Friday, September 21, 2018

Jewish Immigration to the Islamic State

Ever since the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453, Jewish refugees from all over Europe were encouraged to settle in the country and to take advantage of the liberal treatment accorded them by the Sultan. When the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid heard about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by King Ferdinand, he said: “Can you call such a king wise and intelligent? He is impoverishing his country and enriching my kingdom.”

Moses Hamon, who after fleeing Spain with his father, became the physician for Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Caliph.

Hans Dernschwam, a travelling agent of the Fugger banking house, describes the Jews in Turkey in his travel diary:

In Turkey you will find in every town innumerable Jews of all countries and languages. And every Jewish group sticks together in accordance with its language. Wherever Jews have been expelled in any land they all come together in Turkey, as thick as vermin; speak German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Czechish, Polish, Greek, Turkish, Syriac, Chaldean and other languages besides these. As is their custom, everyone wears clothes in accordance with the language he speaks.
In Constantinople, the Jews are thick as ants. The Jews themselves say that they are very numerous. They live in the lower part of the city near the sea. Those Jews that are old, who have a little money, travel to the Holy Land, to Jerusalem, and still hope that they will one day all come together, from all countries, into their own native land and there secure hold of the government. The well-to-do Jews send money to Jerusalem to support them, for one cannot make any money there …
Many Marranos that is Jews who turned Christian, as in Spain or voluntarily became Christians in other places all come to Turkey and become Jews again. The Jews of Constantinople also have a printing press and print many rare books. They have goldsmiths, lapidaries, painters, tailors, butchers, druggists, physicians, surgeons, cloth-weavers, wound-surgeons, barbers, mirror-makers, dyers, silk-workers, gold-washers, refiners of ores, assayers, engravers …

The Jews do not allow any of their own to go about begging. They have collectors who go from house to house and collect into a common chest for the poor. This is used to support the poor and the hospital.

These actions of the Ottomans were part of the well-established Islamic values of treating non-Muslim citizens known as Dhimmi (people of covenant) with good treatment.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “He who harms a person under covenant, or charged him more than he can, I will argue against him on the Day of Judgement.” (Narrated by Yahya b. Adam in Al-Kharaaj)


Video: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and His Methodology in Fiqh

In this session, we will be taking a look into the historical context at the time of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and his Usul. Presentation by: Iyad Hilal

Source: Al-Arqam Institute

Friday, September 14, 2018

Video: Studies in Usul ul Fiqh | Misapplications of Shari Maxims

As explained previously, maxims (related to Fiqh or Usul al-Fiqh) are important. It is known that there are differences among jurists regarding some maxims. This does not constitute any problem since differences among jurists do exist and it can be viewed as a feature in the general body of Fiqh. It adds diversity and dynamism to the Fiqh. However, there are times in which some misapplications for some maxims happen. This is despite the fact that previous jurists did not mean for these maxims to reach to the conclusions some started calling for utilizing wrongly these maxims. There are five maxims known as al-Qawaed al-Khams. They are the following as being translated by some: 1. Matters will be judged by their purposes. الأمور بمقاصدها 2. Certainty will not be overturned by doubt. اليقين لا يزول إلا بالشك 3. Harm must be removed. الضرر يزال 4. Hardship must be alleviated. المشقة تجلب التيسير 5. Custom has the weight of law. العادة محكمة Another sixth maxim can be added which is: Rules can be changed due to the time change. لا ينكر تغير الأحكام بتغير الأزمان We will address these maxims in the coming session and following sessions.

This is part of a video series by Sheikh Iyad Hilal.

Catch up on the Series! -Video #1 - An Introduction to the Address of the Law Giver: -Video #2 - An Introduction to Legal Maxims: -Video #3: Maxims Related to Actions:

Video: Imam Al Mahdi from the authentic Islamic texts

Professor Muhammad Al Massari discusses matters related to the prophecised Imam Al Mahdi from authentic Islamic texts, scrutinizes all evidences and assembles a chronology of events based on authentic narrations.

Part 1

Part 2


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Video: Studies in Usul ul Fiqh | An Introduction to Legal Maxims

Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) الفقه الإسلامي is a very important and diverse discipline. its literature is very vast. In addition to the body of the legal rules, it includes Usul al Fiqh أصول الفقه (Islamic legal theory), comparative Fiqh الفقه المقارن, 'Ilm al-Khilaf علم الخلاف (studying differences among jurists and their basis) and 'Ilm al-Qawaed al-Shareyyah. القواعد الشرعية

This discipline addresses the legal maxims and their application. Muslim jurists, in the past and the present, produced huge literature addressing this aspect of Fiqh.

This is part of a video series by Sheikh Abu Tariq Iyad Hilal.

Source: Al-Arqam Institute

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


By: Iyad Hilal

‘Eid-ul-Adha is one of two Islamic holidays permitted by Allah (‘Azza wa Ja’l); the other being ‘Eid-ul-Fitr.

Aside from being occasions for celebration, the two ‘Eids that the Ummah observes conclude two distinct acts of worship: Saum (during Ramadan) and Hajj. While ‘Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the act of fasting (during Ramadan); ‘Eid-ul-Adha concludes the Hajj with its most important act that is manifested by the assembly of pilgrims (gathered) at Arafah.

‘Eid-ul-Adha (known also as ‘Eid-ul-Nahr or Yawm-ul-Nahr) immediately follows the Day of Arafah during the Hajj. To perform this Fard act i.e. Hajj, capable Muslims from all over the world visit Makkah and perform specific actions in a particular order. This visually and substantively signifies the unity of the Ummah.

It is unfortunate that some Muslims (both in the West and in the Muslim World) insist and argue about celebrating ‘Eid-ul-Adha according to our own sighting of the moon when we should be relying solely on the Day of Arafah, which is observed by the pilgrims who are completing the Hajj. Fatwas, such as the one submitted by some of the scholars from Saudi Arabia (ex. Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen as in a fatwa quoted in the link below[1]) as well as other areas, support this position that dislodges itself from the events that occur in Makkah. Apart from having no sound basis in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law), such arguments add to the many factors that lead to the disunity of our Ummah.

The only manner in which we must celebrate ‘Eid-ul-Adha is the one that has been prescribed to us by our Creator, Allah (swt).

In Surah al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 197, Allah (swt) tells us that:
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

"The Hajj is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e., the 10th, 11th and first ten days of the 12th month of the Hijri calendar). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj, then he should not have intimate relations (with spouse), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take a provision for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa. So fear Me, O men of understanding [2:197]!"

This ayah points out that the Hajj is performed within a set of months of the lunar year that are familiar to us and that it occurs within a specific (Hijri) calendar; making it clear that the Hajj time is well-defined by Allah (swt).

In Ayah 203 of Surah-al-Baqarah (2), Allah (swt) says:

وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ تَأَخَّرَ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ لِمَنِ اتَّقَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

"And remember Allah during the appointed days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin upon him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin upon him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him [2:203]."

In this ayah, Allah (swt) orders us to remember Him (by performing a particular set of actions in a specific manner, which is established for us through the Sunnah) on days that are clearly defined and appointed by Allah. According to most scholars of Tafseer such as Al-Shawkanee, Pilgrims and non-pilgrims are addressed by this Ayah. While pilgrims should stay in Mina and throw stones within a specific order, non-pilgrims should remember Allah and have Takbeer. These days are established within the months that constitute the Hajj calendar, and are in reference to the days (of the pilgrimage) that are spent in Mina. Consequently, the order of events on their given days that are fixed within the months of the Islamic calendar, allows us to determine the days that are outlined for the Hajj itself.

Determining the Hajj Calendar (and the consequent acts of worship for each day of Hajj)
We can also identify the specific acts of worship that have been mandated and prescribed for us during the Hajj. These actions must also be performed in a fixed order.

1.Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Hajj (22), Ayah 28:

وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ. لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ

That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: ‘Bismillah, Wallâhu-Akbar, Allâhumma Minka wa Ilaik.’). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time [22:27-28].”

Along with outlining our actions during Hajj, in the above Ayah, Allah (swt) mentions the fact that there are specific days for the Hajj that are defined, appointed, and well-known. These days, according to most Mufassereen, are the Day of Nahr (Yawm-al-Nahr) and the following three days in which the pilgrimage takes place in Mina (Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq). There is no unknown or neglected day within this set of days.

The days mentioned in the above ayat of Suratul Baqarah and Suratul Hajj are referred to as the following:

8th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm-ul-Tarweyah): On this day, pilgrims go to Mina and prepare themselves for visiting Arafah on the following day. This day is not included in the set of days mentioned in the Ayat. However, this day is within the months of Hajj.

9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm Arafah): The pilgrims assemble at Arafah on this day; its name comes from the action that takes place at Arafah.

10th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Yawm-ul-Nahr): This is the day of slaughtering that occurs after Yawm Arafah (i.e. ‘Eid). This day has many names such as: Yawm ul Nahr, Yawm ul Adha, Eid ul Adha and Yawm al-Hajj al-Akbar (Major day of Hajj).

11th, 12th, and 13th days of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq): These are the days spent in Mina where the pilgrims throw stones at al-Jamrat and can still perform Qurbani or Hadee (slaughter).
In order to determine the day Arafah and the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha or Yawm-ul-Nahr (Day of Slaughtering), we need to first determine the beginning of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

Determining the beginning of Dhu’l-Hijjah is based on (authenticated) moon-sighting as is the case with the beginning of any lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Of course, if the sighting conflicts with a (conclusive) reality about the birth of the moon -- i.e. claiming that the moon was sighted but the birth of the moon has not taken place -- the report of the moon-sighting should, then, be rejected. The Day of Arafah is defined after the beginning of the month is determined (as it is the 9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah; not the first day of the month); furthermore, it is defined being the day in which pilgrimage are assembled in Arafah. Consequently, the day of Arafah is followed by Yawm-ul-Nahr.
Regarding the actions performed during these days (of Hajj), there are specific acts that are obligatory upon the pilgrims and there are other acts that are either obligatory or recommended for the non-pilgrims. Both 2 sets of actions (for the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims) are defined by Islam and should be carried out in their prescribed order. Both sets are to be performed within a defined time frame.

Some of the mandatory actions for the pilgrims are Tawaaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah), assembly at Arafah, running between Safa and Marwah, stoning at the Jamrat, etc. Since each of these actions is a Fard upon the pilgrims, if they are not performed correctly, their Hajj will be rendered incomplete. Details of these actions are addressed in the books for Fiqh.
For the non-pilgrims, there are some actions that are obligatory and others that are recommended (i.e. praying Eid prayer is Fard upon the community while its Sunnah upon individual to attend, the loud utterances of Takbeer, fasting on the day of Arafah, Qurbani or Udheyah, etc.). These actions must be carried out on specific days as prescribed by Allah (swt).
The obligatory (Fard) and recommended (Sunnah/Mandoob) actions for both pilgrims and non-pilgrims run parallel to each other within an established timetable (of time and day) even though each set of actions are is addressed to the 2 group of people: those who are performing Hajj and those who are not.

Fasting and the Day of Arafah

While assembling in Arafah is addressed to those who are performing Hajj, fasting on the Day of Arafah is an action that is recommended for the non-pilgrims. In addition to fasting, verbalizing the Takbeer during this day is recommended for the non-pilgrims. The pilgrims, on the other hand, are not recommended to fast on this day; in fact, fasting is Makrooh for the pilgrims on the Day of Arafah. The pilgrims are required, instead, to simply stand together in Arafah (without fasting).
The question remains: How, then, can the non-pilgrims determine the Day of Arafah in order to fast?
By default, the day in question is the one in which people stand together at Arafah (near Makkah). In fact, the name of the day “Day of Arafah” has been taken from the very action by the pilgrims, of standing at Arafah, on this particular day.

The issue of fasting on the Day of Arafah is supported by various Ahadith, which recommend that the non-pilgrims should fast on this particular day. The reason we (non-pilgrims) are recommended to fast is because it is the Day of Arafah; not simply because it is the 9th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah. There is no one single Hadith that mention that we should fast on the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah; all such Ahadith refer to the day (we fast) specifically as the “Day of Arafah.” Therefore, it is the description of the day, and not the date itself, that warrants the act of fasting. Following are some Hadiths:

عن أبي قتادة قال: "قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم صوم يوم عرفة يكفر سنتين"
Qaal Abu Qutadah qal Rasoul Allah Alayhe aalehe Wasallm: Sawm yawm Arafah yukaffer sanatayn
Abu Qutadah said that the Propeht said: fasting the Day of Arafah removes the sins of 2 years

عن أبي هريرة قال: نهى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن صيام يوم عرفة بعرفات
A’n Abee Hurairah qal: Naha Rasool Allah sala Allahalayhee Wa Sallam a’n Seyam yawm Arafah bi-Arafat

Abu Hurairah said that the Propeht condemned fasting Day of Arafah at Arafat.
عن أم الفضل أنهم شكّوا في صوم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم عرفة فأرسلتُ إليه بلبن فشرب وهو يخطب الناس بعرفة
A’n Umm ul-Fadl Annahum Shakkou fee Seyam Rasool Allah Yawm Arafah Fa-Arsaltu Elayhe bilaban fasharib wahuw Yakhtub al-Naas bi-Arafah.

It was reported by Umm Alfadl that people doubted about the fasting of the Prophet (SAW) in the Day of Arafah, thus, I sent him milk and he drank it while he was addressing people at Arafah
All of these Hadiths are well known. They are addressing fasting for those who are not performing Hajj and not fasting for those who were performing Hajj. All of these Hadiths are referring to the day by its name and not by its date. From this, one can conclude that the Manaat (reality) of the day we are asked to fast is being day of Arafah and not simply being the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah.
Conversely, fasting on a day when people are not at Arafah means that we have not adhered to the Sunnah, because our actions do not comply with the recommendation that these Ahadith specify for us.

So, given the supporting evidence through the Ahadith that discuss this issue, it is inarguable that:
1. A clear and definite link is established between the act of fasting and the act of standing at Arafah.
2. The context of such ahadith demonstrates that the people being addressed are those who are not performing Hajj (the non-pilgrims), which forms a link between them and the actions performed (by the pilgrims) at the Hajj.

Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi (Maliki jurist) mentions in his book, Ahkamul Quran, while addressing the Tafseer of Ayah 203 in Surah Al-Baqarah: “And mention Allah in specific days… People of different areas are followers to the pilgrims in this issue (al-Arabi, Ahkamul Quran, Vol. 1, P. 143).”
Other jurists stated that those who are not performing Hajj are allowed to assemble at different Masjids in the Day of Arafh following those who are at Arafah. Ibn Abbas used to do so in Basra.[2]
The Day of Arafah and ‘Eid: Linking the Pilgrims to the Non-Pilgrims

After the sunset of the Day of Arafah, the pilgrims proceed to Muzdalefah where they stay for (a part or whole of) the night before they move to Mina. Meanwhile the non-pilgrims are recommended to begin their Takbeer immediately following Salat-ul-Maghrib on the Day of Arafah according to some jurists such as Imam Shafee. Again, those who are not performing Hajj are recommended to start Takbeer after praying Maghrib prayer at the Day of Arafah.

The following day the pilgrims reach Mina, where they perform specific actions such as the Qurbani or Hadeay, the shaving (or cutting) of the hair for men and cutting some hair for women, the throwing of the first Aqabah (stone) and the Tawaaf-ul-Ifadah (circumambulation), etc.: actions that are established by the Islamic Texts (the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammed (saw)). On this day, following the Day of Arafah, the non-pilgrims are asked to perform the ‘Eid prayer and the Qurbani. The pilgrimages do not have to pray Eid prayer.

Furthermore, the non-pilgrims are asked to carry out the actions that are unique to them according to the same (Hajj) calendar and timetable that is followed by the pilgrims during Hajj. The Takbeer for the non-pilgrims, for instance, begins according to some jurists on Yawm-Arafh and ends with the Fajr prayer of the last day of Tashreeq of the Hajj. Those who are not performing Hajj are doing so based on Hajj calnder and not by their own dates. Ibn Qudamah (Hanbali jurist) said in his book Al-Mughni: “It is reported from Ibn Omar and Omar Bin Abdul Aziz that the Takbeer starts from Salat-ul-Dhuhr of the day of Nahr (in reference to Eid-ul-Adha) till the Fajr prayer of the last day of Tashreeq. This is what Malik and Shafi’[3] in what is most known from him said because people are followers of the pilgrims (Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughi, Vol. 2, P. 126).” Sarkhasi (Hanafi jurist) asserted more directly, in his well-known book, Al-Mabsoot, that: “People in these Takbeerat are followers of the pilgrims (Sarkhasi, Al-Mabsoot, Vol. 2, P. 43).”

All of these statements state clearly that the Hajj calendar is the reference in all of these actions and not local dates. Thus, one would ask: how can any of these actions be carried out on a day other than the one following the Day of Arafah? These actions must be carried out on the day immediately following Arafah, even though the duration for slaughtering Qurbani is extended till the end of the Tashreeq days.

As mentioned earlier, the actions of the pilgrims and those of the non-pilgrims run parallel to each other within one timetable and calendar even if the actions are unique to each group. Another example of this is given through the same example of Takbeer in Al-Shirazi’s (Shafi’ jurist) book, Al-Muhadhab, where he quotes: “The evidence for the Takbeer must be stopped after Fajr (of the last day of Tashreeq), is that people are followers of the pilgrims and Fajr prayer is the last prayer pilgrims pray in Mina (al-Shirazi, Al-Muhadhab, Vol. 1, P. 121).”

Yawm-ul-Nahr, which falls on the 10th day of Dhu’l Hijjah (after Yawm Arafah), is immediately followed by the days of Tashreeq. Ayyam-ul-Tashreeq consists of a duration of three days in which the pilgrims remain in Mina where they continue throwing the stones and slaughtering the animals, etc. During this time, the non-pilgrims continue to recite the Takbeer and are permitted to do the Qurbani if they were unable to do so on the Day of Nahr (Yawm-ul-Nahr or ‘Eid). As stated before, the non-pilgrims continue to follow the calendar and timetable of the Hajj just like the pilgrims who are completing their Hajj. These days, as well as all other related to the Hajj, are clearly defined and the actions correlating to each day of the Hajj calendar (i.e. the ‘Eid prayer, the Takbeerat, the Qurbani, and other rituals of Hajj) are supported by the Islamic Texts (Qur’an and Sunnah).
As stated earlier, no gap exists in this set of days at all (for the pilgrims as well as the non-pilgrims).
Aside from the fact that the text proves that a link between the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims exists, it is also virtually impossible to have a disconnection between the actions of each group of people considering the ease and speed of communication technology in today’s global village. There is no gap in communication that prevents us from being aware of the dates of the Islamic calendar and the events that take place in Makkah during Hajj.

In the past, when communication technology was not available, people who were remote from Makkah (geographically) relied on moon-sighting to determine the news of Hajj. If and when the news of Hajj reached such people, they would base their actions on the events that were unfolding at Hajj irrespective of the moon-sighting so that each group’s actions were implemented simultaneously. The entire Hajj season was conducted under the supervision of the Ruler (Khalifah) who led the pilgrims from Arafah to Mina. The Day of Arafah was always known to those who performed the Hajj and those who were in Makkah and in the surrounding areas (including Madinah). The only people who were unaware of when the Day of Arafah occurred were those whose means of communication was compromised. This is clearly not the case today, because no matter how far removed we are from Makkah physically, information about the Hajj timetable and calendar is readily accessible to us through various communication resources (i.e. telephones, cell phones, the Internet, electronic mail etc.).

‘Eid-ul-Adha and Moon-Sighting

Taking into consideration all the facts and details (supported by several evidences from Quran and Sunnah) surrounding the Hajj calendar and the actions of the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims that fall simultaneously under this calendar, it is inconceivable that people should still insist and argue upon when to celebrate ‘Eid-ul-Adha.

Those who advocate local sighting of the moon to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha are not simply disputing a single date or event; they are, in fact, ignoring all the evidence pointing them in the correct direction, and creating disunity within the Ummah in the process. Furthermore, the claim to follow local moon-sighting confuses the actions of the non-pilgrims because they are not in sync with the Hajj calendar that is being followed by the pilgrims.

Consider the Day of Arafah, for example. If the local moon-sighting contradicts with the Hajj calendar, the non-pilgrims fast on a day when not a single pilgrim stands at Arafah! What, then, is the point of fasting on this day? The issue of when the non-pilgrims should fast must rely on the Hajj calendar for it to meet the requirements of the Sunnah according to the Ahadith. So, this year if some Muslims fast on the day after the Day of Arafah (in this case, Tuesday, December 18th 2007), then they are actually not fasting Yawm Arafah. In reality, they will be fasting Yawm-ul-Nahr (Day of Slaughtering), which is Haram (impermissible). In essence, the Ummah will witness three days of Nahr (Slaughtering) this year!

Fasting on Yawm-ul-Nahr

The Prophet (saw) prohibited fasting on Yawm-ul-Nahr. The Hadith that discusses this issue refers to Yawm-ul-Nahr as the day in which pilgrims slaughter their Hadee (livestock). The scope of address, in the corresponding Hadith, is not confined to those who are physically present in Makkah or performing Hajj. The Hadith addresses all Muslims and their actions in reference to one specific day -- i.e. Yawm-ul-Nahr. This fact alone, undoubtedly, demonstrates that not only is the day for all Muslims (pilgrims and non-pilgrims) one and the same; but, it is also a well-known day that is recognizable by all in the same instance. Therefore, in this Hadith the Prophet (saw) addresses all Muslims to refrain from fasting on that specific day (Yawm-ul-Nahr). The Hadith establishes yet another link between the acts of the pilgrims and the non-pilgrims by referring to the day by its name and not by its date.

Amongst those of us who will follow local moon-sighting to determine the ‘Eid celebration, the year 2007, there were some individuals who fasted on the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Tuesday, December 18th 2007) but observed ‘Eid (Yawm-ul-Nahr) on the 20h of Dhu’l-Hijjah or even on 21st of December.
On what legal grounds did those individuals observe their fast on Tuesday (9th of Dhu’l Hijjah) if they did not consider it the Day of Arafah?

If the people fasted on Tuesday on the basis that it was, indeed, the Day of Arafah according to the Hajj calendar, on what basis the 10th day of Hajj will be skipped? What is the rationale behind declaring ‘Eid on the 11th day of Dhu’l Hijjah, in this case? What will be the 10th day (Wednesday, December 19th 2007) classified as, according to the Hajj calendar, considering there are no gaps between the days of Hajj? Why this day will be simply ignored within the specific sequence of days during this time, despite the fact that the days of Hajj are clearly defined by Allah (swt) in the aforementioned ayat? The failure to answer these questions is predictably unremarkable as it is not supported by any rationale or textual evidence. We cannot have two sets of days for each group: i.e. one set of days defined for the pilgrims and another set for the non-pilgrims. Not only does this create a break in the Hajj calendar; but it also contradicts the ayat in the Qur’an that mention one established set of days for Hajj that correspond with one specific set of actions undertaken by both groups simultaneously during that time.

Finally, the fact that Eidul Adha has names such as Yawm ul Nahr and Yawm ul Hajj al-Akbar is another evidence for linking Eidul Adha to Hajj. Muslims never understood that those names refer to different days at all. Claiming so means that Muslims have 3 Eids and not 2: Eid ul Fitr, Eidul Adha for those who are not performing Hajj and Eidul Nahr for those who are performing Hajj. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever indicates that such understanding was promoted by any jurist or even mentioned as weak opinion.

Arguments of those who promote local sighting for celebrating Eidul Adha

In an effort to defend the idea of using local moon-sighting to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha, some argue that the Prophet (saw) did not link the Day of Arafah with the day of ‘Eid while he (saw) was in Madinah prior to the liberation of Makkah. Muslims used to observe Eid ul Adhaa in the 10th of Zhul Hijjah based on their sighting and not based on Hajj actions taking place in Makkah.
This is true. The Prophet ordered Muslims to observe Eid ul Adha based on their sighting for a reason. The Prophet (saw) did not link the two days because Hajj was not a Fard (obligation) upon Muslims at this time. Therefore, ‘Eid-ul-Adha and the Day of Arafah could not be linked to one another.

Additionally, linking it with the acts of so-called pilgrimage at that time goes against the very heart of Aqeedah Islam calls for. At that time, what Qursaih was practicing is a distorted “hajj as well known. They even refused to stand at Arafah with others. Thus, linking Eid ul Adha to such acts cannot be.
Therefore, although Muslims used moon-sighting to determine ‘Eid-ul-Adha in Madinah during this time, and both Surah al-Baqarah and Surah al-Hajj (both revealed in Madinah) addressed the Hajj, the Muslims did so only because they were unable (and not required) to perform Hajj in Makkah at the time. As mentioned, the practice of the well-known Hajj, in fact, did not exist at this time. The people who did perform rituals in Makkah were the Muskrikeen (polytheists) whose actions were not recognized as valid acts of worship or linked to the Hajj defined by Islam. Given the circumstances, there was no way to link the practice of Eid-ul-Adha to that of Hajj prior to the liberation of Makkah.[4]

After the liberation of Makkah, the Muslims were able to perform the Hajj and it became a part of their Fard actions. Subsequently, all days and actions related to ‘Eid-ul-Adha and the Hajj were linked together through the Hajj calendar (including the Day of Arafah). This fact further dismisses the notion that the Prophet (saw) observed ‘Eid-ul-Adha without linking it to the Hajj. In addition, after the Prophet (saw) passed away, when the information about Hajj was available the Sahabah (ra) fasted on the Day of Arafah in adherence to the Hajj timetable and calendar unless they were unaware of information about the Hajj (due to the lack of communication tools that would allow them to access the information). There is absolutely no evidence stating that despite their knowledge of what the pilgrims were doing at Hajj, the Sahabah (ra) observed the Day of Nahr on a different day from the one observed by the pilgrims. The Sahabah’s (ra) understanding of the Shari’ah and their conviction in it prevented them from separating themselves from the pilgrims during Hajj and ‘Eid on their own accord. The burden of proof to provide reliable evidence rests on those making a claim that argues otherwise.

The argument for using local moon-sighting to establish ‘Eid-ul-Adha, is also based on the idea that there should be consistency in the process used to determine the two ‘Eids. While maintaining consistency is not a problem and it is in fact a necessary feature in Fiqh when the concept of Mas’alah (case) is discussed, it does not apply in this situation because the two ‘Eids do not fall under the same category of Mas’alah. Therefore, the determination of the two ‘Eids can be based on different opinions as they qualify as two separate issues. Moreover, the concept of maintaining consistency is more appropriately applied to the issue of determining when the lunar month begins, i.e. when Ramadan or Dhu’l Hijjah begins, as this falls under the same category of Mas’alah. Thus, the authorities responsible on organizing Hajj should follow one opinion in both issues. If they follow Itihadul Matalea’, then they should define Eidul Adha day according to any reliable sighting report. If they follow Ikhtilaful Matalea, then it is expected to follow their local reports.

For example, Ramadan and ‘Eid-ul-Fitr may be observed by some on the basis of Ikhtilaf-ul-Mata’la although Itihad ul Matalea is the stronger opinion and have the more sound evidence.(i.e. different localities have different sightings, so each locality determines and follows its own moon-sighting), However, if the Muqallid is following this opinion (Ikhtilaf-ul-Mata’la), the Muqallid is recommended to fast with the others on one day if the grand Imam adopts Itihad-ul-Matale’ (i.e. any reliable moon-sighting determined in any locality becomes binding on all Muslims and unites them as a result).

‘Eid-ul-Adha, on the other hand, is part of a very specific process called the Hajj, which is a separate issue from Masalat-ul-Sawm. Hajj and its related issues that address the pilgrimage and the events occurring outside the pilgrimage, consist of a unique set of actions performed by each group people (pilgrims and non-pilgrims) in a specific place according to a particular method. These events and actions cannot be fragmented and left to each locality at all. ‘Eid-ul-Adha or Yawm-ul-Nahr is part of this process; which prevents us from detaching ‘Eid-ul-Adha from the process of the Hajj.
Since ‘Eid-ul-Fitr and ‘Eid-ul-Adha are completely 2 different issues (where the former is related to Fasting and the latter is linked to the Hajj), the concept of consistency cannot be used as an excuse to follow Ikhtilaf ul Matale’ in establishing the day of ‘Eid-ul-Adha.

A feebler defense for using local moon-sighting as a way to identify ‘Eid-ul-Adha, posits that there is no sound basis for making the distinction between two processes: the process used to determine Ramadan and the one used to establish ‘Eid-ul-Adha. Actually, the above mentioned evidences linking ‘Eid-ul-Adha to Hajj serves as the sound basis of forming this distinction. Claiming otherwise is a baseless argument, at best.

As a result of all the evidence that bridges an irrefutably strong connection between ‘Eid-ul-Adha and Hajj, it is clear that the two events (with their unique set of actions for each set of people) warrants us to fast on the Day of Arafah and celebrate ‘Eid on the following day (when fasting is prohibited) as an Ummah.

While it is unfortunate that the announcement of moon-sighting from Saudi Arabia (based on testimony from unreliable witnesses) often contradicts the reality and possibility of the actual sighting; because the celebration of ‘Eid remains intrinsically connected to the events and actions of Hajj according to the Hukm Shari’, it must be established on the day following the Day of Arafah in Makkah.

Finally, there should be no doubt about the need to address such an issue in the most proper way. This can only be addressed by creating the correct understanding of Islam and the unity of the Muslim Ummah.

[2] This is mentioned in Tafsir Qurtubi.

[3] As mentioned earlier, there is another opinion reported by Imam Shafi stating that Takbeer starts after Maghrib prayer of Day of Arafah. Although there are 2 different reports reported by Imam Shafi, the point here is that the reference is to the Hajj calendar and not local dates.

[4] There are reports that the Prophet performed Hajj once while other reports said that he performed Hajj twice. Both were performed after liberating Makkah. However, while the Prophet was in Makkah before he migrated to Madina, he used to witness the season and contact people attending it. He for example, contacted people of Madina in Mina. But at that time, Hajj was not mandatory yet and I was unable to find details about acts carried by Prophet at that time.


Saturday, July 07, 2018

Al-Ijmaa’ (consensus) - Part 1

This is an extract from the book Al-Waadih Fee Usool ul-Fiqh by Muhammad Hussein Abdullah. 

Al-Ijmaa’ (consensus)
The meaning of Al-Ijmaa’:

Al-Ijmaa’ linguistically:

It is the determination or resolve upon a matter and agreement. This resolve is valid to emanate from one (person) and this meaning is found in the Qawl of the Messenger (saw):

مَنْ لََْ يََْمَعْ ال ي صِّيَامَ قَ بْلَ الْفَجْير فَلَ ي صيَامَ لَه “Whoever does not resolve (i.e. intend) the fasting before Fajr, then there is no fasting for him” (related by the compilers of the Sunan).

Just as it is valid to be used for more than one like in His Qawl Ta’Aalaa:
فَأَ يْ جَعُوا أَمْرَكُمْ وَشُرَكَاءكَُمْ
So resolve upon your plan along with your associates (Younus 71).

Which means resolve whilst being in agreement with your associates.

The meaning of Al-Ijmaa’ in accordance to the Istilaah of the Usooliyeen:

It is the agreement upon the Hukm of a reality from amongst the realities in respect to it being a Hukm Shar’iy after the passing of the Messenger of Allah (saw).

The Importance and Significance of Al-Ijmaa’ within the Ahkaam Ash-Shar’iyah
1 – Al-Ijmaa’ is the third Daleel after the Qur’aan and the Sunnah because it based upon a Daleel Shar’iy even though that Daleel did not reach us (directly) but rather only the Hukm deduced from it has reached us.
2 – The ‘Ulamaa of the Muslims have made Ijmaa’ (held a consensus) upon Al-Ijmaa’ representing a Hujjah (proof and evidence) even if they have differed in respect to those who are the people of Ijmaa’ and whose agreement indicates and guides to the convening of Al-Ijmaa’ (a consensus).
3 – The Fuqahaa dedicated special attention and care to identify and acquire knowledge of the areas and contexts of Ijmaa’ amongst the Sahaabah (rah) so as to follow them within them. This is whilst every Mujtahid dedicated special care and attention do not go outside of that which the Sahaabah (rah) had agreed and held an Ijmaa’ upon.
4 - The Hukm that has been established by Al-Ijmaa’ is not abrogated because it came after the death of the Messenger of Allah (saw) and after the Wahi had ceased to descend.
5 – The Sahaabah (rah) have transmitted the Usool ud-Deen to us by their Ijmaa’ as they have transmitted to us the Qur’aan Al-Kareem and the Sunnah An-Nabawiyah which indicates and guides to the importance and significance of Al-Ijmaa’.
6 – Ahkaam have been established by way of Al-Ijmaa’ which have had a major impact and influence upon the life of the Muslims, the continuation of their State and the preservation of their Deen. Some of these Ahkaam are as follows:
A – The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah upon making a copy of the Qur’aan Al-Kareem in the time of the Khalifah ‘Uthmaan Ibn ‘Affaan (ra) and prior to that in the era of the Khalifah Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra) which facilitated and made it easy upon the Muslims to refer to the Masaahif (pl. of Mushaf) to safeguard their memorisation and preservation of the Qur’aan.
B – The Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah upon Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra) assuming the post of the Khalifah (successor) to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and then after him ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan (rah). This is what made clear the Shar’iy method for the Muslims, to pledge allegiance to a Khalifah in order to apply Islaam upon them internally and to carry it to mankind externally.
This is as the Sahaabah (rah) left the body of the Messenger of Allah (saw) lying in the house of ‘Aa’ishah (ra) for three days without burying him whilst they occupied themselves in choosing a Khalifah from amongst them and gave him the Bai’ah (pledge). (Translators note: This opinion has been later revised to two nights). This represented an Ijmaa’ indicating that it is Haraam for the Muslims to remain two nights or three days without appointing a Khalifah for them and this is because they delayed the Waajib of burying the Messenger of Allah (saw) due to being sinful as a result of the absence of a Khalifah. (Translators note: This has later been revised to the Ijmaa’ indicating the obligation to engage in the appointment of the Khalifah as soon as the position becomes vacant whilst the obligation to appoint the Khalifah within three days has been deduced from the Ijmaa’ upon the statement of ‘Umar (ra) when he gave a time limit of three days for a Khalifah to be appointed after him).

Hujjiyat ul-Ijmaa’ (the proof of its validity as a Daleel Shar’iy)
The Hujjiyah of Al-Ijmaa’ as a source for the Islamic Ahkaam is a place of agreement amongst the majority of the Fuqahaa and ‘Ulamaa of Usool ul-Fiqh in addition to what is built upon that in terms of the obligation to follow and not violate a ruling based upon it. However, they differed in respect to which Muslims the Ijmaa’ is taken from. The most well-known Ijmaa’s that the ‘Ulamaa of Usool ul-Fiqh and Fuqahaa adopted are:

Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah, Ijmaa’ Ahl ul-Madinah, Ijmaa’ Al-Ummah Al-Islaamiyah in a certain era or period, Ijmaa’ Al-Mujtahideen in a certain era or time and Ijmaa’ Ahl ul-Bait in the view of the Shee’ah.

I will first deal with the Hujjiyah of Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah because most of the ‘Ulamaa from the Usooliyeen and Fuqahaa counted it as a legitimate and valid Ijmaa’ and then I will address the Ijmaa’ of the Islamic Ummah.

Hujjiyah Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah
The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah is regarded as a Hujjah (proof) due to the following evidences:

1 - Allah’s commendation and praise (Thanaa’) upon the companions (Sahaabah) of the Messenger of Allah (saw) in the Qur’aan:

Muhammad (saw) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves (Al-Fat’h 29).

And in Soorah Al-Hashr Allah Ta’Aalaa said:
They seek a bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure and supporting Allah and His Messenger, [there is also a share]. Those are the truthful (Al-Hashr 8).

And He Ta’Aalaa said in the following Aayah of Soorah Al-Hashr:
It is those who will be successful (Al-Hashr 9).

And He Ta’Aalaa said:

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct - Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment (At-Taubah 100).

2 – The Sahaabah (rah) are those who gathered together the Qur’aan, they are those who preserved it, transmitted and made copies of it. And Allah Ta’Aalaa says:
Verily it is We Who revealed the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'an) and verily We will safeguard it (Al-Hijr 9).
Therefore, in the case where it was the Sahaabah (rah) who (practiacally) attended to the Qur’aan through their Ijmaa’ whilst Allah Ta’Aalaa had assumed its preservation, then the Aayah guides to the truthfulness and veracity of their Ijmaa’.

3 – It is impossible in accordance to the Shar’a for the Sahaabah to have an Ijmaa’ upon an error. If that was permissible, then it would be permissible for there to be an error or mistake in respect to the Deen because they are those who have transmitted this Deen to us via their Ijmaa’ (consensus).

4 – The Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah discloses and is revealing of a Daleel Shar’iy. That is because they did not agree and hold a consensus upon a certain Hukm being a Hukm unless they had a Daleel from the statement, action or Taqreer (approval and consent) of the Messenger of Allah (saw). This reality does not apply to any other than the Sahaabah (rah) because they lived at the same time as the Messenger (saw), gathered around him and transmitted from him.

From these evidences above it becomes evident that the Ijmaa’ As-Sahaabah is the Ijmaa’ which the Adillah (evidences) have guided to being Qat’iy Ath-Thuboot (established and proven decisively). That is because its evidences are from the definite Aayaat and they are Qat’iy Ad-Dalaalah in respect to the commendation and praise upon their truthfulness. This is also the case in respect to the fourth Daleel which is ‘Aqliy (rational).

In addition to the definite Adillah there are also Aahaad Al-Ahaadeeth that have been mentioned to us in respect to their praise like his Qawl (saw):

خَيرُ القُروي ن قَ رْنِ الذي ب عيثْتُ فييهم
The best generation is my generation that I have been sent amongst them
(Abu Daawood).

أَصْحابِ كَالنُّجويم يبِييِّيهيم اقْ تَدَيْ تُم اهْتَدَيْ تُم
My companions are like the stars. Any one of them you follow you are guided
(Al-Baihaqi and Ad-Dailamiy related it from Ibn ‘Abbaas).

Q&A: Are women obliged to keep long hair?


I’ve been asked this question and I want to raise it here for it to be answered if possible: are women obliged to keep long hair?   Is it not allowed for a woman to cut her hair?  Some have said that one points of reasoning behind this is, is that it would cover their awra’ on the day of judgement.


No on both counts.


The cited reasoning or justification mentioned, is a khurāfah – a superstition, as there is no textual evidence to substantiate this view.  Just as there is no text outlining an obligation for women to keep their hair long, there isn’t any prohibition contained within the Islamic texts concerning women cutting their hair, or even for that matter, keeping it short.   We know that there is a report that the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had their hair cut short mainly for ease in washing as outlined by the mother of the believers, ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her.   Imām Muslim records in his Ṣaḥīḥ:
و حدثني عبید الله بن معاذ العنبري قال حدثنا أبي قال حدثنا شعبة عن أبي بڪر بن حفص عن أبي سلمة بن عبد الرحمن قال دخلت علی عاٸشة أنا وأخوها من الرضاعة فسألها عن غسل النبي صلی الله علیه وسلم من الجنابة فدعت بإناء قدر الصاع فاغتسلت وبیننا وبینها ستر وأفرغت علی رأسها ثلاثا قال وڪان أزواج النبي صلی الله علیه وسلم یأخذن من  رءوسهن حتی تڪون ڪالوفرة
And ‘Ubaidullah ibn Mu’ādth al-‘Anbary narrated to me he said my father narrated to us he said Shu’ba narrated to us from Abu Bakr ibn Ḥafṣ from Abu Salamah ibn Abdar-Raḥman, he said:  I along with the foster brother of ‘Aisha went to her and he asked about the bath of the Prophet (peace be upon him) because of sexual intercourse.  She called for a vessel equal to a Sa’ and she took a bath and there was a curtain between us and her.  She poured water on her head three-times.  The wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to cut their hair until it came just below their ears.

We have no narratives on record that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever forbade his wives and / or the general female populace from having their hair cut in this manner.  It is therefore not acceptable to invent something and then seek to argue that a prohibition should apply.  The view that women are prohibited from cutting their hair seems to be a unique, peculiar view from some in the Indian sub-continent. Their opposition seems to only be on the basis that women cutting their hair generally and / or having various styles is prohibited because it is imitating the non-Muslims and men.  Such a position though is ridiculous when considered against the narration we have from Imām Muslim as cited above as well as the general Sharī’ah evidences.

In relation to ajj, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not oblige or recommend women to shave their heads following completion, but to merely clip it.   That is set out clearly in the following narration from the Sunan of Abu Dāwud:
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ الْعَتَكِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَكْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ بَلَغَنِي عَنْ صَفِيَّةَ بِنْتِ شَيْبَةَ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ، قَالَتْ أَخْبَرَتْنِي أُمُّ عُثْمَانَ بِنْتُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، أَنَّ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏ لَيْسَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ حَلْقٌ إِنَّمَا عَلَى النِّسَاءِ التَّقْصِيرُ
  Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-‘Ataki narrated to us Muḥammad ibn Bakr narrated to us Ibn Jurayj narrated to us he said I have heard from Ṣaffiya the daughter of Shayba ibn Uthmān, she said: Umm Uthmān bint Abi Sufyān reported to me that Ibn ‘Abbās said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Shaving is not a duty laid upon women; only clipping the hair is incumbent on them. 
Some have interpreted this ḥadith, as well as what Imām Bukhāri recorded concerning the praising of those who shave their head to mean that it is generally impermissible for women to shave their heads, but the language of the ḥadith does not indicate that.

On average women generally tend to have longer hair than men and taking care of it, including cutting and styling is part of beautification. The matter should be very clear based upon these narrations and the general evidences.

All success rests with Allah, and ultimately Allah knows best


Monday, May 21, 2018

Ramadan in the Ottoman Caliphate

All Elements of Ottoman Society Fasted during Ramadan
The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during the month of Ramazan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and requires that Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoke, snuff, and sexual activities every day from sunrise to sunset.
Fasting is not obligatory for children before the onset of puberty, people with an illness or medical condition, nursing and pregnant women, travelers, and those fighting on the battlefield. Despite these rules, children, pregnant women, travelers, and soldiers in the Ottoman era fasted during the entire month.
Though the duties of the holy month are arduous, members of all social classes in the Ottoman era observed them with exceeding devotion and zeal, and they condemned any open and public infraction with uncommon severity.
Decorating the mosques with lamps
The mosques were brilliantly illuminated, and they were crowded with worshippers. Cords were “slung from minaret to minaret,” to which lamps were attached and “the rising or lowering of these cords,” produced magical transitions. As a European visitor to the Ottoman capital observed, these unique lamps rendered “the illuminations of Istanbul unlike those of any European capital.”
Breaking the fast (iftār)
As the hour of sunset approaches, people prepare themselves for the sound of the cannon and the cry of the muezzin, calling the faithful to prayer. The second cannon discharge signals iftar, or breaking of the fast, with an evening meal that includes family and friends. The poor often ate a large meal at once, while the rich broke the fast with a light meal — a morsel of bread with yogurt, dates, fresh or dried fruit, especially watermelon, sweetmeats, and muhallabi, “a thin jelly of milk, starch, and rice flour,” washed down with water or lemonade.
The evening prayer is performed after breaking the fast. At times, the faithful smoked a pipe, drank a cup of coffee or a glass of sherbet before performing the evening prayer. Then he sat down with family and friends to the main meal.
Muslims in Sarajevo still observe the Ottoman tradition of firing a canon to mark iftar. Each night Muslims flock to Zuc hill in Sarajevo waiting for the ‘bang’ so they can open their fast.
The nights of Ramadan
After the meal, streets became crowded with throngs of people. Some spent their time in a coffeehouse smoking water-pipes filled with tobacco and listening to storytellers and singers, while others walked through gardens, sitting in the moonlight and enjoying cakes, toasted grains, coffee, and sugared drinks as they watched the performance of the Karagöz shadow puppet theater.
Many walked to a mosque and listened to prayers and recitations from the local imam, while others spent part of the evening with local dervises at a Sufi lodge (tekke) although during the holy month, zikrs (literally remembrance of God), or ecstatic worship through devotional singing, were rarely performed.
Pre-dawn Meal (suhūr)
Shortly before midnight came the call to prayer, at which time the late wanderers returned home to prepare for a morning meal. In the large urban centers such as Istanbul and Cairo, shortly after the arrival of midnight, the cannon sounded a warning to the faithful that it was time to eat their morning meal. In small towns and villages, drummers walked through narrow streets and alleys warning the faithful to eat their early morning meal before the sunrise.
The morning meal was usually eaten an hour before the morning prayer. In homes of the rich and powerful, the servants brought water for ablution, spread the leather cloth (sofra, Arabic: sufrah) — well tanned and generally of a yellow color bordered with black — and placed a meal on it which at times included remnants of the evening’s meal. Then sounded the salam, or blessing on the prophet, an introduction to the call of morning prayer. Many took the last puff on their pipes. A second gun was fired as a sign of imsak, or the order to abstain from eating and drinking.
Intention to Fast (niyet)
Then the faithful waited for the call to prayer, which was followed by a ceremony called “purpose” or “intention” (niyet niyat). For instance, the worshipper could say to himself, silently or audibly, that he intended to pray two bows of prayer to God. He then proceeded with his prayers and went to sleep immediately. Different schools of Islamic jurisprudence required different forms of niyet.
The generosity of Ottoman officials
Some among high government officials celebrated the arrival of the holy month by opening the doors of their homes and showering their dependents and servants with kindness and generosity. In his Book of Travels, Evliya Çelebi wrote that at the beginning of Ramazan, his patron, Melek Ahmed Pasa, distributed various precious goods from his treasury such as expensive garments, vessels, weapons, armor, jeweled muskets, swords, sable furs, and coral prayer beads to his servants and agas, in return for a complete Quran recital and their prayers and invocations. Every Monday and Friday evening during the month, the doors of his home were opened to the public, who were served fruit syrups and musky sweetmeats of pistachios and almonds, while they listened to recitations of prayers from the Quran.
The sultan and his officials used Ramazan as an occasion to sacrifice a variety of animals either at a mosque or at a public place such as an open street or the main gates of the city. The meat was distributed among ordinary people, particularly the poor and the needy.
Visiting the relics of Prophet Muhammad 
Numerous religious ceremonies and observances also took place throughout the holy month. On the fifteenth of Ramazan, the sultan and high government officials went to pay homage to the relics of the prophet Muhammad, which they held in great veneration. These included the prophet’s mantle, “a black woollen jacket, measuring 124 centimeters, with wide sleeves and cream-colored wool lining,” his flag and battle standard, the hair from his beard, a piece of his tooth, and his footprint set in a piece of stone. The ceremonial uncovering, display, and veneration of these relics followed the noon prayer. Though conducted privately, the ceremony was nonetheless an occasion of great religious significance.
Zakāt al-fitr
Even before the arrival of the bayram, the sultan — as well as the rich and powerful who surrounded him — demonstrated their devotion, charity, and piety by distributing alms to the poor. Some families prepared a variety of dishes and sent them to their neighbors, as well as to the poor and the needy.
Outside the palace, before the arrival of the new month, the faithful who had fasted for 30 days made their customary fast offering. Such an offering required them to distribute among the poor and the needy a certain amount of wheat, barley, dates, and fruit. This purified their fast for it was believed that until a Muslim had distributed these gifts, or their equivalent in money, god kept his fasting suspended between heaven and earth.
Among the wealthy and powerful families, every member of the household, including servants and slaves, received a valuable present according to their status, “the length and difficulty of their services,” or “the degree of favor in which” they “were held.”
In the Arab provinces of the empire, where this practice was called sadaqat ul-Fitr or zakat ul-Fitr, the alms were distributed one or even two nights before the end of Ramazan. The head of household was responsible to pay the alms on behalf of every member of his family. Approximately two kilograms of grains was distributed on behalf of each family member. Some among the rich and powerful chose to distribute money instead of grains or dates.
The Night of Power (Lailatul-Qadr)
The most important of all holy nights was the Night of Power, which was observed on the 27th of Ramazan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It celebrated the angels’ descent to earth with the Holy Quran and the Angel Gabriel’s revelation of it to the prophet Muhammad. The night was also significant because it was believed that special blessings were sent down to the truly devout from heaven. Upon the arrival of the Night of Power, a solemn and meditative spirit overcame every Muslim household.
From the large urban centers to the humblest village, young and old, men and women, state officials, merchants, artisans and peasant farmers, participated in night prayers, for they believed that on this night the fate of every devout Muslim was shaped for the following year.
Eid ul-Fitr
The end of Ramazan was marked with a three-day Islamic holiday called Ramazan Bayrami (Ramazan Festival) or Seker Bayrami (Sugar Festival) also known in Arabic as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid us-Sagheer, Minor Festival. The month of fasting ended and the festivities began with the first appearance of the new moon heralding the month of Shawwal. At times, the bayram was delayed if the weather was cloudy and the new moon did not appear in the sky. If the sky remained cloudy and the moon was obscured, it was simply presumed that the new moon was present and the month of fasting had ended. In Istanbul, the end of Ramazan was officially proclaimed with discharging of cannons at the imperial palace. The lights and lamps on the minarets were extinguished, and drums and trumpets were played in public places and the homes of high government officials and court dignitaries.
In the courtyards of the main mosques, markets were set up to sell meat, fruits, vegetables, sweets, clothing, fabrics, candles, toys, and a host of other popular goods. On the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic calendar, came the Ramazan celebration.
On the first day of the new month, men bathed, perfumed, and dressed in their finest clothing to attend congregational prayer. Having distributed their required alms, worshippers assembled outside their town or village in a large space especially set aside for the large congregation who attended the bayram prayer. There, led by an imam, they performed prayers. After the end of the prayer, the imam ascended the pulpit and delivered a sermon. 33 The prayer marking the new month had no call to prayer and no iqama, which was called to make all in attendance aware that the prayer was getting underway. Once prayers had ended, all worshippers embraced and wished one another a happy and healthy bayram. They then returned to their homes, taking a different road from the one they had taken coming to the prayer.
On the occasion of the arrival of the bayram, parents bought new clothes for their children, who proudly displayed them as they walked through the streets. Women wore their best jewelry and most splendid dress. The rich and powerful distributed presents among their servants, dependents, and the poor. During congratulatory visits, the young kissed the right hands of the older members of the family, who gave them sweets.
An important part of the bayram was the restoration of friendship between those who had quarreled or hurt each other’s feelings. After the mid-day service at the mosque and exchange of visits, some people set off for cemeteries, where temporary markets were set up to sell flowers, prayer books, and water for watering the plants around the grave. The rest of the day was spent in relaxation and amusement, such as listening to performances by the janissary marching band (mehtaran) or watching the popular Karagöz and Hacivat shadow theater.

Source: Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire by Mehrdad Kia

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Misapplication of the Bay’a (pledge of allegiance) in Islamic History

The second principle of the Islamic ruling system is that ‘Authority belongs to the Muslim Ummah.’ The Khaleefah is not a king or dictator who imposes his authority on the people through coercion and force. The Khaleefah’s authority to rule MUST be given willingly by the Muslims through the Islamic ruling contract known as bay’a. Without this bay’a the Khaleefah cannot rule.
Unfortunately, after the time of the rightly guided Khulufaa which lasted 30 years Muawiya came to power and instigated the start of a hereditary bay’a where sons or family members would assume power after the Khaleefah’s death.
This was prophesised in the hadith:
الْخِلاَفَةُ فِي أُمَّتِي ثَلاَثُونَ سَنَةً ثُمَّ مُلْكٌ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ
“The Khilafah in my Ummah will be for thirty years. Then there will be Mulk (kingdom) after that.” (Tirmidhi)
This doesn’t mean the Khilafah stopped after 30 years, rather it means the Khilafah based on prophethood (following the sunnah) which we refer to as the Khilafah Rashidah stopped and then the Khilafah continued but had the characteristic of a monarchy due to hereditary rule.
Why did the ulema use the title Malik (King) for the Khulufaa?
Ibn Kathir in Bidiyah wan-Nihiya states, The first monarchy began with the rule of Mu‘awiyah, making him the first king (Malik) in Islam and the best of them all.’
The reason the ulema used the title Malik for the Umayyad and Abbasid Khulufaa was because these Khulufaa were not following completely in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in ruling. Abu Bakr, the first Khaleefah was given this title because Khaleefah means successor and Abu Bakr was a successor to the Prophet ﷺ in ruling.
Abul-Hassan al-Mawardi in his classical ruling system book Ahkam as-Sultaniyyahstates, “He is called the Khaleefah (successor) as he stands in for the Messenger of Allah at the head of his Ummah and so it is permitted for someone say, ‘O, Khaleefah of the Messenger of Allah!’ or for someone to say, ‘Khaleefah’ on its own.”
Was the Khaleefah sovereign like the Byzantine and Persian Kings?
It should be noted that the Khaleefah was never sovereign like the Byzantine and Persian Kings because sovereignty was always to the sharia. Clear evidence of this is the justification the ulema used for hereditary rule which was a shubhat daleel(semblance of an evidence) derived through ijtihad.
Mawardi states: “Imamate comes into being in two ways: the first of these is by the election of those of power and influence, and the second is by the delegation of the previous Imam…
It is permitted for the Khaleefah to designate succession to two persons or more and to lay down an order of succession amongst them by saying, ‘The Khaleefah after me is such and such a person, and if he dies then the Khaleefah after his death will be such and such, and if he dies then the Khaleefah after him will be such and such a person.’ Thus the Khilafah will be transferred to the three persons in the order he has designated. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ designated Zayd ibn Harith as vice-commander over the army of Mu’tah saying, ‘If he is struck down then Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, and if he is struck then Abdullah ibn ar-Rawahah, and if he is struck then the Muslims should agree on another man.’ So it was that Zayd went forward and was killed, and then Ja’far took the banner and went forward and was killed; then Abdullah ibn ar-Rawahah took the banner, advanced and was killed and so the Muslims chose Khalid ibn al-Walid after him. If the Prophet ﷺ did this with regard to amirate, the like is permitted regarding the Khilafah. If it is argued that it is a contract of authority with a particular character and condition, and that contracts of authority are not based on such specific conditions and characteristics, then it must be replied that it is a general matter of public interest which should be addressed with more flexibility than in the case of private contracts between individuals.
This was acted upon during two dynasties (the Umayyads and the Abbasids) and none from amongst the ulema of the age have rejected it. Sulyman ibn Abdul-Malik pledged succession to Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz and then after him to Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik. Even though Sulayman’s judgement was not accepted as proof, his acceptance by those amongst the ulema of the Tabieen who were his contemporaries and among those, ‘who do not fear the censure of those who censure’ (Quran, 5:55), in matters regarding the truth constitutes a proof.”
Although Qiyas (analogy) cannot be done between the bay’a and appointment of army commanders because the contracts are completely different, this still represents a shubhat daleel for the ulema of the time.
Did any previous Khaleefah try and remove the hereditary bay’a?
As Mawardi mentions, “Imamate comes into being in two ways: the first of these is by the election of those of power and influence…” This is the method followed by the Khilafah Rashidah and which was formalised by the second Khaleefah Umar ibn Al-Khattab who appointed an electoral council of six nominees tasked with appointing one of them as the next Khaleefah. Umar stipulated that his son Abdullah ibn Umar could offer advice but would not be a nominee. This was to prevent hereditary rule entering in to the bay’a election process.
When Muawiya came to Abdullah ibn Umar seeking shura on his decision to appoint his son Yazid as the next Khaleefah, Abdullah ibn Umar said: “Indeed this Khilafah is not a Hercules-style nor a Roman-style nor a Chosroes-style ruling system, in which the sons inherit from their fathers; if it had been like this I would have taken over after my father; by Allah he only included me in the six nominees of al-Shurah on the basis that al-Khilafah was not a precondition; it is rather specifically within Quraysh for whoever is competent from among them, the Muslims would choose for themselves as being the most pious and the most suitable.”
Two Umayyad rulers tried to remove the misapplication of the bay’a and return to a system of shura. They are Muawiya bin Yazid and Umar bin Abdul-Aziz.
After Yazid the usurper died, his son Muawiya bin Yazid was given bay’a by some of the Ummah and is noted in history as an Umayyad Khaleefah. The strongest opinion is that Abdullah ibn Zubair was the legitimate Khaleefah at the time but the ummah and some of the ulema were split on who was a legitimate Khaleefah. This continued until Abdul-Malik bin Marwan defeated Abdullah ibn Zubair and the Khilafah became united again.
Muawiya bin Yazid was known for his piety and honesty. Ibn Kathir narrates that he would say, “O people! Indeed, I have been entrusted with your affairs while I am weak and unable. I would therefore like for you to concede leadership to a man of strength in the same manner that as-Siddiq (Abu Bakr) endowed Umar. If you will, then appoint a committee for consultation comprised of six persons from amongst you as Umar bin al-Khattab did; for just one of you cannot be right concerning it. And so, I have bequeathed your affairs to yourselves, therefore you should appoint the one that is most fitting to undertake leadership over you.”
Muawiya bin Yazid was only in power for a few months due to his ill health and his advice was not acted upon by subsequent Umayyad rulers.
Umar bin Abdul-Aziz is noted in history as one of the Khulufaa Rashidah for his righteous rule. Dr Muhammad as-Sallabi narrates the incident of Umar bin Abdul-Aziz’s bay’a.
“Having now officially assumed the seat of the Khilafah, Umar ascended the Minbar (pulpit) in what would be his first encounter with the Ummah. He said: “O people! I have been burdened with the responsibilities of the Khilafah against my own will and without your consent. I thereby remove the bay’a to me that is on your necks so that you are at liberty to elect anyone whom you like.” But the audience cried out with one voice that he was the fittest person for the high office and said: “We have chosen you, O Amir al-Mu’mineen, and we are pleased that you have blessed and honoured our good affair.” At this juncture, Umar sensed that he was not going to be able to evade bearing the responsibility of the Khilafah, and so he decided to go on with determining his method and approach in dealing with the politics of the Muslim Ummah…”
Unfortunately after Umar bin Abdul-Aziz’s death the Umayyads didn’t follow his example and continued with their hereditary bay’a.
Restricting ruling positions to those from a particular tribe and choosing rulers based on familial ties rather than merit will inevitably lead to instability and rulers emerging who are not capable to rule. This happened when one of the last Umayyad rulers Al-Waleed bin Yazeed bin Abdul Malik, who was nicknamed the Depraved by Ibn Kathir for his non-adherence to sharia. It should be noted that the red line in Islamic history was always the implementation of sharia. Even though some of the Khulufaa abused their positions, if they went too far and then violated the sharia rules they would be removed. This happened with Al-Waleed who was removed by his Umayyad relatives. Yazid bin ‘Anbasa who was part of the guard sent to remove him said“Our grudge against you is because of your violating the prohibitions, drinking alcohol, your illicit relations with your stepmother and belittling the commandments of Allah.”
Also since there is no opportunity for anyone except the ruling family to be appointed to ruling positions then it leaves opponents only one option which is to fight the Khaleefah and physically remove him. This happened at the Battle of Zab where the Umayyads were wiped out by the Abbasids who then assumed power and took over the Khilafah. Like their Umayyad predecessors they followed the same path of hereditary bay’a.
One feature of hereditary rule is that depending on how many sons are born there is the possibility that very young leaders who are not capable of ruling can appear. This happened to the Abbasids when Al‐Muqtadir came to power in 908CE. Being incapable of ruling at such a young age he relied on a large council of Wazirs to run the state. Sensing weakness, the Fatimids under the leadership of al-Mahdi Billah broke away from the Abbasid Khilafah in 909CE and established their own state in Egypt which they called Khilafah. Some years later in 929CE Abd‐ar‐Rahman III proclaimed himself Khaleefah in Spain. The Khilafah remained divided like this until Salahudeen Ayyubi dismantled the Fatimid state in 1171 and re-unified the Abbasid Khilafah once again. This unity allowed Salahudeen to finally defeat the Crusaders at the Battle of Hittin in 1187 and liberate Al-Quds and Palestine.
How will a future Khilafah prevent hereditary rule?
The Khilafah state is an ideological Islamic state. This means all elements of state and society are working for the same goal which is seeking the pleasure of Allah (Most High). Someone seeking power within the Khilafah would not get far unless he is strong in his adherence to the Islamic ideology. Also a person would need to be capable of ruling and so would be appointed to a government post on the basis of merit not family ties. The Majlis ul-Ummah (House of Representatives) and the Makhamat Mazalim (Court of Unjust Acts) sit as powerful accountability bodies overseeing government corruption such as nepotism, and the Mazalim court has the power if proven, to remove all corrupt government officials including the Khaleefah.
In a future Khilafah, there will be constitutional processes in place on how to elect the next Khaleefah which will prevent the bay’a being misapplied as it was previously.
Hizb ut-Tahrir in its draft constitution of the Khilafah state has the following article based on Umar bin Al-Khattab’s style of appointing the next Khaleefah which along with the rest of the constitution would prevent a descent in to hereditary rule.
Article No 34
The method of appointing the Khaleefah is the pledge of allegiance (bay’a). The practical steps to appoint the Khaleefah and his bay’a are:
  1. The mazalim court announces the vacancy of the position of the Khilafah
  2. The temporary leader takes control of his responsibility and announcing the opening of the nomination procedure immediately
  3. The candidates who have been accepted by the mazalim court, are then selected by the Muslim members of the Shura council in the following two stage procedure: first to select the six candidates who received the most votes from them, and the second stage to select the two candidates who received the most votes
  4. The names of the two are announced, and the Muslims are requested to vote for one of them
  5. The result of the elections is announced, and the Muslims are informed as to who received the most votes.
  6. The Muslims promptly set out to give the pledge to whomever received the most votes, as the Khaleefah of the Muslims upon the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger .
  7. Once the pledge has been completed, the Khaleefah is announced to the public, until the news of his appointment has reached the whole Ummah, with mention of his name and that he fulfilled the characteristics which mean he is suitable to contract the Khilafah.
  8. After completing the steps to appoint the new Khaleefah the responsibility of the temporary leader ends.
The path to power
As mentioned above closing off ruling positions to an elite few from the same tribe is not permitted in sharia and can cause huge problems to the Khilafah’s future stability. Therefore, there needs to be a clear path to government, and even the post of Khaleefah, for any of the states citizens with such aspirations. This will be done primarily through allowing the formation of numerous Islamic political parties, establishment of Regional Assemblies in each province and the empowerment of a central Majlis in the Khilafah’s capital in the heart of government.
The scenario below attempts to illustrate this path.
Abdullah joins an Islamic political party in his youth. He is an activist of the party through his schooling and university. After completing university, he pursues a full time career as an army officer in the Khilafahs army. He rises up the ranks and then decides on pursuing a full time political career. His political party put him forward as a candidate for the 5-yearly Regional Assembly elections. He campaigns and wins his seat. He then becomes a member of the Regional Assembly and makes a strong impression on his constituency and the Assembly.
In the elections for his second term he gains enough votes for a seat on the House of Representatives (Majlis) in the Khilafahs capital. His work on some on the Majliscommittees impresses the Assistants (Mu’awinoon) who recommend his appointment to a government position. He works his way through various government posts finally becoming Foreign Affairs Secretary which is a senior departmental position. From there he becomes an Assistant Khaleefah and when the Khaleefah unexpectedly dies he is shortlisted by the Majlis for candidacy to the post of Khaleefah. His previous political and military experience wins over the Ummah who believe he can successfully manage their affairs and be the commander in chief of the armed forces. He gains the majority of votes during the election and becomes the Khaleefah.
This is not an idealistic dream. The Khilafah Rashidah will return once again. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“There will be Prophethood for as long as Allah wills it to be, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be Khilafah on the Prophetic method and it will be for as long as Allah wills, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be biting Kingship for as long as Allah Wills, then He will remove it when He wills, then there will be oppressive kingship for as long as Allah wills, then he will remove it when He wills, and then there will be Khilafah upon the Prophetic method” and then he remained silent. (Ahmed)