts.

The truth of the matter is that by looking into the Sharia'a rules and principles which organise people's relations, it would become clear that a person's engagement in satisfying one instinct would always be at the expense of another instinct, and this fits perfectly with life's requisites. However, despite all this, there ought to be a scale of priorities. It is true that Allah (SWT) has commanded the capable Muslim to work in order to support himself and his dependants, it is also true that Allah (SWT) has commanded the Da’wah carrier to perform all that which the Da’wah demands of him. The Da’wah in fact should take primacy over all other commands. Allah (SWT) has made the Da’wah at the top of the scale, for He (SWT) has made the carrying of the Da’wah the main duty of the Islamic state, also the main duty of every Muslim. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "I have been ordered to fight people until they profess that there is no god but Allah, if they said it, their lives and their wealth would be inviolable to me except by right, and their fate would be up to Allah." It is evident that this Hadith reflects the position of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) in his quality as head of state. As for the Hadith which reflected his position before then, this was his reply to his uncle Abu Talib when he said to him: By Allah oh uncle, if they were to put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left hand, in order to relinquish this matter, I shall never do so until Allah makes it triumphant or I die without it." 

Therefore, the actions performed by the Muslim would be a means to achieve one objective. This objective would be the Da’wah to Islam. This Da’wah to Islam would take various aspects, the most important and most prominent of which would be the enjoining of Ma'aruf and the forbidding of the Munkar. In the Holy Qur'an this is repeated tens of times in various Surahs, and Allah (SWT) has made it an individual duty upon every Muslim, in addition to having already made it an obligation when He (SWT) commanded the establishment of an Islamic party to fulfil this duty.

We gather from the above that the enjoinment of the Ma'aruf, the forbidding of the Munkar and the Da’wah to Islam or to the resumption of the Islamic way of life, represent a host of carefully targeted aims which result from carrying the Da’wah. It would be therefore imperative to undertake a host of specific tasks in order to achieve the above mentioned results. These tasks are not of less importance than the results themselves, for the results could not be achieved unless these tasks were undertaken.
If we were to display these tasks, we would soon realise that they could not be narrowed down nor could they be counted. However, they could be summarised in several points:

1- The Islamic commitments:

Despite the fact that the total adherence to the Islamic commitments would be to the Da’wah carrier a postulate, thus judging that it would be unnecessary to carry the Da’wah if one did not abide to the letter by the Halal and Haram, or if he did not adopt this as the basis of his discipline, his work and his thinking, even the basis of his whole life. It would be wrong to assume that the Da’wah carrier need not be reminded about these issues. This is so because the prime obligation upon the Da’wah carrier would not only be confined to nursing a genuine desire for Jannah and a genuine fear of hell fire, thus seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT), he should rather aim at conveying this sensation practically and intellectually to the people around him. He would not succeed in conveying this unless the genuine sensation and the true awareness about this were reflected in his actions and his sayings. Hence, it would be conveyed through the actions and the thought to the people.

If the Shab succeeded in acquiring this genuine sensation of seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT), then the first step towards establishing a nation inspired by this genuine sensation would have been achieved, and this would in turn motivate her towards sacrificing all that which is priceless in order to achieve her objective and reach the position expected of an Islamic Ummah, spreading the guidance, the goodness and the happiness throughout the whole world.

2- Tilawa (recitation) of the Qur'an:

It goes without saying that the Qur'an is the basis of this ideology which we pride ourselves with before the whole world. It is the revealed word of Allah (SWT), with which we are made to worship Him (SWT). In addition to the great reward gained from its recitation, the Qur'an is worthy of whetting the determinations and exhort the people who had set their hearts and minds in working towards making the phrase of "There is no god but Allah, Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah" reign supreme. There is no heavier burden than the carrying of the Da’wah, all the more reason for the Da’wah carrier to recite the Qur'an. For the Qur'an charges the believer with this amazing energy which revives the idle souls and turn them into dispositions who trivialise hardships and make light of all the worldly pleasures, for the sake of gaining the bliss of Jannah, or even to gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Why do we have to go far since we are absolutely certain that victory is from Allah (SWT)? That we have no other hope but in Allah (SWT)? So why should we not be eager to take provisions from the source of the Qur'an, ponder over its meanings and acquaint ourselves with its aims?

Therefore, it would be inconceivable for the Da’wah carrier, who feels a weakness in his soul, to seek a better remedy than reciting the verses of the Qur'an over and over again. The Holy Qur'an would never become shabby no matter how much it were recited, no matter how old it became and no matter how many the reciters were.

The Islamic ideology carries all the meanings of strife and struggle, thus it would be wrong to separate this ideology from strife and struggle. Since there were no better incentive than the Qur'an to help carry the burden of struggle and strife, for the Muslim Ummah had become a nation of Jihad and sacrifice since she interacted with the Islamic ideology, and this was only thanks to the eternal Book of Allah (SWT).  To neglect the recitation of the Qur'an would therefore be interpreted as a decline in the perception of the Islamic ideology which ought to be at all times reflected in the high scale of sacrifice and struggle.

3- Contacting people:

There is no doubt about the fact that contacting people represents the general aspect of carrying the Da’wah. Therefore, how could we call ourselves Da’wah carriers if we did not establish contacts with people and if we did not acquaint ourselves with their current affairs. It would be inconceivable to enjoin the Ma'aruf and forbid the Munkar if we did not find people to command and forbid, nor would it be conceivable that we would be able to explain and convey the thoughts and rules of Islam if we were to remain in isolation from other people. The Da’wah carrier would not be worthy of this title simply because of his party affiliation, because the party affiliation is subjected to the administrative rules drawn on paper. The affiliation is in fact no more than an administrative matter. Therefore, the precept would lie in the contacts, and the familiarisation which the Da’wah carrier establishes with people. The precept would also lie in the actions which the Da’wah carrier undertakes, in terms of studying people's state of affairs, dealing with their sensations, reconditioning their thoughts with the thoughts and rules of Islam.

If we were to stand in awe of anything, it would be of those who had known their exact positions in the fierce battle they are engaged in against the Kufr and its systems, and yet they plunged into a deep slumber, hence forgetting, or pretending to have forgotten that they are fighting at the first line of defence. We have never known throughout the history of the Islamic Da’wah a person who had embraced the Islamic ideology and then lived in isolation from other people. Abu Tharr Al-Ghafari (R) embraced the Islamic ideology, then the Messenger of Allah (SAW) ordered him to return to his folk, but he refused to depart from Makkah before crying out the two Shahadas within earshot of the Mushrikeen of Makkah, thus enduring a beating under which the strongest of men would succumb, and at the time he knew from Islam none save for the two Shahadas.

Islam is a collective and universal ideology, not an individual one, an ideology whose natural environment is within the masses ,as a ruling authority and in the international arena. As for those whose desire is to confine Islam to the darkness of prayer rooms and minarets, they are in fact assisting the Kuffar and their agents, intentionally or unintentionally, in their quest to isolate Islam from temporal life and current affairs in a way which would leave it devoid of the streak of Islam. The truth of the matter is that Hizb-ut-Tahrir was the first political structure to be established on the basis of Islam for many centuries. The hope is pinned on the party that Allah (SWT) would grants the Muslim Ummah the great victory at its hands, for a simple but a very important reason, which is that Hizb-ut-Tahrir carries Islam to the masses and aims at generating a public opinion based on the awareness of the rules of Islam. Anyone who chooses to be with the party should undertake to follow the party in all its phases and its steps, and his collective spirit should also be developed. In order to achieve this, it would be sufficient to adopt the Islamic ideology soundly. However, if the Shab continues to lay an isolating siege around himself, away from people, this would have no other explanation but the fact that he did not adopt the ideology in a sound way. This is so because isolation in fact is a blend of cowardice and despair. In other words, the cause of isolation could be interpreted as cowardice, or despair, and these should never find their way to the believer's heart. As for the other causes which may be imagined, these would be in fact excuses rather than causes; and he who searches for many excuses would eventually resort to lying a great deal, we seek Allah's refuge from this. Therefore, there would be no excuse for the Da’wah carrier, once the party has clearly and elaborately explained the thoughts of Islam, to make these thoughts his private entailment and not convey them to others.

4- Reading:

What we mean here by reading is the reading of the books which contain the party culture and those which contain the general culture, be it Fiqhi, intellectual or political. One may however ask: "Since the party had already put its culture in books which it adopted or published, and since the Shab adopts what the party adopts, so why do we concern ourselves with searching and investigating other books? In answer to this we say that we are indeed obliged to propagate the thoughts which we had adopted and we are not obliged to propagate other than that. However, we are aware of the fact that the books adopted by the party are deep and enlightened and they do not exceed the fact that they are a host of rules related to certain realities, thus it would be wrong to be satisfied with learning and quoting the rules, for these could not be separated from the realities which apply upon them. Indeed the party explains some of the realities in its books, but this was an abridged explanation which serves the purpose of highlighting the rule, however, this explanation would not be sufficient to make one understand the true nature of the realities, thus the other books represent the realities and therefore they should be referred to and they should be read, so that our perception of the party culture is coupled with awareness and not exposed to storms. Therefore, the Shab who frequently reads and researches would always remain in a better position to understand and perceive the thoughts and the culture of the party.

Besides, he who is eager to influence other people, should acquire sufficient awareness about what these people carry in terms of thoughts, opinions and Mathahib (schools of thought). Therefore, we would not be far from the truth if we said that the Shab who had acquired a greater deal of knowledge and study, would be capable of influencing people's thoughts and relations. For Instance, when we say that the Khilafah system is a distinguished system, which is unlike any other system, that no other system is like it, and that it is the only system valid to redress people's state of affairs, for it is a system revealed by He Who knows better about the human being than the humans themselves, i.e. Allah (SWT); and when we also say that the democratic system cannot bring happiness to humanity, but it is in fact just like the other systems, the cause of the humanity's anxiety and instability, for these systems are systems of disbelief, i.e they are man-made systems, and the human cannot establish a system for himself, let alone establish a system for other people and implement it upon them, unless he does this by force. When we say this we are here satisfying ourselves with the party culture, and this understanding would remain nearer to the theoretical rather than the practical understanding. 

What makes it an influential and practical understanding, close to the heart and the mind, would be our study of the Kufr systems and more specifically the democratic system, this would enable us to practically acquaint ourselves with the corruption of these systems and their inability to bring happiness to those who come under their line of fire.

This study could be acquired from the books which talk about the various political systems of the world. The party books would only give the judgement concerning these systems, but they do not sufficiently diagnose the reality of these systems in a way that would allow us to understand their elaborate details.

The same thing could be said of the Sharia'a rules adopted by the party, which are subject of difference among the Mujtahideen and the scholars. Therefore, the study of the evidences listed by those Mujtahideen and scholars, with the aim of ascertaining the extent of their validity would strengthen our confidence in the evidences which the party relied on. This study would be found in the books of the distinguished scholars.
We can list tens of examples to prove that reading other books, be it political or intellectual, as well as the party books, would be indispensable for the Da’wah carrier. We do not wish to say that reading would broaden the perceptions and develop the mentalities, nor do we wish to say that reading would set the reader on the first steps towards political awareness. What we wish to say is that carrying the Da’wah could not be achieved in an efficient and influential way unless reading and study were taken up.

5- Pursuance:

We mean by pursuance the follow up of current affairs and daily news, for this would be different from reading, even though it is connected to it. Pursuance would specifically include the reading of political newspapers and magazines and the listening to the news and anything similar. The pursuance of news represents the basic elements of politics, for there would be no politics without it. When we say pursuance or following we mean exactly that. It means to continue diligently and relentlessly, and not to break even for one single day. This is so because the daily events are a long running chain of events that are interlinked together. Therefore, it would be essential to pursue this long running chain so that the understanding of news and events is perfected, and so that we put ourselves in a position to pass on these news and events a true judgement. We are not in this context trying to highlight the importance of political work and its effects in establishing the Islamic idea within the field of implementation and transactions, this is because we are supposed to have surpassed the stage of realising the importance of political work, to reach the stage of getting involved in political work and to perform its various commitments. The point at issue in this context is to realise the importance of pursuing the news and the events in the political work. Analysing the news would undoubtedly be an important matter, so would be the voicing of one's opinion regarding these news, and linking the Islamic viewpoint to that opinion is most important. However, all this would firmly depend on the pursuing of the daily news and events. Events do not wait for the one who pursues them, they tend to take place and leave their marks even if no one pursued them, thus we ought to obtain the news as they occur, and make sure that no event is passing us by without knowing about it and analysing it, and by Allah, how could the one who has no firsthand experience in pursuing events be able to make events happen in the not too distant future Inshallah? 

The pursuance leads the pursuer to live the events, and turns him into a person pulsating with energy, for he could live in the heart of society and catch their attention. This would enable him to attract them and lead them. It would be wrong to ask whether the daily reading of a local newspaper or the listening a news bulletin in the radio would be sufficient to follow the events; this question should not be asked because the precept lies in the obtaining of the news from its most likely places, regardless of whether the source were a newspaper or a radio. This is so because one could read a newspaper everyday without fulfilling the purpose of pursuance, for most of the time, reading the newspaper would not compensate for the listening to the news bulletin on the radio, and sometimes, the same thing could be said about the radio as well. The main point would be not to allow the events to pass us by without at least acquainting ourselves with them.  

These five matters, the Islamic commitments, Tilawa of the Qur'an, contacting people, reading and the pursuance of news, should be given ample care and attention in order to meet their requirements, and in order for the Shab to fulfil the criteria of the Da’wah carrier. These actions are not a difficult and intractable matter, and they do not require the Shab to extricate himself from all his worldly activities so that he could perfect them. If the party had set a time for the performing of these actions, it did not intend by this pushing the Shab to reduce his working hours in order to concentrate on the Da’wah, what was intended was for the Shab to perform these action in person, to motivate and constrain himself to perform these actions. The whole issue could be down to one single and specific question: Have we made of the Da’wah the cornerstone in our life and our concerns? He who has placed the Da’wah at the heart of his action and his thinking would not be tired of coming up with ploys to perform these actions, whereas he who has not made of the Da’wah the centre of his attention and concern, he would undoubtedly find the world too small for him, and he would come up with the most trivial of excuses. Eventually, he would become a victim of life and her temporal bliss. May Allah make us from those who carry His trust in the best manner, He is Al-Sami'i Al-Mujib. Ameen.

2nd August 1975