Monthly Archives: June 2015

Major Arabic Sources for the Study of History and Biography

History is seen by many social scientists as the king of the branches of learning due to the number of sciences upon which it draws. The following are the major references for studying Islamic history and biography. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each work, as well as objectivity. Generally, each work is best suited to describing contemporary events and personalities going back a century or so.

150. Ibn Ishaq of al-Madinah and later Baghdad (major source for Ibn Hisham)

207. al-Waqidi of al-Madinah: al-Tarikh wa al-Maghazi and Futuh al-Sham (covering the Prophetic battles and the early Islamic conquests, though his hadiths are almost universally rejected)

213. Ibn Hisham of Basra and later Egypt (the main source for Sirah – refined from Sirat Ibn Ishaq, whereby he removes much of the Isra’iliyat and adds some details in language and lineage. It thus gained the pleasure of the majority of scholars as no author after Ibn Hisham is free from depending on him. The truth is that the general picture one gains approaches pretty much what is related in the sound narrations, as stated by Shaykh Akram al-‘Umari)

230. Ibn Sa’d of Baghdad, the scribe of al-Waqidi: al-Tabaqat al-Kubra (highly regarded biographies of the Companions and early generations. The first two volumes are specifically about the Sirah. Ibn Sa’d is trustworthy in investigating much of what he narrates, as stated by Khatib al-Baghdadi and Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, except that he narrates from weak narrators such as al-Waqidi, from whom he relates so much that Ibn al-Nadim accused him of plagiarism. His three strongest sources are ‘Affan b. Muslim, ‘Abd Allah b. Musa, and Fadl b. Dakin, all of whom are from the trustworthy hadith scholars. )

240. Khalifah b. Khayat: Tarikh (He was a trustworthy narrator and one of the shaykhs of al-Bukhari in his Sahih)

248. al-Ya’qubi of Khurasan and later North Africa – pre-Islamic and early Islamic history

257. Ibn Abd al-Hakam of Cairo: Futuh Misr wa al-Maghrib wa al-Andalus (on the Islamic conquests of North Africa and Spain)

279. al-Baladhuri of Baghdad: Futuh al-Buldan and Ansab al-Ashraf (major reference on the early Islamic conquests, considered weak by Ibn Hajar in Lisan al-Mizan)

279. Ibn Abi Khaythama: Akhbar al-Makkiyin (a reliable source according to al-Dhahabi, published only in part)

283. al-Dinarawi of Persia: al-Akhbar wa al-Tiwal (up to his own time)

310. al-Tabari of Baghdad: Tarikh al-Umum wa al-Muluk (covers the first three centuries of Islamic history – he usually does not criticise narrators but does include chains for readers to research and investigate)

310. Ibn Fadlan of Baghdad: al-Rihla (important description of the Germanic and Slavic peoples during his diplomatic mission in East Europe)

346. al-Mas’udi of Baghdad: Muruj al-Dhahab (covers universal pre-Islamic history up to the late Abbasid Caliphate)

363. al-Qadi al-Nu’man: Iftitah al-Daw’ah (official history of the rise of the Fatimids)

367. Ibn al-Qutiyyah: Tarikh Iftitah al-Andalus (one of the earliest sources on the Islamic conquest of Spain)

430. Abu Nu’aym of Asfahan: Hilyat al-Awliya (biographies of saintly figures up to his time)

463. al-Khatib al-Baghdadi: Tarikh Baghdad (covers the major figures to have visited Baghdad up to his time)

463. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr: al-Durur fi Ikhtisar al-Maghazi wa al-Siyar ()

468. Ibn Hayyan: al-Muqtabis fi Tarikh al-Andalus (a major history of al-Andalus up to the fall of the Umayyads, which he laments)

560. al-Baydhaq: al-Muqtabis (on the rise of the Almohads)

571. Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq (covers the major figures to have visited Damascus up to his time)

584. Ibn Munqidh: al-I’tibar (vital source of the Crusades)

630. Ibn al-Athir of Mosul: al-Kamil fi Tarikh (one of the major sources for the Crusades and Mongol Invasions, considered one of the great and trustworthy historians)

632. Ibn Shaddad: al-Nawadir al-Sultaniyyah (the most important contemporary biography of Salah al-Din and the Second Crusade)

681. Ibn Khallikan of Mosul, Damascus, and Cairo: Wafiyat al-A’yun (biographies of major figures up to 600)

712. Ibn ‘Idhari: Bayan al-Mahgrib (valuable of the Almoravids (al-Murabitun) and Almohads (al-Muwahidun))

734. Ibn Sayyid al-Nas: ‘Uyun al-Athar (a trustworthy hadith scholar according to al-Dhahabi and Ibn Kathir, and a disciple of Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id, his book is one of the classic hadith-based sirah works)

748. al-Dhahabi of Damascus: Tarikh al-Islam, Siyar A’lam al-Nubula (biographies and history up to the 8th C, including a highly regarded sirah in the beginning of the first book)

751. Ibn al-Qayyim: Zad al-Ma’ad (one of the classics of shama’il and fiqh al-sirah)

774. Ibn Kathir of Damascus: al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (highly regarded history and biography on the methodology of hadith scholars up to 8th C)

779. Ibn Battutah: al-Rihla (description of the medieval Old World)

808. Ibn Khaldun of North Africa: al-Tarikh (universal historiography, excellent for 7th-8th C)

832. Taqi al-Din al-Fasi: al-‘Iqd al-Thamin (the great histoty of Makkah)

841. Burhan al-Din al-Halabi: al-Sirat al-Halabiyyah (very popular work but includes Isra’iliyat and deleted chains, though explains difficult words and adds valuable observations and notes)

845. al-Maqrizi of Cairo: al-Mawa’iz wa al-I’tibar (masterpiece), al-Itti’az (main reference for Fatimids), al-Suluk li Ma’rifat Duwal al-Muluk (on the Ayyubids and Mamluks)

852. Ibn Hajar of Cairo: al-Durar al-Kaminah (8th C)

902. al-Sakhawi of Cairo: al-Law’ al-Lami’ (9th C)

923. al-Qastallani of Cairo: al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah (one of the major shama’il works, with a massive commentary by al-Zurqani [d.1122])

942. Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Salihi al-Dimashqi al-Shami: Subul al-Huda wa al-Rushad (possibly the largest sirah ever written, compiled from more than 300 sources)

1089. Ibn al-‘Imad: Shadharat al-Dhahab (up to 1000)

1111. al-Muhibbi: Khulasat al-Athar (11th C)

1250. al-Shawkani: al-Badr al-Tali’ (from 7th C, picking up from al-Dhahabi)


Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Books, History


How to Study the Hanbali Madhab


What follows is a curriculum for training in the Hanbali madhab based on my own experience and consultation with scholars in Arabia. Whilst there are a number of books to choose from, the following provides the best overview of the madhab, in my view.

Dalil al-Talib by Mar’i b. Yusuf (d.1033)

This text is still taught in mosques in Saudi Arabia, and students refer to Manar al-Sabil for evidences alongside Irwa’ al-Ghalil for takhrij by al-Albani. It is very clear and has quite a bit of detail not found in other books of a similar size. There is an easy audio commentary available online by Muhammad Ba-Jabir. This should be one’s starting place.

Zad al-Mustaqni’ by al-Hijjawi (d.968)

This splendid text is still widely taught here in Saudi Arabia and is based on al-Muqni’ by Ibn Qudamah. There is an easy audio commentary available online by Muhammad Ba-Jabir. Zad al-Mustaqni’ should be studied with al-Rawdh al-Murbi’ by Imam Mansur al-Bahuti (d.1051) whilst referring to the relatively recent (but excellent) hashiyat Ibn al-Qasim. Ibn ‘Uthaymin also has a brief hashiyah on it too. Recent commentaries have been written based on recorded audio classes conducted in Saudi Arabia by Ibn ‘Uthaymin and Muhammad Mukhtar al-Shanqiti, which are excellent, but do not reach the level of learning of al-Bahuti – the undisputed Imam of the Hanbalis of his time and a shaykh at al-Azhar in its golden age.

Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat by al-Bahuti (d.1051)

This is most likely the last book covered by students cover to cover with a teacher in private classes. It is a clear commentary on Ibn al-Najjar’s Muntaha al-Iradat, which clarifies the mu’tamad in the madhab, and has an ample amount of what a student needs. Traditionally, it was a reference for fatawa and one still finds it referenced in contemporary rulings.

al-Mughni by Ibn Qudama (d.620)

Al-Mughni is not really covered with a teacher anymore and is more of a personal reference. I have listed it as the last book here to cover for the standing that it has and the great benefit that studying it brings. Al-Mughni is Ibn Qudamah’s commentary on Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi, which is itself based upon the work of al-Khallal, the most active second generation Hanbali. Al-Khallal collected Imam Ahmad’s responses to legal questions from his immediate students in one book. This was then abridged by al-Khiraqi and commented upon by Ibn Qudamah in the suitably named al-Mughni (the Enricher). It was the final book in a curriculum designed by Ibn Qudamah to take one from beginner to master jurist, and has proved to be very popular among scholars of other madhabs, particularly the Shafi’is, of whom Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, al-Dhahabi, and al-Nawawi among others, held in in high regard. This book is not the final word in the madhab, but it does train one in fiqh in a way that other books do not.


There are a number of reference works which any Hanbali should have, however the following are perhaps the most essential.

Kashf al-Qina’ by al-Bahuti (d.1051) is the go to place for finding the mu’tamad position in the madhab.

al-Furu’ wa al-Tashih by Ibn Muflih (d.763) is a refreshing and influential approach to determining the soundest views.

al-Adab al-Shari’ah also by Ibn al-Muflih is an excellent book on contextualising fiqh

al-Insaf fi Ma’rifat al-Rajih min al-Ikhtilaf by al-Mardawi (d.885) is the encyclopedia of internal Hanbali differences, with the strongest view being highlighted.


Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Books, Fiqh


How to Study the Hanafi Madhab

What follows are my own suggestions for studying the furu’ of the Hanafi school, based on my own experiences and consulting with scholars. These works are studied after mastering the basics of ‘ibada through works such as Nur al-Idah by al-Shurunbulali (d.994) with its commentary, Maraqi al-Falah, by the same author.

Mukhtasar al-Quduri by al-Quduri (d.428)

This blessed text is usually the first one studied that covers the full spectrum of fiqh. In al-Sham, it is almost always studied alongside its commentary, al-Lubab, by Abd-al-Ghani al-Maydani, a student of Ibn Abidin. The benefit of this commentary is that it is late (post-Ibn ‘Abidin) and thus incorporates much of the refinement and tarjih of the later period. It is also very clear and easy to read, even without a teacher. 

al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli (d.683)

This text is invariably studied with its commentary, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar, by the same author. The commentary was the high school text for Hanafis at al-Azhar schools during the 20th Century. It mentions the differences between Abu Hanifah and his three major disciples Abu Yusuf, Muhammad al-Shaybani, and al-Zufar, as well as Imam al-Shafi’i. It also mentions the reasoning and evidence behind the chosen position. Some consider it to be somewhat of an abridgement of al-Hidayah.

Multaqa al-Abhur by Ibrahim al-Halabi (d.956)

This very useful text combines the masa’il (legal issues) of the four most reliable texts according to the later scholars: Mukhtasar al-Quduri, al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli, Kanz al-Daqa’iq by al-Nasafi (d.710), and al-Wiqayah by Burhan al-Shari’ah (d.673). As such, it suffices instead of separately studying the later two, even with their respected commentaries. It also uses very clear language and points to the relied-upon position, and thus is usually studied without commentary, though teachers and students may want to refer to the commentaries of al-Haskafi and Shaykh Zada. Multaqa al-Abhur was extrememly popular in Ottoman times and is the most numerous fiqh text (of all the schools) in manuscript.

al-Hidayah by al-Marghinani (d.593)

This is perhaps the most famous Hanafi text, and for good reason. It mentions evidences and differences with others, especially the Shafi’is. It must be studied with Fath al-Qadir, the commentary of Ibn al-Humam (d.861). One should also be careful to source-reference the hadiths with the takhrij works of Ibn Hajar and al-Zayla’i. One should also be careful with the transmissions from al-Shafi’i, as sometimes these are inaccurate. Nevertheless, both text and commentary train one in becoming a faqih in a way in which most texts are incapable.

Radd al-Muhtar by Ibn ‘Abidin (d. 1252)

Popularly known as Hashiyat Ibn ‘Abidin among Arabs and Shami in India, this gloss on al-Haskafi’s al-Durr al-Mukhtar (itself a commentary on Tanwir al-Absar) is still taught cover to cover in Syria (or at least was when I was last there in 2007). It is an encycloaedia of Hanafi fiqh, of which no Hanafi can do without.

Bada’i al-Sana’i by al-Kasani (d.587)

This is a wonderful text that is very clear, with evidences and differences, and has less quyud than many later texts. It is often referenced by non-Hanafis, who hold it in high regard.

I’la al-Sunan by Dhafar Ahmad al-Uthmani al-Thanawi

This monumental contemporary work is a commentary on just over 6,000 narrations which form the basis of Hanafi fiqh. It also includes the Hanafi approach to ‘ulum al-hadith and usul al-fiqh.


Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Books, Fiqh


al-Qadim as a Name of Allah

In his famous treatise on the Sunni creed, Imam al-Tahawi uses the word ‘al-Qadim’ to refer to Allah, meaning pre-existing or without beginning. This has attracted criticism by some contemporaries who deem such wording as baseless, with some even calling it a bid’a. Such a rash claim against as great a figure as al-Tahawi is harsh, considering the following:

In al-Hakim’s al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn we find al-Qadim listed as one of the Names of Allah (volume 1, page 239, hadith #42 in the 2014 Dar al-Ta’sil edition). Now then, all the narrators in this chain are used by al-Bukhari and Muslim, except for ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. Husayn al-Turjuman, who is considered weak by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Yahya b. Ma’in, and Ibn ‘Adi.

Another narration is found in Sunan Abi Dawud (hadith #466 in Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut’s edition) whereby Allah’s Authoratative Power (Sultanih) is described as al-Qadim. Bear in mind that Allah’s Attributes are inseperable from His Essence.

In summary, condemning al-Tahawi, one of the great hadith scholars, for using a word to describe Allah that was in currency among hadith narrators, in light of the above, long before theologians exerted their influence on the sciences, is a harsh stance to take. Rather than deeming it a baseless innovation, the best stance would be that it is at least based on a weak hadith and can be used to describe one of Allah’s attributes. And Allah knows best!

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Aqidah


al-Baghawi’s Sharh al-Sunnah

Shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut is one of the greatest living hadith scholars and editors of the classical hadith collections. Of all the works he has edited, he has a special regard for Sharh al-Sunnah by al-Baghawi (d.516/1122), which he has also edited and refined in a critical edition. Another major contemporary editor of classical works, Dr. Abdullah al-Turki, ranks it in his introduction to his edition of al-Bayhaqi’s Sunan al-Kabir alongside al-Dhahabi’s list of the four ‘Books of Islam’ that all scholars need: al-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm, al-Mughni by Ibn Qudama, al-Tamhid by Ibn Abd al-Barr, and al-Sunan al-Kabir by al-Bayhaqi.

Whilst reading al-Dhahabi’s entry on al-Baghawi in Siyar (v. 19, p. 439), I found the following footnote by Shaykh Shu’ayb on Sharh al-Sunnah:

‘It is a magnificent book in its field, without which no seeker of knowledge can suffice, for it is from the most esteemed books of the Prophetic model that have reached us from the heritage of the predecessors in terms of arrangement and refinement, harmonization and precision… It demonstrates the expertise of its author, may God have mercy on him, in the noble Prophetic traditions and their criticism, his knowledge of chains of transmission and their hidden defects, erudition in the schools of thought of the Companions and their Followers, the leaders of the various lands and independent jurists. I do not know of another book on the Sunnah that enriches one in the way that it does.’



Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Books, Hadith/Sunnah


al-Dhahabi’s Advice for Success and Salvation

Imam al-Dhahabi (d.748/1348) has the following advice in v. 19, p.340 of his monumental Siyar A’lam al-Nubula, whilst discussing al-Ghazali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din:

You must, dear brother, ponder upon the Book of God, and excessively read the two Sahihs (i.e. al-Bukhari and Muslim), Sunan al-Nasa’i (al-Mujtaba), al-Nawawi’s Riyadh (al-Salihin), and his al-Adhkar – (if you do this) you will succeed and find salvation!

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Books, Hadith/Sunnah, Qur'an


The Fiqh of Fasting (from al-Muqaddimah al-Hadramiyyah)

Ramadan is almost upon us, and it is advisable to review the fiqh of fasting every year before it starts. What follows is a translation and commentary from al-Muqaddimah of Hadramiyyah by A. S. Gorin. The importance of the text, formally known as al-Masa’il al-Ta’lim, in the post-Shaykhayn period of the Shafi’i school is well attested and it has attracted a number of important commentaries and glosses. It is still studied accross the Indian Ocean basin and further beyond in Syria and Kurdistan.


H: Ibn Hajar’s commentary from al-Minhaj al-Qawim

T: al-Tarmasi’s gloss on Ibn Hajar’s commentary

B: Ba’Ishn’s commentary from Bushra al-Karim

A: The translator’s commentary

The Book of Fasting

Fasting Ramadan becomes obligatory upon the completion of the thirty days of Sha’ban, or by the sighting of the crescent moon by a trustworthy man.

If the crescent moon is sighted within a locality, then fasting is obligatory upon those who share the same moonrise.

The validity of one’s fast rests on the following preconditions:

The first is the intention to fast for each day. It is obligatory to initiate the intention before the beginning of the fast for an obligatory fast, unlike a supererogatory fast in which the intention can be performed before the zenith. It is obligatory to specify the type of fast, but not the obligation for an obligatory fast.

The second is abstaining from deliberate intercourse, and from masturbation.

The third is abstaining from vomiting deliberately. It is harmless if one vomits without choice.

The fourth is abstaining from any substance entering one’s body cavity (such as through one’s auris interna or lactiferous duct) on the condition that it enters through an open passage. It is harmless if anything enters via one’s pores (such as oil, kohl, or whilst washing). If one eats or drinks out of forgetfulness or ignorance then one’s fast is not invalidated, whether the quantity consumed is large or small. The ignorant is unexcused unless he is new to Islam, or has been raised in a barren land far away from scholars.

One’s fast is not invalidated by dust from the road (even if one deliberately opens one’s mouth), nor by swallowing one’s own clean saliva, (even if one sticks out one’s tongue with saliva on it).

One’s fast is invalidated by:

  1. swallowing saliva with whatever is between one’s teeth, due to the ability to desorb it;
  2. swallowing phlegm;
  3. water, with which one rinses one’s mouth, reaching one’s body cavity, if one is excessive in doing this for other than removing an impurity; or without excessiveness if one rinses for cooling; or as a fourth rinse; or without need;
  4. it becoming clear that one’s eating is during the day, but (one’s fast is not invalidated) by eating under duress.

The fifth, sixth and seventh conditions are Islam; purity from menstruation and post-natal bleeding; and sanity for the entire duration of daytime. It is harmless if one is unconscious or drunk, as long as one is awake for at least a moment during the daytime.

It is invalid to fast during:

  1. the two Eid days;
  2. the Appointed Days [A: the three days after Eid al-Adha];
  3. the second half of Sha’ban except if it is one’s habit, an oath, make-up, or atonement, or by joining the second half with that which was before it (i.e. by fasting the entire month).

On the Preconditions Which Obligate Fasting

The preconditions which obligate fasting Ramadan upon a person are:

  1. sanity;
  2. post-puberty;
  3. Islam;
  4. and physical ability.

A child is ordered to fast at the age of seven, and is hit for leaving it at the age of ten, if he is physically able.

On Valid Excuses for Breaking One’s Fast

It is permissible to break one’s fast due to:

  1. an illness that permits ablution with earth (tayammum);
  2. fear of severe harm;
  3. overwhelming hunger or thirst;
  4. travelling a long distance on a permissible journey, except if the journey begins after dawn.

Fasting during travel is better if one incurs no harm therein.

If a child becomes pubescent, or a traveller returns home, or an ill person recovers, whilst they are fasting, then it is forbidden for them to break their fast. Otherwise (if they are not fasting upon the occurrence of these events), it is recommended that they abstain.

All who break their fast for a valid excuse or otherwise are obliged to make-up their fast after they are able, except for:

  1. a child;
  2. one insane;
  3. and an original disbeliever.

It is recommended to make-up the fast in succession and as soon as possible. It is obligatory (to do so) if the fast was broken without a valid excuse.

It is obligatory to abstain in Ramadan [H: for the remainder of the day, due to the sanctity of the time] for:

  1. one who left the intention;
  2. one who broke his fast therein;
  3. and on the day of doubt, if it becomes clear that it is actually the first day of Ramadan (in which case it is also obligatory to make up that day immediately)

On the Recommendations of Fasting

It is recommended to:

  1. hasten to break one’s fast if sunset is certain;
  2. break one’s fast with three [H: preferably rutab i.e. moist, ripe] dates; if incapable, then one date; if incapable, then water;
  3. say [upon breaking fast]: “O Allah! For You I have fasted and with Your provision I have broken my fast;”
  4. provide food and drink for others who are fasting;
  5. eat with others who are fasting;
  6. have a predawn meal and delay it for as long as there is no doubt;
  7. and perform the ritual bath, if obliged, before dawn.

It is highly emphasized that one abandon lying and backbiting whilst fasting. It is also recommended to leave [H: permissible] desires. If another abuses one, one should remember [H: in one’s heart] that one is fasting.

It is recommended that one abandon:

  1. cupping;
  2. chewing;
  3. tasting food;
  4. kissing and caressing, which are forbidden if one is afraid of ejaculation;
  5. and brushing one’s teeth after the zenith.

It is [T: emphatically] recommended in Ramadan to be particularly generous to one’s dependants; and to show excellence [B: in one’s speech, deeds, and wealth] to relatives and neighbours; and to increase in charity, recitation, collective study of the Quran, and spiritual retreat (especially) in the last ten days, which contains the Night of Decree wherein one says, “O Allah! Indeed You pardon, and love to pardon, so pardon me!”

If one sees the Night of Decree one [H: regretfully] conceals it [T: by not mentioning it to others, as al-Subki said seeing it is a miracle and miracles should be concealed by the agreement of the People of the Path, and not revealed except for a legitimate purpose] and one should enliven its night [H: with worship] and likewise its day like it’s night.

It is impermissible to extend one’s fast into the night.

On Expiation Due to Intercourse

Expiation is obligatory upon whoever corrupts a fast of Ramadan with sexual intercourse, even if in another’s rear or with a beast.

[A: Expiation is] not [A: obligatory] upon:

  1. the [A: participating] woman;
  2. one who engaged in intercourse forgetfully or under compulsion;
  3. whoever corrupts a fast besides that of Ramadan;
  4. one who breaks the fast with other than intercourse;
  5. a traveller or an ill person, even if they commit forbidden intercourse;
  6. nor on one who thinks it is night, but it becomes apparent that it is actually daytime.

The expiation is to free a believing slave, free from any defects that prevent work. If one cannot find [A: a slave to free, as in our times], then one must fast two consecutive months. If one is incapable, then one must feed sixty needy people; each one with a mudd (see appendix on weights and measurements).

The expiation is removed if one is suddenly afflicted with madness or death during that daytime, but not by illness, travel or difficulty [A: in carrying out the expiation].

There is expiation for each that that was corrupted.

On Compensation

It is obligatory to give a mudd of the local staple diet to be distributed to the poor and needy, for every day, to be taken from the inheritance of the one who dies and has yet to make up an [B: obligatory] fast of Ramadan or other [H: such as an oath or expiation], whilst he had the possibility to make it up [H: yet did not] or he transgressed with his breaking of the fast [H: even if he did not have the possibility to make it up]. Alternatively, a relative can fast on his behalf, or to whom the heir or the deceased has given permission.

It is also obligatory, [A: to distribute to poor and needy] a mudd, upon:

  1. whoever is unable to fast due to old age or a [A: chronic] illness which unlikely to be cured;
  2. on a pregnant or breast-feeding women, if they broke their fast fearing for the child, with the make-up;
  3. one who broke fast to save an animal on the brink of destruction;
  4. and one who delayed making-up till the next Ramadan without a valid excuse.

On Voluntary Fasts

Voluntary fasting is recommended; and consists of three types:

  1. Those which recur annually: fasting of the day of ‘Arafa (for other than the pilgrim or traveler); the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah; the tenth, ninth and the eleventh days of al-Muharram; and six days of Shawwal – which are recommended to be consecutive and connected to the Eid.
  2. Those which recur monthly: the white days, which are the 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month; and the black days, which are the 28th and the two following it.
  3. Those which recur weekly: Monday and Thursday.

It is recommended to fast the Sacred Months: Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, al-Muharram and Rajab; as is fasting Sha’ban [A: which is not a Sacred Month]. The best is al-Muharram, then the remaining sacred months, then Sha’ban. It is detested to single out [A: for fasting] Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

The [T: absolutely] best of all fasting is to fast one day and not fast the next day [A: and so on.]


The Book of Spiritual Retreat

Spiritual retreat is emphatically recommended. It has seven preconditions:

  1. Islam;
  2. sanity;
  3. purity from menses and post-natal bleeding;
  4. that one is not in a state of major ritual impurity;
  5. that one remain [B: still] for more than the period of repose in prayer [A: i.e. a moment];
  6. that it is done in a mosque, preferably a congregation mosque,
  7. and that one intends spiritual retreat.

It is obligatory to intend the obligation if one swore an oath [A: to go into spiritual retreat]. [B: In such a case one says, ‘I intend the obligation of spiritual retreat].

One should renew one’s intention when exiting [H: the mosque, even if to attend to a need], if one did not intend to return [B: but returns and wants to perform spiritual retreat again, because the second spiritual retreat is new and requires a new intention, [H: in contrast to one who intended to return]].

If one has specified a period [A: in the oath], then one renews [B: the obligatory intention] if one exits for other than attending to one’s need.

If one is performing [H: spiritual retreat] consecutively, one renews it if exiting for something which cuts the continuity [T: such as insanity, intoxication, or unconsciousness [H: in contrast to what does not cut the continuity, such as fulfilling one’s need or eating.]]

If one specifies in one’s oath a [A: particular] mosque, one may spiritually retreat in another, except [A: if one specifies] the Three Mosques [H: i.e. al-Masjid al-Haram [A: in Makkah]; al-Masjid al-Madinah [A: i.e. al-Nabawi]; and al-Masjid al-Aqsa [A: in Jerusalem.]]

It is forbidden [H: for a woman or slave to perform spiritual retreat] without the permission of the husband or master [H: but permissible if they go to a mosque with them].

On the Invalidators of Spiritual Retreat

Spiritual retreat is nullified by:

  1. intercourse;
  2. foreplay [H: and masturbation] if it results in ejaculation;
  3. insanity;
  4. loss of consciousness;
  5. major ritual impurity;
  6. apostasy;
  7. and intoxication.

If one makes an oath to spiritually retreat for a consecutive period, one must do it.

The consecutiveness is broken by:

  1. intoxication;
  2. disbelief;
  3. intentionally engaging in intercourse;
  4. and intentionally exiting the mosque.

[A: Consecutiveness is] not [A: broken by leaving the mosque for]:

  1. relieving one’s self;
  2. eating [H: even if possible in the mosque];
  3. drinking [H: and doing obligatory ablution], if water is absent in the mosque [H: in contrast to when water is available in the mosque [T: in which case leaving breaks the consecutiveness]];
  4. illness, if it becomes difficult for one to remain in it, or one fears polluting it (and similar in this is insanity and loss of consciousness);
  5. and being forced – without right – to exit.

Menstruation does not break [T: the continuity of the spiritual retreat] if the period of purity is not wide.

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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Books, Fiqh