Friday, September 28, 2007
Literally the word "Zakah" means Blessing, purification, increase and goodness. It is so called as it blesses the wealth from which it is taken and protects it from misfortunes. Ibn Taimiah said, "The soul of one who gives Zakah is blessed and so is his wealth."
Zakah is defined as "a determined portion taken from wealth of rich people and allocated to those deserving it, by a Qur'anic injunction "Sometimes Zakah is referred to in the Holy Qur'an as Sadaqah (alms).
The Qur'an says,
"Of their goods take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf, verily thy prayers are a source of security for them ."
In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his Companion Mu`adh, when he was sent to Yemen as governor, "Tell them that Allah has made Zakah obligatory for them, that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor."
There is so much wealth in the Muslim world that if all Muslims, on whom Zakah is due, pay their fair share and it is distributed honestly to the deserving than no Muslim will face extreme poverty and hunger as we see in so many countries these days.
Beneficiaries of Zakah
The Holy Qur'an classifies the due recipients of zakah under the following eight categories .
"Zakah is for the poor, and the needy and those who are employed to administer and collect it, and the new converts, and for those who are in bondage, and in debt and service of the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarers, a duty ordained by Allah, and Allah is the All-Knowing, the Wise".
those employed to collect Zakah
to attract the hearts of those inclined towards Islam
to free the captives
for those in debt
for Allah's cause, i.e. for Mujahideen
for the wayfarer (traveler in need)
Limit (Nisab) Of Zakah
Zakah is paid on the surplus of wealth which is left over after a passage of a year. It is thus paid on the accumulated wealth at least equal to "Nisab" (limit). Nisab is the minimum amount on which Zakah must be paid. If the wealth is below Nisab one does not have to pay Zakah. The Nisab is as follows:
Gold: 3 oz (85 grams)
Silver: 21 oz (595 grams)
Cash: equivalent to gold or silver which ever is less
Stocks & Merchandise: same as for cash
Zakah is obligatory on the following kinds of wealth
The produce of earth like grains and fruits
The grazing animals
Gold, silver, cash
Leaving aside animals and agricultural yield for which specific rules apply, Zakah is paid at one-fortyth (1/40) part or 2.5% of the total accumulated wealth. For example, if the total of all liquid assets is $100,000 the Zakah due will be $2500. Items of personal use such as the house one lives in, furniture, cloths, cars, household items etc are exempt. Zakah is due on gold and silver jewelry even though it may be for personal use as such items are liquid assets and readily cashable for other use. Property, tools and equipment used to generate business income are exempt.
If one has liquid assets on the due date, Zakah will be paid on all of it irrespective of the future intent for some or all of it. For example, one may be saving money to buy a house; however, till the time when the money is used to buy the house it will be included in the calculation of Zakah as the money is liquid asset which can be used for any other purpose also if the need arises.
Beneficial effects of Zakah
Zakah is one of the five pillars which constitute the foundation of Islam (other four being declaration of belief, prayer 5 times a day, fasting in Ramadan and pilgrimage to Makkah if health and resources permit). Hardly ever is faith mentioned in the Quran without it being associated with prayer and Zakah and the need to fulfill both duties. So much is the importance of Zakah in Islam that it has been mentioned in eighty two places in the Quran in close connection with prayer. Prayer and Zakah are given precedence over other types of Islamic worship because prayer, which is offered purely for Allah's sake has an important role in restraining people from committing sinful and evil deeds, while Zakah has a greatly beneficial effect on both individuals and the society.
It is obligatory upon every Muslim, in possession of wealth above a prescribed limit, to pay Zakat. There are many advantages of which some are mentioned below:
1-It meets the needs of the poor of the society
2-It strengthens the good relation between the rich and the poor
3-It cleanses and purifies the wealth
4-It promotes open-handedness, generosity and sympathy in a Muslim towards the needy person
5-It draws Allah's blessing; causes increase in wealth and replacement of spent wealth as promised in the Quran "And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's cause), He will replace it. He is the Best of those who grant Sustenance."(34:39)
On the contrary, a severe punishment awaits those who act miserly and are negligent in paying out Zakah. Allah describes this as "And those who hoard up gold and silver (the money, the Zakah of which has not been paid), and spent it not in the way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment. On the Day when that (money, gold and silver etc, the Zakat of which has not been paid) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs :( and it will be said unto them): 'This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard'."(9:34, 35)
It is religious tax/alms (Zakah) paid on the day when Muslims break the fasting period at the end of the month of Ramadan. This alm is known as sadaqh al-Fitrah.
Imams (as) say that the verses: Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and glorifies the Name of his Lord and prays. (87:14 & 15) refer to giving of Fitrah and saying prayers on Eid al-Fitr.
Paying Fitrah is obligatory on every Muslim who is mature (baligh), sane, financially able, and conscious on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Fitrah should also be paid on behalf of all dependents (e.g. wife, children) whom one supports financially.
Fitrah for a person is given on a weight of about 2.5 – 3.0 kilograms (one sa'a) on any food commodity like wheat, barley, rice, millet, raisins or dates. Cash value in lieu of any foodstuff mentioned can be given as Fitrah.
Islam commands us to be GRATEFUL to ALLAH by using His favors in proper manners. We should share Allah's favors on us, with others. Allah can provide them (needy ones) better than what He has given to us, but He wants to test us: Is the love of Allah more in our hearts or the love of money?
Sadaqah al-Fitr (voluntary charity) is a very important part of Fasting in Ramadan. One very important aspect of fasting is that we become aware of how poor people feel. Poverty is a cause of many problems.
A person who has become extremely weak due to old age or disease, and has no hope of recovery and as a result cannot fast, has been allowed by Sharî'ah not to fast but give fidyah.
The fidyah for every fasting day is equivalent to what is given on Eid day as sadqah al Fitrah.
If after paying of fidyah a sick person regains health by the grace of Allah, he should observe the missed fasts on other days, hoping from Allah that He will not let go waste the reward of the fidyah given away by him.
Fasting is to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sexual intercourse from dawn till dusk with the intention of worship Kaffara is a penalty of atonement when the fasting is deliberately broken, without a valid reason through eating, drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse. The penalty is:
• to set a slave free (or)
• to fast for sixty consecutive days (or)
• to feed sixty poor people one average meal
According to Imam Abu Hanifa, the penalty should be carried out in the above order.
Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him (PBUH) said, "Every act of goodness is Sadaqah." (Muslim #2197)
Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, "When you smile in your brother's face, or enjoin what is reputable, or forbid what is objectionable, or direct someone who has lost his way, or help a man who has bad eyesight, or remove stones, thorns and bones from the road, or pour water from your bucket into your brother's, it counts to you as Sadaqah". (Tirmidhi #1911)
The benefit of Sadaqah
Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: "Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire." (Tirmidhi #2541)
"Sadaqah appeases the Lord's anger and averts an evil death." (Tirmidhi #1909)
"Give the Sadaqah without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity." (Tirmidhi#1887)
"The believer's shade on the Day of resurrection will be his Sadaqah."(Tirmidhi #1925)
Why every Muslim should give Sadaqah
The Prophet said, "Every Muslim has to give in charity." The people asked, "O Allah's Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?" He said, "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns)." The people further asked, "If he cannot find even that?" He replied, "He should help the needy who appeal for help." Then the people asked, "If he cannot do that?" He replied, "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds." (Bukhari #2.524)
Sadaqah in the form of sacrifice?
A man called the Apostle of Allah (PBUH): We used to sacrifice Atirah in pre-Islamic days during Rajab; so what do you command us? He said: Sacrifice for the sake of Allah in any month whatever; obey Allah, Most High, and feed (the people). (Abu-Dawood #2824)
One day while the Prophet (saws) was sitting in the company of some people, Jibrael (a.s.) came (in the guise of a human being) and asked, "What is faith?" Allah`s Messenger (saws) replied, `Faith is to believe in Allah, His Angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Messengers, and to believe in the Resurrection." Then he (Hadrat Jibrael (a.s.) further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah`s Messenger (saws) replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer (the obligatory) prayers perfectly, to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat), and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he further asked, "What is ‘Ihsaans (perfection)?" Allah`s Messenger (saws) replied, "To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you." Then he further asked, "When will the Hour be established?" Allah`s Messenger (saws) replied, "The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents.
1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master.
2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings.
And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah.
The Prophet (saws) then recited: "Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour--." (31. 34) Then that man (Hadrat Jibrael (a.s.)) left and the Prophet (saws) asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet (saws) said, "That was Jibrael (a.s.) who came to teach the people their religion."
In another narration of the same incident reported by Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar al-Khattab (a.s.) and related by Muslim in his Sahih, the portents of the Hour described by the Prophet (saws) to Hadrat Jibrael (a.s.) were:
“That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and master, that you will find barefooted, destitute goat-herds vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings.”
Praise be to Allaah
People who have had experience with such situations have related that the following are among the signs of a person who is possessed by jinn (or Satan):
Strong repulsion when hearing Qur’aan or Aathaan (call for prayers).
Episodes of losing consciousness and/or epileptic attacks, especially when Qur’aan is recited for the possessed person.
Frequent nightmares during sleep.
Tendency to avoid people accompanied by out-of-the-norm behavior.
The jinn who possesses him might speak when Qur’aan is recited for the possessed person.
Madness, as stated in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): "Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom Satan by his touch hath driven to [epileptic] madness…"2:275
As for a person struck by magic he might experience the following:
Dislike of one’s spouse, as indicated in the Qur’aan by the following verse (interpretation of the meaning): "And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife..." (Al-Baqarah, 2:102).
Different attitude in the house from that which is outside the house. For example, a person will feel that he is missing his family when is outside the house but when he goes home, love changes quickly to extreme hatred.
Inability to have sexual intercourse with one’s spouse.
Frequent miscarriage for pregnant women.
Sudden change in behavior without obvious reason.
Complete loss of appetite for food.
Thinking or imagining one has done something when in reality one has not.
Sudden obedience and/or love for a particular person.
It should be noted that if a person experiences some of the above symptoms this does not necessarily mean that he is either possessed by a jinn or struck by black magic. It might be due to physiological or psychological reasons.
As for curing this condition the following steps are recommended:
Putting one’s trust in Allah with sincere belief that He is the only cure for everything.
Reading Qur’aan and known supplications expressing seeking refuge, the most important and effective of which is sura 113 and 114, Al-Falaq and Al-Naas, which were used to cure the Prophet himself. Surah 112, Al-Ikhlaas, is recommended along with them, as well as the opening chapter of the Qur’aan, Al-Fatihah. To cure black magic some have successfully used seven lotus-tree leaves. The leaves should be crushed, then mixed them with water enough for taking a bath. The following verses from the Qur’aan are then recited: verse Al-Kursi (2:255), surah Al-Kafiroon (109), surah 112, 113, 114; the verses which mention magic, which are: in surah Al-Baqarah (2:102), Al-A’raaf (3:117-119), Yunus (10:79-82), and Taha (20:65-69). The possessed person drinks some of the water, and the rest is used to give him a bath.
Removing the elements of magic as was done by the Prophet when he was struck by black magic by a Jewish man called Lubaid Ben Al-‘Aasim.
Eating seven Aa’liya Al-Barniy dates (among the dates of Al-Madinah) first thing in the morning; if not possible, any dates will suffice, by the will of Allaah.
Cupping--removing excess blood.
And we ask Allaah to cure your brother and ease your hardship and his, as He is the One who cures and there is no one else who can cure.
(41) Apart from hayd (menstruation) and nifaas (post-natal bleeding), other things that can break the fast are only considered to do so if the following three conditions apply: if a person knows that it breaks the fast and is not ignorant; if he is aware of what he is doing and has not forgotten that he is fasting; if he does it of his own free will and is not forced to do it.
Among the things that break the fast are actions that involves the expulsion of bodily fluids, such as intercourse, vomiting, menstruation and cupping, and actions that involve ingesting matter, such as eating and drinking. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/148)
(42) Among the things that break the fast are things that are classified as being like eating or drinking, such as taking medicines and pills by mouth, or injections of nourishing substances, or blood transfusions.
Injections that are not given to replace food and drink but are used to administer medications such as penicillin and insulin, or tonics, or vaccinations, do not break the fast, regardless of whether they are intra-muscular or intravenous. (Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem, 4/189). But to be on the safe side, all these injections should be given during the night.
Kidney dialysis, whereby the blood is taken out, cleaned, and put back with some chemicals or nourishing substances such as sugars and salts added, is considered to break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/190).
According to the most correct view, suppositories, eye-drops, ear-drops, having a tooth extracted and treating wounds do not break the fast. (Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, 25/233, 25/245).
Puffers used for asthma do not break the fast, because this is just compressed gas that goes to the lungs – it is not food, and it is needed at all times, in Ramadaan and at other times.
Having a blood sample taken does not break the fast and is permissible because it is something that is needed. (Fataawa al-Da’wah: Ibn Baaz, no. 979).
Medicines used by gargling do not break the fast so long as they are not swallowed. If a person has a tooth filled and feels the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. (From the fataawa of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, issued verbally).
The following things do NOT break the fast:
Having the ears syringed; nose drops and nasal sprays – so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Tablets that are placed under the tongue to treat angina and other conditions - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Anything inserted into the vagina, such as pessaries, douches, scopes or fingers for the purpose of a medical examination.
Insertion of a scope or intra-uterine device (IUD or “coil”) and the like into the uterus.
Insertion into the urethra – for males or females – of a catheter, opaque dye for diagnostic imaging, medication or solutions for cleansing the bladder.
Dental fillings, tooth extractions, cleaning of the teeth, use of siwaak or toothbrush - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Rinsing, gargling or applying topical mouth sprays - so long as one avoids swallowing anything that reaches the throat.
Subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections – except for those used to provide nourishment.
Anaesthetic gases – so long as the patient is not given nourishing solutions.
Medications absorbed through the skin, such as creams and patches used to administer medicine and chemicals.
Insertion of a catheter into veins for diagnostic imaging or treatment of blood vessels in the heart or other organs.
Use of a laparoscope (instrument inserted through a small incision in the abdomen) to examine the abdominal cavity or to perform operations.
Taking biopsies or samples from the liver or other organs – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions.
Gastroscopy – so long as this is not accompanied by the administration of solutions or other substances.
Introduction of any instrument or medication to the brain or spinal column.
(43) Anyone who eats and drinks deliberately during the day in Ramadaan with no valid excuse has committed a grave major sin (kabeerah), and has to repent and make up for that fast later on. If he broke the fast with something haraam, such as drinking alcohol, this makes his sin even worse. Whatever the case, he has to repent sincerely and do more naafil deeds, fasting and other acts of worship, so as to avoid having any shortfall in his record of obligatory deeds, and so that Allaah might accept his repentance.
(44) “If he forgets, and eats and drinks, then let him complete his fast, for Allaah has fed him and given him to drink.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1933). According to another report, “He does not have to make the fast up later or offer expiation (kafaarah).”
If a person sees someone else who is eating because he has forgotten that he is fasting, he should remind him, because of the general meaning of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “… Help one another in righteousness and piety…” [al-Maa’idah 5:2], and the hadeeth, “if I forget, remind me”; and because of the principle that this is an evil action (munkar) that must be changed. (Majlis Shahr Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p.70)
(45) Those who need to break their fast in order to save someone whose life is in danger, may break their fast and should make it up later on. This applies in cases where someone is drowning, or when fires need to be put out.
(46) If a person is obliged to fast, but he deliberately has intercourse during the day in Ramadaan, of his own free will, where the two “circumcised parts” (genitals) come together and the tip of the penis penetrates either the front or back passage, his fast is broken, whether or not he ejaculates, and he has to repent. He should still fast for the rest of the day, but he has to make up the fast later on, and offer expiation (kafaarah), because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Whilst we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man came to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘Do you have a slave whom you could set free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can you fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Do you have the wherewithal to feed sixty poor people?’ He said, ‘No’…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4, no. 1936). The same ruling also applies in cases of zinaa (adultery or fornication), homosexuality and bestiality.
[Translator's Note: Having Intercourse from the back passage, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality are major sins in Islam and are magnified if done during the day of Ramadhan.]
If a person has intercourse during the day on more than one day during Ramadaan, he must offer expiation for each day, as well as repeating the fast for each day. Not knowing that kafaarah is obligatory is no excuse. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/321).
(47) If a man wants to have intercourse with his wife but he breaks his fast by eating first, his sin is more serious, because he has violated the sanctity of the month on two counts, by eating and by having intercourse. It is even more certain in this case that expiation is obligatory, and if he tries to get out of it, that only makes matters worse. He must repent sincerely. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/262).
(48) Kissing, hugging, embracing, touching and repeatedly looking at one’s wife or concubine, if a man is able to control himself, is permissible, because it is reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to kiss and embrace his wives whilst he was fasting, but he was the most in control of his desire. With regard to the hadeeth qudsi, “he keeps away from his wife for My sake”, this is referring to intercourse. But if a person get aroused quickly and is unable to control himself, then it is not permissible for him to kiss or embrace his wife, because that will lead to him breaking his fast, as he cannot be sure that he will be able to avoid ejaculating or having intercourse. Allaah says in a hadeeth qudsi: “and he leaves his desire for My sake.” The Islamic guideline is that anything that leads to haraam is also haraam.
(49) If a person is engaged in the act of intercourse and dawn comes, he is obliged to withdraw, and his fast will be valid even if he ejaculates after withdrawal, but if he continues having intercourse until after dawn, he has broken his fast, and he must repent, make the fast up later, and offer expiation.
(50) If morning comes and a person is in a state of janaabah (impurity following sexual intercourse), this does not affect his fasting. He or she is permitted to delay doing ghusl, whether it is for janaabah or following menstruation or post-natal bleeding, until dawn has appeared (though well before sunrise), but it is better to hasten to do ghusl so that one can pray.
(51) If a person who is fasting sleeps and experiences a wet dream, this does not break his fast, according to scholarly consensus (ijmaa’), so he should complete his fast. Delaying doing ghusl does not break the fast, but he should hasten to do ghusl so that he can pray and so that the anegls will draw close to him.
(52) If a person ejaculates during the day in Ramadaan because of something that he could have refrained from, such as touching or repeatedly looking at a woman, he must repent to Allaah and fast for the rest of the day, but he also has to make up that fast later on. If a person starts to masturbate but then stops, and does not ejaculate, then he has to repent but he does not have to make the fast up later on, because he did not ejaculate. The person who is fasting must keep away from everything that may provoke his desire, and he must repel any bad thoughts that come to him. However, according to the most correct opinion, if he emits prostatic fluid (madhiy), this does not break his fast.
The emission of wadiy, a thick sticky substance that comes out after urination, with no sense of physical pleasure, does not break the fast, and a person does not have to do ghusl, but he does have to do istinjaa’ (clean his private parts) and do wudoo’. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/279)
(53) “Whoever vomits unintentionally does not have to make up the fast later on, but whoever vomits on purpose does have to make up the fast.” (Saheeh hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3/89). A person who vomits deliberately, by sticking his finger down his throat or applying pressure to his stomach, or deliberately smelling a repulsive odour, or looking at something that could make him vomit, is obliged to make up the fast later on. If he feels that he is about to vomit, but then it subsides by itself, this does not break his fast, because it is not something that he can control, but if the vomit comes into his mouth and he swallows it back down, this does break the fast. If a person feels sick in his stomach, he does not have to suppress the urge to vomit, because this could cause him harm. (Majaalis Sharh Ramadaan, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 67).
If a person unintentionally swallows something that is stuck between his teeth, or if it is so small that he could not tell it was there or spit it out, this is counted as being part of his saliva and it does not break his fast. But if it is big enough to spit out, he should spit it out. If he spits it out, this is OK, but if he swallows it, this breaks his fast. If it can be diluted in the mouth, in whole or in part, and it has an added taste or sweetness, it is haraam for him to chew it. If any of this substance reaches the throat, this breaks the fast. If a person spits out water after rinsing his mouth, his fast is not affected by any moisture or wetness that is left behind, because he cannot help it.
If a person suffers from a nosebleed, his fast is still valid, because this is something that is beyond his control. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/264).
If he has gum ulcers or his gums bleed after using the siwaak (tooth stick), it is not permissible for him to swallow the blood; he has to spit it out. However, if some blood enters his throat by accident, and he did not mean for that to happen, there is no need to worry. Similarly, if vomit rises in his throat then goes back down to his stomach without him intending for this to happen, his fast is still valid. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/254).
With regard to mucus coming from the head (nose and sinuses) and phlegm coming from the chest by coughing and clearing the throat, if it is swallowed before it reaches the mouth, this does not break a person’s fast, because it is a problem which all people have; but if it is swallowed after it reaches the mouth, this does break the fast. However, if it is swallowed unintentionally, it does not break the fast.
Inhaling water vapours, as may happen to people working in desalination plants, does not break the fast. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/276).
It is disliked (makrooh) to taste food unnecessarily, because this carries the risk that the fast may be broken. Examples of cases where it is necessary to taste food include a mother chewing food for an infant when she has no other way to feed him, tasting food to make sure that it is OK, and tasting something when making a purchase. It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “There is nothing wrong with tasting vinegar or anything that one wishes to buy.” (Classed as hasan in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 4/86; See al-Fath, commentary on Baab Ightisaal al-Saa’im, Kitaab al-Siyaam).
(54) Using siwaak is Sunnah for the one who is fasting at all times of the day, even if it is wet. If a person who is fasting uses a siwaak and detects some heat or other taste from it and swallows it, or if he takes the siwaak out of his mouth and sees saliva on it then puts it back in his mouth and swallows the saliva, this does not break his fast. (al-Fataawa al-Sa’diyyah, 245). He should avoid any substance that can be diluted, such as the green siwaak, or siwaak that has any extra flavour added to it, like lemon or mint. He should spit out any small pieces that come off the siwaak in his mouth; he should not swallow them deliberately, but if he swallows them accidentally, there is no harm done.
(55) If a fasting person is injured or suffers a nosebleed, or gets water or petrol in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast. If he gets dust, smoke or flies in his mouth by accident, this does not break his fast either. Things that one cannot avoid swallowing, like one’s own saliva, or dust from grinding flour, do not break the fast. If a person gathers a lot of saliva in his mouth then swallows it on purpose, this does not break the fast, according to the most correct opinion. (al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah, 3/106).
If tears reach one’s throat, or if a person applies oil to his hair or moustache, or uses henna, and then detects the taste of it in his throat, this does not break his fast. Using henna, kohl or oil does not break the fast. (See Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/233, 25/245). This also applies to creams used to moisturize and soften the skin.
There is nothing wrong with smelling pleasant fragrances, using perfume or applying scented creams and the like. There is nothing wrong with a fasting person using bukhoor (incense), so long as he does not use it as snuff. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/314).
It is better not to use toothpaste during the day, and to leave it till night-time, because it is too strong. (Al-Majaalis, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, p. 72).
(56) To be on the safe side, it is better for the fasting person not to be treated with cupping (hijaamah). There is a strong difference of opinion on this matter. Ibn Taymiyah suggested that the one who has cupping done breaks his fast, but the one who does it does not break his fast.
(57) Smoking breaks the fast, and it cannot be used as an excuse not to fast. How can a sin be taken as an excuse?!
(58) Immersing oneself in water or wrapping oneself in wet clothes in order to cool down does not break the fast. There is nothing wrong with pouring water over one’s head to obtain relief from heat and thirst. Swimming is disliked, because it might make one break the fast (by swallowing water). If a person’s work involves diving and he can be sure that he will not get water in his mouth, there is nothing wrong with this.
(59) If a person eats, drinks or has intercourse, thinking that it is still night, then he realizes that dawn has already broken, there is no harm done, because the aayah clearly states that it is permissible to do these things until one is sure that dawn has come. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported with a saheeh isnaad going back to Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “Allaah has permitted you to eat and drink so long as there is any doubt in your mind.” (Fath al-Baari, 4/135; this is also the opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 29/263).
(60) If a person breaks his fast, thinking that the sun has already set when it has not, he must make up the fast later on (according to the majority of scholars), because the principle is that it is still day, and a fact that is certain cannot be rejected in favour of something doubtful. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah thought that it was not necessary for a person in this situation to make up the fast).
If dawn breaks and a person has food or drink in his mouth, the fuqaha’ are agreed that he should spit it out, and his fast is valid. This is like the ruling on one who eats or drinks because he forgets, then remembers he is fasting – if he hastens to spit out the food or drink in his mouth, his fast is still valid.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Someone remarked that fasting for a couple of days is all it takes is to understand the suffering of those who go without food as a normal part of life, so why do Muslims need to fast for a whole month? They were quite right about understanding the plight of the poor, but if that is all they think Ramadan is about, they miss the point.
Muslims fast because Almighty Allah has commanded them to do so. In the Qur'an, we read,[ O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.]Al-Baqarah 2:183
As Muslims, we fast for the sake of Allah. Even amid the feasting and the celebrating, we should never forget this.
It is very sad that many who are not Muslim see an altogether different side to Islam. As Muslims, we need to be very careful about the example we give and about how people perceive what we are doing. Even though we look forward to the approach of Ramadan for months, many who are not Muslim see only people who are even more bad-tempered because they are not smoking, traffic that is even worse because every one is trying to get home at the same time to break the fast, or shops and businesses that operate at less than full strength because people went to bed too late the night before and couldn't get to work on time. What a shame if this is the only example we give to others.
How much better it would be if we could let others see the sweet and beautiful message of Islam by the way we celebrate Ramadan this year. As we prepare for Ramadan and as the days of Ramadan slowly pass by, we need to be asking ourselves all the time how we are going to benefit from the holy month. What are we going to do to make the most of Ramadan?
It is very important to set ourselves realizable goals and not to set our sights so high that we fail to achieve them. For example, if we are not all that faithful to Prayer during the course of the year, it is unrealistic to expect that we will pray the five daily Prayers as well as Tarawih Prayers in the mosque and that we will get up during the last third of the night to pray as our Prophet did (peace and blessings be upon him). If we don't usually spend too much time reciting the Qur'an, it is unrealistic to expect that we can recite the whole of the Qur'an during Ramadan. In other words, be realistic in the goals you set yourself.
One sure way we can all benefit from Ramadan is to give more. What do we mean by this? Well, we can give more of our time to Allah and to others; in so doing, we can understand and take to heart what Ramadan and Islam is all about.
Ramadan is the month in the Islamic calendar when our holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) first received the revelation of the Qur'an from Jibril (Angel Gabriel). For the rest of the Prophet's life, Jibril visited him during Ramadan, and they recited the whole of the Qur'an together. In the last Ramadan before the Prophet died, they recited the whole of the Qur'an together twice. For our own part, then, we can spend at least some extra time during Ramadan reciting the Qur'an and studying its meaning. In giving up some of our time, we give time to Allah. The result, in sha' Allah, is that by the end of Ramadan, we will have come closer to Allah.
For Muslims, Ramadan is also the special month of du`aa' (supplication). During the day, while we are fasting, we make prayers and invocations to Allah to remind us that it is for His sake that we fast. The Ramadan fast is neither a diet nor a punishment. We do it gladly for Allah's sake. Many Muslims try during Ramadan to attend the special Tarawih Prayers in the mosque every evening. By doing so, they will have heard the whole Qur'an recited during the month. Giving such time to Prayer, then, is another way of giving our time and our hearts to Allah.
Ways of Celebrating Ramadan
Fasting from sunrise to sunset not only teaches us to control our unruly bodies, making them aware that we control them rather than the other way around, but it also helps us to think of others who are less fortunate than ourselves, and it teaches us to give thanks to Allah for all the blessings we have that we so often take for granted. When the Adhan calls each day for the Sunset Prayer, telling us all that the day's fast is over, there are many in the world whose fast will not end. In fact, many thousands will starve to death because they have no food.
So not only giving our time to Allah, but also giving our time, talents, and material goods to others is a way of celebrating Ramadan. It really costs us very little to give out of our plenty to those who have nothing. By doing so in Ramadan, we learn to thank Allah for all the good things we have. We can join together with our friends, for example, and help the needy. Through the mosque, we can start planning ahead, before the month begins, and think of ways in which we can together help people. In the Canadian city of Toronto, for example, Muslims there have given out food every day in the city center to those who need it. Other Muslims run special soup kitchens or visit the homeless during Ramadan. What a great way that is of showing the world how much Muslims care for their world and all those in it. What a great way that is of dispelling all those misconceptions and myths that people have about Islam.
Giving, then, is central to what Ramadan is about. We give time to Allah and to others. In doing so, we not only heap down blessings on ourselves, in sha' Allah , but we also tell the world about Islam and we bring light and hope into the lives of many people who have none. Islam is the natural religion. Many in the world know nothing about Islam, except for the images of violence they see on TV. By the way we celebrate our holy month, we can show a world thirsting for Allah that Muslims are not the sabre-rattling fanatics they are portrayed as, but as people who have submitted their lives to Allah. By our giving for Allah's sake, we can teach the world how beautiful Islam really is. Maybe our giving will also, in sha' Allah, help us to be better Muslims all the year.
Idris Tawfiq is a British Muslim writer who lives and works in Egypt. He has spent many years working with young people. He was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom and, perhaps more remarkably, before embracing Islam he was a Roman Catholic priest. You can visit website at www.idristawfiq.com .
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed,"
A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him."
Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 84 Book 85, Volumune 009 Narrated by Anas (r.a.)
During the holy month of Ramadhan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadhan is an ideal time to normalise one's weight.
In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.
* Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).
* Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).
* Fibre-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.
The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weig ht problems.
* Fried and fatty foods.
* Foods containing too much sugar.
* Over-eating especially at sehri.
* Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
* Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.
* Complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
* Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
* Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and&n bsp;magnesium.
* Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
* Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.
* As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.
* Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.
Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.
Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.
INDIGESTION AND WIND
Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water.
Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.
LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')
Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.
Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake.
Remedy: Keep coo l, increase fluid and salt intake.
Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadhan. They should consult their
Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause naus ea before Iftar.
Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the so as to have adequate sleep.
LOW BLOOD SUGAR
Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.
Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates / SPAN>especially at suhur (sehri). The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.
Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.
Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in , consult your doctor.
Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates.
Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.
PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIA
Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend upto the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.
Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadhan.
Kidney stones may occur in peo ple who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.
Causes: During Ramadhan, when extra salah are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort.
Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadhan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilm ent, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.
Dr. Farouk Haffejee
Islamic Medical Association of -
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The poor person is not the one who goes round to the people and begs, but the poor is that who has not enough to satisfy his needs and whose condition is not known to others that others may give him something in charity, and who does not beg of people,”
Hadith No. 973 Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira(r.a.) Sahih Bukhari Book 24, Chapter 35
|Message of Ramadhan -|
Ramadan is the most important month of our calendar. It is a tremendous gift from Allah in so many ways. In our current state of being down and out, it can uplift us, empower us, and turn around our situation individually and collectively. It is the spring season for the garden of Islam when dry grass can come back to life and flowers bloom. But these benefits are not promised for lifeless and thoughtless rituals alone. They will be ours if our actions are informed by the message of Ramadan.
Today the message of Ramadan tends to get drowned out by much louder voices of the pop culture that have an opposite message. We have become so accustomed to them that many of us remain enslaved to them even during Ramadan.
The most important message of Ramadan is that we are not just body. We are body and soul. And that what makes us human beings and that determines our value as human beings is the soul and not the body. During Ramadan we deprive the body to uplift the soul. This is all simple and familiar. But we can understand its significance if we remember that the message of the materialistic hedonistic global pop culture that has engulfed every Muslim land today --- just like the rest of the world--- is exactly the opposite. It says that body is everything. That the materialistic world is all that counts. That the greatest happiness -- if not virtue-- is in filling the appetites of the body. This message produces endless appetites and consequently endless wars to fill those endless appetites through endless exploitation. It produces endless frustrations since the gap between desires and achievements can never be filled. It produces endless chaos and endless oppression. Yet this trash comes in such beautiful and enticing packages that we can hardly resist it. We equate this slavery with freedom. We consider this march to disaster as progress. And with every movement, we get further and deeper into the mire.
Ramadan is here to liberate us from all this. Here is a powerful message that it is soul over body. Take a break from the pop culture. Turn off the music and TV. Say goodbye to the endless and futile pursuit of happiness in sensory pleasures. Rediscover your inner self that has been buried deep under it. Reorient yourself. Devote your time to the reading of the Qur'an, to voluntary worship, to prayers and conversations with Allah. Reflect on the direction of your life and your priorities. Reflect on and strengthen your relationship with your Creator.
On the last day of one Sha'ban, Prophet Muhammad, gave a Khutbah about the upcoming month of Ramadan. It is a very important Khutbah that we should carefully read before every Ramadan to prepare ourselves mentally for the sacred month. It begins: "Oh people! A great month is coming to you. A blessed month. A month in which there is one night that is better than a thousand months. A month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer to Allah by performing any of the voluntary good deeds in this month shall receive the same reward as is there for performing an obligatory deed at any other time. And whoever discharges an obligatory deed in this month shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of Sabr (patience), and the reward for sabr is Heaven. It is the month of kindness and charity. It is a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without the latter's reward being diminished at all."
The hadith continues and contains many other very important messages. However let us take the time to highlight two of the statements contained above. First, that Ramadan is the month of sabr. The English translation is patience but that word has a very narrow meaning compared to sabr. Sabr means not only patience and perseverance in the face of difficulties, it also means being steadfast in avoiding sin in the face of temptations and being persistent in performing virtues when that is not easy. Overcoming hunger and thirst during fasting is part of it. But protecting our eyes, ears, minds, tongues, and hands, etc. from all sins is also part of it. So is being persistent in doing good deeds as much as possible despite external or internal obstacles. Ramadan requires sabr in its fullest sense and provides a training ground for that very important quality to be developed and nurtured. Here is a recipe for the complete overhaul of our life, not just a small adjustment in meal times.
The highest point of Ramadan is itikaf, an act of worship in which a person secludes himself in a masjid to devote his time entirely to worshipping and remembering Allah. Some in every Muslim community must take a break and go to the masjid for the entire last ten days of Ramadan. Others should imbibe the spirit and do whatever they can.
But we must differentiate between worldly pleasures and worldly responsibilities. We take a break from the former and not the latter. Syedna Abdullah ibn Abbas, Radi-Allahu unhu, was performing itikaf, when a person came and sat down silently. Sensing his distressed condition Ibn Abbas enquired about his situation, learnt that he needed help, and proceeded to leave the masjid to go out and help him. Now this action does nullify the itikaf, making a makeup obligatory. So the person, though grateful, was curious. Explaining his action, Ibn Abbas related a hadith that when a person makes efforts to help his brother, he earns the reward for performing itikaf for ten years.
This brings us to the second statement to consider: that Ramadan is the month of kindness and charity. With those in distress in the millions in the world today, the need for remembering this message of Ramadan cannot be overstated.
Unfortunately, today another scene seems to be dominant in some parts of the Muslim world. Here Ramadan is the month of celebrations, shopping, fancy iftars at posh restaurants, entertainment and gossip. People stay up at night but not for worship; they while away that time watching TV or wandering in the bazaar. Ramadan here is more a month of feasting than fasting.
No one can take away our Ramadan from us; we just give it away ourselves. And if we realize the utter blunder we have made, we can take it back.
Abu Dharr and Mu’adh bin Jabal (r.a.) reported: Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said:
‘Fear Allah wherever you are, do good deeds after doing bad ones, the former will wipe out the latter, and behave decently towards people.”
Hadith No. 61 At-Tirmidhi from Riyad –us-Saliheen Volume 1 Chapter 5 Watchfulness page No. 81 published by Darussalaam
[2:136] Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."
[2:137] So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
[2:138] (Our religion is) the Baptism of Allah: And who can baptize better than Allah? And it is He Whom we worship.
[2:139] Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him?
[2:140] Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma'il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!